Friday, July 31, 2009

IMSA'd x2

For motorsports fans, IMSA is an acronym for the International Motor Sports Association. Much as NA$CAR is for 'stock' cars, IMSA is a sanctioning body for endurance racing, sports cars, and those who prefer to turn left AND right in their motorsports endeavors: American LeMans Series, SCCA ProRacing, StarMazda Series, etc.

Well, among corner workers at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, IMSA has a different connotation: I'M Soaked Again!

Such was my day yesterday.

Two priest buddies and I hit the dRed's Game, a 12:35 start. (Oh, the tough life of the Vocation Director!) I knew the skies looked a bit sketchy, but we enjoyed nonetheless. That is, until the rain started coming down, at first lightly, but slowly built until we had a good soaking going on. Argh! If the game woulda been worth watching, yes. But as poorly as the dReds have been playing lately..... We left at the 6th inning, by the time the rain had stopped.

Run home, shower, dry off, change and head to the Center for Mass. As I emerge from the Sacristy, I notice a couple whose wedding I had had a few weeks ago and hadn't had the chance to talk to since. They hadn't had dinner, so they invited me to join them at a local establishment, being the social butterfly, I glad agreed.

Hmm... As they finished their meal, the satelite tv's started to go all fuzzy, and 'searching for signal' became a favorite channel/program. I know what this means, and it ain't good!

Yep, five minutes later, Noah looked the genius, and my car is across the parking lot!

Drat, IMSA'd again!

Hopefully we got it out of the way for when we head to Road America in the middle of August.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Go Up to the Altar of God, part 2

Sorry for the silence 'round these parts, been working on a number of things, not the least of which is an impending change of residence. It is depressing to see your life packed into boxes.

Oh well, scanning over to Catholic Exchange, I see they are running my latest piece on Sacrifice in the Old Testament, which reminds me to get writing on my next piece: Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Passover, which really fits the Sunday readings right now and was the basis of my homily last weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quick Thought for Today

but I am plagarizing, go here.

"If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass." - Padre Pio

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What seminarians do on their summer vacation

Eric is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and was chosen for 'inter inning entertainment' at a recent Dayton Dragon's game:

You can see a few other sems and a priest in the video, too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Word has reached the monitor that Cincinnati Right to Life has just launched a new web site.

Stop over and take a look.

Radio Goo Goo

Sorry for the late notice, but I was on The Son Rise Morning Show this morning, (even for a tech-addicted priest, real life interrupts at times) BUT:

1) Archives can be found on their site, AND

2) I think the segment will be re-aired tomorrow (Thursday) in the 7:00 national hour on EWTN,

Questions about Celibacy

Answers about Celibacy from the very fine Catholic Edudcation Research Center

UPDATE: Eric adds a link to an article from the wife of a former Protestant minister who has come into the Church and been ordained a priest.

Monday, July 20, 2009


In our daily readings for Mass, we've started our second week in the Book of Exodus, journeying with the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

It is a truly fascinating story, and one that I think provides a great starting point for a spiritual reading of the Scripture, instead of just the historical or analogical senses.

An Ignatian exercise of meditation upon Scripture is to 'put yourself into the story,' so to speak. As you read and reflect upon a passage, see yourself as one of the characters, go through what he or she experiences, how would you react, what would you say, what are the sounds and smells of the events portrayed?

One way to read Exodus is to employ this technique, placing your own spiritual journey in the context of the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

At the beginning of Exodus, a Pharoah arose who 'knew not Joseph,' and the people of Israel slid further and further into slavery, trapped by their own prosperity and multitude. They become ensared into death, with every male child of the Hebrews ordered to be killed.

Egypt is personified as a land opposite of God, a place of slavery and a place of death. We can see it as a place of Original Sin, trapped in the snares of death, trapped by slavery to sin, trapped by the cunning of the Prince of Lies in a culture that worships itself.

God intervenes in a bold and dramatic way to free us from our sins. Yet, we have the temptation to look back at where we've come from and long for 'the good ole days,' lamenting: "Have you come out here to destroy us? Wouldn't it have been better to die to sin?"

