Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Speech All Kids (young and old) Need to Hear

I apologize, in advance,  for the sponsor of this video.   I wish CBS was a little more thoughtful on who sponsors a video when that video should be seen by young people.  It is a sign of our times.

All that said, it is still worth watching.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Next Man Who May Change this World

 We thought the computer revolution changed things.  This young man could change the world.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Power of Prayer

Many may not agree with me on this but I do believe that the recent turn of events in Syria is through Divine Intervention.  On Friday, it was almost a fait accompli that the United States was going to launch an attack on Syria, regardless of whether the American people, or the world for that matter, were against it.   President Obama had backed himself  into a corner and he had no other way out.

Then on Saturday, the world heeded the call of Pope Francis to participate in a day of prayer and fasting. 

On Monday morning, Secretary Kerry makes a "rhetorical" statement that if Assad gave up his chemical weapons, the attack would not be necessary.  In a matter of hours, the Russians endosed the idea, which was quickly followed by Syria's agreement.  Now the Russians are preparing a blueprint for this new plan and the President can do nothing but let the process play out with diplomacy.

It is only through Divine Intervention that an "off the cuff" remark by a State Department official can  lead to such a dramatic change in such a short perid of time.

Prayer Works.

Pope Francis, thank you and God bless you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

What Are Our Idols???

Great video I found over at the Anchoress

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


One of my favorite spots in Israel is Mt Tabor, the scene of the transfiguration of Christ.  The road up to the church is narrow and full of switchbacks.  Many of the passengers on the bus were unnerved by the precarious road as we weaved our way to the summit.  You could see the difficulty of climbing the mountain and imagine the thoughts going through the minds of Peter, James and John.  Why are you taking us here?

But they needed it; they needed strength for the difficulties ahead.  They needed to  see a vision of the glorified Jesus; to not give up hope in the future. 

The first church was built during the Crusader period and the ruins are still present. 

It was replaced by a beautiful church with a stunning view of the valley below, the Plains of Jezreel/Armageddon.

When I pray and imagine being on the mountain top with the resurrection cross of Jesus, this is where I go.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Interview: Pope Francis

Lest one hears too much spin in the media.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What is God.

Fr Barron again provides a wonderful explanation on the existence of God.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day of Days: June 6, 1944

In 2003, I took one of the most moving trips of my life.  I traveled with three fellow cyclists to ride our bicycles across the battlefields of D-Day.  We started our journey in England for the sole purpose of taking a ferry across the English Channel to start our journey like the soldiers did.  We landed in Normandy and proceeded to travel through the hedgerows to:

Utah Beach (Landing Area for US Troops)

St Mere Eglise (101st Airborne Objective to secure Utah Beachhead)

Pont du Hoc (US Army Ranger objective to destroy German fixed guns)

 Omaha Beach (Landing Area for US Troops and most costly in human life))

Through that journey I learned, first hand, the incredible sacrifice young men made for freedom in this country.  We can never understand the horror and the scars they brought home with them.  Yet came home and were part of the most prosperous period of US history.  We remember them as our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers.

We can never forget the sacrifice the made for us.

God Bless an God Speed to the greatest generation of Americans.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Best Grocery Store Ever

This store has always been fantastic to mothers, with parking spaces close to  the doors for expectant mothers.

I will also share a story about this chain.  Many years ago, when my wife was expecting our first child and in her 9th month, she went to Publix's to pick up some groceries.  She was only getting a few things so went to the express lane.  Unfortunately she had a few too many items, so the person at the cash register gave her a hard time for being in the express lane.  She came home crying because it was just one more thing and it was too much; she was uncomfortable, and now she could not focus.  Needless to say I was not very happy and called the manager of the store and complained that although she may have been in the wrong lane, giving a hard time to a woman that was so far along in her pregnancy was unacceptable.  I am sure my tone was not very nice.  He apologized and asked for my wife's name. 

They never cashed the check for the groceries.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do You Love Me? A Meditation on John 21:1-19

The English Language is, in many ways, one of the least descriptive languages in the world.  That fact can lead to a lot of misunderstandings and problems.  I was recently talking to some young people about marriage.  They had heard that over time, a married couple does not love each other in the same way as when they met.  That this love that brought them together had faded and they now needed to learn to live with one another; to create a life together without the intense feelings that they once had for one another. 

