Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The first thing I noticed, as you'd notice walking into any church, is the church's appearance. My first impression is that it reeked of a post-Vatican II church. It seemed very . . . sanitary??. It has an arch ceiling but with those square ceiling tiles on it. But then I noticed it wasn't as it first seemed. The area around the altar was beautiful and very reverent. The golden tabernacle was right in the middle (as it should be) surrounded by two statues of angels bowing down in adoration. To the left and right of the altar were statues of Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.
I'd go into more detail about things but the most exciting thing was the reverence shown to the Blessed Sacrament. This isn't to chastise other parishes or say they do things wrong. I'm just interested about what I saw different at St. Andrews. Like I said above, the tabernacle is gold and right in the middle, where you cannot miss it. Even more interesting was what was in front of the altar---kneelers. Yes, right where you come up to receive communion are two kneelers so that you can kneel to receive the Eucharist. I couldn't help but think of Danielle Beans article earlier in the week, "Why I'm Giving Up Communion on the Tongue." Danielle said she is giving up receiving communion on the tongue because it is too difficult. Well, here is a parish--that's not doing the Triditine Mass--but is, by offering kneelers, encouraging taking communion on the tongue. After all, it almost seems natural to take it on the tongue when you are kneeling. You don't have to kneel though---or take communion on the tongue. You can still stand or you can kneel and still take it in the hand.
Another thing, I noticed were the altar servers helped with communion by holding pattens to catch any pieces of the Blessed Sacrament that fell. Then, when the Extraordinary Minister who was next to the priest ran out of hosts, the priest took over both lines (even though they were both still long) instead of giving him more. Finally, after communion, the priest took a couple of minutes and cleaned the vessels before sitting down. Nothing seemed rushed. I felt very much like they were truly making the Eucharist the source and summit of the mass
Another thing, I noticed about St Andrews is it's confession schedule. They have confession on Mondays at noon, Wednesday's at 5:30, and Saturdays at 3:15. As a fan of confession, I found this great. I think I'll still keep going to Msgr. Blacet but it's always nice to know of a parish that has confession throughout the week for when I'm in a pinch.
I was turned onto St. Andrew's Sunday evening mass because a month earlier their youth program was highlighted at the Kansas City Catholic Youth Conference. I had been discussing it with a friend and we wondered why they were doing so good. Was it their use of Life Teen? Was it their Sunday evening mass before youth group? I'm not positive--but I wonder if having a parish that welcomes it's youth as well as putting emphasis on the sacraments may have something to do with it.
Those were just some thoughts and observations. Again, I'm not criticizing any other parish (And I've been to nearly all of them in the northland of Kansas City now) I was just pointing out some interesting things and things I think this parish is getting right.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
- It keeps you young--I love my faith and I enjoy reading spiritual books or listening to lectures about Catholicism. You can't teach a group of teen agers thinking like an old curmudgeon unless you want to see a bunch of blank stares and drool. You have to think like a teen in order to teach them effectively
- It gives you a chance to be goofy--It goes along with #1, but in order to effectively teach teens you need to allow yourself to be a little goofy and odd. (while keeping a certain decorum) If they see you cut loose a little bit you are more likely to keep their attention.
- It keeps you real--You can act young. You can act goofy. But that had better be your real personality because if you are faking it they will see right through you and you'll just look dumb. It's better to act like a middle aged guy if that's what you are than come is using some lingo from 1995, "Hey! Whatzz up, homedogs!!"
- It helps you think in a simple way--Let's face it. Some of these kids don't know their faith very well and in order to explain things to them you have to simplify things. You have to describe your faith in the simplist way possible. You can't assume ANYTHING.
- It makes you think in a complex way--Teens have this desire to want to know, "why." Why this and why that. You need to know your faith well enough to explain it. You have to know the answers to those why questions.
- It keeps you humble. You simply cannot fake your knowledge. They will simply catch you in one of those "why" questions and if you've faked it they won't trust what you have to say. It's much better to say, "I don't know." The secret is to add on, "but I will find out and get back to you." And then do it. You also have to be able to humble yourself enough to know when to let go. You have to realize you can only do so much and at some point you have to be able to let God take over and trust in him.
- You don't have to worry about your appearance! You can normally dress how you please. It's okay to dress casual. Cargo shorts and t-shirts are acceptable. There are a couple caveats here. The first one is, "don't try to dress LIKE a teenager." A middle aged guy dressing up like he is 18 just looks dumb. The second one is, "Be aware that there are times when you SHOULD dress up." Let the teens see you dressed up at mass so they are aware that mass is a special time.
