Friday, October 30, 2015


Thank you Fr K & Ro


Jesus was about to speak to them.

And there was much rejoicing.


So it is somewhat with Catholics.  When the Gospel is proclaimed, it is Jesus Himself who speaks to His people in His own words.  That is just crazy cool.  And so there is a little rite all of its own called the Gospel Acclamation to psych us up for it.  The definition of acclamation is  that of a loud and enthusiastic approval.  Singing he Alleluia should be like, “OMG! - literally! -   G is about to talk to us!  This is so awesome.  Everyone pay attention!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Here it comes!  Huzzah!”  It should not be “All . . . le (YAWN) luuuuuuu - yah.  Whatever.”  

Perhaps it is that it is too easy to become accustomed to even really great things.

The “Alleluia” itself is to be sung by everybody while standing, led by the choir or cantor while the verse is sung by the choir or cantor.  It is always sung except during lent when another acclamation is sung.  

It may be difficult to sustain the excitement week after week, day after day for this.  It is like playing a game that you know you will always win.  “Yay!  I won again.”  But at least it should remind us to smile in our hearts.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


St. Sebastian has a nice rectory.  It is largely (though not completely) furnished from the refuse of our civilization - that is, the devil strip (tree lawn for non-Akronites), junk shops, and things from people's basements.  The coffee tables in the guest rooms come from the curbs and yard sales.  Paintings hang on the wall that were scheduled to be burned by the store holding on to them.  Most of the mechanical clocks in the house I adopted from the clock rescue.  (People who didn't want the clocks anymore because they were too much bother.)  Even the altar in the chapel came from a religious house house basement because they didn't want it anymore.

Now these efforts are moving into the church.  Now that I think about it, that is a lie.  We've tons of things over there that I've scarfed from trash bins and from the closets of unused toys at other parishes.  The latest is just the largest example.

Huntingdon College, like the University of Akron, is retiring their organ major.  They had three organs taking up three classrooms and decided that they could put the rooms to better use if they could just get rid of the organs.  And the man in charge of the project had just weeks to do it or the organs would be destroyed.  That is where St. Sebastian enters the picture.

This Gabriel Kney tracker action, neo-baroque pipe organ was offered to the parish.  We had to act quickly.  There was not time to consult councils and musicians as we like to do.  It was impulsive.  But the price was right!  Read: FREE.  (If it doesn't work out, we can always sell it right?)

So it arrived at St. Sebastian just in time for a week that we unexpectedly needed a lot more seating than normal.  The number of events that happened that weekend meant that the assembly of the organ took longer than expected which meant that more pews were unusable because all of the pieces parts were spread out across them.

It is finally together and has been blessed for liturgical use.  It will take a couple of more months before it settles enough that it won't keep going out of tune.  It is like bringing a plant in from out of doors, it takes a while to adjust.  
It may be used (if it is in tune enough) this weekend for Mario Buchanan's organ recital, to which you are invited.  (Sunday at 4:00PM - free and open to the public.)  The next time it is already scheduled for use is at the advent concert.  Keep your eye out for that one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



So, here’s the reason (yet another excuse) that there was no post yesterday.  We had a Presbyteral Convocation, aka a murder of crows, aka a meeting of the priests of the Diocese of Cleveland, which took place at our seminary.  Before taking off, I had to do my morning chores including feeding and airing out the dog and go to a Finance Council Meeting.  My car was pulled out and parked in a strategic direction for quick escape.

After, there was just enough time to make it home, eat, and then it was time to hear confessions, have benediction, and finally, bless our new pipe organ.  (No, not that one.  Another one.  I think I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.)  After all of that I was of little use save as a throw rug or door stop.


The meeting concerned the future of ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland.  “The sky is falling,” so what are we going to do?  What follows is a brief overview of the first couple hours of the meeting - largely consisting of statistics.  (Two hours in I leaned over to my table partner and said, “information overload.”)

In the 1960s, 50% of all Catholics in the United States lived in a triangle whose points are roughly Chicago, Washington D. C., and Boston.  So this is where all of the churches, schools, religious mothers houses and the like are concentrated.  Today, only 25% of all Catholics live in this triangle.  We moved with the Social Security set hitting such places as Florida and those searching for their first jobs heading to such places as North Carolina (like my nephew.  I mean, come on!  Who lives in N. C.?  I hate driving to Cleveland to see people - so N. C.?)

