Monday, November 03, 2008

The God of Surprises

Here's a link to an article I wrote for the Catholic News Service

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Father Joe-The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra

I just finished reading the book, Father Joe: The Man Who saved My Soul and it was a compelling read all the way through. I must admit that I was not prepared for Tony Hendra's life story but I was familar with some of his work on the movie, This is Spinal Tap, and his work with National Lampoon. After a strange beginning tale of an encounter with an older woman-he was 14-he is taken to meet Fr. Joe, a Benedictine Monk in England, where Tony Henda grew up. At times I was disgusted with where Mr. Hendra's life was going and the things he was doing as he left behind all connections to his Catholic faith and training. I was prepared for some Catholic bashing and skepticism which he brought out only to be pleasantly surprised by Fr. Joe's words, non-judgemental attitude and utimately his Christ-likeness in regards to Tony. The selfishness which is a large thread that runs throughout Tony's life was held in stark contrast to Fr. Joe's faith and love and forgiveness.
As one reads this book its easy to want to condemn Tony for all of the bad choices he made which,as all sin does, effects others as well. But it only takes a little reading of the Bible to see many of the great biblical characters and saints who have also fallen into the viscious cycle of sin. One must also reflect on their own life and the failings that we all have before we toss Tony under the bus.
In the end, it is God, working through this humble, odd looking priest, who emerges as the champion of the story.The one who communicates Gods love and forgiveness to Tony and a we see in the end through many, many people that Mr. Hendra had never met. Like most holy people, when you encounter them you feel like you are their best friend and the only one who has this special connection to them. Like I metioned earlier it was a compelling read and it made m hink of those people who come in and out of my life who have the abilit to communicate something of the love of God.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Review for the Catholic News Service of The Gospel of Fr. Joe

I must say that I liked this book and despite a few objections here and there it's hard to argue with a person who has committed their life to working with the poor and are actually living it out in the slums. The Gospel of Fr. Joe tells what life is like for the poor in Bangkok.
The author, Greg Barrett, a somewhat agnostic Southern Baptist, does a good job writing the story but his lack of understanding of Catholicism and his desire to equate all religions as one and the same misses some golden opportunities to explain the faith that leads his main, real life character, Fr. Joe, in his actions.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wonderful Book by James Martin SJ "My Life with the Saints"

I first spotted this book while at the The Newman Center at Montclair State University. Fr. Jim Chern has brought a number of books for the center and that one caught my eye. I then saw the author on Comedy Central's Colbert and thought he stood his ground pretty well. Anyway, the book focuses on some canonized Saints such as Mary, St. Peter, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Little Flower, St. Charles Lwanga as well as some others like Pope John XXIII, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton. Fr. Martin's writing is easy to digest as he talks about these Saints as his friends that have helped him during different stages of his formation He intertwines the lives of these Saints and their struggles, chrism's and conversion with his own experiences. I highly recommend it. For myself it was nice to be reacquainted with Merton, Dorothy Day and St. Francis along with other Saints whom I knew very little about. He cuts though some of the popular 'myths' and stereotypes that have evolved over the years and focuses on when the person meets Christ and how that encounter changes the person forever. It's an easy read and each of the 17 chapters is 20-40 pages.

Monday, June 23, 2008

1st Prize "Jesus in the House" by the Catholic Press Association of USA and Canada

I was pleased to receive a letter from St Anthony Messenger Press on June 2, 2008 informing me that my book, Jesus in the House, was awarded 1st Prize in the Family Life Category for the 2008 book awards. I honestly didn't know I was in the running but it's nice be recognized for doing something I like to do. Hopefully it will be a benefit to families trying to live out the faith in the home.

The link to the CPA winners for 2008

Great seats with great guys for the wrong team!

Well, I finally sat in the best seats ever at a professional baseball game; front row behind the dugout.
Now my friend Henry and his 2 boys were generous enough to ask me to go and the 300 pictures that I took were pretty good if I say so myself and attest to the fact that it was a great game, 12-11 Yank win. My friend Fr. Chern, devoted Yankees fan mentioned that, "No way did I deserve THOSE seats to THAT game." I can't argue with him. However, with great company and great seats even the Yankees didn't seem so obnoxious that day.

»My review of Abraham's Curse for The Catholic Review Online

»The Catholic Review Online

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reaching Africa and the World at Assumption College for Sisters

Last Saturday, May 18, I went to the graduation of 14 Religious Sisters from various congregations at Assumption College for Sisters in Mendham, NJ. It was a beautiful ceremony with Bishop Donato offering a few words and closing with Benediction. But more importantly is the spirit and life witness of these women from Africa and Vietnam who grace ACS with their lives and faith in Jesus. At ACS they receive a two year degree before moving on to other colleges to complete their education in education and health care. Then, its back to their home countries to bring their knowledge to the people who so desperately need their care, service and love.
I've been fortunate to have been an Adjunct Professor at ACS and will be teaching their this Fall a course in the letters of St. Paul. What strikes me most is the stories that these women share about the situations and people they minister too in their homeland. Persecution in Vietnam and poverty, AIDS and hardship in Africa. Separated from family these women bring back hope to their communities and offer year of service to the people and that in the end is what it is all
ACS is run by the Sisters of Christian Charity who have opened their doors and hearts to these Sisters and are in fact touching the and impacting the world.
Visit their website for more info and ways to support. All the funding for the Sisters education, about $8000 a year per Sister, is from fund raising.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI at Youth Rally April 19th

Pope Benedict XVI at the Youth Rally on April 19, 2008. What a great opportunity for myself and 10 UC students to spend the day at Dunwoodie Seminary and get to see and hear the Holy Father speak to the Seminarians and Youth. I'm still letting the experience sink in to tell the truth. While it was a long day-7:15am-11pm-it was an historic day and there is nothing like being in the presence of the Vicar of Christ, the sucessor of St. Peter.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Look of Love

While the look between my wife and her children is without a doubt the most beautiful look of love....this picture is a close second. After the profession of 5 women as Missionaries of Charity some on=f the older MC Sisters were passing around and holding our newest addition who was about 1 month old. This picture was sent to me right before Christmas by the mother of one of the Sisters making her profession and it truely was one of the best gifts received this year. I'd rather see a sermon than hear one and this picture says it all.