Monday, October 17, 2011

Data Dump, Mid October Edition

Lots has been happening, so to catch up:

The rumors are true: my 19th niece/nephew is on the way!  Friday night confirmed that my sister Tania is expecting her 5th.  This news, of course, prompted my mother to look at my other siblings and remark: "Isn't 19 a horrible number to land on for grandchildren?  Doesn't 20 have a much better ring to it?"

Last Thursday night saw the official charter of the Serra Club of Sidney/St. Marys Deaneries, which marks the northern two deaneries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  It was a great evening, with much celebration, and a wonderful reflection on the Call to the Priesthood by Bishop Binzer to culminate the night.  Thanks to all who worked so tirelessly to make it happen.

Yesterday, (October 16) saw the inauguration of Fr. Benedict O'Cinnsealaigh as the 35th President/Rector of Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West and the Athenaeum of Ohio.  Here's hoping he publishes that speech, it was absolutely fantastic!

(Oh, the Seminary has a new web presence, too; be sure to check it out.)

Tomorrow, I am visiting our college seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum, which is always a good time.

This week the Vocation Office is hosting two Andrew Dinners: Wednesday at Our Lady of Victory in Delhi and Thursday at St. Helen's in Dayton; doors open by 5:30, grub at 6:00, all done by 8:00.

Thursday is also the priest's convocation at Incarnation, Centerville.  Pray for us that day, would you?

This coming weekend marks quite a few events:

1) Parrhesia Conference Saturday, October 22, at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.

2) Deep in History Conference, Oct. 21-23 at the Hilton Easton, Columbus.  I'll once again be leading the Holy Hour Saturday night, if you are there, stop by and say hi.

3) Cast Your Nets - Dayton is Sunday, October 23, 2011, at St. Luke's, Beavercreek, featuring Tony Melendez.  Again, stop by and say Hi if you're there.

Next Monday, I leave, with a priest buddy, for six days of much needed vacation in the Big Apple.  Why we're going to the city that never sleeps when I need more sleep than usual is besides me, but more importantly: what should two mid-western priests see and/or do while in the Capital of the World?

Friday, October 14, 2011

#GratefulTweet Campaign

If you following the Twitter Timeline over there ---> on the right of the screen, you've hopefully seen the #GratefulTweet Day N.:  along with something that I am grateful for on that day.

Admitedly, I shamelessly (hey, what's the world wide interweb for but shamelessly stealing someone else's idea and passing it off as your own?) stole the idea from Matt Swaim, who produces The Son Rise Morning Show at Cincinnati's Catholic Radio: Sacred Heart Radio.

Several others have picked up on the 'Grateful Tweet' campaign; let's make it a Trending Topic, shall we?

From Matt's feed, there are a few simple ground rules:

1. First Tweet of the Day is to be the '#GratefulTweet' to start the day off with a positive spin.  This can be anything, but something you are grateful for, even on the worse days, there's gotta be something.

2. While the challenge is to come up with something each day, if you miss one day, keep on tracking where you left off.

3. Challenge your followers to do the same!

That's about it, really.

So if you're wondering what to do with your Twitter feed (I'm looking at you, Rich!), if all you do is post how awesome your cat is, or just wanna get in the frey to make the interwebs a friendlier place; have at it and #GratefulTweet away!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jibber Jabber at Mass

This morning on Facebook, I posted a little note re: moms bringing little ones to Mass and the usual 'Jibber Jabber' that goes with it.

The on-going conversation thread afterwards was interesting, especially from the moms who struggle to bring little ones to Mass as they feel it is distracting, and they sometimes get stares from others who are in attendance.

I think there are a few things happening here:

1) Especially in bigger Churches, voices echo like crazy.  Part of a toddler's growth and development (DISCLAIMER: NOT A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST!!!!!) is learning to interact with their environment.  When they hear that echo, they can't help but make some noise.  For me, this is not interruptive.  I can usually speak louder than a toddler and still get my point across.  Also, it is important to have little ones in the presence of Our Lord, as I quipped: they speak directly to Him!  So, to the rest of us: Suffer the little children!

2) To those who grumble, DEAL WITH IT!  You were likely there once and shouldn't we rejoice, as a Pro-Life People, at the gift of life and little lives, especially?

3) Now, a screaming, wailing child is an entirely different matter.  These children I can't yell over, cause it just encourages them to get louder.  Feel free to take them out back to calm them down, deal with whatever made them so angry and come back in when you can.  Anyone who has been around children should understand.  THEY ARE NOT ROBOTS!  They're not even dogs who are trainable.  We all understand and no, you are not a bad parent because your child screamed out bloody murder at Mass.  It is their way of getting attention, give it to them.

4) Some of the most humerous things I remember about my family involve my nieces and nephews (soon to be 18) doing goofy stuff, even at Mass.  A few weeks ago, two nieces (cousins, not sisters) were sitting on the floor across the main aisle making faces at each other during the recessional at the end of Mass.  I just stopped and looked down at both of them and laughed and then kept on going.

