Tuesday, February 28, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Extraordinary graces in prayer often are succeeded by conflicts and doubts when they cease and uncertainty as to their cause."  from Jacques Philippe's "Time for God."

QUOTE II:  "Sometimes God wounds us more effectively by leaving us in our wretchedness than by healing us of it!"  same source


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  Masses at St. Sebastian are at 9:00AM (with the school) 5:15PM (extraordinary form - Latin) and 7:00PM.

John Paul the Great Catholic University is excited to announce the official launch of our new blog “Impacting Culture.” Our professors and community contribute original content to the site by examining issues of media, culture, and theology. Viewers can find everything from faculty interviews on current events and movie reviews, to scripture reflections and updates on alumni achievements.

Elen sent THIS article in explaining why the cause for sainthood can take so long.

E. P. sent in THIS great article about our transgender brothers and sisters.  It is thought provoking.

I just really liked this MEME.  As we enter into Lent, I am weakening in my resolve to hack back my beard for Easter as I promised my sister . . . 
Eric sent in THIS great article about "Keeping the Faith after Life Changing Incident."

Want something to read for Lent that is not too, too heavy?  Here is a free E-book by Christopher West entitled, "Theology of the Body at the Movies."  Here is a "trailer."

Monday, February 27, 2017


So, St. Sebastian Parish had an early St. Patrick's Day party this weekend with the General Guinness band and a good time was had by all.  Blah, blah, blah.
Now that being said: Why are we so excited to be Irish one day out of the year?  I humbly suggest that we have a day on which we celebrate being Slovenian!  We have SO MUCH to offer!  It would be a great day.  It could be St. Slomsek Day or St. Modestus Day or St. Gorazd Day.

Here is the proposal:
I mean really.  Does any more need to be said on that point?

And seriously, would you take corn beef over SLOVENIAN SAUSAGE?  No sane person would I dare say.

Granted, you can go out in your yard and pick clover.  Heck, most of the time people are putting chemicals on their lawn to get them to STOP growing.  But you know what the national flower of Slovenia is?  Red carnations!  That's what.  You'd be pickled tink if you had red carnations coming up in your yard.
And have you ever noticed all the "Fighting Irish" mascots?  Even just down the street we have St. Vincent St. Mary High School with that mascot proudly displayed.  You know what you get when you have three Slovenians drinking in a bar?  A choir!
Then there is this!
Okay, maybe the Irish have an advantage there.

But being Slovenian can also be green in the good sense.
I see you rolling your eyes.  But I'm serious.  You would . . . it would be . . . Can't you see . . .

Friday, February 24, 2017


The other day I was walking Sebastian.  He is getting older and a bit more docile and also seemingly more obedient.  For a couple of years now he has been this way.  People comment how wonderful he is in that he just seems to walk by my side.  I was lulled into a false sense of security.

It’s “spring like” outside.  He’s getting a little randy and I should have picked up on that.  A couple of days ago while he was off of his leash he decided that he wanted to go say hello to somebody and no amount of me calling him back would do the trick.


So it is with this Rite of Matrimony we have been following.  Since last we posted, nothing has really changed.  We enter into the Liturgy of the Word per usual and then slip into the homily just as we always have.  Then we hit the actual marriage rite.  Like most priests, I think, after awhile you pretty much have the wording of the rites memorized.  This is nice since, although you have the book in front of you for reference if you get distracted (I’ve seen it happen with disastrous results when a guy would completely rely on his memory and then blank) you can make eye contact with the blushing couple.

But the wording has changed now.  And it isn’t completely re-written, it is re-focused; a reconstructed sentence, a clarifying word used - all to make it better understood exactly what is going on.  Because it is just “sort of” different, one cannot be lulled into thinking they know the rite.  One must pay close attention for fear of slipping into old verbiage.


OLD:  You have come together in this church . . .
NEW: You have come together in the house of the church . . . 

I suppose that is to emphasize that, in general, Catholics don’t get married at ball games or on the beach.

