Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two late Christmas Presents

came yesterday.

First, as I opened my mail, I noticed a DVD envelope. Hmmm.... The Latin Mass Training DVD by the FSSP fathers that they offered to priests for free. Haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but looking forward to it!

Secondly, Anne Marie, who is a postulant with the Sisters for Life, was in town on her home visit and stopped by the Cathedral for the late Mass which I had. It was good to see her in the postulants garb, it fits her very well! She reports that all is going well in formation and feels that she is where she is supposed to be at this point, but requests continued prayers.

The day ended with our Cathedral Christmas Party, which was great fun as always.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Church vs. State, Round 1

An initial battle between Church and state is recognized with today's Saint: Thomas Becket. A friend of Henry II of England, the monarch nominated him to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Reluctant because of possible ramifications to their friendship, Thomas eventually aceeded to the Chair and immediately started putting his faith before his friendship, earning the King's ire. An offhand remark by the King a few days post Christmas led to some of his knights barging into the Cathedral to assassinate the Archbishop; who cried out with his dying breath, "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!"

Ohio part of..... Canada?!?!?!


Via The American Catholic comes word that a Russian Academic has foretold an economic collapse and discent into Civil War with the breakup of this storied nation into the following areas.
My thoughts? Utah and California together? Nah.
And Ohio part of Canada? well, at least we're not part of the EU!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The gift that keeps on giving

I hope everyone's Christmas was celebratory. A quick review:

Christmas Eve Eve was dinner at a friend's house with their extended family. It is a particular joy as a priest to be invited into so many family homes during the Christmas season.

Christmas Eve: Morning was a stop over at another friend's house for X-Mas Eve Breakfast. Sadly, breakfast was to start at 11, and I got there at 10; so the mother of the house simply put me to work preparing things. As I had the 11:30 Mass, I didn't even get to enjoy the fruits of my spoils!

Christmas Vigil Mass was at St. Jerome's in Cincinnati's California neighborhood. A church with only a center aisle and 11 pews (count em, 11!) on each side, it is a pretty tight fit! Mom and dad came down for this Mass, and then we cooked dinner at the Cathedral rectory and watched Bella, as they had never seen it, before assisting in our own proper way at the Midnight Mass at the Cathedral with Archbishop Pilarczyk. The music was again fantastic!

Christmas Day found me heading back to St. Jerome's for their 9:00 Mass before rushing back home and snarfing breakfast with the folks and dropping in on the 11:00 Mass at the Cathedral with Archbishop Schnurr. Mom and dad heading back north at that point, I was to follow a short time later.

After Mass, I attempted a nap, but I guess visions of sugar plums were dancing in my thoughts, so I sluffed that off and packed and headed north, making all the necessary phone calls on the way. Stopped by one sister's for a bit, dinner at another sister's before rounding the night off at a brother's house and returning to Mom and Dad's.

Well, a lack of sleep and saying hi to many folks I think overwhelmed my immune system, and St. Stephen's Day found me wishing to be a martyr as the flu wrecked havoc on my system. As the family Christmas gathering was to be that afternoon, ummm.... Houston, we have a problem! Canceled till today.

Seeing as how I always like to share, I shared the little flu bug with my mother, who has been down for the count all day. Prompting a move of the Christmas gathering to a sister's house instead of grandma's, and prompting this teary response from the four year old: "We can't (sniff) have Christmas (sniff) without (sniff) GRANDMA!! (sniff sniff!)" Well, mom's got at least one major fan!

Dad and bro and I just ran supplies to host sister's house; which prompted a response from her daughters: "YOU gave grandma the flu!" Guilty as charged! not that I intended to, tho; but subtlety is not their strong suit, I guess.

Oh, well, I was scheduled for a vigil Mass this afternoon at Holy Redeemer in New Bremen, which has thankfully been covered. I think I could've done it, but would've been a rather short homily! Still on there for the two Masses tomorrow, hopefully the headache continues to subside by then.

Hope everyone else has had a better two days than I!

Monday, December 22, 2008

White Christmas in Iowa

Sent by my brother near the Quad Cities area:

Here's what the weather service says is in store the Q-C region as the holiday nears.
Snow will develop around midnight and continue intermittently through Tuesday afternoon producing new snowfall totals between 2 and 5 inches with temperatures well below freezing. Combined with winds of 15 to 25 mph, travel will be hazardous throughout the Midwest.
The snow will increase Tuesday night and into Wednesday with the potential for an additional 4 to 8 inches possible. Northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph Wednesday will result in drifting and blowing snow. Temperatures will be well below freezing. Travel will be hazardous throughout the watch area. From www.qctimes.com

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Message from the Congregation for the Clergy

Reveived in my email in-box, how's that?!

To all the dear Priests, Deacons and Catechists of the Entire World I extend my joyous and fraternal wishes for a holy and festive Christmas, and that the year 2009 be enlightened, grace filled a full of accomplishments in the service of Jesus Christ and of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are poor or suffering. Christmas does not confine us to a commemoration of an extraordinary event in the past, recalled with gratitude and love, but it is also an event which is actualised in the present day, in our midst. Jesus Christ comes because he loves us and wants to save us from evil: from every evil, and even from death. He comes to welcome us, to make us experience his love, to transform us into his disciples, true sons of the heavenly Father, to invite us to proclaim in the entire world that God is Love, and that he loves us unconditionally, without measure. Jesus comes! He becomes our companion on the journey of life. Let us be gathered to him. Let us allow him to overcome us and to make his dwelling within us. He will eat with us in an unimaginable communion, in which he will have us experience the mysterious and efficacious depth of his friendship and his salvation. Enlightened and transformed by this encounter with Him we will be able to proclaim him to every man and woman of our time. Behold, such is Christmas! Cláudio Cardinal Hummes Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote for the Day

Everyone's a hero in their own way, in their own not that heroic way.
- Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon.


In a conversation the other day on things in the Vocation Office and regarding the Fishers of Men video, it was mentioned that there are priests who absolutely cannot stand the video. 'It is too heroic,' they say; it doesn't match up to reality. (aside: the scene that usually elicits this response is the one where the teen is severely injured in the car wreck and the priest runs up to anoint and absolve him; which is based in a real life situation!)

I think, because so much of what we do as priests can be seen as 'humdrum,' that we sometimes forget that we are called to be living witnesses to the Gospel.

It happens in my own situation at times. I sit here at my desk, in my office, writing a blog post, going through paperwork, waiting for a phone call, answering emails, not to mention all the things that I should be doing and am not; how is this being 'a living witness of the Gospel'?

For those priests who are pastors of parishes (I hope to get there one day!), it is so easy to get caught up in the business aspects, the endless meetings, the balance sheet from the bank; that the idea of being 'a living icon of Christ the High Priest' is great in theory, not so good in practice.

Sure, when we are preaching on Sunday, celebrating the Sacraments, or preparing someone for the Sacraments; yeah, we can see it then. But, really, how much of our time is in that arena? As one pastor I know said: 'I'd like would like to think that way, but I have to pay off the debt!'

The difficulty is trying to identify that even and especially in those things that are not that heroic; that doing them well, doing them with honor, doing them with prayer is exactly heroic! Reading Fr. Walter Cszick's He Leadeth Me, he was struck with the same thought: when serving time in a Soviet Gulag prison camp, why work your hardest, why strive to do your best when it only serves an oppressive regime? Because it is my way of being heroic and giving praise and glory to God. For him, he was living out the Jesuit motto: All for the Greater Glory of God!

From listening to the tapes (well, CD's actually, who listens to tapes anymore, anyway?) of the Deep in History Conference on the English Reformation; what kept the faith alive during a very dark period in history? The willingness on the part of priests and laity alike to be martyrs; to be heroes; even though they would likely only say: I did what I was obliged to do.

Let us all strive to be heroes, in our own unheroic ways.

Rick Warren speaks out

It is not often that I would post something by an evangelical megachurch pastor, but through Headline Bistro comes word of Pastor Rick Warren's disagreements with Barack Obama regarding abortion. The telling line came towards the beginning of the article:


“Of course I want to reduce the number of abortions,” Warren told Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman when asked if he was going to work with the Obama administration to achieve an abortion reduction agenda or if he thinks that the effort is a charade.
“But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say ‘We believe abortions should be safe and rare,’” he added.
“Don’t tell me it should be rare. That’s like saying on the Holocaust, ‘Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that,’” Warren said. “I’m not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended.”
I think this is an area where Catholics and Evangelicals can really do some great work together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vocation Awareness Week

Just a reminder that Vocation Awareness Week is fast approaching, this year January 11-17, 2009. Materials are available online here. Within the last month, we've had downloads from the following states:

UPDATE: HERE'S THE LINK! D'oh!

