Friday, June 24, 2005

adventures on God's green earth

This weekend and all next week I'll be gone on various discernment adventures on "God's green Earth" (as Michael Medved likes to call it).

Today after work I'm heading to the Blue River for camping and canoeing with my discernment group, Men in Black. Our Vocation Director, Fr. Bill Bowling, is taking us and I'm pretty excited about it. He's bringing a few high schoolers who've expressed interest in the priesthood so I hope I'll be able to encourage them to pursue further discernment. This trip with them totally reminds me of something our late Holy Father did when he was a young priest, taking youth on adventures in the wilderness, sharing his joy for life and the priesthood.

I'll be back Saturday night, then going to Holiday World with the family, then on Tuesday I'll be heading to the New River for whitewater rafting with a couple priest-friends of mine and one of their friends.

I've never been whitewater rafting before and I've been assured it's "no big deal" but I'm still a little squeamish...I'm not much of an outdoorsie kinda guy. I guess the thought of sharing the experience with two priests that I greatly admire is comforting!

p.s. Here's another MIB group I found on the internet from the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota. Their Q&A seems orthodox enough but their promotion of the priesthood is a little gimmicky. The site looks cool tho!

prayer for intercession of JP the Great

Yesterday the Diocese of Rome published the written prayer to implore favors through the intercession of the late Pope John Paul II:

O Blessed Trinity,
We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

new art

Too my trusty two or three readers out there :) how 'bout that new art!? Much thanks goes to Bryan at QuodLibeta for exposing us all to this awesome Catholic line art. If this isn't P.O.D., I don't know what is!

Sunday, June 19, 2005


See Fr. Paul's parishes in the previous post or here:

Also, don't miss:

busy weekend

This weekend I had spiritual direction with Fr. Paul Beach and it was very busy, but an awesome experience.

Here's how the weekend usually goes:


  • Emcee Mass at St. Martin's in Flaherty and then another at St. John's in Brandenburg
  • Return home to Louisville

What made this weekend particularly busy was the addition of St. John's parish picnic all day Saturday, a baptism after the Mass at St. Martin's on Saturday night, and a late night Mass at St. John's (9:30pm) for the picnic workers. Then on Sunday after the Mass at St. John's Father invited me to hang out with him and his family at BBC for lunch and a brew or two.

The weekend was awesome and a good example of a typical, busy weekend. We spent alot of time at the picnic. Father made a point to go to each booth and laugh and carry on with all of the workers and many of the parishioners and locals who came to the picnic. I usually hate small talk but I saw from Father that sometimes it's really the small talk that counts. It's good for a priest to be joyful and spirited. People like to see a happy, joyful priest who takes time to laugh and spend time with them. We even helped tear down the booths before the late night Mass.

The baptism was awesome :) My first one that I served. The little baby boy that Fr. baptized was completely adorable. They had him dressed up in a little white tux and he was completely content to receive the waters of baptism. The poor parents and godparents; I'm sure in every picture they'll see me in the background in my cassock and surplice smiling from ear to ear! I was so proud and happy that I felt like it was my own son! And the fact that the father was in the military and made a special effort to be there, made it extra freakin cool.

Next week I'm going rafting...I can't wait!

Mary, Mother of my weak but happy heart, Pray for Us!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A visit to Our Lady after Holy Communion

Mother, upon my lips today
Christ's Precious Blood was laid
That Blood which centuries ago
Was for my ransom paid;
And half in love and half in fear
I seek for aid from Thee,
Lest what I worship, rapt in awe,
Should be profaned by me.

Wilt Thou vouch safe as Portress Dear
To guard these lips today
Lessen my words of idle mirth,
And govern all I say;
Keep back the sharp and quick retorts
That rise so easily,
Soften my speech with gentle art
To sweetest charity.

O Mother! Thou art mine today,
By more than double right!
A soul where Christ reposed must be
Most precious in Thy sight;
And Thou canst hardly think of me
From Thy Dear Son apart,
So give me, from myself and sin,
A refuge in Thy heart.

O Mary, O most pure Dove,
please intercede for me with
Your Divine Son Jesus,
for you are His Immaculate
Mother, and He can refuse
you nothing.