Anyway, this means that in parts of the country, they cannot establish parishes quickly enough.  Church and school buildings are appearing as quickly as Christmas decorations at the mall the day after Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, in the magic triangle, we have a lot of giant buildings that are as empty as the Rubber Bowl on a Saturday night.

Cleveland is not doing too poorly YET.  But we are going to retiring huge classes of priests in the near future.  Right now we have 256 priests.  By 2040, unless we really do something, it is predicted that there will only be 140.  In 1970, that means there was one priest for every 1,694 Catholics.  In 2040 it is predicted that it will go to one priest for every 3,251.  (Double!  But that is approximately the year I supposedly retire.)


In the United States we have OUTSTANDING service to our Catholics as far as parish and priest availability per Catholic is concerned compared to most of there best of the world.  I often wondered why the older generation of the Valencheck family did not go to Mass very often.  It was because in Slovenia, there was not a priest who could make it to the village very often so they only went a few times a year.  This is not terribly unusual around the world.  No priests = no Mass.

In the U. S. we have a ration of priests to parishes 1 : 1.  In the Diocese of Cleveland it is 1.4 : 1.  If we close no parishes by 2040 it will be .8 : 1.  Ouch. 

The average amount of weekend Masses at a parish in the U.S. is 3.6.  In Cleveland it is 3.8.  Seating capacity at your typical Catholic Church in the U. S. is 523.  In Cleveland it is 663.  The average weekend attendance nationally is 1,004.  In Cleveland it is just a bit over 900.  The average number of registered households in Cleveland is 1,439.  St. Sebastian seats 800, has a little over 1,700 households, and has a slightly higher weekend attendance rate than the national rate.

702 weekend Masses are offered here with 159,000 Catholics (or 23% of all Catholics here) attending.  1,090 day Masses are offered every week.

The Diocese is over represented in both white and African American populations.  Nationally the Church is 61% white and 13% black.  In Cleveland, we are 73% white and 18% black.


This is the county in which St. Sebastian is located.  We are about 20% Catholic having had a 7% growth in the number of Catholics since 1971 with the over all change in population of this county holding at 0%.  The confirmation rate of those baptized Catholic is the highest in the diocese.  


Don’t panic.  Trust in God and pray.  This is the continuous story of the Catholic Church for 2,000 years.  First we are here, and then we are over there.  We adapt and cope.  

Next, promote vocations.  No way around this one.  We have 80 men studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Cleveland right now.  That is nice, (even great compared to MANY dioceses) but it’s nowhere close to replacement levels.  

Evangelize, evangelize, evangelize.  Although the overall population of northeast Ohio is dropping, the Catholic population is leaving at a greater rate!  When was the last time you invited a neighbor to Mass or parish event?  When was the last time you spoke to someone about your faith?  We are horrible at this in general but we need to get over it.

Expect non-clergy and religious Catholics to take on a MUCH larger role in the life of the parish and the diocese.  And we must make a serious evaluation of all of our venues and services.  Do we need to have them all?  What is our core mission?  What can/should we give up?

Bring jobs to northeast Ohio.  What I hear over and over again is how much millennials love Akron/Cleveland.  There is so much here.  So much to see and do.  But we don’t have the jobs on which to raise a family.


There is hope.  There is also a lot to do RIGHT NOW so that we do not panic later.  It is not (as it appears here) that there are less Catholics.  The Catholic population in the U. S. is exploding.  It is just in the magic triangle where the concentration is spreading out to the rest of the country.  The dam has broken.  There is not less water, there is just less water behind the dam.  The water is spreading out across the valley with more on the way.  How do we adapt to this new reality?


I just thought to add that in spite of what you read up above, Catholic priests have the among the highest "job" satisfaction rates in the country.  We might be tired, but we are (generally) fulfilled and most of us would not trade it for the world.

Monday, October 26, 2015


It never happens when you are bored and wish that SOMETHING would break the monotony of the moment.  It always seems to occur when you are dashing between appointments or are running behind schedule and you hear:
As the Holy Father has been reminding us over and over that as annoying as this moment maybe be, this is where Christ is most needed in the world and we are to minister to those who need Him.  And so I give a passive aggressive sigh and say, "Sure.  What may I do for you?"
I suppose part of it is that it is never, "Hey, I just wanted to give you $10,000.00," or, "I just needed to tell you how wonderfully the parish is running," or "Life and God and being Catholic is SO AWESOME that I needed to tell someone about it!"  Almost never is anything like that.  Unless you had a morning like I had:

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I am an absolute party pooper this year.  
I would not have liked me last year.