- It makes you be creative. You cannot just simply stand at a podium and lecture if you are trying to teach your faith. You have to come up with different creative ways to keeps the kids attention. This doesn't mean doing games or crafts for the sake of doing arts and crafts. You have to be more creative than that. Those arts and crafts have to be done in a way that helps your lesson plan and makes the kids learn.
- It makes you become engaging. The tendency of an adult leader is to hang around with other adult leaders. You make your own cliques. Here is an idea. Get there early, get everything set up and as the kids are coming in and finding their seats, sit among them. Get to know them. Teens are more willing to pay attention to the guy who has paid attention to them and showed that he care for them.
- It gives me a chance to return the gifts that God has given me. I've been blessed and have an incredible faith. By being involved in youth ministry, I have to opportunity to teach others about my Catholic faith. I think this is my favorite reason of all of them
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- Be the best husband and father I can be. This doesn't seem like something that would be #1 on a bucket list perhaps but I do think it's the most important thing in my life that I could do. Maybe I'm doing that now--sometimes it seems like I'm doing a great job, other times it seems like I'm failing miseraby. The thing is, I can't say I've completed this goal until I'm dead. Only then will I know that I've done my best to raise my children and have been a good husband.
Visit Rome-Live in Rome-I could spin several other ideas for my list off of this one---visit all of the major cathedrals, meet the pope, climb the scala santa. I have so many things I want to do in Rome that I could spend a month there and still not see everything that I want. Maybe I should change it to, "Live in Rome."
- Visit all major league baseball parks. I've been to a total of two, count them, ONE, TWO--2 major league baseball parks. I wish I would have made it to New York to go to Yankee Stadium before it closed but I missed out so I want to see all of the others--from Boston to Minnesota to Texas to Seattle.
- Go to all 162 Royals games in one year. I figured Abby and I could travel the country for six months, living in an RV. I'm not sure she's ever really bought into the idea. Maybe I'd settle on flying to all of the different cities.
- Be fluent in Spanish. I went to a Spanish Immersion course for ten weeks last spring and have retained none of it. To be honest, ten weeks just was not long enough and I really wish I would have put in for the five week trip to Mexico to be truly immersed.
- Learn to fly a plane. I've wanted to fly since I was a kid. In fact, when I was younger, I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force. But then I learned how much better the Marine Corps is and gave up on my dream of flying to be a Marine. A good trade off in my opinion.
- CrossFit goals. I have several of them. I want to learn how to kip so I can do pull ups. I want to be able to do muscle ups. I would love to be a CrossFit certified trainer and help others experience CrossFit. For right now, I'd just be happy if my lungs cooperated and my exercise induced asthma didn't kick my butt on the majority of workouts so that I would perform better.
- Be a great youth speaker. I love being a catechist. The only problem is that I'm not a very good speaker. I want to be like some of these guys with charisma who can have teens just mesmerized and fill the youth with the Holy Spirit. I'd love to be a speaker traveling across the country to different parishes or youth conferences at Steubenville or NCYC.
- Have a few beers with some of my favorite Catholic speakers/bloggers. I don't want to just meet them. I want to spend time with them. I was able to spend time at a St. Louis Cardinal's game with Fr. Jim Chern last summer and had a blast. I'd love to spend some of my other favorites. Can you imagine drinking with Mark Hart or Danielle Bean? I think I'd have an incredible time!
- Be in-studio on The Catholic Guy Show. I'd be happy just to sit in the background but how cool would it be to be interviewed for the show. Alas, that's not going to happen because there is nothing about me that would make a good interview but how cool would it be just to sit there and watch all of the things going on behind the scenes.
- (A throw in) Be the best friend I can be. Kind of goes along with #1 so why not make the this the other book mark. Being a good friend is important to me. Obviously, it's not as important to me as #1---that's my vocation. But being a good friend is important because like I've said before--family HAS to like you but friends can tell you to take a long walk off of a short pier.
Like I said, not real flashy. Nothing on there that others will go, "OH!! I want to do that too!" No running with the bulls for me----getting my kids ready for school in the morning is scary enough. What do you have on your bucket list?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
This is sometimes difficult. I'm not dumb. I know that it's difficult to always put God first and to try to do His will because God's will is not always what we want. Heck, I'm the poster boy for pushing God aside to do what I want. And I really have no excuse. God's been good to me. Yet, I seem to mess up my priorities and put a million and one things ahead of God. I haven't prayed yet today, but I made time to watch the season premier of "The Office" on DVR. I have a book on meditation that is screaming at me to read but I'm going to go clean the refrigerator. If cleaning the fridge isn't pushing God aside I don't know what is.
