Sunday, April 22, 2007

Deacon Ordination Saturday

Please pray for the three men to be ordained Transitional Deacons this coming Saturday (April 28th) and the 33 men who will be ordained Permanent Deacons at the same ceremony.

May their life of service lead others into the mystery of Christ.

A wonderful weekend and trips galore

Sunday evening is just a pause among many travels going on right now.

Thursday, I left to visit the four men that we have studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum, in the College of Liberal Arts. I was glad to hear that they are all doing well and seem to be leaders in the house. (One is head sacristan as a second year man! (The position was always reserved to at least a third year when I was there and usually a senior.)

After meeting with the Rector, I headed to mom and dad's for the rest of the weekend. I had a wonderful dinner at a family's house on Friday night. We had a good chat about how to promote vocations in the North Country of the diocese. We are getting a good stream from up that way, let's pray that it continues!

Saturday was a special day for the family, as my niece Brook made her First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in McCartyville, Ohio. As 'Uncle Father,' it is a privilege to be able to give her Communion for the first time. She looked really excited to finally be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Fr. Pat Welsh's homily was very good, age appropriate but also with a depth of content. He is really looking forward to moving in to the new church in a few weeks.

Sunday morning continued the whirlwind tour. After breakfast with mom and dad, I headed to Wright State University to cover Mass for Fr. Ed Burns, campus minister at WSU. (I saw someone from Botkins there, which is always nice.) Apparently, Ed is still as absent minded as always, as he booked both me and Fr. Chris Coleman for the Mass. (He was glad, though, as he was leaving for Alabama later in the day and still had to pack!) I have to say that I love covering Masses for friends I had in the seminary, as it gives me a chance to share stories and embarrass the local priest. :evil grin:

Tomorrow, the tour continues as I head to the Eternal City. Zack is studying over there and preparing for ordination to the priesthood this coming July. If I have to stand before God and everybody and testify that he is worthy to be ordained, I better well know it! (and if I get a trip to Rome out of it, mores the better!)

I no more than get home next Sunday then I have to leave again on May 1st to head to Michigan for a regional DoV meeting. By the time all of this is over, I think I might forget what my rooms even look like!

Well, one more quick post before it is off to pack. God Bless and stay safe!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Holy Orders

My newest article in the Catholic Telegraph, which hits the mailboxes today:

As winter fades and spring starts to melt into summer, there are a great many events to celebrate in our local Church; first among these is the great celebration of our Salvation won by Christ in the mystery of Holy Week and Easter. With this celebration, we welcomed nearly 1,200 new converts into the fold of the Catholic Church, just here in our Archdiocese. There is no greater celebration during the Church year.

However, there are two other great ceremonies that are celebrated this time of year which rival the beauty of the Easter Vigil, especially for me as a priest: Ordinations to the Diaconate and to the Priesthood, the Sacrament where men are configured to be more like Christ in service to His Bride, the Church. Like Baptism and Confirmation, Holy Orders is a non-repeatable sacrament: once you are ordained, you are a priest forever. However, it is also unique in that it is entered through a series of three steps, or levels. Hence the name Orders, for this Sacrament is the foundation for the structure of how Christ constructed His Church.

This break down is not accidental, but a purposeful orientation for the man who presents himself to the Church for priesthood. He does not begin his priesthood seated on a throne in glory, rather his ordained life begins with service as a deacon. The very word means “servant” in Greek. For some, this is a permanent state, the Permanent Diaconate. The men ordained to this level live a life marked in service to God and to the parish they are assigned, the world in which they live and the marketplace where they work. Having worked with a few of these men, they are great assets and aids to the pastor. For men who are on the way towards priesthood, transitional deacons, their participation in the Order of Deacon forms them in a life of service and of giving themselves completely for the life of the Church. It is a formation in the command of Christ: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13).”

