Showing posts from December, 2007


For your consideration, this is the prayer I wrote for my Uncle Brian's swearing-in ceremony. Brian was sworn in as Municipal Judge for Rocky River. The Deborah mentioned is Deborah Comery who was sworn in as Clerk of Courts.

Good and Gracious God,
You have burdened those who would be your disciples
with a daunting task:
Ours is to be a faith that seeks
to do justice for all.

This community recognizes the challenge of faith
and we pray for Deborah and Brian
as they take office this day.

May your Holy Spirit enliven and inspire them
as they seek to interpret and apply the law
in a way that respects and defends the dignity
of all persons.

May the example of your Son, Jesus Christ,
Provide provide Brian and Deborah with
a model of infinite compassion.
May their vocation as ministers of the law
Help to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Heavenly Father, we have heard many times that we
are to love you and our neighbor.
This is both the burden and the blessing of faith:
That in loving and serving the least of

2007 Liturgical Round-Up

There's a line in the book Farmer Boy where Father says to Almanzo something like "Many good beginnings have a bad ending." I don't know why this line has stuck with me since I heard it in the third grade, but it seems fairly apt as I reflect on the last two liturgies I attended in my home parish.
On Sunday I went to the 12:00 mass. To begin with, it's amazing how a church that is barely 1/3 full during the first reading swells to 3/4 full by the time we begin the liturgy of the Eucharist. I always thought it was a two-for-one deal (Word and Eucharist) but, apparently, one can choose to forgo the Liturgy of the Word and come in at the half-time break (I'm assuming the Nicene Creed and prayers of petition mark the intermission). 
Not that I can blame them, really. As an Irish musician, I'm accustomed to complicated melodies where wild combinations of notes highlight the skills of the musician. Unfortunately I have little vocal acumen and the opening song dem…

Ryan, Brian, and Michael

Would it be a Duns Christmas party without music? We three did a bit of a trio that Paul O'Connor, SJ recorded for us (We've fired Drew and moved up to a theologian as our filmographer!).

Ryan and Emma

On Christmas Morning, as the rest of the family opened presents. I contented myself with the love of Jesus. She contented herself with her own drool.

Merry Christmas!



I'd just like to say CONGRATULATIONS to my sister, Torrey Duns, TCRG. Torrey received today the news that she had passed her exam qualifying her to be an Irish dancing teacher.


I posted this on the Tin Whistle blog but I figured I might put it up here.

Drew came into my class on our last day and shot this video. I regret that I didn't have the students play "Silent Night" or "Jingle Bells" but the tune they have here - "The Rattling Bog" - should be familiar to fans of Irish music. I made them play the second part over and over again, getting progressively faster, just for the craic or fun of it.

Many laughed when they heard that there was going to be an actual college course offered on the whistle. These kids aren't quite ready to compete in Ireland, but I trust that each one has a deeper appreciation of their place in the Irish tradition.

MeMe Mania

Both Karen and Joe tagged me in a Christmas Meme. On this Eve of Christmas, I'm glad to respond:

1. Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags

I'm pro gift bag: they are re-usable (so environmentally friendly) and not having to tear through wrapping paper minimizes the risk of paper cuts.

2. Real Tree or Artificial

We're sort of on the fence on this one: I've alwayshad a real tree, but I see the value of the fake tree (Yeah for the environment!). The Duns house now has two decorated trees: the one under which presents are placed is real, the upstairs tree is artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree?

We put our tree up at Ciszek sometime after Thanksgiving. I'm assuming my parents put our trees up around the same time.

4. When do you take the tree down?

It'll probably be down by January 1st. Hopefully I won't be around for it - I hate taking down ornaments because the needles stick my fingers.

