Sunday, November 18, 2007

One of my favorite Drives...Plainfield to the Bronx with Sister Nirmala MC

I received a call on Saturday, November 17th, to drive Sr. Nirmala MC, the successor to Mother Teresa, from Plainfield to the Bronx. I felt it was an opportunity of a lifetime and a highlight of my ministry be a chaufeur for this Missionary of Charity. My wife and 2 small children drove over to Plainfield, we took 2 cars so they could go home after meeting Sr. Nirmala, and were invited to join in the evening prayers with the sisters. Many who have seen Sr. Nirmala know that she is no more than 4' 10" at most and quiet unassuming. After prayers ended we stayed in the chapel to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament while the sisters in formation had the chance to say their goodbyes to the head of the MC's and to receive a little present from her. Not only was I driving Sr. Nirmala to their house in the Bronx but I also was driving Sr. Assumpta MC -Head of the Contemplative Branch, Sr. Mary Ann-in charge of the Contemplative house in the Bronx and also Sr. Jeylenya-Head of the Contemplative house in San Diego. I've had the chance to know these sisters through my teaching at their house of formation in Plainfield and it was PURE JOY to be able to be with them. As we started out drive Sister Nirmala suggessted that we pray the Rosary so off we went. Then the sisters were asking about myself and family and teaching and they asked me to tell a Biblical Story from my first book. YIKES, talk about being put on the spot and of all people to be telling a Scripture story too. Well, Sr. Mary Ann suggested the 4 friends of the paralytic so I'm pretty obediant and told it like I was there. I then asked Sr. Nirmala about her first meeting with Mother Teresa and it was beautiful-there we were on the NJ Turnpike about to enter the GW Bridge and she is recalling her first meeting with Mother Teresa. Well, we arrived safe and it was nice reconnecting with some of the sisters who I knew from Plainfield and after a brief stop at the chapel I was on my way.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Old timey Diners-a slice of Heaven...with Coffee

One of my favorite things to do is to visit old diners. A bit odd I confess, but there is just
something about walking up to the stainless steel facade and sitting at the counter and ordering a ham and cheese omelet and looking down the counter. I'm not sure what it is but I enjoy it. New Jersey has well over 500 diners to choose from. This morning I drove up to Warren county to visit the CROSSROADS Diner in Bridgeview, NJ while my wife and children are in Texas. I was not disappointed. Imagine the joy as I saw that the Fountain Cola was RC Cola-ahh-the simple pleasures. About half way through my omelet an old guy took out his harmonica and played, 'On Top of Ol Smokey', much to my delight. Then is was on to the Royal Diner in Washington Township for a look around and a coffee to go. So, it was a good morning overall and the occasional 'Old Timey' Diner trip helps me move forward.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Conference-Theology of the Body

I've been invited to a number of parishes lately to communicate the 'Theology of the Body' message to both parents and their teens. Whether it's in Bridegwater, Flemington or most recently at Immaculate Conception Parish in Annandale, NJ, I find it VERY refreshing to see these parishes taking the initiative and offering something for both parents and teens as they sit together. Offering these conferences communicates that the Theology of the Body information is important and that parents and their teens both hear the same message. It allows opportunities for dialogue and for them to receive the same teaching. If not from the parents in a faith filled environment, their Church, what message about human sexuality gets communicated to young people today? I strongly recommend Dave Hajduk's book, Gods' Plan for You, which I feature below if you scroll down. The Sisters of Jesus Our Hope have really laid a great foundation and I'd be more than happy to pass on their contact information.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Allan being interviewed on Fr. Lou Scurti's show-"The Word: Alive and Well"

Thanks to Fr. Lou Scurti from the Diocese of Paterson NJ for inviting me on 2 shows of; "The WORD: Alive and Well" Fr. Scurti has a nice demanor and the whole experience was very professional. Thanks also to Rusty Myers who works at FOX yet comes in to coordinate the video and sond production on these half hour productions. Check out their site here - -

