Monday, December 26, 2011

Much To Celebrate and Contemplate


Happy Boxing Day

Happy Birthday to my Daughter

Feast Day of St Stephen the Martyr

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ordination: It Is Beginning to Sink In

 Since formation classes ended, many people have asked me if I am excited about the upcoming ordination to the diaconate and my answers has always been that I am not sure I realize it yet.  I have been either too busy or should I say too sick to think about it (literally I have had the "crud" since formation classes ended over four weeks ago).

But that perspective on ordination changed this morning.

We just got word that some dear friends will be traveling from Cologne, Germany to join us for this event.   The history of our relationship is another story but I will say that these two people are an important part of our life and are as close to us as family.  They are also a testament to the Catholic faith in Germany and we have learned more about the Church's history from these two than we could in any class (primarily because they have taken (or guided) us to places where we could feel it and experience it).  Things like: 
  • Going to a 12th century church in the middle of a busy city to listen to evening prayer being sung by a new religious order of both men and women (it was like being in heaven).  
  • Taking us into a church and surprising us with the crypt of St Albert the Great where John Paul the Great prayed during a visit to Cologne. 
  • To walk through the history of a city that has been Christian since the 4th Century and has the churches and martyrs to prove it.
  • To learn about the history of church architecture and the crosses that hang in them to learn what the Church is saying about God as well as what is happening in the lives of the people.
It is real and it is glorious.

So today, that reality tapped on my shoulder and said "its happening".

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

A provocative and interesting read on the start of WWII. 

 There has always been those who felt that the US government knew we needed to enter the war (especially in Europe) but the public, at large, was against it.

How do you get the public on the side of war?

70 Years Ago

December 7, 1941

7:55 am

Pearl Harbor is attacked.

Over 2,400 killed

Over 1,000 wounded

In the following 4 years of war, over 416,800 Americans will die for their country.

Do Not Forget.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bullying: An Epidemic (WARNING: Violence)

What does it say about a society that allows bullying to occur in our schools? 

What does it say about society when the overwhelming reaction is support for the child who is finally willing to defend himself (even if he gets suspended)?

There is a serious disconnect here. 

What do you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Last Day

                                           Class photo with our Director of Formation

See the smiles on our faces?? That is because yesterday was the last day of diaconate formation classes for the Class of 2012.  It is hard to believe that we began this process almost 5 years ago. 

Many people have asked if I am happy but I am not sure if that would be the correct emotion.  At this point I am just a little tired (studying for exams, writing papers and presenting our last homily in homiletics class has kept us quite busy right to the end) and looking for some rest.  I look forward to being able to process it all during the Advent and Christmas Season.

The biggest adjustment will be not seeing these guys on a regular basis after 5 years of formation.  We will all go in our own directions and serve the Church in our own unique way.  It will be a difficult adjustment and I hope we stay in touch. 

But we are looking forward to our ordination retreat in January and ordination on February 11th at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.  It's on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes; I cannot think of a better day to begin our ministry.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

USCCB on Laity Recieving Communion in Both Forms

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

                                            Lateran Basilica, Rome

Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.  In 313, Constantine gave the Church the Lateran Palace for the Popes use.  Soon thereafter,  a church was built and was the first building dedicated to the Christian faith in Rome.  The basilica was consecrated in 324.  This basilica is the Pope's cathedral (as Bishop of Rome).  As such, it is considered the spiritual home of the People of God (who are the Church).  It is a beautiful place.

Relics of St Paul and St Peter above Altar

Statue of Constantine in Narthex
St Peter

St Paul

A Catholic in the Bible Belt

A Catholic in the Bible Belt

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Margaret Thatcher on Socialism

This Made Me Laugh

I had company this morning…

Tim Tebow: An Odd Attack on Faith

I have really not understood the sheer magnitude of hatred toward Tim Tebow in the NFL, with many people saying he has no place in professional football.  And doing so in a very ugly way.  It seems clear it is because of his deep faith, something that many media-types want to keep hidden.  But why is that?

  • Is it because he is counter cultural?
  • Because he acknowledges absolute truth?
There is a sickness going on in this country and it is not pretty.  Tebow may just be what the doctor ordered.