Forshadowing: "Everyone wants to go to heaven, no one wants to die to get there!"

Conversion requires a death to the life that we knew before, a death to life of sin, a sacrifice of our own desires to live for Christ.

Sin rears it's head and tries to ensnare those who attempt to flee. The People of Israel are dead by the shore of the Red/Reed Sea, water on one side, charioteers on the other. But passing through the waters of the Sea, they are cleansed, purified, washed.

Echos of Baptism, anyone?

We are called, we move forward, sin grasps for our ankles, but God intervenes and we are saved!

But it is a long a perilous journey, and we need nourishment. We try to walk on our own, but we grow tired, the initial zeal escapes us and we lament that we are starving! God, help us!

Manna, bread from Heaven=Eucharist, nourishment for the journey.

We go to meet the Lord, cleansed, washed, santified: Confirmation. Did you know that the People of Israel were to abstain from sexual relationships prior to going up to Mt. Sinai? They didn't, and God gives them more laws to govern their right action.

God steps aside, withdraws to let us recognize what we would be without Him. In our thirst for Him, we turn to our own creations: the Golden Calf, worship of false idols (American Idol?)

Two new Sacraments: the Seraph Serpent on a pole: Healing/Penance; and the Levites slaying 3,000 of their kinsmen in zeal for salvation: Holy Orders.

We deserve punishment for turning back to sin, but God is Merciful. He also sets aside those whom He has chosen to be dispensers of this Salvation.

A long period of wandering and purification ensues, before finally, the Promised Land. Now, we await in Christ not an earthly promise, but a Heavenly Promise! Staying true to God, confessing our sins, seeking to be united with Him in all things=salvation, Promised Land.

Let us rejoice and be glad!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

local boy does good

As is being widely reported, tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. For those who grew up in west central Ohio, there is a deep connection as Neil Armstrong grew up in the area, learning to fly at the small regional airport that now bears his name. Notoriously shy of the limelight, he prefers to stay out of the spotlight, figuring his stardom is partly a result of fate, there is nonetheless a family connection.

My twin brother attended Purdue University, which is alma mater of many early astronaunts. While he was there and working in the student union, there was a gathering of all the alums who had been part of the space program. He was a bartender for the occassion.

Asking after Mr Armstrong, eventually the 'First Man' came up and shook my brother's hand. Sharing a few stories of 'back home,' the conversation was over quickly. Yet a boyhood hero was met. Kurt said he was as unassuming in person as could be.

Who knows what can come from small town USA?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Can you keep a secret?

Please dont' let Archbishops Pilarczyk and Schnurr see this, I won't have any peace!

(Congrats to Memphis, what a great thing to celebrate!)

Prayers for the Pope

Wire reports across the internet confirm that the Holy Father fell last night in his apartment in the Italian Alps, breaking his wrist. He waited his turn at the hospital and eventually had his right wrist set in a minor surgery.

Storm heaven for a speedy recovery, shall we?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

prayer blegs

I just received a note that the mother of a good friend has passed to her eternal reward.

And another is removing her mother-in-law from life support as well.

Prayers appreciated.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Small Step...

Via American Papist, The Catholic Vote's third ad:

Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up

Perhaps one of the best speeches I have ever heard:

Jimmy V's acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards.

Moving on Up

but not to the Eastside, back to the Westside.

I informed the Cathedral staff this morning of my request to change residences, which has been approved by Archbishop Pilarczyk.

As of August 1, 2009, I will be in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Cincinnati's Westwood neighborhood. It is actually the neighboring parish to where I was first stationed when ordained 5 years ago, so I know the area well.

Why leave the plush confines of the Mother Church of the Archdiocese? Frankly, I miss parish ministry. (At this point, all the priest/pastors are screaming: 'WHAT?!?!') While the Cathedral is very comfortable, it is also very quiet. I miss having the 'people in the pews' around to chat, share and form.

