A good life, a good ending

The story of Abraham and Sarah is a story that should begin, “Against all odds….”  It is a pretty amazing story of perseverance, endurance, and life lived for a mission greater than one’s self. Abraham and Sarah persevered and endured the long journey from modern-day Iraq to Israel on to Egypt and back to Israel. Even as they reached their older years, they continued to hope for a child of their own. They believed in the Lord’s promises even when his timeline was a whole longer than their timelines. They bore the hopes and expectations of all the people they led. Certainly, they lived out St. Paul’s message from 1 Cor 13:7 “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.Continue reading


At funerals and graveside interments, I often speak to families about the importance of telling stories of their loved ones so that generations will know the stories, the wisdom, and all that enters into that which shapes our lives and the lives of those who follow. I wonder what stories we will tell of our time during the “great pandemic”. What were the struggles, the successes, the stories of heroic response, and so much more. Allyson Chui, a writer for the Washington Post, wonderfully captured a perspective on the experience of the pandemic among different generations. What follows are her musings. Continue reading

Curating our stories

Over the last two pastor’s columns I have been talking about stories: sharing your story with God as part of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and just last week, sharing your stories of God with your family. And I continue to think about our stories of faith and this life of grace.

One of the amazing moments of my sojourn to Israel this summer was actually holding mustard seeds in my hand. And, trust me, you had to look very closely. I took a picture and when I show it to people most guess that it is very fine grains of dirt. When I say that it is a mustard seed, then the power of Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed comes to the fore. Continue reading

Admonition 6

Every group, community, organization, parish – and any gathering of human beings – has its stories that look to a “golden age.”  When I served in the Navy, it’s was the tales of “iron men and wooden ships – aaaaargh!” As a Franciscan friar our provincial stories include the Paul Bunyan-like tales of Fr. Tex Dooley OFM in Bolivia who tamed a mountain and built a road.  Here in the parish in Tampa it is the stories of the Jesuit missionaries who rode out from Tampa across central and south Florida establishing missions and churches from Tampa to Key West. In the Catholic Church we have the stories of the saints, martyrs, missionaries and holy people.  It is good to tell the stories. But… Continue reading