OLD:  He has already consecrated in baptism and now He enriches and strengthens you by a special sacrament so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity.
NEW: Through a special Sacrament, He enriches and strengthens those He has already consecrated by Holy Baptism, that they may be faithful to each other for ever and assume all the responsibilities of married life.

The first somewhat sounds like a manual I suppose.  “When this screen pops up, click on the button at the bottom of the screen.”  And in our modern era, responsibilities are a little easier to swallow that duties.  (And how is special?  Is it just more focused for this particular lifestyle like a special wrench meant only for plumbing?)

This changes will continue next week . . .  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "To desire the construction of something is to desire the destruction of whatever prevents its construction."  G. K. Chesterton in "Negative and Positive Morality"

QUOTE II:  "It is shorter to state the things that are forbidden than the things permitted precisely because most things are permitted and only a few things are forbidden."  same source


This past Tuesday, Fr. G. David Bline asked me to be a guest on the St. Francis de Sales radio show, "The Mercy Show" on 1590 WAKR which will air on Sunday at 10:30.  After that you can find it by clicking on "The Mercy Show" on the St. Francis de Sales web page HERE.
This past Monday we had our first Theology on the Rocks at D'Agnese's on White Pond.  We set up for 50 people hoping and praying to get 40.  But but the time doors opened at 7PM we were already at standing room only.  By the time we started speaking there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 and we had to start turning people away at the door.  
Thank you to everybody who turned out!  It was nice to have so many people there to sing happy birthday to Fr. Pfeiffer who would have preferred to have passed the night anonymously.
Special thanks to our volunteers (almost all of whom are pictured) who had to give the news to the people in line that we would not be able to accommodate them.  
KCP found the article about which I spoke that night.  If you are interested you may find it HERE.

For more information about TOR, keep an eye out HERE.

For those interested it Theology on Tap Akron, go HERE.

Our Apostolic Administrator issued the following decree for all of you Irish and want to be Irish out there.  I look forward to him doing the same thing for Slovenian Day.

David sent in THIS article entitled "Technology vs Reality."

Last week I wrote to you about Mr. Mark Nowakowski.  Mary sent in THIS provocative article about him.

2 Minutes of happiness:

Sunday, February 19, 2017


I think being a priest is one of the most awesome things ever.  Every once in a while, Fr G. or I, on a day things are going well, will look at the other with a wistful smile and ask "Why on earth don't more guys want to do this?"

But no matter how much one might like just about anything, there are aspects that are unpleasant - even most unpleasant.
It was time to go suit shopping - or at least I was told that it was time to go suit shopping.
I laugh reading this.  "Presidence?"  Really?  And I can't blame it on spell check.  And I am too lazy to draw the whole picture again for sake of a misspelling.  Let's just agree that I am not perfect.

And lazy.

Anyway, so we went to the mall . . .
Getting a suit takes forever especially since neither of us fit any kind of standard known to man.
And that's why we are priests and not models.  We spend most of the time covered in layers of material so that our bodily imperfections don't show. 

I've always had difficulties buying clothes.  Nothing ever really fit.  I have what I affectionally refer to as "monkey arms and legs" that off-the-rack clothes rarely come long enough to fully cover.  It was awful in band.  The sleeves of the uniform when I lifted my trumpet to my lips rose up to my elbows.

And IF I could find pants long enough - and a waist in my size - they are almost NEVER combined in the same pair of pants.

And we are both equally difficult to fit.  So we each had a lot of down time, which, in a store, is a dangerous thing.

Friday, February 17, 2017


How long is this going to take?”

I try to take that question in the best possible light whenever a wedding couple poses this question concerning their up and coming nuptial ceremony  “Well, that highly depends if you want every option in the book or not,” is my usual answer.  “I can marry you in about 15 minutes in a simple ceremony if you want.”

They usually don’t.

