Friday, September 28, 2012


Mrs. Fenner turns her eye next to the topic of ordination.  It is not as easy a beast to tackle as you might imagine.  The standard of yesteryear has evolved into a variety of options.  Often these options are not chosen by the man being ordained but by the circumstances in which he might find himself. 
For example, in the Diocese of Cleveland back when Monsignor Manners was ordained, the events surrounding the ordination weekend might make presidential inaugural festivities in minor countries look like a five-year-old’s birthday party.  Because of policy changes in the diocese, men and their families may not even begin planning such affairs until just several months before the ordination date (which means no reserving of halls and bands and caterers and so forth.)  Mrs. Fenner eschews both of these as overly lavish. 
Monsignor Manners remembers his ordination weekend.  There was a dinner at Slovene Center following ordination at which my Uncle’s band played.  The next day was the First Mass of Thanksgiving followed by another dinner at the parish.  This was capped off by benediction.  Then we went to Slovenia to my grandparent’s home village and started all over again with Mass and dinners and bands.
Mrs. Fenner, while acknowledging that such events even take place is a more recent convention, suggests having a simple reception in the home, though she recognizes that formal luncheons at “the club” is appropriate.


Of course, the larger the affair, the more complicated (and expensive) it becomes.  Monsignor’s Mother, who received mentoring from other moms who went through the process before her, spent the next few years passing on her experience to other mothers.  There was compiled a six page check to do list that covered duties that started a year and half in advance to the end of the signing of the last Thank You note.
Starting with the priest to be and his family, before planning anything there are some things that you need to find out.  Most importantly, what is the policy of the bishop?  This will dictate much.  The second question is what does the home pastor have in mind?  Often a parish will throw some sort of reception following the First Mass for the parish.  It is not unheard of that two or more of those being ordained will join forces and have one reception following ordination.  What are the resources available for such an event?
Finally, what does the man himself desire?  To you I say: This is not about you.  To do nothing is unfair to those who want to express their joy on this important event.  It is creating a poverty in the Church that could be put to such good use.  There is no “eloping” into the diocesan priesthood.  You are a public figure now and it is your duty, however simple it might be, to graciously provide for and welcome well wishers.
Conversely this is not about creating the perfect day for you.  This is a celebration for the Church.  The more you focus on providing a pleasant experience for others rather than the ultimate day for you, the more others will enjoy it, the more relaxed you will be when things do not go exactly as you with them, and the greater benefit to the cause of the Church which is what we are really celebrating.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


One way to know if you are in love is if you waste time with the person.  Nothing is accomplished, no project finished, no true destination reached, maybe even no meaningful information exchanged, but just the same there is joy for having spent time together.  Lovers and friends can sit in a field and watch the clouds pass or the sun go down and just enjoy being in each other’s company.
It may just be a personal hang up, but this idea is why I become annoyed (very much so) when I am with someone and they spend their time checking and sending texts with invisible people whether or not we are in the depths of a meaningful conversation.  A ten hour car ride is one thing, the period of time while awaiting your turn at a board game is another.  Perhaps I am greedy, but I am here to spend time with you, not with a board game, and I want you to waste it with me.  If I am not enough, then let’s quit the pretense if the game and either do something else, or I’ll grab my book while you decide to engage others.  I do not want to be “fit in.”
The idea of wasting time is also a great definition of the prayer of contemplation or adoration; “Wasting time with God” Who deigns to waste time with us.  Our entire relationship with God is not one of attacking and subduing the world, or carrying on a conversation while we are also power walking or driving, but having, in this world’s eyes, completely unproductive time just to sit and be with the other.  Be still, and know that I am God,” is so beautiful when we think that we have a God Who will be still and know us. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


