Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Important Message from

Dear Member,

We broke this news yesterday, but wanted to make sure you have the full story - NBC has slammed the door on running our ad during the Super Bowl!

After several days of negotiations, a representative in Chicago told us that NBC and the NFL are not interested in advertisements involving ‘political candidates or issues.’

We were in the midst of raising the money needed, and had confirmed interest from several very generous pro-life benefactors. Airing the ad would have been very expensive, and a 'Super' opportunity.

But NBC’s rejection is calling even more attention to the ad. We have been appearing on radio programs across the country for the past two days, and NBC’s New York affiliate (imagine the irony), is covering the controversy. Bill O’Reilly of the FOX News Channel featured the ad on his program Wednesday night calling it “brilliant” and “genius.” His show alone reached nearly 4 million people.

All of this is driving more traffic to the commercial online. We reached almost 1 million online views in less than two weeks!

So why did NBC reject the ad?

The network claims that they do not allow political or issue advocacy advertisements during the Super Bowl, but that’s simply not true.

The network was willing to air an ad by PETA, which is definitely an advocacy group, if PETA would tone down their ad’s sexual suggestiveness.

Also, the first ad scheduled to run during the Super Bowl is a creative spot about Pedigree’s pet adoption drive. The ad ends with the line: “Help us help dogs.”

In recent years, some Super Bowl advertisements have caused controversy. But there’s nothing objectionable about our positive, life-affirming advertisement. We show a beautiful ultrasound, something NBC’s parent company GE has done for years. We don’t attack Barack Obama, but focus on him becoming the first African-American President. We simply ask people to imagine the potential of each human life.

What now?

We’re not intimidated by NBC. We plan on getting this ad out so that many millions of Americans can imagine the potential of each human life. Here are some things you can do:

  1. We are preparing a virtual protest of NBC’s decision. We want other networks to know that hundreds of thousands of people want to see this ad aired, and we will not give up easily. Stay tuned for our plan on this in the next few days.
  2. The Catholic television station EWTN will be airing the commercial before, during and after the Super Bowl. Feel free to turn your channel to EWTN during halftime and watch our ad there.
  3. You can still share the commercial with friends and family. Tell them to go to and watch the ad NBC doesn’t want them to see! Heck, show it at your Super Bowl party!

We’ve been humbled by the donations we’ve received to help get this ad out. We are especially grateful to the group of very generous benefactors that agreed to help if we got air time for the Super Bowl.

We aren’t certain they will still help, but we will use any funds we receive from you and others to air the ad in the most prominent and cost-effective venues available.

Perhaps the ad should run during the Academy Awards or maybe American Idol, which is popular with the youth. Maybe we should run it following President Obama’s first State of the Union address?

If you have ideas, tell us what you think.

Brian Burch

P.S. You may recall that this is the first ad in our new “Life: Imagine the Potential” campaign. We are having a huge impact with our campaign already! Our message is positive, life affirming, and hope-filled. And it is reaching audiences that normally don’t listen to us.

We are grateful for all your support and prayers.

Friday, January 30, 2009

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B - 2009

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts

Sometimes we just have to face it.
We are not home… This is not our home… and when compared to eternity, the time we will spend here on this earth is just a blink of an eye, a moment.

This incredibly powerful fact, seems so obvious but we all know that it is so easy to forget.

How often do we live as if…
As if this is all there is,
as if this is all that matters,
as if the quality of our life now is more important than our life with God later.

It is just so easy to forget that God made us and our home,
our destiny, is to be with him forever.

How many times a day do we forget that incredibly important fact.

So for most of us or many of us, our lives are spent wandering around
often blinded by our own sins and addictions
and worries
and prejudices
and pride
and whatever.

We spend so much time so much energy trying to find our way home and sometimes a powerful but subtle fear fills our heart.

Is there really anything else… will I ever find my way home ?

God Wants us home.
God want all of us home.

God Created us to be home with Him.
God waits for our return
and God does everything he can to call us to Himself,

And the role of prophets is central to God’s providential loving plan to bring us home,

hrough prophets He regularly calls us out of our darkness.

The first reading and the gospel today speak about prophets.

What is a prophecy and the role of a prophet.?

When I think of a prophet.. the first person I think of is John the Baptist. A voice in the wilderness…
God gives us prophets for a number of reasons.

The voice of a prophet puts everything in perspective.

rophets challenge us to understand that everything that leads us home is good,
and everything that distracts us or takes us off course on our journey home is bad.

