Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Your Love is Extravagant

Isn't that the Truth

The Students Sang this at Adoration Tonight...

I give you my life

I give you my life
I give you my dreams
I give you my sadness
I give you my joy
I give you my next breath
I give you fears
I give you my life

I've been preparing couples for marriage of late
Tis the season

I've always been in awe of the sacrament of marriage
and while doing the pre-marital inventory

I am always struck how the communion of life which the couple is striving for
is so contingent on the couple's ability to give their lives to each other.

Not only the good stuff but also the less than good stuff

If they don't share their dreams
If they don't create them together then they risk ending up in different places
looking for their spouse who has followed his or her own dream

If they don't give each other their saddness if they don't feel safe sharing what is broken in their lives. The communion of life which they are striving to create is more of a facade it doesn't penetrate deep into their souls

If they don't share their joy - or are not willing to share each other's joy pride or a subtle narcissism might be showing its ugly head.

If they don't give each other their next breath and the next one and the next one
If they don't face the challenges that come their way as easily as taking their next breath
If each breath is not a gift, a surrender to the other it may mean that one or both of them is holding back is keeping certain parts of their live and love for themselves.

If they can't share their fears with each other who can they share their fears with.

The promise of engagement is both simple and profound
I give you my life completely

BTW no one is exempt from giving away their life

Priests and Religious make the very same promise

We are called to give our lives completely to God and to God's People.

So much to think about with my cup of coffee this morning..

I give you my life

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blest Indeed...

Last night was one of those moments when I was able to see through all of the fog and count our blessings at CUA. At 7:00 PM the CM Lounge filled with the Women of Gratia Plena.... there were tons of them and the room was filled to capacity. Their demeanor and spirit was relaxed and happy. Of late I have been dealing with some of my daughters who just aren't adjusting to college life in a healthy way. When I talk with them the walls are think and the bravado is often in your face. Their demeanor compared to those in women in the CM Lounge is striking and motivates me more to reach out to my "Party Daughters" in whatever way I can.

St. Vincent's was packed packed packed solid with people. My lively ones always populate the back wall. That's because they come late. For them it is the 9:05 Mass. However they are there and I'll take them and so will God. You know often in life you vote with your feet. Those kids on the back wall have.

Following Mass and usual chaos outside "St. Vinnie's" I went to the Esto Vir meeting. There were 62 young men there and a couple who weren't emailed their explanations. Kevin Bein spoke about the book "Wild at Heart" and the stages of Manhood. The book and his talk made an impression on many in the room.

When the fog clears, it's important to take the time to reflect and see where you really are. We are in a good place a holy place, surrounded by holy kids and wanna be holy kids and holy kids in potential. This calls me (us) to help change as many as possible of the later to the former. (Did I get that right ? You know what I mean). It is a good task a noble task a holy mission or commision given to us by God.

Let's face the week with the confidence of God's disciples.

Follow me and I will make you fishers of men and women...:)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Some of CUA's Incredible Alumni

Julia Struckley '03 (blue) is a postulant for the Daughters of St Paul, Liz Sondag (black) '06 is a postulant for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. Br Daniel Dougherty, OP '01 aRonny O'Dwyer '05. We also got a picture with the Archbishop Burke who graduated BA in '70 and license in '71.

Please keep them in your prayers...

Friday, January 25, 2008


A post from the past that fits right into this week's Sunday readings

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

January 27, 2008
CUA Campus Ministry Liturgy - 4:00 PM Mass Crypt Church

When John the Baptist was arrested his movement or ministry faded away.
That’s no surprise
After Jesus’ Baptism
John had done everything in his power to direct people to Him
“I must decrease he must increase”

Jesus moves from the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee which was located on major trade routes and had lots of commerce.

By doing so it would be much easier for Him to spread His message.
People traveling along these trade routes would routinely stop along the journey and spend the night
many were happy to listen to the Rabbis as they spent their evenings in the towns by the sea.

If they were moved by what they heard they would gladly recount it to the people of their own towns or regions.

The scholars tell us that Jesus was probably preaching regularly along the Sea of Galilee and that it might have been possible that James John Simon and Andrew might have heard him previously.

When you read the account it seems like some stranger walked up to them and said come follow me and they did… Maybe maybe not.

And it is really not important if they had heard Jesus or not

What is important is that they followed him.
What do we know about this event and the men Jesus called ?

Obviously it shows us that Jesus made the first move.
This was rather odd because the Rabbis of his time usually waited for disciples to come and find them.
Our God does not just sit by and wait for us to find Him
He actively seeks us out,
hunts us down as you will.
Always respecting our free will God continually knocks

We know that Jesus didn’t pick the holiest people
He did not choose from the priestly class or the religious leaders of his time

Jesus did not pick the smartest people
They were not scholars of the law.

He picked normal people for an extraordinary task

They were fishermen
They were used to a hard days’ work
They had unique skills for the tasks of discipleship
William Barclay reflected on the traits of fishermen
and I was amazed at how they fits with discipleship.

A fisherman is Patience – he is used to waiting, he knows that if he moves too quickly and pulls on the line he may lose the fish, so he waits

A fisherman preservers he doesn’t give up,
he keeps trying if not here then there.
If he gave up he would never eat or enjoy the fruit of his labor.

A fisherman is Courageous… the boat is always small and the sea is so large.
You have to be courageous to fish
The Sea of Galilee was very shallow and below sea level so it was prone to quick storms as we saw in the Gospel they could be very frightening.

A fisherman has the Eye for right moment he knows when to pull up the net for the maximum catch. Jesus had an eye for the right moment because he discerned the exact moment to call Peter Andrew James and John.

A fisherman has to know the right bait, in other words the type of fish that he is fishing for and what they are looking for, what they like to eat. If you put the wrong bait on the line you will go home with no bait and no fish

A fisherman has to keep himself out of sight he can’t be the attraction the focus of attention. If the fish see him they will swim away.

I think it is also important to note that Jesus didn’t call perfect people

Peter would deny him three times and inadvertently tempt him against the cross.
Jesus was so desperate during that temptation that he said to Peter “Get behind me Satan”

James and John had dreams of grandeur and wanted to sit one thrones next to Jesus in Heaven. Even though Jesus had repeatedly taught that this type of scheming and pridefulness would lead to nothing good.

We hear next to nothing about Andrew author said maybe that is because he always took the safer course and was afraid to risk

Even with all of their faults Jesus did not revoke their call,
He refused to give up on them.

Every last one of them except John (The beloved disciple) would later give his life for Christ.

Peter the screwup would beg his excecutioners to be crucified upside down because he was not worth to die like Christ.

They were happy to comply

What does this all say to us..

God is active in our lives.
If we don’t feel it or see it
Then we are not looking or listening
Just like Jesus fished out his disciples God is desperately trying to fish us out
He uses anything he can our successes our failures our dreams our hopes our feelings our challenges.
Some of my most beautiful moments with God were when I was discouraged or sick or fed up
When I was happy and excited and moved.
God uses everything

If we claim to know Christ and follow him then we must live and act like his disciples.
By choosing fishermen Jesus teaches us that we must be

Patient and wait for the right moment in a person’s life to fish them out,
to call them to more

We have to persevere
No matter how lost they appear we can never give up on a person

We have to be Courageous… Our boat is small and the sea is so large

The world can be harsh and mean spirited.
We can be mocked and laughed at or even shunned one of the most painful human experiences

Do we have an eye for right moment?
If we would bring people to Christ we have to know when to pull the string when
We have to see when a person is ready for the good news.
Many times a person hears the Good News over and over and over again but they only are able or willing to accept it when the moment is right. Find the right moment.

Can we fit bait to fish?
What is the right bait for a kid in college or a senior citizen or a Mom who is exhausted caring for her children..
We can’t use the same bait for everyone.
That means we have to know the message and know people we are trying to bring it to.

Finally when we share the Good news we have to be so careful to keep ourselves out of the picture. I
t is so easy to fall into the trap of preaching ourselves rather than Christ.

Are we aware that God needs us
Are we aware that He is active in our lives
Are people better people because they know us
Are people better people because we were brave enough to call them to more

And our faults and failures are no excuse from the call of discipleship
the Apostles were also a mess and Jesus didn’t give up on them.

Who have we fished out of materialism?
Who have we fished out of narcissism?
Who have we fished out of despair

Who have we fished into hope, into love , into faith

Every day we should try to name them in our hearts
We should keep them close in prayer

And if we can’t name anyone
What are we waiting for ?
What is holding us back?
What are we afraid of?

Jesus said
Come follow me and I will make you fishers of Men.

Let’s trust Him and
Let’s follow Him

There are so many fish in the sea.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Our students sang this song at Adoration tonight and it was really moving

By the way they sounded better than this recording...

Everything hurts but...

It was worth it....

The annual March for life is always a very intense period of time for us at CUA. Not only do we March. But our campus welcomes the "Marchers for Life" and even offers hospitality. This year we welcomed over 1200 people to stay in the Dufour Center. Lots of sleeping bags, hundreds of cell phones charging in almost every socket in the place (That's something new we have to figure out). There is Adoration and lots of priests hearing confessions, there are 70o suppers to serve and 700 breakfasts (All you can eat and let me tell you they can.) There are showers, and the Rosary when the lights go out. Somehow our Lady puts them all to sleep. You know I often say to our students "those kids could take over whenever they wanted.. You could find me tied up in a corner someplace." Shhh ! Don't tell them. We have been doing this for so many years that it all seems to work out well. Our students volunteer like crazy. There are over 250 hospitality volunteers to keep everyone safe and protected. Many of them stay up all night. Amazing! What can compare with the heroic generosity and energy of young people.


Hey Hey Ho Ho... Roe V Wade has got to go
Your Mom.... chose life.
Somos Pro Vida sin exceptiones
(We were taped by Telemundo again this year a bunch of gringos chanting in Spanish)
Pro choice it's a lie..... babies never choose to die.
Los Bebes amamos y las madres apoyamos...
(that's new this year and we don't really have it down yet)
CUA... is pro-life
The Catholic University of America ... is prolife da..... fo sho fo sho...

Those are some of the chants which echo down Constitution Ave when we march for life.
This year we had over 350 Marchers. I can remember the days when I used to pray to get to 100. Our campus is so transformed so different. The passion and the convictions of our students can't help but inspire. The chapels are full and there is a wonderful spiritual life for those who choose to particpate

There is still so much to be done so many hearts to change. I've thought and prayed about it a lot and it is so clear to me that the only way to restore respect for life in our country is to change hearts. We can't give up in the political venue to be sure, but only by changing hearts will we ever stop the slaughter of the innocents.

I know that wherever I go this mission, this desire will be close to my heart.
Thanks be to God..


PS. The excused absence list will be one the Web ASAP at

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 20, 2008

The Catholic University of America

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our hearts.

When the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear God’s Son
the first thing she did was run to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist promptly proclaimed
“The baby in my womb jumped for joy.”
If you think about it
maybe John the Baptist was really the first person to recognize Jesus

Tradition has it that John and Jesus were somehow related.
They had probably known each other for years.

So in today’s Gospel it almost seems strange
when John the Baptist says did didn’t know Jesus.

They must have known each other because they were from the same family.
What we have to conclude is that he wasn’t sure who Jesus was in God’s plan.

He had his suspicions because he almost refused to baptize Jesus
but he wasn’t sure until he saw the Epiphany.

When he saw the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus in the Jordan
John began a process of discipleship which every follower of Christ
and every human being is called to follow.

When John was sure
he began surrender himself,
his will,
his plan, even his friends and his disciples
to Jesus and God’s will.

The first step in his discipleship was to announce to the world
who Jesus was and how he would accomplish his task.

To do this he used a simple but profound phrase
“Behold the Lamb of God”

The phrase Lamb of God was very rich for the people of his time and for the early Church

When John’s disciples or the people along the Jordan heard that phrase
they would have thought many things.

First of all they would have remembered the Passover,
when the Hebrews sprinkled the blood of a lamb on the door of their houses
to escape the Angel of Death.

By proclaiming Jesus as the Lamb of God
John is reminding that only through Jesus
only through His words
and his actions can we escape death.

Only Jesus can deliver us from a life of frustration and fear and failure.
Only in Jesus can we find the real way home.

The second thing that would have popped into the heads of the people hearing that phrase
was the sacrificial lambs which were offered as sin offerings every day in the temple.

Some days there were thousands of them.
By calling Jesus the Lamb of God
John was teaching his followers that the ministry of Jesus would include suffering.

That just as the lambs are slain in the temple to atone for sin
the Lamb of God would lay down his life for our salvation.

