Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A day in the life of a Catholic Priest October 2007

Get up at 6:45 AM Make my bed - Shower (Too Much Information) Coffee

7:00 AM
Computer - Type out some thoughts for the Campus Ministry - Residence Life in-service meeting at 11:00 this morning on young adult relationships

8:00 AM
Morning Prayer and Mass with the friars followed by an Egg Beater Wrap and the Washington Post

9:00 AM
go over to the Residence Life Office to discuss some issues at Spellman Hall

9:45 AM
Talk with our work study students about their tasks for the day and finalize the Vocation event this Thursday.

10:00 AM
Weekly Staff Meeting... Keep everyone informed discuss what is going on in the different areas of our Ministry. Create a shared vision with consesus

1/2 hour talk on y0ung adult relationships with CM staff and Area Coordinators followed by a good discussion

Lunch with ACs and CM Staff

University Emergency Council Meeting... We are soooo prepared. What an excellent meeting and a it really built up my confidence in our emergency management protocols. Excellent
... By the way we are NIM (National Incident Management) compliant. Shelter in Place or Evacuate... very well prepared indeed

Spiritual Direction with a student

PM Supervision of one of our fine student staff

PM Pastoral conversation with a student

PM Help from CPIT concerning our memorial mass list and the best way to send it out over the email


PM Where am I

PM News and and a lean cuisine

PM Last Friday the Gumba's in Spellman 4 (Freshman boys wanna be men) took down their partitions between their toilets as a joke. No privacy kind of like the military or a prison. No destruction of property they collected all of the of screws and placed them neatly next to the partitions in the study bubble. It has been that way for four days waiting for maintenence to fix it. (Enough already) so I showed up with my screw drivers and found a couple of pagans to help me put everything back together. Hopefully since I made them put it back together they will not tear it down again

8:15 PM
Off to the Brickskellar for a couple of beers with Anthony and Anthony and Ryan our conversation included. The Ministry of Peter, what they plan to do after graduation, ecumenism Wings, mozzarella sticks and all about latin american mission trips and good service by Allison.

10:15 PM
Back to Spellman for a quick visit then to 7th Street to check on a student who was
hit by a car

MOP (Ministry of Presence in the Library, and Lehey computer lab lots of good contact

11:00 PM
Empty the Dishwasher and make the coffee for the morning.

11:10 PM
Fr. Brad just got home from ministry of presence.

That was my day...

Lord I thank you for the beautiful gift of this day in your service
Lord I hope I have used my time wisely.
Bless the good I have done and fix the messes I have made AMEN

Friday, October 26, 2007

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts

The Gospel today is not difficult to understand.
The is story line is simple
There are two men both in the Synagogue

Both recognize that there is a God
Both realize that God is important to their lives
Both of them are there to pray.
That’s where the similarities end

The Pharisee prays in the front of the synagogue (He took his place)
It appears that he is praying as much to be heard by others
as he is praying to be heard by God

He is not a bad person
He follows all the rules
He tithes
He lives well
He prays regularly
But sadly he is going through the motions

His love and his worship is not free it is not authentic
His motivation seems to be heard and respected
He is doing what is right for the wrong reason.

And what is most tragic is that
he doesn’t even see it so he can’t fix it.

And on top of his own sinfulness brokenness
He is quick to point out the faults of others…
“Like that tax collector over there”

The Tax collector…..
Is not a holy man
He is working for the Roman occupiers
He probably has done his fair share of extortion
He has probably done some pretty horrible things.
He is a mess

Yet He knows he’s a sinner..
Maybe be is trying to change and just can’t
Maybe it was a moment of grace a moment of hope when he was praying in the Synagogue
It would seem that way because his sincerity is acknowledged
And his sin is forgiven.

This parable is so important to us
Because if we just found someone outside the Church
And told them this parable
I fear that some would compare us as a church and many of us as individually to the Pharisee rather than the tax collector.

