Scams and Phishing

There continues to be folks receiving emails and/or text messages — supposedly from me (in fact, this is a national problem, so substitute the name of your pastor). The most recent phishing emails and text: “In a Diocesan meeting and unable to talk but I need three gift cards for some cancer patients….” Please remember (a) I will never reach out to you by email or text asking you to procure gift cards or electronically transfer funds, and (b) ignore such texts or emails, and (c) add the sender to your spam/blocked caller list.

Rule of thumb, if your first inclination is “Really, why is Fr. George texting me?” and especially if the message is “Are you there,” “Are you available now” or “Are you in the office” or something equally vague — just delete the text and block the number that sent the text (both Apple and Android phones have that capability). The emails should be treated the same way.

Some folks responded to the text and received a reply asking for cash, checks, gift cards, and all the typical things that shout “scam.” Just search “email and text scams pastors” in your search engine and you will see how widespread this is. We are making you aware so you don’t become a victim of these scams.

Just an indication of wide-spread and ubiquitous this is… even I have received the scam in my parish email.

Have a scam free day


St Clare of Assisi

August 11th, is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. Clare was born July 16, 1194 as Chiara Offreduccio the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana.  There are many legends of how Clare and Francis met, but it is clear that Clare would have know about Francis and his movement of brothers seeking to embrace Holy Poverty.

The Beginning.  Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. At 18, she escaped one night from her father’s home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to
Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant. Continue reading

Being merciful

Jesus-healingJesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mark 10:47). Is “pity” what we desire in our lives? Do you want to be pitied? When I ask people about the word “pity,” how we understand and use it, despite what the Merriam-Webster dictionary says, “pity” does not have a positive connotation in everyday usage. Pity is that thing that we shower upon the unfortunate, a distant regret for their plight, a thankful prayer that it is not us. Continue reading

God and Epiphany

in my fathers houseSeveral years ago I was researching for my master’s thesis on early Franciscan Missions. One of the really interesting aspects of the early Franciscan missions was the one to China. The friars arrived in China in 1292 and John of Montecorvino was the first bishop of Beijing. But all that is besides the point. In the course of my research I ran across The Travels of Marco Polo in which he describes his travels in the far east. I was scanning the text to see if he had any mention of contact with the friars or the Christian monasteries that dotted the silk road in those days. Continue reading