Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I offer the following reflection on light on based St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, proclaimed on the 30th Monday of Ordinary Time, year 2.

Brothers and sisters:

Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness,

but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (Ephesians 4:32-5:8)

Light. What is so important about it? Why are we attracted to it? Why do children have a particular attraction to camp fires? Why are decorators so intrigued by lighting schemes, placement, fixtures, etc.? What difference does this all make? What purpose does light play in our lives? How are we ourselves light?

St. Paul is his letter to the Ephesians tells us to live as children of the light. We can look at this line and in an understanding sort of way, as if we truly 'get it,' say, "hmm... ok," and then having a sense of what that means and with a hint of determination - move on. But if that's all we do, then what good is that? So, if we are to live as children of light how do we strive to do that? Well, there are few ways or characteristics of light which describe how it is that we are to live as children of the light.

First, making present. One initial thing we can say about light is that it makes things present. When a lamp or another fixture illuminates a room, what is in the room becomes visible; i.e. made present. Now what is the light making present? This is the question! For example, designers strategically place lights in a room so that certain features or aspects of the room are highlighted or made present in a particular way. So it is with our spiritual lives. What are our lives making present? Things of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Are our lives making present God's presence? Or are our lives seeking to make present other things? Things of this world? Things lesser than what our God, our faith, our Church, or the image of God in which we have been made calls us to? For that matter, striving for the earthly life, is that even light? No, for darkness, blindness, and confusion can ensue. So, having said all this, to what extent are we being children of the light in that we are proclaiming God's presence with our lives?

Second, a focal point. *Seen a candle lately? Noticed the flame? Sometimes this happens when you get closer to a candle and notice the flame in a deeper way. Or have you found yourself outside gazing up to the sky on a warm, quiet, starry night and fixated on a particular star. For a moment all is still and almost perfect as you are drawn into pondering the deeper mysteries of life. In both star and candle the light changes and flickers and has its own being and at the same time we focus in on it. If another person were to focus in on our lives what would that person see? A candle burning brightly or one that is dark and cold? Do we realize that as we live out our faith that we have the potential to become, 'focal points' ? Not for others to focus on us specifically, but so that others may focus on someone who is following Christ and through that be inspired to do the same?.

Third point: the way. Ok, so have you seen your favorite flashing arrow on the road indicating a lane change due to construction today? Pleasant, right? There is a truth here. Despite our apparent appreciation for the traffic arrows we cannot argue the fact that they do tells us where to go and point us in the right direction. So to do our lives do the same thing. As beacons of light we are able to point others to Christ. Through lives of discipleship, faithfulness, love, devotion, sacrifice, hope, generosity, courage, service, etc. we point to Christ. As we point to Christ we have the potential to steer others in the right direction.

May God bless you!

*technical answer to this question: "Yes, when I was at Church on Sunday!"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Congratulations & Vocations

This weekend I had the opportunity to witness two important things.

First, I concelebrated at the ordination of 5 deacons who will be journeying toward priesthood ordination on May 16, 2009. Ordained this past weekend in the Diocese of Cleveland were: classmate Deacon Sean Ralph, good friend Deacon Chris Trenta (see "The Latest Adventures of Chris" in the blog list to the left), Deacon Anthony Suso, Deacon Matt Pfeiffer, and Deacon Kevin Estabrook. Congratulations brothers!

At the ordination I remember walking in the procession and seeing the smiling faces of the guys to be ordained. It was at that moment, although I had been excited beforehand, I was even more so filled with excitement, joy, and happiness for these guys that I have had the privilege to know over the past 8 years!

This Diaconate ordination caused me to the think of two things in particular. First, I started thinking back to my own Diaconate ordination (Nov. 4, 2007) and thinking: has it really been a year already??? Reflecting upon all the graces of the past year, I am reminded once again how great this vocation is!

Second, as I witnessed the joy on the faces of my deacon brothers, I was reminded of the great mystery of God's love that we enter into more deeply as we claim our vocations - no matter what that vocation is! When we say yes to the Lord, when we begin and officially claim our vocations, there is a certain inexplicable sense of the mystery of God's love - the Holy Spirit - that you experience! That you are entering into something greater than yourself and its in this context of God's love and the faith community that all things make sense and we see the experience the deeper meaning of life. The fire within burns brighter!

