Showing posts from May, 2009

Mass is Boring!

One of the most common complaints I hear from Catholics - whether they be adolescents or the elderly - is that "Mass is boring." Unfortunately, they're usually right: priests are not generally known for their great preaching, Catholics are terrible singers, and so much of what goes on "up there at the altar" seems so removed, so distant, from our lives and our concerns. 
Speaking from my own experience, I find Mass most boring when I am in a rush. When I treat the liturgy merely as an obligation, rather than a celebration, it becomes tedious. I grow listless and irritable, and my mind wanders [note: if things are really dire, try to figure out how to get from your pew to the altar without touching the floor. I often imagine that lava has filled the floor and that I have to flee to safety]. Unfortunately, what is meant to be a prayer becomes a mere performance of actions as my body is present to the community but my heart and mind are very many miles away. 

I don't need the Church!

On Sunday evening, I flew to Chicago (great flight from CLE to Midway on Southwest) to play at the Gaelic Park Feis (A Feis, for the uninitiated, is an Irish dancing competition). The committee that hired me to play also made arrangements with a local car service, so I was picked up by a snazzy Lincoln Town Car driven by a nice young woman named Chris.
Chris and I exchanged pleasantries and I eventually learned of her family, of how she came to drive for this particular company, and various other aspects of my life. Over the course of our conversation, she inquired into my life and profession and I told her that I was a seminarian studying to be a Roman Catholic priest (telling someone you're a Jesuit right off the bat is sure to confuse them only further!). 
In a response that I've come to expect, she told me that she was raised Catholic but didn't need the Church to be close to God. She could pray wherever and whenever she wanted and she did not feel, consequently, that sh…


So, it's over!

I completed the marathon in 4:23:10. I knew that I wanted to run it faster than 4:30, so I'm really happy with my time. The run went really well: the weather was perfect, the crowds were very awesome, and my family came out: Torrey, Hagan, Mom, Dad, Grandma Hagan, Cheryl O'Malley, Jeri Hagan, and Pat Hagan. I was hoping to go a little bit faster, but ran (excuse the pun) into two obstacles:

1. Just before I saw my family on mile 17, my foot caught a portion of buckled asphalt and I went down hard, leaving me with a nice little bruise on my side. Two people who were cheering on the side told me that I was the second person to have fallen in the same spot, so I didn't feel TOO bad!

2. At mile 20, I experienced cramps the likes of which I could not before have imagined. I kept having to stretch out my legs and walk for portions. I did manage, however, to run A LOT more than I walked during the last few miles and did run across the finish line.

So my first marat…

Jesuit Mock Interview X

A Jesuit vocation arises as a man is being chased to a rooftop by a mysterious creature. Witness the true story behind Drew Marquard's decision to enter the Society of Jesus in this mock commercial.

Final Days in NYC

Just a quick update for those interested:
I'm in the waning days of my time in New York City. Exams have been passed and bags are beginning to be packed. I've said many goodbyes over the past few days and I know there are many more to be said. It's going to be hard to leave so many good friends but, I reckon, this is a part of being a Jesuit: the road is my home!
Speaking of road, the 2009 Cleveland Marathon is this upcoming Sunday. The forecast is for partly cloudy weather with a high of 60-degrees. If you're in town, please don't hesitate to come down to support the runners. This is my first time running in such an event and I am, quite frankly, terrified. I've worked really hard to train for it and I know that any support from friends and family will be MOST appreciated. 
So unless something changes, I won't post again until Monday - when I'm sitting in a comfortable chair, recovering from a (please God) successful race. Please keep me in your prayers o…

Time Flies!

Just about a year ago, I posted on some of the amazing things people sent me via YouTube. Well, over the course of the past eleven months, I've accumulated a few more doozies. Here are five more priceless gems. Believe me, I couldn't make these things up:
Dear Father Ryan: I was wondering if your music is effective for exorcisms because you are a priest. Please let me know because I think the devil is inside me and I want him out.Hey, have you ever thought of becoming a Catholic? You'd make a nice priest if you weren't Jesuit. I couldn't tell if this was (1) because he doesn't know that Jesuits are Catholic or (2) because he denies that Jesuits are Catholic. U R the pyed piper of Satan who will lead many str8 2 hell with ur music. Repent and come 2 know Jesus Christ ur personal Lord and Savior.
Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you …

Online Program for Catechists and Religion Teachers

As part of its commitment to enrich and propagate the intellectual heritage of the Catholic Church, the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies will launch an Online Program for Catechists and Religion Teachers in the Fall of 2009.

Many of us who have had the experience of teaching religion know how difficult it can be. This program offers not only the content (Scripture, Liturgy, and the Catechism) necessary for effective catechesis, but it also addresses various styles of delivery in order to help the teacher maximize classroom time. By giving teachers of religious education a sure and secure footing in the riches of the Catholic tradition, I can't help but think that this program has the potential to revitalize religious education and contribute to the growing vibrancy of the Roman Catholic Church. 

As you can tell, I'm very proud of my affiliation with the Curran Center and Iam really very excited about this program. Enrollment is limited to twenty studen…

Mounting Irritation

Regular readers of my blog know that I have a particularly low regard for the felicitously titled blog "Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit."

I suffer no illusions: the Society of Jesus is a group of men, sinners all, and each is capable of missteps in his attempt to walk as a Companion of Jesus. But I believe it demonstrates a serious and egregious lack of charity to assume that every time a Jesuit does or says or writes something that is not to one's satisfaction that it is, by that fact, an indictment of the entire order.

Joseph Fromm, to my mind, is an instance of an insidious lack of charity that is motivated wholly by an evil spirit of malice and deceit. His mode of operation is to post article he has found on the web (he seldom, if ever, writes his own posts on the site) and then adds his own bits of commentary - either by strange and often inappropriate labels or by frisking the piece with red letters.

I've included three links to show just how deranged these posts can be:


Religious Habit

A few weeks ago, a friend and I went out to dinner. She wore a nice dress, a string of pearls, a pair of sensible shoes (somewhere between 'nun-sensible' and stiletto heels), and a jacket. I opted to wear a pair of khaki pants, a sport jacket, and a tie (yes, I also wore a shirt). 
Over the course of our meal, my friend asked me if I was supposed to wear clerical attire when I went out in public. To her mind, it would make sense to wear "clerics" for several reasons:

Black is always slimming.Given the relative dearth of young members of the clergy, it's a good reminder that there are young men entering into ministry.For people like me who struggle with fashion, it's very easy to match black with black with black. There's little room for error.In certain situations, it might score you an upgrade on an airplane or a free meal.Much of what she said was, of course, in jest. But this is a live issue for many people: should religious wear distinctive garb? If not…

Final Week

Hey Folks,
In the wake of last week's marathon of posting, thing are relatively quiet around here. On Wednesday, I will sit for my hour-long De Universa exam - it's an oral exam administered by a panel of (in my case) three Jesuit professors. I'm not worried about it at all, but I do think I should put some time into preparation.
In addition, two weeks from today I will run in the Cleveland marathon. Months of training have inclined me toward this point, so I'm trying to be good to my body: eating well, staying hydrated, and keeping up with my running. So if I'm a bit quiet, just know that I'm conserving energy in order to expend it on my 26.2 mile adventure. 
So please keep me and my classmates in your prayers over the next few days. It's hard to believe that on May 15th I'll be taking my leave of New York. I've done so much over the last three years and the next few days I want to spend enjoying everything the city has to offer. So if things are quie…