Thursday, October 31, 2013


My home parish was a nationality parish with no territory.  It was meant for persons of Slovenian descent.  As part of this they would sing songs in Slovenian from time to time.  Occasionally someone would say that we should not sing songs in Slovenian since the younger ones no longer understood the language, I being one of them who did not readily understand the language.  My Mother, not known at all from dramatics, would, on this point, dramatically state with appropriate gestures, “Heavens forbid that our children should catch on the ‘Jesu’ is ‘Jesus’ and ‘Marija’ is ‘Mary’ and that ‘Bog’ is ‘God.’”  Well, Mom won and we sang in Slovenian and today I know some of the language of my heritage that I would not have learned any other way simply because I was exposed to it.  As a matter of fact, it came in handy yesterday while in Pittsburg visiting the Cathedral of Learning and visited the “Yugoslavian” room and was able to understand some things and explain them to my buddies because of my very limited exposure to the language. 
That is the background I come from when taking Vatican II very seriously when it says that “steps should be taken” that all Roman Catholics know their parts of the Mass in Latin.  “I’ll never go to Rome,” is one statement I hear often from people who are allergic to Latin, “so I’ll never need it.”  But you are not alone in the parish.  They are many people who may have the chance to make use of this knowledge of their rightful heritage.  There is a good chance some of our students will have the opportunity to study abroad, others may attend Word Youth Day some day, or perhaps they would have attended Bishop Quinn’s funeral two weeks ago at which there was a peppering of Latin.  I smiled thinking that if anyone were there from my parish, they would be able to respond and have at least a minimal understanding of what was going on.


For a remaining couple of weeks we are singing the Gloria in Latin.  Perhaps a few words will start to stick.  Maybe it will inspire someone to have a love of Latin.  Maybe it will give a few words to someone so that, should they go to a concert, they can lean over to their date and say, “That’s the Gloria from the Mass.”  Perhaps they will encounter words elsewhere and make connections.  Consider the Gloria:
“Gloria in excelsis Deo”  It would not take too much to realize these are the same words sung at Christmas in the song, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
“et in terra pax hominibus, bonae voluntatis” “Et in” would have to be guessed at but it is not too hard to figure out if you have some idea of what the Gloria is in Latin.  "Terra, while not the same meaning of "Tara" that Scarlett O'Hara lived in from "Gone with the Wind" would have worked (as God as my witness I will never go hungry again!) it would have worked.  It made me look it up.  “Pax” is used all over the place from names of organizations to a T.V. station locally - although they pronounce at “packs” which drives me nuts.  So forth and so on. . .
Of course the question could be asked if this is this is really bringing us closer to God.  Valid point.  I would argue yes.  It broadens our possibility of worship anywhere.  It broadens our recognition.  “That’s not just a song!  That’s the Mass on that recording.”  And it hopefully makes us pay better attention to the words even if that is only picking up the book and reading  the English words as others try the Latin.  Heaven forbid someone should learn that “Deo” is “God” or that “Sanctus” is “Holy” (from when we get the words sanctified, sanctification, sanctuary, etc . . .)


But then again, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I was set to write something completely different and then someone sent me a link to a website that had this statement on it:
Proud, vocal, unapologetic atheist, freethinker and secular humanist. Science teacher. President of northeast Ohio branch of Center for Inquiry. Member of Freedom From Religion Foundation, Cleveland Freethinkers and Cleveland Skeptics.”


