Monday, December 28, 2015

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents. You remember, the biblical account of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew (2:16-18), Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi.

In our time, "In a culture too often unfriendly to children, the victims of Bethlehem have become an emblem of all discarded children, cast away nameless on the streets, in crack houses, in pornographic film studios, and, a recent focus, in the disposal bins of abortion centers, because they got in the way of someone's pleasure, or ambition. They are our tragedy, but the adults who demean them, exploit them, abandon them are the Enemy's triumph in the war of evil versus good, death versus life."

We are all too unafflicted and unconcerned by this tragedy and crisis in our culture. My parish has over 4,000 families, yet we cannot get more than two or three at our monthly Respect Life meetings.

[Quote from "waiting in Joyful Hope" Liturgical Press, 2015]

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Feast of the Holy Family

Today's first reading at Mass for the Feast honoring the Holy Family caught my attention. I thought I would share it. It is from Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14:

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.
My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

Always, always, honor and respect your parents. Before you know it they will be gone. My dad died when I was 10. I still remember him with fondness and love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Year of Mercy Begins Today

"The Lord Jesus shows us the steps of the pilgrimage to attain our goal: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Lk 6:37-38). The Lord asks us above all not to judge and not to condemn. If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God. To be generous with others, knowing that God showers his goodness upon us with immense generosity."
--Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, Paragraph 17

Saturday, December 5, 2015

There is Enough for Everyone

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines. –Isaiah 25:6

There is Enough for Everyone

Reflection. Advent is a time to identify our hungers and go to the right place to have them satisfied.
I suggest that the right place is the Word of God and the Table of the Eucharist. Few of us are physically hungary but we have many spiritual hungers.

Prayer. St Joseph, we pray that our hungers may be satisfied by the Living Word and the Bread of Life.

--from Day by Day with St. Joseph, Catholic Book Publishing

Friday, December 4, 2015

Year of Mercy

Tuesday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as called for by Pope Francis. Jubilees date back to Old Testament times. But in our era they occur every 25 years. The last one was in the year 2000 celebrating the millennium. The Year of Mercy is called Extraordinary because it falls outside the 25 year cycle. Jubilees are times of renewal, graces and forgiveness.

Pope Francis tells us that Jesus is the personification, the face, of the Father’s mercy. The Year of Mercy has several aspects. First, it reminds us of God the Father’s great mercy toward us. We can easily understand this by seeing the mercy, forgiveness, love and concern a parent has for their child. Mercy is readily and freely given. In acknowledging this mercy we should find joy, serenity and peace. In realizing God’s mercy toward us we become witnesses of our faith and express it with greater enthusiasm and conviction. We become living signs of the Father’s love for us.

Our response reveals the second aspect. In following Jesus, in living the Gospel life, the essence of being a Christian is having mercy toward others. Our mercy toward others is seen in our forgiveness. We are told to forgive seventy times seven times. Our mercy is also seen in our charity and in the corporal works of mercy. We sense the need to be patient, kind and compassionate to others including those who are separated from us. We become Good Samaritans.

A Jubilee year also is a time of forgiveness. Every Jubilee is a time of special reconciliation, but the Year of Mercy encourages us and the church to make special efforts of reconciliation with the Father through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with ourselves – sometimes the hardest one to forgive, and with our family and neighbor.

One prominent feature of the Year of Mercy is the opening of the Holy Door, so rich in itself with symbolism. This will be done not only at the Vatican but also in every diocese. Holy Name Cathedral as well will have a holy door opened.

The Jubilee calls for pilgrimage. Many will go to Rome, many to their diocesan cathedrals.
I hope you will take time and meditate on and embrace this opportunity for yourself and others to take advantage of this Year of Mercy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Aquinas 101

With deference to our Franciscan brother St. Bonaventure, I’ve been studying St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought, philosophy and theology for about a year now. I’ve finished reading the first of his five
volume Summa Theologiae.

The Summa is difficult, but most of the difficulties lie in the volume of his works and in his terms. I say this because I just finished Aquinas 101 by Rev. Francis Selman, and I must say this is a terrific book to read if you have an interest in St. Thomas or what to know the basis of a lot of Catholic philosophy and theology. Selman presents St. Thomas in a very clear and easily understandable way. I feel greatly rewarded for having read it.

