Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Petrine Authority

This past weekend was the Deep in History Conference sponsored by the Coming Home Network. Started because Marcus and team realized that the 500th anniversary of Luther's 95 Thesis was just around the bend, and they wanted to do something about it (not to mention fellowship, lots of former Protestant ministers in the group, who 'fellowship' well.)

Past conferences have focused on Church history discussions: the Early Church, the Continental Reformation, the English Reformation (get this series of tapes!), the coming to America and last year's 'Battle for the Faith' on the rise of Denominationalism, or however you spell that!

This year, since they caught up in history, they began a series on Authority in the Church, after all, this is a crux issue between Catholics and Protestants, even Orthodox. Begining this year with Petrine Authority and followed over the next two years by the Authority of Scripture and the Authority of Tradition.

A note should be made here. There were nine speakers over this past weekend giving ten talks (Dr. Ken Howell doubled up). Of the nine, 3 were born and raised Catholic; the other six are converts, mostly clergy converts, but I can't say that for sure. I bring this up, because they all have deep and profound respect for the traditions that they grew out of, and it still can affect how they present, but they all came to realize the shortfalls of their particular traditions and came to see the beauty that is contained in the Catholic Church. And realize that some of these men were in very adament anti-Catholic backgrounds that they had to overcome.

But, thankfully, overcome they did. What truly marvelous presentations! Of particular note for me as Dr. Brant Pitre's presentation on the Jewish roots of the Papacy. I had never thought of Peter in priestly language before. He's always imaged as a fisherman in my mind, for so he is. But Dr. Pitre had a great way of opening my eyes to the priestly dimensions, especially in discussing the Keys that were given, for only a Priest could have Keys to heaven, as modeled after the Temple. He built his discussion around something that we as Catholics take for granted, I think: he was it that Peter so quickly assumed authority in the Early Church and how was it accepted so quickly? This is never challenged, even though Peter certainly makes enough mistakes. Yet, Paul does not challenge him. (Yes, there is a confrontation, but not over who has leadership; I think this is an important distinction.)

Anyway, all the talks were great, and I even managed to stumble my way through Adoration with all these high powered speakers present.

Let us pray for the strength of conviction for those who are feeling drawn to the Catholic Church, even though it means the loss of so much that they hold dear. Let us be open to using their gifts in Church, however they might fit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mary and the Priesthood

Join us tomorrow morning at 8:40 AM on 740 AM Sacred Heart Radio as host Brian Patrick and I continue our discussion on Pope John Paul's Holy Thursday Letter to Priests. We've reached 1988, the Marian Year, hence his letter focuses on Mary in the life of a priest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What the Church says about Celibacy

Jeff Pinyan has a well researched post exploring the discussion of priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church over at The Cross Reference.

Thanks for bringing all of this to bear in one post, Jeff!

The Call, Part II

My latest article is running at Catholic Exchange today.

More on the weekend later, when my brain actually feels like working today. Oy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time to move forward

Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, has a great insight into the state of the Church at this juncture in history over at his blog 'Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!' An excerpt:

What both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been trying to communicate to the Church and the world is this: the time for critical demolition is over. That project is done. It is time to retire the dynamite, return the bulldozer, fire the demolition crews, and start to rebuild on the foundation left for us by the apostles. At the very least, this means a return to the documents of Vatican Two, read and implemented through their continuity with the tradition and reason. They are not calling us back to an uncritical embrace of Baroque Thomism and manual moralism. Nor are they asking us to live in the illusions of a warmed-over 1950's nostalgia. All they are asking the Church to do is start in the present, look back to where we came from and forward to where we are going without getting lost in the bitterness and cynicism that a life of complaint and opposition engenders.

Back to me, here. What we, on all sides of the Church's spectrum, need to start doing is not name calling and the 'They're out to destroy the Church!!!' Now, how do we, following the example of Pope Benedict, work to re-establish unity in the Church.

All players must be involved, and the greatest difficulty is that it takes a large dose of humility on the part of these players to swallow pride, listen to the opposing view, and move forward in a spirit of continuity with the history of the Church.

So, while we can't resurrect a 1950's style nostalgia, we must resurrect the 'Catholic Identity' that was present there, but now ever more so in dialogue and critique of the culture around us. Hence, we will be in the world, without being of the world.

To quote Fr. Powell, from the above link: "Is that so hard?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yep, last Wednesday was mom's b-day. Today is Pop's! Yes, he went with the mysterious older woman, but does it really count if it's just a week?

