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?

Googling God

Googling God
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