Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alternative New Year's Celebration

So, tired of the jet set lifestyle that says you have to go out partying for New Year's Eve? Looking for something to do as a family, but not sure where to go? Feel like you want to start the New Year off right, but not sure how to do it?

Come on down to the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains for Adoration for Vocations, and Mass at Midnight, New Year's Day!

The Vocation Office is once again hosting a chance for the faithful to gather to pray before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, in the run up to New Years. Following the 5:15 PM Mass on December 31, Christ will be present in the Monstrance for the faithful to gather in prayer. About 11:45 or so, we will have Benediction, and conclude the evening with Mass starting at Midnight, setting a tone for the entire year to be based in Christ.

Last year, we stayed in the Daily Chapel. I would love to have to move out to the Big Church, which would take at least 100 people.

Oh, and better yet, the seminarians will be serving the Mass. See you there!

Darwinism, misguided

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a column by Kathleen Parker this morning on misguided Darwinism, and how things can run amok very quickly:

Hey, did you hear the one about the woman who aborted her kid so she could save the planet?
That's no joke, but Darwin must be chuckling somewhere.

Toni Vernelli was one of two women recently featured in a London Daily Mail story about environmentalists who take their carbon footprint very, very seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that Vernelli aborted a pregnancy and, by age 27, had herself sterilized. Baby-making, she says, is "selfish" and "all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet."
Because Toni and her husband, Ed, are childless and vegan, they say they can justify one long-haul airplane trip per year and still remain carbon neutral.

It is an interesting twist from abortion as a 'right' to abortion as the morally responsible option. A friend of mine was on assignment in Texas, and related the following story of a co-worker:

Her coworker's daughter was pregnant, in her mid-twenties and married, so no scandal was involved. However, pre-natal testing revealed a possibility of Down's Syndrome. The co-worker, the grandmother of the child, wanted her daughter to abort the pregancy "Because I don't think that they can handle the responsibility of a special needs child." When pushed, it came down to: 'What kind of quality of life could they provide for this child?'

With the rise in mandatory pre-natal testing, I see this coming down the pike more and more, and what a scary thought it is.

One last quote:

Although I doubt there are many willing to sterilize themselves in order to reduce the size of their carbon footprint, such extreme materialism is the evolutionary product of our gradual commodification of human life.
Suddenly, the unborn is of no greater importance than the contents of our recycling bin. Like Weight Watchers dieters substituting carbs for sugars, we trade off future members of the human race to neutralize insults to Earth's balance in the present.
Here's how the mental calculation goes: Let's see, if I abort my child, maybe I can travel first-class to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.
Is this the slippery slope that pro-lifers prophesied? Once such utilitarian concerns edge out our humanity -- and once human life is deemed to have no greater value than any other life form -- how long before we begin tidying up other inconveniences?

There is a parallel article running at Ignatius Insight, by Mary Beth Bonacci.

Teachers vs. Priests

With a swing of the Thurible to Carl Olson, comes an analysis in National Catholic Register on the Mass Market Media's response and covering of the recent AP series on sexual abuse in public schools.

The series told of an entrenched resistance to stopping abusers on the part of teachers, administrators and the National Education Association, a teacher’s union.
So why apparently have only a handful of newspapers nationwide run the series — in stark contrast to the avalanche of press received by the Catholic Church since 2002?
Paul Colford, corporate communications director for the AP, said he was inundated with complaints from people wondering why their newspapers were not carrying the series.
The AP’s investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions “from bizarre to sadistic.” It said that on any given day, three educators are actively “hitting on” students, thus speaking to “a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spanning the Globe

to bring news on Vocations, via CNS NewsHub:

First, the reports of the efforts of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and their recent upswing in numbers of seminarians:

Money and effort alone can't effect vocations to the priesthood, Jiron explained, "God calls men interiorly." But in 15 years of working in vocation discernment, including some time in the seminary himself, Jiron said, "Every single vocation I know of has always been invited - by a priest, religious or other lay person ... so God's call also speaks through others."