This belief is everywhere in the media and popular culture.  Hollywood is one of the best sources for how relationships dissolve in a matter of months or years.  So this belief is what society is teaching us.  That love is fleeting and once it is gone, you can to get out of it.  It is such a cynical and ignorant view about what Love really is. 

For young people, that worldview is a scary proposition. 

·      What if I marry someone but fall out of love?

·      What happens next?

o   Will we be miserable the rest of our lives?

o   Will we get a divorce?

What is the point of getting married?

As with a lot of things in society today, the meaning of things have been diminished.  They no longer have the power they once did .  The same can be said of Love. Today we can love just about anything.

·      We love pizza

·      We love football

·      We love our car
Really?  Do you really love your car?  If you do, your understanding of love is nothing more than anything that gives you pleasure at that given time.

Yet, we know that it is much more.  We know that Love is the most beautiful thing we will encounter in our lives.  It is what God is.  As a result, it is not that simple. 

As I said in the beginning, the English Language is one of the least descriptive languages that I have been exposed to.  A good example is just that word.   

What is Love? 

To the ancient Greeks and the Romans, one word could not describe this concept.  In fact, there were three major words that described this feeling.  These were:

Eros – What most people think of and that is romantic love; the love that gets your heart racing; your heart can actually hurt.

Filial – The love you have for family and friends

But the last one is the most important:

Agape – sacrificial love; love that you will do anything for; even to the point of death. 

In the English language, one word covers them all.  It is just not adequate.
And because of the simplicity of the English language, we do not really hear what is being said between Jesus and Peter.  We have all heard Jesus asked Peter 3 times, if he loved him and 3 times Peter said yes.  After each yes, Jesus gave Peter a command:

Feed my lambs

Tend my sheep

Feed my sheep

There have been many discussions for why Jesus asked him 3 times.   The most popular is that Jesus  wanted Peter to say he loved Him as many times as he denied Him.  But that does not tell the entire story.

In the Greek, Jesus asks Peter:

Do you Agape me?  Jesus is asking Peter if he is willing to sacrifice all for Him.

Peters answer is Yes, Lord I Filia you.  Wait a minute.  Peter just said he loves Jesus as a brother.  Not the same kind of Love.

Again Jesus says, Peter, do you Agape me?  And again Peter says yes, I Filia you.  Still, Peter does not get it.

And finally Jesus asked Peter at 3rd time, but this time he says to Peter, do you Filia me? And Peter says yes, I Filia you.

Jesus again goes to where Peter is, not where Christ wants him to be.  Even in His resurrected body he must again take on His humanity to relate to Peter.

But we also hear Jesus tell his disciples that when they are young they will do what they want, but when they get older:

you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go

Signifying that Peter will someday learn what Agape really means.  He too will sacrifice everything for Jesus Christ and His Church. 
Jesus tells us over and over again.  It is not about us!  It is about everyone but us!  Although it is contrary to popular culture, to be happy, you need to focus on others. 
God gave us these 3 loves for a reason.  We need Eros.  It is how we find our partner.  It is how we can forget the world and focus on one person; it is the power that leads us to come together to create new life.  But that is just the beginning.  That Eros can turn into a way to think about someone else and not ourselves.  Where their well-being is more important than ours.  That Eros turns to Agape.
Filial love is the love we share with families and friends.  In our lives we will have many people we call friends.  I remember when we were in Germany, that our friends (and they are friends) were surprised at the number of people we call "friends".  In Germany, most people you know are acquaintances, and only a few are friends.  But ask yourself, how many people do you know you could I call at 3 am because you need them and know that whatever you ask, they will be there?  Its not so many people is it. That is when it turns to Agape.  That is when Filial Love has reached perfection.

On my pre-ordination retreat, we were told that this is what we should all strive for.  To love people with a great sense of Agape.  That is how you can truly be someone’s friend; it is how you can understand the feelings between a couple that have celebrated 50 years of marriage.  It is how you can visualize your own life with someone forever, discarding the world view that society tries to feed you; knowing that it is a lie.  We were told to never use the word Love outside of the context of people.  When we do it, we diminish its power.   

When encounter Christ in our daily lives, you must remember:

He Died for you

He Died for you

He Died for you

There is no greater love.

Monday, April 29, 2013

St Catherine of Siena

St Catherine's Tomb, St Maria Supra Minerva, Rome
A saint and Doctor of the Church who had a great influence on the renewal of the Church in the 14th Century.

St Catherine, Pray for Us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Feast of St Mark: Facts About My Namesake

  • One of the original 70 Disciples of Christ
  • St Peters interpreter during his journey to Rome
  • Wrote down St Peters sermons
  • Wrote Gospel of St Mark in Rome
  • Founded Church in Alexandria
  • Patron Saint of Notaries
  • Symbol is the Winged Lion
  • Martyred during the reign of Nero in 68AD

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why I Am Catholic.

Fr Dwight Longenecker

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Its Good to Have Him Home

Last night at St Thomas the Apostle, Archbishop Gregory joined us for the confirmation of over 64 teenagers.  It was good to have him back in Atlanta after his trip to Rome to cover the Papal Conclave for ABC News.

As always, it was a joy to be in his presence.  The love and attention he showed for each of the confirmandi that evening is a testament to what a good Shepard is all about.  This mutual love was returned to him at the end of the Mass.  One after another, people came to him for photographs and expressions of thanks.  Although I know it had been a long day, he spent time with all of them and treated each one of them as if they were his family. 

He is a Good Shepard.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Today's Seminarians

Yes, they do Rock.....

What He Didn't Do

What Pope Francis did not do yesterday just may send shockwaves across the Vatican.  As recently reported from Inside the Vatican magazine, the Pope:

"...did not reconfirm all of the Curial posts that had been "zeroed out" by the renunciation by Benedict XVI of the papal throne."
This reconfirmation of posts usually happens within 24 hours of a new Pope being elected.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pope Benedict's Last Public Address as Pope

copyright: The Guardian

“I am simply a pilgrim that begins his last phase on this Earth," Benedict said.

"I would like to, with all my heart, my prayer and my reflection, with all the strength inside me, work for the common good and the good of the Church and humanity.

"I feel very supported by your sympathy.

"Lets move forward together, with the Lord, for the good of the Church and the world. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Der Dom: A Church Miracle

Copyright Exclusive Pix

I saw this photo recently in an article on the devastation of Germany during World War II.  In the photo is my favorite church in Europe, the Dom in Cologne, Germany.  It is by far one of the most grand and inspiring churches in the world.  One of the miracles of World War II was that this Cathedral, for the most part, was undamaged during the war.  Although you can see the destruction all around the Dom (Cologne was/is a major industrial center), the Cathedral was left intact.

I had heard stories that its survival was not a surprise since it was a landmark for pilot navigation.  However, those stories do not hold water due to the inaccuracy of weapons and from friends who lived during the time who say that during a bombing raid, the smoke was so thick around the city that it would have been obscured from view.  It was simply too big of a target to miss after so many years of war.

Needless to say, its survival during the war was a great gift and certainly a consolation for the civilians who lived in the area.  A sign of Gods presence, even in the most difficult of times.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fr Barron on Pope Benedict's Legacy

Why I Love Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was a busy day.  I was scheduled to conduct an Ash Wednesday Service at a local hospital as well as distributing ashes before and during the evening Mass.  After the day I really began to reflect on why I love Ash Wednesday, since one would suppose that the opposite would be true. 

Why, because it is the beginning of:
  •  A time of prayer, fasting and alms giving; 
  • A time of sacrifice.
 Why the joy?  Well let me count the ways:

  1. It is not a Holy Day of Obligation, so people come because they are called, by their own hearts, to do so;
  2. The Hospital Chapel was packed and when I was on the floor distributing ashes to patients, I was stopped in the hallway by staff and visitors requesting the mark of the season;
  3. At the church, there was a steady stream, all day, of people coming to receive ashes;
  4. When we stopped to prepare for Mass, the people kept coming and were disappointed that we were not continuing; the crowd grew so large that one of our priest (not celebrating the Mass) stepped up to continue the distribution;
  5. We had over 2,000 nails and pieces of sack cloth for people to take home and carry with them, every day, during the season of Lent and we had to go get more;
  6. At Mass, the crowd grew and grew and grew to the point that we had to divide portions of the Body of Christ so that everyone could receive;
  7. After Mass, the Commons area was packed with people because of the following Spanish Mass to the point where it was difficult to get to the Sacristy;
  8. And most importantly, the look in everyone's eyes, including the little ones,  after receiving this mark; a connection was made, it meant something to them.
That is why I love Ash Wednesday.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent Begins

Currently my favorite music when I want to relax.  It sounds like heaven (at least to me).


Recording found on the Whispers Blog

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Year in Service

Monday will be the first anniversary of my ordination to the Diaconate.  The year has been full of great experiences, growth in my spiritual life and service to the Church. 

Some of the greatest experiences actually came in the first week after ordination.  Karen and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. I could not believe that within one week of ordination, I was the Deacon of the Word for Mass at the Holy Sepulchre and in Christ's Tomb during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Being in that space was a gift I will never forget.

Ordination also brought me to a group devoted to the Blessed Mother.  Each week we recite a scriptural rosary in the prescence of the Blessed Sacrament.  It has become a blessing because my prayer life has improved and the fellowship is something that I needed. 

The first year also brings a search to find your way.  Although I am very active in the life of the Church, there is a deep desire to find your place; that ministry which captures your heart and leads others to Christ.  I pray for wisdom and patience.

The day of the anniversary will be spent at the funeral Mass for a wonderful woman and friend who passed from this life way too early.  At 50, she was much too young and one of the most kind and gentle souls you would ever have the pleasure to know.  She leaves behind a wonderful husband and a two year old daughter.  I thank God for the privilege of her presence in my life.  It seems proper that this is where I will be one year later; celebrating the life of this wonderful woman and doing what I can to comfort the family.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Power of Prayer

Grace Byrne, a  young runner from Athens Georgia, was stuck by a car during a training session.  A friend, Drew Haro,  decides to dedicate his run in a marathon in her honor so:

"On an unseasonably cool morning in Baton Rouge, Haro ran a personal-best time of 2 hours, 34 minutes and 2 seconds. It was just 20 seconds off the race record.
“Winning the race was a great metaphor for the race that Grace is in,” Haro said in a telephone interview from the Catholic Center. “My win can be symbolic of her winning the race of recovery that she is in.”

It didn’t take long for word to get back to Athens. Haro called Chris Byrne, Grace’s father, at the hospital that Sunday afternoon.  “Chris asked me what time I finished the race,” Haro said. “I told him it was about 10:30 that morning their time. He said, ‘Drew, I don’t know if you knew this, but earlier this weekend things were looking pretty bad."

So bad that the Byrne family was being prepared for the worst. Family was called in, as was Father Tom Vigliotta, a priest at the UGA Catholic Center. He was asked to deliver the sacrament of the sick.

“Say what you want about it,” Chris Byrne told Haro, “but shortly after you finished your race, the doctor came back and said ‘man, things have turned.’ Whether you offer that to prayer and people coming together or to one of those really nice coincidences, it’s a small miracle.”
 Read the entire story here:

Athens marathoner Drew Haro runs with Grace

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 Years

One Today

This poem was read at the inauguration yesterday.  It is quite good.

"One Today"
Richard Blanco

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper -- 
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives -- 

to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind -- our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me -- in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
 jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always -- home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country -- all of us --
facing the stars
hope -- a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it -- together

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Les Miserable: Go See This Movie

I was on my own last night, so I went to see Les Miserable.  Karen and I had seen the stage production on several occasions and the film that came out in the 1990s.  There is no comparison from what I have experienced last night.  This film captures the essence of Victor Hugo's novel and the struggles of life; how justice without mercy is dead.

This movie is deeply Christian (and Catholic) and cannot be completely understood without looking at it from that perspective.  One that many Christians may struggle to understand.

For the first time in many years I may watch the Oscars; to see if a truly beautiful film can still win.

Go see this movie.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Les Miseables: A Review

Another good movie review by Fr Barron.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So-Called Gay Marriage: A Dialogue | Crisis Magazine

The best summation on the debate supporting Traditional Marriage that I have read.

So-Called Gay Marriage: A Dialogue | Crisis Magazine

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Planned Parenthood reports record year for abortions | Almost 1 million deaths in 3 years

According to annual reports, the organization performed 332,278 abortions in 2009, 329,445 in 2010, making the total number of abortions in three years to 995,687.
The complete Washington Examiner article is linked below:

Planned Parenthood reports record year for abortions | WashingtonExaminer.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Journey of the Magi - TS Elliot

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Hobbit and Christian Faith

As Always, Fr Barron does a great job peeling back the Christian Message in a movie.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013