Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Wishes and Prayers for a Happy and Holy Christmas 2008

This year was my 25th anniversary of Priesthood and I had the chance to celebrate it with friends both near and far. Whether they were able to come to Washington or not, I know we were united in prayer. At Mass that day I made a conscious effort to place all the people I’ve had the privilege of meeting these last 25 years on the altar. I know very well that who I am, what I do, and how I do it depends so much on my family and the people I’ve met these last 25 years. You’ve challenged me, loved me, corrected me and forgiven me. They have been 25 wonderful years and when I think about the incredible gift of my priesthood sometimes I “well up” a little and there is this part of me that wants to scream “not worthy, not worthy, so not worthy”! God and His people have been so good to me.

On campus, our students continue to bring a smile to my face. They are lively and patient and goofy. Sometimes they are irresponsible, sometimes they are hyper responsible. When some of them pray, their faces can be like an epiphany. The trust many show me is so humbling. Their laughter is contagious and sometimes I laugh so much I hurt. This year I caught four freshmen with one bottle of beer (granted it was a rather large bottle). I poured it down the sink and left the room. The next day I called one of them to tell him that it was time for their “penance.” Six students showed up. They explained one had been hiding in the closet and the other in the bathroom. We prayed the rosary together—all fifteen decades. The kid who didn’t know the “Hail Mary” got it by the 3rd Sorrowful Mystery. As I am often fond of saying, something like that could only happen at Catholic U.

As my years at Catholic increase, I have more and more contact with alumni. It brings me such joy to see them and their families, to watch their faces as they hold their children or are tackled by them. I love to hear about their careers, their successes and their challenges. Today I got an email from Puri. He sent me a picture of his son. You could tell from his words how happy and proud he was. Kevin was a project manager on our new Opus Hall. Who would have thought that the crazy kid in Ryan Hall could do such incredible work? Susan worked on a pediatric oncology floor for years. She and our nurses touch so many lives. Matt Foley a former rugby player here at CUA will be ordained a friar priest this year. I could go on and on and on. Sometimes I feel like the father of so many. John, a former student and coach, is having a bone marrow transplant—please pray for him.

“My Children” in Connecticut are now in their mid 30s. How did that happen? They are all doing well. I only have to make one phone call to find out the news. They all tell on each other. I have three new babies and lots of families to see when I get up there after Christmas. Those visits are always a joy for me.

Mom was sick a little this fall but she bounced back with a vengeance and came down to Washington for Thanksgiving. We had 58 guests this year. Thank God the food service prepares most of the food. All we did was peel potatoes and make one of the 6 turkeys. She still emails every day and her emails are the last thing I read before I go to bed. Greg, Kelley and the kids (young adults) are fine. Matt is in his second year of college and Kristen is in her first year. They work very hard at their jobs and they even study. Kristen is driving—“YIKES!” Andrew and Sarah are growing up too. Andrew has moved from fire trucks to Airsoft and paintball guns. Sarah has a cell phone… and let me tell you, she knows how to use it. I’m always getting calls from her. I am proud of all of them.

You are receiving this annual Christmas note because you have been a part of my life. I have come to understand more and more just how important healthy, loving friendships are to all of us. I am grateful for your friendship and I count on your prayers. Please be assured of mine… As I always tell the kids (oops, I mean students) when I bless their rooms, “If you need me and you don’t call me, I’ll be heartbroken.”

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

David Garcia and John Blattner

  • Please keep David Garcia in your prayers he needs surgery to stop a brain hemorrhage. David is a Freshman transfer student who is majoring in drama.

  • And please keep John Blattner (CUA 2004) he is going into the hospital today for a bone marrow transplant.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of both.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Inspiring just what I needed.

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love with a quite, absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything"

-Pedro Arrupe, S,J.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Second Sunday of Advent

The Catholic University of America has been declared an exam free campus
therefore all exams are canceled.

Buses are waiting outside St. Vincent’s to take you to one of our local airports
We have already packed your bags.
You will then fly first class or business class to your homes cities
and driven home in limousines.
Thank you for your patience.

Over the holidays you can eat whatever you want and not gain any weight.

Fr. Bob is the most handsome priest on this campus.

Dreams Dreams Dreams

During the time of Jesus news and ideas laws and information
were spread just like that.

Someone would stand in the town square or in the middle of a group of people
and shout out the news.

In the larger cities someone would announce the closing to the Gates
or the decrees of the King or the laws of the Kingdom.

Even visiting dignitaries would pay people to announce their arrival
so that they would be received properly when they arrived in the city.

John the Baptist was a herald probably one of many heralds
but John the Baptist didn’t just announce dreams or news or laws

He announced hope
and the hope he announce was simple.

Something new was about to happen
Something incredible was about to happen
Something so incredible that we had to do something to be ready

If you think about it all of the readings today announced the coming of something new is about to take place.

The first reading in Isaiah proclaims that the Glory Of God will be revealed.

In the second reading Paul proclaims that we await a new heaven and a new Earth.

And there is anticipation in the Baptists proclamation.
John proclaims that the Lord is coming… prepare his way.

But to experience this newness of life John also announces that we have to change.
We have to repent

There had to be a change of heart

Those who came to him had to be baptized or
washed clean.

The commentaries say that this is the same thing that was demanded of the Gentiles when they converted to Judism.
They need to be wash clean.

For the people of Jesus’ time that could have meant a lot of different things
but everyone had to change something

Some had grown complacent in their religious practice many were just going through the motions.

For some people of Jesus’ time the Baptist's call meant that they had to be willing to let go of their old way of thinking.

They had to let go of their old perspective they had look at things in a new light.

For some people it meant that they had to let go of their positions of power and authority…
It was the hardest for them it is easy to see how they were so afraid.

Why did so many believe John?
Why did the whole of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem come out to greet him?

He practiced what he preached.
He was not tied down by the world and its comforts locusts and wild honey isn't much
He he lived simply.

He was telling them something they already knew.
They knew they had to change.
They knew their hearts had grown cold.

He was absolutely humble in his message.
His words pointed to someone else he was not in it for profit.

What does all of this mean for us?

Exams are still going to happen.
There will be no limos waiting to take you home.
It looks like its the bus from Greenbelt to BWI
or the metro to National Airport..
Who knows how you get to Dulles.


Something new can happen to us too
and John the Baptist calls us to something new something wonderful

He calls us to prepare a place for the Lord in our hearts
just like he called the people of his time to repent to change.