In a letter to Dear Abby a person asked about a long time friend who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.  The friend, when in her full capacity requested that when she “reached a certain point in her disease she did not want to be paraded around for others to gawk at.”  So it happens that reached that point some time ago and her friend was still taking her to church where she is loved, treated well, and “she loves it” and “feels” their love.  The question is then, should she continue to go against her friends earlier wishes.  Before reading on, what do you think?
Abby’s opinion is that she is not acting in the best interest of her friend and that the wishes that her friend had when she was well to go out being remembered with dignity should be respected.  Certainly we all hope that when we are unable to make decisions for ourselves there will be someone who will respect our wishes and carry them out according to our believes and desires.  But I do not agree with Abby’s advice in this case.
First we must pay attention to the free will of the individual in question.  Does this person have a right to change her mind?  Although in a spiritual fashion she is and always will be the same person, if we can use the terminology in a different way, the person who made that decision is not the same person who is now enjoying what life she has left.  The situation has changed.  At what point do we no longer respect the current state of a person?  What if she had said, “If I ever make it to such and so a state, just take me out behind the barn and shoot me?”  Then, when the day came, she pleaded for her life?  To whom then do we listen?


My Father used to say something very similar.  “I will kill myself before I let anyone put me in a nursing home.”  But there was a day that living at home was no longer an option even with help.  In his particular situation, once he made it to the nursing home he became a much happier person.  He did not, with diminished cognitive skills, have to worry about all the things associated with living in a house which was distressing him to no end.  He was able to relax, eat better, and enjoy life a little more and most definitely DID NOT WANT TO DIE.  I could have listened to his earlier requests and the end of his life would have been miserable and certainly without dignity.
God also made us communal creatures.  (In varying degrees I realize) we need other people to be fully human.  And all persons have dignity.  It was a great gift to the Church that John Paul II had such a long pontificate and we saw him go from a strong virile man to one reporters (for about the last ten year of his life) said how bad and frail he looked (and yet did more in a day than I do in a week.)  He was not tossed aside as too old, too sick, or too incapacitated.  He was our pope.  Period.  And all people are of dignity. 
INHO: to leave that friend home now for some decision made when the situation was very different and now not having the ability to figure out why she is all of a sudden abandoned, I think it not in keeping with human dignity and to respect persons with diminished capacity.  Especially since this will have an impact on decision for people who do never had as full a capacity as this woman once did.  Do we no longer respect their decisions (as long as they are not harmful to them or others?) 


What think you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Man's own creation has got beyond his control and are now developing their own momentum.  A secondary system of nature and fate has emerged."  Boff

QUOTE II:  "Life is mystical.  We're just used to it."  Father Wolfe 1984.


You may recall the mention of the Steampunk movement yesterday.  CK suggested that we do a search of Steampunk computers of which the above is one example.  You do not understand.  I NEED one of these.  Here is where you can see more.

This was sent in recently about an artist I have told you about in the past:  "The National Museum of Catholic Art & Library is currently hosting with the US Embassy of the Holy See in Rome an art exhibition called “Saints and Angels” to commemorate the “Canonization of 7 New Saints” and will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012. Eric's painting will first be viewed at a Black Tie Gala at the Italian Embassy on September 26th, 2012 hosted by the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Catholic Art and Library (NMCAL) and the Ambassador of Italy to the United States and Mrs. Claudio Bisogniero. During the evening The NMCAL Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, for his outstanding service to the Catholic community. Following the gala, Eric's painting will travel to Rome for exhibition during the Canonization of Fr. Jacques Berthieu on October 21."  Read more here.
EF sent this in:  "This is cool. Subscribe to this free service and they will send a short portion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church each day in your email. Offered for the Year of Faith by Flocknote."  Go to the site here.
This sent in:  "I'm Amanda from Imagine Sisters, a new online vocation website for women! The site and the beauty of nuns are going all over the internet (fast) and we're looking for help with sharing an exiting new project we're started: The One Rose Invitation."  Here is thier site and a short video explaining this very cool project they invite you to consider.  It might make all the difference.