Many hearing John’s words still believed that the messiah would be a great earthly king.
It would take a while for the true nature of Jesus’ ministry to sink in.

If Jesus was the Lamb of God then John believed
it followed that Jesus would have to suffer.

Lastly the phrase Lamb of God would take another meaning for the followers of Jesus long after his death.

When the Book of Revelation was written in the first years of the Church during the great persecution the author of the book refers to Jesus as the victorious lamb.

In the vision which was shared with the author of the Book of Revelation
The lamb stands before the thrown victorious.
The Lamb once slain will live forever.

The message to the infant Church going through great trial and the message to us is that just as the lamb won in the end good wins, good triumphs even when it doesn’t seem possible.

Now over almost 2000 years later the title Lamb of God should invoke in us the same kind of excitement and wonder.

Only the message of Jesus, can save us from destruction
only the blood of the lamb can keep us safe.

Can you imagine a world with our Jesus
without the word of God
without the values that he shared with us by his word and his life?
What would a world be like were people were not called to love each other
and care for each other?

What would the world be like where truth and justice
and hope were not woven in the very fabric of our culture
which springs from our faith.

Sometimes we are so imbued with the message of Christ
that sometime we just don’t even realize it how much it affects and shapes us.

Without Christ without the foundation our faith gives us,
we are doomed like the Egyptians
who did not sprinkle their doors with the blood of the lamb.

The phrase lamb of God should also give us great comfort
because in it we understand that through his obedience
to God our sins can be forgiven,

There is always hope because we can always start anew.
Mistakes will be made and sins will be committed
because we are human
but, because of the Lamb of God,
because he paid the price of our sins.
We can be free from
Our mistakes,
Our selfishness
From our pridefulness
From our lust
Our laziness
Our untruth.

All of these can be forgiven because of the lamb of God
who hung on the cross for us and paid the price of our sins.

And finally in our world it is so easy to get discouraged
It is so easy to believe that evil wins.
The early church was also prone to discouragement.

There were great persecutions
and there was immense suffering.
Entire families were torn apart or suffered horrible suffering

The Book of Revelation circulated at the time of the great persecutions
tried to reassure those who believed that in the end good and God would win.

This type of fear is also present in our own lives
So much of our lives are run by fear and apprehension.
Will we have enough money?
Will people like us?
Will anyone ever love us enough to marry us?
Will I ever graduate from college?
Will I ever overcome this sin?

When we hear the phrase Lamb of God we should remind ourselves
that good and God will win

We should remind ourselves
That there is hope, there is always hope,
even in the most difficult of circumstances

We should also remind ourselves that there are many ways for good to triumph
sometimes it is in a miraculous healing
Sometimes salvation comes to us through an illness
that is not healed but endured and offered up lovingly

Only Jesus can we avoid disaster and find our way home
only in the sacrifice of the lamb can we our sins be forgiven

Only in Jesus can we hold on to the hope of the victorious lamb in the book of revelation

If I can I would like to tack on a forth point to my usual three point homily.
The life of John the Baptist also calls us to ministry
The life of John the Baptist calls us to ask ourselves are we really disciples of Christ?

When John had discovered the truth about Jesus his whole life was changed
It no longer centered on his mission or his ministry or his wants and desires
but rather on following the lamb of God

That famous line uttered by John is so compelling
“I must decrease he must increase”

You know we are so blessed on this campus
with an abundance of people
who are willing to step up and serve the spiritual needs of our students and the community.

Yet there is still so much to be done.

I would ask all of us who believe in Jesus
and his important work to ponder that phrase of John

We all need to ask ourselves what are we doing to build up the kingdom on our campus
What difference are we making in the lives of our peers
In the lives who live without the consolation of faith?

We all need to ask ourselves how much of my life is about what I want and what I need.

Following the example of John the Baptist are we willing to decrease
so the Christ may increase in our lives?

Are we willing to put God and our brothers and sisters first?

Sometimes that means getting involved in ministry positions
or participating in the life of the Church on Campus in a formal way

Other times it means simply calling each other to more.
Inspiring and challenging each other to be better people
More faithful people
Holier people.

One of the saddest things I experience on campus is
when I see someone fail out or be asked to leave

I always ask myself what did I do enough to try and keep that from happening?

