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Showing posts from June, 2015

Varieties of Eucharistic Reception

I've long wanted to blog about some of the odd behaviors people exhibit at Mass. If I were an artist, I'd try to render them in drawings and put captions underneath. Alas, my drawing skills seem to have been arrested sometime around pre-school, so I have to use words to make my point.

I'd like to spend a few moments describing the Varieties of Eucharistic Reception I have experienced. This is not meant as a critique of piety but as a bit of a jab at practice. As one tasked with distributing the Host and Precious Blood, it's less of a concern for me what you do and more problematic how it is done.

1. Holy Halitosis!

I make a concerted effort to elevate the host or chalice, make eye contact, and say clearly, "The Blood of Christ" or "The Body of Christ." Sometimes the vigorous assent of "Amen" carries with it a waft of garlic, or curry, or the sewer. I don't believe there is such a thing as good breath, but there certainly is a wide arra…

The Best Intentions...

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At least it has been my experience that, when I set out to tackle a public reading project, it withers quite quickly. Such it is with a reading of Laudato Si - I intended to use each of the mornings last week to read, consider, and publicly reflect upon the encyclical. As it turns out, I was given the opportunity to cover the morning masses at my home parish of St. Brendan. It's a great testament to the pastor, Father Tom Woost, that those morning masses are super well attended. On Friday I think there were six or seven teenage girls who came to mass following a sleepover.

On Saturday I was privileged to celebrate the Eucharist with the parish community. Four priests were in attendance - Fathers Woost, Cornelius Murray, Mahoney, and Jayme Stayer, SJ. Each one of these men has exercised a formative influence on my vocation and I'm extraordinarily grateful to have had the chance to pray with them. Indeed, I'm especially grateful that they "fed me lines" when I for…

Reading Laudato Si

Having a few days break before returning to Boston, I have the luxury of giving a slow-read to the Holy Father's encyclical Laudato Si. Without trying to give a summary of the text, I thought it might be nice to offer a few reflections on the document. 

In the introduction to the document, we find a tantalizingly suggestive phrase: integral ecology. Pope Francis does not immediately define this term, but he tethers it to the vision Saint Francis had for the environment. Consistent with a tradition reaching back to the psalms, the Holy Father desires his readers to take a stance that allows creation itself to praise God's glory. Far from a bloodless portrayal of the environment as an assemblage of biological organisms, Pope Francis understands creation as the primordial locus of wonder and awe:
If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attit…

First Week

I was overjoyed to celebrate the Eucharist with the daily mass-goers at my home parish of St. Brendan in North Olmsted, Ohio. I have very fond memories of serving in the small chapel before school and it was a thrill to be there today. The congregation was very gracious and patient as I continue to figure out how to "work" the book and its many...many...many...ribbons.

In a few minutes, I'll drive down to Kentucky to play the accordion for two Irish dancing competitions. This may strike some as odd but, to be honest, I cannot think of a better way of describing what my sense of priesthood is: my duty is to help others do what they love. So I play the music for people to dance, just as I pray and celebrate the sacraments in order that women and men can be good disciples.

Though if I may, a moment of venting.

So, I'm going to celebrate Mass at the feis (Irish dancing competition) this weekend. I have hosts, chalice, paten, linens, alb, a beautiful chasuble (Thanks to …

10 Things to Know About Laudato Si

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This is a very well-done piece produced by America Magazine.



It certainly provides a remarkable contrast to the commentary offered by Greg Gutfeld.

As I mentioned yesterday, the near-allergic reaction some are having to this encyclical betrays a fundamental inability of Americans to think in categories not associated with politics. Our shared home - our oikos - and its stewardship have been politicized into "Left" versus "Right." Pope Francis isn't offering a political agenda but, rather, a theological reflection on the environment. For those familiar with Ignatian spirituality's commitment to "find God in all things," this encyclical attempts to peer beneath the economic, political, and scientific data to probe the theological meaning of the environment and our impact upon it.


Better as People, but not Political??

I'm rather dismayed today in reading a comment made by Jeb Bush. As reported by the New York Times:
“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Mr. Bush said. “And I’d like to see what he says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issues before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.” On the face of it, this seems to resonate with the American understanding of the separation between Church and State. The Church cannot, within this system, set the policy by which the State operates.

Yet if you scratch the surface, a question comes to the fore. If religion is meant to make us "better people," and if we live together in society, then does it not stand to reason that religion does indeed come to bear upon the politic…

To Provoke Curiosity

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Nearly twelve years ago, as I was preparing applications to doctoral programs in theology, I felt a stirring in my heart that led me to make an inquiry into a Jesuit vocation. I had known the Jesuits as teachers and mentors and while I had given fleeting thought to becoming a Jesuit, I had never pursued it with much energy.

It was a mid-September day that I went to see the vocation director who was staying at Saint Ignatius High School. We had a nice meeting and I left interested but with no more clarity about whether I wanted to be a Jesuit. He had told me a great deal about the Society and the process of becoming a Jesuit, but I didn't necessarily feel any more moved to want to become one.

Until, that is, I got to my car. I had no sooner put the key into the ignition than a Jesuit I knew from when I was in high school walked past my car. He didn't see me but I had a clear sight of him and there was no mistaking it: he was happy. This aroused within me the greatest sense of …

To Set the World On Fire

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After many years of prayer and preparation, this weekend I was ordained to the priesthood. This morning, as I shook the remnants of sleep from my eyes and turned my mind toward the day ahead, I was filled with a deep sense of joy and peace.

It'd be impossible for me to recount either what I felt or continue to feel. Hence let me share a few photographs.

This is a photo take at the recessional. I don't know that I've ever experienced joy such as this.


My first Mass was celebrated at Old Saint Patrick's Church. I cannot tell you how unbelievable the church community is. If you or someone you know struggles to find a home in the Catholic Church, I can say of Old Saint Pat's what I would say of my own Saint Cecilia parish: everyone can find a home here. Father Hurley and his staff was so gracious and hospitable and their liturgical music was brilliant. Indeed, it gave me the chance to live up to the name of the blog: the tin whistle priest.










Perhaps one of the more power…