Friday, February 27, 2009

Is America shrugging?

If you want some insight into the times, read (or re-read) Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

I say that, very mindful of the many flaws in her work, including her militant atheism and materialism and her scary elitism.

You don't have to appreciate Rand's qualities as a philosopher in order to appreciate her ability to observe and portray--and mock!--a variety of social and political phenomena.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

'you don't feel much more priestly...'

I'm sitting in the office, doing a few things. My energy is a bit low, as I've been pretty tired lately. Many meetings, long days, plus a head cold that involved some coughing last night. As I tell everyone else, I expect to survive!

I'm waiting for a meeting tonight--actually two. First we will have a joint meeting with both pastoral councils, to get a report from the school board. Given the negative economy, everyone is having to make some cuts, and the school board has done its job and will give the details to all involved. Then one parish will continue with its pastoral council meeting, which I'm sure we all hope will be short.

Here's what I've been up to--besides all that relates to the above information...

Ash Wednesday started with 6:15 am Mass. I don't like getting up early, so I set up almost everything ahead of time. I didn't expect a server--we don't normally have 6:15 am Mass, but rather a communion service, but I offered to have a Mass--so I arranged everything as if, no server. Plus, I was mindful that at that hour, people need to head to work. So...I put the chalice and a covered ciborium on the altar, and the missal, and the water and wine to one side. Then, when Mass began, I was at the altar the whole time, except for when I went to the pulpit or handled the ashes and distributing the Eucharist (one species). No homily, short prayers of the faithful, everything moved along. It still took 29 minutes, which surprised me. No one complained. Since I never sat down, I found myself thinking, this is like a low Mass in the old form, and how easily I could have offered Mass on the other side of the altar--i.e., facing the Lord. But I do not judge the moment to be opportune for that. Too much catechesis is needed on too many things beforehand. About 40 came for this Mass.

Mass again at 9:15 with the schoolchildren--I talked to them about the three tasks of Lent: pray, fast and give alms and gave them suggestions. A full church.

We had Mass again at Noon and 7 pm, but the other priests offered those. I was able to come back and hear confessions from about 5:45-6:45; one of the other priests was there from 5 pm. I would happily have stayed during Mass, but I had a Bible Study at 7pm; maybe next year, I'll cancel it, but I hate to cancel something like that, because regularity is so helpful to getting people to come ("is it on this week? oh, well, I don't want to go if it's not...")

This morning I had to write something up for the bulletin and send it around to various folks for comments, racing the clock as it has to be photocopied early tomorrow so it can be inserted this weekend. Various items came up today and kept me busy for several hours at my desk. A staff meeting at 1 pm, then around 2:15 pm, I drove down to the next town, the county seat, with another parishioner, to visit a prisoner in the county jail. All I was allowed to do was talk to him through the glass, that's how it works. The parishioner came along out of a shared concern--I did not actually know the prisoner--but the parishioner couldn't visit. I could as clergy. (I'm omitting details to protect identities.)

Then I called on other prisoners at a second jail, this out on Highway 25-A, part of the county system. The downtown building I think is more temporary. I've been visiting the county jail for some months, as a result of first one parishioner being there, then another, then another, then word got out and many more wanted to see the priest. So, I made arrangements for a communion service (no Mass because I cannot bring wine into the prison, even if I alone will consume it). I didn't actually expect to have a communion service today, I thought I'd set it up for another time; so, alas, I brought no vestments. My bad, as the saying goes. The room was very drab, just some picnic-type tables and a chair in the corner.

So, when all the prisoners arrived--I think we had about 12--I told them we'd pray, and I'd give holy communion, but I would hear their confessions first. So I began with the sign of the cross, then stepped over to the chair. I explained they'd have to whisper in my ear. I couldn't very well do it anonymously, because while I didn't feel any lack of safety, I didn't think the guards would like it if I turned my back, and I didn't want the guys to get raucous and have the person in charge--who was totally cooperative--decide this had been a bad idea.