The voice of a prophet orients in the darkness and confusion of life.
It directs us guides us back to the path home.

The voice of a prophet gives us hope.
When all seems lost,
when We we are weary from the journey,
When we just can’t seem to find our way,

When we just want to sit down or give up,
Yes the voice of a prophet give us hope.

There will always be the voice of some prophet saying
Come on… don’t give up, don’t be afraid,

Follow me… you can do this.

How many of us have been roused or inspired by a good sermon, or a good confession or the counsel of a friend or the simple innocent faith of a child ?

All of them at one time were prophets to us on our journey.

Now that we have kind of looked at the role of prophets in our life we come to the crux of the first reading.

There are so many voices in our world how do you know which ones is prophetic and which ones are not

The book of Deuteronomy gives us three concrete criteria to judge if someone is really a prophet
or if what someone is saying is really prophecy

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,” the Deuteronomy says.

God raises up prohpets
God decides who the prophet should be..

It is not ours task nor our right to declare ourselves prophets.
And that is a really good indication if a prophet or prophecy is real.

If a person believes him/herself better than others.
If a person declares himself a prophet and seem to desire the title and prestige…
of a prophet a caution flag should go up.

We have to be so careful about the authenticity of their words.

Remember only those who are called by God speak for Him not necessarily those who would like to be called.

The second profound truth in that phrase is just as important.

In the first reading we hear “A prophet like you from among you kin.?

So often we look to learned men and women, scholars,,, holy people, as the only source of our prophecy and yes they can be.

However, we must never forget that our friend and our roommate, and our wife and our husband and even our child can often be prophets for us.

Sometimes this is a hard thing to accept.
Remember Jesus’ words “no prophet is accepted in his own town”

How often because of our pride have we missed the prophecies of our loved ones or didn’t take them to heart.

The book of Deuteronomy also says…
I will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.

Another way to discern if God is really speaking through someone and If their prophecy is authentic is to compare what they say to the other Words that God has already spoken.

The prophet is only charged with speaking God’s words, he may adapt them to his culture and his experience but the meaning of the words spoken have to be in agreement with other things that God has said.

If someone speaks as a prophet but their word do not conform to God’s word… they are really from the evil one.

Their words do not have the power to save but rather to destroy.

The last truth about prophecy contained in the first reading is simple

If someone is really a prophet.

I we discern that someone has been given a prophetic role in our lives we have an obligation to listen to them to obey them.

We have the obligation to put their words into effect in our lives because they speak for God Himself.

God will never leave us alone

God wants us to find our way home

In the confusion of life
In the challenges of our journey
God will send us many prophets.

They will be Men and women whose love for us and love for God calls, compels them to speak many times reluctantly

Let be attentive.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life is Beautiful

I love this music ? Anyone know where it comes from ?


Today I spoke at our (CUA's) last Open House of the year I've been doing it for years.. When I walked over I was happy to find the Great Room in the Pryz filled to capacity. There was standing room only and not much of it.

When I see that level of participation it is a wonderful consolation to me. It shows me that the word is out and that people understand that that CUA is indeed a very special place. That level of interest is a credit to our academic programs and the quality of life "campus life" as we call it here at The Catholic University of America. It is also a credit to our students who are always our best ambassadors. I consider it a priviledge to experience such a vote of confidence. If you ever attended a CUA Open House and heard me speak then you hear that I had to say this morning. I have never changed that talk and know it by heart. Why fix it when it is not broken...

The Catholic University of America a great place to consider... at least they think so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Conversion of St. Paul

Conversion of St. Paul
May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts…

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

We know very little about his childhood or family.

St. Paul came from a notable family in the ancient city Tarsus.

They were probably devout Jews who also where somehow were able to become Roman Citizens.

Their faith was so important to them that In his youth they sent Paul to Jerusalem to study with the great Rabbi Gamaliel.

Paul was a scholar and Hard worker
tradition says he was a tent maker.
He was an orator.
He was a passionate orthodox Jew and this passion and his convictions led him to violently persecute Christians.

He himself was present and participated in the murder or martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first follower of Christ to give is life for his faith.

Paul of Tarsus was every bit a passionate, arrogant, zealous, murderer.

Yet, God saw something good in him.
So one day out of the blue without any warning he lost everything.

On the road from Jerusalem to Damascus there came a blinding light so bright, so sudden, that it incapacitated him completely.

