Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Liturgy of Hours

I'm learning many things here in Wyoming:

1. I don't like peacocks.
2. I do like big cities.
3. I like funeral masses to be, oh, under 3.5 hours.

Yes, 3 and one-half hours! This is not including the fact that the mass was an hour late to start, and then had 3 eulogies, 2 poems, Indian drumming, dancing, some Indian songs, and, yes, the Eucharist was thrown in there somewhere.

It betrays my own cultural background to say that, with my family, were a funeral mass to begin an hour late and then run 3.5 hours, there'd be a nuclear war waged and blood would pour freely...and then, when my mother calmed down, we'd probably have an opportunity to vent a little bit.

Truth be told, it was an interesting experience. The Indian funeral ritual is particularly elaborate, involving the funeral mass followed by a viewing of the body (today, 2.5 hours) [If you're keeping track, starting at the scheduled start time of 10:00 in the morning, by the time we viewed the body it was 2:30 with the viewing lasting until 5:00]. Following the viewing, we took the body up to the mountain-top burial ground (good view) where we commended the body back to the earth. Then there was the face-painting with war paint (the Avon lady would not approve of the grease-paint put on the clogs pores), drumming, a feast, and a give-away where the family members give the attendees presents (blankets, baskets, Pez) for attending the funeral.

It's now 7:00 and I just walked in. I'm tired and greasy and need to take a shower, but I thought I'd post this to show everyone that I am immersing myself in the culture.

Oh, since I totally shaved my head on Friday (BIC!) I've changed my name to: Ryan-rubbed-smooth-by-raging-river. The loincloth just wasn't doing it for me any more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Feis Alert!

Well, I'm back in action. I'll be playing at the Detroit Feis this year. This is very exciting and gives me good reason to start learning a few new tunes while I'm out here on the range.

I just added a new recipe: LAVA CAKE. This is so good! I'll totally be making this for the novitiate when we return in mid-May. I also am working on an original Bailey's dessert sauce to be used for my bread pudding. It's still the the developmental stages (alas, I have to drink the by-products of my work) but I think I'm on to a winner!

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I just wanted to post a quick "Thank You" to my penpal D. whose identity will remain rather anonymous as per D's request. Know that I do value receiving notes from you and, were I to have greater access to pen and paper (we've much parchment and vellum and I"m trying to make a writing surface out of peacock hide, but I've yet to find success in this endeavor) I would certainly respond in a written manner. Your cards certainly brighten my day when they arrive.

Know that my prayers, for whatever they are worth, are with you!



**Hey, Mike E. - I saw the competitor list for the FLeadh. I'll expect you to attend the senior whistle competition and let me know how you'd think I"d have faired against the musicians. A number of them are from Detroit, so you'll be the judge of whether I still "got game" even while I live near 8-mile.**

***I'm posting my first recipe tonight, too***

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Okay, I'm totally lame so here it is:

In my bid to rival Martha and in an effort to get my own show on FoodTV, I'm starting a Jesuit cooking blog. This should be kind of fun and will reflect whatever it is I prepare for dinner on Sunday and Monday nights. As I conceive of it, I'll try to put up 2-3 recipes at a crack, reflecting the entire meal as I prepared it. The first post on a meal, therefore, will be on Sunday evening. I'll even try to include "audience response" from those who had to consume my creations!

Maybe, if I'm really good, our new Holy Father will invite me to be his personal chef and I'll have access to the secret Vatican archives of recipes. I hear they have in their possession the recipe for healthy desserts (like triple chocolate fudge cake that has no calories).

Since I was bored this afternoon, I surfed the net and read all sorts of blogs concerning the election of Ratzinger to pope. To be truthful, I can't say that I'm doing a dance of jubilation, but I have more hope today than I did yesterday. He is an undeniably bright man who brings a wealth of experience to the papacy. I'd personally have liked someone with more pastoral experience, perhaps one who'd not been in a bureaucratic position for the past quarter century. Nonetheless, he is our pope and we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt, no matter how great or well informed our doubt is.

This sounds like a great reversal, particularly coming from me. But I reckon that our church has weathered the storms of the Borgias, of the Avignon papacy, a slew of depraved pontificates, and a host of other difficulties. And yet, the church perdures. The church is much larger than the pope and, as I'm apt to say, what's the worst that can happen? If he's the worst pope we have ever had, well, then the next one will be better. If he is a mediocre leader, he'll leave us no worse for the wear. Or, hopefully, he will guide us further as the pilgrim church in our on-going realization of our identity as the people of God.

A good friend wrote and asked if the election of Ratzinger would lead me to leave the Jesuits. My answer is no. And this is my reason, short and sweet: I joined the Jesuits because some of the most profound role-models I've had were Jesuits and, in and through them, I encountered the presence of Christ who I have discerned to be calling me to this lifestyle. I did not join the Society of Jesus because I thought that Pope John Paull II was neat-o. I did not join because I wanted to change the church, to expel liberals, or to bolster conservatives. I joined because I felt called to use what few talents and abilities I have to be a co-laborer with Christ for the Kingdom. I have a sense of what that Kingdom might look like, but I trust that I'll be able to look to our fellow laborers - particularly our leadership - and see in them the active discernment and unfolding achievement of God's reign on earth.

In my heart, I think the smug responses I read today about how "Ratzinger will now route all liberal heretics" are misplaced and really inappropriate. Though it may sound hypocritical (particularly given my initial reaction to learning of his election) I think that we should all give him a chance to discern how the Holy Spirit is moving in his life and in his ability to see the Spirit in the life of the church. John XXIII was to be a transitional pope and he accomplished marvelous things; it took the death of a close friend to open the eyes of Oscar Romero to the atrocities surrounding him, galvanizing him to a life of martyrdom - of true witness to the gospel - that led to his execution while celebrating the Eucharist. The same Spirit that guided these men, and countless women and men throughout the ages, guides our church and our pope...and it is this that gives me hope.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope

The fact that I did not get elected has a number of ramifications for those around me:

first, Eric Abercrombie and his son, Ethan "Rahner" Abercrombie will stay with Melissa for the time being. For those of you who did not know it, were I to have been elected Supreme Pontiff, I'd have made Eric my ambassador to the great state of West Virginia.

second, the Queer Eye team will have to wait to re-decorate the Vatican. Martha, too, will have to wait to fashion a new papal tiara and gowns.

third, my slogan of "where there's death, there's hope - vote Ryan for pope" will get used the next time around.

fourth, I'm not able to issue a dispensation or offer anything official to my new surrogate mother from Germany - Brigitte - who sent me a lovely picture, a candle, and some terrifically DELICIOUS chocolates. Thanks!

As for a more serious and reflective response to the election of our new pope, stay tuned. If I get serious and reflective, I'll offer one.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Is this the end-of-times? Is the end upon us?

My mother sent me a package.

It is a wonderful gift of fine Irish chocolates - Flake bars, Crunchies, and Maltese. Believe me, folks, this is good stuff and I can say with impunity that, were I ever to move to Ireland, I'd be morbidly obese from eating such fine confections.

I think this was my mom's attempt to make up for YEARS of not sending me an Easter basket. Well, Mother, it won't work: the package was delivered in a brown box that was decidedly un-like a basket. Better luck next year, but keep on trying.

I'm thinking that perhaps I will do a Jesuit Recipe website. I think it'd be kind of fun and, God knows, it would give me something to do. I'll look into it next week...I'm going to do a little R&R this weekend so I'll be quite unavailable.

Tonight for dinner I made Chicken Parmasean (sweet recipe that I'll share later) along with Garlic Bread and a Salad. Dessert was a Dark Chocolate Mousse topped with whipped cream and a cherry with 1/3 of a flake bar protruding from the top. The milk-chocolate of the Flake contrasted nicely with the dark chocolate smoothness of the mousse. It was very fine.

If I were on FoodTV, I'd be obliged to say "it tasted great" using a strange turn of phrase to show how erudite and learned I was in the ways of food. Rather than "it tasted great" I might liken the experience to "gustatory rape" or "dance of joy in my mouth" or "a symphony of jubilant exultation." You get the idea. I'll just say that the food was tasty and leave it at that.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend and I'll post again on Tuesday!



Here's three of the four members of my community.  Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Society of the Mothers of Members of the Society of Jesus

I'm having mixed emotions today as I learned that my mother, along with Mrs Marquard and Mrs Loren, attended a luncheon together last week.

Why the nerves?

Well, I reckon it is good for them to socialize and probably support one another. On that level, I think it's very healthy. Who knows, they could become great friends and retire down to Boca Raton together (with my grandmother's addition, think Golden Girls). Perhaps they'll have a "day of beauty" at the spa and speak only of Jesuit things. It's totally possible.

But how creepy would it be if they all started to go to the gym together like their sons do? Or if they started to dress alike? Or if they become really chummy and start insisting we call them each "mom" or something like that?

It seems to have had one salutory effect already - my mother, breaking with tradition, sent NOT ONLY a letter BUT ALSO some type of package...and there are things IN the package! I'm just atremble with nervous anticipation as I await its arrival.

