Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Christmas 2023

 A Christmas Letter from Jesus

My Friends,

Thank you for coming and celebrating my birthday tonight (today).  I, like you, enjoy celebrating, and what we celebrate tonight is cause for much celebration because 2000 years ago, when I was born, people first began to realize that they were no longer in darkness, but that the light was attainable again.  People began to realize that I had opened a way for them not just back into the Garden of Paradise, but the infinitely greater gift of the opportunity to dwell in and with God!  As my beloved friend and disciple writes in his letter that you just heard:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!

Although this is cause for much celebration, I want to write to you about something.  I am human, like you, and so I recognize that for a lot of you, Christmas is a time of pain.  Many of you have been blessed growing up with wonderful Christmas memories.  Let’s pause there and just smile thinking about those celebrations of the past.  Know that in those past celebrations I was there with you, in the midst of your celebrations, and your joy brought great joy to me. 

But on this side of Heaven, as we know, things can change.  A lot of you are sitting here at this Mass with a sadness because, if it were up to you, a certain person or a group of people would still be with you tonight (Today).   Through the years, this congregation has lost brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.  Some of you are sad tonight (today) because you are separated from those who are still living, but are not able to make it home for Christmas.  Either way, whatever the cause of the separation, there is no pain like the separation of people who love each other.  I want to say to you tonight (Today) that I walk with you in your sorrow.  I would not say to you, “move on” “forget”, or “time heals all wounds” – I made you and I love you and like Job’s friends I sit with you in the midst of your sadness. 

I’ve heard the expression “I’m just trying to make it through Christmas”.  For many of you, Christmas is a more intense reminder of who is NOT here.  Precisely because past Christmasses with loved ones and family were so joyous, and were so awesome, Christmas becomes not a time for celebration but a time for being confronted by the grief and depression brought on by recalling the ghosts of Christmases past.

As I said earlier, I would not tell you to stop being sad, because I share your sadness.  I made you from before time began.  I am not a distant God who rules and commands from afar.  I made you because I love you.  And I am a human person too.  You may recall my reaction when I received word that my good friend Lazarus had died.  Again, as my friend and Apostle John wrote: “He wept”

I would like to issue an invitation to you – I want to invite you into the joy of THIS Christmas.  I was with you in the past, but I am with you right now in this moment too.  The first Christmas turned on a water faucet that is impossible to shut off.  The water flows now continuously, and that water is my presence among you.  I am flowing forth within all those who love me, bubbling up like a living stream overflowing, and so I am constantly “being born” and coming forth in this moment, in new ways

I loved you then, I love you now, and I will love you for all time.  So let Heaven and Nature sing, let Heaven and nature sing because the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.


Friday, December 22, 2023

O King of the Nations


“O King of the nations, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.”

Homily for Friday, December 22nd


Our Alleluia verse today is “O king of the nations, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust”

It is always a temptation to think the Christ is not in charge, and is not in control

But the Catholic Church has always taught that NOT ONLY is Jesus Christ the king of Heaven, but Jesus Christ is also the King of the Earth, right now, King of our Country, King of Indiana, King of the World.  In fact, we just celebrated several weeks ago the great solemnity of Jesus Christ, the king of the universe.

And one of the main teachings of the Catholic Church is that a key way that we see how Christ is King in the civil realm is through the institution of Marriage. 

And Jesus Christ, as King of the Earth, does not just care about marriage within the Catholic Church, but Jesus cares about every marriage period.  Jesus and the Catholic Church even recognize a man and woman who are both unbaptized and get married at the courthouse as a valid marriage.

So, just to reiterate, Jesus and the Catholic Church have ALWAYS understood marriage to be of central importance to any society.

In fact, there was a document “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” issued by the Vatican several years ago that states: “If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.”

Of course we can reject Jesus Christ the King’s authority over us, but there is a parable in Luke’s Gospel about a king who goes on a journey away from his kingdom, but remains King.  When the King returns, he says this: Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me Luke (19:27)


May we accept Jesus Christ’s kingship over our land, our lives, our families and our Church, so that when Christ returns completely and openly, we may hear him say well done, my friend, enter the Kingdom I have prepared for you from the foundation of the world!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

December 21st "Hark, my lover, here he comes"


“Hark, my lover – here he comes, springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills”

Homily for Thursday, December 21st 2023


It is so providential that we have this reading today from the Song of Songs!  There is a saying in our wider culture that “Love is Love”.  But we say in English “I love Doritos” and also “I love my spouse”…and clearly those loves are not the same thing.


In Hebrew, there are SEVEN different words for “Love” and in Greek there are FOUR different words for “Love”. 


There is so much confusion today about love and marriage…even within the Catholic Church…


One of the main things that distinguishes Human Persons from all the other animals is our ability to experience ATTRACTION and yet NOT ACT ON THE ATTRACTIONS that we experience!


