Showing posts from August, 2012

If I Were Pastor

Surfing the net, this morning.  Musing over a cup of coffee.  I came across this chart and planned my own parish.

What Parishes are most successful at:
1.Managing parish finances                                                                90% 2.Recruitment and retaining ministers/staff                                           89 3.Communicating with parishioners                                                     89 4.Educating parishioners in the faith                                                     86 5.Welcoming new parishioners                                                            85 6.Promoting ministry opportunities                                                       85 7.Listening to parishioner concerns and input                                         83 8.Effectively using committees and councils                                          79 9.Providing social activities and programs                                             77 1.Providing accessibility for persons wit…

For the Birds

Haven't you ever seen birds in train stations and large stores like Home Depot and Lowe's and wonder how they get along?  How they got in is obvious--some door.  But are they now living in the store till they die?  How do they eat?

Well, we're not the only ones who think about such things.  The poet, R. T. Smith wrote the poem below.  It appeals to me because he takes an ordinary occurrence and bumps it up.  His ordinary language is just right for this particular poem.  You'll see.  He'll draw you in.

Hardware Sparrows

Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs
and two-by-fours, I find a flock
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof                                                  
of Lowe's amazing discount
store.  They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses
to a spill of winter birdseed
on the concrete floor.  How

they know to forage here,
I can't guess, but the automatic
door is close enough,

and we've had a week
of storms.  They…

Swans, Snakes, Turtles, Oh My!

Today was such a beautiful day.  Hubby and I went biking.  There's a bike route known as the Upper Charles Trail.  We rode the length and stopped to picnic.  I took a couple of photos, too.  Since most of the area schools started today, only adults used the path.  There were plenty of dog walkers, some runners, a couple of roller bladers, and other bikers like us.

We had a picnic on Lake Louisa.  There was a family there fishing.  The kids were toddlers and their little tackle boxes were so cute.  I remember fishing as a child their age, myself.  My sister use to take me to the Spicket River.  We never caught anything because we never used bait.  She took a stick, tied a string to it.  On the end of the string, she tied a large safety pin.  I don't know why I never questioned her about it.  Kids nowadays are a lot smarter than I was, that's for sure.

I stopped to take a picture of a couple of swans and had a fright.  I tiptoed as quietly as I could across mud, roots, stick…

From the Mouth of Babes

The other day it was my pleasure to pick up my little 25 month old granddaughter.  I had never done this before and was a little concerned how she would react.  I know she knows me, but not in the context of removing her from a familiar setting to go off with me.  But we had no choice.  Her mother, my daughter, was held up at work.

I worried needlessly.  Her reaction still has me smiling, and is also the subject of this post.

She looked at who was coming into the room, then her entire little body smiled with recognition.  Her eyes popped with glee.  Next she ran over to her little group of friends, (who were all looking at me), pointed to me, and said "Mine!"

That says it all, doesn't it?  Her limited vocabulary managed to articulate exactly everything that mattered to her, and her friends.  And they understood.

Amazing.  This level of communication works. Amazing.

And I understood too.  In fact, I thought of this two-year old interaction all day long.  So I used it f…

Pre-burial Arrangements

In the beginning of this month, just before St. Dominic's Feast on Aug. 8, I was deploring the fact that St. Dominic's last wishes weren't adhered to.  Good grief!  The thought that the minute one's back is turned (so to speak), people do what they want.  It's very disconcerting.  Poor St. Dominic, who only wanted to be buried in ground under the feet of his brothers, was placed in such an elaborate tomb, that it's called an Ark!  And it took five centuries to build!

I thought of this when I read the Office of Readings for the Memorial of St. Monica.  Similar to St. Dominic, Monica said, "Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern..." * I don't know what her children did with her body but I'm sure it wasn't placed in the casket, in the picture above, and placed in a local cemetery.

