Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It was a long but good day. Meetings in the morning and meetings in the afternoon. Tonight I reread the Annual Report... Now I am just "Chillin" as they say... about to go see what is on TV. All is good... I'm feeling blessed indeed.

I just ran into some summer nursing students they don't feel blessed at all.. they are in the middle of final exams... in the summer no less. That sounds like cruel and inhuman punishment to me.

T minus 11 days till the student ministers return.... WOW where did the summer go ? I'm read for them "bring it" as they say in the vernacular.

Prayers Promised for all of you who take the time to read this little blog. :)

Oh yeah in the interest of almost complete disclosure.... Weight Watchers Weigh In Today 221 no gain no loss... hmmm

Why am I Catholic?

I found this on the internet.... Nice !

Monday, July 30, 2007

당신은 아주 중요한 사람들 환영이다 ---------- (You are very Important People.... Welcome)

What happens when 21 Korean nursing students (from the Catholic University of Korea), one of whom speaks English well, eight of whom are Christian, and a Catholic Priest get together for Mass in St. Paul's Chapel (Caldwell Hall)...

My Homily
(Translated as I gave it by a wonderful Korean Nursing Student
I wish I knew her name thank you whoever you are.... )

You are very important people...

God loves all people.
And he loves them through us.

God holds and comforts a baby in the arms of his mother.
God takes away the fears of a child through the strength of his Father.
God will heal his people through your hands
He will comfort his people with your voice and your embrace.

Your hands will be his hands.
Your voice will be his voice.
Your embrace will be his embrace.

God needs you.
He needs your love.
He needs you to love and heal his people.
We need you

I believe that you will be a nurse because
God called you to that wonderful profession.
I promise you that you will be the happiest if you follow his call and live your life according to his plan.


Study hard.
Learn well
but most of all Love much.

Yes you are very important people indeed.


A GOOGLE TRANSLATION !!! follows I hope it doesn't say anything bad... :)

당신은이다 아주 중요한 사람들… 신은 모든 사람들을 사랑한다. 그리고 그는 저희를 통해서 그들을 사랑한다. 신 파악과 안락 그의 어머니의 팔에 있는 아기. 신은 그의 아버지의 힘을 통해 아이의 공포를 나른다. 신은 그가 당신의 음성을 가진 그의 사람들을 위로할 당신의 손을 통해서 그의 사람들을 치유할 것이다 당신 얼싸안거든. 당신의 손은 그의 손일 것이다. 당신의 음성은 그의 음성일 것이다. 당신 일 것이다 그의것 얼싸안는다 얼싸안으십시오. 신은 당신을 필요로 한다. 그는 당신의 사랑을 필요로 한다. 그는 당신 그의 사람들을 사랑하고 치유할 필요가 있다. 우리는 신이 저 경이롭 직업에 당신을 불렀기 때문에 당신은 간호원일 것이라고 나가 믿는 당신을 필요로 한다. 나는 당신이 그의 외침을 따르고 당신의 생활 그의 계획에 따르면 사는 경우에 당신이 가장 행복할것이라고당신에게 약속한다. ..... 열심히 학문. 잘 배우고십시오 그러나 그 중에서도 다량을 사랑하십시오. 그렇습니다 당신은 참으로 아주 중요한 사람들이다. Amen

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Erin and Rick Craine, Some seminarians and a Religious Sister Only at CUA

Mr. and Mrs. Rick Craine were married today in St. Paul Chapel aka Caldwell Chapel...

Yes it was hot and yes the sound system died but it was beautiful none the less. Erin was radient and Rick was so excited. What a beautiful prayerful wedding. Fr. Brad presided and after roasting Rick just a bit, challenged them to grow closer to Christ together. A memorable line from the homily "When you get married do don't just look for someone you can live with. You look for someone you can't live without" Nice. We wish you the very best Rick and Erin we promise our prayers and support.

It was great seeing everyone there. There were lots of CUA Alumni and it was a chance to catch up and hear how they were doing. Also present were Nater Ata, Matt Dunch Kevin Kimtis Matt Foley and Sr. Lumen Christi (AKA Kellysue) Only at CUA could you ever have that many vocations at the wedding of a classmate and friend.

Call out the Reinforcements

Fr. O'Connell's Mom has been sick in the hospital and we have all been very very concerned about her and her family. On the morning of her surgery Mom and I had Mass for her intention. Then Mom suggested we go see "the Nuns." Actually "The Nuns" are retired Sisters from the Franciscan Sisters of Williamsville who have shared their lives so generously in Western New York for so many years. They are loved all over Western New York. "Our General" in the army is Sister Mary Nelson. She was an Elementary School Principal for many years. When we arrived the army was ready for battle and armed with their rosaries. We all prayed for Fr. O'Connell's Mom and for all of the other intentions that people send their way each day. I was a little embarrassed because they prayed the luminous mysteries and I don't know them.. (Sorry JPII) Here is a picture of the Nuns with Mom in the middle. Such holy faithful women..

Always with Respect

Worried, upset, not sure of herself, concerned, loving, kind, generous, holy, prayerful, understanding, simple common sense, all of the above that's my Mom. She is 82 soon to be 83. She is very self reliant, alert, aware of what is going on, though once in a while she gets just plain old stumped. Don't we all ? She lives in her house, takes care of herself, scrubs the garage floor with Clorox and hoses it down. She makes sure the grass man trims along the side of the house she's a stickler. I guess her getting old is intimately connected with me getting older. You can't have one without the other. Because my ministry has called me 8 hours away, I think about her often. We have the two strikes your are out rule. If she doesn't send me an email telling me about her day and I can't talk to her the next morning after a couple of tries then I send in the reinforcements to check on her.

Last time she had a mini stroke. This time she was worried her 12 year old car would become unsafe and she would hurt someone. My cousin Mary stepped in to help and Aunt Mary and Uncle Sam just happened to be selling their 5 year old car with only 27,000 miles on it. All of the advice and paperwork and DMV red tape seemed overwhelming to her. So here I am just a couple of days at home and it's all fixed. The Old Car is sold thanks to Mark, she is registered and insured and ready for her almost daily trips to St. Catherine's, St. Gabriel's TOPS Friendly Market and the Beauty Parlor. She did most of the leg work herself all she needed was little boost to get her over the final hurdle. (My Pleasure)

I am so grateful that she is so capable of taking care of herself. I am so grateful that she still has her health and can live her life as she sees fit. I am proud of her ability to pay her bills on time and check her bank account to see if the government paid her Social Security check on time. She's not happy when it is a day late. I know that things will eventually change, and I am aware that sometimes when a person is her age they can change very quickly. So every moment is a gift and I never would want to inadvertently take away of her freedom and independence by taking the easy way out and making her decisions for her or telling her what to do.

How do you love possibly the most significant person in your life, when they are 82 ? Always with respect.

PS. I've started to look at the family tree again… Where both sides of my family really illegal immigrants ? To be continued…

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Emmjolee and Larry's Wedding...And I'm in Buffalo

I'm in Buffalo with my Mom who is enduring perennial car problems at the moment.. I hope I can just calm her down and walk her through this whole thing... Change is not always easy especially when you are 82.

Larry and Emmjolee are married. It was a beautiful weekend. The staff at St. Columban's in Garden Grove CA were so welcoming. I enjoyed the Mass, especially watching the excitement on Larry's and Emmjolee's face. Planning and executing weddings can be very taxing but Emmjolee true to form pulled it off beautifully.
What struck me ? Family Family Family... Both Larry and Emmjolee come from beautiful extended families. They love each other so much and accept each other as they are. They maintain relationships and work at being together. To see all of those Philly people (Salt of the Earth) come all that way for Larry was inspiring. He seems so relaxed and at peace when he is with his family. They are such down to earth good people... the ladies driving the Church van were an experience... let them tell you. I enjoyed their company. Dan, Larry's brother, gave one of the most moving tributes (toasts) to Larry that I've ever heard at wedding. I've heard lots of them let.

(I'm sorry my picture of Larry's extended family didn't turn out so I present you the Church Van Ladies.. how many women does it take to park a Church Van? You guess...)

Emmjolee's family was also incredible. So many good people, hard workers.. most who immigratedfrom the Philippines and have been very successful. Emmjolee grew up in an extended family. Her Mother's seven sisters and their children all seemed to have grown up together. Everyone was rejoicing as if one of their own was getting married. Indeed they seem to love her as if she was their own. Emmjolee's Dad gave a wonderful tribute to his daughters and his wife at the reception. It was incredible and his strong faith in God was so evident.

When people come for good families there just seem to be better able to face the challenges of life because they know that they never have to face them alone.

I also ran in to Chuck and Ponch (I don't know how to spell that) both CUA Almuni . Chuck is studying Philosophy. I had a great conversation with him by the pool of the Motel. He refuses to live anything but a "thoughtful life" He like so many CUA alumni is following his passion.. beautiful to see. Ponch he used to play football at Catholic is a Police Office in New York he and his beautiful wife (Also a CUA Alumni) attended the wedding. In the next few months he is going to be made a Sargent in New Yorks finest.. Proud of you.

You know Priests witness weddings all of the time, and I have to admit sometimes I am filled with anxiety about the couple getting married. I have no anxiety when it comes to Emmjolee and Larry they are well equipped to face whatever life throws their way. Just another example of the incredible beauty of the Sacrament of Marriage. God is good.

Larry and Emmjolee What a wonderful weekend thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

In California

I'm in California for Emmjolee and Larry's Wedding. I have to admit I was pretty intimidated about driving out here there are "Freeways" every couple miles and the average speed is over 70. I'm using the little GPS I bought to get around and it really helps. The only problem is it makes it harder to learn the area.

While in Garden Grove CA I stopped at the Crystal Cathedral, you know the one on TV. What a beautiful complex. I wanted to see the inside but I got thrown out because they were cleaning the carpets. I went to another door and the same lady tracked me down and booted me. I think that was the first time I was ever thrown out of Church

I'm about to get dressed and go to the wedding. The rehearsal was a little long yesterday, the church itself is huge an the staff very welcoming. The rehearsal dinner was in Long Beach right on the ocean and it was beautiful. I was wonderful seeing Emmjolee and Larry relax a bit. I'll fill you in more and post their picture when I get back from the wedding


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yesterday was a good day... a couple of appointments a great meeting with the Area Coordinators and a chance to just take a deep breath. Last night as I took my walk I felt at peace and grateful for the life God has given me.

Things to work on.. more attention to keeping up with my email. It took me two hours to clean out 346 emails from my inbox. There were a couple that I felt bad that I had never answered. They were lost in a sea of spam.

The grill on our porch just stopped working of course when Craig and Betsey came over. Yesterday I spent almost 50 minutes on hold waiting to talk to someone about replacing the regulator. They have a nice jazz station in California though... look for the bright side

Have a good day whoever you are
fb your priest

Monday, July 16, 2007


Last week I went to Rhode Island for Dr. Brennan's Mom's funeral. Fr. O'Connell and Julie Englund were also there.

The church was simple the music was well done, and the whole experience was prayerful. I was touched by the neighboring priest who showed up at the last minute from another funeral to preside at the Mass. He had a very busy schedule that day. He gave a great homily.

I wore my collar went I flew into Thomas Green Airport, and so many people went out of their way to say hello to me and engage me in conversation, much more so than in Washington DC.

The headlines today talk about a 660 million dollar settlement for the abuse cases in Los Angles. There are some of us who are so intimidated by all of this negative publicity that they prefer to fade into the woodwork. I don't judge them at all and I completely understand.
However, experience has show me that there is still a wonderful respect and concern for priests in the hearts of so many. Some of the people in Rhode Island almost seemed grateful that I chose to identify myself as a priest.

I can only assume that this incredible respect which people still have for priests is the fruit of countless lives poured out in loving service to God's people and God's Church. Yes there have been a few tragically broken souls who have done horrible things but.... there is also a veritable army of dedicated men who have willingly just given their lives in service.

Thanks for the Homily Fr. David... btw "I can't imagine the world without love"

5 days to Larry and Emmjolee's wedding... YEAH
and is today the day for the NEW NICHOLS BABY to come into the world ?

Prayers promised..

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lauren and Jake Patterson..... WOW

What a wonderful celebration with family and friends it was so prayerful...
a blessing to be a part of to be sure.

