Sunday, December 8, 2019

The wolf will be a guest of the lamb

Stroke

Dear friends, this week it was discovered that I have had a pretty serious stroke.  Serious in that the part of my brain that has been affected was fairly large.  Through the Grace of God, however, I have had zero noticeable effects of this stroke.

I spent 4 days in the wonderful care of doctors and nurses at St. Francis Hospital as they tried to figure out why the stroke happened.  Despite their diligent work, they could not locate the source of the stroke. 

They have referred me on to the Mayo Clinic, where I will visit in a few weeks.  The Mayo Clinic specializes in cases like mine that defy the normal battery of tests and procedures.

I know that before, during, and after (and always) that there are lots of people praying for me and for their priests.  I appreciate that, and ask for your continued prayers.

I am very much at peace, and have been given medication to ensure that until I can get further diagnosed, I will not have another stroke.

I have been given the green light to carry on with my priestly ministry as normal with the encouragement from the doctor to take it easy. 

Thanks again for your ongoing prayers.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Strengths and Weaknesses of NCYC 2019


Weaknesses

1 – There were zero talks on what I would consider the top 5 threats to the Catholic Faith of teenagers.  Nothing on:
a. How science and Catholicism are compatible
b. Catholicism and homosexuality
c. Catholicism and transgender issues
d. How to respond to the new atheists (nor was there anything on how to respond to the old atheists)
e. Catholicism and same-sex marriage

I have no idea why the top 5 threats our Catholic teens were not addressed head on.  They may have been mentioned at some point in some break out session, but you would have no way of knowing.  Those 5 topics need to be the TITLES of talks.


2 – Intentionality.  Every conference needs to welcome in people at the beginning and recognize where they are, but then there needs to be an intentional plan to help them MOVE to a new place, closer to the Lord.  I did not feel like NCYC did that.  At some point there needs to be an intentional ….”we’ve talked about the ways in which we are hurting and broken…and so now we are all moving towards confession…this is what confession is…we now have an opportunity to do that…and then this is Jesus in the Eucharist and adoration…this is the fulfillment”

It just seems like all weekend there are confessions available without intentionality and then there’s adoration but it isn’t a moving the group, together, through those stages nor through catechesis.  I’m not blaming Mark Hart’s talk on adoration because it was PHENOMENAL…I just mean I’d like to see an intentional and catechetical movement that everyone knows about and is working on.


3 – Our young people need to see liturgies (Mass, liturgy of the hours, and adoration) that are the liturgical rites of the Church, and not amended.  There is a humility in submitting to the liturgical texts and rites of the Church. 

4 – a lack of silence in adoration.  The group adoration in Lucas Oil stadium had really loud music playing almost completely throughout adoration, and I think there was literally about 90 seconds of silence.  Imagine how powerful it would be for our young people to be in a place where 18,000 people were all together in silence.

And you don’t need noise to cover over confessions.  Priests know how to do confessions quietly, or you could also move confessions out into the concourse.

I’m sure some will accuse me of bemoaning all of his lack of silence to my young people, but I literally made a commitment to not say a word or make weird faces or in any way express my discomfort with the lack of silence, but as my kids walked out of adoration, they expressed to me an exasperation with how adoration went. 

Also with regard to silence, I went to the adoration chapel set up in the convention center.  The following things interrupted it.  I was never able to have more than 10 minutes of silence in the chapel despite trying numerous times.
1 – adoration ended so that there could be a teaching Mass
2 – a religious order giving a talk while Christ was exposed, and then proceeding to invite everyone forward to be blessed by an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed.
3 – A priest giving his vocation story while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed
4 – my young people wanted to go to the chapel so we did, and there was a reflection/homily being given
5 – after that, my young people were hoping for silence, but an organist started in with music and asked everyone to join him in the songs

Young people want and can handle silence, and those who haven’t experienced it will be moved by it when they experience it.  We don’t have to keep the young people moving/talking/singing…let them spend time in silence with the Lord, particularly as our world gets louder, more frantic, and more under the iron grip of the dictatorship of noise. 

Have an adoration chapel where only adoration takes place.  Do all the other prayer/music/Masses/blessings/witness talks somewhere else.


5 - You have tons of seminarians at the conference.  Let them serve the liturgies.  They are contemplating giving their lives to the Church...why not hold them up and let them do what they have received tons more training for?



Strengths



1 – I bring my young people to NCYC mainly to see thousands of other young Catholics who are willing to give Jesus Christ and His Church a try, and many who are living it vibrantly.  My young adults go to 7 different public high schools, and most of them have only 1 or 2 other Catholics in their entire school.  NCYC is a 45 minute drive to show them thousands of other Catholic teens.

2 – Every single speaker that we heard was absolutely amazing.  The keynote speakers of Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mark Hart and Sister Bethany Madonna were mind-blowingly great.  Our breakout presentations that we attended were also very much loved by our group.

3 – There was a nice emphasis on chant and beautiful liturgical music.  I know my group appreciated that very much.

