Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vocation Gathering

This past week I invited our seminarians and several potential seminarians to gather with me in Circle for a few days of prayer and reflection, and more importantly, to get to know a little bit about each other. One of our current seminarians was able to gather with us. I did not expect the two from Rome to come home. We also had four potential seminarians attend. One is applying to the college seminary this coming year. Two are looking at possibly entering the seminary after college and the last has finished college and is discerning where God is calling him to serve Him. Please continue to pray for vocations, especially for vocations to priesthood and to religious life.

Happy New Year

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy New Year

Fr. Leo

Restoring a Catholic Culture: Where do we start?

I got the following from the Catholic Culture website.

I've been a follower of Catholic World News for years. This fall they merged their website into the Catholic Culture website. Please take time to read the whole article on their webpage. This commentary if from Phil Lawler

Shortly after the US presidential elections I wrote a column in our "Commentary" space lamenting the failure of Catholic Americans to join in a strong political bloc supporting a culture of life. Many readers responded enthusiastically to that column, and especially to these words:

To repair the damage, we must recognize that the problem is not restricted to abortion, nor to defense-of-life issues. Indeed it is not, strictly speaking, a political problem. To restore the integrity of the Catholic vote, we must first restore the integrity of the Catholic faith, and rebuild the foundations of a Catholic culture.

What can we do, you and I, to restore our Christian culture and protect our Catholic faith?

Over the years I have been involved in several different efforts to promote Catholic teachings in the political arena. Although I still applaud those efforts, and happily join them whenever I can, I have come to believe that they are not, and cannot be, the answer to our problem. Whenever a Catholic group rises up to support pro-life candidates, another group, claiming to be equally Catholic, counters by defending candidates who support abortion. You and I may agree that no genuine Catholic could support legal abortion. But the media disagree, and sympathetic reporters will always give an edge to the "pro-choice" Catholics. As long as Catholics are not unified in their beliefs, we cannot expect to form a solid political bloc.

But what if some of us were conspicuously unified in our beliefs and in our behavior? What if there were enough of us striving to live an authentically Catholic life so that our neighbors couldn't help but notice? Inevitably they would notice, too, if there was something a bit different about the way we lived: something distinctive, something attractive, something clearly in keeping with the teachings of the Church. We need to bear witness to the power of Christian principles, to act as the yeast within our society.

We can't expect instant results. I'd love to be able to suggest some strategy that would turn things around in a matter of weeks, and replace secular hedonism with Christian humanism. (To be perfectly honest, I think the prospect of a quick victory lures many people into political campaigns.) But let's be honest with ourselves. Our society's problems did not crop up overnight, and they won't be resolved overnight, either. We're in this battle for the long haul.

Quite a few readers, responding to my post-election analysis, argued that the American bishops should do more to unify the faithful, by clearly enunciating the teachings of the Church and rebuking those Catholics who flout them. I wholeheartedly agree with that argument. At every opportunity I encourage bishops to carry out their teaching responsibilities. But in the end I'm not a bishop; I can't control their actions.

I can control my own actions, however. When I am called to give an account for my life, I don't expect to be asked what the American bishops did or said about a particular problem; I'll be asked to explain what I did or said. Moreover, it is the duty of the Catholic laity, not the clergy, to transform the social order with the power of the faith. [Fr. Leo's emphasis]

So let's get to work. What can we do?
The rest of the article goes into detail.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just want to take a quick moment to wish all of those who are following my blog a Blessed and Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vocation Team

I submitted the following to our diocesan newspaper for the Jan edition. Vocation work truly is a team activity.

As most of you are aware, in October, Bishop Warfel appointed me to the vocation team for the diocese as the main point of contact for recruiting potential seminarians and helping those who are discerning a call to religious life. Fr. Jay Peterson will remain as a member of the team responsible for the formation of our seminarians once they enter the seminary.

I am excited about this new role in my ministry, but I realize that it truly is a team effort. While Fr. Jay, myself and a few others make up the formal vocation team, each of us is a member of the informal vocation team. Whether we are a priest, religious sister or religious brother, or another member of the laity, we each are responsible for promoting and recruiting vocations.

I'd like to use my story as an example of how the total team works. I grew up in a family that really did not practice its faith. My dad was Catholic and my mother was not. Even though we (I have a twin) were baptized at a young age, we only went to church when Grandma was visiting, or we were visiting her. There was not a lot of religious formation taking place, but I can remember a prayer that was said after every Mass in my grandmother's parish. It was a prayer for vocations encouraged by the Knights of Columbus and both bishops of South Dakota. It sparked a seed. As a matter of fact, we use that same prayer today in my parishes at the end of Mass. The people joining in prayer were part of the team that lead me to the priesthood.

The summer before entering high school, my family and I moved to Forsyth. I got involved with the local Boy Scout troop. One of the other families in the troop had a strong Catholic faith. They invited my brothers and me to join them for Mass each weekend. Being true members of the team, the encouragement from families in the parish to practice the faith feed into my formation and helped to water the seeds that had been planted through prayer. While in high school I received the other sacraments of initiation. Fr. McTague was an important part of the life of the parish while I was in high school.

I started college at MSU in Bozeman. My first year there, my mother passed away. That next summer, Fr. McTague, having retired the year before, was doing supply work while the local pastor was on vacation. He invited me to lunch one day and, while we were enjoying the meal, asked if I'd ever considered being a priest. I told him I had, but gave a litany of excuses as to why that would never happen. He told me to keep thinking about it. Here was another member of the vocation team opening my eyes to the call God was trying to send me in life.

There are other priests, religious and laity who also had an impact in helping me hear the call that was before me. Truly they all make up the team.

This month we will be celebrating National Vocations Awareness week from Jan 11th, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, through Jan 17th. The Office for Vocations has sent out to the pastors a set of bulletin announcements to help people reflect more fully on God's call for them in life. We will be working on some new programs that we hope to implement within the diocese to make encouraging and supporting vocations to religious life and priesthood central to our parish life.

God bless all of those who make up the vocation team.

The Catholic Truth – Reaching out to Catholics over the Internet

I just became aware of the following. It looks like a great place to start learning, or re-learning, about the Catholic faith.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey (November 20, 2008) – For many years, Gary Zimak of Cinnaminson, NJ attended Sunday Mass, but knew very little about his Catholic faith. Five years ago he felt the need to learn more about what the Church teaches and began exploring the Internet for answers. “What I found was a lot of information, but much of it didn’t represent the true teaching of the Catholic Church. Some websites were radically conservative and some terribly liberal”, says Zimak. He continues, “After much research I was able to discover several websites that accurately stated the Magisterial teaching of the Church. These websites opened the door to Catholic books, magazines, newspapers and radio/tv programs, all of which assisted me in learning more about what the Church teaches”.

This quest inspired him to found the Catholic Truth lay apostolate, a group dedicated to helping Catholics learn about their faith. The mission of the apostolate is carried out over the Internet, using their website ( as the main vehicle of evangelization. Contained on their website is a simple 10-step plan that is “guaranteed to bring you closer to Christ”, according to Zimak. These steps involve traditional Church practices such as the Mass, Confession, the Rosary, Catholic reading, prayer and Bible reading. Recommendations are also made for reading material and Internet sites. Additionally a daily blog is provided that features inspirational thoughts and news. All of their services are provided free of charge.

“The techniques that we present are based on methods that have worked in my life and in the lives of other Catholics that I’ve known. It’s a great tragedy that many Catholics are not aware of the great treasure that they have in their Faith. We want to reach out to those folks and let them know that Jesus Christ is still alive in His Church today. Knowing more about your faith will allow you to get closer to Him and bring you greater peace.” says Zimak.

For further information visit the Catholic Truth website ( or e-mail them at (

Let me know what you think of the site.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The American Airman Anthem ( Airman's Creed)

The Airman's creed is a statement of what it means to be an American Airman. In this video link, two of the Airmen I was honored to deploy with in the summer of 2008, put the creed to music. Here it is accompanying a slide so so things can be put into perspective.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sad Day in Montana

The following is found in today's Billings Gazette.

