Tuesday, July 31, 2012


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Most of the time people use the word 'love' as just another way to show off they're hungry."  from Colum McCann's, "Let the Great World Spin"

QUOTE II:  "Abortion cannot be combated with contraception.  This is because those who try to prevent pregnancy with barrier methods or hormonal contraceptives - moreover the latter's abortifacient action cannot be ruled out - will seek abortion of contraception fails."  Maria Luisa DiPietro, Institute of Bioethics, C. U. of Sacred Heart, Rome


Do you see the resemblance?

LET THE REVOLUTION CONTINUE:  At the last Chesterton Society meeting at St. Sebastian, one of the Mikes told of one of his favorite musical groups, Mumford and Sons, and how Marus Mumford recommended reading Chesterton and that there is an allusion to Chesterton's Saint Francis of Assisi in the song "The Cave."  (If you are interested in the Chesterton Society of St. Sebastian, click in his image in the right column.)

You may find Chesterton's on-line book here.

Here is a video of the song "The Cave"

If you are interested in church architecture have a look at this blog of a new church.

This in from the Knights of Columbus: "Responding to Americans' growing frustration with campaign rhetoric and the tone of the national discourse, the Knights of Columbus has launched a national, non-partisan initiative to give voice to Americans' desire for civility in public discourse."  Read more here.

From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewlsetter, "Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a "Year of Faith" to begin October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council." Read more here.

From the same source:  "Did you know, the annual one-day, outdoor Catholic family event of the summer is happening on the grounds of the the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe, Ohio on Sunday, August 5th beginning at noon?" Read more here.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Oooh. The drawings are particularly poor this week and Fr. P is bearing the brunt of it.  He's young. He'll recover. 

Anyway, one of our parishioners has a really cool convertible sports car.  He went on vacation this week and was kind enough to let me have it for a week just for kicks.  I would normally never be able to own a car like this so to have one to tool around in for a week is pretty cool.

I had an experience like this once before in my first assignment as a baby priest.  A close friend of my pastor was upset at the trade-in value of his very expensive car, thinking that he would get a much better write off by donating it to the Church rather than trade it in.  So he have it to "the parish" and we used it as a "theater mobile" only taking it when the whole house was going out somewhere. 

Now, Diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty, but people still do expect us to live somewhat simply.  So driving around in too nice of a car can cause problems.  I remember one guy making some loud comments once when I was filling the gas tank of the theater mobile (later donated somewhere) and so I knew with this car to wear a disguise when going to fuel up.

But other than that Fr. P and I have enjoyed tooling around in it over the past couple of days.  As a matter of fact we had a meeting in Cleveland today.  (Hence why this post is so late.)  I've steadily grown cold to driving particularly over long distances but having a different car (a stick shift which I dearly miss) made the trip much more enjoyable.
But I could not hog all the fun to myself.  I could see Fr. P salivating and thought to give him a tiny taste of the fun.

It was a mistake.

Friday, July 27, 2012


It is actually part of the baptismal rite that the newly baptized be clothed in white garments.  The prayer after the baptism reads, “See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. . .”  Often parishes have some sort of garment, often a bib or scapular type contraption (just in case the baby is going out to eat lobster after) that suffices for ceremony’s sake.  It is not strictly necessary if the baby is already properly attired.

The most common/traditional type of garment as Mrs. Fenner reminds us is a long white robe usually lavishly (though, again, not necessarily) trimmed with embroidery or lace.  “This is the one time when a baby may be so dressed without violating the canons of good taste,” she reports.  For some reason that is lost on Monsignor Manners, she also stresses that, “Fine white silk, unstarched organdy, fine lawn, nainsook, and handkerchief linen are suitable materials.  Chiffon, satin, and taffeta are not.”  Perhaps someone out there in Catholic land can enlighten me as to why this might be the case.

Mrs. Fenner also stresses that the entire garment should be handmade including the lace and/or trim.  Monsignor is not so fussy.  (Do you know anyone who makes lace by hand anymore?) She also finds droll the all white suit and manly caps for boys hoping that, “it may be a fashion that will pass.”  It certainly is not in keeping with tradition at any rate although all the ceremony calls for is a “white garment.”  It certainly would be better than a lobster bib.

Monsignor Manners found his baptismal garment when closing down the family house.  It was a rather fluffy affair more suitable for an American Girl Doll than a baby boy and the evidence has since been disposed of. 

In any event, at the baptism head gear of all sorts should be removed.  The child will have water poured over his head and need to be anointed with Chrism.  Also, the neck of the garment should be loosened so that the priest may anoint the child on the breast with holy oil (another difficulty with bow ties!).

