Monday, October 29, 2007

More Plates, revisited

The other day I received a comment on the previous entry about the 300 Anglicans who are soon to be "swimming the Tiber" to be received into the Roman Catholic Church. The author of the comment, let's call him "Bob", wrote this to me (with my emphases added):


Yeah, well, prejudice has caused folks to leave places and institutions before; this isn't the first time, you realize. (Think about white flight in previously stable urban environments; white folks who had a streak of bigotry moved out when the first black family moved in. Same thing in many schools in the south and midwest; many whites started looking for private schools for their kids when the local public school integrated.) Fear of another group increasing in power or prestige (the priesthood does have prestige, in Anglican as well as Catholic culture) is nothing new. You can be against women's ordination all you want, but I don't see the point in patting people on the back simply because they're fearful of women having an important role in the Anglican church.

My best friend from high school/college is in seminary now to become an Episcopalian priest, and she will be a wonderful priest, a gifted priest, a priest who serves God as well as any man I know. And though you don't know her, I can assure you that there's no need for anyone (including those 300 soon-to-be former Anglicans) to be afraid of her. She's a woman. She'll be a priest. May God be served always. (Be not afraid!)
This line of thinking is nothing new: The "phobia" defense. It presumes that, if I disagree with someone or something, I must be against it because deep down inside of me I'm really afraid of it. I'm too shallow and incapable to disagree with something on an intellectual basis, so therefore any dissent from their beliefs must be rooted in some irrational fear.

Of course, that's nonsense. I can disagree with, for example, the civil government recognizing same sex unions, but it does not mean that I'm afraid of them (despite the fact that I will be labelled a "homophobe"). The three parishes who have asked for reunion with Rome do not appear to be "bigoted", "prejudiced" (which would be odd, especially since there are women amongst the membership of the reuniting parishes) or "afraid" of women. As the news article says, they feel the vote by the Anglican Church of Ireland to ordain women to the priesthood is "a defiance of scripture and tradition." In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, all three "legs of the stool" (Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterial teachings) point to a male ministerial Priesthood. That's no more bigoted than saying that history, experience, and biology all point to only females bearing children.

When former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey formally left the Roman Catholic Church and was received into the Episcopalian Church because of his disagreement over the Church's teachings on homosexuality, no one accused him of being "fearful" or "prejudiced" against the all male Roman Catholic clergy. Words like "courageous" were used. People applauded his "journey of faith" and wished him well. We should do the same for the "Irish 300".

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Uh, oh. We're gonna need more plates.

The Independent, an newspaper in Ireland, has the story of three hundred Anglicans who are about to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.

Why did they leave the Anglican Communion? They left over their disagreement over the ordination of women. "But wait", you say, "I thought it's only the Roman Catholic Church that loses members over women's ordination?"

Read the story. The membership of these three parishes left the worldwide Anglican Communion because they're against women's ordination.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Video Killed The Radio Star

[Note: I have already written this blog entry once, but when I went to post it my computer froze up and I lost the whole entry. That was last night, and after a night of not speaking to my computer, my anger has abated. So here's my second attempt.]

My life is getting back to normal after my Rome trip. My formerly dirty clothes are clean and put away. The things that friends asked me to buy for them have been (or are in the process of being) delivered to them. The gifts I bought for people have been handed out. The pile of mail that built up while I was away has been sorted, read, tossed, and the bills paid. I'm just about back to staying up until my normal bedtime and I'm waking up at my normal wake-up time. I suppose I'm as normal as I'm ever going to be. So now I can write this blog.

While I was away, the man who is the engineer for my radio show, Al Femia, had some health issues. He's had some health concerns in the last year or so, but now they're getting serious. The bottom line is that his doctor advised him not to work anymore, so while I was way he decided to leave the diocese's employ. While sad, Al's departure shouldn't have been a major problem, because there's another employee of the diocese who has been working on the radio show alongside Al for about a year. She's at every recording session, and she's become quite the expert in editing and producing the show. So "momentary sadness, but life goes on", right? Uh, no.

