Monday, June 30, 2008

July Prayer Warriors is up

And you'll notice some differences, too, as the movement has become:

St. Michael Prayer Warriors, under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests.

Plus, we have a new logo, which is on the newsletter.

The 'explanations' brochure now reflects these changes, too.

And, there is now a 'Parish Holy Hour Booklet.'

Does this explain my silence over the last week?

Mourning in Cleveland

While I was going to post something snarky about the Reds beating up the Tribe over the weekend to claim the Ohio Cup, something more important came up.

Fr. V, he of Adam's Ale fame, lost his father yesterday morning. There was some tension in the family, so any and all prayers would be greatly appreciated, I am sure.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bella and Netflix

The movie 'Bella' is currently number 1 at Netflix on their instant view list.

Just thought you'd like to know. If you haven't seen, it's a must.

Overheard in the Sacristy

Priest: You know this chasuble, you know that this is a chasuble, right?

Unsuspecting Server: Um, sure, yeah, I knew that

P: Sure you did, well this particular chasuble was given to me by my Godparents when I was ordained.

S: Ok (weird look on face)

P: Now, when your ordained, you know what to ask for from your Godparents!

S: Sure (nervously looking for the door)

Hey, it's been a while since that parish had a vocation, might was well bring it up!

St. Paul, Sunday Homily

Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles
Inauguration of the Year of St. Paul
June 29, 2008, St. Mary, Hyde Park

Yes, the Church was founded by Christ himself, this much is non-negotiable. However, from the very beginning of his public ministry, he passed along the authority and leadership to a few select individuals who would carry on his message to the ends of the world.
Primary among these is St. Peter to whom Christ gave the keys of authority, as we hear about in our Gospel passage this morning. From the very beginning, he was always seen as the Prince of the Apostles, and when he spoke, the matter was settled. It is this authority that is passed down to us through the leadership of the Holy Father, the Pope.
However, as this is the year of the 2000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth, Pope Benedict XVI has declared that for the next twelve months, we should focus on the life and ministry of this Apostle to the Gentiles, the great co-worker of Peter and whose preaching enabled to the Church to grow from a small segment of Judaism into her own worldwide dominance.
First, let’s take a look at his life and times. From his writings and from the legends that have been passed down to us, we learn that Paul was not born in the Holy Land, but rather in Tarsus, a city on the southern shore of Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. His mother was Jewish, his father was a Roman citizen, so unique among the Apostles, he too was a citizen of Rome. He was not just a scholar of the Law, but also knew the value of labor, for he worked as a tentmaker.
His early life was marked, however, by being a member of the party of the Pharisees, scholars of the Law who felt that if they followed the Mosaic Law perfectly, God would be forced to intervene in the life of the people Israel and re-establish the Kingdom. As such, ritual purity was vitally important to them. Hence, you can see the results that happen in Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees, as they were concerned only with the externals and not with anything internal.
As can be seen from early in the Acts of the Apostles, it seems that St. Paul (or Saul at the time) was a leader in the party of the Pharisees as well, for his first appearance in the Scriptures us at the martyrdom of St. Stephen in Chapter 7 of the Acts of the Apostles. Those committing this crime ‘lay their cloaks at the feet of Saul.’
Despite this persecution of the Church, Saul (soon to be renamed Paul) is handpicked by Jesus to be the Apostle sent to the Gentiles, those who are outside of the Jewish covenant. On a trip to Damascus, north of Jerusalem, Paul is stopped by a blinding vision and a voice that calls him to repentance and to a new mission.
To say that he accepts this mission with his whole heart is an understatement! He becomes the most zealous of preachers of Christ, Crucified and goes forth to nearly the edge of the known world to make this message known. During his four missionary journeys, he writes prodigiously, exhorting those he has already met, and selling an orthodox, positive Christianity. His writings continue to shape what we believe today.
But what we gather to celebrate over the next twelve months as we celebrate this great Apostle is not just the life that he lead in bearing witness to Christ. It is much more than that. It is a special time to reflect on his writings, it is a special time to see in his life a model and paradigm for our lives here today, for the world which we find ourselves in today is not all that dramatically different than the world of St. Paul. It is hostile to the message of Christ, it is caught up in hedonism and pleasure and needs the message of salvation that is unique to the Christian message.
So, how do we emulate St. Paul in our world today? I think it is rather simple, actually: we must take for ourselves the same drive and passion that drove St. Paul to the ends of the world in service to the Gospel. Simply, to understand St. Paul, is to understand that he was driven by the simple statement: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” Everything he did was guided by this simple proposition: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”
I encourage, over the next twelve months, that we all need to take this simple maxim as a personal maxim: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”
There are many ways that this could play out, but it will certainly not be boring to do so; for St. Paul’s life was anything but boring.
Over the next twelve months, read the Acts of the Apostles, read Paul’s letters, and embrace the challenge to live out the Gospel completely, courageously, dynamically in your life. You will be changed, dramatically, and life comes to a much deeper level of meaning.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Come and See Weekend