I am very grateful for the three years I spent at the Cathedral, but am looking forward to being connected again with a parish.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Writer's Bloc

Sorry for the silence, but just struggling writing a few things here the last few days. Plus, an even worse fate, numbers are swirling in my head instead of words. I used to think I was a math person, till I had to do a budget. Looking at it, makes less than a scatter graph thrown across a page. I cannot make any sense of these numbers, but I have some insight in how to do this. I think.

Anyway, working on finishing up last minute applications, starting to get programing going for the next year, and tied up loose ends for a retreat (YEAH!) (I'm going to a Trappist Monastery in Iowa for five days, sounds lovely!)

Have a great one, will catch up later.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Feast of St. Benedict

To understand Pope Benedict's 'Marshall Plan,' I think it is important to look back at today's Saint, for he figures greatly in the current Holy Father's plans; at least he seems to.

St. Benedict, founder of Western Monasticism, writer of the Rule, and, really, savior of Western Europe. At a time when Europe was in shambles, he stepped away from the chaos and shambles as the western empire crumbled and focused on prayer, learning and work; calling Europe to embrace her spiritual heart and soul.

For those who have eyes to see, one can see some very strong parallels between St. Benedict's day and age and the day of Pope Benedict. Europe (and America to an extent) has lost her spiritual center, and the Holy Father, in his first three encyclicals, in his homilies and audiences, is calling her to reground in Christ.

"I resolved to preach nothing but Christ, and Him Crucified!"

Now, I sit down to begin my journey through this third encyclical, while watching bikers slog their way through the Pyrenees.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ever wonder why

there's a massive statue of Our Lady of Fatima at Indian Lake, Ohio?

Now you know.

Go Up to the Altar of God

My next article for the Catholic Telegraph appears this week, focusing on the rise of Temple Sacrifice in Old Testament Judaism. Connections to Christ will be made in my next article.

As the Israelites moved from a nation on the move to settling in cities in the newly conquered Promised Land, one of the first desires was to build a suitable house for the Lord, as David desires in Second Samuel. The People of Israel had been worshiping God in the Tent of Meeting since the time of the Exile some 200 years prior, and now that they were established, a permanent structure was seen as fitting.

However, because David had too much blood on his hands, God chose his son Solomon to build the original Temple in Jerusalem, on the highest mountain within the City of David, where it continues to stand, now under the Dome of the Rock Mosque.

The location that was chosen was not accidental. Throughout the Scriptures, sacrifice is offered to God not in the low places, swamps and marshes; but rather on the mountains so that they could be ‘closer’ to God, at least metaphorically: Noah offers his sacrifice on coming out of the Ark on Mt. Ararat, Abraham ‘sacrifices’ Isaac on Mt. Moriah, Moses’ sacrifice upon Mt. Sinai, and Solomon builds the Temple upon Mt. Zion. This ‘ascent’ represents a lifting of hearts and minds to the God of Heaven and orients us towards the life to come, rather than life here on earth. We can see this reflected in architecture that raises the altar and the main sanctuary in Catholic church buildings so that we, too, may lift our eyes to the Lord.

Worship in the Old Covenant, however, was not just the ‘lifting of eyes to the Lord.’ It was very much centered around sacrifice. Daily in the Temple, at 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the Tamid would be offered before the Lord. This offering of a lamb, bread and wine was a continual reminder that the People of Israel were to be offered to God. They are marked as God’s Chosen People, and the lamb is symbolic of an offering of self to the Lord God. In this way, all the people participated in Temple worship on a daily basis.

Yet, there was more than one type of sacrifice offered in the Temple, so that while the Tamid was the high point of the day, animals were being offered continually to the Lord through the ministry of the priests, of particular note for our discussion here is the Sin Offering discussed in Leviticus 4. Here, the layman brought an animal before the priest and laid his hands upon it, confessing his sins to the priest as he did so, symbolically placing them upon the head of the sacrifice. The layman then slits the throat and cleans and prepares the animal, which is then presented to the priest. The priest has caught the blood of the animal, and, with the rest of the carcass, burns the sacrifice on behalf of the layman on the Altar of God.

