Archive for the ‘Role models’ category

Reading material for young athletes

December 26, 2013
Fr James V. Schall SJ

Fr James V. Schall SJ

When the highly esteemed Jesuit scholar and commentator on modern culture, Fr James V. Schall SJ, writes a positive review of a book by a professional athlete, I sit up and pay attention.  Earlier this month, Fr Schall wrote such a review on The Catholic Thing website.  His subject was John Stockton, former point guard for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, an NBA hall-of-famer, and a Gonzaga alumnus.  John recounts his life for us in Assisted: An Autobiography, which was published two months ago.  You can read Fr Schall’s article here.


A worthy intercessor

May 26, 2013

At our Men’s Prayer Breakfast yesterday, during the prayer time when we were voicing our prayer intentions, a man prayed for his daughter who has cancer.

Fr John Petrasko

Fr John Petrasko

Recently, I sent my daughter some information on the priest who baptized her:  Fr John Petrasko.  At the time of her baptism on July 17, 1988, Fr Petrasko was the Chaplain at Misericordia University (known at that time as “College Misericordia”).  Normally, she would have been baptized by the assistant pastor at Gate of Heaven Parish in Dallas.  However, he was away that weekend, and Fr Petrasko was covering for him.

Two years after he baptized my daughter, Fr John Petrasko died of colon cancer at the young age of 36.  He was in the hospital for several months leading up to his death.  Though he and many others prayed for his healing, Fr Petrasko accepted his illness without bitterness or anger, but as part of God’s mysterious plan for his life.  As he got closer to death, he was very frustrated by the fact that the pain medication caused him to be so woosy that he was unable to pray well.

At the post-baptism celebration, Fr Petrasko mentioned in conversation that, besides his work as a college chaplain and fill-in priest, he occasionally went to hear confessions and have Mass for the inmates at SCI-Retreat, the state prison along the Susquehanna River in Hunlock Creek.

SCI - Retreat

SCI – Retreat

I asked him if others were allowed to accompany him, and he responded that they were, but that they needed to be added to the visitors list prior to the visit.  He told me the date of his next visit, and we made arrangements for me to go with him and Sr Julian Baird, who usually accompanied him.

I made two or three prison visits with Fr Petrasko.  Fr Petrasko was a truly holy priest, who definitely had a personal relationship with Jesus.  He said Mass very reverently.  I witnessed firsthand the compassion and charity with which he treated the inmates, and the effusive gratitude that they expressed to him.  He also treated the prison guards with due respect, addressing each of them as “Officer.”  The casual conversations we shared as we traveled to-and-from the prison also revealed his personal holiness and self-giving love.  (Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of his homily at the Baptism Mass).

Because of his holiness, I’m guessing that Fr Petrasko is in heaven now.  The 30th anniversary of his ordination was this month.  Since his life on earth was so short, he probably wants to continue his priestly ministry from heaven.  This makes him an appropriate intercessor, a saint who probably eagerly awaits our requests for his help.  I suppose his intercession might be most efficacious for those who have cancer, like he did.  (Also, for priests we know who need healing or help!)

So, as we pray for the daughter of that man at the Prayer Breakfast, don’t hesitate to enlist Fr Petrasko’s help from heaven.

Real men of God endure torture

April 24, 2013

This article contains excerpts from the testimony of Romanian Greek Catholic Bishop Ioan Ploscaru describing some of what he had to endure while imprisoned by the communist government.

Can’t.  Even.  Imagine.

Bp Ioan Ploscaru with JP2

Memorial Day

May 28, 2012

Memorial  day is a day to remember the men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for their countrymen in defending us from enemies foreign and domestic. Here is the story of first lieutenant James H Fields who was awarded the Congressional medal of honor for valor during WWII

Fields’ official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, at Rechicourt, France. On September 27, 1944, during a sharp action with the enemy infantry and tank forces, 1st Lt. Fields personally led his platoon in a counterattack on the enemy position. Although his platoon had been seriously depleted, the zeal and fervor of his leadership was such as to inspire his small force to accomplish their mission in the face of overwhelming enemy opposition. Seeing that 1 of the men had been wounded, he left his slit trench and with complete disregard for his personal safety attended the wounded man and administered first aid. While returning to his slit trench he was seriously wounded by a shell burst, the fragments of which cut through his face and head, tearing his teeth, gums, and nasal passage. Although rendered speechless by his wounds, 1st Lt. Fields refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his platoon by the use of hand signals. On 1 occasion, when 2 enemy machineguns had a portion of his unit under deadly crossfire, he left his hole, wounded as he was, ran to a light machinegun, whose crew had been knocked out, picked up the gun, and fired it from his hip with such deadly accuracy that both the enemy gun positions were silenced. His action so impressed his men that they found new courage to take up the fire fight, increasing their firepower, and exposing themselves more than ever to harass the enemy with additional bazooka and machinegun fire. Only when his objective had been taken and the enemy scattered did 1st Lt. Fields consent to be evacuated to the battalion command post. At this point he refused to move further back until he had explained to his battalion commander by drawing on paper the position of his men and the disposition of the enemy forces. The dauntless and gallant heroism displayed by 1st Lt. Fields were largely responsible for the repulse of the enemy forces and contributed in a large measure to the successful capture of his battalion objective during this action. His eagerness and determination to close with the enemy and to destroy him was an inspiration to the entire command, and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

May Catholic men have the  same courage to protect our families , Church and  country from this present darkness Ephesians 6:12


Addicted? Want an intercessor?

September 25, 2011

Jim Manney shares the story of an unlikely saint.

US Bishop Uses Terms “Fasting” and “Devils” ——— in Same Sentence!!

July 19, 2011

Amid all the hoopla surrounding Abp Chaput’s appointment to Philly, the title of this post should have been used as a headline somewhere!  Responding to the very last question in this lengthy interview with John Allen, Abp Chaput said:

I’m firmly convinced by a lifetime of being in the church that the traditional practices of the church are the ones we need to follow, and if we follow them, we really will be able to engage in all these issues in an appropriate way. The first thing is regular prayer, and for priests that means the divine office and the daily celebration of the Mass. Beyond that, we should embrace the sacramental life, which means personal confession as well as encouraging others to enter the sacrament of confession. There’s also fasting … Jesus tells us that ‘some devils can’t be driven out without fasting.’  We need to find time for spiritual reading, especially the reading of the scriptures…

For this year’s graduates

May 31, 2011

I remember a number of years ago being present at the dedication service of the Anderson athletic center at Misericordia. My boss and I had been invited because our company had installed some equipment in the building.  The service included addresses and prayers led by both the Bishop of Scranton at that time, and the priest who was the Campus Minister.  I was appalled and bewildered, because neither their remarks nor prayers included any reference to Christ, to the Gospel, or to the Church.

I was reminded of that occasion recently when I read the baccalaureate keynote address delivered at USC by LA Abp Jose Gomez.  It’s a wonderfully simple proclamation of Jesus and the Good News in a public, university setting.

If you know someone graduating this year, might I suggest that you forward them the link to Abp Gomez’s address, or include a copy of his address in the graduation card you give them (remember…New Evangelization….new in ardor, methods and expression!).  It’s a message that all young adults need to hear.