with the Franciscan Daughters of Mary in Covington, KY, Wednesday, July 23 through Sunday July 27th.

The Franciscan Daughters of Mary, an institute of Diocesan Rite within the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, is hosting a 'Come and See Weekend' for women who are exploring a religious vocation from July 23 to July 27, at their convent in Covington. Attendees will get a chance to live and pray with the Sisters, while also experiencing their pro-life apostolate among Covington's poor. Those interested should call Mother Seraphina at 859-491-3899.


With an identity strongly rooted in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the Franciscan Daughters of y are pro-life missionaries based in Northern Kentucky. Striving to achieve Christian perfection by following the example of St. Francis, the Sisters:
- live a life based on deep spiritual communion with Jesus.
- observe the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ with an undivided heart.
- acknowledge the manifest goodness of God by recognizing the value of each human person made in His image and likeness.
- devote their lives to the service of the Lord and his people, particularly by upholding the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death.
- pray for priests and show obedience and reverence to the teachings of the Holy Father, the Holy Catholic Church, the Magisterium and the local ordinary.

See for more information.

Imagine that phone call

One of the ways that I check to see if a call to the priesthood is authentic (not the only way, but one of the ways, mind you) is that the young man sitting across the desk in my office is flabergasted that he made the call is sitting talking to a Vocation Director. Often, this astonishment is accompanied with a line: "I had my whole life planned out, but I could shake this idea of the priesthood."

It is an amazing and profound realization that one might be called to the priesthood. With St. Peter, comes the protest: "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."

If the call to the priesthood is amazing enough, how about the call to be bishop. This one is literally a call, usually from the Apostolic Nuncio's office. I heard one bishop tell: "I nearly dropped the phone! I was stunned, and the only thing I could get out was, 'Can I call you back in an hour?'" (He did, by the way, with an affirmative.)

By now, you've likely heard that St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has been called to Rome to head the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's Supreme Court, as it were.

What could one do to ever prepare to answer that phone call? Who made the call, anyways? BXVI? Sodano?

I think I would pass out!

Send prayers for your bishops and priests, we need them!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey, look at this!

Mom sent me a link to this cam, check out the crane at the bottom.

I'm too old for this

Yesterday was a first time effort on my part. (I seem to have lots of those, lately.)

My parents have a summer cottage on Indian Lake in western Ohio, near our home town. Well, the seminarians had been dinging me to have a 'summer gathering,' a chance to meet up outside the rigors of the seminary for fun and relaxation, a chance to catch up over the summer months.

While the good weather played peek-a-boo through the storm clouds, we did manage to get in a few trips on the boat, including some water skiing. Rob was up first, and struggled. New Father Jason was up next, nearly made it up, but gave up. Needing an example, they conned me into going next. Wait, this wasn't part of the deal, I'm the driver!

Knowing me to be the pushover that I am, they talked me into it. I made two fairly short runs, with spectacular wipeouts to end my day.

Those two wipeouts have now severely hampered my efforts today, though! My whole body hurts!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Line of the Day

"So, not to be rude or anything, but why is a priest taking a sales training class?"

