Saturday, April 25, 2009

Deacon Ordination today

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West joyfully celebrate the ordination of three men to the transitional diaconate: Timothy Ralston of St. Michael's in Georgetown and Robert Muhlenkamp of Holy Trinity in Coldwater for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Matthew Rader for the Diocese of Toledo; Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr will preside at the 11:00 Rite of Ordination at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.

Please keep these men, and Deacon Kevin Kahmann of the Diocese of Covington, in your prayers over their last year of study and formation for the priesthood.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Moment of Whimsy

and a blast from the past:

Cast Your Nets Theme Song

John Paul Hebert has uploaded the live rendition of his original composition Fisher of Men, for use as a theme song for Cast Your Nets.

Great work! And while you're at it, Jon Paul's sister is in great need of prayers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is an 'Andrew Dinner'?

In the previous thread, Kurt H asked the question: What is an Andrew Dinner?

Yes, it is named after St. Andrew, who, in the Gospel according to John, brought his brother Simon Peter to meet Jesus. It is an opportunity for priests and pastors to invite young men from their parish and/or assignments to meet with the Archbishop, to have dinner with him, and to hear a bit about the possibility of the priesthood.

This was something that Archbishop Schnurr began (to great success) in Duluth and wanted to get it going here.

Last night, we had 33 young men from the northern parts of the Archdiocese: Sidney, Piqua, Russia, New Bremen, Coldwater, Botkins, Anna, Wapak, and I know there are more; gathered to meet the Archbishop and hear a short presentation by Dan Hess on seminary life.

With our first time effort, there are certainly kinks to work out, but it was successful nonetheless. We are planning five or so across the diocese in the Fall, so we shall see what comes. As always, prayers of the faithful help more than anything!

The Cathedral, on Facebook?!?!?!?

It's true!


Phone returned this morning.

I can breathe now, after all I'm addicted to my crackberry!

And for those wondering, it was thankfully on the silent ring. While the regular ringer isn't 'death metal,' it also isn't Mozart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back from Sidney

We had our first Andrew Dinner in the Archdiocese tonight in Sidney, Ohio; 92 miles north of the Ohio River.

We were hoping for a crowd of about 20, but they were planning 50 for dinner.

Good thing!  We had 33 young men, plus 6 priests, and a few other chaperones, a seminarian and an Archbishop.

What's better, they were all good solid men, all would make good priests, if Our Lord calls them to it.  Who knows how many will get there, but they are at least contemplating it.

Pray for them!

(Now I need to figure out how to get my phone out of Archbishop's car!)

revamped website

for the Nashville Dominicans.

wow, excellent.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 Ordination Survey

The USCCB has released their annual survey of the upcoming ordination class. Of local note:

Pre-seminary education and careers vary. Will Straten, of Austin, graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in agronomy and specialized training in turf management. Barry Stechschulte, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, was a teacher and administrator at a Catholic elementary school. Carl Melchior of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, was equipment manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Edward Hegnauer of Washington is a geologist.
Matt Lee, one of seven men to be ordained for the Cincinnati Archdiocese, had a 12-year career in computer programming in the U.S. Air Force. Ken Halbur Jr. of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, also worked in information technology. David Cupps, of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, worked for 18 years at Capital One and was one of the first people in its information technology division. Stephen Schultz, one of the men to be ordained for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, was director of operations at a computer server manufacturer.


Diocesan class sizes vary. The Archdiocese of Newark will ordain 13 men, for either the Newark Archdiocese or the Neo-Catechumenal Way, a church movement which has a seminary in Newark. The Chicago Archdiocese will ordain 10 men; the Washington Archdiocese, eight. The Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee, will ordain six men, two of whom did seminary studies in Mexico. Cincinnati will ordain seven; from 2000-2009 it has averaged five ordinations a year.

Format Change

Had to do it to get the videos to play properly. hmmm

Cast Your Nets Video

A BIG THANKS to Michael Walsh for putting together this video from the Cincinnat Cast Your Nets event last February!

Michael can be found at

Cast Your Nets is here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Theology on Tap Cincinnati Spring Season Kicks off Thursday!

Theology on Tap Cincinnati’s Spring Season kicks off this Thursday, with former NFL wide Receiver Chris Horn flying in from Phoenix, Arizona, to share his story of perseverance and persistence in following his dream.  Using lessons he learned in his playing days, Chris shares the how the discipline required to achieve the highest levels of sport provide a great paradigm for achieving virtue in life and in following Christ.

The Theology on Tap Core Team is very excited to be bringing Chris to Cincinnati, we hope to see you all there!


