Dec 23, 2006

I told you so...

how smart are you
flat out genius

Ok, theres not much I can say here accept congratulations! There is noone smarter than you. Well, except the few others who made it here. I mean Im just gonna leave it at that. Im sure your much too above what I could say.

Take this test

Dec 14, 2006

Solo Podcast Sorta

We did our first podcast without Fr. Dave this week. It felt weird and I missed the rapport we have together--there is something about a priest and layperson dynamic that really does work here.

Still I'm proud of myself for doing it (and we used a large piece from Fr. Dave's Sirius Show with Fr. Jim Martin--so it's not like he's gone completely). Marc Adams is a real kick in the pants too--love that guy.

I'm starting to recruit some Paulists to come on by the podcast studio for what looks like a Wednesday podcasting journey. So we'll try to keep the lay person/priest thing going. Especially since I've already gotten 3 "we miss the rapport that you and Fr. Dave had emails."

Dec 13, 2006


The new show on Sirius Satellite Radio is off to a rousing start. Fr. Dave Dwyer (who is on every weeknight from 7P-9P Eastern) is a gifted broadcaster and is beginning to move easily into merging God-talk with the technical aspects that radio requires. He takes direction well and is often innovative on his own.

Overall the Catholic Channel is pretty interesting. I particularly like Lino Rulli --the Catholic Guy-who's on from 4-6 on the east coast in Afternoon Drive. Also The Konigs--Susan and Dave are pretty funny when talking about family issues in the early mid day slot. Morning Man Gus Lloyd is solid and an obvious radio veteran. Program Director Rob Astorino does a nice job interviewing Cardinal Egan every Thursday.

Pick up Sirius for yourself or a loved one while the holiday fire sale is still going on.

10 tips for the holidays

Nora Bradbury-Haehl has 10 great tips for dealing with the holiday family visits --especially when the family drives you up the wall.

Dec 7, 2006

OK this is the funniest thing I've seen a quite awhile

God love our Jesuit priests at BC.

Dec 6, 2006

Prayers for Father in Law

If you've got a prayer handy...

Drop one for my father-in-law who died this past week. Louis Peracchio, a good guy who got a raw deal--Lived through a wife dying and lots of physical discomfort. He died suddenly at the too young age of 71.

Thanks in advance.


Very cool quiz and it captured me perfectly.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Nov 28, 2006

The Nativity Movie

I previewed the movie last night at a screening for Catholic Leaders and I went in very skeptical.

But I have to say I really liked this movie--which I think paints a description of Mary and Joseph's fears and hopes well--even if it's pure conjecture on the writer's part.

There are many "foreshadowing scenes" which I thought were well done. Scenes of crucified bodies on the roadside, Mary washing Joseph's feet while on the journey to bethlehem, and a nod to the empty tomb when the soldiers look for the baby Jesus in Bethlehem only to find a piece of swaddling clothes in the manger.

There's one ridiculous scene where a snake bites Mary's donkey when they try to cross the river--an obvious link with "the fall." I just thought it was a bit too much--as I did with all the big music swells. Every time we see Herod you hear music like he's Darth if we needed that. It insults the viewer to the max.

In all, I think the movie was a huge tribute to St. Joseph played by Oscar Isaac, who clearly steals the show. The three wise men are very much like 3 wise guys who often have great one liners. Keisha Castle-Hughes, plays Mary and overdoes it at times but often hits the mark--trying desperately to juxtapose the image of the Saintly Blessed Mother and a poor peasant girl in Nazareth. Elizabeth is also well played by Shohreh Aghdashloo.

For the pious in's all there...Animals, shepherds, wise men, the manger and the dreaded star in the East. For those of us looking for a more reality based look at first century Nazareth there's plenty that takes us beyond the scriptures to attempt to see what could have been at hand.

This movie won't go down with the best of the all-time holiday movies most likely...but I think it is one that you should check out on the big screen and not wait for Blockbuster.

Letterman on 86 Mets

OK--this is just downright funny. As an 86 Mets fan I can say out loud that Dave is right on the money here.


Kind of sad when you think about the hall of fame career that both Gooden and Straw threw away. Dykstra probably as well.

Nov 27, 2006

Colbert's Liturgical Dance

In case you missed it...Amy Welborn reminded me of this today. You could tell this was like a "B roll" where they just said "do something goofy."


Nov 22, 2006

30 Days

Here's my latest article which has garnered some interest.

Gotta love Morgan Spurlock.

Nov 21, 2006

Kramer's A Racist

Undoubtedly Michael Richards went way too far in trying to one-up a heckler at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

Here's the link to his tirade.

Some time ago when I was in radio production we had a guest who used the term "pickaninnie" when describing growing up on a plantation in the South. You could imagine the calls we received to the station--and rightfully so.

Our operations director at the time was a black female. She remarked--"Whatever hate is inside that woman has been there for a long time. But that doesn't make it right and we should deeply apologize for this."

And that is right on the money.

I don't know what to make of Richards' apology on Letterman. DO you?

Nov 20, 2006

Women Healing from Abuse

As a pastoral minister, I have to say that the number of women who I have had the priviledge of getting to know well through retreat ministry or spiritual direction who have faced abuse in their lives has increased well beyond the numbers I would've expected. It is staggering to think that in a room of 2o women, 8 of them have probably been physically abused.

As a man this makes me angry and thus I am proud and happy to announce that my good friend Nicole Sotelo has an outstanding new book of meditations called:

Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace (Paulist Press).

Order it here.

Nov 15, 2006

Bishops Meetings

Seems to me that several good things are going on at the USCCB's meetings this week (which is televised on EWTN). Three big documents came out yesterday:

1) On the pastoral care of homosexual persons
2) On married love
3) Happy are those who are called to his supper: On receiving communion

Read them here:

I like the eucharist document very much with one small quibble. They really should have made a stronger statement on saying "Amen" when the minister of the eucharist or the priest/deacon says: The Body of Christ. They talk about the solemn bow as an acknowledgement but not the actual saying of Amen. I have to prompt people constantly to say this at mass when I'm a eucharistic minister.

Staph Infections

The former Lt. Governor of NY, Betsy McCaughey had an excellent op-ed in yesterday's NY Times on the dangers of staph-like infections in hospitals. I have known three people who essentially died as the result of these infections over the past two years. If you've got political pull---now's the time.

Nov 13, 2006

Westside Paulist's Funeral

Since someone asked about services for Westside Paulist...I regret to inform you that they were already held on Friday at the Paulist Motherhouse--St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan where Fr. Hunt lived.

The services were a wonderful celebration of his life. Moving eulogies, bagpipes, good preaching by the Paulist President, John Duffy, and a big crowd of admirers.

I was particularly moved that two of the older Paulists who often even have trouble getting out of bed came to not only the wake and funeral but also made the trek out to Oak Ridge, NJ where Fr. Michael is buried at Mt. Paul Retreat Center (and the site of the old novitiate where his Paulist brothers are buried and where many if not all of them started their Paulist careers).

One Paulist quipped: "Wow! You could tell how much he was respected and loved...even the guys in their 90s came out for this one."

Since some of you asked, mass cards and condolences can be sent to the Paulists. They can forward to his family to keep their privacy in tact.

Paulist Fathers
415 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Thanks for all your prayers

Nov 12, 2006

Who knew Russell Crowe could sing?

Found this on You Tube...This is one of my favorite songs (One good year) and I think Crowe delivers this better than other artists have. Kind of a different vibe than the originial.

Nov 7, 2006

Westside Paulist RIP

Westside Paulist, one of our blogger friends, went home to God yesterday...after battling a long illness. Fr. Michael Hunt, CSP--an outstanding man and Paulist Priest--was a wonderful man. Because of him, I have a book about to go to press next fall...he edited the first manuscript along with a strongly worded letter to the President at Paulist Press to publish it.

Fr. Michael appreciated all the prayers people sent his way. He lived with a grace that few could ever capture. Please keep his family in your prayers--especially his sister, Ann and his brother, David --as well as his Paulist family at 59th Street...where his voice rang through the common room always with strong wit and intelligence.

I am a better man for having known him.

Oct 26, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posting the last few...we've been busy, as a friend is dying and we've been picking up slack for each other and visiting the hospital as well.

Today's readings:

St. Paul goes Oprah today...speaking of inner peace in a way.

But yet this passage from St. Paul gives me pause...I truly think this is what the crux of our faith life really ought to be.

I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Read that carefully...

He points out the need for kneeling in awe of God.

He asks for God to send us strength and that we may feel that presence of Christ in the "inner self"--a self- aware realization of the spirit.

And he states the need that for us to be rooted (note that word) in love is not merely enough. But that this rootedness needs to be linked to the actions of God's self-commuinication through Christ. And that this self-communicating love goes beyond our comprehnesion--but that the knowledge of Christ's love is indeed what brings us fulfillment.

Wonderful words...and words that I think really encapsulate the faith.