Montana judge: man has right to assisted suicide

By The Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) A state district judge has ruled Montana residents have the right to doctor-assisted suicide.

The ruling issued late Friday by Judge Dorothy McCarter makes Montana the third state in which doctor-assisted suicide is legal.

"The Montana constitutional rights of individual privacy and human dignity, taken together, encompass the right of a competent terminally (ill) patient to die with dignity," McCarter wrote.

McCarter ruled in a lawsuit filed by a terminally ill Billings man, four physicians who treat terminally ill patients and a nonprofit patients' rights group, Compassion & Choices.

McCarter's ruling holds that mentally competent terminally ill Montanans have a right to obtain medications that can be self-administered to bring about a peaceful death if they find their suffering to be unbearable.

"The patient's right to die with dignity includes protection of the patient's physician from liability under the state's homicide statutes," the judge wrote.

Please pray for all of those who are involved :( You can read the whole story at the link above

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday

I'm sure most of you heard the story about the security guard who was trampled this past Friday as a crowd rushed through the doors to get the specials they'd been standing in line for hours to find. It is sad they we've truly lost the spirit of the season that we are now in. Advent is about preparing for the Lord's return, and, as we get closer to Christmas, preparing for the remembrance of coming of the child Jesus. For many people, the consumerism and materialism of the society has completely taken over. I want to encourage all who take the time to read my blog to take a moment to pray for the fallen security guard. Also pray for all of those buyers throughout the nation who have lost track of what we should be preparing to celebrate. May they learn the true meaning of Christmas and work to keep Christ in Christmas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bishops Oppose Freedom of Choice Act

I got this from Zenit

BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 12, 2008 ( The U.S. bishops criticized the Freedom of Choice Act as "bad legislation" that would ultimately cause more division in the country.

Cardinal Francis George, the president of the U.S. episcopal conference, said this today in a statement published on behalf of the nations' bishops. The conference approved the statement upon concluding their three-day fall assembly, held in Baltimore.

Pledging to work with the Obama administration on issues of economic justice immigration, education, health care and religious freedom, the cardinal reminded the president-elect that a "good state protects the lives of all."

The statement called the Supreme Court's decision in favor of the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade a "bad court decision," and warned that it could soon "be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself."

Referring to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), Cardinal George said the law would "deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry."

He continued: "FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

"Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated.

"The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life."


He said the act would "have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities."

"It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil," said Cardinal George.

"On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will," the conference president said. "They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby.

"Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted."

"The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world," the cardinal continued. "If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve.

"Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."

Freedom of Choice Act -- Fight FOCA

With the current national leadership, we need to be aware of the effort to wipe out all state legislation to protect the lives of the unborn. Please check out this link and sign the petition. Those without a voice need us to speak up for them.

Be sure to check out the video.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Young New Yorker leaves police force to become priest

From the Catholic News Agency

New York, Nov 6, 2008 / 01:34 pm (CNA).- At the age of 25, Nicolas Fernandez had all of the qualities needed to be a great policeman and his future in the force looked promising. However, during his daily work he discovered he needed different weapons to help the “troubled souls” he encountered, so he decided to become a priest.

Born on Staten Island of an Irish mother and a Spanish father, Fernandez has begun his six year-long formation at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He had been serving as a police officer for two years when, inspired by the teachings of John Paul II and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to New York, he decided to change careers and become a priest.

According to El Nuevo Diario, the young seminarian recalls that when he was a policeman, people went to him with their problems because of the uniform he wore. “Now, they will do so because I’ll be wearing a priest’s cassock,” he said.

Fernandez was a patrolman in Brooklyn and his partner always said he could easily rise to the rank of lieutenant. “But that was the last thing I wanted,” he said.

“My choice for the priesthood was influenced by the discourses and speeches of John Paul II on the culture of death, which includes thousands of murders, suicides, homicides and national situations in which children are being abandoned or are victims of abuse in their homes because of drugs,” Fernandez said.

“For these turbulent souls, I never had an external solution as a policeman. There has to be an interior change, a change of heart and therefore, being a priest is necessary,” he added.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Vocation Director

This past week I had a meeting with my bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Warfel. He asked me to assume the role of vocation director with responsibility for recruiting seminarians. I will be replacing him in this role. Our Vicar General will be responsible for the seminarians once they are accepted and sent to the seminary.

I am looking forward to this new responsibility. I ask for your prayers for myself, and also for my parish as we adjust to my new role. I'll be doing a lot more traveling and we'll have to rely more on substitute priests.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Air Force recruiting non-native priests

I found the following article which was interesting
AF looks to foreigners to end priest shortage

By Sam LaGrone - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 24, 2008 12:18:05 EDT

To combat a record low number of Roman Catholic chaplains, the Air Force chaplain’s office is pitching a plan to turn foreign-born priests into naturalized blue-suited clergy.

“We’re working on getting non-native Americans to come into the Reserve and then we would fast track them to American citizenship,” said Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson.

“Once they became citizens, we will bring them into the [active] military as priests.”

Currently, there are 79 chaplain priests in the Air Force. Of those, 17 have medical problems that prevent them from deploying, and at least nine plan to retire by the end of the year. In short, priests for the Air Force are “a critical need” for the 25 percent of all airmen who are Roman Catholic, said Lt. Col. Gary Linsky, a Catholic chaplain in the plans and programs division of the Air Force Chaplain Service.

To blunt the blow, the Air Force will follow a trend in civilian parishes that have relied on foreign-born priests for years. But recruiting foreign priests into the active U.S. military presents more hoops than just getting an out-of-town padre a green card.

It’s like an SAT question: If all active-duty U.S. chaplains are officers, and all active-duty officers are U.S. citizens, are all active-duty chaplains U.S. citizens?

Yes, by law.

So the Air Force Reserve and the Chaplain Service want to use a provision in Title X of federal law that allows foreign legal residents to take reserve commissions. Once in, priests would undergo an accelerated naturalization process, based on President Bush’s 2002 executive order, in order get an active commission.

“What we’ve heard is three to six months, but we have yet to prove that,” Air Force Reserve Col. Anne Hamilton said. The Chaplain Service proposal comes in addition to other Air Force efforts that let priests take commissions when they are older, stay in longer or get waivers for problems that would get other candidates laughed out of the recruiting station, Richardson said.

The need for the clergy in the military is crucial since only ordained priests can administer Catholic sacraments such as Holy Communion, confession and last rites.

In forward operating areas, Air Force priests are in as much demand as special operators. Come January, Catholic chaplains will be required to deploy for six months at a time, at a dwell rate of 1-to-1 — six months in theater, then six months at home. Chaplians of other denominations deploy far less.

The clergy shortage is not unique to the Air Force. In the past 20 years, the Archdiocese for the Military Services has seen the number of priests drop from 1,500 across all services to about 290 active-duty chaplains and 250 in the reserves and the National Guard, said Monsignor Ronald A. Newland, the archdiocese’s chancellor. Catholic chaplains are responsible for nearly 1.5 million troops and family members worldwide covered by the military diocese.

The priest shortage in the military reflects a larger trend in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I can recruit a priest into the military, but I can’t recruit a young man into the priesthood,” Richardson said. “It’s a Catholic Church problem.”

On average, each year only brings 450 to 500 new priests to the entire church, said Mary Gautier, senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, a group that researches demographics in the Roman Catholic Church. That rate will only make up a third of what the worldwide church loses each year to priests’ deaths and retirements, Gautier said.

And most new priests are not American. The countries that are seeing the most new priests are, in order, Mexico, Vietnam, Poland, the Philippines and Columbia, according to Gautier’s data. For Chief of Chaplains Richardson, the program awaiting Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s approval is imperative to the welfare of Catholic airmen.

“We need to meet the needs of the men and women who’ve pledged to support and defend the Constitution and say, ‘By the way, I’m Roman Catholic,‘” he said.

Election time stories

Here is a story from the election two years ago. Check out the complete post for some concerns about this election cycle
"Battle of the Sign's 2006"

Election season is always a bit crazy in Missouri. This past election season proved to be one of those especially whacky and cantankerous election years. Due to the push to pass an Amendment to our state constitution, which would permit human cloning, the battle of the “Vote No” vs. “Vote yes” on Human Cloning began. The stakes were high as such an amendment, would constitutionally protect human cloning.

