Archive for May 2009

Blessed Pentecost!

May 31, 2009

Here’s a prayer to the Holy Spirit written by Bd John XXIII (quoted by Pope John Paul II at the end of his Pentecost homily on June 3, 2001):

O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, perfect in us the work begun by Jesus:  enable us to continue to pray fervently in the name of the whole world:  hasten in everyone of us the growth of a profound interior life; give vigor to our apostolate so that it may reach all men and all peoples, all redeemed by the Blood of Christ and all belonging to him. Mortify in us our natural pride, and raise us to the realms of holy humility, of real fear of God, of generous courage. Let no earthly bond prevent us from honoring our vocation, no cowardly considerations disturb the claims of justice, no meanness confine the immensity of charity within the narrow bounds of petty selfishness. Let everything in us be on a grand scale:  the search for truth and the devotion to it, and readiness for self-sacrifice, even to the cross and death; and may everything finally be according to the last prayer of the Son to his heavenly Father, and according to the pouring out of your Spirit, O Holy Spirit of love, whom the Father and the Son desired to be poured out over the Church and her institutions, over the souls of men and of nations.


Sanctifying your iPhone experience

May 27, 2009

For some time now I have had an iPhone surgically implanted in my hand.  Without offering an official GOTR product endorsement, I would just like to say it is a fabulous telephone and computer all rolled into one.  If you have been living under a rock and are unaware, there are thousands of programs written for it to do everything from track your Fedex packages, to playing Pac Man, to locating the nearest speed trap in relation to your current location.  Nifty stuff.  But I have found great value in the ever-growing collection of religious applications that can help ‘keep your eyes on the prize.’

Although there are MANY, I will just tell you about a few I have on my phone:

First up is iRosary:  This is probably one of the best designed iPhone apps I have ever used (and I’ve used many).    It offers the complete set of mysteries including the chaplet of Divine Mercy in four languages, including Latin.  There are options for whether you like to say the fatima prayer, as well as the luminous mysteries.  You can choose any mystery you like, or allow the program to select the appropriate mystery for the liturgical period.  And if you are interrupted in prayer — it saves your spot.  The program features 168 different rosaries you can choose from and displays a fully-animated set of Rosary beads that flows across your hand as you move it with your finger, like a standard Rosary.  All in all, it is a very cool aid in learning the rosary.  And its only $0.99!

Next up is Universalis.  This is the liturgy of the hours as seen on  A fantastic app, that puts the whole LOH on your iphone — no downloading of content is necessary.   Although no hymns are included, it is really great as it gives you information about the saint of the day.  Plus it doubles as a Liturgical Calendar, so you will always know what day Pentecost is on, and includes Daily Mass Reading as well as the Office of Readings for you early risers.   The translation used is the New Jerusalem Bible, so don’t try to follow along with your Brothers who are using the four volume book set (yes, I’ve tried — just ask Walt).  This one is a bit pricey at $29, but it’s much cheaper than the books, and you will always have it with you, so no excuses!

Similar to Universalis is iBreviary.  A bit prettier, written by an italian priest and vatican-approved to boot.  It is a lot cheaper, weighing in at $.99 but must dial into the ‘mothership’ to download the hours and readings appropriate for the day.  It’s a little tricky as it starts out in Italian, and you have to navigate over to translate it into English, but once you do– voila, you have the ICEL English translations!  Sadly, though it only allows you to use the current day’s prayers and readings.  Not so helpful if you want to bone up on the upcoming Mass readings for example.

Lastly, is the youversion Bible.  This program (FREE) allows you to choose from a variety of (Protestant) Bible Translations, and even perform searches for names, keywords and the like.  But of course, the best part is that it is FREE, unlike the NAB version which I believe costs $14, and you can only see one translation.  It has a suggested Daily reading plan that will eventually take you through the whole book, allows you to place bookmarks, and has a ‘forum of sorts for people to post thoughts on different verses.  This last bit I don’t find very useful at all, and as a consequence of our modern relativism makes the title a bit funny, but you can’t beat the price.

How do you try and sanctify your daily experience?