The gospel today also points out that this self-communication requires much of us--and even that God requires much of Jesus (or God demands much from Himself while on His earthly mission). God has come to be a divider and not a unifier. So some of us will not catch that self-communication...and indeed miss the message of love that God gives us and the message that we too are requried to love even those we have come to hate. A hard message indeed. Our own families may not accept that message and where does that leave us?

Jesus indeed seems sad...but yet he's forceful and almost resigned to the fact that not all of us "get it." So while divisions are inevitable..they don't have the last word. God does seek unity and want to save us all. And still, despite that knowledge, we do a good job of pushing God away.

Oct 23, 2006


Today's readings can be found at:

Ephesians is considered to have actually been written by a colleague or follower of Paul's because it lacks the personal or familiar quality one would expect him to have with the people he knew in Ephesus. Although referred to as the letter to the Ephesians, you'll notice that it lacks things you would normally find in a letter--news, personal message, intimacy.

A second note with regards to the Gospel: Divine Retribution was a key idea amongst the people of Jesus' time. Meaning...the rich have been blessed by God and their fortune is a sign for us to heed their holiness. Jesus turned this idea upside down.

These two aspects come into play in today's Gospel. The notion of grace is center-stage in Paul's (or whoever wrote it) letter to the Ephesians. It is not through works alone that we are saved (another central idea of the time), but rather because God chose to love us...a free gift of God dwelling amongst us, being part of us, dying for us, and then rising to new life so that we might one day do the same.

Jesus couples this idea by berating the farmer who saves up his harvest. The message seems to be "seize the day" for who knows what tomorrow may bring? But deeper is the meaning of this text.

God's love cannot be harvested or saved up. It is simply always being used and given and will never run out. The bountiful harvest is a symbol for the love that God has for His people--a love that is overflowing and never runs out.

How does that knowledge of God's overflowing love change us--or does it?

Do we feel the love of God and horde it for ourselves, patting ourselves on the back because we believe and often feel the love of God in our lives tangibly? Or does this love empower us to love in love without limit, without stopping to make sure that we have enough love to give. Yes, the harvest is generous indeed...but are we generous enough to stop counting the cost of our own love? Or do we choose who to love and who to hate?

All the parables are inevitably about God's kingdom. Here the kingdom of God is indeed the plentiful harvest. The resources that never run out--so indeed there is no reason for hording but rather we are encouraged to share that harvest with each other, knowing that in that sharing we are becoming more and more like the God who has led us to till the fields of our own heart in hopes that our harvest will be shared in full.

Taking a Leave

Upon further seems that making comments on personal matters get me in trouble. Therefore, I will cease blogging on such things. No further need for comments. Unfortunately, people are catty. Nuff said.

So I will merely post on matters of public knowledge without comment. I will also present some theological reflections on the daily scripture.

Probably once per day.

Oct 18, 2006

Archbishop Dolan next?

As Cardinal Egan nears retirement and the priests of the Archdiocese (while standing with him, of course) try to push him out a stained glass man Rocco Palmo reports on rumors of the next Archbishop of NY. Archbishop Tim Dolan who is currently the Archbishop of Milwaukee. The papers also picked it up.

A funny story:

Dolan replaced the very liberal Archbishop Rembert Weakland (who ordained my old boss Fr. Brett Hoover to the deaconate) who retired amdist scandal unfortunately. When asked what difference there was between him and the slender, spry Weakland, Archbishop Dolan responded:

"About 100 pounds."

An employee of the Archdiocese recently related to me the following about their bishop:

"I like him a lot... He is a good man and excellent with people. He's not as conservative as he is sometimes is made out to be. Likes to have good administrators around him to keep him on task and works closely and well with them."

So a guy who knows how to give the media a good quote and who works well with laity and administrators and is reasonably well liked by his priests and employees...

Sounds like the right guy to me.

Other candidates include: Archbishop O'Brien of the Military Archdiocese, who is a priest of the Archdiocese of NY. I doubt that he would get it. The Military Archdiocese really would hate to lose him and he would be hard to replace unless they move up Auxillary Bishop Joe Estabrook--who everyone loves.

- Archbishop John Myers of Newark--who has also been rumored for Detroit's see and wants out of Newark in the worst way. Detroit's a better fit for him, thinkest I.

-Archbishop Henry J. Mansell in Hartford, who is a New York Archdiocese priest and is well liked by many in New York is also a strong candidate who some would put close to the top of the list.

Now THAT"S Addiction!

Have you ever known anyone to go to great lengths to get a fix? I'm not talking about the severe example of someone turning to prostitution to get drugs, or something along those lines but rather consider the following:

-Standing outside a restaurant in sub-zero weather to have a cigarette.

-An older man in a walker, who is moving at a snail's pace...stops dead in the middle of the street to take a drag. He can barely hold himself up to do so and nearly falls mid-exhale.

-A person standing at a bus stop who blots her cigarette out on a lamp post carefully so she can smoke the rest of the ciggy later.

Now THAT's Addiction!

What things have you seen?

Oct 16, 2006

Your tax dollars at work

Wonkette has named the top 10 DUMBEST Members of Congress. Please note that 7 of the 10 are republicans.

10. Sen Jim Bunning (R-KY)
9. Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
8. Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
7. Rep Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
6. Rep Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio)
5. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
4. Rep. JD Hayworth (R-Ariz.)
3. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
2. Rep. Donald Young (R-AK)
1. Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.)

Smart Men love smart women

The hot new book for women who think it's never going to happen: Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women.

Dr. Christine Whelan is a wonderful writer and a colleague of mine on

She made an appearence on GMA this morning.

Buy her book here

Milennials in Australia Have Feeble Faith

A new study on Milennials (whom I refuse to call Gen Y) from the Austrailian Redemptorist John Flynn can be found here.

Oct 15, 2006

Racially Insensitive? C'mon.

DETROIT (AP) -- Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League championship series.

Piniella had made an analogy involving the luck of finding a wallet, then briefly used a couple of Spanish phrases during Friday's broadcast.

Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" -- butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" -- and added, "I still can't find my wallet."


If Lyons had said that to Joe Buck it would've been a passing glance in jest. Secondly, if Pinella got him fired then he's a bigger jerk than I thought.
There was nothing wrong with what he said. There was nothing wrong with him criticizing Shawn Green for not playing on a jewish holiday (even if I disagree). I also think while his comment about the blind fan with the digitally enhancing glasses was unfortunate, I don't think he'd say that again. He wasn't being mean to a blind man intentionally--just someone who he thought had bad fashion sense.

Willie Randoph blows it

The Mets now down 2 games to one to the Cardinals.

Why? Two words: Willie Randolph.

His first bad move was bringing in Billy Wagner to start the ninth inning in Game 2. You can't do that with guys like Wagner who thrive on the pressure situations. This was a tie game. Wagner was lackadasical and too careful with his pitch selection and thus, got shelled. Roberto Hernandez should've started the inning with Wagner ready in case he gave up a hit.

The second move was not moving up Perez to be the starter after a long travel night. Steve Trachsel is known for needing a lot of rest and he pitched like my sister last night. Actually, I take that sister would've lasted longer and wouldn't have taken herself out of the game...diabetes and uncoordination and all.

Cardinals have "Mo" on their side now. Y'all know "Mo". MO-Mentum.
Congrats to the Tigers also--who crushed the A's a legit team. Gotta love Jim Leyland.

But what do I know? I picked the Twins.

Happy Birthday to the Founder

10/14 is the birthday of former Paulist Young Adult Ministries founder, Fr. Brett Hoover.

A happy birthday indeed to the man the myth and the legend out in "Berzerkely" California. For those who know him, he's finished his PhD coursework and is teaching two on young adults at a Protestant Grad School (he's TAing that one) and the other as an Adjunct Professor at the Jesuit School in Inculturation and Theology.

He's also being the superstar babysitter for his sister's 2 year old, Chase.

Oct 14, 2006

More on the Cardinal Egan Fiasco

Egan made another rash mistake...Rocco reports that he slated the emergency priests' senate meeting smack dab in the middle of a funeral for a popular priest of the diocese. Indeed he is out of touch with his men.

And yet, while the letter certainly paints an accurate portrait of how the priests of the Archdiocese feel...and in fact, paints a true picture of the Cardinal's priorities (financial over pastoral) two things should be noted.

1) Cardinal Egan was ALWAYS sent to NY for that very reason. From day 1, it was always noted that he was going to be sent here to clean up financial matters and then would be sent off to some little villa in Rome.

2) Secondly, while the presbyterate may be longing for the media friendly and extremely pastoral John Cardinal O'Connor...let's not forget (God rest him) that he bankrupted the Archdiocese essentially.

At the least, we need a balance of the two men or have a pastoral and visible bishop who's smart enough to bring in trusted financiers to handle the money affairs of the diocese.

