Jun 29, 2006

Smarter than a Speeding Quadratic Equation...

Grant Gallicho's review of the new Superman movie is spot on.

Read it here:

Jun 23, 2006

Deacon Discernment

Congrats to my friend Wally Sandoval who became a Deacon last weekend. Congrats also goes to his wife, Yolanda, for all she has done for the church in offering to share her husband with the good people of our parish.

I've been thinking about possibly being a Deacon. I've had the opportunity to offer a reflection on occasion, and if I do say myself, I'm pretty gifted at it. I also feel called to serve the church in a greater liturgical way (presently I'm a lector and a eucharistic minister). I'd like to do this on a more regular basis and the only way I see that I could be able to do this is by being a Deacon.

Now I'd have to wait another year because you need to be married for 5 years and be at least 35. So one out of two, at present.

I also am presented with a dilemma:

I live in the Diocese of Brooklyn (Queens is in the Brooklyn archdiocese?? Why? Who knows?) but I attend mass at the Paulist Motherhouse in Manhattan. I wonder how that would work? Would I need to go to school in the Brooklyn Diocese? I'd much rather go to Dunwoodie. Will check it out with my Canon Lawyer friend and report back.

I also hear rumors that Fordham is starting a DMin program in January--that's another possibility for me.

But first things first. I need to publish the book, Googling God before I make any decisons...so pray for me as I take the next year and discern how I'm continued to serve the church. I'm very happy with the Paulists and don't have any intentions of leaving but I see other longings and talents popping up for me...and wonder where that is leading me? Prayer and unceasingly fervent prayer is what will help me discover more---yours and mine both.

More from our guy Rocco

From Whispers:

Saginaw, MI Bishop Robert Carlson is "publishing a pastoral letter (being sent to all homes in the diocese) about his directives for implementation" of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal.

Word is that some highlights are:

- A clarified, standard recipe for Eucharistic bread
- Firm directives on who can and cannot preach [as many of you know, this has been an issue in the diocese]
- All parishes must have kneelers by 2009


Rocco doesn't think this is too strange. I beg to differ on a few counts.

1) Does it really matter what bread we use? I suppose they should all be uniform but I prefer ones that don't taste like shirt cardboard.

2) Lay people get screwed again...I continue to wonder why I went to graduate school? Perhaps priests and deacons should give an impramatur to qualified (and I'd stress the word qualified) lay people when they preach at an official event or offer a reflection at mass.

3) I agree wholeheartedly. I looked around a parish I frequent where some angry baby boomers insist on standing and did a head count and demographic count. Almost all the young people kneel. People in their 40s and 50s stand (angry baby boomers) and only a small minority. I'd probably prefer it if we all stood but I don't have an issue with kneeling. For the record, I kneel. And for the record, I don't make the rules--I just comply with them...well most of them. I do my best.

Rocco Palmo on the BustedHalo Cast

The mystery man from Whispers in the Loggia-- the Vaticanista blog that all the cool kids read daily...is featured on the latest BustedHalo Cast.

Check him out by clicking here

Also be sure to vote for the BustedHalo cast on Podcast Alley

The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show

So I've received a novel to peruse from the good folks at Harper San Francisco called The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore.

Bizarre. Here's the blurb:

"Orphaned at age four and raised by her black clad, rosary mubling, pre-occupied grandmother, Frankka discovered the ability to perform the stigmata as a way to attract her grandmother's attention. Now 28, Frankka's still using this extraordinary talent, crisscrossing the country with "The Death and Resurrection Show," a Catholic themed traveling freak show and a cast of misfits who quickly become her new family. But when a reporter from the LA times shows up to review the show, Frankka finds herself on the front page of the newspaper--the unwitting center of a religious debate. Now unsure of where she is and where she belongs, Frankka disapppears in search of herself and a place to call home."

Sounds like it's a quick summer read--will review it in this space and possibly on the halo.

New Look

I decided to go with a new hipper look. Trying to look a bt more colorful like the Google logo. Comments, suggestions?

