Showing posts from July, 2009

Feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola

Today the Church, and especially Jesuits around the globe, celebrates the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

As I went for a run this morning - a 6.2-mile run from Villa Marquette to Barb's Bakery in Northport - I reflected for most of the 47:08 minutes on my life and the Society of Jesus. On October 19th this year, I will celebrate my 30th birthday (on this date, too, the Church in the United States celebrates the Feast of the North American Martyrs). Looking back on the three decades of my life, I'm struck with how each decade bears basically two particular graces that have shaped and influenced my life tremendously.

As a child, I would locate the two primary graces in faith and music. I grew up in something of a Catholic ghetto; with the exception of my Lutheran father and his family, I think that nearly everyone I knew was Catholic. Indeed, the great childhood distinction between kids on our block fell between those who went to the parish school and those who were designated…

Great Start to the Day!

I don't know how today could get any better:

I woke up, refreshed, at 6:00 am. I made coffee, ate a bowl of Fiber 1 cereal, and watched BBC news. I stretched out and then went for a 6.3-mile run which I did four minutes faster than my run on Friday and over a minute faster than Monday's run. It must be the new shoes that I bought!

I celebrated my time with a large coffee and a protein bar. I came home, shaved and showered, and ambled over to the house with internet access so that I could check my email.

In my inbox, I found seven new emails. One of them was from eminent Domincan philosopher, Father Fergus Kerr, informing me that my article entitled Recovering Rahner's Concept of Being in Spirit in the World has been accepted for publication in New Blackfriars Review. What is especially heartening is that I have to make no corrections to the manuscript: they're going to publish it as I sent it. The NBR is a venerable publication published by the Dominicans of the English P…

Picture(s) of Formation

I'm attaching two photographs taken from the 2009 Tri-Province Formation Gathering (Chicago, Wisconsin, Detroit).

The above picture is of all of the men in formation (from novice through recently ordained) in the three provinces. I know a few recently ordained priests were unable to attend. Nevertheless, you do get a sense of what we look like!

This picture is of the men in formation from the Detroit Province.

On Vacation!

I'll be on vacation in Omena, Michigan until August 14th. Obviously, I do have internet access but I can't promise frequent updates.
I hope all of you are keeping well. This is sort of the calm before the storm of teaching high school, so I'm really trying to enjoy the peace and quiet!

In-Flight No No's

I fly frequently enough in my avocation as a musician for Irish dancing competitions that I’ve become a connoisseur of seats (JetBlue has comfy seats, Continental’s leave my bum sore), in-flight food (I appreciate Continental’s commitment to providing food, but I really love the United snack-box), boarding procedures (on United, they board windows first. Continental boards from the rear forward. And Southwest boards in groups based on your check-in time), and in-flight perks (MidWest Express has delicious food for sale and awesome chocolate chip cookies).

Over the years I have done more than my fair share of travel. I have, consequently, developed a host of pet peeves associated with travel. Before I head off on vacation, I thought I might render a service to fellow travelers by sharing this list so that you can avoid committing an atrocious faux pas that will cause me to say prayers against you and your well being.

• Even in these tough economic times, bringing a raw onion and a pla…

Another Round of Packing

After I write this post, I will turn my attention to packing up the vast majority of my earthly belongings as I move from the John Carroll University Jesuit Community to....well, I don't exactly know yet!
I'm going to Milwaukee tomorrow night to play the accordion at two Irish dancing competitions. I'll return Sunday night and I suspect I'll seek lodging at Grandma Hagan's house (read: the only person besides myself who is happy to do my laundry). I'm planning on driving up to Detroit on Monday evening, storing clothes and some sound equipment in my new room at the Jesuit community of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. I'll come back to Cleveland on Tuesday morning, see some family and friends, and then on Thursday I'm driving up to Omena, Michigan where we have our villa. The first week of villa this year will be spent on a work-crew: I, along with several other Jesuits, will be cleaning the villa grounds and tearing down a few a…

For the Love of God!

One of the practices I regularly encourage others to participate in is saying the Rosary. My Rosary beads are seldom far from reach. Long road trips, take-offs and landings in airplanes, waiting rooms, evening walks, and the time before mass: each provides enough downtime that I can knock off a decade or more of prayer. It's not my main source of prayer, by any means, but it is a practice that I continue to find very helpful.
So could someone explain to me how it is that I have managed to lose no less than six sets of Rosaries in the past year? I know that one pair was left in Los Angeles last September. If you come upon a gray fleece vest, they're the nice wooden Rosary beads in the right-hand pocket. Another pair was lost in the purple PT Cruiser I rented from Budget back in March (I didn't choose the color or's all they had). A third pair has probably flown the route from JFK Airport to Denver several dozen times since April. One set is in a Detroit hotel. …

The Godfather

Yesterday, I became Godfather to my nephew Quinn Sullivan Duns. My sister, Reilley, is his Godmother.

Near as I can tell, he's the only member of my family compared to whom I have a lot of hair.

Ryan's Day with Nature (or why I'm not a Franciscan)

I took my first steps toward being a runner last September. I began by running 3-mile stretch of Fordham road once or twice a week. Over time I managed to increase the number of miles. This led me, back in January, to begin training for a marathon, a feat I accomplished back in May.
I have found that running has been one of the better practices I have adopted as an aide to my spiritual life. Running, like prayer, takes discipline. Just as one must "settle into" prayer, so one must "settle into" a run: you stretch, take in some water, and perhaps eat something before embarking on your course. Some days prayer, like running, is very easy and it is a great delight to be out there. Other days it's far more difficult and one is tempted to give up. And yet we know that prayer, like running, is good for us so we persevere. Such disciplines, or ascetic practices, are ways in which we become literal "athletes for Christ."
I arose early this morning - around six …

Requiem in Pacem: My teacher, my friend

As my readers know, I am seldom at a loss for words. But for days, I have struggled to find a way to express the deep sorrow I feel that my teacher and mentor, Doctor Michael Pennock, has died.
"Doc" Pennock is a legend at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Over the course of a long teaching career, he influenced and shaped the lives of countless numbers of students. Nor was his reach limited to his immediate students. Doc was a best-selling author of religious textbooks that have been used throughout the country for decades.
So what do I say about the man who helped me through a terribly dark period in my own faith life? How do you encapsulate the life of a man who relished telling ornery junior and senior boys that his great loves in life were "pizza, golf, my wife, and sex with my wife"? How you bid adieu to a man who, through word and deed, showed you what it meant to be a Christian? How do you thank a man who taught you so much about love: not only what …