It started when I went on a walk.  (I am on retreat this week and enjoy taking walks around the area.)  Everybody is decorated for Halloween.  Some of the decoration are just fun and silly.  Many are quite gruesome.  Scary monsters and tormented souls are everywhere.  It’s the pained ghouls in chains that make me sad.  SAD.  I think about it being a representation of a soul that is so mired in it’s sin that it is just plain “lost.”  And not lost as in it doesn’t know it is New York, but lost as in here is a soul not getting into heaven.  

I know.  Crazy.  Right?

So where are the saints?  Where is the faith as proudly shown off to the public?  To balance those who have no embarrassment establishing a tacky plastic graveyard in their front yard, why doesn’t someone have saints on their roofs showing them victoriously entering into heaven?  Maybe the could have a good fire going in the fireplace to provide smoke so that it looks like they are entering into the heavens.

Ghouls, perhaps, are politically correct.  Saints are not.

Also, ghosts and giant spiders do not require anything of us (except perhaps a scream.)  Saints mean something.  They stand for something.  And in their visage we see a challenge back to us that reminds us that there is a real choice join them on the roof or to join the skeletal arm reaching out of the ground beneath a styrofoam headstone in the front yard.  THAT is SCARY.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Artists form our perceptions of ourselves.  For example, much of what we believe about the Old West is entirely from artists: writers, painters, movie producers, sculptures, musicians, and the like.  Within this example, take a moment to think over what you perceive as the role of guns in the Old West.  Do you picture cowboys strolling down the boardwalk of an old town, when, all of a sudden, bandits come riding in shooting wildly in the air while women and children clear out of the street.  Suddenly, everybody has their guns out a la the O K corral.  

Nope.  That aint the way it was.

People did not carry their guns around like that.  They were heavy, expensive, and dangerous.  But thanks to the arts this is many people’s perception.

As you have read here before ad naseum, the Church had largely given up her role as Patroness of the Arts, which means we have also given up a lot of influence of how we perceive ourselves.  “He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.”  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hires artists to do all kinds of stuff while the local parish is ordering its “art” out of a catalogue so that it can have a print of painting just like Saint Alsobland down the street.

What can your parish do to start changing the tide?  Here are some ideas:

 1. What do already to that participates in the art scene?  Most likely you have music!  Make your music program the best that you can.  It doesn’t have to be The Best, just the best that you can muster.  Invest in music.  If you can, hire qualified and trained musicians.  Encourage quality.  

2. Commission artists for your desired works of art.  Let is say that you want a picture of St. Pope John Paul II.  You could go on line and order a print of a painting and hang it on your wall.  People in the parish will be glad to see it but nobody is going to come from anywhere to be inspired by it.  They more likely will say, “Oh yeah, we’ve got one of those in our parish.”  Make no mistake:  commissioning art can be dangerous!  But better that some people take a risk of finding themselves with the next version of Michael Angelo’s David than have twenty five plastic Davids scattered throughout the diocese.

3. Have parish bus trips to see quality concerts, plays, and museum displays.

4. Sponsor a play to come to your parish.  There are many semi-affordable one man plays about saints and such.

5. Make it a general policy to hire musicians for parish events rather than DJs.

6. Consider having a concert or even a concert series sponsored by the parish.

7. If you have a room that often goes unused, consider allowing a community choir or orchestra to be in residence.

8. Start a gardening club that grows a cutting garden to make arrangements for the sanctuary during the summer months.

9. Start programs that offer classes in the arts.  This way you employ artists, train artists, and expose artists to their craft in a Christian atmosphere.  Make sure your school art program is more than an arts and crafts project recreation time.

10. Commission a song for the parish.

Don’t be tempted to think, “Oh, we are such a small parish with limited resources.  What impact could we really make?”  Rubbish.  When I think of the hundreds of parishes in my own diocese I wonder what would happen if all of them did just one thing from the list above!  What an incredible difference it would make to the fabric of northeast Ohio.
Make no mistake!  It is dangerous and expensive!  It requires risk, careful planning, and prayer.  But the same things could be said about evangelization (of which this is a part.)  Only those who dare magnificently can expect magnificent rewards. 

Or we can just be safe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "You cannot observe fire really closely without becoming part of it."  Barbara Ehrenreich

QUOTE II:  "Quick, someone air-frieght this woman a Jesuit!"  Francis Spufford

QUOTE III:  "Wild justice - justice unmediated and unfiltered - is different from the thing we painstakingly try to make in courtrooms.  Wild charity - love unmixed and uncompromised - is fearfully unlike the adulterated product we are used to.  It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the loving God."  same source.


