Friday, November 30, 2007

A blast from the Past.... to be sure

Yesterday I received a visit from Henry Tritter the proto-type for Registrars as Western Connecticut State. He s the man the myth and the legend and he is a dear friend. We sat for an hour talking about people we know our families, and how things are going at Western. Isabel Carvallo sent me a hug via Henry so I sent a real big hug back for him to deliver. When the students used to register at Western, Henry would meet with them and offer them the chance to update their religious preference and other demographic information. He always told them that I gave him a quarter for every new Catholic he found. He gave many years of wonderful service at Western. He is just the perfect example of a person in the right job at the right time. By they way he and Susan have two new beautiful grandchildren I think that makes 4 andthat is why he was visiting in Washington.

My time at Western Connecticut State was wonderful. I met some of my closest and dearest friends in the little Newman Center on 8th Ave Danbury. If you are from Western and you read this please remember me fondly I promise to do the same. By the way Western is the first place people started calling me Fr. Bob which got shortened to FB....
And another Western Connecticut State connection is found in Fr. Andrew Santamauro who was a student when I served in Danbury. He was in the JLA program at Western and an RA on the Westside campus in Grasso Hall. He has been ordained for 3 years and is now working with me here at Catholic U. Here is his picture for the people at Western who might remember him. He is doing an wonderful job and is presently in our kitchen stincking up our house making Sushi or something like that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

At the End of the day

Protect us Lord as we stay awake
Watch over us as we sleep
That awake we watch with Christ
And asleep rest in His peace.

Lord now you let your servant go in peace
your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people

A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel

Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be
world without end Amen.

Protect us Lord as we stay awake
Watch over us as we sleep
That awake we watch with Christ
And
Asleep rest in His peace.

(from Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours)

Thank you for this day Lord
Thank you for the privilege of serving you and your people as a priest

Bless the good I've done and fix the messes I've made
Amen

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

37 Minutes

I'm surprised I'm going to even write about this, in a public blog it is a rather personal matter but for some reason I just feel it is the right thing to do. I know I can't be the only one whoever experience something like this and my pondering on these events may help someone going through the same or similar experiences.

While my Mom was here we decided to go shopping I took her out to the Macey's in Bowie MD a place neither she nor I had been. There was my 83 year old and I in a rather large store. She wanted to pick out my Christmas present for her and I was happy to let her do so. I turned my head and she was gone. I really didn't think much of it but after a few minutes I began to look for her. I walked and walked and walked but could not find her. She is rather short and sometimes the clothes racks hide her. I continued to search and look and I even went to the car to see if she went there. It had been 37 minutes and she was nowhere to be found. All kinds of thoughts went through my head. Was she afraid ? was she worried that I would be upset? Would she be embarrassed? Did something happend to her? Was she all right? It seemed so ironic how our roles had changed now I am now the care giver. I was the one looking for her, she was not looking for me. Finally I went to the customer service center and had her paged. When She didn't appear was close to being beside myself 45 minutes had passed.

As I took another sweaty lap around the store there she was at a check out counter trying to pay for my Christmas present to her because she could not find me. As I walked up I heard her saying to the clerk. How can I find my son. He had me paged but I don't know where to go.

I think in the end it was more stressful for me than for her. She didn't seem so concerned when I finally appeared but the whole event helped me understand more that now it is my turn to love it is my turn to protect and to care for the one who cared for me for so many years.

I hope and pray that I am up to the task. I hope that I will have a generous heart and the knowledge I need to love someone who has always loved me so well.

37 pretty scary moments. lots to think about for sure. As this great generation prepares to go home to God may we who have been loved so much by them be willing and able to love them in return.

Amen

So many kids went to confession in Conaty tonight I was so moved by their desire to be better people. We really do have great student ministers.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Let's go for a ride



Everything is ordered for Christmas, Mom's Christmas Labels are updated and printed, the friary porch is cleaned to her satisfaction, the kids were fed on Thanksgiving sooo we decided to take a ride to Harpers Ferry West Virginia, Charles Town WV and the Trappists in Berryville VA. We finished off our day with dinner in a nice and reasonable resturant in Berryville called the Main Street Bistro.. the food was excellent.

