Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saying goodbye to my son

I learned on Wednesday of the death of my son. He wasn't my biological son since I don't have any of those. He was my spiritual child. Ryan was the type of kid that lit up the room when he entered. He was faithful in terms of mass attendance, even enduring the constant Iowa State Cyclone joke I told despite being a ardent Iowa Hawkeye. He had numerous health problems and died from one of them.

Ryan showed me what it means when they call me father. He often came into my office and unloaded problems onto my shoulders. School was hard and, even though he was not the type of person that gave up easily, he eventually had to go to a smaller school with more personalized attention. I helped him come to peace with that decision and mourned when he left to go across state, vowing that I would stay in touch. Now I mourn that he has left forever. I will miss him.

But, I have learned from him and I will remember him. Whenever I ask someone to hold my book at our 10:00 mass on Thursdays, I will think of how he used to do that. When I see someone walking towards me chewing gum in the student center, I will think of him. I will thank God that he put someone like Ryan into my life and let me be his father.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why full immersian baptismal fonts aren't necessarilly good for the catholic church

We have a mass at 10:00 on Thursday nights. At the end of mass, before the final blessing, we allow students to make announcements about the events that are coming up. But, we limit the time because it can take up to ten minutes to get through them all. And, I'm exhausted.

There was one student who was taking soooo long to get his announcement in and, when we told him that, he slowed down. So, I flawlessly jumped the font and took the microphone away from him. I handed it on to the next person and started to jump back to the other side.

I say "started" because I FAILED! I ended up with my legs in the font and my torso on the other side. I felt totally embarrassed and wished that I could have just fallen through the floor into the basement. The students made me feel old because they were more worried about making sure I was alright than they were about mocking me. I deserved to be mocked. But, I did get my point across. Keep the line moving!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sisters of Perpetual indulgence

I heard about this story the other day. To make a long story short, Archbishop George Niederauer of the San Francisco Archdiocese gave communion to two people wearing costumes that made it clear that they openly dissented from church teaching. The group that these two belong to call themselves the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which is a pro-gay group that dresses in a mock version of the traditional catholic habit that most nuns in this country wore at one time. It's very easy, for this reason, to know who is part of this group and know who is not so people believe the Archbishop should not have given them communion. The fact that he did has caused a great deal of scandal to the church and is a great tragedy. I may be naive but I imagine the Archbishop has no idea what this group really advocates. I watched two incredibly scandalous youtube videos where the group describes themselves and it's so obvious that their mission is completely foreign to the mission of Jesus Christ and his church. If you want to see them, you can click on these two links...

Please don't watch them if you are not an adult!

here

and here

and they'll take you to them. I have the time to research this. I bet the Archbishop had no idea of the true malice this group has for the church. It represents everything that is ugly about the pro-gay movement in the world and seems to cement for me why we shouldn't endorse this movement in any way. It's one thing to say that we shouldn't persecute people for any reason but this group is a great example of why we also cannot accept all movements as genuine and from the spirit. These are lost souls in need of contrition and they openly admit that they believe they want "guilt free" religion in the first video. They say that we just shouldn't feel bad about themselves. We believe all have fallen short of the glory of God.

Let us pray for the people of San Francisco and their Archbishop.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

thoughts on the US Catechism of the Catholic church

I discussed chapters 2 through 5 of the US Catechism. It moves from revelation to the relationship of scripture and tradition to the definition of faith. It's moving us toward a study of the creed. The US catechism isn't as definitively connected to the creed as the universal catechism.

I was fascinated with the discussion that happened. We really discussed the chapters and I got them to talk. That never seems to happen in seminars. It was a lot of fun and I feel like I got an important point across, the difference between dogma, doctrine, and theological opinion. People learned a little theology. We clarified the importance of the Magisterium. And all people walked away a little better off.

Which was really good since one of my students died last night and I've had a lot of trouble dealing with it. He was a great young man and I will miss seeing him visit. It was hard to hear that and keep being a priest to everyone else. But they needed me to do that so I did what needed to be done and I'm thankful that God was there through it all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

My homily this weekend focused on the idea of thankfulness, which makes sense since the gospel was about lepers that were rather ungrateful. Nine received healing and never went back to thank Christ whereas one, a foreigner, went back to thank him.

I think one of the ways we thank God is in the little things. The phrase "Thank God!" is used more in sarcasm than any other. I suggested that students could thank God after a hard test, that adults could thank God before and after a hard day of work and we could all take the time to Thank God when we turn on and off the TV. I thank God that I remembered to post my homily, even if it's just the summary version.