Whether we are married in a valid marriage recognized by the Catholic Church, a single Catholic, a priest or a religious brother or sister, we all experience attractions of a sexual nature, but we ALL have ALL the Graces that we need to not ACT on those attractions.


Also, the Bible is FULL of teachings about how married chaste love between two spouses is a direct image of how God loves the Church, and also how God loves each of us.


Anything that would distort an image of how God loves us is an abomination in the technical sense, and sterile sexual activity is one of the sins that cries out for vengeance to Heaven.


I have a TREMENDOUS respect for people who experience same sex attraction, and yet are trying to live chastely…I raised over 90,000 dollars 10 years ago to make a documentary on some of those people who experience same sex attraction and none the less love being Catholic and were willing to appear on camera.  The documentary is called “The Third Way” and I am proud to say that it has been viewed millions of times.  It is for free on YouTube and Vimeo.  Click HERE to view "The Third Way"


All of us are called to chastity... to direct our sexual attractions in the proper direction, thus all imaging, in our various states in life, the perfect Love that God has for us.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Catholic Faith Can be Grasped by Children


Confusion in the Church?

Homily for Tuesday, December 19th 2023


Advent is a special time for us to, among other things, focus on our Blessed Mother.

One of the titles of Our Blessed Mother is “Mother of the Church”, and for the last year or so I have been asking “Mary the Mother of the Church” to intercede for us at the end of my daily rosary.

There is a lot of confusion in the Church in our own day.  But confusion in the Catholic Church is nothing new.  In 325, The Council of Nicaea settled the Arian controversy definitively, but 70 years later, in 395, St. John Henry Newman, who wrote a wonderful book on the history of the Arian Controversy, found that number of bishops who were following the heresy of Arianism had GROWN to 95%


There was a bishop fighting the Arian Heresy long after the Council of Nicaea, and his name is St. Athanasius…there is a saying about St. Athanasius “Athanasius against the World” because he was one of only a few bishops who was teaching true Catholic teaching in the late 300’s…and he was sent into exile 5 times.


Confusion from authorities in the Catholic Church has been a story since the 300’s.  It is nothing new.


The Catholic teaching, Jesus said, can be understood by children.  Be wary of anyone who muddies the waters with an excess of words.  Jesus also said that anyone who causes a child to stumble, it would be better for that person to be drowned in the sea with a millstone tied around their neck.


May Our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, under the title of “Mother of Church”, intercede for us today and always!

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent 2023

Rejoice?  Let nothing steal your joy!!!


Today we celebrate “Rejoice” Sunday…"Rejoice" is the first word of our entrance antiphon, and we hear about the need to rejoice in both the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading, and the first 2 words from our 2nd reading are St. Paul’s telling the Thessalonians to “Rejoice always”


First of all, joy is filtered through each of our different personalities, it does not look the same in every human person, but joy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

There are lots of things “of the world” that are constantly trying to steal our joy.  I would just like to talk about the main one that I have seen robbing my joy in my life…smartphones/social media/tv


I had over 100,000 followers on social media, but I recognized around the time I stepped away for chemo that it was all too much, and all of it was turning me into a person I did not like.


I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, and his main works is “The Lord of the Rings”.  The Devil character has these “seeing stones” scattered around the world, about 8 of them, and the Devil character is not allowed to show anything that isn’t true, but he shows true things in such a way to get people to despair…the Devil character intentionally withholds the fuller picture…


And that is just the perfect analogy for what our smart phones/social media and televisions do…they show true things, but often in such a way as to get us to not rejoice but rather to fall into despair.


I got rid of my smartphone and got off all social media and I don’t watch any television anymore.  We have a tv in the rectory, but it doesn’t have any channels and we have it just to watch Lord of the Rings😊


I have become infinitely more full of joy since getting rid of my smartphone, and social media and tv.


This is the season where young people ask for smartphones…I can’t recommend a lightphone enough.  (click here to learn more)  It has texting, phone calls, and driving directions…it would make the perfect gift for any child or teenager (or adult)


Let us, during this Mass, ask the Lord to show us anything in our lives that is robbing us of our joy, and let us quickly remove those things from our life!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

"Silence and Presence" Homily for the First Sunday of Advent 2023


Homily on Silence December 2 and 3 2023


Jesus says in our short Gospel, three different times, that we should Watch!

What better way to “watch” than to sit in silence for a few minutes in adoration of Jesus truly among us in the Eucharist.

That is what we are going to be doing at the end of today’s Mass – just a few minutes of silence.

One of the best books I have ever read is titled “The Power of Silence” by Cardinal Robert Sarah, and the subtitle is “The Dictatorship of Noise” and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

And I would just like to share a few amazing quotes from it

First of all, Cardinal Sarah teaches “Silence is not an absence…on the contrary it is the manifestation of a presence.”