Here are a couple of more pictures from Harpers Ferry. It is really a beautiful little town.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mom and I are about to do our bit for the US Economy

This is how it works for us. The kids go on Amazon.com and make up their wish lists. (Andrew always has the longest list) :) Then Mom and I will sit and see what we can do. Everything we order will be shipped to me. I'll wrap it and bring it with me when I go to Greg (My Brother's house for Christmas)

No more Toys R Us for me... at least not in person.

Today I had the privilege of baptizing Abigail Mckensie Sawyer. She was such a beautiful baby with blue/grey eyes. I put hot water in the font but by the time I did the baptism it was already cold. Seeing all those little kids was a special moment for me. That was the first baptism I've done in a long time.

Mom and I are having a wonderful visit and enjoying each other's company.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

She's Here ...


Mom arrived for Thanksgiving here she is as she walked off the plane.
Tomorrow we are expecting 40 students for Thanksgiving Dinner who knows how many will show up. Tonight I'm just going to relax and start watching Band of Brothers...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Since I'm getting Sentimental


Here are 12 beautiful families and some of my dearest friends
from Western Connecticut State

Two beautiful pictures which keep me smiling


4 Incredible CUA Families
Lauren and Jake Patterson
(Class of 2002)
John and Christina, Cole and Sean Riehman-Murphy
(Class of 2000)
Rosanna and Bob Millie and Bennett Bamsey
(Class of 2000)
Tim (Class of 2000) and Lori (Class of 2002) Therese and Myriam McGoern


And one lucky priest privileged to know them

Check out the Campus Ministry Alumni Blog

How about a blog where CUA alumni can send pictures and share news and catch up on what other alumni are doing.... HERE IT IS

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christine and John Paul Winchester .... Introducing...

Bump back to the top of the Blog



I've been watching this a lot lately I thought I would pass it on again.
Peace

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Listen

As they stood facing the temple they marveled at its beauty.
So much effort had been put into its construction
So many sacrifices had been made to make this monument to their faith
And there it was
The temple
Columns 40 feet high of solid white marble
There was an beautiful sculpture of relief of a vine made of solid gold
which adorned the fa├žade of this massive structure
It glowed in the morning as the sun rose
The temple was
The center of their faith
The center of their common life
The temple was
A place which demonstrated to the whole world how important the Covenant was to them.

They looked on it in awe
They looked on it with Satisfaction
It was time to take pride in all that they had accomplished
It was time to rest
to be proud

Jesus did not share in this moment of self satisfaction
For he was able to read the signs of the time
He knew what was coming
40 years later Jerusalem would be destroyed
All that seemed sacred to them would be desecrated
1,100,000 would die in a terrible siege
Only 97,000 would survive


He knew their faith would be shaken
He knew that all would seem lost
He had to give them something to hold onto
And so he gave them a glimpse into the future
A glimpse that they could hold onto
The teacher said it would be so
He also gave them a promise
that when everything seemed lost
That God would be with them.

He had to help them understand that his presence
was not only in this Beautiful momument
They were also temples of his presence
It was in their hearts.

To do this he was completely honest with them
Come follow me and you will suffer
Come follow me and you will be handed over
Come follow me and you will put in prison
Come follow me and you will face false prophets
You will be misunderstood
And Made fun of
And even worse things will happen
All of this is what awaits a disciple of Jesus
Jesus never promised us a life without challenges and suffering

And even as he foretold their suffering
He promised them that they would never suffer alone
He would be with them
Look through history
How many people have suffered terribly because of their faith
But died with calm of a saint
“Do not prepare your testimony I will speak with you was his promise”
Persevere without fear

