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

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 - "Let Us Pray!"


“Let us pray!”


I am convinced that the best thing we can be doing with our time is praying for ourselves and other people.  Being laid up with cancer for about 2 years, I realized that the most important thing each of us can do is pray.  Pray for ourselves, and pray for each other, pray for the world, pray for those who have died...

Several years ago, I started the practice of praying for a particular person or a particular family and then

Writing them a HAND WRITTEN NOTE

Letting them know the DATE I prayed for them

And the TYPE of prayer that it was

It could be a rosary

It could be a holy hour in Church

It could be during a 10-minute walk outside

Also, and this is something Fr. Meyer and I have talked about making more well known, we are supposed to have a person, either living or deceased, who we bring with us in prayer to each Mass.  The cantor announces the priest's intentions right before Mass, but each person, at every Mass, should also have a person or two who are THEIR intention at each Mass.

Both Fr. Meyer and I typically pray the first Eucharistic Prayer.  Early on in that Eucharistic prayer, there is a time where the priest stops.  That is a time where you can mention, in prayer, a person or two who is LIVING who are your intention at this particular Mass.

Toward the end of the Eucharistic Prayer 1, there is a moment where the priest pauses, and that is an opportunity for each lay person to mention, in prayer, a person or two who has died who are your specific intention at this particular Mass.

And so feel to write a note to the person who is still living who was your intention at the Mass.  Maybe just say: “Hey, you were my intention at Mass on (date), hope you are doing well!”

If the person is deceased, you could write a note to the family “Just wanted to let you know that the repose of the soul of ____ was my intention at Mass on (date)”

I have started making my way through the 2,000 registered families and people of Dearborn County, so it will probably take me several years, but know as well that I pray every morning for all of my parishioners in general, and not just my parishioners, but all of those who live in our parish boundaries.


A lot of people in our culture today say that prayer is worthless but there are many psychological studies all saying, just from a scientific perspective, about the value or prayer/meditation on lowering blood pressure, heart health, etc. 

And on the spiritual level, prayer is a VERY powerful tool, always having effects in both our life and in the lives of those we pray for, even though those effect are not able to be seen by most observers.

Prayer is something that changes ourselves, those we pray for, and the whole world.  Let us pray for one another, and other people as well, trusting that what is unseen is more powerful than what is seen.           

I encourage you to write one hand written note each day to a person or family who you have prayed for, letting them know that you prayed for them.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Awesome Pro-life Diaper Company

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023 "The Wheat and the Weeds"


16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – “The Wheat and the Weeds”


'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'  Jesus replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.  Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who I will definitely mention in other homilies as well because he is such a fascinating figure who lived through several different imprisonments in Russian prison camps before coming to the US and warning the US that he was seeing things similar to Communism that were already taking place in the US.  He gave one of the most epic commencement speeches of all time to Harvard graduates in 1978 where he gave that warning!


But anyway, some of us likely have a good question which is “why doesn’t Jesus just destroy all the evil people in the world.” 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn answers our question this way “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

The fact is that we are not allowed to give up on anyone.  We all have evil in our hearts, although none of need let evil triumph in our hearts nor in our lives, but because each of us has evil in our hearts, none of us is allowed to judge another person as good or evil.  We ought to judge actions, but never judge persons.

I realized this year during Lent as I was proclaiming the Palm Sunday Passion narrative from Matthew.  In that Passion narrative it says the two thieves on either side were reviling Jesus. 

But Luke’s Gospel recounts how, as Jesus’ death draws nearer, one of the thieves rebukes the other, and then asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into His kingdom, and Jesus says “Today you will be with me in Paradise”

What is the takeaway from these Gospel passages? it is that when the two thieves were hung on either side of Jesus, they were both mocking Jesus.  But one thief, whether it was conversation with Jesus or simply watching Jesus suffer, in his last moments of his life, turns to Jesus, understanding now fully that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah and makes this beautiful request

The lesson for us is obvious – we are not allowed to judge anyone, nor are we allowed to give up on anyone.  But by the way we live our lives, by the ways that we endure suffering patiently and with hope, those things will attract people, and will inspire some of them to convert at the very end of their lives.