You can read more on the story HERE

Friday, November 4, 2011

Worth Another Look

Catholics Come Home

Friday, October 28, 2011

Benedict XVI

This is a bronze in the Frauenkirche (Cathedral) in Munich, Germany where Benedict XVI was Archbishop before moving on to Rome.  Notice he is carrying the pastoral cross of John Paul II.  This bronze was obviously created before he changed to the current pastoral cross.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Right Diagnosis, Deadly Cure

This weekend, the Vatican published a document on the current state of affairs in the global economy. The amount of vitriol being bantered about on this subject has been interesting. I did, however, find an analysis that seems pretty balanced (i.e. I agree with most of what is said:)

Right Diagnosis, Deadly Cure

Friday, October 14, 2011

John Paul II

Bronze of John Paul II in the Munich Frauenkirche (Cathedral)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baltimore Catechism: Lesson 1

1. Who made us?

God made us.
In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

2. Who is God?

God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.
In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

3. Why did God make us?

God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.
Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?

To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.
Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

5. From whom do we learn to know, love, and serve God?

We learn to know, love, and serve God from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who teaches us through the Catholic Church.
I have come a light into the world that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

6. Where do we find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church?

We find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church in the Apostles' Creed.
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. (Luke 10:16)

7. Say the Apostles' Creed.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Final Stretch

The last few months have been flying by.  Ever since our class learned that the scrutiny board had approved our files in early September, we are in the final stretch before ordination.  Although, there are still a few approvals to get through, this one means that we can begin to plan for that day in February.  So now we are busy with:

  1. Selecting a class stole
  2. Ordering invitations
  3. Putting together a guest list
  4. Working with the parish to coordinate the Mass of Thanksgiving
  5. Not to mention classes in Gospels, Sacraments, Liturgy, Homiletics and Catholic Social Teaching.
I hope to have most, if not all, of this done by the last class before Thanksgiving.  That will allow each of us to truly enjoy the advent season.  But most importantly to spend a lot of time in prayer to make sure this is what we are called to do.

It will change every aspect of our lives.  Our relationships at work, home and church will be different.  I think for most of us, those changes have already begun.  It has already happened at professional meetings when colleagues, who are aware of this journey, ask about it the presence of others.  At first, the look on their faces is one of confusion; but in all cases (so far) they have been pleasantly surprised and supportive.  However, now they look at me in a different way.  The same is true at chruch and with the family.

And we must do our best to represent the Church as best we can because we are called to be a visible presence in the secular world.  A world that, quite honestly, does not understand or care.  We have the opportunity to give them an example of how a christian lives a christian life in the midst of the world.  To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  To show the world that "true joy" can be had in this life even when life is difficult.

Please pray for us and our final discernment to this ministry of the Church. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tim Tebow and Christophobia

An interesting article by George Weigel on why so many people (especially in the media) dislike Tim Tebow.
Two weeks into the NFL season, ESPN ran a Sunday morning special exploring why the third-string quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow, had become the most polarizing figure in American sports — more polarizing than trash-talking NBA behemoths; more polarizing than foul-mouthed Serena Williams; more polarizing than NFL all-stars who father numerous children by numerous women, all out of wedlock. Why does Tebow, and Tebow alone, arouse such passions? Why is Tebow the one whom “comedians” say they would like to shoot?
 You can read the entire article at:

Tim Tebow and Christophobia

St. Vincent's Prayer for Deacons

Holy God,

Saint Vincent served You as a permanent deacon and gave his whole life and soul to You, even to the point of becoming a martyr. I lift up to You the deacons of the Church and all those who are being called by God to become deacons. Guide them as they discern how to serve the Body of Christ. Prevent the attractions of the world and the busyness of secular jobs from interfering with their vocations. Teach them to grow in humility. Help their families learn from their examples and support their diaconates with trust and joy.

Saint Vincent, pray for us. Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tree of Life

More From Germany: Mad Ludwig

When most people think of Ludwig II of Bavaria, the think of this:

Neuschwanstein is one of the most visited castles in Europe and we experienced that first hand with lines to buy tickets over 100 yards long.  Needless to say we avoided that and went to the place he lived most of his adult life.

That place is Linderhof.

 Set back in the Bavarian Alps, the home was a 2-3 days journey from anywhere of consequence in the late 19th century.  Ludwig did that on purpose because he did not want to be anywhere near the center of power in Munich.

He dreamed of the "good of days" of royalty in Europe and tried to emulate the great kings of France.  Linderhof was specifically designed to look like Versailles, albiet on a much smaller scale.  The interior rooms were in the same style.  A unusual example was the "mirror room".  In this room, the mirrors had the effect of making the room look like one of a endless hallways of Versailles.  The illusion made the room look immense.  Even his view out of of the front door had a distinct Versailles look.

