Sep 30, 2008

Still Church Searching in Queens

I think we are going to settle on St Sebastians in Queens as our "parish of choice." Although we plan to head back into Manhattan to go to Ascension parish this weekend to meet up with some friends. We ran into their ministry fair last weekend and they have quite a good number of things going on. The pastor also had a great homily on the late workers who were paid the same wage as those who had worked all day.

"Whenever I read this I want to yell "THAT'S NOT FAIR! I mean, this is how unions start!... But what we need to keep in mind is that we don't need to pay attention to who gets the credit, or who gets more than I did---instead we need to be focused on Jesus...are we pleasing God with our work? How are we bringing Jesus into the lives of others?"

We attended Our Lady Queen of Martyrs this weekend again. We were treated by the best homily I heard in months by Deacon Greg Kandra of the Deacon's Bench blog! And surprise surprise, I was even mentioned anonymously in his homily:

I had lunch with a friend who went to World Youth Day and he said that one of the Bishops said that "while all of us who are here are in the club, so to speak, there is something that keeps us from committing ourselves totally to Jesus."

I was that friend and those words indeed inspired me to look more deeply at my own life and helped me make the decision to pursue a vocation to the diaconate.

Deapite the great homily and even a fairly nice choir, I just didn't get a warm feeling from the place (Greg, if you're reading this do not include yourself as playing a part in these feelings). So we might head back for some inspiration from time to time but I don't think this will be our regular place of worship.

St Sebastians isn't all that warm either but I can see it warming up a bit more readily than other places and I see more of a role for me to get involved there.

We are going to try St Rapael's and St Teresa's also in the Woodside/Sunnyside area in coming weeks. But it's looking like St Sebastian's has the inside track right now.

Sep 17, 2008

Church Search

I've taken it upon myself (and my wife) to do some research on parishes in Queens (a borough of NYC--if you've been to NYC and flown into JFK or LaGuardia-you've been there) to see if we can find any that appeal to young adults. So far we have these two to report on:

St. Sebastian's in Woodside: This is our neighborhood parish and it's the biggest one in the greater Queens area. The pastor, Msgr Hardiman is very welcoming and is a good homilist. There seems to be a lot of activities but I'm not sure how many people are very active. The parishioners tend to keep to themselves but to be fair, I haven't exactly put myself out there and said "hi" to too many people myself. Lots of Filipino young adults attend here and a large hispanic presence as well. The rest of the parish are mostly Irish-Americans in an area known for it's Hibernian flair. A strong dedication to supporting the armed forces exist here and the pastor is very vocal on life issues. They do have a young adult discussion group on the tenets of the faith and their 6PM Sunday mass is well attended. Mediocre music but I've heard worse.

Our Lady Queen of Martyr's in Forest Hills: For those of you who are fans of The Deacon's Bench, this is Deacon Greg's parish. Unfortunately, we didn't pick the mass that he preaches at--but we were treated to a rather good homily by the priest who did preside. The congregation seems middle-aged which reflects the area but they also seem very involved. Lots of parents who send their kids to their school of which Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano is an alumnus. Generally speaking, I liked the parish. It didn't thrill me, but it was solid liturgy. Smells and bells galore and well-trained altar servers (which I thought was the best feature of the parish actually).

From now until Christmas I'll post on a few new churches in the Queens and perhaps Brooklyn area each Sunday or so. Stay tuned.

Sep 16, 2008

Dean Hoge: Sociologist par excellence, RIP

Dean Hoge may not be a household name to most. but in the field of sociology of religion in indeed was a legend. Hoge died yesterday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 71. Much of the work that we've done at BustedHalo can certainly be traced to many of his findings in the book, Young Adult Catholics: Religion in a Culture of Choice (written with Bill Dinges, Mary Johnson and Juan Gonzalez). That book gave us a lot of the sociological trends that indeed helped us gain a foothold on how to attack what clerics were then calling "the young adult problem."