If we suffer for love
If we suffer for our faith
If we suffer for God
It is impossible to suffer alone
God will be with us
God will sustain us
God will be our strength our hope our consolation

Finally Jesus makes and incredible promise
Yes they may make you suffer
Yes they may hand you over
Yes those you love may persecute you
They may even take your earthly life

But they will never take your soul
They can take your soul
Your soul is safe with me.
I am the Resurrection and the life

The disciples with Jesus had grown satisfied
They had become comfortable
They were ready to rest on their accomplishments
symbolized by the magnificent temple they had built

I think Gospel is calling us to ask ourselves
Have we grown so comfortable that our faith no longer challenges us?
Who or what do we place our trust in?
What gives us comfort?
What gives us hope?
Do we really believe that God is with us in adversity?
Do we throw in the towel when the suffering or challenges come our way?

Jesus knew the lot of those who admired the temple
He knows what we will face in our lives
and he has been completely honest with us about them

He begs us to persevere and never give up hope
He assured us that we will never suffer alone
And even when we face what appears to be the ultimate defeat in death
He promises us eternal life
“by your perseverance you shall save your life”

Lots to think about
Lots to hope for
May we have the strength and the courage to follow Christ
No matter what the cost
Amen

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Pope is Coming the Pope is Coming

That's what the student workers in my office started yelling on Monday as an email from Fr. O'Connell confirmed what had been rumors for a long time. If you haven't seen it all ready a pretty popular Catholic Blogger has posted an itinerary...( I can't vouch for it's authenticity but you may want to check it out. Have a great day

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

As I face the day...

Lord
As I face the day
I ask you to give me a generous heart...
A heart ready and willing to love
Love even with disappointments
Love in the face of slights or untruth
Love with without reserve
Love without counting the cost.

I also pray for a discerning heart
A heart that is able to discern your will...
What you would have me do
When you would have me do it
How you would have me follow your will

Help me to see you Lord
in every young person who walks
through the door.
in every anxious parent who calls
in every staff member
who also seeks to find you
and serve you here at CUA.

Thank you Lord for the blessings
and challenges of this day
Please God
May I remain generous and faithful
Until my head hits the pillow.

Amen

Friday, November 09, 2007

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

St. Vincent’s Chapel
The Catholic University of America

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our hearts

These aren’t the readings I would have chosen for the blessings of class rings

But on Sundays it is important to remain faithful the Lectionary

and to meditate on the same passages of God’s word

which the whole Church is meditating on

So here goes…

Adversity

Challenges

Difficulties

Problems

Will always be a part of our lives

Some of the challenges we face are simply from the fact that we have bodies

Slam your hand against a brick wall and it will hurt.

Stub you toe and you’ll hop around for a while

People with bodies get sick.

Some of the problems or adversity we face

do not come by accident but rather are the product of sin

We are hurt or challenged by our poor choices our own sinful choices

Or the poor choices of others

Yes …

We will be disappointed

We will be hurt

Jesus was hurt was saddened and was disappointed.

It is foolish to ever allow oneself to think that we will not have to endure challenges

or face adversity

They are part and parcel of our human existence.

Welcome to the human race

Perfect is not on earth

Perfect is in heaven

The different ways that people face challenges and adversity are astounding.

When adversity or sickness or disappointments come their way

Some people just get stuck they get paralyzed

Their problems are always before their eyes

They can’t get them out of their head

I am sick

I am sick

By the way did I tell you I’m not feeling well

Many times older people who carry the cross of sickness

seem to have this need to give you their medical history

They repeat their illnesses over and over again.

Younger people also brood on broken relationships

He hurt me

She hurt me

I hurt

Why do I have to hurt

Why me

Why is it always me

I never did anything to anyone and I always have to suffer

People like these

Just give adversity so much power

Over their lives

They are incapable of seeing beyond the present moment

Somehow they convince themselves that this is all that there is

I will suffer this for eternity

The struggle or the problem has all of their attention

It consumes them

They can’t look forward

It is so difficult for them to hope

Often they have no hope.