Jun 22, 2006

Begging on the Blog

My wife Marion and I are going on our 3rd Mission Trip in August to Nicaragua with our local parish to help a charity called Mustard Seed Communities. The trip is to an orphanage for abandoned and/or disabled children and we’ll be working with the staff there to make repairs on their home and to help with the children’s physical therapy and educational needs. I will also be serving the group as a spiritual coordinator and conducting communion services each day since there isn’t a priest available to join us.

We've been asked by Mustard Seed to ask all friends if they could help support our mission financially. The money goes directly toward our expenses for the trip. The money enables us to buy medical supplies and equipment, diapers, food, clothing, and countless other things to bring with us. In short, we've been asked to raise $1500 apiece for the trip. That's 3 thousand simolians!

We would really appreciate it if you could help us with a donation of any size--no amount is too small.

As some of you know, we’re considering adoption at this point in our lives. Last year we hoped to adopt a little girl, named Patricia from the orphanage. However, Patricia’s mother plans to try to raise Patricia herself when she improves her financial situation. We were saddened that we would not be allowed to adopt her, but we pray for her and her mother daily. The good news for us is that we hear that there are 6 new children down there this year, so we’re excited about the possibilities. We’re praying that God will show us who our child is on this trip and we have great faith that we will be united with a child. We were deeply touched by your overwhelming support and joy of our announcement that we’d be adopting a child from Nicaragua. It comforts us to know that our child will be accepted by such a loving, warm and welcoming extended family and caring and devoted friends.

Needless to say, we both hate asking people to reach into their wallets and their hearts to assist us but, we also know that the children of Nicaragua need this support badly, so we're asking you if you can help, by sending us a donation according to your means. You can send the your checks to us at:

Mike and Marion Hayes
St Paul the Apostle Church
415 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

The check should be payable to "Mustard Seed Communities" and our names should be written in the memo.

You can read about the children we are going to help at www.mustardseed.com. Hope you can help and thanks. Please continue to pray for us and for the child that waits for us. Know that we will pray for you with the children on the trip.

Mike and Marion

More on Matt

Sorry for the week long silence. I was away in Columbus and then had to attend Matt Peterson's funeral. I'm just catching up with office work.

Matt was a very inspiring guy who led our Nicaragua Trip to Hogar Belen--an orphanage in Managua run by Mustard Seed Communities.

Some Matt stories:

Matt was painting the tin roof of Hogar Belen's open air structure. We started very early in the morning because it just gets way too hot. At 10AM we usually quit, but Matt decided to stay up on the roof to finish the job--he only had a small spot left to finish. Here's the conversation I had with him:

Mike: "Matt, your neck is getting really red up there. If you're gonna stay up there you better reapply some sunscreen. Here. But seriously, you should stop...it's really too hot."

Matt: "Thanks (applies sunscreen). I'm just gonna finish this spot."

Mike: "What's that smell?"

Matt: "Yeah I smell it too. (Looks down) Oh shit! You're right I do need to get down from here. My workboot has just melted into the roof!"

I proceeded to help him cut his workboot off of the roof. It smelled like a rotten potato.


Story two:

Recently one of Matt's doctors moved into hospital housing. She told Matt that she was living on the 37th floor.

Matt quipped: "is it a walk-up?"


Matt's college roommate is a priest and he did a wonderful job with the funeral homily. He told an outstanding story of how some homeless man had gotten a hold of his name and called their room. Matt insisted that the two of them go to the rest stop he was calling from and try to help him. They sat with him and talked with him and scrounged enough money together to put him up in the econolodge for a night or so. That story typifies Matt. He was a huge contributor to our homeless shelter at St. Paul the Apostle, and had an undying love for the children of Nicaragua.

Recently, Matt's clearly favorite child from Nicaragua, Carlos (pictured above) died of Leukemia. I have an undoubtedly clear image of Carlos running up to Matt at the Pearly Gates grabbing him by the hand and dragging him into heaven, berating God for even considering a moment in Purgatory for Matt, who often commented that he wasn't perfect and far from a Saint. I doubt that God could refuse the pleas of a little Nicaraguan boy with Down's Syndrome who often exhausted all of us, but for whom Matt always had a spare hour.