Ohio
Kentucky
New Jersey
Wisconsin
Pennsylvania
New York
Arizona
North Carolina
Ontario (Province, not a State)
New Mexico
Virginia
Louisiana
Missouri
Arkansas
California
Minnesota
Manila
Nebraska
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
Oregon
Pampanga (no idea)
Scotland
Texas
Iowa
Kansas
Michigan
Queensland
Washington
District of Columbia
Ile de France
Indiana
Massachusetts
North Dakota
Victoria

Harbinger of things to come?

If it can happen in Boston, it can happen here, too.

Cardinal Arinze: Letter to a Young Priest

Zenit brings word of a new book by Cardinal Arinze, the recently retired Nigerian head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments:

A priest who lives his celibacy with joy, fidelity and a positive spirit is a testimony that cannot be ignored in today's world, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.The cardinal, who just retired last week from his post as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, affirmed this today when he presented on Vatican Radio his book "Riflessioni sul sacerdozio. Lettera a un giovane sacerdote" (Reflections on the Priesthood: Letter to a Young Priest). Excerpts from the volume were published by L'Osservatore Romano."The Church has always had great esteem for the celibacy of priests," the cardinal wrote. "Christ lived a virginal life, taught chastity to his disciples, and proposed virginity to those who are willing and able to follow a similar call.""In priestly life, perpetual celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven expresses and stimulates pastoral charity," he added. "It is a special fount of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. […] It is a testimony that stands out before the world as an efficacious way to follow Christ."The cardinal said that in today's world, "immersed in an exaggerated preoccupation with sex and the violation of its sacredness […] a presbyter who lives his vow of chastity with joy, fidelity and a positive spirit is a testimony that cannot be ignored."Through priestly celibacy, the prelate continued, "the presbyter consecrates himself more directly to Christ in the exercise of spiritual paternity." He is more available "as a minister of Christ, spouse of the Church," and he can "truly present himself as a living sign of the future world, which is already present through faith and charity."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The White Death Approaches!

Cincinnati is in a Panic! 24 hour weather coverage has ensued, first snowflake spotted over Western Hills 20 minutes ago, schools canceling as we speak!





This moment of hyperbole brought to you by our sponsors.
(Couldn't resist)

Top Ten Catholics of 2008 meme

The incomparable Matt Swaim at the SonRise Morning Show tagged me for a meme on 'Top Ten' Catholics of 2009. Oy, vey! I hardly know ten people! But alas, I'll give it a shot:

Papa Benedetto! An easy choice, really. His time on the Chair of Peter seems to suit him fine. He looks younger and more energized than when he started, and has emerged from the enormous shadow of his beloved predecessor to shine in his own light and his own way. Viva il Papa!

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr Ok, a little brownnosing never hurt anyone! In his short time here in Cincinnati, I've had two chances to sit down and talk with him, once in a one on one, last night with the vocation advisory board. Both times, I have come away feeling very energized about the future of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Jaime S I had heard about this crazy woman who had a literal van load of children for some time, as she is friends with my sister. Having now been in email contact and recently met her in person, she is an embodiment of the joy that comes from following Christ and his Church in complete trust.

Matt Swaim The rise of Catholic Media, with a local face. Matt is paradigmatic of the young JPII Catholics who are engaged with the modern world, yet still call the world to conversion. It has been a joy working with Matt and the entire staff at Sacred Heart Radio over the last year, plus.

(how many is that, only four?!?!)

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus Convert, priest, scholar. His recent disclosure of cancer warrents a 'storming of heaven.' I enjoy his writing for his scholarship, but also his wit.

Seminarians, near and far The best recruiters of priests are happy priests. These future priests will be excellent recruiters in the near future. It is an honor and privelidge to work with our seminarians.

Anne Straus A new friend this year, it was her idea to begin the Prayer Warriors movement here in Cincinnati. She certainly took a risk in coming forward to suggest a new idea, but it has already started to bear fruit. One person can make a difference.

There are many other friends whom I could list, but I'll let it go at this, and keep three in pectore.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What do we seek? (Sunday Homily)

What do we seek? Saint Augustine’s wonderful line keeps echoing to us through the centuries: “Our hearts are restless until the rest in you, O God.” Yet, we continue to seek and not find, we continue to look, but not see; the doors we knock upon are not opened. Is this because God has stopped listening to our prayers? In this season where we prepare for the coming of Christ at the end of time in addition to Christmas; his can seem a disheartening prospect!

Yet, I think with the example we have from the Gospel account for today, we may take some solace; because what we start to see here in this passage is that the authorities from Jerusalem, seeking to fill the restlessness of their hearts in coming out to hear and witness John the Baptist’s mission out in the wilderness. When they come out to him, they come with questions, but they are the wrong questions! Even worse, as John directs them to the right questions, they refuse to follow his lead and stubbornly follow their preconceived notions of what they are after!

Let’s walk back through that dialogue to see where they went wrong, and then how we might learn from their mistakes so that we can ask the right questions.

First, it is important to call to mind the stark image that John presents in the Gospels, which we heard described last week: he is an imposing figure, and one which hearkens back immediately to the great prophets of old: the leather belt, the garment of camel’s hair, the un-kept hair and beard: his mere appearance is one to challenge the niceties of the day.

So, these leaders from Jerusalem come out and are confronted by this mysterious figure and ask the natural question: ‘Who are you?” John’s answer is one to direct them to the right question: “I am not the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed one.” So, who is? Do you know? John follows his role in pointing others to Christ, but they stay focused on him instead, asking him this litany of questions which he refuses to answer and constantly points back to Christ: Are you a prophet? NO! Are you Elijah? NO! “I am the voice crying out in the desert: make straight the paths of the Lord!”

What they fail to ask is if he knows the one who is coming, they are so focused on their own agenda, that they fail to see the forest for the trees.

Where it comes down to us, then, is that I think that the leaders from Jerusalem fall into a very likely trap that, perhaps, we too often fall into: we get so caught up in asking God to answer our specific questions and needs, that we fail to hear the direction in the answers, we fail to hear God giving us the directions to a deeper relationship with Himself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vows Bleg

This Friday, Sr. Pamela of the Franciscan Daughters of Mary makes her intial vows with the community and is being vested with the habit of her order.

May Our Lord continue to guide and form her into a beacon of light for the wider community.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Daily Prayer for Priests

in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is now up and running.

Ok, I'll drop the birthday post!

Since I am starting to get flack about leaving the birthday post up, I have to add something.

Let's just say it was an absolutely fabulous weekend.

Friday, I spent the day 'Up North' with confessions at Sidney Holy Angels for the grade school kids, a class presentation at Lehman High School, and the afternoon at mom and dad's before dinner with them.

Saturday was a John Vianney day: 8:00 Mass and confessions at Holy Name, Mount Auburn as part of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants; 11:30 Mass and more confessions at the Cathedral; and a confession spot at Our Lady of Victory in the afternoon as well. Went to dinner with a priest from the Cathedral, hit the sack about 9:00; whoo hoo, the party life of a priest!

Sunday involved a drive to Fairborn for Mass at Wright State and then a Bonzai run back to the Cathedral for our little gathering of welcome for Archbishop Schnurr (who has apparently read this site! YIKES!) The reception afterwards was very nice, saw many friends I hadn't seen in quite a while, too. dinner afterwards with a friend and commentator here was good.

Monday, Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Originally, I was scheduled for the early shift at the Cathedral, but another priest had to switch with the late Mass; then the pastor approached: 'do you have a Mass elsewhere today?" Yes, Candidacy at the Seminary. "Good, I'm taking the late Mass then." (he said it a bit more diplomatic than that, actually.) So, I ventured through more ice to the seminary for Candidacy Mass with three seminarians (two Toledo guys and one Cincinnati), presided over by Archbishop Schnurr. As is consistent with Masses at the Cathedral and Seminary, beautiful and solemn without being flashy or gaudy. The afternoon saw some shopping (majorly broke now!) and an evening meeting.

Today, back at work, alas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

32 years ago today....

I made my auspicious entrance into the world, but the story is quite fun.

My poor mother was on bed rest during most the pregnancy with complications, don't really know what they all were, but since she wasn't allowed to pick up my sister, Tania still hasn't forgiven me!  Well, what was bed rest turned to panic as labor pains started nearly two months early!  YIKES!  Dad rushed mom to the Hospital, while grandparents watched the other four at home.

They hit the neo-natal unit, or whatever it's called, and you know one of those Oh, S**T moments that dawns on someone's face, ummm.... The nurse was trying to read the baby's heartbeat with a stethascope, when all of a sudden her face panics and looks at my mom: "I think I hear two heart beats!"  The Doctor looks at her: "What?!?!  Give me that!"  After a few seconds, his face does the same utter transformation.  "We got issues here, people!"

They were able to slow down mom's progression and get things quiet for the night, so dad headed home.  Unbeknowst to him, however, the parking lot had iced over and he fell getting into the car!  Oi!

