Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Waiting" and "Watching" are a "Yes" not a "No"

A Beautiful (and short) Reflection on "Waiting" by Pope Benedict XVI


The question is: Is the humanity of our time still waiting for a Savior? One has the feeling that many consider God as foreign to their own interests. Apparently, they do not need him. They live as though he did not exist and, worse still, as though he were an “obstacle” to remove in order to fulfill themselves. Even among believers—we are sure of it—some let themselves be attracted by enticing dreams and distracted by misleading doctrines that suggest deceptive shortcuts to happiness. Yet, despite its contradictions, worries and tragedies, and perhaps precisely because of them, humanity today seeks a path of renewal, of salvation, it seeks a Savior and awaits, sometimes unconsciously, the coming of the Savior who renews the world and our life, the coming of Christ, the one true Redeemer of man and of the whole of man.

---Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience December 20, 2006

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 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)
"'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 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:

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:

"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