He is calling for like minded people to get together and talk.  The sessions would be pretty open to, “Anything that is intellectually stimulating and interesting.”  Would that Christians would be so bold. 
As a side note, I do find it interesting how similar what they want to do is to Church.  They want community and a gathering.  They will have a set of beliefs with its own set of presuppositions that are as utterly improvable as the faiths they disdain.  There will also be dogma.  Consider the acceptable areas of inquiry being, “intellectually stimulating and interesting.”  Who gets to decide this?  The president?  (a pope – every Church has its version of a pope) or a committee (a curia)?  I am pretty sure that things that I find stimulating and interesting would probably off limits.  But I could be wrong on that.
But what are the main differences between this gathering and Church?  Well, yes, of course whether there is a God (or gods) or not.  Though both are seeking community, both are seeking truth, but one is seeking the “how” of the universe, and the other is seeking the “Who.”  One hopes to understand causality (this happened because this happened because this happened), the other on relationship between persons of this world and the Persons of another place.
Abraham Joshua Heschel writes about this in his book, “A Philosophy of Judaism” (h/t Adam).  He is describing what each of these groups are looking for when they look at something such as the book of Genesis:


“There is, for example, a basic difference in meaning, intention, and them between a scientific theory of the origin of the universe and what the first chapters of the Book of Genesis are trying to convey.  The Book of Genesis does not intend to explain anything; the mystery of the world’s coming into being is in no way made more intelligible by a statement such as, ‘At the beginning God created heaven and earth.’  The Bible and science do not deal with the same problem.  Scientific theory inquires: What is the cause of the universe?  It thinks in the category of causality, and causality conceives of the relationship between a cause and effect. . .  The Bible, on the other hand, conceives of the relationship of the Creator and the universe as a relationship between two essentially different and incomparable entities, and regards creation itself as an event rather than as a process.  Creation, then, is an idea that transcends causality; it tell us how it comes that there is causality at all.  Rather than explaining the world in categories borrowed from nature, it alludes to what made nature possible, namely, an act of the freedom of God.”
(There’s a lot there.  Spend some time with that if you have the time.)
It takes just as much faith to say that creation just always was than to say that it was created.  But to say that there is an infinite Creator (or at least a Creator Who is outside of time) begins to give an answer.  It also allows for a bigger universe both in terms of the size of existence and the realm of knowing for belief (at least Catholicism) allows for (and developed much of) scientific “belief,” but the discussion group proposed at the beginning of this post does not allow for the opposite.  (I can talk to him, but he cannot countenance me.)  And that creates an incredibly limited universe. 
It is also sad.  For taken to its logical conclusion, the type of belief system proposed by the gentleman above leads to the belief that human beings are utterly pointless.  The group, in turn, becomes pointless.  Even the pursuit of knowledge is a chase after the wind.  We are an accident of the universe.  We only exist for ourselves, and when we are dead we cease to exist, when we are extinct there will be no one even to know it, or care, or remember . . . we are entirely without purpose or meaning.  And this leads to a horrible form of morality.  A culture of death.  It becomes about what is best for me because that is all that really matters.
And that, to me, sounds neither honest, hopeful, complete, intellectually stimulating, or interesting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Religion is the answer to man's ultimate questions.  The moment we become oblivious to ultimate questions, religion becomes irrelevant, and its crisis sets in."  from Abraham Joshua Heschel's, "A Philosophy of Judaism"
QUOTE II:  "There are dead thoughts and there are living thoughts.  A dead thought has been compared to a stone which one may plant in the soil.  Nothing will come out.  A living thought is like a seed.  In the process of thinking, an answer without a question is devoid of life.  It may enter the mind; it will not penetrate the soul.  It may become a part of one's knowledge; it will not come forth as a creative force."  same source

