Friday, February 27, 2015

Encountering the Mystery Is Here

Greetings to all on this Lenten Friday.

Excitement erupted yesterday here at WLP when Fr. Ed Foley's new DVD series arrived, Encountering the Mystery: An Overview of Eucharistic Theology.

I think this is a wonderful 4-Disc set. Fr. Ed was my faculty advisor at Catholic Theological Union here in Chicago as I worked my way through earning the Doctor of Ministry in the 1990's. I took a few courses with him and always found his style engaging, erudite, and pastoral. He knows how to bring theology to life.

You can find all the trailers here; just do a little searching!

I am looking forward to spending time with the entire series between now and Easter.

I hope that your celebration of the Second Sunday of Lent is a good one.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lent at Saint John's Seminary

Thursday greetings on a snowy morning here in the Midwest. Took nearly two hours to drive to work this morning. So frustrated with the ways that Chicago suburbs like Oak Park and River Forest clear (or don't clear) their streets when snow arrives. This is winter. This is the Midwest. This is not rocket science. They are putting the public in danger. Just don't get it.

At any rate, safely at the office now and simmering down . . .

After re-reading my post of yesterday, more memories kicked in, this time of my experience of Lent while preparing for the priesthood at Saint John's Seminary College and Saint John's Seminary School of Theology in Boston.

Here are some photos of saint John's.

Lent in the seminary was, in a word, wonderful. And why wouldn't it be? Here we were, scores of like-minded guys, all trying our best to develop a spiritual life, entering this holy season together. The seminary just didn't seem the same during Lent; it just felt holier somehow. Remember this was the seventies and early eighties. I recall the Friday night celebrations of Stations of the Cross in the college seminary chapel. We had guys up in the organ pipe chambers that were suspended above the choir area. Their disembodied voices would speak some of the parts in "Every Man's Way of the Cross," the "in" way of the cross back then.

I was usually at the organ, playing the hymns for the stations. And the singing was always full throated and "beefy." I miss that unique sound.

We had very moving communal celebrations of reconciliation. We also had long, often boring and unhelpful addresses by the various rectors of the seminary, at least for me. And I remember going to my confessor often during Lent, always feeling God's love, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Most of Lent, for those of us involved with liturgy and music at the seminary, was focused on preparing the liturgies of Palm Sunday and the Paschal Triduum. There were lots of choir rehearsals. And then there were the music rehearsals of the entire seminary community on the mornings of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. We would rehearse the whole house of guys, teaching them new chant pieces, psalms, acclamations, and hymns.

As I look back on all of this, I realize what a special place that was for someone like me who is "into" the liturgy. The "audience" was always captive and the closed community meant that we were all "in this together." Special place, for sure, but certainly not reflective of pastoral life at all. I think, though, that I was able to take the good pieces and make them work pastorally in parishes in which I ministered. Grateful for many things those seminary days taught me. Still bitter, frankly, at what would at times be an oppressive, paranoia-inducing structure that did little to embolden the human spirit, at least of this guy. Life is like that. Not just in seminaries, I guess.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lent as a Kid

Greetings on this Lenten Wednesday.

This week, while giving the parish mission, which ended last evening, I was thinking about the ways that I was formed in my Lenten practices growing up. This, of course, was before the catechumenate was restored, so there was no real baptismal focus; everything was penitential.

In our Catholic School, right before the beginning of Lent, we were all given this flat piece of cardboard, with instructions on how to fold it and turn it into our Lenten "mite box." It didn't dawn on me until recently that the word "mite" referred to the widow's mite in the Gospel story . . . duh! I did a search for an image of a mite box and found this one, which is sponsored by the Lutheran Women's Missionary League.

Anyone else given these "mite boxes" when you were younger? Seems that Operation Rice Bowl is pretty much what Catholics use today.

Of course, I remember that each of us in our family had to give up something for Lent. I remember giving up candy most of the time, and popcorn (a family favorite, popped in a pan on the stove) one Lent.

And Fridays were always interesting, food-wise. I remember my mom sending me down to "Hatfield's Fish Market" on Main Street, to buy a few pounds of haddock for supper. And I remember that the price was 69 cents per pound. I will never forget the smell of that place!

I remember that one Lent my parents tried to get us to pray the rosary every Friday night as a family, on our knees, in our living room. As Lent wore on and the days became longer and warmer, I remember looking out the living room window into the street, where my friends in the neighborhood were playing outside. I remember trying to speed up the "Hail Mary's" so that I could get outside with them as quickly as possible!

And then there was Good Friday (I know, technically outside of Lent, but we didn't know that back then). We always attended the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord's Passion as a family at three o'clock at Saint Charles in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Frankly, I loved this liturgy, with all its kneeling and standing, its long Passion Gospel, the veneration of the cross and, at my parish, the veneration of a relic of the true cross after the service was completed. It was all so wrapped in mystery for me, even as a little kid. But on that day, every year, at 12:00 noon, my mother would let us kids know that "for the next three hours there will be no talking in this house. If Jesus could hang on the cross for three hours for you kids, then the least you can do is remain quiet." I believe those three hours, from noon until three, were the most peaceful three hours my mom had the entire year.

Now, of course, I experience Lent in different ways, primarily be preparing for the renewal of my baptism at Easter. The penitential aspect is still alive and well, but I like to look at the season as a time to think about and be grateful for my baptism. At the conclusion of the parish mission last night, I asked the parishioners to talk about what they gleaned from the mission; what new insight they might have discovered. One woman raised her hand and it took her quite awhile to speak because she was overcome with emotion. Finally, she said, "I learned how truly grateful I am that my parents had me baptized. I never thought about how important that was in my life."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bearing the Marks of His Passion

Tuesday greetings.

I had a moment of befuddlement after last night's presentation at the parish mission at Our Lady, Mother of the Church here in Chicago.

During my presentation, I shared very deeply about the ways that the Eucharist has been a source of strength through my own life's difficulties, as well as ways that the eucharist is a place of nourishment and reconciliation.

After the presentation, a woman approached me, telling me that she had been away from the Church for thirty years and that it was a serious illness that brought her back to the Church. Then she said that she was astounded at how enthusiastic my faith was and that she could "never believe like you believe."

I told her that I have struggles with my own belief as well; that there are times when I feel like I am in an area of darkness. She repeated that she just could never see herself believing like I do and said that she didn't think that she could ever be as enthusiastic about her faith.

I told her that God has so much more planned for her life. And I said that just sharing the conversation with her revealed to me how much God has been, and continues to be, present in her life.

I guess this conversation helped me see that much of what I share comes from a wounded place inside of me; a place where scars run very deep. But it is in that same place that I know the paschal mystery has really touched me and brought a sense of hope.

Last night I shared a section from St. John Paul II's Mane Nobiscum Domine, the apostolic letter that inaugurated the Year of the Eucharist at the end of his pontificate:

"It must not be forgotten that the Eucharistic meal also has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning. In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha. Present in the Eucharist as the Risen Lord, he nonetheless bears the marks of his passion, of which every Mass is a “memorial”, as the Liturgy reminds us in the acclamation following the consecration: “We announce your death, Lord, we proclaim your resurrection . . . “ At the same time, while the Eucharist makes present what occurred in the past, it also impels us towards the future, when Christ will come again at the end of history. This aspect makes the Sacrament of the Eucharist an event which draws us into itself and fills our Christian journey with hope."

Not sure if this is too much of a theological leap, but, as one who has "put on Christ" in baptism, I wonder if some of what the pope says about Christ is also true of me? Since I have been baptized into the Risen Lord, I feel sometimes like I bear the marks of the passions that have occurred in my own life. And it is that last line that always inspires me: "fills our Christian journey with hope."

The final session of the mission takes place tonight, when we will focus on the Sacrament of Confirmation and end with a focus on the Eucharistic table as a table of mission.

Thanks for listening to my struggles today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Parish Mission and Too Much Snow to Elect

Monday greetings from the cold, cold, cold City of Chicago.

The Lenten Mission at Our Lady, Mother of the Church began with me offering reflections at each of the weekend Masses. When I arrived at the parish on Saturday afternoon, I was greeted with this sign:

It was a wonderful Lenten weekend and we began the mission sessions last night, with a focus on Baptism. Tonight we turn to focusing on the Eucharist. This is an ethnically mixed community. On the Fridays during Lent, Stations of the Cross are celebrated in Polish after the morning Mass, in English at 7:00 P.M. and in Italian at 8:30 P.M.

I was reading all about the various Rites of Election around the country on Facebook all weekend, then came across this sad announcement, namely that the Rite of Election was cancelled in Boston due to barely passable roads around the Cathedral of the Holy Cross due to the massive amounts of snow in the city.

Very busy day and week for me here. Hope your Lent is off to a good start.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"If Jesus Were Alive . . ."

Friday greetings from the "will-Spring-ever-arrive-it-is-way-too-cold" Midwest.

While reading an article about Wednesday evening's prayer vigil outside the cathedral in San Francisco, I chuckled, then felt a bit sad when I read this line:

"N., . . . , a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco and one of the event leaders, said the participating students are 'learning and living the Catholic values of acceptance and love' at their schools. 'We hope the archbishop hears this,' she said. She added that if Jesus were alive, 'he would be here next to us.' "

Ouch. I am hoping that this young Catholic student was misquoted. "If Jesus were alive . . ."

It struck me because of the struggles many of us have been going through lately with the acts of terror that continue in our fragile world, wondering where our Lord is in all of this. Pope Francis, in this morning's homily at Mass, had this to say:

"Do you have room in your heart for prisoners in jail? Do you pray for them so that the Lord can help them to change their life? May the Lord accompany us on our Lenten journey so that our external observance becomes a profound renewal of the Spirit. That's what we prayed for. That the Lord may give us this grace."

While I know that the pope was asking us to pray for people who are actually incarcerated, my thoughts went to those who are imprisoned by ideologies, ideologies that espouse murder and terrorism. Perhaps this is where the Lord is calling me this Lent. While I often feel helpless, like there is nothing I can do to help bring an end to terrorism, perhaps the "profound renewal of the Spirit" for me means praying for those who are imprisoned by ideology.

As the First Sunday of Lent comes upon us, let's pray for one another and those in such prisons.

Over the weekend and into early next week, I am leading the parish mission, beginning with scripture reflections at each weekend Mass at Our Lady, Mother of the Church parish here in Chicago.

I hope and pray that my heart will be opened to this profound renewal and that the hearts of those who gather at the parish will be given the grace that abounds in this holy season.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Christianity Stuff Is No Picnic, Is It?

Thursday greetings from the frigid Midwest; seven below zero here this morning.

At yesterday's Ash Wednesday Mass at Saint Sabina in Rome, Pope Francis concluded his homily with these words:

Soon we will make the gesture of the imposition of ashes on the head. The celebrant says these words: “You are dust and to dust you shall return, (cf. Gen 3:19)” or repeats Jesus’ exhortation: “Repent and believe the gospel. (Mk 1:15)” Both formulae are a reminder of the truth of human existence: we are limited creatures, sinners ever in need of repentance and conversion. How important is it to listen and to welcome this reminder in our time! The call to conversion is then a push to return, as did the son of the parable, to the arms of God, tender and merciful Father, to trust Him and to entrust ourselves to Him.

I have been pondering the image in the latter part of this homily's conclusion; the call to conversion being a "push to return . . . to the arms of God, tender and merciful Father." I am left with the question as this Lenten season begins: What is giving me a "push to return?"

As you know, I have been struggling with many things these past few months, particularly the senseless violence by terrorists, especially the recent murders of those Coptic Christians, many of whom were confessing their faith in Jesus Christ as they were murdered. Frankly, when I read the words of the Holy Father, that this God of ours into whose arms we are "pushed," is a "tender and merciful Father," I wonder where that tenderness and mercy can be found? I guess in my life I have never really experienced what a "pure enemy" is. Do you know what I mean? When I look at the evil actions that people commit, I can usually discover some reason for that action. I am one of those people who turn almost immediately to the "benefit of the doubt" approach when dealing with those kinds of actions. But I think I am discovering in these terrorists what I am calling the "pure enemy." And that just isn't like me at all. I have been reading about their beliefs about the end of time being imminent. Am I supposed to think that because they believe that that their actions are somehow justified?

And then comes the constant haunt from Saint Matthew's Gospel:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust."

So, if I have discovered, for the first time in my life, the "perfect enemy," I think the Lord might be "pushing" me into some kind of more perfect love for that perfect enemy. And I am just not sure what that means or will mean as I continue to struggle with these issues.

Darn, this Christianity stuff is no picnic, is it? Happy Lent!

Thanks for listening.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Back from Baltimore with "A Bang!"

Mardis Gras greetings to one and all.

What a week this has been. Last Wednesday morning I left for Baltimore, to help with our WLP exhibit and to present two workshops at the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership.

Here is a photo of our booth set-up there:

And our staff from WLP and J.S. Paluch:

You'll notice Brother Mickey McGrath in the photo above. Here's a "selfie" of Mickey and me.

Mickey and Fr. Jim Martin, along with WLP singers John Angotti, Meredith Augustin, and Clifford Petty, under the capable musical leadership of Stephen Lay, presented an evening session on Friday night focused on the love and mercy shown forth from Pope Francis. It was a wonderful night of art, music, humor, and pastoral theology, all wrapped into one. Those in attendance seemed delighted by this group of talented people. Here's a photo of Mickey and Jim signing their books:

Can't say enough about Brother Mickey's new book with WLP, Dear Young People. It was flying off the shelves in Baltimore.

And the new news is that it is now available in e-book format:

My trip to Baltimore ended on Sunday morning with "a bang," so to speak. You may have heard of a massive pile up here in Chicago on Sunday morning on the Kennedy Expressway. Well, I was in that mess, having taken a cab from O'Hare to my home downtown. Thank God no one was seriously injured, but it was a bit harrowing to say the least. The first of the spin outs occurred several hundred feet in front of the cab in which I was riding. We plowed into a van in front of us, then we were hit from behind by a sedan, which set up the chain reaction. By the way, when I got in the cab at O'Hare, the seat belt was not working, so I complained to the driver. Since the cab was a van, he told me to go into the "way back seat," which, thankfully, I did, and buckled up. "Always buckle up!!!"

Still a little sore, but thankful not to have been hurt.

So, that's my story on this Mardis Gras 2015. I hope yours is a day filled with food and festivity. I know that ours will be here at World Library Publications.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Encountering the Mystery: Fr. Ed Foley's New Series with WLP

Tuesday greetings to all from the Midwest. Special thoughts and prayers to family and friends in New England during this brutally snowy winter.

For the past several months, we at WLP have been working with our good friend, Fr. Ed Foley, Capuchin, who is Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality and Professor of Liturgy and Music at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (CTU). A prolific author, lecturer, national speaker, and gifted preacher, Ed worked with us about a decade ago on the popular "Eucharist as Mystagogy" project, a series of CD's inviting people into a deeper understanding and experience of the movement of the Mass.

In a few weeks we will be releasing Ed's newest project with WLP, Encountering the Mystery: An Overview of Eucharistic Theology

This is a four-DVD set, with twelve thirty-minute lectures that provide scriptural, historical, and theological overview of the development of the Eucharist. I was able to be present this past summer at some of the taping sessions of the series and found it to be captivating. Ed Foley was my faculty advisor at CTU when I earned my doctorate there in the 1990's. I attended Mass at Old Saint Patrick's Church in my neighborhood in Chicago this past Sunday and Ed's preaching was superb; challenging, humorous, and comforting all at the same time.

Here is a trailer for the series:

If you are looking for a series for adult education in your parish, this is the series for you. When I think of those who have gone through the process of Christian initiation, I think this would be a great series when they have, after their initiation, been living the Catholic way of life and celebrating the Eucharist each week for some time. For small groups that meet regularly in the parish, this series, or even portions of this series, will help awaken these folks to the history of the Mass. This is not a dry series of lectures; Ed Foley's style helps bring the theology alive. There are ear-opening and eye-opening moments throughout, just a delight for today's Catholic who is serious about learning more about the Eucharist, which we treasure so deeply.

Our mission here at WLP, of course, is to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church. I am sure that anyone who experiences Ed's lectures will grow in their understanding and love for the Eucharist, which is at the heart of our prayer.

Thanks for listening to this commercial today; this is a series that is well worth your consideration!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Friday, February 6, 2015

God's Microphone

Friday greetings to all.