When I returned from Rome I was informed that the diocese has decided that, not only aren't they planning on hiring any replacement for Al, but that they are stopping the funding for the airtime we buy on one of the two secular stations the show airs (WCTC 1450AM), and they want to stop broadcasting the show on the other secular radio station (AM1470 WSAN) and the Ave Maria radio network in Michigan. While no one has technically said, "We're ending the radio show", you obviously can't have a radio show without being on the radio. I was told that I could continue to make shows for eventual broadcast when the diocese updates its website to allow for on-demand streaming audio, but I've been begging them to do this for four years, and still it's not accomplished (that's why I purchased the Podbean account last July).

In my humble opinion (to use an analogy), the radio show has been denied nutrition and hydration, and I cannot see continuing the show in a "persistent, vegetative state." So, as best as I can tell, I think the deathwatch has begun for Proclaim the Good News.

I'm proud of what was accomplished in the four years and four months that I served as the show's host. The show aired on both the eastern and western side of the diocese, as opposed to just the eastern side when I began. For that I have to thank my parish's Holy Name Society, as well as the parish itself, for paying for the airtime. When I began, we couldn't do telephone interviews because we didn't have the technology. Starting about three years ago with Father Kevin Lixey of the Vatican's Office on Church and Sport, we used telephone interviews to bring the universal Catholic Church into our local diocesan show. For that, I send a big "thank you" to people like Their Eminences Avery Cardinal Dulles and Josef Cardinal Tomko, Archbishop John Foley (recently named by Pope Benedict to the College of Cardinals, though probably not because of my interview), Fathers Benedict Groschel, Joseph Fessio, and Fred Miller, Catholic apologists Jeff Cavins, Scott Hahn, and Steve Ray, actor Jon Voight, former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon, and all the other people who took time out of their lives to be interviewed on PGN.

Early on in my time as host and moderator of the show, I was asked to come up with one of those "mission statements" for the show. While mission statements often make me throw up a little in my mouth, it did force me to read the document "Inter Mirifica", the first decree issued by the Second Vatican Council, on the topic of social communications. Paragraph fourteen says that "Ample encouragement should be given to Catholic transmissions which invite listeners ... to share in the life of the Church and which convey religious truths." Could the Council Fathers, in 1963, have foreseen things like iPods and the Internet? Heck no. I'm sure they thought radio and television were the final frontier, but science and technology have given us a whole "undiscovered country" ripe for the New Evangelization. The potential is endless: on demand Catholic Apologetics; literally getting the Church's message into the ears of people. That's wild.

In 1998, when I was ordained, I never thought I'd work on a radio show. My friend and the show's former host, Fr. Guy Selvester, brought me in because he could call me the night before and say, "Let's do a show tomorrow about what the Pope said in his new encyclical." He'd come up with the questions, and I'd do a "cram study" session in an effort to learn what the Pope actually said! Well, I hope I've done my part to give my listeners shows that taught them something new with each episode.

What about me? Well, I'm still a Priest at a 1,900 family parish, and there's Masses and confessions and funerals and hospital visits, as well as both adult education and RCIA once a week. The more I think about it, the more I like Job's way of handling life's curveballs: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Lord." I'll figure out what to do with the Podbean site, and what to do with the time I used to put into arranging for guests, writing scripts, and taping the interviews. I remember Johnny Carson's exit line on his last episode as host of The Tonight Show: "I hope, in the future, if I find something new to do that excites me, that you'll be as gracious as you've been in letting me into your homes." Ditto.

Monday, October 22, 2007

AP Series

The Associated Press is currently running a multi-day series on their 7-month investigation of the sexual abuse of minors by their teachers in public schools. You can see the first day of the article by clicking here.

Hopefully this will open the eyes of those who still persist in thinking that the sexual abuse of minors is "something only celibate males do in an oppressive church". Ladies and gentlemen, this is a cultural, societal problem! What are we doing about it?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

S--A--TUR--DAY Night!

