Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The Church cannot nullify a marriage nor can it make a saint.
Talk to certain conical lawyer type friends of mine and they get their ecclesial underwear in a bunch if you start talking about getting somebody an annulment.
“No such thing!  It’s misleading!”

Their point is that “granting someone an annulment” sounds a little bit too much like the Church was able to take something both licit and valid and magically turn it into something that never existed.  This is something that the Church has no ability to do and why they make such a big fuss in the nullity process. 

“A better way of putting it is that a person is applying for a declaration of nullity.”
What’s the difference you ask?  The first case sounds a bit more like the Church granting something beyond its power.  The second case is closer to the truth of the Church recognizing something that, in reality, exists.  That is why whatever it is that may be grounds for a decree of nullity must be present, in some fashion, from the beginning of the marriage.  There was a significant defect in the vows that prevented the union from being what it should be.  In a decree of nullity the Church merely recognizes what exists (or, in the case, does not exist.)
It is the same thing with saints.  The Church does not “make” saints.  It recognizes saints.  And the saints that it recognizes are certainly not the only saints that there are.  I think my Mom might be a saint but that does not seem to have a universal significance.  This does not lessen the achievement.  We are all called to be saints.  But some saints continue to have a universal (or at least national) pull on our spiritual life.
So some of these are brought to the attention of the Church who scrutinizes them mercilessly.  It is the reason the Church looks for miracles.  You and I know God does not need saints in order to grant miracles.  But it is a great mercy of God that He allows it to happen.  In allowing a favor through, let’s say, Saint John Paul II, God accomplishes several things: shows that we are one body in Christ with Christ as the head, that life does indeed continue, and that here was a life worth living that now shares in the glory of God and you should imitate it.  It is at this point the Church feels safe in recognizing the person as an official saint, but it does not “make” them a saint.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUNDThanks to Cathy who has a devotion to Cathrine of Siena for supplying these quotes.  "Love transforms one into what one loves."  Dialogue 60
QUOTE II:  "You are rewarded not according to your  work or your time but according to the measure of your love."  Dialogue 165
Terry took this picture of St. Sebastian after one of the early morning parish workout sessions in Byrider Hall.  She runs home.  I drive from the rectory.  Go figure.  Thanks.

Sara sent in this video of an Easter Hallelujah.  Thanks!  Click here.
Sent in from Matt with the encouragement, "No pressure," here is a post on Fr. Z's blog about Pope Francis going to confession before hearing confessions.  Right . . . no pressure!  Click here.
From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  “Each Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. the Diocese of Cleveland broadcasts a TV Mass on Cleveland’s WJW-TV8. Fr. Thomas Johns, Pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish in Mentor, Ohio pre-recorded the TV Mass for Sunday, April 27, 2014 at the TV8 studio in Cleveland.  Here is a brief video clip of the homily (or sermon) portion of the TV Mass given by Fr. Johns. His homily is a personal reflection on Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.”
From the same source:  “Did you know, local audience members are once again being invited to fill the chairs for the in-studio tapings of the next season of EWTN's "Living Right With Dr. Ray?”  See more here.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Just before Easter I came across an egg dying kit that had I picked up years ago at a yard sale.  There was a little time that I sewed together during Holy Week and I decided to try dying eggs.  I hadn’t really attempted to do this since I used to do it with Mom.


Let me take this opportunity to thank all mothers who make egg dying seem like effortless fun.  It was definitely not the relaxed, joyful experience I had when I was a kid.  Kids, don’t try this at home without professional around.
Full disclosure: it was not a typical egg dying kit.  It was some Ukrainian or some such place egg dying kit.  The directions were missing so I looked it up on line.  Everywhere it said, “Follow these direction eggsactly and precisely or you’ll regret it now and for the rest of your life.”  If it says, “for best results used distilled water,” do it.  Obey in all things.  Submit only to God more deeply.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Firstly I hadn’t boiled an egg in years.  But I got out my “Joy of Cooking” cookbook and that went Okay.  The Okay part ended there.


I was going to be SO INCREDIBLY CAREFUL that my incredibly careful mother would have been proud.


Not so the wicked, not so.


I should have known this beginning with the mixing of the dye.  I boiled water and poured it in what later turned out to be WAY too small dying cups and got ready to put in the powder.  I carefully cut the top off of the package, made an “O” of the top of the envelope and tilted it toward the mug.  It was not powder that came out but a non-waterproof inner package containing the dye.  (Who does that?)  So of course the package soaked through and as I am trying to retrieve it with my fingers in boiling water, dye is being spread out over the kitchen, remnants of which still pop up from time to time when a wet rag is passed over the counter.