In looking at the Catholic Mass of today, strong parallels leap forward to bring us not just to Jesus’ offering of self on the Cross, but back to the very foundations of sacrifice as instituted by God, through Moses, on Mt. Sinai. God truly has planned this out from the beginning. As we enter into the deep mysteries we celebrate at every Mass, all of history becomes present in an eternal, and now even greater, offering back to God the Father, for it is now the offering of Christ back to His Eternal Father. Reality is never more “real” than in the Eucharist!

Hence, as Catholics, we see the great need for our priests. It is the priest alone who, unworthy though he is, presides at these great cosmic mysteries. Here, he offers not just the bread and wine to be turned to the Body and Blood of Christ, but also himself and his people, who are no longer just chosen, but adopted to be sons and daughters of God, in Christ.

For more information on the priesthood and the Year for Priests, visit

Extra, Extra, Read all about it!

My media blitz for this week continues:

My last article in the Telegraph (Zeal for Salvation) appears today on Catholic Exchange. (Please also read the comment at Catholic Exchange, too.)

I was on the radio live this morning here locally in Cincinnati. The spot will be replayed tomorrow in the 7:00 hour which is broadcast nationally on EWTN of the Son Rise Morning Show. Listen onling at

Finally, my next article for the Telegraph appears in this week's edition, which should be online soon. I'll post the text here in a separate post.

Monday, July 6, 2009

No one can take His place

“The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi, this means more than offering “in the name of” of “in the place of” Christ. In persona means in specific sacramental identification with “the eternal High Priest” who is the author and principal subject of this sacrifice of his, a sacrifice in which, in truth, nobody can take his place.”

Wanna hear more? Join us this Wednesday at 8:40 AM on 740 AM Sacred Heart Radio, for discussion of John Paul's 1980 Letter to Priests: Dominicae Cenae, On the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thomas, the Apostle

So, am I the only one that sees Thomas as the Modernist Apostle?

"Unless I see, unless I touch, unless I experience; I will NOT believe!"

Isn't this a maxim for the age in which we live? Unless it is verifiable by science, unless it has experiential data; we will not believe.

(On a side note, isn't God great that He gave us Thomas as an example for the Modern Age, even though he lived in the Classical Age?)

So, how are we to make sense of this? I think there are several possibilities:

1) Thomas is the spokesman, not only here, but throughout the Gospel of John, especially. (Think of Jesus going to Jerusalem for the raising of Lazarus, it is Thomas who says: "Let us also go to die with him.") Thomas gives voice, thought, to even what we experience, and should give us the courage to come before Our Lord to seek greater understanding, not out of doubt or dispair. (St. Anselm: Theology is Faith seeking understanding.) We investigate so that we may come to a deeper level of understanding, but we must always think with the Church.

2) In a time of crisis, we must turn to Christ. It is easy to forget that the world of the Apostles had just been violently turned upside down. As often as they heard Jesus talk about going to Jerusalem to give his life as a ransom for many, I have to think that down deep that expectation for the militaristic Messiah was still there. Heck, look at the request of James and John: Lord, can we sit at your right and at your left? Was this the heavenly kingdom about which they spoke, or an earthly? Thomas, in his confusion, was at a point where he couldn't take much more. One can easily see his thoughts: 'I spent THREE YEARS with this man, to have it come to this?!?!?!' Yet, Our Lord takes us where we are, and gently, or not so gently as the case may be, chides us back into relationship, into belief. 'Yes, Thomas, I tested you, so that I could refine you, purify you, cleanse you for the upcoming trials and difficulties that you will face.'