The second order within ‘Holy Orders’ is the priesthood. The service that a man began in his life as a deacon models and shapes his life as a priest. No one is a priest for himself, rather he is oriented to love the people of God to whom he has been sent. A priest is a man for others. His mission is to help and lead his congregation (his family) to grow in holiness. Especially today, this cannot be imposed upon a parish; it must first be modeled by the priest himself, and then given to his people. At his ordination, a priest is commissioned to imitate the Sacraments that he celebrates, so that he too can be a living Icon present in the world – a Living Icon of the Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Finally, a select few are admitted to the third and final Order within the Church’s structure: Episcopacy, the Order of Bishops. This order is the fullness of the priesthood within the Church, and all priests exercise their ministry in unity with their bishop. It is the bishop who exercises his priestly role in leadership, unifying the diocese under his care, being a steward of the treasures of the diocese so that the Gospel can be preached in all of its wonder. The Order of Bishops is the direct descendant of the Apostles, through the Laying on of Hands. We find testimony to this even as far back as the early Second Century in the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who states: “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father.”

As the two celebrations of ordination approach, it is important to keep in mind that no man is ordained for himself, rather he becomes the bridegroom – the Alter Christus, and he gives his life to the Church, his bride, just as all husbands are called to love their wives like Christ loves the Church: unto death. A man does this as a priest so that we may all have access to the Sacraments and may all attain the salvation won for us by Christ.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesday's Gospel

A summation of the whole Gospel was at the beginning of today's Gospel lection: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that those who believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dawn Eden and the Thrill of the Chaste

This season's Theology on Tap - Cincinnati begins this Thursday evening at Ticket's Sports Cafe in Convington, Kentucky (right across from Mother of God Church.) First up: Dawn Eden and the Thrill of the Chaste. Afterwards, join us for adoration and music at the beautiful Cathedral Basilical of the Assumption.

Details on Thursday's presentation:

We look forward to seeing you this Thursday, April 19th for Theology on Tap!

Theology on Tap
7:00 PM Drinks
7:30-9:00 PM Guest Speaker & Questions
Tickets Sports Cafe, 100 W. 6th St. in Covington, across from Mother of God Church

April 19th:Dawn Eden
author of
The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On Chastity: It's Not Just For Virgins Anymore!

Dawn Eden Spearheads the Modern Chastity Movement and the Backlash Against Oversexed Culture in Her New Book The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On

Is the modern chastity movement a direct result of the culture we live in today? A "Sex and the City" backlash? The MTV generation growing up and realizing all those years of casual sex got them nowhere? In her first book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On (W Publishing Group, ISBN 0-8499-1311-X, $13.99 Trade Paper), former rock journalist turned salty Christian blog queen Dawn Eden uses her experiences in the New York City singles jungle to show women how to go from insecurity to purity. Can women who have been around the block know how to find their way home? Dawn answers with a resounding YES. The Thrill of the Chaste is not your mother's inspirational book, and it's certainly not a book by a virgin for virgins. This book isn't a preachy moral diatribe for dainty damsels in lacy white dresses patiently awaiting their handsome prince. This is for real women who need strong, deeply moral messages to counter the ones they receive from a superficial, sex-obsessed world. It's for women who want to live their faith but don't know if they fit into the modern chastity movement. Dawn takes you into her New York world and her deepest reflections, weaving pop culture and irreverent humor throughout, resulting in a book that will help women deal with 21st century sexual pressure. In The Thrill of the Chaste, Dawn Eden takes you along on her journey—from casual sex and plenty of no-good-can-come-of-this moments to her gradual move towards chastity.

Photo Credit

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wow, big time prayers needed

for the Virginia Tech community.

At least 20 students killed in a Columbine style rampage.

From CNN

A further question for discussion

from Sunday's Gospel:

What went through Thomas' mind when Jesus showed up the second week and turned and looked right at him?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I wasted NINE YEARS!

when I could have been ordained in 30 seconds, tops!

Rich highlights the article from this morning's Enquirer about instant ordination with the New Life Church, or some such.

I guess the only real response is: Truth! That organization seems about as shallow as a puddle on a hot summer day. Whereas the Catholic Church has the depths of the ocean to explore.

Oh well, we Catholic priests still out number them.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Today's Gospel Lection

from the Gospel of John:

After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

So the question: What do you think they were discussing all night while they were fishing?

Mass Readings from the Octave

The contrast between the First Readings of this week and the Gospel readings always strike me. In the First Reading, we have been hearing from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. Peter and John are no longer afraid of the Jews and are boldly preaching Christ's name to the Sanhedrin. In the Gospel Accounts, these same men are hiding and quivering in fear of this same group of Jews.

What is the difference?

