Feed them yourselves

World Refugee Day Borys Fiodorowicz“Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.” – From ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children, New York Times, June 21, 2019

Mary Jesus in CageA 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap.“I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,” she said. –From Attorneys: Texas border facility is neglecting migrant kids, AP News

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today’s Gospel is embedded upon my heart. When the disciples were pretty much about to dismiss the crowd because they were in a deserted place and seemed to lack the resources (or the will) to care for them. Jesus said to them:

“Give them some food yourselves.”

Today he might add that toothbrushes, sleep, Continue reading

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Moral courage

Today Jon Stewart showed more moral courage in this nearly nine minute speech to Congress than most people show in their lives.

Meanwhile, up the road from DC, at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, the scene was a little different.  Bishop Robert Barron talked about why young people have left/are leaving the church. He spoke of how Jordan Peterson (sorry, not linking to his page, you will have to go look yourself) has connected to young people through social media. (Here is a link to Jack Jenkins’ report on Religion News Service.)

USCCB

At which point I had a moment. Wait, what? What? Who? Why?

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Of course, Catholic Twitter, which was on fire all day, had some fine responses. My first favorite came from Villanova professor of Religious Studies and Theology, Dr. Massimo Faggioli. That was quickly followed by a clever retweet by David Gibson who heads up the Center on Religion and Culture.

On this crock

Of course my wry laughter over their tweets was not enough for my distress over everything else – both at the Congressional hearing with Jon Stewart, nor the USCCB meeting.

It all feels incredibly frustrating, even when tempered with a little dark humor. Moral courage is hard to come by these days, in any circles. When we see it, we know it. May God grant more of it to the Church; we need it. Holy Spirit, please – lead the way.

Each one heard

266297.pToday, Sunday, June 9, 2019 is Pentecost, that great feast of the promised coming of the Holy Spirit.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Yesterday I read this at church, and as I stood at the ambo, I was filled with a Holy Spirit moment of my own. Having practiced the reading enough to memorize some of it, I was able to look up and out at the congregation before me, I had one of those Thomas Merton moments. If you are not familiar, one day he was standing on a street corner and saw through new eyes, in a Pentecost-like moment.

42b3fc66-c2d1-4bd7-9291-7bc6f6e931fcEveryone looked the same – yet so different to me at that moment. Not unlike what we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.” Yes, here we were, a church full of Catholics, a big church – literally and figuratively – gathered as one in Christ. At a time when I feel deeply upset and highly frustrated about the Church, I felt awash in a wave of love.

Somehow that love eluded me today as I read some things in the newspaper that were upsetting to me.  In these fractious times, as we grow Continue reading

Disturbances

Disturb us Adonai Shabbat

Shabbat is over until Friday night, or Sunday – depending on your faith practice. That said, I found this graphic on my computer and it has been rubbing up against my consciousness, so I figured I better pay attention before the next sabbath sneaks up on me.

Honestly, I find Sunday to be one of the more stressful days of the week. Saturday feels more relaxed, even if I do more errands. And I typically attend mass on Saturday at 4PM. So what is it about Sunday that Continue reading

Clear conscience – updated

Lentz, Joan of ArcI think that it was Joan of Arc that got me thinking about this. She was burned at the stake after being condemned by an ecclesial court and not too long after, declared a saint by the same church that executed her.  (CORRECTION: It took a long time, my initial source was apparently incorrect. Joan was not beatified until 1909 and canonized in 1920.) She followed her conscience and the Church caught up to her, albeit late. That is conscience formation!

What is it to form our conscience? I’m not speaking in general, but rather as a Roman Catholic today. This is an important question and one that I fear is not well addressed in contemporary American Catholic circles. Like everything having to do with God, it is not a matter of transactional information, but Continue reading

Deo gratias

FranPaulaMtRobertsMay2019

That’s Paula on the right and me on the left! A very blessed meeting of two longtime online friends!

Alaska, a destination long in my horizon, is now in my rear view mirror. And in that mirror the words roll over in my heart, over and over… Deo gratias. Thanks be to God.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for this journey. For those of you who sent prayer requests to me, be assured how dearly you were held in prayer, in the glory of this spectacular place. I only visited a tiny portion of this enormous state, but what a magnificent tiny portion it was.

First and foremost were the people I met. If heaven has a receiving line, I believe that I had a preview of it in Alaska! Invited there by a ministry of the Diocese of Juneau, my first encounter was with longtime social media friend, Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher.

It was Paula that brought my name up with her ministry as they prepared for a retreat, and Deo gratias, I was selected by this ministry to walk with them for a weekend. In any case, I was so happy to meet this longtime online friend for the first time. The nature of welcome that I received from Paula and others came from a deep well of hospitality that was evident in every step of my Alaskan journey. Through the deep generosity of one of the retreatants, miles were donated to get me to Juneau, a gift I will never forget – and never stop being thankful for. Speaking of gratitude – I offer it to and for my friends in NJ who took exception care of me at both ends of the journey. Thank you.

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Labyrinth at the National Shrine of Saint Therese

The retreat seemed to go well – as I like to say, ask those who attended! Our setting was the National Shrine of St. Thérèse, a place so remarkable that it defies words. If you ever get the chance to go there, do not hesitate! The glory of God was on full display at this remarkable place. However, it was each and every one of the women on retreat that made the journey more special. May they all be blessed – I thank God for all of them and for their welcome to me. Here are a few photos.

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As for the rest of my trip – I met so many people, I saw so much of God’s glory.  There will be so much more to tell, but in due time. I’m still readjusting time wise, getting laundry done, and reorienting myself to being home. More to follow. In the meantime, thank you so much! Be assured of my prayers. And no matter where you go or what you do – remember to thank God always, Deo gratias.

North to Alaska

TJJO_Downtown_Juneau_4_2015_868ae45f-1b73-4c52-9c4f-dbea12170952This week I will head north to Alaska! No, I have never been there, and honestly – I never imagined that I would go there. My spouse has little interest in it, and at our age and with our budget, trips have to be something we both want to invest in when we take them.

It was however a delightful surprise to be asked if I would be Continue reading