Monday, September 24, 2012


As much as I rally against technology much of it is for show.  I am not really a Luddite.  But I do enjoy mechanical things from watches to Victrolas to old cars whose parts I can recognize.  I thought I was a little backward and alone in this but, as I found out this past weekend, there is a whole movement out there that feels the same way.  In the program notes for a show that I saw last week the director wrote about the "Steampunk" movement.  According to him, "These retro-futurists in our midst (have a) glorious expression of neo-Victoriana through the lens of Jules Verne.  (They wish) to render our increasingly invisible and virtual world into ostensible and visible machines.  The more our information, and even our art, consist of bytes floating in a cloud, the more we desire to literalize the wired and gears." 
Whoda thunk it?
But that is not to say that I do not enjoy the invisible, silent conveniences that technology affords.  The following is a true story.
So last week I went to Canada for a short vacation.  It is amazing the automated devices we encounter every day of our lives rendering other people and even self exertion superfluous.  A little device on your car makes stopping to talk to the toll road attendant unnecessary.  A scanner reads your little device and the gate opens and you tool on through.
Around a lot longer is automatic door openers.  Young person no longer need to be taught to open doors for others.  They open all by themselves.
Toilets flush automatically when you walk away.  (I'll spare you the picture.)  No need to touch faucets anymore.  As long as you can find that darn little eye the water comes on automatically.
Automated soap dispensers saved us all the trouble of having to press a pump.

All of which made me think of this blooper reel from the original Star Trek series.  What happens when it all breaks down?  Could we handle it?

So, in Canada, after the automatic door, the automatic toilet, the automatic faucet, and the automatic soap dispenser, I went to get a paper towel.

So it's kinda like holy days.  Lets either do it or not do it please.  Otherwise it is just too confusing.  *sigh*

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It will be an interesting week at St. Sebastian.  Starting today the new pipe organ will begin installation.  To accommodate this we had to move Mass an hour earlier for the next couple of weeks.  In addition to this workmen will be showing up at the rectory to install air conditioning starting at about 7AM.  There is a list of diocesan and parish meetings that will take place also so it is to be a week of noise, upset schedules, dust, and all kinds of busy work.  So naturally I am going to do the most mature thing: go on vacation and leave everything to the parochial vicar.
If there is one thing they beat into our heads over and over again in the seminary is DELIGATE.  Every time I look at my calendar I think, "This is not a good week to take off."  On the other hand every week I look at would elicit the same thoughts.  So everything is entrusted to capable hands and the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit and I will spend this day traveling.  More posts may or may not follow this week.  We shall see!
God bless,
Fr. V

Friday, September 14, 2012


Finishing up First Holy Communion is the afterglow party.  Strictly speaking there is no grand tradition of a First Communion party though they are common enough.  Often a parish will throw a little gathering, usually punch and cookies, after the event.  More often there is a gathering of family, godparents, and perhaps a few friends of the family.  As Mrs. Fenner writes, “There is no social obligation to do this, but it is a nice thing to do for the child’s sake.”  Of course she also writes, “If Grandpa wants to give a dinner at his club, this would be a fine treat too.”  In Monsignor Manners case, Grandpa’s club would have been Slovene Center and some nice, greasy, Barberton chicken and then a game of bowling.  Now that I think of it, that doesn’t sound so bad.
In any event, we did not do this.  Wait.  Yes we did.  We all went out for Barberton chicken dinners afterwards.  We did not, however, go bowling.
Nobody is socially obligated to give a child a First Communion gift though some people often do especially parents and godparents.  Some suggestions by Mrs. Fenner include: a rosary, a prayer book (Mass book), cross and chain, religious medal, holy water font for the bedroom, book of Bible stories or lives of the saints, crucifix, or statue of Mary, Joseph, or the child’s name saint.
In the picture from last week, you can see the rosary, prayer book, and brown scapular that we all received.  I only recently lost the rosary.  Never, never, never hang your rosary on a door knob even temporarily.  Closing the door the rosary swung out and was crushed – shattering some of the beads and the crucifix.  I also had scapular medal that was given to me.  The chain eventually became too small to fit around my swelling head and in later years I hung it on rear view mirror as a reminder.  It was stolen along with $1.35 in change that was in the ashtray.  *sigh*
This Monday begins our sacramental prep for our Confirmation program here at St. Sebastian and Friday Potpourri will turn its attention to that sacrament.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Then why must bad things happen to good people?  We will never understand fully nor completely satisfactorily in this life with this is so.  But we can begin to scratch the surface.  For example, yesterday we asked the question why did God allow the 9/11 accident to occur.  One clear reason is because of that pesky blessing and burden:  Free Will.