Ludwig was a catholic and had a small chapel built for his personal use. 

A short hike from the main house was  the Moorish kiosk. 

The interior of this building was very ornate.

 Ludwig was also the patron of the composer Wagner.  He was so obsessed with Wagner's work that he built a scene from one of Wagner's Operas in a cave above Linderhof Castle.

Ludwig does have the reputation for being insane.  To me I felt sorry for this man who dreamed of a time when he would have been treated as above the common man; that he was special both to the people and to God.   The reality of it all must have been too much for him to take.

Regardless, Linderhof is a beautiful property and worth a stop if you ever take a trip to Bavaria.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Reformation and Rococo

One of the joys of our trip to Germany this past summer was learning about the evolution of church styles from the Dark Ages to the Reformation.  After a two day history lesson in Cologne (which one day I will get back to) we headed to Bavaria.  This part of Germany was the front lines during the protestant reformation.  Bavaria was strongly Catholic, but was just next door to one of the centers of protestant power (Augsburg). 

We were told that we must visit a small church tucked away in an isolated meadow in Bavaria.   It was called the Wiess Kirche. 

 The origins of this church goes back to 1738 when a statue of the "scourged Jesus" was seen to cry during evening prayers.  From that time, the small town of Wies became a center for pilgrimage for Catholics from all over Europe.  Upon approval by the local ordinary, the chapel was built in 1740.

What we saw when we entered the church as literally "out of this world"

The interior of the chapel exploded with color.  It was as if you have entered the heavenly realm. Considered one of the most important examples of Rococo art in the world, it has been placed on the UNESCO list of Cultural Heritage Buildings. 

But for Catholics, it is a example of how we have attempted to express our beliefs in the buildings we build.  It is also a reaction to the protestant movement towards simplicity and austerity.  This church is certainly a bold reaction to that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Eucharistic Prayer

A Eucharistic Prayer

A wonderful reflection on one of the eucharist prayers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The New Missal

It seems our brothers and sisters in England and Wales have already begun using the New Missal.  If you would like to hear the New Mass, go HERE.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alright it is time to quit goofing off; time to start formation classes again. This will be an interesting time because this is the beginning of the end with:

  1. Only seven more class days; and
  2. Scrutinies to be completed in September (i.e. we will find out by the end of the month if we are on track for ordination in February).
The time has flown by; I am not sure where it has all gone. All I know is that I am energized for class and looking forward to seeing my fellow brothers in formation in the morning.

God is Good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Missing Mom

I have been out of sorts lately and I was not really sure why. But then it hit me; it has been a year since Mom became very ill, which ended in a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. She went home to God seven weeks later. It was certainly one of the most difficult periods of my life.

If your Mom is still with us; give her a call and tell her you love her. They are a gift from God that cannot be replaced.

The Calling

The Calling

Friday, August 12, 2011

Churches of Cologne: Gross St Martin

This church was constructed in 1150 as a Benedictine Abbey Church on the site of a former 2nd century Roman storehouse. It was not completed until the 13th century and the spire dates from the 15th century. The interior is very Romanesque, with later Gothic additions (you can see the Gothic arches in the background and the Roman arches in the foreground).

Although the church was heavily damaged in World War II between 1942 - 1945, the locals carefully returned the church to its former glory after 40 years of restoration efforts (we Americans could learn something from this).

It is now the home of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem, which is a monastic organization founded in 1975 to bring monastic life into the heart of the city. We had the privilege to attend a vespers service during our visit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St Lawrence: Deacon and Martyr

This photo was taken in the Ettal Monastery in Bavaria. As you can see, he carries the grate on which he was grilled to death. No wonder he is the patron saint of cooks and roasters (I will add grillers to that list as well).

Saint Lawrence, pray for us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Plague Cross in Cologne

Three churches in Cologne have extremely rare crosses that are very unique in Christendom. Originating in the 14th century, they are called the Plague Cross. This cross comes from that period of time when the Black Death was ravaging Europe where as much as 50% of the people died. To express Christ's solidarity with the people, these crosses began to spring up in churches throughout Europe. They are unique because the shape of the cross is very distinctive.

In addition, they are also unique because they showed that Christ shared in their suffering. On these crosses, the wounds of Christ are not from the scourging He received during the passion but the wounds a person has when they are dying from the black death.