Had a nice visit at Walsh Jesuit High School and had my picture taken with St. Ignatius.
From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter, "Did you know, this Friday, November 1st is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation?  All Saints day is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. The feast is held on November 1st each year commemorating all Christian saints, known and unknown. It was first celebrated by Pope Boniface IV in 608. The term saint stems from the Latin, "Sancti" which means 'holy ones.'"  Are we blessed or what?  Mass at St. Sebastian are 7PM vigil, 9AM, 5:15 vigil Mass, 7PM.  Read more here.
The pope has 10 million on his Twitter account.  There's using social media for you.  Read more here.
Here is a short video about the Capuchin Friars of the Renewal.  Here is a site where they have a number of videos.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Last time I was in Canada I was visiting an artist in her workshop contemplating buying some of her creations.  In the background she had public radio on and they were broadcasting a story of which we only caught a snippet.  It had to do with a father who was just getting used to texting having received a seemingly innocuous text from his son something along the lines of this below:
He was very touched particularly since he thought "LOL" meant "Lots Of Love," a nice sentiment from a son.  So he started adding "LOL" to all of his texts.  It was not until later that he learned that "LOL" in fact meant "Laugh Out Loud," and came to realize how many inappropriate texts he had been sending out:
Miss communications happen.  It may be the case that we are communicating something when in actuality we are trying to communicate something else.  Such was the case this past Sunday at the 9:00AM Mass.  I was going merrily through my homily talking about different kinds of restaurants and foods when I saw this reaction from some people:
I didn't think much of it until someone filled me in.



(NOT topless)

So next time you receive an very inappropriate text or hear something that just doesn't quite sound right, please give the person the benefit of the doubt and see if there hasn't been some sort of miss communication.
Thank you.

Shout out to Mike and Brian.  Have a great day at school.  LOL

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Continuing our look at Lumen Gentium paragraphs 46 & 47
What do you suppose is the benefit of having hermits in the Church?  These are men who live all by themselves as a religious discipline.  How does that benefit anyone?  Well, I heard a story once on NPR and they were talking about a type of bird that only lives in places in which the wilderness is truly present.  (After all these years I don’t remember the bird.)  If man starts encroaching at all, they disappear.  So if you want to know if a wilderness is truly healthy, you look for these birds.
It turns out that hermits have much the same function.  They usually only appear on the scene when the faith is truly healthy in a place.  If it is not healthy, they are nowhere or rarely to be found.  So we look to them to see how healthy we are.  We rely on them to pray for us.  They are the canary in the mineshaft.
In a similar way, all religious orders play a vital roles in the Church.  Without them we are less in some striking way.  Each order tends to live a part of the life Christ in a more dramatic way than most of us can.  “Christ in contemplation on the mountain, or proclaiming the kingdom of God to the multitudes, or healing the sick and the maimed and converting sinners to a good life, or blessing children and doing good to all men, always in obedience to the will of the Father who sent Him.”  What an absolutely beautiful way to explain religious orders.  It almost takes your breath away. 
With their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they more closely follow the life of Christ, particularly in his poverty and virginity.  For this reason the Fathers of Vatican II most strongly lend their support to these ways of life in the Church whether it be in the monasteries, in schools, in hospitals, in the missions and wherever they may be. 


There are a number of good ways to pray the rosary.  By that I mean ways of contemplating while you pray it.  As long as one finds a way of focusing on the life of Christ, it is, in general, Okay.  In fact, though not ideal, if I’ve already said my rosary, I might do another one passively, letting the Aves pass through my mind like music from the radio.  This started one day when I started actually listening to the messages of the music playing instead of just hearing it and was disgusted by the thought of those sentiments being passively pumped into my brain.  I’d rather have the back ground of the rosary than that junk.  Maybe not the best use of the prayer, but it is a far better thing than what I was doing.

Today I tried something new (to me.)  It was interesting and insightful for me.  If you’ve not already tried it, give it a shot and see if it does anything for you.  This morning (Thursday) I was praying the Luminous Mysteries (to be honest, not my favorite but I do them and they always seem to be fruitful) and thought about the mysteries in this way: How would I view them if I were remembering them as if they just happened yesterday – not two thousand years ago with all the baggage that implies – not with all the belief that I already have and the evidence that we now hold as them being true and fitting so nicely theologically?  What if I was just hearing about the Person named Jesus and the claims He is making?  What is all this fuss?  What if, being a person of faith in God (pre-Jesus) already, I was suddenly confronted with the possibility that such a Person was among us?