Christ chooses his apostles

Father Cantalamessa on Choosing the Twelve Apostles
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Gospel

ROME, JUNE 10, 2005 ( In his commentary on this Sunday's readings, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, discusses how Christ choose his apostles and founded the Church on the principle of service, not power.

Matthew 9:36-10:8

He Chose the 12 and Sent Them

In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus "calls" to himself the Twelve and makes them "Apostles." Therefore he "sends" them to do what he did: to preach the kingdom, to take care of the sick, to free people from fear and demonic powers. He tells them: "Freely you received. Give freely."

That day Jesus decided to inaugurate the future structure of his Church. She would have a hierarchy, a government, namely, the men "called" by him and "sent" to continue his work. It is because of this that the Church is defined as "one, holy, catholic and apostolic," because it is founded on the Apostles.

But all these notions of harvest and laborers, flock and shepherds, governors and governed do not enjoy a good press today. We live in an atmosphere of democracy and equality among men. If someone must exercise authority he must do so, we think, in our name, in as much as we ourselves, with elections, confer the mandate on him. Hence the widespread rejection or disparagement of the hierarchy of the Church: Pope, bishops, priests.

One constantly runs into people, especially college and university students, who have invented their own Christianity. They have, at times, a notable religious sense, beautiful sentiments. They say that, if they wish to, they address God directly; however, they do not want to hear talk of the Church, of priests, of going to Mass and other such things. Their motto: "Christ yes, the Church no."

Undoubtedly the Church can and must be more democratic, that is, the laity should have a greater voice in the election of pastors and the way they exercise their function. But the Church cannot be reduced altogether to a democratically governed society, with decisions made from below. She is not something that men establish on their own initiative, for their good. If the Church was only this, there would no longer be any need for her; the state or a philanthropic society would suffice!

The Church is Christ's institution. Her authority does not come from the consensus of men; it is a gift from above. Because of this, even in the most democratic form we might desire for the Church, she will always be about authority and apostolic service. This is not, or should never be, about superiority and power, but about "free" service, the giving of one's life for the flock, as Jesus said when speaking of the good shepherd.

What keeps some people alienated from the institutional Church are, in the majority of cases, the defects, inconsistencies and errors of the leaders: inquisitions, prosecutions, incorrect use of power and money, scandals. All these things are, sadly, true, though often exaggerated and regarded outside any historical context. We priests are the first ones to be conscious of our misery and inconsistency, and to suffer because of it.

The Church's ministers are "chosen among men" and are subject to the temptations and weaknesses of all men. Jesus did not intend to found a society of the perfect. The Son of God -- said Scottish writer Bruce Marshall -- came into this world and, as the good carpenter he became in Joseph's school, gathered the most twisted and knotty boards he found and built a boat with them -- the Church -- which, despite everything, has withstood the sea for 2,000 years!

Priests "clothed in weakness" have an advantage: They are more prepared to be compassionate of others, to not be surprised by any sin or misery, to be, in a word, merciful, which is perhaps a priest's most beautiful quality. Perhaps, too, precisely because of this, Jesus placed Simon Peter, who denied him three times, at the head of the apostles: he had to learn to forgive "seventy times seven."

Monday, June 13, 2005

oops, how could I forget!?

I can't believe I forgot to mention one thing about my vacation:


He was there on vacation with his extended family the same week we were! I saw him at Mass at Holy Family Church on Sunday but wasn't sure if it was him or not. (It was a surprisingly orthodox Church, despite the stadium layout) I saw him again at daily Mass so I decided to ask one of the ladies that ran the Church's gift shop if it was really him. She said it was! So Nick and I (not thinking to buy one there) scurried all over the Island trying to find a bookstore that carried his books. We finally found First Comes Love at a Barnes and Noble!