We pray that each of us will have the courage to endure suffering patiently, and so be a witness to all who see us, and inspire those who would have otherwise been thrown into the fire at the end of time.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


Homily for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


“Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth…so shall my word be…my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”


One of the manifestations of the Word of God mentioned in our First Reading today is the Bible.


There are, first of all, 2 false extremes regarding the Bible that I would like to address.


Certainly, most non-Catholic Christians and Catholics focus on our shared belief in Jesus to work together to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, run crisis pregnancy centers and so forth…99% of non-Catholic Christians are, as we sing in the Gloria are “people of good will”

But some of you who attended the Dearborn County fair were handed this pamphlet “Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition”.  Others have had their Catholic Faith directly questioned by other pamphlets.  The proper response to a non-Catholic wanting to hand you a tract against the Catholic Church is to not take the tract, but instead ask the question “Why are there 20,000 different denominations, all claiming to be based on the Bible alone?”  Jesus often answered questions from the Pharisees with another question, and those attacking Catholicism deserve to be asked another question as well.

On the other extreme, some who are in positions of teaching authority in the Catholic Church are teaching things DIRECTLY contradicted by the core teachings of the Bible.  We need to pray for the conversion of these teachers, that they would return to the core teachings found in the Bible.


In conclusion, what is a healthy approach to the Bible?  When I was a sophomore in college, I made a commitment to read one chapter of the Gospels each day.  In doing that for 5 minutes each day, God spoke to me and put on my heart something I had never even considered up to that point…as I read one chapter of the Gospels each day, I heard on my heart God calling me to be a priest.


I encourage all of us here today to read one chapter of the Gospels each day.  It is amazing how God will use that 5 minutes to speak to you a specific Word of guidance and comfort in that Gospel chapter.  As we hear in the first reading, the Word of God always bears fruit in the lives of those who immerse themselves in it.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2023


“Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest”


So MANY people, even ourselves, ARE tired, ARE weary and are looking for rest

The Devil is bombarding all of us with anxieties, noise, unrest, and the blinding light of our technological and mechanical world. 

Given all of that, I had placards made at my previous Churches saying that all are welcome, and then below that I had the quote from today’s Gospel…”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


THIS Catholic Church building, and all the Catholic Churches around the world, are the LAST place the Devil wants people to come

1.    Just a couple of stories.  I got a phone call several years ago, and it was a guy who said that he had driven past the sign outfront of our Church for years, knowing that he should stop and come in.  He then related that he literally sat in the Church parking lot for 30 minutes trying to work up the courage to come in before he finally did come in, and so he was calling me to say thanks.


2.    A person who became Catholic was relating to me that in her 20’s she lived a life completely of the world.  Crystals, raiki, oija boards, the occult, drugs, etc.  and she said that one time she was walking past a Catholic Church and she was prompted to go in, and as she reached for the door handle, the Devil literally curled her hand and would not let her grab the door handle.  She said fortunately there was a person coming out of the Church, and that person held the door open for her and she was able to come in


First of all, the Devil is also wanting to keep you out of this place, or, if you come in, which you all have, he will then try to get you out of here as quickly as possible.  Stay a few minutes.  Come back some time when the Church is open.  Visit a Blessed Sacrament chapel.  This is the year where the Eucharistic Revival is going on in every parish in the country.  We need first of all to remind ourselves that being in the Real Presence of Jesus is refreshing, renewing, and reinvigorating.

And in conclusion, each of us here today knows at least 5 people that need the peace that we have found in this Church building.  I beg you to go out and invite them to come into this Church building, and then offer to come with them.  The Devil might keep their hand from opening the door, so be a hand for them if they need it.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Sacred Heart 2023


Sacred Heart 2023 – “Both the Old and the New”


There has been much written about the new evangelization that Pope St. John Paul II called for.  And so when I was contemplating starting the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart upon word last Spring from the Archdiocese that I would be receiving an associate pastor, and thus able to have Masses on the First Fridays, I prayed about it for a long time.  And a line kept coming to me from the Gospels where Jesus says “every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

And so we celebrate the culmination of these First Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart today. 