What if I were on the shore of Galilee last week watching John baptizing people and wondering if what he is doing is making any real sense.  And then this guy comes along and is baptized and all of these wonders happen?  I might be able to put that into the back of my mind to think about for awhile, but then last night I was at a wedding and this same guy turned water into wine.  I know he did!  I was there!  What does this mean?  Who is He? 
The most interesting personal insight came from the Transfiguration.  I was never quite sure what to do with this mystery other than to imagine it or do some theological ponderings around it.  This exercise pointed out to me perhaps why this might be the case.  If this whole story were taking place in my neighborhood and these miraculous things kept happening, if I met these pious and zealous young men who were His followers and they told me of this story of their leader being transfigured and appearing with Moses and Elijah and nobody saw it except them, with this particular point I would have some skepticism.  Perhaps this is exactly why they didn’t tell anybody what they had seen until much later.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly believe in the Transfiguration but now understand that I have to come at it in a different way than something like the miracle at Cana.  It is different and requires a different aspect of belief and is teaching me something different and therefore requires something different of me.


That is part of the joy of the rosary and how it leads us closer to our Savior. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


There is a great article in the Akron Beacon Journal today about Our Lady of the Elms 90th anniversary.  You can read it by clicking here.  The “Elms” is only a couple of blocks from St. Sebastian and just five years older.  In essence, they grew up together.  And like siblings close in age, they didn’t always get along when they were young.  A peek at the archives, in which are letters written to the bishop at the time, reveals some rivalry over having two Catholic schools so close in proximity.  But as they matured as institutions I like to believe we have grown into a mutual respect having each developed our own identities.  Another
good article here.
It is interesting to look back into the archives of the founding of parishes and institutions.  That can reveal a lot of surprises.  I remember doing a research project on my home parish.  Sacred Heart was a Slovenian nationality parish in Barberton, Ohio.  It was always a tiny parish and has since been repressed, merged, given boundaries, and opened under the parish name of Prince of Peace and is larger now that it has ever been as a strictly nationality parish.
Going back into the archives I found that the founding of the parish and school was not smooth and cordial.  The deeply ethnic city got a lot of its flavor from a people who strongly associated with their ethnic roots.  So there was a tiny Polish parish, a small Slovak parish, the Hungarians had theirs, the mostly Irish and Germans had the “down town” parish, and the Slovenians were to have theirs.


Starting the parish was tricky indeed.  Letters written to the bishop demonstrated what a monumental task it was.  In the “old country,” the government took care of building the churches.  Now people were going door to door asking for money to build a church.  It seemed to them like there was a scam going on in this new land.  “Start building a church,” people would say, “and then we’ll start giving money.”  Of course, one needs money in order to start building and so you have your catch 22. 
That problem was eventually solved and the idea of starting a school came about.  The problem was that there were already a number of Catholic schools in this small city and the bishop was not excited about starting another.  Letters back and forth were not always cordial and so when I finished my report my Mom would not let me give it out at the parish.  “Those families are still around and we don’t want to drag up the past in this way.”  So it remained silent all these years.
The bishop finally did decide to let these tenacious Slovenians start their own school with the understanding that, after the families had been inculturated, the school would close.  That is easier said than done.  Who declares the inculturation finished?  Who closes an operating school?  But time, cost, changing demographics took care of this.  One by one all of the ethnic parish school closed, long before the priest shortage or recent slew of closings that has everyone up in arms.  Eventually even the parishes themselves closed. 
One might think that all that remains of a closed parish is a building, most of which have become new Protestant denominations and deteriorating grandeur (at least in this case although Sacred Heart has become a new Catholic parish,) boxes of artifacts and files in an office at the diocesan archives, and some wonderful memories.  But such is not the case.  The life of a parish lives on.  It lives on in the faith that was nourished in the people and their families that continue to form the faith life of the world today (my priesthood being part of the that) and in the souls that live on forever in heaven with our God – an eternal effect – because they once shared the faith life of fellow Slovenians in a tiny parish called Sacred Heart in a small city called Barberton. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Parents advocate 'values' for their children even when they do not know what those 'values' are."  from the book, "Habits of the Heart"
QUOTE II:  "It's amazing what a person can learn at such a young age when he is lucky enough to get into trouble."  Garrison Keeler.