These crosses are a tangible reminder of how we look to Christ to comfort us in difficult times and how we express this through his participation in our suffering.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

St Ursula: Patron Saint of Cologne

St Ursula is one the Patron Saints of Cologne, Germany (along with the three magi and St Gereon). She and 10 virgins were martyred in the city by Huns who were besieging the city in the year 383. The Church, named in her honor, is located where the massacre occurred.

A Church has been on this location since the 4th century. The current church was constructed in the 12th Century in the Romanesque tradition. Gothic elements were added in the 13th and 14th century.

It Continues

A car bomb exploded outside a Catholic church in central Kirkuk, Iraq, early Tuesday, wounding at least 20 people, authorities said.

The attack took place in Kirkuk's Shatterlo neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Monday ET), according to a police official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The wounded included staff from the Holy Family Church and people with homes nearby.

The Interior Ministry said 23 people were injured.

Read More Here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back from a Pilgrimage of Sorts

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Germany. In many ways, it became a pilgrimage that included many beautiful churches dating from the early church of the 4th century to the counter-reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you these beautiful places and some of the history of the Catholic Church in homeland of our Pope. It is quite a story.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Classic Rock Concert

Last night I had the opportunity to go to a concert with several of my buddies from high school and college. We had a great time talking about old times and catching up on those lost years. The excuse to get together was to go see a concert featuring two 1970s bands. The music was good.

We were up close so we were able to really see the band members and it took me by surprise. These were men in their late 50s and early 60s. As I watched, I notice that there were:
  1. Those who still truly love the music and and being a musician.
  2. Those who, although the years had not been kind yet, longed for their youth and
  3. Those who were doing everything in their power to appear young and vibrant.
The ones I admired were the ones who still loved the music, loved to play and bring joy to people through their music. The others lead me to feel a little melancholy because they were trying to recapture their youth; they did not want to grow old.

What has happened to American culture where growing old has become so negative; where acting your age means that you are giving up. I do not see it that way. Growing old is a beautiful thing and something that we are all meant to do.

When God is not a central figure in our lives; it is easy to see how growing old makes one feel uncomfortable; how someone may have a deep desire to stay young, although it is not possible. However, when God is a central figure in our lives, there is an understanding that all that we go through is leading us to Him. The older we get, the fuller our understanding of Him and how He is calling us to live our lives. That knowledge brings great joy and cannot be completely understood in our youth. We must grow old to receive that gift.

I have no desire to be young again. I love where I am and I have great anticipation for the future. And I know that this gift is all because of Him.

It also reminds me of this:

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death".

Lin Yutang 1936

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monastery of The Holy Spirit

Monastery from Abiyoyo Productions on Vimeo.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Spring and Fall:

to a Young Child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Charisms Don’t Make You a Saint

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. (Mt 7:15-20)

So you will know them by their fruits. The fruits may not be the ones you think they are. Read more at:

Charisms Don’t Make You a Saint

Monday, June 27, 2011

Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Have you ever felt that you were being followed? That everywhere you turned, you saw someone that you recognized or thought you should know? That is how I feel about the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It began soon after I was accepted as an aspirant in the Diaconal Formation Program in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I was in my parish church during adoration and I was struggling about whether I should enter the program. As I was leaving I saw the icon on a side table and was attracted to its beauty. Over the past 4.5 years, She has been seen during important times in my spiritual journey. The most astounding was when we were in Rome, Italy. We were walking between St John Lateran and St Mary Major. During the walk, we saw a modest church. My wife and I decided to sneak in because we had learned over the years that beautiful things can be found in the most obscure places. And there She was; the original icon.

Seeing the icon gives me comfort. She is not only the mother of Christ but also our spiritual mother. She is there to pray for us and give us comfort. She shows us the way to true discipleship; She is our example. As she cared for her own son, she also cares for us. That act of love leads us to care for others.

Novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying. Purest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, Blessed Lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you. In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you! I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you Mother of Perpetual Help. Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me and grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.
(Then say three Hail Marys).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favorite Places

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Living Space » Archive » The Irish Martyrs

Today is the feast day of the Irish Martyrs and commemorates the martyrdom of the Irish who died for their faith in the British Isles from 1537 to 1714. You can get a lot of details at:

Living Space » Archive » The Irish Martyrs

It is not a story we hear about very often.


The Diaconate

A Letter on the Permanent Diaconate

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday and Loss of a Good Priest

The Trinity is one of those mysteries of God that is beyond comprehension; lately, I have thought about it from the perspective of community and how we can learn from it. Our being, our understanding of ourselves is so much about community that we overlook the significance of it. It, in many ways, is who we are....