More so, I am impressed by the height of Thomas’ knowledge and his love for God which is clear in every paragraph he writes.

So impressed am I with this book, I’m considering facilitating a book discussion group in my parish.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Art of Manliness

I’ve been reading “The Art of Manliness,”, blog, on and off, for some time now. He had a lot of good articles for men. The only thing is that he never mentions faith. In my opinion, faith makes a man fully a man. Nevertheless, below are the 100 skills every man should know. I won’t say how many I know. Let’s just say a good majority.

Here is the link to read more about it:

1. Tie a Necktie
2. Build a Campfire
3. Hang a Picture
4. Shine Your Shoes
5. Treat a Snakebite
6. Read a Book
7. Survive a Bear Attack
8. Wet Shave
9. Parallel Park
10. Paddle a Canoe
11. Negotiate/Haggle
12. Fix a Leaky Faucet
13. Treat a Burn
14. Tell a Joke
15. Predict the Weather
16. Do a Deadlift Properly
17. Recite a Poem from Memory
18. Grill with Charcoal
19. Perform CPR
20. Throw a Spiral
21. Sew a Button
22. Split Firewood
23. Find Potable Water
24. Change a Flat Tire
25. Break down a Door
26. Take the Perfect Photo
27. Sharpen a Knife
28. Change a Diaper
29. Give a Speech
30. Navigate With Map and Compass
31. Unclog a Toilet
32. Buy a Suit
33. Swim the Front Stroke
34. Shake Hands
35. Treat Frostbite
36. Iron Your Clothes
37. Practice Situational Awareness
38. Do a Proper Pull-Up
39. Build a Shelter
40. Grow Your Own Food
41. Cook Eggs
42. Make Small Talk
43. Identify Poisonous & Edible Plants
44. Do a Front Dive
45. Shuffle Cards
46. Hunt
47. Properly Pour Beer
48. Perform the Fireman’s Carry
49. Open a Bottle without an Opener
50. Cast a Fishing Line
51. Speak a Foreign Language
52. Drive in Snow
53. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver
54. Ask a Woman on a Date
55. Always Know North
56. Fell a Tree
57. Hitch/Back-Up a Trailer
58. Play Poker
59. Write in Cursive
60. Throw a Knockout Punch
61. Make Pancakes from Scratch
62. Skipper a Boat
63. Dress for the Occasion
64. Shoot a Bow and Arrow
65. Drive Stick Shift
66. Do a Proper Push-Up
67. Pick a Lock
68. Mix Two Classic Cocktails
69. Field Dress Game
70. Play One Song on the Guitar
71. Use a Chainsaw Safely
72. Do a Squat Properly
73. Cook a Steak
74. Entertain Yourself (Without a Smartphone)
75. Change Your Car’s Oil
76. Whistle with Your Fingers
77. Shovel Snow
78. Carve a Turkey
79. Tie a Bowline
80. Ride a Horse
81. Give a Good Massage
82. Get a Car Unstuck
83. Break a Rack of Pool Balls
84. Make a Logical Argument
85. Cook Bacon
86. Write a Letter
87. Shoot a Gun
88. Make a Toast
89. Jump Start a Car
90. Know How to Dance
91. Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee
92. Tie a Tourniquet
93. Know Two Cool Uncle Tricks
94. Fillet a Fish
95. Calm a Crying Baby
96. Ride a Motorcycle
97. Hammer a Nail Correctly
98. Cook a Signature Dish
99. Make Fire without Matches
100. Tell a Story

Come to Me

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11-28

Never Sacrifice These Three Things

Victims of the Umpqua Shooting

Victims of the Umpqua shooting:

Lucero Alcaraz, 19, of Roseburg, whose sister posted on Facebook that she won scholarships to cover her college costs;

Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, of Roseburg, whose family said he loved dancing and voice acting;

Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, an outdoors lover who was taking classes at the same time as her daughter;

Lucas Eibel, 18, of Roseburg, who was studying chemistry and loved volunteering with animals;

Jason Johnson, 33, whose mother told NBC News that he successfully battled drug abuse and was in his first week of college;

Lawrence Levine, 67, of Glide, an assistant professor of English at the college;

Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, of Myrtle Creek;

Treven Taylor Anspach, 20, of Sutherlin; and

Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18, of Myrtle Creek.