Well, to make matters worse, my older brother had a propensity to run through the house and trip and fall into those old, huge, cast iron heaters that sat beside doors and such, busting his head open.  Yep, managed to do that the next morning!

So, dad's back at the hospital with mom, bro's upstairs getting his head stitched together and mom's in the OR for a C-Section.  What a grand and glorious day it was!  They ripped me from the comforts of the womb first and sure enough my twin bro showed shortly afterwards.  (We always contend that they named us backwards, but that's beside the point.)

Dad managed to call his in-laws, and reported: "Mom and the boys are doing fine."  "Boys, plural?"  "Oh, yeah, sorry, didn't get a chance to call, we had twins!"  Yep, dad's life was effectively over at that point!

The nurse's felt so bad for mom, because we were so small, she couldn't hold us (I was in intensive care at the time), plus her other son was upstairs; they went against doctor's wishes and took mom up to see Keith.

Well, 20 days later, they finally brought us home and put us where else?  Under the Christmas Tree!  (Tania was, and still is, looking for the gift exchange on that one!)

 Mom and dad left the ankle bracelets on till they could tell us apart, which for dad was somewhere around our 18th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Kurt!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Love of Priesthood is Love for Church

In the comments thread of this post, there was a highlight of a post by Diogenes. Well, go read it first, then come back.

Diogenes critiques a priest who 'loves being a priest' but is unwilling to accept some Church teaching.

To me, this is a great source of schizophrenia, and I want to explain further what I mean when I say: "I love being a priest."

I love being a priest because I first love the Church, and I want to give my life in service to her, as the bride of Christ. My love for what I do as a priest is because it is a way that I am able to give my life for my bride, the Church; it is the way that I show my love for the Church; by dieing to self to live for her.

My love of being a priest is not narcissism, at least I hope not. It is not a love for power, prestige, honor. You can keep all that, it is fleeting and if you start to desire it, you will eventually sell your soul to keep it. I want to save my soul, not sell it.

I think a marriage analogy is never more fitting here. Ask a married man if he loves being a husband and father. If yes, why?

If it is for the 'privileges' of marriage: the act of marriage, a wife who will pick up after him, make him dinner, care for the children, wash and iron his clothes; how long will that marriage last? six months, maybe?

However, if he loves being a husband because it is the way that he expresses his love for his wife, it nourishes and enriches the relationship that he has with her, a relationship that is so strong and complete, that life erupts in many forms: children, alms giving, joy, friendships, etc. the husband's love of being a husband is sustained and nurtured because of his love for his wife, to whom he will give his very self because he knows that his path to salvation necessarily involves her path to salvation first and foremost; not to mention any children that come from their union.

I hope this makes sense, as I've been thinking on this the last few days since the article was published and there were comments that appeared on the Enquirer site about "It is impossible for an 18 year old man to forgo sex his entire life." On the surface, that comment is absolutely true. However, if he willingly forsakes sex becuase of his love for the Church and his willingness to give his life for the Church, then it is extremely possible; and not just possible, his life will flourish because of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Prayer Request

Deacon Tony Tozzi's mother passed away last week, with the funeral being celebrated tomorrow. Tony is a transitional deacon for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, anticipating ordination in May, 2009.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon her.

Church out to amplify 'The Call'

With a huge thanks to Dan Horn of the Cincinnati Enquirer, a story he and I have been working on hits the press this morning:

The Rev. Kyle Schnippel places his prayer book on the table and takes a seat, waiting for the future of the Catholic Church to arrive.

It's an early Monday morning in November and Schnippel is among dozens of job recruiters preparing to make a pitch to students at La Salle High School. He hopes to find a few interested in the priesthood, but he knows he could be in for a long morning.

He's competing for the teens' attention with engineers who have built high-tech equipment, businessmen who run multimillion- dollar companies and military recruiters with cool gear and tales of adventure.

"They have better toys," the priest says of his competition.

But if anyone can convince teenage boys to consider a lifetime of celibacy, prayer and a $24,000 salary, it's Schnippel.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

St. Andrew, A Model for Advent

My homily for the First Sunday of Advent, delivered at Holy Redeemer, New Bremen, Ohio. On a side note, it was good to put faces to names, specifically Jamie S. and Wife, Mother, and so much more.

As we begin the Church year once again on this First Sunday of Advent, we naturally start at the end. Instead of looking at the beginning of Creation in the Garden of Eden, we look first to the end of time and Christ’s return in glory. Certainly, it does seem an odd place to start a ‘New Year,’ but what the Church wants to do in starting in such a way is to give us a focus for our lives by focusing on what is of most importance to the Church. This focus on the End is a call to mind that we are to cooperate with the Grace of Christ in building up the Kingdom of God here on Earth, that at some point which we do not know, Christ will come again and we will be called to give account of the stewardship of the gifts that God has given to us to share.
Ok, great, how do we do this? That’s the challenge, and it really is a challenge that each one of us has to face individually; but there are some common elements that each disciple goes through. To highlight that example, I want to focus on the Saint who would be celebrated today, if today was not a Sunday.
November 30th is set aside to honor St. Andrew, one of the initial disciples of Jesus, and the one, importantly, who brought Peter to meet Jesus while they were in the wilderness with John the Baptist. It is a fairly simple story from the First Chapter of the Gospel according to John: Andrew is listening to John the Baptist when Jesus walks by, and John simply says: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Intrigued, Andrew follows after Jesus who turns and invites Andrew to ‘Come and See’ where he is staying. But before he goes, he first finds his brother Simon and brings him along.
This little episode, comprising all of 8 versus in the Scripture, provides a paradigm of how we are to be prepared for the Coming of Christ at the End of Time. Simply, through our own quest of Discipleship, through our own pilgrimage of faith, our witness to others in both grand and small ways, should be an invitation to that other person to ‘Come and See’ where Jesus is, both here in the Church and personally in our lives as Christian disciples.
The challenge, and how this becomes ever new in the lives of the Christian Believer, is that the situation is always changing, Our Lord keeps upping the ante on us, so that he is always putting us in new situations where we might respond to His invitation of Grace at an ever deeper level. We must be prepared to give our witness no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing.
Yikes, I know this sounds extremely Protestant, but it was ours before it was theirs! And, in fact, in talking with Protestant converts to the Catholic faith, even Protestant clergy members who have left behind everything to come to the One True Faith, one of the biggest stumbling blocks that they have found is the witness of ordinary Catholics who seem to not realize the treasures that we have here in the Faith. Their eyes start to be opened to the great mystery of the Eucharist, to the wonders of all the Seven Sacraments, yet they see a lackadaisical attitude among so many Catholics that they are confused.
So, what are we to do? We have to be constantly aware of opportunities that God presents us with to share our faith, and not be afraid to take advantage of that chance to invite someone else to ‘come and see.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The kids are going hungry tonight!

This morning, my dad, brother, a brother-in-law and I went Sport Clay shooting. For those unfamiliar with Sport Clays, its shooting after little clay pigeons, rabbits, sparrows, et al, set up in stations throughout a woods or a field.

While it was a great to spend time with the family; but as poorly as we shot, all the kids are starving tonight!

The good news, I beat my brother!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

What?!?!  Thanksgiving was yesterday?!?!?!  How did I miss that?

Ok, not really, just a day late on posting.

Since the family isn't getting together until tomorrow, as Thanksgiving Day proper is usually spent with in-laws and today is, well, Black Friday.  No gathering until Saturday it is.

With the added fact that I have Mass at Noon today at the Holy Spirit Center here in Cincinnati, no travels home for me.

Gladly, I had several invites over for the holiday, so I made some grand travels, for which I was exceedingly grateful.

First was off to Jackie's for a great feast.  As I arrived earlier than her family, I was put to work finishing some of the preparations, setting up tables and such.  The food was quite the reward, however!

I rolled myself out of there and headed to Rich's, where Chaos ruled the day.  I don't know how many teens and younger were there, but as I was leaving one thought popped into my head: "AHHHH, blissful celibacy!"  Celebrating with large families and extended families is great, it just makes me enjoy the quiet of this morning all the more!

Finally, one last stop at Anne's with her family.  No small children around here, but an elegant way to end the day.

Thanks to all for the hospitality!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just for kicks

Rich went on a macabre bent and diagnosed his wishes for his funeral.  (by the way, this is a good idea to do, you never know when He's gonna call, afterall.)

Fr. Fox's comment (number 10) brought up a memory for me from my grandfather's funeral now two weeks ago.  Fr. Fox wrote: 

A little known fact: the Archbishop has specified the In Paradisum to be sung at all priest's funerals; perhaps he has simply make it clear he wants it, without making it a "mandate"; but it was sung at Fr. Schuh's funeral. It is properly sung, I believe, as the deceased's remains are borne from the church.

