Monday, November 30, 2009


An excerpt from an article by James Monti:

"The haunting Irish Christmas carol, Don Ouche Ud i m'Beithil (I sing of a night in Bethlehem), sung in Irish, speaks of the first Christmas night as "bright as dawn." The imagery of light piercing the darkness looms large in Ireland's celebration of the birth of Christ, a celebration shaped in part by the struggle to practice the faith under the shadow of persecution.

In Ireland, Advent has traditionally constituted a time of penance, with fasting and increased prayer. Although the realization of the Church's Advent fasting laws has removed the obligation to fast during this season, devout Irish continue voluntarily to prepare themselves for Christmas with this penitential practice. Additional time is allotted for morning and evening prayers, with children encouraged to say the Our Father and Hail Mary extra times. But above all, Advent is in Ireland a season to confess one's sins in the sacrament of penance. In Irish families , it is the mother who particularly assumes the responsibility of making sure that everyone goes to confession by Christmas Eve." . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving and all of the fun that surrond it. Amisdt the chaotic kitchen and crowded living room there is a vibrant buzz that fills our otherwise quiet home. As guests flow in conversations pick up where they left off months and sometimes years earlier. Whatever the case may be there is a real sense of joy and warmth in every corner. This thanksgiving our table was a little quieter than usual. In all honesty it was a lot quieter because someone was missing. My adopted grandmother, Maria Hebert, who has become part of my life for the past seven years was nowhere to be found. She was a character to the highest degree and loved to share wild stories, with all the drama and theatrics a ninety year old from New Orleans could muster. Maria was one of the holiest women I have ever met and one of the most outrageous at the same time. She would spend hours in prayer each day and at the same time use language that would make a trucker blush when describing an annoying neighbor or rival church lady. She was an amazing cook, a good friend and a missed part of our family. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the wonderful seven years of love and friendship I shared with her. I rest in hopeful faith that she has been welcomed into eternal peace with the Heavenly Father.

This Thanksgiving I remember in my prayers

Maria Hebert, friend and "grandmother'
Tyler Coffey, brilliant student, caring, generous and faith filled young man
Mrs. Alger, a loving mom to a good friend

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night I made it to the airport 30 minutes before the flight. Thanks to crazy traffic and a slow shuttle bus system at BWI airport it was close. By the time I got to the gate they were already boarding. The flight was full with college students coming home for Thanksgiving, including one Mr. Dylan Clark, one of my greatest Theology students of all time. When I got of the airplane and headed out to meet my ride I was surprised to run into my Uncle who volunteers at the NH visitors information both at the airport. My ride took me to his house where a car was waiting for me with a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies :)

After a busy day sending out Christmas cards, and hand writing on them, I finally made it home and am ready for bed. I hope to post a Thanksgiving message tomorrow with some pictures, and commentary. Happily my marathon of Pre- Thanksgiving work ended when I finished my last project at 6pm tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Few Fun Photos

Recently we had a small soccer tournament at the Seminary. We invited guys from Mount St. Marys, the Incarnate Word Seminary and Theological College in Washington, DC to our campus for an afternoon of fun. From the outset we were huge underdogs, particularly when one of the star players of the Mt. St. Marys Seminary (our rivals) soccer team had been a star of the New England Revolution Professional Soccer Team. Despite his talent we held our own and were clobbered with dignity. The real surprise of the day came when the guys from Incarnate Word crushed us all. Most of the seminarians were from South America and must have been playing soccer since the age of one. One of there players even jumped in the air and kicked a ball that was above his head with an incredible flip shot. It was amazing. In my role as Asst. Infirmarian I did have to deal with one sprained ankle. All in all it was a good day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prayers Please

Sorry for the delay in posting we are in the midst of pre-Thanksgiving madness at the seminary. This week has been particularly crazy.

Monday night I flew home for a Trinity High School board meeting and then took the red eye back on Tuesday.

Tuesday night the Manchester Seminarians and myself had dinner with Bishop McCormack who is in Baltimore for the Bishops conference. (It was a fun time. He took us out to eat in Little Italy).

Tonight I had dinner with our vocation director who is in town and went for spiritual direction.

Tomorrow night it is meetings and papers all day.


The good news is that Thanksgiving is around the corner.

Please keep in your prayers two good friends, Sue and Lorriane who are in the hospital, and a close childhood friend of my mom named Claire who is dying in a hospice in Florida. .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some Thoughts

From the Thoughts and Prayers of Mother Teresa

If you are joyful, it will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your contentment. You will not be able to hide it because joy overflows.

Joy is very contagious. Try, therefore, to be always overflowing with joy wherever you go.

Joy, according to St. Bonaventure, has been given to man so that he can rejoice in God because of the hope of the eternal good and all the benefits he receives from God. Thus he will know how to rejoice at his neighbor's prosperity, how to feel discontent concerning empty things.

Joy must be one of the pivots of our life. It is the token of a generous personality. Sometimes it also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. A person who has this gift often reaches to high summits. He or she is like a sun in a community.

We should ask ourselves, "Have I really experienced that joy of loving?" True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray and ask for the courage to love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good news, your efforts paid off and the Stupek amendment passed by a vote of 240- 194. This was a huge win on a vote that was expected to much closer. The good news is we won. But as always we will have to fight another day. Beyond the passage of the amendment itself there was another victory in that the possibility of a pro-life bipartisan coalition in the House is greater than it has been in a long time. The Senate on the other hand is a whole other story and much bleaker. It is likely if not certain that the Senate bill will attempt to strip away all pro-life language and that we will be back to square one. The Senate is where our next call to action will be, but not likely for a while.

Disappointingly today the President called for the stripping of the Pro-Life language from the bill. Hopefully the voices of the voiceless will be heard and the Senate will keep the Stupek wording.

Earlier today Representative Lynne Woosley declared:

I expect political hardball on any legislation as important as the health care bill.

I just didn’t expect it from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Who elected them to Congress?

Rep. Woosley went on to declare that Church's tax exempt status should be stripped because of their role in advocating for life.

It is a crazy world we live in where elected officials desire to attack the Church because it defends the dignity of life. I think it is funny that Representative Woosley does not even know that it is that it is the "Conference" of Catholic Bishops not the Council. If you are going to slam someone at least get their name right. However, it is scary that Representative Woosley seeks to muzzle/threaten/punish the Church for preaching the Gospel message. I suppose, under that logic, the Church should not lobby for the poor, the immigrants, the elderly, for children, and for all. It is clear now in a way greater than ever before that there is a concerted effort to drive the faith out of the public square. It is disturbing and the consequences are unimaginable!Representative Woosley's comment remind me of a Archbishop Dolan's observations on Anti-Catholicism in America.

- by the way Congresswoman Woosley's office numbers are:

Washington Office - (202)225-5161
Sonoma County Office - (707)542-7182
Marin County Office - (415)507-9554

Friday, November 6, 2009

Keep Calling! (not sure for what, see Yesterday's post)!

The lines at the capital are jammed. Keep calling in! It will be close. Spread the word!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Below is an urgent plea that a group of guys and myself put together, in the Seminary, involving an upcoming vote in the House. Please read it and consider taking action TODAY! Please excuse the wording as it specific to the handouts we made in the seminary (It is 12:25am- still have work to do- too late to change it for the blog).

If you do not know your representative, look him or her up click here:

Note- With this directory you can local up local congressional offices too. If you can take five minutes and call all the offices for your Representative.

As you know the Bishops have called upon Catholics across the country to speak up in defense of life and against the government funding of abortion (directly or indirectly) in the Healthcare proposals before Congress at this time.

As politics is politics there is going to be a lot of maneuvering in Congress over the next few weeks as everyone tries to gain the upper hand on the abortion issue. The first and critical vote involving abortion is expected to be Friday morning! The House leadership is expected to introduce a “closed rule amendment.” If passed the closed rule amendment would ban any future amendments from being added to the House Healthcare legislation. Translation= it would block pro-life amendments banning public funding of abortions from being included in the bill.

A coalition of Republicans and Pro-Life Democrats is working to block the “closed rule” and force a vote on a Pro-Life/Anti-Government Funding of Abortion amendment. Political analysts believe that the “closed rule” vote will be incredibly close and most likely will pass or fail by a margin of one.

Translation: We all need to call our congressman/women Thursday, November 5th (the vote is expected first thing Friday).

Every Congressional Office has people paid to take down your thoughts on issues they are considering. They use a check system and mark each call in favor or against an amendment, bill ,etc… and then use this in the final decision process. As many as 40 Democrats are considering crossing lines to support allowing amendments (pro-life ones) but need encouragements/reminders as such a vote will cost them dearly. Furthermore, some congressmen/women who support abortion might vote to allow amendments to be offered.

Earlier this week in response to Bishops’ statement to Catholics, Planned Parenthood released a statement calling on pro-choice Catholics to resist the Bishops’ instruction and calling on them to call Washington, DC en masse insisting on the public funding of Abortion.

Our Game Plan

Attached is a list of everyone’s name matched to their congressman/woman and appropriate offices.

1. Set aside 5 minutes tomorrow (total) and call EACH of the numbers assigned to your name. (generally 2-4 offices for the same congressman- note: it is best to call the Washington office & each of the local offices as they keep separate totals and tallies of calls and combine them together at the end of each day)
2. When you call introduce yourself as
a. Hello my name is ______________, and I am a registered voter in Congressman _______ district.

3. Tell them you would like your representative
a. to vote NO on the closed rule amendment to HR 3962
b. And that you want them to allow a vote on the Stupak Amendment (it is the pro-life one--note it is important to mention this amendment by name )

4. Ask them if they would like your name and address because this shows you really live in their district, be prepared to offer it.

Important Blog News:

Please note this blog will begin being regularly updated after August 21st (when I arrive in Baltimore).