4.b) My oldest sister has a brother-in-law who was ordained to the priesthood when I was in high school (serving his Mass of Thanksgiving might have had something to do with my own vocation, don't ya think?)  During that Mass, my nephew (and Godson) started screaming bloody murder.  So, up he goes into mom's arms and starts to be carried out the back.  Well inarticulate screams turned into very distinct yells: "DON'T SPANK MY BUTT, MOMMY!!!!" repeated down the side aisle (which was now roughly FIVE MILES long for my sister.  I think I heard her mumble, even from up on the Altar: "Well, I wasn't going to, but now....."

Morale of the Story: Life Happens.  With kids, life often takes unexpected turns.  Enjoy the ride; and bring your children to Mass.

Tony Melendez to headline Cast Your Nets

October 13, 2011

Tony Melendez, an international recording artist and inspirational speaker, will be the featured speaker at this year’s high school Cast Your Nets event at St. Luke in Beavercreek on Sunday, October 23, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Due to a medicine his mother took to ease morning sickness during her pregnancy, Melendez was born in 1962 with no arms. At a young age, however, he told his father that he wanted to learn to play the guitar and began practicing using only his toes. At 16, Melendez remembers, he first started “hearing actual music” coming from the guitar he was playing. He has been playing ever since.

In 1987 he had the rare opportunity to play for Pope John Paul II during the pope’s visit to Los Angeles. At the end of the performance, the pope got down from his stage, walked through a small crowd to the stage on which Melendez was playing, embraced him, and kissed him on his right cheek. The Holy Father then returned to stand in front of his seat, where he announced, “Tony, you are a courageous young man. You are giving hope to all of us. My wish to you is to continue sharing this hope with all the people.” Since that day, Melendez has done exactly that. He will be coming to St. Luke to give a witness to that hope and living a life totally dedicated to doing the will of Christ.

“This is a rare and exciting opportunity for the teens of the Archdiocese,” said Wayne Topp, Cast Your Nets event coordinator. “A man with a life story such as this and with such great experience in inspiring teens to live their lives for Christ is a rare gem and one we are very proud to share with the Archdiocese.”

In addition to Melendez, the event will also feature Mass celebrated by the new auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati, Bishop Joseph Binzer.

“Bishop Binzer is a great example for the people of this Archdiocese in living with joy the life of faith,” said Cincinnati Vocation Director, Fr. Kyle Schnippel. “And his presence at this event is a real blessing to us as event sponsors and to the teens who will have the opportunity to meet him and learn from him for the first time as bishop.”

Cast Your Nets is co-sponsored by the Vocation Office and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who have worked along side the youth ministers in the Dayton region to put on this great event. The cost of the event, which also includes a live band, pizza dinner, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is $5 per person. T-shirts will be sold at the event for $10.

To register, visit: or call Jeanne Fairbanks at 937-229-5916. Deadline for online registration is October 21, but walk-in registrations are also welcomed and encouraged.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Be a Man - Priestly Discernment Version

My friend Emily posts the following video from the Priestly Discernment Program (formerly the Pre-Theologate) at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio:

I've worked with a few men from the program over the years and have found them all to be prayerful, well educated, well formed and well prepared for entrance into Major Seminary.

May God continue to pour out His rich Blessings upon the program!

Grieving the New Translation

Fr. Charles, OFM Cap., has an interesting take on the new translation of the Mass, and a particular aspect of grieving while learing the new prayers.

As I first saw the headline, I tohught it would be another tirade.  Yet, it is rather poinant in connecting his vocation to the priesthood with a priest from his youth:

That's a little thing. Here's another, maybe more important: One of the first priests I ever knew was the pastor of the parish where I was baptized, Fr. Leo Sutula at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Quaker Hill, Connecticut. May he rest in peace. He gave me my first Holy Communion and also (six days later) heard my first confession. He had a gentleness that gave glory to God. He also had a funny habit, at least at daily Mass, of saying all of the secret prayers out loud. So, until I learned the Mass well myself several years later, his Mass always seemed to have more prayers in it. I remember being especially struck by the private preparation prayer before Communion, which he would say out loud:

"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 body."

When I use this option myself, I always think of Fr. Sutula. Until I came to be a priest myself, he was my only experience of this prayer. As I pray the words myself, I'm aware of my connection to the man and his ministry in the economies of grace in my own journey. The prayer is a glimpse for me of the communion of saints.

When I was a mere youth, we often had the same visiting priest, Fr. Louis, who was a native of India, during times when the pastor was either on vacation or during the infrequent times we were between pastors in my small home parish: Immaculate Conception, Botkins, Ohio.

He also said this prayer out loud, and even 25 years later, I can still hear his distinct Indian accent as I pray this prayer now as a priest.  Looking back, I can see this as a seminal moment in my own discernment of the priesthood.  By hearing that call to Christ's love and mercy instead of condemnation, I started to recognize (even though I would never have been able to articulate it at the time) that the priest did something special and unique while at the altar: he called down Christ.