Our signs for a NO Vote would be defaced or removed in the dark of night by the opponents we faced. Night after night, the sign thieves would come and remove the signs. Some even resorted to defacing property in their nightly raids.

Throughout the month of October the battle raged. By the end of the month it had become a fact of nightly attacks upon our private property an especially our signs. Obviously the sign raiders didn’t know it is not nice to fool Mother Nature or little old Irish ladies on a “Mission for God.”

On the morning of October 30th, I had had enough of being Mrs. Nice old lady who patiently takes in and puts out her signs everyday to protect them.I decided to take some action. Stealing myself for the battle ahead, I laid my battle plan carefully. With a glint in my eye, I set off on a shopping trip, which I must say I enjoyed much more than I usually do shopping trips. First stop was at Wal-mart’s toy department. I spent considerable time carefully wheeling around the department searching for the perfect ammunition. From there, it was on to the grocery store. Wheeling through the aisle on the handicap cart, I quickly assembled my remaining arsenal of weapons. A large jar of honey, motor oil and black trash bags.

This night the raiders were going to pay for their crimes! I carefully painted the edges of my signs with the honey to make them nice and sticky. Then I cut up and laid down the trash bags, dribbled more honey and motor oil on them and covered them with leaves, also duly baptized with honey and motor oil.

When night fell I was ready and waiting for the battle to begin. Dressed in my finest Annie Oakley attire, armed with my cap gun, a spotlight and a primed garden hose, I nestled down in my bunker to wait for the enemy. Hours went by while I warmed myself with thoughts of the sweet victory I was about to undertake. It was a fire fueled inside of me with a resolve General Custer would have been proud of.

Three hours later, my resolve was still hot, but the cold and chill was setting into my old bones. I was beginning to think the raiders were not going to engage the battle on my street this particular night. Then, just as I was preparing to give up and surrender my battle station for the night, the eerie light of car headlights began to glow softly on my honey/oil coated signs. The enemy had arrived!

Suddenly, from the driveway, two large dark figures sneaking across my yard came into view! Holding my fire and waiting for the perfect moment, my heart was racing! As providence would have it, both of the enemy combatants reached their designated sign targets at precisely the same moment! As they reached out to kidnap and trash my signs, I hit the button on my floodlight! With cap gun blazing and my walker to steady my aim, I gave out a battle cry that any Marine Sergeant would surely have approved!

Viva La Christo! I yelled at the top of my lungs! POP!

Take that you rascals! POP!

Viva the Un-born! POP!

Down with Sign killers! POP!

This is for trying to fool little old ladies! POP!

By this time, the miscreants were staring me dead in the eye! All 5 foot 2 inches of me, dressed to fight for the unborn. Proudly welding my cap gun and walker like a pro. And in about the same instant, the enemy realized they were covered with goo! With slips and slides on the slick trash bags, they quickly began their retreat. Scrambling back toward their car, with leaves and honey and motor oil flying, they threw themselves into the car and sped off into the dark Missouri night!

I did feel a bit concerned that they ignored my offer for some water to wash off their wounds before fleeing, but such is life, in the Battle for Justice! I do hope their wives were not too upset when they ruined the carpet in their car and possibly their homes as they came in from this bloodless but messy battle.

Friday, October 10, 2008

We think we have housing problems

I thought I'd share this picture I took while traveling to an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan.

With very few exceptions, even our poorest housing tends to be better than this.

Economic Crisis

Here is different thought on the source of our economic crisis. This is from the blog at

The US economy is in crisis because the real-estate market is crashing. But why is the real-estate market crashing? One major factor-- among many, to be sure-- is abortion.

How's that, you ask? It's a simple matter of supply and demand.

In the first decade following Roe v. Wade, there were about 13 million American babies aborted. Had they lived, those babies would now be young adults, and many of them would be looking to buy their first homes. Add 13 million consumers to the market, and that increased demand would drive up prices. Raise prices, and the real-estate market would rally. If the real-estate market rallies, the financial crisis is behind us. But that's not happening, because those 13 million consumers are dead.

And that doesn't even account for the countless millions of children who might have been born in the 1960s, if their parents hadn't been contracepting...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Real Catholic TV

Have you checked out Real Catholic TV? Here is a sample. I think it will be well worth the $10/month for the premium service. The free service has a lot of good material as well :)

Why we need to vote

A quick video to help us understand how this election can affect each of us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Real Men

When I am encouraging young men to consider the priesthood, I think it is important to remind them about the fact that it takes real men to make the commitment necessary. I will tell them that real men do extraordinary things.

This video is a scene from the USCCB vocations office, produced by Grassroots Films. The production itself is called Fishers of Men. ENJOY

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Endorsement for president

I've been asked if there are any qualified candidates running for president 2008. I wanted share this which I found at The Curt Jester

Priestless Sundays

I've copied the following from Dr. Edward Peter's blog

A news story out of the Diocese of Fairbanks in Alaska describes an upcoming "priestless Sunday" wherein priests will be away from their parishes to serve remote missions, leaving their parishioners without Sunday Mass that weekend. I can see arguments for and against this unusual action and I don't think that outsiders are in a position to conclusively support or reject the basic idea.

One point in the news article, however, needs to be corrected: After noting that Communion services will be celebrated in most parishes left without pastors, the article asserts that such services are "not Mass but will satisfy the Catholic obligation to attend Mass."

That's wrong.

Only Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation (1983 CIC 1247-1248) under Roman Catholic canon law.* If a member of the faithful cannot attend Mass on Sunday, that impossibility excuses the obligation. Boniface VIII, De Regulis Iuris, no. 8, "Nemo potest ad impossibile obligari." Indeed, Canon 1248.2 of the 1983 Code, placed in the Code by John Paul II himself (Peters, Incrementa in Progressu, 1082), expressly notes that "If participation in the Eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister . . . it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the Word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church . . . " (emphasis added). Note, participation in a Word service is recommended, not required, and there is nothing in the canon about Word celebrations counting as Eucharistic celebrations.

Those of us lucky enough to attend Mass in our own parishes next Sunday should especially remember Catholics in Alaska who are not so fortunate. That said, while severe shortages of priests should move us to redouble our efforts to encourage vocations to the priesthood, they are not occasions for changing the understanding of Sunday Mass or its obligation.

* I say under Roman canon law, because there is some provision under Eastern canon law for something besides Mass to count toward the Sunday obligation. See CCEO 881.1.

I am sure that there are other canon lawyers that would argue differently, but this has been my understanding with the limited canon law courses I received in the seminary.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In the Parish

I finally returned to the parish on Friday afternoon. It was good to be back. I stayed in Jordan. While I was away, the ladies came in and painted all of the walls and put down new flooring. The outside of the parish trailer here was repainted, and a new deck was just being completed. It is looking great. Now, if I can find where everything went this past four months :)

I went to watch the Jordan Mustangs play football in Medicine Lake on Saturday. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. It's only about 200 miles away. I did ride with one of the parents so I did not have to worry about falling asleep.

Today I should be back to my normal Mass schedule. It will be good to see all of the people again. I have a baptism in Jordan this weekend and I understand I'll have one in Circle in a couple of weeks. New life is always great.

While I may be home, I'm still on orders with the Air Force and am doing some reconstitution time and will be taking some leave. I will be in the parish on weekends, but may be doing some other traveling and visiting during the week so don't expect a lot of posting on my blog just yet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back in Montana

I wrote the last post earlier this week as I prepared to start my trip back home. I could not post it here until I actually found a real internet connection without the filters that were offered at Manas AB.

