Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bishop Coyne's Installation

This past week, I was blessed to be able to spend a few days in Vermont and New York to help send off and support Bishop Christopher Coyne as he formally took over as Bishop of Vermont on Thursday of this week.

I arrived in Burlington on Tuesday evening and my good friend Fr. Meyer's seminary classmate, Fr. Brian Stidt, who ministers in Burlington's neighboring diocese, Ogdensburg, NY.

Fr. Stidt was very gracious in driving us around for a few days, finding rectories for us to stay in and places for us to celebrate Mass.  It was truly a grace to make his acquaintance.

The Mass of installation itself was beautiful.  The choir did a wonderful job, the Church was beautiful, and Bishop Coyne's homily was phenomenal.  You can read Bishop Coyne's homily by clicking HERE and you can watch it below

A cool story from the installation Mass - as the opening hymn was wrapping up and everyone was taking their place, Cardianl O'Malley in the sanctuary along with other bishops there to celebrate the Mass, Bishop Coyne came to each of the 8 of us priests from Indianapolis, shook our hand individually, and said to each of us "thanks for letting me be part of your presbyterate."  He then chose to stand next to the 8 of us, until, in the opening ceremonies of the Mass where a letter is read from Pope Francis, he was called forth to the chair of his new diocese.  It was a very touching gesture, and I think it reflects well how Bishop Coyne felt about his time in Indianapolis.

Keep Bishop Coyne and his new diocese in prayer.

Here are some photos from the trip

wow, it feels like Indiana here

morning Mass at a chapel in New York

Evening Prayer at the Burlington Cathedral

Fathers Marcotte and Meyer moments before the installation Mass

Bishop Coyne's coat of arms on ice

Fr. Pat Beidelman organizing the Archindy photo

Fr. Jonathan Meyer, Fr. Eric Johnson, myself, Fr. Doug Marcotte
Fr. Sonny Day, Bishop Coyne (in an under-inflated hoodie)
Fr. Eric Augenstein, Fr. Rick Ginther,Bishop Paul Etienne
Fr. Pat Beidelman

St. Joseph's in Plattsburgh NY

Morning Mass at St. Peter's

Taking the ferry back across Lake Champlain to fly home

Fr. Meyer getting back to emails

Missed our original flight in DC...which meant
time with my brother Dan, his wife Jacqueline
and Veronica!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Urgent Prayer Request for My Family

I know there are some prayer warriors who follow this blog, so I'm asking for your prayers.

On Friday my family learned that my brother Nathan has been diagnosed with colon cancer.  Nate is only 19, so it was quite a shock for everyone.

Please keep him in your prayers.  Prayers so often lead to miracles, and even in the absence of miracles, certainly still work to strengthen all those who are suffering.

The type of colon cancer that he has also has a very high rate of cure, so we are thankful for that.

Thank you so much for lifting him up these next few months.  I will keep all of you prayer warriors informed on his progress.

Who is your Eli?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Film I Can't Recommend Enough!

In my lifetime I had never seen a film that actually got the priesthood and Catholicism correct.  As I've expressed here, a lot of time the missteps by Hollywood are depressingly comical.  Most of the time the priesthood and/or Catholicism makes it on to the big screen, my thought is,

"did they not have time to run this by ONE Catholic before they released it?"

Some films just completely bungle Catholicism and the priesthood, and some get much closer to getting it right, but I'd never seen any film that was in, say the 90th percentile of capturing the priesthood and the Faith authentically.

Then, a few days ago, I watched a stunning film that was
beautifully shot
and in every sense a true piece of absolutely nailed the priesthood in a haunting and beautiful and accurate way

The film "Calvary", featuring Brendan Gleeson in the role of Fr. James is DEFINITELY worth your time and your reflection.

I firmly believe that someone sat down with a priest and asked him "what is it like being a priest in today's world" and then they actually factored the responses into making this film.  There is just no way that this film could have been made by people merely GUESSING what being a priest would be like.  I'm so thankful for the accuracy, and I think all Catholics will really enjoy stepping behind the scenes to get a glimpse of what the priesthood is really like today.

First of all, Fr. James knows his weaknesses, and is a man of prayer, simplicity, and gentle humor.  His parish is, like the world, kind of a mess.  There are some good simple people...and there are people who hate his guts and everything he and his collar stand for.