"These Christians were killed because of their faith in Oregon this week. I can help but wonder what I would say in that situation. A gunman asking whether or not students are Christian, and killing the ones that say yes. I’m humbled by the courage and conviction of those who did not deny Christ in that moment. God help me to live for You with the same boldness of these students who died for You."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunday Sermons

If you're spiritually alive, you're going to love this!
If you're spiritually dead, you won't want to read it.
If you're spiritually curious, there is still hope!

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that
it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I've gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that  time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons, but for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them so, I think I'm wasting my time and the priests, Ministers or rabbis are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

'I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this...They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

When you are DOWN to nothing....God is UP to something!

Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!

Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

USCCB president calls Supreme Court ruling on marriage 'tragic error'

USCCB president calls Supreme Court ruling on marriage 'tragic error'

USCCB president calls Supreme Court ruling on marriage 'tragic error'

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president of the U.S. bishops' conference called the Supreme Court's June 26 marriage ruling "a tragic error" and he urged Catholics to move forward with faith "in the unchanging truth about marriage being between one man and one woman."

"Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable," said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky.

"It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage," he said.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said states must license same-sex marriage. In the second part of the ruling, the court affirmed that every state must recognize marriages performed in other states, a question that will become moot as the first part of the opinion is enacted.

"Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over 40 years ago," when it legalized abortion in the U.S. virtually on demand, Obergefell v. Hodges "does not settle the question of marriage today," Archbishop Kurtz said.

"Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail," he added.

The court had several marriage cases to consider and bundled them under the title of the Ohio case, Obergefell v. Hodges. That case arose after the October 2013 death of John Arthur of Cincinnati. He and his longtime partner, Obergefell, had married earlier that year in Maryland. When the local Ohio registrar agreed to list Obergefell as the surviving spouse on Arthur's death certificate -- which is key to a range of survivor's benefits -- the state attorney general challenged the status because Ohio law bars same-sex marriages.

The other cases included: Tanco v. Haslam, the Tennessee case, and Bourke v. Beshear, the Kentucky case, which similarly challenge those states' refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, and DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan adoption case.

"The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female," Archbishop Kurtz said in his statement. "The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the 'integral ecology' that Pope Francis has called us to promote.

"Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child's basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Statement from Bishop Tobin – The Supreme Court and “Same-Sex Marriage”

Statement from Bishop Tobin – The Supreme Court and “Same-Sex Marriage”

A thousand courts may rule otherwise, but the very notion of “same-sex marriage” is morally wrong and a blatant rejection of God’s plan for the human family. As Pope Francis taught while serving as Archbishop in Argentina: “Same-sex marriage is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is a move of the ‘father of lies’ who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Despite the current trends of our society, or perhaps because of them, the Church must redouble its commitment to proclaim and defend authentic concepts of marriage and family as we have received them from God. We will always do so, however, in a respectful, charitable and constructive manner.

Rediscover Jesus

New book from Matthew Kelly. Go here

"I will willingly wear the orange jumpsuit"

Truth spoken again. A wonderful missive, words from a courageous and strong Archbishop...

June 30, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For a long time now, I have felt that we have entered a post-Christian era in the history of western

Here in the United States, we are apparently a European “wannabe.” We have been slowly disavowing ourselves of any connection to religion and separating ourselves from any symbols which may be offensive, though they have been in existence for decades.

Part of it can be attributed to the tyranny of the minority -- one person is offended by a statue or a picture reflecting some religious symbolism and off we go to an activist court for social reconstruction -- the sensitivity of the one is imposed on the many.

Oh! But we have separation of Church and state, they say (actually only by judicial edict). There was no separation of Church and state when the parochial schools were educating the masses because government lacked the capacity to do so. There was no separation when the religious hospitals were providing care in areas the government could not or would not.  Nor when religious charities were providing for the homeless long before state welfare organizations were instituted.

Separation seems to be a concept of when we need you it’s “okay, please participate” and when we don’t “get out of our political way because we don’t need to be tainted by your religious zeal.”  Religion is treated like the intellectually challenged adult that, in less enlightened times, would be kept separate from the family for fear of embarrassment and from the social elite who might think less of them.