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My in studio interview with "The Catholic Guy" on SIRIUS Radio

On Wednesday, September 5th, I was invited on "The Catholic Guy" SIRIUS radio program. It was pretty cool going into NYC up to the SIRIUS studios in Rockefeller Center. It was because of my good friend Fr. Chern's recommendation and Amber Dolle's behind the scene work that I was able to go in. However, because of a contest, I had to do push ups for air time!! No problem however as I SMOTE the competetion with 43 push ups in 60 seconds. If you get a chance, listen to Lino's show on channel 159 and check out his website below.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

4 Books about the home-review for Catholic News Service

Here is a link to the review I did for the Catholic News Service concerning the 4 books pictured here. Of course they pale in comparisson to Jesus in the House but hey, others can try to write about the home as well! Just kidding! If I had to choose just one I'd choose the first one listed, Make Room For God. For my complete review just click the link below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

MC Sisters (Contemplative) Contact Info

A few people have left comments asking on how to contact the MC sisters in Plainfield, NJ. If you e-mail me at I'll send you the address, phone number and answer any questions if I can. Peace, Allan

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Favorite site for organization and trying to GET THINGS DONE

The Daily Saint
A Productivity Blog Focusing on Work-Life Balance
Mike St. Pierre has created an oasis on the web for busy families, busy professionals and for people who want to get things done yet somehow the time slips away. What I enjoy about Mike's site is that the principles and advice he gives come from a number of sources and they are practical. I feel as though I can pick and choose the articles and advice that pertains to me and my schedule.
I don' want to confuse activity with accomplishment and The Daily Saint helps me put my time and effort where I will see the fruit of my labor.
In ministry settings I have found that people don't get back to you, don't respond promptly and often act in a less than professional way. Now I understand that some who work in ministry are volunteer, so all the more reason I would think we want to do our best and give our best if it's for God. Anyway, I strongly recommend stopping by The Daily Saint-I'm sure there's something for you that will be beneficial!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Excellent Theology of the Body book and presenter

As a teacher for over twenty years one of the most challenging topics is the Church's teaching on sexuality. David Hajduk's book, God's Plan for You-Pauline Books and Media-does the BEST job I've scene in presenting the Theology of the Body in a clear, concise manner. I had purchased 30 copies for my classroom and the High School Students I teach really do respond to the approach and logic of his presentation of John Paul II teaching on Theology of the Body. As a teacher the last thing I need is more work. David Hajduk includes excerpts from the Catechism, direct quotes from JP 2 and insightful reflection questions that guide the student along to making good decisions. Highly recommended!! Visit him at

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Feast of the Sacred Heart First Profession for 5 MC Sisters

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
Mother Teresa - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jesus in the House interview on Catholic Answers Live

Jesus in the House
This is a link to my hour long radio interview. Thanks to all who support me in this!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Vows Missionaries of Charity (Contemplative)

On June 15th, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 5 Sisters who have been in formation for 3 years will be making their first vows at St. Mary's in Plainfield, NJ. This extraordinary gathering is real cause for celebration because it is the only one like it in the world, that's right, the world. While the MC Sisters have many active branches throughout the world, the Contemplative branch (which is about 400 strong) are formed in New Jersey. (Who said nothing good comes from Jersey??) I have had the privilege to help in the Scriptural formation of these Sisters and it has been pure joy and its consistently the highlight of my week. The sisters radiate joy and the presence of Christ and one can't help but feel drawn to these Sisters because what one is really drawn to is the presence of Christ that flows through them. Pray for these 5 who come from the USA, Czech Republic (2), Philippines and Poland as they follow Christ and pray for us as we live our lives as disciples in the world.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In the Beginning...

"We should teach our children to love one another at home. They can learn this only from their father and mother, when they see the parents' love for each other." Mother Teresa

Welcome Cataleen Therese...held in the loving arms of her big sister. Thanks for the prayers!