I just learned about the death of a great priest. His name was Fr James Caffery, MS and he was the pastor of my parish for many years. He was a mentor, adviser, and friend. He was the first person I spoke to about the diaconate. He was very supportive but also very wise (i.e. he said to keep that thought in my mind but not now; you have a family to raise). I think the Archbishop would have agreed. We lost touch over the last few years because of Alzheimer's disease.

Fr Caf, may you rest in Gods Peace.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marriage and the New Religion | The Integrated Catholic Life

“We’re pregnant with another girl”, Levin announced with a grin.

“That’s great, I bet you and your wife are excited”, I responded, anticipating a family comment.

“Well, I’m not married, we just live together.”

Read More at:

Marriage and the New Religion | The Integrated Catholic Life

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From Ascension to Pentecost

The Easter season is about to come to an end. For many of my protestant friends and family, they may be surprised that we are still celebrating the resurrection of Christ (and one of the reasons I love this Church). We like to let our celebrations last; we savor every aspect of the reality.

I particularly like that way the Easter Season has such a symmetry. It begins with the Apostles waiting for a new beginning; the three days of the Triduum. The Man they had followed for the last few years was gone. Just days ago, they saw him enter Jerusalem with joy and fanfare. Now, their entire world was falling in around them. He had told them what would happen but they didn't truly understand it. They were waiting. They did not know what to do next. They were scared. But on Sunday morning, the tomb was empty and that evening He came to them. The glory of the resurrection was revealed.

They are now in a similar circumstance. They saw Him ascend into the heavens. He told them that He would send them an advocate, the Paraclete. Like the period between Jesus' death and resurrection, I think that again they were at a loss of what to do. What did He mean? Again the uncertainty crept in; they were alone again; and they waited.

I think this is a good time for us to do the same. We should take the time to sit and wait. A time to think back at our Easter Season and what it brought us. To think about how the Apostles must have been feeling, knowing that their human nature was trying to take over (i.e. maybe we should go back to Galilee and take up fishing again). And us, knowing that they needed to wait because something wonderful was about to happen.

We all go through periods of uncertainty. We all, in a sense, spend time wanting to take control of our lives rather than giving it up to His will.

What, in our lives, do we now need to wait for rather than act on now. Waiting may just lead to something extraordinary.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cullman Tornado Damage Aerials

Cullman is a small town in northern Alabama and the home of St Bernard's Abbey. This abbey is the location of our annual diaconal formation retreats. Fortunately, the abbey and the nearby convent was spared any damage from the storms. Unfortunately, the city took a direct hit.

240 Still Missing


With all the news this week, we should not forget what has happened in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. As of yesterday, 240 people are still missing from the tornadoes that ripped through the area last week.

Pray for the families of those who are still missing and the rescue workers who have the difficult task of finding them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kneeling For Communion

Kneeling for communion is no longer a common practice for Roman Catholics in the United States. However, I do see it on occasion in our parish and the response by others in the congregation has been a little surprising (i.e. they do not like it). I have been surprised by the response, but it is an accepted practice by the Church and encouraged by Pope Benedict. The Deacons Bench has a good description of the practice just in time for the Triduum.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Catholic Mass - Origins

Benedict XVIs Palm Sunday Homily

Pope Benedict's homily for Palm Sunday was exceptionally good. You can read it HERE.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vatican Library

Just in case you missed the broadcast.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Disturbing News from South Carolina

A disturbing event occurred in South Carolina last night. A small Catholic Church was ransacked and the only thing that was missing was the Blessed Sacrament. Although one may say they did not know the significance of their actions ( the local news apparently did not), it appears the vandals did. You can read more about it HERE.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Feast of the Annunciation

The Annunciation

"Hail Mary, full of grace," the Angel saith.
Our Lady bows her head, and is ashamed;
She has a Bridegroom Who may not be named,
Her mortal flesh bears Him Who conquers death.
Now in the dust her spirit grovelleth;
Too bright a Sun before her eyes has flamed,
Too fair a herald joy too high proclaimed,
And human lips have trembled in God's breath.
O Mother-Maid, thou art ashamed to cover
With thy white self, whereon no stain can be,
Thy God, Who came from Heaven to be thy Lover,
Thy God, Who came from Heaven to dwell in thee.
About thy head celestial legions hover,
Chanting the praise of thy humility.