The above is most usual.  But there are other practices at your parish for which you may need to be prepared.  For example you may have a dunking booth for a baptismal fount.  This requires a whole different set of rules.  If the baby is going to be submerged in the same clothing with which he came from the womb, you should bring a robe (white and easily administered) to be clothed in immediately following the baptism.  In this case, the little man suite would definitely be a problem and a time consumer.  If you are hooked on the suit, save it for the party.

If the child is to be baptized in the extraordinary form, access to his back for anointing must also be taken into account.

What should guests wear?  Mrs. Fenner suggests, “the same kind of clothes what they would wear to . . . Mass.”  Monsignor suggests that one finds out what a guest wears to Mass before issuing this advice to one who asks.  Suits and dresses carry the day.  Hard to go wrong with that especially for the parents and godparents.  I also suggest that if your guests (or your spouse) who normally comes to Mass in a T-shirt and cut offs actually appears at your family’s baptism like this you might encourage them by saying, “Wow, you look really, really great!  I think you should dress like that every Sunday!  You’ve been turning heads all day!”

Nothing like a bit of vanity to get people to do the right thing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Yesterday our computers were down and I was unable to post before I left for the day.  Apparently Time Warner was down for much of Akron due to a digging incident. 

Yesterday on Fresh Air (NPR) Terry Gross interviewed Bishop Blair about his role in helping certain of our religious to be more in line with the Church.  Interestingly it was a great platform for Gross to voice her concerns about the Church disguised as very lengthy questions at the end of which she would say, “So what do you think about that comment?”  (You can hear the whole interview here.)

A major concern of hers and, quite frankly, of many, many people is that the Church is out of step with today’s culture.  Many people are leaving the Church, reports Gross, because the Church does not keep up with emerging views on women, persons with SSA, marriage, and the whole ball of wax that you might easily discern yourself.

But for Catholics, it is not a matter of the Church keeping up with the culture.  That is a distinctly Protestant idea.  It is much easier to achieve conformity between culture and religion also when all one has is the Bible.  As the past Episcopal Archbishop of Washington once said when defending his view on the homosexual lifestyle, “Don’t argue Scripture with me.  You can make Scripture mean whatever you want.”  But for Catholics, we have Tradition to grapple with also.  Tradition helps interpret Scripture and Scripture helps interpret Tradition.  We hold what we believe to be revealed truth that cannot simply (or complexly) change.  If it was held true in the year 212, it must also be held true as divinely revealed in the year 2012. 

(If you listen to the interview, Gross does point out things about the Church that have changed and asks if not things like an all male priesthood could not also change.  But what changes is practice – man made stuff – not theology.)

But do we want another Church that is just like everybody else?  Why are we (especially as Americans who cherish individualism and freedom of expression) not excited that there is somebody out there who is thinking outside of the mainstream box?  Will we really be happy when religion is just like what our food and music landscape is becoming – the same the same the same from sea to shining sea?

To quote Chesterton, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right.  What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong . . . They say they want a religion to be social, when they would be social without any religion.   They say they want a religion to be practical, when they would be practical without any religion.  They say they want a religion acceptable to science, when they would accept the science even if they did not accept the religion.  They say they want a religion like this because they are like this already.  They say they want it, when they mean that they could do without it.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "When all is said and done, he consoled himself, however painful, and however long it takes to die, in the end you are just as dead.  And he who dies finds rest."  from Alturo Perez-Reverte's, "Captain Alatriste"

QUOTE II: "Whether a man is ready to die or not, his requiem always sounds the same."  from "A German Requiem" 


This past Friday Fr. Pfeiffer and I went outside to walk Sebastian and discovered our flags at half mast.  One of our people gets "flag alerts" here that tell when the president has ordered flags to be flown at half mast.  If you would like alerts of this manner here is one place that sends them out.

Sara sent this in:  "It may be interesting for any young women with whom you talk who may be considering a religious life to know that the Visitation order has one small new (established 20+ years ago) monastery in North Minneapolis, Minnesota, that is not cloistered.  This monastery regularly hosts women who are discerning a religious life."  For more information go here.

The Knights of Columbus were working here on Monday night fixing the walkway to the rectory.  The recruit Knights younger and younger.
 Our first Jazz and Wine Festival was a success.  Below is a picture of me with Earnie Krivda, one of my jazz favorites.  Funds were used toward the organ fund.

I love this three minute video.  But no, I do not want to hear it in church.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


So, if you actually wanted to read Adam's Ale these past couple of weeks you are aware that nothing has been posted.  I was on jury duty for two weeks.  It was only supposed to be one week but I was put on a case that lasted two full weeks.  Actually it is not done yet so I cannot talk about it.  I was the second alternate so although I had to be there, when the jury went in to deliberate, I and the other alternate were excused.  So the others have to return next week and unless TWO of them get sick or hit by truck my service to the Summit county court system is over.