4 – I loved the lectio divina modeling that took place.  That was a great idea!

Monday, December 2, 2019

same-sex marriage and Catholicism

Same-sex marriage is THE issue that finishes off whatever vestiges of Catholicism were still lingering in lukewarm Catholics.

“I’ll do the “no meat on Lenten Fridays” thing, but if you’re saying my sister/friend/cousin can’t receive Communion if they marry whomever they want, I’m out!”

Sunday, December 1, 2019

We worship a God who "waits"...

so we should be people who "wait" as well






The point: we worship a God who waits, so we should be people who wait.  

1)     God waits and does not come as Jesus Christ.  He waits for thousands of years of the Old Testament, through awful leaders, horrible sins, giant failures of His people, horrible persecutions and famines, God waited.  Of course it is not an inactive waiting, God was very much at work in both holding everything in existence allowing everything to exist, active through an infinite number of interventions, most that we won’t know about until the end of time…but God did not yet come as Jesus Christ until, as the Bible puts it, the world arrived at the fullness of time.

2)     God also waits in that He has not come back to wrap the world up yet.  Through horrible persecutions, great sufferings, awful wars, horrible sins etc. the curtain still remains up on the world…the world continues and God waits for the fullness of time.  Of course God doesn’t sit on the sidelines, it is not an inactive waiting, God was very much at work in both holding everything in existence allowing everything to exist, active through an infinite number of interventions, most that we won’t know about until the end of time, but God has not returned.

We worship a God who waits, so we should be people who wait

Waiting seems terrible.  No one else makes us wait – everyone responds instantly – Kroger usually opens a new checkout line if the person in front of you has too many groceries, Amazon will deliver your package today…But God waits, and in this season of Advent in a special way, the Church asks you and I to wait.

A couple of things about this waiting:

1)     Is it an inactive waiting?  No!!!  Jesus says in the Gospel today “Stay awake”…the readings urge us to vigilance…and that is the type of waiting we are called to…the type of waiting that God does – a vigilance and an alertness to every single thing that is happening, action and intervention when needed, and so the same for you and I.  We wait, but we are alert, and we are still acting. 

2)     This “waiting” to me is best lived in prayer.   When we pray, it is the waiting of God
a.      It is not the waiting to get in to see a doctor
b.      Our contemplative prayer in Advent (and always) is a sitting WITH the doctor…the waiting with Him in prayer is what heals us and refines us

We worship a God who actively, alertly, lovingly and vigilantly waits.  This Advent, let us be people who also actively, alertly, lovingly and vigilantly wait as well!

Sunday shopping, sports, restaurants, etc.

I will never shop on Sunday, and have tried to cut out Sunday restaurants (once or twice in the past 5 years) - I am hoping to never do it again.

I'm not sure where these exceptions came in paragraph 2187 of the Catechism of things allowed to happen on Sundays.




I am also in favor of getting rid of CYO sports on Sunday.

So I'm not sure how either "sports or restaurants" DON'T make unnecessary demands on others.

"I don't want to make any unnecessary demands on you, but I need someone to ref my kids soccer game, and someone has to make me a sandwich"?????

I'm not debating the Catechism, I just share all this as the fruit of some research and thinking over the years on this subject, along with sharing this quote from the Catechism as well.  What are your thoughts?  Why do you think the Catechism includes sports and restaurants as things that are necessary?  Is it the inclusion of something unique to a particular culture?


Perpetual Adoration and the fallen away Catholics


Fixing the public school system

How to fix the public school system: teach philosophy. Philosophy can be taught in a completely "secular" way according to even the strictest understanding of that term.

It would also greatly help our Catholic schools as well.

Start in about 4th or 5th grade. One class a year on the history of thought and thinking. Most kids sit around asking the serious questions of life around 3rd-4th-5th grade anyways, and most of them don't know that their questions are the same questions that many great thinkers have been writing about and working on (and even "asnwering") for millennia.

When I was in the seminary learning philosophy, I regularly thought:
1) This is AMAZING!
2) These were the same questions I was thinking through and wrestling with since 3rd grade.

"Rethinking" Catholicism

‪“If the Church was not directly instituted by Christ, then it has to be rethought ceaselessly, reorganized according to rational schemes answering the needs of the moment”‬

‪Cardinal Robert Sarah‬
‪“The Day is Now Far Spent”‬

Christ as coach and teacher


Thanksgiving

The candles are lit.  The linens are fresh.  The chalice is prepared.  Everything is ready for Thanksgiving ad orientem!


A statement from my Dad on Roncalli

Given the recent situation that has made the rounds concerning Roncalli High School, I wanted to share this message from my Dad.  Prayers for all involved!

Read the message by clicking here: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101402553986&ca=85d34caa-71f4-4782-8d43-85100d14ce77&fbclid=IwAR275hvNVknOD7pYGBl7SmIt712dWFMysawKHlBZv2Oqnr3QSN5OZ_Kh2oY