You are invited: News from the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter, "Most Reverend Richard Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland has called six students from Saint Mary Seminary to the Order of Deacon for service to the Diocese of Cleveland. The ordination will take place on Saturday, October 26 at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, E. 9th & Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The newly ordained will continue their studies while ministering to the people of the diocese."  Read more here.

Fr. Ference sent this: "I reviewed Miley Cyrus's new record for WoF today. You may not care, but the young people in your parish will." You may read it here.

Mary sent this article if from The Catholic World Report, "The Arts - Agents of Change and Source of Enchantment"  Read it here.
Mary also sent this in, "If you wanted to do an easy follow up on the pope's interviews on your Tuesday blog, Fr. Barron has a good commentary:"

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Last week the rectory staff went on a little get away.  We go every year.  It is always a challenge to figure out where we will go because no two people on staff enjoy doing the same thing.  But we try.  But it is always a challenge.  There was the year we went canoeing and found out one person didn't like to get wet.  She was pretty successful at it too until we pulled ashore where the buses were to pick us up.  She stepped out of the canoe and fell backwards into two feet of water.  Just enough to get soaking wet.
I wrote to you last year about our pontooning trip.  We all jumped off to go swimming and then realized we couldn't get back on board.
This year we decided to avoid water altogether.
One person thought a trip to a winery/pumpkin patch would be great.  It was very nice.  We had a bon fire on a brisk day that eventually turned very warm.  We were going to make smores but the chocolate was sitting in the sun and turned to soup.  Actually that works.  Just cut a snip in the end of the package and pretend that it is chocolate sauce and apply to your marshmallows like soy sauce in those plastic packages at a Chinese restaurant.
The biggest problems was that the bees were out in full force. 
Sorry of you can't read that.  It's late Sunday night and I don't feel like redrawing it.

Part of the trip included a hay ride out to pick our own pumpkins.  You know what, you don't realize how heavy a pumpkin can be until you carry it three quarters of a mile.
Part of the hay ride was to stop and watch pig races.  It was my first time.  It was entertaining.
All in all, one of our better trips.

Friday, October 18, 2013

EXTRA: Requiescat in Pace

Word just made it to the Adam's Ale news room that the Most Reverend A. James Quinn, J.C.D., J.D., V.G., Titular Bishop of Scocia and Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland passed away this morning.  Please keep him and his family in your prayers.


Vatican II is often misunderstood.  Actually that is not true.  In truth, Vatican II is often unknown particularly by its biggest proponents.  As mentioned here before on several occasions, people will often claim to be acting in the spirit of VII even when their actions are in direct contradiction to the council.
Another symptom of this reared its ugly head when the Vatican sent people to investigate nuns in the United States.  Some were happy to greet the Vatican representatives and others were not.  Those who were not cited VII as if they were given carte blanche to do as they please.  It should be remembered that religious – male and female – are part of the institutional Church.  The institutional Church has very little to say to any group of people who wants to get together and support each other living holy lives in any manner that they see fit.  But if you want to plaster the word “Catholic” on your institutions, if you want the advantages of being an officially recognized Catholic order, if you want your charism and rule recognized canonically, then you must work within the structure of the Church.  If you don’t, then one side or the other must change or disassociate yourself from the official, institutional Church.  Period.
Paragraph 45 of the Church’s constitution, Lumen Gentium, from VII points this out.  It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to “feed the People of God and to lead them to good pasture.”  The Church is to act “in docile response” to the promptings of the Holy Spirit when presented rules of religious life that are presented to it for approval. (emphasis added)  When this happens it is understood that the Church is being entrusted with both a protective and supervisory role to make sure that the order meant for the building up of the Body of Christ will flourish in accord with the spirit of the founder. 