As Catholics, we have weathered the governmental and societal bashing that has taken place for 2,000 years. We survived the Roman Empire, the monarchies, the “isms,” of Nazism, communism and self-proclaimed “rationalists.” And we will survive the rejection of our own society and its continued attempt to muffle our voice and isolate us from the decision-making table. We will pay a price. But, we will not do so without preaching and teaching the truth.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage is sad, because it once again takes upon itself the redefinition of the word. This time it’s “marriage.” The definitions of words seem to not matter to the court. The simple truth is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Why? Because from the dawn of civilization men and women were joined together to perpetuate our species. Marriage constitutes a family where individuals are raised, given an identity and form the basic building block of our society.

In our brave new world, we can generate human beings in a test tube -- no one need know who the father is. A surrogate can be used, as would an incubator, in order to fulfill the desire for a child by two males. The terms mother and father are now subject to redefinition. Perhaps it will take a village to raise the children, especially if they will not have identifiable role models. But, we have permitted same sex individuals to claim marriage as a right at the cost of family deconstruction and role model redefinition.

I haven’t even broached the subject that God ordained marriage. From the beginning he created them, males and females were told to go forth and multiply. The Church has established marriage as a sacrament and it is evident in its teachings how essential the understanding of marriage between a man and a woman is to the faith.

I know that you have often heard the term “cafeteria” Catholic. This is a Catholic that picks and chooses what is convenient in the teachings and ignores the rest. The Supreme Court decision was made by a court composed of six Catholics, with the majority opinion rendered by Catholic judge, Justice Anthony Kennedy (supported by another Catholic, Justice Sonia Sotomayor). Perhaps, he remembered another Kennedy claiming that he would not be guided by the pope or the teachings of the Church once he is elected president. The four dissenters were Catholic with an excellent dissenting opinion rendered by Justice Antonin Scalia (concurring Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas and Justice Alito).
civilization. There is almost an embarrassment about being a Christian and a denial of the roots that Christianity has provided in the development of our society. In the European society, the Euro community refused to acknowledge the historical significance of Christianity in the development of European society. The pope made an impassioned plea for that recognition, but it fell on deaf ears. Now we have a European community that is clinging to its roots, as it is slowly being destroyed by its own hubris.
This was not the first time that a terrible decision was influenced or rendered by a Catholic on the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Tawney in the Dred Scott decision actually inferred that a slave, a man, a human being, was just a piece of chattel and must be returned to the owner. This decision was the seed of Civil War and the decision of the court to define a man as property. And Justice Brennan, the only Catholic on the high court, influenced the Court in the Roe v Wade decision, voting with the majority. This decision denied any rights to the child in the womb which has led to the destruction of more than 50 million lives since 1973 (read “The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court” by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong).

We will not be assuaged from what the Church teaches and I believe it calls for even greater courage in the face of this rejection of truth. Ever the social critic, Cardinal Francis George may be right when he said that he will die in his bed, his successor will die in jail and the one who follows his successor will die a martyr in the public square. He envisioned the social upheaval in our society as a mounting persecution of the Church. I will willingly wear the orange jumpsuit [my emphasis], if it means standing up for the truth and the Catholic faith.

I guess one doesn’t have to worry whether or not any Catholic judge or Catholic elected official would be compelled to follow the teachings of his or her faith. Unfortunately for some, it’s just a window dressing that can change with the seasons (political pressure, popular opinions and the polls). That’s a sad commentary on the effect of faith because so much truth and goodness (dignity of the human being) is found in the richness of a faith that mandates us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Laudato Si' - Some Comments

Well, five days after its release, I’ve finished my initial reading of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato
Si’. I’ve made a whole lot of highlights, it is just that chock-filled with good ‘stuff.’ And of course I will study it more in days to come. I am extremely impressed with it. It addresses a wide range of topics; well it addresses all of Creation.

Mostly, it provides me with hope, but there are a number of disconcerting realities. I ask myself what can Pope Francis, the Catholic Church, or all of our Christian brothers and sisters do about all these things? They seem so monumental. But Pope Francis, more than anyone else, has had the opportunity and courage to address these issues clearly. This encyclical is the seed to change the hearts and minds to continue and expand how we look at creation and care for it. That is why we need to read it and know what is in it; so we can pass it on to others, and to inform ourselves as well.