All of us need to change.
All of us have things in our hearts which we know aren’t right.

All of us have to let go of our old way of thinking and be willing to try something new.

Some of us have to let go of things which we thing give us great comfort
Inappropriate behavior
Chemicals or medications we use incorrectly
Lives of reckless abandon
Our Propensity Procrastination
Creature comforts
Our Toys our gadgets and things and money
We put so much stock in these things and I know that many are simply afraid to let go.

Someone was talking to me about Pot like it thier very best friend this week.
and they were so afraid to part ways.

The more we hold on to these things
the tighter we hold on to them
the more we trust them
the less space there is for God in our lives.

The less space there is for hope in our lives..

If we want something new
If we want something more

We have to follow the Baptist out into the wilderness

Will we step out?
or will we be afraid ?

Prepare the way of the lord...
Clear the pathway... of all the junk that is in the way.

Let Him in....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

We are two weeks away from Advent
and traditionally the readings at the end of the liturgical year are more challenging.
They often speak of the “last things”

They speak of our responsibilities and what it takes to get into heaven.
They speak of judgment and salvation.

In the Gospel today there are three servants
two are rewarded (They are invited to share their Master’s joy)

The other is not.
Rather, he is thrown into the darkness to wail and grind his teeth..
(That doesn’t sound too good)

Here are some thoughts from some commentaries I read.

A talent was a huge amount of money.
It was equal to 6000 Denarii
a denarii was equal 1 day’s wage.
So a talent is roughly 15 years of wages…

Even the person who was given one talent received an abundance from God
The man given 5 talents was entrusted with a life time of resources

Everyone in the parable received abundantly from God
There were no servants who received nothing.

The fact that the servants did not all receive the same amount
Does not mean that God loved some more…
Everyone received all that they needed
And they were expected to do the best they could with what they had

St. Theresa of Avila used to say… imagine that all of us are glasses, different size glasses,
Some are big some are small. But all are full
full of God’s love.
We are all full of God's love

Because we are all given different gifts
We are not in competition with each other rather
We are in competition with only with ourselves.

The servants were given opportunity.
They were not told what to do with the talent.
but the master clearly expected some kind of return on his investment.
And they were free to do as they pleased
They were free…

I found it interesting that the Master was away a long time
He gave the servants a long time, a life time,
to use the talents they were given.
He didn’t expect instant results.

The Gospel teaches us that our work is never completed…
Those who were successful in using their talents were not told come and rest but rather…
you succeeded with little now you will be given more

The Greek words used in the passage for “gained or earned” were often used in a religious context to mean winning converts or bringing people to faith

The faithful stewards who were rewarded brought other people to faith.
The man who buried his talent did not.

There are lots of things which we can apply to our own lives.

So often people think they have nothing to offer.
So often they are burdened with the fear that they have no gifts
I’m nobody
I can’t talk to people
I’m shy
I’m not smart
I’m not handsome or pretty
I’m not this I’m not that
All of us need to put that out of our minds..
That only happens when we compare ourselves to others
All of us have gifts from God
And one of the greatest tragedies is to fail to recognize that.

Even though we all have received differently
We have all been given all that we need
If God loves us God would not create us to fail

We all have the time we need to develop them and share them
The master is gone a long time.
We will not all live the same amount of time
But all of us will have the time we need to give back

The greatest danger here is to grow complacent
The greatest danger here it to put off to tomorrow what we could and should do today.
We must be living our quest for holiness NOW not later…

Our gifts are not just for us
They are not
Our gifts are meant to be shared with others…
We are expected to earn a return on our Master’s gifts.
How many people will be better because they knew us
How many people will be better because we shared our talents with them
How many souls will we bring faith
What will our return be on God’s gifts.

Our work is never done there is never a time when we can sit back and rest.
The servants who were good and faithful were not called home to rest
They were given more talents to do more things for God

At the end of our parable at the end of our story will we be invited to share our Master’s Joy
Or will be thrown out into the darkness?

It all depends how we use our talents…

A very important question indeed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran

For the first 300 years of the Church
Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire.

Sometimes things weren’t that bad
sometimes they were horrific.

Sometimes whole generations never knew any suffering.
Sometimes there were incredible persecutions and entire families were called to die for their faith.

Tertullian one of the Fathers of the Church said
“The Blood of Martyrs is truly the seeds of the Church.”

Throughout this period Christians were never really able to pray together publicly.
Even when there was little or no persecution
they still had to meet and prayed in secret.
Their faith was forced to be a private matter a hidden matter.

When Christianity was finally accepted by the Roman Empire in 313
the first place Christians gathered to pray publicly was the Lateran Hill in Rome.

They met in the wing of a Roman Villa given to them by the Emperor Constantine.
It was an incredible blessing to be able to worship openly publicly for all to see.

Finally Christians had the chance to celebrate the Lord’s supper together without fear.

What a witness it must have been for the Romans to see people from all over the city gathering in that sacred space.

Today it is important to remember that moment 1700 years ago.
It is important that we reflect on its meaning in our lives.

The Hebrews could easily understand the significance of having a public place to worship
For them God was most especially present in the Temple.

It was in the temple that sacrifices and prayers were offered.
It was in the temple that the law was discussed and debated.
It was in the Holy of Holies that the Presence of God was manifest.

And in the first reading Ezekiel speaks about how it became clear to him in a vision
that life itself flowed from this public place of worship.

Wherever the waters of faith flowed life became present and
life became present abundantly

In the Gospel….
Jesus sought to purify the Temple.
He sought to purify the public witness of the temple and those who prayed there.

He drove out the money changers
and the people where were selling animals for sacrifice.

He wanted the temple to be a house of prayer
He wanted people to be edified by what happened in the temple not scandalized

Churches and temples are incredible blessings.
And the chance to pray publicly
The chance to live our faith in a public manner
is a huge blessing which we take for granted.

We should not forget that there are still places many places
where to walk into a church or to pray with others in the Church
is a great risk.

The Feast of Dedication St. John Lateran should cause us all to reflect
on how we publicly live our faith.

Yes the first public place to worship was so very important and an incredible witness to our faith.
however the second reading from St. Paul reminds us
that the church is not just a building….

We are Church
He tells the Christians in Corinth so clearly
You are God’s building.

Yes our faith can and must be shared in our worship and in our churches
But our faith also has to be shared publicly in our lives.