Joyce Kilmer: 1917

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Had to Get on That Soap Box Again

It has been quite a while since I have posted, primarily because life, work and formation has kept me so busy. But when I saw the attached article, I had to comment. The article covered how our local airline, Delta, will probably lose $400 million due the situation in Japan.

So that is what we have come to; it all comes back to money. Let's forget about all of the suffering that is going on and the sacrifice that those men (and possibly women) are making to get the nuclear reactors under control. The people of Japan will have a difficult road ahead and for the nuclear power workers, they will most likely lose their lives for their homeland. I could care less about Delta Airlines losing a few million out of all of this. If the Japan market is so important to them, we should be hearing how the company plans to support the people of Japan in this difficult time.

It makes me very sad.

Please pray for the people of Japan, their struggle has just begun.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth Part II

With the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's new book Jesus of Nazareth - Part II, he reinforces the Vatican II teaching that the Jewish people were not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. The book has been praised, worldwide, by people of good will and reinforces what John Paul II began (the implementation of Nostra Aetate). The Anti-Defamation League put out a statement on the book last Wednesday.

This issue begs the question. With this sea-change in teaching, how do we put into context previous church teachings on the role of the Jews in the death of Jesus. It is clear previous teachings were flawed and had dire consequences for the Jewish people. How do we as Christians explain this to people?

To me it is an example of Church's continued growth in understanding of divine revelation. Divine truths do not change, but our understanding of them do if our underlying assumptions are flawed. The Church must be able to reflect its teachings through the lens of total freedom; free from all of the influence that originates from man (culture, etc.) and focus on those from God. It brings me joy to know that when Church leaders recognize the truth, they express this truth to the people of God. I think Pope Benedict did just that.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Christians in the Holy Land

I recently discovered a magazine that covers issues surrounding in the near east. The magazine is a publication of a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support of all peoples in the region. There is a great article about Syria's Christian Valley. Take a look.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feast Day of St Polycarp

Today is the Feast Day of St Polycarp; a disciple of John and Bishop of Smyrna. With the new deacons in Atlanta, it is nice to go back and read the words of this Father of the Church and his perspective on diaconal ministry.

Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians 5:2

In like manner deacons should be blameless in the presence of His righteousness, as deacons of God and Christ and not of men; not calumniators, not double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all things, compassionate, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord who became a minister (deacon) of all. For if we be well pleasing unto Him in this present world, we shall receive the future world also, according as He promised us to raise us from the dead, and that if we conduct ourselves worthily of Him we shall also reign with Him, if indeed we have faith.
St Polycarp, pray for us.

New Deacons Humbled as They Begin Ministry

New Deacons Humbled as They Begin Ministry

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Three Most Profound Ideas I Have Ever Had

The Three Most Profound Ideas I Have Ever Had

Photos: Favorite Churches

Stained Glass Window: Ste Mere Eglise

This is one of my favorite stained glass windows. While touring Europe, I was accustomed to stained glass windows with people dress in ancient costume. In this one, we see airborne soldiers dropping from the sky in uniforms from WWII. All this while, under the watchful eyes of Jesus and our blessed Mother.

Exterior: St Mere Eglise

This is the exterior of the village church of Ste Mere Eglise. This is one of the locations where the first US troops dropped into Normandy the night before D-day. They still have a simulation of the American Soldier that landed on the church and was stuck there while the village was still occupied by the Germans . You can see the parachute on the right side of the clock tower.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Uga VIII laid to rest in Sanford Stadium; passed away in his sleep, on his bed, with his toys

For those of you not from the State of Georgia, UGA VIII is the beloved mascot of University of Georgia. Although he makes appearances at football games, he transcends football and is a symbol for the school. He represents strength, courage and loyalty as well as a kind and playful pet. He represents what we like to see in ourselves and our fellow man. That is why so many people are mourning his passing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Deacons in Atlanta

Tomorrow I will have the pleasure to serve as an usher at the ordination of 15 wonderful men to the diaconate. I have had the pleasure to know these men for all of my years of formation and it is strange that they are no longer attending classes at the St Stephen Center. Their encouragement will be missed. Please say a prayer for these wonderful men and their upcoming ministry to the Church.

Bill Bohn
Leonard Chambliss
Bob Grimaldi
Rick Kaszycki
Norm Keller
Ken Lampert
Scott Medine
Trinti Merlo
Bill O'Donoghue
Larry Welsh
Gary Schantz
Steve Shawcross
Mark Scholander
Dave Thomasberger
Curt Marsh