Posted June 16th, 2007 | Food for the Soul

It’s Father’s Day weekend! Break open the grills, necktie searches, and give dad the space for watching golf, baseball, or whatever he likes to do! But is that the way to truly celebrate Father’s Day? It’s one way, but not The Way.

The best way is to gather as dad’s children around that “almost sacred” place called the family dinner table. I know that’s all my dad wants for Father’s Day: to have his children celebrate with him.

In this Grace Before Meals “mission” I’m so blessed to talk with so many people accross the country who want to promote family meals. Several have referred to a book called “Dinner with Dad“. Although I’ve not yet read the book, it sounds like something I’d be intereseted in reading. It speaks about a mealtime with the “Fatherly” figure. Maybe the author did not realize it, but that’s exactly what God our Father wants to do with his children – at least once a week in order to share a meal! That’s the best way to celebrate “Our Father’s” Day!

One recent conference participant from Atlanta sent to me a FANTASTIC LINK about mealtimes for families. Thanks Mary Pat Campbell!

She mentioned that it came from the NY Times Newspaper – an interesting “traditional” piece for a newspaper that is sometimes not sympathetic with traditional values. That last comment was not a political statement. If anything, it’s a statement of appreciation for reminding people that family mealtimes, even though it may seem “too traditional” are necessary. At the very least, this “tradition” is important! Even the NY Times would agree.

The article reminds us that we should all feel slightly ‘guilty’ if we’re not making a better effort to have a meal with our families. It’s obvious that our Grace Before Meals mission is shared by many people in cross sectors of our culture. Granted, there is no mention about praying before meals, but we can all learn to be patient with the secular world.

So, go ahead and be sure to celebrate Father’s Day with a meal where all of dad’s children are gathered. The best place to start Father’s Day is at Church, where the Children of God celebrate around Our Father’s Table in our Father’s Home!

Happy Father’s Day Dads! We love you and thank God for the gift of Fatherhood.

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Posted June 15th, 2007 | Food for the Soul

This came from a priest friend of mine from the Archdiocese of Denver. As classmates in Rome we had the privilege of learning from Msgr. Timothy Dolan, now Archbishop Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He is a great speaker, priest, motivator and man of God! His booming voice was a sign of his heartfelt love for God and the mission to form priests. He’s an amazing man – truly a spiritual father to me! When my classmate, Fr. Drotar sent this to me, I had to pass this on to you so that you can sense his passion in regards to the Fatherhood of Priests.

In case I get too busy to blog something about Father’s Day, I thought to pass this on to you brother priests and Dads out there. May you reflect the Fatherhood of our God, and may your children be that source of blessing to help us raise saints! Since I can’t say it any better, here’s a little note from a “spiritual father” of mine!

Dear Friends United in Love and Service of Jesus Christ and His Church:

We Catholics do not call them “preacher,” “reverend,” “dean,” “parson,” “doctor,” “vicar,” or “canon.” We call our priests “Father.”

In our tradition, a priest is married, to the same stunning bride to whom Jesus Himself is wedded: the Church.

Father has children, too, whom he tenderly brings from the waters at Baptism, feeds in the Eucharist, forgives in Reconciliation, soothes in Anointing, and sends off in Matrimony. He is a proud father who often laughs and cries with his family, who corrects and encourages, who leads them in prayer, who loves them to death, all in partnership with his bride, their Mother, the Church.

Last Sunday was the feast of Corpus Christi, as we praised God for the gift of the Eucharist, living bread given us through the hands and words of our priests.

This Sunday is Father’s Day . . . and I propose a toast to our spiritual fathers, our priests.

I love the priesthood. I am head over heels in love with Jesus and His bride — and mine — the Church. Nothing gives me more joy than celebrating Mass, preaching, hearing confessions, baptizing, witnessing marriages, anointing the sick, and being with God’s people, whose prayers and encouragement keep me going.

Yep, I’ve had heartburn and headaches, but I’d do it all over again. So would 92% of my brother priests, the pollsters tell us.

I love my brother priests: they have stuck with it through some of the toughest years of change in the history of the Church. Those my age and older have seen the priesthood go from a position of clout and prestige to one of derision and decline. They’ve watched their best friends leave active ministry. The hard right attacks them for being modernists; the way-out left dismisses them as oppressive patriarchs. They are branded as abusers of youth, though the percentage of priests who have tragically done so is less than teachers, coaches, physicians, counselors, child-care workers, baby sitters and even parents.

They watch their numbers shrink, so they take a second parish, give up the only assistant pastor they had in a behemoth parish, or postpone retirement a few years. Liturgical and catechetical vigilantes from both wings are ready to nail them after each Mass or homily. Rosie O’Donnell regularly terms them sexually repressed because of their celibacy. They are fodder for the late-night comedians.

Yet, our priests keep at it. They smile, they pray, they trust, they persevere. They know from their theology that the vitality of the Church and the efficacy of the sacraments do not depend on their virtue, and they’re sure glad about that. But most of them work as if it did all depend on them, while praying hard because they acknowledge that is really all depends on the Lord.