Last night, when we ended Mass with a few minutes of silent adoration at St. Lawrence, you could have heard a pin drop but it was also really clear that the Holy Spirit was there in our midst…


Secondly, a question I get a lot is “Father, is it a sin to get distracted in prayer and is it a sin to get distracted at Mass?”  And so I am happy to report that the Catechism says it is in no way a sin to get distracted…it says all that is necessary when you find yourself distracted at Mass and prayer is to just make a quick prayer “Jesus, I was distracted…I know it is not a sin, help me to refocus on you!”

Cardinal Sarah also shares a beautiful way to move forward from distractions, and he talks about how we get all these things thrown at us when we try to be silent, but he says during prayer time it is absolutely necessary to not to listen or engage with them, and that those temptations and distractions come to us, but they are not FROM us…


Finally, Cardinal Sarah says this “We are bombarded by noise and noise is often a deceptive and addictive tranquilizer…noise stubbornly hates silence, and our culture detests the things that silence brings us to…encounter, wonder, and kneeling before God”


I look forward to ending Mass this morning with a few minutes of silent adoration kneeling before God!

Monday, November 20, 2023

"Advent Adoration" Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


“Advent Adoration” Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


I returned this morning from the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, and it was a great experience!  Fr. Meyer and I have always prioritized our young people having experiences where they are connected to the larger Catholic Church, and this year there were over 12,000 people who attended NCYC!


The morning and evening sessions took place in Lucas Oil Stadium, while the break out sessions took place in the Convention Center across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium.


On Saturday night, during dinner, we asked the teens and chaperones to share, at their tables, their favorite experiences of NCYC, and overwhelmingly the favorite for most of them was Eucharistic Adoration, which took place for approximately one hour on Friday night in Lucas Oil Stadium.  But that holy hour only had about 5 minutes of silence, and the rest of the time there was music and talks going on. 


There was also SILENT adoration taking place throughout the 4 days of NCYC in the Convention Center as well, and most of our young people and chaperones shared that they actually preferred the SILENT adoration in the convention center.


Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote about several years ago called “The Power of Silence” with the subtitle “Combatting the Dictatorship of Noise” and we do live in a very loud world…radios, tv’s, social media, earbuds, smart phones…we are assaulted by noise all the time.


So at our parishes during Advent, we are going to be ending our Masses during Advent with just a few minutes of silent adoration and then move right into Benediction…there are handouts as you leave Mass for those who want more info…but this is part of the Eucharistic Revival that has been talked about a lot.


Fr. Meyer and I hope that this experience and exposure to a few minutes of silence in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus will draw us all closer to Christ, to the Catholic Church that Jesus established…and closer to one another as well!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Baby Indi

For those of you who are not familiar, Britain is on socialized medicine, and despite the Prime Minister of Italy granting baby Indi and her parents Italian Citizenship, and despite Pope Francis offering the Bambino Gesu to treat Baby Indi, Lord Justice Peter Jackson of the English Court of Appeal, citing a “best interests” of the child standard, blocked Indi’s parents from accepting Italy’s offer.

Baby Indi died on Monday morning, but something happened that the Devil did not attend.  A person suggested to Baby Indi's parents that she get baptized...and not only did the parents allow her to get baptized before she died...the parents were baptized as well!

The Father said that he had seen so much evil through this whole thing that it shook him out of his spiritual slumber.

J.R.R. Tolkien described God and Heaven, metaphorically, as a symphony with God as the conductor.  The Devil and other demons are playing notes off the script, trying to wreck the symphony, but God is able to weave their discordant notes into the symphony, and still make the symphony perfect and beautiful.

That is clearly what happened in this instance.  As St. Paul assures the Romans, "God is working all things for the good for those who love Him"!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2023

"The 10 Virgins" Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 “The 10 Virgins”


In the parable in our Gospel today, it may sound strange…we might ask why 10 virgins were waiting, in the middle of the night, for the groom to come back, by himself, for a wedding party, but every Jew listening to Jesus would understand the customs involved, and a quick internet search will point those things out to anyone interested.


But I want to focus on vocations, this weekend, as this is National Vocations Awareness Week in the United States, and some of the vocations involve vows related to virginity.


First of all, I never felt any pressure from my family to be a priest.  My parents just said once or twice over the years as we were growing up “if any of you became a priest or a sister, we would support you in that decision”  I would discourage any family from applying any sort of pressure to a young person.


I personally heard a very clear call my sophomore year of college when I made a commitment to read one chapter of the Gospel each day.  I just heard Jesus putting on my heart, every time I opened the Bible “be a priest”.  So that is the number one recommendation for discerning your vocation…read one chapter of the Gospel each day on your own.