He's a good Dad, too, taughts us all the value of hard work (I'm still working on interiorizing that lesson, tho!) and dedication: to family, Church and career.

Thanks for all you do, Dad, happy Birthday and have mom make that favorite meal of yours!

Adoremus Bulletin on Eucharistic Adoration

Looking for a tool to help promote Eucharistic Adoration in your parish?

Check out the October 2009 Adoremus Bulletin. Great stuff.

If you only have time for one article, this is not to be missed.

Priesthood Sunday

is this weekend. As Bishop Finn suggests, take time to pray for your priests this weekend, the ones we have, the ones we need, and the ones sitting in your midst who might have a call to the priesthood but are not aware.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anyone going?

This weekend is the Deep in History Conference at the Hilton Easton in Columbus, sponsored by the Coming Home Network.

The line-up of speakers is fantastic as always:

Marcus Grodi "The Verse I Never Saw"
Dr. Brant Pitre "Jewish Roots of the Papacy"
Steve Ray "Peter and the Keys"
Dr. Kenneth Howell "The Issue of Authority in Early Christianity"
Msgr. Frank Lane "Authority through the Trinity"
Dr. Paul Thigpen "Spiritual Authority - Who Needs It?"
Dr. Kenneth Howell "The Issue of Authority in the Protestant and Catholic Reformations"
Archbishop Michael Sheehan "What Connects Nicea and Vatican II: Ecumenical Councils and the Magisterium"
Dr. Scott Hahn "Understanding Our Father: The Power of Prayer and the Eucharist"
Fr. Ray Ryland "Cardinal Newman and Papal Authority"

(oh, and me for Adoration. I get to follow Dr. Hahn. I'm already nervous!)

The subject: "Pillar and Bulwark: Authority is at the root of Catholic discussion with our separated brethren, and in 2009 we will take an in-depth look at where true and authentic authority lies."

Anyway, I'll be in black, perhaps long flowing black. Stop over and say hi!

Unveiling the Evils of Contraception

Way to go, Jenn!

Jenn Giroux, executive director of One More Soul in Dayton, has a great 'Other Voices' column online today at the Enquirer.

Imagine, Catholics standing up for the Church!

Are you resolved....

In the continuing 'Reflections from the Archbishop Secretary' for the Year for Preists, comes this note from Archbishop Mauro Piacenza:

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

The one motivation for our lives and for our ministry is Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ! The existence of Priests finds in Him, and only in Him, its origin, its aim and the development proper to it in time. The intimate and personal relationship with the Risen Lord, living and present, is really the only experience which might drive a man to give himself completely to God for his brethren.

We know well, dear brothers, how the Lord seduced us, how his fascination was irresistible for everyone, as the prophet says, “O LORD, you seduced me, and I was seduced; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed” (Jer. 20: 7). This fascination, like every truly valuable thing, needs to be continually defended, treasured, protected and cultivated lest it be lost or, perhaps worse still, lest it become a faded memory which is unable to take on the sometimes aggressive thrust of the world’s reality. The divine intimacy, the origin of every apostolate, is the secret for treasuring in an enduring fashion the fascination of Christ.

We are priests prior to any other reason, however good, to be “united more closely to Christ the High Priest”, united to Him who is our only salvation, the Love of our hearts, the Rock on which we build every act of our ministry, He who knows us more closely than we know our own selves, and whom we desire more than any other thing. Christ the High Priest draws us within himself. This union with Him, which the Sacrament of Order is, carries with it a participation in His offering: “Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us” (Benedict XVI, Homily, Holy Mass of Chrism 9th April 2009). The expression, “to be united” reminds us that none of this is our work, the result of our own efforts, but the work of Grace within us: it is the Spirit who unites us ontologically to Christ the Priest and gives us the strength to persevere, all the way to the end, in this participation in the divine work and thus also in the divine life. The “pure victim” then, which Christ the Lord is, reminds each of us of the irreplaceable value of celibacy, which implies perfect continence for the Kingdom of Heaven, and that purity which renders our offering for our fellow man “pleasing unto God”.

May the intimacy of Jesus Christ and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the all-beautiful” and “all-pure”, sustain us in this daily journey of participation in that Work of Another, in which the priestly ministry consists, knowing that such a participation is replete with salvation above all for us who live it: Christ, in that sense, is our life.