This morning I was praying through the encyclical written by Pope Pius XII about the Sacred Heart Devotion, and so I would like to share a few lines with you from this encyclical:


“There are some who sometimes go so far as to consider this devotion ill-adapted to the more pressing spiritual needs of the Church and humanity in this present age.”

It seems to me that this is in fact what is going on in our world today, and I have sometimes fallen into the trap of thinking that, but over the last 20 years, I have been gradually realizing the power of this particular devotion.


Pius XII continues: “There are some who, confusing this devotion with various individual forms of piety which the Church approves and encourages but does not command, regard this as a kind of additional practice which each one may take up or not according to his own inclination.”

I have often talked about how the Catholic Church offers a buffet of spiritual devotions, and that Jesus expects NO ONE to do them all.  But this particular devotion to the Sacred Heart, Pius XII says, IS necessary for all Catholics.


The encyclical letter continues: “There are others who reckon this devotion burdensome and of little or no use to men who are fighting in the army of the divine King and who are inspired mainly by the thought of laboring with their own strength, their own resources and expenditures of their own time, to defend Catholic truth, to teach and spread it, to instill Christian social teachings, to promote those acts of religion and those undertakings which they consider much more necessary today.”


There is a tendency among Catholics in America to think that we can first of all rely on our strength and wisdom to spread the Gospel, which Pius XII explicitly rejects.


The encyclical continues: “there are those who see devotion to the Sacred Heart more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men.”

“Those forces of evil which have now for so long a time been taking root and which so fiercely compel us to seek help from Him by Whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God? 'For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.'  We must have recourse to Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life."


“Since then, alas, one can see that the number of those whose boast is that they are God's enemies is in some places increasing, that the false slogans of materialism are being spread by act and argument, and unbridled license for unlawful desires is everywhere being praised, is it remarkable that love, which is the supreme law of the Christian religion, the surest foundation of true and perfect justice and the chief source of peace and innocent pleasures, loses its warmth in the souls of many?”

Do we not see this happening throughout the western world today, in 2023, in an astonishing and exponentially increasing rate?

Let us continue to pray first, understanding that any true victory in the world comes through Jesus Christ, and His Inspiration of our own efforts begins first with each of bowing our head in prayer, and not first from relying on our strength.


Most Sacred Heart of Jesus…Pray for Us!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Saint Anthony of Padua, 2023


Saint Anthony of Padua

Today the Catholic Church celebrates Saint Anthony of Padua, a powerful intercessor for us when we have lost something.  One common prayer seeking St. Anthony’s intercession is

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony please come around.

Something is lost and needs to be found.”


I have prayed that prayer often, and it is amazing how often it works.


Why does Jesus grant prayers of intercession in these and lots of other situations when we seek Saint Anthony's intercession?


One of the reasons would seem to me to be because Jesus is searching and seeking us with all of His heart.  Jesus is praying that we, who were lost, might be found.  As the hymn “Amazing Grace” (a hymn that is not 100% theologically accurate) puts it, “I once was lost, but now am found”


How are we found by Jesus?  One of the surest ways is to go regularly to the Sacrament of confession, which is offered a few minutes after this Mass.  I am going to confession later tonight in Terre Haute.


Through the intercession of Saint Anthony of Padua, may we allow ourselves to once again be found by the loving and Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Corpus Christi 2023


Corpus Christi 2023


You may recall that last year, on Corpus Christi Sunday, there was a large Eucharistic Procession from the Cathedral in Indianapolis, down to St. John’s Catholic Church, and that Corpus Christi Procession kicked off the diocesan-level year of the National Eucharistic Revival.


Today, with our Corpus Christi processions, we begin the parish year for the Eucharistic Revival.