Mary sent THIS ARTICLE in entitled, "Confessions of a 'Say the Black and Do the Red' Catholic"

Cindy sent THIS ARTICLE in about the demographics of Heaven.  Interesting.

Eric Armusik, who created a good amount of art for St. Sebastian is working on a monumental piece about heaven and hell.  See more HERE.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Last week I wrote to you that the incredible Miss C no longer with us.  One of the ministries she used to do was to shop for the rectory (read: helpless bachelors.)  So I thought, "How hard can it be," and went out to restock our larder.  I thought it would fun (wrong) and easy (wrong.)  At the end of the excursion and having LOTS of bags, we had nothing to eat.  What good is butter if you don't have bread?  What good is chip dip if you don't have chips?

I was talking with a couple of ACME #1 veterans about this encounter.

They took pity on me after hearing my story and decided to help me by giving me instruction a la grocery shopping boot camp.

"You can't go dressed like that.  It invites distraction," they informed me.  "You need a disguise.  Preferably nothing black.  People may recognize you anyway if you wear black."

Apparently one should have a list.  You can't just go and think, "Oh, I bet we need this."  It makes sense I suppose.  That way you don't end up with 20 bags of Value Time Cheese Curls and no fruits and vegetables.

Also, such a list must be made out in categories.  At first I bulked at this thinking that it was WAY too much work, but then they asked me how many times did I have to go back to the opposite side of the store to get something I forgot.  It was true!  I probably could have gotten out of there 20 minutes earlier with some careful planning.

So they helped figure out how to lay out a battle plan.
It makes sense.  Did General Paton go into battle thinking, "Oh, we'll just beat up people as we come them"?  No!  He knew the enemy and their territory.  He had a plan and that made him successful.

There were all kinds of other hinters.  Go at 7AM and the lines are short.  Don't take wine bottles to a line that has an under age kid working at it.  Present bar codes.  Make sure crushable items are not in the bottom of the cart.  Put like things together.  Keep you head down as much as possible.  Don't look too helpless because they go after the weak first.  Make sure a "bargain" is really a bargain.  Avoid "5 for the price of 1" if you really don't want it in the first place.

And preparation is important:
And then I was off!

Friday, October 16, 2015



I have missed having the time to write to you.  It has been a different week here at St. Sebastian.  There was not a lot of extra time to sit down at the computer and get something out to you this week and so you were left a bit neglected I realize.

As a priest you get to do a lot of things.  There are some things that are difficult to get used to.  It took me a while to become accustomed to how I fit in at certain events not going with a date.  You are perpetually showing up at events "stag."  It took a while to get used to that.  (Now it feels perfectly normal.)

On the other hand, once you've got it down you know your role and what is expected of you.  In tragedy you don't have to wonder what you should do, you just have to do it.

This past week a friend of mine passed away.  I introduced her to you on Monday Diary.

Cathy is a dear friend who goes back to my college days.  It was a great treat when I was assigned to St Sebastian that she and her family were members here.  Not only are they members, they are deeply involved.  So much so that Cathy took care of the food in the rectory - a happy happenstance since that meant we were often in contact.

I've done hundreds of funerals over the past 17 years.  I have celebrated funerals for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, but never for such a close friend.  It was odd and challenging.

But there is where, for yet another reason, I love our Catholic faith.  It gives us a universal (among fellow Catholics anyway) way to mourn together.  What do you do?  What do you say?  Well, here is what WE do and say.  Here is what we sing.  Here is what we pray.  This is when we get together.  This is the way this community cares for those who are mourning.  This is when the priest shows up and here is what is expected of him.  

Do you need to do something?  Some sort of ritual outside of what is provided?  Here are prayers that may be said.  Here are times the church is open for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  Here are candles to light.  Unlike most other Christian Churches, here is how you are still connected to the one who has died.  

When all of the funeral rites are done and you face a year of becoming accustomed to being without the person, there is a whole other list of things to do from offering Masses to remembering the dead during the month of All Souls.  

It is such a rich faith.  It asks much because it offers much.  We practice it when we think we don't need it so that it is there when we do for times like these.

Thank you.

Friday, October 9, 2015


GIRM paragraph 61

Don't respond too quickly to that last Email.
Think about it first.  Mull it over.  What might have the sender meant?