In other words, if you don’t want to play by the rules, don’t apply to be on the team.  Go do something else.

So if word is getting to Rome that something funny might be happening among certain religious orders in the United States, of course they are going to come and investigate despite the bad press it might generate.  It is their job.  They would be remiss if they didn’t.  The very fact that some religious orders fought this visit is a sign in and of itself that it was time.
It is a two edged sword and it cuts both ways.  If you want the advantages you must also accept the responsibility.  For example, the pope may make a particular order exempt from local authorities and subject them to himself alone.  That may allow them to flourish in a way that would otherwise be difficult depending on the situation.  On the other hand, religious “must show respect and obedience toward bishops in accord with canon law, both because these exercise authority in their individual Churches and because this is necessary for unity and harmony in the carrying out of apostolic work.”
Those who want to live this specific type of life approach the Church, the Church doesn't go after them.  The Church, in turn, gives legal sanction of the life by raising it to the dignity of a canonical state and receives liturgically the consecration of such individuals.  The Church receives the vows, prays for those in these states of life, and unites their sacrifice of their lives to that of the Eucharist. 

All that beings said, people will still think otherwise and that is Okay.  Just don’t invoke Vatican II.  It is a false premise.  Now we can have an honest discussion.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


A Cleveland priest is in trouble.  Gads I hate that.  How anybody in their right mind would risk such behavior in this day in age – especially knowing that priests are going to be especially targeted – is beyond my ken.  But as much as I want to slap him upside the head, I feel sorry for the poor soul firstly that he is so desperate that he was willing to risk public embarrassment (not to mention having already contracted HIV) and that as a priest and close to the sacraments as he was did not reach out to someone who would lead him away from such behavior or allow the grace of the sacraments to help him find fulfillment elsewhere.
Say a prayer for him and even more so for his congregation.

The coverage from the news media was interesting.  Within an hour of the arrest, one news station was already pumping out stories on the internet.  The details in the paper were excruciating.  The amount of people arrested for such behavior every day is staggering, but it is for Catholic priests that such painful details are put on display for public scrutiny.  I wasn’t even sure what some of the stuff was about which they were speaking.


But I mention this because I don’t think it an entirely bad thing.  Politicians and priests are given a spot light and everyone else, except the most outrageous offenders, get little or no coverage at all.  Why is this?  Is something more expected especially of Catholic priests?  Are they seen as different?  We are supposed to be different – “in the world not of the world.”  As much as it appears to be an attack and may, in the heart of the reporter, be intended as such, at its root there may be a strong desire that there would be hope in this world beyond the mundane.  That the world wants there to be some great and indisputable power for good and an inerrant answer to our questions.  And when there is someone who comes along who should be a shining example that fails so spectacularly, it is with a mix of sarcasm, anger, disappointment, and a little relief in that “I don’t have to change my life because that faith just leads to the same place,” the gory details are paraded down the center of the street for all to see and learn the age old lesson, “See, it was too good to be true.”
Yet there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.  Some of them are bound not to get it and end up exploding like the space shuttle while the world looks on and gasps, unable to turn away. 
But the opposite is also true.  When we go to Church we are surrounded by proof that the faith does work and for those who follows her, holiness is offered.  We see them in wood, plaster, and paint.  The light shining through their images in glass is so bright we can barely look upon them.  They also walk out of the confessional, having confessed their sins, striving to make amends, change their lives, and do penance.  Even hundreds of epic fails cannot dim the great cloud of witnesses that testify that the path to holiness in the Church is a true one for those who are true to it.