In a shocking development, one of the options for celebrating matrimony was actually shortened.  Long time readers of Adam’s Ale know that I think that there is just WAY too much exposition on the part of the priest in our matrimonial ceremonies.  But that is what we have so there you go.  But in the case of a wedding being celebrated outside of Mass, there is neither a Gloria nor a Penitential Rite called for.  There is an opening exposition, which may be one of two options or “in similar words” and then right into the collect (opening prayer - with the “Let us pray.”)

Thursday, February 16, 2017


I had a terrible dream last night.  I was in a wheelchair roaming around downtown Barberton.  That was not the terrible part.  The terrible part was that there was another guy in a wheelchair in front of me who I couldn’t get around on the narrow sidewalk and I KNEW he was going slowly in a valiant attempt to tick me off.  The way I knew this was true was that when we got to a place where I could pass him, he started wheeling as quickly as he could. 


The dream ended with me getting out of my chair and punching him.

Are there not enough real life events such as this that I need to dream about it?  There’s the car that does the same thing on one lane roads, the guy that blocks the whole highway by riding at the exact same speed as the truck in the only other available lane, there’s having to stop on your bike to let someone pull into their driveway EVEN THOUGH you haven’t seen another car in an hour and there is not one other person pulling in or our of their driveway for miles in either direction but still you have to stop.  


Or, or, or if you slow down to let someone else coming in the other direction get around a parked car AND THEY SLOW DOWN TOO so the next time you say to yourself, “I am NOT slowing down this time because the other person just will to,” AND THEY DON’T.

There are, in general, two ways to handle the situation.  The first is to get angry and assign all kinds of malevolent intent on the part of the other person, the cosmos, or God.  This can result in a general raising of blood pressure, the side effects can be loss of volume control in your voice, tourette like symptoms of speech, and the involuntary raising of certain digits.  Once infected, the lingering feeling from these symptoms are difficult to shake and can lead to needing to see the Divine Doctor in the confessional.

Here is at least one alternative:  Say that every time you are delayed, cut off, or otherwise put off course you were being saved from something.  Assume it is your guardian angel in the other car.  Maybe these few extra moments mean that you wont run in to that annoying person who will give you a cold, or that you will miss being in a accident, that somehow your life is going to be better because of this annoying few moments - not the least of which will be that you have exercised and made stronger the virtue of patience within you.  This may sound pie-in-the-sky but I am amazed at how often it is true.  So instead of getting angry, you learn to say, “Thank you.”

BUT WHAT IF THE GUY IN THE OTHER VEHICLE REALLY IS JUST BEING A JERK?  That may be absolutely true.  But if you get angry, then he is a jerk and you are an angry jerk. It is better that they are a jerk and you at least grow in patience and thankfulness.  And who says God doesn’t use jerks to advance his plan?  It’s yours to win no matter what.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


It almost doesn’t matter where you are on any political scale, our nation seems like a dysfunctional family.  It is not something to be fixed over night.  For any real change and healing it will take a long, uphill trudge needing lots of patience, understanding, forbearance, and fortitude.  For it is truly a wound and wounds take time to properly heal.

There is a highly prevalent philosophy in our nation that has its motto, “I will be happy when I get everyone else to be like me.”  When you have 319 million people trying to conform everyone else to their way of life, tensions rise rapidly and we get lots of angry, whiney people shouting slogans at each other or worse.

There is a place for demonstrations and protests and debates, but that can’t be the starting point.  The starting point is the self.  If the domestic Church (home) is the building block of the Church and if we are only as healthy as Church as we are in the domestic Church, then the same can be said for our nation.  We are only as healthy as our nation as we are as families and individuals.  When was the last time you saw a great example of a healthy, happy, functional family on T.V.?  If we are stating that this is the norm, then is it any wonder we have the nation we have?

Whatever you want your nation to be, first make sure that your home reflects that ideal to the extent possible.  That wont change anything over night, but in the long run, it will change things more permanently.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbances of love is hell."  C. S. Lewis

QUOTE II:  "Love that is hopeless, that cannot end in marriage, does one of two things; either it degrades or it exalts.  It leaves its mark always but that mark need not be a stain."  from Mary Roberts Rhinheart

QUOTE III:  "Love's like the measles; all the worse when it comes late in life."  Anon.