So often you guys know so much more than us
and are in a position to do so much more

Holy ones
The failure of anyone here
Is actually be the failure of all of us
Something to think about for sure
Let’s try and follow the example of John the Baptist
who slowly but surely surrendered his entire life to Christ and his call

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us
Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us
Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world
grant us peace


Friday, January 18, 2008


Thanks for all of the Birthday greetings... 53 doesn't seem any different from 52. I spent the day relaxing and then went out with some students for "Birthday Ice Cream" a wonderful day indeed.
God bless you


The homily is coming and I will have it on the web tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Priest 24/7

I just feel like thinking out loud today.

The break is over the students are back and slowly but surely life returns to its normal rhythm. Office hours and chores during the day, Mop (Ministry of Presence) at night. I think every priest these days has to ponder a very important question. How should I spend my time? What does God need from me today? How can I give my life to Him and His people in the most effective way.

There was a time when Father did pretty much everything. I remember going to register at St. Gabriel's with my family and Fr. Frank P appeared in his t-shirt covered with dirt and explained. I was glazing the cellar windows. Physical labor sweeping, cleaning up, are good things and have value. I think they should be a part of every person's life and priests are no exception but, is that what God wants from me needs from me?

I believe that a priest has to be a part of the lives of the people he serves. Relationship is all about presence, being present to people, being a part of their lives. I think a lot of us (priests) struggle with that these days. I think the people of God struggle to figure out what they can realistically expect from their priests. Some hold on to the "Father does everything" model. We are fewer in number and our median age is creeping up what are realistic expectations the people should appropriately have of their priests and what should priests expect from themselves.

So often I feel that there is not enough of me to go around. I fear that it is next to impossible to go beyond a superficial relationship with the people of God. It is so tricky because all of us need relationships and presence but sometimes when friendships develop someone invariably gets hurt because you chose this person or that family instead of that person or this family. Often people invite us to things and while their intentions are absolutely pure and it is great to be invited, if you respond to all the invitations its easy to simply collapse at the end of the day or worse yet grow resentful. Our students are forever inviting me to games and recitals and concerts, and shows, and pizza parties, RA programs and after all of these years I still haven't figured out which ones to choose which ones to avoid. I often feel guilty about not being able or maybe not even wanting to attend many of these events. How should I spend my time ?

One of the simplest things to figure out is that a priest should, must, pray with his people, it is part of our mission to lead them in prayer. The place where we affect the most people is at Mass or adoration or at devotions. A priest definitely has to take adequate time to prepare for those moments. I think that this preparation goes beyond the moments spent in "homily prep" More about that in a moment.

In these 24 hours a day a priest also has to be able to relax to do things which he finds life giving, yes some of us are so blessed by God's divine providence that we find our ministries life giving, but there still has to be moments of "re-creation" moments of exercise, healthy moments with others. Burnout can lead to resentful burdened men. A burnt out priest is not good for God's people and being burnt out is not good for him.

In addition to manual labor, and relationship or presence, and preparing to lead the people of God in prayer and worship. I have finally come to believe the obvious, a priest has to devote time to personal prayer, and spiritual growth, a deepening of his relationship with God for whom he strives to pour out his life. Every moment spent in prayer and mediation, reflection and spiritual reading, are moments shared with God and one of the most important gifts we can share with God's people.

You see I discovered way to late in my priesthood that our homilies and reflections shared with the people of God can't be just the fruit of a couple of minutes, or hours of preparation but they must flow from a life lived in relationship with God. How can we speak of Him if we don't know Him? I have heard this in conferences and "priest talks" for years and years and years but it is only in the last few years that I have understood it and I still struggle to give my relationship with God the time and effort it deserves. Growing in holiness is definitely one of the most beautiful gifts a priest can give God or the Church.

Please be patient with us... we haven't quite figured everything out yet

Please Pray for Priests.


Monday, January 14, 2008

News from Recent Alumni !!!