Obviously, they've had an encouter with the Risen Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I think it is a good lesson to keep in mind that during our lives as Christians, whether ordained priests or lay person, there are going to be times when we are persecuted and have to face a trial for our testimony. Still, Jesus promises that He will be with us and that the Spirit will give us the words to say. Again, Jesus's words throughout the Gospel echoes true: "Do not be afraid!"

Another Vocation Director joins the fray!

Fr. Todd Peterson, Vocation Director for the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, has recently started up his own vocation blog: Vocations Views. He was my tour guide when I showed up at the Vocation Director Conference in September. He impressed me as a very kind and holy priest (something I could learn from!) Stop on over and say hi and keep him and his diocese in prayer as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Diocese vs. Religious life?

Dan has a new post over at the Seminary Blog which I thought was very good in discussing what, I think, many guys go through: Diocese or Religious Community? Go on over and check out his first post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Easter and Holy Week Reflections

Well, considering it is still the Octave, I can say, "Happy Easter!" for a few more days without fear of being late!

My Holy Week was actually quite refreshing for a priest.

I started out with Palm Sunday Celebration on Saturday afternoon at Visitation Catholic Church in Camanche, Iowa. We started in the Parish Hall/Cafeteria/Bingo Hall. I have to say that the Permanent Deacon was absolutely clueless as to why there were two Gospel readings for this liturgy. In his defense, he is like 85 years old. Aparently, Kayla, my beloved niece, was imitating every posture and hand gesture that I made during Mass. She is adorable, for sure! My brother, Kurt, read the Narrator portion of the Passion while I read the Christ parts. I am not sure what the people thought, but oh well. (In a side note, I think Kayla only got us mixed up once. She was being carried down the steps by her mom, when she saw me sitting at the computer and said: "Daddy!" When I turned around, she realized her mistake and was quite upset about it.

Tuesday evening was dinner with our College Seminarians and the Archbishop at the Cathedral before the Chrism Mass. It is always good to dine with the Big Boss, and to see his interaction with others. (I tried to pump him for gossip from Bishop Murry's installation in Youngstown to no avail.) Two of our four College guys served the Chrism Mass, and did a wonderful job. As always, the music was fabulous.

Wednesday evening was Tenebrae here at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. At one point, five of the choir went to the back balcony/loft. The remaining choir began a piece that was good, however the echo was soon taken up by the five in the rear. The soprano took the lead, until the Ultra Soprano took it even higher. Let me tell you: "Voice of an Angel!!!!" She hit a note that I think is not even on a keyboard! B-E-A-utiful!

Thursday evening was Mass of the Lord's Supper. During Holy Week, the guys from the seminary are responsible for serving the liturgies at the Cathedral, so they are well trained and into the whole celebrations. I think that there is no greater place to celebrate the Holy Week liturgies in our diocese than the Cathedral. The music is typically fantastic, as well as are the minor ministers. Bishop Moeddel was supposed to take the liturgy, but his health is still shaky at best, so Archbishop Pilarczyk took all the Holy Week liturgies. After Mass, we had dinner together, a total of eight: Archbishop, Frs. Bramlage, Snodgrass, Binzer, Smith, Schnippel, Larger, and Deacon Dave Klingshirn. All in all, a great dinner (Prime Rib) and fun conversation.

Good Friday was very prayerful, for sure. The Passion was chanted by three wonderful musicians. Instead of the crowd reading the parts, Richard Proulx has composed choral motets for the rest of the choir to sing. Wow, really added quite the dimension. In the later afternoon, we celebrated the Stations. I carried the Cross while Fr. Bramlage led the stations. It was very nice to lead the crowd as we all followed along with the stations and walked around the Cathedral.

Holy Saturday is always the most interesting day of the year. I am scheduled for the First Saturday observance at Holy Name Church and the procession to the (un)Planned Parenthood clinic/mill. Because we could not have Mass, it was (just) the rosary. Well, to set the tone, I read the second reading from the Office of Readings before starting the rosary. If you have not read it, it is a great meditation on what Christ was doing while he slept in the tomb.