The second event I experienced this weekend was the vocation witness given at our parish Masses by one of our own seminarians: Tim Roth. Tim shared his story of coming to a maturity in his faith and making the decision to enter the seminary. Tim also shared the joys and challenges of being a seminarian and working toward the priesthood. Tim's witness reminded me once again of awesomeness of saying yes to the Lord and embracing one's vocation with that yes. Tim's words also were inspiring and it is my hope that his words planted seeds in the hearts of the young people at St. Charles, to consider a vocation to priesthood or religious life.

To conclude for this round - again I'd just like to say another word of congratulations to our new deacons, Sean, Chris, Anthony, Kevin, and Matt and also thank you to Tim for his wonderful witness.

Peace be with you!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Everything you hoped for?

One of the common questions I have gotten in recent days, which I may have mentioned before, is: "Is it [priesthood] everything you hoped it would be?" Now, an easy answer to this question could be yes or no. However, I find that my response to this question is not as easy as a one word answer. As I entered priesthood and my first assignment I went in without any preconceived notions of how things 'should be' or hoping things would be like 'this' or 'that'. Rather, I entered this life just wondering and open to how the Spirit would unfold and what the lived experience of priesthood is like. I have found that any time in the past where I have anticipated, hoped, or longed for things to be a particular way I only ended up with egg on my face and found disappointment rather that fulfillment. So, I only came in with the common hopes, that this life would be fulfilling and life-giving.

I can say with certain confidence today that I look forward to how the spirit will unfold each day, what each day will bring and the challenges or joys or other interesting things that will happen. No one day is like another here and I love that about this life. Priesthood is diverse and full of variety and in the mix of all that, this life challenges you because you have to constantly be on your game.

I have been touched at how the Spirit has been unfolding at Mass, in the Confessional, and during the times I work with the youth group and witness young people strive to come to know the Lord. I have also had those times that required further discernment and I have also had those times that have struck me like, "Oh, so this is what it's like? Wow!"

So to answer to answer the original question: yes, things are going well, and the Spirit is certainly in many ways, making itself manifest and present and each day unfolding in new ways! I love what I do and I am fulfilled.

I would encourage anyone in any walk of life, to let themselves be surprised. Don't hope for many specific things but hope for the fulfillment and life sustaining Spirit of God that comes from doing His will. In addition be open and willing and attentive to the Spirit is unfolding and look forward to new adventures that can come with each passing day.

I also wish to offer the following congratulations:

Congratulations to the 2nd Year theologians at St. Mary Seminary on being installed Lectors last Friday, October 3rd. - Congratulations to Peter, Gregg, and John!

Congratulations also to the 5th Year theologians who have been officially called to Holy Orders and will be ordained deacons on Saturday, October 25th at 10am at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland! Congratulations to Chris, Kevin, Anthony, Matt, and Sean!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Commitment and Faithfulness

Two weeks ago I officiated/celebrated my first wedding which happened to be the wedding of my cousin Andrew and now cousin-in-law Kate. I was honored to be asked to celebrate the wedding, it was a joyous occasion on many accounts. I found it exciting and pure joy to see my cousin and his fiance get married. At the same time, on a more personal level, I found much joy and excitement, and yes some nervousness in celebrating a wedding for the first time. In addition, this was the first time some of my extended family saw me function in an official Church role, outside all the festivities of my ordination weekend a few months ago; and so yes that was equally neat in its own way.

While I, my cousin and new cousin-in-law have begun to live out our vocations it reinforced in me the level of commitment needed to live out one's vocation. Beyond all the glitz and glam of any big event marking the beginning of one's vocation, what will endure is the faithfulness and commitment which is necessary to live out the vocation one chooses. There are no magic wands that can make anyone's vocation "just happen" day-to-day; rather, there are choices we must make everyday to make our vocations as strong and committed as possible.

It is through my commitment and faithfulness to the priesthood that I can be an instrument of God's grace, a leader of prayer, guide, and other things that help to bring about the Kingdom on earth. So it is in marriage, it is only through commitment and faithfulness to the marriage covenant that a couple can continue to be a living image of God's love for humanity in this world.