At 11:30pm tonight, my luggage came home from its Roman Holiday. I was going to be angry at it and ask, "Where the (*&)% have you been?", "Don't you know I was worried sick?"

But then I realized. It's just a suitcase.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Thursday From Hell

O.K., so I sent you all in the wrong direction.

In my last blog entry, I asked for your prayers for "smooth flying". That you did, because it really wasn't a bad flight, as turbulence goes. But to get to that moment, ahhhhh, keep reading.

So Wednesday turned out to be a really great "last day in Rome": New Cardinals announced, a nice lunch with some New Jersey Priests who also happened to be visiting Rome, a package left for me at the hotel front desk that I was sure was not going to happen this trip, a visit with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (who work in a few Vatican offices, including the Internet office), and dinner with Joan Lewis, the Rome bureau chief for EWTN. It was a perfect day, until...... [cue the "Jaws" theme]

Thursday morning I wake up at 6am to pack my luggage, and at 7am go down to pay my bill and get a taxi to the airport for my 10am flight. When the Signora at the desk calls for the cab, she tells me, "There are no taxis today. They're on strike today." I asked her what I can do? She gives me the "Italian shrug" and says that I can get to the airport from the Termini train station in the middle of town. So I grab my bags (thank GOD for the man who invented wheels on the bottom of luggage), and haul it the half mile to a bus stop where I know there's an express bus (meaning only 5 or 6 stops along the way) to Termini. Of course, it's raining this morning, and the water on the marble and cobblestones make me thankful I can ice skate. I used up my bus tickets I keep in reserve (who knew I'd be on a bus this morning?), so all the while I'm on the bus I'm expecting to be busted without a ticket. Why? Because that's the way my morning was going so far. Halfway to the bus stop, I see a cab drive past. I wave, he turns and comes to me, rolls down the window, and asks where I want to go. When I tell him the airport, he tells me he can't because there's a strike today [yeah, thanks for that information]. I ask myself, then why is he driving a cab around town? The answer: to SHOW everyone he's on strike.

At 8:05am, I'm in Termini, ticket in hand and waiting for a train to Fiumicino Airport, which is supposed to come at 8:22. The screen announces it's going to be delayed (I thought everyone raved how Italians have the best train system?). It arrives at 8:30 and gets me to the airport at about 9:05am. Remember, 10am flight.

I get to the terminal from the train station and wait on a line just so they can look at the cover of my passport. I get through that line to get to the Continental check in area. Only nobody is there. Closed. I find a man across the way at a Continental desk, and tell him I need to check in. He gives me a shrug (I think he's related to the lady at the hotel desk), and does what I've learned Italians do: they tell you "no", then make a phone call and do what you ask. He gave me a boarding pass, handed me a temporary luggage check in tag (meaning a piece of paper on a rubber band), tells me to attach it to the bag, and send me back to the check in counter to put it on the conveyor belt. I'm totally convinced this is the last time I'll ever see my bag, but I'm wet, sweaty, and desperate to go home, so I play along. It's now about 9:25am.

Now I get to the airport security. My friends, I now know what purgatory will be like, because I waited what seemed like days while a tour group of American Senior Citizens took their own sweet time taking off belts, shoes, and earrings, to put on through the x-ray machine, all the while chatting about how they loved the gelato they had the night before. I get through the security and wait for the shuttle tram that takes you from the main terminal to the terminal where the gates are located. Time check 9:40am.

By the time the shuttle doors open, I'm in a sprint to the gate. I saw the Continental plane with the doors still wide open, so I knew there was still a glimmer of hope. I spun my way past other gates and saw the most beautiful thing I've ever seen: a long, long line of people still waiting to board my flight. Whewwwwwwwww! Plus, when I walked on the walkway to the plane, I saw one of the Continental employees who checked me at the gate and gave me the manual luggage tag. Maybe she brought my bag with her and put it on the plane? I asked her, she pulled out a PDA, checked my name off, and said everything was o.k., to get on the plane. Those of you who read the blog know I hate flying, but you'll never know how happy I was to step on that big ole' Boeing 767.