I am back at Malmstrom and am preparing to do my processing so I can really go home. I can't wait to see what has happened while I've been away. I hope to be able to post a little more frequently now that I am back in the US. :)

Peace and Prayers

Serving Those Who Serve (Part IV)

It is hard to believe that my time in Kyrgzystan is over. I’m writing this as I finish packing and am preparing to fly back to the US. It has really been an adventure. In my past reflections I spoke about the diversity of people that I’ve served, the sacrifices we are called to make, and the need for us to support our priests and pray for them.
As I prepare to head home I’d like to reflect upon the place where I think the people of Manas Air Base have made their greatest contribution – volunteering in the local communities. The airmen here have two private organizations that they may join to assist the locals build better lives for themselves. The Manas Service Organization (MS0) pairs volunteers from various units at the base with local communities. These volunteers go out to the local villages and help improve their schools, playgrounds and way of life. One village this summer received a new well to help provide clean running water for cooking and drinking.
The other organization that does outreach is the Manas Air Base Outreach Society (MABOS). I did most of my work with MABOS as I was the chairman. MABOS worked with several orphanages, a children’s cancer center, a children’s heart surgery center, and a few other outreach projects. It truly was a rewarding experience.
I had the opportunity to brief several distinguished visitors on the work of MABOS. As I was being introduced to one such visitor, the person introducing me commented how great it was to see the young airmen and women taking part in these opportunities as opposed to visiting the bars and strip joints. Of course, I quickly explained that we could not visit bars and strip joints from the base. However, it is good to follow up on the true meaning of his comments. So many times in life we get distracted by a desire to direct our love, not towards others, but towards ourselves. It is times like this that we are likely to desire to visit “bars and strip joints”.
When we focus our attention beyond ourselves, such as when the airmen and women participated in MSO or MABOS, we learn a greater meaning of love. For those who are not deployed to Manas Air Base, there are still plenty of opportunities for us to volunteer and pass some of that love and concern on to others. We can volunteer to assist in our own parishes for a multitude of ministries that exist. I know that I can always find project that can be passed on to qualified volunteers. We also have opportunities in the larger community. When I am back at home, volunteer with the local ambulance services and serve with the wildland fire fighting crew in Garfield County. Volunteers are needed to assist with blood drives. I mentioned the work of MABOS with orphanages. In some of our communities we have children who are almost like orphans. They could use a quality after school program to include mentors to be role models to form these young children to see value of volunteer service and outreach to others.
Find ways in your communities to reach out and share God’s love for you with others. You will truly make a difference. May God bless you, our troops around the world, and the USA.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Serving Those Who Serve (Part III)

Last week I had the opportunity to meet one of the local priests here in Kyrgyzstan. I was on a trip sponsored by the Manas Air Base Outreach Society (MABOS). The particular place that we were visiting was run by some Catholic sisters. From what I could tell through the translation and such, they were Sisters of St. Francis. While visiting their program I asked if it might be possible to visit for a bit with the local priest. I had heard that the parish offered a Catholic Mass in English at 9:00 am each Sunday. They told me that the English speaking priest was on vacation, but called the substitute who came for a short visit.

In the course of my discussion with the priest, through our driver/translator, and later looking up Kyrgyzstan on, I found out a little about the local Catholic community. Kyrgyzstan is actually considered a Apostolic Administration, which means it is not really a diocese, but has a bishop who administers the territory. The bishop has 5 priests to help him cover the 76,477 square mile country. Sometimes, we in Montana think we have a lot of area to cover. If the priests were evenly divided around the country, the average parish would still be about twice the size of my parish in area.

On the other hand, there are only about 500 Catholics listed for the country. That means the priest to parishioner ratio is much better than Montana. This is due primarily to the efforts of missionary priests coming into the country to serve the small Catholic population.

The priest and I spoke a little about the ministry of the sisters. We spoke about the English Mass for the coming weekend which would be said by the bishop who may not even know much English. The most important thing on my list was to find out where they purchase altar wine and communion hosts locally. I found out that the hosts have to be ordered from Poland. Our interpreters at the base are always encouraging us to buy locally, but we can't do that in this case. We sent the order back to the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri. We could find some suitable altar wine on that is produced locally.

Later in the day, thinking about the number of priests in Kyrgyzstan, I could not help but think of the priest shortage in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. Rural areas, or places with small Catholic populations, experience the priest shortage in a different way than larger, more urban dioceses. Our priests are not normally serving thousands of people each, but are covering thousands of square miles to accomplish their ministry. In many ways, this affects the interaction between the priest and his parishioners. Whether it be large congregations, or large areas to cover, priests have a lot of expectations put upon them.

Oftentimes, we wonder what we can do to help out the priests. I would like to offer a few of my suggestions:

First, pray for them every day. Pray not only for the priests of your own parish by name, but for all priests of your diocese and of the world.

Second and third, pray for vocations and encourage young men who may be called to priesthood to respond to the call. These two ideas go together. If there are more young men ordained, it takes the burden off the priests who are currently serving.

Fourth, support your parish priest. Let your priest know that you appreciate what he is doing for you and your community. Invite him to dinner or lunch once in a while. Find out if there is something special that he enjoys and help him participate in that activity (skiing, card playing, hunting, a nice bottle of scotch or wine, watching a ball game with another person).

Fifth, pray for your priests and for an increase in vocations. I know, you've heard that one already, but it is important to keep those prayers going. (While you are praying throw in a couple of prayers for those called to religious life, and those who are married. Married couples are the source of priests, and religious sisters and brothers can be an inspiration for one discerning a vocation.)

Vocations need to be nourished, not just while they are being formed, but as they are being lived out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What will happen?

I'm sure most of you have seen the news about the groups of traditional Anglicans who are looking at the possibility of coming home to the Catholic Church. Of course, we probably won't see any response to this until after the Anglicans have their Lambeth conference. We need to continue to pray for all of those involved. Our Holy Father and the members of the Curia who will be part of the process, the members of the Anglican communion who are looking to "swim the Tiber", and the Catholics who will be affected by any such move. We need to continue our prayer for unity.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Serving those who serve (Part II)

I am now at the half way point of my deployment to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. It has really been an adventure. In my last article I spoke about the need to be faithful in Mass attendance even when it is difficult to understand the priest. I'm going to take this article in a different direction.

Many times, as we face things in life that are inconvenient or difficult, we are quick to complain. Man life is sometimes rough. Over here at Manas, we are sleeping in 8 x 12 rooms. If you are a junior enlisted, you get to share your room. We have to walk down the hall to the latrine or showers. The food at the Dining Facility is not like it is off the stove at home, and we have to walk a couple of blocks to get there. Our TV selection is limited. We get some variety from the Armed Forces Network (AFN). On the "news" channel we get a mish-mash of news programing from the various networks throughout the day -- CNN for a bit then FOX then MSNBC. You get the idea. It is easy to think that this is roughing it. Oh, the cross that we bear. For a lot of you reading this, all of a sudden what you are facing at home does not seem so bad.

When the troops come through on their way from Afghanistan to head home, things are put even more into perspective. Many of them are sleeping in tents, or spend some nights without any shelter as they are out on patrol. Showers? Try keeping yourself clean with baby wipes. They are eating MRE's (meals, ready to eat) which may or may not be hot, depending upon time and if they have the small heaters to heat the meals. If they are lucky, someone has a radio and they can listen to the AFN radio programing, mostly hip hop type music. All of a sudden, what we are facing at Manas seems almost like paradise.
As you face the challenges for living life, it is important to remember those who are in greater need. Jesus reminded his disciples that they would have to pick up their cross daily to follow him. Those crosses seem heavy at times. I'm willing to bet that most of us, if we were to attempt to change our cross for a lighter one, would find that our cross is not so heavy. We need to pray for the courage to carry our own crosses in life. We need to pray for those who have a heavy load to bear. When our cross seems heavy, we need to remember that Jesus said for us to take his yoke upon our shoulders and he would give us rest. It's all a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Serving those who serve (Part I)

It's been an amazing experience so far, and I've only been at Manas Air Base less than a week. It is so easy in Eastern Montana to get a sense that most Catholics look, act and talk like us. Here, one quickly realizes that is not the case.