I would just like to say a few things about the priesthood – I have never missed having children of my own… As a priest, no matter how young you are, you are welcomed into hospitals and nursing homes passed all the aunts and uncles and cousins right to the bed side because you have the Sacraments of the Church…and we invited to all of your wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, graduation parties, first Communion parties…

We are also connected to the family of the priests of the past…every family typically buys their son a chalice when he is ordained a priest, and usually when that priest dies no one knows what to do with that chalice, so they are kept in the archives at the diocese.  I went down to the Archdiocese and picked out one such chalice that was originally a gift to Fr. Edgar O’Connor, who was ordained a priest on May 25, 1920.  The Archdiocese gave me some information on Fr. Edgar O’Connor and my parents had it refurbished, and so now both of our names are on the bottom of this chalice.  Every time I celebrate Mass with this chalice, I see both my name and Fr. Edgar O’Connor’s name on the bottom of the chalice.  I now pray for the repose of his soul every night, and then I ask him to pray for me.


It is a beautiful thing…and all the religious brothers and sisters I know feel the same way about their vocations even though we all take vows to be live as virgins.  There is a young woman who I first got to know when I was the Chaplain at Cardinal Ritter.  Just a few years ago she made final vows for the Sisters of Life based in New York City.  The Sisters of Life are highly engaged in the pro-life movement, they minister to women and fathers who chose to have abortions, and they also celebrate with women and fathers that have chosen life…they have birthday parties for babies and take care of the families…she does not have any biological children but she is a mother to hundreds of fathers, mothers, and children.


When I was first ordained a priest, lots of people told them “you must be really proud of John” and they responded with “we are really proud of all of our children…” I think that was so wise of them to say because all of my siblings are still practicing Catholics and most of them are married and having children…marriage is also a beautiful vocation!


In conclusion, whether you are discerning your “capital v” Vocation (marriage, priesthood, become a religious sister or brother, or the consecrated single life) or you have already chosen one, and are just wondering what God is calling you to do today, my advice is the same…read one chapter of the Gospels each day…and in those 4 minutes God will let you know what you should do in order to grow in holiness and happiness.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Homily for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


In our first reading today the prophet Malachi warns the priests, saying “Listen, O priests, you have turned aside from the way and have caused many to falter by your instruction.”

In our own day as well, we still see lots of priests leading people astray by their instruction.  And those priests and bishops and Church leaders, if they do not repent, risk the fires of Hell.


Saint Paul, on the other hand, provides the Thessalonians a great summation of HIS approach, and it needs to be the same approach for all of us in this Church today.


St. Paul says this: “We were determined not only to share the Gospel with you, but even our very selves”  That is beautiful! 


First of all, St. Paul says he shared the Gospel with the Thessalonians…and sharing the Gospel can be pretty simple and straight forward…humanity sinned, God became a human person in order to rescue us, and now, through baptism and life in the Catholic Church, we had the gift of finding great joy in this life and in the life to come by following Christ who said “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly!”  That is a beautiful invitation.


But that second part that saint Paul says is also critical…Saint Paul also tells the Thessalonians “Not only did we share the Gospel with you, we shared OUR VERY SELVES…” and that is really profound…he says he gave himself completely and wanted to be their friend.


All of us here this morning know one person that we can first of all demonstrate how much we love them by sharing our very self with that person…someone who is not here right now…I want you to think of that person, and make a resolution…I will be the best friend I can be to that person…radical friendship makes sharing the good news of the Gospel and the Catholic Church more fruitful…

Some of us fall more deeply in love with the Catholic, or even convert, by reading the Church Fathers and other saints, some of us are drawn to the Catholic because of the beauty of the Mass, the music, the beauty of the Church buildings, the incense…but all of us desire friendship as well and there are lots of people in our world today who have no one to be a friend to them. 

So please, go out and be a friend to someone, share yourself with that person, and in that process, you can that person and yourself becomes saints.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023


Our 1st reading talks about how we are to care for the poor.  And in our Gospel Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor.


In Matthew 25, Jesus says that we will be judged by what we do or do not do for the poor and vulnerable.


And so in the Gospel today, when Jesus said we need to love God with our whole heart, our whole mind and our whole soul, it means that sometimes God wants us to be with our family to experience God’s great love for us.


Other times He asks us to come to Mass to encounter Him here.


Other times He asks us to seek Him in the confessional, where God destroys all that stands in our way to His Love.


And sometimes He asks us to help those who are in need in our community, and around the world because when we help other people, we also find a great sense of peace.


And one of the thousands of things I love about the Catholic Church is what it teaches about virtues…the idea of virtues is that you have to do the virtuous action over and over and over again, but eventually you get better at it and you also start to realize “wait a second…I am actually happier and better at this act than I was 2 years ago”  It is why I love athletics…you lift and work out and run and over time you realize that if you stick with it, you see yourself get stronger and faster…no one is born an organist nor a concert violinist…but as you start to practice an instrument over and over and over again you discover that you become better and better at that instrument. 

