Accepting the Cross

"From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt 16:21-25)
I wanted to share this great presentation given by Fr. Peter M. Girard, O.P. in 2006 entitled "Accepting the Cross." After watching Fr. Girard's presentation I was much more willing to say yes to accepting the crosses in my life, and I'm sure you will feel the same.


Getting Answers from God

Recently my eight-year-old daughter asked me the following question during our ride to school, “Daddy, what does CCC stand for? I see it in my religion book at school.” Regan is in the second grade in Catholic school and is preparing to receive her first Holy Communion in April of 2016. I replied, “Honey, CCC stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is where we can learn much about our Catholic Faith. We are able to look things up in the CCC when we have questions about our Faith.” Regan replies, “Okay, Daddy.”

My wife told me later that day that Regan made it a point to tell her teacher that she knew what CCC stood for. Regan’s teacher subsequently asked the sixth grade class if anyone knew what CCC stood for to which no one could provide a an answer. The teacher then exclaimed, “Even one of my second graders knows the answer to that question!”

When I learned of what happened that day. I was so proud of my little girl, but more importantly grateful that I was given the opportunity to answer the question that she cared enough about to ask. I was reminded of how important it is for us as parents to share the knowledge of our Faith with our children, and that it is never too early to do so.

On a side note, I learned from my wife that Regan also informed her that she had “an in with God.” When Liz asked what she meant by that, Regan replied, “When I want to know something, I ask God the question and He answers me, not with words, but by showing me pictures in my head.” I immediately thought to myself, do we have a mystic in our midst?
How nice it is to know that my eight year old has that kind of relationship with God! Regan, and all of my children have always been an absolute source of pride and joy in my life, thanks be to God!


Good Teachers Make a Difference!

Good Teachers make a difference!

St. Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant theologian and great teacher. He is the patron saint of Catholic schools, colleges, and students. But St. Thomas was mentored by a great teacher who recognized the brilliance of his shy and very often reserved student, St. Albert the Great. TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!  

The following quotes below are excerpts from a 2014 homily given by Rev. Thomas Petri, O.P. during a Mass honoring St. Thomas Aquinas.

For St. Thomas, “seeking truth was the guiding principle of his life, and when he found it wherever he found it, he wanted to share it with his students; he wanted to share it with the world. St. Thomas was a great teacher, and a very prolific one at that.”

THIS IS AMAZING! “Just to give you an example, toward the end of his life during a three year stint at the University of Paris, he wrote the central and largest part of his massive work, the Summa Theologiae, a couple thousand questions all answered very thoroughly; thousands and thousands of words, page after page, but not only that, in those three years he wrote commentaries on virtually every work of Aristotle, commentaries on the Book of Job, the gospel of Matthew, the gospel of John, and virtually every letter of St. Paul in the New Testament. He wrote an entire treatise on evil in the world and on virtue, among other things, there was more, there’s more, IN THREE YEARS, before there were word processors, or typewriters, or even a printing press.”  

Thank you, Fr. Petri, for this awesomely inspiring homily!

Here is the link to Fr. Petri's homily

Don't Miss the Call!

Sometimes I wonder how many calls to the priesthood have gone unanswered. I sometimes feel that I could be counted among those whom have ignored or failed to answer such a call.

I recall an experience I had around the age of ten. I constructed an altar in my attic and even made a thurible out of an old Campbell’s soup can and a string in order to incense the altar. Oh, yeah, I would light up a Kingsford charcoal briquette in that can and incense around the altar before pretending to celebrate Mass. Wow, if my Mom only knew how many times a house fire was imminent! I was an altar boy at the time and loved to serve at Mass and pray the responses in Latin, even though I didn’t understand half of what I was saying. I memorized all of the Latin responses in order to be able to serve. Was this a call to the priesthood? I’m not certain, but looking back, it sure doesn’t seem like normal activity for a ten year old boy.

Fifty years have passed since that initial “calling,” yet despite being a father of seven children and a husband, something still stirs in my heart when I’m at Mass and participate attentively as I observe the celebrant, through the grace conferred through the sacrament of Holy Orders, become instrumental in changing the ordinary gifts of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord.

I write this post in hopes of reaching out to all the young men who think they may have experienced a call to the priesthood. If you think you are being called, please don’t ignore or dismiss it. Pray about it and follow up on it by speaking to your parish priest, spiritual director, or diocesan director of religious vocations, parents and grandparents. Let us all pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, as well as for all the priests and religious throughout the world whom have answered the call! 


Day of Evangelization at SS. Rose & Clement Parish 2015

Today, September 12, 2015, residents residing in the neighborhoods surrounding SS. Rose and Clement parish in Warwick, Rhode Island were visited by volunteers participating in this year’s "day of evangelization." Hundreds of homes were visited in the area during which volunteers shared the love of Christ, and extended invitations to all who desire to join our parish family in exploring and experiencing the richness of the Catholic Faith. Among those visited were many Catholics whom for whatever reason became inactive in the practice of their Faith, many of whom were very receptive and grateful for our presence and invitation to return Home to the Faith.
Being my first, this year‘s Day of Evangelization was special for me, and so I wanted to share my experience with those whom have ever contemplated participating in such a mission. I’d like to start by saying that we all make plans, but many times God has another, better plan in mind for us.
I have never before participated in our Day of Evangelization efforts. Today I intended to assist by spending time in prayer while our evangelization teams took to the streets. This initial plan was foiled when I was approached by a member of the evangelization ministry who informed me that they were one team member short and asked if I would consider filling the position. I quickly realized that this was God’s plan for me today and agreed to step up to the plate, knowing full well that God had blessings in store for me. I must say that those blessings were abundant!
After working all night, my original plan was to spend a couple of hours in prayer to support those taking to the streets and then go home to rest. Instead I accepted the request to take part in visiting homes in the neighborhood, and I must say that it resulted in the perfect ending to a perfect day, a day that began perfectly with communal prayer of the Rosary and Mass.
My evangelization partner and I had great encounters and conversations with many neighbors,
many of whom were raised in the Catholic Faith but admittedly and regretfully wandered from the practice of their Faith. It was exciting to see by the look in their eyes and the manner in which they responded to us, that our visit seemed to ignite a spark in their souls which seemed to say, ‘it’s time to go Home.’
There are so many homesick Catholics out there just waiting for an invitation to return Home. Many were so glad to see us! I am extremely grateful for the privilege of having had this opportunity to join my brothers and sisters in extending invitations Home to those whom have been away, and to have been granted the privilege of being able to share the faith with those whose hearts are restless and long to be filled with the knowledge of His love and mercy!

Happy Easter 2015! Faith and Reason

Happy Easter, everyone! Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!

I just wanted to share a thought that occurred to me during Mass this morning! The thought began in my head and in my heart during the Liturgy of the Word, when during his homily, Father reminded the congregation that Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected for ALL of humanity. Upon hearing that statement I was immediately struck with amazement over the indescribable love the Creator has for us.

I believe everything I profess in the Creed through the gift of faith given to me at baptism. However, when that faith is combined with reason, I become even more intensely aware of the magnitude of God’s love for me.

For example, when contemplating the salvific work of our Lord, one only needs to think of how precious we must be in his sight, that the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, would humble himself to the point he did out of love for us. Think of the tiny place we occupy relative to the vastness of the cosmos with its billions of galaxies and billions of stars. For the Creator of it all to suffer what he did to afford us the opportunity to be in His Presence eternally is indeed evidence of the value He places on each and every one of us.