Hi Fr. Bob Louie Santellano and I will be married June 14th, 2008... Sally Oram soon to be Sally Santellano... :)

Dan Dougherty OP

Bro. Dougherty stopped by over the break with his Sister Kathryn who is a Third Year law student at CUA. Dan is studying for the Priesthood as a Dominican Friar and is about 5 years from ordination. I can't remember what year he graduated in

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Baptism of the Lord

St. Vincent's Chapel 9:00 PM

The Catholic University of America

It just didn't make sense to John.
He knew Jesus and he knew there was something very special about him.
Some say they may have grown up together.
From their common experience,
John might have even found himself wondering if Jesus was the chosen one, the Messiah,
the one that for whom all of Israel had been waiting

Yet, Jesus wanted to be baptized by him
He wanted to be baptized with a baptism for repentance.
If he was the Messiah Jesus had no need of repentance
Why ?
It didn't make sense at all.

Finally Jesus persuades him by telling him that it is what God wants.
It is righteous.
His baptism was part of God's plan
so John agreed

Jesus had lived in Nazareth for 30 years.
During this time he grew in wisdom and knowledge.
As He grew He must have gradually understood His special relationship with the Father and his place in God's plan more and more.

This could only have happened because he made the effort to remain in communion with God and from this communion ,from this life of prayer,
from His discerning spirit,

He knew it was time to begin his work.
(Remember as a child he had kind of jumped the gun when he remained in Jerusalem on his own)

This time it was indeed God's will that he leave all that he had known and begin his mission
It was righteous.

Jesus wanted to follow the Fathers' will even when it didn't make sense, even when it seemed to fly in the face of reason.

One author had an insightful theory
He said, that through the ministry of John the Baptist
people had become more and more aware of their sinfulness and their need for conversion.

The sheer numbers of people receiving the Baptism of John might have been a sign to Jesus that the time was now.

Jesus understood that the first step in any conversion process is an acknowledgement of our brokenness and a recognition of our need for forgiveness…
The epiphany which accompanied Jesus' baptism
Must have been powerful to behold
When Jesus came out of the water
the sky opened up
the Spirit descended
and God spoke.

These three things left a very lasting impression because they are recorded in all of the synoptic Gospels

The opening of the sky show the reality that in Jesus' life his ministry, and his sacrifice the life of men and the life of God become one.

God is involved in our lives.

He is not some powerful impersonal force.
He is not a distant watch maker who makes the universe and winds it up and lets it go

In Jesus we see the depth of God's love and commitment to us
It is so clear that God is figuratively willing to pull up his sleeves and get involved.

Next God's Spirit descends
With the descent of the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God
God promises to give Jesus everything He needs to accomplish his work.

The presence of the Spirit shows the fullness of God's commitment to his saving plan which will be accomplished in Jesus.

The words which come from God are powerful and clear.
"This is my Son" comes from Psalm 2 which included a prophecy about the Messiah

"In whom I am well pleased" possibly identifies him as the Suffering Servant foretold in the Prophet Isaiah.

This is the first indication of how God will save his people.
Jesus would not be a political leader.
He would not end world hunger.
He would save the world with sacrificial love.

What does this all mean for us?

This passage teaches us that
To discover God's will we have to live in communion
We have to discern it slowly patiently.

Sometimes when God calls it just won't make sense
Why do I have to do this?
Why do I have to do that?
Why should I ever forgive her/him?
How can I afford another child
Why would they ever assign me to that parish?

At first glance Jesus' life doesn't make sense

Why should our lives make sense?

But we see that in this simple act of baptism which doesn't make sense to John

God's whole loving plan is begun.

The epiphany or manifestation of God's love which followed
reminds us in the confusion of our lives

God is not removed
He is present, involved, caring

I was speaking to a young man once and he refused to believe in God
He could not bring himself to believe that an all powerful all knowing God could love him.

How can God Love a speck of dust
He asked me once with a desperation in his voice.

I am nothing my whole life was determined from the very first moment of the big bang
The chemicals in my body are worth around $10.00 now its 6.5 euros

All I could say to him was that God indeed cares
God cares so much about us that he sent his only Son to save us and show us the way home.

Just like Jesus received the Spirit we all can receive the Spirit.
When we open our heats to God's spirit we will have everything we need.

Think about it…
God would never could never give us this life and desire our salvation without giving us everything we need to come home to him,

Finally holy one, Just as God's plan is fulfilled in self sacrificing love
So to… we have to be willing to pour out our lives in sacrificial love

This is not easy.
Jesus himself struggled with it.
Even he looked for another way to love
In the garden of Gethsemane cried out
"let this cup pass from me"
There was no other way.
Love means being willing to suffer.
Real love is never really easy never.