Oct 13, 2006

Goodbye Aunt Sis

I buried my mother's sister this morning. I'm such an invisible person to my mother's side of the family. I have no cohort group since most of the family members are my sister's age (16 years my senior--I'm sure she loves me saying this) or they are the children of my cousins who are 10-15 years younger than me.

To be fair, I have four cousins who are close to my age. My cousin Mary is a year older, Ricky and Stacey are a year and I believe three years younger than I am respectively. Lou-Ann was 2 years ahead of me at the local High School. She possibly was the only one that I had a lot in common with and she's clearly also the friendliest.

It's kind of a shame...I don't really know my extended family and nor do I feel invited to get to know them. Quite frankly, I don't care to really. I don't have a lot in common with them. Hey. ya can't pick your relatives.

I think my mom was offended that the family chose to have a prayer service and burial instead of a full funeral. A Capuchin came by and did a very brief service consisting of an Our father and his best attempt at a eulogy (and not a very good one I might add). I offered to do the prayer service myself but was declined. Ah to be a lay minister shunned by his own family. I really understand what Jesus meant when he stated that a prophet is not honored in his native land. He wasn't kidding.

I updated my "dead file" today. It's a file I keep in case of my accidental death which states how I'd like my funeral to proceed (I selected preachers and presiders, ministers of the word and eucharist, and also keep a running list of people who should not be admitted to the funeral home! And priests who should be nowhere near the altar as well!

It's kind of morbid...but I value ritual and if I'm not going to be around to "produce" this...I'm not living it in some half-wits hands who'll take advantage of the grief of my family. In short, easy-going me has stated: "You will execute this liturgy exactly as I have stated."

I'm so picky...even from beyond.

Great Falls Jeff

On BustedHalo's blog--The Spiritual Smackdown we read:

Quoting the letter address to Cardinal Egan:
"As you would understand, because of the severely vindictive nature of Cardinal Egan,this committee must remain anonymous."
Jeff writes:
"This smacks of a certain immaturity and lack of courage that I am disappointed to find in our clergy. Imagine if the Founding Fathers decided to issue the Declaration of Independence without signing it. They were in mortal danger but chose to sign it because a very public statement lacks power without knowing the names of those who support it. So it goes with the clergy behind the anonymous letter. If they truly believe that their argument has merit and they are convinced that they are acting correctly, why not sign the letter? If they are coming from a position of truth and righteousness, they would be protected by the Magesterium as well as the body of the Faithful from the "wrath" of Cardinal Egan. In light of the issues in the Archdiocese of New York, I can only say, "Shame on you" to the men behind this letter. Shame on them for demonstrating to the Faithful that the way to address problems with leadership, etc is to skulk around in shadows, hiding your face while allowing others to take the heat for your complaints. I certainly hope that the next letter they write is one of apology to the people of the Archdiocese for being party to such scandalous behavior. Maybe by then they will have grown up a bit and sign that one."
My comment:
I can't say I disagree, but if these men actually get revenge taken on them...and I'm not certain that this wouldn't happen...what good will they do anyone if they can't minister to their congregations?

Two great Egan stories

My friend (who I'll call Rachel) was on a short flight from NY to Rochester and the good Cardinal was on her flight.

So she texts me to this fact and another priest friend as well.

His response: "You should ask him if you could wear his miter...just for the flight!"

Story #2:
While listening to the Cardinal in his first homily to NYers...yours truly remarked to a friend...

"Why does he sound like Kermit the Frog on 'Ludes?"

Vote of No Confidence

My main man Rocco Palmo has the scoop (Scroll down to "Mutiny")on an anonymous letter circulating to the priests of the NY Archdiocese asking for a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in Cardinal Egan's leadership. The letter (printed in its entirety on Whispers) seems to confirm what I have heard myself anecdotally from several priests in the Archdiocese regarding Cardinal Egan's relationship

Egan is turning 75 in April and I have it on good authority that the Cardinal himself expects and hopes that his resignation will be accepted swiftly. So the letter is basically insuring that this takes place. I also am suspicious...I wonder if the Cardinal might have planted the letter himself.

I wonder what this all means for The Catholic Channel on Sirius now? Up until now it's been referred to as "The Cardinal's Baby."

As a NYer, I have no relationship with the Cardinal. He has never contacted our ministry and other Bishops have been the presider at Paulist ordinations I have attended. I served mass as a lector and an acolyte with Cardinal O'Connor several times and found him to be a delightful man...albeit a bit conservative for my tastes on some matters..but not most. I thought he had a good sense of humor and was quite a pastoral figure. Stories of his great care for the Archdiocese abounded when he died.

As always, my question regarding these matters is who's the replacement.

My 78 year old mother often said: "Ya know the one ya don't know the one you're going to get!"

True enough, mom. Rumor has it that the current Archbishop of Milwaukee, Tim Dolan is all set to jump in the chair. So sez the Googler's sources.

Oct 11, 2006

Corey Lidle

New York Yankee Pitcher Corey Lidle was on the plane that crashed.

This reminds me a whole lot of Thurman Munson who crashed his plane in Ohio.

Plane Crash

Everyone here shuddered when we heard a "small plane" had crashed into a building on Manhattan's East Side.

My first thought:

"They said the first plane was a small plane on 9-11 also."

The culture of fear continues.

Your thoughts?

On "Youth Ministry"

Amy Welborn has a great post on Youth Ministry in which I agree with much of her sentiments.

While I am an expert in young adult (20s and 30s) ministry...I think that I've seen some good and badly executed youth ministry in the church and then I get to serve them as their young adult minister and need to re-appropriate some of their misgivings.

Some things that I've noted:

One thing that the post raises is the marked difference between milennial (born after 1980) culture and GenX (1964ish-1979ish) culture.

GenXers, who had a serious suspicion of institutions often DID come into the church (and still do) through service or community activities...or simply because there was a more vibrant and emotional type of liturgy and a sense of relevance in the preaching (e.g. Father talked about matters that were connected to things in their everyday life--and not a theological treatise or a diatribe against modern society).

The Milennials however are markedly different. Why? Their longing is not for community but rather for security. The big events in their lives are Columbine, 9-11, and recently the natural disasters of Katrina and the Tsunami. For immigrants the experience of crossing the boarder may also be significant.

Therefore, they will react in kind to stronger messages that "make sense" of moral decisions and give them a sense that the time spent in church is not merely "well-spent" but a time that is unlike any other time.

They long to be "moved to awe"--why? Because nothing ever shocks them. And everything is at the touch of a button for them--so they are powerful as well.

The problem that exists is that young people often expect God to work instantaneously...and when that doesn't happen--they are loathe to continue with prayer or ritual. They simply move on to the next "church store."

This is also why the eucharist is so key for this age. We have what nobody else has--the bread of life! The good news is that we don't turn it into another commodity for them...but we give them as many experiences as possible with Jesus in the Eucharist. But they need at least some simple Catechesis on the Eucharist or it falls into being "just another magic trick." When catechesis of the eucharist is done well--the result is indeed profound.

What youth need more than anything (and some earlier posts reference this) are mentors. How many youth ministers really prioritize their time with the members of their youth ministry so that each gets some individual attention instead of just programmatic busy work? How many of them make sure that they understand the essentials of the faith? How many know what's really going on in their lives?

The challenge for us as ministers is simply that. To bring Christ's mentorship to the that when these youths begin to form their own narratives about "the way the world works" the church will be at the center...

Because we have been active in the center of their lives and placed Christ there to be with them.

Much peace...great post, Amy.

Old Friends

I had drinks with some old radio friends: Chris Thompson who continues to work at WOR Radio, is a womderful guy who made my time at WOR bareable. We worked closely together on the Food Talk program before he got kicked upstairs and I took his producing gig. Loads of fun.

Becky Bennett who now works for Buckley Broadcasting...the parent company of WOR, and is basically a personal assistant to the head honchos. Becky's just a fun person to be around--a real kick in the pants. She simply tells it like it is. I hope soon she makes some guy an incredibly happy man.

Heather Cohen was my beautiful and talented co-producer and cubemate. She now is the bigwig at a new radio network for women called Greenstone Media. What a lovely woman she has always been and it's good to see that she hasn't changed one bit--with the exception of her being very skinny now (flattery will get you everywhere). Her hubby, Michael, is a lucky man indeed.

Paul Cavalconte is now hosting a jazz show on Sirius Satellite Radio--so I hope to see him around the shop. Nice guy, quirky, but funny. And is always thinking of others and tries to be helpful.

Larry Fonseca is someone who I never worked with but was the sports director at WFUV a few years before I took that same job at Fordham. We've been shadowing each other as he worked at both WFAN and WOR not long after I was at both places. I expect him to work at either Sirius or here with the Paulists at some point in the near future if tradition continues to follow form.

In all, a great night out with the old friends.

Oct 10, 2006

My mom's sister

My Aunt Sis died on Sunday evening. Please pray for her--Cecilia Ryan and for her children.

