Friday, March 30, 2007

Anyone need a bottle of shampoo?

Well, I have finally joined the ranks of Telly Sevallis, Michael Jordan, and Adam Benjey. The Dome is now chromed over. It is all gone. Looking in the mirror, I can only think: "What have I wrought?!?" The good news, hair does grow back if I don't like it. So far, so good. We'll see what the reaction is and go from there.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Finally, a quiet weekend

Finally, after a non-stop month I've got a few days off. I am in Iowa for the weekend visiting my twin brother, so it will be rather quiet around here. (Not that that is much different that this month, anyway!)

Kayla says 'Hi!'

UPDATE: Peggy got all hissy that I didn't mention her, so there ya go! A pic from last Christmas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Originally posted over at the Cincinnati Seminarian Blog by yours truly.

Amy Wellborn's terrific Catholic Blog Open Book directs readers over to The Historical Christian page of Aimee Milburn.

She has a recent post on Discernment which contains quite a few insights into following God's will and path in your life.

I found her steps in discernment to particularly helpful:

* Develop a good, daily prayer life, converse with God daily, tell Him everything, ask Him questions, above all ask Him to show you what He wants from you.

* Cultivate willingness to do whatever He wants, and tell Him that you are willing. Offer Him your life, regularly.

* Listen to Him, listen to His leading in your life. Make sure you have daily quiet time so you can really hear. If you have a lot of unnecessary distractions in your life, such as having the TV on all the time or listening to music constantly, wean yourself of them to make time for God. Cultivate interior silence.

* Study your faith constantly, always getting to know it better, and really strive to live it. Study and meditate on scripture. Read classics of Catholic spirituality, and read the lives of great saints in history. Tan Books and Ignatius Press are both excellent sources for saints biographies and spiritual theology.

* Go to mass and confession regularly – mass at least once a week on Sunday, and confession at least once a month, more if needed, if you don’t already. The grace from confession is wonderful and you will grow very much from regular self-examination and confession, be more receptive to the grace of the Eucharist, and more attuned to God. I usually go a couple of times a month, and love it (and need it).

* Pray for God to lead you to a holy priest spiritual director. This can take time – years, even, depending on how many truly good and holy priests there are in your area. Also pray for a good confessor, as a good confessor can sometimes also give good direction in the absence of a spiritual director.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Where's the Real NYTimes?

The Times? What's wrong? They are actually printing something favorable about a religious person?

I have had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Benedict several times: two visits to Mount St. Mary's Seminary here in Cincinnati and my recent retreat at Trinity House in Larchmont, NY. He has slowed since his accident, but he keeps that 'Jersey Boy' wit and sarcastic humor. His prayerfulness and spirituality shine through everything that he does, as does his humility. He truly gives of himself and is daily living the life of the Cross.

It is a pleasure to have some of his Friars as friends, Fr. Glen Sudano whom I met this past weekend, and Fr. Luke Fletcher, their Vocation Director. Plus, Br. Ignatius who is recently professed. They are all wonderful, holy men; it is no surprise their order is growing so dramatically.

OOPS: Add the Tip of the Hat to Open Book
I'll learn this Internet etiquette thing sooner or later.

A review from the Weekend

Monday, which means I have to go back to the office :(

The weekend was great, but exhausting.

Friday evening and most of Saturday at the Seminary were great. We had nine guys show up for at least part of the weekend. Some are already pretty definite for next year, some are maybe for next year or the year after. Please keep these nine men in your prayers. There is a desire among the faithful to serve God in a radical way in the priesthood, it is not dead yet! The men feeling the call need your help and support, don't be afraid to mention to someone that he might make a good priest or that she would be a wonderful sister, that is often the first stirrings of an awakening to a religious vocation.

After the Welcome Weekend at the Seminary was over, it was off to Moeller High School for Cincinnati 2000 Retreat. Considering a week before the retreat we had 20 registrants and ended up having over 300 young people (425 total), I think the weekend was a success. The talks that I heard were very good (I'm partial to the last talk, the Call to Vocation, but I'm biased!) These young people have a vitality of faith that is inspiring! We hear so much dirt about the youth of today, but they really are longing to be challenged to something more. Give them that challenge!

Well, it is almost 9:00, I better get to the office, ho hum.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Need for Reconciliation

From a talk I gave this morning at Seton High School, more or less:

You are all sinners.
It is true, it goes all the way back to Genesis when we first disobeyed God and tried to become like him: knowing good from evil. Unfortunately, we can’t tell the difference and our appetites start to get the best of us.