For the Vigil, unfortunately, we did not have any baptisms, conversions, or confirmations at the Cathedral. But, we did do all seven Old Testament readings. (It was the first time I actually heard the Baruch reading at the Vigil.) For the last five years or so, I have heard the Exodus reading chanted instead of just read. This year, the reading was proclaimed in the normal way, but the Cantor who chanted the reading was fabulous! There is one man in the choir whose major in college is Operatic Studies at CCM. He chanted this setting for the Exodus which I am convinced only an Opera singer could pull off. WOW! Words fail to describe!

You know it is a good liturgy when you get to the Opening Prayer an hour and 45 minutes in to the prayer! The whole Vigil took about 2.5 hours. A Frosh in College was sold on the Vigil by his mother by saying that there were no conversions, so it should be short. He was not too happy afterwards! (Don't worry, Alex, you got some time off of Purgatory, at least I think so!)

Well, after hitting the sack about midnight, I had to leave for three Masses in Oxford by at least 6:30 the next morning. Hence an early 5:45 wake-up call. (It is a good thing I shaved the head before the Vigil, otherwise it would have been an earlier alarm setting!) The last Mass at St. Mary's, Oxford, was fantastic! The Church (which sits 250) had about 400 mostly college students! Wow, to preach to that crowd every week! Fantastic! I really enjoyed being there for Easter, I hope to go back at some point!

I did wear my cassock during all of the Holy Week liturgies, including Sunday. I kept it on by the time I got home to see what my nieces would say about it. Only Paige (the 7th grader) looked at me and quipped: "Uh, Kyle, why are you wearing a dress?" I love you, Paige, you little turd!"

About six thirty, I was so tired, I crashed upstairs at mom and dad's. By the time I woke back up, nearly every one had left (sorrry!) I think they understood, at least I hope so. I made it back to the Cathedral on Monday and had dinner with two seminary classmates last night, in our annual Easter Monday celebration. Quite fun to share stories about Holy Week with each other.

All in all, it is the greatest week in the Church year. I have to say that I had it very easy, as I got to sit back and actually enjoy Holy Week, unlike most of my brother priests.

I hope all had a truly wonderous and blessed Christmas, I mean Easter. (The snow through me off!) May we all bask in the glow of the Resurrection of Our Lord!

Theology on Tap Cincinnati

In a surprise move, the Theology on Tap Cincinnati welcomes a new member to their team: Fr. Kyle E. Schnippel, yours truly.

We are moving from one eight week season to two six week seasons: one in the Spring, one in the Fall. This Spring's schedule at Ticket's Sport's Cafe:

April 19th: Dawn Eden
The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On

April 26th: Brother Hugh Vincent Dyer, O.P.
Saints Behaving Badly

May 3rd: Adam McMahon (II Theology Seminarian, Archdiocese of Cincinnati)
Was the Early Church Catholic? - A Look into the First Century of Christianity

May 10th: Dr. Robert Endorf, Fr. Darren Pierre, O.P., and Fr. Michael Dosch, O.P,
What Science Can't Explain: The Big Bang, Miracles, and Faith

May 17th: Fr. Nicholas Lombardo, O.P.
Getting What You Want - God's Way

May 24th: Constance Coxon
From the Catwalk to Christ: A Vogue Model's Journey to Faith and Hapiness

May 26th: Pentecost Celebration

Theology on Tap encourages Catholic young adults to drink abundantly from the well of our faith.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 2, 2007

New Vocations Blog

From the comments,

'Fidelis Servus' is taking up the cause of promotion of Vocations to the priesthood and religious life here in Holy Mother Church. The link has been added to the Vocation Block on the right. Check it out, it looks like he has some very good material over there.

Babies are here!

Two baby announcements!

First, I'm an uncle again! My sister Tania (and Aaron) welcomed their fourth today (and first son!) Alex Joseph just missed being an April Fool by arriving in the world at 12:15 AM, after just six short hours of labor. For Tania, that is a minor miracle right there. (Ready for four more, now?)

Also, after a tumultuous few months, my friend Sean welcomed his son into the world late last week. Thomas Patrick arrived on March 30th to proud parents Sean and Robyn. The miracle of life is shared in many ways in this wonderful family. (Sean is recovering from a heart transplant.)

In other great news, Sean's friend and former roommate Jonathan also received his heart/lung transplant. Last news I heard, all was going well, but slowly. For updates on these two last items, check out:

Life is a beautiful thing, much to be celebrated!