Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saint Andrew and My Brother

This is a written out version of a homily I gave at two very different Masses today, one was St. Malachy grade school (focusing on the jealousy piece), and one was for a Ritter senior retreat. I decided to type it out because I personally found it very enjoyable to deliver.

Growing up, my brothers and I were always around football. My grandfather is the second winningest coach in Kentucky high school history. My dad was a great coach for a long time at Roncalli until he needed to make more money for our family, and so he hung up his whistle. Since before I can remember, my brothers and I all wanted to play football.

When I finally got the chance in 5th grade, I wasn't very good. I wasn't fast, couldn't throw, and wasn't big enough to play on the line. I had fun with it and loved playing, I just wasn't very good.

My brother Matt, the brother immediately younger than me, was a much different story. He was tall, fast, and athletic. He could throw, run, catch, etc. He played quarterback and was one of the best players on his team.

Not only that, Matt was back then (and still is) the funniest person I've ever known. If he weren't called by God to teach math, I'm sure he would be doing standup comedy.

I say this to establish the fact that, while growing up, in grade school and high school, I had a lot of jealousy for Matt's humor and athleticism.

Which brings us to today's feast. Saint Andrew. As the Gospel relates, St. Andrew is the brother of...St. Peter. St. Peter in the Gospels is the star of the Apostles. Jesus tells Peter - "I'm building my Church on you." In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter gives the speeches and heals people. Peter settles disputes as the unanimous final authority. Peter gets the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. A quick look at some of the early writings of the Church, and we all see a similar pattern of deference to Peter...

...And then there is Andrew his brother. If the Apostles were ever characters in a school play, getting to play Andrew would be almost on par with starring as the tree.

St. Andrew had to at times struggle with jealousy - but I think the lesson is he clearly got over it. I can honestly say that today I don't have even a twinge of jealousy for my brother Matt. We both support each other, and when I see him do something hysterical (we work together at Ritter) or hear from another teacher about something he said or if someone tells me about what a great job he does teaching, I am filled with 100% pride and 0% jealousy. "That's my brother!" I think to myself. And I know he'd say the same for me at this point in his life.

If I've been able to get to that point, then surely St. Andrew did as well.

100 Psychologists will agree on nothing except that we are shaped in gigantic ways by our families of origin - ways that we may not see at the moment. Some of the ways that our families have shaped us we try to bury or hide away. Even people who come from great families have struggles to overcome - whether it be jealousy (me) or juggling the dynamics of balancing so many intersecting relationships, and the list could go on forever.

We have to be honest with ourselves about our families. We have to A) admit that they have a strong impact on us B) admit that we have gained many great things from our families and C) there are issues in our family dynamics that must be overcome and dealt with.

St. Andrew had no choice but to think, "who am I in relationship to "the rock" of Jesus' Church?" but he put in the hard work, and he surely got to a point of healing as well. Maybe he talked with Jesus about it, maybe he talked with his friends about thing is for sure, he put in the hard work to get to a spot where he was no longer haunted by the successes of his brother.

May we get to that same spot someday with the memories, relationships, and personalities of our own families.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Priest as Leader and Father

I've been thinking a lot about priesthood and leadership and fatherhood and vision for the past year or so - for some reason even more vividly recently.

The priest, going back to the beginning, has had a three fold mission laid at his feet by Christ and the Church.
1) Lead worship (dispense the Sacraments)
2) Teach the Faith
3) Govern (lead the community)

I think fatherhood is one of those things that is so absent from our world today, and because it is so absent, I think many people don't know how to be fathers (fathers of families or priestly fathers). The thing that I've been blessed with is my own father's example (and my grandfather's), along with many fatherly priests in my life, and also many good fathers to observe from afar (Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Buechlein) etc.

One of the key things that I'm trying to prepare/hone is the ability to lead/govern a community. I like to teach, so #2 is pretty natural for me, and I think #1 is pretty natural fit for me (although it is certainly more than simply reading the words) - it is #3 that I think is difficult for many men today, whether it be priests or dads.