Often in my work as a priest I hear from those who I am speaking with some version of “Father, I don’t FEEL anything happening at Mass”.  I too struggle with that doubt when I first entered the seminary and started going to daily Mass every day.  I would sit there during the Mass and pray and receive the Eucharist, but I didn’t feel anything.  And so I am relieved to share that story with those who also struggle with wanting to see or feel something at every Mass.


I have learned that Jesus’ presence at each Mass, after the priest prays the words of consecration over the bread and wine, is a quiet, calming presence, and not loud nor dramatic.


But there have been time throughout the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church where the bread and wine, after the priest prayed the words of consecration over them, became actual human flesh, often because of the priest doubting.


And there is actually a young millennial who has been beatified, who created a website chronicling all of these Eucharistic miracles.  He was born in 1991, and live only until 2006 when he died of Leukemia.  His name is Blessed Carlo Acutis.  Blessed Carlo Acutis recognized that many in his generation were walking away from the Catholic Faith, and so he created a website documenting what he rightly believed was one of the best ways to draw his generation BACK to Catholicism…Eucharistic Miracles.  His website can still be viewed here:


As we begin this parish year of trying to strengthen both our own awareness of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist, and all of those around us in our community, I would propose that we seek the intercession of Blessed Carlo Acutis this year in a special way!

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Trinity Sunday 2023


“Let us Make Man in OUR Image”


In the very FIRST chapter of the Bible, just 26 verses in we hear God refer to God’s self as “OUR”


It says “Let us make Man in our image” – so already, from the very beginning, we see that God is not just one God but some conglomeration of persons. 


And yet God is also one God.  God first tells Moses God’s name when God says “My name is I AM”


It took the Catholic Church about 400 years to figure out exactly how best to understand the Trinity.


But here is the point of today’s homily – one of the great figures in that hashing out of the Catholic Church’s understanding of the Trinity – God being one God but 3 persons, was St. Athanasius, and St. Athanasius wrote this: “Jesus was made man that we might be made God (On the Incarnation, Ch. LIV, Pt. III, circa 4th Cent. A.D.).


Also, similarly, St. Basil, (whose relic is right there on the rerdos) said this: “Through the Spirit…we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God.”


That is why Jesus told his disciples “It is better that I go so that the Holy Spirit can come upon you.”


At the very beginning of the Bible, it says that each human person is made in the image and likeness of God, but now, with the Holy Spirit coming upon each of us at our baptism and confirmation, we become God.


Do you believe that?  And if you do believe it, do you share that with others?  If we are meant to, even now, on this side of Heaven, begin to participate in the very life of the God, are we sharing that news with others?


So often, we and those around us fall NOT into the trap of asking or expecting too much of God, but rather we can fall into the trap of expecting too LITTLE of God. 

Let us boldfully claim our rightful inheritance as baptized and confirmed Catholics dwelling in the very life of God with joy and peace that will attract others to seek out what we have found in the Catholic Church!

Monday, May 8, 2023

LIFE! 5th Sunday of Easter, 2023 at Saint John Cantius


Jesus is LIFE! – Homily at St. John Cantius for the 5th Sunday of Easter, 2023


I heard a few people coming into Church this morning asking “who is that priest?” and so my name is Fr. John Hollowell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  I have been up here on a retreat this past week, and I was blessed to be given the opportunity to have this Mass today by Fr. Caswell.


Jesus says in our Gospel today, that He is the LIFE. 


I am the oldest of 15, and 4 of my siblings were lost through miscarriage, so I am the oldest of 11 who are still living.  I can remember my parents being rudely questioned by others throughout my life, but my Mom shared recently that she was also treated harshly by friends of hers from my home parish.


I found a letter that my Dad wrote to a Protestant friend explaining that the number one he realized the Catholic Church was true was because it was only Church that has not caved on contraception.  And so I would just like to say to all the parents here, thank you for being open to life, thank you for bringing your children to Mass, and thank you for supporting other families in their openness to human life.