In general, my extended family and I are not terribly close. This wake on Thursday is probably the first time I'll see many of them in about a decade. We were once a close family but in recent years have drifted. When my mother's sister Rita died, the family began drifting apart. I'm not sure what caused this drift but it began a downward spiral that never really healed.

My mother is now 78 years old (dad too!) and has not been in great health for over 25 years (since I was about 8-9). She's been close to death herself on more than one occasion. Unbelievably, she is now the oldest member of her family. She outlived all of her sisters and her youngest brother is the only other sibling left of 9 children.

My mother and her sister were close. They talked nearly every day although she moved to Missouri recently with her daughter's family. She just talked to her the other night and got the chance to say goodbye. I remember a huge fight they once had which ended with them not speaking for about 2 years. I asked my mom what they had been fighting about and she couldn't remember. So she figured if she couldn't remember what the issue was, then they should be speaking. SO she called her and they began to get close once again.

The Irish sure know how to hold a grudge, don't they?

My aunt was nice to me and a good woman. She had two children and a slew of grandchildren. I served as a altar boy in her husband's funeral nearly 25 years she lived a good deal of her life as a widow. She worked for the phone company for ages and was happy to retire.

Please keep her in your prayers.


Oct 8, 2006

Prayers for Aunt Sis and more

I was just informed that my mother's sister, Cecilia Ryan (Aunt Sis)is close to death. Please keep her and her daughter and grandchildren in your prayers.

Also a directee that I've been corresponding with, has been diagnosed with brain cancer...this may explain the host of mental problems she's been having...but it also means she has about a 30% chance to live. She's had suicidal tendencies, so let's pray that she may not be overwhelmed in the coming days.

Let us pray for healing of both body and mind...may those who are destined to leave this world be given a peaceful death and rest in the arms of our loving God. Amen.

Rehearsal for BustedHalo Show

So we did a "rehearsal show" the other day for the Catholic Channel. The break down of our show as opposed to the podcast is as follows:

Fr. Dave is basically the ringmaster...the main voice and host of the show.

Natalia Imperatori-Lee is the co-host and brings the estrogen to the show.

I'm sort of a hybrid. I'll be doing "resource updates" once or maybe twice per hour and doing features like "view from the pew." Otherwise I'll be screening your phone calls for the show and helping our producer get guests.

Funny thing, isn't this the job I left radio for ministry for? And I am back producing shows with a bonus on-air role.

In honesty, I'm a bit jealous of not being on the air all the time. But I also value the aspect of having a woman being on the air. It's something that is needed in our church and Natalia is funny and bright and can hold her own with Fr. Dave...and I helped find and select I'm happy the show's in good hands.

When we reviewed the show with the Archdiocese's Director of Communications he generally liked it. He pointed out my update as something he thought was really well I took some pride in that. He liked my energy and the good information.

As usual, I knew my role and performed it most likely I'll be stuck in that role forever now. Not sure if that's good or bad. As per my earlier post...I'm looking to shine a bit more and do more of a primary role as opposed to a secondary role. So I'm not sure if I relish the role I'm in right now...but Fr. Dave hears my concerns and values me and is trying to get me more involved in the show. I'm sure they'll be other opportunities at Sirius anyway for me to contribute more, both with our shows and with others.

No word yet on a launch date...but we'll let you know.

Oct 6, 2006

Soul Searching

I've been thinking a lot about my present life situation these days. Over the past 6 years I've become one of the experts in my ministry field, built a national web presence for the Paulists, started and co-hosted a podcast, and led a very successful retreat program (probably what I'm most proud of). I also have been a husband for just under five years and am hopefully going to become a father in the coming year, if adoption plans go through. I've travelled to three different countries and two of those countries I've now been to three times (Nicaragua and Canada-Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver and Victoria). Oh yeah, I got a Master's Degree and I wrote a book.


So what am I longing for in my life these days? Seemingly I have lots of accomplishments--that I am indeed proud of. Yet, I have a burning hunger for more. BustedHalo has grown up and is basically under the more than capable hands of Bill McGarvey. I still contribute to the site and produce the blog and the ask father joe series...but it certainly has been a reduction in the need for me to hover over day to day operations.

Since I'm not a priest, I often get overshadowed by my boss, Fr Dave..who is very gregarious and extroverted. Like me, he likes control, has strong expectations, and loves the limelight. Because he's a priest, he naturally gets more pastoral opportunities--and people are more naturally drawn to him for counselling and pastoral work. Like me, he's a great presenter...and I mean lights out. He's funny, charming, and always on.

Somehow it all feels like a competition for pastoral attention...which is good and bad. Competition by design pushes us to be better. So I think I demand excellence of myself. At the same time, I feel that we sometimes have a less than collaborative relationship...not that we don't work well together...we do. It's more of a ownership issue. I often get to play the secondary role, or a visioning role --while someone else gets to finish the project or flesh out an idea I began. While I don't mind having my ideas twisted and turned and I have the ability to "be in the room" and let others pick away at the brainstorming sessions where we debate ideas--I often don't feel like I'm owning any of it for myself--where my compadres seem to grasp more tightly to a project that they can own for themselves and are given full credit.

I'm sure I'll feel differently when my book actually is in print. But that's a year away. Sigh.

I've given some thought to becoming a deacon. My thinking is that maybe I earn more respect with ordination and maybe more doors open for me ministerially. The lay person is often looked upon by the laity as "secondary". And in some ways rightfully so. And there are many restrictions on what I can and can't do as a lay person and professional minister in the Catholic Church. Recently, I had to turn down a request by someone to officiate at their wedding. I was touched that they even considered asking me--but obviously that's something I can't do. I led a wake service for my wife's family once and while was one of the great joys of my life to bring comfort to those in pain. Ironically, the wake was for my wife's uncle Andy who was a Deacon and a big inspiration to me.

So in the coming year, I'm giving thought to where I feel most called and what I have to contribute. What can I do that's uniquely me? I'm putting myself in my own life coaching program and asking myself the big question:

If I could do anything tomorrow, what would that be like?

I'll be blogging about this from time to time. So stay tuned and weigh in with your own thoughts...I'm sure to find that helpful.

Oct 5, 2006


Much like the great example that John Paul II gave when he forgave his assassin, today we look to our Amish brothers and sisters who have openly forgiven the man who killed 5 Amish women in a senseless act of revenge over a 20 year grudge.

Thursday's funerals were scheduled for Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Marian Fisher, 13; Mary Liz Miller, 8; and her sister Lena Miller, 7, according to The Associated Press.

Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12, is to be buried Friday, AP reported.

Five other girls who were victims of the shooting remained hospitalized -- three in critical condition and two in serious condition. They ranged in age from 6 to 13.

Roberts, 32, shot the 10 girls Monday and then committed suicide as police stormed the schoolhouse. The truck driver brought lubricating jelly and plastic restraints with him, and may have been planning to sexually assault the Amish girls, police said.

I wonder what is going through the minds of those families today and yesterday while they prepare the bodies in their home (as is their tradition) for the funeral and burial? Somehow their FIRST thought was one of peace and forgiveness.

Today let us pray that we all may be able to be inspired by their example and be able to overcome the grudges in our own lives and forgive the petty things that we encounter in our lives.

New Look

OK--so I re-did the look of the Blog again....

Any thoughts--I kind of like this--especially since orange is the new black!

Halo bangin' to Slayer

What's next? The mosh pit?

An absolutely awesome column by Dave Nantais about Slayer's new album on
A lot of my high school friends were metal-heads so I listened to a bit of this stuff growing up...not my thing really but I do think the lyrics of a lot of these songs are brilliant.

Oct 3, 2006

Hijackers claimed to be protesting Pope's comments.

From Reuters Today:

"A Turkish airliner flying from Tirana to Istanbul has been hijacked and flown to Brindisi in southern Italy in an apparent protest against the Pope."

Soon after....

"The two hijackers of the Turkish Airlines flight that was forced to land in Italy on Tuesday have surrendered and will ask for political asylum, an Italian police official said."

"They have surrendered and are about to get off the airplane," Brindisi Police Chief Salvatore De Paolis told Reuters. "They will request political asylum."

Off to the playoffs!

The baseball playoffs start today...

Lucky (now)main man, Kenneth Wright, spiritual director extrodinaire, has invited me to Game 1 of the Yanks/Tigers. I'll be having a hot dog for dinner.

Some background on my baseball past:

I used to cover the home games for the Mets and the Yankees for both WFAN and then later WOR. I was the backup reporter for Suzyn Waldman, the famous sports beat reporter and one of the first women to really break down barriers for women in sports. She is also just a wonderful woman to be around...and she taught me a lot. I would basically fill in for her when she returned from the West Coast swing and needed some time off to recharge or when she just needed a day off. Since I had a season pass, I would go to the games when she was working and I'd cover the visitor's locker room and if I got anything good, she'd use it and give me credit. It was great experience for me--no money--but great, great experience. Later at WOR, I was their main reporter--again no money--but I got to go to a full season of home games for both squads. (it was 1996 and the Yanks won the whole thing!)

