Showing posts from December, 2010

We've Got Your Back

On this last day of 2010, I went to a wake and Funeral Mass, for the mother of one of my brothers in Community.  I love my Lay Dominican Community.  And the outpouring of love and support is why.  The Funeral Home (Donovan-Aufiero Funeral Home) was crowded with my brothers, family, and friends.  After the priest led prayers in the parlor of the Funeral Home, he said he could feel and see the prayerful, and personal relationship that we all had with God.  It was kind of obvious.  We blew the priest over with EVERYBODY responding to the prayers.  Father said it was usually just himself and Mr. Aufiero praying, while everyone else listened.  Whereas, not only did we know what to respond, we did respond--a la Our Lady of Mercy Chapter style!

As you can see, Sacred Heart Church, Cambridge, MA is beautiful.  It's really head turning beautiful inside.  I walked in with the crowd and when I saw the altar from the entrance, I was awed.  I spontaneously whispered (Irish whisper--couldn'…

Drink and Be Merry

A friar walks into a bar and orders a beer.  Suddenly, a Jesuit runs in and yells, "Brother Diotrophes, come look, your house is on fire!"  The friar rushes out and then stops and thinks, "Wait a minute!  I don't own a house."

The friar sits back down and orders another beer.

Soon a Franciscan runs in and yells, "Brother Diotrophes, come look, your car is being stolen!"  The friar rushes out and then stops and thinks, "Wait a minute! I don't have a car."

The friar sits back down and orders another beer.

Soon a nun runs in and yells, "Brother Diotrophes, hurry up, you won the lottery and there's a million dollars waiting for you at the post office."  The friar jumps up, runs to the post office, and then realizes, "Hey, My name isn't Brother Diotrophes!"

Stress Coping Skills with Faith

In work today we had a Stress Management Class.  I didn't particularly learn anything, because I've been there before.  Heck!  I could teach the class.  I could teach a course.  I could write a book.  I'm referring to my Cronkhite Canada Syndrome, which is caused by stress.  But near the end, the facilitator asked us how we coped with stress.  Someone said they telephone their daughter, and another said she cooks.

No one said they meditate.  No one said they prayed.

No wonder they're stressed.  You can't do it alone.  You can't get through life by yourself.  Well, yeah, you can, but it won't be easy--not stress free.  We all need help.

Stress Coping Skills with Faith

Take care of yourself.  If you're not strong you can't help anyone else, not even yourself.
Pray.  You've got to communicate with God, and that means listen.  Praying is mostly listening--yeah, read that again.  Prayer is mostly listening.  That's meditation.  Complain, bitch, wha…

Mystic or Atheist?

Which are you?

In preparing for Sunday's Readings, I was reading Fr. Ron Rolheiser's explanation of Karl Rahner's description of the future, e.g., that we will either be mystics or non-believers.


I thought you'd never ask.  ;-)  Times are different.  Rahner saw a future hostile to religion.  It is true.  Our present culture does not support a religious centered mind set.  Think of Medieval times.  Life centered around the Church.  You woke to the Church bells.  Prayers were prayed all day long as the bells tolled the time for prayer.  I'm old enough to remember my immigrant grandparents and their strong faith.  The church was their educational and social center.  Most parishes had parochial schools.  Every family had children that grew up to be nuns and priests.  Doesn't everyone have aunts and uncles who were religious?

It's not that way, now.  In fact, to be religious, is counter cultural.  Sometimes I feel marginalized.  This is what Rahner meant, I …

Light of the Church

Can't wait.  This film was two years in the making.  The Dominicans from the Philippines  Province made this movie to coincide with the anniversary of the Order in 1216.  The backgrounds: scenery and props are pretty close to Dominic's time in Medieval history.  The actors are international and aimed to portray their roles to give a picture of the life of Saint Dominic and how the Dominican Order came into being.

St. Dominic as portrayed in the film is described for his selfless love for his brothers and sisters especially to those who need help the most, the oppressed and the lowly.
The verse in Matthew resonates in the film as a conviction of St. Dominic, the words of Jesus to his disciples, “…whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you do unto Me.” On his deathbed he said to his brothers, “Do not weep, I shall be of more use to you after death than I ever did in life.”

Prayer for Beatification and Canonization

This prayer is to be prayed privately, because it is not officially recognized, by church authorities.

O Lord of all that is good and holy. You see those of us who love and serve You faithfully. If it be Your Will, I ask you to glorify Your faithful friar, Father Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. he exemplified Jesus' teachings on mercy, forgiveness, and love. He taught the forgotten, the poor, the marginalized, and the imprisoned, that all Your people are loved equally by You. Pere Lataste said that the prisoner was loved the same as a priest, in Your eyes. His clear and courageous preaching of Your Truths converted many hardened hearts to embrace the Faith. His love for the Blessed Mother moved many to love Your Son. He inspired the lives of the women prisoners in Cadillac, France, to establish the Dominican Sisters of Bethany. He gave his all for You, zealously bringing people to You. His will was to do Your Will.