Who: Chris Horn, NFL Wide Receiver (

What: The Ultimate Hail Mary Pass; Learning Virtue through Sport

Where: Ticket’s Sports CafĂ©, 100 W. 6th Street, Covington, Kentucky

When: Doors open at 7:00 (come early for dinner!); Speaker begins at 7:30

Afterwards: Praise and Worship of the Holy Eucharist from 9:30 to 10:30 at the Cathedral Basilica

See: for more details


God Bless, and see you on Thursday!

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

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Penitential Rite at Mass

For my 900th post, the talk I delivered last night:

The oldest existing written description of the Eucharist, that we know of at least, is not from the Gospels, but is actually from 1 Corinthians 11.  This should sound familiar, as we heard it last Thursday at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper:

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.  A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.  If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

That first section should sound very familiar, for it is quoted all the time.  But that second section has a bit of a stinger to it: if you eat or drink unworthily, you drink to your own condemnation.  So as we begin the Celebration of the Eucharist, we are all given a chance to examine ourselves, to see if we should eat or drink with discernment, so that we may not ‘drink judgment on ourselves.’  Whenever we talk about sin and judgment, it is always important to recognize that God is always disposed towards offering us salvation, but it is not just a ‘come on it, everything will be fine’ disposition.  We must examine ourselves to see if we should put ourselves forward reception.

If this sounds rather harsh, it is actually even lighter than what is in the Old Covenant, for prior, the level was even higher.  For example, Leviticus 10 when two sons of Aaron were struck dead because of offering an impure sacrifice before the Lord.

Another connection with the Ark concerns the loss of the Ark in 1 Samuel.  Near the beginning of the Book, Eli’s two sons (who are also priests), Hophni and Phinehas, are terrible.  They take bribes from the people, they judge not rightly, in short they are terrible priests and judges.  Because of their inequity, their sins, the people are decimated by the Philistines, and the Ark of the Covenant was lost, not to be regained until Samuel himself takes over leadership.

In the Old Covenant, especially, the greatest sins are always done by the priests, and God holds them to a higher standard, and rightly so, for they have been given greater responsibility.  But, in the New Covenant, there are two types of priesthood: the ordained/ministerial priesthood (of which I am a part) and the common, Baptismal priesthood, of which you are all a part.  Hence, you have much the same obligations to enter into ritual with purity, so that you may not profane the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord, and ‘drink to your own condemnation.’

But it is not just priests who get in trouble, and this one is in the New Testament!  In Acts of the Apostles 5, Ananinus and Sapphira are both struck down by Peter for failing to offer everything before the Lord.  It is serious business coming before Him!


So, knowing this, the Church really doesn’t want us to ‘drink to our condemnation,’ but rather is again disposed towards offering salvation.  As a side note, everything the Church does is oriented by that question: the salvation of souls.  To help us along our way, she wisely instituted a ‘Penitential Rite’ at the beginning of Mass so that our minor sins could be cleansed that we might enter into the ritual of Mass with purity and holiness.

The ‘Penitential Rite’ contains two forms, the second of which has three options for completion.  Let’s look at the first form first, shall we?

In fact, this is the form that was most likely used this past weekend at the parish where you celebrated the Mass for Easter, and is commonly used all during the Easter Season: the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water.  Used to call to mind our Baptism, hence the close connection with the Easter Vigil where Catechumens are Baptized, it is also symbolic of the life giving water that falls from the sky, a free gift from God to nourish and cleanse His people.

The water is also a remembrance of the Passover, when the Lord led the people of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea and into new life in the Promised Land (eventually).  They were dead if they stayed, the Egyptians were hot on their heels, and if God had not acted, DOOM!  So in the prayer for the Easter Season, we hear: ‘You chose water to show your goodness when you led your people to freedom through the Red Sea and satisfied their thirst in the desert with water from the rock.’  Also to keep in mind is that the people of Israel lived generally in a desert and arid climate, so water is absolutely necessary and precious.

The second form is actually known as the ‘Penitential Rite’ for Mass, and contains three options.  The first is the Confiteor: “I confess to almighty God….”  One important aspect that the Confiteor conveys that we often do not think about is not only the sins I have committed, but also the sins of omission, things I have failed to do.  The Church takes these as seriously as the others!

The second form is almost never done, in fact the only place I have heard it is at the seminary.  It is similar to the third, but goes like this:

The priest says: “Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy.”

The people answer: “Lord, have mercy.”

Priest: “Lord, show us your mercy and love.”

People: “And grant us your salvation.”

And the same absolution follows.


The Third option is likely the most familiar, as it involves the three-fold invocation to Christ, with the Litany of Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; followed by the absolution.

