Sunday, April 20, 2008


You knew that it had to come. The Protestants would get their placards greased up and stapled onto stakes to express their hatred for the Pope. Where do these "Christians" come from? Well, there's the "former" priest who now is speaking on television and "U-Tube" and other places. 20 years a priest he was. If he knew any better, and if he was able to run to his "Sola Scriptura" environment, he would somehow get the message that he is still a priest. He might even discover that we are all priests. So why, all of a sudden is he famous? Is it because he can bill himself as a "former" priest? By the way, there is a former nun, too.

Then, of course there are the those who hate the Catholic "System" of running after documents that prove that they have received the sacraments. Ah, yes, the sacraments, those points of idolatry that God warned us against. We know why they are idolatrous because they take away the time that is so precious for baseball, football, soccer, hockey, debate team, drum and bugle, etc.
Of course we can't forget that all religions are about the same anyway. After all, we pray to the same God. Catholics just don't get it. Lutherans get abortions; Anglicans have female priests and homosexual bishops with live-in partners; many Catholic priests are homosexuals, so what's the big deal?

What's the Pope doing here telling us that he has something to tell us that sits on the bottom line of virtue?

I have something to tell you. I don't care whether or not you like it.
I too am a priest. Ordained a missionary on December 19, 1965 by Monsignor Cunial, Ordinary of Rome. I am still a priest. I am a priest forever according to the order of Melkisedek.
I am now a layman, "reduced" to the "order of laity" by decree of the Holy See...In Latin, a language that I still understand.
I am one of thousands of priests, reduced to the order of laity who are still dedicated to the Mother that we still love without measure, The Bride of Christ, Our Church. About one month ago, the Italian newspaper, "Corriere della Sera" (Evening News), semi official organ of the Vatican created a long article showering the laicized priests of the world with blessings and gratitude.

There are thousands of us who are standing by our pastors, zealously providing Bible Studies, Adult Faith Formation Classes, Liturgy training, parish administration, electronic evagelization and many other things. We do not make it on to ANTI-CATHOLIC talking-heads television programs, we're too busy making sure that you have better connections with God on Sunday and through the week.

You can go back to the article I wrote about the impact that the Pope has on the world. Don't you remember the funeral of JP II ? Don't you remember the report of the election of Josef Ratzinger and the pictures of him saying that he was taking the name, "Benedict"? Can't you bring yourself to wonder how the Pope can cause the miracle of commercial television eliminating their ads for continuous coverage? Doesn't it make you wonder how the president of the U.S. can greet the Pope into our country with a gracious, "Welcome, Holy Father."? Doesn't it make you wonder why people of all religious traditions and groups can gather to feel the spiritual emanations from a frail, but tough, human being? Doesn't it make you wonder why these "former" priests can turn into agents of revolution against their mother church? Doesn't it make you wonder how these agents of negativity can be so insensitive to the spiritual wave while so many others of all bands on the spectrum are feeling it?

I dare to say that we all all look to Pope Benedict XVI for the truth that supports our morality. EVERYONE knows that Benedict XVI will tell the truth. Rock-bottom, non-negotiable truth. No abortion; no stem-cell research; no homosexual marriage; no death penalty; no torture; no whimsical wars; wider borders; better wages and better, much better health care. You don't have to be Catholic to listen to this, and you don't have to be Catholic to obey it. It all comes from God and God is for us all...after all, He created us all.

And the Bishop of Rome is the Bishop of us all. He is the Prophet of our age.


Tell this to that "former" priest because you heard it from me, an actual layman, proud member of the order of the laity. I love Benedict XVI. He won't let you cry at my funeral.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Proud to be Catholic. That's right. Whenever the world needs a little shaking up, the country that takes up less ground than most municipalities in the world has the tools. Whenever the white robed leader of that Church/State steps out onto the world stage, God is telling us that it's spiritual seismic time.

That has perhaps not been truer than it is these days. The leader of the Catholic Church wields his portfolio with deft strokes of political acumen and enlightening spiritual insight. He speaks with authority not only to Catholics but to all peoples of the world. Take him or leave him, Benedict XVI is going to make you think. Take him or leave him, you won't forget what he told you. Like it or not, if he looks at you, you won't forget that either. Not only is he a powerful intellect, he is a spiritual power. He is also a true gentleman. He is courtly and polite. He is firm because he is sure of himself, intellectually and emotionally. He is fearless and daunting because of it. Yes, world, when your Pope moves, the air swirls all over the entire planet.

It is impressive to see the attention that this sacrament of God's presence on earth can generate from all stripes of human beings. It is impressive to see that the way the Pope moves over the earth is reminiscent of the mental images that are evoked in our minds when we read the derring do of Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses and so many other bigger than life Biblical characters. It is impressive to see that the world can bow to this living Messenger of the Word. It is always moving to see how the world comes together at a Pope's funeral. It is many times more moving to witness the swirl of leaves and the bending of the oaks of power as this living Apostle carves his path through the morass human behavior. We see it as the parting of the inimical waters so that the Spirit can move freely and bless them so that when the flood comes crashing down after His passing, it will wash and fertilize rather then drown and swamp. Yes, for just a little while, the Potomac and the Hudson will taste just like the Tiber. Thank you God for giving us that blessing.