"Sometimes it is harder for us to smile at those who live with us, the immediate members of our families, than it is to smile at those who are not so close to us. Let us never forget: love begins at home." Mother Teresa

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Theology on Tap Allan, Fr. Chern and Fr. Sheridan at Just Jakes in Montclair

Theology on Tap has been gaining popularity in the North East after originating in Chicago 20 or so years ago. I've had the opportunity to present at 7 or 8 Theology on Tap sessions the past two years and it's an excellent way to reach out to the 20-40 year old crowd in an atmosphere that fosters dialogue and connects young adults with each other in a faith filled environment. One of the keys to having a successful TOT evening is by having young adults in various parishes sponsor the evening together. The idea of placing an add in the bulletin and expecting people to show doesn't work. How do you like to be invited to an event? Most people respond much more positively to a personal invitation and then they liked to be acknowledged when they arrive; hospitality plays a big part in connecting them to others and to the faith. Those that do the inviting are stepping out in faith and, for myself, is more exciting that the speaker itself. As they say, if you want the fruit you have to go out on a limb.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mass Communicating!

I liked the movie, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou' and loved the soundtrack even better. There is a part where the Governor speaks at a rinky dink, 'hick' radio station in the South and as they approach the station the Governor turns and say's something to the effect of, 'Now, were mass communicating!'
While I'm a bit more comfortable on stage in front of people when I speak there is an interesting dynamic about doing radio interviews which forces you to think on your feet as it were and respond to questions that you don't necessaritly know are coming. If anyone is interested you can listen to 2 interviews I've done recent;y for the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ and one for the radio station KVSS in Omaha, Nebraska.
I'm scheduled to be on EWTN's Catholic Answer's on June 8th which is broadcast on over 100 stations. Metuchen, NJ Omaha Catholic Answers Live June 8th EWTN Radio

Monday, March 26, 2007

Interfaith Seder Meal

Rabbi Nudell, a Rabbi at the Conservative Synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, has invited Union Catholic students to the Interfaith Seder for the 13th year in a row. It wasn't until I met Rabbi Nudell that I had ever entered a synagogue or participated in a Seder Meal. What a good friend and a great man of God. I had been to Israel three times before I had contacted the synagogue, which I pass everyday on my way teach, and what a nice relationship we have had. Jewish Catholic relations has certainly come along way since Vatican 2, and allowing interaction between Jewish and Catholic students will hopefully go a long way in creating an atmosphere of respect between our faiths. In other countries people are killing each other over there religious beliefs so at least this small act of two religious communities existing side by side as friends will be a good witness. I can honestly say that I feel more 'akin' to Rabbi Nudell for his reverence for the Torah and religious tradition than some people from my own religious tradition. While we have obvious disagreements on the person of Jesus, St. James and Jesus himself said that faith without deeds is dead and for that I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Rabbi Nudell. Some of my students are looking on as he uses a 'yad', a pointer, to chant from an ancient Torah scroll. As we ended our visit I asked him to give us a blessing in Hebrew which he did beautifully. It's one thing to hear the Passover and Jewish worship explained by Christians but another thing to experience through Jews eyes.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

USCCB Interview

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by the USCCB Radio Program called 'Catholic Bookmarks' about Jesus in the House:Gospel Reflections on Christ's Presence in the Home which you can listen to if you follow the link below. Amber Dolle, my sister in law and publicist is doing a FANTASTIC job of sending out media kits and lining up Radio and newspaper interviews for which I am very appreciative.
It is one thing to write a book but quite another thing to promote it and get it 'out there' so that people will know about it. It causes me to be very thankful for the support of family and friends who help in this endeavor. But it remains true that what touches one person touches a family-so-thatnks to those who have helped me which in turn helps my family. I am constantly impressed by Michael St. Pierre, and his ability to bring the professional corporate passion into the field of Ministry. His experience in ministry is broad and deep and he has the ability to see the big picture. Check out his web page for his Life Coaching expertise and active blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I had the chance to reconnect with Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D, Bishop of Paterson, NJ the other month at the Gala Fundraiser for Assumption College for Sisters in Mendham, NJ where about 35 Religious Sisters from around the globe are educated. Father Serratelli was my scripture professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary before being elevated to Bishop. I remember driving home very excited after most classes because of the way he could draw out the details of various parables and apply them to everyday life. In the acknowledgements in my latest book; Jesus in the House, I thank him for drawing me closer to Christ through knowledge and love of Jesus through the scriptures. 'Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" In addition to Bishop Serratelli I would be remiss if I failed to mention Msgr. Turro who, through simplicity and insight was also an inspiring professor. It's funny that he and I both instruct the Missionary of Charity Sisters (Contemplative Branch) in Plainfield, NJ.