Sometimes it is sung as the remains are incensed, which may be allowed (who knows anymore?), but another prayer, "Saints of God, come to his aid" is normal there, too bad not to have both.

FYI, if you have even a small number of competent singers as a choir, a chant such as In Paradisum works very well (hint, get a group together and offer such services in your parish). I know a parish priest who sings it himself.


At the end of the Visitation, grandma wanted the family to say a decade of the rosary together, as they used to say it as the children (my mom's generation) were all little.  Well, guess who lead it, perk of having a priest in the family, I guess.

Thinking that we are a Catholic family, I started the Fatima tune at the end of the decade.  What I intended to be a chorus ended up to be mostly a solo.

I was fine with it, just unexpected.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Long week for a short one

Whew,

After spending nearly two of the last three weeks out of the office, to say nothing of the family funeral; wow, this week is crawling by.

alas, more meetings tonight. Tomorrow looks better, thankfully.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Hidden Joys of the Priesthood

My next article for the Catholic Telegraph runs in this week's edition:

“I hope you have all the joys as a priest that I have had.”  With these words, John Cardinal Foley welcomed a few of our seminarians as he was in Cincinnati to celebrate an occasion with Sacred Heart Radio.  It was a humbling testimony to a life of prayer and wonder that has been shared by a modern day Prince of the Church, whom one can tell by the sheer joy rolling out of him that he just loves being a priest.  He continued to our seminarians: “I’ve never had a bad day as a priest.”  In a career that has spanned four popes and an unlikely ascension to the ‘Pope’s Senate,’ all he wants to do is be a simple priest, what a great gift to witness the faith and devotion of this man.

However, this love and desire to be a simple parish priest is not held by Cardinal Foley alone.  Over this past summer, I spent a weekend with a priest friend in Akron, Ohio.  At the end of a long day where we celebrated Mass together, heard confessions and relaxed with other friends; he looked at me and opined: “Why are we not turning men away from the seminary?  This is the greatest life, if only they knew!”  I nodded in agreement: four plus years a priest, never a dull day, and the impact that the laity have had in my life, that impact I hope I have had in theirs.  Again, humbling that Our Lord could have called me, unworthy though I am, to this wonderful ministry.  “Who am I, Lord, that you should call me?”

Unfortunately, the joy of the priesthood is something that we do not see too often in our modern day.  The media often presents priests as frustrated old men, yet that is not the priesthood that I know.  The priests whom I know are dedicated, holy, prayerful men; men who love to serve Our Lord, who love to serve His people; men who want to be a bridge between heaven and earth, recognizing that it is only through God’s great gift that we are able to stand in such a way.

I admit, even when I was in the seminary, I did not think this was possible.  I was meeting new priests on a seemingly weekly basis, and there was something about each one of them that made me want to be like them.  It was not an effervescent bubbly joy that would turn sour quickly, but a deep sense of purpose that I did not see anywhere else in this world.  I have come to realize that it is the joy that comes from knowing Christ, which comes from giving one’s life over to Him, and realizing that in that giving over, there truly are many rewards, nearly all of which are unexpected.

Does this mean that every day is easy as a priest?  Certainly not, just as every day as a parent is filled with both great joys and deep hardships.  In fact, one of the most memorable days I have had as a priest was one of the greatest struggles, in how to make sense of the death of a ten year girl who was stricken with Cerebral Palsy.  It was extremely difficult to celebrate her funeral with joy, with hope in the Resurrection, yet, looking back, it is a day that I will always remember as a priest.

Because priests have declined in numbers over the last forty years, I fear that many of the faithful, especially the young faithful, have never experienced the joy that radiates from a priest on fire for the priesthood. 

Thank your priest for his service to the Church, for his willingness to give it all over to Christ.  But more importantly, encourage the same self-sacrifice among our young people of today.  I am convinced God is calling many more than those who are responding.  With your prayers and support, the seminary will again be filled with young men eager to be Fishers of Men.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Botkins, Ohio: Center of the Universe

It isn't often that Botkins, Ohio, my home town, gets play on CNN.  It's a whole new day!

The Rite of Communion

For a talk I thought I was supposed to give last night, but which had been canceled.  For a Liturgy Unplugged series at Our Lady of Lourdes:

What I wanted to do tonight was focus a bit on just one small section of the Mass, the Communion Rite. I feel it is a terribly important aspect, but one that is not always reflected upon.  I’ll try to give a few of the historical developments as we go through, as well.  One note of clarification, I will general use the term ‘Mass’ for the celebration, while using the term ‘Eucharist’ for the Sacred Species themselves.  It is true that ‘Eucharist’ can be used for the celebration, but I do it just for the sake of clarity.

As we start, one definition: A Liturgist is someone inflicted on the People of God so that those who do not live during a period of active persecution may know what it is like to suffer for the Faith.

The section of the Mass that I want to focus on is the Communion Rite, the simple rite after the Consecration in which the faithful are prepared to and then actually do receive the Eucharist.  The distinct parts of this segment are as follows:

1)      The Lord’s Prayer and Embolism

2)      The Kiss of Peace

3)      The Fraction Rite and the Commingling

4)      The Invitation to and Distribution of Communion

During some of these aspects, the priest says a few prayers silently, which we will also discuss their significance and how that can apply to the Faithful.

The Lord’s Prayer and the Embolism to the Doxology

It seems as if in the earliest rites of the Church, the Lord’s Prayer was not said during the Eucharistic Assembly, but only said during what has come to be known as the Liturgy of the Hours.  However, by the Fourth Century, the Our Father started to be incorporated, but at different points; some said it before the Fraction Rite, others afterwards.  It came to win out at the point where it is commonly said now, an innovation by Gregory the Great, because it was felt that it was appropriate to pray the prayer that Jesus himself gave us after saying the Canon, which was a prayer composed by men.  At the time of Gregory the Great, up until the reforms of Vatican II, the Our Father was said solely by the priest.  This is not a denigration of the faithful, but rather it is the children being led in prayer by their father, something that we will return to and has its roots in the Jewish customs that were incorporated into the Mass, something we will return to.

At the same time that the Our Father was being incorporated into the Mass, embolisms (statements of praise) were often added in as well.  Especially where the prayer was said by the priest or bishop alone, the people would add an ‘Amen’ at the end of each petition.  Now, this has been formalized in the ‘Libra Nos’ or ‘Deliver Us’ prayer.

The Doxology is something new, actually.  It was added to the Mass after Vatican II, and is a quotation from the Didache, the First Century ‘Teaching of the Apostles.’  As a fun note, Protestants, who claim ‘sola scripura’ often include the Doxology no matter when they say the Our Father, even though it is not part of Scripture.  In its present form, the Doxology serves to unite the Prayer and give a proper conclusion and transition to the Our Father.

The Kiss of Peace

Again something that flows in and out, and has had various arrangements throughout the history of Liturgical Development of the West.  In various places, including still in the Ambrosian Rite of Milan, the Kiss of Peace is placed before the Presentation of the Gifts, following Our Lord’s command: “Before you bring your gifts to the Altar, make peace with your brother.”

The prayer that leads to the Kiss of Peace is an adaptation of a private prayer of the priest that originated in Spain and France, but echoes the words of Our Savior, keeping in mind that the Mass is absolutely dripping with Scripture.  Still, as is seen in the Ambrosian Rite, the Kiss of Peace is a following of Jesus’ command to make peace with one another.  It should be a rather simple affair, and appropriate to the cultural settings of the place.  It seems likely that the exchange of peace at this point in the Mass became normative as the Lord’s Prayer also became normative, for there is a further connection with the Lord’s Prayer, specifically the petition ‘forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us.’

The Fraction Rite and the Commingling

Just as Jesus actual physical body was broken, poured out for us, His Body in the Eucharist is also broken and given out for us.  This is the third of four Dominical Elements to the Mass, emulating Jesus when he takes, blesses, breaks and then gives the bread to his disciples at the Last Supper.  Vatican II encouraged a return to the ancient practice that the faithful should be given the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, and not from the reserved species from the Tabernacle.  (Both are legitimate, and it is one Body of Christ, but the visual connection is stressed, and was even more strongly worded in the revisions of the Third Typical Edition of the Mass of Paul VI, promulgated in 2000.  This connection is seen from the very earliest days of Christianity, as St. Paul attests in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?  Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

But it is not just the bread broken that is symbolized here, but also the Lamb of God.  In the Seventh Century, Pope Sergius I added the singing of the Lamb of God to the Mass at this point indicating the Lamb slain in the Jewish Passover ritual.  Interestingly, in the Jewish ritual, the lamb is broken by the father of the family, who then gives it to his family.  He leads the family in prayer, and symbolically gives of himself for his family, a clear connection with the Priesthood.

