Sunday, July 17, 2016

A quick reflection on "In sickness and in health"

Oftentimes the marriage vow "in sickness and in health" is thought of only from the perspective of the healthy person (will you take care of your loved one when they are sick?)

But I also think it is a vow that "I will love and honor my spouse when I am sick, and I will ALLOW my spouse to care for me, I will ALLOW my spouse to be there for me...I will not shut my spouse out when I am sick and struggling"

It may be harder to let other people help us than it is to be the one helping

Catholic Social Teaching - a path forward through the sicknesses of this world

If you ask 1,000 people who "have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" how we should structure our society, you'll get 1,000 different answers.

Particularly when the world seems to be falling apart, I'm really thankful for my Catholic Faith - a light guiding us out of darkness - if we'll only walk toward it....together

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Laws, even laws about marriage, give LIFE!

My brother Father Anthony Hollowell came to visit.  A great homily on law and life

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What to do when an abortion center closes

With great joy and rejoicing, we learned yesterday that a Planned Parenthood abortion center near our parishes closed down.  

While it is tempting to celebrate and move on, I believe the battle is only heightened.  Now that the doors of those who peddle death and contraception are temporarily closed, we have this moment to let every man and woman in the Wabash Valley know that we are here to help THEM, and that we will do whatever it takes to help any woman who is in need

Doctor's visits, help with rent, cribs, diapers, formula, counseling, shelter, clothing, food, babysitting.....

A vacuum has opened up in our community - will we fill it with Love and by redoubling our efforts to get the good news out that we are here to help?  If we do not seize this opportunity to advertise, reach out, and redouble our efforts, those who peddle death under the guise of compassion will be back.

May we seize the day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Father - are you still alive?

Some may be wondering if I'm still alive.

I apologize for not posting for a long time, but I've been on vacation.

For two weeks, I was in Colorado on a trip for high school students that my Dad has been leading for 35 years.

morning prayer, hiking, adventure, daily Mass, campfire reflections - it's an amazing experience.

Following the end of my Dad's trip, I immediately drove to St. Meinrad where we have our every other year gathering of priests of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  It is a beautiful opportunity to gather with brother priests and our Archbishop.  We share in good conversation, recreation time, we pray a lot together, concelebrate Mass together - very renewing!

And, beginning tomorrow afternoon, the remainder of my June vacation will focus on helping my brother Deacon Anthony Hollowell as he prepares to be ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ this Saturday at 10 am at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Indianapolis.

Please keep the students and staff from my trip, the priests of the Archdiocese, and finally my brother in prayer during this month of June.

God bless!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Why I Don't Pray Eucharistic Prayer I Much Anymore

I'm not sure why, but in my early years as a priest, I thought of praying Eucharistic Prayer I (the longest one...we honor Linus, Cletus, Sixtus...) as a way to show that I was an orthodox priest, and likewise I viewed praying Eucharistic Prayer II (the shortest) as somehow inferior.

I now hardly ever pray Eucharistic Prayer I, but I have reasons other than just "well, I'm getting older now, and I've been in the trenches a while, and I'm just chilling out a little bit"

One more comment by way of introduction: put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to check out Catholicism for the first time.  We HAVE to have something to give guests at Mass which allows them to follow along, from beginning to end, that tells them when to sit and stand, what the Mass parts are, what the Eucharistic Prayer is, what our policy on receiving Communion is, etc.  I have come to believe this is really important.  I have been donating the printing costs for these at my parishes because I feel it is super important.

So, in order to have something to give to parishioners and guests alike that will allow them to follow along in this fashioin, the Eucharistic Prayer cannot be a week to week choice - one has to be chosen that will be used for as long as those particular booklets are going to be passed out to people coming to Mass.

All that being said, there are a couple of very intentional reasons I don't pray Eucharistic Prayer I much

1) There are a TON of theological concepts in Eucharistic Prayer I.  Each sentence could be prayed over for hours!  In fact, when I did my retreat to prepare for my priestly ordination, I prayed over various phrases and words from Eucharistic Prayer I over the course of 5 days.

Most people do not have 5 days for a retreat on a particular Eucharistic Prayer, but I do think the parish should have opportunities to intentionally reflect on the particular words of a Eucharistic Prayer through a day of reflection and/or homilies, and that particular prayer should be used consistently for an extended period so as to reinforce the concepts.

2)  Eucharistic Prayer I is really long.  And I say this not out of laziness but as an objective fact.  It is probably 7-8 minutes longer than Eucharistic Prayer II.  If you are going to encourage people to prayerfully reflect over the concepts of a particular Eucharistic Prayer, it seems to make sense to start with the shortest of them, which is Eucharistic Prayer II.  

I also think the length is important because you need to build up to a more lengthy prayer.  

We live in a culture where, let's be honest, one of the most notable things people point to when talking about Mass at various parishes is the length of time Mass takes at that parish.

I'm not saying we cater to that, but I do think we need to recognize that to the AVERAGE people in the pew today, that's the most important thing, so why not start with a shorter Mass and, over time, build up to a more lengthy Eucharistic Prayer?   It isn't like Eucharistic Prayer II is invalid, it is a prayer of the Church too, so it isn't like Eucharistic Prayer II is a "settling for less" anyway.  Thinking that way (as I did as a younger priest) is very dangerous and wrong.

3) Eucharistic Prayer I was written to be prayed silently (and thus much faster).  For hundreds of years, Eucharistic Prayer I was the ONLY option for priests.  In the Traditional Latin Mass the "Eucharistic Prayer" was prayed silently by the priest to allow people to be praying in the midst of silence.  (As a side note, as our world gets louder, I think people would love this option today - priests pray the Eucharistic Prayer silently so we can have some more silence at Mass).

If you have ever prayed a rosary silently vs. out loud, you realize things get prayed faster silently - and "faster" doesn't necessarily imply "more irreverently" at all - in fact we've probably all been somewhere where someone was praying TOO slow, to the point that the SLOWNESS was a distraction.  That prayer is quicker when prayed silently does not have any implications for the prayer's efficacy or reverence.

I pray Mass in the older form and obviously in the new form, and Eucharistic Prayer II prayed out loud is about the same length as Eucharistic Prayer I prayed silently.  

In summary, I plan to build up to Eucharistic Prayer I, but it is a multi-year process.  Even when I get to the point where I would pray Eucharistic Prayer I, I would still rotate among the three prayers as they are all beautiful and have different phrases and concepts that we need to be reminded of.  

Trinity: The Holy Spirit will speak what He has heard!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fun Election Game

Let's say there are 2 candidates for president

Candidate 1 is pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research, pro-partial birth abortion and pro-gay "marriage"

Candidate 2 - claims to be against all those things above

Assuming that you would never vote for candidate 1, what would Candidate 2 have to say or do in order for you NOT to vote for either candidate?

It is a fascinating question.   Feel free to leave a list of things that you would consider to disqualifiers for candidate 2