3) Thomas' response is the perfect utterance of faith: "My Lord and My God!" When it comes down to it, this is the trump card. This is how Thomas is brought back into the fold, laying his weakness before the Lord, that He may do with as He will. So often, men want to come to the seminary out of strength: 'Look at all that I have to offer! I have these gifts, these talents, these abilities; I've done this, this and this; I am perfect for this!' It doesn't work this way. God doesn't need our strengths, He needs us. And the only way He can use us/me, is if I offer Him my very self, coming through my weaknesses. St. Peter's initial response in the Gospel of Luke: 'Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.' The tax collector who gives half of his possessions to the poor. The poor widow who gives two small coins, for she offers all that she has. With Thomas, let us humbly offer our prayer of praise: "My Lord and My God!"

I think that about does it, thoughts?

I'm off to put my nose in the middle of a book all day, wedding tonight, family gathering over the enext two days, so unplugging till Monday, likely.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hidden Treasures

So, I am not the only blogging member of my family.

However, she's only got ONE post!


Thanks to all who commented on the last 'social media' post, great discussion, although I am not sure about the tendency here to talk about your host in the third person....

Anyway, we now have a fan page on Facebook! (I know, hold your applause, we're just getting started!)

For those having trouble getting me on the same page, I have no idea why that happens. If it is b/c of some security thing I have on, how do I turn it off?

We did add 8 new members to the group page, so some people are getting through. I have no idea.

Oh, since I got blasted by email, Brant Pitre's CD sets are also available at the Catholic Shop in Madiera. (Anyone want to sponsor me a copy of the three volume set on Sacraments?)

Off to the Reds' Game with some priest buddies, hopefully no replay of the last time we went to a game.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Postman

Today's postal delivery brought one of those fun little boxes with the smiley face on the side, whoo hoo, Christmas in July!


Kinship by Covenant, A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises; by Dr. Scott Hahn, his Doctoral Disertation from Marquette. From the looks of it, not for the feint of heart, but some serious Biblical Theology here.

Along with, came the Catholic Bible Dictionary, also edited by Scott Hahn (I'm on a kick of his lately.)

To complete the set, yesterday's mail brought "God's Family and Ours: The Church and the Trinity" by, you guessed it, Dr. Scott Hahn. This one's part of the CD of the Month Club from Lighthouse Catholic Media. (Twitter)

Tomorrow brings another expected Amazon drop, sadly not by Scott Hahn, but by Dr. Brant Pitre. I've finished his lecture series on the Bible and the Mass (AWESOME!) (This would make a great gift for a priest for the Year for Priests, hint hint hint....) and am now in the midst of his series on Paul, much needed shot in the arm for me on St. Paul. Tomorrow, I should receive his written work: Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of Atonement.

I'm on a huge academic kick right now, finding time to read all this....... yikes. Good news, retreat is coming before too long.

'Social' media

Today at lunch, I experienced the ever frightening prospect of meeting someone in person whom I have only known online.

Luckily, Catholic Meme was fantatstic!

We chatted about how to use new media/social media in the Vocation Office, and she gave me a great deal of homework!

I've just (finally!) set up a feedburner that my posts here also drop into twitter a(@fatherschnippel)

Next assignment: Fan Page on Facebook! Problem is, no idea how to do it! We're working on it here in Vocation Central, tho, and we'll launch it here as soon as we get it going.

By the way, we already have a Facebook 'Group' page, so I'm not completely behind the mark on this one! Holy Smoke! We've only got 29 followers! Why have you not joined the best vocation group there?!?!?!?!?

(For those keeping track, remember how I whined about getting a Facebook ID? No? Good, I can't find the link, now, so forget about it.) My Facebook ID has just changed, I got one of those fancy dancy new ID's!! Won't you be my friend?

Other rooms that we inhabit in this world wide web:

(We feed those through iTunes, search 'Cincinnati Vocation Office' to find us there and sign up for auto downloads into your ipod.)

Not me, but info from the Archdiocese is at

I think that's good for now.

Article #3 for the day!

comes from Adoro and the importance of priestly celibacy.

Another article

this one the editorial from the Catholic Telegraph.

Thanks, Tricia!

The Priesthood - A Priceless Gift

As the Year for Priests begings, articles on the priesthood are popping up everywhere, from all different sides.

I found this one, by Gary Zirnak, to be edifying.