During the Lamb of God, usually, there is one small rite that is easily overlooked, but has a great symbolism: the commingling.  You may notice that the priest breaks off a small portion of the Eucharistic Species and places it in the Chalice, while saying silently these words: “May the mingling of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ bring us all to Everlasting Life.”  The book I consulted offered four explanations, of which I want to focus on just two:

1)      Fermentum as a sign of unity:  In the earliest days of the Church, the Christian Community gathered all together in one place on Sunday mornings (the day of the Lord) to worship in the new way.  However, as the community spread, it soon became impossible for everyone to gather with the bishop of a particular place and the early foundations of the modern parish system arose. In order to show the unity of the diocese under the leadership of the bishop, a small portion of the Eucharist was brought from the Bishop’s celebration to each local parish celebration and ‘co-mingled’ with the Blood in the Chalice as a sign of that unity.

2)      A sign of the Resurrection: This was something new for me.  At the Crucifixion, Jesus poured out His blood to the last drop, completely separating his blood from his body, resulting in death.  This sign, where the body and blood are brought back together is symbolic of his Resurrection, where the body and blood are re-united.  In fact, in some places of the East, hot water is added to the Chalice at this point as well to indicate the warmth of a body that is alive.

The Invitation and Distribution of Communion

There is to be a moment of silence at this point, as the priest prays a prayer for his own worthiness in receiving the Sacrament: “Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy, I eat your body and drink your blood.  Let it not bring me condemnation, but health in mind and in body.”  As the priest prays this, the people, too, are to recognize what they are preparing for in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

As the priest shows the Eucharistic Species to the people, again Scripture drips from the Mass: “Behold, the Lamb of God, behold He who takes away the sin of the world” from John the Baptist’s testimony to Jesus in the Gospels, to which is added Revelation 19:9: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  The response then echoes the words of the Centurion from Luke 7:6-7: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed.”  One thing to note is that these are obviously not direct lifts from Scripture, but are translations through the Latin and filtered through the history of the Liturgy.  The priest receives first, then the deacon, before distribution to the laity.  This is not a denigration of the laity, but respects the hierarchy of the Church.

In the reforms after Vatican II, there was a desire to return to more ancient practices during the distribution of Communion than had been practiced just prior to the Council.  One fruit of this is Communion in the Hand, which has ancient sources and is not an innovation of the Council, see the Jerusalem Catechesis from the year 400.  This was originally abandoned in the Middle Ages as a sign of respect for the Eucharist, that poor and dirty hands should not touch the Sacred Species.  However, now it is argued on the flip side that to stick your tongue out at the priest is not very dignified either.  The truth is in there somewhere, and I have a preference to distribute on the tongue, but that is simply my preference.

A second change was the distribution from the Chalice, which was called for by the Council in special circumstances, but was widened in the promulgation of the GIRM in 1970.  Not taking anything away from Trent, which taught that one receives the fullness of the Eucharist no matter how big or small a portion one receives, sought this reform out for the fullness of sign: as Jesus said take and eat, take and drink; it was felt this would be good to re-introduce.

Third, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion were introduced to aid in the distribution of Communion to the Faithful.  The important distinction as to why EMOC’s do not take the ciborium or chalice directly off the altar, but instead have it handed to them, is that only the bishop and priest is able to take from the altar directly, since they are, in a way, one with the altar.  EMOC’s are simply to aid in the distribution to their brethren through a human mediation; it is important in the Church’s mind to hear the words and to respond: The Body of Christ, Amen; the respondent giving consent to what he or she is receiving.

 

These are my thoughts on the importance of the Communion Rite in the Church.  It is the time when we are most connected with Our Lord, for we take Him really and truly, fully and completely into our very self.  How marvelous it is that we are able to do such a thing.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gone, again!?!?

Yes, it's true.  I am once again leaving the friendly confines of the Mother Church of the Queen City to take my show on the road.  This time, purely for work.  I'll be visiting our college seminarians at the Josephinum today and tomorrow and hitting the recruiting trail afterwards in Steubenville.  Try to keep the peace in my absence!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grandpa's last joke

For those of you outside of western Ohio, it seems grandpa's last joke on the rest of us was the fact that it SNOWED dramatically during the funeral Mass and Rite of Committal at the cemetary. He's smiling down and saying: Gotcha!

God's Rest, Grandpa. We all love you much.

Funeral Homily for Edward L. Dietz

From the foundations of this country as a mainly Protestant country, there has always been an underlying current that wants to separate holiness from happiness. From our study of American History, we learn about the Puritans who banished dancing and all seeming enjoyment. The Quakers were ‘quietists’ who sought to eliminate any type of emotionalism to have a ‘pure’ religious experience. These two factors, plus many others, eventually lead to Prohibition, the outlawing of all alcohol outside of religious use in this country; absolutely horrifying for someone of German descent!
It is something that still exists today in Pop Culture, as those who are presented as ‘holy’ are usually also presented as ‘dour.’ They have no fun, they are always serious, there is never enjoyment to be found, rather they spend all of their time on the knees in reparation for sins.
It does not take long for anyone who has known my Grandfather, even for the shortest amount of time, to recognize that this is not who he was. Over the last few days, after Grandpa passed on, the one comment that always comes to the fore about Grandpa: “He was quick with a joke.” Seemingly, he never met a joke he didn’t like, and he was always on the lookout for an unsuspecting new acquaintance on whom he could pull out the old stand-bys, in addition to the latest he heard from where ever. For his grandchildren, this was always a nerve-wracking position as we introduced an unsuspecting girlfriend or boyfriend for the first time at a family gathering. Grandpa would get this sly little look on his face, slowly slide over by the neophyte, and unleash a torrent of his recent favorites. The appropriate grandchild would dutifully role his or her eyes and want to climb into a hole somewhere, embarrassed.
But, grandpa’s love for jokes was not self serving; he never did it to bring attention to himself, but used this great love for humor to make others feel welcome and at home. He could take a tense and anxious situation and bring a relaxing calm to all present. What a wonderful gift that is to be able to share with so many, friends and family alike. And what a wonderful way to acknowledge the Love that God has for each one of us through the mystery and gift of laughter. As Fr. Pat led us through the discussion about Grandpa the other day, this was the idea that Jim, Larry, Mom, Diane, Mark and Lora all kept coming back to: Grandpa used the jokes to break down barriers, to establish friendships, and make people feel at ease.
While this love of humor was certainly one Grandpa’s most public aspects, it was not the deepest aspect of who he was. Being a farmer, something which never leaves the blood, is a great lesson in the trusting in the deep providence of God in all things. The family was reminiscing how during planting time, Grandpa was always testy, anxious for the coming year and how the crops would turn out. This deep reliance on the providence of God, though, was expressed in many ways. I remember learning to serve at morning Masses here at Immaculate Conception, and Grandma and Grandpa were always sitting in the same pew, praying the rosary, saying their prayers after Mass. Just as prayer marked the rhythm of life in a monastery, prayer was what marked the rhythm of life for grandma and grandpa, and very little would stand in his way. In fact, so important was Sunday Mass, that at one point the farm was snowed in. Even though he felt it was too dangerous for the children to come into town for Mass, he walked both ways so that he would not miss his Sunday obligation. (Either that, or he was tired of being cooped up with Jim and Larry, and decided a walk through several feet of snow was a good thing!)
As it is for so many who work the land and rely on the Providence of God to survive, prayer was something real, something personal, something powerful, and any opportunity to steal a moment in prayer was taken advantage of. Grandma related on Thursday that he would often pray a rosary while either planting or plowing, bragging often: I got two full rosaries in today! (As an aside, this is much better than Uncle Larry’s option of falling asleep at the wheel of the tractor!)
One final aspect that cannot be skipped over is his devotion to his family. While his was not a love that was worn on the sleeve, the love and concern that he had for his family was something that was always present, guiding how he treated his children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. Family was always important and he was generous in his own way. While for many years, all you would receive is a hearty handshake and a firm ‘yep!’, his devotion to grandma, especially in their years of retirement, is an example to us, his friends and descendents.
The legacy that he passes on to us continues these three themes: humor as a way of inviting others into relationship, faith, and family. Through all of this, his dedication and hard work provide the blue-print to a success that is not measured in dollars, but is measured in friends. Last night, as we were leaving the funeral home after the visitation, I thought of the funerals I have had for those in their 90’s. The crowds tend to be small, a few friends who are remaining, family scattered about. Grandpa, as he did with so many things, greatly exceeded expectations. So many friends, so many family members (many of whom I did not even know!), came to pay respects for a man who was deeply loved and respected, who enjoyed his life, but also had a deep and profound faith.
And the common consensus was: where are we going to get our jokes now?

today's the day

And boy, tired.

Yesterday was a marathon session: the four hours of scheduled visitation turned more into 6 (we did get about an hour's break for some chow), as the crowds just kept piling in. I was thinking that we scheduled too much time, but I forgot how popular of a man my grandfather was: he knew everyone in town, and it seemed like mostly everyone had come by for a visit.