A Vocation Group in Los Angeles helps men discern the call to the priesthood:

"We started interviewing priests and seminarians," explained Tirone, "asking them, 'What were the key aspects that you did during your pre-seminary days that either moved you closer to the seminary or took you away from it?' And we basically came up with five phases in the vocational journey process: 'Serving Others,' 'Vocation Thoughts,' 'Informal Inquiry,' 'Spiritual Formation' and 'Formal Discernment.'
"The vocational journey starts with a passion to serve. So, if somebody is open to whatever God wants in his life, [they're welcome] to come to the group," said Tirone, who added that people in Phase One usually never thought about the priesthood but typically enjoy serving others.

Finally, words of wisdom from Cardinal McCarrick: "Happy priests attract men to want to be priests":

“I think every priest should stand outside church after Mass, even when it’s cold,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “Maybe not when it rains,” he added, drawing laughter from the audience.A priest once came to him, Cardinal McCarrick said, who was distressed that few people came to see him during the week, even though the priest always made himself available. The priest was skeptical when Cardinal McCarrick suggested standing outside to greet parishioners after Mass.“I‘ll make you a bet,” Cardinal McCarrick said, that if the priest stood outside church after Mass, he would soon find that people had no trouble going to talk with him during the week.

A swing of the Thurible to Rich for pointing me in the right direction.

Radio Goo Goo, x3

Sacred Heart Radio continues to inspire their listners to embrace the fiath more completely, to be active disciples of Christ. For some reason, they keep asking me to be back on the radio!?!

Over the next two weeks, I'll be there three times:

First, this weekend, I'm on for The Gospel Today, tune in at 7:30 and 11:30, both Saturday and Sunday, to hear my take on the First Sunday of Advent.

Secondly, I'll be speaking with Brian Patrick and Matt Swaim in studio next Tuesday, December 4th, at 7:30 AM. Hopefully the coffee comes early that morning!

Finally, Bill Levitt has asked me to cover the First Friday Mass on December 7, in honor of St. Ambrose and the continued tradition of First Friday Devotions to the Sacred Heart. I'll be speaking some on vocations to the priesthood and how we celebrate that during the season of Advent. Mass is at Noon, from the Chapel at the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center.

Oh, and if you're bored this Saturday morning, I'm back on the rotation for the First Saturday Mass at Holy Name, Mt. Auburn, and the Rosary Procession to Planned (un)Parenthood, as part of Helpers of God's Precious Infants. Mass is at 8:00 AM, and the everything usually wraps up by 10:00.

Listen in, or I'll see you there!

Ten Things

you can do, as parents, to help the current state of Vocations in the Church today, as enumerated by Fr. Todd Peterson, of New Ulm, Minnesota:

This last weekend I preached my first of 8 weekends on the state of vocations in our Diocese in various parishes/Area Faith Communities. Instead of presenting a message of desperation on our need for priests, I tried to present the present state as one of opportunity for us to reflect on the need for priests to preside at the Eucharist and other sacraments, and that God is calling. In addition, I tried to give practical hints of what parents can do to raise their children in a culture of vocations - an environment in which the notion of a call from God is not only capable of being heard but readily responded to.

Go to his site to view the list, which is both simple and profound.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On this date...

in 1983, the revisions of the Code of Canon Law went into effect. Insomniac clerics have slepts soundly ever since.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Evangelizing the MTV Generation

is perhaps one of the biggest challenges that the Church faces as we move into the next generation.

Outside da Box Productions is embracing John Paul the Great's challenge to embrace new media to re-evangelize the post-Christian world. Check out their website and their videos, especially their new effort called Vocare, which focuses on how each Christian disciple has a mission to embrace the Gospel in their own way.

Playing to the other side of the coin, they offer their DVDs for FREE! So, sign up and sample their efforts to spread the Gospel to today's teens.

Requiescat in Pace

Fr. Bill Schwartz, a priest for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, passed away on Thanksgiving Day. He was ordained in 1953, and faithfully served the Archdiocese from that time on.