Our parishes should be vibrant centers of prayer and good works filled with holy people and its not just the Priest’s job to make it happen

Our faith must be lived at our places of work
The example of our lives should build other people up and encourage them

Our faith must be lived in our families.
Our families should be like little churches were people are inspired
to find hope in God and believe.

A while ago a young man hit bottom.
His life was falling apart.
He went out drinking trying numb himself so
he wouldn’t have to face his problems and failures.

Then he got angry with someone and they threw him out of the happy hour.
Around 10:00 after stumbling around downtown Washington for a while
at his rock bottom he hailed a cab

When asked where he wanted to go he remembers saying in desperation to the cabby
I need God take me to God..

The cabby didn’t know what to do so he drove him to the shrine and left him on the steps

As the man looked up at the Shrine bathed in light
he felt the presence of God and he began to cry

One of our students saw him and went up to him.

Are you alright.. he asked.
I need God I need a priest the man said
I need a priest
and the student picked him up and brought him to Campus Ministry

There aren’t usually priests at 10:30 in the Campus Ministry office but in
his providence God made sure one was there

And he spoke to the priest and began to face his challenges
And then the students who found him walked him to the Metro
and rode with him back to his stop

They listened to him and cared for him
They protected him because he was still a little intoxicated and vulnerable.

They put him in a cab and gave the cabby the fare.
They did their best to make sure he got home..

That man experience the presence of God when he looked up at the Shrine

But he also experience the presence of God in the students who
reached out to this broken soul
picked him up and took care of him.

On this feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran let us be grateful for blessing to be able to live our faith publicly in holy places like this beautiful Church

On this feast on of the Dedication of St. John Lateran let us remind ourselves that we are too are called to be living witnesses of Christ’s presence in the world.

For as St. Paul reminds us “we are the building of God.”

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Soul's Day

Today we commemorate,
we remember together all those who have died
all those who have passed from this life to the next.

Today reminds us of a very important fact
Everything is not what it appears.

Anyone who has read the Gospel knows that
Jesus frequently turned the whole world upside down
When he said things like

Loss is really gain
Poor is really rich
Weak is really strong
The Humble are exalted
The Last are really first
And especially
When He teaches
Death is really life

For many,
Especially those without the consolation of faith
death is a scary thing.

For some it is even terrifying.
It appears so dreadful,
without hope

To some death
is the final, absolute, annihilation
It is darkness....

It is easy to understand why people feel that way
and why death is so scary.

A body without a soul
is only a memory of what it was

A body without a soul seems so
unnatural, foreign to our experience

Today we commemorate,
we remind ourselves that appearances can be wrong
and that Death is not all that it seems

Our faith teaches us that
By his death Jesus paid the price of our sins
By his rising from the dead he destroyed death and restored life

Our faith teaches us that…
Death is not an end but rather a beginning
Death is not something dreadful or silent
Death is not the final end

Death is really just a doorway.
The only doorway in fact that can lead us to everlasting life with God
Why do we remember?
Why do we have a day like today set aside
to remember those who have died
and mediate on death?

Why do we pray for the dead?

Some would ask what difference does it make
To them praying for the dead makes no sense
…. God’s judgement is final
If you are saved your are saved
If you are damned you are damned
That’s it…
ran out of time
too bad…
You lose

From the very beginning of the Church
we have believed that some people after having chosen Christ
may not quite ready for heaven

There seems to be many who are too good to go to hell
and not good enough to go to heaven

When people like this die some they still bear the burden of selfishness
or pride
or whatever.

Catholics and some other Christians believe that in God’s mercy
People in this situation are not given a second chance
Remember they have already chosen Christ

But rather they are provided a period of purification
a chance to be made whole
more time to let go of their sins,
their selfishness and their brokenness

We call this moment
this process purgatory

The church says very little more about it.
We don’t know how long it lasts
We don’t know where or how it happens

Simply put Purgatory permits a soul still burdened by sin to come home

We also believe that the prayers of the Saints and
The prayers of the church help in this process of purification

From the time of the apostles the Church has prayed for the dead
In the early Christian cemeteries the graves
were often marked with requests for prayer.

So today on this day of All souls We commemorate
we remember those who have gone before us
We think of them
We sacrifice for them.
We fast for them
We offer up our prayers for them
That their purgatory may be swift
That they may be with God forever…

That is the first purpose the first reason
for this day
It reminds us of those
who have preceded us home
It reminds us to pray for the dead

The second purpose of this day…
Is to commemorate, to remember together
that we too shall pass that way

All of us will one day face death
All of us will one day walk through that door

So often we get so caught up in the challenges of life
that we forget this incredibly important fact
Where they stand we to shall be

And it is important to remember
That how we live and the choices we make matter.

We conform ourselves to the image of Christ with every good choice we make
We deform ourselves,
we wound ourselves with every bad choice we make.

It is so important to remember that
We know neither the time or the hour

When will our time come
When will we face the death?
When will we have to walk through that door
In 20 years
In 70 years
Who knows

All souls day reminds us that we need to be ready
Where would we stand if today were the day we were called to face judgment

Where would we stand if the angel of death knocked on our door right now ?
Where would we stand ?
Would we be ready?

Let us commemorate
Let us remember together
those who have gone before us
Marked with the sign of faith

Let us keep them close in prayer

Let never forget
That death awaits us all…
Will we be ready…

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So much to think about.... deciding is not easy

This is really thought provoking

What are Priests supposed to do ?

Priests always struggle with questions like the one below.... I have erred on both sides. I really resonate with what Our Holy Father says in his conversation with these priests (This comes from Whispers) This whole topic seems to me a matter of engaging culture. How do we reach out to people on the edge, on the fringe... those just barely evangelized... The circumstances are a little different on a college campus... We don't have lots of first communions, however we have to find a way into the lives of young men and women who have just barely been introduced to Christ. We also struggle with students who what to be sponsors or God parents but who have little or no religious practice. Thank you B16 for understanding our challenges and sharing your thoughts on the matter in a pastoral way.