By the way, as I said above, it was a pretty smooth flight, so thank you for the prayers.

By 1:55pm Newark time (7:55pm Rome time), we landed in the U.S. I went through customs and down to the baggage carousel and waited, and waited, and waited some more. No bag. They told me to make a claim at the Continental lost baggage area. So I shlump my way on the airport tram to another terminal (along with my poor mother, who I'm sure is convinced that I'm homicidal) to the lost baggage desk, figuring this was an exercise in futility. When I handed the lady my claim ticket, she tells me there's a note on the computer that my bag is still in Rome, didn't make the plane ride, and would be sent on the flight tomorrow (Friday). So, as of now, while I'm home from Rome, my bag decided to spend another day and should be, God willing, flying 36000 feet over Nova Scotia as I'm writing this. Once I get my bag (and all the clothing, souvenirs, pictures of me with the Holy Father, travel books, etc., within it), then the trip will be officially "over".

Last night was also the annual fundraiser/dinner for Life Choices, a local pregnancy aid center. Fr. Benedict Groschel was the featured speaker for the evening. So fresh from my journey home (and strengthened by a Starbucks venti iced skim latte), I got the chance to attend the fundraiser and see Fr. Benedict. If you go by east coast time, my day began at midnight on Thursday and ended about 10pm, with catnaps on the plane along the way.

So how was your Thursday?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Arrivederci, Roma

Tonight is my last night in Rome, and I'm about to head to dinner with a friend. As always, I've been truly blessed by God to have the opportunity to come here so many times. My faith grows a little deeper each time I walk through St. Peter's Basilica or visit the tomb of a Saint (by the way, the Jesuit church, the Gesu, has the head of St. Ignatius of Antioch, today's Saint).

So tomorrow I make my mad dash to the airport, starting at 7am Rome time (1am on the east coast of the U.S.). Please pray for smooth flying, as I become a nervous wreck on airplanes that bump.


I just got out of the Holy Father's Wednesday audience. 18 new Cardinals named. Two Americans were named:
  • Abp. John Foley, who for years was in Vatican service as the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and was recently named Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
  • Abp. Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. This is the first Cardinal for that Archdiocese and shows the Pope's understanding that Cardinals in the United States have traditionally been bunched in an arch starting by the Great Lakes, heading eastward, and then swooping down the coastline past Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Yes, St. Louis and Los Angeles are exceptions to the rule, but now Texas can boast a Cardinal. Do they make Stetsons in scarlet watered-silk?

The Consistory will take place on the Vigil of the Feast of Christ the King. Interestingly, I was here in Rome at the Wednesday General Audience in February of 2006, which was the last time Pope benedict announced new Cardinals. He always waits until I'm in town, hehehe.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Morning in Rome

Monday mornings in Rome, like anyplace else I suppose, are always times of hustling. From midafternoon on Saturday until last night, Rome was quiet (well, as quiet as it can be). Yesterday I concelebrated the Sunday 10:30 "capituar Mass" (let's call it the 'high Mass' because they pull out all the stops when it comes to music, incense, etc.) at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. The Mass is said in Latin, but the readings were done in Spanish, German, and Italian. The general intercessions were similarly done in 5 different languages. I could certainly celebrate a private Mass on Sunday, but that mass is one of my favorite things to do in Rome, since it epitomizes the "one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church" we profess each week. Following the Mass everyone ent outside to listen to the Holy Father's noon Angelus message. First, we received Christ in Holy Communion, then we went outside to hear Christ's Vicar speak to us.

Then a walk to lunch at the Casa Santa Maria, the residence for American priests studying for graduate degrees from the various Roman universities. I'm here in Rome without any travel companions, and I don't mind trying to balance a few languages over meals where I'm staying, but it was nice to be able to eat a meal with other people who spoke English.