Lord, if it be Your Divine Will, I ask you to glorify Your loving an…

Vigil for Life


A Cardinal Behind Bars

Cardinal Sean Patrick must be talking about the Bethany Community at MCI Norfolk, of course.  “Sometimes seeing the generosity and the kindness of some of the prisoners working as volunteers in the programs we have there is . . . inspiring. Or,’’ he said with a chuckle, “to go to some of these Masses where the singing is actually much better than in some of the parishes.’’

My Canticle

I praise You, Lord,
the God of all people:
because you have redeemed us all:
because you are Love,
Mercy, and Kindness:
because you understand
our weaknesses, our
efforts, and our obstacles.

I praise You, Lord, and
bless us, your children,
who do believe and work
toward salvation, as did
Your son, as did Mary,
Joseph, Dominic, and all
followers of Jesus.  Bless us
all, my God, for we are
Your people, and wait for
Your return, now and forever.     Amen

My Favourite Time of Year - The Florin Street Band (Christmas 2010)


The Backbone Award

News Conference at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, Dec. 21, 2010 from Diocese of Phoenix on Vimeo.

The Backbone Award, given by many bloggers on the blogosphere, (one of my favs is his hermeneuticness, Fr. Tim) is given to Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona.  The just Bishop has severed relationship with St. Joseph's Hospital.  To get the full story, listen to the video.

Pay attention to 23' 30".

We need Catholic hospitals to be Catholic, NOW, more than ever.

Bible Sharing = Lectio Divina

When you read, don't you automatically just stop and think about what you just read?  That's how you read.

Isn't it?

This morning I was reading about Brother Simeon Leiva, at Spencer, MA.  Catholic News Service reports,      Lectio divina," an ancient scriptural meditative practice, is an ideal way for contemporary Catholics to unplug from worldly distractions and establish holy intimacy, permanent friendship and fruitful companionship with Jesus Christ, according to Trappist Brother Simeon Leiva.

And when you read something deep, you spend longer thinking about it.  So isn't Lectio Divina something we already do?

And in Bible Sharing, like my parish does in it's Arise Groups, isn't that just Group Lectio Divina?

What's the big whoop about?

Alex's Christmas Tree

The following won an Honorable Mention in the Second Annual OPrize for Poetry .  It was published as Justitia by lulu.

Alex's Christmas Light
       by Mrs. Faith Flaherty, O.P.

Alex beams as he show his Christmas card --

The prisoner artist, with soft eyes,
     has to peer beyond to see
             behind bars.

Happy garland embraces thick branches,
      bright lights shining
             behind bars.

Kairos Moment!  When I see
    that emblazoned tree is
            behind bars.

Alex gives a present of hope
    to us--who put him
            behind bars.

Merry Christmas to all and
    may all see the Light.

Jump! Jump!

The Arizona Republic had an article on the conflict between Bishop Olmsted and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.  St. Joseph's is the Catholic hospital that performed an abortion supposedly to save the life of the mother.  Perhaps you've heard of the controversy?  Yeah, ad naseum.  But in case you're cloistered and don't know what I'm referring to, go here for the story.  Thanks to

I don't want to get into

the pressure insurance companies put on doctorsfear of litigationtaking the easy way outthe role of the mediaAmerican moreswhether of not the abortion was necessary...and I really don't want to get into whether or not the Bishop is wrong, because he's not.  Either you're Catholic or not.  Fine.  Take the name Catholic off.  This is the Bishop's call.  Lump it.

What really bothers me are the people who are urging the Hospital Board to fight the Bishop.  The ACLU is attacking Bishop Olmsted for oppo…

Finding the Right Place

You know how some books are written for one age, yet have a deeper meaning for adults to enjoy?  Think of fantasy writers like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  Such is Red in the Flower Bed, by Andrea Nepa.
No where in Red in the Flower Bed is God mentioned.  But I picture the adult reading this book to an adoptive child, automatically seeing God's fingers in everything that happens to the little poppy seed that grows up to be a beautiful red poppy.
In fact, in the beginning, I can see why a child hearing: Good-bye little one,           You will me missed you know         but this is no place for you to grow.  would wish he were living with another family.  !!!!!  Don't laugh.  That happened to me.  As a child, my friend told me that her mother had told her that she may not have grown in her belly like most babies, but she had grown in her heart.  I thought that was so beautiful.  So I went home and asked my mother if I had grown in her heart.  She, not knowing where I was coming from, told…

Politics as Usual

Pray for China.  Having two churches claiming to be the One true Church must be very confusing.

