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....