The invocations should all reflect on Christ beneficent gift of salvation which He has wrought by His Incarnation, by His Passion, Death and Resurrection; and His Ascension.  There are 8 forms given in the Sacramentary, but others can be used as well.


So, if the penitential rite at Mass contains a prayer of Absolution, why is it necessary to go to Sacramental Confession?  Within the two paragraphs of the General Instruction for the Roman Missal, there is the following note: ‘The Rite concludes with the priest’s absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance.’ (#51)

That’s all it says, but why does it say this?

On one level, it is a constant reminder that only God forgives sins, and that His ability to forgive sins is much greater than our ability to articulate the sins that we may have committed.  God’s knows what they are before we announce them in the Sacrament of Confession, but a necessary aspect of reconciliation of serious/mortal sins, is the disclosure of these sins to a priest, as it is an acknowledgement that we have done things wrong and come to him asking for healing.

Hence, for Sacramental Confession, the ability to ask and receive forgiveness, to do acts of penance as a sign of interior conversion, are all necessary elements.  These elements are missing in this short little penitential rite that is included at the Mass.  However, this does take away those little things that have tripped us up along the way, those little things that keep us from experiencing the well of God’s Mercy available in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

So, what do we have to confess within the Sacrament of Penance?  Mortal sins are required, venial sins are recommended.  It is important to keep in mind the distinction:

Direct from the Catechism:

1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner's will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.135

1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dominican Exultet

Brother Anthony Giambrone, a native of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, chants the Exultet at the Dominican House of Studies.

Me, I'm doing taxes.  Makes for good background, tho!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Into Grand Silence

It's not on purpose, just lots going on in the Vocation Office:

Tomorrow: 8:30 pm Liturgy on Tap at Champion's on Crookshank off Glenway
Thursday and Friday: Visit to the PCJ to visit our College Sems (with Archbishop Schnurr)
Saturday: wedding in Sidney
Sunday: Cast Your Nets in New Bremen
Theology on Tap, Cincinnati starts next week
the following Sunday (April 26) is the next Call of the King Conference at the Holy Spirit Center
It repeats the next week at St. Rita's in Dayton

I've got a few weddings coming up as well.

And taxes, did I mention taxes?  rats!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Brooklyn Priest

Great new website for the Brooklyn Vocation Office, with a great video clip.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Strangest of Days

Holy Saturday is the strangest of days for me as a priest.  I am used to pretty non-stop activity, even here at the Cathedral, there is usually always something happening.

Until today.  It is quiet.  The normal bustle is replaced by the peaceful watching, waiting for the great blast at the Easter Vigil.

What happens at parishes on Holy Saturday: most are decorating for the Vigil, setting up the flowers, training of servers, polishing things up to look good for tomorrow.

But it is still quiet.  When I was out at a normal parish, this day was strange, I tell you.  Normally on a Saturday, the ball fields were bustling from early until the late afternoon Mass.

Not on this day.

I would love to offer a 'Day of Reflection,' especially for Catechumens, but open to anyone in the parish.  Sadly, we don't have anyone this year here at the Cathedral.

I would love to have the chance to reflect on the unique nature of this day with the parishioners.  I guess it is a project for when I get my own parish.

Until then, read this, an anonymous homily from Holy Saturday, which says it better than ever I could.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spy Wednesday

Ever wonder how it got the name?

Preface for the Priesthood (Chrism Mass)

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.  By your Holy Spirit you anointed your only Son High Priest of the new and eternal covenant.  With wisdom and love you have planned that this one priesthood should continue in the Church.  
Christ gives the dignity of a royal priesthood to the people he has made his own.  From these, with a brother's love, he chooses men to share his sacred ministry by the laying on of hands.
He appoints them to renew in his name the sacrifice of our redemption as they set before your family his paschal meal.  He calls them to lead your holy people in love, nourish them by your word, and strengthen them through the sacraments.
Father, they are to give their lives in your service and for the salvation of your people as they strive to grow in likeness of Christ and honor you by their courageous witness of faith and love.
We praise you, Lord, with all the angels and saints in their song of joy:

Holy, Holy, Holy....

Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service

From the Ritual for the Chrism Mass:

After the homily, the bishop speaks to the priests in these or similar words:

My brothers, today we celebrate the memory of the first eucharist, at which our Lord Jesus Christ shared with his apostles and with us his call to the priestly service of his Church.  Now, in the presence of your bishop and God's holy people, are you ready to renew your own dedication to Christ as priests of his new covenant?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: At your ordination you accepted the responsibilities of the priesthood out of love for the Lord Jesus and his Church.  Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and to try to beccome more like him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to your brothers and sisters?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the eucharist and the other litugical services with sincere devotion?  Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shpherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve?