As the only Catholic priest serving the international force gathered at Manas Air Base here in Kyrgyzstan I've had to put my communication skills to the test. The Spanish contingent here has a group which attends Mass regularly, including one member who attends Mass daily. While many of the Spaniards speak and understand some English, this daily communicant does not. I may have to practice my Spanish enough to allow me to say Mass in Spanish once a week or so. I've already been invited over to visit the Spanish crew for a dish they call "Paella" which is made in a skillet that is about four or five feet in diameter. This meal, made with rice as the main ingredient, and chicken and sea food added was a real experience.

My first Saturday evening, just before Mass, a group of soldiers from Poland were milling about outside of the chapel. I tried to invite them to Mass, but they had a difficult time understanding me. A different group from Poland stopped by for daily Mass one evening just after that. They understand and speak English much better than I could ever speak Polish. The only Polish word I could think of was "Pierogi" which is something like a pasty from Butte. I could not even work that word into the conversation.

I've seen military members here from Poland, Spain, France, Lithuania, and Kyrgyzstan. By the time I leave I'm sure I'll see even more. The languages, the food and cultures are much different than Eastern Montana. I've heard people back home comment from time to time that they stopped going to Mass when "Father So-and-so" was there because they could not understand him. I think some of these Catholics have missed the real point of our Eucharistic celebrations. We gather for Mass. We unite to offer the greatest prayer possible. These military members from these other countries who stop by to attend Mass have that deeper understanding. They know the prayer. They have it so ingrained into them that they hear it beyond the difficulties that may exist from lack of a common language, or a strange accent. Some people say going back to Latin is the answer. Others want all Masses celebrated in English with an eastern Montana accent. Neither is likely to happen everywhere throughout the diocese, but if we really appreciate the sacrifice of Calvary, we'll make our own sacrifices to be a part of Mass each Sunday, no matter which language is used for the celebration, or how hard the celebrant is to understand.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another touch of history

Some are willing to risk a lot to show the mercy of God.

"Jesus, I trust in You"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Archbishop asks Kansas governor to refrain from Communion for abortion support, awaits response

Kansas City, May 12, 2008 / 06:07 pm (CNA).- Saying her support for legal abortion conveys the erroneous message that the Church’s teaching on abortion is optional, Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph F. Naumann has publicly admonished Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her veto of an abortion law reform bill passed by the Kansas legislature.

Sebelius, a Catholic, is considered a possible vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Her campaign has reportedly accepted donations from Dr. George Tiller, an abortionist who performs late-term abortions and is the subject of a Kansas Supreme Court case for allegedly violating the state’s laws on late-term abortions.

Writing in the May 9 issue of The Leaven, the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s newspaper, Archbishop Naumann said that because of the governor’s support for legalized abortion, he had asked her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion.

The archbishop said that the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act had been passed by “significant majorities” in both chambers of the Kansas legislature.

Check out the whole article at the Catholic News Agency

Monday, May 5, 2008


I got the following from the Vatican Information Service

VATICAN CITY, 3 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This evening Benedict XVI presided at the praying of the Rosary in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, "Marian temple par excellence" in which, as the Holy Father recalled, the image of Mary "Salus Populi Romani" is venerated.

"In the experience of my generation", he said, "May evenings evoke pleasant memories of vespertine appointments to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. ... Today we together confirm that the holy Rosary is not some pious practice relegated to the past, a prayer of distant times to be thought of nostalgically. Indeed, the Rosary is experiencing what is almost a new springtime".

"In the modern world which is so dispersive, this prayer helps us to place Christ at the centre, as did the Virgin who meditated upon everything that was said about her Son and upon what He Himself did and said. When we recite the Rosary we relive important monuments of the history of salvation, we again go over the various stages of Christ's mission. With Mary we turn our hearts to the mystery of Jesus".

"May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace that emanates from these mysteries, so that through us this grace can 'irrigate' society, starting with our everyday relationships, purifying it from many negative forces and opening it to the novelty of God.

"The Rosary", the Pope added, "when it is prayed in an authentic manner - not mechanically and superficially, but profoundly - brings peace and reconciliation. It contains the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the heart of each Hail Mary".

Benedict XVI then called on those present to ensure they remained united to Mary during these days leading up to Pentecost, "invoking a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit for the Church". He also entrusted them with "the most urgent intentions" of his ministry: "the needs of the Church, the great problems of humanity, peace in the world, the unity of Christians, and dialogue between cultures", as well as the pastoral objectives of the diocese of Rome, and the "solidary development" of Italy.


Saturday, May 3, 2008


Catholics like babies. No, scratch that – Catholics love babies. It’s not that Catholics love babies more than other religious denominations, it’s that they like having as many babies as possible in accordance to the number that God is willing to bestow upon the family. Though the US average of babies per household is 2.1, it is not uncommon to find Catholic families whose number of babies in their home supersedes the national average.

This, being better than average, Catholic mentality towards babies can be troublesome for some Catholics in the US as it is deemed acceptable in America to have 1,2, or 3 babies. The ideal for Americans is to reproduce themselves in their baby making efforts where one baby is female and the other is male. Thus modeling their babies after themselves: one for the husband and one for the wife. The 2-baby US mentality is illustrated in the common phrase that comes from the mouths of married couples everywhere: “We want an Adam and Eve.”

Though it is not looked down upon if a family has a third baby, it is normally not encouraged. A fourth baby is acceptable for Catholics in that Catholics, with their anti-contraceptive and pro-life views, are seen as unenlightened and uninformed to the ways of modern people. So a fourth child is considered forgivable based on the Catholic’s ignorance to modern ways and behaviors.

However, if a Catholic family has 5, 6, 7 or more babies, it is seen as a crime against nature and a sin against humanity. In fact, countless Catholic mothers, who have 5 or more babies, have often received flabbergasted looks after having responded “yes” to the question “Are all these yours?” This encounter normally occurs in public places such as supermarkets, department stores, malls, or any other place that makes it difficult for the mother to keep track of every behavioral happening of her babies. The question “Are all these yours?” commonly follows when another person sees a Catholic mother who, with two shopping carts spilling over with groceries, without makeup on, and hair is tied in a pony tail, has one baby in her arms, another in the shopping cart, a third gripped tightly in one hand, the fourth baby clinging dearly to his mother’s dress, while the fifth baby has just knocked an entire shelf of canned peas onto the floor, which by chance startled the baby in the mother’s arms causing him or her to wail like a banshee. She will unjustly be labeled a ‘bad mother’ by outsiders for not having the grace of being born with 5 arms.

Check out the rest of the story :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Room to Live

I'd like to encourage you to check out this video.

It has a message that I think really needs to be heard

Fr. Leo

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Face of Defense: Chaplain’s Journey Leads to Meeting Pope

The following is from the DefenseLink News

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Meghan McNabb
Special to American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. , May 1, 2008 – At just 16 years old, Jose A. Bautista-Rojas left his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, for Los Angeles in hopes of creating a better life for himself and the parents he left behind.

At the time, he had no idea his journey would lead him into the priesthood, the military or the opportunity to shake the pope’s hand.

The road from Guadalajara was not short, and life in Los Angeles was not easy, Bautista said. Living with friends, working all day and attending English-as-a-second-language classes at Evans Community Adult School at night, Bautista focused on the chance to bring his family to the United States.

“There wasn’t much time for fun,” Bautista said. “I worked carpentry from 7:30 to 3:30; from 5 to 7, I worked at a car wash; and from 7:30 to 9, I went to ESL classes.”

After four years, Bautista’s family was able to join him, and he was able to turn his attention to new goals.

Because he worked so much, Bautista hadn’t focused on graduating from high school until he decided to enter the priesthood, a journey that would take 11 years to complete.

Bautista started attending church with a girl he liked, but ended up finding much more.

“I had stopped going to church,” Bautista said. “I had to fight off the pressure and temptations that come to young men. I wasn’t always perfect, but I had to get back on track. I enjoyed church and the sermons, and before I knew it, I was getting involved.”

Bautista’s interest coincided with a new initiative by then-Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Michael Mahoney. The cardinal established Casa Reina de Los Angeles, or House of our Lady Queen of Angels, as a place for young men who wanted to enter the priesthood but either didn’t have their high school diploma or needed to perfect their English.