From the Marriage Rite
I Jake take you Lauren to be my wife
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad
In sickness and in health
I will love you
And Honor you
All the days of my Life

I Lauren take you Jake to be my husband
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad
In sickness and in health
I will love you
And Honor you
All the days of my Life

Other Scenes from the Wedding...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Three Priest's Priests

My Dad loved Priests he always had a special place in his heart for them, the good, the bad, the holy ,the unholy, `those who could sing and those who were tone deaf. Nothing mattered if you were a Priest he loved you. But there were special priests who stood out in his mind and he called them Priest's Priests.. When he met a priest who impressed him by his holy life or ministry he would say, Rob there is a Priest's Priest. That honorary title was not given out lightly. This weekend I met a Priest's Priest. His name is Fr. Tom Connery. He is 70 years old and he welcomed me into his home when I went to Lauren and Jake's wedding in Glenville NY.

Fr. Tom said his last Mass in Immaculate Conception Church and was just one week into his retirement when I met him. From the very first moment his hospitality was exceptional. We immediately began to talk about our ministries and our lives. I was so moved to hear how he spoke about his life as a priest. He served wherever the Church sent him. This included several assignments in Alaska and the Albany Diocese. He spoke about his concerns for young priests and how a parishes should be run. He had an immense respect for the role of the laity in the Church. Here was a man who found a substitute for his ministry on Kodiak Island Alaska and became a fisherman for the summer so that he could better relate to his parishioners. As he reminisced I was so moved how God had lovingly worked through this man's generous heart. He did God's work in Hospital Ministry,an Inner City Parish, a church in the boonies (no disrespect intended he loved it there) and then Immaculate Conception. He spoke about the people and church he served as a father speaks of his family. When you meet a man like Fr. Connery it is easy to understand why people call priests father. He had so much to share and I was eager to listen. As he paid for breakfast at the Greek dinner down the street he looked me in the eye and said with absolute conviction. "Its been a wonderful ride" Yes it has Fr. Connery. Yes it has indeed. Thank you for the generous gift of our life and love. Enjoy your well earned rest and God Bless You

BTW strange coincidence or moment of divine providence. The day before he died Msgr. Robert Paul Mohan said the same exact words after 60 years of Priesthood. "It's been a great ride" WOW

It was also great to see Fr. Jerry Gingras he was a friend from many years back and by coincidence he was just appointed Pastor of the Immaculate Conception where I stayed. It's been years since I've seen him but he really hasn't changed. He has always been kind and generous to a fault. He is so talented and can take ordinary things and by arranging them make them beautiful. Great seeing you again Jerry.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sitting on a porch on Route 50 in Glenville NY.

It doesn't get much better than this.. I'm sitting of the porch on the "Second Rectory" of Immaculate Conception Church in Glenville NY. Lauren Heckman and Jake Patterson are getting married this afternoon and I've come up to celebrate with them. What a beautiful place. Yesterday they had the rehearsal and dinner then we came back to church for a Holy Hour (That's a first in my book) I slept well and now I'm sitting on the porch watching the people leave from daily Mass… it looks like a good crowd. I have to admit that parish life, the rhythm of parish life appeals to me. (The grass is always greener) I still enjoy campus ministry. The kids (oops) students still make me smile and I think I still have something to offer them, but I know that there will come a point when it will be time to move on, time to try something new, something different. Just sitting here makes it easier to see myself in that next moment of my priesthood. What would my day be like, What would be my next step. How could I best spend my time as a parish priest ? I think that is one of the greatest challenges for a priest today.

As our numbers decrease there is so much more to do. How are we supposed to pick? There are still 24 hours in a day. How are we supposed to spend our day in service to God and his people? The new model isn't there yet. We still hold on to all of the administrative tasks even when it seems so clear that the people in the nursing home should come before the parish center roof. But who will take care of the roof ? I struggle with this on my college campus as well. How should my time best be spent? Should it be on endless committee meetings (if you like meetings, at CUA you would think you died and went to heaven) or should it be "Chillin" with the students in the Dining Room or Ministry of Presence on campus just walking around saying hello to everyone you meet. What does God want from me need from me? This beautiful moment of the porch gives me the chance to think about all of these things and to pray about them… "Lord What Do You Want Me to Do ?" Help me understand. Help me discern wisely how I should spend my day how I should use the time that you have given me.

