Neonatal Comfort Care

One of the many times and places that parish priests are called upon includes the hospital. For the friars at Sacred Heart here in Tampa that includes Tampa General Hospital (TGH) a regional trauma center with multiple ICU specialties.Someone asked me how many times I have been called up to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick (Annointing) or “Last Rites.” My answer was “too many;” I long ago lost count. Continue reading

Stewardship: Time

“Summer is Here!” Come the end of May, I always think to myself, “OK…I am on the glide path to summer relaxation. There won’t be a lot going on in the parish. This will be awesome.” Every May I suffer from the same delusion. The truth is that there is a lot that goes on in the parish, especially as it pertains to planning for the coming “new year,” which begins in September. The summer is also when there is time to begin to flesh out ideas, programs, and initiatives for the fall. Continue reading

St. Mary: another look

Today is the feast of St. Martha, a woman who listened to what Jesus said to her and corrected herself. We know St. Martha as the distracted host who complained to Jesus that no one was helping her. We met Martha just recently when she and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, had Jesus over to dinner. Mary sat at the feet of the Lord listening to him speak, while Martha did all the work. She couldn’t help but be annoyed, and she couldn’t stop herself from complaining about it. “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the serving?” she asks. “Tell her to help me.” Jesus’ reply is famous: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. … Mary has chosen the better part.” Continue reading

Forgiving: Why aren’t I any good at it?

Think about each time we pray the Our Father. We renew our baptismal covenant vows to God and this Christian life: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the Greek, the language used is a tense used for orders or commands. In other words, we are “ordering” God to forgive us only to the degree we forgive others. Yikes! When I think about it, I am soooo… tempted to pray, “Forgive me my trespasses a lot more than I seem to be able to forgive others” – and I will use the subjective mood indicating a plea or request. Otherwise, consider what might ensue if God in his mercy chose to forgive me only as fully as I have forgiven others. Continue reading

Apollo 11 and Faith

As you no doubt are aware, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I certainly remember where I was on July 20, 1969. Amazing does not do justice to the feeling of that moment. We had just arrived at the front door of the universe. Who knew what was to follow? Yet, it is 50 years later, and we have time, experience, and perspective. Continue reading

Bourbon and the Spiritual Life

Bardstown, Kentucky is not a large town; the population is only 12,000 or so. It was the first center of Roman Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains in the original western frontier territories of the United States. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, by Pope Pius VII to serve all Catholics west of the Appalachians. The diocese served Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and parts of other states. This area is now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses across 10 states. Bardstown and the local surrounds are home to the Basilica of St. Joseph (the first Cathedral before the diocese center moved to Louisville), the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse and the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane, the Trappist monastery that was home to Thomas Merton. If that weren’t enough, several distilleries operate in and around the Bardstown area, including Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Barton 1792 and Maker’s Mark, among others, and thus the town is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. And perhaps bourbon and the spiritual life are connected and not just a consequence of history. Continue reading

Remembering Freedom

freedom-pastor-col-0705OK, pop quiz time. Who were the “Freedom Riders?” My random (and quite small) sample yielded some interesting answers. The most common was a speculation that it was an organized motorcycle ride akin to the “Rolling Thunder” ride in Washington D.C. around Memorial Day. As it turns out the initial “Rolling Thunder” ride was officially titled “Ride for Freedom.” These rides are a way to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. It was a good guess and in their way, the Rolling Thunder rides honor those who struggled to preserve our freedom. But they are not the “Freedom Riders.” Continue reading

Think twice

Buzz words: a word or phrase that is popular for a period of time, even fashionable, and is used to impress people with one’s technical insight, leading-edge awareness of trends and strategies, and let the other know “you know.”  Then again, sometimes we use them as a shorthand to communicate a longer sense or assessment of a situation or dynamic. The tricky part is your favorite buzz word might well slip out of fashion leaving you with your favorite phrase already having “jumped the shark.” Of course, that assumes you know that phrase, which I think has become a bit dated. Continue reading

How to Read the Bible

It was a simple email. The writer said that she was committed to reading and studying the Bible. For her first time through, she wanted to accomplish it in a two-year period. She had already researched the internet for Bible study plans and discovered there are tons of plans, lots of perspectives, and advice a plenty. So much so, it was hard to sort through it all. And such was the genesis of the email asking for advice on “the plan.” Continue reading