Personally, I knew him from the summer I spent at Queen of Peace in Millville, where he helped out in retirement. He was a straight shooter, and told things how they were. And he was willing to step into difficult situations, as he was called out of retirement twice to step into parishes that had their pastors removed for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

From my interactions with the folks in Millville, they absolutely loved the man, even though he was by no means a 'softy.' He set a firm tone, but was an excellent listener and was not afraid to be a priest. His comment to me, as we would drive and pass a cemetery: "Pray for the dead, my boy, and the dead will pray for you!"

Schwartzy, please watch over me that I may be half the priest that you were (and are) in life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

Well, it is the day to slaughter a large flightless bird and throw it in the oven for a few hours (or a very large deep fryer, ummm, yummy!) and carve into it to share with friends and family.

Have a wonderful and Blessed Thanksgiving!

A few things that my life would be empty without:

My twin brother, his wife and daughter, even though they are in Iowa :(

My friends who both support when I am down and challenge me to become better.

My family, especially my folks who have always supported me in my journey to the priesthood.

My Vocation, what a priviledge to stand in persona christi capitis and to be able to bring others more deeply into the Sacraments and a relationship with Christ.

Those who serve in the Armed Forces, for they give us the freedom to be able to spout off in so many different ways, that we do not need to worry about walking down the street. I pray for you all every day and I know God will reward you richly for your service.

They are many more things, but I will end here with these words from Archbishop Pilarczyk: Gratitude should mark the life of the believer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free Speech in Canuckistan

With a swing of the thurible to the Curt Jester, comes the story of Jessica Beaumont, who has been brought before the Canadian (aka Canuckistani) Human Rights Commission.

Her crime? Quoting Bible verses on (primarily US) websites that go against homosexuality.

Jessica Beaumont does not own a website. She was merely posting comments on existing sites (mostly in the United States). But the fact that she could go to prison for posting Scripture verses on a server in another country means that our religious freedom is in direct jeopardy.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall once wrote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It has also been said that the real test of a person's commitment to free speech is their willingness to defend the speech of those with whom they disagree.
I think, despite the fact that many of the targets in CHRC Internet tribunals have been people with political opinions that we find downright offensive, we need to put those differences aside and look at the big picture.

Part 3

of Fr. Mike's Treatise on Vocations is now up, with the challenge that priests consciously work to help form disciples, not just instruct them.

Interestingly, I see my work as a vocation director doing just what he asks for: helping young men to realize the gifts that they have and how God might be calling them to the priesthood, or not. What he says also has implications with how we preach the Gospel, and how we interact with the faithful. I get the feeling that the ideas he raises are starting to get some steam built up in seminaries. Let's enjoy this ride, eh?

Simming the Tiber is popular these days

especially for former Episcopalian Bishops.

Amy Welborn reports on another joining the fold.

Effort by women to become priests pointless

So says not just the Church, but also Bill Banchy in this morning's Enquirer Your Voice column:

I may truly believe that I am Julius Caesar, but my wish does not make it so.

My thoughts on the matter have been published fairly widely, both at Catholic Exchange and on the Vocation Office home page.

And rats, I had a 300 word essay that originally was posted in the Telegraph, but can't find it now. :(

UPDATE: Found it! Yeah!

UPDATE 2: A great article from Adam's Ale

UPDATE 3: Adoro te Devote sends along her analysis of the situation.

A Prayer Request, or two

First, my grandmother (dad's mom), who is in the later stages of Alzheimer's Disease, is having some complications. She seems to have some type of blockage in her foot, and is not getting any circulation there (her foot is cold to the touch), as any can guess, that's not a good thing. She is too far along to try anything with surgery, and amputation doesn't seem to be an option, so we are trying to help discern God's will in this.

Second, Wayne, who works with me in the Vocation Office; his little guy Justin has had a rough go the last few days and has been in hospital with some type of virus infection. Please pray for his quick recovery.

Passing along thanks

from the Eucharistic Festival of Praise, from Anne Marie Schmidt, who is the driving force behind the project:

To all of you that helped in anyway for the first of the Tri-State Eucharistic Festivals of Praise - thank you SO much. When Christ's body works together as a whole, great things can be accomplished for Him. There was SUCH a great turn out (maybe 300 people????) and anyone from babies to the elderly were present! The event was SO beautiful - a perfect blend of praise & worship and quiet contemplation with reverence and the focus kept on our Eucharistic Lord. When the focus is kept on the Lord, great things will happen because Christ wants us to know His love & the truth. This will bring us true joy and He wants the best for us, His precious children.

To the "MC", Fr. Eric Bowman - you did an awesome job! Thank you for blessing us with your God-given talents and using your talents to give back to God. To all the coordinators ( Lindsey Simmons, Matt Feist, Jon Patch, Jon Schaeffer, Kathleen Arthur, Heather Backer, Karen Huezo, Jeff Arthur, Rich Rudolph, Lucas Hennessey, & Christina Regala) - thank you SOOO much. This event would not have been possible without all of your hard work. Please tell all those who helped you "thank you". Music coordinators - please give all the musicians a hug for me - you all were superb - what beautiful music there was for God! Fr. Kyle, Fr. Michael, & all the other priests (Fr. Kyle, Rich Rudolph, & Matt Feist please forward the other priests a "thank you" from me!") thanks for volunteering to hear confessions. What a long line there was! I finally glanced over at one point during the night and my mouth about dropped! God's AWESOME! He really wanted to shed His mercy down upon us! Michael Johnson ("MJ"), thank you for all of your help with the website! Dana Shelton - thanks for your last minute help with the song books & cleaning up! Lisa Kuethe - thank you for your help with the t-shirts! (By the way, if anyone wants one, I have some left in the trunk of my car! Hint, Hint) Joe Fussner, thank you for snapping pics during the event. A HUGE thank you to all who interceded for the event - without your prayers, this event would not have been possible. Fr. Nicholas, thank you for the "words of wisdom" you gave us months ago! To anyone else who has helped in any way, to all those who forwarded the info. about this event on to others, and to all who came (including those who brought their youth groups - that's you Christy Maas)- thank you! Although people have requested for the next Eucharistic FOP to be sooner, it is not scheduled until March 15th - sorry! Let's pray for St. Jude's church to be packed, for people to grow more in love with the Eucharistic Lord and deepen their relationship with God, and that this event continues to be totally led by God as this past one was. Yea Holy Spirit! May there be many more "EFOPs" in the future! Oh, and THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!

In Christ's Love,
Anne Marie & Emily
P.S. Please stay tuned for a future e-mail asking for beneficial feedback (ex. next time having 2 screens & a projector), advice on future EFOP dates & locations, and coordinator positions....or you can just e-mail your thoughts now if you can't wait!

Ideas could always be posted in the combox below, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Bang Out Links Post

of some great things that are appearing recently on this world wide interweb thingy:

First, a GEM! from Bishop Serratelli, of Paterson, NJ, on the connection between the priesthood and the Mass:

Therefore, every priest has the obligation to celebrate the Liturgy in such a way that he provides a witness of faith to the sacredness of the gift given to the Church by her Lord. He is to be faithful to the Church’s norms for the Liturgy so as to be at the service of communion, not only for the community directly taking part in the celebration, but also for the whole Church. The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52).
A swing of the thurible to Fr. Z. for the heads up on this one.

Second and third are two parts of the same article by Fr. Mike, OP, part of the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado. The first is on the role of the laity in the Church and the second on the role of the clergy. In the first article, he makes the follow point when discussing the Fishers of Men DVD, and this drives the rest of the very well written article:

It's a well-made video, with a stirring soundtrack, good production values, and wonderful comments from priests young and old who have joyfully embraced their vocation. It depicts priests being ordained, seminarians in the classroom and the chapel, priests engaged in pastoral counseling and presiding over celebrations of the sacraments, particularly the eucharist. But there's a crucial aspect of priesthood that's missing, and not only is it missing in the vocations video, it's missing from the ministerial lives of many, many priests.

Go read his thoughts to discover what's missing.

Fourth, a note by this very author is published in this week's Catholic Telegraph, and can now be found at the Cincinnati Seminarian Blog:

As the weather turns colder, and snow seems a not too distant possibility, most thoughts turn to the upcoming holiday season and wrapping up the calendar year with the great celebration of Christmas. But even before we reach Christmas, the season begins with the Thanksgiving Holiday, and these two feasts, one secular in origin, the other religious, form a sort of bracket to gear our year end celebrations; and I see some clear connections to the priesthood, as well.

Finally, this post from Rich Leonardi is up to 35! comments (jealous, am I!). I think I am in agreement with Archbishop Chaput on this one.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Analytical Father

passed this along. Not sure if it is true, only Snopes knows for sure:

Absolutely amazing!
Beauty of Math!

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

Thoughts from Sunday's Gospel

This will be a fairly quick surmise of my homily from this past weekend.

I started by tell the story that Steve told at NCYC, regarding the one student of his who was shot during the tragedy at Columbine High School, specifically how she was afraid to make the last thing she said on this earth a denial of God.

We often think that the Age of the Martyrs was long ago, and ended with the Edict of Milan by the Emporer Constantine. But, it is not the case. In fact, the Patron Saint of this parish died in 1942 (St. Maximillian Kolbe). And, there were more Christian Martyrs in the last Century than in the previous 19 centuries, combined! The Age of the Martyrs has continued, and has grown int he last years. Jesus' prophecy in the Gospel continues to ring true, we are still being hauled in before princes and governors of this world in order to give testimony.

But there is a new type of martyrdom that is happening. When it comes to the big situations, such as faced that day in Littleton, Colorado, it can actually be easier to make that vow of trust in God. In a sense, the Red Martyrs have it the easiest.

There is a new type of martyrdom that is growning in the Church today, which has been referred to as a 'Green Martyrdom.' If you take the faith seriously, if you put God first in your life, you may face financial penalties. For example, refusing to work on Sundays because it is a day of rest, a day to worship God and spend time with family, could lead to being passed over for the next big promotion. What happens when you request time off during the week to attend Ash Wednesday MAss, or Mass for the Holy Day of Obligation (which DO still exist!)? "Well, you are not as committed to the team as so-and-so, they are getting the promotion."

This is happening in our world today.

Now, the question that we are posed here at the end of the Church year: are you willing to give that 'Yes' to God, even when it might lead to your own persecution? This is one of the things that I think JEsus is getting to in today's Gospel.

In fact, I am convinced that if the Church is to survive, not even thrive, just survive over the next 100 years, it is going to be on the faith and the commitment and the witness that the lay faithful have. My crediblility as a priest has unfortunately been shot down. In some sense, people expect me to say and do certain things, and I can get away with it because I am a priest. But the person on the street doesn't take it seriously.

But when you pray in your cubicle at work, or proudly wear a crucifix as a reminder of Christ's dying for my sins, or treat both friend and enemy with compassion, and hold yourself to the standard that Church asks you to live towards; you say much more by your actions than I could say in an hour and a half of preaching.

Are you willing to give the testimony that Jesus tells us we are to give?

This means you better know the faith, because you will be challenged.

This means you must live life with integrity, otherwise your actions cover the message of the words.

This means that you have to say 'Yes,' when the question is posed to you: "Do you believe in God?"

St. Max usually posts the homilies from the weekend on their website, too, eventually.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Maybe I am having an impact

with my own family. My sister Tania sent along picture of the kids, including this one of Taylor, her oldest (first grader):

(Edited to put her right side up!)

Back in the Nati!

We've returned from retreat, and what a great experience it was. Msgr. Frank Lane was his usual self, mixing wisdom of history with a great working knowledge of Scripture and an insight into the Modern World that not many have to give the guys (and me!) a challenge of not being mediocre in today's world. (We need EXCELLENT priests, not mediocre!)

Well, my joy was short lived, unfortunately. In my mailbox upon return:

Sacred Earth
Festival Music for Prayer and Celebration

The description just about busted my guts:

Sacred Earth is an album of spiritua music drawn from years of festive celebration. The Sanctuary ensemble has turned the words of sacred scripture [sic] into songs, hymns, and reflective mantras of haunting beauty and lasting impact. This 2 CD set of twenty-eight songs celebrates the beauty of Creation in the real experience of prayer and faith.