I tried to gently explain that I am in sales, just of a different kind, that's all.

Has it really been 8 days since my last post?!?!?! What in the world have I been doing for the last week?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Question about Cantors

Over at Rich's site, there is an ongoing discussion about the role of the Cantor at Mass.

A commentor mentioned this: "For me a good cantor is a man with a powerful, low voice, and chants the prayers instead of 'performing' a song."

Which leads me to ask the following question:

Is it easy for women to pick up the tune when the cantoring is done by a male voice?

I ask seriously, because for me, I have a terrible time trying to match the singing of a predominantly female choir or soprano cantor. So much so, during the recent discernment weekend for women, I could not sing along with the young women and sisters that were present. I couldn't find the key.

Now, I realize I am not a finalist for American Idol, and my vocal abilities will never get me on stage at Radio City Music Hall; but my range and ability greatly increased during my time in the seminary and continues to improve; but I still struggle mightily in such a situation. Is it the same the other way around?


11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2008

Every once in a while, we have a happy coincidence where the readings assigned for a particular day also very much fit a civic celebration that happens to fall at the same time. The readings that we have heard proclaimed are not assigned for Father’s Day Weekend, but very much fit the theme of the Divine Paternity of the Father, Jesus giving his Apostles to the Church that they might be shepherds, and the call to Father’s today to share in these dimensions.
First, the Divine Paternity of God the Father: This is something that I think we as Catholics can take for granted, we forget just how special of a thing this is that we are drawn into a relationship with God. Here, we are treated to a very warm first reading, an almost tender voice of God who is profoundly interested in us, His sons and daughters: “I bore you up on eagle’s wings,… you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other peoples.” God the Father desires to draw us to Himself, to have this unique and powerful relationship.
Here in this passage, He is shaping, forming, nurturing us, His children. I almost get the sense that this is the moment in time when God starts to let go of the bicycle seat as the people of Israel learn to ride on their own, they are being formed as a nation, their freedom is about to be guaranteed. Yet, God never leaves them, He is always present to guide and protect. As they are faithful, He is faithful. During these first years, they flourish as the promises that God made before them on Mount Sinai are still fresh and present.
However, as often happens in families, there are those tumultuous teenage years. The joy at first learning to ride the bike is replaced by the angst and desire to be out on their own. This seems to be what the people of Israel went through during the decline and fall of the Kingdom. The connection with God was not strong, God was too distant and the people rebelled and wanted to be like everyone else.
Into this vacuum, Jesus steps in and recognizes that we were like ‘sheep without a shepherd.’ To remedy this problem, he appoints these twelve men who are called to be shepherds, who will carry on His message and ministry in his name after he is gone. Again, as part of God’s master plan, he does not want us to be left to our own misery, but desires that we be drawn deeper into relationship with Him as Father. Knowing our weaknesses, He appoints these men, who have handed down their authority to their successors right down to today in the bishops and in the priests. So it is through the Sacrament of Holy Orders that God is still present with us, leading us a shepherd leads his sheep. What a wonderfully warm and caring image of our God, that he provides for us the leadership of those whom He has chosen and have set aside all that they might give their lives as Christ did, so that others might live. It is awe-inspiring to me who live this mystery every day, and as Jesus instructs us, we should pray that more men, especially, have the courage to take up this call. (As well as women to religious life, but that is a slightly different call.)
One final aspect that I want to address on this Father’s Day is the crisis of fatherhood in this country especially. As vocation director, I am often asked what some of the causes of the current vocation crisis are. Certainly there are many different aspects that can be highlighted, but at the root of much is that the men in this country have failed as fathers and dads. We have been emasculated. Recent research has pointed out that those raised without a father present in the home are much more likely to end up involved in the violent crime, drop out of school, and parent a child at a young age; which often just serves to perpetuate the unfortunate cycle. (As a caveat, one of my dearest friends is a single mom of a now college aged son. While she has never married, she admits that she had to be very forthright in providing good, holy role models of men for her son to emulate in his life. While it was not easy, it can be done, so please do not take what I say as an absolute condemnation of single moms, I just want to focus on fatherhood for today.)
Dads: be good dads! Do you realize that you are an image of God to your children, much more so even than your wives? They way that you relate to your children, and they relate to you, will impact them for the rest of their lives, and their relationship with God will be greatly modeled on their relationship with you! (Not to but too much stress on you!) Teach your children the ways of faith, model the heroic striving for virtue, be kind and courteous to everyone you meet. Your children (or grandchildren) are watching you! Be stern if you have to be, because sometimes we need that swift strong kick on the backside to get us out of our own way!
Take God as your model. He shapes and molds each one of us. So must you shape and mold your children, be concerned for your wife’s holiness, and be an example to your co-workers and friends. We need good strong dads in this world, strive to be the greatest, and treasures will result.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How I spent my Friday