Five minutes into it my fingers looked like this:


THAT was going to look great for Maundy Thursday Mass.  I learned that there is a reason it is called “DYE” and not “Temporary Coloring.”


Okay, so I wasn’t COMPLETELY obedient to the laws of egg dying.  The instructions said that the dying mixture must be room temperature.  Who has hours to wait for the water to cool?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I tell you:  The Ukrainian egg dying kit involves wax and guess what happens to wax when you put it in hot water.
So, cleverly I thought, the dye was put in the freezer for a spell to cool it down.  This is a great idea as long as you remember to put the ice cream back into the freezer that you supposedly took out temporarily to make room for the former boiling egg dye.
Giant mess #2.
While not great, things went decently after that, for a while.  One of the things that the instructions said was that all the colors would turn out great in the end because you were supposed to hold the egg over a candle and melt the wax off revealing the vivid colors beneath.
There is obviously a technique to this that they are not telling us.
The wax, instead of turning to liquid and flowing off gently, turned BLACK from the flame.  I tried to wipe it off with a towel and only succeeded in spreading its blackfulness over the whole egg.
And no matter how many times you wash your hands, there is dye on them and everything you touch from eggs to rubbing your eye will leave happy reminders of your egg dying joy.  In that way it is like Ash Wednesday.  “Hey, you’ve got something on your face.”
All done, the clean up began.  Picking up all of the newspapers of which my mother would be proud that were placed all over to protect furniture, I found that I has still succeeded in dying the table cloth.
Giant mess #3.
I think I have this out of my system now.  Next year I will just pay some kid to make me a couple of eggs.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Maundy Thursday went off almost with no hitches, which is about as good as it gets.  It was well attended, though I admit that I have daydreams (at inappropriate times) that Catholics in general become so aware of their dignity, so grateful for their salvation, so in touch with the love of God that we cannot hold them all in the church building for such a celebration.
But that would cause problems of its own.
Champagne problems, but problems.
I like champagne problems.

After it was all done, our Blessed Lord was reposed and our valiant Knights of Columbus retired the watch (they are SO cool) I headed back to the rectory to text Fr. Pfeiffer, our former parochial vicar, who is having his first ever solo Triduum celebration at his parish as pastor. 


>So . . .  Howd it go?


You would have wept.


>Out of jealousy, pride, or embarrassment?



And a little bit of jealousy.  ;>)
Seems my downy feathered curate has shed his baby priest feathers and begun to fly.  I guess I can say I am a proud father.  (Father as in priest that is, not dad.)
One of the things I was most excited about at our celebration was the presence of so many families who happen to like to and normally attend our extraordinary form Mass.  When Pope emeritus Benedict (God love him) gave broad permissions for this form of the rite to be celebrated, it was his vision that it be fully integrated within the life of a parish that would joyfully celebrate both forms of the Mass and sacraments.  (We also have baptisms, and weddings in the extraordinary form.  The diocese is working something out for confirmation.) 
I am not one to try to win anyone over to either rite.  I like them both.  I have a hard time understanding why there are people who are rather extreme on their position for either.  I think St. Sebastian could be seen as an example of that which Benedict envisioned: people spending time at the rite they prefer (or Mass time! – odd to see a 4:30 Saturday person at a 9:00 Sunday morning ordinary form!), but being open to attending the other rite when the situation warrants it without much fuss.  Last night gave me much hope that we are on the “rite” track.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUNDThis week's quotes come from the last meeting of the St. Sebastian Chesterton Society.  We finished reading "Manalive" this past month.
QUOTE I:  "For a mystic holds that two worlds are better than one."
QUOTE II:  "With our weak spirits we should grow old in eternity of we were not kept young by death.  Providence has to cut immortality into lengths for us, as nurses cut the bread and butter into fingers."
QUOTE III:  "'I don't deny,' he said, 'that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die.  I only say that at certain strange epochs it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, actually to remind men that they are not dead yet.'"
QUOTE IV:  "Marriage is a duel to the death, which no man of honour should decline."
Tom took this picture of the St. Sebastian windows on a beautiful day.  Thank you for sharing.
You can watch the Chrism Mass taking place in the diocese of Cleveland today streaming live on your computer!  See more here.
Mary sent this article in about a controversial talk given by a nun at a Catholic high school.  (My how times have changed!)  Read more here.
From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter an interesting tidbit:  "Across the 186 parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland, new members will be welcomed into the Catholic Faith at the 9:00 p.m. Easter vigils on Saturday evening, April the 19th.  This is a one hundred fold increase in new members as compared to a year ago and the Diocese's Evangelization Office and Office for Worship attribute a portion of the upturn to the . . ."  Read more here.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Dei Verbum paragraph 7
How many human organizations have come and gone on the face of the planet?  They pop up and disappear.  Maybe they last for a year.  Maybe even centuries.  All kinds of helps are put into place so that the means and aims of the organization will live on.  Officers might be elected, documents written, rules passed, collections taken, battles fought, membership rallies held, pamphlets printed (or posted), but the organizations pass or change into something else.  The luckier ones are studied in history books.

So Christ wished to have his teaching and life carry on.  How does one make this fullness of revelation foretold by the prophets last for two millennia so far?  Mere human institutions fail.  So He established a Church under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  (And really, it must be a Divinely inspired institution or else how could it survive us?)  He taught His disciples and charged them to teach what He gave them.  The disciples handed on what they learned to others, in particular to men we call bishops.  They in turn hand on what they have received, teachings, examples, prayer, institutions that exist or develop under the Holy Spirit, and continue to do so to this day – one generation after another passing on the faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Thus does Scripture and Tradition come to us, reflecting God’s image to us, not only informing us and keeping us on track, but keeping each other in line also, Scripture informing Sacred Tradition and Tradition making sure the proper interpretation of Scripture is handed from one century to the next.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Perhaps one of the best things about the new evangelization is that those things you hate most about the concept is probably the wrong thing to do anyway.  One story that I told this past weekend at Mass (so if you were at that Mass you may skip this paragraph) was about my mother and I taking the bus when I was a young ‘un from our small city to the big downtown in Akron to do some going-back-to-school shopping.  A guy gets on the bus at some point and turns to the person in the most forward bench and says, “Are you saved?  Unless you are saved you are going to hell!”  I like to think he was sincere and that he was hoping to save souls and it took a lot of courage but it was a miserable failure.  He turned everyone off on the bus.  By the time he was half way back people would just put up their hands and refuse to talk to him.
That is NOT an example of the new evangelization.
The new evangelization is first and foremost about one on one relationships.  We can use a similar conundrum for an example.  Living in a city you come across people begging for money.  People often throw money at them because they feel guilty.  The beggars often stand at highway exit ramps or busy corners so just about all the time you have is to stick your hand out the window with some money in it and hear a thank you before the light turns green and the guy behind you honks the horn.  The flip side to the guilt is wondering if the person is really being helped by the donation.  That is what I like so much about organizations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, or Catholic Charities, or Catholic Relief Services (and subsequently where I put money.)  They do not just throw money at a problem.  The go out and meet people, get to know them, asses their need, assist where they can, and give guidance on how not to end up in the same place.

The evangelizer on the bus was akin to throwing money at beggars.  The new evangelization, on the other hand, is about getting to know people, listening to them, and discerning their need.  It is about inviting, not commanding.  It is about telling your story and not telling others what their story should be.  It is about patience and trusting in the Holy Spirit.  It is about being a joyful person which makes you attractive and points others toward your faith.  It is about prayer.  It is about not expecting someone to be as deeply on board as you are right away and supporting them on their journey.  It is about supporting and encouraging.  It is about being natural about your faith.  It is about being comfortable saying, “I can tell you what works for me.”


Yes, this is very vague.  But it has to be.


Maybe one more example might help.  My Dad was an avowed not-a-God person who lost his faith, near as I can tell, during WWII.  He invested heavily in life, believed in the human spirit, the power of his own body, and living life to the fullest.  It kept him distracted more than gave him joy but saw him through over 80 years of his life.  Then he ended up in the nursing home unable to tend much to himself.  Everything he counted on in life was failing him.  He would say to me, “Help me.”  Most of the time all I could answer was, “All I got is prayer Dad.”
He wasn’t exactly an atheist, but when I said that I was going to become a priest he said, “Religion is for weak people, but at least you will be a leader among weak people.”  So as you can imagine, religion was not a popular topic between us.
So one day, frustrated with his failing body, the loss of deceased relatives and friends, depression over the great void he imagined coming, he said to me again, “Help me.”  With no real hope I mechanically said, “Dad, all I got is prayer,” to which he responded finally, “Fine!”
With that he died reconciled with God.  There were no arguments. No talk about what he should be doing to get ready to die.  The theological debates.  No pointing out his predicament.  No moralizing or Bible thumping.  (And don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for such things.  When your 12 year old says he doesn’t want to go to Mass, you do the same thing you do when he says he doesn’t want to go to school.)  It was a relationship (no matter how stressed at times), invitation, acceptance, joy, sincerity, hope, prayer, persistence, and gentleness. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The word "evangelization has always scared me. 

I think it’s because most of the time I’ve only seen really awful examples of it.


And when there was really good examples of it . . . I didn’t even really realize it was evangelization.


So now we have the NEW evangelization. 



I don’t do catchy.
Further, it is like saying, “the NEW seafood platter.”
I didn’t like the old seafood platter and in fact do not like seafood altogether.  So sticking “new” on the front of it is not all that enticing.
Tomorrow we’ll focus on making evangelization more appetizing.  Today we’ll focus on the
“new” aspect. 

Dr. Peter Kreeft gave a lecture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Cleveland this past week and he spoke on the five points that make the new evangelization “new”.  This is a VERY brief overview of what he said:
There are five points that make this current call to evangelization new.


1.      NEW AUDIENCE:  We no longer need to go to the most remote parts of Africa to find “pagans” in order to convert them.  In fact, Africa now is one of the most Christian continents on the planet.  The “new Africa” is now Western Catholics.  After losing (he said one, I’ll say two) generations of Catholics, we have lost the foundation of what it is to be a Catholic.  So we have many people who have been sacramentalized, but they have not been catechized.  Who is Jesus?  What is our relationship with him?  What does he teach us?  We need to evangelize those on the inside.
2.      NEW AGENTS:  “Here comes everybody” besides the title of a popular business book is also a description of the Catholic Church.  The job of evangelization is not the job of priests or nuns or brothers or deacons.  If we leave it to them very little will get done.  There are 39,000 priests in the United States and 314,000,000 people.  Not a good ratio for getting things like evangelization done.  There are 78.2 people however that claim to be Catholic.  With an army like that, we can start doing something.
3.      NEW METHOD:  This is the part that scares me and most people who are scared.  This is where I envision young men with black ties on going door to door or a guy on a downtown corner handing out tracks and telling people that they are going to hell.  But the new evangelization is about personal relationships.  It is about loving people.  It is about inviting, not condemning.  It’s about patience. 
4.      NEW END:  It is no longer about finding pagan babies and baptizing them.  It is about finding the wandering baptized and getting them to encounter Christ who is the foundation of their sacraments.  “The building has lost contact with its foundation.”  We are to connect them.
5.      NEW HOPE:  As bad as things are, they provide hope for the future.  The first millennium showed great unity within the Church.  The second millennium was about division as the Church fractured into so called “denominations.”  There is hope for the new unity that is even greater in the third millennium.  The first unity was great but it was a unity based on the fact that there was nothing else.  The new unity, if and when it occurs, will be even greater because it will be a chosen unity. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Faith and science say the same thing.  They are a marriage that never throws dishes at each other."  from Peter Kreeft's presentation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Cleveland.
QUOTE II:  "If the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, then neither will the ACLU or Planned Parenthood."  same source
Do you want to see everything there is to see concerning the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII on EWTN?  Here is a site to tell you what is coming up.


So Peter Kreeft came to Cleveland this past weekend (it was great seeing St. Sebastian and Adam's Ale people there!) and that prompted Mary to send these links to certain of his presentations:
His conversion to Catholicism Part One HERE
His conversion to Catholicism Part Two HERE
And just one more article she threw in for your enjoyment HERE
From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  Wish you could see the Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Cleveland but can't be there?  Here is a way to watch from home! 

Monday, April 7, 2014


So this is embarrassingly true and happened earlier this year:

As a seminarian I pretty much had to take whatever car was available.  When you are poor, the pickings are slim to non-existent.  One of my favorite cars was a 1979 Ford LTD that I drove (into the ground) in the late 90's.  Inside it was luxurious.  The front seat was as long as the davenport in your living room.  The outside of the car, however, looked as though it was stored in a wet salt mine.  Occasionally I would have to pull over and rip off whatever happened to be dragging along the road.
I remember being all excited that it has a cassette player in it and immediately ran in the house to get my tapes to drive around and listen to music.  But they didn't fit.  So I turned them the other way and they fell in.  It was then that I realized that it was a 8 track player.  I eventually sold that car for $50 which was twice as much as the junk yard offered.
So when I became a priest and would have some income I thought it would be a blast to go out and buy a car - one that I actually chose.  "Not so the wicked not so!"  It turned out to be one of the least favorite things I ever did.  So in future years I took to a tactic that was much more pain free.  I go into a dealer (they really are rather good to me) with a list of what I want in a used car and how much money I have and tell them to call me when they have the car they think I should have.  This was this time's list:
So they eventually called me with "the car."  It had a lot more gee gaws on it than I wanted.  I pointed at the dash and said, "See all this?  I don't want this."
"Ah Father," the dealer said back to me, "When you have leathers seats, all this becomes pretty much standard."
"But I don't want leather seats," I protested.  "I simply don't want clothes seats because the dog hair weaves its way into the fabric and is impossible to get out."
"Father," he said with an apologetic look, "this isn't the 70s.  There IS only clothe and leather."
So I got a car, which is a little more car than I wanted or had bargained for but I count my blessings.  And that's how I got a car that I barely even looked at before buying WHICH IS A DANGEROUS THING TO DO.  Maybe not for the reason you are thinking.  It is for this reason:

Friday, April 4, 2014


Dei Verbum paragraphs 5 & 6

Forget about converting anybody.  You aint gonna do it.
So stop worrying about it.
The Holy Spirit does the converting.  You may be a tool that the Holy Spirit uses so keep at it!  Trust God to work.
Funny thing that: You may have all kinds of tricks in your bag that you wish to employ to convert someone and it will be something you might consider so completely inconsequential that actually does it.  It’s like trying to figure out an Ipad for the first time.  You just keep punching it until suddenly something works right.  You might not even know what it was (as was the case with me) but it worked.
God is.  From Him came everything and all things will return to Him.  We can fight it, but it is the way of all being.  God desires you, reveals Himself to you, entices you with His love and glory as He wishes to bring you home where you have a place to be loved and belong. 

I think one of the most brilliant things God did was to give Himself the formal name, “Father.”  Think about it: when a baby is born, it pretty much knows “Mom.”  He just spent nine months of 24/7 with her.  All of a sudden then there is this hairy being that wants to hold and feed and play with him.  We may have an innate idea of “Dad,” but you’ve got to get to know him.  The way you do this is by spending time with him, conversing and communicating, and growing in love.


We also have to get to know The Father.  We get to know Him too by spending time with Him, talking (praying) with Him, and spending time with Him.  That innate idea that He exists in the first place is the movement of the Holy Spirit within us – that grace already at work to bring us to know Him.  These burning coals of the Holy Spirit need to be fanned to grow to a flame.  This comes by way of paying attention to them, and having them fed by His self-revelation so that it grows to a mighty flame.    
There is a joke that goes like this:
The pastor of a parish went before the altar in the church, knelt down, and began to pray, “Lord, have mercy on me.  I am nothing in your sight.”
The parochial vicar observing his pastor and being impressed knelt down next to him and also began to pray, “Lord, you are everything.  I place myself at your feet.  I am nothing in your presence.”
The janitor seeing the two clerics set down his mop, walked over to the sanctuary step and knelt down next to the priests and also began to pray, “Lord my God, only in you do I live and move and have my being.  You are all.  Have mercy on me since without you, I am nothing.”


The parochial vicar, on seeing this, elbowed the pastor and whispered out of the side of his mouth, “Look who thinks he’s nothing.”
(insert laugh here)
God is completely other.  Some would say supernatural.  There is an argument to be made (not all agree) that God is the natural and we the supernatural since we are only held in being by His will – but I digress.  In any event, God and we are completely other – kind of like the matter/antimatter in the 1960s Star Trek series.  But that does not make God unknowable.  Through His inspiration and revelation, and through human reason, we can come to know Him if we choose. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


So I am driving yesterday and hear a story on NPR about how some investigative effort uncovered the fact that Hobby Lobby’s pension fund has a small investment in a company that owns a company that makes some of the drugs and devices that are the cause of Hobby Lobby wanting an exemption from paying for through the government health care plan.  My first thought was, “Ooooooh!  That’s not good.” 


Now, the thing about NPR is that they always brag (here I am going to do the same thing that I am accusing them of doing) about how they just report the news, they have no agenda.  They like to drag this statement out particularly during fund raising time.  It may even be that they believe it.  But I do not believe it; this segment being one example of why.  The questions being asked by the interviewer were so incredibly leading as to be humorous.  “So do you think that Hobby Lobby is being hypocritical?  Do you think they know and don’t care?”  The idea is to place Hobby Lobby in as negative a light as possible.  If this were a court of law I would think some wise lawyer would stand up and say, “Objection your Honor.  Leading the witness!”  If they were really interested in just reporting facts, a better question for the interviewee who can have any opinion they want would be, “What do you think this means about Hobby Lobby?” or some such thing.  There were a few more underhanded and double standard tactics that they took that really made me steam the inside of my windshield, but that’s for another day. 