Why do we have pre-burial arrangements?  Paying for cremations, burials at sea, shipping remains back to the old country, pre-bu…

The Devil's Handiwork

Out of all the four pillars in our Lay Dominican life, community is the hardest, for us.  I've written about this before.  It seems that egos get in the way, especially if your chapter is mostly made up of males.

Prayer is what we do best.  We're always trying to perfect our prayer life.  I think we're pretty efficacious prayer warriors.

Apostolate is our life.  We as a chapter live as good Christian examples.  Individually, some have independent ministries.

Study is fun to us.  Right now we're discussing Augustine.

Community is the bugger.  It seems that everybody gets on everybody else's nerves.  Some are always looking around to see what others are doing, have, or not!  Perhaps it's just a matter of too much time on everyone's hands.  The devil makes work for idle hands.

Maybe if we had a big project that involved most of us, we'd pull together.  We'd be busy; everyone working for the same end.  Work is the answer.


The Readings for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time make me laugh--in a good way.  The first Reading has a list of reasons why the people choose to follow God.  But in the Gospel, Peter can't think of a single reason why he should choose Jesus.  Peter responds with a kind of "I dunno."

The First Reading is from the Book of Joshua 24: 1-2a, 15-17, 18b.  The Gospel is according to John 6: 60-69.

Now from the Book of Faith ;-)

The people give a list of reasons why they choose the Lord:
(1)  The Lord brought them up out of Egypt.
(2)  The Lord brought them out of slavery.
(3)  The Lord performed miracles that they acknowledged.
(4)  The Lord protected the people along the journey.
(5)  The Lord shielded the people from the enemies they passed.

Makes sense to me.

Now in the Gospel, many of the disciples had deserted.  They could not think of a single reason to stay.  Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Well?"

I picture Peter hesitating a nano-second,…

Ad Jesum per Mariam

This is from the Confidences of Fr. Lataste at the moment of his death.

In the past, I had a very filial devotion for the Virgin Mary.  I would put in her hands all my actions of piety, my religious life, all obedience and charity, for her to administer according to her wisdom and predilections, and for me to obtain all the merits of the grace of God.  Little by little, this devotion was eclipsed a bit by another one, more radiant and more productive.  During my years of novitiate and ministry that God gave me, it was the Love of Our Lord that fed and filled my soul.

Now, all is erased by a unique thought that dominates my soul and which imposes itself with force; the thought only of God.  I see him, I feel him in my soul although in a confused and unconscious way, but I see him and feel him with an unshakable and burning certainty.  My soul is also going toward him by a continued act of love.  A bit vague, and a bit deaf, it is true, but stronger than myself.  There is in me a perpetu…

The Perfect Excuse

My lack of posting is due to my being down the Cape, for a few days.  While there, I visited the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  This sign was on their property.  What do you think?

I think it's the perfect excuse.


The Crypt
A pungent yet sweet smelling waft of incense.  The worshipers chant response.  Words loving God rise up to heaven.
The monstrance sparkles in the candle light.  A lone voice intones Tantum ergo sacramentum veneremur cernui.
The priest with a voice clear and deep is singing Benediction. The altar server tenderly holds the priest's humeral veil.
Worshipers respond to the everlasting Father honor, blessings, glory, endless praise and adoration.
A pungent yet sweet smelling waft of incense.  Worshipers  chant response.  Words loving God rise up to heaven.
h/t The Preacher Poets 2009, p. 93.

Lectoring Teaches Self-knowledge

Being a "lector" has taught me 10 things I didn't know about myself.   I have an accent.  In reading "harden not your hearts," a person from New Jersey told me that I have a Boston accent.  Imagine.  New Jersey?I need to use a microphone.  My voice is low and soft.  Elderly can't hear me, even if I shout.  The pitch of my voice is too low, for them.  Too many people come late.  I think some people think the Mass time means leave your house at that time.  It scares me to announce what Sunday this is, and then when I go to read the First Reading--WHOA!  Where did all the people come from? Check out the Prayers of the Faithful with the names in the bulletin.  Sometimes mistakes have been made.  Occasionally, I'm drafted to be an altar server, too.  Pay attention.Breath control.  Silence is powerful, knowing when to use it is even more so.When I make a mistake, it's a blessing.  I need to be humble.Dealing with doubt.  Like mistakes, God is keeping me h…