Many of the men spoke Spanish. "Mi Espanol is pobre," I told them, "pero, yo tengo los oracciones in Espanol," holding up the book I had. Thanks to the Archbishop, who told me where to get a bi-lingual ritual book for such purposes. I still fumbled with the Spanish, but the men were fine with it.

Well, if I'd been wiser, I'd have had them all say the act of contrition beforehand, which is a legitimate option, it would have kept things moving and we didn't have much time. After every man who wanted to be absolved came forward, we continued with the communion service. It was pretty bare bones--I told you, I didn't expect it to happen today, but I did come prepared to meet individually with whoever I could, and that is bare-bones. I said many of the prayers and readings in both English and Spanish. I gave a homily about how when you receive "el Pan de Vida," you become the "Pan de Vida" por todos los hombres aqui! I talked about how San Pedro, San Pablo y San Maximiliano Kolbe were all thrown into prison, and they brought Christ there.

Then we prayed el Padre Nuestro/Our Father, and then I gave each the Holy Eucharist and a final blessing. They each had things they wanted me to pray for--another mistake, as I could have gathered those petitions beforehand.

I might add, for those thinking about a priestly vocation or wanting to foster it--you don't feel much more priestly than when you brings these sacraments into a jail. I found myself thinking, can I just do this all day? No es posible, que lastima!

Back to the office, for some phone calls, routine work, and that brings me to the present moment. Soon I head over to the meeting, after making a few copies first.

Monday, February 23, 2009


...I didn't post my homily for this weekend.

My homily was not written out; we had a survey in the pews for all parishioners, so the homily was shorter. My homily was aimed at preparing for a good Lent, with me highlighting the insert I put in the bulletin with lots of opportunities for prayer, confessions and volunteer service.

I also keyed off the first reading--in the desert, and God is ready to forgive--and the Gospel: the Lord responded to the faith of the friends who brought the man on the mat; and likewise, we should bring someone back to the Lord during Lent. I also mentioned the the second reading: Jesus is always "yes" to us, and we say "amen" to the Father through Jesus--which, I realized as I was sitting there, is fulfilled in elevation of the Eucharist at the "Per Ipsum" and then the people sing, "Amen!" And I talked about the Manna that nourishes us during our time in Lent.

Today, I was down in Dayton at the bookstore, didn't see much of interest, and was going to go see "Slumdog Millionaire," except I suddenly didn't feel so well; so I drove home, and have sat here since. My throat is getting sore and my head and body aches, so that suggests something bad is on its way. Just in time for Ash Wednesday!

I just ate a bunch of fruit and am washing it down with some, er, um, "cough medicine"...from Kentucky...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some thoughts on Indulgences

After reading what Rich Leonardi has shared on indulgences, I thought I'd put something in the parish bulletins.

Given a few inches of space in my weekly column and a complex and often misunderstood subject, this is what I came up with. Feel free to discuss, ask questions and suggest changes for the next time.

Plenary Indulgences available: (1) reciting Rosary in church, with family or in a religious community; (2) praying Stations of the Cross, at any time of the year, in church or chapel (or if unable to come, reflect 15 mins. on the suffering and death of Christ); (3) veneration of the cross in Good Friday’s liturgy. You obtain the indulgence by: (a) doing the work; (b) being free of attachment to all sin, by (c) going to confession; (d) going to communion; and (e) praying a Hail Mary and Our Father for the pope’s intentions.

Indulgences are misunderstood. An indulgence is a concrete form of God’s grace, granted through the mediation of the Church. It is not “magic.” We gain this gift only with a conversion of heart—which is their purpose. Also, we have a choice: to gain this grace for ourselves; or to give it away, applying it to souls in purgatory.