To get to this:

From This:

Wasn't easy!
(thanks to T&S Cleaning and Organization Service!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Could He Be Next?

He is a typical man. There is nothing extraordinary about him, and while he likely attends daily Mass, most of his faith is lived out in the world, sharing his faith with his co-workers. He does help with the youth ministry ski trips, well, because he likes to go skiing, but the youth minister also knows that he is a good role model for the youth too.

Every once in a while, he stops by Adoration to ‘say hi to Jesus,’ but cannot stay too long because he is involved in other things. Still, these visits charge him up and get him ready to face the world. Occasionally, he prays the rosary on his way to work, and the crucifix around his neck has been noticed by co-workers. On his shelf a Bible nestles against works by Chesterton and Lewis (he secretly wants to see Prince Caspian). He paid attention to the homilies and speeches by Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to the United States; the visit even inspired him to buy our Holy Father’s Jesus of Nazareth. He has thought about the priesthood on and off, but is worried about what his parents might say, that his friends would think him weird, or that his coworkers would no longer talk with him if they knew.

This man may seem like some ideal character, but not someone who is present in the real world. However, I have met this man over and over in my work as vocation director, and I would argue that every person reading this knows this man, perhaps even five copies of this man! He is a normal young man who, with your encouragement, could do extraordinary things.

In fact, I owe my vocation to the priesthood to someone who saw in me the gifts that would make for a good priest, and she saw them long before I saw them in myself. All through high school, every time she saw me, she would look up and say: “You’re going to be a priest some day!” A charge which I vehemently denied at the time! Yet, her perpetual insistence, and her prayers, eventually brought me to the realization that God was calling me, and even more amazing was the realization that this was a great and awe-filled life. By college, I was ready to enter the seminary and take my preparation for the priesthood to a much deeper level.

I am not the only one that had this experience either. Every year, the bishops of the United States commission a survey of the men being ordained priests. Consistently, four out of five men being ordained say that they first thought about the priesthood at the insistence of someone they trusted: their pastor or another priest, a co-worker, a friend, an older parishioner at their home parish, even their mother or father.

Like the Universal Call to Holiness as articulated in Vatican II, it is all the responsibility of every Catholic to encourage vocations through prayer and personal invitations. How often do parents ask their children ‘What is God calling you to do?’ rather than ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Is the possibility of the priesthood or religious life encouraged along side the option of being a doctor, firefighter or teacher? How often do you pass the young man who may be called to the priesthood and miss the chance to give him a small encouragement and a silent prayer of support? While it seems small, this quickly adds up to re-enforce the Call that God might be giving. Small acts of prayer help to bolster the courage to respond when this young man realizes that the priesthood might actually be for him.

For more information on what it takes to be a priest today, visit

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Journey Home

The Journey Home Network does some amazing things, assisting Protestant clergy who have felt the call to give it all up and 'swim the Tiber' to Rome.

Marcus Grodi hosts a weekly interview show on EWTN with someone who has recently gone through this conversion, walking through their life history to the point of their conversion and they joy they now feel at being home in the fold of Rome.

Luckily, EWTN archives the episodes for the week!

Click here, scroll down to the archived video, and watch this week's Journey Home with Chris Osgood. It is a great story.

Cleaning out the file

Checking through the e-cabinet (otherwise known as an email inbox), comes two announcements.

First, earlier today, Mary Gibson, The Roamin' Roman and also of Veritatis Splendor, entered the cloistered community of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, a "traditional monastic community of women who desire to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary in the giving of herself to God to fulfill His Will, especially in her role of assistance by prayer and work to the Apostles, first priests of the Catholic Church." I am quite sure that she would appreciate any prayers being sent her way. She has posted her contact info on her blogs. While her wisdom in St. Blogosphere's will certainly be missed, her prayers will encourage us all to live out our vocations. God Bless!

Today also marks the release of the monthly newsletter from Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher of the Conventual Franciscan's of the Renewal. Included are these words of wisdom:

This month we will continue our theme of human formation with a few words on accountability ... At death we will give an account to God concerning our entire life. Jesus sent the Apostles out two-by-two. Saint Francis sent the first friars out two-by-two in imitation of Christ. This was a system of accountability. A priest friend of mind recently told me that "Jesus sent them out in two's so that you always have someone around to tell you when you are getting weird!" Yes, sometimes our 3rd eye is blind (the ability to reflect on how I am being perceived).

Accountability is a great help in discerning your vocation. Regular confession and spiritual direction are practical practices in christian accountability. Being involved in some church group is also very helpful. We are our brother's keeper. Some men have enrolled in an internet angel program. These programs send an account of your internet use to a friend for accountability. No man is an island as they say ...

Did you happen to notice?

Driving north on I-71 out of downtown Cincinnati, look to the right just past the Gilbert Ave. on ramp. You will see the new Humana building, with an extension of the jobsite right up to the side of the interstate. A new parking garage structure is mostly complete. As of last weekend, I noticed a new job trailer sitting nearly on the median of the highway, with a big 'Schnippel Construction, Inc.' sign on the side.

Yep, my family. Dad's company is putting in a new hotel on top of the garage.

Just think, that might mean that dad will be within two miles of my office!

What's the over/under on the number of times he actually calls to meet for lunch and/or dinner? So far it is one. I'm thinking if we hit five, it'll be lucky.

(Love ya, dad!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A few updates

Well, it's been rather quiet around here lately. I'm still catching up on items from the weekend, trying to figure out how to deal with something else, too.

I've updated some links on the right, both the vocations links to add the 'Prayer Warriors' tab and to the blogroll down further to add a new blog by Fr. E. in Cleveland. All these Cleveland Priests blogging, where are the Cinci guys?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What a weekend!

First, for an insight into the experience of a priest as he does the 'firsts,' read a new blogger who's just gone through it.

This weekend was spent up at the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center for a discernment retreat for young women. Open to those from 15-30, we had 8 attendees, along with 7 sisters, two deacons, a priest (ME!) and the lay director of the Center. From what I could tell, it was a good experience and a great chance for these young ladies to come together in prayer to see if God might be calling them to religious life. The initial reviews were all well received, and that gives us hope for holding the retreat in the future. I have a feeling that this is something that will grow organically as word gets out.

As I am also now on the Board of Trustees for the Center, I was also catching up on a number of things there at the Center as we try to continue to forward the mission of being a center for the New Evangelization.

Tomorrow comes a funeral, which is something I don't do a lot of. Met with the family this afternoon to plan out the details. The mourning is still pretty raw, but hopefully we'll get through it tomorrow.


Called by Name (Sunday Homily)

Plugging back in after a long weekend, details in a yet to come post, here are my thoughts for the Sunday Readings, as heard on Sacred Heart Radio this morning:

I remember like it was yesterday. I left the campus ministry that night and walked, aimlessly, confused, dumbfounded really. This can’t be right, wrong number, not interested, my plans involved family, a career, success! Priesthood? What?

How could Jesus be calling me to be a priest? I am not perfect. Yeah, I mean, I like going to Mass, I like talking about my faith, I’ve seen some pretty powerful things; but this is so not what I want to do.

The next day was worse. The first thing I thought about was the priesthood. This after hardly sleeping the night before, and to make matters worse I had a Calculus exam coming up! (Hey, if I go to the seminary, no more Calculus!)

I imagine that while St. Matthew was obviously overjoyed at what he was invited as Jesus passed by, he also had doubts and concerns. We all do. How could Jesus actually be calling me, a sinner, to this great responsibility?

But I am convinced that what happens to St. Matthew in this Gospel account will also happen at some point in the life of each Christian disciple as well. We will be sitting idly by at our customs post, minding our own business when we will encounter Jesus along the way. He will simply look down at us and ask: Will you follow me?

There are two possible responses. The first, like St. Matthew, that even though we know our faults and failings, even though we may be thinking 'Lord, WRONG number!' but I'll follow and see where this leads. If He gets that first step, He'll work on us as long as we're open and lead us where He wants us. The second response is like the rich young man in the Gospel: no, it is too much for me. We sit idly by as Jesus walks past, too concerned with image, too concerned with money, power, prestige, that we are unable to act. We are unable to respond to Jesus' gratuitous invitation.

How will you respond? He still gives the invitation to follow, will you respond? He still calls Taylor, Julie, Wayne, Stephen...

I can tell you that I have never regretted the choice I made as a Freshman in college to follow after him, to respond. Sure, it was not always easy, just as it was not always easy for St. Matthew. He face persecution, ridicule, and eventually martyrdom. To live the life of a priest today, and really even to live the life of a serious committed Christian today is to live a life of martyrdom. Jesus never promises that it will be easy to follow him. If you want easy, there are myriads of other options out there. However, what He does promise is that if we take His yoke upon us, the burden is easy and light. He helps us to overcome our own weaknesses that we might be freed to serve Him more completely.

True happiness comes in knowing and following the Lord into true freedom, of giving your life so that others may live. Are you willing to accept the challenge to follow Him unreservedly?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Have You?

In a valiant attempt to move the drivel of that last post down the page, comes this post from the newly reappointed Fr. V:

Later, after the initial shock had passed, I asked him if he had ever considered becoming a priest and he responded by saying that he had thought of it seriously, but nobody ever mentioned it to him leaving him feeling unworthy. And then became pretty serious about a young lady. It was from that point that I started mentioning priesthood to any young man who showed the slightest interest or potential. I wonder if that young man who should be in his 30s now has any idea how deeply in that single action he had effected a future priest’s reverence for the True Presence.

Have you invited anyone to take up the call?

St. Sebastian in Akron is getting a good priest, pray for the smooth transition on behalf of the priest, his soon to be former parish and his new digs.

(Even better, his new place has a traffic circle in front! Wow! I can't wait to make the visit now in July! I'm gonna go 'Griswald' and just drive in circles: 'Hey, kids, look, St. Sebastian's!' repeated ad nauseum!)

Self hijack over, I got a message yesterday from a young man whom I had seen at Mass fairly regularly. A few weeks back, I had given him my card and told him to call me. Well, he emailed instead, along the lines of: 'Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm in a serious relationship right now and feel called to marriage.'

I lost nothing in that encounter, and encouraged him to live out his faith in the world (something that is drastically needed!) However, should something happen and the current relationship breaks down (which I am not rooting for, just to be clear!), who knows, it might come back to him.

So, I ask again, who is the young man or woman in your life, whom you pass every day, maybe even have a chat at the watercooler about Homer's pretty good outing last night? Have you suggested to him the possibility of the priesthood? Is she a likely candidate for the religious or consecrated life?

Usually that person is the last one to know, and your bringing it up might just open them to the possibility.

The Other Side

For fair reporting, although I am not sure why, here's an article on the other side of the women's ordination debate. That he used a picture of the Little Flower disgusts me, really.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

UGive Cincinnati

A new endeavor, connecting high school students to service opportunities: UGive Cincinnati.

Do you know a high school student who is interested in giving back? This looks like a good, new place, to start.

A different approach,

same conclusion:

A Sociologist on Women's Ordination from Inside Catholic

For if women were to be ordained, they would soon -- within 50 years, I'd guess -- become overwhelmingly predominant in the priesthood. Female priests would outnumber male priests by ten or 20 to one, if not more. Catholicism would be perceived, and correctly so, not just as a "feminine" religion but as a female religion. Males would pretty much abandon it.