In the meantime, be aware of the public scandal that our sins can cause.  May they never be an excuse for someone else to stay away from the faith.  May the people of St. Ignatius persevere in their journey toward the Supper of the Lamb.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


If you want to make sure that your diet fails, start focusing on all the things you can’t have.  No desert for you.  Nothing from the candy dish.  Can’t have that second helping.  All those “no”s will wear your resolve down.  It gives what you can’t have more power over you and if this is a weakness already, there is the great temptation to fail.
Rather focus on what you can have.  You can have flatter stomach.  You can be healthier.  You can have more self control.  You can fit into your favorite clothes.  You can feel better about yourself.
Or you can have that candy bar.
Faith life is not much different.  A person can focus on all the desires that they have and the “can’t have that” attitude.  No sex outside of marriage.  Can’t get drunk.  Can’t miss Mass.  If you see faith as one giant “can’t”, it will become overbearing, a load too heavy to carry.
Rather focus on what faith gives you.  Freedom from the slavery to sin, the freedom to become the best version of yourself.  Freedom from the consequences of sin (diseases, unplanned pregnancy, drunk driving accidents, hangovers . . .), sins that have momentary pleasures and lifelong consequences.  You can have a deeper relationship with God.  You can have better relationships with your loved ones.  You don’t have to be angry, secretive, or anxious.  And you do not have to be afraid of death.


Or you can walk out of the store knowing they gave you too much change.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "We are only bitter against the law when we desire to break it."  Christopher West.
QUOTE II:  "Christ did not suffer, die, and resurrect so that we could have better coping skills, but that we might be set free."  Christopher West.
Apologize from our post office again.  There was no post yesterday because it was our staff outting day which, ironically, may be material for next Monday.
For those who are confused, here is a place to look to help.  Six Things to Know When Reading about Pope Francis.

Another article concerning the coverage of Pope Francis can be found here.

Mary sent this article in about the rise in seminarians.  The picture and part of the article featurs the Diocese of Cleveland's own seminary.  Thanks Mary.

Priest in residence at St. Sebastian, my cousin, and almost birthday boy Fr. Christopher Trenta wrote home from his studies in Rome, "Things are going here in Rome...the Italian is still a bit tricky when it comes to distinguishing all the past tenses in one document (instead of studying one tense at a time). Say a prayer for language wisdom."  But the main reason for his writing was to make us aware of something he wrote that appeared in America Magazine.  To find it go here and then, "Look under the "Reply All" section from their's the first letter."

"What Do I Do with My Pain?" is the topic of this 2 and half minute video.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Continuing our look at Lumen Gentium on Religious Life, paragraphs 43 & 44
One of the great effects of the Second Vatican Council has been the renewal of religious life.  Granted, what exactly that renewal means greatly differs from community to community with differently results.  But there is no doubt that religious life is still an essential aspect of Catholic culture and life.

These men and women take on living out more fully the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  The institutional Church role is to make sure that these are lived out in keeping with the teachings of Christ.  (For example, she would put her foot down if part of obedience meant forced self flagellation.  That would not be acceptable.)  This way of life has always been so popular with some of our brothers and sisters that a great variety of forms of this way of life have grown up with the Church.  Different rules, different charisms, community or solitary life appear helping individuals toward a holier life which in turn feeds the life of the Church. 