Hmmm... Now I am wondering who would love this "ideal Christmas gift for you or your loved ones"?

What really gets me is that they capitalized creation, but not Saced Scripture. A line from the retreat comes up: "You can't know the creation if you don't know the Creator!"

What a bunch of drivel, at least my week was good!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Please keep the men in Pre-Theology through II Theology from Mount St. Mary's in your prayers this week, as they are on retreat at the Spiritual Center in Maria Stein. Since I drew the short straw and will be spending the week with them, no posting on this here blog.

(Actually, I am looking forward to spending the week up in God's Country, might try to get over and see my Goddaughter as well.)

Catch up to ya on Friday at the Eucharistic Festival of Praise at Oh Susanna's.

Wrap up from Columbus

Well, after a day of recovery and now struggling through a day in the office, I finally get a chance to catch up some thoughts from the weekend in Columbus.

First a note on the prayer request from last week. I've got more information on the accident that took the life of one of the participants. It seems the Las Vegas contingent arrived in Columbus late Thursday evening, after a delayed flight. A number of them were hungry, and there was a fast food place across the street (Wendy's?). A number of people from the contingent went, including a number of chaperones. Walking back, she was struck and killed by a passing motorist, who left the scene. I never heard if they found the perp. In response, the Las Vegas contingent returned home the next morning. All through the weekend, the teens were able to leave messages for her family, and she was mentioned frequently in prayer.

Ok, on to better news: it was great to see/meet so many people. I tend to be a strong extrovert, so being in a crowd of people is a great deal of fun. (Hey, to the anonymous who didn't come up and say 'HI!' why not?!?!) I saw a number of my fellow Vocation Directors perusing the crowd, usually hanging out in front of the Salesian table (they had more yo-yo's!).

The crowd of teens seemed to be really into the event. They were well behaved, the usual riotous type that happens at these Catholic Love Fests, as I've heard them called. I spoke to a few of the cops and security detail, and their response was something along the lines of: This was the easiest detail I've ever had!

Speakers were of the usual quality, although I only heard Renee (?) on Saturday morning. She was a choral teacher at a high school in Southern California, engaged to be married, and had turned the choir from 12 members to 150, when she faced a traumatic injury. She spoke of overcomeing adversity, as well as recognizing that there is no such thing as co-incidence; but that is the way that God manifests Himself to us. Really powerful stuff.

After she finished, Steve, the MC for the week, related a story from his past, which I used for my homily this past weekend. He is the youth minister at the Catholic parish in Littleton, CO, where Columbine High School is located. He told of how he was at a meeting with a number of parents that fateful day, when a cell phone rang, and mourning and wailing happened right before his eyes. (The parish had four of the funerals from that day.) It turns out, the girl that was the source of the call was injured severerly, but survived. She spoke at her high school graduation a few years later and told of that day. She was hiding under a table in the library with how many others. They came up to her and asked: "Do you believe in God?" She said that she didn't want the last thing that she said on this earth to be a denial of God, so she said: "Yes." "Why?" (Aside: I wasn't really expecting a follow up question) "Because my parents handed it on to me and I now believe it as my own." She admitted that it was a stupid answer, but the best she could do at the time. (She was staring down the barrel of a gun!) Steve told her at the end of the ceremony: "That was the perfect answer, and totally Catholic! You received it and now hand it on."

The line for confessions was incredible. There were up to 80 priests hearing confessions at a time, one would get up and another would take his place. It was non-stop, and they were well thought out, and the teens were seriously searching after God. It was inspiring.

The final Mass was a let down, after all that. The Mass itself was good, the energy of the teens, 25,000 in the Arena was earthshattering. But the homily was, at least to me, a let down. The readings for the weekend were just ripe for the picking, but nothing too challenging. Typical.

Anyway, now the question arises of how to tap into this energy for vocations. Something to think about, for sure.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Off to Columbus

Well, I think I am finally going to be able to make it to Columbus for the National Catholic Youth Conference. I know, it started yesterday, but this week got away from me. Please pray for the teen who was killed while attending (see article below) and all those who are attending for their healing and recovery. (not to mention forgiveness for the person who caused such a tragedy.)