When all is said and done, our priests do it because they are in love, hopelessly in love with a Lord whom they cannot see but who is as real as can be, and hopelessly in love with a Church, at times a knockout of a bride, who at other times might seem cold and distant.

I love this priesthood. I love these priests. I became one because, even as a kid, I wanted to spend my life the way I saw Father Callahan, Father Schrodi, and Father Schilly, spend theirs in my parish.

On Father’s Day, will you join me in a toast (with a Sprecher or a Miller) to our priests!

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

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Posted June 12th, 2007 | Recipe-Italian

Ingredients: (serves 4 people)

  • 8 already baked dinner rolls (i.e., leftovers – which should never be “lost”)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ tablespoon of brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of cane sugar
  • ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon
  • Syrup, whipped cream and a sprig of mint for garnish

Grate the crust off the dinner rolls and reserve the crumbs. Cut the bread rolls into 1 to 2 inch cubes and set aside. Mix the brown sugar, cane sugar and milk, dissolving the sugars. Soak the bread in the milk and sugar mixture, but do not soak too long. You could also use a spoon or brush to cover each piece of bread. If bread becomes too soggy, gently squeeze excess milk from it. Beat eggs together and soak the bread in the egg mixture. In a bowl, combine the cinnamon and breadcrumbs together and use this to dredge the cubed bread after it has been soaked in the milk and egg mixture. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and space out the bread to cook individually – about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. When cooked, distribute cubed bread onto 4 separate plates or bowls, drizzle a little syrup, and top off with a dollop of whipped cream and a mint leaf for garnish. With Saints, nothing is lost!

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Posted June 12th, 2007 | Past Emails

Click Here to check out this weeks email blast.

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Posted June 11th, 2007 | Events

Over 20,000 people gathered for Annual Eucharistic Congress for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. And as the title suggested it was HOTlanta in so many ways! Besides being quite warm in these early summer days in Atlanta, you could also feel the definite presence of the Holy Spirit in the “fired up” people who organized and attended it.

Hat’s off to Archbishop Gregory’s continuation of his predecessor’s vision. And, ecclesiastical kudos goes to Mary Elkins and her dedicated staff who made this event go off without a hitch. Quite an inspired group of people, I must say! Thanks Mary for having enough faith in me to invite me to this conference. Hopefully I did y’all proud (here that Southern come through?)

I had the wonderful and humbling opportunity to speak specifically to a large group of young adults for the REVIVE Conference on Friday Night of the Congress. Singer and Songwriter Matt Maher was there getting everyone on their feet – singing, dancing and praising the Lord! And, the other speaker Darrell Miller, gave us so much inspiration about his conversion story as he promoted his movie, Champions of Faith, which tells us about the inspiring world champion professional athletes and their faith. We hear so much negative stuff about pro-athletes. This movie gives a different perspective by highlighting the athletes who do so much good! Thank God for this movie. We need heroes in every sector of society, from our churches to stadiums!

The place was filled with so much enthusiasm that it was hard to contain myself. And, yes a little “break dancing action” did occur. But, it’s only because it fit well with the introduction to my talk. Trust me, I don’t go spinning on the floor for nothing. In this conference, being that I was talking amongst peers – again, young adults – I knew they would understand!

I actually used the break dancing to highlight a move that I’m now calling, “The King David & John the Baptist Flip” aka KDJB Flip. If you recall, John the Baptist did “flips” in his mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, came to visit Elizabeth when she was pregnant with John (Luke 1:44). It’s a prophetic gesture to demonstrate the joy and enthusiasm that King David had when the Ark of the Covenant was recovered from the Babylonian Captivity (2 Sam 6:14) and brought back to the King to worship. Again, I usually don’t start off my conferences with “funky fresh moves” but a clear sign came to me telling me I MUST DO THIS.

Let me explain! At the start of the REVIVE, His Excellency, Archbishop William Gregory was introduced to welcome crowds. In his introduction, he encouraged the young people to dance before the Lord, as a sign of Joy, Life, and Love for God. Guess what scripture passage he used? You got it – the reference to King David dancing before the Lord. His use of that scriptural example was NOT planned in conjunction to my talk. He was speaking from his heart! This was no coincidence. It seemed more like a “mandate!”

So, I busted out with the “KDJB”! (Thanks Danielle and Matt for helping me introduce the moves!)

It was definitely a great event and lots of fun! It’s an incredible witness to see how so many people have come to know the Lord in the Eucharist – especially in the South, where the Eucharist is relatively not well known or understood by our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters.

So, a big shout out to all of the Young Adults and the Congress participants, and hopefully our paths can cross again for future events. In the meantime, let’s practice those KDJB prophetic moves. We need more joy like what I saw in Atlanta!

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Posted June 11th, 2007 | Audio

Click Here to hear the audio from Corpus Christi.

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