Hoge was a wonderful pragmatist when advising people like myself on how we might want to address young adults. Always a "data guy" Hoge would always throw numbers back at you to dispute common misconceptions. He revealed and continued to hammer home the fact that "young adults indeed were not disaffecting from the church--but merely not regular attendees or participants. They are still checking off the "Catholic" box." He would often tell my colleagues and I to watch out for judgmentalism. "Hitting these people with every tenent of church teaching and telling them that they are bad will NOT work. In fact, that's what drives most of them away in the first place."

Indeed. What I liked most about Dean was his folksy charm. He was an "aw shucks" kind of guy who was always very humble while still speaking with valid authority. He was a true gift to all faiths and he was a faithful Christian, very active in his own Presbyterian church.

His longtime colleague, Bill D'Antonio had this to say:

“While he was first and foremost a scholar, I’d have to say that I don’t know of a person who was more a Christian throughout his life,” said friend and colleague, William D’Antonio, who worked in recent years with Hoge at Catholic University’s Life Cycle Institute. “He was a shy person, but treated others with an easy grace as he attempted to live the Gospel.”

I couldn't have said it better...Rest in Peace, Dean.

Hat tip to Deacon Greg for the heads up.

Sep 12, 2008

A Forgiving God?

An excellent article on atonement and forgiveness has been written by Fr. Bill O'Malley who has taught at Fordham Prep for eons (no offense). Fr. O'Malley lived in my dorm at Fordham and always had a warm smile, an open door, and a quick wit for all of us.

Go read his latest masterpiece HERE

Sep 5, 2008

More Memories of Mike and the Mad Dog

Chris Russo is about to start his new radio show on Sirius and its been bringing up lots of memories of my former career, and especially of Russo on Saturday morning:

There was the famous "Back to back beer spots" story...where I was serving as the engineer and I played a Miller Beer spot and then a Budweiser spot right after it. ("Spot" is radio lingo for commercial for the unititiated). I had also been moonlighting for WOR Radio at the time and asked permission to work there before I did so and it didn't seem like a big deal to the powers that be. I thought otherwise after this moment. Russo comes right out of the jingle and yells "Back to back beer spots! Boy oh boy, WOR is doing a helluva job with Mike Hayes. No wonder they're losing money with the Giants. If ya don't know what the heck I'm talking about our intern engineer Mike Hayes played back to back beer commericals which he's not supposed to do. If I'm Chrysler and I buy time on WFAN I don't want you running a TAY-ota spot right after it. (giggles) Vinny from Queens...."

Funny...he was probably getting revenge for the tommohawk chop call. But it was then that I started to know that there were some bad feelings with me working for WOR at WFAN and I started to wind it down there. I liked working there but the pay was very low and the chances for promotion were slim. WOR offered me more hours and a higher rate and I got a full time job out of it after a year or so. I also was able to cover sports for Bob Papa--now the voice of the NY Giants.

In hindsight, I should've left both places much faster than I eventually did. I was holding on to something that just didn't fit. I didn't really have the passion for sports or even for radio--even though I like the podcast we do now and the video stuff I've done on the road as well and even filling in for Fr Dave on Sirius from time to time.

As we always say...It all comes out in the wash, doesn't it? Facelift

In case you missed it--and in case you've been wondering where I've been...and we know you have... got a major facelift last month and I am busy expaning the new Googling God section for Faith Information.

We'll be calling stuff out each week that will expound on what the church teaches but we'll do that in an informative way that's also entertaining (using video, online powerpoints, audio and of course the dreaded article) and we'll also try to cover the pastoral element--merging the practical with the theoretical while remaining true to the intentions of the church's teaching.

First feature will be on October 1 and will be "something" on the upcoming election, so stay tuned.

Bob Sheppard Update--well...not really.

At the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese's conference for Faith Formation where I'm tomorrow's keynote speaker, and I ran into this story (Hat tip to The Mets Police) on Bob Sheppard who still doesn't seem up to par two months after his intended goal of returning to the Yankee Stadium PA Booth.

As first reported here on Googling God on July 7th, Sheppard may in fact have trouble simply staying awake for 9 innings.

The solution as mentioned in the Newsday column might be to have Sheppard do the opening lineup and first few innings and then hand things off to Jim Hall who should get the permanent position anyway when Shep officially retires.

Sep 3, 2008

Googling God

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