Friday, July 31, 2015


GIRM paragraph 53

It’s what lovers do.”
That is best description I’ve ever heard concerning what the singing of Gloria at Mass is.  What do you do when you are in love and feel confident in the presence of your beloved?  You tell them how awesome they are.  Ha!  I do it to my dog!  “Hey little buddy!  You are so awesome.  Are you a handsome beast?  Yes you are!  Do you love me so much?  Yes you do!  Do you need a bath?  O yes you do!”

So we gathered and sang and given glory to God.  We stated that what we are going to do is in the Name of our One Triune God.  We have acknowledged His presence and given a minor benediction.  We have called to mind our sins, had our minor offenses forgiven, sang of God’s mercy, and now before we enter into deep worship listening to His voice and waiting for His presence Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, we sing to the Beloved Bridegroom with the most “ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb.”

We are in love!  We are psyched!  What we are doing is so awesome the mind cannot fully comprehend it!  And on most Sundays the Body of Christ gathers and with mind and heart proclaim, “Glory to God in the  YAWN . . . . . on earth.”

Problem #1  It is difficult to sustain love every day and every minute of your life.  We get used to the one we fell in love with and married thinking, “I am going to be in love for the rest of my life!  This is the one!”  We forget that love is an action, not something simply to be absorbed or worse, “felt.”  Love requires us to be mindful especially when we are used to having the object of our desire (or else it isn’t really love but a passing addiction.)  So we should be mindful of the Gloria just as we are mindful to buy a chocolate heart on St. Valentine’s Day even when we are not feeling particularly romantic.  You don’t have to be a cheerleader every time you pray the Gloria (though maybe occasionally you should) but be mindful of the Beloved.

Problem #2  The music inhales with the greatest of vigor.  I’m sorry, it just does.  And it seems with the new translation the whole thing just got more awkward as old melodies (which weren’t that great to begin with) were butchered to fit the new words OR the rush to get new music out produced tripe.  If it were up to me, we would chant it but I know George (I made him up) wants it set to a polka.  In the end I think this is the best advice: Get over it.  For now, it’s what we got.  And like wedding vows, you are not there to take a vow to be loved, you are vowing to love.  At Mass, we are not there to be fulfilled musically (though the Good Lord knows that we should offering our best) we are there to give something to God.  So sing love poem to God and then START SUPPORTING CATHOLIC ARTISTS so that we have better music!

Here are a couple of interesting factoids:  Although the rubrics already state that the priest may not change or make up any part of the Mass unless it is specifically stated that he should or may, it is restated at this particular junction in this fashion:  “The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other.”  This is our song folks.  Don’t mess with it.

Who may sing the Gloria?  First preference seems to be everybody.  But that does not exhaust the list.  It may be sung by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone.

It is NEVER SKIPPED when it is called for though it may be recited.  When recited it is said by all although the congregation may be divided in two with each side taking alternate line.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


As you and I both know, there are people who are Catholic/Christian for the "wrong reason."  I am thoroughly convinced that there are many people who call themselves atheists for the wrong reason.  The same goes for some who call themselves agnostic or "spiritual but not religious."  Way, way, way too often in conversations with persons who give themselves this title, the reason they give for their belief is not a deep insight or well thought out philosophy.  They do not have much of an anthropology or a system of determining that which is good or bad that holds any water (and when you take what they say to its logical conclusion they say, "well, not that of course," but offer no way to avoid it.)  It has more to do with what they are avoiding than where they are heading.

It's like swerving a car to avoid hitting a deer.  You have some idea of where you are steering but your immediate task is to avoid hitting a deer.  Dealing with where you end up after that will come with the next thought.

Imagine coming to Mass week in and week out.  You have a priest, minister, congregation, family, or group of friends who repeatedly let you know how bad you are.  Maybe you are divorced.  Maybe you have an addiction.  Maybe you have same sex attraction.  Maybe you had an abortion.  Maybe you are part of a long list of categories and this message comes down on you like a hammer on a sore thumb week after week after week.  What do you do if you are so bad at hammering that you constantly hit yourself and always feel miserable?  You give up hammering.