When society is made aware of an abuse or a wrong it can provide pressure so that it may be addressed and corrected. There are so many examples of this. The one that comes to mind first are the foam containers McDonald’s and the other fast-food chains used to use for their products. This is no more. Public pressure forced them to change. So it is our job to make others aware and educate them, and ourselves as well.

I ask myself well, gee, what can I do about that huge mass of garbage the size of some states that are floating in the Pacific ocean? Perhaps nothing. It is so far removed from us, it is in international waters. But we can write our legislators and ask them to explore means that it can be addressed. But an even more effective thing to do, is the next time you are on a boat, or along the shore of a body of water, don’t toss that rubbish in it. And there are so many other things we can do, if we only think about it.

An important point of the encyclical, as Pope Francis turned to Saint Francis, is to consider all of
Creation as our brother and sister. To show them the respect they deserve and to care for them. We can do this in so many ways.

I don’t want to make this very long, I just want to plant some food for thought.

Below is one of the two prayers that closes the encyclical.

A Christian prayer in union with creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures. They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love. Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes. Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory. Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good. Praise be to you!
Triune Lord,
wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out. O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness

"Keeping the spirit of the Gospel means that Catholic institutions are to bear witness in love to the full truth about the human person by providing social, charitable, and educational services in a manner that fully reflects the God-given dignity of the human person." - Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, on the "Freedom to Bear Witness"

“The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year's Fortnight will focus on the "freedom to bear witness" to the truth of the Gospel.”

I have been reporting on the Fortnight for Freedom initiate every year since it started. Anyone with their eyes open would see the many instances that our religious liberties are being curtailed. It continues and is getting worse. That is why I ask you to give this initiative your attention too, to pray daily between June 21 to July 4th, to read up on the subject, and to not be afraid to stand up for your faith even in conversations with friends and relatives. I am reminded of Matthew Kelly’s theme “Be Bold, Be Catholic.” Defend our Church when it is attacked. “From life to the Gospel, from Gospel to life,” is not merely a Franciscan theme, it is a way of life. The Gospel is radical, it is not passive and quiet, it is countercultural, especially in the secular society in which we live.

Freedom to bear witness means to evangelize our message, to bring to others the Good News, of Jesus’ love and great mercy for everyone. And it means to bear witness in our daily conversations with others.

So please say the prayer below every day and find a little time to become more knowledgeable. The USCCB has some great resources (link below), and a quick Web search will provide more.

“Be not afraid.”


Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pope Francis' upcoming Encyclical

As Franciscans we should be happy to look forward to the upcoming encyclical of Pope Francis entitled “Laudato Sii” which translates to “Praised be.” These words should ring as they come from St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures.

I am not an environmentalist-wacko, but I am concerned for creation. I am dismayed by the huge floating garbage pools in our oceans. Yet, I am aware of the admitted lies about global-warming made by many scientists/environmentalists to obtain more funding.

The encyclical should cause us to reflect on our own life style and explore ways we can have less impact on Creation.

I ran across this article on the encyclical by CatholicVote. Though the text of the encyclical will not be translated until June 18th, I think this is a good guess on what it will contain. I will mail the encyclical as soon as I get my hands on it. And it is a must read for all of us.

Go here.

Cardinal Wuerl - Pastoral Letter on Catholic Identity

Now and then I run across a gem. This is one. Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington released a pastoral letter on Catholic identity. Though it is intended for the people of his diocese, it is of extreme value to all of us. I have not read the entire document yet, but it sounds great. Here is a link to the document in pdf. You can save it, or print it:

To whet your appetite:

“Recent years have now seen various efforts by federal and local governments to obstruct or limit our ability as Catholics to live out our Gospel mandate.”

“Where we have crossed a very significant fault line is the latest campaign to denigrate as ‘bigoted’ or ‘mean-spirited’ those who do not embrace the new social order.”

“The Church does not require others to believe or live by her teaching. But we do insist on the freedom to do so ourselves and to ensure that those who share in the ministry of our institutions also do so. We simply ask that the freedom of Catholics to be Catholic be respected.”