Following lunch, I hopped a bus with a mission: I was going to find the hotel that my father and stepmother stayed at on their honeymoon in Rome back in the 70s. The bus took me to the street, and I found a hotel amidst the apartment buildings, but with the wrong name. My guess is that it was the place where they stayed, but the hotel had changed hands. Still, it was nice to walk in a quiet neighborhood for a while.

Deciding to be 'adventurous', rather than do the safe thing and take the same bus back to the city center, I found a local commuter train. Deciding to forget my past experience with commuter trains, I got on this one and finally did something right, thereby removing the disgrace brought by myself upon my family name through my being "transportationally challenged" a few days ago. it left me off at the Piazza del Populo, and from there I walked back, doing as the Romans do in great numbers on a Sunday.

Now it's Monday, and my last few days in Rome begin. The sky is a bright blue, but when I go out I'll bring my umbrella (that will prevent any rain, since it only pours when i forget to bring my umbrella). Ciao!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Roaming in Rome

Yesterday morning began with all good intentions. After Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and a little breakfast, I wanted to visit a hotel that we're considering for a pilgrimage I'm leading here in Rome at the end of next January. The hotel is located north and west of St. Peter's, and in order to save my feet from unneccessary aches, I decided to take a local commuter train. No problem, I go to the station, buy my ticket, and get on the train. But wait... this is taking too long. I shouldn't be on the train this long, should I? Oh Lord, what have I done? But then I felt the train slow down and saw the name of the station, "Aurelia", and realized that's the exit I wanted. Or so I thought.

I looked at my directions, and realized I was supposed to get off at a station called "Appiano", not "Aurelia". Ugh, so when's the next train? What track of the 5 of them do I depart from? I don't know because the computer screens which announce the tracks and trains are all flashing "Data Inaccessible".

[Note: at this point, let out one of those Charlie Brown screams, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhg!"]

Luckily, God was looking out for me. There at the station, standing at a track, I saw a Legionary of Christ. How did I know? The trained ecclesiastical eye can spot them anywhere: double-breasted suit, french cuffs, hair parted on the side, quiet demeanor; it's a "no-brainer". He offered to take me to the map and set me straight. It turns out that, besides getting a ticket to the wrong place (Aurelia instead of Appiano), I got on a regional train rather than a commuter train. I shouldn't have even been looking for "Aurelia", but "Valle Aurelia" (and now I know there is a difference!). He showed me to a bus that would take me back to the Valle Aurelia metro train station, and then disappeared. Which reminds me, I really need to pray for his intentions today.

So I found the hotel, looked around, had a coffee, and walked back towards the Vatican. The hotel brochure said it was a 10 minute walk to the Vatican Museums, and I thought I'd test it. What I discovered was that, maybe if they cleared the roads and allowed a well-trained athlete to sprint it, he might make it there in under 15 minutes. So I found a bus that would do the walking for me, and made my way back in time for lunch.

I had intended to visit the hotel, walk to the subway stop near the Vatican Museums, and check out the Church of "Santa Maria degli Angeli", which was getting work done to it the last time I was here. Instead, all I could do was check out the hotel, which in the end is the main reason I'm here in Rome.

What's the saying, "Man plans and God laughs"? Believe it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Benedict and John

First and foremost, to quote Mahalia Jackson, "Oh, happy day!" At the Holy Father's General Audience yesterday, I was able to present him with a copy of "John Paul II for Dummies". I spent the night before rehearsing what I would say (or at least the first sentence or two), but then came the moment he's standing right in front of you and ((boom!)), I go blank. I have no idea what I said. Well, more precisly, I have no idea how what I said to him came out. But since the guards didn't pepper-spray me and the pictures turned out o.k., I must've done well.

On the downside, the cloudy day, the light rain, and the sweat from me being a "man of girth" walking much more than he's used to, meant that I spent the evening coughing and going through a box of Kleenex. So I'll just wait around today to find out whether, besides the book, I gave the Holy Father a cold.