Now...I grew up a Mets fan in the late 70s. I was the only kid in the neighborhood who hated the Yankees and Reggie Jackson. I thought Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Lee Mazzilli were awesome.

So now I get into the business and I get to cover the Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Brett Saberhagen Mets...who were God-awful and I got to see Fred Wilpon's operation up close. Yeesh did they treat us media guys poorly. I would say that both Bobby Valentine and Steve Phillips were pretty good to me...and always pretty polite. But the experience pretty much soured me on the Mets.

The Yanks conversely were wonderful to be around. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Wade Boggs, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Paul O'Neill, heck, even David Wells were all pretty good guys to be around. Joe Torre was just a class act. And while Steinbrenner was and still is CRAZY, I never saw him be rude or condescending to anyone in the media while I worked there. I can't say the same about Fred Wilpon.

But I could never bring myself to be a Yankee fan. I'd rather chew my right arm off. But let me tell you these guys were hard to root against.

So I took some time off from "rooting" and became what I call an "observer" of the game. I admit feeling good about the 2000 Mets team. I later adopted the Cubs as a team I could root for...while visiting Wrigley Field in Chicago (which I claim as the greatest ballpark in the majors). The Cubs are annoying. They are so up and's no wonder that Wrigley is basically the world's biggest outdoor tavern. This year there was no reason to do anything there but drink. They stunk up the place.

I leave you with some predictions for the post season:

Tigers over Yanks in 5.
Twins over A's in 4.

Dodgers over Mets in 5.
Padres over St Louis in 3.

Twins over tigers
Padres over Dodgers

Twins over Padres.

Oct 2, 2006

Pastoral vs Theoretical

Fr. Eugene Lauer had a curious comment during his after dinner comments at Fordham's Garduate School of Religion and Religious Education dinner.

He mentioned that the National Pastoral Life Center is not really interested in high fallutin theological theories...but rather, they are focused on how to serve people at a basic pastoral level. How do we translate our message to those who simply come to church.

It seems to me, that this is also the work that does. We're translators. We link the riches of theological and spiritual wisdom with everyday life.

If only this could be everyone's mission.

Fordham's GSRRE Dinner

This was a lovely affair with over 225 people attending. Fr. Eugene Lauer of the National Pastoral Life Center provided after-dinner comments and accepted the Gaudium Et Spes Award on behalf of the deceased Msgr. Phil Murnion and the center.

Jesuits Joe and Vin Novak were glowng and Dr. Jack Nelson, his wife Kathy and the rest of his family looked genuinely touched and honored. Nelson and the Novak's received the founder's award...and the award henceforth will be given in their name.

The mass beforehand was first rate liturgy, thanks in part to the liturgical planning of Dr. Marilyn Kravitz, a recent grad of the school. Possibly the most beautiful offertory procession I've ever seen. As the choir played "One Bread, One Body" those in procession lifted high the gifts that came forth from the community.

The dean of the school, Fr. Tony Sciorra gave a very moving homily based on the selected readings, weaving in the fact that "we indeed are standing on the shoulders of giants, not merely from our school, but from our faith. And that all begins with Jesus and the 12 he chose to lead us. When Jesus ascended into heaven, I'm sure all the saints and angels wondered if Jesus had a 'plan b." But those 12 simple men truly were the right people for the job...and we are indeed here today in this church because of them. And their gifts were all of different varieties."

I was proud to have proclaimed the 2nd reading...and really felt the appreciation of many who thanked me to proclaiming the word well.

One of the highlights of my evening was meeting Zeni Fox, of National Catholic Reporter and other publications fame. She was the epitome of grace and class and made my wife (who often knows nobody at these things) feel remarkably comfortable. I hope I have the honor of spending more time with her again soon.

A second highlight was seeing Fr. Joe Constantino, Sj. When I was still a young radio producer, a priest-friend encouraged me to talk to Fr. Constantino about possibly working with his retreat center as a volunteer and working towards changing my career to directing retreats. He gave me about an hour of prime direction and allowed me to see that I had plenty of experience and gifts to be able to venture on my own in retreat ministry. While he had no positions on his staff available, he did invite me to keep in touch and encouraged me to look to other places to find a place to serve in this capacity. The Paulists, not long after this, found a job for me and I confidently came forth to land the position. So I owe Fr Joe big time.

In all...a fine evening. Next year on October 20th at Fordham! Be there!

Sep 30, 2006

If it's Saturday, I'm at Fordham

I'll be teaching as a guest lecturer at Fordham today (Saturday, 9/30) on Millennial young adults for my mentor Dr. Kieran Scott. Later in the evening, I'll also be attending the first annual Sapietia et Doctrina Awards Dinner for the Grad School of Religion and Religious Education. I've served on the committee for the event and will be lectoring at the mass and also serving as the coordinator of the awards ceremony. Should be fun.

The big awards will go to:

Fr. Vincent Novak, SJ and his Brother Joseph Novak, SJ along with Dr. Jack Nelson. They get the Founders Award for outstanding service to the grad school. They are the founders of the school and the award is named in perpetuity in their names.

Msgr. Phil Murnion also gets the Gaudium et Spes award posthumously for his work with the National Pastoral Life Center.

Other award recipients include:
Msgr Howard Caulkins - for his parish work and his outstanding hospitality to foreign clergy--especially those from Africa.

John Roberto- a name synonymous with youth mnistry and with the Center for Ministry Development.

Emmanuel Neno - who has served courageously in the church in Pakistan.

Patricia O'Neill- the first US woman to serve as vocations director for a religious order.

Kathleen Geelan, Sr. Miriam Cleary & Sr. Karen Doyle- three renowed spiritual directors in the area.

Sr. Deborah Humphries- who has worked for justice amongst inner city familes.

Fr. Frank McNulty- an outstanding pastor and moral theologian.

Sr. Joann Plumpe - who was an outstanding campus minister in Utah (can't be easy to be Catholic there, never mind working in ministry).

Rev. Doug Ronshiem - the president of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Lyn and Tom Scheuring- the founders of LAMP ministries, an outstanding service organization.

Kathy Nelson and Dr. Peter Ellis will also be honored for their outstanding contributions to the school.

Should be a fun night. Pics coming tomorrow.

Sep 28, 2006

Pell: Young People Know Nothing About the Faith

Hat tip to Amy Welborn here for this piece from Cardinal Pell from Austrailia:

Catholic Youth in Danger

Pell points out that most young people do not know their faith or are, at the very least, confused by it.

The real irony here is that we have the MOST theologically educated laity at this point in time than ever before--young people included.

Some thoughts: While I pretty much agree with Cardinal Pell about the need for people to really know the essentials of the faith well (and I even agree that many do not know this amongst young people), I find that the problem has less to do with catechesis and more to do with parenting.

Most of the people who I know who know their faith well had it instilled by their PARENTS and reinforced by the classroom catechesis. I had good franciscan and pallotine teachers growing up and had a very faithful CCD program...but most of the students couldn't care less...even with the solid catechesis. Why? Their parents were sending them there out of traditional obligation (and because the grandparents would have had them drawn and quartered if they didn't).

The result was a theology of fear and mere obligation...that often had nothing to do in applying the faith to everyday life. Instead the rote answers were simply a chore...and that's no way to convert ANYONE.

Paulists Launch The Catholic World

A new internet retrieval has sprung from my bosses!

The Catholic World Online is an internet journal at the intersection of faith and culture in North America. A project of the Paulist Fathers which once was an actual paper magazine that Paulist founder Isaac Hecker started, has the online magazine covering the issues from a Catholic perspective, hoping to inform readers with commentary and opinion. The interplay of culture and faith in North America encompasses questions about science and technology, the arts, sports, literature and education, all of which are a part of The Catholic World.

First issue looks interesting...check it out.

Sep 27, 2006

Rudy Giuliani strikes a chord for balance

Rudy Giuliani stands up for Clinton...and states the obvious about whose fault 9-11 was. Good job outta him.

From the AP:

"The idea of trying to cast blame on President Clinton is just wrong for many, many reasons, not the least of which is I don't think he deserves it," Giuliani said in response to a question after an appearance with fellow Republican Charlie Crist, who is running for governor. "I don't think President Bush deserves it. The people who deserve blame for Sept. 11, I think we should remind ourselves, are the terrorists — the Islamic fanatics — who came here and killed us and want to come here again and do it."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice challenged Clinton's claim that he did more than many of his conservative critics to pursue bin Laden, and she accused the Democrat of leaving no comprehensive plan to fight al-Qaida.

Giuliani said he believed Clinton, like his successor, did everything he could with the information he was provided.

"Every American president I've known would have given his life to prevent an attack like that. That includes President Clinton, President Bush," the former mayor said. "They did the best they could with the information they had at the time."

