Showing posts from May, 2015

First Mass

For anyone in the Chicago area on June 14th, I'll be celebrating the Eucharist for the first time at Old St. Patrick's Church at the 11:15 Mass. The parish's music director recently sent me the music selection for the day and it looks really nice. They are also going to try to bring in some Irish musicians which to add a Celtic touch to the liturgy.

These final weeks of preparation have been far busier than I could have imagined: so many little details. It would be totally overwhelming were it not for an abiding sense of trust in God's grace and providence. It is a hard-fought trust, one that's grown and deepened over these years of Jesuit formation. But it is a trust that says, "Well, Lord, I don't know what the day will bring but, if you are with me, I say Yes to whatever comes."

If you're in Cleveland on the 27th, I'll also be celebrating Mass at my home parish - Saint Brendan's in North Olmsted - at the 5:00 Mass.

A Name Change

I blog this morning from a Peet's Coffee shop in Chicago. I arrived two days ago to be a part of a project launched by Loyola Productions entitled "The Jesuit Rec Room." The gist of the series is simple: to recreate the sorts of conversations that often take place when Jesuits and friends gather in social settings.

My suggestion was to call the series "...and another thing!" because Jesuits are often loath to give the last word to anyone. My suggestion did not gain traction. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed being a part of the project.

Our panel yesterday consisted of four members: Father Radmar Jao, SJ, Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, author and speaker Caroline Myss, and me. As our microphones were adjusted and we sat chatting, I shared with the group a funny incident that took place a few years ago. Standing in the Denver airport with my accordion on my back, a man grabbed me from behind and inquired excitedly, "Are you the Tin Whistle priest?" Although…

I'm Not Surprised

Oh, religion certainly was one of the hot topics yesterday. The Pew Research Center released results of its latest study, showing a significant decline in those who consider themselves Christians. For Catholics, one particularly sober statistic is that for every one adult received into the Church at Easter, another six leave.

I'm not surprised by these statistics. In fact, I'm actually shocked they're not worse.

A few summers back, I used to walk past a yoga studio at 6:00 am each morning. Looking in the window, I saw a packed room filled with young adults. Mat-to-mat, they would bend and grunt and sweat next to each other for more than an hour. One morning, as the return leg of my journey at around 6:45, I actually saw them balancing one sweaty leg on the sweaty back of another person. My first thought was, "Oh my God, that's gross." My second thought was, "Wow, I know Catholics who go crazy when they have to extend the sign of peace and touch another …

Ending Zombie Justice

Two years after the Boston Marathon bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted and now faces sentencing. Many voices have weighed in on how Tsarnaev should be punished: some have called for him to be sentenced to life imprisonment while others call for his execution.

I respect the effort to articulate "The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment." By citing the textual authority of Augustine, Aquinas, Charles Borromeo, Saint Paul, and Pius XII, it is true a case can be marshaled in favor of allowing the state to execute criminals. I do not believe, however, this argument to be compelling. For while it is true that Aquinas wrote that it is "praiseworthy and advantageous that [a criminal] be killed in order to safeguard the common good," this was in recognition that certain persons could prove "dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin." (ST, IIa-IIae 64.2) The question redounds to contagion: can a criminal be sufficiently conta…