When I do Media, I go ALL OUT

The Enquirer ran my article this morning! (Complete with dopey picture!)

(No hate mail, yet, either!)

I'm also expecting a column in this week's Catholic Telegraph, too.

Can you say: Blanket Coverage!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Media Blitz Continued

To continue the theme of our last post, two items to alert our trust readers:

First, I will once again be featured on 'The Gospel Today' on Cincinnati's Sacred Heart Radio, which can be heard at 7:30 AM and 11:30 AM, this Saturday and Sunday. Listen online at

Secondly, be sure to catch The Journey Home next Monday, 8 PM, on EWTN. I've met several times with the featured guest, and he is doing wonderful things in the midst of a sometimes very hostile environment. Pray for him and for those watching.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Catholic Media viz a viz Popular Culture

I've been getting hooked into 'Inside Catholic' over the last few weeks. They offer a wide range of articles, blog posts, video blogs, and 'symposia' (the last of these on clericalism), all in one convenient location.

For today, this blog post caught my wandering eye:

He went on to speak of the role of media.
(the media) must now be considered an integral part of the 'anthropological' question that is emerging as the key challenge of the third millennium."
As a quasi-journalist in the blogosphere, I couldn’t agree more; but, I also see that there’s a bit of “preaching to the converted” in some of the efforts of the “Catholic media”.
I’m curious as to what our readers think the role of the broader media should be, as well as how you think this blog (and Catholic media) is helping meet (or hinder) the challenge posed by Pope Benedict XVI.

This is a question that I've had to wrestle with over the last year or so as I continue to get more involved with Sacred Heart Radio here in Cincinnati, as well as the Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center where the station broadcasts.

What is the point? Is it to go all Crossroads and Vineyard and search out for the lost masses of humanity? Is it to preach to the choir, those who already believe and need the formation to live out that belief?

It is my strong belief that we in the Catholic world must provide both. We have to reach out to the unchurched, because only we as Catholics have the fullness of the Faith, the Fullness of Truth, and the restlessness in our culture could be greatly settled by re-introducing Christ. Yet, if we fail to nurture and nourish the faith of those who are already baptized, yet havn't grown in their faith, the Body still suffers. Then we have those 'Number 1's' out there who are saving the world singlehandedly.

I see three basic categories: unchurched; baptized non catechized; baptized, catechized, fire-breathing serious Catholics.

So, who is the target of this blog? Who is the target of Catholic Media? Who should be the target?

There are some who argue that we should only be forming those who already get-it. I see EWTN falling into this trap often: they provide programming for committed Catholics, programs based in Apologetics, catechesis, devotionals. Certainly we cannot forget this very important dimension of the Church's faithful. I see this crowd attending the Coming Home Network gatherings, Scott Hahn, Fr. Pacwa, et al.

Yet, if this is all we offer, I fear it is 'jumping in to the deep end of the pool,' so to speak. One thing I found about stories of converts was the times that they needed to wade into the shallow end of Catholicism and 'hide behind the pillar' when attending their first Mass for fear of being recognized as 'Not A Catholic.' Sirius Catholic Radio 159 seems to fill this void. It is more lifestyle based and I have found to be a bit more relaxed in tone than EWTN radio. (As a caveat, I listen to both, often switching back and forth on long drives.)

Yet, how much do we reach out to the unchurched. We seem to leave this aspect to the Vineyards/Crossroads community style churches who have this as a very specific mission. From the very limited interaction I've had with them, I do not detect the overt anti-Catholicism that I see in some Protestant denominations. But their ecclesiology certainly presents problems.

How do we tap into the 'great unwashed'? I would love for the evangelization class at the seminary to develop a preaching program on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati: handouts, flyers, websites, approaches, et al. (Steal from the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, at least on technique!) Do I have enough stock to cash in yet to broach this subject there?

How do we develop a broad based plan that covers all aspects: evangelizing the unchurched, forming the neophytes, and feeding the number 1's?