What do you do if your faith does not give you hope?  What do you do if you are not encouraged?  What do you do if you feel miserable all of the time because of you faith?  You stop being a church goer.  And it is often easier to tell people you are atheist, agnostic, spiritual, and even decide that you are instead of saying, "Look, I'm (insert category here) and my Church hates me."

I do the same thing with fish.  I hate fish.  I want to like it but I don't.  All the time people say, "But you haven't tried MY fish."  Yes I have.  I don't like it.  So I just tell people I am allergic.  I am an anti-fishite.  If God had intended us to eat fish he would have made them taste like steak.

I am in no way saying we need to shy away from these topics or water them down.  But there must always also be an opportunity for hope.  There must be a way for those who wish to be faithful.  There must a chance for healing and incorporating.  

Do you know who does the best pro-life work?  Women who have had an abortion and have some creds with which to speak.  Who can give the most hope to someone dealing with same-sex attraction?  The faithful Catholic who also lives with same-sex attraction.  Who are some of the best volunteers at the parish - often the back bone of the parish - doing tasks that nobody else can or wants to?  Your divorced person.  How do you get them to come to the parish?  Not beating them with a stick, but with hope that there is a place for you.  There is encouragement and support for you.  There is a community for you.  

That does not mean you get to do whatever you want as long as you are some flavor of faithful.  If you want to belong to the country club, you may not play football on the fairway.  But if you are a football player and you want to be a part of the country club, we will help you learn to play golf in a (hopefully) nourishing and safe environment.  

Somehow I don't feel like I am saying what I really want to say but I can't put my finger on it.  If something seems off, please comment and let me see if I can clarify.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Yesterday there was a gathering of priests at St. Francis de Sales in Akron.  There are far fewer of these type of events than there was in "the day."  But they are essential.  It is why I regularly try to have guys (priests and seminarians) over to St. Sebastian.  Like you, we are not going from parish to parish hearing what the other guys are saying or how they are handling situations.  Besides doing such things as reading blogs, going on the diocesan website, or gleaning what you will from the USCCB, we too are on little islands wondering if we are in step.

So yesterday there was a lot of "shop talk."  "What did you say?  Where did you get that?  How was it received?  Are you still talking about it?  It was very interesting.  It's not that we don't know Church teaching, that much is clear, but how does it relate?  How is it received?  What is the best language to put across the message?"

It is all so new and so very complicated.  Too often people simplify the issues not realizing how "ball of twine" they are.  One must be careful about moving one sting for in doing so you disturb many others.

For example: hall rental.  Some parish, some where, is going to turn down a hall rental because someone wants to have a same sex wedding in the building.  They are going to be sued.  "What do we care what happens in our halls?" someone might legitimately ask.  "Let them do their thing and you are better for having the rental fee."

Then on the other side of town a teacher is fired because they had a very public same sex wedding, tantamount to promoting it in the Catholic school.  This person sues.  Then it comes up, "So, you will rent your hall, allow marriages on your property, but you are going to fire my client?"

Eh.  These are the things that I think about.

Anyway, 62% of you (out of 67) said that you received some guidance at your parish through the homily and another 10% say it was inferred.  Hurray for your priests who at least made an attempt to make the readings and Mass relevant to today!  But 22% said they heard nothing.

I remember being at a parish (as a lay person, I'm not THAT old) when Princess Diana died and walking out of Mass that weekend hearing a few people say, "I just knew he wouldn't mention her!"  No matter your personal opinion on the worthiness of the event, it was big news on people's minds.  How can you not at least make reference to it?

"And how many opportunities are lost because you didn't see the lesson in life that God had for you in life's ordinary events?"  (I put that in quotes but it is a slaughtering of a quote that I am too lazy to go look up.)

40% of you said that what you received was helpful while 22% said it was somewhat helpful.  36% said it was anywhere from none existent to harmful.  Hmmmmmm.  Let me know if anyone out there might be able to offer suggestions as to what might be offered to help information to be more useful.

BECAUSE 57% of you said you would like this to be discussed more (even though 19% said, "Okay, enough!")  

Granted, this was not an exhaustive or comprehensive survey but it was still very helpful feedback.  Sending out a prayer today for all of you and all concerned (either way) on this issue.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Tell the truth without blame or judgement."  attributed to Fr. John Loya

QUOTE II:  "There is nothing on earth more to be prized than true friendship."  Thomas Aquinas


A young man in the parish (pray for him, I think he has a vocation) made these vestments entirely out of duct tape.  They look as though they were made for saying Mass in the rain.  Or they are bullet proof.  (Ha!  Bullet proof vest - ment).  
 Look at this detail.  Son, you have too much time on your hands!  ;)
Jason, who is currently with the St. Sebastian team in El Salvador, sent this sign in:
The Diocese of Cleveland is announcing a new Catholic magazine to replace the Universe Bulletin.  Read more HERE.  

Here is another "Letters to the Exiles" 4:16

Monday, July 27, 2015


This past week I was dog sitting Louis Thomas Chamberlain.  Here he is standing next to Sebastian:
He belongs to the sister of a seminarian who was staying at a rectory that could not house a dog.  She was leaving on vacation and needed him to dog sit.  I have a rectory accustomed to dogs and am always in need of attention so things worked out.

It was also nice getting to know one of our seminarians a little better.
Okay . . . life just gets better and better.
So he showed me how to make croissants and I showed him how to make my Mom's apple strudel with some apples that one of our generous parishioners dropped off.

That reminded me of the time I made strudel at my first assignment.  The land on which that parish was built was once an apple farm.  There were a few apple trees left at the time and in the fall I would  harvest the apples and make a strudel.  

One day I made a strudel and put it in the oven and then went upstairs to get ready for Mass intending to take the strudel out of the oven before I went over to the church.  

I forgot.
So what do you do?  Stop Mass?  Say, "Sorry folks, I'll be back in a minute," or "Could someone do a favor?"  Being a theater person as well as a lover of the liturgy, those were not options for me.  Something else has to be done.

And the server was successful.  Mass went along smoothly, nobody was the wiser, we had strudel, and I have a good story.  God is good.

Friday, July 24, 2015


GIRM paragraph 52

Attending a Byzantine liturgy of the hours while still in the seminary, the following was found coming up in the program, “Lord have mercy 40 times.”  Inwardly I moaned.  Seriously?  40 times?  We are going to be here all night.”  In the time it took to think that, it was over.  They are not ones to drag things out those Byzantines.

In the extraordinary rite (once the ordinary rite) the Kyrie is repeated nine times.  Three is a perfection number symbolically, so to repeat each of the calls three times (3 x 3) lifts you up to nine which is a perfection number on steroids.  We are asking for mercy in a symbolically perfected way, which should remind us to do so in our hearts.

In the ordinary form, the Kyrie Eleison (a left over from the Greek speaking days of the Church) is usually said six times with a “Call, response; call response; call, response.”  It always follows the Penitential Rite unless it was woven into the Penitential Rite.  By this I mean when the priest or deacon says something along the lines of, “You were sent to heal the contrite of heart, Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy.)

Before the new Missal came out, it seemed there was more leeway in the invocations.  (You could make junk up.)  So someone might say, “We are spineless vermin, Lord have mercy.”  It appears to me that the new Missal is pretty adamant that we use approved texts.

Remember we said that words are chosen very carefully in the rubrics (directions for saying Mass)?  It says here that this part of the Mass “should” be executed by everyone present.  So, on a regular basis, everyone would be responding, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.”  That being said, “should” means that there are exceptions to this general rule.  Say you had a fantasticarino, polyphonic and complicated Kyrie in Swahili by a visiting choir from Mars that only they are going to be able to sing while we listen and pray along, that’s Okay.

And finally, something new I learned but never plan on employing: although “usually” each acclamation is pronounced twice, “usually” being the operative term, it may be repeated any number of times depending upon certain circumstances such as the beauty and construction of the music or the use of various languages.

Lots of stuff to know for a relatively easy act no?  But the rubricists are to the Mass what NASA is to space travel: prepare for every contingency!  

Thursday, July 23, 2015


When I was younger, almost half a century ago, one of the big events at Christmas happened late at night on the eve at the family home.  With all of the extended family gathered at a specified hour, the phone (big and black and tethered to the wall) would ring.  It was a call from the family in Slovenia similarly gathered.  Aunt “Oh” (Olga) would talk to our cousin Stanko and relay what was being said at the other end of the wires to all as they sat quietly and waiting patiently.

This morning I received a text message from our mission team in El Salvador.  As I sat typing my bulletin column there was a “ting!” and this came up:

“Safe and sound in El Salvador!  Really hot here!”

“I was praying for you guys!  All is well?”

“Yes!  Different from last time, but good.  Cleaning the orphanage today and climbing a mountain.  Erica misses you.”  (Reader: Erica is a young resident of the orphanage that I became close to on the last trip)

“Please tell her hello and that I am praying for her and all of you.”

“Will do!”

And the whole conversation was carried on without much thought.  How easy it is to take things for granted because we are used to them.  Our connectedness, our level of health, electricity, that there will be a more advance iPhone.  All the great things in life you can take for granted.  Family, close friends, neighbors, you just expect them to be there (and shocked when they are there no longer.)  

Even the Eucharist can fall into this category.  We can become so accustomed to the Eucharist that we forget how incredibly special it is.  We forget to be thankful, reverent, careful, and to be promoters of the faith and vocations.

It’s good to be extra observant from time to time, to look around and realize thing need not be the way they are.  It is all gift.  It could all disappear in the twinkling of an eye either from neglect, unthankfulness, or life.  If you want to fully enjoy what you have while you’ve got it, be thankful.  If you want to preserve it while it is yours, be aware of it.  If you want to be happy(er), offer your gratitude.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


The fact that we have bodies is the oldest and most universal joke of all.”

No matter how I try to plug this in to a search engine it will not bring up the original context.  I have it in a journal that I keep and attributed it to C. S. Lewis.  This quote has always fascinated me maybe even more now because it is completely out of context and makes me wonder.  (Knowing him, it made such great sense in its proper place.)

Still it makes one think.  It can be taken in so many ways.  The ugliest, most deformed body in the world may also be the most beautiful soul in heaven (and visa versa.)  “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows.  Bwahahaha”  I’m sure there will be some surprises at which we have a great guffaw.  

It also is humerious that this body which connects us to other people is also the very reason we need to connect.  We can hear, smell (eesh), see, taste (careful), and feel others.  We have wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to processes what we sense.  But it is all brought into our little space shuttle of sorts to figure out.  Do we ever get passed the “original solitude” about which St. John Paul II wrote about concerning Adam when he was alone in the Garden of Eden?  Even if we think we do, it is not unheard of to go through life thinking it is all figured out and we know those around us and then hearing from someone, “I never loved you,” or the infamous and often equally troublesome phrase, “I have always had a crush on you.”  If a joke is a sudden and unexpected turn of events, there’s one if ever there was one.

There is only One Who is fully with you inside your space shuttle of course.  That would be God.  But I have to believe that when we are resurrected and given new bodies that this glitch will be removed – that the way we are united is in the universal Body of Christ and all of the barriers that keep us apart will be the instruments of our unity.  Could it be this is why Scripture says that there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known or brought out into the open (Luke 8:17)?  The walls of the space shuttle will be gone and we will be fully with each other – not fully each other as other religions foresee, but with.

I think of those who think this world is all that there is.  What a lonely thought.  As much fun as this life can be, to think that this is all that there is – is disappointing.  Fountain of youth?  Immortality in this life?  No thank you.  I am enjoying it but I only want to do this once.  I’m counting on heaven and I’m counting on you being there with me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art . . . It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."  C. S. Lewis
QUOTE II:  "You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.  Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me."  Strickland Gillian

I love this guy.  6 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Yes! It's the first official sideways day at Adam's Ale!  I hope you enjoy.  It's sideways day because for some reason I can't figure out no matter what I do two of my pictures are coming out sideways today.  So let's celebrate.
The warm weather hit in earnest this week.  It may actually be summer after all.  But as it happens every year, the high Ohio humidity and the warmer weather seems to shrink clothes.  So people who normally come to Mass properly dressed are embarrassed to find that all of their clothing has shrunk dramatically and they are left with nothing to wear except clothing that LOOKS like short-shorts, tank tops, and tights.  I truly feel for these unfortunates.  I am sure they are humiliated beyond words.  But at least they overcome their fears and come to Mass just the same.
Last week I was in Chicago and saw this sign outside of parish church there:
There are any number of persons in this parish that would be excited if I would place a similar sign to this one here.  Of course, the request is made by people who can afford clothes that don't shrink in the summer.
Up the street from us there is this sign:
If you can't read it, the pertinent part says, "Come as you are!"