Fr. O'Connor would often say some of the private prayers of the priest aloud, too, especially those during the preparation of the gifts.  I can remember thinking: this is not something ordinary that we are doing here.  Again, did it begin to form, in me, a priestly heart?  I hope so.  What confirms it, when I was ordained, I didn't have to struggle to learn those prayers because I had already prayed them with the priest from my youth.

hmmm.... I think I might have just struck on my next Telegraph article....

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parrhesia: Bold. Catholic. Now.

Catholic young adults in the Cincinnati area (and beyond) are invited to a new event:


So, just what does this mean?  The website describes it thusly:

The New Evangelization, as envisioned by every Holy Father since Pope Paul VI, seeks not to bring "new" faithful into the light of our Catholic faith, but to bring those who have fallen away (sadly, a growing population of young adults) back to the Church. This is necessarily a job for all the Catholic faithful, as we are the ones who can reach those who have left the Church for whatever reason. This requires faith, knowledge, love, courage and much prayer.

In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, our late Holy Father Blessed John Paul II said:

Proclamation is inspired by faith, which gives rise to enthusiasm and fervor in the missionary...the Acts of the Apostles uses the word parrhesia to describe this attitude, a word which means to speak frankly and with courage.

In that spirit, Parrhesia (a new event on the New Evangelization) hopes to inspire young adults to boldly proclaim their Catholic faith in word and deed - and in doing so, to inspire others to take another look at the faith they once knew.

With the support of the Archdiocesan Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry and our sponsoring organizations, we are thrilled to launch what we hope will be an annual event.

DATE: Saturday, October 22, 2011 The inaugural memorial of Blessed John Paul II!

Location: St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 325 W. 8th, downtown Cincinnati

Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Schedule, speakers and registration is all at the Parrhesia site.

Friday, October 7, 2011

'Childless' by Brain Gail

In Fatherless, Brian Gail turned an eye to the past few decades to examine how the Culture of Death grew and became entrenched in American culture. Motherless examined the present day situation and how it has impacted families and the Church. Now, in Childless, (publish date: 11/2/11) the American Tragedy Trilogy series finds its fitting conclusion as he turns his eyes towards the future and what could possibly happen as the forces in the modern world push further towards the New World Order and seek to further marginalize the Church into the far corners of society.

Picking up the story of Fr. John Sweeney as he continues to minister to his small flock in suburban Philadelphia, the trials and tribulations of his parish families serve once again as a backdrop for Mr. Gail to analyze the global movements pushing towards a New Age of Man, and what could possibly happen if the Church were to lose her voice in the Public Square, calling the world to conversion and repentance. The characters continue to have an emotional depth that moves the story forward as they struggle to deal with the trials and tribulation of daily life, especially as living their Catholic faith continues to be more and more an embrace of a White Martyrdom, if indeed, not an actual red Martyrdom.

Certainly, this conclusion is a wake-up call to Catholics: priests, religious and laity; to take our call to be leaven for society seriously. We are called to change society, not to adapt to the whims of the ever-changing modern world. Moral courage will be tested, will we all have the courage to stand against the forces of the Enemy and be joyous witnesses of the great gift that is Life?

A special note of thanks to Brian Gail and the publishing team at Emmaus Road for the review copy, it was greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's On!

UPDATE: over the air viewing: 14.1 or 14.5
Time Warner channel 982 or 1014 on their HD Tier package

Tonight, 8 PM, local Cincinnati PBS affiliate Think TV 14 HD: Catholicism, episode 1

Time Warner Cable digital tier channel 13, I think.


What: The Catholicism Project

Time: 8pm

Dates: 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26 in Cincinnati (All Wednesdays); see local listings across the country;

Where: Channels 14.1 and 14.5 in Cincinnati (; will also be carried on EWTN - check schedule link above.


For the first time, in breathtaking and high-definition cinematography, the truth, goodness, and beauty of Catholicism are illustrated in a multimedia experience. Journey with Fr. Robert Barron to more than 50 locations throughout 16 countries. Be illuminated by the spiritual and artistic treasures of this global culture that claims more than one billion of the earth’s people.

From the sacred lands of Israel to the beating heart of Uganda, from the glorious shrines of Europe to the streets of Mexico, Kolkata, and New York City, the mysteries of CATHOLICISM are revealed. Learn what Catholics believe and why. Discover the full meaning of the faith.
My review is here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Am Morgen, die Messe auf Deutsch!

Tomorrow morning will mark the fourth language I have used to celebrate the Holy Mass: German, and I have to admit it is a bit rusty.  There is one German language Mass still said in the Cincinnati area: 11:00 AM at Old St. Mary's in Over the Rhine.  The priest who had been celebrating it is on a medical hiatus, so a few of us who have skill in der Vatersprache are filling in; should be a good time, hoeffenlich!

(English, Spanish and Latin are the previous three, in case you were wondering.  Thankfully, the homily tomorrow is still in English!)