We are starting to get wound up for the funeral today. I'm doing everything except the final committal at the gravesite. Writing out the homily was pretty tough, so any extra prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Two special notes of thanks:

1) Fr. Pat Sloneker, pastor here in Botkins, did a wonderful job of leading the family through the planning of the funeral. He asked all the right questions, was very kind to Grandma especially, and help us all to make the appropriate decisions.

2) While there was a large mass of flowers at the funeral home (having visited the Biltmore estate last week, it seemed we were in the running for 'most flowers' distinction), one small bouquet was very kind, simply signed 'The Bloggers.' It never occurred to me that starting this little project would result in good friendships from around the country. I was deeply touched by your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Updated

I had the wrong branch of the funeral home for tomorrow's visitation, not the one in 'downtown' Wapakoneta, but the Bayliff and Eley on the north side of Wapak, State Route 501. Map is updated below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Details

Visitation for Edward Dietz:

Friday, November 14, from 2-4 and 6-8 at Bayleff and Eley Funeral Home, 1102 Lincoln Ave (State Route 501) Wapakoneta, Ohio.



Funeral: Saturday 10:30 AM, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, N. Main Street, Botkins, OH.


View Larger Map

A note from my sister

Two of my sisters went to visit Grandma and Grandpa last night at the hospital. Tania sent along this:

Tricia and I went up last night and I was being very selfish at first thinking a night at home going to bed early would be so much nicer after having kids waking up during the night the last three nights. But I knew it was something I needed to do so off we went. It was a great visit, they both were good. When we got there he was in Grandmas room with the door closed, getting their privacy maybe even pretending they were back at home. He was talking, told me some jokes, etc. He was a little confused but I never would have imagined that would have been his last night with us or that Tricia and I would have been the last to see him. He went peacefully, without suffering which we should all be grateful for.

Reflections

Grandpa turned 91 years of age just two weeks ago, and he and Grandma had celebrated their 63rd year together at the start of the summer.  He certainly lived a full and mostly active life, just slowing down over the last few years.

He was never one to meet a stranger.  Whenever a new 'significant other' was introduced at a family party, Grandpa would sidle up alongside, an unsuspecting target for his extenxive array of slightly off color jokes had arrived.  He couldn't wait for the next family get together to share a new joke he picked up somewhere along the way.

Playing cards was certainly his favorite pasttime.  In fact, he (and grandma) had a different game they played with each family.  I think with my folks it was Euchre; Pinochle, Spades and even Canasta were also particular favorites.  Over these last years, visiting the farm during the daytime hours would find he and grandma both playing solitaire at opposite ends of the kitchen table.

As he died on Veteran's Day, a small remark deserves to be made.  He signed up for the Army in World War II, but was medically deferred.  Guess he showed them!  (He had bad knees.)

He was never one to travel much, he lived his entire life between two neighboring farms on the same street out in the country.  Grandma said they went down to Texas once or twice to visit my Aunt and Uncle (their oldest) when they lived there.  I can also remember that they were taken to Chicago to visit the same family within the last five years.  He was never comfortable outside of his home, so they generally stayed home.  "The farm needed taken care of, anyways."

He was a good man and a very generous heart.  He is survived by his wife Viola, his six children, 22 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.  I know he was very proud of his family and the many various things we have all done and become.  I like to think it was at least party because of the great example that he was to all of us: not flashy, quick with a smile, and just plugged away day after day.

May the saints and angels lead you into Paradise!

Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord

Just got off the phone with my mom, her father Edward Dietz passed away last night around 11:30 PM.

Tentative plans for the funeral are the visitation on Friday night, funeral Saturday morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back in the Office

Yikes

Stacks of emails

Phone messages

snail mail

bills


Almost not worth taking the time away!

Quick update on Grandpa, and now Grandma, too:

Grandpa has rebounded well to treatments and is getting stronger and better, for 91 that is! He is still in the hospital, but is expected to be released to a long term care facility sometime this week, hopefully. He could be released now, but.... Last Monday, Grandma (his wife) fell and broke her femur about an inch or two below her hip, and got taken to the same hospital where she went through surgery and is now in recovery. She should also be ready to move to a transitional care facility within a few days, so they are going to release them together.

I was teasing Grandma yesterday that Grandpa was getting too much attention and wanted some of her own. They both seem to be in good spirits, but please pray for their continued recovery.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heading on Vacation

Heading out shortly for vacation, be out all week.

Dia Dormier

Here's the back of the Black Vestments being worn at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains today.

Black Velvet, got some wieght to em.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

I can now ignore all those ads

My ballot is filled out, sealed and ready to go in the mail.  (well, at least with the addition of a stamp.)

Now I can blissfully turn a deaf ear to the next political ad, ahhhh..........

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update on Grandpa

For those wondering, my Grandfather whom I mentioned last week is holding on, getting a bit stronger, and is now in something like a transitional care facility. I really don't know what it is, something between full hospital care and a regular nursing home.

In related news, today is his 91st birthday!

Radio Goo Goo

As just mentioned, I was at the stations of Sacred Heart Radio this afternoon for taping of The Gospel Today for this weekend. It airs on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 and 11:30 on 740AM, Sacred Heart Radio, also streamed online.

To hear it live, report to the Cathedral at 8:30 on Sunday. I'm looking forward to the vestment selection, hint hint.

For those who are looking for a place to celebrate the Holy Day Mass on Saturday (even though it is not a day of obligation), I have the 8:00 AM Mass at Holy Name on Auburn Ave, before a rosary procession to planned unparenthood.

Why so silent?

Sorry for the silence, folks, still trying to catch up with things over the last week.

For Monday's events, read Adoro's post.

Tuesday afternoon was priest support, where we toured the Servatii Bakery plant. Yummy

Wednesday was the priest convocation on trauma. Afterwards, a different priest group got together.

This morning was a few meetings, lunch at the sem, and then to the radio station.

No wonder my desk monster is getting bigger instead of smaller!

Monday, October 27, 2008

blognic is on

Despite the silence over the weekend, the blognic is still on for tonight.8:30 @ hoffbrau haus Newport

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Always come in Three's....

After one on Saturday and another on Monday, I was expecting the other shoe to drop.

Mom and her five siblings have been summoned to the hospital to keep watch and vigil with their father, my grandfather.  He's been in since last Friday, received the Last Rites, and now the waiting has begun.

Any prayers for my grandfather, Edward, would be greatly appreciated.  Oh, and keep Viola, his dear wife of 63 years there, too.  I have a feeling that when one goes, the other will not be too far behind.

UPDATE: It seems Grandpa has stabalized somewhat over night, they sent the family home to get some rest, but it seems a long weekend is in store.

Deep in History

I admit, I can't wait for this weekend. Not only will it be much quieter than last weekend, but a chance to gather with friends and some soon to be friends at the annual Deep in History Conference, sponsored by the Coming Home Network. This year's theme is "The Battle for the Faith: North America 1700-1900."

The line-up looks to be the typical list of 'heavy hitters' as in the past years; but I am particularly looking forward to Msgr. Frank Lane's talk on Bardstown. Not simply for the topic matter, but also because he is one of the priests during my seminary formation whom I really admired and thought: "If I could be just even a smidge like him....."

For all those joining together this weekend in Columbus, I will see you there, I can't wait!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just another ho-hum weekend

Sorry for the silence the last three days, especially after all the excitement on Friday.  A run down of an all too typical weekend for me:

Thursday Evening: Evening for Life with the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati

Friday:
At the computer at 6:00 AM, heard an announcement was coming.
phone calls started at 6:30, with a mix of surfing until about 8:00
8:30 head to the office, tried to work, YEAH, RIGHT!
10:00 back to Cathedral for Press Conference
12:30 back to office, head spinning
2:00 Mass with Franciscan Daughters of Mary
3:30 back to Cathedral
5:30 leave for wedding rehearsal (for the second time, oh to read a calendar right!) '6' = six o'clock, not FIVE!
after wedding rehearsal, funeral home visitation for the wife of a big supported of the vocation office
home, then dinner at Rock Bottom at about 9:00


Saturday
10:30 Funeral, see above
12:30 back at Cathedral
1:30 - 3:00 confessions at Cathedral (three penitents, as there was a wedding in the chapel.  At least I got some reading done!)
5:00 wedding at St. Francis de Sales
post wedding: Banzai run to Target for birthday present for my 3 year old God-Daughter
7:30 Mass, coaches and a player with the Bengals.  (maybe Coach Lewis should insist everyone go?!?!?!)  (He attended the other chapel service.)
9:00 home, hmmm.... dinner; Nicholson's this time; ran into the cousin of a brother priest!