Union Catholic Senior Retreat

There is nothing quite like the Senior Retreat at UC. It's voluntary and about 65 seniors took advantage to be with there friends and committed faculty to and look back at their 4 years at UC and to look ahead at what lies before them. The fears that gripped them as incoming freshman were looked at and laughed at but some of those fears resurface as they leave UC to hopefully greener pastures.
One of the favorite activities was to look at favorite TV show freshman year and their favorite show senior year. Biggest fear as freshman and biggest fear now. Relationship with God as a freshman and where that relationship is now. As the students reflect on their lives and 4 years of High School it's good to see how much they've grown and to be a small part of their journey. Their enthusiasm, care for friends and faith is still inspiring after all these years.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Excellent CD from Bob Filoramo

Bob Filoramo has an excellent CD out called My Beacon of Hope. Bob can be reached at and you can even sample his music-all written and performed by him at his website. Mr. Filoramo has been leading worship at Our Lady of Peace for a number of years and I recently had the chance to see him in action at the Catholic Men's Rally at St. Veronica's in Howell Township. It's one thing to be able to play and sing but another to 'sense the Spirit' and lead the crowd in prayerful song. Bob does both well. Visit his site and 'hear' for yourself.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Catholic Men's Rally

Trenton Bishop John Smith was gracious enough to pose with me after accepting a copy of Jesus in the House which just came out. It was an amazing day with some wonderful speakers and witnesses and great music by Bob Filorama which was really uplifting and added greatly to the day. One of the highlights was hearing Rep. Christopher Smith of NJ. He spoke powerfully and from the heart about his faith and commitment to life issues. Chris from the Coffee Shop / Bookstore / live entertainment venue in South Jersey shared his witness and was selling some items from his store. It was awesome to see about 500 men from all over NJ there to grow in faith and to be encouraged to live out their baptismal call. Fr. John Rhea from Austrailia spoke before the Bishop celebrated Mass. For myself, I then had to drive about 2 1/2 hours North to Warwick NY to join my Union Catholic students at their Senior retreat.
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Attuned to His Voice

I had the opportunity to speak at a local Parish at the beginning of the new year and it was a wonderful experience and I think I delivered what they were looking for. The people who gathered seemed very pleased and one man in particular, I'll call him Robert, was very complimentary. He mentioned to me repeatedly how much he liked my presentation. Now, I'm not just tooting my horn here for my own glory because something happened when I was asked to come back 3 months later. As I entered the Church I saw Robert with the Pastor and after saying Hello to the Pastor I immediately gave a big smile and handshake to Robert. I said, 'Hello, nice seeing you again!' He looked perplexed and said, 'Excuse me, I don't think we've met?' I said, 'It's me, Allan, don't you remember me?' He looked me square in the face and said...'No' I was a bit humbled to say the least. Well, we had Mass and then I gave the first of three presentations. Well, after the first presentation, Robert came up to me apologetically and said, 'Allan, of course I remember you. You see my eyes are not that good without my glasses but I was attuned to your voice.' 'When you spoke I remembered who you were.'

'Attuned to your voice'

I don't remember what I said the rest of the day but I'll remember for a long time Robert's words and the importance of being attuned to God's voice in my daily life.