As a New Yorker, I thought Rudy was an excellent mayor in his first term. In his second term he went insane and started picking on pedestrians, cab drivers and his wife (who I worked with in radio and is a sweetheart). At the time of the 9-11 attacks many New Yorkers would not have voted to re-elect him. After his heroic leadership during the 9-11 attacks he gained a valuable reprieve from NYers. Now there's a lot of criticism coming forward about his leadership at that time again.

Frankly, I liked the guy...and I'm a democrat. Rudy realized that the way you run city government is that you kick ass and take names. He led. Period. Went overboard a few times and maybe needed a better supporting cast in his second term. If he ran for mayor again..I'd probably vote for him.

NO chance he runs for higher office now. He signed his death sentence politically with these comments. Gotta love the guy for that.

Fr. Roderick: Catholic Insider

Fr. Roderick from Daily Breakfast and Catholic Insider podcasts came by (all the way from The Netherlands!) yesterday.

The guy's got all the enthusiasm of a four year old child. An incredibly nice man. I was running late yesterday and found him on the street videotaping some of his famous "soundscaping" features (think walking tour). So I walked over and said "You have got to be Fr. Roderick, to which he replied "Yes, do you listen to my show?"

I told him not only do I listen but that he was coming to the BustedHalo headquaters to see me...and told him my name. That provoked a hearty laugh.

So we had a "Daily Breakfast" with Fr. Roderick--listen to it here

Terrell Owens: Suicide?

I wonder what the real story here is?

Some conspiracy theories that have been floated thus far:

1) He took steriods and had to flush it out of his system before a urine test (that's the most interesting one--thus far).

2) His story just as he said it. He mixed cortizone and supplements and had a bad reaction. Possible, I suppose, but I'm not a pharmaceutical expert.

3) The most likely one: TO is a troubled young man. Once he's out of that limelight he ceases to exist. When that happens he can't deal.

I think TO has a lot of potential actually, to not be a jerk, and contribute much to the world outside of football. He just needs to get out of his own way and not let his media-saavy agents continue to let him be portrayed as a sleaze.

Does anyone but me remember when both Dennis Rodman and TO weren't jerks but were actually good players and fairly upstanding citizens?

Go Keith Go

While President Bush and I agree on the issue of abortion, I often disagree vehemently with him on virtually every other issue.

Similarly, I thought President Clinton had an accuarate view of the media distortion that has gone on with 9-11.

Olbermann sums up nicely here on this very issue.

Sirus Update

The launch of the Catholic Channel was delayed slightly...or at least the talk portion of the channel has been delayed. The channel did launch with things like Motzart's Requiem being played--a nice touch, even if the station will have a much different feel once the "talk" portion debuts...or at least that's my sense of things.

Cardinal Egan is recovering from knee replacement surgery and wants to be available for interviews, etc... so we're waiting on him to be more available to be at Sirius in person.

Fr. Dave and I met our producer, Adam Hammay the other day. Nice guy who seems to get radio. James Liu will serve as our board operator...quiet guy but I'm sure he's well-qualified. I've done both of those jobs in a past life, so I'll be easy to work with talent for those guys--but I'll also know when they screwed up and they won't be able to pull the wool over my eyes (as I used to do with dopey talent who had no technical knowledge).

We're sititng down to discuss some roles for the show. Natalia Imperatori-Lee an instructor of religious studies at Manhattan College will join us as a co-host with Fr. Dave. I'll most likely be more of a features producer and have less of an air-presence than I do on the BustedHalo cast...but still a significant one. I'll be doing The View from the Pew...and Bible Bootcamp. Fr. Dave seems to like having people to talk to. We don't want to confuse the listeners with two male voices either...since a new audience will be getting used to us.

It's all new. I have five old radio colleagues who now work at Sirius. John McDermott who is the Program Director of their comedy channels said:

"I think we all died and this is some kind of radio purgatory. It seems everyone I know from past radio jobs works here now! How cool is this?"

Sep 22, 2006

Sirius Satellite Deal

Now it can be told:

Fr. Dave Dwyer and I (pictured, above with Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Sante Fe, Archbishop George Niederhauer of San Francisco and Bishop Jaime Soto of Orange, CA) have agreed to a deal with the Archdiocese of New York and Sirius Satellite radio to do a radio show on Sunday nights on The Catholic Channel.

The show will air from 8P-10P on Sunday nights. So we hope you buy a receiver and subscription and tune in.

The show will be almost like our podcast except we're taking live calls. 1888-3-Catholic. So call on in!

We'll have a bunch of guests as well...and our church search feature will get expanded with guests coming on from said parishes.

Lino Ruilli (pictured, below) from Generation Cross TV and Lino at Large will also be on the channel from M-F in afternoon drive (5-8). He's hysterical and fun to be around.

Sep 12, 2006

Memories of 9-11

As a NYer I remember all too well the tragic events of 9-11. Fortunately for me, I had a doctor's appointment in my home borough of Queens that day and was not on Manhattan Island. My wife was on Queen's Western tip in Long Island City and had a classroom that had a direct view of the towers. When the first plane hit they were instructed to draw the shades so as not to traumatize the children.

I lost two friends and a family member of my wife's side of the family as well.

Debbie Welsh was a flight attendant on United Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA. If you haven't seen United 93 yet, I highly recommend it. Debbie plays a significant role in the re-telling and from what her husband had shared with me, it seemed like an accurate sequence of events. Check it out--and say a prayer for my friend and the others who perished that day.

Tom Cullen was a college friend and a firefighter. He died in the towers leaving behind a little son and his loving wife Sue (who admittedly, I think I knew a bit better than I knew Tom). My one memory of Tom was one of him always wanting to be a firefighter. Our freshman year dorm at Fordham, Queen's Court had (of all things!) a pyromaniac living amongst us. Since the dorm was nearly 150 years old, a single match could really do some damage to the structure of this landmark building. (ironically, the dorm's Southernmost wing was badly damaged by fire just a year later by a left behind candle in a dorm room). Tom organized what came to be known as "fire watch." We literally took turns staying up all night trying to either dissuade or catch the alleged arsonist. At some point the said woman confessed to a friend who blew the whistle. Tom was livid at her actions but also had compassion for her, as she was obviously troubled. He gave us all a course in fire safety and taught us how to operate the extinguishers. He was already a volunteer fireman and was a member of Fordham EMS. He took good care of my college roommate (who was a sick kid and died too young) several times. Just a great guy, who I wish I knew better. Sue must miss him terribly as does his son, Tommy--who is probably getting big by now. I hope that Tommy realizes how much of a hero his father always was--even in my college days. I saw him race into our dorm when it was on fire once to wake up one of our many friends who failed to evacuate the premises. He didn't think twice about it. Just as he didn't think twice about heading into those towers on that fateful day. Be proud of your dad, Tommy. He sure was proud of you and your mom.

My wife's cousin, Jenene also died in the towers. She had just called her mother and told her that it was the other tower that had been hit and that she was just fine. After hanging up the second plane came barrelling into her building. On a high floor Jenene never had a chance.

A divorced mother of one, she left behind her mother as well. It is such a tragedy for a mother to lose a child--and since her son now lives with his father, I sense that Jenene's mom feels twice as bad.

While these three people are just three of those that were lost, one person lost was too many. These were just my three. Friends and extended family. I'm not lucky or blessed that more people that I knew didn't perish. I'm devistated that I have to tell this story at all.

The towers are firm in my memory. I ate at Wild Blue and Windows on the World on those top floors several times when I produced a food show on WOR Radio. (probably people who served me but that were nameless to me died that day simply doing their job). My wife danced all night at the Greatest Bar on Earth during her single days. I caught the PATH train to New Jersey with an old girlfriend many times in the basement and window shopped the high end stores that called WTC their home.

Keith Olbermann put it best on MSNBC last night. The fact that there is still no memorial and still no construction going on at "Ground Zero" is a tragedy. We do dishonor by continuing to ignore the memories of those lost and continuing to kill others in their name. I think a large dove should be erected their to remind us of the tenacious spirit shown by NYers and all Americans that day and in the coming weeks. We put partisian beliefs behind and huddled together. We held people we hardly knew and comforted those tenderly who had lost their loved ones.

Mostly, we believed that our God reigns. That the madness of terrorism is no match for our God of love. God will sort out the mess once again as only God could do, and has done for ages. This madness did not have to happen. God did not will this act, despite the call of the terrorists who stated that it was God driving them to kill. The hands and feet of Jesus were pierced again that day and a God who intimately knows human suffering all too well felt the pain of scourging once again.

But we need to remember as does our government that death never has the final word. Our lives need to go on and not forget what happened that day but to honor those who died with our very lives. Like Christ, they now have no voice but ours.

That voice needs to shout strongly for peace.

Sep 5, 2006

Wikapediaing God

The number two google result for God leads us to Wikipedia...where you get a general definition of God as a supreme deity.