This parable should give us pause
It should cause us to stop and think
The Church is for sinners not saints

In other words it is important to remember that
we are sinners not saints

How often do we allow thoughts
of superiority to slip into our consciousness

We should not be quick to condemn
We should be quick to welcome sinners humbly
We should be quick to give good example and call others to holiness.

This gospel is important to us because…
We are either the tax collector or the Pharisee
Jesus doesn’t give us any other choices.
There are only two possibilities

One leads to salvation the other doesn’t

Do we have the sin of the Pharisee
Do we look down on people who don’t fit our mold
or image of what holiness is?

Do we go through the motions
- Going to church
- Tithing putting a couple of buck in the collection
- Going to Renew…
- Going on retreats

Do we do all those things for the wrong reasons
- To be seen
- To be noticed
- So that people will think well of us
- Is our love free?

What is our real motivation for doing good?

Are we like the poor tax collector who knows that he is a sinner
Who knows that he is a mess and just can’t seem to get his act together

Are we like the tax collector who doesn’t compare himself to anyone else
But who humbly seeks the forgiveness of God

Granted we may be the tax collector one day and the pharisee the next
But when we average it all out
Where do we fall
Which one of these are we the most of the time
A very important question indeed…

This parable also has very important implications for us as a church

I am not important enough to speak for the whole church
But I can speak about the Church here on our Campus

How do people who are not active Catholics
see us perceive us...
As the Pharisee or the Tax Collector ?

Is there hint of arrogance or pride
in the way we relate to our friends, our professors the staff?

Do we look down on others who live lives contrary to the gospel
and feel we are better?

Do we the active Catholics on campus do good things to be seen or appreciated.?

Yes love calls us to challenge each other to live good lives.
Loves begs us to call out to our brothers and sisters who have not found salvation.

But Beware….
Love does not
will not ever permit us to think that we are better than anyone else.

We all need conversion
We all have our sins
Our weaknesses.

I stand before you and tell you that I am a sinner

And I am not pround of it

I have so much to work on
And I consider myself worse off than the majority of you
because I’m 52 years old and should know better.

This church
This Mass
Our retreats
Our bible studies
Our service trips
Are filled with sinners run by sinners for sinners.
That’s the truth plain and simple

The prayer of the Tax collector
Have mercy on me a sinner should be on all of our lips and written on
all of our hearts constantly

Let us be humble servants of God’s word

Let our love and our service and our prayer be free
Let it be sincere

Let it be constant unwavering
Let us not expect anything thing in return for the good lives we live

The tax collector’s prayers were answered
His example challenges us

The Pharisee was a poor soul indeed.

Which one are we individually
Which one are we as the Church on our campus


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blog Blog Blog Blog....

Some Rough thoughts for this Friday's Football Team Mass Homily...

What shall I say ?

The readings speak about St. Paul's struggle with sin and the Gospel reminds us to be aware of the signs of the times... Here's the link for the readings

Football is a game made up of rules.... If you want to play you have to pay attention to the rules of the game. The rules aren't voted on, the players can't get together before a game and allow clipping or face mask or roughing the kicker. The rules come from above If you don't follow the rules there are penalties... Football proves that rules are necessary... without them there could be not game everyone would do their own thing with no regard for anyone else. When everyone follows the rules the game is so much better and safe.

Who makes the rules of life ?
Where do they come from?
Catholic believe that the rules come from God and the nature (natural law) that he has given us.

We don't vote on them
We don't decide what is right and wrong
God's law is not the result of a consensus or some consultation.

God's Laws are incredible gifts from God because they protect us.
They show us how to live and love
They are the easy way out because they preserve us from endless trial and error.
Every generation is not stuck finding its' own way.
God's Laws are like beacons in the dark which guide us home.
We learn them from our own reflection, the people who have lived before us and God's own self revelation.

People and God's Law

Some people just don't know God's law. They have never heard it. They have never really heard of God. If they are thoughtful people they can discover certain aspects of God's law by studying society and their own lives. Because of the incredible gifts of reason and conscience everyone can discover to some extent the natural law written on our hearts. How else could you explain the fact that there are certain laws or societal rules which transcend culture and religion or time.

