Many years ago, I was waiting to hear a speaker at a Diocesan Adult Education Conference in Springfield. I was seated in the front row, and other priests were sitting on either side of me. The chairs were rather close together, and I can imagine that I and my seatmates were looking quite uncomfortable.
The woman we were waiting to listen to came forward to us, shook our hands, and exclaimed: “Y’all look like a bunch of convicts!”
As our diocesan church prepares to restore the proper order of the sacraments of initiation, my parishes anticipated the need to have a number of our children “catch up” in the sense of having received all three sacraments: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Therefore, last November, over 140 of our young parishioners, in grades 3-8, received the sacrament of confirmation from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. This was done at two different Masses on consecutive evenings at our neighboring parish, Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville, where we had ample space to do this “catching up.”
My name is Kevin, and I am a perfectionist.
Some will read this and wonder why I seem to be boasting. Many people think that being a perfectionist is a good thing.
“You’re a man and a half!” So stated the Dominican sister when — was I in second or third grade? — I purchased a daily missal from her.
This was the mid-1960s, and I really had not made things easy for myself. Our liturgy was in transition, and the missal was not necessarily reliable. I spent more time puzzling over it than learning from it.
Jean Vanier, a groundbreaking and profoundly influential Catholic activist, died in Paris, France, on May 7, at age 90.
Born to Canadian parents, Vanier told them, when he was 13, that his interest was in naval affairs. Accordingly, he proceeded to prepare for a naval career in England and had spent time with the British Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy by the time World War II ended in 1945, the year he turned 17.
As we survey the highlights and “lowlights” of human history, there is a category of achievements (or achievements’ opposite) which have been classified as “dubious distinctions.”
Especially now that baseball season has started, we may recall the obituary of Randy Jackson, who died on March 20 at age 93. His New York Times obituary noted that he hit the last home run for the Brooklyn Dodgers (Sept. 28, 1957, at Philadelphia) before the team found itself playing home games in Los Angeles. The Times called this a “melancholy achievement.”
I was shocked when, on visiting Ireland at Easter 1981, I discovered that St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is Anglican (“Church of Ireland”), not Roman Catholic!
I did, however, find some consolation at this cathedral.
I had written my first high school term paper on a portion of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (born at Dublin, 1667; died at Dublin, 1745). When I wrote the term paper, I consulted a number of commentaries on the book; what I did not do was read a biography of Swift. I kept wondering why the commentaries referred to him as “Dean Swift.”
You may remember my mentioning, in 2016, a professor of New Testament named Amy-Jill Levine. I have been thinking about her Jewish perspective on how Christians respond to their own Scriptures, and I remember especially her question to Christian pastors: “Do you know the Bible, or just the lectionary?”
First of all, you and I as Catholic Christians can take great pride in the 50 years that we have had our Sunday lectionary, which allows us to proclaim the Scriptures on a three-year cycle, and the weekday lectionary, which has a two-year cycle for Ordinary Time and a one-year cycle for the other seasons. Our lectionary is the basis for Sunday lectionaries which have been adopted by numerous Christian denominations.
With ever greater frequency, it seems, I hear people talking about the items on their “bucket lists.”
This term refers to the things one feels called upon to do before “kicking the bucket.”
Over the last weekend, I heard from a parishioner who had just attended a Sabbath service at a St. Louis-area synagogue. This first Sabbath of November was also the first Sabbath since the killing of 11 worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27. There was, in fact, an emphasis on interfaith Sabbath participation in many synagogues. My parishioner had never previously been present for a Jewish worship service, and she found it uplifting, for a couple of reasons: an awareness that our Christianity sprang from Judaism, and the encouragement coming from people of many religions at a time of grief.