What people secretly want from those who are their fathers is first of all a vision, and secondly the determination to get there without being paralyzed by fear of making mistakes. Any leader has people who whine and moan about decisions, but ultimately they would leave if they didn't, on some level, still want the person to be their leader. I've come to this conclusion through discussions with lots of people (priests, dads, moms, parishioners, etc.). Someone sent me a video clip from the president of Marian University, Mr. Dan Elsener, and I think it just does such a good job, in a few minutes, of kind of encapsulating the type of leader I want to be. Of course he talks about money and fundraising, but even then I think his answers strike me as profound, fatherly, and spot on. I hope this short clip inspires you to continue to reflect on the type of leader you are called to be, because we are all, in one capacity or another, leading people.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Talk on the Eucharist

What is the Eucharist? Is Christ really present? Can't we just as easily use Cheetos and Pepsi? Why can't non-Catholics receive the Eucharist? Why can't Catholics receive communion at other places of worship? Why does it still look like bread and wine?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Final Round of Chastity/Theology of the Body Presentations

Sorry for the lack of posting. This past week, starting last Tuesday, I felt as if I may have in fact contracted the Bubonic Plague, or something similar. I'm on the mend, and ready to take up posting again.

This is the final edition of CRHS Chastity Talks 2K11. This afternoon, I will have been able to speak at length with every student in our school on chastity. It has been AMAZING and has born MUCH fruit! Thanks for your prayers.

This talk doesn't have many new additions - the only one I can think of is the "Opposite of the Barney Theme Song - the "I'll use you, you'll use me, we're a happy co-dependency!"

Anyway, here you go for anyone interested:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Did Our Economy Get Here?

Click here to read a fantastic and SHORT reflection on the sin of usury and the state of our economy. Usury is a subject that has been raised here before and it is important to continue to think about it as a society.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chastity Talk to Guys and Girls Using Twilight and Some Other Film Clips

The first few minutes are the same as the talks I've been giving at ritter, but then I bring in some different film clips than what I've been using, including some Twilight clips that I think are especially helpful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paterno and Pedophile Priests

"And we all covered up in it too. Ain't nobody clean." - Denzel Washington, Glory

If you don't follow sports, then you perhaps haven't heard of the imminent firing/"retiring" of long-time Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno, still coaching today at the age of 84, has been in the role of "college football grandpa" for the past 10-15 years. Penn State, under "Joe-Pa's" leadership, has had a sterling record of academic excellence and overall program integrity even as many other college football programs have spiraled out of control and into the abyss of scandal. Somehow, under Paterno's guidance, Penn State had managed to steer clear of disaster.

Or so it seemed.

This week it was revealed that long time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was caught in a Penn State locker-room shower with a young boy. The offense was brought to Paterno, and Paterno passed on the information to his superiors. That's the right thing to do...the problem was that he never followed up, and when Sandusky continued to be with the program, Joe-Pa apparently did nothing.

You can find all the commentary and breaking news elsewhere. Of course as a Catholic priest I can't help but think of the scandal that continues to hang over the Catholic Church in America when I hear all of the news on Sandusky and Joe Paterno.

As I've been listening to sports talk driving around town these past few days, the anger and rage are palpable, and rightly so. What I've also been thinking about is this: 70% of 18-24 year old men look at porn at least once a month. Another study suggests that 14% of men visit a strip club regularly. A lot of the guys calling in to the shows are in that same age range.

When people feed the sex-ploitation industries, we can't be shocked when some people in our society go wacko. Some guy out there peeved about Sandusky might say, "I look at porn, but I'm in control, I'm not like that Jerry Sandusky nut house." Obviously Sandusky's crimes are heinous, but anyone who helps fan the flame of the over-sexualization of our culture ought to realize that they had a part to play in these horrible crimes as well. This is not to in any way rationalize Sandusky's (or any other child abuser's) actions, but while we're sewing a nice big scarlet letter for Sandusky, many of those who are so outraged ought to also be looking to see if perhaps they helped feed the flame that led to these horrible crimes.