There are some who have heard God's law and God's plan but just don't believe it. They have just not been convinced. They prefer to find their own way in a sea of opinions and beliefs often changing direction along the way.

There are some who have heard God's law and believe it but just don't want to follow it. The glamor and the lure of sin just are too enticing to them. They convince themselves that they know what God wants from them and someday they will be a better person but for now.... they want to seize the day. The big danger for these people is that as they act contrary to God's law they are developing patterns of behavior which will later be very difficult to change. Also as they follow their will and not God's law they risk hurting others along their journey. Unfortunate indeed

St. Paul speaks today about people like himself who want to do what is right but just can't seem to do. Their freedom is compromised. Try as they might their intentions are good but they fall and fall and fall again and again. People in this circumstance must place their trust in the loving mercy of God and never give up.

Finally there are those who know God's law and follow it. While their lives are not always easy... they are often filled with a profound peace which can only flow from a deep conviction. They are often a very positive in the lives of people around them. Blest are they indeed.

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is where do we fall ?

PS as you can see this is definitely a work in progress.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Twenty-ninth Sunday Oridinary Time Year C

Twenty-ninth Sunday
Ordinary Time - Year C

Today’s readings speak about prayer and perseverance
Prayer is an essential part of our relationship with God

Just like you cannot have a relationship with someone you’ve never really communicated with
We cannot have a relationship with God unless we pray

However, prayer is a very difficult thing to understand
Sometimes it seems as vast as the sea and it is..

There are so many forms of prayer
There are so many opportunities for prayer
Some people move in and out of prayer all day
Some people live in an almost constant state of prayer

We can pray when we just sit quietly and place ourselves in the presence of God
It can be a prayer when we cry out in anguish
We are praying when we sing for joy
Sometimes we pray when we see a beautiful sunset
A person can be moved to prayer when they hold their child for the first time.
We are praying when we slowly meditate on the Word of God and relate it to our lives
We pray when we place before God our needs and our petitions

We pray when quietly pass the beads through our fingers meditating on the mysteries of the life of Christ
The ultimate prayer is the Eucharist in which we relive in a mysterious way the saving love of Christ
Prayer is anytime we realize that God is real and anytime we place ourselves in the presence of God

Make no mistake about it
Just like a Father and a mother love to hear from their children
All prayer is pleasing to God
God hears all prayers.
No matter when or where or how they are prayed

But prayer and our relationship with God
Like any relationship demands persistence.
And that is the point that Jesus is making today

The widow was persistent
She didn’t give up

And just like a child learns to talk through perseverance and persistence
So we learn how to pray though perseverance and persistence

In the beginning a child barely can put two words together
Phrases like me cup turn in to me cup please and eventually
May I have the cup please?

Isn’t it the same way with prayer
So often our first prayers are like a child’s first words
I need this
I want this
Why can’t I have that he has it
I would love this…

So often our prayer is simply “me cup” (all over again)
Sadly many of us, so many, Never get beyond this type of prayer
Certainly it is valid to place our needs before God and ask him for things…
The scriptures say
“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find knock and the door will be open”

But how many of us spend our whole lives in prayer only asking for things...

We fall into the temptation of seeing God as some giant slot machine in the sky
Where if we pull the handle enough times you get what you will want

It is easy to see how people who understand prayer only in this vein could despair lose hope or just simply give up on God

To be honest as I look back I’m grateful I haven’t gotten everything I’ve prayed for...

There are also those who lose hope or give up on God
Because they don’t feel anything when they pray.

You see sometimes God grants a moment of consolation when we
And because we experience that once on a retreat or after a good confession
or during a special homily
or at a Mass
We convince ourselves that if God loves us or if we are praying correctly
We should feel that consolation every time we pray

Almost as if we have a right to it as
if it is how we deserve to be paid back
Give me my fix of consolation or you don’t really love me

Manytimes we give up on prayer because we don’t feel that God is paying us back
with that warm feeling that moment of clearness

Sometimes people give up on prayer because they think they are doing it wrong.

