Tag Archives: community

Generations Gathered

Recently, the O’Hearn (my wife’s maiden name) clan gathered for a family reunion of the four generations of O’Hearns. Great Grandmother was there, her sons and daughters, their sons and daughters and the grand and great grandchildren. It was quite an experience to see all those people and all that history in one large room celebrating and talking together. Many memories were recalled and shared. It was wonderful to see so many O’Hearns enjoying one another’s company once again. Nearly 40 people were there and as I observed and reflected on the joys and struggles …

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Bringing Back the Bluebirds!

A couple years ago, a Franciscan friar in my community, Fr. Carl, built and mounted a number of bird houses on the property of our St. Anthony Shrine. The birdhouses are nicely constructed of cedar and are the exact type suited for bluebirds. Because there were no bluebirds around the shrine property, we friars joked that the birdhouses were built on the “if-you-build-it-they-will-come principle.” We have lots of birds around St. Anthony Shrine. Cardinals, robins, woodpeckers and finches of every color are abundant. There are a few boisterous mockingbirds. And, yes, we have bluejays, warblers, …

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Rounding Third and Heading for Home

This year, opening day fell the day after Easter. Two events that serve as harbingers of spring—no matter what the weather is—in the closest possible proximity. They are days that give us hope that winter will be ending sooner than later and that the long, hot days of summer can’t be far off.  (I personally am much fonder of heat than cold, so this is a time of celebration for many reasons.) For me, this time of year also signaled that I am in the home stretch of my “initiation” into life at a new …

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Preferential Option for the Other

Sometimes I am guilty of being idealistic and naïve. I get that. I want things to be simple and good. But after awhile experience teaches me to be very realistic. The trick is to not let the realism swing into cynicism and negativity. It may need to take a detour there but it can’t stay there- not if I want to basically be a positive and happy person, one that helps build the Kingdom instead of tearing it down. I say this because as Catholics, we have a lot of ideals in terms of our …

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Visiting the Amish, Part II: Living the Questions Now

In my last post I described a visit to Holmes County Ohio, home of a large Amish population. The Amish grapple with the same questions of any religious organization or group of believers. These questions ask how much engagement in the world is appropriate and even necessary for survival and growth, what identifies members to the world as a sign or witness of the group’s beliefs, what is a positive witness, how is the not so positive witness handled by its own organization, and how do members live a healthy expression of individuality and still …

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The Way Home is Mysterious

Where is home? Is it just an address where I live? Part of living religious life means a life of going where sent. In the past, Sisters were sent by their superiors. A note or piece of paper was placed at the dinner table, alongside one’s plate-that’s how a Sister would know that she was moving to a new location. In those days Sisters would typically move every two or three years.  Nowadays its more of a personal discernment of God’s call. This personal discernment takes place with the superior and others in the religious …

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A Common Bond

On the last weekend of July, I gathered at the University of Dayton and Bergamo with a group called “Common Bond.” The group is made up of former members of the Society of Mary (Marianists) who have left in the past many years. The Common Bond has been gathering at three-year intervals since 2000 and there is a spirit in those gathers that always touched me profoundly. This group of men has been, and in some cases still are, very much a part of my life. Many of them I went to college with, others …

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Building Multi-Racial Worshipping Communities

On May 4, 2012, I attended a Racial Justice Summit that was held at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.  The keynote presenters were Mr. Michael Emerson and Ms. Michelle Alexander. There were a number of topics that grabbed me on this day: Mass Incarceration; The Fight for Justice and Equality for the Poor; and Collateral Sanctions – Re-Entry of Felons.  But, the statements that snatched me from the throes of disillusionment were made by Mr. Emerson.  He simply stated, “Cincinnati, Ohio had recently been listed as one of America’s most segregated cities.” And, “Church communities …

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Having a Heart for Martha and Mary

I have always had this thing for the Martha and Mary story in the Gospel of Luke. This is the story where Martha is busy preparing food for their guest and she tells Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus then tells Martha that Mary, who sits at the foot of Jesus and listens to his words, has chosen the “better part.” The classic interpretation of this story is that Jesus is telling Martha that the contemplative path is the surest way to God. I know many people think Martha is getting a bad …

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God’s Story, Your Story, and My Story

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about personal stories. Our personal stories don’t just occur all by themselves in a vacuum of our own inner landscape. In truth, there’s a part of that because it takes personal growth, inner reflection, desires, an awareness of ourselves as individuals to understand, name, and claim our story. But all of that inner stuff lives in an objective world of other people, families, communities, places, cultures and events. Our journeys happen in places and times with other people. We are shaped in a context, in interrelationship with others. …

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