As we begin this new semester
Let the Baptism of Jesus remind us that
Our hope and our salvation rest
In discerning God's will
And following it whole heartedly

All of us are part of God's plan

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Epiphany of the Lord

Some thoughts on the Epiphany
(As there are no students here I guess only the poor blog readers will get my homily today)

We all know the story of the Epiphany of our Lord..
At some point in time three, wise men from somewhere in the east see a star. tradition says there were three because there are three gifts. The star they see is a new star they have never seen before.

They come from different places and some how meet up in their desire to understand the star and it meaning.

As they follow the star their journey cannot be easy. They leave everything that is familiar, comfortable and safe and press on to see a king foretold in ancient prophesies. They want pay him homage.

On their journey they stop in Jerusalem and are greeted by King Herod. He is very interested in the king they seek not because he longs to pay him homage but rather because he see competition and longs to kill him. His evil designs are transparent even to the strangers because they do not return to Herod with the location of the new King.

When they finally find him they are probably amazed to discover that he is not in a fine palace surrounded by a strong army but r instead he is wrapped in a blanket and laying in a manger.

As they pay him homage they bring him gold franeknsense and myrh. There are lots of theories about the meaning of these gifts. Gold was symbolized his kingship, Franeknsense could symbolize his priesthood, and myrh foretells his suffering and death on a cross. They are little epiphanies in themselves.

What does all this mean for us ?
How should we understand this first Epiphany of our Lord.
Here are some random thoughts.

First of all it is important to note that the star, the sign, the announcement, was in the sky where all who looked can see it. This epiphany is not meant to be a secret or the privileged possession of a privileged nation or people. God begins the Gospels by clearly stating that Jesus,the king found in the manger, is for everyone. Anyone could have noticed the star and followed it, anyone could have sought out its meaning. In other words God loves all of us and the good news of the Gospel is meant for eveyone.

The wise men were indeed wise because they noticed something different. There was a new star in the sky. Have you ever seen the sky on a clear night away from city lights? There are millions of stars. It takes an attentive person to even notice a new star and a very brave person to follow it. The wise men were willing to change they were willing to take a risk. They showed their commitment with their feet and the sacrifices of the journey.

Are we willing to or thoughtful enough to notice the many stars in our lives. Because God loves us and longs to be a part of our lives he sends us many stars, and many signs everyday to help find him. Do we have the courage to follow these signs or are we just too comfortable where we are to even look up or to look around to see the many signs of God's love around us.

Herod wanted nothing to do with the new king. He was not open to any changes. He wanted his will and his power and cared not if God had other plans. If you follow the gospel on after the story of the Epiphany it becomes sadly clear to what lenghts Herod was willing to go were terrible. "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more."

With how much tenacity do we hold onto our will and our desires. How far will we go to have life our way on our terms regardless of God's will?

Finally if we think about it the star was the sign which brought people to Bethlehem but so were the lives of the wise men. They were also living Epiphanies of God love.

Are we willing to be signs of God's love to those around. Does the witness of our lives cause people to stop and think? By our example do we guide them closer to Bethlehem the home of our king or do we take them farther away.

Lots to think about and ponder.
Let's pray for each other.


PS I went to the Tridentine Mass today at St. Mary's in Washington. It was a very interesting experience. I vaguely remember it as a child. It is such a different experience certainly devotional in a more private way. The priest gave a good homily and the people around me seemed to be following along in their missals. It's a big Church

Friday, January 04, 2008

My Roots

Isidor Schlageter is my ancestor who came to this country

He was born on Mar 29 1831 in Obergebisbach, Baden, Germany.

It is still a tiny village you can look it up on google maps and see it with the satellite view here it is...

View Larger Map

He came to the United States with his Sister (Therese Meyer) and her family she was 51 years old when she came. Isidor was 20

He arrived on July 1, 1851 on a ship call The SOPHIE it left the port of Bremen Germany.

He married Barbara Knauf in 1860 Buffalo the 1880 Census says she was from Prussia

He was a tailor by trade

He shows up in the 1880 Unites Census when he was 49 years old. At that time he and his family were living at 11 Ash St. The house is no longer there.