------------- From Whispers ---------
Midway through his stay at the Alto Adige seminary, however, the pontiff journeyed to the local cathedral, where he held the latest of his signature Q&A sessions with the clergy of his vacation diocese. The meet-ups invariably include at least one notable quote, and -- with the encounter now translated in full -- this time around the buzz has honed in on B16's response to a priest who, "thinking that in any case it’s better not to snuff out the wick of a weak flame," sought pastoral insight on accepting the less-than-fully-committed for the sacraments:

The Pope's response:
Well, I can’t give an infallible answer right now, I can only try to respond based on what I see. I have to say that I’ve followed a path similar to yours. When I was young I was rather more severe. I said: the sacraments are the sacraments of the faith, and when the faith isn’t there, where there’s not practice of the faith, the sacraments can’t be conferred. When I was Archbishop of Munich I always discussed this with my pastors, and there too there were too factions, one severe and one more generous. I too in the course of time have realized that we have to follow instead the example of the Lord, who was very open also with the people who were at the margins of Israel at that time. He was a Lord of mercy, too open – according to many of the official authorities – with sinners, welcoming them or allowing himself to be welcomed by them at their dinners, drawing them to himself in his communion.

Thus I would say in essence that the sacraments are naturally sacraments of the faith. Where there is no element of faith, where First Communion would just be a party with a big lunch, nice clothes and nice gifts, then it can’t be a sacrament of the faith. But, on the other hand, if we can see even a tiny flame of desire for communion in the church, a desire also from these children who want to enter into communion with Jesus, it seems right to me to be rather generous. Naturally, for sure, it must be part of our catechesis to make clear that Communion, First Communion, is not automatic, but it demands a continuity of friendship with Jesus, a path with Jesus. I know that children often have the intention and desire to go to Sunday Mass, but their parents don’t make it possible. If we see that the children want it, that they have the desire to go, it seems to me almost a sacrament of desire, the ‘vow’ of participation at Sunday Mass. In this sense we naturally should do everything possible in the context of sacramental preparation to also reach the parents and – let’s say – also awaken in them a sensibility for the path that their children are taking. They should help their children to follow their own desire to enter into friendship with Jesus, which is the form of life, of the future. If the parents have the desire that their children should make the First Communion, this somewhat social desire should be expanded into a religious desire to make possible a journey with Jesus.

I would say, therefore, that in the context of catechism with children, the work with parents is always very important. It’s an occasion for meeting the parents, making the life of faith present also to the adults, so that they themselves can learn anew from the children – it seems to me – and to understand that this great solemnity makes sense only, and it’s true and authentic only if, it’s realized in the context of a journey with Jesus, in the context of a life of faith. The challenge is to convince the parents a bit, through the children, of the necessity of a preparatory path, which reveals itself in participation in the mysteries and begins to foster love for those mysteries.

This is a fairly insufficient response, I would say, but the pedagogy of the faith is always a journey, and we have to accept today’s situation, but we also have to open it up little by little, so that it’s not directed at the sole aim of some exterior memory of things, but so that the heart is truly touched. In the moment in which we become convinced, the heart is touched, it’s felt a bit of the love of Jesus, and it’s experienced a bit of desire to move in this direction. In that moment, it seems to me, we can say that we’ve accomplished a real catechesis. The true sense of catechesis, in fact, should be this: to carry the flame of the love of Jesus, even if it’s small, to the hearts of children, and through the children to their parents, thereby opening anew the places of the faith in our time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

The end of the Gospel of Matthew is an amazing drama…
Jesus is desperately trying to reach out to the religious leaders
of his time.

He knows what is in store for the Jerusalem that he loves.
He tries everything to get them to recognize him as the Messiah.
He tries everything he can to get them to
let go of their power,
to let go of their riches,
to let go of their pride, their arrogance.

Because he loves them
He longs for the day that they repent.

The last three weeks Jesus reached out to them over and over again.
This week the religious leaders counter attack if you will.

They considered Jesus to be such a threat to their world
that they had to be careful

The people believed in him so
they begin by even flattering him.

Then bitter enemies joined forces.
Pharisees were very anti Roman
If he said pay the tax directly
they would be able to rally the people against Him.
They did not want to recognized any Roman Authority.

The Herodians were accommodators or collaborators…
they cooperated with the Romans for their own personal enrichment
and at the expense of their people

If he said don’t pay the tax
then the Herodians would report him to Romans
because it would be another feather in their cap.

It is a very difficult spot for Jesus to be in
It was definitely a no win situation…

His answer is famous and transcends time

After looking at the coin he says.
Give to Caeser what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God's.

And it Begs the question…
What is Caesar’s
What is God’s

From that simple phrase all of us have to garner
our place in this world and our place in this culture.

What is our role in civil society?
What do we owe our country?
What do we owe God?

Everything we have comes from God.
In God alone will our souls be at rest.
In God we find our origin,
our reason to live,
and our final goal or destiny

In everything we do we should try to live our lives
as God would have us do

God comes first obviously…
And God’s will comes first.

But the parable clearly teaches that
we also owe something to Caesar
we also owe something to our culture our country.

Because we benefit from many things in our country
we are obligated to contribute to the common God.

We share the benefit of the roads and the infrastructure
And we are obligated to share in their expense.

Giving to Caesar means being willing to pay our fair share of taxes.

But being a responsible Catholic citizen
demands more.

Because the Gospel teaches us that we are all
Brothers and sisters.

We should also live lives of service.

We should be involved in our communities

We should go beyond the minimum in helping those in need

We should coach little league teams
And camp with cub scouts
We should wash cars for the next band trip
And donate food to the food bank

We should care about our brothers and sisters all over the world
and not live lavish lifestyles at their expense
We must share from our abundance.

And we should teach our children
from a very very early age to do the same.

For followers of Christ
lives of service
are not a pious extra.
They are not the icing on the cake.

They are part of the Gospel's call to love one another
as God has loved us.

Very Sadly we all fall short on this.

In the early church people were able to point out
Christians by the way they cared for others

“See how they love one another”

I’m not sure if that is still the case for us
If it was
what a different world it would be.

Finally Caesar (our country and our culture)
Needs our participation
We do this in several ways.

The first is obviously by voting

When we go to vote it is our right and our duty
to take with us all of our values and ideas with us.

We have a right and an obligation to vote according to our conscience
weighing carefully what every candidate clearly stands for.

But our call to participate goes beyond simply voting in elections.

All of us are also called to participate in our culture
by helping to form it

We are called to participate in the public arena
We are called to contribute to the discussion
which shapes our world and its values

Our culture needs us
Our culture needs our values
Needs our ideas
our hopes and our dreams

Our culture needs our witness

Our culture needs to share our conviction that every human being
From the womb to the tomb is special with inalienable rights and responsibilities

Our culture needs to know that we are not alone
and we are cared for and loved by God.