+Mauro Piacenza
Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana

Monday, October 19, 2009

Litany of Vocations

Prayed prior to the recent Call of the King Conference, specifically for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Comments by a Seminarian, II

Chris Conlon offers his thoughts on how the prayers of the laity can help a young man discern a call to the priesthood, given at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center.

Comments by a Seminarians I

David Doseck offers his reflections on how the laity help to support his potential vocation to the priesthood, given at Holy Angels, Sidney, in follow up to Archbishop Schnurr's comments.

Creating a Culture of Vocations in the Parish

Remarks by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, Coadjutor ARchbishop of Cincinnati, for the Call of the King Conference, September/October 2009, at Holy Angels, Sidney.

So, how was your weekend?

The weekend started off well.

Friday night, we were gathering as a family to celebrate the mutual birthday's of our parents. Mom's b-day was last Wednesday, dad's is this coming. (Only one party gets em both!)

Saturday morning, my three oldest neices were running in the county cross country meet back home, and it was in the home town, to boot, so I had to go. I didn't bring my winter coat, and 35 degrees with a jacket was a bit much, but we managed. The girls all ran well, one setting her PR for the 5K distance, and it was enjoyable. Plus, got to hang for a while with mom and dad, plus these three's younger brother and sister (who is a real jabberjaws!), so the cold was gladly endured.

Saturday afternoon was laundry and an appointment back in Cincinnati (after two hour drive back) and Mass for the Bengals on Saturday evening.

Sunday morning, I had the 10 Mass at Lourdes where I am in residence and then headed down for the game. (tickets instead of an honorarium is just fine with me!) We were sitting in the north end of the stadium, and the first half was good: back and forth football, sun shining on us, good crowd around, etc. Second half, not so good. Crowd started to get more unruly as the number of dropped balls and an absolute inability to stop the Texans (the Texans!) combined with the sun dropping below the upper deck to give a nice chill to the air. Final score: too much to not enough.

Returning to my car, we discovered one less intact window than when we left, minus a GPS nav system which I had left on the dash. Guess he wanted it more than I. grumble grumble grumble. Cleaned up as much glass as i could and headed back to the house and had a friend take me to Mass last night at a neighboring parish. (a reward will be awaiting in heaven!)

Called Safelight, scheduled a replacement for today. They called this morning: part has a blemish, shipping new part, not in till Thursday. WHAT! dangit, gonna be a cold week driving.

prayers of forgiveness being offered. and again. and again. and again. and again.

Congrats are in Order!

In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we have started to send some of our college seminarians to Bishop Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis, which is associated with Marian University there.

Last spring, as I made a visit, I met the very welcoming vice-rector and had a chance to spend about an hour talking on a number of items in the Church, in the city of Indy and Cinci, and just family matters.

This morning, I learned he is moving from Indy to Wyoming. Prayers are certainly being offered, good wishes, and acknowledgement that Cheyenne is getting a great new bishop.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

That was painful

So, my identical twin brother went to Purdue.

I started at Ohio State.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review from our first Andrew Dinner

Last night, over 30 young men gathered with nine priests and Archbishop Schnurr to hear a bit about the priesthood, watch a short video on college seminary life, and ultimately to consider the question as to if God might be calling them to the priesthood.

A huge thanks to Fr. Tom Mannebach of Holy Redeemer for hosting, as well as to the other priests who brought young men from their parishes to attend, especially Fr. Frank Amberger for bringing 17 from Russia alone!

Michael Walsh has assembled a ten minute video featuring our college seminarians which is fantastic. We will post snippets here when ready.....

More Andrew Dinners are planned in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over the next few weeks:

October 21: St. Anthony, Dayton
October 28: Our Lady of Lourdes, Westwood
November 11: St. Andrew, Milford

Info is over at Cincinnati Vocations.

The Experience of 'The Call'

Known for the way he developed the interplay between light and darkness in his paintings, the Italian master Caravaggio has had a lasting impact in the world of art since his troubled life ended nearly 400 years ago. His distinctive paintings, especially his religious scenes, continue to have an impact even on today’s viewers.
For me, his ‘Calling of St. Matthew’ resonates. Commissioned by Cardinal Matteu Contreil to hang in the French National Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, the scene draws you in as a nearly hidden Christ points powerfully to St. Matthew, sitting at his post as a tax collector. Jesus is not content to let Matthew remain and powerfully beckons him to follow, to become one of the Twelve, to become an Evangelist. The faces of those seated with St. Matthew are a mix of wonder, astonishment, disbelief as this sinner reacts with a look of: ‘Who? Me?’ The light streaming into the scene from behind Christ bathes Matthew’s face, giving us an insight into that deep personal struggle: ‘Do I follow? Do I stay?’ One can almost read into his face that despite his misgivings, Matthew knows he will follow Jesus and that his life will never be the same.
Perhaps the reason this scene is so powerful for me is that it played out in my own life, and now in my work as Vocation Director, I see it played out in the lives of so many young men and women who face that similar struggle. Deep down, we all echo St. Matthew’s question: ‘Who? Me?’ So many of the great saints echoed similar misgivings throughout history, from St. Peter’s ‘Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man,’ up to Pope Benedict XVI’s apparent trepidation as he realized he was about to be elected successor of Peter.
Yet, Our Lord’s favorite phrase echoes to us down through these same annuals of history: ‘Do not be afraid!’ More than any other phrase in the Gospel, Jesus uses these four simple words to encourage His disciples then, and his disciples now. Whenever or however we are called to follow Him, we must ask for courage to respond with generosity and strength, and that the astonishment that comes from the realization that we are being called to this continues all throughout life.
What should you do if you think you are being called to the priesthood or religious life, though? First off, find someone you can trust, someone who has a deep love for the Lord and His Church whom you can confide in and will not lead you astray. Perhaps this is your parish priest (always a good place to start!), perhaps a friend, youth minister or teacher. When facing a daunting task such as discerning a call, it is so easy to get all wrapped up in your own thoughts, to have someone to bounce ideas off of, who can listen to your fears and dreams, can help you to sort out where exactly you might be called.
In this Year for Priests, there is much discussion online and new books arriving that discuss the priesthood, and heroic priests that have answered Our Lord’s call to lay down their lives for their people. Fr. Walter Ciszek’s inspirational ‘He Leadeth Me’ and ‘With God in Russia’ show the great lengths a man will go to give his life for Christ and provide just two quick examples.
Finally, young men discerning the priesthood have the opportunity to join together at the upcoming ‘Andrew Dinners’ that are being held throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Named after St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter who brought Peter to meet Jesus, these dinners give young men the chance to meet with Archbishop Schnurr to explore the possibility of the priesthood. If you are interested in attending, check with your priest, or visit for more information.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

You're the best!

(Age withheld b/c I want to stay in the will!)

Prayer Bleg

Tonight is our first of four Andrew Dinners for this fall. Please keep the young men attending in your prayers for their discernment and courage in answering the call from Christ.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Importance of Prayer

Join us tomorrow at 8:40 AM on 740 AM Sacred Heart Radio for our continuing series on Pope John Paul II's Letter to Priests. This week, we focus on his 1987 Letter to Priests which is a moving reflection on the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and how that should be modeled in the life of a priest today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nothing Doing in Sidney?

For those in the northern reaches of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we are hosting the Call of the King Conference Sunday night at Holy Angels in Sidney, beginning at 7 pm, with Adoration beginning at 6.

If you are interested in promoting vocations, come here Archbishop Schnurr share his thoughts on building a culture of vocations in the home and in the parish!

(This is a repeat of the one two weeks ago in Cinci, and the talk really isn't to be missed!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Unity in the face of Adversity

Today's Gospel Reading was one that really can cause you to twitch in your seat. (or shoes, as we're standing at that point.)

The Pharisees challenge Jesus that it is by the power of Beezelbub that He casts out demons.

Jesus' response is the cryptic/prophetic: 'A house divided against itself cannot stand!'

As I read over this passage this morning at Mass, it struck me as important words to keep in mind in the Church for today.

We must be united to be strong.

United around the Holy Father. (Have you read his words recently?)

United around our (Arch)Bishop. (Have you prayed for him today?)

United around our parish. (Have you assisted at Mass, wholeheartedly?)

But it must be remembered, that unity without the Truth is not real, for Christ is the one who binds us together.

Some Good News in the Pro-Life world

Last night was the 'Banquet for Life,' sponsored by Cincinnati Right to Life. I was honored to be asked to give the Invocation at the Banquet, and even more honored by who was chosen to be the recipient of this year's major award.

Tony Maas is president of JTM Food Group here in Cincinnati, a sponsor of the Cincinnati Reds, among so much else. He is a former parishioner of mine, to boot, and is very active and involved in the Pro-Life movement. He has helped establish the Zone Communications Group and the Underground, as well as Ruah Woods, a center for teaching about the Theology of the Body. He and his wife Barb were honored with this year's award.