Loving and gracious God, send your graces upon your people and increase our faithfulness to the vocations which we live so that in our faithfulness we may be beacons of your light, love, mercy on earth. Amen.

Friday, August 1, 2008

While you wait...

Greetings! Yes, I know I've been a bit behind with a new post. Don't worry a new one will be coming soon, perhaps early part of next week. I've been somewhat busy with various parish activities and preparing for my first wedding on Saturday, my cousin Andrew and fiance Katie. And Sunday I'll be at The FEST for a good chunk of the day, so in the mean time check out these sites:

The FEST - Takes place this Sunday, August 3rd from 12noon-10pm: www.thefest.us

St. Mary Seminary (our major seminary/theologate in Cleveland): www.stmarysem.edu

Borromeo Seminary (undergrad seminary in Cleveland): www.borromeoseminary.org

Vocation site for the Diocese of Cleveland: www.clevelandcatholicpriesthood.org

Enjoy & God Bless!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A man on the move...

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted for a while. Things in ministry are still going well and at the same time busy. Just a couple weeks ago we had our Carnival (festival) at St. Charles and as I mentioned before in my previous post, I was slinging ice cream with the youth group!

Last week, St. Charles saw the passing of a good friend and priest. Fr. James Conry died on July 13th after a recurring battle with cancer. Amidst the end of the Carnival and Fr. Conry's passing, things around the parish were quite busy, especially because we were down 2 staff members (Fr. Steve and Sr. Denise) who were with members of our youth group in Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day.

For the first time, amidst all the business I experienced what I had long expected and always knew what would be part of ministry and priesthood. I would be called on, and all in ministry are called on, to roll with the punches, to be people on the move - responding to the situations you encounter and being ready to take on whatever is coming down the pike.

For much of the past couple of weeks I felt as though I was pushing myself to be more, live more, and love more as each challenge, twist, and turn presented itself. I'm not going to lie, I was tired at the end of each day and at times I felt like I was just doing my best to keep up and was wondering when the barrage was going to stop, but in the end it was a good sense of being tired and a deepening of that loving relationship a priest is to have with his people. In new ways I really sensed what it means to lay down your life for others. In all of this I felt my life being poured out so that others may live. The lived experience of this is quite different from being told about it or educated on it.

I have always said, I wanted to become a priest partly because each day was a new adventure and you never know what will happen. Now I have had some experience in the adventure and what it feels like to live it to a certain degree and I look forward to a lifetime of more adventures to come.

Priesthood is an adventure, you never know what will happen from day to day and at the same time you rely upon God and God's presence which is the constant known, a thread if you will, holding all things together.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Living for others

Before I begin or get any further, I would ask for prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. James Conry, who lost his battle with cancer yesterday. He was in his 80s, a beloved priest and friend to all. Words cannot express how much he will be missed. When he retired he came to St. Charles and was in residence here the past 11 years.

Sorry for the delay in updates! The Carnival (parish festival) just wrapped last night at St. Charles. Fun was had by all!!! For my part, well, I had 2 responsibilities: 1 pray for good weather & 2 work the ice cream booth with the youth group. The Carnival began last Wednesday with a parade and was open every night from 6:30-10:30pm.

I thank God for the amazing weather - not a single drop of rain during any of the hours the carnival was open!!! Even more so, I thank God for the awesome teens and young adults at St. Charles who put in long hours making the ice cream booth a success! I would especially like to mention the teens who were unable to go to WYD in Sydney and stayed behind to sling ice cream - they truly stepped up!!! I love our teens and echo what Sr. Denise says: "they're the best!"

Some of our youth group is currently in Australia for WYD '08. The group left last Friday and they are now in Australia having a wonderful time! This also meant that Sr. Denise and Fr. Steve were able to give me a two night crash course in managing and running the ice cream booth - Thank God I have some Dairy Queen experience in my past - LOL! But seriously - in terms of jumping in and helping run/manage the booth - again everything went so very well, our teens truly stepped up and it was great! My feet are a lil' sore but otherwise I'm doing well.

In stepping into the role of taking the lead with the youth group I must say I did feel like a proud parent or something like that! Also, I did sense an added sense of duty and responsibility - it was like: "I have to take care of my kids." I think in some way this is a revelation to the caring and nurturing aspect of being priesthood - the fatherhood part of it!