Sunday
8:45 leave for Minster, Ohio
10:45 arrive in Minster for Ashlyn's 3rd birthday party
junk food, coffee, egg casarole, more coffee, and then cake; leaves on feeling rather unwell!  Mix in tossing the football in the back yard, ugh!
2:30 leave Minster, head to funeral home in Cincinnati
4:30 arrive at funeral home in Cincinnati
5:00 (after cutting the line, membership has its privileges!) leave funeral home
Dinner at a friend's house, relax
7:30 Mass at a parish
9:15 home


Monday
8:30 go to office
9:30 leave office, back to Cathedral (why did I even go?!?!), leave for next funeral
10:30 Funeral
noon: back at Cathedral, scarf lunch, return to office
1:30 chat with a supporter/friend about some ideas for the Office and/or seminary
3:00 back in office
4:00 return to Cathedral for confessions and Mass
5:45 head to dinner with a friend
7:30-9:00 Vocation Advisory Board meeting, went very well, thanks!
9:15 emails
9:45 'review of weekend post'
Who's playing Monday Night Football?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blognic!

Well, it is time.

I've been on the air for nearly two years now, and have never had a 'gathering' for 'Called by Name.'  I am happy to announce that is about to change!

Next weekend, some friends will be in town, and heading back out on Tuesday, October 28.  Hence, Monday evening, October 27th is open for the first Called by Name Blognic!

Details:

8:30 to 10:00 PM, location: Hoffbrauhaus Newport, across from Newport on the Levee.  We'll be in the side dining room instead of the main beer hall.  Come one and all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Difference between a Coadjutor and an Auxiliary

Auxiliary walks into the bishop's office in the morning and asks: "Everything ok today?"

Coadjutor walks into the bishop's office and asks: "How are you feeling today?"

As said by Archbishop Pilarczyk at the press conference.

This is going to be confusing with two Archbishops.

Initial Impressions

While always dangerous, initial impressions seem to be very favorable across the board.  Archbishop Schnurr brings a wealth of administrative experience, both at the diocesan level and the level of the USCCB.  During the press conference, he had a very good pastoral sense and said all the right things.  He did mention the success he's had in promotion of vocations, and is therefor heading to our seminary this afternoon.  In that vein, two things: he mentioned that he appointed himself as Vocation Director when he went to the diocese of Duluth, prompting some in the crowd to look at me and say 'start packing!' and that during his tenure in Duluth, vocations tripled.  All of which I am very happy to hear.

Now, what everyone was waiting to hear:

Start date: November 30th
Mass of Welcome: December 7th

Drop of title 'Co-Adjutor': upon the retirement of Archbishop Pilarczyk, which is yet to be determined.

word's out! New SHEPHERD!


Word on the street, or actually from the Vatican, we have a new Co-Adjutor!


So far, details I have found: (might be updated)

60 years old
Executive Director of World Youth Day, Denver
General Secretary of the USCCB (which I think is the priest who is in charge of the day to day stuff of the conference)
Priest from Iowa
North American in Rome and Gregorian Alum
Doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic U.



According NCDVD, our new Shepherd serves as the Director of Vocations for his current diocese, assisted by a priest and a deacon.  The Diocese is not a member of NCDVD, which is our national organization.

10:30 Press Conference at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rough few days

A friend of mine has had a rough few days of it, please keep her in your prayers: Her son, who lives out of state, and her two-year old grandson were shot in a domestic dispute; resulting in her grandson's death. Very tragic. Don't know any of the details.

Back in the Fold

Meant to post on the weekend yesterday, but got caught up in things and then the internet went down at the Cathedral. Back in the office today, but got a meeting up in Dayton this morning, leaving shortly, hopefully will post more later.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Go gettem, Paula!

Paula Westwood of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati has a great guest column in today's Cincinnati Enquirer on how, across the country, Planned (un)Parenthood has a pattern of covering up cases of potential sexual abuse of minors.  Way to go, Paula!

Unfortunately, I can't find the article on the Enquirer's page, grrr....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bravo, Enquirer

Today's editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer certainly calls for praise, putting the human dimension to a very difficult question clearly in focus. Particularly telling:

The notion of sending a young girl off after such treatment - and the surrounding emotional issues of sexual abuse, pregnancy and termination, with a cloud of secrecy covering it all - with only the oversight of an irresponsible 21-year-old who was, in fact, her abuser is way outside the range of responsible medical treatment. It flies in the face of good care of this adolescent.
It may be easy to see why anti-abortion advocates wouldn't like this case, but abortion rights advocates should be just as incensed. Otherwise, what happens to all the concern they express about protecting the health of females?
It's hypocritical to make a case for safe abortions when, in this case, the protections provided - including parental notification - fall far short of regular, responsible medical care of a minor.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

HPR

Homiletic and Pastoral Review is a monthly journal on all things Catholic. Generally, I would say it is one of the more prestiguous on the conservative side of things, along with First Things. To get an article published here is no small thing.

Low and behold, my surprise at this month's issue (October 2008), beginning on page 44: "On the rebirth of holy names" by Rev. Mr. David J. Endres; seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati!

Congrats David, and be assured of our continued prayers for you as you approach your ordination this May!
UPDATE: HPR is found here, doesn't look like all the articles from the current issue are available online.

More on Technology

We've had computer issues here at the Central Offices last the week (luckily I was out of the office for most of the storm). Well, instead of having my very own personal computer sitting on my desk, I have now gone to a Sun Microsystem workstation. Anyone else work with one of these that has any advice to pass along?

Fr. Paul Wolfer, rest in Peace

Word comes this morning bringing sad news, Fr. Paul Wolfer, a priest for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, passed away last evening.

As he lived with him for a short time, Fr. Rob Jack has a moving testimonial over at Ecce Sacerdos.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Priestless Sundays

One of the new Vocation Directors met last week was Fr. Leo of the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska.  During conversations, he mentioned a new endeavor by the Diocese to raise awareness of the need for vocations to the priesthood for the diocese: Priestless Sunday.

One of the difficulties with the Diocese there, one of the few (if not the only?) mission dioceses in the States, is that they have quite a number of mission parishes that are in the far reaches of the diocese who only see their priests every three to six weeks, while the parishes in the city have a regular priest who is there every week.  So, one weekend, all of these 'city priests' are heading to the outskirts to provide for the spiritual needs of the people out in the hinterlands.

Interesting concept, and I hope it helps to encourage native vocations, as Fr. Leo mentioned that the majority of the priests in the diocese are imports from the lower 48.

Also, Fr. Leo mentioned that they also important priests to cover all of their parishes for Christmas and Easter.  Hmm... I wonder if Mom would mind if I whisked away to Alaska for Easter this year.....  (She'll probably want to go with me!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Home from Denver

Hobnobbed with Cardinal Foley last night.

Off to Mass on the Radio shortly

Weekend Discernment Retreat.

Sleep Sunday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rum, Romanism, and Rasberry Ale

Certainly, when a group of Vocation Directors from across the country get together, trouble ensues.  We're just never sure of what kind of trouble.  Alas, let me explain..... (no, there is too much, let me sum up:)

Today found us gathered at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver for our morning of reflection.  I admit, Brad Watkins has an excellent bishop, as his ordinary (Bishop Burbige) gave the morning address and really challenged us to embrace the call that we have received from Christ as Vocation Directors, an even more specialized version of our call as priests.

Well, to prove that no good morning goes unpunished, there was a select group of us that selected for the Red Rock Park/Brewery Tour Excursion this afternoon.  For those from outside the greater Denver area, Red Rock Park is either a state or city park where they have turned a natural ampitheater into a pretty impressive outdoor performance hall, which so was dominate in the national awards for the journal that the award was name for the arena!

Well, after sending a short and pithy email with a pic from the phone to someone back in Ohio who was stuck in work, (this was from my kind and gentle side), we headed back into Denver for a short tour and sampling of 'Great Divide's product sampling.

Great Divide is one of many micro-brews in the area, as our planned trip to Coor's fell through.  (I have so far failed to see the drawback in this plan.....)  Well, let me paint this picture for you:

35 priests walk into a bar  (What is this, some kind of joke?!?!?!)  Great Divide has a wonderful selection of great beers, so we all proceed to sample a few.  (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!!!)  Their 'St. Brigid Porter' is not to be missed, commemorating St. Brigid's unique and unparalleled ability to turn water into BEER!  I, however, because of my anti-Irish sensibilities (ganz Deutsch, bin ich) turned rather to the Double IPA, WOW, what a nice selection.

The humor of tonight's story, not that there were not already many laughs, came as one of the last of our brothers ordered his selection.  Well, as we were heading on a Brewery Tour, most of us 'went civy' and replaced clerical attire with regular clothes.  Our brother from New Orleans was less fashion conscious, and stayed in clerical attire.  Remember, he was nearly the last of 35 to order his beer selection, and the waitress responds: 'Oh, I couldn't take money from a priest!'