Great Family Fun

May 27, 2009

Looking for a way to get some one on one time with your kids (of Ambulatory Age) this Summer?  I recently took up the ‘game’ of Geocaching.  What is Geocaching, you ask?  From the site:

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

It’s fairly cheap, all you need is a GPS and a computer with an internet connection.  You can even make good use of the GPS unit for your car that you got for Christmas; you know — the one that is probably now collecting dust because you already know your way around Scranton. 

Some of the things your kids (and you) will learn:  How to navigate with compass bearings, how to read both road and topographical maps;  puzzle solving skills; observational skills; local history (many cache’s are placed near historical areas); and best of all — more about eachother as you have plenty of time to just talk.

My family and I had a blast bicycling and driving all over the Wyoming Valley.  But the absolutely priceless part was that it got us out of the house — away from the TV and our other separate activities, and forced us to have fun spending time together and working together as a teamand a family.  I highly, highly recomment it.  Check out the site for LOTS more.

Know anyone college-bound this fall?

May 25, 2009

Send them (or their parents) a link to this recent talk which Fr John Riccardo gave to a Men’s Fellowship Group in which he discusses the attacks that college students will likely experience.

In his talk, he highly recommends this book.

Boston 2009

May 23, 2009

Cool slideshow from last month’s Men’s Conference in Boston:

The New Pentecost

May 23, 2009

I particularly like the Mass readings at this time of year.  They come from the Acts of the Apostles, which is one of my favorite books.  Talking about the early church, you see this rapid grass-movement development building up to an actual ‘Church’.  What I hear in the scriptures is this rag-tag group of people trying to find an expression for the power of the Lord they feel within them.  Like the prophet Jeremiah, they just can’t contain it.  We can take that experience into our own lives now, and say let’s not lose that momentum, and really re-form that church again in our day.  

The holy father has been calling for a new pentecost, both at the World youth Day in Sydney, and when he came to the US.  It’s almost as if we find ourselves in the same position those early apostles were, where we live in a culture much like that which the early apsotles did.  The culture has diluted the gospel message so much by secular living that we really have barely a base to start from again.  So many people have forgotten, or lapsed into apathy in the Catholic Church.  All of these Christians have abandoned their posts; there’s a whole world around us that we have ceased to reach– an army of soldiers that we’ve neglected to teach.

There’s a song I like, whose lyrics go:

Fight like a man, scriptures in hand. And here we stand, naked, barehanded futily prepared for the blows to be landed.  Presuppositions is all you can stand on. Can you twist their wrist when they lay a hand on? Learn how to fight from words on a paper. Kids in universities, drowning in an ocean of apostate philosophy.  We need apologetic instruction… mental reconstruction.  Ignorance reduction, to halt the mass abduction. Evangelical mind has been scandalized.  Wisdom and truth have been vandalized, by the unevangelized.  No truth in a world that is randomized. Expose the lies no matter how they’re disguised.


We’re almost at square one again, where we are being encouraged to have that courage that only the Spirit gives, and to go out into these very difficult areas, whether they be the universities, our own parish, or own family situations, and just say “Our God Loves us so much that his own Son suffered and Died at OUR hands, and he rose again to show that Death has no bondage over us, and that is a promise.”  It’s almost like we have to say it over and over again in every age.

I feel like one of the early apostles, when I come into these situations and I say, “What do you mean, you don’t know this about the Lord?”  It’s as if we need another example of the speaking in tongues to the masses — everyone hearing the message in their own language.  People have lost the power of the words we are saying.  The gospel has become this statement that we have all heard over and over until it has become almost background noise.  We have heard it so much that we THINK we know what it means.  But we all need to hear it in our own, personal language, until we can live it in our lives, and by doing so, SHOW the people around us who would be caught off guard by us saying something like that.

I think this is happening in the church now through a variety of new movements, and new means of evangelization, like men’s fellowship groups, podcasts, blogs, even bishops on twitter and the Pope of Facebook!  Perhaps those are ways in which the new pentecost is taking root.  Perhaps these are little sparks of the spirit of pentecost that we hope for,  and all we have to do is ask for him to come and our own confirmation gifts will be made young again.  The “new springtime in the church” is finally starting to bloom out again.

You can’t make this up…Pope B16 on Facebook

May 21, 2009

The initiative, which follows the earlier creation of a YouTube channel for the Pontiff, will also involve iPhone applications and a new Vatican website,, which is scheduled to go live on the Catholic Church’s World Communications day on May 24.

Read more…