We have to do this every week in a homily, and you wondered what we do Monday through Saturday?

Bruce for President

and not because he's ok at baseball:

Bruce — who often calls his sister and tells her he loves her — quietly tried to explain some of this Sunday: "She didn't get the chances in life I was blessed with and yet she enjoys everything — riding her bike, listening to music, everything. She puts everything in perspective and helps me not take anything for granted."

The Power of the Internet

Did you know the internet can be used for good things, too?

We track hits and pageviews at to see what the most popular pages are. We get the data based on the last month, (but can customize it, too, one month to another, week to week, etc. Google Analytics is quite user friendly in that way.)

So, checking the five most popular pages in the last month:

1,577 visits
1,204 absolute unique visitors
4,473 pageviews
2.84 average pageviews per visitor

Top Five pages:

Main Page 1,038 pageviews (not really surprising)
Seminarians 237 pageviews
Religious Orders 228 pageviews
Parents of Seminarians 184 pageviews
Prayer Warriors 153 pageviews <-- in 5 days versus a month for the rest!

Keep pushing it out there!

Where do the visitors to 'Prayer Warriors' reside?

Cincinnati OH
Dayton OH
Covington KY
Fort Thomas KY
Fairfield OH
Lebanon OH
(not set) hmmm... never visited this place
Lake Forest
Terrace Park
West Chester
Botkins (hmm... who could that be?)
Cleves OH
Erlanger KY - 11 page views! CALL ME!
Fairfax Station
Ft. Mitchell KY
Hamilton OH
Lexington KY
Miamisburg OH
Painted Post (?)
Park Ridge
Seattle (Latte?)
Sioux City
St. Louis

One last factoid: traffic sources: how did you hear about the page?
Top 5:
Google Organic Search 463 visitors
Archdiocese of Cincinnati 334 visitors
Direct 231
Called by Name 94
Yahoo Organic Search 83

The Bishops speak

on women's ordination.

While it is now ten years old, it is still pertinent.

Find answers to these questions:

1) What is the Catholic Church's teaching on priestly ordination concerning women?

2) What does it mean to say that a teaching 'belongs to the deposit of the faith'?

3) What are some of the Church's reasons for this teaching?

4) Is it arbitrary for the Church to limit ordination to men?

5) What is the Scriptural authority behind this teaching?

6) Did Christ's decision to choose only men as Apostles depend on the cultural circumstances of the time?

7) What theological debate and discussion has led to the Church's position on this issue?

8) Since the Church teaches that men and women are equal in dignity, is it just to exclude women from priestly ordination?

9) What about women who feel called to the priesthood?

10) Does this teaching create a challenge in the Church's relationship with other Christians?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My reply

to this post was submitted to the Enquirer tonight:

In her column, Heidi Bright Parales (Anti-female priests decree not based on Bible, May 31) commits a common, but serious flaw: she ignores the distinction between the discipleship demanded by all Christians versus the ministerial priesthood bestowed upon the Twelve Apostles during the Last Supper.

All disciples have an obligation to make Christ known through the witness of their lives: Mary Magdalene did in the post-Resurrection accounts in the Gospels; Mary, the Mother of the Lord, did in the Nativity narrative; and Peter, John, and Paul, and many others, did throughout the Acts of the Apostles.

However, this commission to go forth and preach is quite different from the obligations given to those chosen for a special ministry and passed on through prayer and the laying on of hands: the Twelve Apostles. Throughout the Gospels and the New Testament, there is a distinction between these two groups: the call of the general disciple and the call of the ordained priest who has been set aside and anointed with the authority to stand in for Christ in the administration of the sacraments.

The deeper issue remains unaddressed. The call to ordained priesthood is not a call to power or authority, these are gifts granted to the priest; but the call is one of service and love, following Our Lord’s commission that ‘no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ The priesthood is to be embraced in humility, and the man called is to sacrifice himself for his people as Jesus did on the Cross. Those Twelve men are to give their lives for the rest of the community, a call which continues to today.

For more information, see

Fr. Kyle Schnippel is Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.