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