Even though I feel like I've been pulling 'all-nighters' the past 5 nights... sort of like finals week but more! I am still good to go and I love what I do - the adventure of priesthood is awesome! In some ways the experience of a very busy week plus the carnival last week taught me or helped me live out what it means to live for others in the parish context and what it means to give your life and to die to self. Priesthood - bud-ah bup-pah-pah I'm lovin' it!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lonely? No... are you?...

"You know as a priest you're going to be lonely and unhappy!" "It must be sad being a priest, you have no one to go home to." "You won't be happy until priests are able to get married." - These, and there have been others, have been some of the comments that myself and brother priests and seminarians have heard over many years. In some ways, these words can be discouraging and not necessarily for the reason(s) you might expect. I find these words to be discouraging not because they are negative but because, in my opinion, the people who have had the audacity to say such things come across like sheep without a shepherd! I don't mean this in a condescending way but rather, I say it with great honesty and Christian charity. Truly.

People who wish to express their discontent with celibacy and the lifestyle of a priest, using language in the company of the previous mentioned quotes, are quite confused. These statements that are, I guess, an attempt to pick away or jab at celibacy are logically inconsistent for at least two reasons, (and I'm sure there are other reasons too).

First, does anyone knowingly choose to be lonely? Honestly, who in their right mind would do that? Answer: No one! Therefore, how could anyone logically presuppose that some one is going to be lonely or would choose a lifestyle of loneliness? In what set of circumstances would choosing a 'lonely lifestyle' make sense?

Sidebar: Answering the call to priesthood is a choice, not a force of the hand or twist of the arm. Somehow over the years answering the call has become equated with being forced to do something against one's will for the Lord. In response to this somewhat pervasive negative view on answering the call, I have two words: not true!

Second, how does anyone know what makes another person happy? Again, I don't mean to be mean or condescending but an honest gut reaction I have is: "Who are you to say what makes me happy?" For when one says, 'you will be lonely and unhappy,' presupposes the one making the statement knows what will make the person whom he/she is talking about, happy or unhappy and quite frankly, how could anyone presuppose to know this of another person?

What has sparked my colorful, direct, and rawly honest commentary?

Today I concelebrated at the funeral of a brother priest, Fr. John Richards. As I was at the funeral I looked around I saw 60 plus brother priests from the other four fine men I was ordained with to the fine leadership of the Diocese of Cleveland. I saw multiple generations of brothers. Brothers, my family. Lonely? Nope!

Every Sunday, I look out from the sanctuary at Mass and I do not see a congregation, parishioners (even though technically they are), or members but rather, I see my family. I have more members in my family then John & Kate Plus 8, The Brady Bunch, and Cheaper by the Dozen (the Bakers), put together!!! Lonely? Nope!

I am priest and I am not lonely! I spend each day taking care of my family to the best of my ability and I walk with them in good times and in bad. My life is full of life. I am not alone nor lonely. In no other vocation could I possibly have a life as blessed as this with such a great depth of generation and diversity and a brotherhood that is a rock.

I have entered this vocation freely and without reservation to give myself to the Church in a particular way. I have chosen to honor my role as priest and my parish family for the rest of my life. I accept all the Lord has entrusted to me and will do my best to guide them and care for them according to the law of Christ and his Church. I promise to be true to those I serve in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love them and honor them all the days of my life, until death do us part.

What is loneliness then? Perhaps its an attitude or choice or perception, I'm not completely sure nor am I an expert. Some loneliness is tied to clinical depression and that's an entirely different matter. But what I do know is that loneliness is not rooted in a vocation. Just as a person is not 'incomplete' unless he/she is married; honestly, some of the loneliest people in the world are married. I have met some of them. The main point here is that you are complete on your own and lonely on your own too, not having a spouse in the sacrament of marriage does not equate to being lonely! If you are full of life then you will have life.

Saving the best for last: I have Christ. As a priest I strive to live my life in union with God and the Church. Is God not enough? More than enough!

I am not alone, priesthood is not lonely, period.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A vital role.

This past Sunday I was the celebrant for Baptism and welcomed 3 new members of St. Charles into the Church. The cornerstone to my homily that I give is the commitment of the parents and godparents, especially in terms of raising a child in the faith and being the first teacher of the faith. This is the cornerstone for two reasons.

