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My random thoughts on life as I prepare to enter the religious life this summer. "In the first place, you must never think that you are alone in deciding your future! And second: When deciding your future, you must not decide for yourself alone!" -Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Cardinal George: Document on Communion for Politicians coming soon.

Cardinal George spoke at my school on Tuesday. Wow! He was wonderful. His lecture, "Leadership in the Catholic Church," tackled a host of issues. I really needed to hear what he had to say. I will have much more on his talk later.

Now, for the news:

The first question of the night dealt with pro-choice politicians. Can they receive Communion? Cardinal George was amazing. "You can't say that you are against something but allow others to do it." Politicians must have integrity. Faith should influence choices. A lot of politicians are inconsistent, but we need to have mercy. Penalties are the issue at hand. We've never before seen this issue of refusing Communion to politicians. We have to answer a lot of pastoral questions: should priests, bishops, or others be responsible for enforcing the penalty? We need to really discuss this issue before making a firm move. When a decision is made for action, we need to act together. We should have a policy in place before the November elections.


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Pro-Choice Politicians, Pt. 2

Cardinal Arinze is quoted by Zenit, "The norm of the Church is clear. The Catholic Church exists in the U.S.A. and there are bishops there. Let them interpret."

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I, will speak at my school on Tuesday. His topic is "Leadership in the Catholic Church." I wonder how different styles of leadership effect the way bishops react to the "communion to pro-choice politicians question." I wonder if during the open forum with the Cardinal on Wednesday if anyone will ask him about this issue. Will the Cardinal's interpretation change? Or will he continue to deal with pro-choice, Catholic politicians in a private manner? What would be the result of the Cardinal telling Mayor Daley, Senator Durbin, and others, that they cannot receive Communion? Oh, brother!
Pro-Choice Politicians, Pt. 1

With the recent statements from Cardinal Arinze, I am reminded of my interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich in January:

I asked the candidate, while my heart pumped 120 mph, "The Vatican came out with a declaration declaring that Catholic politicians should not vote pro-choice...How do you feel about this, since that you are Catholic and pro-choice?"
He said, "Was that today?"
I said, "No."
He said, "Well then I can't answer that."
So, that's that. Kucinich quotes the Bible and is Catholic. But, he wouldn't discuss the topic. Well, I guess it wouldn't be the first time. I remember reading an article in Crisis where a reporter did something similar to Kennedy and other Catholics. Their answers were similar to the one Kucinich gave me: a look of surprise and challenge.

Meanwhile, after the Kucinich interview, a super-famous Kucinich fan/former SOA protest prisoner, Sister H., give me a straight answer. I asked her about Archbishop Burke in St. Louis. The Archbishop recently told his priests to refuse Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.
She said, "Bishop Burke is wrong. It's not that he [Kucinich] is pro-abortion. He just supports a women's right to choose."
What? Is it enough that the sister was on stage with her Dennis Kucinich t-shirt? Do you see Jay's eyes rolling now?
And this wouldn't be the first time that a Catholic sister would be on stage with a politician. Two nights ago, a sister was on stage with Kerry, "the Catholic."
And, want some more? Both sisters make hundreds of phone calls for their candidate.
St. Joseph Cafasso, Prayer on Preparation for Death

(Courtesy of the Catholic Quote E-mail list. This quote is appropriate as I prepare to leave many good friends I have met during my four years of college. It makes me sad to think of departing. I find comfort in entrusting them all to the Lord, thanking God for the time we did have, and knowing that I might be more loving while praying for them in the novitiate. Nonetheless, I know it will be difficult to be separated.)

I thank my parents, companions, and friends for all of the charity they
have shown me in putting up with all of my defects, and I thank them for all
of the favors and all the assistance which in their goodness they have
given me. . . .
I ask them to continue to give me the charity of their
prayers, and when I am separated from them, I firmly hope that I will see them
again one day in Paradise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Hilarious Webpage

You've got to check this out!

http://www.subservientchicken.com/

This chicken will do most any command you tell him: dance, pray (to Jesus or East), turn lights off by magic, hit head, do the worm, etc...
Find out other fun commands and laugh out loud! Enjoy!

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while. Maybe subservient chicken can start posting for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Annual Appeal
It's time for my home diocese's annual appeal. I know I've heard several people in the last few years say they should without money from this fund. They do not want to see their money go to pay huge settlements. There is no excuse for the sins that some priests committed. What a travesty. I can understand why people would feel so let down that they would feel withholding money would be the best decision. Please note, though, that for my home diocese:

Are parish funds going to pay settlements?
No parish funds were used for any settlements. Insurance paid part of the costs. The balance
was from money realized from proceeds of investments or from the sale of unnecessary properties.
Investments and real estate were from funds donated by people 30, 40 or more years ago.
Throughout the years, the investment portfolio and real estate value increased significantly. When a
piece of property was no longer needed for a parish church, that property was then sold usually for a
greater price than was paid for its purchase. It is those proceeds that were used for settlements.