Bautista studied hard for two years to earn his high school diploma and perfect his English. He spent a year studying for college-level classes, four years earning his college degree, and four years earning his divinity master’s degree.

On June 5, 1999, Bautista was ordained a priest and was assigned to St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Van Nuys, Calif. In 2001, Bautista was assigned to his next church, St. John of God in Norwalk, Calif. Two of his parishioners, a Marine and soldier, died in Iraq.

At their memorial service, busloads of Marines came from Camp Pendleton, Calif., to attend. Some of them told Bautista how they didn’t always have access to attend Mass when they were deployed in Iraq.

“I’m saying Mass, and I look up and thought of them serving without Mass,” Bautista said. “I thought to myself, ‘I need to put my words into action.’ I would always say, ‘Let’s pray for those serving,’ but it was time to act.”

Bautista received an endorsement from the Los Angeles archdiocese and was released to the Archdiocese for the Military. In January 2006, he entered the Chaplain Corps with the Navy.

Then a lieutenant, Bautista served as the Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, chaplain for 13 months in Iraq’s Anbar province. Bautista was the only priest stationed at his unit’s base at Taqaddum, but said what mattered most was finally being able to minister to those he had prayed so long for.

“One of the most memorable times in Iraq was when a sergeant was going into surgery,” Bautista recalled. “He asked me to hold his hand until he went under, and I knew this is what ministry is about.”

Bautista said he doesn’t consider the priesthood a job, but rather, his vocation and what he is dedicated to.

“A job is something you are hired to do,” Bautista explained. “A vocation is love for God and what you’ve been called to do.”

Bautista said Marines and sailors can tell when a chaplain is acting only as an officer and isn’t ministering.

“You have to be an officer as well as a chaplain,” Bautista said. “But it’d be sad if they only recognize you as an officer. A ship that doesn’t float isn’t living up to what it’s supposed to be, just as a minister that doesn’t minister isn’t living up to their potential. You have the title, but you’re not living up to it. Marines can see through that.”

While ministering in Iraq, Bautista received an early invitation from the military archdiocese to attend Mass during Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to the United States. Amid shouts of “Viva la Papa,” Bautista watched as the pope arrived at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

“It was my oasis,” Bautista said. “It was nice to go from the desert to a sea of clergy, faithful people and peace.”

The next day, the chaplain attended the pope’s Mass at Nationals Park in Washington and heard the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics talk about being a witness of faith.

“[The pope] said those of hope must live different lives,” Bautista said. “We must point the way for others. Being seen as different is how people will recognize you as a person of faith.”

After the pope’s historical Mass, Bautista took meeting the pope into his own hands. He walked up past the security lines as the pope was walking off the stage. With outstretched arms, the pope grabbed his hand and shook it.

“I felt like a teenage kid. I was giggling and so emotional,” Bautista said. “The effect this man has on people is unreal.”

The pope reached out to Bautista not only physically, but also spiritually, the chaplain said, and even gave a message in Bautista’s native tongue. He said, “Paz a ustedes,” or “Peace be with you.”

“What made it so emotional was that he was reaching out to you,” Bautista said. “I felt like he was speaking directly to me, like he was reaching out to me personally.”

Bautista said it was a beautiful gift to meet the pope and be surrounded by clergy.

Although Bautista has appreciated every minute of his time as a chaplain, he said he eventually will be called back to serve in Los Angeles. He said he wants Marines and sailors never to think their dreams are too high or far away.

“I want them to know that every step they take, even the littlest step, is one step closer,” Bautista explained. “I am an immigrant from Mexico who didn’t speak English, and I never thought I’d become an officer in the Navy.”

(Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Meghan McNabb serves with 2nd Marine Logistics Group.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The shortage of vocations and the proliferation of disobedience ..

A seminarian forwarded the following blog entry to me. Wow, this makes so much sense.

Check out the entire article

Like most priests I've attended lots of Priest Assembly days and listened to the usual talks on the problem of the 'vocations shortage'. My own view is that we are barking entirely up the wrong tree. Although the lack of vocations is a problem it is not the problem, merely a symptom of the problem.

Vocations are like happiness - you cannot seek it in itself. Happiness comes automatically, all by itself, when we get certain things in our life right.

The problem about vocations is that we have got too many things wrong and I believe a major one, if not the main one, is that we priests are scandalously disobedient.

Every vocation is a grace and grace flows through the pipleline of obedience. When we are not obedient as priests we are discouraging the very vocations we tell each other we lack. Every single act of priestly disobedience, no matter how small, whether catechetical, liturgical, moral, theological, canonical or otherwise dries up vocations at their source - God's grace.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Italian Policeman helped save Jews

I know, I'm putting up a lot of videos ;)

This is for all of those who say Catholics did nothing to help the Jews during WWII.

Abortion - What really happens

I think Fr. Pavone says it will so I'll just let you watch the video.

And another one

Friday, April 11, 2008

Catholic Navy SEAL recieves Congressional Medal of Honor

I found this on the Cafeteria is Closed blog

Michael Monsoor was a Catholic from California, attending Mass even at the FOB [Forward Operating Base]. His parents had named him Michael after St. Michael the Archangel. It was on St. Michael's feast day, Sept. 29th, that he gave his life to save his brothers-in-arms.

As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

What do words mean?

We've heard many phrases in our lives that we just sort of mutter. We sometimes think we've heard something that we do not. I remember once when I must have been about 3 or 4 my twin brother said such a thing. We were in the car with my parents and my dad's parents and my brother said, "There's Archie's house." I heard, "There's our cheese' house." I could not see the refrigerator. I can understand that from a child. This article from Dr. Edward Peters' blog makes one wonder how many of us still have problems hearing what are common phrases, and our ability to pass them on accurately.

Screamingly bad Latin, not to mention bad reporting, from The VOA

The Voice of America boasts of being "A trusted source of news and information since 1942". Oh, really?

VOA's Jeff Swicord drew an admittedly crummy assignment: reporting on the latest shenanigans put on by the "woman priest" crowd. But what should have been a routine serving of empty drivel went l.o.l. funny when Swicord attributed to an Opus Dei priest the following comment on the maleness and the priesthood: "'The church teaches that he [the priest] does this in what is called insomnia nomini Christa, that he does this in the name and the person of Jesus,' says [Fr. Arne] Panula. Jesus was male."

A priest acts "insomnia nomini Christa"? That is screamingly funny. It doesn't mean a thing, folks. The closest I can get is "lack of sleep to/for the name Christina".

But apparently it's not just Opus Dei priests who don't know Latin, it's lady priestettes too: Writes Swicord: "Meehan disagrees. 'A priest is suppose to be in personi Christa,' she says. 'That does not mean taking on male identity.'"

Okay, maybe Father Bridget Mary meant to say "in gobbledy-gook Christina" but I'll bet she didn't; she knows the Latin phrase here is "in persona Christi", which correctly translates as "in the person of Christ."

Maybe Swicord never heard the phrase before (making one wonder how he was assigned to this story in the first place). But since when are reporters, after hearing a technical expression from two interviewees, allowed to simply guess at its spelling? And then to guess it into oblivion? Sheesh.

Now do you see why we never tire of telling Catholics, and the world, that the secular press is laughably incompetent at religious news reporting?


According to the standards above, don't be surprised if the VOA reports the Marine motto "Semper fidelis" to be "Simper fiddles", or if the US Seal "E pluribus unum" comes out "Deploribus moon'em", or if the Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" comes out "Citrus, insomnia, forceps."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Preparing for the Pope's journey

As we await the Pope's visit to the United states, I thought I'd recommend a couple of web sites that will deal with the visit.