They are not for forgiveness of sins—rather, they presuppose we’ve already been forgiven—that’s why confession is included. Rather, they help heal the consequences or effects sin has on us. A mother forgives her child for walking in the house with muddy feet—but the carpet still needs cleaning. In ways we don’t understand, an indulgence applied to souls in purgatory assists them in their final purification. Thus, the custom of indulgences teaches us spiritual solidarity with each other.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spread the Infection (Sunday homily)

Our first reading talked about “scabs and pustules”—
maybe not what you were expecting.
We might wonder,
what this has to do with our relationship with God?

Leprosy was a threat to the community’s physical health.
Shift our focus to the spiritual level:
What if we were just as careful about
hazards to the spiritual well-being of the community?

Father Tim Schehr,
who teaches at our seminary in Cincinnati, points out,
“the Bible includes plenty of examples,”
not of physical epidemics,
but “of spiritual epidemics threatening the lives”
of God’s people.

A “spiritual epidemic”—that’s what sin is.

If I cheat on my homework or an exam,
maybe that “infection” will spread to others at school.

On the other hand…
What if I say, “let’s go volunteer at the Piqua Compassion Network?”
That’s how a good “infection”—
an “infection of virtue”—can spread.

This is something Saint Paul is reminding us of
in the second reading:
how powerfully we can influence others.

We do that, Paul says, by doing everything
for “the glory to God.”

I got a job—thank God!
The tests came back favorably—thank God!
Our family and friends arrived home safely—thank God!

Other people speak of “good luck”—
but as Christians,
we know that it is God’s blessings.

Saint Paul also said, “avoid giving offense.”
That’s harder of course!
But Paul’s point is that our first task is get to heaven;
and second, to bring as many others with us as we can!

So however much we might find
to agree or disagree on about politics or sports,
what matters most is that we tell people about the Lord.

On judgment day, I’d hate to find out
that a disagreement I had with someone
over politics, or money, or anything else,
“gave offense” and kept that person from the Kingdom.

None of those things can compare
to the importance of helping people come to the Lord.

The Gospel tells us an amazing thing:
A leper walked right up to Jesus;
The first reading told them to stay away.

That leper was bold.
Others might need some help coming to Him.
So can you and I be bold about finding people
and bringing them to Jesus?

Lent starts soon—and many people
will be thinking about getting closer to God.
In next week’s bulletin—and in the mail—
you’ll get a list of things we’re doing for Lent:
Times for confessions, Stations of the Cross,
Bible Study, prayer, and so forth.

You may know that I was away
from the Catholic Church for 10 years.

You know one of the things that helped bring me back?
My father said, “let’s go pray the Stations of the Cross.”
And I went.
You know another thing that helped?
A coworker said, “it’s Ash Wednesday—
let’s go get ashes at Mass.” And I went.
What if they hadn’t said anything?
I might not be a Catholic—let alone a priest!

I mentioned before how we can spread a “good infection.”
Every week, over 1,200 people attend Mass in Piqua.
If we all had leprosy—that would be an epidemic.

But what if there were 1,200 lepers in this town,
who said, “Look! Jesus made me clean!”?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ways to Grow in Holiness in Lent--Piqua Edition

One of the things I'm working on today is a flyer we'll mail out to all parishioners next week, and which will also appear in the bulletin next weekend. We've done this a couple of years; it gives all the ways (I can think of) in our parishes, or in the area, to grow in holiness during Lent. (Actually, I can think of more, but the flyer is full, and we have to go to press Monday!)

I can't seem to import the document into this web page, so this will be somewhat a jumble--not as nicely laid out as it is on the actual flyer; sorry about that. But this not only gives you an idea of what's going on, it also serves as your invitation to take part.