This has led me to desire putting up this sign on our marque.  (The actual marque is not sideways.)
I do understand the concern.  There was a man who came to see me and ask that I say something to our EMHCs (extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion) about wearing low cut tops in the summer.
Firstly I say to men, "Stop it!  We are to treat our sisters with utmost respect!  They are not the sum of their body parts!  Get a hold of yourselves!  Be men."
Now to the ladies I say, "Stop it!  We are to treat are men with utmost respect and not do our best to lead them to temptations.  Don't let them see you as the sum of your body parts.  Don't let the following scenario (which was explained to me very carefully and discretely by one of our taller male parishioners) happen when you are an EMHC:

Friday, July 17, 2015


GIRM paragraph 51
"Before we get started I just want to apologize for any way in which I may have offended you."
That was easy enough to type, a lot more difficult to say in person.  Employers and politicians are wary of apologizing.  It might make them liable to a law suit because they have admitted to some fault. 

For an individual to apologize is often difficult.  It seems to place one at an instant disadvantage.
The Church is sometimes cautious about apologizing.  It took a long time, in many cases, for the right people to apologize for the sexual scandal.
We have had three popes now that have done an awful lot of official apologizing for the corporate body of the Church.  Granted, for many, no matter how much they apologize and attempt to change things, it will never be enough.  On the other hand, the cleared air makes many more ears open.  The strain and tension that closed ears off can open those ears and hearts once more to hear.  I know that if someone at least acknowledges that I have been hurt in some way, I can then hear them better.  It is a means of repairing relationships, opening pathways, clearing the air, calming troubled brows enough to make new progress.
So it is with us and God and the Mass.  Before we enter into the big stuff, we take a moment to recall our sins. 
"Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries."
So, a couple of important things:
1. This is an opportunity to which you are invited.  If someone chooses to think about the grocery list instead of their sins at the moment, he misses out.
2. If a person misses out, will he be fully disposed (healed, aware, open) to all of the graces available at the Mass?
3. And the inviter NEEDS TO GIVE PEOPLE TIME TO CALL TO MIND THEIR SINS IF HE IS GOING TO ASK THEM TO DO SO.  In the General Instruction it calls for a brief pause for silence and in the place where the prayer is located it says again, "a brief pause for silence follows." 
If we don't do these things, can we continue to believe they have any efficacy (even if the absolution that follows does not have the same efficacy as the sacrament of Penance.)
As  side note, from time to time the Penitential Rite can be substituted with other things.  One in particular mentioned in this paragraph is the blessing and sprinkling of holy water which reminds us of our baptism.  This may be done "from time to time" and only on Sundays, but particularly in the Easter season.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Last week there was a small group of seminarians sitting around the dining table at St. Sebastian who
had been at various parishes over the previous couple of weeks and I hoped to glean some information from them.  As you know, the same-sex marriage ruling came out and I was curious to know if, how, and how much other parishes were handling the topic.  So I asked them.  By and large they reported that the only place they really heard anything said was at St. Sebastian.
So much for spying.
So now I turn to you.  There (should be) a poll in the right hand column of this blog.  If you wouldn't mind, may I spy through you?  The topic is the same-sex marriage ruling and how it is handled in your parish.
Fr. V

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Greetings Adam's Alers,

I'm on a short road trip this week.  See you again soon (I hope!)

Fr. V

Friday, July 10, 2015


The Lord be with you,” is one of the greetings of the Mass that may be used.  With it, the priest signifies the presence of the Lord to those assembled, signifying the priest’s prayer that they be moved by Him.
Then we respond, “And with your spirit.”  When that line changed a few years back it was met with emotions all over the board.  It is times like this that it is good to have the history of the Mass in your hip pocket.  This was not so much a change but a realignment to what has been said throughout history (recorded as early as the 200s in the liturgy) and in the rest of the non-English speaking world through to this day.  The meaning seems quite different.