As an anonymous somebody pointed out last week, while the staff of Adam's Ale was on vacation, the secretary in charge of calanderal events missed that we are celebrating 10 YEARS OF ADAM'S ALE!

A few clergy friends got together for lunch at Al's Meat Market and then went junk shopping.  Fr. Thomas found this in downtown Barberton:
 Of course, I had to try it on.
Now it is time to clear up a couple of things that have been a constant point of contention since the early years of the blog.

Fr. Pfeiffer was the first parochial vicar to appear on the blog.  He was just a young grasshopper at the time and this is pretty much the way I rendered him:
 It wasn't until he left the parish that he told me he didn't actually have blonde hair.  The next time I saw him I found, much to my astonishment, that he in fact does not have actual blonde hair.
Firstly, how would YOU know?  Do you carry a mirror.

Anyway, lucky for me that God is ironic.  1) This is an ARTISTIC interpretation of how you look and your personality screams for you to have blonde hair so there's that.  2) God let this happen in real life:

Mr. Mark Nowakowski is newish member of St. Sebastian Parish.  He is a composer.  If you would like a sample of his work go HERE.  Thank you CC.

From the Totally Useless Information Department:
There have been 2468 posts over 10 years
The number ONE post: "How Come I Don't Remember"
I feel poorly about that one because I fear it was popular because of a misleading title . . .

By far, most readers are from the United States but are CLOSELY followed by those in Russia.  Zdratsvuite!  Germany, France, China, Canada and the Ukraine come next with relatively close numbers followed by the UK.  There have been 813,824 views of this blog.  Though I know in the blogosphere that aint much but I'm not looking for numbers, I'm looking for quality like you.

And just for fun on this anniversary:

Monday, February 13, 2017


You might have picked up from the grand lack of postings last week or so that I and everybody who works for Adam's Ale went on a staff vacation last week.  So I just decided to shut down the offices.  Thanks for checking up and coming back now that the blog is up and running again.

As I do every year, I slip on down to one of our warmer states for a few days to stock up on vitamin D so that I might be a better pastor to the people of the parish.  This of course means jumping on an airplane first.  Is it just me or did all of TSA go through extreme curtesy classes?  The lines were not only short and free of hassle, it seems they were all eerily nice.
I am the grateful guest of some friends who live in a state under the sun.  They are so kind but it so obvious that I do not belong there other than for a visit.  It reminds me of my sister who moved to the south and they could pick her out because of her northern accent.  Then she came back here with a slight twang, said things like "you all" and "howdy" and we tagged her a southerner.  She has become a woman without a cardinal direction to call her own.

I am a true northerner and was apparent the moment I stepped off of the gangway of the airplane.
Also, nobody has facial hair down there.  It's like their faces are naked and they just walk around like that without shame.
We had a Pre-Cana retreat this last weekend at St. Sebastian.  There were a lot of couples there.  I would say half of the men had beard that were somewhere between fierce and epic.  Another quarter had beards that were nothing to be ashamed of.  And the last quarter walked around with too much facial skin showing.  These are my people.  Of course, now I'm afraid to trim my beard back for Easter as I promised my sister because of tan lines . . . 

Good people of St. Joseph - you are in for a surprise this weekend.  Please be kind and supportive.  You will understand after you read your bulletin.

But that is not the only thing that separated me from those among whom I vacationed.  It was a bit of a resort area where people liked to spend good money.  Everybody had beautiful, expensive haircuts.  Gender wasn't a factor.  You needed a good haircut to fit in well at the local coffee shop.
Clothes too.  As a matter of fact, after coming back and talking with Fr. Gearing at St. Adelbert, we both came to the conclusion that we have turned into old bachelors that don't have good women to nag us that we have been wearing the same clothes for 10 years.  We have made a commitment to upgrade our closets.  I began last week by ordering nice clerical shirts (man! are they expensive!)  and Wednesday, the day away from the parish for both of us, we are going to go out and look at suits.  And shoes.  Not more buy one pair get one pair for half off at the Woolworths.
All and all, it is a wonderful, fun, beautiful place to visit and I am so terribly grateful for the experience.  But . . .
Which is, of course, the purpose of a vacation.