So the next day we had our book and pen ready for an autograph. We tried to catch him before Mass but weren't able to. After Mass we went outside and waited for him, his wife Kimberly (not to be confused with this Kimberly Hahn), and their son Jeremiah to exit the Church. His son did first so we asked him if he thought it would be OK to get an autograph from his dad. At that moment Kimberly and he came out and were so gracious! Nick and I talked with him for like 10 or 15 minutes! He was very kind and actually wanted to know stuff about us, like what we were doing there, where we're from, if we've graduated college, etc. We talked about theology, apologetics, and his new book coming out!

I asked him to pray for me as I'm discerning the priesthood and he asked me where I might go to seminary. I mentioned that the Archdiocese uses St. Meinrad, St. Mary's in Baltimore, and the Theological College at CUA (I forgot to mention Mundelein, drat!). He said he's heard great things about Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg and mentioned that he'll be teaching a scripture class at St. Vincent's in Latrobe, PA. He said if I mentioned St. Vincent's to Archbishop Kelly then he'd put in a plug for me! One note: After I mentioned TC at CUA he said "I wouldn't recommend WTC as they have some growth to do in the way of appreciation of Church Tradition." I'm wondering if he's confusing TC with the Washington Theological Union?

Finally, he asked me to pray for his eldest sons who are also discerning the priesthood and the Fathers of Mercy. I mentioned that I'd spent a weekend with them once and expressed how impressed I was by them. Then Nick and I both shared how the most powerful confessions we'd ever had were with the Fathers of Mercy who have a special devotion to the Sacrament of Confession. He was moved by our experience with the Fathers. What a great, great man. If you're Catholic and you're reading this, by all means, buy a Scott Hahn book!

St. Matthew's vocation

I like this about St. Matthew, my namesake:

Father Cantalamessa on St. Matthew's Vocation
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Gospel

ROME, JUNE 3, 2005 ( In his commentary on this Sunday's readings, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, talks about the calling of St. Matthew.

* * *

Matthew (9:9-13)

God Desires Mercy

There is something moving in the Gospel of the day. Matthew does not tell us about something that Jesus did or said to somebody, rather what he said and did to him. It is an autobiographical page, the story of his meeting with Christ which changed his life.

"Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' He rose and followed him." The incident is not mentioned in the Gospels, however, because of the personal importance invested in Matthew. The interest is due to what follows after the moment of the calling. Matthew wished to give a great banquet in his home, to bid farewell to his former work companions, "publicans and sinners."

To the indefectible reaction of the Pharisees, Jesus replies: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.'" What does that phrase mean, which Jesus quoted from the prophet Hosea? Perhaps it means that all sacrifice and mortification is useless, and that it is enough to love for everything to go well? This passage might lead some to reject Christianity's ascetic dimension, as residue of an afflictive and Manichean mentality that must be overcome.

First of all we must observe a profound change of perspective. In Hosea, the expression refers to man, to what God desires of him. God desires love and knowledge of man, not external sacrifices and holocausts of animals. When Jesus expresses it, instead, he refers to God. The love that is mentioned is not the one that God requires of man, but the one he gives man. "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" means: I desire to use mercy, not to condemn. Its biblical equivalent is what is said in Ezekiel: "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (33:11).

God does not desire "to sacrifice" his creature, but to save him. With this clarification, one also understands better Hosea's expression. God does not desire sacrifice at all costs, as if he enjoyed seeing us suffering; nor does he desire sacrifice made to claim rights and merits before him, or out of a misunderstood sense of duty. Instead he desires sacrifice that is required by his love and by the observance of the Commandments. "One does not live in love without sorrow," says the Imitation of Christ, and daily experience itself confirms it. There is no love without sacrifice. In this connection, St. Paul exhorts us to make of all our life "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God," (Romans 12:1).

Sacrifice and mercy are good things, but they can become evil if they are badly distributed. They are good things if (as Christ did) one chooses sacrifice for oneself and mercy for others. They become evil if the opposite is done, and mercy is chosen for oneself and sacrifice for the rest, if one is indulgent with oneself and rigorous with others, always ready to excuse ourselves and merciless when judging others. Have we nothing to change in regard to our conduct?

We cannot conclude the commentary on Matthew's vocation without affectionate and grateful acknowledgement to this evangelist who accompanies us with his Gospel in the course of the whole of this first liturgical year.