When we pray and
When there is only silence

We should thank him for trusting us enough to put us to the test
We should thank God for allowing us love him without getting anything back in return

Mother Theresa lived and loved and prayed for 40 years without consolation or the feeling of God’s presence
And sometimes in her letters she complained about it understandably so.
There are those who say this made her a fake and a fraud
Just going through the motions
I believe that the silence she experienced in her life
Only increased her ability to die to herself and love God and the poorest of the poor more and more and more.
I think her task was so great that God needed to put her to the test so that she could be faithful

Prayer is not always rewarding
Sometimes the silence is so deafening

St. Theresa of Avila once said in her prayers to God
If this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few!”

After while
Our prayer should begin to change

After a while we should be able to enter into a deeper relationship with God
A relationship not just based on our needs and our wants and our incredibly small perspective.

After a while instead of only asking for things
we should begin to ask for direction and the ability to discern God’s will in our lives

After a while as we should trust in the presence of God more and more
our prayers should move us to a place where we simply trust the love
God more and more and more
A place where we are moved to praise him and thank him
and even worship him

An old Priest I knew towards the end of his life said to me once…
I have been a failure at prayer.
I always asked for things my way
I always thought I knew what I needed and when I needed it
What the church needed and when we needed it

He really felt that he was a failure and maybe he was
But God did not allow him to die a failure
Only as he faced eternity was he able to begin to let go and turn his life over to God
He scared me because he was once of holiest priests I knew
he seemed to pray almost constantly

Holy ones
If God loves us
If God longs for us to have life and have it to the full
If God longs for us to love each other and care for each other

We must allow ourselves to get lost in his loving presence
We must be persistent in our prayer
Like the widow was persistent in hers

Following the widows example
Progress in prayer demands a strong faith and
Even stronger love

Can we love enough to pray?
Do we love enough to prayer
Can we love enough to pray without loo

sing hope

God longs for our prayers
God longs for our love



Living Stones

The other day I was sitting in the chair in my office looking out into the Caldwell Courtyard and Francis Garden. If you haven’t seen it check it out the next time you are on campus. It is beautiful. Across from my chair is the stone wall which holds up Caldwell Chapel. Many years ago someone placed those stones in that wall and they continue to support the weight of the chapel where so many people stop and pray.

CUA is just like that wall. Year after year fine people come to Catholic and leave their mark, they place their stone. When you leave, something almost always remains from your time here. Maybe it is a funny story, maybe you started a new organization, maybe your personality helped make CUA a more welcoming place and better place. Maybe you were one of the ones who hosted an off-campus gathering on or took food to the homeless on Friday afternoons.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to live in a place for four years and not leave your mark in some way.Catholic is a living institution. It is continually being created and re-created by the people who pass through its hall, sleep in its Residence Halls, pray in its chapels or play on its sports fields. (Have you seen the sports fields at the Duf lately? WOW! Thanks Mr. Talbot

If you are an alumnus I want you to know that things are going well at Catholic. The kids seem to like it here. Once again we beat the record by welcoming the biggest Freshman Class in CUA’s history to campus. The academic profile is up, and the spirit on campus is good. We even have Sushi, Asian Fusion (whatever that is) and anytime dining - the students can eat as much as they want as often as they want. Yikes! By the way, check out the new décor of the Student Restaurant. You may find some memories there. If you are a current student I want you to know that I am really impressed with the way things are going this year and that we are thrilled that you are here. This weekend there will be some “Older” people on campus many of whom swore to me in the past that they would never gain any weight! Some were here a couple years ago; others were here 50 years ago or more. Everyone of them left their mark at CUA, everyone of them have stories to tell. Alumni, I encourage you to talk to our students. Ask them how things are going and what they think of CUA. I promise you that you will walk away impressed. Students talk to our alumni. Ask them about CUA when they were here. Laugh at their stories and marvel at their accomplishments.

Living stones indeed.

Peace and Prayers,
Your Priest (at least one of them)
Fr. Bob

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elena and David Colletti

A wonderful weekend with wonderful people....