“The Church is not the result of like-minded people coming together and deciding to form an organization, nor are her moral teachings decided by popular vote or societal trends.”

“The Catholic Church is not a mad-made institution at all. Her origins are found in the will and actions of Christ.”

“To be a Catholic is to recognize the role of the Church as the very means created and given to us by Jesus so that his work, accomplished in his death and Resurrection, might be represented in our day and applied to us.”

Cardinal Wuerl laments the “limited and even contrived version of our faith that some people hold.”

“Catholic institutions should be distinguishable from secular ones.”

I encourage everyone to read this document. It is an easy read.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Prayer


Almighty God,
Our hearts are saddened by the loss of all those who have given their lives to sustain the freedom that we so richly enjoy. Bring your comforting Spirit to the families and friends of these courageous men and women.

Grant, 0 God, your peace and love to all of them, for you alone can fill their emptiness with hope. We entrust them to your care.

Help us to draw creatively upon the limitless resources that you've provided. May we be brave so that the enemy won't succeed in depriving us of our freedom.

Grant us wisdom to solve problems and enrich life. Fill us with compassion for those in need, inspire us to live by your word, cease oppression, help freedom prevail, and assure that dignity and honor reign. Then we shall know that the hero we honor today will not have died in vain.

We offer our prayer in your holy name. Amen.

Chaplain Lt. Col. Mark E. Thompson 
Deputy/Senior Clinician 

From Reveille for the Soul: Prayers for Military Life 
Compiled by Marge Fenelon 
© 2010 Liguori Publications. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Protecting the Unborn

Every politician should be as passionate for the protection of unborn babies as Congressman Sean Dully from Wisconsin. Please watch this short video.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Few Reflections on Worry

I’m a little late posting this – Deacon Ken, as usual, had a good article in my parish bulletin a couple of weeks ago.


Another New Year is approaching and sometimes we look ahead with optimism for what's to come, while others look at it with anxiety. Anxiety pokes a hole in the bottom of the boat. If you don't plug the hole, your spirit will sink. I have faced many problems and difficult situations in life, and have never found one that improved with worry. Worry only multiplies negative energy. Think about it for a moment. If you worry about something bad that doesn't happen, you expend emotional energy needlessly. If you worry about something bad that DOES happen, you expend emotional energy twice – on both ends of the problem.

Why not just let things unfold – and conserve your emotional energy until you actually have to deal with the bad situation? We cannot control most of what we worry about. This is our feeble attempt to manage the uncontrollable. If you can't do something about it, then the issue is not a problem – it is a fact of life, no use fretting and stewing over something you cannot control.

Worry is contagious. Verbalizing anxieties is like sneezing in the car – you pass the virus on to everyone around you. Pretty soon, everybody's negative. Before spewing negative thoughts ask yourself if these are the kind of words you want to hear. If not, change the channel. You will receive whatever you dish out to others. Like dandelions, it's best to nip worries at the first rising so they do not germinate and spread. Where worries multiply, joy decreases. It is impossible to be anxious-ridden and joyful at the same time. One always expels the other.

There's a good reason why Jesus said, "Do not worry about tomorrow." Every day has enough challenge without adding concerns about things that haven't reached us yet. This doesn't mean we shouldn't plan ahead. Thoughtful foresight increases the odds of a good outcome. The difference between planning ahead and worrying is the negative emotional energy. Are you stewing your way forward – or figuring it out positively?

So let's welcome the New Year with optimism and hope.

I would like to add some thoughts of my own. Many of us tend to put things off. Perhaps we think it will go away if we just ignore it. Perhaps. But more than likely it is not going away. It needs to be addressed. If not, it is going to stay in your mind and increase your worry and anxiety.

I do something that I call “one thing.” Usually early in the morning I review what needs attention and I ask myself: What is the one thing I can to today to address this problem or issue? Some issues are complex, you may have to get advice from another, but usually it only takes some thought on your part, perhaps some research, or getting some advice from a professional in that area. The idea is not ignoring it, but do something positive in addressing it. Perhaps that day there is nothing you can do, but you may be able to do it tomorrow.

Have a blessed new year.