Grow in Holiness this Lent

Dear Parishioner:
During Lent, St. Mary and St. Boniface Parishes want to help you in every way to turn to the Lord for mercy and strength, and to grow in faith as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter
—Father Martin Fox

Ash Wednesday: Confession, Ashes & Mass:

Mass 6:15 am St. Clare Chapel
Mass w/school 9:15 am St. Mary
Mass 12:10 pm St. Boniface
Confessions 5-6:30 pm St. Boniface
Mass 7 pm St. Boniface

Regular Confession Times:
Tuesday: 7-8:30 pm St. Mary
Wednesday: 5-5:45 pm St. Clare Chapel
Saturday: 9-10 am St. Boniface
3:30-4:30 pm St. Mary
4-4:30 pm St. Teresa, Covington
Also by appointment—always welcome!

Weekday Communion Service:

St. Clare Chapel 6:30 am Mon-Sat
(but not on Thu/Fri/Sat of Holy Week)

Sunday & Daily Masses:
Saturday: 4 pm St. Boniface 5 pm St. Mary
Sunday: 7 am St. Boniface 9 am St. Mary
10:30 am St. Boniface Noon St. Mary
Monday: 8 am St. Mary
Tuesday: 8:45 am St. Boniface (chapel if no school)
Wednesday: 8 am St. Mary 6 pm St. Clare
Thursday: 8 am St. Clare
Friday: 8:45 am St. Mary
Saturday morning: 8 am St. Mary

Stations of the Cross

Thu—7:30 pm—St. Mary

Fri—6 pm—St. Boniface

Bible Study:

‘Acts of the Apostles’ with Fr. Martin every Wed. 7 pm (except Holy Week)

St. Boniface Meeting Room

in the Caserta Center

Morning Prayer

Daily—7:45 am—St. Clare


30 mins before weekend Masses & after daily Mass

More suggestions for ways to Make Lent more meaningful:

> Fast from some food, from TV or entertainment, or downer conversations.
> Give something away; or give yourself to someone in service.
> Visit Jesus in the Eucharist at the St. Clare 24-hour Adoration Chapel at St. Boniface.
> Visit Jesus in parishioners who are shut-in or in nursing homes.
> Serve Jesus in the poor at Bethany Center: contact Wilma Earls, 615-9762.
> Volunteer at a Fish Fry at St. Mary Church: contact parish office, 773-1327.
> Volunteer at Bingo at St. Boniface: contact Linda Vogann, 773-1656.
> Help with funeral dinners: contact parish offices.

Communal Penance Services w/confessions; followed by regular confession times:

Immaculate Conception (Botkins) Mon March 16 7 pm; Sat 4-5 pm
St. Patrick (Troy) Mon March 16 7 pm; Sat 4-4:30 pm
Holy Angels (Sidney) Mon March 23 7 pm; Sat 4-5 pm
Sacred Heart (McCartyville) Mon March 23 7 pm; Thu 6-6:45 pm; Sat. 4-4:30 pm
St. Boniface (St. Mary & St. Teresa) Tue March 24 7 pm
St. Remy (Russia) none; Thu 3-3:30 pm; 7:30-8:30 pm; Sat 9:15-10 am; 3:30-4:30 pm
Holy Redeemer (New Bremen) Mon March 30 7 pm; Thu 6:30-6:45 pm; Sat 4-4:30 pm
Transfiguration (West Milton) Tue March 31 7 pm; Thu 6:15-6:45 pm; Sat 3:45-4:30pm
St. Augustine (Minster) Tue March 31; 7:30 pm Sat 4-4:30 pm
St. Christopher (Vandalia) Tue March 31; 7 pm Sat 4:15-4:45 pm
St. John the Baptist (Tipp City) Tue March 31; 7 pm Sat 4-4:30 pm
SS.Peter and Paul (Newport) Wed April 1; 7:30 pm Tue 5-5:30 pm
St. Michael (Ft. Loramie) Thu April 2; 7:30 pm Sat 4-4:30 pm

Sunday Scripture Reflections:
St. B: 10 am—meet in breezeway to parish offices.
St. M: 8:30 am—in Meeting Room 1
Reflect on Sunday’s 2nd Reading.

Learn our Catholic Faith (RCIA) Monday:
Feb. 23: The meaning of Lent
Mar. 2: Reflection on being chosen for Christ
Mar. 9: Sacrament of Penance (SB)
Mar. 16: The Nicene Creed
Mar. 23: God’s Saving Grace
Apr. 6: Understanding the Triduum

Special Lenten Speaker: Michael O’Roark
  • Dynamic message of hope from the Apostolate for Family Consecration.
  • For all ages
  • How to grow in Christ and stay close to Him.
  • Practical—family oriented.
  • Time for Adoration of the Eucharist and Confessions and Prayer
  • Materials to help you will be available.

Sunday, March 22, 2008 2-4 pm St. Mary

Schedule for Holy Week:

Palm Sunday: 9 & 10:30 am Masses include procession with palms both churches
‘Spy Wednesday’: Confessions 5-6:30 pm St. Boniface
Mass 7 pm St. Boniface
Holy Thursday: Mass 7 pm St. Boniface
Good Friday: 9 am Morning Prayer St. Mary
10-11:30 am Confessions St. Mary
Noon Stations of the Cross St. Mary
1 pm ‘Seven Last Words’—Rev. Dale Ritts St. Mary
2 pm Solemn Liturgy St. Mary
3 pm Divine Mercy Chaplet St. Mary
5-6:30 pm Confessions St. Boniface
7 pm Liturgy of the Passion St. Boniface
Holy Saturday: 9-10 am Confessions St. Boniface
10 am Morning Prayer with those entering Church St. Mary
3:30-5 pm Confessions St. Mary
5-9pm Church open for prayer St. Mary
9 pm Great Vigil of Easter begins with Bonfire St. Mary
Easter Sunday: Masses according to regular Sunday Schedule—see other side.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Now is the time to oppose the 'Stimulus' Bill

I am only a little taken by surprise by the difficulties President Obama is having with his massive spending "stimulus" bill. Only a little, I say, because I was confident that, if he won, even with Democratic majorities, that he would not find he could pass anything he likes--contrary to the militant assertions of so many during the campaign.

Of course, he may get this bill; but if you were concerned about what a President Obama-cum-Democratic Congress would mean, you should be very encouraged by this. The President is about three weeks in, and one wonders how much of his agenda has he had to trade away in order to marshall votes for this bill? And it hasn't passed yet.

Today or tomorrow, the Senate is supposed to vote on the "compromise" made possible by weak-sister Republican members who can always be counted on to be by their phones, ready for blandishments sufficient to bring them oh-so-reluctantly before the cameras, to declare their noble intention to "bridge the gap" and "move us forward" blah, blah, blah. I really wonder if some of these characters don't get a little nervous, thinking about the terrible possibility it won't be them who gets to play the hero this time round, because that rat So-and-so will sell out for just a bit cheaper!

But don't get too worried. The bill appears to be tanking in public opinion polls, which is terrible news for Mr. Obama and the Democrats. They are increasingly pinning all their hopes on this one bill. That's a huge gamble.

Also, a wonderful feature of our Constitution is that both houses of Congress must pass identical legislation. What the Senate seems poised to endorse is different from the House bill; so either the Senate bill must be passed -- unchanged -- by the House; or else competing bills must be reconciled in a House-Senate conference--and then that "conference report" must come back to both houses for another vote. If the latter happens, that means another opportunity for a few Senators, who didn't get enough preening time before the cameras, to discover some noble reason to balk on the bill.

But, okay, what if this turkey passes? It's a bad bill, laden with huge increases in spending and special-interest "tax cuts"--but it's not really all that different from what was passed last fall, or has been passed before. Just a more concentrated dose of the same.

So far, the new Obama Administration is looking a lot like the old Bush Administration. The big spending, and interventions in the private sector, were the gift of our former president, which Obama is happily continuing. The difference is that now, the GOP shows some signs of life. There is actually someone in Congress standing up against all this. That's a change that came with the new administration, and wow is it welcome! And this is only three weeks in.

This bill has weak support; now is the time to contact your Senators especially and tell them to vote no!