Before we go on, look at what we lost: immortality, freedom, joy, a close communion with God in that we were free to walk with Him and speak with Him. All of a sudden, there was a wedge: we became afraid of God, instinctively we know God is greater than we are, yet we are threatened, confronted, we want that for ourselves. And the challenge persists. Now we have to work for what we have left. It is no fun to do so.

All throughout history, God has tried to restore this relationship: He wants us to live forever, the Tree of Life has not been destroyed, but we need to find a new way to get back there so that we can eat from it. The way is finally set when Jesus comes to give us a pathway back to the Father.

Why did He come? "I came so that you might have life, and have it abundantly!" "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that those who believe in His name might have Eternal Life!" Those are pretty powerful statements that Jesus makes in the Gospel accounts.

However, in order to get to that point, we must first recognize our own sinfulness, our own weaknesses, our failings and foibles. Remember, who does Jesus seek out the most in the Gospel: people who thought that they had it all together or those who realized that they needed his grace and presence? It is usually the latter of the two: tax collectors, prostitutes, widows, orphans, lepers; those who were on the outskirts of the main Jewish society and needed to be healed from their sins and failings.

I think a big question today, though, is what is a sin, or what is sin? I think in order to answer that, we have to look at first what is the goal of the Christian life: what does Jesus want us to do? Simple, grow in relationship with him: "If you wish to be my disciples, take up your cross and follow after me!" Grow in an awareness of love: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

How do we grow in love of God? We must die to ourselves and live for the other: your friends, your classmates, your siblings, even your enemies, those you can’t stand. St. Therese of Little Flower

Now, if you think that the priest is going to laugh, is going to think you’re terrible; honestly, we’ve heard it all before. Obviously, I can’t really share stories of things, but there is very little that I haven’t heard. (I hear confessions every day at the Cathedral…)

St. Peter at the end of the Gospel of John

Is anyone left?

UPDATE: Title, supposed to proofread these things before posting

Well, after a now nearly two week (or has it been three?) absence, does anyone still read this thing?

In that time frame, I've had one evening free, I think. It has been constant motion and stuff happening. Wow, am I getting to the point exhaustion, I can't wait to get out to Iowa next weekend to kick it back with the Twin, his beautiful bride, and the girl.

Keep in prayer, if you could:

The ten or so guys who will be on a Welcome Weekend at Mount St. Mary's Seminary this weekend. Some are already committed for next year, some in a year or two, some I haven't even met yet. It looks like we'll have to keep the place open for a few more years, yet.

Also, the youth at Cincinnati2000 at Moeller High School. At last count, I think we have around 300 coming, with still more room available. If you know a high schooler who isn't busy this weekend, bring em along!

Oh, and pray for me, too! I am interviewing the candidates for the Associate Vocation Director right now as well, four down, three to go. All so far would make good fits, each has their own gifts, I just need to discern who to go with at this point.

UPDATE2: There are eight men here at Mount St. Mary's for the weekend, all good guys. Please keep them in prayer.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Silence is Golden

Wow, I almost forgot what this place looked like!

I've been running pretty much non-stop since Friday evening. I've got some ideas I want to post, but this is not the time (but it is the place?)

Type at ya later!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I LOVE my mother

Ok, so I am always getting a rough time of it that I am too mean to my mother. I know that whole honor your mother and father thing, and, well, with dad; not too difficult.

But mom, on the other hand..... This is the stuff she emails me:

You know as I am looking at the calendar and also sitting in church this morning it struck me. Kyle gets to wear PINK in just a few weeks again. Just thought I would pass that on in case.

Like I said, love ya mom! grrrrr

At least she doesn't just get me, though. She was trying to teach Keaton, her grandson, to say: "Are we there, yet?" as my brother Keith and his wife Jana drive out to Iowa to visit the twin.

We have the best mom ever! (anyone want to trade?)

Celibacy vs. Marriage?

My next article for the Catholic Telegraph runs in this weeks issue:

Every Catholic, in virtue of the universal call to holiness, is called to share life with the world. For the majority in the Church, this is accomplished through the vocation to married life. In that vocation, the life and love between a husband and wife can be so powerful and fruitful that nine months later it is given a name! But marriage is not always the easy and glorious life that is portrayed in the movies. I recently asked a group of 250 married couples if their relationship was a ‘snow-globe’ type of relationship: perfect, never a fight, etc. Not one couple raised their hands. They all recognized that they live a life that is tough and requires God’s love for perfection. A successful marriage requires sacrifice, because a spouse gives over something of themselves to their beloved.

