Monday, June 29, 2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 73: Psalm 91 and Joshua 1-3

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Wednesday, June 24th, the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

Homily for the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones." - Matthew 11:25

103 years after our Lord requested that France be consecrated to His Sacred Heart, it happened.

We are 103 after our Blessed Mother requested that Russia be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart.  We pray that will happen as our Blessed Mother requested.

"Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones." - Matthew 11:25

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 68: Deuteronomy 19-21

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Friday, June 19th, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Greatest Honor of My Priesthood: Eulogizing Officer David Moore

Officer David Moore was a committed and dedicated officer.  The son of two police officers, he knew and was friendly with everyone on his beat.  On Sunday, January 23, 2011, Officer Moore stopped a vehicle that had been stolen.

"As the driver and Officer Moore, whose weapon was holstered, were outside their vehicles, he was shot four times by the subject who fled the scene. Officer Moore, who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, was shot in the chest, the left thigh, and twice in his face. He was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital where he remained in a coma until being taken off life support."

I wrote a blog post shortly after about my knowledge of David Moore, just from a distance.  The next day his Dad called me and bestowed on me the greatest honor of my priesthood to date: the opportunity to read what I had written at Banker's Life Field House in front of thousands of police men and women from around the country.

Part of what I said that morning was used to make the tribute video below:

The entire text of the eulogy can be found here:

Officer David S. Moore from Ron Shelnutt Productions on Vimeo.

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 65: Deuteronomy 10-12

If you are following along with us, these are the Chapters for Tuesday, June 16th

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Homily: Unite Behind the Real Presence in the Eucharist or Perish

A reading from St. Thomas Aquinas for Corpus Christi

Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfilment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 63: Deuteronomy 5-6

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Sunday, June 14th

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Two-Question Examination of Consciene

All of the Places in the Bible Directly Referencing Jesus' "Real Presence"

5 different New Testament authors.  22 different places.

Christ could foresee all time.  If he saw that for 1500 years people would be "confused" thinking He meant His LITERAL Flesh and Blood, surely He would have indicated, just one time, that he was speaking metaphorically by slipping in "like" or some other metaphorical indicator.

In NONE of these verses does He do that.

Matthew 26:26 “This is my body”

Matthew 26:27 “This is my blood of the new covenant”

Mark 14:22 “Take, this is my body”

Mark 14:24 “This is my blood of the covenant”

Luke 22:19 “This is my body which is given up for you”

Luke 22:20 “This chalice which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”

John 6:27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give to you”

John 6:35 “I am the bread of life”

John 6:41 “I am the bread which came down from Heaven”

John 6:48 “I am the bread of life”

John 6:51a “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven”

John 6:51b “If anyone eats this bread he will live forever”

John 6:51c “The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”

John 6:53 “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you”

John 6:54 “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day”

John 6:55 “My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”

John 6:56 “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”

John 6:57 “He who eats me will live because of me”

1 Corinthians 11:24 “This is my body which is for you”

1 Corinthians 11:25 “This chalice is the new covenant in my blood”

1 Corinthians 11:27 “Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning body and blood of the Lord”

1 Corinthians 11: 29 “Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself”

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 62: Deuteronomy 3-4

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Saturday, June 13th

Friday, June 12, 2020

Marriage and "privilege"

A word that has been en vogue for a few years is "privilege"

One is supposed to now confess if one has "privilege", and apologize for it, and there is also the related bickering about "intersectionality" and who is MOST victimized and MOST without privilege.

What struck me as I'm working through the Catechism was paragraph 2206 which states "The family is a privileged community"

Our culture has tried everything to address injustice EXCEPT the true source of most of our problems - the degradation of the family.  Until we fix that issue, we don't have a prayer!

Be Perfect!

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 61: Deutronomy 1-2

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Friday, June 12th

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

An open letter to brother priests: what I've learned from talking to clergy abuse victims

Dear brother priests,

I am in a position I never imagined just a few months ago.  I prayed, in early 2019, that if there was some suffering I could experience on behalf of victim survivors of Catholic clergy assault, I would accept that willingly.  A month later I had my first seizure from a brain tumor.

When I finally learned that it was a brain tumor, I shared the diagnosis in a blog post, and ask if victims could share with me their name so that I could pray for them.  Over the next month, I had the distinct privilege of speaking with hundreds of victims either by letter, on the phone, or over email.  As gut-wrenching as their stories were, I was also hopeful in knowing in some small way the cross that I would be carrying through surgery, radiation and chemo was helping at least some of these victim survivors.

I wanted to share, then, the insights I’ve gained through those hundreds of conversations in the hope that something I’ve taken away from them might also help you (as it has helped me) see the danger signs coming from further away, and thus having a much better shot of steering clear of the dangers.

First, there are some preliminary facts that I think we can all agree on:

1) We live in a HYPER-sexualized culture, even if it hasn’t swallowed you up personally.

2) There is the carnage of broken families, broken marriages etc. that leave lots of people starving for connection, affection, etc.  And the hypersexualized world is telling them that the connection and affection has to be sexual.

3) There are going to be people at every assignment you have that will be attracted to you.

4) There are going to be people at every assignment you have that YOU will be attracted to.