But why must innocent people suffer?  Why not keep the pain amongst those who want to play with fire?  Why must I lose my house because you fool around with matches?  It is because there must be consequences to one’s actions.  If I could perform a truly evil act and nobody would effected by it, would it be evil?  If there were never any consequences, what need would there be to punish people who choose ill?
Part of the problem is, of course, that often when we punish we want to cause harm back to the person who did evil, not correct him.  But let us suppose we have always the best of intentions and when someone errs, we would want to help set them on the right path.  If there were no negative consequences to our actions, how would we rate someone as sinful?  God’s laws would then simply amount to a chosen set of limited actions rather than the highest, healthiest, and most fruitful fashion of living.
Without suffering, there could be no sacrifice – no great offering of love.  With no effects from evil actions, Jesus could not have suffered and died for us as the innocent Victim for our sins, for nothing evil could happen in this life to the innocent.  In anger I could throw my Mother’s crystal glass into the fireplace and because she is innocent and would suffer most from the incident, it would not break.  If I knew it would not break, would there be sin since nobody would suffer?  If there could not be sin, would there be the possibility that I might grow in peace?  If there were not sin would it be possible for me to reject sin and so love?  Would there be love?
This world is imperfect and needs the innocent Victim to die because we live in a fallen but redeemable world where the innocent suffer.  But if they did not suffer, no one could choose the good, nobody could sacrifice, nobody would need God, and we would all suffer for that even more greatly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Why does a good and loving God allow things like 9/11 to happen?”  It is often thought that if He is all good and all powerful, full of love and knows what we need before we ask it, why does He not do something like stop terrorists flying into buildings killing many innocent people?
There are a thousand answers to that question both negative and positive, but it boils down to that He must allow things like 9/11 to happen or our salvation is at risk.
God’s law is based on this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.  On this the whole law is based.  Therefore, to follow God freely and follow His way means we must have the capacity to love.  Ironically, we can only love to the extent that we are capable of hating.  We must have free will in this matter.  If there is no free will, if we are incapable of hating and our only choice is to love, then it is no choice at all, love is all that we can do and true love ceases to exist.  We have become puppets on a string.  We cannot choose God then because we cannot not choose God.  Our love would be empty.  We would be like a brick that remains being a brick because it can’t possibly be anything else.  What merit is there in that?


If we can hate just a little (mind you, I mean that we are capable of it, not that we must do it) then we can choose not hate that much, we can choose to love that amount instead in spite of ourselves.  We are capable of loving a little if we are capable of hating a little.  And how truly capable are we of loving?  We have the capability as a human race to hate so much that we are willing to fly a plane load of innocent people into a building filled with innocent people.  That we could foster that hate for long periods of time, spend countless days and hours planning destruction, and even be willing to use our own lives in the administration of our hate.
How much can we love?  We have the capability as a human race to love so much that we are willing to walk into a building that is engulfed in flames, debris falling everywhere, where there is chaos and death and danger of further destruction.  That we could foster love by preparing for such an event, choosing a lifestyle that focuses on assisting their fellow citizens, studying and training for countless days and hours preparing to rescue those in need and be willing to risk our own lives in the administration of our love.
Free will.  It has a down side.
But it also has an upside.
And for that upside to mean anything, God must allow events like 9/11.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



h/t to Stained Glass Buffalo

QUOTE II:  "Trust in God does not mean everything is going to be Okay."  Fr. Benedict Groeshel priest retreat 2009.