An interesting questions that keeps coming up however is can a corporation have religion?  NPR would say, “Of course they can’t.”  Adam’s Ale and its staff, contributors, executive board, foundation, and chaplain (all of whom are me) say, “Of COURSE the can and do.”  Our government has religion and right now it wants to pass on that new part of its religion that it holds most dear.  (I know I’ve said this before, please put up with me.)  There is no such thing as a neutral position.  There is no natural state that includes everybody.  If you actively remove God from the government, from schools, from business, from public life, from everything outside the four walls of a church, synagogue, or temple, that too constitutes a set of beliefs with its own vision of what man is, his purpose and meaning, what the foundational rules are, its own set of presuppositions, beliefs, and rules that creates its own world view and way of living.  That is not some vacuum in which tolerance reigns and we can all get along.  If we say, “Okay, Hobby Lobby, as a business you cannot have religion,” what we are really saying is, “You cannot have your religion.  You must have ours.”
Everything and everyone has a religion cleverly disguised as a set of beliefs and standards to be imposed in areas they find very important.  Right now we are asking the question, “May I exercise my strongly held beliefs in my own house, or does the government have the right to come in and establish its religion.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A number of years ago when I was still a seminarian, some of us were invited to a reception.  It was one of those receptions at which the host thought it a marvelous idea to have assigned seating so that you could not sit with people you knew, loved, and trusted, and be forced to get to know the host’s friends so that we could be one big happy family.  I hate that.


As it turned out, there I was seated at a table with one other seminarian and three other couples.  The couples were relatively recently married and, though they were close friends growing up, had not seen each other in a number of years.  The entire night’s conversation evolved around such topics as how to keep you husband from tracking tar from the newly sealed driveway into the house and exactly how dilated each woman was at the birth of her first child.  They were perfectly delightful people.  But when desert was served, as soon as we had polished off the plate one or the other of us said, “Wow, look at my wrist!  It’s getting late.  Time for all good seminarians to go to bed.”

There was nothing wrong with the evening.  The couples were polite and interesting.  The reception was actually quite nice, but as you might imagine, the night was so focused on couples that there was just a lack of finding a place.  We couldn’t even hang out with other seminarians.  So we drifted out.
Parish life can be the same way.  There are a lot of single people.  Some are simply single people waiting to become a couple.  Some may be discerning a priestly or religious life.  Some are divorced or widowed.  Some have discerned that the single life for Christ is for them.  Sometimes it is chosen, sometimes it is not.  And a parish, particularly if there is a strong school, can tend to focus on families.  Even catechesis has moved in that direction at times stepping away from a classroom model to generations of faith in which families are catechized together.
It is possible that dinners, dances, homilies, programs, and clubs can tend to be couples or family oriented.  This is great because the family needs support, but it can’t be at the expense of this large population.  And I’m not talking about grieving clubs, or Catholic singles, or divorced Catholic clubs that treat being single as a malady, but something to acknowledge, celebrate, and offer opportunities to these people who are often the backbone of the parish.
So there you go!  Easy to point out the problem, not so easy to come up with the solution.  If you’ve thoughts and ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Well, it’s the worst human rights abuse on earth and it’s basically unaddressed. I’ll start with the worst statistic that I know and that is that 160 million girls are now missing from the face of the earth because they were murdered at birth by their parents or either selectively aborted when their parents find out that the fetus is a girl. So that many people are missing and they’re all girls who are missing.”  Former presidend Mr. Jimmy Carter.  Read more here.
QUOTE II:  "When you choose to text and drive, something inside of you cares a little less for another human being."  Bumper sticker
Ed sent this in:  The Big Bang Theory; A Roman Catholic Creation."  Read more here.
Christopher (who really needs to move back to Ohio) sent in this article about the "Marriage of Church and Stage."  Read more here.
Ellen sent this Chesterton site in saying, "Besides the things you would already have or know about, there are digitized images of little books-- collections of GKC writings compiled for small print runs back in the day, etc. And who knows what else? I backed away before I lost all track of time!"  Enter Chesterton, Gilbert in the search box.
Terry sent this video in of "The Voice of Italy."  Enjoy!
No pics today!  Gotta get to confessions!