I'll be up in Columbus until Sunday morning, so no posting until then. :(

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Big time prayers needed

in Columbus, for NCYC. From 10tv in Columbus:

Gantt was in Ohio to take part in the National Catholic Youth Conference that was slated to begin on Thursday afternoon in downtown Columbus.

The More the Merrier

From Uncle Jim, comes this idea of opening his household:

We currently have an invitation out to about 60 people to come for dinner next Saturday evening. The way the invite goes, the first 25 to respond get in. We do this 3 - 6 times a year I would guess. Each time there may be some of the same folks invited, especially from among those who couldn't make it the previous time ... or didn't make their response in time. Through the course of the year, we keep trying to get some new people in the door. It is usually a pretty good mix of folks - and most of the time it includes families - kids - a few or a lot. Once in a while we'll make it an adults only invite to people who don't have kids at home. But it is a lot of fun. I encourage others to try it. You don't have to go large - half a dozen would do. Invite 20 and say the first 6 or 8 to respond get in. Oh - and you let them know that once you have a head count and demographic, you'll be calling them to let them know what they can bring.

Now, instead of working on my next article for the Telegraph, this thought popped into my head: why not use this strategy to reinvigorate the life of a parish?

Hear me out: parishes already have a list of members, with addresses, and usually also broken down somewhat by ages, families with children, teens, DINKs, retirees. So, once a month (a week?), the parish would invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed, to dinner. The first x number to respond get in, the rest get put back on the list for future invites. I see this as a great chance for the pastor to lead and shepherd his parish, as he could give a short little reflection on different aspects of parish/Catholic life, and he would get to konw his people in a different light, and the people would get to know each other.

What do I mean by 'invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed'? Simple: one time it is for young families, sometimes for families with teens, some times it would be only for adults, other timese it would be for a smattering of each of these groups. I would clearly advertize this in the letter sent.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Live from Steubenville!

My whirlwind tour has continued and been extended through next week. Today, I'm just up the road from Franciscan U in Steubenville. I'm here meeting with a candidate for entrance into seminary next school year, and to meet with the Pre-Theologate director as well. Two things: everytime I come to this campus, it rains; and I continue to be impressed with the faith of the students. I just spent about 30 minutes in the Port Chapel, and there were no less than 8 college students there in prayer. What great witnesses.

Monday, November 5, 2007

When Catholics had Class

and went out with a bang!

Apoloblogology (waaay too many 'o's in this one!) has the story of a truly great man: Guy Fawkes, who with his friend Robert Catesby, tried to rewrite history with one fell swoop of the.... um.... TNT?

(Ok, who's seen the movie? I loved it, even if I had to watch it three times to catch everything!)

Authentic Catholic Spirituality

from the seminary, too!

Fr. Rob Jack, systematics prof at Mount St. Mary's here in Cincinnati, announces a (potential) new program:

Right now at the Athenaeum of Ohio- Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, the idea of a summer Catholic Spirituality institute is being discussed. In order to pass on more fully the Catholic Spiritual tradition, the Athenaeum is considering offering courses on specific aspects of Catholic Spirituality. While this is still in the talking stage, it might be started this summer and therefore input from those on the outside would be greatly helpful.
These courses could cover a variety of topics in five areas: 1. Fundamental Spirituality: (eg. Ignatian Discernment); 2. Biblical Spirituality (eg. Jesus’ prayer in the Gospels); 3. Liturgical Spirituality (eg. Theology of Holy Week); 4. Topical Spirituality (eg. Marian spirituality or Dominican Spirituality) and 5. Personal Spirituality (eg. Theology of St. Teresa of Avila)

Get on over there and demand this!!!

Ben Stein Explains it All

With a swing of the thurible to a fellow 'Black Hat' wearer, comes a great treatise written by non-other than the man with the gigantic brain: Ben Stein.

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Bella to Cincinnati!

Bella is opening in Cincinnati at Springdale 18 this Friday!!! (and Newport on the Levee and Regal Deerfield Towne Center!!)

