Tag Archives: DEndres

Mary and Joseph Go to a Fish Fry

It’s a Friday in Lent and two Catholics go to a local Fish Fry. We’ll call one Mary and the other Joseph. At first glance, the two don’t seem very different. Both were baptized as infants; both attended 12 years of Catholic schooling. The difference is that Mary attends Mass each weekend; Joseph attends infrequently. A recent study (see Sherry Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, especially pp. 43-44) indicates that the most significant predictor of whether a Catholic attends Mass each weekend or not depends on how the person answers this one question: Do you believe …

Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Placing Ourselves in the Nativity Scene

One of the cherished Christmas gifts from my childhood is a simple, plastic nativity set. My grandparents gave it to me when I was eight or nine. It has traveled from my room when I was growing up to my college dorm and to now my office at the seminary. Each year I enjoy getting it out in Advent and arranging the figures. And each year I am confronted with two questions: Do I put the baby Jesus out before Christmas? And, do I put the three wise men out before the Epiphany? Recently, I …

Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Night Jesus Went Missing

A few years ago when I was at my previous assignment in Dayton, at about 10 o’clock at night a young woman came to the rectory door. She was very upset – almost to tears. She had gone over to the chapel adjacent to the church (which is available 24 hours a day for prayer and adoration) and was distraught to find that the tabernacle was missing! My first thought was that someone had gained access to the chapel and taken the tabernacle to see what they could get from a scrap yard. One of …

Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ten Minutes That Will Change Your Life

When I was a college student, I met a young Jesuit who challenged me to pray every day for ten minutes. He said that if I did that, it would change my life. I accepted his challenge, but I thought in the back of my mind – “Ten minutes, that’s no big deal, how could those few minutes transform anyone’s life?” But I began praying anyway, making the short walk to the campus chapel each afternoon.  When I prayed, I did not pray the rosary or any other kind of devotion, but simply had a …

Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gospel’s Tough, Kid!

As a seminarian, I was assigned to live at a local parish. One of my duties there was to assist the pastor in setting up for Mass and other services. One day I was readying for a baptism, getting out the oils, candle, baptismal garment, and last of all, filling a basin with water to eventually be blessed and poured over the child’s head. I had been preparing a basin of warm water, when the pastor questioned me, “What are you doing? Are you using warm water?” I said that I was and explained how …

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1/168th: Another Way of Looking at Sunday Mass

When we think of our duty to worship God on Sundays, we probably consider the time we are “giving” to Him. Sunday Mass takes on average about an hour – some places less, some places more – or approximately 1/168th of our week. Even so, this minimum requirement of the Church to worship God each Sunday is not so minimal to some (we know that less than 25% of baptized Catholics in the U.S. attend Mass every week). And while it is true that many make sacrifices to attend Mass in the midst of the …

Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saints Perpetua and Felicity: There is Neither Slave, Nor Free in Christ

When we view the Church’s history, we see many notable pairings: Saints Peter and Paul, Timothy and Titus, Cosmas and Damian – as well as the memorial of Saints Perpetua and Felicity (March 7). All of these saints are linked for a reason – either in life or through death (as in the case of martyrs) or both. Perpetua and Felicity have an unexpected connection – which could easily be viewed as an essential incongruity.  Perpetua was a woman of noble birth and Felicity was her slave. Though the two women were from very different …

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hearing God’s Call: Think About It; Pray About It

How does someone know they are called to the priesthood or religious life? It’s a difficult question – rarely is it like a flash of lightning, or a voice, or a vision.  If vocations depended on signs like these, we would have a lot fewer priests and religious. But one thing is certain: the Lord continues to call and He calls in as many different ways as there are individuals.  He calls each of us by name in a way suited to our individual circumstances for Christ knows us even better than we know ourselves. …

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Happened to My Coat?

When I was a college student at Xavier University I was part of our campus’ St. Vincent de Paul Society. Every fall – right around this time of the year – we organized a coat and clothing collection. We always had a great response – lots of donations from faculty and staff, parishioners at Bellarmine Chapel, and some from going door to door in the neighborhood. One year as the collection was ending, a friend of mine, Ed, and I took the coats and clothes to our dorm rooms for sorting and bagging. We then …

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wedding Reading That Isn’t

One of the aspects of the priesthood that I enjoy most is wedding preparation. Not all preparations are alike and certainly couples seeking to be married in the Church today are all over the board in terms of their religious education and practice of the faith. But something that unites many of them is the Scripture readings they choose for their wedding.   Of all the potential readings, the one chosen most often for the New Testament reading is from St. Paul to Corinthians (1 Cor 12:31–13:8). You know the one . . . “Love is …

Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments