Showing posts from October, 2006

New Videos

Because I had a request to do so, I put two more videos up on YouTube today. They are two jigs - Tobin's and Out on the Ocean. Neither one is a tune I play on the whistle frequently, but I thought I'd record them if they'd be of interest or help to anyone.

Theological Suggestion

In addition to being a lover of Irish music, I also love the study of theology. I often feel anomalous in that my study of theology is geared toward making the tenets of faith understandable and relevant to people's lives. I think that is why my favorite topic is prayer - it is something we can all do, we can all improve upon, and is the source of all good theological reflection.

In recent years, a disturbing trend has been documented. Many adult Catholics have a very difficult time understanding the concept of transubstantiation (say it three times really fast!), let alone understanding the meaning of the Eucharist at Sunday Mass. Indeed, at the "Three Cheers for Catholicism" group last night, this was one of the issues we discussed, how many Catholics just "go through the motions" and have no idea about what is actually happening.

One of my favorite theologians is James Alison. Alison appropriated the mimetic theory of Rene Girard and fused it with his own theo…

Technical Difficulty

I don't usually read my own blog, so I didn't notice that the "child abuse" post had gone up three times. As you can now see, I've remedied that! As irritated as I was/am, I don't know that people need to read my complaining three times...once is more than enough.

Child Abuse

In honor of Halloween, some of us decided to take in the riveting epic Saw IIIlast night. If you have seen any of the movies in this series, you'll know that they are extremely violent and intended for a (theoretically) mature audience.

So imagine my shock last night when a young family showed up, including a four-year old little girl. And she was not the only child there - although my seat did not give me the best vantage point, I could count at least six children under the age of twelve. In a movie where putrified hog corpses are liquified in order to drown a judge and a young man is "crucified" in an apparatus that twists his body so as to force his bones through his skin, I don't know that this is quite in line with Winne the Pooh or Spongebob or whatever is popular with children today.

Having worked in a hospital and having been present to many traumas in the ER, I thought I was accustomed to the noises and sights of medical instruments whirring and blood. I am gr…

Musical Vocation

I'm in a bit of a writing mood this evening, so I thought I'd put down something of my musical vocation story. Since I started posting videos on YouTube and on here as well, my site has seen an ENORMOUS surge in traffic, much of it due to people's interest in Irish music.

Since I do not have children of my own, I often wonder what it would be like to hold my own son or daughter. I wonder what kind of dreams I would have for him. I've never asked him this, but I have taken to wondering what my own father and mother dreamt for me when I was a baby. Did they want me to be a baseball player? A doctor? A teacher? Rich? It's just so amazing to think that a parent holds a lifetime of potential is her arms, a potential that will be so shaped and molded by the parents' love and care.

So when I was little I did the things most kids did, I guess. I played 'hot stove' baseball, softball with the parish, and flag football. By the time I was in the second grade, my …

Picture and a Shot Out

First off, thanks to the English family for their thoughtful birthday present. They know me well enough to have sent Malley's Chocolate Covered Pretzels and some awesome Aero bars. They also included a copy of the 10/12/2006 edition of the Edsman which carried a nice story about Mike's trip to Ireland. Great story!

Second, the above picture is none other than Howard Gray, SJ. For those of you who read often, you'll know that I reference Howard often. I cannot put into words how important this man has been in my life. I will offer this as a testament to his role in my formation: he is the man who taught me how to pray.

You have to admit, he does look like Yoda! The only difference: Father Gray doesn't need a light saber to defeat evil.

Willie Coleman's, Wheels of the World, The Rainy Day

My weekly submission to YouTube.

In keeping with a request, I will submit my musical vocation story sometime this week - I just need to find time to write it!

The 27th Year

So I mark today the 27th year of my birth. I watched the series finale of "OZ" - the prison show we began watching last year in the novitiate. I also had dinner with Archbishop Joseph Pittau, SJ. Archbishop Pittau has played an enormously important role in the history of the Society and it was a great treat to recieve his birthday blessing and to listen to him share some of his stories at our community meeting. Now I'm off to watch the latest episode of Smallville before retiring for the night; I have to get up early as we're off to the gym at 7:45.


I now have a Facebook account, so if you have one please look for me and "poke" me. I'll add you to my friends list.

Also, I received a birthday e-card from my mother. Funny, I seem to remember celebrating my birthday every year on the 19th, not the 18th. Somebody is slipping, mother!