Karl Rahner defined God as the "inexhaustible one." The "question which has no answer." As much as we try to find out about God (through wikipedia, or Google, or other sources) we never really grasp all there is to know about God. At least some portion of God remains mystery. That is what makes God, God and us, not God. Rahner believed that even after death God remains mystery...which at first seemed disappointing to me, until I realized that this also means that life continues to go on beyond this world because of that same fact.

That has made me reflect today...while we strive for union with God (heaven) that should not be confused with BECOMING God. We will never be God. We will always be creation that may one day be united with God...but God will remain the God-self.

A book I'm reviewing, Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit, which I'd recommend for some light yet challenging reading tells us something profound about God.

"God would rather die than to be separated from His creation."


Sep 3, 2006

Googling God

So my book should be released in Fall of 2007 (although so early copies will be available by July most likely). But in the meantime, I thought I'd do an experiement over the next few days.

I Googled God.

I'd like to provide a reflection/review for each day based on the web results that come up uder "God."

Today's first entry is from the first result: The Interview with God

While this powerpoint show is a big smaltzy, I can't help but be moved by it, as have thousands of others. The journalist in me also wonders what I would want to ask God if I had a few moments to interview him...and then it hit me.


That is what we call prayer and I can do it as often as I'd like to. I do get answers every time I pray and many times they are surprises. Sometimes even disappointments come to me in prayer...most of the time with myself.

As each day unfolds am I truly thankful for the opportunity to interview God? To find out more and more about His love and His wonderful creation?

Or do I keep all the questions for others to half-heartedly answer?

Aug 31, 2006

Moving Post this Morning

Rocco Palmo with a moving post on prayers today at Whispers

Aug 28, 2006

Back from Vacation too

After Nicaragua we spent the week at the Jersey Shore, Ventor to be more precise. If you play'll recognize Ventor as one of the Yellow Properties. It's near Atlantic City.

We were hosted by Marion's Uncle Louis and Aunt Denise who were kind enough to offer us a week at their beach condo. We had a wonderfully relaxing week. Hit the beach, went to a minor league baseball game (The AC Surf--got a cool cap too), won $200 at blackjack, and had a wonderful dinner with Cousin Louis and his wife Amanda at Barrells a fabulous italian joint.

Back home for a week, putting the finishing touches on the new place.

While I'm at it, drop some prayers for my dad whose PSI (a measure that detects possible Prostate trouble) was up at around 10 last week. The doctor examined him and found nothing unusual so he's going to have a biopsy done on Friday to make sure there's no trace of cancer. He should be fine regardless but if you have a safety prayer lying around...please do utter it.

Back from Central America

Nicaragua was a blast once again. A wonderful group of people from our parish (probably the best group yet) travelled down with us. We did some major painting (of the roof, kitchen, office, and chapel), we replaced the horrible florescent light in the chapel and put a less harsh tri-bulb track light in--focused on the tabernacle of course, and redecorated the chapel (it now doesn't look like a figurine marketplace). Of course we also did remarkable work with the children. My wife led a "circle time" with the kids a few times much to the delight of the staff and our crew. They enjoyed singing "dias de semana" (days of the week--which is a song sung to the tune of the Addams Family.

Our evening reflections were great...Missi Decker one of our retreat people from BustedHalo offered a profound reflection on her faith story which set the tone nicely. Susan Mantel, one of the leaders also offered a wonderful reflection on Naming What's Important. Dana Evans and Kenneth Wright ended our week with talking eloquently about suffering healing and hope and our deepest desire. All worked hard on their talks and it showed.

Ok, now for the moment you've all been waiting for...

"But Mike, what about the adoption news??"

We are in line for a child is the short answer. We have placed our request with the ministry of child protection and they in turn will be searching for a child for us. None of the children at Hogar Belen fit our criteria or are eligible to be adopted at this time--although their status could change over time. But most likely, our child will be female, between the age of 1-5 and be from a home other than Belen.

We should know some news in a few months. We now have a lawyer (Nubia, who is fantastic) in Managua who is working hard on our case.

What else? I have some great pictures which I'll post later in the week. Maybe they will be fodder for some reflecting as well.

Aug 11, 2006

Subway fears

So last night the usual subway I transfer from to go home got shut down briefly because of the torrents of rain we had.

So I took the D train three stops (or should say TRIED to) to the 7 train to get home.


The train got stuck between stations and we sat there for 45 minutes. Mind you it takes me a half hour usually just to get home.

Everyone suspected terrorism---this is what we've come to.

Aug 10, 2006

Nicaragua Trip

On Saturday, I head to Nicaragua for our mission trip to the orphanage Hogar Belen in Managua (also known as the land that cool breezes have forgotten).

Please offer prayers for our group of 19 from St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan and for the children and staff of the orphanage.

I'm a bit worried about travelling with the recent liquid bombing attempt in Britian and I'm not easily spooked when it comes to travel. The government has done a good job out of scaring the pants off of us. So also pray for safe travel.

In other news regarding our trip, Marion and I have been recommended to look at other orphanages in the area as they have more children ready to be adopted (abandonment issues are taken care of, no parents, within the right age). Since we're "older parents"-- I'm 36 and Marion is, (WHACK!) ahem, a bit more experienced than I--we need to adopt a child who is around 2-5 years old. So hopefully we will be able to see who our child will be on this trip with God's help. It's been a trying summer for us, between moving, Marion changing jobs, and the strangeness of not knowing where our adoption plans really lie, so pray for us and for our continued committment to one another. We could use some support.

Oh yeah...and if any of you could spare a dime...

We're still taking donations for the trip (we're about $400 short of our $3000 goal).

Send donations to:

Mike and Marion Hayes
Mustard Seed Trip
415 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019


Young Adult Conference

Just spent the week in San Francisco (a wonderful city--I always ask the question "Why do I live in NY?" when I return from SF.)at the National Young Adult Conference and the NCYAMA Leadership Forum for Young Adult Leaders where I played a fairly major role in both. I presented my findings in Googling God to a group of young adult leaders alongside sociologist Bill D'Antonio from Catholic University and Brett Hoover, CSP (my old boss) and Ken Johnson-Mondragon from Instituto Fe y Vida (Faith and Life Institute) presented great information on Hispanic millennials.

At the conference, Fr. Dave Dwyer and I did a live podcast at lunchtime of the conference and Fr. Dave was one of the keynote presenters (he knocked it out of the park--it's still hasn't landed!). I also served with the wonderful Jenene Francis of Charis Ministries as Co-emcee for the conference.

John Allen, Jr. from NCR and CNN did a phenomenal job presenting "Making Sense of the Vatican." I particularly saw lots of young adults taking notes during his presentation. If you ever have the chance to hear his top 5 myths of the Vatican--jump at the chance. He's a great guy too and has a love of coffee and italian cigarettes.

All in all...a great time had by one and all. Mary Jansen, the director of Young Adult Ministry in SF was a gracious and wonderfully organized host along with her bishop the Most Rev. George Niederhauer, who spent all three days of the conference with us, including a lunch with young adult ministers. Very impressive.

Jul 28, 2006

Notre Dame Folk Choir

As a Fordham grad, I'm often irked by how rah-rah Notre Dame all of their graduates often are. At a symposium there once, I remember a Campus Minister cordially thanking an Archbishop for joining them for mass and then added: "And of course we want to thank THE NOTRE DAME FOLK CHOIR!!!)

Choir 1
Archbishop 0

However, all that being said, today's National Catholic Reporter has a cover article on said Folk Choir by my esteemed colleague and Notre Dame Folk Choir alumna, Renee LaReau. A great read and a truer story of young adult faith cannot be found anywhere else.

Jul 21, 2006

What does my Ipod know about me?

Mark Mossa over at You Duped Me, Lord and Sr. Christine Wicox over at Sister Christer did this experiment awhile back. You take your ipod (or mp3 player, or itunes) and put it on shuffle. Ask the questions in order below and hit play after each one to receive an answer. When you finish the lot of questions - it play again and see what song comes up and then write your own question for that song.

My results are below

How does the world see you?
If I had a Million Dollars - Barenaked Ladies

Will I have a happy life?
Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye -Beth Nielsen Chapman

What do my friends really think of me?
Falling for the First Time - Barenaked Ladies

What do people secretly think of me?
What do you do with a BA in English? - Avenue Q Soundtrack (I actually HAVE a BA in English)

How can I make myself happy?
Send Out Your Spirit - Jessie Manibusan (Very true)

What should I do with my life?

Will I ever have children?
Shopping - Barenaked ladies (Interesting since we're adopting)

What is some good advice for me?
Break Your Heart - Barenaked ladies (True--have learned something every time I've been vulnerable)

How will I be remembered?
We are One In the Spirit - The Path (COOL!)

What is my signature dancing song?
Everyone's a Little Bit Racist - Avenue Q Soundtrack (Yeouch--I hope not! Although this is the kind of a song I like to sing--a Broadway showtune--and I'm not gay-I swear!)

What do I think my current theme song is?
RoadRunner- Barenaked Ladies (We just moved--so that's pretty good!)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Magic - Ben Folds Five

What song will play at my funeral?
Shout to the Lord - Lincoln Brewster (probably true!)