All Perceptions are Misperceptions

My friend and I were sitting next to each other, on the bus.  We were catching up on each other’s “doings.”  She mentioned that she had been to a funeral Mass, at my parish.  (My friend is a fallen away Catholic)  She proceeded to tell me how bleak, boring, and particularly tedious the Mass celebrant was.  She said the priest obviously never even made an effort to learn anything about the deceased.  ….yada…yada…yada
Instinctively, I rushed to his defense.  Of course he knew of the deceased.  Maybe not personally, but I’m sure he was told. 
I couldn’t convince my friend.  I just flamed her tirade.  Once, she was hurt by the church…not really, but that’s how she perceived it.  You see, she was in a situation where she turned to the church for help.  And what she was told, was not what she wanted to hear.  Ever since then, the church can’t do anything right.
So I sat beside her and listened to her berate my priest, my confessor, my spiritual father, my spiritual director, my pastor, the on…

The U.S. has a new Basilica

Congratulations to St. John the Baptist Church in Ohio, being chosen as a minor basilica.  It is the oldest church in northeastern Ohio since 1823.

The title basilica was bestowed on June 19, 2012. The elevation liturgy will be celebrated November 25, 2012.

How did this happen?

"Four years ago, our Bishop, the Most Reverend George V. Murry, SJ,  asked each parish in the Diocese of Youngstown to think outside the box in regards to its viability to the community, city, county and diocese.  The question of applying for basilica status had been on the
table several times. Once we examined the criteria for being elevated to a minor basilica, we realized we met each condition, and with Bishop Murry’s approval and blessing, we made application through the Diocese of Youngstown, The United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops and the Holy See.   The original application was in Latin and had to be translated into English.  A document containing six pages of questions became a testament …

Brother Tonto explains


The Lost Tomato

This morning's Gospel was the one about the lost sheep.  Matthew 18: 1-5, 10, 12-14

Hold that thought.

I was harvesting the tomatoes you see in the above picture, just before noon, today.  They're all over the place, rotting on the vine.  There's big boys, plums, and cherry.  I don't know what to do with them all.

They cherry tomatoes are particularly abundant.  It was hot.  I could feel the sun burning my neck, shoulders and back.  I felt buggy and sticky with perspiration.  One particularly, well formed, deep red, tomato, fell just as I touched it.  It tumbled to the ground, partially covered by all the vines, and leaves.

I thought of this morning's Gospel about going after the lost sheep and forgetting about the 99 others.  I looked at that the lost tomato.  Then I looked at my full basket of tomatoes.

I thought some more.

I'm not Jesus.

To hell, with that one tomato.  I've got more than 99.

Falmouth Road Race

You've probably been wondering where I was.  I've been busy.  Three of my clan were running in the Falmouth Road Race.  Michael Johnson, a friend, was with them.  The town of Falmouth is packed during the Road Race weekend, so Michael stayed in our cottage.  My son Mark ran the 7 K in an hour and 8 min.  Cheryl and Jon stayed together and both finished in an hour and 12 min.  Michael followed in an hour and 13 min.

It's a fun race.  Just having the gumption to run proves that you're a winner.  Every one finished.  The start was at Woods Hole, around Captain Kids.  Cheryl and Jon were placed at that building with the ship sticking out of it.  Mark was near the Helix statue and Mike near the Aquarium.