So it is the same thing with coming to Mass….after I have made it a habit by even removing the possibility of missing Mass I start to realize “I am happier when I come to Mass”

Or with the poor…Mother Teresa never heard a voice from Heaven say “pick up the leper with worms on him and care for him” she just did it…over and over and over again, and as she inched a long through the years she fell more deeply in love with the poor and thus, because they are actually the same person, she fell more deeply in love with Jesus.


And so, it is good to be here with all you today as we welcome Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Universe, on our altar today at this Mass.  He promises to show up here and he promises to be present in the poor...may we seek Him where He is most intensely present!

Saturday, October 21, 2023

A Most Unlikely Hero


At the darkest moment in Israel’s history, a most unlikely hero set everything right

Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023

The most traumatic event in the Old Testament for the Jewish people was the Babylonian captivity.  It began about 600 years before Jesus’ birth, and lasted about 60 years.  The Babylonians took most of the Jews away from their land.

About 60 years after the Jewish people are taken away into exile, King Cyrus of Persia conquers the Babylonians, then sets the Jewish people free,

Not only does King Cyrus set them free, he then writes letters to all the surrounding governors of Jerusalem to help the Jewish people REBUILD their Temple. 

The prophet Ezra tells this story of Cyrus where we read in the Bible “the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom, “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem.  Let the Jewish people go up to Jerusalem to build the house of the LORD.  Let all the Jewish people be assisted by the people of that place with silver, gold, goods, and livestock, together with voluntary offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”


This same King Cyrus is who we hear about in our first reading today.  God tells Cyrus “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, subduing nations before him, For the sake of my servant Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.”

It is difficult to imagine a more improbable turn of events in the Old Testament than what King Cyrus did for the Jewish people.  Setting them free, telling them to go home and rebuild their Temple and then he also wrote letters to all the corners of his vast country that people from all over the country are to donate gold, silver and livestock for the new Temple!


What is the takeaway from this…God always wins…and usually the victory comes from the most unlikely source imaginable…in the case of Cyrus, God works His victory through a pagan king…

And here is the point: We look around our world today, torn apart by wars all around the world, and we see the turmoil even within the Catholic Church today and we wonder if God has abandoned us.

Let us trust that God is working all things to his purpose even when it appears that we have been abandoned in an earthly way.  Let us cling to God, let us put all our hope in His plan, let us stay close to the Sacraments of the Catholic Church even now when the world seems so dark and lost, 

As St. Paul assures the Romans: “We know that all things work for the good for those who love God”. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain" Hmily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023


“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain”


As I have mentioned many times, I went into my first surgery with about 170 names of victims of Catholic Clergy sexual assault. 

When I was staying at St. Martins rectory in the winter of 2021, I started writing a book for the victims, and have emailed out that book several times.  If you are a victim of Catholic Clergy abuse who has not received the electronic copy of this book, email me and I can send you a copy.


There is another chapter, though, that I have not emailed out, and it is titled “If I were to die”

I mention this because if references today’s line from St. Paul to the Philippians: “For to me life is Christ and death is gain”


I would like to read a brief excerpt from that chapter: “I totally trust in the Providence of God, and if I should die, I would consider that a great honor…the honor of being able to imitate Jesus through to the end…All that I ask is that you do what St. Monica on her deathbed asked of her son St. Augustine.  “Remember me at the Altar as often as you are able.”  Pray for the repose of my soul, that I may one day enter the glorious light of Heaven…for as St. Paul tells the Philippians: For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.”

St. John Chrysostom 1700 years ago wrote this: “What are we to fear? Death? But St. Paul tells the Philippians “Life to me means Christ, and death is gain.” I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good.”

In the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ praises those for whom “love for life did not deter them from death.”

The world is beautiful, life is beautiful…we love being alive…but we cannot let love for life deter us from death.


“For to me life is Christ and death is gain!”  May we all say the same thing…may we trust that if God decides it is our time to die, that our family will be taken care of…that everything that happens is in accord with His holy will!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Questions on End of Life Issues


The Catholic Church always Requires nutrition and hydration be given, no matter what.  That is typically one small tube inserted into the nose, but even if nutrition and water needs to be administered through an iv or a gastro tube, nutrition and water need to be supplied through that method.  It is only okay to stop nutrition if it becomes apparent that the body is no longer able to digest nutrition.


Life Support is where a machine is breathing for you.  It is acceptable to make the decision to withdraw life support if there is not a possibility of recovery.


The best practice for a Catholic is to not fill out an advanced directive, nor any sort of living will, but rather to appoint a health care representative who is Catholic and also understands what the Catholic Church teaches about end-of-life issues.  Indiana has a form titled “Indiana Health Care Representative Appointment” (click HERE to view the form)


Make your funeral plans now and send them to the funeral home, your parish, and any people who you feel like would want a copy of your plans among family and friends.  Sometimes, the parent is a faithful Catholic who would clearly want a funeral Mass, but if the children are not practicing, the family may not want a funeral Mass.  It is critical to make your funeral plans out ahead of time so that there is no discussion about you having a funeral Mass. 


