Help!  I LOVE Sister Wives!

Help! I LOVE Sister Wives!

I am a recovering reality TV producer. There, I said it. Actually, despite what you might think, I, as a Catholic school theology teacher and aspiring administrator, am quite proud of my background in the field.  Believe it or not, it was really quite easy to transition from one career to the other.  I’ll never forget the president of my first high school informing me that the thing that caught his eye on my resume was a line that read “Second Unit Assistant Director, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy“.  OK, so maybe that show wasn’t my finest moment.  I have other credits too.  I loved the work I did writing segments for a local morning news show in New York. But that’s all been way behind me now for almost ten years. I have found that my vocation as a teacher has been well-served by my experience as a producer.  For instance, what I do now is really no different from a planning and execution standpoint.  The content is vastly different, to be sure.  But when I plan out a 90 minute lesson that gets played out in my classroom five separate times over two days I am pulling together visual elements, writing a script, and editing what does not absolutely fit the “story”.  And timing is everything since I don’t get a commercial break. In addition to having produced some reality shows I am also a fan.  Hey, I wouldn’t have gone into the field if there wasn’t something attractive about it to me.  And it is one of these shows in particular (or at least my fondness...
Confessor Got You Down?

Confessor Got You Down?

Lately I’ve been trying to take the advice of some really good mentors.  I’ve been aiming for more regular confession.  Throughout much of my adult life I’ve probably gone to the sacrament on average 6-8 times per year.  In the past few years I’ve gone at least once a month.  In the past few months I’ve stepped it up and have been trying to go once every week or two. Growing up I remember the prevailing notion that was taught to me (using Vatican II as the excuse) that Reconciliation was something to be approached when we were conscious of mortal sin.  The follow-up element in the description of confession that somehow always got dropped was that we can confess our venial sins too and that the there is always a particular grace bestowed in the sacrament to help us in fighting our particular sins.  Those mentors I mentioned?  They are none other than the great saints of our faith and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So in my recent quest to step it up I have been surprised to find myself hearing some unusual things in the confessional.  Hey, I’m not under any seal here… First there was this one: “Are you in the habit of going to confession every week or…?” Well, Father, I’m trying to get into that habit and habits require practice so thanks for lending a hand and playing along.  Should I leave? How about this one? “You know you don’t have to come here so often, right?” Pretty sure I knew that.  What’s your excuse, Father?  Wait, was that too blunt? Finally there was this...
The God of New Beginnings

The God of New Beginnings

As I write this post I am standing on the porch of a log cabin in Oklahoma. I am gazing a a beautiful and brilliant sun slowly making her rapid descent below the horizon. As I watch this I am reminded of two things. First, there will, in all likelihood be a tomorrow. Second, that tomorrow is a gift from God as a sort of promissory note on the new beginning He offers every day. With a new year just days away, we can take hope in that new beginning, in all the new beginnings Our Blessed Lord offers us. 2014 may have been a phenomenal year for you. for me, there were ups and downs. I had a new level of my spine fused together. I also finished the second Masters degree. I lost a dear friend at work to cancer. I also made new friends. I spent another 365 days with my beautiful wife and amazing children. And I saw goodness, beauty, and true love in so many places. A new beginning is not always a reset. Sometimes, it is simply an opportunity to be renewed. Not just when we turn the page of the calendar, but every moment of our lives through the sacraments our gracious God renews us. This time off the grid at this beautiful place has given me the chance to experience that renewal. I am excited for my new beginning! May God renew and bless each of you abundantly in his merciful love in...
Children’s Liturgy of the What Now?

Children’s Liturgy of the What Now?

Folks, I don’t know about you but there is this thing my parish does that really gets under my skin. Before going any further, the following is just my opinion (all of it) and truly just a thought I had about children and mass today as we approach the celebration of Our Blessed Lord’s coming among us as a child. OK, how many things could potentially follow that line?  There’s the old “Let’s hold hands during Ebola season while we pray the Our Father”.  Don’t even get me started on the orans posture at mass.  I’ve come to accept it.  Just please, for the love of God, don’t try to force me into it.  I’m quite comfortable standing next to you with my hands clasped and pointing heaven-ward, head bowed so you cannot lock eyes with me when you creepily try to touch me.  Then there’s the old “Dan Fogleberg Dan Schutte is the greatest composer of all time and we need to sing his ‘music’ at every liturgical turn!” maneuver.  Look, I’m sure he’s a very nice man.  But his music could never compare to the sublime nature of plainsong and there’s only so much of Eagles Wings or Here I Am, Lord that I can take and I, just like my spinal surgery and its effect on my insurance this year, I hit my cap a long time ago.  I am just being informed that he did not write Eagles Wings.  My apologies to Mr. Schutte.  You’re off the hook for that one, pal. But the thing that really rattles my Roman Rota — no good? I’m trying — is something...

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue…

Blue has never been my color.  I’m more of a black with alternating shades of gray sort of guy.  I remember well the day I told my diocesan vocations director of this fact.  “Why do you want to be a priest?” he asked.  “Well Father, I look really good in black.” All kidding aside, there is a woman who wears blue so magnificently that the color has become her signature.  Prayers, poems, and elegies have been composed; paintings commissioned; all showing a key figure clad in brilliant blue.  That figure, a humble, Jewish maiden who lived 2000 years ago, is the woman who has been my constant throughout my life. Today, the Church Universal celebrates this woman, the fairest of our race.  We honor she who merited to bear the Son of God and whom God saw fit to preserve from the stain of sin even from the moment of her conception.  Of all her titles, Immaculate Conception is one that seems most appropriate for a mediation during Advent; for we need a pure heart to behold Him when He comes.  We need to make our lives immaculate, as it were, to prepare for the Christ, for her son.  Where do we learn this purity?  From whom can we draw great example?  It is in the Blessed Mother, Immaculate from the moment of her existence, that we find the perfect example of a well-prepared dwelling place for God. Mary always points to Jesus. I remember a coworker once lamenting that a priest had invited his parishioners to pray the Hail Mary after the Universal Prayer (General Intercessions) at mass....