You are not addressing the priest as the guy who just said hello to you as in, “Right back at you guy.”  “Your spirit” means the ministering spirit of the priest that he received at his ordination and in whom you are placing your desire to help facilitate the offering at this Mass.  The USCCB websiteputs it this way:


In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.
In this way it becomes a very solemn greeting – deep with meaning, mystery, and history. 
And it is called “The Greeting” which is why we are not supposed to, after this solemn greeting, then relax, wave, and saying, “Hiya everyone.”  It’s like saying, “Hello,” and then, “I can’t hear you – I said HELLO!”
Following this is an optional practice that I only use in a blue moon.  The word “may” is used.  There is not one word in the rubrics (instructions for the Mass) that is not carefully chosen.  When the word “may” is used, it does mean that it is an option. 
. . . the Priest, or the Deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.
Examining the words very closely, it does not just say “briefly” but “very briefly.”  I think you would be hard pressed to justify adding much more than, “Today is the feast of . . .” or “Today we will be celebrating First Communion . . .” or some such thing.
We end paragraph 50 here and all we have done so far is greet each other.  And further, we have just scratched the surface of what could really be said.  But already you know much more than your average bear. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I don’t know about you but I could use something lighter today.


On NPR this week they are running a series about adults reading from diaries they had when they were kids so I decided to get out my "Five Year Diary" from 1977.  I was 11 years old and it was the first diary I ever kept.  I learned the following:


1.      I had terrible handwriting back then too.

2.      I had little patience for writing back then too.

3.      I was just as terrible as my father concerning the giving of details.


Still, it was fun.


Jan 6    “Dear Diary, this month I am working on a bulletin board and mainly I think I am the only one doing the work!”


Jan 9    “Dear Diary, today we pinned up the bulletin board.”


Jan 10  “Dear Diary, today I got assigned to another bulletin board.”


Jan 31 “Dear Diary, I am in love with Tammy in the 6th grade.”


Feb 19 “Dear Diary, Went to Rolling Acres Mall.  By myself!  With Andy and Steve.”


Feb 23 “Dear Diary, Mom watched me serve Mass today!”


Feb 25  “Dear Diary, Expecting a nightmare!  (Tell you tomorrow!)


Feb 26 “Dear Diary, Did not have a nightmare.”


March 23  “Dear Diary, Served a special Mass today and only made one small mistake!”


March 24  “Dear Diary, Girls are starting to like me!”


March 25  “Dear Diary, I’m in love with Lisa Kindle.  (Nobody knows.)”


March 28  “Dear Diary, Had a lady for substitute teacher today.”


March 29  “Dear Diary, I like the substitute teacher!”


March 30  “Dear Diary, Hate the sub teacher.”


April 15, 1977, “Dear Diary, Jenny got a new swing set.”


April 15, 1978, “Dear Diary, 1 anniversary of Jenny getting swing set.”


April 16, 1977, “Dear Diary, Jenny put up swing set.”


April 16 1978, “Dear Diary, SHE NEVER PLAYS WITH IT.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


So do you really think that the government is going to force you to do gay marriages?” he asked out of the blue.  The guy is always provocative, (Did you know that the disciples were Communists?) and the conversation, to say the least, interesting.


“It really doesn’t matter because we won’t.”


“But do you really think they’ll try?”


“I don’t know.  We’ll have to wait and see.”  My bigger concern at the moment is other fall out.  I envision a line of lawsuits more aimed at human resource issues or other pressure concerning what is preached at Catholic and likeminded Churches and institutions.
“I believe in marriage equality.”

“But that only works if you change the very definition and purpose of marriage as it has been understood for thousands of years.”
“Gay people have always been accepted in most cultures.”  The exact nature of this statement is debatable.  The most prominent of examples were almost always connected to marriage between a man and woman such as in Roman times.  But that is not the point.  It is easy to get sidetracked.  The discussion was not about any person and whether that person is worthy of dignity and respect, but a debate about the definition of marriage.
“That may be, but we are talking about same sex marriage which was not.”
“You do know that marriage is just a man made construct?”  Another curve ball and debatable if one is willing to engage.


“If we throw out the Bible and natural law you might be able to make that statement.”


“I don’t get my definitions from a book.”




“Sorry, I just don’t”


“Okay.”  If you cannot bring in Western culture, natural law, or the Bible, then he is absolutely correct: Law is whatever those with power say it is and there is nothing left to be said.
There is a break in the conversation.  Then he adds, “I’m going to (some place) next week.  My daughter is getting married to another woman.”
That last comment is important.  It has absolutely nothing to do with above debate about the definition of marriage.  But it lets you know how intimate a topic this is for the person.  This is why it is essential that the conversation never become too heated, too personal.  The conversation would not have lasted longer than a sentence and you would have been marked as an angry bitter person and written off. 


Pray, think, act in peace.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "The fact that 90% of the world does "X", is only binding on conformists."  Hiedegger
QUOTE II:  "The Founding Fathers of this nation would be stunned to learn that they fought the Revolutionary War only to trade the despotic ermine-lined robes of King George III for the dictatorial black robes of five Justices of the Supreme Court."  Fr. J  (Before you comment, please watch the video below.)
See the "Mystery of God" trailer HERE.
Fr. Barron on the SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling (7:45 mins)

Monday, July 6, 2015


I got up disgustingly early this past Sunday morning.  As soon as the sun peeked in my window I found myself wide awake.
I didn't have to be.  I did not have the 7AM Mass right?  So I tried to hunker down but it was no use.  So I got up and tried to waste time until the 7AM Mass started so I could walk the dog.
That bit of news was from one of the seminarians who is staying at St. Sebastian.  I was in shorts and a T-shirt and rather unshaven and just about to start out on a short airing out with the dog.  I had looked at the wrong schedule I later found out.  It was NEXT week that I didn't have the Mass.

I had four minutes.  And my motto is, "We start on time and we end on time!"  It's a good thing I didn't break my neck.

I would be lying if I said that this was the only time I'd messed up the schedule.  It happened once before (and once again with the 7AM Mass.)  This time I was in the park down the street walking the dog when Terry, one of our sacristans, came running at me in her Sunday finest.  At first I didn't recognize her and thought, "Who is this weirdo running at me in the middle of the park on Sunday morning in a dress?  Does she not see that I have a dog here?"  Then I recognized her.  "Is someone chasing her?"  Then you wonder if it isn't like one of those jungle scenes where all the animals are running and it dawns on you that they must be running away from something (Tyrannosaurus Rex?) and that maybe you should be running too.  It was then she called out, "Father!  You have the Mass today!  Everybody is waiting on you."
Well, at least THIS time I started Mass only about 10 seconds late.  I later texted a friend (MW) that I knew was at the Mass:

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Just before our arrival Ireland legalized same sex unions.  When we reached Dublin, Rainbow flags were everywhere.  They were all down the main road of the city, hanging from businesses and from apartments.  The day we were to leave it was going to be Gay Pride Day there.  Then when we arrived at the airport we were greeted with many newspaper headlines that exclaimed such things as, "U. S. Gay."
I was not home in time to have Sunday Mass with the people of St. Sebastian and so have not had a chance to share with Sebastianites yet the thoughts of their pastor.  In a way I am grateful for that.  It was way to much to process quickly.
A couple days into this new reality my first bit of advice before anything else is this: Remain calm.
Yes, this is a very serious concern.  It is precisely because it is a serious concern that it is necessary that we remain calm.  Above all, do not make this an emotional issue.  Nobody wins that way.
In the 2,000 year history of the Church, we have been through similar things before.  (Consider Ireland's history!)  We have been through similar things in our own time with the legalization of contraception and abortion that became protected rights under the law.  And you know what, the Church has survived for 2,000 years.

We have enjoyed an extraordinary time of acceptance.  That is now coming to an end.  Abortion providors and same sex couples are walking in the front door of the courthouse and the 10 Commandments are being taken out the back.  And we will be Okay.
And it has not been all roses and chocolates for us anyway.  Catholics were long barred from social clubs, higher paying jobs, higher politcal offices, and from living in certain places.  This parish was built where it was because the neighborhood fought the original desired location where a Protestant church now stands because in the 20s they didn't want Catholics living here.  Things improved.  Then they got worse.
The point is: If you want to be Catholic you will survive.  There is a lot of important work to do but you will survive.  We will be fine.  Even if (and especially if) you are put to death for your beliefs, you will be fine.  This is not all there is.  This is not the endgame. 
So now let's starting thinking and praying and begin by placing yourself in the mind of Christ.