Also, today is the feast of Pope Blessed John XXIII. This morning, his altar in St. Peter's Basilica was lit with extra candles and decorated with flowers. As I said in the last blog entry about St. John Leonardi, one of the great benefits of being in Rome is that you can visit the tombs of the Saints (or, in this case, the Blesseds).

Rome is also a place to practice your languages. The place where I'm staying has visitors from around the world. I've been sitting with two bishops, one from Haiti and the other from St. Lucia. Both speak English, though the bishop from Haiti's first language is French. Yesterday there was a lade from Jerusalem, and before her, two religious brothers from Argentina. This morning, two priests from Holland and two bishops from Brazil were at the table with me. Rome is amazing that way, in reminding you that the Church is not just your parish, or even your diocese.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The War in Rome

The "anti-jetlag" stragtegy didn't work, after going to bed at 10pm, I was up at 1:30am. I finally fell back to sleep at 4am, but then didn't want to wake up for my 6am alarm ring. My "evil twin" turned off the alarm, rather than hit the snooze button, so I missed going to St. Peter's for daily mass. I love doing that every day I'm here, so I was feeling down on myself.

St. Paul talks about the Christian being "at war with one's body", and in Rome I understand exactly where he's coming from:
  • My eyes ache from the smog and exhaust that comes from cars and the little motorino scooters. Thank God for eye drops.
  • My stomach reminds me how much it loves gelati, pastries, pizza, and just about every other food Italy offers. But I walk about 10 miles a day in Rome, so that takes some of the guilt away.
  • My feet give me the biggest battle: They're not used to walking on hard cobblestones, so each day in Rome is a battle with blisters and calluses (sp? or is it "callouses"? "Callusi"? Whatever).

But those Romans, they've been fighting these battles longr than I, and every Farmacia has an asorment of pads and gels to help the traveler. On another topic, today is the feast of St. John Leonardi, the founder of what we know as the Society for the Propagation of the faith, and his body is entombed here in Rome. I'm going to pay a visit in the afternoon. I love that about Rome.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Saluti da Roma!

Yes, I've made it here and found some internet access! I've been essentially awake since 6am Sunday morning and it's now 9pm Rome time as I write this. One more hour and I'll fulfill my personal plan of staying awake the first day to beat the jetlag. If you see another blog entry dated about 4am (rome time) on Tuesday, then you'll know my plan failed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rome-ward Bound!

Tonight I depart for Rome on one of these babys: a Boeing 767 jet. The trip is a little mix of business and pleasure. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to blog from the internet cafe that I habituate when I'm in Rome, but I'll try. In the meantime, please pray for nice, smooth flights both to and from Rome.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Let the [16 year olds] come to me, and do not hinder them"

A seminary friend (and YF reader) let me know about a letter which appeared in the Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Altanta. I leave you now in the hands of 16 year old Ethan Milukas:

To the Editor:

I am 16 years old, and for the past 11 months I have attended the traditional Latin Mass weekly, while still attending the Novus Ordo Mass during the week. Because of this, I decided to address certain points made by Carroll Sterne in the Sept. 6 edition of The Georgia Bulletin. Mr. Sterne speaks about the type of Mass that someone of a younger generation is drawn to, and I thought that a teenager’s point of view might be helpful.

Mr. Sterne in his letter gives voice to the opinion of many of today’s liturgists when he says that no one from a younger generation would be drawn to the Latin Mass (many take this even further and assume that we would not like a reverent Novus Ordo Mass either). This opinion causes many of those who plan modern liturgies to do veritable back flips in an attempt to draw teenagers and young adults in. Sometimes this works, but it has a side effect: by doing these things, liturgists show that they have absolutely no faith in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to change the lives of those in my generation. My generation knows about this lack of faith, we are able to see it every time we go to a “teen Mass” and experience priests ad-libbing prayers in an attempt to make them more relevant to us.