Pope 2008 from National Catholic Register

American Papist

Please pray for Our Holy Father as He begins his journey to our country.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Priest Prepares for deployment

Perhaps you've heard of this guy :)

Around the 7,000 square mile parish he calls home, he is referred to as Father Leo. To the 185 families in Circle, Richey and Jordan, Montana, where he has served the past ten years he is a spiritual father and guide, celebrating with them weddings, baptisms and funerals. To the United States Air Force, he is Chaplain, Major, Leo McDowell, IMA (Individual Mobilization Augmentee) Chaplain.
This summer, Chaplain McDowell will be serving as the Catholic chaplain at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. Chaplain McDowell, and an accompanying Protestant chaplain, will serve the needs of the 1,200 airmen assigned to the base as well as the many Marines and Soldiers who will transition through the base on their way to their deployments closer to the war zone.
When asked about differences he expects in ministry while being deployed, Father Leo stated he expects fewer baptisms, weddings and funerals, and a lot more counseling for marriage and family issues. “When I was mobilized after 9/11, I dealt with a lot of marriage and family issues. Many of these were a result of family separation issues, or issues taking place at home where one member of the family was too far away to have an impact. Most of the families in my parish are right there to take care of these types of issues.”
When asked about other differences, Father Leo said he expects the weather to be a lot like it is in Eastern Montana. “The population will be a different story. When looking at the size of the country and the population, it would be like having 500,000 people within my parish boundaries when in reality we are lucky to have 5,000. It will also be a change in the fact that more than 70 percent are Muslim and more than 20 percent are Orthodox. It will be a real culture awakening. I will also be working with various other coalition forces. It will be much different than Eastern Montana.”
Asked what he is most excited about Father Leo responds, “I am looking forward to working with MABOS (Manas Air Base Outreach Society). Their mission to help the local community is truly an asset to the people of Kyrgyzstan.” MABOS recently passed a mile stone by helping fund their 100th and 101st heart surgeries at a local children’s hospital. In addition MABOS provides toys, clothing and sweets to children at many of the local orphanages.
Father Leo has been serving in the Air Force Reserve since April, 1991 when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Chaplain Candidate, while completing his seminary studies. During this time he spent summers at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota, and Sheppard AFB and Bergstrom AFB, both in Texas. He also helped out the Illinois Air National Guard based at O’Hare during the school year. After being ordained June 8th, 1994, Father Leo continued as a Chaplain Candidate for a year before starting the paperwork to be a chaplain. In December of 1995, Father Leo was re-commissioned as a First Lieutenant, Chaplain. Father McDowell has been assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base since 1995. After 9/11 he was mobilized, initially to provide backfill for deployed priests, and then deployed to Diego Garcia. He served at Grand Forks AFB, in North Dakota and Andersen AFB, in Guam in addition to his forward deployment to Diego Garcia. As Father Leo prepares for his next deployment, he asks for prayers for himself and all of those who are serving our in our military.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Grandparents have special mission of passing on the faith, Cardinal Bertone says

The following article is from Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Apr 7, 2008 / 05:38 pm (CNA).- Addressing the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, explained over the weekend that in a society characterized by hedonism and superficiality, the role of grandparents is key in the passing on of the faith to the new generations.

During his speech on the conference's theme of “Grandparents: their witness and presence in the family,” the cardinal said that in a society in which ethical values “are more and more superficial and are dominated by the prevailing hedonism,” the role of grandparents as “authentic networks of passing on the faith to the new generations” is important.

Cardinal Bertone expressed his concern for the tendency of families “to break apart as the spouses approach an older age,” a phase in which they need “reciprocal love and understanding.”

He also emphasized “the comforting strength and sure moral support” of grandparents, saying they “pass on perennial values to the new generations.”

“The elderly remind us that life on earth is a parable with a beginning, an unfolding and an end, and in order to find the fullness of life, it must not have short-lived values as a reference,” the cardinal stated.

Zenit has more to say on this

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Man makes “miraculous” recovery from brain death after accident

How many organs are harvested early? This is from Catholic News Agency

Oklahoma City, Mar 27, 2008 / 05:58 am (CNA).- A young man who was injured in an all-terrain-vehicle accident woke from his coma and showed signs of life just minutes before he was to be disconnected from life support, Dateline NBC reports.

Zack Dunlap suffered a broken collarbone, multiple skull fractures, and “absolutely catastrophic” brain injuries when his four-wheeled off-road vehicle flipped over.

After tests revealed no blood flow to Dunlap’s brain, doctors determined he met the legal and medical requirements for declaring someone brain-dead.

Dunlap’s family decided to remove him from life support, and a medical team prepared to harvest Dunlap’s organs for donation. Oklahoma authorities were informed of his death, while friends and family were told to gather at the hospital to say their goodbyes.

Dunlap’s grandmother, Naomi Blackford, went in and prayed for him. She said to Dateline NBC that she was asking for “Just a miracle. That he was too young for God to take him. It wasn't time.”

Dunlap’s cousin Christie Coffin, a nurse, said, “I sat there and I just said to him, ‘Zack, if you're in there, if you can hear me, ask God to help you.’ And I mean it probably wasn't 10 minutes later, I started getting this different feeling in my gut. And I thought, ‘he's not ready.’”

Another cousin who is also a nurse, Dan Coffin, thought the monitor recording Dunlap’s vital signs showed signs of improvement. On a hunch he pulled out his pocketknife and scraped Dunlap’s foot from his heel to his toes.

Dunlap jerked his foot, but the attending hospital nurse believed it was only a reflex. Dan Coffin then stuck his fingernail beneath Dunlap’s fingernail, which provoked a purposeful movement, a sign of brain activity.

Doctors immediately resumed medical treatment. Dunlap opened his eyes after five days, and was taken off a ventilator two days later.

The following week Dunlap began responding to his neurosurgeon and spoke his first words to his parents. Dunlap’s mother, Pam, said, “He looked around, and he said, ‘I love you’.”

He began taking steps later that day.

Dunlap’s trauma surgeon said he had no medical explanation for his recovery, and said all procedures were followed.

Doctors insisted the tests administered to Dunlap were accurate, and said the hospital would have detected his renewed vital signs before any organs were harvested.

Forty-eight days after being declared dead, Dunlap returned home, where Dan Coffin presented him with the pocketknife that proved he was still alive.

“I had heard of miracles all my life. But I had never seen a miracle. But I have seen a miracle. I've got proof of it,” said Dunlap’s grandmother.

“We both feel that God has some big plan for Zack. We'll do everything in our power to help him pursue it -- whatever it is,” said Dunlap’s mother, Pam.

Dunlap said he did not remember the accident, but he does remember the doctor declaring him dead. “I heard it and it just made me mad inside,” he said.

Amal Moorad, medical director of the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital in Oklahoma City where Dunlap recuperated, explained the patient’s prognosis. “Anytime you have severe brain injury, you'll never be the same again from a mental, emotional standpoint,” he said.

“Zack will be very close to normal, but not 100 percent, and only time will tell us.”

Dunlap has resolved to pursue fishing. “No more 4-wheeling,” he told Dateline NBC.

Zack Dunlap's interview on Dateline NBC can be viewed at:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

True liturgical reform must avoid “wild liturgy,” Cardinal Arinze explains

The following was found at the Catholic News Agency web site.

Nairobi, Mar 19, 2008 / 02:33 am (CNA).- Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Church’s “liturgist-in-chief,” recently made a speech at an African university in which he criticized liturgical abuses and protested Masses where the recklessly innovative priests act as “Reverend Showman”.

The Nigerian-born Cardinal Arinze, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, was in Kenya to conduct a workshop and a retreat on liturgy for the bishops, according to CISA. While he was at the Catholic University of East Africa, the cardinal delivered a public lecture in which he discussed the importance of following liturgical rubrics and the proper place of inculturation in the liturgy.

The cardinal discussed sentiments that cause errors in worship, such as regarding everyone as an expert in liturgy, extolling spontaneity and creativity to the detriment of approved rites and prayers, seeking immediate popular applause or enjoyment, and ignoring approved liturgical texts.

He said that liturgical abuses were often due to an ignorance that rejects elements of worship whose deeper meaning is not understood or whose antiquity is not recognized.

Cardinal Arinze clarified the nature of the reforms of Vatican II, saying they must be seen as continuous with the past rather than as a dramatic break. “The Catholic Church is the same before and after Vatican II. It isn’t another Church,” he said.

Check out the rest of the article :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Future in Latin

Dr. Edward Peters has posted this on his blog

This from Tore Janson, A Natural History of Latin (Oxford, 2004) at 122: "Thanks to the work of many generations of paleographers and textual critics we now have all the ancient texts in printed editions which are both easy to read and more correct than any of the surviving manuscripts. This is not, however, the case with texts from the Middle Ages, since there are many more of them [i.e., 100,000s] and they have attracted much less interest from Latin specialists. Many of them, even ones that are well worth reading, have been published using only one manuscript that happened to be to hand, even though much better manuscripts may exist. Many more texts have not been published at all, but are waiting in libraries for someone to read them and prepare an edition. There is a limitless amount of valuable work waiting to be done by those who would like to devote themselves to Latin and the Middle Ages."

Think about it. +++

Read more about it: Dr. Peters' Ecclesiastical Latin pages

Who says there's no future in Latin?

Friday, March 14, 2008


Many of you have an idea about heresies in the church,

Check this out about some of the new heresies.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Planned Parenthood Fraud

According to an article in provided by the Catholic News Agency tells the story about fraud that has cheated tax payers out of millions of dollars each year.

Los Angeles, Mar 11, 2008 / 05:30 am (CNA).- A federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former Planned Parenthood executive alleges that nine affiliates in California knowingly engaged in a criminal plot to defraud millions of dollars from state and federal taxpayers over a period of at least six years, the California Catholic Daily reports.

According to one of the allegations, Planned Parenthood used its charitable statues to purchase contraceptives and other medicine at a discount rate. It then billed the state health program for twelve or more times the purchase price. The alleged malfeasance cost taxpayers perhaps more than $10 million per year.

Check out the whole article.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Thought I'd let everyone know about this website that I found today. Oftentimes our troops spend a great deal of time without a lot of contact from home. If you are able to offer your support, please do so. If you know a military member who is deployed, take some time to let them know about so they might get a care package for themselves, or their comrades.

Here is the link

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Come Home to the Catholic Church

I realize that several other Catholic Blogs have made reference to this video, but it is worth sharing for those who have not seen it

If you know someone who has strayed from the church you might send them to the web site

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Speaking of the Medal of Honor

Did you know that in the last 100 years, four chaplains have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism when serving our Armed Forces? All four of these chaplains are Catholic Priests. One served during World War II while the other three received their MOH during the Vietnam Conflict. One of these Fr. Vincent Capodanno is also being considered for sainthood.

This is from Fr. Capodanno's Medal of Honor citation.

Medal of Honor citation of Lieutenant Vincent P. Capoddano

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3rd Battalion, in connection with operation against enemy forces. In response to reports that the 2nd Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon, disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Cappodano rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire. By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capoddano upheld the finest traditions of the U. S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.

You can find out more about the other priests by checking out the Catholic War Veterans web site.

Please continue to pray for our men and women in the Armed Forces, and the chaplains who serve them. You can find out more about supporting our Catholic military members at the web site for "Catholics in the Military"

Monday, March 3, 2008

Korean War Hero Receives Posthumous Medal of Honor

You never know what I might find to post here. Being in the Air Force Reserve, and a native of South Dakota, I felt this was something to make known :)


By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2008 – President Bush today presented the Medal of Honor to the family of the late Army Master Sgt. Woodrow Keeble, the first full-blooded Sioux Indian to receive the nation’s highest military award, for heroism during the Korean War.

Keeble, a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, was honored during the presentation ceremony at the White House for risking his life to save his fellow soldiers during the final allied offensive in Korea.

When war broke out in Korea, Keeble was a 34-year-old master sergeant serving with the 24th Division’s 1st Platoon, Company G, 19th Infantry Regiment. He’d joined the North Dakota National Guard in 1942 and already had earned the first of his four Purple Hearts and his first Bronze Star for actions on Guadalcanal.

Keeble volunteered to go to Korea, saying that “somebody had to teach those kids how to fight,” Bush said today. “And that’s what he did,” serving as a mentor, teacher and legend to his soldiers, he said.

The division was serving in central Korea in October 1951 when it was called to take a series of mountains protecting a major enemy supply in the town of Kumsong. Operation Nomad-Polar was the last major United Nations offensive of the war.

U.S. casualties mounted as enemy soldiers barraged them, fortified by three pillboxes containing machine guns during ferocious fighting over a six-day span. Keeble’s officers had all fallen, so he continued the assault with three platoons under his leadership.

Despite extensive injuries himself, with 83 grenade fragments in his body, Keeble defied the medics and took matters into his own hands. On Oct. 20, 1951, he charged the hill solo. Armed only with grenades and his Browning automatic rifle, he shimmied across the ridge, singlehandedly eliminating one pillbox after another as he dodged a barrage of enemy fire.

“As Woody first started off, someone saw him and remarked, ‘Either he’s the bravest soldier I have ever met, or he’s crazy,’” Bush said at today’s ceremony, eliciting laughter. “When Woody was through, all 16 enemy soldiers were dead, the hill was taken, and the Allies had won the day.”

Only after Keeble had taken out all three pillboxes and killed the machine gunners did he order his troops to advance and secure the hill.

“Woody Keeble’s act of heroism saved many American lives and earned him a permanent place in his fellow soldiers’ hearts,” the president said.

His actions set an example, not just for his own soldiers, but for the ages, Bush said. “If we honor his life and take lessons from his good and noble service, then Master Sergeant Woody Keeble will serve his country once again,” he said.

Although every surviving member of his unit signed a letter at the time recommending Keeble for the Medal of Honor, the paperwork was lost twice, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross instead. Keeble was honorably discharged from the Army in 1953, always maintaining his Army ties and championing veterans and their causes.

Keeble’s family took up the battle to upgrade his award to the Medal of Honor. Today, Russell Hawkins, Keeble’s stepson, accepted the award on his behalf, almost six decades after his gallant actions and 26 years after his death.

Bush apologized today for the long-overdue presentation of the award and thanked those who had pressed for it. “I want to thank you for carrying Woody’s banner to the Pentagon and to the halls of Congress,” he told them. “You did the right thing.”

“We are just proud to be a part of this for Woody,” Hawkins said in a statement released by the Army when the White House announced in February that Keeble would receive the award. “He is deserving of this, for what he did in the armed services in defense of this country.”

Hawkins called the presentation a victory not just for his family, who had pressed to see him honored, but also for the Sisseton-Wahpeton tribe and North and South Dakota. “We are all extremely proud that Woody is finally receiving this honor,” Hawkins said. “He epitomized our cultural values of humility, compassion, bravery, strength and honor.”

(Carrie McLeRoy of the Army News Service contributed to this article.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

CDF rules feminist-inspired baptisms invalid

I've heard of cases where the wrong formula has been used. I knew that if asked, this would be the answer. I'm afraid that many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ are not validly baptized since their churches have adopted these strange formulas. This has a huge impact on marriages and those who hope to join the church.


Vatican City, Feb 29, 2008 / 11:19 am (CNA).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a correction today to those who use feminist-inspired non-Trinitarian formulas for baptizing children, declaring that those baptized in this way are, in fact, not baptized.

The teachings, which were made public today, are in response to two different questions sent to the Church’s doctrinal authority. The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'"?

The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised 'in forma absoluta'?"

As is traditionally done, the CDF responded with a simple positive or negative ruling saying, "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative".

The responses, which were authorized by Pope Benedict, are also accompanied by an explanatory note that further develops the answers.

The note explains that the problem with the formulas is not that they are said in English, but that they fail to express the Catholic belief in the Holy Trinity. "Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note says, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. ... The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.”

The CDF also addressed the feminist origins of the improvised baptismal formulas.

"Variations to the baptismal formula - using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons - as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".

The new ruling is bound to have a wide ranging impact according to the CDF.

"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non- baptised'".

People who fall into the category of non-baptized cannot receive any of the other sacraments within the Catholic Church and must be baptized first.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Window

As many of you know, we have been working on a major renovation of the parish of St. John the Baptist in Jordan. This week the stained glass window for above the altar was installed. This is the work of the son of one of our parishioners. Now if we can get the kitchen done and the other little finishing touches we'll be in good shape.