First, because it is an awesome yet at the same time, important and big responsibility on the part of the parents and godparents to raise a child in the faith. This important responsibility requires dedication and commitment and therefore it is extremely important that parents and godparents take this commitment seriously and to be faithful to it.

Second, because I can firmly say that it was through the strength of my parent's faith that I found my vocation to priesthood. Catholicism was central in my upbringing and because a healthy practice of the faith was present, I found the freedom and interest to consider and eventually accept the call to priesthood. It is on this point that I say that a parent can never discount their witness to the faith or expect others to somehow fulfill their role as first teachers and guide.

Furthermore, not only does a family who prays together stay together but a family who has a strong sense of faith allows for their children to be ever more tuned into listening what vocation God is calling them to. Many young people search for purpose and meaning - their vocation - and many adults go through life in state of wondering if they are where God has called them to be. A strong sense of faith and vocation direction begins with the ones who point the direction out to us; parents!

To my brothers and sisters called to married life or who are married: please take this commitment to raising your child in the faith seriously and never give up! Also, do not be afraid!!! Passing on the faith can feel overwhelming at times but this does not mean that it cannot be done! Passing on the faith also does not require that one knows everything about the faith. For no one knows everything about the faith but everyone is growing in faith - even I am!!! The important emphasis is faithfulness. Be faithful and practice your faith to the best of your ability and God will work through you - you are not alone!

Truly: Take your candle and go light your world!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peter the Rock

Every priest is an alter Christus (another Christ). A priest lives out life being and fulfilling the call of an alter Christus and in doing so he is called to bring Christ, to be Christ, and is Christ for the faithful. At the same time, there is an element to priesthood that requires one to be the rock and while God the Father would be considered The Rock, the rock of which I speak is that of St. Peter. St. Peter, our first Pope and the rock upon whom the Lord built the Church.

I celebrated a funeral this morning for just the second time and as I worked with the family and helped them through this difficult period in their life, I sensed the rockiness. In being a Rock what I am saying is that a priest is a witness to the faith and Christ as Peter was. At the same time, the priest brings flesh to the situation. The priest is Christ in the flesh in midst of struggle and strife. The priest puts flesh on the spiritual bones of Christ. In doing so, the priest becomes Christ who people can reach out and touch, a physical witness to the faith, and a rock they can turn to in the midst of turmoil. And so there is this call, this goal to strive for - to be the rock. The one who is not God yet stands in and points to God with his entire being, his entire life.

I am ever more aware that people will look to me as a priest, to be a rock in times when they seek security and peace. And I know I am a rock for them and at the same time I, like St. Peter, am not perfect but I strive towards perfection. I know that there is much room for me to grow. I pray that the Lord continues to grace me with His Spirit, with wisdom, and the courage to endure and persevere along the path of growth.

A priest is an alter Christus and at the same time has the rockiness of St. Peter.

What else can I say other than for all young men, especially those considering the wonderful call to priesthood that this is part of what it means to be a priest. The people will look to you and you will lead them. As Christ you will lead them. As one who has much room to grow and at times are not perfect, people will see your witness and still you will lead them.

I may not be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 6), and I may feel more like Peter the Rock than The Rock and yet I know people will look to me and I will forge ahead and do the best, with God, that I can.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The greatest praise of God is a person fully alive! - St. Irenaeus

Yesterday, today, and in the days to come the political world and in many ways the United States will experience, mourn, and cope with the loss of Tim Russert; and perhaps especially in November during the Presidential Election where his presence in the political world will surely be missed. Although I do not know a great deal about him, I do know that for me he came across as a voice of objective reason and responsible reporting in politics in Washington D.C., in a time when such a thing is hard to find. Even more so, any time I watched Meet the Press or heard Tim speak, I always sensed that I was hearing a truly authentic person. Tim reminds me time and time again of the passion and enthusiasm we must all have in life - for faith, family, and others. Tim was not afraid to be himself, he was truly himself through and through, there was no TV-face or TV-personality - you got The Tim Russert on and off the camera, period! He was a strong Catholic and made no apologies for it. He was not afraid to proceed in his own ethical way and he also took the examples and learned from others to become better at his craft. He took his God given talents and made no waste of them. St. Irenaeus, a saint who lived in the 2nd century said, "The greatest praise of God is a man fully alive." Tim gave the greatest praise to God; his enthusiasm was beyond compare.