This lack of faith backfires; it sends us the message that we also should distrust the power of the liturgy, and it also can turn the Mass into something of a joke.

After experiencing this for months, I attended a Traditional Latin Mass and experienced something that I’d never seen before: Here was a priest who expected my life to be changed without adding anything to the Mass in an attempt to bring this change about. This priest had perfect faith in the power of the liturgy, and it showed. It was beautiful. The traditional Mass did more to change my life then any “relevant” teen Mass ever did.

Rock on, Ethan! First and foremost, find your spirituality within the confines of the Church. But once at the table (meant here either metaphorically or in the sense of coming to the "table of the Lord"; take your pick), don't let others force-feed you something you're not hungry for!

Critics of Summorum Pontificum are quick to point out that, in years past, not every Mass celebrated using the "extraordinary usage of the Roman Rite" (to use the terminology given to us by the Holy Father) was done so with reverence and rubrically correct. This is true. But one can also say (and those who do usually do so with direct, experiential knowledge) that neither has, in years recent, every Mass celebrated using what it now called the "ordinary usage of the Roman Rite" been done with reverence and rubrically correct.

The "dirty little secret", I'm beginning to think, is that many of those who are reluctant to see the "mainstreaming" of the older Mass feel they may be a little responsible for its return. Maybe, in years past, with a little less of the "folk Masses", the "give everybody something to do Masses", and the "let's sit around the coffee table and just be relaxed Masses", and perhaps a little more of the "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" or "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabbaoth", would there be (almost 40 years later) a desire to make "what is old new again"?

New PGN Episode Posted

I've just posted another episode of the radio show that Derek Jeter listens to while he shaves in the morning: Proclaim The Good News. (Well, he might. Are you there when he shaves?)

This episode deals with the "Stem Cell Research Bond Act" being proposed as a public question on the November ballot in the State of New Jersey. If approved, the State would float a $450,000,000 bond (and N.J. taxpayers will repay for years) to fund experimentation with stem cells, including those obtained from the destruction of human beings in their most vulnerable state. I also spoke with a man who was cured of a form of Leukemia, thanks to the use of adult stem cells.

Click on the "PGN Archives" link on the right to listen to the show, or save it to an mp3 player.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Homecoming in Emmitsburg

I apologize to all of you who have been coming to the blog daily, only to find no new entries since last week. We're getting ready for Confirmations here in the parish, my Monday night adult ed class and the Thursday night RCIA class are in full swing, and this past Tuesday and Wednesday I was back at my old seminary, Mount Saint Mary's in Emmitsburg, Maryland, for the annual Priests' alumni Mass and dinner. Add to it my preparations for a trip to Rome I'm taking next week, and you see how I'm a bit frazzled.

Let me talk about the homecoming for a while. There's something about going back to the seminary that I love. No, it's not the fact that I don't have any papers to write or that the faculty can no longer affect my future. It truly recharges my spiritual batteries each time I walk back into the building. The bells tolling every quarter hour, the smell of the seminary chapel (a good smell that comes from layers and layers of incense and candle wax), even the hallways and my class' graduation picture hanging on the wall, all make it special.

Each year the homecoming is the same. A Mass on Tuesday night in the college's chapel, this year celebrated by Bishop William Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT (seminary class of 1977). The seminary schola was excellent, chanting the Ecce Sacerdos Magnus as the Bishop processed into the chapel. His homily on the guardian angels (the Mass was on their feast day) was a mix of humor and catechesis from the Church Fathers. The full choir loft and the full chapel and the benches in the sanctuary full with seminarians serving the Mass tell me that the Mount continues to do well when it comes to enrollment. Following Mass we had a great dinner, during which I sat with the alumni from the class of 1987. As I approach my 10th anniversary, it was great to sit with men who were in their tenth year of ordination when I was ordained to the Priesthood.

It was a refreshing time, and each year I come home thinking the same thing: I really should visit out there more often!