That is (kind of) the purpose of the Responsorial Psalm.  It is called "responsorial" NOT because the cantor sings a line and then you respond with the antiphon (in fact, it is allowable for the psalm to be sung straight through without the call and response - though that is clearly not the preference) rather, its is designated thusly because it is responding to the first reading.  It is an opportunity to meditate on what was just proclaimed before just moving on to the next reading.  And since the first reading and the Gospel are always related, it helps tie the whole Liturgy of the Word together.  If you want to be a GREAT reader and not just an Okay one, figure out what the common theme is and find a way to emphasize it.

Unless one's goal is to "get in and out" as quickly as possible, the psalm should always be presented in a way that fosters meditation.  We as a Church always prefer it to be sung rather than recited.  In the United States we MAY, if it has so been approved by the bishops or our local Bishop, sing a psalm metrically set to music.  What is absolutely forbidden, however, is just to substitute a song for a psalm.  We are dealing with Scriptures here, not mere lyrics no matter how appropriate they may seem.  (Save songs for offertory.)

Think about Shakespeare for a moment.  His works have been performed hundreds of years.  The words and plots are aways the same but have been re-pesented in any number of imaginable ways.  I've seen casts of all women (excellently done I might add) perform his works.  I was once in a performance of Twelfth Night set at the turn of the century on the Texas/Mexican boarder.  (Try to find a body of water there for a boat to be shipwrecked.)  

For a much longer period of time - THOUSANDS of years these psalms have been sung to different tunes, different instruments, in different settings.  They are some of the best poetry ever written.  They have helped shape much of Western Culture.  They are in our blood!  Don't let them slip by too easily!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


An editorial in today's paper made the suggestion that there be a Hypoctratic oath for computers - well - for computer programers I suppose.  In light of the Volkswagen automobile computer scandal ,ethicists are wondering what kind of boundaries should be placed on those who tell computers how to "think."

In a nutshell, the computers onboard VWs were program to lie to humans to tell them that the cars were not polluting the air that humans were breathing thereby allowing humans to slowly continue poisoning themselves unawares.  Once the computer was thus programmed it required no further human input to continue the lying.

It was suggested that a code of ethics be developed for programmers much the same as we have for doctors.  Rule #1 - do no harm to humans, etc . . .

Of course, on the other hand, we want computers to think as humanly as possible.  It seems we are at cross purposes here.  Suppose your car could think like a human and it was mulling over the ethics of lying to the government about whether your car was putting the earth and putting humanity at risk.  Doctors face these questions all the time. 

"Do no harm."  Hypcratic oath #1.

But what if a human being comes to you and wants you to put another human being to death because that human being threatens a good life for her?  Her rights, her body, her other desires take precedent and medical professionals can easily rationalize what they are doing and believe they are still fulfilling their Hypocratic oath.  In California and Utah, doctors can feel they are still in line with their oath by granting the wish to die by their patients.  Allegedly Planned Parenthood can sell viable body parts from what they otherwise deem non-viable human beings with the idea that they are making the world a better place and proclaim that they have broken no laws and therefore are still moral and have not broken their promise to do no harm.
So my car.  Do I want it to think like a human being?

"I know I should not be polluting like this BUT think of my poor owner.  He can barely afford me let alone get a new car.  And if this becomes part of a recall, think of all the poor workers and stockholders that will lose their shirts - not to mention call dealers, advertisers, and truck drivers.  What is a little more poison in the atmosphere compared to all the good that could be accomplished if I just keep my printouts to myself?"

Do we really want computers to think like us?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


My parent's song was, "To Each His Own."  I remember that had it on a 78 (yes, I am that old) and I accidentally sat on it as a kid.  For their 50th anniversary some 17 years ago, my sister Mick redeemed me by finding them a replacement 78 that I still play on my grandparents victrola in my room.

"To Each His Own."  Aint it the truth?  Try to take a ratty, dirty, torn "bank" from a toddler and exchange it for a newer, softer, cleaner blanket and you will be met with howls.  What we want is not always logical, but it is what we want.

For liturgies at St. Sebastian I spend an incredible amount of time trying to do everything correctly and well.  And, I will admit, I also find the challenge fun - particularly so when you have a younger priest with you who is also similarly interested.  So when a new directive came from "downtown" about how Communion was to be taken to the homebound, Fr. Pfeiffer and I had a long discussion (over a card game) about what exactly the new options were, which might be most feasible here, and how we would enact them - arguing (in the most friendly sense of the term) and cross referencing ideas from other books and documents.  (That makes for a long card game.)