For us perhaps there are these lessons: be fully alive! Harvest the talents God has given you, learn from those who have gone before you - parents, mentors, collegues, etc. - and strive always to better yourself in every aspect of our life. Don't settle for anything which is less than your best self!

Tim's death coincides in many ways with the messages we heard in the Gospel from Matthew this week in the Sermon on the Mount. In particular Thursday's passage (Mt. 5:20-26) in which Jesus tells us that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees. Which reminds us that while we must observe the Commandments of the Lord, we cannot do them in a perfunctory way but rather, the Commandments of the Lord must draw us into deeper conversion - we must be authentic persons inside and out. We cannot do the right things exteriorly while we lack love, hope, and faith - the right things - interiorly.

The passing of Tim Russert causes me to pause for two reasons: first, because my parents are the same age. Second, in October of 2006 I experienced the loss of a dear friend from high school in a tragic car accident and all of these things remind me how precious and fragile life is. That being said, I wonder, what am I holding back and what more can I do to be fully alive?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How's it going? Do you like it?

How's it going? Do you like it [St. Charles]? These are two questions that I have heard frequently over the past several days. To begin with, my new life as a parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo in Parma, OH, I don't like it... I LOVE IT!!! I enjoy what I do as a priest more than I ever thought I would. Even in the times when I have felt stress or confusion during my beginning days here, the Lord has brought me through it and carried me and allowed me to experience His grace in ways unimaginable!

My first weekend at St. Charles I found myself at every Mass giving the traditional introductory speech or the "Hi, my name is talk" as it may be more affectionately called! LOL! All the Masses went well this weekend and the reception into the St. Charles family is more than I could have asked for. I have never quite experienced a parish community where people have such a close bond with the Church and not just individual families but generations of families! I found a spirit here that I have not quite experienced before! Overall, I have sensed that I am home!

This week has been fun! I did celebrated my first funeral on Monday - even in death there is grace. On Tuesday I had Mass with the school, the last one on the last day of school - pure fun! I truly love what I do and I think both events again taught me of the vital role of the priest in the lives of others - the comfort for those in pain and the leader for the leaders of tomorrow. Priesthood isn't what I thought it would be... it's better than that!

Now that many of the 'firsts' have take place, it's on to more of sinking into the routine and flow of this place in the best way possible. What adventures will take place tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? I couldn't tell you... and I can't wait!

Take your candle and go light your world...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lord You alone can heal me...

The seminary is an interesting place... for many reasons... one of the interesting experiences that I had as a seminarian was to study and practice celebrating the sacraments, and in regards to the basic principles of celebrating the sacraments, rubrics, etc. I am prepared and competent to minister. However, over the past week-and-a-half I have experienced things the seminary did not, nor could it ever have prepared me for... when I actually entered into celebrating Reconciliation (Confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Communion calls as a priest I felt and sensed God's presence and witnessed God's presence in ways I never have before and never thought possible... but it happened... and I am grateful... and profoundly touched in some supernatural unexplainable way... blown away if you will by experiencing God's grace, healing, and mercy in new ways.

When I celebrated the Anointing of the Sick first with my grandfather (my first time and truly a special moment) and assisted at an Anointing Mass at my home parish, St. Bede the Venerable in Mentor, OH (see websites/links) I was captivated by two things. First, the thought that I can bring God's healing presence to another person, and that God's grace works through me (and my brother priests) in a unique way such as this floors me... who am I that God called me to do this special thing... the words of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel this weekend, "Follow me," come to mind and these two simple but profound words have taken on new meaning for me... talk about entering into the Mystery! It feels like God is reaching down from the Supernatural into our natural world and I'm at the tip of His fingers helping to communicate His grace. It is not me but God working through me... working through me... ... ...wow!