The life of a priest is similar, but with some obvious distinctions. Primarily, instead of having a one-to-one relationship with a wife, a priest has a unique relationship with a different type of bride: the Church, the bride of Christ. A priest must also embrace suffering for the one he loves, and through that suffering he gives life to his flock, the people that God has entrusted to his care.

It may sound strange to compare the priesthood to the married life, especially as the priest is celibate. However, I think the comparison is worthwhile, for when we lift up the priesthood, it is not over and against married life; or vice versa. The Sacraments of Vocation, along with the vocations to single and religious life, are all complementary and have unique roles in the life of the Church.

Vatican II weighs in on the benefits of celibacy in the life of a priest: "For (celibacy) is at once a sign of pastoral charity and an incentive to it as well as being in a special way a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the word. (Decree on the Life of Priests 16)" The Council Fathers continue: "by preserving virginity or celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven priests are consecrated in a new and excellent way to Christ. They more readily cling to him with undivided heart and dedicate themselves more freely in him and through him to the service of God and the human family. . . In this way they become better fitted for a broader acceptance of fatherhood in Christ."

This last sentence gets to the heart of the matter. The priest gives life as a father among the body of Christ. He sacrifices having his own unique family for the sake of having a much larger family that he is charged with helping to become strong adult members of the Church. It is no accident, then, that the priest is called ‘Father’ by his community, for the community is his family. A man who is uncomfortable with the thought of being a father to a child will make a terrible priest.

As a priest, although for a only a few short years, I am humbled when I am addressed by the title ‘Father,’ especially when my grandmother insists on it! However, in the life of a parish, I recognize that I have a responsibility for the life and growth of so many souls who looked to me for leadership. This is one of the most powerful, challenging and rewarding aspects of the priestly vocation.

If this is a life that you are feeling called to, or to just learn more about the priesthood here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, I invite you to visit the Vocation Office website:

Faithfulness, enduring faithfulness

Part 4 of my article on Catholic Exchange is now up and running.

What's the solution to the vocation crisis? Faithfulness, plain and simple.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Honest, it wasn't me!

Buckeye Fans and Priests

We Ohio State fans amuse ourselves by scaring every Michigan fan we see strutting down the street with that obnoxious maze & blue "M" on his shirt. We would swerve our vans as if to hit them, and then swerve back just missing them.

One day, while driving along, I saw a priest. I thought I would do a good deed so I pulled over and asked the priest, "Where are you going Father?"

"I'm going to give mass at St. Francis Church, about 2 miles down the road," replied the priest.

"Climb in, Father! I'll give you a lift!"

The priest climbed into the rear passenger seat, and we continued down the road. Suddenly, I saw a Michigan fan walking down the road, with that "M" shirt on and I instinctively swerved as if to hit him. But, as usual, I swerved back into the road just in time. Even though I was certain that I had missed the guy, I still heard a loud "THUD."

Not understanding where the noise came from, I glanced in my mirrors but still didn't see anything. I then remembered the priest, and turned to the priest and said, "Sorry Father, I almost hit that Michigan fan."

"That's OK," replied the priest, "I got him with the door."


Tip to Kurt!

So, is it theological?

You betcha!

Part 3 of my article is up at Catholic Exchange.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Full text of the Pope's

chat with Roman Seminarians, well at least part 1 of 2 is posted from Zenit.

Thanks to Rich for the heads up.

Big News from the Vocation Office

Questions I get from prospective candidates for the priesthood are varied:
- What is life like in the seminary?
- What are the guys like there?
- What do you do for fun?
- How much does it cost?

To help answer these questions, the Vocation Office for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is pleased to announce a new effort. Seminarians from Mount St. Mary's Seminary have started a new group blog exploring life in the seminary. What do they do? What is the daily life like? Free time? Vacations? What is a 'Vocation'?

Stop on over and say 'hi!'

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Senile...Like a FOX!

I don't normally post a jokes or on politics, but this struck me as funny. (From Comedy Central, via Google.)

One sunney day in 2008, an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench.

He spoke to the Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton."

The Marine replied, "Sir, Mrs. Clinton is not President and doesn't reside here."

The old man said, "Okay," and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton."

The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mrs. Clinton is not President and doesn't reside here."

The man thanked him and again walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Hillary Clinton."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mrs. Clinton. I've told you already several times that Mrs. Clinton is not the President and doesn't reside here. Don't you understand?"

The old man answered, "Oh, I understand you fine. I just love hearing your answer!"

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow."

If it was good enough for Jesus...

it is good enough for us.

Part 2 of my article is up at Catholic Exchange.

This section answers the question as to whether or not Jesus established a lasting precedent or merely a suggestion for a time frame.

Can you guess where I end up?