What type of men/women do you like?
Adlib - Barenaked Ladies (them telling jokes, etc on a live album)

What is my day going to be like?
BustedHalo Cast - Episode #45 (we are taping today!)

Where Am I?
One Week - Barenaked Ladies (Listen to the lyrics and everybody who's married will get this one)

And the next song was:
Concerto for 2 Violins in A Major - Vivaldi II
So the question I wrote is: How do I unwind?

Jul 20, 2006

Stem Cells: Bush vetoes

The stem cell debate sure is interesting, isn't it. It's even divided the Republicans--who do a darn good job of sticking together most of the time, unlike my fellow democrats.

Some thoughts:

As an adoptive parent to be--I think the President's alternative to have the frozen embryos adopted is somewhat misguided. With adoption laws being rather cumbersome in the United States (and rightfully so--you can't just be giving kids out to any schmoe who comes along), the chances that these embryos can be adopted quickly is probably unlikely. Secondly, the numbers we are talking about are obscurred in the argument. There are many attractive options for people seeking adoption and many of those consist of not carrying and embryo to term (although that would be the preferable option obviously for most people). Is there any guarantee that our President offers to guarantee that he can get all of these embryos adopted?

My guess is no...and it's probably not even close. Perhaps there is a compromise and here's where a slippery slope comes in. I wonder if "embryos slated for disposal due to lack of viable adoption" could be considered for stem cell research instead? We could make every attempt to get the embryos off for adoption and if they fail to be adopted after a viable time--then can they be given for research?

While certainly far less than at least offers a compromise and an alternative to the straight disposal of the embryos. It's certainly far from an argument that the church would accept--but perhaps those in the political sphere would listen to this compromise.

As we all know, Governing is choosing and someone always gets screwed. Unfortunately, any way you slice this one--it's always going to be the unborn who lose. With the veto, people in need of the research also get screwed. Everyone loses.

As always there are no easy answers. I'd probably prefer not to do the research on the embryos, because I don't hear from the scientific community any guarantees of success with the procedure. Naturally, I also believe that the most vulnerable need our protection as well. However, if others who don't share our views have the legal right to dispose of these lives--what are we to do?

Jul 19, 2006

Why the Church considers Homosexuality disordered

Over at the Spiritual Smackdown on, one of the more interesting debates is on Homosexuality. It should be noted that the American Psychological Association has not classified homosexuality as a disorder since the early 70's. Certainly there are psycholgists worldwide who dissent from that viewpoint, even if the majority hold this view.

While to the average viewer, the church and psychology seem at odds in talking with one another, but actually, the church is taking a more defensible position than one would think at first glance. Perhaps even a more charitable one.

In defense of the church, she indeed knows her science well. The church's position is that until something is definitively held by all scientists the church will not opine or teach anything contrary to that view.

As a quick example, Galileo taught heliocentrism (the sun is the center of the universe). Many scientists thought he was wrong--and they believed that the earth was the center. The church also believed biblically speaking, that the latter was the case.

Today NOBODY believes that the earth is the center of the universe and there isn't a scientist that would assent to that position either. Until recently, the same could be said about evolution--until all the creationists found their way to raising points about their viewpoints.

While many, maybe even most, psychologists believe that homosexuality is not a disordered orientation or act...there certainly is not scientific consensus on that point. And that is where the church is always going to take her cue in changing a piece of Catholic teaching.

Will homosexuality ever be accepted in the scientific community as readily as heliocentrism? Probably not. Or at least nobody has come up with an indisputable argument that makes the homosexual act one that is properly ordered..that convinces all scientists to hold this view.

In short, if 4 out of five shrinks think that homosexuality is peachy keen, the church will stand pat until that other shrink comes around to the side of the others.

My thought: Good luck in getting that to happen anytime soon.

Brown Outs

Ugh. Came home last night to a low power brown out which means sleeping without the air conditioner. I guess this is a foretaste to what awaits in Nicaragua.

I awoke this morning to NO power in some places in my house--most importantly the kitchen--which means I had to remove all the perishables from my fridge and bring them into work where the nuns who work in my building (Oblate Sisters of Jesus the Priest) were gracious enough to store it for me in their fridge.

On a positive note...we raised an effortless $400 last night at our fund raiser for Nicaragua. Thanks to the good folks at Local on 53rd and 2nd in Manhattan who graciously offered their place for the shindig.

Jul 17, 2006

Amtrak--you've got to be kidding

So our Paulist Seminarian/intern was coming back from the DC area last night and wanted to catch a 10PM train. He pre-bought the ticket on the internet but when he arrived at the New Carrollton train station the doors were locked.

Now you can't ride the train without a ticket--nor can you get onto the track.

One would think that they would have a ticket kiosk outside the station so one could retrieve a ticket and board quickly.

But alas, no. The kiosk is INSIDE THE LOCKED DOORS.

Needless to say, he missed his train and opted for the next morning's train.

Long Island Pool Party

Had fun yesterday at a pool party given by Marion's cousins, (Joe and Jennifer Cavaliere and their adorable children - Danielle, Anthony, and Nicole). Her other cousins and their kids (Nigel and Marie and their children also joined us).

Nothing like a pool on a 95 degree day. Joe is also an expert griller--so we had great hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausage.

It gives me pause hanging out with people who are parents. It gives me a glimpse of how much these children are such an important part of their lives and how much of a priority they are as well. It seems overwhelming at times but I don't know many people who are seemingly as happy as Joe and Jennifer look with their kids...even in crazy and hectic times.

I also have to say that these kids were all very well behaved (and I'm not just saying that). Good parenting was certainly on exhibition and I learned a lot about what being a good mom and dad entails from Joe and Jen.

In short, a good time had by one and all.

Jul 15, 2006


You really know you love someone when you move with them.

My wife and I are presently moving into our new home and unpacking boxes. We are getting on each other's last nerve.

She's cute when she's it's hard not to laugh when she's pissed at me.

Oh'll be over soon.

I'm just thankful I have a diswasher now.

Jul 14, 2006

Ken Lay is not James Byrd

From various wire sources:

At Ken Lay's funeral, his minister the Reverend Lawson likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching," said Lawson.

He later said that history will be kind to Lay eventually.

His comments, met by hearty applause, referred to Lay's recent federal trial on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from Enron's unraveling in 2001 and four charges of bank fraud. Lay had planned to appeal his conviction and was awaiting sentencing when he died.

Now I'm all for comforting Lay's family at the moment of his death and not making him out to be an ogre. But this is a complete farce.

Ken Lay openly cheated, nay, SCREWED an entire company. People lost their life savings because of him. He falsified so much evidence that it was obvious that he would soon be headed for prison for a very long time.

If anything the fact that he underwent so much stress during the last few months could be taken as a sure sign of his guilt and perhaps even (and hopefully so) his repentence.

May God have mercy on Ken Lay, forgiveness holds no bounds with God--and it shouldn't with us. But even with the most merciful judge, Ken Lay will never be James Byrd.

Jul 12, 2006

Podcast Awards

One of our loyal listeners nominated the BustedHalo Cast for the 2006 Podcast Awards in the Religion/Spirituality section.

You can too...simply by clicking below and filling out the form.

Jul 10, 2006

I'm a home owner

This morning Marion and I closed on a co-op apartment. Yay!

I'm not sure if I should be happy or insensed that I'm now the owner of a hefty mortgage.

We'll be moving to my old neighborhood of Woodside in a few days.

But for now, we'll celebrate with a nice steak dinner with our good friend and moving-helper Steven Bell, CSP.


Just back from a retreat that I ran this weekend. Lots of great folks who inspired me with their many thoughts and open hearts for God and one another. Great weather was the icing on the cake.

I was very impressed with Paulist seminarian Steven Bell who is one of the more pastoral people I know. I really think the world of him and enjoy his company in general but this weekend showed me that he's going to be one heck of a priest. Many praised his good pastoral sense as well.

As the director it's sometimes hard for me to get into the flow of the weekend and this weekend proved to be the same. Because I worry about much that is going on--whether people are connecting, those who seek direction from me, the food being prepared correctly, the team leader's talks, etc... I don't get much of a chance to relax myself.

I felt good about the reconciliation service I led with Jenene Francis my collegue who runs retreats for the Jesuits in Chicago. We recreated the washing of the feet and I think many were moved by it.

One challenge for me is often managing others on the weekend. I do a poor job sometimes with being firm with people and giving direct orders. Probably because I like being liked and hate controversy. I had an unhappy cook this weekend--who I love like a sister but who irks my last nerve sometimes. Coupling her with my wife's attempts to be helpful in the kitchen made for some fireworks...some legitimate complaints on the cook's part and some short-sightedness on everyone's part, puts me in a no-win situation. Fortunately for me my priest buddy stepped in and mediated.

Googling God

Googling God
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