Some might say, "Yeah, we heard this line of arguing in the 1920's during prohibition - since some can't control alcohol, let's ban it all." But that line of reasoning could apply to anything - somebody can go wacko over anything. Somebody can abuse food, prescription pills, alcohol, TV, the internet, etc. Sexuality is a different beast. Unlike other things that people can abuse, there is no such thing as responsible porn use. Our culture is over-sexualized right now by any standard, and none of it is good.

I'd like to address two possible objections at this point: 1) "I'm a priest so of course I think everything is over-sexualized." I think this is pretty ridiculous; many sociologists and psychologists agree that this has reached previously unseen levels. 2) "Are you saying we need to have women wearing burqas and we need to have the government legislate sexuality?" No, I'm not; I think change is always up to lots of people making individual choices to start doing the right thing. News-flash: the government will never fix anything besides roads - real change starts with us.

A phenomenon I've noticed on this blog is that some people today think "what I do doesn't affect anyone else, and what other people do doesn't affect me." This is a REALLY dangerous mentality to have, and it is also flat wrong. Of course the things I do affect others. If I choose to patronize one company over another, my patronization of said company might make the difference in them being profitable vs. them closing up shop. Every second we spend on a website is a dollar sign for someone, every penny we spend is a vote for one company over another. Do you patronize those who utilize overly sexual advertisements? Do you look at porn, thus fueling an annual 12 billion dollar industry (greater than CBS, NBC, and ABC combined)? How do you let your kids dress?

Sandusky (and guilty priests and bishops) need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and all of us, in addition to following the Sandusky story, need to take a long look inward as well.

"And we all covered up in it too. Ain't nobody clean."

Very Good Documentary

The trailer for a film called "Demographic Winter." Young adults and teenagers alike who watch the film have been unanimously engrossed. It is a quality film, and I have high standards for films! Check out the trailer:

Awesome Catholic Speaker Coming to Indy Area This Weekend

Live near Indy?

Apparently, there IS such a thing as a Free Lunch! Popular Catholic author and radio personality Patrick Madrid will be at St Alphonsus Liguori Church in Zionsville (1870 W Oak St.—a.k.a. SR 334) this coming Saturday (Nov 12th) for a FREE seminar entitled “Why Be Catholic?” The day starts with their regular Saturday 7:30am Mass and the first of four talks will begin by 9am with the day concluding by 3:30pm. If you can only make it for part of the day (or for an hour) it will definitely be worth it. Patrick is one of the best Catholic speakers out there right now, and you will find him engaging, dynamic, and informative.

There is no cost to you other than your time and a little gas money, and their parish will even provide you with a free breakfast and lunch as long as you register in advance by clicking here. Don’t be misled by the lack of cost, because this guy is great! You can find out more about his work by clicking here

You are sure to find spending this Saturday in Zionsville worthwhile, even if you can only make it for part of the day.

Galileo? The Church Hates Science? A Presentation to a Ritter Physics Class

This is the class until someone started drilling on the roof and we had to move locations. I think there is some pretty important stuff presented in here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why Archbishop Buechlein Stopped Receiving the Indystar

The Archbishop told me on several different occasions that he stopped taking the star many years ago. He contacted the editor and told him of his decision, and the editor of the Star tried to talk him back into receiving the paper, but the Archbishop refused until the paper started publishing all the facts on stories.

Not that I had a good view of the Star before, but the sort of journalism on display in today's front page story has forced me into the same position - when I'm on my own as a priest, if I'm in Indy, I will not be receiving the Indianapolis Star.

As I read today's article, chills went down my spine. I didn't feel enraged or pound the breakfast table or anything like that, I just sat there reading the article and I guess the best way to sum up my feelings would be that it made me feel numb.

One of the first sentences of the article was what really made my heart sink - "[the law giving contraceptives to mothers who recently gave birth] undoubtedly would have led to fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer children born into families not financially able to take care of them and fewer abortions." UNDOUBTEDLY??? Is this authentic journalism? I'm not even asking for an article slanted to the Church's perspective, all that I'm asking for is real journalism, journalism that has enough integrity to present all the facts, and when it is a contentious point, you go to both sides of the debate and lay out the arguments.