Everybody's mind was playing tricks: "your eye is itchy, you have to pee, you've got a cramp, etc."  That's why some play music and sing while they run.  Cheryl stopped to use…

Jesus Slaps Down Peter

This morning gospel has Peter being praised by Jesus.  Then, later on, presumably on the same day, Jesus curses Peter, "Get behind me, Satan."  Matthw 16:13-23
    Father Damien said he was reassured by Peter, because we are good and sometimes we're not.  Can't we all identify with that?
    Well, I'm not reassured.  I'm not thinking of us sometimes being good or bad, I'm thinking of God.  It's pagan gods who were fickle and one never knew what mood they'd be in.
    But not the one true God!  Maybe this quote has more to it.  "...for thou dost not mind the things of God, but those of men."
    Well, of course Peter can't think like Jesus.  Let's look again.  Jesus is explaining what will happen in the future.  The poor disciples don't have a clue.  Who would?  Jesus is explaining what will happen in Jerusalem, His passion, and death.  Anyone's reaction would be, "Oh no! Not while I'm around."  In fact, is…

What God told Kit

God revealed to St. Catherine of Siena, "Your Father (St. Dominic) was a light that I gave to the world by means of Mary, and He does not wish His sons to apply themselves to anything but remaining at the table of the Cross to seek with the light of Science the glory and praise of My Name alone and the the salvation of souls.

The Second Pentecost

Having just come from a pilgrimage to the Beatification of Pere Lataste, I know what it means to travel with people who have taken a vow of poverty.  So I felt like one of Dominic's followers, sent forth without any Euros, car, or cell phone.  It was an experience; a wonderful experience.  God is good.

On the feast of Our Lady's Assumption, 1217, St. Dominic, in his burning zeal for the spread of Truth, sent his sixteen followers on their missions in the same manner as the Apostles, without wallet and on foot.  Saints Peter and Paul had previously appeared to St. Dominic in a vision with the command to go and preach, "for unto this has God chosen thee."  Some have referred to this dispersion of the brethren as a second Pentecost.

From Pope Honorius III to Saint Dominic on December 22, 1216:

We considering that the brethren of your Order will be the champions of the faith and true lights of the world, do confirm the Order in all its lands and possessions, present and t…

The Arc of St. Dominic

Yesterday, I intended to post about the tomb of St. Dominic, but I was too busy. This morning, I awoke very early (3:36 AM) and couldn't get back to sleep.

After my Morning Prayer, I decided to post.  First, I googled "Arc of St. Dominic."  It is also called the Tomb of St. Dominic.  Wikipedia's article was very interesting.

Yesterday, I would have just told you about the Ark, but today I can embellish.

When St. Dominic died, people wanted to dress the corpse in fine silks and talked of elaborate head stones.  But the friars insisted that Dominic's wishes be adhered to, i.e., bury him under the feet of his brethren.

And so Dominic's body was placed in a simple wooden coffin and put in the ground.  But in 1267, a beautiful tomb, so large that it was called an "Ark," was begun.  The Ark was added to by various artists over the centuries, so that it wasn't completed until 1768.  You can visit and see it in the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna,…

The Dominican Chaplet

Traditionally, on the old calendar, today, August 4th, is the Feast of St. Dominic.  Now, however, we celebrate St. Dominic's Feast on August 8th.

One time, when I was a Postulant, I came across a book of chaplets.  Inside was a Dominican Chaplet.  I have never been able to find out any information regarding its origin, or even where to purchase one.  In fact, no one seems to know anything about it.  I even wrote to the book's publisher, and received no response.  Hence, I concluded that the authors made this chaplet up.

Even so, I like it.  The accompanying picture of chaplets, on the left, obviously are not to what I'm referring.  The Dominican Chaplet consists of 15 beads:

A Crucifix, then one white bead for the intentions of the Holy Father.  Then a scapular medallion, followed by:

5 blue beads for the Joys of Jesus and Mary,

5 black beads for the Sorrows of Jesus and Mary,

5 gold beads for the Glories of Jesus and Mary,

then you'll be back to the white bead.  Th…

Argonauta Picks

As usual, the Argonauta Book Club ate a gourmet brunch at Jayne's. Here are this year's picks:

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Patzsch

Wench by Dolen by Perkins-Valdez

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Dovekeeper by Alice Hoffman

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I know the spelling is bad but we'll still be able to access the books.  Can't wait to read them!