Archive for January 2011

Catholic Men’s Breakfast: You’re invited!!

January 31, 2011

February 5th (Saturday) 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
St. Monica’s Parish
OLOS Hall on 8th St

Guest Speaker: Attorney Glenn Yanik

A free will offering will be accepted.

Three ways to register:

1 – Call the parish office at 693-1991

2 – Email at

3 – Send a note with your Name/Phone/Email/Parish to the parish rectory:
. St Monica
. 363 West 8th St
. West Wyoming  PA  18644


Do not react, do not resent, keep inner stillness

January 22, 2011

In what will likely be my only attempt to participate in this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (in addition to a few meager prayers for that intention), I took time today to breathe with the other lung by watching/listening to this recent talk by Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA.  His prior training in eastern monasticism gives his presentations a credibility and a depth that really draws me in.

The title of his talk, “Do not resent, do not react, keep inner stillness,” proposes three principles of living the Christian life taught by the Eastern Fathers.  Underlying the successful implementation of these principles is the practice of intentional silence – a proposition highly incongruous with the busyness and wordiness of our current American culture.

Met Jonah begins with a quote:

St Isaac the Syrian:
Let us take refuge in the Lord and ascend a little to the place where thoughts dry up and stirrings vanish, where memories fade away and the passions die, where human nature becomes serene and is transformed as it stands in the other world.

He proceeds to teach how, through, silence, prayer, and repentance, we can ascend above the rational two-dimensional “Etch-A-Sketch” level of consciousness to attain the highest levels of spiritual maturity, having our senses transformed through the grace that comes with entering into cooperation with God.  Then the entire creation will shimmer with God, and we’ll see God’s presence in everyone and everything, and all of creation is made new before our eyes.  The highest level is to know the Father in the Son by the Holy Spirit, so that we can dare to say “Our Father”.

As we grow deeper and deeper in this spiritual maturity, we can become more like God, especially in his compassion and forgiveness.  The grace of God’s presence within us will enable us to root out the criticisms, condemnations, and judgments to which we are so prone.  Our increasingly compassionate and forgiving heart will empower us to practice not reacting, not resenting, and keeping our inner stillness.

As an example of the effectiveness of this path, he concludes his talk with an emotional testimony of apparition, healing, and forgiveness involving Matushka Olga, who has been supernaturally assisting abused and battered women.

Italian layman to be beatified

January 16, 2011

While John Paul II is getting all the press, here’s another role model for Catholic men.

The beauty of the Liturgy of the Hours

January 14, 2011

Those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, either regularly or occasionally, will appreciate this transcript of a talk by Fr Mark Kirby OSB.  When he says

When the psalmody of the Divine Office is executed with a gentle discipline and a joyful élan, it generates a healing experience of the tranquility of order.

it reminds me of my own similar sentiments after hearing the monks of Mount Saviour Monastery pray the Divine Office on my first visit in 1984.

Scranton priest mentioned on Catholic radio

January 7, 2011

Msgr John Esseff

Brian Patrick interviewed Patti Armstrong on the Son Rise Morning Show today between 7:30 and 7:45 (heard on our local Catholic radio station).  The discussion centered on a new movie (with which I am not familiar) about exorcism.  During the interview, she was highly complimentary of Scranton’s own Msgr John Esseff, and referred to him multiple times.  Apparently, she used him as a resource for an article she’s writing about this movie.  She said the article should appear on her website next week.  She related that Msgr Esseff told her that, in his 53 years involved with exorcism and investigating situations allegedly demonic, he has encountered only two cases that he considered to be actual demonic possession.  Many others involved lesser, but still serious, degrees of oppression, infestation, etc.

I’ll try to remember to pass along an update when Patti’s article is available.

10 years ago today…

January 6, 2011

….Pope John Paul II issued his instructions for the Church in the third millennium:  Novo millennio ineunte

The overarching theme is Duc in altum, “put out into the deep”.

Duc in altum! These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8).

However, in order to be able to do this effectively, we must first contemplate the Face of Christ:

Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face. The Great Jubilee has certainly helped us to do this more deeply. At the end of the Jubilee, as we go back to our ordinary routine, storing in our hearts the treasures of this very special time, our gaze is more than ever firmly set on the face of the Lord.

Our personal relationship with Christ will be the source of our own growth in holiness, which is not optional:

It is necessary therefore to rediscover the full practical significance of Chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, dedicated to the “universal call to holiness”. The Council Fathers laid such stress on this point, not just to embellish ecclesiology with a kind of spiritual veneer, but to make the call to holiness an intrinsic and essential aspect of their teaching on the Church.


As the Council itself explained, this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few “uncommon heroes” of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual. I thank the Lord that in these years he has enabled me to beatify and canonize a large number of Christians, and among them many lay people who attained holiness in the most ordinary circumstances of life. The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction.

Our own relationship with Jesus and our growth in holiness are prerequisites for our mission to help the Church and the world become what they are meant to be, a spirituality of communion:

But what does this mean in practice? Here too, our thoughts could run immediately to the action to be undertaken, but that would not be the right impulse to follow. Before making practical plans, we need to promote a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons, and pastoral workers are trained, wherever families and communities are being built up. A spirituality of communion indicates above all the heart’s contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us, and whose light we must also be able to see shining on the face of the brothers and sisters around us. A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body, and therefore as “those who are a part of me”. This makes us able to share their joys and sufferings, to sense their desires and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship. A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a “gift for me”. A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to “make room” for our brothers and sisters, bearing “each others’ burdens” (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy. Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, “masks” of communion rather than its means of expression and growth.

Sherry’s on a roll

January 2, 2011

Sherry Weddell of the Catherine of Siena Institute has been generating a number of eye-opening posts recently on the Institute’s “Intentional Disciples” blog.  I highly recommend her four posts from December 31st.  She has gained tremendous insights into Catholic evangelization, catechesis and discipleship as a result of her prayer, study, and travels to give seminars at parishes.  I’m glad she is taking the time to share her insights with us via the blog.