I made a great Shepherd's Pie today while cleaning out the fridge. Who knew all the things that one can dice up and add to browned MOOSE BURGER? Jalepenos, Red and Green Bell Peppers, Carrots, Leeks, Onion, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Celery, and such. It smells delicious and I look forward to eating later today.

Well, that's enough for now. Hagan, my sister, is on retreat. I understand that Hagan understood re-treat as having seconds of dessert. How shocked she must have been when she found out that she had to pray and do other such holy things.



Saturday, April 09, 2005

Another Easter pic. The woman in red is Sister Teresa Frawley, OSF. She's the FIFTH bossiest person I've met here (and her rank keeps slipping. Bossiness is a big thing out here, it seems. It's eery - all of the people in the picture are in religious life. Even me! Posted by Hello

Me and Rex. Posted by Hello

Me at Red Rock Canyon. Posted by Hello

Do you think this will fit in the overhead of the plane? Hehehe, the bishop won't miss it. Posted by Hello


Oh, woe is me!

Our satellite receiver died yesterday, so we're without television until Monday. Can it be possible to live without FoodTV or the Cartoon Network?

Of course.

They have the old-school SUPER NINTENDO HERE!!! I found it (with a number of games, including "Super Star Wars") in a cabinet in the rec room. I hooked it up and, let me tell you: I still got game. I blasted Jawas and Sarlac Pit monsters and droids all morning.

Thank God a new receiver will be here on Monday.

May the Force be with you!


God Bless the English!

Hi all,

Just a quick shout-out to Mike and Brian English. Yet again, they have surpassed my OWN FAMILY by sending me a wonderful Pez dispenser and a great card. Brian even earned an A+ in religion - a feat of its own, I'd say. These guys are getting ready for the Fleadh, so if you'd be so kind as to remember them in your prayers over the next few weeks, I'd appreciate it. For those of you who don't know, the Fleadh is the Regional Irish Music Championships that qualify the first and second place winners in each region to represent their region at the All-Ireland championships held in August.

**Mike and Brian, I've actually found a few more tunes for you guys and, as soon as I have the time, I'll phone you and let you know what they are. Some good reels and jigs, I'd say.**

Thursday, April 07, 2005

That's to my cousin Matt for re-orienting the picture for me.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

An Offer

My mother has offered to send me something in the mail. I'm sure it'll get here with the back-log of birthday cakes I'm still waiting on. Strangely, she asks about my address, when it is CLEARLY posted somewhere on this website. Tantalizing are the details of her recent acquisitions of fine chocolates in Ireland, though I've learned not to hold my breath waiting for anything...I think there is a pair of pants somewhere in my house that have been waiting 6 years or so for a new button from my mother.

Yes, a recent spate of activity on the ol'web. I'm bored, what can I say? I wish I could turn the one picture of me and that stupid rabbit, but you get the idea.

On Bob's Birthday - Bob is sitting next to me. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

Purple Pens

Well, I've seen everything.

I just read on that parents are getting huffy about the color of pen used to correct their children's work. Red, they feel, is a negative color and would prefer a more pleasant hue to mark up their future-burger-slinger's paper. Give me a break! I swear upon all that is holy, I will make it my aim to start a company that manufactures only red colored pens, and not just any red. Oh no, we're talking BLOOD RED, Crimson, pure arteriol blood-red ink pouring forth onto the porous paper of poor pupils.

Mrs Loren wrote me a nice email today. My own mother doesn't even send me nice emails, go figure. She'll burn my books and devour my Easter basket (that is, if she remembered to buy me one, which I highly doubt), but she won't write me. Ah well, par for the course. I'm sure Hagan "I want to be as good as Ryan one day" Duns helped her.

Anyway, back to Mother Loren. She seems to be a FoodTV afficianado. I am, too. I LOVE Giada DeLaurentis, both because she cooks in a tank-top and she's cute (I've NEVER seen such a, er, perky person in the kitchen). Seriously, though, I find most of her dishes to be rather accessible. This evening, for instance, I used her recipe for Lasagna with Bechemel Sauce. THis is a lovely recipe, though it needs more spice - I'd suggest a GOOD tablespoon of red pepper flakes in order to kick it up a notch. I also made her Chocolate Ricotta Pudding. This was just great. With the strawberry puree and whipped cream, it made for a very pleasant end to the meal.