Tarek and Kate are doing well Tarek is speaking all over the country and running the Lion Apparel company with David

Mandi and Matt are looking great they have two beautiful girls. Matt is a police officer.

Pat Kilner and Barry O (Sorry I can't remember how to spell it and Joe Camm was there. I didn't have a chance to talk to them but they looked fine.
I am always afraid I will forget someone when I list everyone so if I did let me know. Everyone I saw seemed to be doing very well.

I also had a chance to meet David's and Elena's extended family all of them were delightful people.

The only stumble on the way home was that I literally had to RUN from D6 to C12 in the airport in Minneapolis St. Paul. It was quite the sight... this rather chunky priest running through the terminal...

Best wishes to everyone and prayers promised

Friday, October 12, 2007

Questions Questions Questions

Have you ever had one of those days when all that pops into your mind is questions. I am in California for the wedding of one of my good friends a CUA Alumnus and his wonderful bride. This morning I had breakfast in a kind of "Diner" place called Coco's. The people next to me were talking about a safari they took to track polar bears. There are very expensive cars all over the place. One house on the coastal highway had a Marble carport at least it looked that way. I almost took a picture. This is a rather affluent area at least compared to anything I have known. There is definitely no Kmart in town at least I haven't seen one there I haven't even seen a Target. Whew. Everything is landscaped manicured. There is an army of people who speak spanish who work hard to keep everything looking beautiful. The apparent wealth here has really given me pause.

I have seen and been the quest of people who make $7.00 a day for very hard manual labor. They live in unfinished cinder block houses with no running water if they were lucky. Every penny is counted and everyone in the family chips in to the common good. The people I lived with only ate meat when the Chicken was too old to provide eggs anymore. Hot dogs were a treat. I know that a significant percentage of people in our world are even worse off then them They are PEOPLE moms and dads with children to care for.

From polar bears to $7.00 a day and everything in between. Where does the Gospel draw the line? We need people who are successful and creative and who drive the world economy. They deserve to be compensated for their talents and ingenuity, Absolutely. But, where do the people who only get to eat old chickens if they are lucky, fit into our human family ? Some I would venture to say are just as enterprising and hard working and talented but just never had the chance and the access to the market. They never got to spin the wheel.

I've always wondered how far I would go with this blog. How close I would let complete strangers know my thoughts and my dreams and yes even my questions. Today for some reason I feel compelled to let you very close to my pondering.

I quess the people who work for $7.00 a day and the people with the marble carport have to ask themselves the question. How does love compel me to live. How much are we willing to answer love's call, love's challenge. Are we brave enough to answer loves call to even see and treat each other as brothers and sisters? Are we even aware of each other. Could someone give up their marble carport to send someone to college or a whole family to High School ? Should they? Wou.ld they? Consumption is it a right or a responsibility? Where does love call ? I think it is harder to answer love's call when you have a lot of things. Creature comforts can be so mesmerizing. As Archbishop Pilarczyk once said in a homily on Lazarus "It is dangerous to be rich."

Yes my experience of Newport Beach pushed me to ponder but I don't think that only the people who stalk Polar Bears need to be asking these questions. Everyone needs to ask them even the poor. We as a country seem to believe that because of our industriousness and access to capital that we have a right to consume an extraordinary part of the world's resources. What is our national responsibility to those who live in cinder block houses with no running water. The Gospel would tell us that they are our brothers and sisters.

The haunting words of St. Basil give me pause they might even frighten me. I paraphrase because I can't find the citation**."The extra pair of shoes in your closet belong to the poor." I guess that would also include the,`extra clothes, extra food, extra comfort, extra whatever.

Are we as a nation, a people, individuals growing fat, unhealthy unholy and unaware because of our extra ?