Am I saying Congress shouldn't do anything about the terrible economy? No; I can think of many things Congress could do, both for short-term relief of suffering, and long-term growth. But this stampede--again, so reminiscent of what President Bush did last fall with his bank bailout--is so ridiculous. "Act now or the world will end!" Gimme a break! Yes, it may take awhile, and we may go through some hard times, but the economy will recover.

And if the economy is really as bad as President Obama says (and one must ask if his negative talk has made things worse), who thinks spending a mere trillion dollars is all it takes to turn it around? I say "mere" not because it isn't a whole lot of money--of course it is--but because it's a mere fraction of the worldwide economy. And either the government has to take that money out of the economy first, through taxes or borrowing; or else it has to invent that money out of thin air--and that's inflation. If I take $5 from Joe, and I go to the copier, and run off several copies, which I hand back to Sally and Joe, while I keep some for myself, why should any of us feel richer as a result of that exercise? And yet, that is precisely the logic of this sort of "stimulus."

I don't mean to seem too cheerful; but one reason I'm not more dolorous is that I believe things really are beginning to turn, ever so slightly, in the right direction. If this terrible bill passes (and it's possible it won't, at least without being whittled down a lot more), those who passed it will have to pray very hard that they don't face terrible problems in the next Congressional elections. The Obama White House is having to exhaust itself -- so says the President -- to marshall votes for this, then what will become of so much else he wants, that will be even more controversial? (Big spending per se, for all the problems, isn't terribly controversial, as the last administration's sorry record shows. That's part of what I find encouraging: at last, it looks like big spending is becoming a political liability; that is "change we can believe in!")

Yes, we are going to be getting some bad policy for the next few years; but we've been getting a whole lot of the same bad policy for many years up to now; what's changed is that the GOP is no longer a full-on collaborator, and instead, actually raising a protest; and the political alignment is gradually shifting, such that politicians are beginning to sense they face real consequences. A lot of Democrats are already nervous about 2010.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Our Word of Healing: Jesus Christ! (Sunday homily)

In our first reading, miserable Job calls
“man’s life on earth a drudgery”—
“I shall not see happiness again,” he mourns.

Job needed a word of healing.
And, like Job, so do we.

For many, life is a drudgery;
many struggle from paycheck to paycheck;
others would just be to have a paycheck.

Many are afflicted with by the “demon” of addiction.
Almost every week, we read about someone whose whole life is ruined…
because of someplace they went on the Internet.
Same with alcohol or drugs and many other addictions.

We can’t heal ourselves; we stay in the same cycle.
The answer has to come from outside:
We need a Savior.

The Gospel of Mark tells the story of Jesus,
The Son of God who indeed came from “outside”—
And who quickly starts making things happen.

Last week we heard how astonished everyone was,
because he “spoke with authority”—
they couldn’t explain it,
but they knew they had experienced some awesome power:
he spoke—and it was so;
he spoke—and people were healed;
he spoke—and demons fled!

Jesus, the Son of God, from outside, from heaven,
came inside—he became human;
Jesus is our Savior.
He speaks with authority,
To bring healing and cast out evil.

In the second reading, Saint Paul talks about
the privilege of sharing this Word of healing—
sharing Jesus Christ—with others.

He calls it a “stewardship” entrusted to him.
It is also entrusted to each of us.

We are talking more about “stewardship” these days—
the idea is this: God has given us awesome gifts,
especially our Faith, our parishes, our Catholic schools;
above all, he has given us one another!

Each of us is given so many gifts—and when we share them,
this is what makes our Catholic community
a place of life and nourishment and growth.

Think about all those folks who came to Jesus,
whom he fed, or cast demons out of, or he healed.
Why didn’t that fix everything?
You’d think that would be enough.

Yet, where were they when Jesus got arrested?
What was missing?
They needed one more thing:
they needed Jesus at the center of their lives!