This is a perfect snapshot of the type of bullying that the media has been engaged in over the last several decades or so. No longer do journalists present both sides of the story, they simply provide one side of the story and try to beat into submission all those who even raise the question that there might be another side to the story. "UNDOUBTEDLY"??? What arrogance.

We've been over this tired ground before. Who conducts the research on contraception and abortion rates that everyone quotes...the Guttmacher Institute. Who is the Guttmacher Institute - a research arm of Planned Parenthood. Wouldn't an 8th grader doing a story for his school newspaper recognize the conflict of interest there? Would anyone trust Snickers to do a study on the effects of chocolate on us? "Snickers Says Chocolate Consumption Will Reduce Obesity"...would anyone buy that?

"The Liberal Media" is a tired story, and yet the media continues to more brazenly push an agenda that many scientists and studies have flatly contradicted.

Here are some of the studies that have been done that contradict the studies done by Guttmacher et. al.

Here is just a snapshot of the many studies that have been done revealing that contraception does not reduce abortions (from the Bishop's website). If you'd like hundreds of other studies, especially if you work at the Indianapolis Star, I can put you in touch with those as well. All the Church is asking for is fairness - quit only reporting on studies conducted simply to give a veneer of respectability to those who believe in the contraception lie

Fact Sheet: Greater Access to Contraception Does Not Reduce Abortions
1. Contraceptive use is already "virtually universal among women of reproductive age."1

89% of sexually active women of reproductive age "at risk" of becoming pregnant use contraception, and 98% have used it in their lifetime.2 Among teenagers who are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant, all but 7% are using contraception.3

2. With typical use, contraceptives often fail to prevent pregnancy.

In the first 12 months of contraceptive use, 16.4% of teens will become pregnant. If the teen is cohabiting, the pregnancy (or "failure") rate rises to 47%. Among low-income cohabiting teens, the failure rate is 48.4% for birth control pills and 71.7% for condoms.4
Forty-eight percent of women with unintended pregnancies5 and 54% of women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant.6

Contraception expert James Trussell of Princeton says: "The Pill is an outdated method because it does not work well enough. It is very difficult for ordinary women to take a pill every single day."7 Pregnancy is so likely from even a slightly delayed dose that government guidelines advise women to use "emergency contraception" if they had unprotected intercourse within two days after taking their daily progestin-only pill 3 hours late.8

3. Why contraceptives work less well than we are told

Contraceptive effectiveness is often estimated on a misleading per-use basis, or as failure rates over 12 months of typical use for all women of reproductive age. This greatly understates failure rates among teens, and fails to account for cumulative risk from more frequent sexual activity.

Risk compensation: Numerous studies examining sexual behavior and STD transmission have demonstrated risk compensation behavior, i.e., a greater willingness to engage in potentially risky behavior when one believes risk has been reduced through technology.9

4. Studies show that greater access to contraception does not reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions.

Increasing access to contraception gives teens a false sense of security, leading to earlier onset of sexual activity and more sexual partners, which counteracts any reduction in unintended pregnancies.

Researchers in Spain examined patterns of contraceptive use and abortions in Spain over a ten-year period from 1997-2007. Their findings, published in the journal Contraception in January 2011, were that a 63 percent increase in the use of contraceptives was accompanied by a 108 percent increase in the rate of elective abortions.10

In July 2009 results were published from an expensive three-year program at 54 sites, funded by England's Department of Health, seeking to "reduce teenage pregnancy" through, among other things, sex education and advice on access to family planning beginning at ages 13-15. "No evidence was found that the intervention was effective in delaying heterosexual experience or reducing pregnancies." Young women who took part in the program were more likely than those in the control group to report that they had been pregnant (16% vs. 6%) and had early heterosexual experience (58% vs. 33%).11

David Paton, author of four major studies in this area, has found "no evidence" that "the provision of family planning reduces either underage conception or abortion rates."12 He sums up the U.K. experience: "It is clear that providing more family planning clinics, far from having the effect of reducing conception rates, has actually led to an increase…. The availability of the morning-after pill seems to be encouraging risky behavior. It appears that if people have access to family planning advice they think they automatically have a lower risk of pregnancy." 13