One person hates Fr. James so much that, in the opening scene of the film, shot in the confessional, the penitent whom we can't see threatens to kill Father James.  The murder is said to happen "next Sunday" and so the film builds to that climactic day.

Gleeson's portrayal of priesthood is sheer artwork.  It is a modernized version of "A Diary of a Country Priest" a film that, in my humble opinion, desperately needed some modernizing.

Also, the portrayal of the parishioners is spot on.  Sin, as in real life, leads to sin and misery in this film, and it is embodied perfectly in the people who populate the film.

One of the things that I also enjoy about the film is that it gets right something many Catholics fail to grasp - priests spend some time every day dealing with truly psychotic people.  There is a fraternity among priests that isn't so much a "good ol' boys network" as it is simply that usually only priests know what types of things happen in the daily interactions of a priest, and how the collar so often has so much baggage that people choose to heap onto priests that most people will never know.

One humorous exchange with someone slightly off kilter that made me laugh out loud was when a man, quite serious, comes to Fr. James and says "Father, my wife is bipolar...either that or lactose intolerant."  Priceless!

There are also glimpses of virtue in both Fr. James, and also some of the other people he visits and who are members of the flock.  We are also blessed to see authentic prayer and authentic simplicity shot and accurately portrayed.  I also loved the associate pastor character who is more into theology and money than the he is into the priesthood.

The film has some frank language and some mature topics (discussions of sexual abuse, adultery, homosexuality), but no teen or younger person would enjoy this film anyways because it is more beautiful than it is entertaining.

I hope you give it a watch, and then let me know what you think of it.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Going to Church on Sunday

On Sunday, go to church.  
Yes, I know all the excuses. I know that one can worship the Creator and dedicate oneself to good living in a grove of trees, or by a running brook, or in one's own house, just as well as in church. But I also know as a matter of cold fact the average man does not thus worship or thus dedicate himself. If he strays away from church, he does not spend his time in good works or lofty meditation. He looks over the colored supplement of the newspaper.

- See more at:

Why March for Life?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Things Vatican II Actually Said

hat tip to Mr. Anthony Basso for helping me stumble across a great Facebook group to follow - Things Vatican II Actually Said.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Catholic Humor Fake News: "Symbolon Chalk Board Writer Sent Back to Kindergarten"

Altadena, CA - Dr. Edward Sri spoke at a brief press conference today noting that the person who was in charge of writing on the chalk board for the Augustine Institute's world-famous catechetical program Symbolon has been sent back to kindergarten to work on penmanship.

Sri has come under fire from many penmanship aficionados who complained vociferously that the Symbolon chalkboards were an affront to their senses.

Sr. Mary Margaret Hostetler, a grammar teacher at Mother of the Redeemer Catholic School, has banned the series from her school.  She noted that "We don't want our kids exposed to such penmanship here at Mother of the Redeemer."

Ryan Fields, responsible for the penmanship in the Symbolon series, released a statement through the Institute: "I did not attend a Catholic school, so I never learned how to write on a chalkboard.  Sorry."

Dr. Sri also released a statement: "We are saddened to have offended so many with our bad penmanship.  We recognize that the penmanship on our boards is an offense to every religious sister who has taught in a Catholic school at any point during the last 100 years, and we will continue to work to ensure that everything from the Institute glorifies God moving forward."

This is not real.  This is just for fun.  The Symbolon program is the best thing to happen to RCIA, ever, and I can't recommend it highly enough to any parish.  Just thought I'd have some fun with the penmanship because it reminded me of my own.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Catholic Democrats

Why is it that Catholics who vote Democrat typically are for big government, regulations, a higher authority coming in and telling people how to live and govern their lives....

But when it comes to their Catholic Faith they typically resist "the bureaucracy" of the Church and all forms of authority and believe that no one should ever tell them how they should live out their moral life?

At least a Catholic Republican can say "I'm for a strong Church, but I want the government out of my life"

But the Catholic Democratic thought of "I'm for a strong, authoritative government but I want the Church out of my life" doesn't make any sense to me.

UPDATED: As I've thought about this more, perhaps it is that Democrats feel like man as a political being needs a lot of oversight while religious man does not??  Thoughts?

Interview with our seminarian Michael Clawson

Michael Clawson is a member of Annunciation Catholic Church in Brazil, IN and a junior at Brute College Seminary which is affiliated with Marian University

Saturday, January 3, 2015