Today, I truly believe that Matt has an eternity to spend loving Carlos and vice-versa. May Matt's soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

And you out there...say a prayer for Matt's mom Charlotte, who undoubtedly raised a fine young man who lived an exemplary life that she should be very proud of.

Two Phone Funnies

So I call a colleague today:

"Hi this is Heather and I'm unable to reach the phone right now..."

My first thought: Are you trapped underneath a bookcase?

My second thought: Did you ever notice that 9 and 1 are so far away from each other on a phone pad? If one were trapped underneath a bookcase I would imagine it would be very hard to reach 9-1-1. Lots of people would hit 9-4-4 ugh!

Jun 15, 2006

Matthew Peterson

My friend Matt died two nights ago from Cancer. He led our trip to Nicaragua and was one of the most giving people I have ever met.

Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Jun 12, 2006

The Omen vs The Da Vinci Code

Someone mentioned to me recently:

"Shouldn't the church be more upset at "The Omen" than they are about "The Da Vinci Code?"

An astute comment--to say the least.

I thought they should've had more to say about "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" than they did too.

This quote made my day

"You know, you can't please all the people all the time... and last night, all those people were at my show."

-Mitch Hedberg
American comedian (1968 - 2005)


I have been asked to cease blogging with regards to the health of Westside Paulist. However, we have been asked to continue to keep him in our prayers. Suffice it to say that he appreciates the prayers and the support. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.


Jun 8, 2006

Rocco Palmo Whisperings

On BustedHalo we have a series of interview articles by my esteemed colleague, Bill McGarvey, profiling Rocco Palmo, a 23 year old wunderkind, who knows more about the Vatican than many do about themselves. His blog Whispers in the Loggia is a must read for anyone who loves the church.

Check out the interview here

Photo credit: B. McGarvey

Jun 5, 2006

BustedHalo Retreat July 7-9

Come one, come all to the BustedHalo Retreat in Oak Ridge New Jersey on July 7-9.

Details are here:

Jun 1, 2006

Being fit for Opus Dei and the Da Vinci Code

I saw the Da Vinci Code yesterday...my quick review is "Save your money."

But on a more important note...I feel the same way about the movie as I do about Opus Dei. Simply put, it's not for everyone. I'll explain.

Opus Dei, as many of us know, is a fairly rigorous lay organzation in the Catholic church. They are focused on living out a personal life of prayer, piety, and some would say private penitence in theie personal lives. These are certainly not "Sunday only Catholics." They do practice some very intentional acts of corporal mortification such as the wearing of a cilice (for a few hours each day) and the use of the discipline--a small whip (which suppossedly some say doesn't hurt very much--perhaps even at all. One said that it's like hitting yourself with a graduation tassel, although there are more severe types available). Many live in community in an Opus Dei house. I truly believe that most people in the organization are basically very holy people who are simply trying to integrate a sense of holiness into their everyday lives.

Now there are some who would find this kind of extreme catholicism very, very attractive--I would think many milennial young adults would be quite attractive to this way of life. However, it's also obvious to me that there are certain people in society who are simply not psychologically fit for this type of rigor. In short, some people simply can't handle it. There make up leads them to overdo the rigoristic elements of the organization and it leads them to become over-scrupulous and participate in some psychologically unhealthy activities.

I would say that in the past, the failure of Opus Dei to lead these people to greater discernment about their "fitness" in the organization has led to all the questions about their movement. To their credit, I think this has changed a good deal and it now takes a long time to even join Opus Dei and their methods of discernment have improved greatly.

With regards to the film--I have similar feelings. It's simply not a film (or a book) for everyone. If you're the type of person who lets themselves be taken in by every passing conspiracy theory and never bothers to check the facts themselves--then you should not see this film or read the book. However, if your a person who can really think critically about the Da Vinci Code, then you can probably see the movie and it won't make a dent in how you view your faith life.

So discern and decide...perhaps a better decision might be to attempt to work on discernment in general so that you can be able to handle such matters in your life.

Googling God

Googling God
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