K. Edgardh found that despite free contraceptive counseling, low cost condoms and oral contraceptives, and over-the-counter emergency contraception (EC), Swedish teen abortion rates rose from 17 per thousand to 22.5 per thousand between 1995 and 2001.14

Peter Arcidiacono found that among teens, "increasing access to contraception may actually increase long run pregnancy rates even though short run pregnancy rates fall. On the other hand, policies that decrease access to contraception, and hence sexual activity, may lower pregnancy rates in the long run."15

5. Emergency Contraception (EC) does not reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion.
Twenty-three studies published between 1998 and 2006, and analyzed by James Trussell's team at Princeton University, measured the effect of increased EC access on EC use, unintended pregnancy, and abortion. Not a single study among the 23 found a reduction in unintended pregnancies or abortions following increased access to emergency contraception.16 For more information, including the conclusions of individual studies and researchers on this point, see "Fact Sheet: Emergency Contraception Fails to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion."

6. A decline in teen sexual activity does reduce teen (or unwed) pregnancies and abortions.
Concludes one analysis of the decline in non-marital pregnancies among teens from 1991 to 1995: "The reduction in numbers of 15-19 year olds having intercourse accounts for 67% of the decline in pregnancy rate."17 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that from 1991 to 2001 "53% of the decline in pregnancy rates can be attributed to decreased sexual experience."18

Uganda's success in combating the epidemic of HIV/AIDS has lessons for reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions among teens and young adults. According to 150 experts in this field, "when targeting young people, for those who have not started sexual activity the first priority should be to encourage abstinence or delay of sexual onset, hence emphasising risk avoidance as the best way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy. After sexual debut, returning to abstinence or being mutually faithful with an uninfected partner are the most effective ways of avoiding infection."19

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Advance Data No. 350, Dec. 10, 2004: "Use of Contraception and Use of Family Planning Services in the United States: 1982-2002";
2 Guttmacher Institute, Abortion in Women's Lives,, at 6-7.
3 Id., "Facts on Contraceptive Use," January 2008;
4 H. Fu et al., "Contraceptive Failure Rates: New Estimates from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth," Family Planning Perspectives 31 (1999): 56-63 at 61.
5 Abortion in Women's Lives, note 2 supra, at 7.
6 Guttmacher Institute, "Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States," July 2008,
7 D. Rose, "The Pill 'has had its day as an effective contraceptive'," The Times (UK), June 26, 2008;
8 National Guideline Clearinghouse, "The use of contraception outside the terms of the product license" (2005), Recommendation No. 18;
9 J. Richens et al., "Condoms and Seat Belts: the Parallels and the Lessons," The Lancet 355 (2000): 400-403; M. Cassell et al., "Risk compensation: the Achilles' heel of innovations in HIV prevention?", British Medical Journal 332 (2006): 605-607; for extract see
10 J. Dueñas et al., "Trends in the Use of Contraceptive Methods and Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy in the Spanish Population during 1997-2007," 83 (2011) Contraception 82-87.
11 M. Wiggins et al., "Health Outcomes of Youth Development Programme in England: Prospective Matched Comparison Study," British Medical Journal 339.72 (2009): b2534; advance online publication (7 July 2009): 1-8 at l;
12 D. Paton, "The Economics of Family Planning and Underage Conceptions," J. of Health Economics, 21.2 (March 2002): 207-225; abstract at This study examined 16 regions of the U.K. over a 14-year period, and also focused on the effect of the Gillick ruling, which from 1984 to 1985 required parental consent for girls under 16 to obtain contraception in England (but not in Scotland). Predictably, a heavy drop in clinic visits occurred among English girls under 16. Many expected to see increased pregnancies and abortions in this group, compared to older girls in England and girls under 16 in Scotland; instead the study found no increase in pregnancies or abortions in the former group, and no decrease in underage pregnancies or abortions overall from greater access to contraception.
13 Quoted in K. Ahmed, "Abortions rise in under-age sex crisis," The Observer (UK), 17 March 2002;
14 K. Edgardh et al., "Adolescent Sexual Health in Sweden," Sexually Transmitted Infections 78 (2002): 352-6; available at
15 P. Arcidiacono et al., "Habit Persistence and Teen Sex: Could Increased Access to Contraception Have Unintended Consequences for Teen Pregnancies?", Working Paper, Duke University Department of Economics (Oct. 3, 2005): 1-38 at 31;
16 E. Raymond et al., "Population Effect of Increased Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pills: A Systematic Review," Obstetrics & Gynecology 109.1 (January 2007): 181-8.
17 J. Mohn et al., "An analysis of the causes of the decline in non-marital birth and pregnancy rates for teens from 1991-1995," Adolescent and Family Health 3.1 (Spring 2003): 339-47 at xx.
18 J. Santelli et al., "Can Changes in Sexual Behaviors Among High School Students Explain the Decline in Teen Pregnancy Rates in the 1990s?", Journal of Adolescent Health 35 (2004): 80-90 at 80.
19 D. Halperin et al., "The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV," The Lancet 364.9449 (27 November 2004): 1913-1915 at 1913. 3/17/11