There is a little boy probably 4th or 5th grade who must have gotten up early and just keeps riding his bike up and down the street checking out his little kingdom. He looks so peaceful as he rides back and forth up and down route 50. He is probably figuring out his day and seeing which of his friends are around. The summer school bus just picked up two kids who didn't really look that happy as they climbed aboard. There must be a lake or something around here, or maybe it is the Mohawk River. There have been several cars with kayaks on them. People who have Kayaks know about life and how to live it. There is something peaceful about a kayak. Just a snap shot from 400 Saratoga Road.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th of July 2007

The webcam caught these scenes from this year's fireworks in Washington DC I hope you can see them.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In your rich and compassionate mercy Lord we place our trust

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,

That you may be justified in your sentence,
vindicated when you condemn.
Indeed, in guilt was I born,
a sinner was I conceived;

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your holy spirit take not from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.

Free me from blood guilt, O Lord, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Be bountiful, O Lord, to Sion in your kindness
by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices,
burnt offerings and holocausts;
then shall they offer up bullocks on your altar.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Yesterday Betsey Ramsey brought over a new laptop for me... running Vista Enterprise I am such a geek, nerd or whatever... I played with it all night.. I'll keep you posted as I continue to explore it. Why do I enjoy this stuff so much ? :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Wedding Prep Weekend at CUA

What do you do when one person lives in California and one person lives in Texas and one person practically lives in New York and the other person lives in Connecticut ? As strange as it sounds you all get together in Washington DC ... to do some wedding preparation work. I've had a wonderful weekend with Elena and David ... and Stephanie and John (I haven't seem them in years). I am in awe of the vocation to marriage and really enjoy reflecting on it with with couple as they prepare to celebrate this wonderful sacrament. Good company and good friends..

13th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C


In today's Gospel Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem. He knows what is awaits him there. He knows how difficult it will be and while he is resolute in his journey.. (he is willing to pay the price of love) he is very aware that it will cost him. The scholars tell us that Luke used the same verb that he will use later to describe the Ascension. So this is not only a foreshadowing of his death but also of his resurrection and ascension.

As he begins his journey the cross he almost immediately receives the rejection of the Samaritans who refuse to welcome him and his disciples. Jesus does not give into resentment or hurt but rather rebukes his disciples for doing so (They are so upset that they want to call down fire about town)

With the next three passages Jesus tries to teach us the cost of discipleship.

- You will never get rich or enjoy many creature comforts when you follow Christ

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

-You must stay focused on the mission because it is essential even to the point of letting the dead bury the dead (Many say Jesus was using hyperbole here and that the young man's was probably not dead) It was just a common phrase of his times... Who knows In other words the young man was responding I want to follow you but not now.

- Let me say good by to my family. When we follow Christ we have to let go of the past we can't long for what we had and how we lived. Our whole focus has to be orientated toward the future.
If you are always looking back you've never really left it.

What does all of this have to do with us.

Just like Jesus was resolute in his journey to Jerusalem so must we be willing to pay the price of love... so must we be willing to embrace the cross accept it, You can't have one without the other. Love and the Cross are always connected and we can't give into discouragement. Jesus is on the way to his passion and death and he does not let the rejection of the Samaritans discourage him or allow him to become bitter angry or resentful (He doesn't say they don't appreciate the great sacrifice I am making so I'm not going') He continues on his journey

Do we get resentful when we don't feel we are understood or appreciated?

Is our love free...
While it is easy to see that we won't get rich following Christ is our love free.
Do we expect or even demand moments of priviledge or respect because of our the path we have chosen.

The Son of Man didn't even have a place to lay his head

Our mission is so essential Jesus continued on it knowing that it would cost him his life
Are we so resolute or do we place other obligations or expectations before God's call

Do we find excuses.... Yes I want to be a good person and follow Christ but
I have to do this
and I want to do that
Do we have divided hearts

Finally are we only willing to follow Christ and love our brothers and sisters on our terms or on God's terms.

We desire to say "Yes" with our whole heart but on our terms always with a little gleam in our eye for what we had in the past ? I'll go but can't I just keep this for myself

I'll go but I have to hold on to some past relationships
It's like saying I love you and I want to marry you but I just want to keep my past relationships in my head. You can't have it both ways

Not too smart if your want your marriage to be a success

The following Christ and living the life that the Gospel calls us to live is never easy. If it is easy maybe we are not living it.

Yet loving God and loving each other is our destiny it is why we were created and how we are to find our way home. It is not optional

Let us reflect this week on the simple question " Am I willing to love without counting the cost"

How we answer that question is pretty important