Now's the time to schedule that date night you've been putting off. Or grabthe kids (the ones who can see a PG-13 movie) and make it a family night youwon't ever forget! This movie will change people's lives. It will savelives. Everyone needs to see this movie!

Please forward this information to everyone you know and rally the troops topack the theaters this weekend! If I can be any help, please don't hesitateto ask!

Thanks and God bless!

ARGH!!!! I'm in Columbus for NCYC!!!

Reclaim our Spiritual Fatherhood

Archbishop Chaput of Denver is making the rounds for a talk delivered to the National Conference of the Austrailian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. It seems everyone is highlighting different aspects of the article. I found the following about halfway through:

That's your mission, brothers. To preach the Word of life with power. To incarnate that Word through the sacraments. To make that Word come alive and change the hearts of those who hear it. You're called as Christ's priests to be fathers to a new race of women and men. Second Corinthians tells us that, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." It reminds us that Christ "entrust[ed] to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us" (5:17-21).
It's time for us to reclaim our identity as spiritual fathers of the children of God. We need to know ourselves as God intends us to be known — as his fathers on earth. We're called to be icons of his divine fatherhood.

and this passage near the end:

One last question before I leave you: How many of you know who Mother Teresa was? It's a trick question. Every one knows her. But how many of you know the name of her parish priest when she was a child?
What's my point? Mother Teresa didn't become Mother Teresa by herself. She had a spiritual father. Someone who preached the Word of God to her. Someone who fed her at the table of the Lord. Someone who heard her confession and gave her direction.
Did he know he was helping to form the soul of one of our age's great witnesses to Christ? He couldn't have. But it wouldn't have made any difference. His mission would've been the same. He was doing what he was supposed to do. What God called him to do.
That's your mission, too, brothers. To help God make saints. Maybe not one of the handful of men and women canonized by the Church. But ordinary, everyday saints.

The Archdiocese's Most Wanted List

is now available, WITH PICTURES!

You've seen the posters in the Churches, perhaps even have the smaller prayer card stuffed in your Bible or Prayer Book, you've heard their voices Friday mornings on Sacred Heart Radio, now you can put a face to the name (or voice) as we've added a new page to the Vocation Office website: Meet our Current Seminarians.

Please pray for these 33 men, that they may truly find God's path, and have the courage and strength to embrace their call completely.

Also, pray for the men who visited the seminary this past weekend, that they also can have that courage of giving a complete YES to God.

Now, show this page to your sons, nephews, students, and grandsons; asking them: Can you be a part of this list?

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Well, since I don't have much to do today, besides sitting at my computer and widdling away the time, I finally updated by blogroll on the right, under: "My Google Reader Account." So, if you wonder how a priests wastes away a day at the office, this is how I do it. Enjoy.

A Voice from the Pews

Low and behold, everyone it seems is getting on this blogging bandwagon. Word has reached my ear, ok really, my computer monitor, of a new blog now appearing on the World Wide Internet thing: A Knight's Walk in the Kingdom.

Just a small selection:

We’re good at predicting things - knee hurts, it’s going to rain; wife stops talking, she’s growing steamed about something; Microsoft reports good earnings, the stock market is going to rise; sun comes up, the Reds are going to lose.

And there are other things we can predict but may not want to recognize about our future that are impacted by what we do today. We ignore our wife, she will grow distant. We ignore our children, they will make bad decisions. We cease to pray, we will grow spiritually cold. We lose touch with our conscience, we will make bad choices.

Theophilus sent me a very kind email, and gets the 'Big Picture.' Stop over at his place and greet a fellow pilgrim on the journey.

Antagonism, Priestly Style

Today being All Saint's Day, the office is closed. Thought I would have some fun with family and friends, and sent the following email:

Hello, my friends.

I just wanted write to ask you all how work was going today.

It's been a tough one for me so far, had Mass at Mother of Mercy High School, and let's see... hmmm.... that's about it for today.

Oh, I guess I have my regular Mass at the Cathedral tonight, but nothing else on the docket.

Well, have fun! :)

To pass the time:

hmmm.... might go take a nap now.

Did I ever mention how difficult it is to be a priest these days?

Free Smiley Face Courtesy of