I like Paula Dean, but her recipes are so heavy and I don't know that they could be expanded easily to feed the novitiate crew. Giada's recipes lend themselves toward being expanded. I like Emeril, though I can't say I've tried many of his recipes...he's entertaining, but he's hard to follow as a cook. There's that tricked-out women who uses only store-bought goods (she's probably married to a FoodTV executive as she has no real cooking talent and she's not even really cute) and tells you all the lame things you can do with a wire, some beads, and blue cake frosting. I guess she's sort of like the MacGyver of the kitchen, except there are no moments of suspense leaving you with baited breath hoping that she'll be able to add faux pearls to the base of her cake in order to make it look "simply elegant." Oh, yeah, I also like Mario Batale or whatever his name is, but since he speaks English only 1/2 the time (he speaks in Italian the other half, it seems) I only pay 1/4 attention.

I wrote to some of the other novices the other day with a startling insight: the Loyola House Novitiate is sort of like the Police Academy series. In particular, Police Academy 3: Back in Training seems to resonate wholly with my experience as a novice, particularly in comparison with the Syracuse novitiate. Watch it and let me know what you think, though I'll furnish you with a hint as to which novitiate I see myself belonging to: Cmdt Eric Lassard. Using another popular 80's movie theme, we're the Griswald Family novitiate (well, at least some of us are). We put the FUN in dysfunctional. Well, some of us at least.

I had a new experience today. Across from the Safeway, where I do my shopping, there is a little long-hut that has windows in it. I've seen it several times, but figured it was a trading post for beads and blankets and land. Feeling bold, I drove over to it and found that it was a coffee kiosk (did you think they'd have a Starbucks here?). My thoughts: Ghastly. It was like drinking the putrified remains of a 30-days dead peacock. Horrifying. I thank God that I brought enough Lyons tea with me. Anything less that proper tea would be just awful.

Congratulations to Hagan, by the way, for getting third in her Irish dancing competition at the West Virginia Feis on Saturday. Hagan, it took a lot of guts for you to dance with those two kids who were stricken with polio, and you should be proud that you got third out of three.

Well, that's about it. Mother Loren told me that she and Mrs Marquard discuss my blog over lunch and that I should make efforts to post in a goodly amount of time that they each have time to read, reflect, and formulate responses to kibutz over while they eat. I have obliged this time, but Lord knows if I'll be able to keep it up - I may start to do something around here, other than watch FoodTV and visit shut-ins.



Friday, April 01, 2005


Hey Folks,

Well, there's not too much to report. Life out on the range is much more slow-paced than I would have expected. To be sure, this certainly isn't Green Acres; I don't recall ever seeing ZaZa living next to six peacocks, a bobcat, three horses, and seven cats. Yep, I have a virtual "Wild Discovery" right next door.

Note: Peacocks are beautiful, but terribly annoying. They make HORRIBLE noises and catterwall all bloody night, a tendency which is all the more vexing as they have claimed as their dormitory the tree right outside my bedroom window. I wonder if I couldn't find a recipe for roasted peacock...

At the risk of sounding sentimental - a cardinal sin in the Duns clan - I will say that my weekly "communion calls" to shut-ins have been most touching. I suppose that "I" provide some comfort to these persons as I bring them communion, but it's touching to see the centrality of the Eucharist in their lives. I participate in the Eucharist every day and I have nothing near the reverence these men and women have for the grace of the Real Presence extended to all those willing to gather around the Lord's Table (see, ooshy gushy sentimental stuff!). It's sobering, really, but it forces you to see anew, to look and to enter into the Eucharist with new and searching eyes.

For all who are intersted, I'm campaigning for the new Pope. I have my slogan all picked out: Where there's death, there's hope - Vote Ryan for Pope! I commissioned Gallup and they think I've got a winner. I'm going to ask Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Ol 'Ratz as I know him) to be my running mate. This is going to be a whole new regime, boys and girls, so buckle up.

For those of you intersted, I love FoodTV. I'm going to make "Chocolate Ricotta Pudding with Strawberry Sauce" on Sunday for dessert. Giada De Laurentis made it the other night and it looks SO GOOD that I just have to try it. I really do love to cook and, if I were ever to leave the Jesuits and fail at being a Chippendale's dancer, I would almost certainly go to culinary school. I might try to be an alligator farmer, but since I hate leather goods, I'd probably settle for cooking.

So that's it. I hope everyone is keeping well and for those of you who haven't sent me a card or written me an email, you'd better get cracking. I'm just itching to spend some of the "spiritual capital" I earned on my 30-day retreat, and I bet God would love to inflict a plague of scabies, headlice, and gout on one of my so-called loved ones who'd forgotten (or neglected) to write me...Mom.



Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame