Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If Catholic hymn writers wrote the "Harry Potter" film music

Catholics invented chant and modern music notation and so forth.  It sprang up out of the Mass and served the Mass for hundreds of years.  And yet...now we have turned to childish ditties precisely in an age where people in the culture are clamoring for chant, including Hollywood.

Fact: There is a drama taking place in the Mass
Fact: There is an objective way to musically convey drama
Fact: There is an objective way to musically NOT convey drama
Fact: Most Catholic Churches have chosen to NOT musically convey drama
Fact: Most Catholics willingly admit in surveys that they have no idea what is going on at Mass
Fact: Most Catholics would say there is NOTHING dramatic happening at Mass

On the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, let's look at two Hollywood examples:

1) Harry Potter part 6 - the epic dramatic showdown.  Guess what music they use.  Yep.

Latin choral polyphony/chant (exactly what Catholics are supposed to be using at Mass)

2) Star Wars showdown  (Guess what they use: Latin choral polyphony/chant)

We could play this game all day long.  The point is Hollywood uses our "inventions", and Holywood is highly effective at conveying a sense of drama (evidenced by the billions they take in each year).  We have largely quit using these tools...and we wonder why people say Mass is boring?

Maybe we should stop treating everyone like they are spiritual morons, and let Church music be Church music.

If most current Catholic hymn writers would have been tasked with writing the music for Harry Potter, it would have gone something like this:

(cue the ukulele, banjo, and tambourine.  Upbeat.  Fast tempo.  clapping preferred)
"Hey...it's okay...we're glad you're here...
to watch our movie
Everyone is welcome!

What's going on here
Is Harry Potter is the good guy
And so is Dumbledore
And Voldemort's the bad guy
Because he wants to kill Harry

And Harry dies...but it's okay
Because he rises again...so don't be sad"

Maybe the new evangelization should start with "old" music???

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Doesn't the Church Ordain Women

This is from the papal theologian, who also taught me moral theology in Rome.  This is very informative.

The Church on preventing domestic violence, and helping those in it

Click HERE to download and/or view a free .pdf file that can be used as a bulletin insert and/or pamphlet.  It is succinct and has lots of good information

Click HERE to read the 2002 Bishop's letter on domestic violence

Priests and parish administrators can order information cards for their parishioners by clicking HERE

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Belated Veteran's Day Thank You To Our Vets and Soldiers!

A Profile of a True Hero - Coach Bruce Scifres

The Catholic community on the South Side of Indianapolis has a proclivity for producing a bunch of young men who are about 5' 9" and 155 pounds.  Sure we've had a guy or two play division one football, but it is quite clear that the "measureables" that most coaches would look for to build an insanely successful high school football program are NOT present in the South Side Catholic community.

That's where coach Bruce Scifres comes in.

A "vocation" takes on an infinite number of forms, and one of the greatest examples to me of a person who has responded to a call from God also happens to be one of my heroes - my head football coach when I was in high school - Coach Bruce Scifres.

Coach Scifres with his wife Jackie
Coach Scifres has been the head football coach at Roncalli High School since 1990, and has led the Rebels to 6 states championships.  But infinitely more important than the on-field success is the spiritual foundation that Coach Scifres has laid in the lives of hundreds of young men over the last 20+ years.

I don't remember hardly any of the X's and O's I learned about football, but I do remember the Senior Scripture reflections on Thursday nights, Coach telling us to tell our parents we love them, Coach leading us in the Saint Patrick Breastplate Prayer before heading out on the field, and Coach leading us in prayer after the game, win or lose.  He modeled for us what being a father, a coach, a husband, and a teacher could look like when lived well.

I don't know the details, but I know Coach Scifres had TONS of offers to coach elsewhere and make a lot more money.  However, I think at some point in his life, Coach Scifres realized that he had a vocation to coach at Roncalli, and as we all know, you don't mess with God when God calls you to something!

In a profession where even kids' parents can place too much emphasis on winning, Coach has managed to continue to adapt to an ever-evolving game while never neglecting his belief that it is his mission to release young men out into the world who are great people, not just great athletes.

"We pray, win or lose!"

Rebel Football alums have had Coach as their best man in their weddings, offer reflections at their funerals, and read at their first Mass as a priest.

Coach Scifres isn't just a football coach, he is a father, and he built a family that endures to this day and it is a family that is built on God and on Love.

Tonight an undersized and underdog Roncalli football team will be taking on the number one team in the state. Coach Scifres has led teams into these types of games many times.  He's won a lot more of them than he's lost.

My brothers have all graduated, and I no longer know hardly any of the players that are on the team anymore.  So tonight I look forward to going out and cheering on the Rebels, but really I feel like I'm going mostly to cheer on and support a man who has given so much of himself for me.  And I know that tonight, win or lose, Coach Scifres is forming another group of young men who will soon be unleashed upon the world infinitely more ready to be fathers, husbands, parishioners, and leaders than had they not played football for Coach Bruce Scifres.

Thanks for everything Coach!

P.S. - If you are looking for some inspiration in your life, Coach has authored two books.  Clink on either image to order a copy.  They are phenomenal!

Coach also has a GREAT site with posters, t-shirts and other materials that make great gifts for all ages.  The site also has some great tips for fathers and coaches.  Check it out by clicking here: http://www.arealman.org/

There are some beautiful reflections that have been done about Coach Scifres through the years:

A great article from our diocesan newspaper "The Criterion" - click HERE to read

Former player Casey Bolsega wrote a great article called "Faith, Love and Football" - click HERE to read Casey's article

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Catholic Churches are not just "houses of worship"

Catholic Churches are not just "houses of worship" they are a dwelling place of the Living God...and so are we

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Theology on Tap that you don't want to miss!

If you're in the Indy area for this, you will LOVE his talk.  Come on out for a great evening of Faith, fellowship, and fun.  Hopefully we'll see you there!

If you'd like more info click here: http://www.indycatholic.org/tot-with-joe-prever/

"The Third Way" is now on YouTube

Many people asked us to please put "The Third Way" on YouTube. We waited for several reasons, but it is now on YouTube in case you are interested. YouTube videos can be easier to share with others as the video loads more quickly and easily. Thanks for all of your support for the film throughout these past few years!

Catholicism: a Third Way to View Death

Homily for the Commemoration of All Souls

Friday, October 31, 2014

Can You Help - a film about Catholic persecution

A young filmmaker that I've known for several years, Mr. Matthew Herbertz, is working on a short film that has a lot of potential.

The topic is something that interests me a great deal, and I think it will interest most of you as well - a world where Catholicism is persecuted.

Like most filmmakers, Matt needs a little help from all of us to pull this off.  Many potential Catholic artists out there WOULD stay in the business of doing religiously inspired art (film, painting, architecture, music, dance, etc.) but often they receive virtually no financial support from Catholics...whereas the secular world will pay them a fortune for their talents.

We have to show Catholic artists that we support and appreciate their work so that they'll know they can do this work the rest of their lives and make a living off of it.

Here's the trailer for Matt's film...please consider donating a few bucks (or much more) for Matt and his film.  I can't wait to see how this film turns out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


"Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another" (Ephesians 4:32)

When I was in school, we had teachers and coaches that let us do whatever we wanted.  We liked it, but we didn't respect them.

When I was in high school, we had teachers and coaches that yelled at us a lot, and it came from a place of anger and rage.  We didn't respect them either.

We also had teachers and coaches who praised the things in us that deserved praise and called us and challenged us to be better in those areas that needed correction.  And even in their discipline, I certainly look back on what they did for us, and I would describe their words as "love" and "kindness".

May we be kind in all things, and not simply think that kindness only = smiling

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I prefer electrons to humans

"The older dictators fell because they never could supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles and mysteries. Nor did they possess a really effective system of mind-manipulation.  Under a scientific dictator, education will really work--with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown."
Alduos Huxley

Brave New World

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Support our youth programs AND evangelize your local community!

If you'd like your order shipped, each shirt would be $18.00, but they're totally worth it!  Just send me an email with the number of each size that you'd like, and I'll get you your shirts!

Please place any orders by October 25th.  

Thanks for helping us out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Humorous Story

I hope this makes you smile!

Today I spoke at my alma mater, Roncalli High School, with 300 freshmen about the Theology of the Body.  I was asked to do the same thing five years ago, the first year I was a priest, and I said yes then as well.

Important pieces of information:
1) I was pretty crazy busy figuring out my new parish, my high school chaplaincy, coaching football, and teaching three classes

2) My good priest friend Fr. Meyer is known throughout the country as a great presenter to teens on the topics pertaining to St. JP II's Theology of the Body

Because of those two factors, I asked Fr. Meyer to email his PowerPoint presentation that he uses (I had never seen his talk; I only knew it was good from others).  Fr. Meyer agreed and sent me the PowerPoint.

I meant, for about three weeks, to look over the PowerPoint presentation BEFORE giving the talk to the kids, but I procrastinated, and in the moment I decided to just go into the presentation cold and just try to make it work (I know, I know, terrible decision).

There were some tough transitions, but I did a decent job making the transitions seem somewhat reasonable.


A cartoon popped up on the screen of a guy in a hockey mask and overalls burying a chainsaw into the chest of another guy and there was blood flying everywhere!

You could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium as we all looked, for the first time, at the three story tall screen with the above mentioned slide projected onto it.

I stammered and stuttered and tried to make it work somehow.  My brother, a freshman at the time, said I did a decent job of covering it all up, but I think he was just trying to be nice.

To his defense, when Fr. Meyer gives the talk, it all fits in as he talks about violence in video games...but know that I certainly learned a lesson that day!