Friday, November 4, 2011

movie reviews

I just returned from seeing my first film at the theater in several months; I took in "The Way" on the south side at the AMC 17. I was glad to see it only cost me 5 bucks since I went at 1 in the afternoon. Anyway, I really recommend taking it in. This weekend will probably be the last opportunity to take it in at the theater. Other than the fact that throughout the film the dad spreads his sons ashes all along the pilgrimage route, it was a great film. Anyway, here are the reviews for the movies for this weekend:

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
Not a big shock to see this film get the "O" tag for being morally offensive. If you are Catholic, go see "The Way" instead!!! Click here for the review of Harold and Kumar.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist gets a surprising "L" for a film like this. Some adults may be offended by this one. Click here for the review.

In Time
In Time is rated A-III which is a softer rating than I was expecting after seeing the previews. Perhaps it has a pro-life message in there somewhere? Check in and leave a review if you go see it. Here's the review.

Perhaps this is the "pessimist" in me coming out, but I doubt they get the Bard right in this one, nor do I think they'll go into the Faith that informed Shakespeare. The movie got the "L" tag, which means even some adults might be offended. Click here for the review.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feast of St. Malachy

November 3rd is a solemnity for St. Malachy parish. The day the Church designates as the day to remember a parish's saint is a BIG deal and ought to be celebrated on par with Christmas and Easter and the other solemnities. While not a holy day of obligation, it should be considered a very joyous day for all in the parish. As I always tell people on big feast days and solemnities - eat an extra dessert today!

Also, quickly, if you've ever wondered what the difference is between a solemnity/feast/memorial, here you go:

The highest rank a day can have is a solemnity. All Sundays are solemnities, and in addition to Sundays, there are approximately 19 others scattered throughout the year.

Here are the solemnities, in case you are curious
January 1st - Mary, Mother of the Lord
January 6th - Epiphany of the Lord
March 19th - Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 25th - Annunciation of Mary
Sunday after Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday
40 days after Easter - Ascension of the Lord
50 days after Easter - Pentecost
Trinity Sunday
Thursday after Trinity Sunday - Body and Blood of Christ ("Corpus Christi")
8 days after Corpus Christi - Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 24th - Nativity of St. John the Baptist
June 29th - Saints Peter and Paul
August 15th - Assumption of Mary
November 1st - All Saints
November 2nd - All Souls
Last Sunday before Advent - Feast of Christ the King
December 8th - Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 25th - Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Also, a parish's feast day is a solemnity, as well as the day that is the anniversary of the dedication of the parish Church.

After solemnities, feasts are the next highest rank for a day, and below feasts we have the celebrations that are known as memorials. Most saints, if they aren't "special" (well-known), their day is typically a memorial. Not all saints even make the calendar though. St. Malachy isn't in the calendar of celebrations that are celebrated throughout the world, but each saint has a day where those who have a special devotion to that saint are to celebrate that saint. For example,
St. Peter and Paul = solemnity around the world
St. Luke the evangelist = feast around the world
St. Theresa of Avila = memorial around the world
St. Malachy = not on the world wide calendar, but for St. Malachy parish, November 3rd is bumped up to a solemnity.