And Paul, this proud man this self-assured man, was so struck that he even fell off his horse.

Everything he knew, everything he trusted
everything and defended his pride, his arrogance
his position, his power, everything he had was gone.

In the blink of an eye he was
defenseless, blind, dependent and alone.

Paul never met Jesus before his death and Resurrection.

But as he was healed and cared for in Damascus he had a vision of the Risen Lord.

After those three days of darkness
After those three days of isolation
After those three days of uncertainty
His sight was returned, his body was healed and his soul was made whole

Paul who had persecuted the Church,
Paul the zealot, the murder, had a radical change of heart and through God’s grace he became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Through his work and his efforts
Our faith, the Good news became known all over the world.

Wherever he went, Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Ephesus, Colossae, Antioch and who knows where else Paul founded Churches, living communities of believers.

He was so charismatic and so convicted in his new found faith that he was able to bring whole communities to Christ .

And many years later in Rome the man who had so severely persecuted the Church, freely gave up his life rather than renounce his faith in Risen Christ who he had met on the road to Damascus.

What does the incredible story of Conversion of St. Paul have to say to us today?
What should we take from it ?

No human being is without hope.
God saw through all Paul’s sins, his ignorance, his arrogance his pridefulness.
God saw through it all.

It would have been easy for us to give up on Paul but God didn’t.

The story of St. Paul should cause us to ask ourselves,
Who have we given up on?
Who have we placed in the “no hope box” or relegated to trash heap of life?

As a culture we spend so much more time trying to punish people rather than rehabilitate them.

God’s action in St. Paul’s life reminds us that there is always hope… even in the most desperate of cases.

Paul’s story also reminds us that…
We can change
We can change
Yes we can change
Sometimes it is so tempting to give up on ourselves.
Sometimes our problems, our addictions, our pride, our passions seem overwhelming.

Sometimes when disaster strikes and we fall off our horse, so to speak, we need to learn from Paul’s example that what seems horrible at the moment can really be a moment of grace,
a moment an
a chance to change to begin anew.

How many times in our lives have the trials and tribulations of life really been good waiting to happen.

When everything was taken from him all that Paul had left was to hope in Jesus the Nazorean the one he had persecuted.

I think this thought is really something we need to hold onto during these difficult economic times.

Sometimes falling off your horse,
loosing what you have, is always not a bad thing sometimes it is a blessing.

Challenges like that can bring us to something new, something better.

If our faith is real if it is sincere it can and should be life giving not only for us but also for others.

If we have never brought anyone to faith,
If our lives or our example, have never moved anyone,
it begs the question “ How really committed are we to following Christ”?

Everywhere Paul went he changed peoples hearts
He inspired people.
Paul lived the great commission that we heard in the Gospel today.

He went and made disciples of all men and women.

His example should challenge us all to become apostles to those without the consolation of Christ.

A faith half lived, a faith which only goes through the motions has no power to change hearts or to save.

On this day as we commemorate the Conversion of St. Paul.

Let us never give up on anyone. Let us rather be willing to expect the unexpected.

Let us never give up on ourselves.

Let us also see the challenges of life as opportunities of grace.

Let us live lives of holiness that have the power to change hearts and bring our brothers and sisters to faith.

What horse do we have to fall off.... that's a very important question indeed.

Like it never happened....

These past few days CUA has been a beehive of activity Almost 1500 guest stayed over night in the Dufour Center and Shrine, 200 Student Volunteers worked to keep them safe and make them feel welcome. 1800 meals were served to our guests, that's a lot of pasta and eggs and then a very large group of students with Fr. O'Connell, CUA's President, attended the March.

With the state of national politics it was obvious a significant presence was important... the Pro-Life Movement did not disappoint. Certainly any effort would appear small when compared to the President Obama's inauguration but the crowd was big and lively and not discouraged at all. It is always a young crowd a crowd filled with conviction and passion.

What saddens and mystifies, and to put it bluntly angers me is this. THE MARCH FOR LIFE IS THE LARGEST
ANNUAL DEMONSTATION IN WASHINGTON, I know I live here, and the media which is so biased againt this noble cause choses to ignore it every year. This year I taped the news on NBC and ABC to see how the march was covered... Nothing... not a word. Instead both showed President Obama checking out the closets of the White House Press Corp. Our local ABC affiliate showed the 20 pro choice protestors.

There I have issued my annual rant against a media elite which I find harder and harder to trust what a shame.

Don't worry we'll be back next year.

Hey Hey Ho Ho Rov v Wade has got to go.
Every step we take is for a child's sake.
CUA is prolife.
The Catholic University of America is Pro-Life Da.....
Women' Deserve Better
It is indeed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Found it...

I wish these guys made more videos...

The Pope's Message to President Obama

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday sent a message to US president-elect Barack Obama calling on him to seek "understanding, co-operation and peace" among countries.

"I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, co-operation and peace among the nations.

"I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities," the message said.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I've been reflecting a lot lately and I've come to believe that happiness is a choice you just can’t wait for it to come along you have to chose it. Revolutionary Road was very moving there are moments of joy... moments of great sadness… I left the movie thinking ... celibates face lonliness at times (no surprise there)_ but the lonliness in a struggling marriage, or the lonliness between two people, seems so much harder to carry. Obviously don’t take the kids to this one.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B 2009

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2

My niece Sarah has developed a love for puzzles.
She loves them so much that this year they bought her this puzzle mat so she can roll them up and save her work if it is time for supper and the family needs the table. We didn’t have those when I was a kid.

I haven’t looked at puzzles for year. But as I watched her work her puzzles a number of things came to mind

A completed puzzle is beautiful.
It is not easy to put a puzzle together hence the name.
It is not always easy to find your place in life.

By themselves puzzle pieces are intriguing  little splashes of color but it is not always easy to tell what they really are or part of the bigger picture they play.

You can only really figure out what a puzzle piece is when you see it in the context of the whole puzzle.

Who knows that beautiful patch of green may be a green apple, or a part of a meadow, or part of a young leaf on a warm spring day.

When a piece of the puzzle is missing you can usually still make out the picture but your eye is drawn to what is missing. 

The picture suffers because it is not complete.

What does all of this have to do with the readings today ?

Sometimes it is easy to see that God’s loving providential plan, God’s big picture for human kind is like a puzzle.

God’s plan is like a picture which in its entirety is beautiful to behold.

All of us are the pieces of that puzzle.

There is a place for each and everyone one of us in God’s loving plan a
ll of us have a place  our own place to fill.

Just like a puzzle piece we can often only understand ourselves, who we are, and what we are to do, our purpose and our lives, in the context of God’s big picture.

When we absent ourselves from God’s plan no one can fill our place.

Even if the puzzle piece was the same shape if the image does not match it cannot take the place of another.

All of today's’ readings talk about vocation.
They speak accepting our place in God’s plan.

As we heard in the Psalm
“Here am I Lord Here am I I come to do your will….”

Samuel was young
He was eager to serve
He just didn’t know what to do..

We learn a lot about hearing God’s call from the experience of Samuel…

First of all God keeps calling.
Samuel heard God’s call several times but didn’t know who it was.

Second God used Eli to help understand God’s call.
God was not happy with Eli, because of the abuses of his sons… in fact it had been prophesied that all of Eli’s male descendents would die.

The fact that Eli and his family were not the most outstanding holy people did not keep God from using them to help Samuel understand his place in the puzzle of life.

After he understood that God was calling him. Samuel established a relationship with him. In the story It was still not clear what Samuel would be called to do.

Essentially in this little story we understand that Samuel accepts that his life and his dreams and his accomplishments will only find their meaning in following God’s plan for him.

Because he understood this, God makes Samuel’s words have meaning.

The Gospel also speaks to God’s greater plan and our call or vocation to participate in it.

In the Gospel we have the call of the first disciples.

John points out Jesus to his disciples. He calls him the “Lamb of God” and they follow Jesus…

It must have been difficult for John to do… and yet he understood that he was not the Messiah.

He understood that only Jesus could help his friends, his disciples find their place in God’s plan.

Did  you notice that Jesus is the first to speak?

Jesus took the initiative..
esus asks the question of a life time…
when he says  What are you looking for ?

After they had spent time with Jesus after they had established a relationship with him were they able to proclaim “We have found the Messiah.”

And from their experience of Jesus they were moved to pass on the message.

Andrew went and brought his own brother to Simon… Simon who would be called peter..

These readings have a special place on a college campus.

While everyone in the Church has a continual responsibility to make sure they are fulfilling God’s plan.

Young adults are at a place in their lives where they are discerning their role in God’s big picture.

Here are some things you should ponder on this long weekend.