So, then, the lessons learned through the conversations:

1) They are attracted to you at least in part precisely because of the gifts and talents that have come to you through your Bride, the Church.  You spent 6-8 years in the seminary gaining confidence, learning to preach, developing counseling skills and learning more about yourself.  Those are some of the same things that will attract people to you. 

2) There is an added layer of depravity when we USE what we learned in seminary about psychology as a weapon AGAINST others.  Finding out that they don’t have a father, or that they have some other need, and then EXPLOITING that information gained through counseling and spiritual direction against them.

3) There is a bottom level of the depravity, which is, unfortunately, common to too many stories.  The priest ultimately says some form of “Think of this as God loving you/embracing you”.  This is a complete and demonic reversal of “In Persona Christi”.

Finally, then, I humbly offer these suggestions as ways to swerve from trouble while it is still far away:

1) STRONG BOUNDARIES!  The power dynamic makes it impossible to have deep, authentic friendship with parishioners.  Anyone who has a deep friendship with a parishioner or anyone else under their spiritual care is deluding themselves.  That’s not to say that you can’t be FRIENDLY with parishioners/people underneath your pastoral care; that is EXPECTED.  But the idea that you would consider being a friend with a person under your care is unhealthy.

2) ALWAYS BE EXAMINING YOUR MOTIVES.  Ask yourself over and over again, multiple times a day, and during every conversation “why, exactly, am I saying this?”  That isn’t to invite paranoia into your life, but to just encourage a spirit of discernment with each conversation that you have.  In particular, we should pay attention to anything where we start to say “This person needs some special attention.”  Not that we don’t have people who need special attention at some point in their life and in our ministry, but we should be REALLY careful any time we find ourselves in that position, and should be cautious of our motives.  The ability for a person to deceive him or herself of their true motives is almost limitless, and the Devil LOVES to work in the midst of that deception.

3) Spiritual Direction monthly.  I can’t encourage spiritual direction and daily silent prayer enough.  Archbishop Buechlein, who ordain me a deacon and a priest, said to us the day before he ordained us priests, “Gentlemen, when a priest meets with me and says he’s thinking about leaving, I always ask him two questions, “when did you stop praying?” and “when did you stop getting spiritual direction?””.

4) Live with other priests if possible.  Vatican II says priests should be living in community.  It makes it a lot harder to get in trouble when you are living with other people.  They can also hopefully help in other areas of your spiritual growth as well (not just “not committing crimes”).

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 59: Numbers 32-34

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Wednesday, June 10th

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Monday, June 8, 2020

"I need to first "find myself""????

On seeking forgiveness from "super trads"

About 8 years ago, without thinking about it much, at the Easter Vigil practice with my servers I said, “Let’s do a video on the steps of the Church, then we’ll get started with practice”.  The Harlem Shake was a video that everyone was making and posting versions of them doing the dance.  I thought it would be a good way to show the transition from Lent to Easter in the Catholic Church.

I have since realized that it was sacrilegious, and I took the video down (it is the only video I’ve ever made that I took down)

A year or two ago, a parishioner said “Father, I saw a video of you posted on Facebook from some trad group…you are…um…famous!”

I went and look it up after Mass and sure enough the video of me and the servers doing the Harlem Shake had been reuploaded by someone and was being spread around.

I went in to the Facebook group and posted an UNQUALIFIED apology.  I shared that I had
1. Taken the video down
2. Gone to confession for the sin of sacrilege
3. Since blessed the items used in the video (vestments, servers cassocks and surplices, aspergilium, etc) according to the Latin book of blessings which someone had recently purchased for me.

I made zero excuses for the video and submitted an apology without any footnotes.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.  The comment was deleted by the Facebook group’s administrator who then reached out to me behind the scenes and said, essentially, that he read my post, but that it wasn’t welcome and that I was not welcome in the group.

Every few months, on a random homily that I post on Facebook, some “super trad” will randomly post the video and say something like “he’s a fraud priest”

So why this post now?  A few weeks ago, on the post pinned to the top of my public Facebook page about my brain tumor and where to get updates, someone posted the video and said, in essence, “You think this priest is trad?  Watch this.” 

I have tried to ask forgiveness for about 5 years for the video.  Some have accepted it.  But some “super trads” will not grant me forgiveness.

Jesus says “If your brother seeks forgiveness, grant it to him.”  I am seeking forgiveness.  The balls is now in the court of the super trads.

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 57: Numbers 26-28

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Monday, June 8th

Thursday, June 4, 2020

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 53: Numbers 15-16, Psalm 90

"The rebellion against Aaron and Moses"

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Thursday, June 4th

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 52: Numbers 12-14

"12 men bring back a false scouting report on the Promised Land"

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Wednesday, June 3rd

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reimagining What a Catholic Parish Can Be

Fr. John Riccardo and his team came up with this article, and I find it to be a succinct and direct summary of what many priests have hinted at, or talked about, or worked on....but this is the best version I've ever seen.

It also takes in the reality of a post-Covid 19 world.

Can't reccomend it enough.  Read it here:

"Read the Bible in a Year" Podcast, Day 51: Numbers 9-11

If you are following along with us, these are the chapters for Tuesday, June 2nd