Second, I have been profoundly touched by how people have sought the Lord in time of need and sorrow. To see the tears in my brother's and sister's eyes as they receive the grace of God's healing sacraments has caused me to me to wonder at times how anyone could doubt God's presence... I do not know... yes there are tragic things that take place in our lives and in this world that are not in the world to come... and yes, these sort of events can shake, rattle, and roll one's faith I'm sure... but to see my brothers and sisters lean in and receive the grace of God reaching out to them - yes, God is real, God is, was, and always will be alive, and yes God is present even when we think He may not be. Christ: yesterday, today, and forever!!!

To conclude my thoughts this time around, I know I've only been a priest for only just under a month, I don't have the greatness of years of experience of my brother priests, but even in my short time I have experienced the greatness of God, it has been awesome and I hunger for more. This life is truly grace filled! If you've considered a vocation in the Church, pray over Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel today: "Follow me," hear Jesus speaking to you, ask what this means for you, accept where God is calling you, and let these words resonate within you once again, and lastly: FOLLOW HIM.

Take your candle and go light your world...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What was it like for the Apostles?

Well my friends, with much anticipation and joy the first day came and the first day went, the second day... Last night was only about 82.2736549% full of sound sleeping - I was excited about the first day at St. Charles. What would happen? What would God have in store for me? What adventures were about to transpire?

Overall, today was quiet but in a good way - this doesn't mean I didn't do anything, either! So don't even go there!!! LOL!

Today started by first packing the last of the necessities at my parent's house and making the drive to St. Charles. I have to admit at the end of 9 years in seminary formation I had no idea I had accumalated so much stuff in my seminary room! I must admit, I see new wisdom to only taking a walking stick, sandles, and 1 tunic!!! It has occured to me that these next four years will certainly involve a renewal of simplicity of life! I guess it's true what 'they' say: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Although I must admit that over the past week one prevailing thought that has been somewhat at the forefront of my mind: what was it like for the Apostles when they first started out? For myself, although there are some uncertainties as I start out and priesthood fleshes itself out in my life - my uncertainties must be pretty small in comparison to those of the Apostles. I consider myself venturing into uncharted yet charted territory. The Apostles had to work most everything out from celebration to articulation of the faith. At least for myself, I have history, liturgical documents, scriptural commentary, Canon Law and other policies, the wisdom and examples of those who have gone before me, and the vision and direction of a good bishop - all of which aid me in ministry in ways unlike the Apostles. I may not know what will happen next but I walk into the unknown with arsenal. The Apostles really didn't have the same sort of blueprints did they? I'm sure, as I've said before, any uncertainties or queries I may have about how to get started or begin the ministry God has entrusted to me, must be nothing in comparison to the Apostles. At the same time, there is a part of me that resonates with the experience, and feels like I'm entering into their experience in my own way.

Day one of entering into this experience found me as I said packing the last few things and arriving, but then I found myself getting to the usual stuff I suppose anyone would do on their first day - arranging my calendar with different things that will be coming up soon and future weddings and at the same time asking a billion and a half first day questions: where is ____, what is ____, how do I ____, what do I need to know about ___, etc. and so on! But as I sit here, it is joy, and tomorrow is another day, another day filled with opportunities to take my candle and light the world.

Take your candle and go light your world...

Pax te cum!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Greetings! My direction & intention for this blog:


Inspired by a very good brother I have decided to give this whole blog thing a shot, I've never really blogged before so, this is my first crack at it so we'll see how it goes - posts may come daily or periodically, who knows?!

One thing is clear: the direction of this blog is to offer reflections on my vocation as a priest, ministry, Scripture, topics related to Catholicism, and other relevant things. The reflections are based on my experiences while at the same time, I will protecting the privacy of those involved and remain consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church. The entries may also include theological and/or scriptural reflection as well as offering a Catholic perspective on various current events. ABOVE AND BEYOND ALL: The sole intention of this blog is to be tool for evangelization so that I may offer others, especially those considering priesthood or religious life, insight into my experiences in hopes that they may have the confidence to answer 'the call' and so others called to other vocations may gain insight into priesthood. This blog DOES NOT in any way, shape, or form, speak for or express the opinions of the Diocese of Cleveland (of which I am a member), or it's leadership.

Now that the ground rules are set, so to speak, I must say these are certainly exciting times! I along with my classmates were just ordained priests in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 10, 2008!!! I am currently gearing up to start my first assignment as a parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Parma, OH! I can't wait to get there!!!

Peace be with you!

Father Ed