The Catholic Church says the body should be present at the funeral Mass.  Cremation is only supposed to happen after the funeral.  If cremation is chosen after the funeral, the urn needs to be buried or placed in a vault.  It is not acceptable to scatter the ashes, nor is it acceptable to keep them at home, nor any other practice contrary to burying the urn or placing the urn in a mausoleum.


The only situation where cremation is acceptable before the funeral is when the funeral is a great distance away.HERE

Sunday, September 10, 2023

"Where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them" Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


“Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them"


Last night, I was sitting in Saint Lawrence Church praying, and the Devil was trying to discourage me with all these things going on in the world and the Church….and I just was leafing through the book that all priests and religious vow to pray from 5 times a day, and eventually I came across a beautiful passage from St. John Chrysostom, the best preacher of all time…and he wrote this about 1700 years ago…and it spoke to me so clearly with that spirit of discouragement and dismay that the Devil always wants us to experience, and so in case any of you at this Mass are being assaulted by Demonic spirits of discouragement, I share some of St. John Chrysostom’s words:


“I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth, I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good.  I concentrate, therefore, on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.”

I have talked before about how it is so important for all of us to be present, in every moment, to those around us.  The Devil wants us worrying about the future, our past, he also tells us lies about ourselves in the present, and the best way fight back against these attacks is to be present to the current moment and to be present to those around you.


St. John Chrysostom goes on: “Do you not hear the Lord saying “where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name there am I in their midst?  Will Jesus be absent then, when so many people united in love are gathered together?”

There are so many people here at this Mass, and we are here because we are striving to be saints, striving to get to Heaven.  That is what I focus on…those who are here at this specific Mass.


Pope Francis has said his favorite novel is “Lord of the World” and it is a novel about the antichrist.  The antichrist has killed all the other Catholics except for 2, and so even in that novel, when 2 are gathered in Christ’s name, Christ is there.  Christ promises each of us who keep the Commandments of His Catholic Church that “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”


We here at this Mass have many reasons for discouragement and despair, but let us hold fast to Christ’s promise in tonight’s Gospel “That where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

Monday, September 4, 2023

"Christ Suffered for You Leaving You an Example" Homily for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 – “Christ Suffered for you leaving you an example”


Saint Paul tells the Romans to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” and Jesus says to his followers in today’s Gospel “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”



I made a prayer in early 2019 that if there was anything I could suffer for the victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse/assault etc., that I would willingly do that.  A month later I had my first seizure from what I later learned was a brain tumor.  And I knew as soon as the words came out of the doctor’s mouth, that this tumor had been an answer to that prayer I made.


And so, after receiving my diagnosis, I wrote up a blog post that night about how I had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and that I was offering that suffering up for all the victims of Catholic Clergy Abuse, and that post went viral.

Since my first surgery was not for another month, that gave me the opportunity to communicate with about 170 victim survivors, and parents of victims, and parents of victims who had taken their life because of the abuse done to their children by Catholic clergy, and so I entered my first of 3 brain surgeries in March of 2020 with 170 names of victim survivors and victims who had committed suicide because of the abuse.

I told all of them that I don’t expect my offering up of my suffering them to suddenly help them return to the Catholic Church, but some of them reached out several years after and let me know that was the case for them.

Why do I mention all of this??? Because the Bible says, over and over again, and in our readings from St. Paul and Jesus in our Gospel today a teaching that I don’t hear coming from any other place besides the Catholic Church, and that is that our suffering has the power to change people’s lives and OUR life.  

In all of this, I will say that the number one person who was helped through this offering up of my suffering for the victims...was 3 year battle forced me to slow down and question things about myself that I had never stopped to question, and I recognized that a lot of times I was spreading gossip, slandering people not present and on and on.

Mother Angelica had this beautiful phrase “Never let a DROP of suffering go to waste”


My heart aches when I hear people say that they think their suffering is meaningless…that narrative is out there a lot in our world, but it is not true…our suffering has an infinite weight to it…just as Christ’s suffering won our salvation, so our suffering can, when offered up for other people, have dramatic effects in their lives, and in ours.


What does this look like practically? 

It might look like “Lord, I offer this small inconvenience that I am experiencing at the grocery store up for other people”

or…lord I am offering the suffering I am experiencing from strife in my family up for that person causing the strife…

or lord, I offer up the suffering of this cancer and chemo up for other people…


Try it with big and small sufferings in your life…God always keeps His Word because He loves us…see if offering up your sufferings for yourself and others does in fact make you more peaceful and calm.

And we all know people who need to hear these things about our suffering not being meaningless but something that we can offer up for others, and we all know people who suffer because they are listening to the Devil tell them they are the worst sinner because they get distracted at prayer…invite those people to come learn more about Catholicism.