How do we give to Caesar what is Caesar's?
How should we participate in the formation of our culture.

I guess the question could be rephrased to...

How do you change a human heart,
How do you change a human culture

You don’t yell at it
You don’t ridicule it
You don’t proclaim all its faults
Or distain it
You don’t think you are better than it…

You change a human heart and a culture of Human hearts by
Loving it
Forgiving it
By Challenging it lovingly
You change a human heart and a culture of human hearts
by sacrificing for it

You change a human heart and culture of human hearts by dying for it.
That's what Jesus did.

You change a culture like you change a person.
This is what giving to Caesar what is Caesar's is all about

Sisters and brothers
Election day is fast approaching
but our involvement in our city and country and world
has to be so much more.

There is so much need
There is so much to do.

That’s what we owe to God
And That’s what we owe to each other


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

Both this week and last week we have heard Jesus reach out to the
religious leaders of his time with an almost desperate voice,
a desperate love

He saw where they were headed
(he sees where some of us are headed)
He knew how much they were entrenched in their sin
And he longed to call them to conversion
He loved them
(Sometimes you yell the most at the kid you love the most)

Last week
The religious leaders of his time were represented as the unfaithful tenants in God’s vineyard
They were those who refused to listed to the prophets and even killed the Son

This week
The religious they were the invited guests to the wedding banquet

It was the custom of the time to send runners out with invitations
Informing the invited that there would be a wedding feast soon and to get prepared

When the meal was ready (no microwaves then)
the runners would return to bring back the guests

The guests (the Jewish people and religious leaders of his time) knew that they were invited
They knew they were the chosen people

They knew that it was a special occasion
and theirs was a privileged place

They knew that had even received several invitations
God had invited them to fellowship over and over again in their history
Yet somehow and they refused

They were busy
They were otherwise concerned
one went to his business, another his farm,
some even beat up those bringing the invitation.

The guests were being invited into happiness
Into joy
They were being invited Into friendship and fellowship with the king

What kept them away?
Why did they refuse ?

The answer is probably different for each of them.

Some were too focused in the moment
They were probably overwhelmed by what was happening at that moment in their lives
(That happens to all of us some time)

Some just were not interested
They were betting on themselves
they thought that they had a good life already
they didn’t believe that the banquet would be better

Some probably resented being told anything.
How dare that king tell me when I am supposed to come
I am the master of my own destiny….
I’ll come when I am ready

Some just didn’t want their lives to change
They were afraid of change
They were afraid to change

Because of their hardened hearts they lost their chance
Because of their refusal of God’s love
they did not enjoy the banquet of the Lord

So the king invited a whole other group of guests
People who never thought they would get an invitation

They were the outcasts
The religiously incorrect
The sinners, the broken ones
Those burdened with addictions
The bandits, the prostitutes, you get the picture

He invited people who never thought they had a chance
When they received the invitation
which they never expected
they responded

They responded with a conversion of Heart
They did their best to leave their sad pasts behind them
They trusted the king and they came
They dared to hope for more.

And They even came properly attired
For the feast

They came with dressed with the desire to live virtuously
They were admitted to the banquet because
The love of the king even when they were sinners overwhelmed them

Sadly one man tried come without this change of heart
He entered the banquet without being clothed in virtue
or even the desire of virtue

He wanted the benefits of the Heavenly banquet without being willing to pay the prices

The King even approached him and asked him why he was not properly attired
He Probably in the hope that he could reason with the man
give him one more chance

Sadly the man was not ready to change
He was not ready to even try to be
Be the person that God created him to be
And he was thrown out back into his sadness

The Word of God transcends time
The Word of God was not only addressed to the Jewish people at that sad moment in history
The Word of God is also addressed to us.

We are the guests
We are the invited
We are the chosen ones
We who have the gift of faith
We who through no merit of our own have been given the incredible gift of faith

Which one of these characters in the this parable are we
Which one of the characters in this parable represents our lives and the choices we have made

We have to ask ourselves…
Which one?

All of us have been invited
Have we accepted the invitation
Or are we too busy

Are we too busy to give more than 1 hour a week to God
How much of our time, and our energy are we willing to place in God’s call to fellowship

What are we bringing to the banquet

How many of us feel so lost in the present
that we can’t even think of God and God’s call
You know the drill you find yourself thinking

I have so much to do
So much calling is calling for attention

How many of us have found ourselves saying thing like
I want holiness
I want to life a virtuous life a good life
But I don’t have time now

How many of us have convinced ourselves in our hearts that
we have everthing we need right now
How many of us trust ourselves our world and our riches
more than God

How many of us kind of say Yes I’ll come to the banquet but when I’m old
And when I don’t have any better options

Yes God speaks to us
God speaks to each one of us

With a kind of desperate voice
A desperate love
He longs for us to enjoy the heavenly banquet

Pray God we all say yes.
Pray God that we and the people we love are not tricked into refusing the invitation

Pray God that all of us and the people we love are able
To make the changes needed in our lives to worthy of attending.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Morning "My Day Off"

Time to rest
Time to re-create
Time to pray
Time to prepare this weekend's homily
Time to be with friends
Time to walk away
Time to walk period
Time to explore to see something new
Time to have Mass for the Football team

Why did God give us the 7th day
Why a "day of rest"
Why did God give us the sabbath ?
The Sabbath is important because it refocuses our efforts for the other 6 days
The Sabbath is important because it reminds us of our purpose and were can direct our energies
The Sabbath is important because it can keep us from burning out getting over loaded

Lord help me you my "Day Off" wisely
so that refreshed and renewed I may serve you with a generous heart

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wednesday Adoration Homily - Lord Teach us to Pray -

The Gospel of Luke has been called the Gospel of prayer
Over and over again Jesus is found praying in Luke’s Gospel
Before major events
Before he enters a town
and often after he leaves one

The Disciples simply ask
Lord teach us to pray
Not Lord teach us a prayer

In the Our Father we find not only a wonderful prayer
but Jesus also teaches us about God and what should be part of every prayer

By calling God Father:
Jesus is teaching us that
that God is the source of life,
that God is the Creator of every living thing.

Jesus is also teaching us that we are God’s children,
We are sons and daughters, of God.

And if we are children of the one God,
then we are brothers and sisters to each other.
And there can be no exceptions.