Friday, February 10, 2017


A few Advents ago the new Missal came out.  Prior to that point, a typical wedding would begin with the Penitential Rite, which, quite honestly, though probably a good thing to do, was always a bit awkward especially when there were a lot of non-Catholics present.  (Personal opinion.)  In its stead, when there is a nuptial Mass, we begin with the Gloria - which I like better, but is difficult when there are few (practicing) Catholics in the congregation and it is just me and soloist belting out God’s praises.  But it is amazing when it is a bunch of Catholics.

So think back to that first advent of the new Missal.  I’m about to concelebrate a wedding at our cathedral and the question comes up, “Do we sing the Gloria?”  After all, it is not prayed all during the Advent season.  Right?  But the new rite calls for it.  This was not one of the topics covered when we went to all of the workshops on the new Missal.  So, the other clergy, the musicians and I huddled together to make a decision.  Although it went against our instincts, it seemed that that the rubrics clearly called for the Gloria to be sung.  So we did.

When I got home I called the liturgy office for a response.  Nobody was in so the person who was the liturgist for the diocese at the time called back a few days later.  We had a pleasant conversation and then got down to discussing the wedding Gloria.  The person was very honest and said, “I am not entirely positive but I can tell you this:  There was a wedding at the cathedral earlier this week and they sang the Gloria so I would use that as your example until we can confirm so.”


As it turns out, singing the Gloria is the correct thing to do.  It is part of the ritual for this particular type of liturgy and therefor when a nuptial Mass is said, the Gloria is always prayed even when otherwise it would not be.

And that is why we now sing the Gloria at nuptial Masses.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Less than 48 hours ago I looked out my window and saw THIS:
Today I look out my window and see THIS:
It's a beautiful world isn't it?

That is why I've not been blogging.  It is not good to get sand in your computer.

Anyway, I got back just in time for my day away from the parish.  (See how that works?)  But it was still a busy day around the office.  It was Theology on Tap Akron Day and Mother Theodora was coming to speak.  So before hand (they were coming all this way after all) I decided to have the nuns from Christ the Bridegroom Monastery over for dinner along with some priests and seminarians.  It began with the social hour: 
Then we moved in to the dinning room where Marcy and her outstanding crew made us a delightful dinner.  Terri even made cookies with the parish seal on them - and she made the table cloth - and the arranged the flowers.  It was awesome because if I had taken care of it, we would have ordered pizza.
In the above picture to the far right is Sara Lynn who was just accepted as a postulant!  Congratulations!  Please keep her in your prayers.

Below is Mother Gabriella practicing a song a tap number that she was about to perform.
Okay, I was COMPLETELY kidding about that.

Here is most of the gang that was here yesterday.
Then we moved on over to the church where they sang Byzantine Vespers for us.  The parish and community was invited to join us.  It was beautiful.
Then we jumped into our cars and drove out to the Winking Lizard in Peninsula for Theology on Tap, Akron!

There were a lot of priests and seminarians there.  Thanks for coming out guys.

The reason that I really like THIS picture . . .
Is because it reminds me of THIS picture.
Mother gave a great talk to a packed house.
Fortunately we had a little more room this time because the restaurant moved us to a larger room!

I hope you are able to join next time on March 8th when Fr. Marty Miller will be speaking.  Also, on February 20th, I will be speaking at Theology on the Rocks at D'Agnese's on White Pond for those of you who are adults but not necessarily with the adjective "young" before it.

Thank you to Eric Eirmann, Rocco, our MC, and everybody who helped make it a great night.  

Thanks also to Visitation Parish for sponsoring the evening.

Thanks to St. Joseph Parish, Cuyahoga Falls for letting us borrow their sound system.

ToT Akron is a ministry of St. Sebastian Parish.  If you are interested in sponsoring a night, please contact me!