Lord. Have mercy on me a sinner

I found it..... at http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saintly-quotes2.htm

The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.
--------St. Basil the Great


A Reading from St. Basil the Great The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor. If everyone would take only according to his needs and would leave the surplus to the needy, no one would be rich, no one poor, no one in misery.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Story of Jonah

Jonah is called by God to be a prophet to save Nineveh

Jonah Hates Nineveh

He Runs from God

He puts himself and others at risk

For three days in the belly of a whale during which he prays to God

He seems willing to do God’s will but only go through the motions Does not hav
a change of heart still full of hate

When the Ninevites convert Jonah is outraged and wants to die because he didn’t’ get his way. He can't see them suffer

In God’s eyes Jonah’s mission was a wonderful success

In Jonah’s eyes his mission was a complete failure

What does this little story teach us ………….

Jonah was stuck in his own perspective

How often do we get stuck in our prejudice or perspective ?

How often do we find it so hard to change the way we feel or think.

Jonah rebelled God’s will

Jonah ran from God

Jonah put others at risk

Do we do the same with our bad example and our our stubbornness of heart?

God can even use broken people to get god’s plan

Jonah filled with rage and rebellious was still recognized by Ninevites as God’s Prophet

So often we use an little defect in a person as a way avoid their purpose in God's plan . If the Gospel could only be preached by holy people it would never be proclaimed

How often do we refuse to accept our place in God’s plans because of our brokenness

God Loved Ninevites and God Loved Jonah

Ø G God worked with Jonah

Ø G God worked with the Ninevites

Ø G God also works with us

All of us plead for God’s mercy but how often to we fail to show it to others or
how often do we refuse to ask God to forgive our enemies.

Sadly there is a little Jonah in all of us

Monday, October 08, 2007

A weekend in New York

I spent this weekend in New York and had the privilege of witnessing the wedding of John Rich and Stephanie Keenan now Mr. and Mrs. John Rich. The wedding was at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church on Park Ave just east of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. Church was beautiful and the priests of the Parish were very welcoming and accommodating. I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable with the "cathedral sound" of the big church but I did my best to make the ceremony warm and intimate.

When I arrived in Penn Station I was a little intimidated. I'm not usually afraid of big cities but New York is just soooo big. When the cab arrived at the church everyone one welcomed me . In my free time I just walked and walked and walked. I also had New York Pizza nothing like it and New York Bagels and whatever else I could find that was tipically New York. You know the excuse I'll only be here a couple of days...... Once I took a subway to Union Square 14th street and walked back up Park to 84th people watching as I went.

So many people, just so many people in constant motion.
On Sunday Morning before I left to come back to Washington my mind was distracted by one thought which I just couldn't seem to shake. How do you bring the gospel to all these people ? As I prayed morning prayer in Central Park I kept getting lost in that thought. How do you preach the gospel to people who have seen it and heard it all... How can one do it. Where is the key to a New Yorkers heart.. I can't imagine that it would be any different from any other human being. After a while I just did my best to surrender that thought to God to give it over to hHm. Right now I have 3000 undergraduate souls to take care of. Just like Pope John XXIII used to say it's "Your Church I'm going to bed" My variation on the theme... was "It's your Church I'm going back to Catholic"

Let us pray that we and the church can all have a "zeal for souls" May we, all of us strive with out whole being to bring people to Christ. May all of us understand that this evangelical zeal to bring people to Christ is an integral part of our christian vocation. May we remember in a special way those people who brought us to our faith.

May all who see us in some tiny small broken way see you Lord


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Don't be fooled

Sometimes we fool ourselves when we think about love.

We think thoughts like...

Love is easy
Love is rewarding
Love is fulfilling
Love is always reciprocal
Love will always be received with gratitude

Sometimes love is none of those things.

There have been a few moments of late when I have found love to be difficult
very difficult kind of like Dorothy Day called it "A harsh and dreadful thing"

Sometimes it is so inviting to run away from love
to hide from Love's call
to shelter oneself in pride or arrogance, anger or bitterness or resentment

But when this happens somehow (God's Grace)

I remember that
Love is the only way
And even though it seems at the moment to be so clear that another door would be the best choice.

I know in my heart that love and its friends, hope, forgiveness and healing are the road I must walk.

Love them like they are and and let your love call them to more.... a challenge indeed

Thank you Lord

Who is Dorothy Day you ask ? Click here and find out... you won't be disappointed.