Whenever we pray this prayer
Whenever we pray any prayer it has to
bind us together into one human family

Every prayer which leaves our mouth should speak to this profound truth
Every prayer is for everyone

Do we understand this when we say the word Father in prayer.

Am I prepared to see every single person on the face of this earth,
regardless of race, nationality, skin color,
class, occupation, age, religion,
or behavior… as my brother and sister?

If not,
How can we continue to pray ?

Hallowed be your name or
May your name be held holy:

God’s name is already holy and nothing we can do can make it any more so.

In this petition Jesus tries to help us understand that God is greater than us
That God is beyond our grasp

He is all Good all Powerful all Loving

With this petition Jesus wants the whole world sing with the angels,
“Holy, holy, holy…” like the scene in the Book of Revelation before the very throne of God

God does not need our praise but we do
When we realize that God is holy we are saying that we belong to him and recognize him as Lord.

Your kingdom come:
God’s Kingdom is that world where God’s will prevails
in people’s hearts and minds and relationships.

It produces a world of freedom, peace and justice for all.
In praying this petition, we are not just asking God to bring it about while we sit back and wait.

We are also committing ourselves to be partners with God in bringing it about.
Our co-operation in the founding of the God's Kingdom is essential

To be a Christian,
To be a disciple of Jesus is essentially
to be involved in this task of making the Kingdom a reality.

All of us have to help bring about the founding of God’s kingdom
All of us have to bring the world to God

With the petition
Give us this day our Daily Bread…
Jesus teaches us there that it is right and good for God’s children to petition their Father for the things they need…
not necessarily the things we want.

Like any Father God will provide for us

The author in living spaces spoke at lengths about the pronoun us.
Who does the us stand for.

Is it us who pray this prayer?
Is it our family ?
Is it our our friends acquaintances?
Or does the us mean that we are praying for everyone
all of God’s children

When we say give us
Are we not praying for the whole world

Are we not asking that the whole world receive what they need…

If this is the case
with this petition are we not promising to help make that happen?

Are we not promising to share God’s resources with all of God’s children

That’s a scary implication for a country that uses way beyond our far share of the world’s natural resources to sustain our life style.

With the petition
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,

Jesus is teaching us that in our prayer we can ask for forgiveness
It is implied that God really wants to forgive us our sins.

But when we ask for forgiveness for our sins
we are also promising to forgive those who sin against us

This petition teaches us that we will only be forgiven
in proportion to how much we forgive.

If that is indeed the case
How many of us still harbor anger or resentment in our hearts

And how many of us can count on God’s forgiveness
if we have not forgiven each other from our hearts?

And do not subject us to the final test….
With this last petition Jesus is reminding us that our world is filled with temptation and that we permanently need God’s loving protection
God’s Loving Mercy.

We need God’s presence in our lives
So that we may not ever permanently separate from God’s love

In teaching us the Our Father
Jesus teaches us how to pray
And reminds us that…

We are precious in God’s eyes
He is our Father we are His Children

He reminds us that
That God is ever greater than us

That God’s will and God’s dreams are what is best for us
And that we should work to follow God’s plan in our lives

Jesus reminds us that we have a role in God’s plan
that all of us have to work for
The coming of His kingdom on earth

Along our Journey home God will provide our daily bread
He will give us what we need
It is good and right and just to depend on him for our daily necessitates

We should never forget that we can count on God’s forgiveness
if we forgive each other

And finally that God will be with us always on the journey home to him

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

Images like wild grapes, vineyards, hedges, landowners etc.
are not part of our normal experience,
but the people who heard these parables understood them completely.

And it is important that we try to enter
into the symbolism and meaning of those words.

We need to ask ourselves what is God saying to us?

The vineyard… could it symbolize creation, could it be our world?
Could it be ancient Israel ?
Could it symbolize God’s chosen people with whom
God longed to have a special relationship?
It could be all of the above.

Grapes and wild grapes…
Could they be the fruit of our labors..
The work of our hands?
Not just what we produced with our work
But who we become.
The lives we live, the people we are?

I often get lost in the thought that I am the work of my hands.

The Land owner is God…
God who gives us everything we need,

The vineyard described in the parable is beautiful.
God who gives us a a wonderful world, a beautiful vineyard
a place which is capable of providing for us abundantly, richly.

Maybe We are the tenants…
The world does not belong to us
It is given to us in trust
It is given to us so that we can find our way back
to God.
It is given to us so that we can give back to God with
the work of our hands.
Like the tenants were supposed to give the landowner some of the fruit
of their labor.

The tenants also symbolizes the religious leaders of the time
They were given the care of the vineyard
they were given the care of God’s people.

God like the Landowner wants us to love him.
God like the landowner wants to enjoy the work of our hands.
God wants to be proud of us.
God wants to rejoice in our successes and pick us up when we fail.

He is so desperate for us to live as we should.
That he repeatedly sends
Servants or Prophets to encourage us and guide us on our journey
The patience and perseverance of God is astounding

Remember that powerful line
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.

The landowner does not give up the tenants…
Even when they are steeped in sin and violence
So desperate is the Landowner for the well-being of the tenants that
He sends his son his own flesh and blood to
guide his tenants home.


Moved by jealousy and anger and mostly greed they kill his son
only then are they dealt with.

As you can see this parable is intense.
Jesus spoke it to the religious leaders of his time
Because he loved them with all their sins ..
He held a mirror up in front of their faces
He showed them who they were
He didn’t sugar coat.

They had done horrible things
Motivated By greed and
a lust for power they
killed the prophet
They killed the Messiah

And a in the year 70 roughly 40 years after Jesus’ death
in a terrible war of destruction,
The Romans would destroy all that was dear to them.

But because the scriptures are the word of God
They not only speak to the people of his time…
they speak to us.
When we read the Scriptures they also call us
to look at ourselves in the mirror
To see who we are and what motivates us

Here are some questions for us the tenants of the vineyard.

Are we giving God his do?
Are we making God proud of us?
Are we producing and becoming the men and women God would have us be?
Are our grapes bountiful or wild?

Are we taking care of the vineyard?
Are we caring for it so future generations can enjoy it and benefit from it?
Are we sharing the vineyard’s, abundance fairly?
Do all of our brothers and sisters have the ability to share in its resources?

Are we arrogant do we think we know it all like the tenants?
Do we listen to the prophets and teachers that God
repeatedly sends us over and over and over again
Or do we persecute them or just a bad do we mock them
Marginalize them, ignore them make fun of them?