1. Your role in God’s plan is so important that  God will call over and over and over again.

2. God will use a wide variety of people and experiences to help you understand your place in his plan. Some of them will be surprises or unexpected.

3. The revelation of your place in the puzzle may take a while to realize what is important is that we remain willing to listen.

4. What you are looking for in life?

What you are drawn to or  talented in has a role in discerning your place or  your vocation.

5. It is important to never hold a person back, John missed his disciples but he knew that they destiny was not with him. (This is a really important thing to remember for people who are in a relationship.)

6. All us have a role to play in discerning our friend’s vocation. All of have a responsibility to challenge each other to fulfill God’s plan.  Once Andrew… understood who Jesus was he brought his brother Peter to him.

Who is waiting for us to bring them to Christ?

Who is waiting for us to help them discern God’s plan

As we find our place in the puzzle of life.

As we try to continue to live it..

May the Lord who has begun wonderful things in you bring them to fulfillment.


Friday, January 16, 2009

It's cold here in Washington

The fountain outside my office has frozen.... it is beautiful every season and lots of people have stopped to check it out.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Posted by Picasa

Who are all of these kids and what are they doing in the great room of the Pryz.?
Believe it or not they are the returning DC Reads Tutors. Last semester there were over 200 of them. Some of them tutor for their federal work study grant and others simply volunteer.
During the school year Catholic U and some of the other Universities in DC send their students into DC public schools, private schools, and after school programs to do one on one tutoring. With this program our students have a real chance to make a difference in the lives children who find school so challenging. We are all proud this program and our students. There are so many good things that happen at CUA.

Tonight after the DC Reads meeting I ate in the cafeteria or our "Student Dining Room." The chicken was good and moist so moist that I got it all over my new jacket. The roast potatoes were also really good. I spent about two hours there chatting with those present. Everyone seemed so happy to be back and get in the swing of things. There's not much pressure yet.

Lots of people have were talking about walking down to the Inauguration. I'm not sure what I am going to do yet. After my MOP (Ministry of Presence ) time in the dining room. I went to the Office for a wedding prep meeting with Catlin Weiss and Stephen Mariconti.

Many years ago I baptized Caitlin in a salad bowl in St. Francis High School Chapel in Athol Spring. I remember putting hot water in the bowl because we didn't have a baptismal font. I was afraid the chapel would be cold. Who would have thought that I would be witnessing her wedding so many years later.

My night finished with a stop in Caldwell Chapel where our seminarians were having adoration for the CUA community.

Just thought I would give you a snap shot of my evening..

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Washington gets ready for Obama

I took a stroll downtown today and took a lot of pictures from metro and the sculpture garden to the Capital building... as you will see even the sparrows are getting ready for President Obama...

Opus Hall and the start of the Second Semester

Some Pictures from the beginning of my 22 Semester at CUA

The Baptism of the Lord Year B

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts.

So much has happened in the life of Christ from last week to this week.
Tradition tells us that Jesus was baptized when he was around 30 years old.

This week we move from the scene of the Magi bringing gifts to the new born King which we commemorated last week to the banks of the Jordon River where Jesus "comes to the water" and steps up to begin his ministry.

We know precious little about the 30 years the baptism...

We know as a boy he left his family and wanted to begin preaching to the priests in the temple.

We know that when he was found by his anxious parents that he remained obedient to Mary and Joseph and returned home with them.

We know that Joseph died during those years after having passed on to Jesus his profession as a carpenter.

We know that Jesus lived in Nazareth, a kind of rough and tumble town, and that he lived a "normal" life working to support Mary his mother.

The scriptures tell us that during this time he grew in wisdom and knowledge.

It follows then that during these thirty year Jesus was a man of prayer trying with his whole heart to discern God’s will and live it.

When John came Jesus was moved by his preaching.
And through the Ministry of John Jesus understood that it was time.
It was time to follow God’s will and begin his public ministry.

That day was a day he always knew would come.
It was a day He had probably reflected on over and over again.
It was a day that he probably faced with a whole range of emotions.
There must have been some fear, and sadness, anticipation and excitement.
It was a day of decision... "it's God's will,
it's time, I'm ready."

By being baptized Jesus identified himself with the poor, with broken.
Even though he had no sin he identified himself with us.
He walked down the road to the Jordan River with the broken, with the poor,
He walk down the road with sinners and with saints.

He stood in line with them.
He waited with them like he will wait with us with us...

Just like he walked down the road to the Jordan River like he walks down the road of life with us.

And his work began.

