Who Hijacked My Sci-Fi?

Who Hijacked My Sci-Fi?

In the last few years, the science fiction genre has lost a few good authors, Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury at the top of the list. It’s got me thinking about my own love of science fiction. Among Catholics, Sci-Fi has to be one of the most popular genres. Of course, it’s one of the most popular in the world, but it has been, traditionally, very Catholic in nature. Think about the themes it takes on. Everything has a philosophical angle that demonstrates well the Catholic perspective. Book-burning in Fahrenheit 451? Despite the occasional book-burning by some Catholics, the Church has played a huge role in the preservation of literature over the centuries, including vast stores of literature she sharply disagreed with. The equal sharing of misery by way of pseudo-equality? The unsettling tale of Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron rings true with the Church’s teaching on the special gifts and contributions of each man. How about conflicts and serious questions about the morality of sophisticated technology on the battlefield? The Church has dealt with those quandaries, too. Human cloning? Yep, the Church has dealt with that topic, too. Science vs. Religion? Yep. Eternal life? You betcha! Sci-fi shares with the Church an uncanny ability to ask the right questions of the culture at large. One of the best television series of all time, The Twilight Zone, dished out one serving after another of intensely gratifying science fiction. My favorite episode, The Obsolete Man (on Neflix if you’re interested – season 2, episode 29), is nothing short of eerie in its portrayal of the perfect dystopia, a sort of satire on...
How Living IN Your Church Can Transform Your Life…

How Living IN Your Church Can Transform Your Life…

When I saw the recent article of the National Catholic Register’s Jennifer Fulwiler, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the headline. Sure, living near your Church is great, but what about living in your Church, or at least in the rectory? My first job working for the Church, before I was married, was as a youth minister in an average sized American parish. The pastor, recognizing my need to save money for my impending wedding day, kindly offered me a spot in the rectory until I could get settled. For the next 4 1/2 months, I lived in a little room across the building, originally designed for the associate pastor the mission diocese could only rarely assign. I remember from the job bulletin board at Franciscan University of Steubenville that parishes offered this arrangement from time to time.  If it’s been offered to you, you may be considering it.  Here are some ways it influenced the course of my life: I gained a greater appreciation for priestly schedules. The moments the pastor had available at random moments throughout the week were pretty hard to pin down. There is always something going on in the life of a priest. If it’s not celebrating Mass, it’s administering the Anointing of the Sick, teaching a class, meeting in his office, meeting in another priest’s office, meeting in the bishop’s office, preparing an engaged couple, proofreading a bulletin, planning future parish development, interviewing employees, reviewing employees, organizing diocesan liturgies, counseling parishioners, taking care of the poor, planning parish pilgrimages, arranging parish missions, and a whole host of other things. Priests’ vocations earn their...
10 Things I Learned as a Janitor at Steubenville

10 Things I Learned as a Janitor at Steubenville

You’ll forgive me for taking a moment out of exam week to write a half-silly post. My brain is fried, as is the brain of my partner in crime, Andrew Sciba. Sometimes you just need to write something ridiculous to find something meaningful. I grew up with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In the various phases of my development, I’ve been: A Neat-Freak (I used to hate pizza … because it was messy) A Handwasher (Germs! Germs! Oh, the humanity!) A Hoarder (Am I sure I don’t need this old battery packaging?) A Counter (Let me do that again until I reach the next prime number…) A Checker (Did I shut the iron off?) A Scrupulant (Sins! Sins! Oh, the humanity!) A Self-Corrector (Well, not really a self-corrector, more of a self-clarifier, but I’m not sure that term really captures it either…let me research it for a few hours and get back to you…) Since my mid-teens, I’ve tried to expose myself to things that would slowly condition and eradicate my OCD. One Spring semester at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I decided to become a janitor. For those of you who don’t have OCD, janitorial services are the final frontier of the OCD patient. I learned in that time that college students don’t know how to use bathrooms. Here are some other things I learned, a random assortment of insights all connected, somehow, to the world’s least loved profession: Janitorial services is the perfect job for someone who wants quiet time to pray. Think about it – no one comes into the bathroom when you have the little orange cone outside...

7 Church Seasons You May Not Be Aware Of…

It’s finally over! As of this afternoon, my wife is done coordinating the annual Sacramental Reception Season! In a few short weeks, it’ll be summer, and the stress that is mid-Spring in our family will be complete! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me explain. As Catholics, we’re used to the ins-and-outs of the liturgical calendar, with Advent and Lent as times of preparation, Christmas and Easter celebration, and Ordinary Time devoted to … being … ordinary? Growing up with this distinctly Catholic perspective of time, I never appreciated how it appears to those on the other side of the parish secretary desk.  Now that I’ve had a few years under my belt in parish and school catechesis, I have a very different outlook on things.  Add to that that my wife also is a Parish Receptionist and Assistant Director of Religious Education and you get a unique perspective.  Those of us involved in the pastoral work of the Church very often have a different calendar in our minds.  Here are a few season you may not be aware of: Christmas Party Season, a.k.a. Advent – This one, the first event on the universal pastoral calendar, boils the blood of liturgical purists everywhere. I’ll admit, I’m not terribly comfortable with it, either. We’ve become accustomed to spending Christmas vacation with family, many of us traveling, so when do we celebrate Christmas with our friends? Why, of course, that must be what that pesky Advent Season is for! Huzzah! Artery-clogging treats for everyone! It’s not “O Come, O come” so much as it is “Going, going…” By the time...

10 Ideas for Evangelizing the Culture That Probably Should Never Be Implemented

The other night, I was thinking about Truth & Charity and our attempt to help get Catholicism into the culture. Here are some ways to get Catholicism into the cultural conversation that probably should never be implemented: Candy Rosaries – Products & Marketing – Remember those candy necklaces you had when you were a kid? With only a few small modifications, they could become candy rosaries! What an awesome way to get kids interested in the Rosary! Of course, on second thought, it would probably lead them to believe prayer is about the sweet consolation of sugary goodness. I assume this one was mostly for decoration. Youth Ministry Survivor – Television Program – This season, on Mother Angelica’s Youth Ministry Survivor: Join Therese, John Paul, Michael, Agnes, Rosaria, James, Philomena, and Andrew as they battle it out to discover who will be the next Youth Ministry Survivor! Take part in the process of voting them off one-by-one in our online conclave! Next week, sparks will fly when Philomena and leaves Michael to organize the NCYC trip by himself. Cut to Michael: “Philomena, that darn girl. She really frosts my cookie! Argh! I’m sorry, that was really uncalled for. I’ll watch my language on camera next time.” This week’s challenge: who will devise the best way to detect whether boys and girls on the trip are staying in their own dorm rooms? Cut to Agnes: “At first I tried the duct tape on the door method, but apparently that’s a safety violation.” Who will be voted off and left to pay tens of thousands in college debt alone? Who will...