Impossible to Proclaim

This 4th Sunday of Advent, I'm reading Rom 1:1-7.

How?  I dunno.

Look at it.  8 subordinate clauses in the first sentence.  And another 8 subordinate clauses in the next sentence.

That first sentence is just a salutation.  The second sentence is Paul's idea of the Kingdom.

But I'm still thinking "huh?" after reading the first sentence.

The reading is impossible to do any justice to.

The Lector's Notes tell me to:

The Lector's Proclamation: Proclaim this, then, with the gravity it deserves. The sentences are long, but you can break them sensibly into phrases. Don't rush. Be sure to announce it as "The beginning of the Letter of Paul to the Romans," rather than another "reading from ..."
You might try to imagine what the historically first reading of this letter was like. The Christian congregation in Rome was small, not yet persecuted, meeting in someone's home. These were first-generation converts; their heritage: some Jewish…

Can You Spare $ 10

A local kid has been working out in California putting a documentary together for kids living on the streets. He's trying to get this movie going but needs some help -- $ 10.

If everyone who reads this post donates just $10, it can be done.  Be part of this movement to help our homeless youth. Below is a letter explaining more.

Right now there are almost 2 million kids living on the streets of America and every day, 13 of them will die.  Yes, this is the truth about what is happening in our country.

While the statistics are staggering, what's more shocking is the number of Americans that are unaware of this crisis.

Hi, my name is Michael Leoni and for the last year and a half, my team at An 11:11 Experiment, and I, have been making Spare Some Change, a documentary that exposes the truth about the lives of American's homeless youth.  We could not stand by and just allow this tragedy to continue.  Over the last 18 months, we have met hundreds of kids and heard thousands of stor…

Aha Experience

Christmas has come.  I've had an epiphany!  I went to Spiritual  Direction tonight and it was a gift--a surprise gift.  Unbeknown to my Director, he let slip something I didn't know.  I'm sure he thought I knew because it was in casual conversation--not like he was letting me in on a secret.

We were talking about my "cloistered brothers," the way the Holy Spirit moves, mutual friends, relapses, etc.  Just shooting the breeze.  And in among the chit chat was a fact that I didn't know, but it definitely enlightened my understanding.   I didn't stop him and say, "What...what....what did you say?"  I just breathed it in and assimilated the implications.  Everything fell into place.

Of course, that's why.                 Now I get it.

                  What am I talking about?

Sorry, can't tell you.     Seal of Confession!            But God is good--all the time!

I Love My Parish

Let me count the ways I love you.
I love your depth and breadth and height
my soul can reach, with palpable feeling:
for the ends of Being and ideal Grace,
for your namesake Mary, Immaculate,
for the smell of incense ever there,
for the taste of the Most Precious Blood,
for the sun-light thru the stained glass,
for the golden Baptismal font,
for the kiss of peace from a friend,
for the same worship of my childhood's faith.
I love you freely, as men strive for right;
I love you purely, as our praises touch your arches.
I love your incarnational God and faith.
I love your people who worship there;
I love your transubstantiation, my God.
I love you with a love I feel in communion
with saints -- I love you with my breath,
smiles, tears, of all my life! --and, if God
wills-my funeral Mass, be my place in death.

h/t with apology to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Brothers and Sisters

In reading over James 5:7-10, I was struck by the number of times the word "patience" was used.  Of course, it would be mentioned since it's the theme of this reading.  However, what truly did stick, even more so, was the number of times, "Brothers and Sisters" was used.  The way James used it, I think, is as a term of endearment.  It's not a salutation to a letter.  James begins with "Be patient..." In fact, to me it looks like he took particular care not to begin a sentence with the two words.

It's probably just me.  But I can't help feeling that he uses it to draw the reader in.  Is it an unconscious, technique?  Is it a deliberate tool of manipulation?

I think it's a very natural expression of intimacy.  In fact, the admonishment "Be patient," juxtaposed with "Brothers and Sisters," makes being patient, a loving thing, which I don't think it necessarily is.  In fact, it may just be the opposite.  I have all…

Send the Pope Christmas Greetings

Do you want to send the Holy Father a Christmas Card?  The Pope 2 site allows you to do just that.

You can even send a photo.  This is just like sending Christmas greetings to friends and relatives.

h/t  George Matysek's The Narthex

Random Vowels

Random Act of Culture & Patti Smith from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Random Acts of Culture strikes again.  At a book fair, no less!

