Previous month:
April 2011
Next month:
June 2011

May 2011

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

Yes, those are the words we pray so fervently during Liturgy of the Hours and Mass during Easter and we have an added reason this week: after many months of our patient prayer and planning, the Diocese has approved the revised drawings of the Church Expansion project we re-submitted last week.

6a0120a4f88a1c970b0120a6ad1969970cView of Expanded Church from Gymatorium


Head on over to the Construction Blog for the new plans, which will be posted this week for review and comment. Most of the discussions about the timetable and plans for the project will be posted there.

Thank you everyone for prayers and support and to St. Joseph for his strength and guidance. We appreciate Bishop O'Connell's recent visit and his careful review of the plans and look forward to the day when he can give us the green light to break ground!


Micro Homilies

The results of the other poll topic, a few micro-homilies I've given lately, are interesting as well.

When I took homiletics in seminary, 6-8 minutes was the time suggested for the Sunday homily and it still seems to be a typically recommended time for which to strive. That doesn't exclude longer or shorter homilies on occasion. It also doesn't mean that anyone who says to preach for 6-8 minutes takes their own advice!

One homily I heard 18 years ago stands out in my mind, here it is: 

  "What can one expect from a God who would crucify his own Son?"

That was it...all of it. It is surely a homily more apt for seminary than for the congregation at a typical parish, not because it is too short, but because I think it presupposes more than a little theological sophistication and risks leaving too many people without guidance for more reflection.

So keeping that in mind, here were two of mine:

On Divine Mercy Sunday        For those who seek God's mercy, there's good news: it's infinite.

                                           For those who think they need none, there may be none.


On the Road to Emmaus       Each time we put up the guest room,

                                          Each time we think we’ve got Jesus

                                          All figured out

                                          He disappears again.

                                          Always keep looking.  

Funny thing about these micro homilies: they're quicker to type out, but far more difficult to pray.

...Get Me to The Church on Time...

Time2As you might have suspected, asking what to do, if anything, about latecomers to mass is a touchy subject. We all know people who are late for everything and it surely can become a habit - "late for your own funeral." When faced with the challenging task of getting an entire family ready to leave the house together for anything on time, clearly things will go wrong. Not infrequently, I thank parents for taking the effort to bring the entire family to mass. My own opinion has been that nothing much needs to be done about lateness and its surely not the top problem facing the Catholic church today. But when the majority of the congregation is late at some Sunday masses, I'm surely not opposed to taking a survey and discussing the issue.

Check out the survey results and the comments as the survey continues. One observation - those who request or demand tolerance of those who are late, should reciprocate and be tolerant of those who feel distracted or irritated by their arrival. Neither is there anything judgmental about asserting that being on time is better than being late.

Up To Date Survey Results Here

Mass Attendance 5/12 - 5/22


I have been so proud of the role the 7th and 8th graders have taken this year in leading the way with mass attendance. Let's fight the spring fever and pre-graduation jitters and keep the mass attendance up!

Congratulations to 1B and 2B! It's so great to see so many of our recent First Communicants proudly and reverently receiving Eucharist with their families on Sunday! And how wonderful that 1B's mass attendance was a birthday gift for their teacher!

Survey on Homilies and Late Arrivals for Mass

I've been asked to address the problem of late-comers arriving at mass. While it is true that, like the old proverb says, "Better late than never," it continues "But better, never late." At a recent 10:30 AM mass, the majority arrived late. Take the survey to indicate your suggestions.

Preacher_1The survey also deals with homilies, at Holy Cross, specifically my several recent "haiku homilies." There were strong opinions both liking and disliking them.

Just for the record, I didn't have a sore throat, feel ill, angry or have someplace to go. I thought it would be good for a changeup. I remember only three homilies I have heard, all were several sentences long. They made me think, had a dramatic impact on my prayer and helped me to listen to all homilies better. They obviously can't completely replace longer, more catechetical homilies. Check out the survey and let me know.

Click here to take survery:  Late for Mass and Homilies

Candles at Easter Vigil

This year we offered the option of battery operated candles for any small children who wanted to feel part of the Easter Vigil by holding a candle, but were a little too young to hold real fire. These two real candles would have to qualify for the most distorted candles among those we collected after the service.

Distorted Easter Candles

Key Parties for Underage Teen Drinkers?

Despite the fact that they are illegal and that high school administrators routinely denounce the practice, some parents host supervised drinking parties for their underage teens, especially for graduations. Parents who break the law choose to allow the drinking reasoning that drinking done under their supervision will help teens to drink responsibly, or at least protect them from harm for the moment. "They've got to learn someday," the common sense wisdom goes.

A recent study belies this bit of folk wisdom. Researchers followed 7th graders for three years, and found that the younger the child began drinking, the more likley they were to continue drinking - with or without parental supervision. Trouble is, the supervised group drank more, not less and had significantly more adverse alcohol-related events (sickness, passing out, blacking out, etc.).  The supervised use of alcohol appears to encourage alcohol's use, but not responsible drinking.

"Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies," says study researcher Barbara J. McMorris, PhD. Permissive parenting may only be part of the problem though. Parents may need to examine the importance of alcohol in their own lives and establish a "no use" policy for their teens instead of initiating them into a problem at an even younger age.