As wnyone who knows Tony will attest, he does not keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. He is outspoken, he speaks his mind, and is not afraid of repercussions, good or ill. One of the ways that he shares his Pro-Life message is through the trucks used to haul supplies to distributers. The rear panel of every semi trailer features the picture of a baby with the words 'Life, what a beautiful choice.' At the bottom: 'JTM: A Pro-Life Company' Simple.

The presenter of the award happens to also work for JTM in research and development (he also serves as the president of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati), and mentioned that it was a risk to have such a political statement on the back of the trucks, but that they get a response of 100-1 positive. In fact, he mentioned that someone called to thank them for such a powerful witness, and to thank them, he was going to start introducing JTM through his distribution network. He mentioned: 'This was a company we had worked years to get into, and here a simple sighting of one of our trucks opened a door that had been firmly shut.'

I tell this story because Tony does not work for accolades, but truly is an example of someone who lives his faith and convictions out in the world, come what may. Yes, it is a risk; but there is an even greater reward in heaven. As Jesus says so much in the Gospels, and echoed repeatedly by Pope John Paul, DO NOT BE AFRAID!!! Yes, he promises the Cross, but there is Glory present there that the world cannot touch.

I am humbled and very proud that Tony serves on the advisory board for the Vocation Office, that he is willing to take time out of his very busy schedule to help me do this work more efficiently and diligently. God Bless, and thanks for all you do.

By the by, the keynote speaker was Shawn Carney, founder of 40 Days for Life. He did not disappoint! What a passionate and zealous young man for life. His reminder is that the pro-life movement reaches its greatest strength not in Washington nor in the White House, but locally. He shared just a few stories of how 40 Days has changed hearts. (or, more appropriately, Our Lord has changed hearts through the witness of those who are present night and day before abortion mills)

40 Days for Life is ongoing right now in many places throughout the country. I will be leading the Rosary at 7:30 pm on Monday at the Planned (un)Parenthood on Auburn Ave. in Cincinnat. Come join us if you can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Action Alert in Chicago

Mayor Daily has instituted 'Bubble Zones' around Chicago's abortion mills, which would subject "pro-life advocates to a $500 fine for merely talking to women considering abortion outside an abortion facility."

How heinous is this? Even the ACLU has campaigned against this measure!

From the article: ACTION: Contact Mayor Daley at 312-744-3300 and members of the city council at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Appian Attack

As of August 1, I am in a different rectory. Feeling cut off from parish life, I desired to move back into a more normal parish than was available at the Cathedral.

But I think I made the natives restless!

A few weeks ago, I awoke to a stinging in my right foot. 'hmm...' thinks I, 'what could that be?'

Still dark, I felt down for my foot, 'nothing feels wrong.' Then I start to hear things. Things that go bzzz in the night....

I flip on the light, and there are fifteen or so bees flying around my bedroom! YIKES! Well, I went all Jason on them and started attacking them with reckless abandon. Pretty soon, the carcases were lying about my feet, I was triumphant! (Wait, there goes another! Get him!)

Well, the next day, I see a few more, but they had pretty much calmed down. Apparently there was a hive in the eave, and they didn't particularly like having their house sprayed, so they swarmed to the next best place: my bedroom!

Over the last two weeks, though, I might have seen one, maybe two a day, but they looked rather sickly. 'No worries, they'll be gone soon.'

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and they are now extracting their revenge!

This morning, about 3:30 (can that even be called 'morning'?), another sharp, stinging pain, now on my toe! 'I know this, and he is a goner!' I caught him in my sheets, but he soon was on his way to the great beehive in the sky.

Keeping an eye out for his buddies, no one doing today. (well, I was at the office all day, so they might have been around...)

His brother wanted to extract even more punishment for the toll I took on his family. (Are these Italian bees?) Sitting at my desk, typing away at an email, 'hmmm.... something crawling up my ankle....' Reaching down and 'YOWZERS!' he got my finger! (which is now conveniently swollen on the tip).

They have awoken the sleeping giant, and now a massive can of Raid sits next to me. I will not be made fun of in such a way. No, I will not!

(anyone have tips on how to get rid of bees?)

Married Priests?

Fr. Dwight Longnecker, who knows a thing or two about the subject, writes on the topic of Married Priests. In doing so, he strikes down a number of myths or red herrings.