HUH?!?!?!  She had just taken money from 30 some priests!!!!!!  I guess you win some, you lose some.  Bummer

Her story as to why she wouldn't take money from (one who was dress as a) priest was interesting.  She confessed (Theresa being her name) that she had recently finished the pilgrimage to Compestelo in Spain.  And not the short version, either, but rather started somewhere near Paris and walked all the way to the western tip of the Iberian Penisula.  Hmm, never know who you are gonna meet.

Luckily, Father Christman (DoV of Denver) was with us and could direct her to a good parish here in the home office.

The moral of the story, never be afraid to witness to your Catholic faith, even if it requires taking a big leap of faith, 'natch.

One more day of conference tomorrow, with a very early start!

You, Me, Radio

Tomorrow morning, I'll be appearing on Sacred Heart Radio live at 7:30 Cincinnati time, which for those keeping track at home is 5:30 here in the Mile High City!

As always, listen along at www.sacredheartradio.com

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Newsletters Available

The St. Michael Prayer Warriors page has been updated for 'post conference' status after last weekend's wildly successful event.  Find the October Newsletter, plus details from the conference, and assorted prayer materials here.

Updates from Denver

So, it seems like we've all made it to the National Convention for Diocesan Vocation Directors here in Denver, and the enjoyment level is already high.

I arrived on Saturday and crashed dinner with two priests and a layman.  Even though a 35 minute wait turned into 90, we still had a great time.  (Comp'ed appetizers helped!)

Sunday was a presentation on how to implement the new program for priestly formation into our work as vocation directors by the faculty and staff of St. John Vianney Seminary here in Denver.  They seem to have a pretty unique view on things, and really give their guys a challenge to embrace that call from Christ.  The unique nugget that I'll take from it: Don't ask general discernment questions, but ask 'Is Jesus callin you to the priesthood, or not?'  This question hones things in on the real issue, and can prevent the 'fence sitting.'

Last night was an address by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's Nuncio as Permanent Observer to the UN.  He was supposed to give the keynote this morning, but was called before the General Assembly.  Somehow, they ranked higher than a group of 300 vocation directors.  The nerve!  His talk was excellent, but hard to summarize.  It was more along the lines of his personal reflections on being called to the priesthood and the encounter with Christ.  I think he stunned us all into silence, as there were no questions afterwards, a rarity for this group.  His talk reminded me of a story of Archbishop Sheen and Orson Wells being at the same party and both asked to read Psalm 24 (?) (The Lord is my Shepherd).  Wells went first and read it with power and prestige, and upon his finish, loud applause.  Archbishop Sheen read the Psalm with prayer and conviction, inspiring silence among his audience.  The host quipped: 'One knew the Psalm, and one knew the Shepherd.'  Archbishop Migliore knows the Shepherd, and what a privelige to hear him speak.

This morning was business meetings and another inspiring welcome by our president, Fr. Len P of Tampa/St. Pete.  As it seems is common everywhere right now, there was a lengthy discussion about dues, and an increase of dues.  Money makes the world go round, after all.

However, the best asset so far was a new 'Guide for Discernment' which is newly published by NCDVD.  'Formational' rather than 'informational,' it centers on 10 sections for prayer and discernment, and is truly a unique contribution to vocation work.  Fr. Tom Richter of Bismark is the primary author, and centered it around rules 3, 4, & 5 in St. Ignatius of Loyola's Discernment of Spirits.  I look forward to spending time with it, in addition to using it with potential candidates.

There are two potential developments that involve your humble scribe here, both are still in the works, so I'll post developments as I can.

All in all, things are great here.  Although, I did think Denver was in the Mountains, but they are still a good spot away.  I thought they were joking that the airport was in Kansas, but it's out there a ways.  The little part of the city I've seen so far is very beautiful.

Finally, a word about our host.  Fr. Jim is the DoV here in Denver and has been wonderfully gracious.  Well, he claims to be friends with a Kevin Knight of New Advent; if it's true, we'll see....

Keep up the prayers for our little gathering.  Still to come are regional meetings this afternoon before dinner out as a group.  Tomorrow brings a morning of reflection by Bishop Burbige of Raleigh, NC, at St. John Vianney Seminary here in Denver, before afternoon excursions.  (Real cultural ones, too, like a visit to a local brewery!)  (Speaking of Raleigh, Brad Watkins, who is their assitant Vocation Director, is here and we had the chance to have breakfast together.)

Wednesday is another keynote, this by Mr. Curtis Martin, founder of FOCUS, more business meetings, afternoon workshops, evening Mass with Archbishop Chaput, and our closing banquet.

Thursday morning will see my return to the Queen City of the Midwest for another evening banquet, this with Cardinal Foley in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saints and Blesseds, Answered

I have been remiss for not posting the answers.

For more great programs to promote vocations in your parish and home, see the Vocation Awareness Week page.

1. I once stood in front of my church and barred my king from attending Mass after he had ordered innocent men to be killed. St. William

2. At a young age, I convinced the citizens of Paris to stay, fast and pray when Attila the Hun was threatening to invade. He later changed course and I became the Patron Saint of Paris. St. Genevieve

3. I was a Roman soldier who was tortured to death after proclaiming my Christianity to my Emperor. I am often pictured killing a dragon. St. George

4. During the Early Church persecutions, I preached the good news of Christ in the land of Campania. I survived many forms of torture due to the help of angels and a static electric charge I produced when my torturers tried to use fire on my body. St. Erasmus

5. I was a young slave girl who was arrested for being Christian. I was put to death just three days after giving birth to my daughter. St. Felicity

6. I became a lay brother of the Dominican order after studying to become a barber. I had the ability to fly and to bi-locate. St. Martin de Porres

7. I was a pagan who converted to Christianity and took the place of the priest whom I had hid in my house when persecutors came. St. Alban

8. According to legend, I once reversed the flow of a river and saved a child from execution by controlling the winds which carried him to me. St. Agnus MacNisse

9. I was the Empress of Rome when I walked over pieces of red-hot iron without injury. My husband and I lived a celibate marriage. St. Cunegunda

10. I am known as the first bishop of Jerusalem and the author of the first Catholic epistle. I witnessed the Resurrection. St. James the Lesser

11. I was a missionary priest in Hawaii. I volunteered to work in the leper colony on Molokai and gave my life to make theirs better. Bl. Damien de Veuster

12. I participated in the 1st Crusade to the Holy Land after I was ordained a bishop. St. Peter of Anagni

13. I once hid in a cave with wild animals that came to me for cures. The Church has a special throat blessing on my feast day. St. Blase

14. I was beheaded when I refused the advances of a man. My head was later restored and a well sprang up where my head had fallen. St. Winifred

15. I was an acolyte who died while protecting the Eucharist; upon my death the Eucharist disappeared so my attackers could not touch it. St. Tarsicius

16. I suffered from a rare skin disease which disappeared upon my ordination to the priesthood. St. Francis Caracciolo

17. While my brother monks referred to me as “the gaper” due to my often blank stare, I am also known as the flying saint. St. Joseph of Cupertino

18. Though Henry VIII knew me as the “holiest woman in England,” he exiled me from his royal court when I opposed his marriage to Anne Boleyn. He later beheaded me after my son (a Cardinal) denied his Act of Supremacy. Bl. Margaret Pole

19. I founded the Redemptorist Congregation after many struggles. During the later part of my life I suffered greatly from rheumatism. St. Alphonsus Marie Ligouri

20. With the help of my many visions of Jesus, I established the feast of the Sacred Heart despite the opposition of my mother superior. St. Margaret Mary Alocoque

21. I was a Ugandan who converted to Christianity and helped to protect many young men from my chieftain who later killed us for our faith. St. Charles Lwanga

22. I had the ability to see guardian angels and I was known as “one of the most brilliant theological minds of [my] time.” St. Catherine of Siena

23. I lived in the desert and fasted for 80 years. St. Bengamin the Great of Nitra

24. I was a Vietnamese citizen who was arrested for being a Christian. I briefly gave up my faith, but regained it only to be flogged to death. Bl. Thomas Toan

25. I am said to have re-attached a child’s leg which fell off when the child kicked his mother in front of me. I often help people find things. St. Anthony of Padua

26. I was a spoiled rich kid who wanted to become a knight and ended up repairing the Church and living a life of complete simplicity. St. Francis of Assisi

27. I declined an invitation by the Pope to take charge of an order of nursing sisters but later started the Ursulines, a teaching order for girls. St. Angela Merici

28. I was a housekeeper for a wealthy family and used their resources to donate to the poor. I found real joy in my work. St. Zita

29. I married a wealthy man, but gave generously of our resources, even to the point of bathing the sick with my own hands. St. Zedislava of Lemberk

30. My mother taught me how to dedicate my life to God and built a monastery for me. I lived in holiness to be 118 years old. Bl. Gregory of Verucchio