There are many things for us to ponder on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord especially for preparing to take their place in the world like Jesus did.

Before he began his mission Jesus needed and developed an interior life.
This was no small task. It took a long time.
He lived a private life, which lasted thirty years.
Depending on which Gospel you read Jesus' mission lasted between 1 and 3 years…
that is a ratio of training to ministry was either 30 – 1 or 30 to 3.
If we followed that ratio today you would have to be in College 200 years to work 20 Yikes...

Our time in college is a time of preparation it is a time which we dedicate ourselves.….to learning and getting the skills to assume our place in the world.

It is such a noble task to study, to prepare, to learn... so that we can leave our mark
and make our contribution...

Yes it is so important to learn the skills we need in our professions.
but it is also so important to develop an interior life like Jesus did in Nazareth.

This time in college should be a time of going deeper...
It is so important that we develop a thoughtful life
a reflective life, a life of meaning and purpose.

Since we came to Catholic how much time have we dedicated to developing an interior life?

Yes we have to learn the professional skills we need to be nurses and Architects and businessmen and even politicians.

But if we are to follow our destiny we have to learn how to be men and women of God.

We have to be open to God’s word, God’s will and God’s plan.

What a tragedy to be the world’s best engineer...
but miss the husband or wife that God had planned for us because we were not in the habit of listening to God’s will.

What a tragedy to be to be a great politician...
and miss the mission or task which God need us to accomplish because we had no interior life and never learned what was really important.

Jesus understood that whatever he did had to be rooted in God’s will and the power of the Spirit..

In an addition to an interior life we need to develop the discipline to follow God's will without counting the cost.

We have to be willing to follow pay the price of love.
This is really counter cultural.
How often does our obedience depend on what is comfortable to us.

For Jesus following God’s will involved leaving the things and people which gave him comfort probably great comfort.

For all that we know Jesus had a good life in Nazareth.
He had his way of living, His routine.
He had the comfort of his mother and friends and relatives.
He made a good living.

Yet because of God’s call He leaves all that is familiar to him.

How many times… have we said
I’ll follow God’s inspiration as long as it doesn’t cost me too much?
As long as I don’t have to leave my comfort zone

If there is one thing that is clear on every page of the scriptures and in the lives of the Saints..

Love has a great price
Are we ready to pay it.

And finally
There is one more lesson which John the Baptist teaches us..

Somehow some way from all of the thousands of people who were coming forward to be baptized John recognized Jesus.

How did he recognize him ?
Maybe he knew for a while who Jesus was...
maybe the Holy Spirit inspired him at that moment.

How often has Christ presented himself to us ,
In the instruction of our parents... or the good advice of a friend and
we either missed it or refused to accept his presence?

What a profound tragedy to miss or refuse the very presence of God in our lives

And so dear ones
As you prepare to find your place…
To make your contribution
To live the wonderful life that God has gives you…

Let us strive to develop, our interior lives.
Let us be reflective and look for meaning and purpose in our lives.

Let us be discern God’s will and obedient to it even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.
Let us be willing to pay the price of love.

Let us be very sensitive to the presence of God.

These are some to the lessons, which the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordon offers us
Let us be attentive.


Friday, January 09, 2009

They're back...

The Student Ministers came back yesterday for our Semester Break Training. We began with a simple meal, then followed up with some time to share our Christmas Break blessings and possible a "New Year's Resolution" Almost to a person the student and professional staff viewed the time they spent with their families as the greatest blessings. Certainly there were challenging moments at home there always are in families, but all in all the time spent with our families was a blessing indeed.

As far as our resolutions went... Many spoke about the need to go deeper... in other words to deepen our faith. More prayer... more reflection more community.... deeper. This desire was shared equally by the both the professional and students staff.

After a reflection on how all of us have to continually need to renew our Yes to ministry we have been called to we all went up to Caldwell Chapel to reflect more on the word, break the Christmas Wafer and finish the evening with Night Prayer.

It is so good to have the back. What a fine group of young people.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Health Updates and Prayer Requests...

David Garcia (a freshman transfer student from Miami) is still in the Hospital He has been there over a month now. He is going to have a shunt but in to help release the pressure in his brain. Once that is done he will continue with rehab.

John Blattner has had his bone marrow transplant and his white blood cell count is going up thanks be to God !!! He may be released next week but will continue a long course of treatment for the next several months.

Shiela Lafleur has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is good I'll keep you posted as I hear things… please keep her in your prayers

Back in DC 2009

As I sit in my chair, Fr. Andy is away in Georgia and the campus is quiet, very quiet, it is restful, peaceful but it almost seems a little unnatural. I got back on New Year's Eve unpacked and just relaxed. My usual routine did not vary much. Just before Christmas I headed north to Hyde Park, though I stayed in a much nicer place than the Village Square, which was my usual home away from home at Christmas. In the Comfort Inn the heat worked and the floors didn't slope and it only cost $9.00 a day more.

Mom who is 84 got on a train and came down. She was very impressed with the care and concern the conductors on the Amtrack gave her. Every moment with her is a gift.
Greg and Kelley were very busy until the last moment with the detail of Christmas... I mean to the very last moment. They gave me one of the best Christmas gifts I ever received a Margarita Maker.... It makes great smoothies too.I got lots of text messages on Christmas Eve. It was very touching that people remembered me. We had Christmas Mass around the dining room table as we have done for years.(One of the blessings of being a Campus Minister.) I went on one of my "mystery rides with Sarah, Mom and Kristen and then on another one with Kristen, Matt and Andrew. My time with them was wonderful. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Sarah is a very caring little girl, and the older ones have grown up so much they really are fun to be with. Matt, Andrew and I went to see Valkyrie a man's movie. Kristen saw Seven Pounds. A little supper in Applebee's finished off a wonderful night. That was Christmas with my family.The next day I went up to see some friars and friends in Connecticut. Thanks to Ryan and Sheila and Carrie we had a nice get together at Ryan's house. I'm sad that I didn't get everyone's picture, some of you ran out before I could get to my calendar.

The next day I traveled to see Stephanie and John rich and their beautiful little girl in Sherman Connecticut. John and Stephanie were radiant parents with their new born baby.
I spent the afternoon with Carrie Greg and the BOYS ! Greg and Carrie are also such wonderful parents. I'm sorry I didn't get to see everyone but I promise to be back as soon as I can.It was also good to see the friars in Connecticut. The friars in Kensington work very hard. When I stopped to pick up some food for our gathering a lady behind the counter noticed I was a priest and told me how much she loved her parish. It turned out to be St. Paul's our parish. Fr. Raymond in Cromwell was very hospitable. He and the friars who have been stationed there have done so much good work. When we took that place over it was like a spiritual Gobi Desert. So much has changed there.

On my way back down to DC the next day the driving got a little dicey because of a fast moving snow storm. They closed Route 84 about ½ hour after I went past it. When I drive around New York I always listen to 880 because they have traffic and weather on the sevens. This Buffalo Boy would not be deterred by a "little" snow. I took my driver's test on a day when there were whiteouts in Buffalo.

Here are some really important rules for driving in snow…
  1. Go Slow… Be Patient
  2. Keep a LOT of distance between you and the car ahead of you
  3. Never JAM ON the breaks.. light taps need to the be the order of the day. Remember it will take you a lot longer to stop so be prepared.
  4. Cross lanes very slowly when there is accumulated snow.
  5. Watch out for the people who aren't doing the above and avoid them.
My last stop on my way home was at the Peragallo home in Patterson New Jersey. Johnny IV is a good friend of mine and his family's business builds pipe organs. I had a wonderful brunch with Johnny's family at their home. Then we went to the shop where they design and create their pipe organs. Johnny's Dad, John III, designs how they will sound, and Johnny's uncle designs how they will fit into the architecture of the Church or how they will look.

Last year and this year Johnny texted me at Midnight on Christmas Eve. He was at St. Patrick's Cathedral inside the Organ just in case something goes wrong. The family business has the maintenance contract on that pipe organ and they are always there in case something goes bad.

The Peragallos and the people they work with are really artisans. I was so impressed when I walked into their shop. I think they have created over 650 pipe organs. They have pictures of a lot of the instruments on the walls of the simple shop. I bet some of the tools and clamps are still hung in the same place that Johnny's great grandfather hung them.

As I walked around I asked lots of questions. I just wanted to soak it in. It was so clear to me how the art has been passed on from generation to generation and equally clear how each generation has a gift to offer. Johnny's Dad, John III, is an electrical engineer and he is the one who revamped the electronics which run their instruments. Now every stop setting and key push are digitalized and sent from the console computer to another one in the organ chamber. I know Johnny IV will have a lot to offer with his architectural skills. As you can tell I was really impressed with what I saw.