All this goes to say that I am confident that when someone comes to the parish, they are receiving the Roman Rite, it is being done well and with some gravitas for the glory of God and the benefit of my brothers and sisters.

Once again I am taught that I will not win anyone to God, it is always the Holy Spirit.

So this morning I was walking Sebastian and ran into some fellow walkers and we let the dogs play around a bit as is their want.  One of the walkers said, "I have the best news ever," about which I did not get too excited.  I've been told this a lot.  It usually isn't the best news ever.  But she surprised me.

"I went to Mass at (St. Anonymous) and I loved it!"

Okay, that was the best news ever.  Having been away from the Church for a long time, she found a parish that she loved.

"And the best thing was, it was completely disorganized and laid back.  Kids were running all over the place, they messed up one of the songs, the readings were done terribly and I loved it.  I am going back every week!"


And now my walker friend is taking about "My Pope" and how great he is.

Good thing there is a Saint S. and a Saint A.

To each his own.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "For God is not always silent, and man is not always blind."  from Abraham Joshua Heschel's, "God in Search of Man

QUOTE II:  "He who has ever gone through a radical insight cannot be witness to God's non-existence without laying perjury upon his soul."  same source


5 (supposed) facts about Catholics in the United States HERE.

What did the media miss about the Pope's visit?  Look HERE.

 Have I shared this with you? Careful, it will stick with you . . .

A friend of mine joined the Sisters of Life.  Here is a video the put out:

Adam sent this in. It is just interesting.  It is about Origami.  See HERE.

Friday, October 2, 2015



I often wonder what non-Catholics think about the fuss we make about the Gospel when they attend a Catholic Mass say at a wedding or a funeral.  Many Protestants (not all) don't seem to make a big fuss about a reading just because it is from one of the Gospels.  Maybe theologically they do, but a reading such as something from Matthew is not treated in worship much differently than one from Romans.

We Catholics practically throw a festival when the Gospel is read in comparison to any other part of Scripture.  Everyone stands, we sing the triple "Alleluia" with a Gospel verse, the deacon receives a blessing that he might proclaim the Gospel worthily and well, there is often a procession with candles, there can be incense, a minor benediction (the Lord be with you) and a prayer that we might receive the Word of God well as we make three Signs of the Cross on our foreheads, lips, and heart, "May God be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart."  You would think that when it was done we would clap.  "That was AWESOME!"  When it is done, however, the candles are put away, the incense is taken back into the sacristy, every sits, and the bulletin is brought out to read during the homily.  Goes to show how much more important it is than a mere priest talking.
This all points to the Gospel as being the crown jewel of the Liturgy of the Word.  We esteem these books above all others.  When the Gospels are proclaimed it is one of the ways that Christ is present to us at the Mass for He is speaking to us in His own words.  And what did Mom teach us to do when someone important was talking to us?  "Sit up and don't fidget. Pay attention.  Look at the person in the eye.  Be respectful."  That is what Mary taught us.  "Listen to Him.  Do whatever He tells you."  It is what Holy Mother Church is trying to teach us to do.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

While I've been a rosary pray-er since I was a wee one, sometimes I wondered at what I was "supposed" to be doing.  Of course, sometimes I would concentrate on the particular prayer being said.  Other times I would imagine what was going on in Christ's life during a particular mystery, broadening the story.  I was told as a young person to concentrate on the mysteries but I would always wonder why am I concentrating on them.

To some extent, there is always more to mine and to come to understand as one spends some time contemplating the various mysteries.  Sometimes I would plug in my own prayers such as when Christ is hanging on the Cross, I would think that I wish I could lessen His suffering.  But of course He had to suffer.  Wishing to end His suffering is the stuff "Get behind me Satan" is made of.  Sorrow, however, that He had to suffer seems suitable.  

Thanks is a great thing to offer during the rosary.  God comes to earth.  Wow!  Thank you God.  Christ resurrects.  That is Awesome!  Thank you God.

In more recent years, however, I have taken a slightly different tact.  In praying the rosary it seems that we are called to be witnesses.  "Stay here and watch with me."  When Christ was abandoned by His disciples during His scourging, I stand witness.  When His followers scattered during His Crucifixion, I stand by His Mother and St. John.  At the Annunciation, I will witness the Angel speaking and believe.  At the Ascension, I will be among the Apostles as He rises.  I will witness in order to see, see in order to understand, understand in order to share, share in order to bring others to Christ.

Leaders of Many is inviting everyone to pray one decade a day.  Read more HERE.