I learned a lot during jury duty and not all of it at the court house:

I would get up early to walk the dog and then have Mass or go to a Finance Council meeting or something and then hop in the car to be at the courthouse by 8:30 or 9:00 AM depending.  The day generally lasted to 5 or 5:30.  Then back home to try to catch up on things that normally got done during the day.

Funny thing about jury duty.  It felt a lot like Mass.  First someone says, "All Rise!" and the we processed in formally into something like pews and there is a man behind a large altar like bench wearing robes.  I felt very at home.

Now that did not actually happen.  But I came very, very close.

Jury duty, while an honor to be of service to my country (or at least my county) and while it can be very fascinating, it is also expensive and fattening.  I rarely had enough time to make lunch in the morning and so that meant going out for lunch every day (and they no longer give a stipend.)  There were also long periods of time when there is nothing for us to do because the judge needs to talk to the lawyers without us and so we sit and talk and drink coffee and eat pastries.  I think I put on 5 pounds.  Fortunately the jury was a fun group of people to spend the day with.

As the day goes along it becomes difficult to pay attention for all of those hours.  It reminds me of graduate school.  Fortunately they had a continual fountain of coffee.  I still have the shakes from all of the caffeine.
Father Pfeiffer was very good about not asking questions about the trial.  At every break the judge informed us not to talk about anything that took place in his court room.  Not an easy thing for me to do.

Over all I am glad I had the opportunity to give it a go.  Actually this is the fourth time I've been called up but the first time I was allowed on a jury as a priest. 

It was interesting doing my Liturgy of the Hours in a courthouse.  It put a different spin on the psalms.  For example, from Tuesday of the First Week:

Psalm 119:
I am seized with indignation at the wicked who forsake Your law.

Psalm 33:
All have left the right path; depraved, every one.
There is not a good man left, no, not even one.

It made me hear these words in a whole new way.

Anyway, Adam's Ale should be on a role again though vacation is coming up.  Thanks for coming back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Dear Readers,

I am currently serving jury duty.  Today I was at the courthouse from 8:30AM until 5:20PM and it sounds as though I will be there for about a week.  Adam's Ale may be on a slight hiatus or tat least spotty during this time as any free time I have will be used trying to catch up on things I can't do during the day. 

Thanks and please come back after my jury time is up.

God bless,

Fr. V

Sunday, July 8, 2012


It seems to happen every summer without fail.  It is the hottest day of the year.  (Akron broke a record with temperatures in the triple digits.)  It is a weekend.  And the air conditioner breaks down.  Of course it does not happen on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or even a Friday.  That would be far too convenient.

So I run in to Fr. P (very crudely drawn this week) as I was coming back from the church after spending some time in the basement trying to get the dern AC going again.

In lighter news, we are having one of our parking lots and the side walk surrounding it redone.  Here is one of the men smoothing out a little patch of cement for me.
Just like a movie star, Sebastian has his paw print placed in the wet cement.  (It's different because I am an adult and not a kid playing in the wet cement . . .)

In still other news:  Having the Fourth of July on a Wednesday meant that people were celebrating our nation's birthday for at least six days.  On two of those days I went up into our bell tower which is about 110' high and took a look at the various fireworks displays going on.  The first night I could count at least four going on along with some impressive shows in coming from people's back yards.  I think these pictures are from Fairlawn.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I promise, this is the last installment for names.  But unlike last week, some of this advice actually has application in Catholic etiquette.  If you recall, this week involves the application of the name which you chose.

But first, let us dispense with the last bit of free advice, from our hostess Mrs Fenner, that has nothing to do with Catholic specific advice.  She is not a big fan of giving children nicknames.  Monsignor Manners is a big fan of nicknames because as a child he never got one.  To distinguish him from all of the other “John”s he was the one most often designated to stick with “Johnny,” and name he abhors, (not for other people – but for himself) while all of the other guys got cool nicknames.  It was not until high school that I received my first true nickname and it was all downhill from there.  Now I’ve had so many I can’t remember them all.  (Don’t ask.  I won’t tell you.)

Of course Mrs. Fenner supports the idea of calling one’s child by one of his Christian names, “really, the sensible thing to do,” but if one must pick a nickname to be very judicious.  Never call a boy Junior even though he is.  It is the worst possible taste.”  Others names she prefers we would all pass on are “Baby, Buzzie, Sister, Buddie, Sonnie, Toots, etc.”  If one is going to pick a nickname, pick one that will grow with the child for “names will be outgrown, but may not be shaken off.”  From a guy who was almost nicknamed “Kit” by his father, I appreciate that comment.

Now on to more important things.  Some of these are more important than others.  To start, it is often the practice to name a son after his father.  John Adam Doe may have a son that he names John Adam Doe.  The son, as long as his father is alive, may be called John Adam Doe Jr.  (If “junior” is written out, it is never capitalized.)  The father, save for common speech or for business reasons, is never referred to as “senior.”  “Senior” is never printed.  “It would be better to say, ‘the senior Mr. Doe’ if one wishes to make the distinction.”  The young Mr. Doe loses his “Jr.” title upon the death of his father for all official purposes.