So why are we here? If we keep that answer in mind . . . to know God, to love God, and to serve God in this life and to be happy with him in Heaven then the real question to ponder is, "How is this going to help me find holiness." Is what you are doing know going to make you a holier person? Is this person you are with going to help you get to Heaven?
We all have purposes in life. We all have different vocations. I believe that God has different missions for us and we have different life encounters in order to fulfill those missions. But we must always stay focused on our ultimate mission to love God with all of our hearts and all of our souls.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
One of my favorite analogies in the Bible, and one that I think seems to help me the most in my spiritual life, is when St. Paul compares life to a race. He says that we must rid ourselves of every burden and sin so that we may win the race (Heb 12:1.) He also reminds us that not all runners win so that we must run to win the prize (1 Corr 9:24). I like this analogy because you can get so different ideas from it.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Looking back through church history, it’s not difficult to find stories of people who have literally given their lives for Christ. From the Acts of the Apostles up through modern times, there are numerous examples of people who died at the hands of an executioner for not denying their Lord. It makes me wonder if we would be willing to give our lives for the name of Jesus.
It’s seems kind of obvious, while still remaining admirable that yes, of course we would give our lives for Jesus. We look back at the first centuries and see how the first Christians were tortured in order to make them deny Jesus. They were decapitated, burned alive, skinned, drowned and even crucified upside down. We read these stories and think to ourselves (at least I do), “well, of course they died for Jesus! That’s an easy decision! Boy, martyrdom would be an EASY way to go to Heaven! We all have to die sometime.”
The interesting thing is that Christians are still being martyred for their faith today. In different countries around the world Christians are literally dying because they will not deny Jesus. Can you imagine that? It today’s world, people are being tortured and killed because they are trying to evangelize or in some cases just living a Christian life. Just for trying to go to mass they are being killed. It makes you feel like a wimp for not wanting to fast during lent doesn’t it? An interesting thought is that for some reason, I read these stories today and I wonder to myself, “Why don’t they just deny they are Christian? Jesus will understand. That way they can go back to their families. They don’t really have to stop believing!” What is the difference between looking up to the early Christians for giving their life and questioning the modern Christians for giving up theirs?
Here is an interesting thought. We actually have opportunities to be martyrs on a daily basis—just not in a bloody way. How many times a day are we presented an opportunity to live our lives in the way Jesus wants us to even though doing so means not doing something that we don’t want to do? We have an opportunity at that point to die to ourselves, pick up our own cross and become a martyr. We have a chance to not gossip, not get angry at our kids, not to check out the attractive brunette. We have the opportunity not to bad mouth the co-worker or poke fun at someone. What do we do though? Do we do the right thing and die to sin or do we help nail Jesus to the cross? Martyrdom isn’t as easy as it sounds, huh?
Monday, August 30, 2010
The link to the 10 Unintentionally Hilarious Christian Music Videos is great. Check it out---it even shows a video fro MC Hammer and definately check out Lino Rulli on The Catholic Guy Show!
Friday, August 27, 2010
I have always like the inspirational song, "I Can Only Imagine," made popular by the contemporary Christian group, "Mercy Me." While some popular Christian songs have lyrics that are problematic for Catholics (Mary Did You Know, anyone?) I never I never really considered the lyrics to this particular song problematic in anyway.And there isn't really a problem. But as the video above makes clear, there does exist a more Catholic way of looking at the lyrics of "I Can Only Imagine."
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Yesterday I wrote about the prayer I say after receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist. I explained about the first half of the prayer and here is the second half:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
I've been going to adoration weekly with a friend for a few weeks. Normally, I meet them at Our Lady of Good Counsel in the Westport area of KC. Thursday I stayed closer to home and went to my home parish at Holy Family. I took this picture with my Droid X on they way out.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
About a year and a half ago, my wife and her mom went to Greece and Turkey for ten days on a cruise. I stayed at home with the kids so I was never actually alone but I'll tell you what--from the moment she stepped on the plane until I picked her up I was lonely. What a horrible, helpless feeling it was too. For the next week and a half, I could have been in a room filled with people but I felt all alone. I couldn't imagine going through life with that feeling.