Anyway, St. Malachy was a bishop in Ireland whose story can be found here. What St. Malachy is most well known for is his prophecy. Here is the description of the prophecy taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia

"The most famous and best known prophecies about the popes are those attributed to St. Malachy. In 1139 he went to Rome to give an account of the affairs of his diocese to the pope, Innocent II. While at Rome, he received (according to the Abbé Cucherat) the strange vision of the future wherein was unfolded before his mind the long list of illustrious pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time. The same author tells us that St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590 (Cucherat, "Proph. de la succession des papes", ch. xv). They were first published by Arnold de Wyon, and ever since there has been much discussion as to whether they are genuine predictions of St. Malachy or forgeries. The silence of 400 years on the part of so many learned authors who had written about the popes, and the silence of St. Bernard especially, who wrote the "Life of St. Malachy", is a strong argument against their authenticity, but it is not conclusive if we adopt Cucherat's theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those 400 years.

These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1143, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc. For example, the prophecy concerning Urban VIII is Lilium et Rosa (the lily and the rose); he was a native of Florence and on the arms of Florence figured a fleur-de-lis; he had three bees emblazoned on his escutcheon, and the bees gather honey from the lilies and roses. Again, the name accords often with some remarkable and rare circumstance in the pope's career; thus Peregrinus apostolicus (pilgrim pope), which designates Pius VI, appears to be verified by his journey when pope into Germany, by his long career as pope, and by his expatriation from Rome at the end of his pontificate. Those who have lived and followed the course of events in an intelligent manner during the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X cannot fail to be impressed with the titles given to each by the prophecies of St. Malachy and their wonderful appropriateness: Crux de Cruce (Cross from a Cross) Pius IX; Lumen in caelo (Light in the Sky) Leo XIII; Ignis ardens (Burning Fire) Pius X. There is something more than coincidence in the designations given to these three popes so many hundred years before their time. We need not have recourse either to the family names, armorial bearings or cardinalatial titles, to see the fitness of their designations as given in the prophecies. The afflictions and crosses of Pius IX were more than fell to the lot of his predecessors; and the more aggravating of these crosses were brought on by the House of Savoy whose emblem was a cross. Leo XIII was a veritable luminary of the papacy. The present pope is truly a burning fire of zeal for the restoration of all things to Christ.

The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world and is as follows: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End." It has been noticed concerning Petrus Romanus, who according to St. Malachy's list is to be the last pope, that the prophecy does not say that no popes will intervene between him and his predecessor designated Gloria olivæ. It merely says that he is to be the last, so that we may suppose as many popes as we please before "Peter the Roman". Cornelius a Lapide refers to this prophecy in his commentary "On the Gospel of St. John" (C. xvi) and "On the Apocalypse" (cc. xvii-xx), and he endeavours to calculate according to it the remaining years of time."

Saint Malachy - pray for us!!

Parenting Help

I've grown to love listening to Dr. Ray Guarendi on EWTN, and I think his sense of humor blended with his wisdom makes his show really worth the time. If you don't currently listen to Dr. Ray, give him a try, he comes on in the afternoons, and his show airs from 1 to 2 p.m.

Dr. Ray also has some fantastic resources for parents that I can't recommend enough. What I'd encourage you to do is listen to him a few times and see if what he is saying resonates with you as a parent, and then, if you like him, perhaps purchase some of his resources. His most famous and popular book/DVD is "You're a Better Parent than You Think!"

Here is a teaser preview of "You're a Better Parent than You Think"

If you want to check more about Dr. Ray, click here to browse his products. Also, if you go to the website, browse around a bit - one of the funniest things I've ever heard was when he read one of his fake "let me tell you how good my family is" Christmas letters over the air. You can actually find each of the letters from the past ten years on his website, and I'll be posting one or two as Christmas draws nearer.

Finally, here is a longer interview that Fr. Mitch Packwa had with Dr. Ray on Fr. Mitch's show. It is almost an hour, but for those interested, here you go.