Priests: I am.

Then the bishop addresses the people:

My brothers and sisters, pray for your priests.  Ask the Lord to blesss them with the fullness of his love, to help them be faithful ministers of Christ the High Priest, so that they will be able to lead you to him, the fountain of your salvation.

People: Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

Bishop: Pray also for me that despite my own unworthiness I may faithfully fulfill the office of apostle which JEsus Christ has entrusted to me.  Pray that I may become more like our High Priest and Good Shepherd, the teacher and servant of all, and so be a genuine sign of Christ's loving presence among you.

People: Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

Bishop: May the Lord in his love keepyou close to him always, and may he bring all of us, his priests and people, to eternal life.

All: Amen.

The profession of faith and the general intercessions are omitted.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Bishops are chosen in the US

A complete and blatant rip from American Papist, but the USCCB has provided a good pdf primer on the process of how bishops are chosen in the US.

Friendly PSA

from the Vocation Office.

Rich posted a few offerings from the Discovery family of networks.

Remember! They are out to make a profit, not to tell the Truth about Jesus. If they say something controversial, it's likely a stretch.

Flipping channels last night, I caught a glimpse of something along the lines of 'The evil heirarchical Church suppressed the wonderful Gnostic Gospels to reinforce their notion of celibacy (while showing a group of frustrated looking monks).

All I can say is 'not quite.'

That being said, the 'who really killed Jesus' looks very interesting.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bronze Doors

Rick Barr's got a post up on the doors at the Cathedral.

Pulling those doors open to enter the Cathedral are a great occassion. The imagery certainly reflects the patronage of the Cathedral with the keys and the inverted Cross as well.

In honor of Opening Day...

Had to share a baseball story:

During the spring of 2005, I was teaching full time at Elder High School here in Cincinnati. Located as they are on Cincinnati's West Side and the West Side being a traditional hot bed of baseball (Pete Rose was born and raised in the neighborhood,) baseball has always been Elder's Sport of choice. They have won a state championship at least once a decade since at least the 1950's.

Well, the 2005 team was carrying on the tradition quite well, running the season up until the last game. As I was the only priest full time, they asked me to celebrate Mass for them before their last game, which I was happy to do, and they LOST! I didn't blame it on the chaplain, but the coach did!

Next week, start of the playoffs, Mass again. Guess what?!?! They nearly lost! They played horrible for the first few innings before pulling it out late. WHEW!

Well, they are running at full steam through the playoffs, heading to the state Final Four, and the Athletic Director approaches me at graduation: "Umm, Father, you got something next Tuesday?" "Yeah, [but I can't remember what it is now.]" AD: "Oh, good, the baseball team wanted to have Mass again and they asked another priest." Me: "Considering their performance after the last two Masses I had with them, I wouldn't think that they'd want me!" AD: "Well......"

They won State that year in a landslide.

I still don't blame it on the Chaplain.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening Day!

Tomorrow is the real Opening Day for Major League Baseball, at least in Cincinnati.  (Forget that 'preview game' that happens tonight.)

Considering the parade runs between the residence and the office, I think I might not be able to make it in to the office tomorrow.....

Theology on Tap Cincinnati Schedule Released!

The schedule for this year's Theology on Tap Cincinnati spring season is now released!


April 23: NFL Wide Reciever Chris Horn
April 30: Gina Loehr
May 7: Matt Swaim
May 14: Seminarian Adam Puntel
May 21: Missionary Shannon Walsh
May 28: Co-Adjutor Archbishop Dennis Schnurr

All events at Ticket's Sport's Cafe, 100 W. Sixth, Covinton, KY

7:00 Drinks
7:30 Speaker
8:30 Questions
9:30 Praise and Worship at the Cathedral Basilica

Way of Love

This afternoon, 2-3, Burnett Woods near the University of Cincinnati

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Hands of a Priest

Sent by a friend:

Right now, I'm looking at my pewter figurine of the saint you blessed, perched on a ledge in my family room.

When you gave the figurine your blessing, you cupped him in your hands.

Seeing you handle what you blessed made me think, "This man -- my friend, Kyle Schnippel -- is a priest.  He can do something no one [besides other priests] else can." 

Realize how much what you do conveys who you are.

Always amazed, still humbled, by being chosen to do something that I am not worthy of doing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

If it's Friday,...

it must be Steubenville!

Greetings from Catholic Wonder Land.  I'm over here in Eastern Ohio visiting a pre-theology student from the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

Sadly, looking at my April and May calendar, it's gonna be quite busy.  Posts may be sporadic at times.  I'll try to keep you updated as much as possible.