There are also married couples who carry the cross of infertility and we pray for them…sometimes adoption is an option but we need to support those parents in a special way.


So I would just like us to pray about a question…how can this parish do more to support human life and human families in a culture that seems bent on destroying life whether through abortion, euthanasia, and all the other attacks on every front?


Ultimately, we are all called by Christ not just to our own families but to the larger family of the Catholic Church as well.  That is why we call our priests “Fathers” and our religious men “brothers” and our religious women “sisters”…we are all summoned to both contribute to and draw life from the world wide family of the Catholic Church.


It is great to be here today!  Jesus says He is LIFE itself…let us go invite others to experience the family of the Catholic Church as well!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Good Shepherd 2023

Good Shepherd 2023


Jesus as the Good Shepherd is an image and reality of God that the world desperately needs to hear at this particular moment.

Why?  Because most people have a completely negative reaction to God as Father.  And why do they have a negative reaction to God as Father…because many people have been abandoned by their father and/or emotionally abused by their father and/or sexually abused by their father…and many people have been emotionally or even sexually abused by their priest who we also call “Father”

So the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd I believe is the image that we need to be broadcasting out to the world today as Catholics.  The idea that Jesus Christ is out looking for every single person, as an individual person, and is willing to put every person on his shoulders and bring that person back to the sheep fold is a beautiful reality of the Gospel message.


We heard again at Mass today Psalm 23…which is most people’s favorite Psalm…why…because it talks about God being the Shepherd… “The Lord is my shepherd…there is nothing I shall want…He leads me besides restful waters…he has prepared a banquet for me!” 


And what is the banquet that the Good Shepherd has prepared for us?  It is most especially Himself, present under the appearances of bread and wine…the Good Shepherd feeds us with Himself, turning us into Himself over time.


May we go out and preach Jesus the Good Shepherd, and witness to the joy that we have experienced in letting Jesus the Good Shepherd carry us on His shoulders back to the Catholic Church!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Divine Mercy 2023


Divine Mercy Sunday “Let us also go to die with Him!”


As I was reading the Gospel this year for the 5th Sunday of Lent…I noticed something I had never notice before… that Gospel about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead had a line I would like to read today…and it is this…

“The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go BACK to Bethany???  But Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.”


Fast forward to today’s Gospel, we see this same Thomas called Didymus who doubts the Resurrection until he can see Jesus for himself.


What is the main takeaway from this…The Apostle Thomas showed tremendous courage while Jesus was alive the first time…but later St. Thomas flees from Jesus in the Garden…St. Thomas doubts in today’s Gospel…and after Pentecost he goes to India and evangelizes…and is eventually martyred there.


To distill this down to an even finer point…some of us say we are ready to die for the Lord…abandon Him at some point in our life…doubt Him at other times…but, if we stay close to Christ and His Church then God will always welcome us home no matter how far we have strayed…and God might even call us to actually give up our life for Christ.


The words at the bottom of the Divine Mercy image are as critical to our life today as they ever have been…we need to be like St. Thomas who said at some point in his life and meant it for the rest of his life - “Jesus, I trust in you!”



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Easter Tuesday, 2023 "Do not touch me?"


Homily for Easter Tuesday, 2023 - "Do not touch me?"


It is not the case that Jesus does not want anyone to touch him.  He tells Thomas to touch his side and believe.


It is also not that Jesus doesn’t want women touching Him.  In Matthew 28:9 we read that this same Mary Magdalene and some other women met the resurrected Lord and fell at his feet and EMBRACED his feet.


So why, in this instance, does Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to not touch Him?  Saint John Chrysostom says that this was like Jesus telling Mary Magdalene “do not think that I have a mortal life, and can associate with you as before”


Again, as I have said so often, we have an infinitely greater gift than getting to touch Jesus, we are able to receive him into our bodies, and as St. Augustine said 1700 years ago, our bodies digest ordinary food to turn ordinary food into our bodies.  But when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He changes our bodies into His body.