If, while the senior Mr. Doe is still alive, Mr. Doe Jr. has a son, the first two Mr. Does do not change their titles but the youngest Mr. Doe becomes Mr. John Adam Doe III.  Upon the death of grandpa, the third becomes Mr. John Adam Doe Jr.

Now, if instead of the senior Mr. Doe naming his son after himself he had named him Jeffery Alexander Doe but Jeff named his son after his Dad, then the son would be named Mr. John Adam Doe II.  Subsequently if another child in the family is given the same name, say by Jeff’s brother Joseph, he would be Mr. John Adam Doe III and so forth.  If the sons who are demarcated by numerals in turn have sons to whom they pass on the name John Adam Doe, they are given the title “Jr.”  The numeric Mr. Does lose their numbers at the death of the common ancestor. 

In the United States it is not our practice to retain our numbers no matter how attached we become to them.  “It is considered affected,” according to Mrs. Fenner.  They are retained properly in certain circumstances and for the convenience of reference.  John Paul II retains his numbers for ease of reference to his papal era.

So as far as parish records are concerned, numbers and “juniors” are not recorded since they are not permanent parts of one’s name.  Families may be in a parish for many generations so there would be constant crossing outs and re-designations for such names.  It is far better to have birth dates when trying to trace a family name in parish records.  Simply saying, “No!  I want the John Adam Doe Jr.” may not be helpful save for the very savvy secretary who has no way of knowing who is and who is not numbered. 

Go here to generate your child's pirate name for life. 

Next week – guests, robes, and pictures.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

And few people read this blog after a holiday so I thought I write about the latest on our organ project since the interested audiences is rather limited.

This project has been going on for quite some months and we are still five months from the dedication date.  It seems to be taking forever.  The Schantz Organ Company, the oldest organ company in the northern Americas, invited a group of about 20 St. Sebastianites down to see the progress.

 The wooden pipes below will not be part of our organ but another organ that is going through the process just ahead of ours.  If you ever wondered what the inside of a wooden pipe might look like, this is one of those very rare peeks inside.  The covering for the pipe laying on the horses next to the pipe soon to hide its interior for ever.
 According to our tour guide, post WWII era was a good one for the builders of pipe organs.  It was pretty much a given that if one were to build a church, "there would be a steeple, a cross, a Bible, and a pipe organ," reported our guide.  That being the case, the majority of work these days is repairing organs. 

If you think of it, a pipe organ is a mechanical device in constant use.  If you are in a Catholic parish such as ours, it is in use every day.  365 days 60 years is a lot of work to be done by a mechanical device.  My wind up alarm clock only lasted 7 years.  In any case, all of these organs are now being rejuvenated and ours is among those old organs receiving new life.
Below is part of the super structure of one section of our organ.  The boxes that you see are wind chests and pipes sit on top of those.  As you can see, some of the chests are pretty high yet pipes will sit yet on top of them!  Since our organ has always been behind a screen, few people realize it is about 2 and half stories high.  The rejuvenated and expanded organ will have about 1,300 exposed pipes.
This is a view from the top of the organ structure down.  That is our music director on top of a very high ladder looking up!
The holes in the wood that you see are where pipes sit.  These particular pipes will be rather small ones.  The can range from about the size of our pinkie to 16 feet.  (Can you see how small the man on the floor looks from the top of the organ?)
If you are interested in helping with this project, you can purchase a pipe by clicking here.  You will receive a certificate that indicates the pipe that you helped restore or make.  If you bring the certificate in the pipe that you purchased can be played for you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


 h/t to Stainedglass Buffalo


Matt sent in an interesting blog post written by a priest.  I do sympathize with his premis though not his solution.  Any thoughts?  Have a look here.

Jeff sent this website in.  It is the new website for the Schantz Organ Company that is currently working on our new organ.  A picture of our visit appears on the home page. 

From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  "Bishop Lennon invites all to noon Mass at Cathedral on the 4th of July to close 'Fortnight for Freedom" - Parishes across the country to ring bells at noon on Independence Day

"June 28, 2012 the United States Supreme Court issued a decision upholding as a tax provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires individuals to purchase a health plan - the so-called 'individual mandate.'"  For more on these stories go here and here.

Saint Sebastian will have a special Holy Hour tonight (Tuesday) from 7 to 8PM and a Mass on July 4th at 9Am.

There will be a JAZZ AND WINE FESTIVAL at St. Sebastian to benefit the organ project.  Three bands, wine tastings, food samples and more.  Go here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Russ sent this 5 minute video in.  You can always count on Russ for something interesting.  Thanks.