The Census lists 7 children here they are with their ages

Joseph 21 Tailor
(The Census also says that Joseph was deaf and mute. He is our Great Grandfather. the Father of Joseph F Schlageter who was our Grandfather That probably means that Grandpa Joe as I used to call him knew sign language or knew other people who were deaf and mute. Mary Stafflinger our Grandmother was an sign language interpreter.)

George 17 Tailor
Alfonse 14 at School
Edward 11 at School
Isidor Charles 9 at School
Otilia 8 at School
Ida 4 at Home

We find them again in the 1910 Census where is says he is 78 years old
They now live at what looks like 506 East Utica Street Buffalo
Barbara is 75

I'm not exactly sure but it looks like the girls lied about their ages on the census. Shouldn't they be 30 years older from the last census ?
The 1910 Census says that these are their ages. Hmmm

Othelia 24
Ida 26
(She is the only one listed with a profession it says she is a dressmaker at home)
Mildred 14 or 24 I can't tell

Isidor died April 12th 1914 at the age of 83 He is buried in the United German and French Cemetery in Buffalo NY I don't think there is a grave stone.

Brought a smile to my face...

In a Christmas card from a dear Priest friend he wrote

All is well except for
Cell Phones and some people who want to have a dog in their wedding."

Oh boy....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Great Debaters - WHAT A GREAT MOVIE !!!

Marie Jochum - Marie Jochum and Sarah Parmenter - Sarah Parmenter

Last night I went out for a walk with Fr. O'Connell and there was this suspicious car parked with the motor running next to the Shrine it had Illinois plates (always be aware of your surroundings Safety first Safety always) and I glanced over to see if the occupants were going jump out and mug me and low and behold there was Marie Jochum and Sarah Parmenter both of them are the class of 2004 I think. I didn't have my camera with me so I found these pictures from the past to refresh your memory, sorry ladies. They are both working and in Grad School doing wonderful things with their lives. Marie works for Catholic Charities in Chicago and Sarah finished volunteering with Bethlehem House here in DC and is now in Grad school outside of Worcester MA. Just two reasons out of thousands why I am so proud of our CUA graduates.

You are Incredible people indeed.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pictures Christmas 2008

Deus Lux Mea Est (2008)


Really January 1st is just like every other day of the year. Yes it begins a "New Year" but doesn't every day begin a new year. On January 1st after the revelry, (I've never been one for much revelry,at least not on January 1st) many of us stop and take stock of our lives. We ask ourselves lots of questions. How can I make the changes I need to get where I desire to go ? Sadly all too often we limit our goals our plans, our dreams, to worldly things... earthly things, with resolutions like, "I hope to be more financially responsible next year." or " I want to loose 30 lbs this year. " or "I hope to live in a new house next year."

Here are a couple thoughts to ponder....

Shouldn't we be thoughtful and reflective every day of our lives not just around the beginning of a new year. Shouldn't we be constantly taking stock of where we are and where we hope to be? Living life on the surface, never going deeper, not devoting enough time to prayerful reflection can take us way off course. If I depart from God's plan and it take me days or months or even one year to reflect on it, then it will be a lot harder to get back on track. Living a thoughtful, prayerful life is not an option for those who follow Christ it is essential.

How often do our plans include God's will? Yes, it is important to plan and to think about how we will live our lives, how we will provide for our families. How often though, do our New Year's resolutions even include our spiritual well being and our spiritual goals? How many of us raise our heads enough from our day to day routine or duty to see, to even get a glimpse, of the heavenly Jerusalem our final goal, our final destiny, our real home?

I know for myself that type of long range planning only comes with God's grace. So often I obsess over our pastoral plan, the details of our ministry, and how we will fix this or tweak that. It is so easy to get lost in the present and rarely if ever look to the future or benefit from the past. All of us, have to keep our eye fixed on the prize.. (Philippians's 3:14)

Deus Lux Mea Est. May God be our light this year. May His will, and His plan, be our guide, our hope, and the inspiration for everything we do. Let everyday of our lives be thoughtfully, prayerfully lived. Our fulfillment lies in God alone. Let us always remember that only His light can show us the way home.

Prayer and thoughts promised for you and your families on this holy day at the beginning of this "new year" and every day. Amen.

PS... By the way, a great place to share your prayers and intentions can be found at the Catholic University of America Prayernet I check it every day.