Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beginning of the school year Poem in honor of St. Paul's Parish

Once it was said, “Pride is the beginning of all sin” but maybe the same can be said about breath and wind.

For inevitable as our falling is our perfunctory heave of the chest as it is rising. This intake and gush of life-giving air, brings challenge and purpose, failure and flair.

It feels much as if we have awoken from a fitful hot sleep, now a cool breeze blows but we cannot our pillowed watch keep.

The time has come when all seems to wither, yet our parish is alive with a flit and a twitter.

How can we fail to notice the contrast of dying buds and no more lightning bugs, when seen upon buildings now every night a light and a buzz.

Oh how my heart swells! Forgive me Lord for I am full of pride for a parish so very, very, very much alive!

Our choirs’ notes escape stone walls and vaults and hang in the heavy air, St. Vincent de Paul and our great patron well know Paul, inspire collections and missions to show how much we care.

Children and adults come to our lot beyond obligation and fill now both day and night bringing their thirst for knowledge and jubilation.

A hard working and fantastic staff, blaze new trails in different directions than the past.

Yet an anchor of history we cling to and embrace, marvelously we discover and lengthen the links that move us forward yet keep us in place.

Oh and be still if it moves me from venial to mortal but pride builds up in me as we’ve formed yet a portal, an archway linking past, present and future whose fate is built on a foundation with a center of evangelization.

Yes call it pride, I will not the charge deny, but continue my cries of joy and exultation in God’s gracious Will that put me here on the parish called the Jewel on the Hill.

Pride in self is the steep descent to damnation, but pride to be part of something greater than me or you is the key to our mission and our motivation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cheer, Cheer for old Notre Dame!

I am trying to remember the last time I was away from the parish for an entire weekend and I can't seem to remember when it was. It is indeed very rare that a pastor would be gone over a weekend. Even when taking vacation it is usually very important to be back for the weekend Masses, not necessarily to celebrate them, but it is the only time when you get to see almost all your faithful parishioners at once. It is also quite a lot of work to leave for the weekend and the observant blog reader might notice when this post was published and realize it is not easy to sleep the eve before heading out.
That being said I will not be in Ellicott City this weekend. I will be going to a real live Notre Dame football game and I am crazy excited. Even with last weeks tragic loss to Michigan I have a feeling this could still be our year. The Fighting Irish are playing the Spartans of Michigan State. I will also be con-celebrating Mass at ND after the game, how cool is that! You will all be in my prayers. Just in case you were wondering where my love for the Godlen Dome comes from let's see - Catholic University named after Our Lady, Irish, and my Dad and Mom both graduated from there. Not to scare you all or anything but if Michigan State wins I am going to return in a very bad mood. Peace!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Belated Birthday Thoughts

The other day on the 11th, I celebrated my 33rd birthday. I have always been haunted by something St. Thomas Aquanis said, "Everyone is how they were or would have been at 33 years of age in Heaven." I don't know if this was taught tongue in cheek or if he was serious. The serious implication is that if you haven't figured it out at 33 you might be in trouble. I think I may be in trouble. I still have so much to learn. I'm extending my birthday to include the whole month so that maybe I've got some more time to get it all right, but in reality I think I might need another 33 years (I hope the Lord grants me them). Some things I know I need to work on are my orginization skills, following a scheduled pattern to my day, discipline, and connected with that making sure I stay healthy, get back in shape, and lose lots of weight. I ask for your prayers and any help you can offer. Peace and God Bless!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The way God wants us to live

This entry goes back a few weeks to my little vacation in Indiana. First off you may ask why Indiana for vacation? Indiana is where I was born and even though I only actually lived there as an infant somehow the place has gotten into my blood. I love to go to that log cabin as much as I do the beach. The rolling surf and the waving corn stalks are about equal for me.
Here is the real reason though - I'm pretty sure, but it is up for debate, that God meant us to live more like they do in Indiana then the busy east coast. I love to drive through the small towns that make up Decatur County. As you drive through small places that have a general store, a gas station, maybe a little resturant, and some ball fields you see something beautiful. Everyone knows each other, grandparents that live a few doors down swim in above ground pools with their grandkids. Farmers walk around talking about the weather and asking each other if they need any help. Houses are nice and simple with a front and a back yard. I don't know, I just love it. I will visit NY city and enjoy it for a day or two but then it feels like the whole place is tottering on choas and I've got to get out. The Indiana way of living is stable and built to last forever. In fact isn't that the way we always used to live: small communites surrounded by farms? I do think it is the way God wants us to live.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This is Barry the Bubble Wizard down on Main Street during his
Bazillion Bubble Show.

The silent preaching of Corpus Christi

Let me tell you a little story. I love going to the Catholic Family Expo and on Friday after hearing confessions for a few hours we were all getting ready for Mass with the Archbishop. As we are about to start they let the Archbishop know that his homily was going to be recorded. He responded, "I don't know if it will be any good." Fast forward to homily time. The Archbishop walked in front of the altar knelt and then prostrated himself on the ground, flat out on the floor for a few minutes. When he stood up I thought to myself that without making a recordable sound he just preached a fantastic homily!
This was a homily that was preached by four young men the very next day as they prostrated themselves before the altar at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in just about the greatest and coolest celebration in the Church - Priesthood Ordination. I love all those guys but in a special way I know the new Father Ernest Cibelli. He and I both have the same home parish, St. Louis the King in Clarksville. There are now six (6) priests in our Archdiocese that share that home parish, wow! I hope St. Paul's can say that one day.
Then the next day at Father Cibelli's first Mass on the glorious Feast of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord) I heard another great homily, this time by Fr. Erik Arnold. Without knowing it he gave me the missing piece in my theological understanding of Original Sin, Conscience, Redemption, and Salvation. The Mass was literally better and more solemn than most of what I experienced at the Vatican. It included a Eucharistic Procession around the parish. This procession was another homily, that we are called to bring the Eucharist out into the world with everything we do and say.
All of this reminds me that the ultimate homily ever given was by one who streched flat out upon a cross could hardly breathe. The simple act of bowing His head and the pouring out of His Blood was the greatest homily ever given. The Archbishop and our four new priests repeated that homily this weekend. Inspired by their example and strengethened by Holy Communion can you and I preach the same homily? Can we too lay down our lives in service of God and His people?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

School's Out for Summer!

Today was the last day of school over at Resurrection - St. Paul School. After the awards ceremony I could tell we were holding the kids attention by a very thin thread as visions of summer danced in their heads. I'm so happy for them and I pray they all have an awesome summer. They are all such great kids and they showed it once again in our closing prayer service. The students and faculty have been particularly kind and welcoming to me. They gave me a painting today which was tied into their theme this year, "We are called by name." It was my name with a Scripture verse weaved throughout. It was very appropriate and seemed to fit me well. The verse from one of the Psalms said, "God is my strength and my shield and because of that I am filled with joy." I'll tell you that I am often filled with joy when I visit the school and once I get a hang of this being pastor stuff it is my hope to be over at the school a whole lot more.
Tonight is our annual Priest/Seminarian get together up in Sparks, MD. Please continue to pray for more priests, specifically a few guys from our parish who might be interested in discerning a vocation to the priesthood.