Caravaggio, who painted "The Calling of St. Matthew," also left a picture of the evangelist while he was writing his Gospel. An early version was destroyed in Berlin during the last war. In a second version, which has come down to us, he is kneeling on the footstool, with his pen in hand, listening attentively to the angel (his symbol) who transmits divine inspiration to him. Thank you, St. Matthew. Without you, how much poorer would be our knowledge of Christ!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

more excerpts

While on vacation I took much time on the beautiful Hilton Head Island to do some reading on the book Fr. Paul assigned me, Priests for the Third Millenium by Archbishop Timothy Dolan. I mentioned this book in a previous post. Here are some more Marian excerpts:

On how to "grow in our love with Jesus and his Church":
When we are in love with someone, we get to know that person's family and friends, don't we?... Well, we want Jesus and his Church to be the love of our lives. Get to know his family and friends! Particularly is this true of his Mother. So close are we to him that his Mother becomes our Mother. Thus has devotion to our Lady become a standard of priestly spirituality. We need to recognize that there are different ways of loving Mary. How we love her is an open question; that we love her is not. A filial devotion to the Mother of the First Priest is likewise a definite part of our spirituality and a practical way to grow in our love of Jesus. -- page 45
On fidelity:
We have the perfect example of fidelity in our Blessed Mother, Mary. We call her both "the cause of our joy" and "Our Lady of Sorrows." She is ever close to him, the faithful disciple and Mother, at the happiest moment of salvation history - Bethlehem; and the saddest - Calvary.
  • from the wood of the manger to the splinters of the cross;
  • from the swaddling clothes to the bloody shroud;
  • from the bouncing new life to the lifeless body...
  • faithful woman, whose only message to us would be her last recorded words, "Do whatever he tells you!"
I once heard a psychologist say that the first moment a child is conscious of his or her own unique identity is when that baby stares into the eys of its mother. you and I find ourselves in prayer staring into the eyes of our spiritual Mother - it might be the haunting eyes of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the soothing eyes of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the confident eyes of the Salus Populi Romani (note: "salvation of the Roman People"). As we gaze into the eyes of our Blessed Mother, we become conscious of our identity: a child of God, beloved of the Father, redeemed by Jesus, called by the Eternal High Priest to be configured to him at the very depths of our heart. It is from the consciousness of that supernatural identity, learned from her, that fidelity to God, his Church, his call comes.

As Pope John Paul II said in his Holy Thursday Letter to Priests in 1995: "If the priesthood is by its nature ministerial, we must live it in union with the Mother who is the Handmaid of the Lord. Then our priesthood will be kept safe in her hands, indeed in her heart." -- page 74

Mary, Handmaid of the Lord, pray for us!

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Well, I'm back from the family vacation in Hilton Head and it was awesome. It was very relaxing and I feel refreshed and energized to come back and continue the "ministries" our Lord lays before me with renewed vigor.

I'm a little anxious about returning to work on Monday to see if my teammate completed the project I abanded at about 75% completion to go on vacation. But I'm even more anxious to check my work email which is the address most people have, including my vocation director. I'll probably stop by the office tomorrow to wade through them all and see if Fr. Bowling has emailed me with any updates on the application process.

I still need to get a physical and send him a digital pic, Wal-Mart style. I'd like to find a good, orthodox Catholic doctor for my physical because I like supporting Catholic professionals, but time is of the essence and physicals are hard to get during the Summer months.

I also need to have my "big meeting" (as he puts it) with Fr. Bowling and also have a meeting with him and my parents. Then on to the seminary application process (!) *sigh* More on all this as I hear about it.

Mary, Teacher of Patience, pray for us!

Friday, June 03, 2005

trials and interviews

Tonight was particularly trying... being hassled to my face by someone in authority at my parish for my "conservative agenda", my views that "no one else shares", my "preachiness", and for being out of touch with my parish's "philosophy and theology."

I've told myself I didn't want this blog to be a diary, per se... just a record of my discernment so close friends could keep up with how I'm doing. But the more I think about it... this incident is involved in my discernment. It helped me get a taste for what may come my way if Christ confirms me on this path toward his priesthood and if I try to be faithful to His Teachings. This is what I could get.