What about money given to the Diocesan Annual? How is it used?
Money from the Diocesan Appeal is used entirely to fund the various agencies and ministries
in the Diocese. None of this money is used to settle cases, etc.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Countdown...

Graduation (May 9th, 2004): 27 days

Dominican pre-novitiate (July 21, 2004): 100 days

Dominican novitiate (August, 2004): 121-130 (??) days

Please, pray for me!

By the way, there is a running countdown to the left now.
Happy Easter!

For the first time since Ash Wednesday, may we sing together, Alleluia!

I went to the 11 a.m. Mass this morning. My brother and I went ten minutes after my parents, arriving around 10:45. I was greeted by an usher "I am sorry, we are filled, you are going to have to go to the gym." I replied, "My family is in there." It was like that scene in Wayne's World, where Wayne tries to get backstage, but is denied.

I go to the gym. I am expecting to see a giant TV screen, you know like they have at large PopeStock events. No. They had an altar, candles, and the like. We were going to have our own Mass! Wow. How incredible we have a one year old church, and already we have Easter Sunday Mass with standing room only in both the church and the gym. Wow. Many thanks to the good Augustinian priests who run the parish. They took care of the need quite well. Now, if we can have these record numbers week after week... Either way, the Easter Triduum was very nice.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

My Vocation and Adoration

Since today is Holy Thursday, I am re-posting a reflection from November. Have a blessed Triduum.

Adoration helps vocations. I think of my own history. As a youngster, I didn’t know much about Christ’s true Presence. I remember being taught that Jesus was present in the readings, in the people, and in the Blessed Sacrament. I also remember someone on a high school retreat mentioning the graces they found in Adoration. But, I don’t think I understood what the Eucharist really meant.

But, it was Advent of my freshmen year of college when I realized the implications of Jesus’ True Presence. I attended an Adoration service. On my knees in front of our Lord and Savior with the incense soaring and the song rising up to Praise our God and Father, it was then and there that I learned how magnificent this gift really is. I was in awe. I was amazed. How was it that I hadn’t done this worship before? I was so happy, so exhilarated, and so complete. It was wonderful.

I was like Simeon who saw the baby Jesus, “Your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people…” Simeon was truly blessed to see the Lord. Simeon was then ready to die. I too was blessed to see the Lord, but, my life was just beginning. My life in Christ had only just begun! This singular event had transformed me. I knew that every Mass I attended would be different. Sunday Mass was a given. Within several months, I would start attending Daily Mass. If Jesus is truly present, and we can be united with that Grace each and every day, how could I miss Mass? It didn’t make sense to miss out. He is truly present! What love!

I think it was in this love for the Eucharist, inspired by Adoration, that I came to want to spread this joy and peace and grace to others. God had showed me his love and salvation on the altar; it was too much for words. My only response: how can I spread that love to others. I had thought about priesthood before this experience, but this event gave me many more reasons to consider the vocation. You mean to tell me that I can offer the Mass each day for the good of the people of God and myself? Wow! Or how about the people who don’t know the Truth of the Blessed Sacrament? Somehow, maybe I could teach others to recognize the Truth, but this is possible only through God’s grace. There are so many reasons why Adoration can inspire us to be the best Catholics we can be. I mean we are looking at Jesus and He is looking back at us. In that quiet we can hear the call from God. When we find our vocation, that is the place where we will be the best Catholics.

How about you? How has adoration influenced your discernment? I'd be interested to hear from you, if you have a few minutes. Let us continue to pray that many more will love and know the intimacy found in the Blessed Sacrament. As well, may we persevere.

Adoration and Vocations
Just some of the (typical) reasons why Adoration rocks:

Blessed Mother Teresa said, "We were just like other religious congregations with few vocations. Then at our chapter in the 1970s we made a decision to have a holy hour in all our convents each evening...We began to see more clearly our mission to serve the poor in Christ's name. We began to live a more fruitful family life among ourselves. We experienced double the number of vocations in our congregation. And we grew personally in our intimacy with the Lord present in the Eucharist."

The Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland said that vocations to the priesthood TRIPLED since the diocese started Perpetual Adoration. They went from 16 seminarians in 1990 to 45 in 1993.

At St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut, enrollment at the seminary rose by over 50 percent within a year of the foundation of a perpetual Adoration chapel. (Stats from here.)

And these are only a few examples.
Keep on praying! May many more come to love and know the intimacy found in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in that experience of Christ's presence that we can come to know Him, ourselves, and our mission in the world.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Millionaire monks

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