Looking for an alternative to "The View"?  EWTN has a the Catholic View for Women.  Check it out here.  Thanks Pat for sending it in.

From the Diocesan Memorandum:

Pope Benedict XVI has announced a Year of Faith in the Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, to begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and ending on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

For more information go here.

Lynn sent this video in.  I am not quite sure what the purpose if it is but found it very interesting especially since Fr. P is doing a book study on C. S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters."

Pat sent this in:  "This week EWTN is running a series on the Shroud of Turin on the series "Women of Grace." Today's program reviewed the history of the Shroud and how it got to Turin in 1578.
Some of the circumstantial evidence for its antiquity includes the fact that when the Shroud (which had been hidden for several hundred years) was re-discovered around 500 AD, art and mosaic images of Jesus dramatically changed from a youthful unbearded "Roman" face to the man with a beard that we universally now see.
The remaining 4 programs will be broadcast this week at 11:00 am and re-aired at 11:30 pm. The most up-to-date scientific information and theories will be explored."
Russ sent this video in.  It was posted once before but worth a reposting as we enter into the thick of the election season.

On a lighter note:  Frank sent this video in.  It is just interesting - not really connected to the mission of this blog.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


The rectory can be an odd place – not quite a home – not quiet an office space – not quite a family place since it is all males – not quite private – not quite open to the public.  But that does not mean that it is safeguarded from situations that arise in much more traditional living spaces with more traditional tenants.


One area in which this is true is with aging “family” members.  There was a time when there were many more priests to take care of each other and priests could either retire or there were enough men on hand to keep a failing guy plugging along.  That is becoming less common.  There are less priests, later retirements, and there fewer young Turks to keep a guy going who might not be able to keep all six pistons going.
A couple of times now I have had the privilege to live with a man who was at the end of his priestly career.  Sometimes it was easy, sometimes not so much.  Sometimes a pleasure, sometimes nothing that six pack of martinis could not at least deaden. 
It can be an intense ministry.  A high maintenance priest can take up the ministry time that could go to scores of other people.  It is a delicate balance to weigh.  “Do I spend time giving Father the attention he desires today or do I go with the youth group?”
In the back of one’s mind is the thought, “One day that might be me.  Sure I have nephews, but will they come by and make sure that I am eating all right and taking my medication?  If I want to be taken care of I need to set the example.”
There is a pleasure taking care of a fellow elder-priest.  There is much to learn from him.  And there is value in respecting the life of such a man.  And it can be quite fulfilling if the man also happens to be cooperative.  (We priests can be notoriously uncooperative.) 


I almost killed one elder-priest with whom I was living.  It was not that I didn’t like him, I loved him quite dearly.  In fact I thought I was doing right by him when I said he should stop using the equivalent of an entire salt shaker every few days on his food and perhaps should take up the habit of having at least one glass of water a day.  (We liked to drink scotch together.)  Within a few weeks he was in the hospital with a low salt problem and was given orders to drink straight bullion for a month.
I’ve also seen how difficult life can be for an elder-priest.  I forget things all of the time.  One of Fr. P’s duties is to make sure that I do not embarrass myself by forgetting something.  When I was living with one elder priest, if I forgot something people would pat me on the head and chuckle, if the old pastor forgot something (and far less often than I did) in certain circles it became a sign that he was failing and should step down.
The nice thing about being elderly is the opportunity to stop caring about what people think.  I remember the above priest hearing that a lady in the parish was complaining because he forgot something and so he called her up and bluntly said, “Hello Betty!  I understand that I am forgetting things.  Perhaps you would care to elaborate and remind me what it is.”
Who knows what the solution will be.  We will grow into one – or, as I plan, there will be a HUGE influx of young men into the priesthood by the time I need someone to tell me I have one blue sock and one back sock on.  In the past, it was many priests in constant contact – but as we strive to keep as many rectories as possible open, that is thinning the heard.  And Social Security has all but wiped out housekeepers.  And nuns at the parish are as scarce as the hairs on my head.  In the meantime, if you can, give the old dodger a hand if you can – pray for older priests – and understand that like in your family, the other priests may be spending a goodly amount of time tending to one of their own.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Everyone knows exactly how First Communion should be done.  It is as obvious as the nose on your face: that is, if you are a fly looking through an eye constructed with as many lenses as a soccer ball has pieces of leather giving you the appearance of having 20 such noses.
People can become rather passionate about how things should be done.  At one parish at which I was assigned there were such strong opinions that we had several different First Communions (there were enough children to warrant it) so one might choose from “Class Communion” to “Family Style Communion” to “Individual Communion.”  All of them have very good reasons behind them.  (I'm in the picture to the right.)


