When necessary, use words!

Holy Ghost Church - Tiverton, RI

Last night, I had a very beautiful experience in Stop & Shop. I had been in the church preparing everything for the weekend Masses – changed altar cloths, hung festive antipendium, tabernacle veil & ambo hanging, set the Lectionary & Roman Missal, but something was missing. I needed flowers for the Feast of Christ the King. I  decided to make a run to Stop & Shop.

As usual, I was wearing my cassock and didn’t intend to run into the rectory and change before going. To me, that always made the cassock feel like a Halloween costume, put it on when it’s “right” and take it off when it’s not. But that’s a whole other post.

I am no longer self conscious of wearing my cassock, so I just jumped into my care with my cassock and cape and off I went. When I got to the store, a number of people looked, some nodded or greeted me. But what moved me most was when I was looking through the fresh flowers and plants. A woman came running over with her young child saying, “Please don’t go Father, I have to see you.” She grabbed my hands and said: “Father, please bless me.” I went on to give her and the young daughter a short blessing. As she went away, she thanked me, placed her hand on her heart as she looked up and said: “Father, you just made my day. Thank you!” As she put her hand to her heart and looked up, it was moving, beyond words. It was kind of like a look of ecstasy.

This woman was so happy to see a priest. It made her day and it made mine. Thank you Father for calling me to be Your priest. The cassock is a powerful witness, one that speaks much louder than words. In the words of St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

iPadre #217 – One Door at a Time

In this episode, we talk about the Day of Evangelization, a great Catholic outreach to fallen away Catholics and those who have no knowledge of the Catholic Faith at all.  We also talk about when to leave church.

– Music: The Unseen by Jessica Smith-Wright
Day of Evangelization website
–  My interview with Greg & Jennifer
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iPadre #202 – Communication in the Church

In this episode, I interview Fr. Cyril Sandou from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry in India.  Fr. Sandou was appointed the first director of communications by his Archbishop.  We also cover some great feedback.  The question was asked, “Is applause appropriate during the Mass?”.

– Music: “I Know” by Flatland Music Group
Fr. Cyril Sandou
Archdiocese of Pondicherry
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Don’t come to church, we’ll come to you!

Things really have not changed much throughout the history of the Church.  Today, we use the internet – websites, blogging, podcasting, video casting – whatever we can use to evangelize, we’ll do it.  As many of my online friends have come to know, I am a railroad enthusiast.  Anything I find that has to do with trains, and I’m there.  Right now, I’m in the process of completing my 6th live steam locomotive in 1-1/2″ scale.  After I complete this locomotive, it’s time to build some cars.  First on my list is to build a chapel car.  In fact, I intend to build a replica of the “Chapel Car Saint Anthony”.

In 1906, Fr. Francis Clement Kelly, the founder of the Catholic Extension Society attended the St. Louis World’s Fair.  Fr. Kelly was inspired by what he saw at the World’s Fair.  What he saw, was a Baptist Chapel Car.  If you can’t get to a church, the church will come to you.  Father Kelly wanted to bring the church to the many people living throughout these United States who had no priest and no church.  At the turn of the century, Baptists, Episcopalians and Catholic had their own chapel cars traveling the rails throughout this land.

Yesterday a railroad car, today a computer, what will tomorrow bring?

Here is a short clip of a video I got a number of years ago.


Wanna Change the World?

From the time I was a seminarian, to now, I can remember new programs and movements coming in and out of parishes in the hope of some kind of renewal.  You can probably list a number of them yourself.  Some of them were/ are good and some of them were/ are bad, but all them have failed.

It seems that most programs and movements only give a temporary fix.  Our churches fill up for a time and then empty again.  Those of us who were involved in the Charismatic Renewal can remember the days when prayer groups had 400 people every week. The meetings would last for a few hours and some people would remain all night long if you let them.  Those days have passed, and the few prayer groups that remain have dwindled to just a few people.  Today’s prayer groups are considered a large if they have 15 to 20 people.

just read about National Youth Conference in Kansas City.  The article highlighted the Eucharistic Procession through the street of Kansas City with 22,000 high school students.  The sight of all of those young people processing through the streets with Jesus Christ is beyond words.  I don know one thing, it was an very powerful witness to anyone who saw it.  This is is how we will change ourselves, our Church and our world.  Programs and movements come and go, but Jesus is Eternal.

The only answer to true and lasting renewal is Eucharistic Adoration.  Pope Benedict XVI, speaking of St. Maximus the Confessor in one of his general audiences, stated that “adoration is the beginning of the true transformation, (and) the true renewal, of the world”.  We might ask ourselves why.  Why do not all these programs and movements last?  Some of these movements had hundreds of thousands of adherents, yet today, they are like a western ghost town.

The answer is pretty simple.  We loose our focus.  I believe that many of these programs, that were good in the beginning and had great intentions, became centered on man and Jesus Christ was put on the side lines.  It became about the leader, the gifts, who is in control, and what can “we do”.

With Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, that can’t happen.  Jesus is front and center, Jesus is in control, Jesus is gift and our attention is focused on Him alone.  John Lennon’s song Imagine speaks of how it would be in this world if we lived the Communist philosophy.  There is no God, no heaven or hell, just the hear and now and if we all just gave everyone a big hug, all the world’s problems would be solved.  Personally, I would not want to imagine that there is no heaven, no hell, no religion – no God, and that means no eternity, when we die, we are gone forever.  But here this is how I would write the song if it were my place.

Imagine every Catholic
In cities big and small
Come to worship Jesus
The Lord and God of all
Imagine all God’s people
Worshiping The Lord.

Imagine God’s great power
The Blessed Sacrament
Power to transform us
And transform the world too
Imagine all God’s people
Living just for Him.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
There are many just like me
I hope that someday we’ll see it
Become reality