Two of the Spiritual Works of Mercy are to "Bear wrongs patiently" and "Forgive all injuries"... I have much more room to grow in these areas...I tried to do those tonight.

So I was all shaken up from that and then had to go right to my last interview with the Archdiocese. Christ is so beautiful... how he allows us to carry his cross so generously... this interview was the most challenging of the four :) But it was good... can carrying a cross be anything but?

Father was one of the elderly priests of the Archdiocese so he was wise, soft spoken, and careful and finally probed me like I wanted to be. Tonight's talk was on decision making and personal spirituality. He exposed all my shortcomings :) After our hour long talk he learned that I have trouble making life decisions, need to spend more time reading the Bible, need to devote at least 15 minutes a day for spiritual reading, and need to pray the Rosary more :)...oh...and I need to start exercising too :)

I was glad he cared about those things. I was glad he thought they were important. I was thankful that he advised that I try to improve in those areas. He gave me a lot of great advice and little antecdotes here and there.

The other interviews went well too: Sexuality and Interpersonal Relationships was difficult, but important, and the lady I interviewed with was a great conversationalist; it wasn't explicit or confessional at all. Finance and Debt was good too, the gentleman I spoke with gave me some good advice on how to handle my financial situation. Finally, Priestly Call and Understanding went well and offered the most lively discussion of the four, I felt very comfortable.

Now I guess that's it...still need to get a physical... and then wait for word from my Vocation Director... one last meeting with him and then onto the Archbishop!

Why do I sound so bleak on here? I really am excited...just having a hard time expressing it.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King.
-- Pope Pius XII

Oh Blessed Mother, my Mother, I love you so so much
-- Me

Thursday, June 02, 2005

alot going on

Does anybody read this?

I hope to post about my interviews last one is tonight.

Hopefully I'll post before tomorrow...the family's going on vacation all next week to Hilton Head Island, and we're leaving Friday after work!!!

this is beautiful

Pope Likens the Visitation to a Eucharistic Procession
Benedict XVI Offers Meditation at Rosary

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2005 ( Mary's visitation to her cousin Elizabeth was in a certain sense the first Eucharistic procession in history, says Benedict XVI.

On Tuesday, the last day of May, the Pope joined the conclusion of the rosary, which many faithful prayed in the Vatican Gardens, led by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the vicar general for Vatican City State.

Noting that Pope John Paul II liked to recall Mary as the "Eucharistic woman," Benedict XVI noted that that day the liturgy celebrated the feast of the Blessed Virgin's visitation to Elizabeth.

"Carrying the recently conceived Jesus in her womb, Mary goes to visit her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, whom everyone considered sterile, and yet she had reached the sixth month of a gestation gifted by God," Benedict XVI said.

"She is a young maiden, but she is not afraid, because God is with her, within her," he said. "In a certain sense, we can say that her trip was -- we like to underline it in this Year of the Eucharist -- the first Eucharistic procession in history.

"When she enters Elizabeth's home, her greeting is brimming with grace: John leaps with joy in his mother's womb, as if perceiving the coming of the One whom he will have to announce to Israel."

A Magnificat

"The sons exult, the mothers exult," the Pope said. "This meeting, full of joy of the Spirit, finds its expression in the canticle of the Magnificat."

He asked: "Is not this also the joy of the Church, which receives Christ incessantly in the holy Eucharist and takes him to the world with the testimony of active charity, full of faith and hope?

"Yes, to receive Jesus and to take him to others is the true joy of the Christian! Let us follow and imitate Mary, profoundly Eucharistic soul, and our whole life will become a Magnificat."

partner school

Not only did B16 mention the school of Mary a while back, but recently he named our partner school as well. At the end of yesterday's general audience he said:

"We begin today the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart," he said. "Let us pause frequently to contemplate this profound mystery of Divine Love. "

Dear young people, in the school of the Heart of Christ, you will learn to assume with seriousness the responsibilities that await you."

Don't forget, the solemnities of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary are Friday and Saturday.

Mary, Mother of the Most Sacred Heart, pray for us!