Saturday, December 1, 2018



Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Betsey Wells and Teresa Carrico arrived on Dec. 1, 1812, to begin the foundation of what became the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in frontier Kentucky. They were joined by Catherine Spalding on Jan. 21, 1813, and Mary Beaven, Harriet Gardiner, and Sarah Sims in April and May of 1813. Together these six women sought to build community and meet the needs of their time.


Mother Catherine Spalding, SCN

Thursday, November 29, 2018



Choosing to Do Hard Things for Your Own Good

I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life then that you might live. 
Deuteronomy 30:15

The gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. 
Matthew 7:13-14

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, 
and that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

This is the most personal book that I have written to date. In it, I share personal stories of the hard decisions I have made for my own good, at first unconsciously and later consciously and deliberately, that have shaped my life as I know it today. It starts with decisions I made starting at six years old, a major turning point decision I made in my mid-twenties and ends with decisions I am making in retirement.  
My hope is that these very personal stories will encourage others who seek to become their best selves to face their fears and choose the often difficult path that leads to new life rather than the easy way that often leads to feelings of being stuck and going nowhere.

Tonini Church Supply Company 
966 Breckenridge Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40207
(502) 897-7100

All my books are available online (see MY BOOKSTORE link on right of this page)
Tonini Church Supply

Tuesday, November 27, 2018



Among those soldiers who landed behind German lines in Normandy on June 6, 1944 was the legendary chaplain of the unit, Father Francis L. Sampson (1912-1996). It was he (and not the character played by Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan), who days later was ordered by military authorities to find Fritz Niland, the real-life “Private Ryan,” who had lost his three brothers on D-Day. Father Sampson — better known as “Father Sam” — arrived in Normandy by parachute.

The first thing he did when he landed was desperately look for his Mass kit, which he had lost during his landing. It was hard for him to locate in the dark, under heavy enemy fire, among the explosions, but he did.

The universality of the Church, in the trenches His troubles, of course, did not end there. That same day, while attending to several injured on a farm, he bumped into two German soldiers. They were about to shoot him, but then a third German soldier saved him, after showing his comrades the medal Father Sam wore on his neck, and convincing them not to kill a priest. “It was touching to witness the universality of the Church that day,”

Father Sam wrote in his memoirs, about being saved by a Catholic brother who happened to be his “enemy.” An impressive homily A few days later, Father Sam celebrated Mass before a group of nurses in a church that had been completely bombed. Only two walls remained standing, but the crucifix and the images of St. Peter and St. Paul were intact. Everyone considered it to be a miracle. Before these ruins, Father Sam gave this homily, brief as the dictates of war demanded: The image of the naked Galilean hanging from the cross has always inspired great love and fierce hate. Nero sought to make the cross a hateful image by putting Christians to death upon it, pouring pitch upon them, and lighting Rome with these flaming human crosses. Julian the Apostate said that he would make the world forget the Man on the cross, but in his final agony he had to acknowledge: “Thou has conquered, Galilean.” Communists forbid its presence because they fear its power against their evil designs. Hitler has tried to replace the image of our Blessed Lord on the cross with a stupid swastika. Invectives, false philosophies, violence and every diabolical scheme have been used to tear the Christ from the cross and the crucifix from the church.

Nevertheless, like the bombs that were dropped on this chapel, they have only succeeded in making the cross stand out more and more in bold relief. The image we love grows greater in our understanding because of the vehemence of the hate it occasions in wicked men. Each of us has that sacred image stamped upon his soul. Like the chapel, we are Temples of God. And no matter how we are torn by the bombs of tragedy and trial and assault from without, the image of the crucified remains if we want it to. Now at the foot of this cross let us renew our baptismal vows. Let us promise to shield forever His image in our hearts.

Stuff of legend Father Sampson was captured by the Germans and spent six months in a prison camp. Once released, he returned to the front with the legendary 101st Airborne. Cornelius Ryan’s celebrated 1959 book, The Longest Day, which chronicles the Normandy landing, speaks extensively of him. He also served in Korea and although he had already retired, he was appointed head of the military chaplains in 1967, as he did not want to stop attending his fellow parachutists in Vietnam.

Taken from, September 8, 2017

Sunday, November 25, 2018


My kingdom does not belong to this world.”
John 18

About this time of year, in 1989, six Jesuit priests were dragged from their beds at their university on the edge of San Salvador and shot through their heads with high-powered rifles. Their cook and her fifteen-year-old daughter were also killed. The head of the Jesuits working in Central America told reporters, and I quote, “They were assassinated with lavish barbarity. They were tortured before they died. They even took out their brains.” What did they do wrong? They were outspoken advocates for the poor and the politically abused. They wanted change and the fear of change threatened the powers to be in El Salvador of that time. Why did they remove their brains? Jesuits are known for their intelligence. You have to be smart to become a Jesuit. Their murders removed their brains from their skulls to make a joke, as if to say, “We’ll show these “smart alecks” who’s boss!”

Jesus, of course was not a Jesuit, but he was treated the same way for the same reason. In his first public sermon, Jesus had said that he too had come to “bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to set the downtrodden free.” This message made Jesus immensely popular with the poor and outcasts of his world, but it attracted the wrath and hatred of the political and religious powers-to-be.

Jesus never wanted to be a “king” in the worldly sense of that word. He rejected that idea in the desert, when it was proposed to him by the devil, before he went public with his ministry. He shunned any talk of it when it November 25, 2018came up, and it came up quite often. However, those “in power” would not believe that he didn’t want their power. They never trusted him. Jesus was so popular with the little people, those in power had become paranoid about him possibly trying to become a king and about their loss of power.

When Jesus was arrested, they too made a joke. Their joke was about him being a “king.” They dressed him in a ratty old red robe, the color of royalty. They put a “crown” on his head, a crown of thorns, mashing it into his skin and hair. Then they took turns genuflecting in front of him, laughing their heads off at their own joke. For a “throne” they nailed him to a cross and placed a sign over his head that read, “This is the King of the Jews” for passers-by to laugh at.    Ha, Ha! Big joke!

(Point to the crucifix) Behold our king! That certainly doesn’t look like any other king I have seen! Our king, innocent and without sin, is the brunt of sick jokes. Our king looks like a total failure! Our king was abandoned, even by most of his closest friends. Absent are the things we normally associate with the kings and queens of this world: power, deference, pomp and prestige. Our king is bathed in blood, sweat and tears.

It doesn’t make sense to us today and it didn’t make sense to the people who were there back then. When they were waving their palms and welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem a few days before, they had no idea that things would turn out this way. They had their plans for Jesus and this was not part of them. They had plans for a political revolution, palaces and powerful positions to be filled in a new kingdom. They knew Jesus could escape if he wished. He had saved others, he could have saved himself if he really wanted to. They could not comprehend the fact that he willingly chose such a fate. No wonder they dropped him like a hot potato!

Why would Jesus willingly accept such a fate? He could have gotten around it, he could have escaped and he could have avoided all the pain. Either Jesus was the ultimate masochist or there is a point to all this. What is the point?

Besides being the ultimate act of fidelity to God, accepting even death on a cross, Jesus wanted to teach us a fundamental life lesson: the secret to happiness. He wanted us to know that we do not solve problems by running away from them or waiting them out, but through facing them head-on. When we avoid problems and seek comfort at all costs, the evil within us and around us grows. When we confront our problems, we can shrink them and finally conquer them. That’s what Jesus did when he was faced with poverty, disease, rejection, hatred, corruption and even death! He stood up to all of them. He even beat death itself.

Whether it is a pattern of sin in our own lives, a lump in our breasts, a marriage that isn’t working, a spending pattern that is destructive, an addiction to drugs, food, alcohol or sex, an impending death, we triumph over those problems by facing them, by embracing them and looking them right in the eye. Denial and avoidance simply feed the problem. There is no new person, without the death of the old person. There is no cure without admitting the disease. There is no change without the pain of letting go of the way things are now. There is no gain without pain. There is no resurrection of any kind, without some kind of dying.

That is what the cross means. Our crucified king has promised us that if we are victorious over small things, we can be victorious, because of him, even over our own deaths and “reign” with him forever. Our crucified king challenges us today, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to “Faint not, nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action…freedom will welcome your spirit with joy.”