Inviting a person to come learn more about what the Catholic Church teaches also has the benefit of being something that, for most of us, we are MASSIVELY FEARFUL of doing…so offer that suffering up for that person who you are going to push through your fear and invite.


Classes start September 14th at 6:30pm at St. Martin’s campus hall


Let us all heed St. Paul’s command today and offer ourselves up as a sacrifice in both big and small ways…may we make that a constant habit in our lives moving forward!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Lifesite Video


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Homily for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


Homily for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time


“You are Peter, and Upon this Rock I will build my Church”

Fr. Meyer and I were both blessed to witness today the Confirmation of 74 young adults from Dearborn County.  Archbishop Thompson gave a tremendously powerful homily, and one of the things that he said was "when you all come to Mass this weekend, you will hear Jesus telling Peter that I built my Church upon you...we all haver our own theological opinions and ideas about what the Catholic Church ought to teach, and what the Catholic Mass should look like...but it is important that we run our own ideas through what the Church ACTUALLY teaches!" 

There are 4 pillar documents of the 2nd Vatican Council, and one of them deals exclusively with the Mass.  That pillar document said that while permitting translations of the Mass into the vernacular, “care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them”

Pope Francis said just last week that every Council in the history of the Catholic Church has taken about 100 years to be realized...and we are only 60 years after the 2nd Vatican Council, so we still have 40 years left...

And so it is neither Fr. Meyer nor my desire to do this quickly.  It will take years of teaching…and so we have started with the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei


Latin Mass Part (Sanctus and Agnus Dei) are Located

St. Lawrence they are in the BACK of the green Gather book

St. Mary on the hymn board.

St Teresa - in front of Gather book


Why chant them?  Because chanting is actually easier than just reciting them, particularly when it comes to the Creed and the Gloria and so forth.


If you watch Mass on EWTN at all, that is also what we are trying to build here…the Mass as the 2nd Vatican Council intended…the Mass on EWTN some days does Latin Mass parts, some days they do the Mass in English…


There is also a 2sided handout in this weekend’s bulletins about other questions you might have about the way Mass is celebrated in Dearborn County.  Please grab a bulletin and let myself or Fr. Meyer know if you have any questions. 

There is an old saying that "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."  I hope you see that Fr. Meyer and I are both striving to lay down our lives to serve and minister to all of our parishioners and all of those living in our parish boundaries.

We are trying to celebrate the Mass in the way that the 2nd Vatican Council intended it so as to remain close to Peter and his successors.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

"A house of prayer for all peoples" - the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023


20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”


I talked to the youth group when I first arrived and talked about this, and I just wanted to reflect on this topic again.  My talk was on the top 3 sins that I have heard confessed in my 14 years as a priest, and why none of the top 3 “sins” are actually sins.


The number 1 most confessed sin is “distraction in prayer.”  The Catechism has a BEAUTIFUL statement about what we do when we are distracted; paragraph 2729 “The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart.”


The 2nd most confessed sin is “Lustful thoughts”.  But lustful thoughts are not sins unless we are WILLFULLY, with our mind, ENGAGING those thoughts.  The Devil is allowed to tempt us and suggest things to us…and one of the ways he does that is through showing us lustful things in our mind…but then once he shows us those things he wants us to think that they are coming from US and the Devil ACCUSES us of them…and he will say things to us in our mind “Did you really just look at your sister or that woman or have those thoughts about the Blessed Virgin Mary…you are such a freak show…no one has those thoughts except you!”


Saint Padre Pio wrote that he was assaulted with the most perverted lustful thoughts, particularly during Mass and at the words of Consecration…but Saint Padre Pio shrugged them off because he knew those thoughts came from the Devil and not himself.


And finally, the third most confessed sin, along the same lines as the other 2, is distraction at Mass.  I get distracted multiple times during every Mass, and if I hadn’t read the Catechism paragraph mentioned above, if I had not read Saint Padre Pio’s writings, I would probably have thought that “I must be the antichrist because I cannot stay focused on the prayers, and I am the one saying most of the prayers out loud!”  But again, when I get distracted at Mass, I simply make a quick prayer “Lord Jesus, I was distracted, I know it is not a sin, help me to refocus on you.


In conclusion, there are so many non-Catholics and Catholics who need to hear these teachings.  Every Catholic Church is, in a special way, what we heard in our first reading today from the prophet Isaiah…every Catholic Church is “a house of prayer for all peoples”.  I invite you to think of 5 people in Dearborn County, Catholic or not, who need to hear these teachings, and invite them to the adult education program that starts on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30 at the St. Martin’s campus hall. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023 - "But the Lord Was Not in the Wind"


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – “But the Lord Was Not in the Wind”


About 20 years ago I was a brand new high school teacher and, although I knew I wanted to be a priest, and had told everyone, I was doubting.  I remember at one point hitting my bed and saying “Jesus I NEED to know that you are REAL!!!”