Yes, tomorrow is my 27th birthday. Maybe I'll write something with the vantage point of 27 years of wisdom, but that will depend on how much work I get done early in the day.

Drew and Ryan at St Ignatius High School

Yeah, it's an ugly vest. It was very cold and I needed something warm, but I certainly do acknowledge that it's not very fashionable! I'll never wear it again. Thanks to Pat Fairbanks, SJ for the picture. Pat is the new vocations director for the Chicago Province. In the background of this picture, you'll also see Br Jim Boynton, the vocations director for the Detroit Province.

Father General

Here is the promised picture featuring Drew Marquard, Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach (the superior general of the Society of Jesus, and Ryan Duns.


I had a request for something "mellow" so I recorded this tune. I realized, in wracking my brain for tunes, that I don't play very many "mellow" pieces...which means I ought to learn some!

This piece was a pain to record - I think it took eight tries with various incursions wrecking each take (phone calls, dog parking, car horns...possibly a gunshot).

Trio of Tunes: Tim the Velvet, Toss the Feathers, Martin Wynne's #3

Three old favorites!

Technical Difficulties

I've never given any pretense to being possesed of great technical skill. Truth be told, I often have a hard time figuring out how to turn on the televisions in the house (due, in part, to the fact that we've three remotes per tv and I haven't a clue as to what any of them do). So my recent foray into YouTube and my ability both to record and to post videos has been astonishing. Now that I have posted my ninth short video, I'm looking to make my recordings longer and, hopefully, to add some sweet sound effects (not for any other reason than this: I can!).

Yet I am having a very difficult time partitioning videos to put them online. What I need to figure out is how to take the DVD I have with our vocation talks on them and get them into my iMovie program. I may have some time this weekend so, with any luck, I'll figure it out.

My other goal this weekend is to start to record short instructional videos on how to play the whistle. I figure I can distill the lessons in…

Oireachtas, Revisited

After a very fine weekend of playing, I have consulted with my superiors and we've decided that I will, after all, play this year's Mid-American Oireachtas over Thanksgiving weekend. As some of you remember, I cancelled out on doing it earlier this semester but, considering they hadn't replaced me and seeing as I really do miss playing, it's not a bad idea for me to play.

I often wonder what difference I make, whether it be on the internet (although I'm building a nice base of viewers on YouTube!) or as a minister. But it seems to me that, after this weekend, my involvement with Irish dancing has a great deal of potential. To be sure, I don't spend much time directly with the kids...I just sit and play music for them and, sadly, most of them don't think I'm a human! To them, I'm a balding juke box who plays the accordion. That's fine - they're kids! But with the sheer volume of Irish dancers in America, I realize that the potential to make a …

Surviving Another Feis Weekend

As I face a whole day off of school, I want quickly to update my site, for I have much work to do today!

The feiseanna went pretty well this weekend. To be sure, there were a number of points where my joints were popping and my muscles were aching, but I'm glad to say that I think I played pretty well. I used to have so much more endurance for such long days! The playing aside, it was awesome to spend time with a great group of adjudicators who were a lot of fun to hang out with.

When I was at JCU for graduate school, I think I flourished in large part because I was so busy. I never had weekends to work, so I was forced to do as much work as possible during the week. While I thought that I would enjoy a more leisurely pace of study, I find that I miss the activity of my former life and that playing this weekend was very helpful in reminding me that I do work well under pressure.

Check YouTube later today and this week as I make an effort to put a bunch of Jesuit videos online. I…

The Week to Come

Ahead is one of those weeks which remind me of my pre-Jesuit life. I have class tomorrow and on Tuesday morning and then, Tuesday afternoon, Drew and I are flying to Cleveland. Father General Peter Hans-Kolvenbach, SJ will be visiting the Detroit Province and we will be going to meet with him. This is very exciting and I am really looking forward to meeting Father General. If I get a picture with him, you can be sure that it will appear here soon after! We return late Thursday night and I have two classes on Friday...and then I fly out with Kerry Oster to go to Pittsburgh for the feis...and then I come back on Sunday night. I love being busy!

A quick request for prayers. My mother had to have her appendix removed today - apparently it was something of an emergency. I found at, as it is the custom to pass information to me in odd ways - via a text message whilst I was grocery shopping. My mom has been having several health issues and I'm sure your prayers (and mine!) would mean a lo…