This week's posts on my blog certainly show that this has been a week of personal struggle for me, as I have tried to engage with some hard issues. Thanks for listening and accompanying me this week.

In the midst of trying to figure out what my own Catholic response is to the atrocities that continue to unfold in the Middle East, I have been doing more research into the life of Oscar Romero, martyr.

I found this quote:

"Each one of you has to be God's microphone. Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet. The church will always exist as long as there is someone who has been baptized . . . Where is your baptism? You are baptized in your professions, in the fields of workers, in the market. Wherever there is someone who has been baptized, that is where the church is. There is a prophet there. Let us not hide the talent that God gave us on the day of our baptism and let us truly live the beauty and responsibility of being a prophetic people."

I think that this is what I have been trying to do for the last few decades of my life; somehow "to be God's microphone." And that is not said with haughtiness. It's the reason I wrote my most recent book. I really think and believe that Catholics are in need of a wake-up call when it comes to baptism. Perhaps I should have borrowed from Romero and titled the book; "You Are God's Microphone."

I believe, more strongly than I have in decades, that the Roman Catholic Church, most visibly through Pope Francis, is calling for a renewal of baptismal living. Each of us must ask, "How am I called to be a prophet in my profession? In my field of workers? In the market in which I find myself?" And asking that question needs to be done on a daily basis until we live our lives in such a way that things around us begin to be transformed. And that is what being Church means, don't you think? "Wherever there is someone who has been baptized, that is where the church is."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

One Commute, Two Young Women, and a Lesson

Thursday greetings from the tundra we call the Midwest. The view from my office. At least the sun is shining today.

Thanks to those who commented on yesterday's post either here, on Facebook, phone calls, or through email. I appreciate the continuing dialogue. Still muddling through all of this and now with airstrikes occurring, I pray for the innocent men, women, and children who are in harm's way.

After a long day thinking about the violence and what human beings are doing to one another, I began my trek home. I take the green line from the end (Harlem/Lake) and get off in the West Loop (Morgan). Here's a CTA map:

Once I reached my train, I boarded the final car on that train and went to sit in my usual spot. But there was a large man asleep in that area of the train car and he was snoring very loudly. A young woman and I were headed in that direction, but just turned around and went to the other end of the train car. As we were waiting for the train to leave the station, the man began to cough and choke. This young woman went immediately to him but it was obvious that he was unresponsive to her. He was breathing but just wasn't waking up. I admire her, because I felt a fear inside me that he would lash out, which is why I pressed the intercom to alert the train's operator, telling him that there was a very sick man in the last car. Every person on that train car expressed their concern for this poor guy. It took some time for the operator to arrive; he radioed for help. Within minutes we were all escorted off that train onto another one waiting on the other side of the platform. And just as we left the station, I saw the emergency vehicles pulling up to the station. I prayed for that guy.

Then, when I reached my station in Chicago, I got off the train and began to walk down the two flights of slushy stairs to get to the street. On the landing between the two flights of stairs was an elderly woman lugging a suitcase. Just as I started to ask her if she needed help, a young woman who was coming up the stairs behind her asked the same thing. The woman assured the two of us that everything was fine and that she could handle it; right away I could tell this was a feisty and independent lady and I admired her.

Two incidents during an evening commute. Two helpful young women reaching out to care for another human person. This on the same day that thousands of miles away two people were executed in retaliation for another killing. Perhaps the lesson for me in all of this is just to keep my eyes open even wider to notice the ways that people, in their fundamental graced goodness, help other people. And perhaps the greater lesson is for me to shake off my fear and step outside of my comfort zone and do the same thing.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Catholic Quandary: Justifiable Killing? Violence of Love?

In a bit of a Catholic quandary today.

When I was a seminarian studying for the priesthood in Boston back in the early 1980's, one of my "field education" assignments was ministry at a minimum security prison. Part of the orientation was a visit to a maximum security prison, Walpole State Prison, now known as Cedar Junction State Correctional Facility.