At Mass, we are not mother, father, child, uncle, aunt, etc.  This is why one is called upon to give the sign of peace to only one person.  In shaking hands with one person one has symbolically shaken hands with all.  If you start shaking hands with everyone around you and shooting the victory sign to others across the aisle, it becomes a literal act.  So Class Communions make sense because these are individual people setting off on their next level of initiation into the Church.
On the other hand, going with the family may make a symbolic and practical example for the child.  “See?  We all do this together.” 
And finally, just showing up one Sunday and having a First Communion may train the child on how to do things for the rest of his life.
Of course, only one of these is the best.  But only God and a few angels knows which one for sure.  So please consider giving your DRE or second grade teacher or pastor some understanding if it is not being done exactly the way you desire it.  The focus is on receiving the Eucharist.  Everything else – everything else – is secondary.  As the inimitable Mrs. Fenner reminds us, “the child’s attitude will be formed by those of their elders.” 
What should a child wear to a First Communion?  Most parish/schools have their own tradition.  It would be wise to inquire what it might be at your place.  However, the most common dress in our country today would be, for the boys, dark pants and tie with white collared shirt, and a white dress with veil for girls.  Once again, taking our cue from Mrs. Fenner, “Whether you can choose a costly costume or an inexpensive one, it is always good taste to keep it simple.  This applies to the accessories also.”  (This is very different from her advice for clothing at baptism.)


To me, the girls costume makes sense.  Not so much the boys.  The Church is the bride of Christ and Jesus the bridegroom.  It makes sense that girls being introduced to Jesus in this most intimate way should be dressed in white and a veil.  But what of the boys?  Well, they are just to look smart.  They fail the symbolic test.  But get over it, now tuck in your shirt tail and straighten your tie.
This last part we quote directly from the book:  “In Spain and in other Catholic countries, well-to-do families have a charming custom which might well be adopted by families of mean in our own land.  (When I first read this I thought, ‘uh oh.  What?’)  A wealthy family will dress its own child in an inexpensive costume and will completely dress a poor child in the same First Communion class anonymously.  (Good luck with that.)
“Consult the Sister in charge of First Communion (Ha!  Times have changed) and find out if any children in it are underprivileged (are we still allowed to use that term?) and arrange with her to make a secret gift of a sum of money – enough say, to buy a pair of shoes – for one or several of these children.  Do not let the recipients or any one save for Sister (or the pastoral minister) who made the gift.
“Tell your child what you have done (I don’t recommend this) in her name (why ‘her?’ – I suppose a boy generally does not care if he has a less expensive tie on) and that the money was saved by buying her a simple costume, so that she may learn young that true charity, which is Christian love, is both a privilege and a personal sacrifice.  If you feel, however, your child is too young to keep such a matter secret, do not tell her about it until she is old enough to understand it.”

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Bluecoats is an organization that strives to take care of our emergency first responders who are injured in the line of duty.  I am lucky enough to be one of their chaplains.  Last night they had their annual banquet and yearly meeting.  They always have a great speaker and last night was no exception.
The speaker Mr. Joseph D. Pistone who served in the FBI for 27 years, 6 of which were spent undercover as a member of the Mafia.  His work led to hundreds of convictions the story of which is told in the critically acclaimed major motion picture, "Donnie Brasco" featuring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.  Below is some outtakes from that movie.  You need not watch it but I wanted to make a comment about something that happens about 28 seconds into the clip.  He is shown slapping his wife.