What is are our motivations in life?
What are our goals ?
What pushes us forward?
We are in a terrible economic crisis now
because lots of people many motivated by greed gambled
and lost lending people money they could not afford?

What place does greed have in our lives?
Do we live to acquire more and more and more prosperity
do we live to make a difference in peoples lives?

Are we working for ourselves like the tenants or are we
living the generous lives that God calls us to live ?
What motivates us?

What place does the Son of the Landowner have in our lives
The baptists and evangelicals often ask…
Have we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior….

Good Question Have we?
Do we follow his teaching, his counsel, his law?
Or do we drive him from heart and tried to kill him
like the tenants drove the son from the vineyard.

This parable is as powerful today as it was when it was proclaimed
Over 2000 years ago.

Let us listen and learn.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Live as if you are dying...

I just got back from the Franciscan Monastery. Every year on the eve of the Feast of St. Francis. Franciscans from all over gather to commemorate the death of our Holy Father Francis.

In the homily the friar spoke about living each day as if you were dying. Granted at first it sound morbid but as I listened to him I began to think. What would I be doing differently now if I knew I was dying soon. What would I do differently if I knew that I would be meeting God in the near future? As my mind wandered lots of things came to me. I still have so much work to do.

One thing is certain you never really know how much time you have, you never really know when your time on earth will be up. You never really know when you will be called home to judgement. I guess it makes sense to live like you are dying. What would you work on ?

A homily for a Football Team

(Pre- Maritime NY Game - Go Cards)

May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts…
For a long time now I have decided to always try
and base my reflections on the readings of the day.
I try to reflect on whatever God gives us to reflect on

Today’s readings are not ones that I would have picked
but they are what have given to us
so it is important to think about them on them.

And that is precisely what the first reading is getting at.
Job is angry with God
Job he was a man of outstanding virtue
He had the respect of everyone
He had a certain level of material comfort
but as things are taken from him
And he faces suffering
he gets angry

He begins to fight with God.
He presumes to know more than God Himself
He begins to judge and criticize and second guess
As absurd as it seems... in his mind he makes himself God
He thinks he knows better

And because God loves Job
The proverbial 2X4 comes from the sky

Have you seen heaven?
Do you know were it is?
Have summoned the dawn?
Or seen the gates of the nether world?
Have you seen the source of the Ocean

In reality God puts Job in his place
Basically he says
I am God and you are Job
And I am all powerful and you are not
And I am all knowing and you know very little
Be humble
Know your place
That’s the message of the first reading a very important message indeed

The Gospel from Luke is hard to understand because
it is the last few lines in a very long story.

It almost seems desperate if you can ever call God desperate.
The tone is strong and in your face

It is meant to snap us out of our complacency
When God says
Woe to you
Woe to you…. That’s not good.

Jesus is simply trying to try one last time
to break through to those places
where the Gospel has already been preached

The people of these Capernaum and Chorazin have heard the gospel preached
The people of these cities have seen miracles
They have experienced the presence of God
They have been blessed... with many blessings

Yet they just won’t change
They are complacent
Comfortable in their error

They refuse to give up their poor choices
and accept God’s will in our lives.

And it as if God wants to get in their face...
I tries desperately to break through

As I think about it
I think it is important for me to hear these readings…
It is important for all of us to hear them.

How often like Job do we
think we know more than God?
How often do we think we can pick and choose
what we are going to follow in God plan?

How often do we say to ourselves and even others…
I understand this so I will follow it
I agree with that so I will make it a part of my life
I like that part of God’s law so I will follow it

But that doesn't make sense to me so I won’t follow it.

Sometimes people with this type of attitude are called supermarket
Christians, or supermarket Catholics…

They feel that they have the right to pick and choose what part of God’s law they will follow
Just like Job thought he knew better than God

Fellas our only question should be
can be

Is this part of God’s law or not
If something is part of God’s law we are bound to follow it.

Have we summoned the day
Do we know where heaven is
Have we seen the gates of the netherworld?

Reflecting on the Gospel

We like Capernaum and Corazin have received many gifts
The Gospel has been preached to us
We have received lots of opportunities
The chance to learn, to study
We have a level of material well being
We blessed with the ability to play a sport and be good at it
To have a passion for something that we enjoy doing

We have received so much
and what kind of men have we become ?

I ask myself frequently with all the blessings that I have received
What have I done with them?

I think the tone of the gospel
calls us all to reflect
on what have we done with God’s blessings in our lives

There is always room for improvement in my life
there may be room for improvement in yours too.

Let’s try more and more to conform our lives to God’s law
not just the part we find comfortable or easily understandable.

Let’s allow the blessings we’ve received to change us
and mold us into the men that God would have us be

We are not God
and the blessings we have received
call us to follow God's will without counting the cost.

These are important lessons indeed.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What a wonderful gift.

I am Humbled and Grateful !!
Click here to find out why
It's not you who should thank me
it is I who thank God and You
for the gift of my vocation
and the chance to live it.

Thank YOU

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Thoughts on my 25th Anniversary of Priesthood

May the Lord Give us his Peace.

I have wondered and worried about what I would say to you for a while now
I have also worried about if I would even be able to say what was on my heart

I need to warn that I have the blessing and burden of tears…
And I have no control over them.
Sometimes they come when I expect them
sometimes they don’t
Sometimes I dread them
sometimes they are incredible gift
And if they come I ask you to be patient with me.

After a lot of thought
The first thing I want to say as we celebrate
my 25 incredible years as a priest
is that I’m sorry
I’m sorry if I failed you
I’m sorry when I forget your name or your story

I’m sorry that I never seem to be able to find the right balance between
prayer and work in my life
I know that the greatest gift I can give you
Is the fruit of my relationship with God
I know I have work to do there
lots of work
and I want to do better for you and for me.

If I’ve ever hurt you by being under attentive or over attentive I’m sorry

I’m sorry if I’ve ever been angry with you…
Anger isn’t a regular part of my life thank God
but when it happens.
I can categorically say that I have never said anything of value
when I’ve spoken in anger…
Even when my message was right when spoken in anger the message has been lost

I need you and you need me.
I am your priest and we are companions on the road home

On this journey I own you the best that I can be
And I know that so often I just fall short.