Members join in order to receive help toward the call we have to be saints.  It is not some sort of middle ground between the lay and ordained state, but a way of life all its own to which both lay and ordained may be called. 
There is the story of a priest who went to visit a friend who had become a monk in a monastery.  The friend lived his life within the monastery boundaries while his priest friend was free to come and go where he pleased.  “I don’t know how you do it,” the priest exclaimed, “I could never live confined to these walls like you.  You must have great spiritual strength.”
The monk replied, “Funny, I was thinking what great spiritual strength you must have to be out in the world with all of its distractions and temptations.  I don’t know that I could do that.”
We are all called to certain ways of life that are best for us.  The men and women of the religious order seek out this way of life, a community bound in poverty, chastity, and obedience, as their means for them to live the best lives possible.  
They are also symbols for us of the spiritual promises made to us that are reaching out to us even in this life.  They are visual reminders that we are built for the life to come where eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love Him.  The life they lead is an arrow pointing toward that heavenly life, the wedding feast of the Lamb. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This weekend is vocation awareness weekend.  “Vocation” means more than a priestly or religious life.  There are many vocations within the Church.  Marriage is also a vocation.  Religious life is a vocation.  The chosen single life is a vocation.  A vocation helps us live out our service to God.  One first chooses how they are called to serve and then figures out which vocation best fits their calling. 
If you have yet to figure out your vocation, actively look into it, pursue it, and live it with a vengeance!  Choose rather than settle for what is left to you.  If you are already in a vocation, start today to rededicate yourself to your vocation.  Let it never grow cool.  Be a person on fire, fully alive, living your life and your vocation to the fullest.  Be a light to others; a fire burning brightly and remarkably in a world that so desperately needs it.

Someone asked about a communion wafer on a hamburger.  (See yesterday's comments.)  One of the great things about being a Catholic is knowing the difference between an indelicacy and an indecency.  This one, however runs very close to the indecency.  Long time readers of Adam's Ale may be a bit surprised that I don't come down more directly and harshly on this matter.  Whereas I would never go to this restaurant, there may be more here than meets the eye and may point toward a deeper problem that this highlights.
It should be pointed out that even though they do use a communion wafer it does not mean a direct assault on the Catholic Church.  Other denomination also use communion wafers.  Let us make the grand assumption for the moment that they are good, practicing, non-Catholic Christians.  It may simply be that they do not have the same idea of what the wafer signifies as it does Catholics.  After all, if it is simply a symbol for example, so is bread.  Does that mean that we cannot use bread on our hamburger because it is a symbol of Christ Who says, "I am the Bread of Life"?  Of course not.
This is yet another reason we do not randomly say, "Do you believe in Christ?  Then come to the altar and receive the Eucharist."  Someone may indeed believe in Christ, may believe that the host is somehow connected to Christ, but then see no reason why it (unconsecrated) c

ouldn't be put on top of a hamburger.
With this in mind, I would not step foot in the establishment but would be moved to write a very kind note explaining why and wait to see if any kind of action takes place.  Who knows? Maybe the best kind of evangelization might take place because of this faux pas.  Nothing will happen if we let it slide under the table, not movement toward the unity to which Christ calls us if either we eat the hamburger with no comment or willy nilly share the Eucharist.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


About this time of year pastors are making their financial reports available to the parish and giving some sort of “End of Fiscal Year Report.”  Hopefully yours is positive.  St. Sebastian’s report said that we were in the black and starting to do catch up with maintenance repairs that nobody is excited about: fixing boilers, tuck pointing, roofs . . . all the fun stuff most people are not interested in but which is none-the-less absolutely necessary.  There’s a lot more to go but at least we are on our way!
Whether you were sitting in the pew as your pastor exclaimed that your finances were as red as the dawn and your particular part of the bark of Peter was taking on water quickly, or if you were blessed to have a coal black financial standing and a pastor pleading with you to give your money elsewhere because they have run out of space to store the stuff, don’t forget to pray for your parish.  It does not exist out of thin air.  It doesn’t have to be.  It could just as easily not exist.  A parish is a delicate thing.  It might not take more than a factory closing, poor leadership, crime, a natural disaster, a dying city, a bad roof, and an institution that took 100 years to build up could be gone or start a long slow decline.
It is very important to support your parish financially but even more so with your prayers.  Pray first of all that she remain true to her mission and center herself on the Eucharist.  May she be a beacon of light for your part of the world.  May her leadership be skilled and in keeping with the call of Christ and with worldly requirements.  May she energize her people with apostolic zeal.  May she remain strong and relevant.  May she keep doing what she was meant to do.