During his talk last night he called special attention to this moment in the movie.  He desired to make absolutely clear that at no time in his life did he ever lay a hand on his wife.  The slap was completely fictional.  This was stressed in the most earnest of ways.
A little later someone asked how much of the movie did he have control over.  He responded that he was pretty lucky and that he had a bit of say so over the movie.  Joe was gone, however, the day that they shot the slap.  Becoming rather upset he shut down production for half a day.  "Eventually the director won out.  He was the "captain" of the ship as it were.  But I cost them about a quarter of a million shutting down the film for half a day."
Now as you can imagine, spending six years with the Mafia, Mr. Pistone probably did not lead a saintly life.  But what is it that led him to say, "This far and no further."  The attack on marriage, on his manhood, on his role as husband was more than he was willing to let go without challenge.  There is a lesson in there somewhere for all of our men.  How far are we willing to go.  I would personally be very flattered if anyone would want to make a movie of my life, pay me lots of money, and have Johnny Depp play me.  Would that trump my beliefs enough that I would bow easily to something that went against my core beliefs?  I desperately hope not.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Ever sworn off going to confession until you have your life together?  Ever not worn your cross or not practiced a devotional because you feel unworthy?  Many times I have heard this or similar stories.  In one way it does make sense.  All these things – sacraments – sacramentals – are about relationships.  They are about making us one with God and with each other.  If you feel that you have betrayed these relationships it does make sense in a human way that we would avoid the intimate nature of these practices until we have cleaned up our act.  We might do that with our friends on earth.
That being said, how can you work on a relationship if you have cut off all contact?  It is almost like saying that you are not going to go see your doctor until you are healthier. 
Sacraments and sacramentals are there to assist us to becoming healthier.  Everyone struggles.  That is why God gave us these opportunities for grace.  To say, “I’m not going to confession again until I’ve stopped doing this sin,” is to say “I’m going to get healthy before going to see my doctor.”
Of course, the opposite is also true: That of not at lease attempting to rid oneself of sin with the presumed assurance that you will simply be forgiven in confession.  But this is another matter entirely.  Keep God in the picture.  Make yourself available to His graces.  Don’t let sin win by further blocking God out of the picture by the thought that it is a good and noble deed to stay away from Him because you are not good enough.  Nobody is good enough.  He makes you good enough.  He is the only hope.  Don’t give up on Him.  Don’t give up on the Doctor.

Monday, September 3, 2012




Russ sent this great picture in:

From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  Bishop Lennon calls Catholics to protect the relgious liberty of all.  Read more here.
From the same source:  There has been a change in time for the televised Mass in Cleveland.  Read more here.
From the same source:  "Did you know, St. Peter Parish located at E. 17th Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland has scheduled a date for its opening Mass? Fr. Robert Kropac is the St. Peter Parish pastor."  If you are unfamiliar, this is the parish that, upon learning they were to close, rented a building and began having thier own Masses.  Read more here.
Fr. K from New York sent in yet one more flash mob - this one IN POLAND and IN POLISH but it is probably one of my favorites.  Most seem to happen despite the crowd around them.  These guys at least TRIED to include everyone.


This must be one of the most unique holidays in all of the catalogue of holidays.  What other holiday do we celebrate NOT doing what the holiday celebrates?  On Independence day do we celebrate by taking a day off from freedom?  On St. Patty's Day do we celebrate one day on which we need not be Irish?  On St. Valentine's Day do we take a day off from the chaste love of a mate?  No!  In fact we indulge more deeply into these things!  Perhaps today would be better entitled, "Rest from Labor Day" (Save for those of you who are working.)
For those of you at work lucky enough to be able to celebrate what this day is all about, here is a game to play on your break.  WARNING:  Addiction level MEDIUM