This is what we are as a Catholic community:
A place and a people where Jesus is the center:
what you see in the physical arrangement of our churches
is what people need to see in us:
Jesus at the center.

That is our healing.
No, it doesn’t change our bodies, so we never get sick;
and it doesn’t change our wills so we never make mistakes;
but when Jesus is at the center,
He changes us—so we’re not afraid;
He changes us—so we need not be slaves to the world,
slaves to the past, slaves to sin.

He fills us—so we are no longer empty inside;
He fills us—so we have a center of gravity,
a Rock, that cannot be moved even in the worst of storms!
Jesus fills us with Himself: He is the Word of healing,
He is the Life that can never be taken away;
that’s healing that never fades;
that’s power that cannot be conquered;
that’s confidence; that’s peace.

Many ask, how can we grow as a parish?
This is how: as people experience us
as Jesus-centered people, that will draw them!

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great scholar,
had just completed one of his writings on the Eucharist.
He was praying one day,
and he heard the Lord speak to him from the crucifix.

“Thomas,” the Lord said,
“you have written well concerning me—
what reward would you have?”

What might Thomas have asked for?
With money, he could have founded universities;
with more wisdom, or just time,
he could have written even more.
He could have requested physical healing, or political power…
He could have asked for any number of good things.
He answered:
“Nothing, Lord—only You.”

What's going on...

Some of you enjoy reading my "day in the life of" accounts, so here goes...

It's been crazy-busy lately. For a variety of reasons, we've got several good projects and initiatives going on in both parishes, as well as several necessary ones.

> We all know the economy is bad--result is budget problems for the parishes and the school. Result: meetings and discussions on what to do.

> I recruited a Stewardship Commission some time back, to promote engagement and involvement, with a view to re-evangelizing our inactive Catholics as well as our larger community. The Stewardship Commission is filled with great folks, making things happen. We're going to have a parish survey; some work to do on that.

> One of our pastoral councils, responding to the various needs of the parish, including the budget crunch, is preparing for some planning sessions in a couple of weeks. Lots of work! Lot's of emails, meetings, etc. Others are doing 95% of all that; I am involved in about 5% of it, but that 5% takes some time and effort.

> Will it surprise you that, as I'm here longer, more feel comfortable in approaching me with personal problems? I find I'm scheduling those meetings a little more often--why I can only surmise.

> A parish is a business to some degree: so for example, I had to prepare a memo on timecards; had to get it right; had to get input and get it out to the appropriate employees. Takes time.

> A parish gets A LOT OF MAIL! (If President Obama proposed a tax on unwanted mail, I'd think about it...) Two parishes get duplicates! All for me, I'm so lucky!

> As you know, I took a fall about 10 days ago. I'm still aching, but not so badly. I've been to see the doctor, nothing serious, I just have to let it work itself out.

> Last night, I got together with priests from the neighboring parish, for some dinner and some beers and conversation. Their zeal is impressive and puts me a little to shame! Their parishioners are blessed!

> Today I had confessions 9 to 10; then to see the doctor for a few minutes; then breakfast, then an appointment at 11:30; then worked on my homily, and got some office work done, including some phone calls, set up some appointments, went through some mail, and now I'm writing this as a "breather" before heading over for 4 pm Mass. After Mass, a break, till I head to Lehman High School for its Foundation Dinner, I expect I'll be back home by 10 pm, maybe a little earlier.

> Tomorrow I have one Mass; I just checked my calendar, and see nothing else; but I don't believe it. I suspect I forgot to write something down. But if it bears out, I will consider that unexpected gift of some free time to be mine to enjoy!

Well, about time to head to church.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Condolences for Amy Welborn & family

on the sudden, untimely death of her husband, Michael Dubruiel.

I have not met Amy, but I have enjoyed her blog for several years, and she has been kind to me many times. I was looking forward to meeting her and her family, if ever the opportunity arose.

May God receive gather Michael to himself, and be strength and consolation for his family.