At the Miami Book Fair International, Scott Cunningham read the poem Vowels by Arthur Rimbaud.  He asked those that knew the poem to stand up and say it with him.  At first, only a few did; then more stood; and more, and more...

Later, Pattie Smith read excerpts from her book Just Kids.

Wish I were there.

Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq

Please watch this video of the attack on the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq.  Then please pray for these martyrs, and those who attacked them.

h/t to Brother Paul, OP   Dominican Cooperator Brother

My Contention

This morning's homily's  was "responsibility."  It inspired me.  I agree with Father that "owning" up to what one did wrong is not one of society's strong points.  Since I'm in prison ministry, I think this is important.  Some people pay very dearly for their mistakes.

But the theme got me to thinking.

Both Adam and Eve did not "own up" to their sin.  They tried to put the blame on someone else.  But I have always thought that Eve was a victim in this scenario, and Adam was more culpable.  In the first place, Eve was tempted by a master.  She could not have out reasoned Satan. She was tricked.  Whereas, Adam was afraid that Eve was going to get ahead of him and so ate.  And, Eve thought she had eaten something good and was generously going to share it.  I don't read that she maliciously planned to seduce Adam.

Besides, Adam was placed in charge of this earthly dominion.  The responsibility was his.

They must have had a bum lawyer re…

Persecuted Priests Praying

Have you read Priestblock 25487, by Jean Bernard?  It's a memoir of a priest, Jean Bernard, in Dachau.  The horrors of the concentration weren't only perpetrated on the Jews.  Anti-Nazi Catholics were persecuted, also, in particular, priests.  In watching this video of priests praying in Dachau, I couldn't help but think of Fr. Bernard.  Look at the faces in prayer.  Watch the fingers praying the Rosary.

Look in their eyes.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

This song and its story have been making the rounds via e-mail.  I enjoyed it and know you will too.

Here’s the story behind the song: 

About the Song 

While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew, Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, he asked his mom, "where's the line to see Jesus"? My sister mentioned this to my dad, who immediately became inspired and jotted words down to a song in just a few minutes. After putting music to the words, and doing a quick recording at home, he received a great response from friends. He sent the song off to Nashville without much response, except for a Christian song writer who suggested adding a bridge at the end of the first chorus. My dad then asked if I wanted to record the song to see what we could do with it. I listened to the song, made a few changes to the words to make it flow better, and w…

Christmas Poetry

CENSUS:  BC--AD by Lois Staas

Before Jesus was born,             before the first Augustan census,             the estimated Roman population was about 200,000 male individuals.
Before Jesus was born,             the conquered needed to know they were conquered;             crucifixion was a common form of execution.             The god of Rome was Jupiter.
Before Jesus was born,             all the known world ruled by Emperor Caesar Augustus,             were ordered by law to register in their places of origin.
Before Jesus was born,             What was the reason for the census?              Money.  The reason is always money.
Before Jesus was born,             the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was a stony, ten day donkey ride.             A few died along the way.
Before Jesus was born,             Bethlehem was a small walled town;             those who arrived had traveled through the Sabbath.             I Am Who Am was the God of the Israelites.
Before Jesus was born,             Jews for …

Spiritual Purgatory

I was reading the Aggie Catholic and was deeply touched by the following post, simply because I empathized.  I went there myself with Cronkhite Canada Syndrome.  I also agreed with Marcel's answers.  Great post!

Thursday, December 2, 2010 Where Are You God? **Have you ever felt that God just wasn't interested in your problems? **Have you ever felt God was distant and unaccessible? **Have you ever thought maybe God is just a myth, because He just doesn't seem to care?
I have.  Me Too!  Definitely.
I am sure that somewhere in the world right now, there are people that: feel alone  Even in a room full of people who careare scaredare unsure of God's existence and love for them  because you feel like He's dropped your hand, or pushed you away--there's just a difference between then and the now--What Happened!can't figure out what God's plan is for them and doubt He even has one  Because He doesn't exit?hurt Devastated!Are you one of them? Was You are not alone.…


Explaining the meaning of Advent.

Botched execution survivor stays on Ohio death row

C'mon! Once is more than enough! Are we civilized?

Just A Jest

I thought I'd be fair and put something representing the other side.

\0/ \0/ \0/ Alleluia Strikes Again! \0/ \0/ \0/

It's Advent everyone!  What a way to bring people to God!  First at Macy's, (of all places) and now at a Food Court, in a mall.  WOWZA

Handel would be proud.

A composition to praise God, bringing people to Him in the most pedestrian of places, is much more than a work of  art.  Thank you Random Acts of Culture.

Thank you for the present.

Billboard War

These both are billboards in New Jersey.  The Myth was first.  The Real is the response.  Veritas!