And immediately I saw a very similar image to last Sunday’s Gospel.  I was standing on the top of a mountain looking at Jesus far off in the distance of that same mountain top talking to two people who I could not see.  Then Jesus came closer to me, and there was a light that came from Jesus and passed right through my heart and I was immediately struck with complete and utter bliss.  After the vision ended, I was walking around my house singing Catholic hymns, and I certainly surprised my family, as that was NOT my normal behavior!

But then that night, as I laid down to sleep, I could feel the super-intense joy start to go.  The effects, though, continued to linger for about a week, and then they were gone.


I spent the next couple of years trying to recreate that spiritual experience, I would pound my bed with my fists and say the same words I had said before, but nothing ever happened.

And that caused me to go into a sort of spiritual depression for a couple of years.

So pretty early on at St. Meinrad, I bought a book written by St. John of the Cross, and he definitely helped me understand why trying to recreate a spiritual “high” (or to seek a spiritual “high” in the first place) can actually be damaging to our spiritual growth.


He said there are a couple of reasons we should not seek out spiritual highs:

1) St. John of the Cross says one of the reasons we should not ask for spiritual highs is that when they inevitably fade, we will try to recreate them.  Guilty!

2) Another reason he says we should not pray for spiritual mountain experiences is that that the Devil can also lead us astray by appearing to provide us with some of the stuff that we THINK constitutes a “spiritual high”.

3) Also, early on at Meinrad, I was going to Mass every day, and I remember walking into my spiritual director’s office and I started crying and I told him, through the tears, that “I am going to Mass every day, and I just don’t FEEL anything happening!”  But a few months later, when I began reading St. John of the Cross, he hit me right between the eyes with this quote: “In receiving the Eucharist, they spend all their time trying to get some feeling and satisfaction rather than humbling praising and reverencing God dwelling within them.  And they go about this in such a way that, if they do not procure any sensible feeling and satisfaction, they think they have accomplished nothing.”


A lot of us, in the Catholic Church and also non-Catholic Christians spend a lot of time and energy trying to make Mass (or their Protestant prayer service) an EMOTIONAL experience, but that is not what the Mass is meant to be.  99.999% of the time I do not FEEL anything at Mass other than just a quiet peace.

This all gets back to our first reading at Mass, one of my favorite in Old Testament.  Elijah is also in desperate straits as I was.  He told God I need to know that you are real, and then there is this litany fire, earthquakes rushing wind, but it says God is not in any of those things, but was in the still small whisper.


This Mass, and every Mass, brings a peace that is DEEPER than pyrotechnics and praise music…

At this Mass, and every Mass, as Saint Peter told Jesus on the top of Mount Tabor, it is good for us to be HERE at this Mass to experience the still, quiet presence of Jesus.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

The Transfiguration, 2023


The Transfiguration 2023


About 20 years ago I was a brand new high school teacher and, although I knew I wanted to be a priest, and had told everyone, I was doubting.  I remember at one point hitting my bed and saying “Jesus I NEED to know that you are REAL!!!”

And immediately I saw a very similar image to what is described in our Gospel today.  I was standing on the top of a mountain looking at Jesus far off in the distance of that same mountain top talking to two people who I could not see.  Then Jesus came closer to me, and there was a light that came from Jesus and passed right through my heart and I was immediately struck with complete and utter bliss.  After the vision ended, I was walking around my house singing Catholic hymns, and I certainly surprised my family, as that was NOT my normal behavior!

But then that night, as I laid down to sleep, I could feel the super-intense joy start to go.  The effects, though, continued to linger for about a week, and then they were gone.


I spent the next couple of years trying to recreate that spiritual experience, but I encountered St. John of the Cross at St. Meinrad, and he definitely helped me understand why trying to recreate a spiritual “high” (or to seek a spiritual “high” in the first place) can actually be damaging to our spiritual growth.


He said there are a couple of reasons we should not seek out spiritual highs:

“They spend all their time trying to get some feeling and satisfaction rather than humbly praising and reverencing God dwelling within them.  And they go about this in such a way that, if they do not procure any sensible feeling and satisfaction, they think they have accomplished nothing.”

He also says that the Devil can also lead us astray by appearing to provide us with some of the stuff that we THINK constitutes a “spiritual high”.

St. John of the Cross also says “The more importance one gives to these spiritual visions the further one strays from faith…these sensory things are an impediment to the spirit because they detain the soul and prevent the spirit from soaring to the invisible.”


You can see Saint Peter, stammering out of Joy, asks Jesus if he can build three tents…he doesn’t want the experience to end but it does end

Peter does get one thing right in today’s Gospel when he said that it is good that we are here.

This Mass, and every Mass, brings a peace that is DEEPER than pyrotechnics and praise music…

At this Mass, and every Mass, it is good for us to be HERE