Being a priest is all about being in relationship
With God and God’s people

And I know from experience
that no relationship
no marriage,
no relationship between a child and his/her parent,
no friendship
ever reaches its full potential without the words
I’m sorry being spoken
and being spoken regularly

So from the bottom of my heart
I apologize…
I’m sorry…
I want you to know that I want to do better

The second thing I want to share on this occasion
is that as I reflect on it
I’ve come to see God’s presence in my life

And though I didn’t always see it at the time
in retrospect God’s presence is often very clear to me…

God blessed me with a wonderful family
There were not huge struggles.
We went on vacations together
and enjoyed each other’s company
there were lots of Sunday rides to nowhere

I was no Saint…
Greg I’m sorry that 39 years ago I told you I was going to blow up the house with you in it.
Now a days that could get you in trouble

We went to Mass every Sunday
in 18 years we never missed
unless we were sick…
and then you couldn’t go out the rest of the day
so we were rarely sick on Sunday

Mom marched us all off to SS Peter and Paul’s all of us once a month for confession.
I met so many good priest over the years ….who listened to me and helped me along
I was blessed with a loving good holy family.
(God’s Gift God’s Presence)

My family is the first example of God’s providence in my life
The faith my family gave me prepared me for life….
No matter where
I am no matter what I’ve done
In my joys and in my sorrow… I can never be alone

In high school I heard a call to the priesthood….
Over and over again
There was no billboard….
Just a quiet voice that kept coming
I entered to leave
To get it out of my head

The Seminary I found community I found brotherhood
I had always had friends but this was different

We laughed together, we broke the rules together,
we even studied together.
Once there the brotherhood kept me there
The seminary prepared me to live with all kinds of friars…
and to try and love them.

When I was sent to study in Italy
Everyone including me thought it was a mistake…
They usually send the smart kids there
I was of the give me a c and set me free variety

I learned to that I could do without and still have a full life
I learned what it was like to be poor

That store front church in a very poor rough neighborhood was like a cathedral to me

The pastor sent me out to be a kind street preacher and door to door evangelizer…. Yikes…

Taught me humility prepared me for MOP here at Catholic

Taught High School
Put order in my life…
if you weren’t prepared those kids would eat you alive.
On task Order…. Never my forte in college…

I can remember going to bed at night and saying God please help me sleep quickly so that I can get back in the class room…

At John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce
With Fr. Mark
I had my first experience in youth ministry
Learned how to give retreats
I learned how to run a youth group
I was so happy

Then our Fr. General came and asked me to go back to Italy
Out of obedience I accepted a difficult assignment in Assisi
I only lasted a year….

But I think it was a way for God to pull me from my comfortable life in Flordia and ready me for Campus Ministry

Western Connecticut State
Was my School…. For campus ministry..
The students there were my teachers… and have become some of my dearest friends

I learned that Pizza does not make a youth ministry

At Western someone told ma a line that has stuck with me forever

Mother Theresa…
Always start with faith.
Faith leads to service always
Service leads to faith sometimes.

Here at Catholic
God helped me learn that I don’t have to do everything myself
God helped me to find wonderful people who share the vision
God help me learn to work collaboratively
The days of Father knows best are long gone…

I am so grateful for my time here at Catholic
I have been inspired here
I have been inspired by the prayer
I have been inspired by the students
The sincere confessions in the copy room of the Dufor Center
Wednesday Night adoration
The Gloria at the 9:00 PM Mass
An incredible group of people to work with.
Over and over again.
These and so much more have been epiphanies for me

Every place I was assigned was in some way a preparation for where I am now
And I am convinced that even now God is preparing me
For my future service in the Church

It’s kind of incredible that God is always present guiding and preparing me home

You know I have one of the little boxes that presistenly talks to you in your car
Go left God right
Turn around
Slow down 10 miles over the speed limit
Whenever I make a bad turn it guides me back on course

Sometimes I make a wrong turn on purpose and it recalculate
Sometimes I just miss the turn and it recalculates

God does the same thing in life he works with us
He takes into account all of our choices good and bad
And he always tries to guide us home.

I have seen God’s presence in my life over and over again
and when you see something over and over and over again.
Then you just come to trust it in
I’m coming to trust in God’s presence
I want to trust it more

When my parents brought me to the baptismal font
Its as if they placed in incredible river of
Grace and I began a journey of faith

A life of faith is like floating down a long river… sometimes you just relax and float
Other times the current gets strong and you move fast
Other times there are rocks and obstacles and you have to maneuver around them
Sometimes many times you are afraid.

Sometimes people just get out of the river
Sometimes they want to go else ware and live otherwise

But just like it is impossible to be in a river and not be wet
So it is impossible to go through life and not be surrounded
By God’s love and God’s divine providence.

By God’s grace I let go of some of my dreams and my fears
And I let him take me down that river

Following his plan for me
I became a friar 35 years ago
I became his priest 25 years ago

For me
There is nothing like being a priest
There is nothing like being invited into the very personal struggles of good people
There is nothing like having someone take the risk you show you their heart
There is nothing like holding a piece of bread and saying the words of institution
And knowing that that piece of bread will become the very body of Christ even if you are a mess yourself
Baptizing the next generation
When you prepare a person for death it is like taking
the hand of a sick person into and placing it in the very hand of God

There is nothing like being involved in so many of your lives
Picking you up when you fall down or get discouraged
Cheering you on when you succeed

And even with all of the struggles and trials… of priests these day
I am in awe and so very grateful for the incredible affirmation and respect I receive every day
Your smiles, your trust, your confidence mean so much to me.
Some of you came here to thank me for my 25 years a priest
In reality It is I who should thank you

So what am I supposed to say as we remember my anniversary of ordination ?

Let’s say I’m sorry more to each other.
Why not
What’s holding us back
Don’t be afraid
God deeper
Be vulnerable
And your relationships will never be the same.

God is present In our lives…
God is present in your lives..
I hope that you can become more and more aware of God’s presence in your lives
I hope that you can come to feel his presence in your lives
I hope that you can be consoled by it.
Strengthened by it.
I didn’t tell you my story so that you would know
I told it to you so that
And when you find yourself doubting and you will
You could Hold on to my experience
Hold on to my story my faith.
Let me carry you a while

Don’t let your fears hold you back

Don’t hold you back
Let the current of God’s river take you
Let God take you where you he needs you
Even if its scary…
Let go of your plan and find his
and float down the river of faith
Allow God to take you where you have to go
Some how I did
and I am forever grateful

As we celebrate the Gift that God has given me
It is not you who should be thanking me
It is I who should be thanking you
Thank you for letting me be your priest.