Often people who suffer feel alone

They feel unloved

They convince themselves that no one cares

There are those who handle adversity in a different way

Let me share a real life example

Once I knew a woman who had cancer.

It had progressed too far before it was discovered

there was little medical hope

She cared for herself as long as she could

She did not complain

She simply made changes in her life as they became necessary

Slowly but surely as the cancer took its toll her she had fewer choices to make

When she became a little weaker she had to give up her first communion class

which she had taught for over 20 years

When her immune system was compromised she had to give up going to mass

on Sunday for fear of catching something

When she tired easily visits with family and friends had to be shorter

And yet she did not grow angry

She did not become sullen

When you spoke to her there was just a quiet peace

Even when her breathing was labored

Somehow she held on to hope

She accepted her new circumstances lived through them she was not panicked or afraid

Instead of Mass on Sunday her daughter would take her to Church on other days and she would sit in the presence of the Blessed sacrament.

Most often the words on her lips were

thank you Thanks You Jesus Thank you.

There are lots of differences

between people who get paralyzed by adversity

and people who somehow are able to face it live through it and move on.

People who face challenges understand that

Adversity will be always with us

But how we face it is up to us.

You see they understand that

suffering is a choice we make


Faith is an incredible often a key component in the lives of people who face adversity well

People with faith can face so much more without fear

People with faith understand that this life and their challenges are not all there is.

People of faith like the young men in the first reading are able face suffering because

they know that it is temporary.

They understand that the adversity the pain,

the challenge the dissapointment they face are

just but a moment when compared to eternity

The greatest source of consolation comes from our belief in the Resurrection.

Life eternal awaits those who believe in God

And live life as he would have us live it.

Life eternal indeed.

The Sadducees in the Gospel did not believe in the resurrection

For them this life was all there was.

Jesus engaged them

because believing in the resurrection

is so essential to understanding the meaning of this life and our relationship with God

With the eyes of faith

Suffering can become redemptive

It can change us

It can make us less self centered

It can help us focus on the needs of others

Faith helps us accept our crosses

It can keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Christ

It can remind us that we are not alone and that God loves us

Our faith shows us that God himself suffered for us.

Brothers and Sisters

The readings today challenge us to ask ourselves

How will face the difficulties of life

Will we allow them to consume us

and make us grow bitter angry and hurt

Or

Will we allow them to transform us

Adversity challenges problems disappointments will always be with us

Whether we allow them to make us suffer is indeed our choice

With God all things are possible

Amen

Saturday, November 03, 2007

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Today’s Gospel can teach us something from three very different perspectives.

Zacchaeus had made it he was a tax collector.

The Romans trusted him.

He was wealthy influential and because they hoped to pay less taxes people probably deferred to him.

They probably respected him to his face and sneared at his back

It appeared he had everything a man could want..

Wealth

Power

Influence

Yet it was not enough.


His life must have not been satisfying.

Maybe he knew what people really thought of him.

Maybe he knew just how much people hated him

How despised he was.


Why else wouldn’t the crowd give him a place in the front row so that he could see?

And if his money had given him all the comfort people think it gives

He would have stayed home that day

Stayed home in the lap of luxury with all of his creature comforts.


No

Zacchaeus probably ventured out that day into that crowd

because he was not satisfied he was not happy.

All that glittered was not gold.


There must have been a void in his heart that had to be filled.

He had heard about Jesus

He had heard of all the incredible stories that surrounded this itinerant rabbi

And he wanted to see for himself.

And after Jesus stopped and invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house

Zacchaeus showed just how little all of his wealth meant to him.


He gave a sizeable portion away and he tried

to amend any injustice he has done.

Salvation had entered his house that day indeed

Because Zacchaeus had finally figured out what really mattered

His heart was changed



Let’s look at this situation through the eyes of Jesus

If we read the Gospel account carefully it seems that Jesus did not intent to stop in Jericho that day.