5. Do you like eggnog?

No! I drink an obligatory glass each year, but it's like drin…

Baby Talk

Well, I'm home for the holidays. 
As is my custom, I stay over at my grandmother's house where I get loads of peace and quiet and my own television (Food Network is on channel 40). This morning I woke up, showered, picked up my bagel and coffee (Gingerbread brew, in case you were wondering) and came home. My niece Emma stayed the night with Grandma and Grandpa Duns so she was in her bouncy-activity-lead-free-walking-seat in the middle of the kitchen when I arrived.
What is it about babies that makes adults lose their speech capacities and begin to speak utter gibberish? As I type this my sister Hagan is making the most ridiculous noises and asking questions such as "Who's got your nose? Who's got your nose?" in a variety of high-pitched catterwallings. This child is FOUR MONTHS OLD! Without a sense of Object Permanence (Hooray for Psych 101) every time she sees me its like I'm born anew in her eyes. So I highly doubt that she takes any cognizance of the fac…

Vocation Video

As many of you are aware, the Jesuits have of late been putting various vocation videos up on YouTube. Drew Marquard, SJ, shot many of the interviews over the Summer and they've now been edited and posted online.

I think this represents a good and creative step in vocation promotion. Below is a video offering Vocation Advice:

Perhaps by hearing - and now seeing - the ways that other men have discerned a vocation, those discerning how God is calling to them will find greater clarity.

Vocation Story

I submit for your reading pleasure this link to a story written by Paris Wolfe, a writer for the Saint Ignatius Magazine. It's a very fine piece about seven recent alums of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland who have recently entered the Society of Jesus. It's a .pdf file so you'll have to download it. The stories are interesting and the pictures are good, too. Just follow the link to ThinkJesuit. Scroll down the main page and you'll see it!

I should mention that since its publication there have been two more alums from Ignatius to enter the Society: Andrij Hlabse and Lorenzo Herman entered the novitiate in August, 2007. That brings us to NINE recent alums....not too shabby!

Over the Hump

Well it's been a long time in coming: the days of leisure are now upon me! I finished my last paper on Friday and, since then, I have:

-gone to the movies to see "The Mist"
-visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art
-napped a lot
-begun reading a book I have to review for the Heythrop Journal

It's really amazing that the semester is over. It's not that it necessarily went very quickly, but now that it's over there's only one week until Christmas. I feel as though I've been rushed these last few weeks and I'm sort of sad that I haven't had time to savor more of the holiday spirit.

I guess I'll have to do a lot of 'savoring' when I get home on Thursday.

On a Jesuit-Formation note: do you realize that I'm now 1/2 way through my First Studies program? Three years seemed like a long time when I began but now, 50% of the way through, I realize how little time it is. I feel like I've grown by leaps and bounds these last semesters and I feel…

Dinner Party

The last two days have been spent largely on a dinner party I hosted here at Ciszek. Invtied guests included several Jesuits from America House and two faculty members from Fordham.

On the menu, in case you're curious:

Bacon and Spinach Wrapped Scallops
An assortment of cheeses and crackers
A gorgeous split-pea soup
Shepherd's Pie
Fresh Brown Bread
Pecan Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream (Not really in keeping with the Irish theme, but it was tasty and I wanted to use pecans we had left over from Thanksgiving).

This last week has been very, very busy. I'm heading into the home-stretch and have but one small paper to write sometime this week. With any luck, I'll have time to post more often between now and Christmas in order to make up for my relative absence these past few weeks.

One question for readers: any suggestions about a new series I might watch? As a Jesuit, I've watched Rome, Oz, the Sopranos, Smallville, Heros, and Top Chef. I'm looking for a new addictive pleasu…

The Shadow of the Cross

Readers of my blog are familiar with my sharing, on occasion, something of my own spiritual journey as a young Jesuit. There have been times that I offer reflections on the consolation of ministry and prayer and, to be sure, there are times I give a glimpse into my own struggles. Of late I have been wrestling with a particularly dark and weighty issue that has occupied an enormous amount of my spiritual energy.

Each year during Advent, our eyes turn toward the coming of the Savior with with hope and eager anticipation. Children scamper about and write Christmas list and adults shop and clean frantically. In our good moments, we have a chance to gather with one another and share memories of holidays past - old friends and loved ones now dead - and create memories we will treasure into the future. I, for one, am very excited to spend Christmas this year with my new niece Emma and it brings me great joy to imagine her wonder at the holiday seasons to come.

So it is with great difficulty th…