A group of us was led deeper and deeper into the prison by prison officials and guards, with iron gates closing behind us as we made our way to the area just outside of death row. The prison chaplain asked one of the guards in the maximum security area what he thought about capital punishment. The guard looked at all of us and his two words remain with me to this day: "Fry 'em." I had always been and still am an opponent of capital punishment but that day I remember thinking something like this: "This guard has had daily contact with men who have committed murder, rape, armed robbery, etc. They have probably threatened this guard's own life. I wonder if my attitude toward capital punishment would change if I were in his shoes and worked here every day?"

These thoughts have surfaced over the past twenty-four hours as the news broke about the members of the so-called "Islamist State" burning the Jordanian pilot alive. I simply cannot wrap my brain around how another human being can reach a point where this kind of murderous behavior becomes something that is somehow acceptable. It is repulsive, but I wonder still how a person reaches this kind of point in his life. Surely this militant, murderous, torturous terrorism must be stopped. And when I thought about how it needs to stop, I couldn't help but think of that prison guard's two words: "Fry 'em." That has been my first response to these beheadings and yesterday's horror of a person being burned alive. Then, after I settle down, I think that killing someone to stop the killing just doesn't make any sense.

Then this morning, I saw this news:

Jordan swiftly responded to ISIS' burning alive one of its fighter pilots, announcing early Wednesday the executions of two jihadist prisoners who were aligned with the terror group. One of the convicts hanged was Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be suicide bomber whose release ISIS had previously demanded as part of a prisoner exchange, the Jordanian government said. The other was Ziad Karbouli, a former top aide to the deceased leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

There's that part of me that understands, in a way, why the Jordanians, whose anger was certainly justified, would commit this retaliatory act. But then, as I settle down, I am left stunned by this move. Does the killing of these prisoners somehow hurt the hearts of the heartless? Where does this all end? When there is no one left on the planet?

So there is my quandary. How am I, as a Catholic, supposed to react to all of this? And all this on the day when Oscar Romero was named a martyr. So, in my quandary, I turn to his words:

"The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work."

Thanks for walking through this with me today. And feel free to share comments; I think conversation and dialogue is needed as we all grapple with what is happening in our world.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Oscar Romero, Martyr

Tuesday greetings on this significant day for Roman Catholics everywhere.

As you probably heard, Pope Francis has declared Oscar Romero, Servant of God, a martyr, paving the way for Romero's beatification. Romero was murdered in a small hospital chapel on March 24, 1980. He had just finished preaching what would be his final homily when he walked to the center of the chapel and was shot and killed.

In speaking of the table of the eucharist as a table of mission, I have often used the final words of that final homily of Oscar Romero's:

We have just heard in the gospel that those who surrender to the service of people through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies. This hope comforts us as Christians. We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses, wants and demands. We have the security of knowing that what we plant, if nourished with Christian hope, will never fail.

This holy Mass, this eucharist, is clearly an act of faith. This body broken and blood shed for human beings encourages us to give our body and blood up to suffering and pain, as Christ did—not for self, but to bring justice and peace to our people. Let us be intimately united in faith and hope at this moment.

Today's announcement that Romero has been declared a martyr for the faith is echoed in the words of this homily: "What we plant, if nourished with Christian hope, will never fail." In the opinion of many Catholics, including me, the road to sainthood for Romero has been too long delayed. Today is a new day of hope for the Church. Thank you Pope Francis.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Softened Heart

Monday greetings. As you may know, Chicago was buried in a blizzard that began Saturday evening and ended in the wee hours of this morning. We are a skeleton staff here today. Here's the view of the Christmas tree (still) on my balcony at home; this was taken when only about one half of the 20 inches had fallen.

This morning, the tree was not recognizable as a tree!

The commute was not good this morning; I think I am getting too old for this much snow. I heard a rumor that many plow drivers refused to go to work last night until the end of the football game; not sure if there is any truth to this, but this morning's roads look as if someone was asleep at the wheel, or asleep in front of the TV!

I have been a bit of a complainer all morning. I read this on a friend's Facebook post: "So grateful this morning for warm shelter, hot coffee, available food, good friends near and far; remembering those in need or danger due to the weather." Started to soften my heart.

Then, after I got to the office, I left my soaking wet shoes outside of my office. After a morning meeting, I looked at them and behold! Some folks here started putting candy in them. Gotta love this place.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.