But then he noticed that short little man being pushed aside in the crowd

And to his amazement he saw that little man in a tree.

Zacchaeus had made the first move.

Zacchaeus had made a significant effort to reach out to Jesus.

And Jesus would not be out done in his generosity.


He did not give up on this Tax Collector

He did not give up on this man who had made so many terrible mistakes in his life

He knew there was more to this little man than meets the eye.

Jesus saw an open window into Zacchaeus’ heart

Jesus saw A way in.

A way to help Zacchaeus begin anew

And he took it.


He invited himself in

And Salvation entered Zacchaeus’ house that day

New Life

New hope

New beginning

New priorities

It was a moment of grace

Zacchaeus wanted more out of life

and Jesus was so ready to give him what he wanted

For the Gospel says

Zacchaeus received Jesus with joy


There are third group of characters in this little drama.

The people watching the exchange between Jesus and Zacchaeus

Were not happy.

They had seen Zacchaeus in action so many times and were very skeptical

They could not believe that this conversion was real.

They had long since given up on Zacchaeus

They did not believe there was any hope for him

He was a tax collector and a greedy avarice tax collector and that is what he would always be

You know if they really cared about Zacchaeus

when they saw that this big sinner was interested in seeing Jesus.

The would have pushed him to the front of the crowd in the hope

that he would have a change of heart.

But they didn’t did they?


What does this all have to do with us…

Have we figured out what really matters

or are we still trying to accumulate treasure on earth.


Do we have thoughts like...

If I had that I would really be happy.

If I had that much in my bank account I would have it made.


When Zacchaeus was thoughtful enough

to realize that material wealth respect and influence were not all they were cracked up to be he was brave enough to try something new..

Are we?

Are we brave enough to try something new ?

If our life is not all that we would like it to be

are we brave enough to venture into uncharted waters ?


Will we fight the crowd or climb a tree?

Or are we just plain stuck?

Unhappy where we are but... unable or afraid to move,

Have we reached out to Jesus ?

Have we really given prayer a chance ?

Have we tried to deepen our faith to understand more ?

How committed are we to our faith ?

When is the last time we read a spiritual book ?

When is the last time that we engaged someone in a serious conversation on a spiritual topic.

When is the last time we went to Mass more than once a week and last week doesn’t count because Thursday was a holy day.

The experience of Zacchaeus teaches us that if we reach out to Christ

He will invite himself into our homes and into our hearts.

Have we even taken the first step ?

Have we ever responded to the daily prompting of the spirit to go deeper ?

Has salvation entered our house or have we closed up all the doors and windows and refused to let him in?


Finally

The crowd refused to give Zacchaeus another chance.

They refused to believe that he could be anything better than a tax collector

They had placed him in that neat comfortable box

and refused to see any hope for him

He was what he was period.

Only Jesus was ready to give him another chance and another chance and another chance.

How many people have we give up on ?

How many people have we placed in little boxes neat little catagories or labeled ?


How often have we said things like...

That kid is a looser

Why would anyone want to have anything to do with him ?

He is a tax collector or he drinks or he is rude or he will never amount to anything

Or he is a sinner and he will never change.

The fact of the matter is that everyone can change until our last breath we can change.


This little story about he tax collector who climbed a tree teaches us so much

Let us place our faith in what really matters in life.

Let us continually try to leave a little opening in our hearts for God to come in.

Let us fight the temptation to make definitive judgments about people

refusing to believe that they could ever change.

God doesn’t do that and neither should we

Amen

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Horse's What


Wonderful words from a holy priest friend.

Bob...

If one person calls you a horse's a** (behind)
Forget it

If two people call you a horse's a** (behind)
Forget it

If three people call you a horses's a** (behind)
Get a saddle.

hmmmmm

Mercy....

There has been a lot in the scriptures about mercy of late...



Only a Saint could talk so convincingly about mercy and at the same time admit that she did not feel presence of God that she spoke so wonderfully about...

Only love could compel her to speak...