Tag Archives: DKroger

Solidarity Revisted

“Pope Francis denounces corruption and a culture of selfishness and individualism, while calling for a culture of solidarity.” With these words, Catholic News Service summed up Pope Francis’ visit to one of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious slums, Varginha, where the pope reminded the people:  “You are not alone.” To understand the full meaning of the pope’s words requires a sense of what John Paul II did. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Paul II supported the solidarity movement in his homeland of Poland. Solidarity was the first independent labor union that broke free …

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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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Eat Less, Live Longer

When I was a Franciscan novice, there was a retired bishop, Rembert Kowalski, who lived in the novitiate community. As a young Franciscan priest, he volunteered to serve in the missions in China. He was assigned to work in Wuhang, China, in 1925. Eventually, he was selected to be bishop of Wuchang, China. When the Japanese invaded China, they imprisoned Bishop Kowalski because he was an American. He suffered nearly three years in a Japanese POW camp, mostly in solitary confinement. After the defeat of the Japanese in August, 1945, Bishop Kowalski went right back …

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Pre-departure Area

When I worked in the Philippines we Franciscans used to refer to those who were nearing death as being “in the pre-departure area.” Perhaps it was our way of denying death or preparing ourselves to accept the fact that one of our Franciscan brothers was nearing death. If I recall, it was a retired priest who started that “pre-departure” tag, based on the way the Manila Airport passengers were moved into a special gate area before boarding. The “pre-departure” tag keeps coming into my mind whenever there is someone close to me entering into the …

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