Thank you, God for sharing your presence with us in such a graphic way. There are few indeed who can bring the corporate media giants to operate without commercial breaks. You can. You do. Alive or dead.

Gordon Brown sure picked a great time to come to Washington, didn't he?

I couldn't keep myself from making that remark. Did I just give you all a chance to cry at my funeral?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


As the saying goes, "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that complaint, I'd be drinking Pernod and Champagne on the Riviera." Read on to see where my nickels have gone.

In a parish that shall remain nameless, some three or four weeks ago, on Easter Sunday a survey was conducted to welcome those who don't come often and to find out what could be done to give them more satisfaction as members of the parish. In a parish of some 15,000 members (conservative estimate), one response among others came back with the comment, "would like
to learn more about the Catholic Faith." Since the email address of the parishioners (a couple) was on the return card, it was decided to send this couple a personal response. Since is privy to the response, and since we are keeping
this anonymous, here is the response.

I got your card on my desk in late March. I called your number but had no luck getting through to you. Now I read the card a little more closely and realize that you have an Email address.
I notice that you checked the box that says, "I would like to learn more about the Catholic Faith." My wise crack answer to that is, "Don't we all!".
My serious answer is this. St. Christopher has many opportunities for people to gather a deeper intellectual and spiritual appreciation for the Catholic Faith, especially geared to adults. Here are some of them, in English and in Spanish.

Every Sunday at 11:00 AM RCIA Inquirers class 1 hour. Some explanation is required for you to get a better idea of what happens there.
Every Sunday at 1:30 PM RICA Inquirers Class in Spanish. Same comment.
Every Tuesday at 9:30 AM Systematic Bible study in English
Every Tuesday at 7:30 PM Systematic Bible study in English
Every Wednesday at 9:30 AM Systematic Bible study in English.
Every Thursday at 10:00 AM Systematic Bible study in Spanish

Every Monday at 7:00 PM there is a session with the Jovenes Para Cristo group. They are "Jovenes" because they are not yet as old as I am. This is a lively group where the Spanish Language dominates.
Also every Monday at 7:00 PM, and also in Spanish, there is a session of the "Caminando con Cristo" group.

Every year, beginning mid August there is a seven session curriculum that is offered to the parents of the children who are going to attend the Faith formation Sessions. Every one is invited to participate in these classes. Just as with all other educational opportunities, this event is advertised and published on a weekly basis in the parish bulletin.
Every year there is also a four month curriculum for those adults who have yet to be confirmed. These classes take place on Wednesday evening from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM from late January to Mid May. They, just like every other presentation of our faith, are open to everyone and they are announced in the parish bulletin.

Finally, there is a weekly online Catholic Magazine called This magazine is emailed to the subscribers every Friday AM while we are tucked away in our beds, re-constructing ourselves for the day to come. It is a Catholic Life-Style magazine which uses the Sunday Bible readings as its foundation for the majority of the articles. Please click here and you will be able to peruse the latest edition of the magazine which was sent by email just recently.

Besides what we have noted above, please note that there are other annual events that I did not name, like the final week of January Adult Faith formation Consortium (English and Spanish) and the Bible Camp for children, (English) to which adults are also invited, which happens during the last full week of June every year.

I invite you to feel free to give me a telephone call at your convenience. It's a cell phone, so don't be shy. If I don't answer, it's because I am being polite to someone or some event. I will call you back. Thank you for having the patience to read such a lengthy letter.
It is the hope and the prayer of the parish that everyone receive the spiritual and intellectual nourishment required to be a holy disciple of Jesus.

That's the answer that was sent to the respondents. Now here is my add-on to the answer.

Notice that all of the above is really impressive. There is a lot of opportunity for adults there. I would be willing to gamble that the children of this parish perhaps swallow about 80 or 90 per cent of the educational resources of the parochial operation with perhaps more than 100 volunteers. I would like to point out that all of the above is directed at passive behavior. We have this class, you come, listen and go home and we will have fulfilled your wish to teach you more about our Catholic faith. I know that I will get into trouble for this, but I have to say that we have to exercise some active behavior when we seem to know more about our Catholic Faith. We have to give Jesus some of our time in on-the-job-training. This is the kind of "multi-media" learning that contributes to making us stronger and more convinced disciples. Yes, we have to dedicate some time as volunteers. Sometimes we serve as assistants so that the practices that are needed will seep into the depths of our soul. The nice part about Church work/learning is that it is portable. The Apostles started in Israel and had success all over the world. They learned part of what they did in he Bible, but they learned a lot from following Jesus around too.

Yes, dear Catholic, I enjoin you to stop asking to be fed and start practicing how it feels to be an active disciple.

Yikes, I can see the veins standing up in your neck. You are thinking that some old man like I am can't possibly be relating to the reality in which you live. You know what? I agree. It is up to you to decide at what level you are going to introduce yourself into the working dicipleship of Jesus Christ. You have to decide whether 40 hours per year is doable or not. You have to
decide whether 5 hours per week is possible. It is your life. It is your soul. It is your relationship with Jesus. It is your call to answer the dictate of Jesus, "Go for and baptize all nations, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." When we answer that call, we learn, we grow and we progress, those around us do too. "Classes" are good, practice is better.

You follow Jesus like He wants us to, and you will not cry at my funeral and you will understand why others will not cry at yours. They will know where you are, and what's to cry about that?