Thursday, March 21, 2019


The Adventures of the Single Life
If there is any doubt that we’re living in the age of the individual, a look at the housing data confirms it. For millennia, people have huddled together, in caves, in mud huts, in cottages and condos. But these days, 1 in every 4 American households is occupied by someone living alone; in Manhattan, the number is nearly 1 in 2. 
Eric Klinenberg recently published “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” which he calls “an incredible social experiment” that reveals “the human species is developing new ways to live.” 
True, the benefits of living alone are many: freedom to come and go as you please; the space and solitude to recharge in a social media world; complete control over the bed. In the seminary, we slept in single beds. As a priest, I have to have either a king or queen size bed, even though I usually use only one side! 
Still, the single-occupant home can be a breeding ground for eccentricities. In a sense, living alone represents “the self “ let loose. In the absence of what Mr. Klinenberg calls “surveilling eyes,” the solo dweller is free to indulge his or her odder habits — what is sometimes referred to as Secret Single Behavior. Feel like standing naked in your kitchen at 2 a.m., eating peanut butter from the jar? Who’s to know? Personally, I have the habit of putting on clothes to go downstairs in the middle of the night, just in case I fall down the steps and people find my unclothed body a few weeks later! 
A 28 year old schoolteacher calls it living without “social checks and balances.” The effects are noticeable, she said: “I’ve been living alone for six years, and I’ve gotten quirkier and quirkier.” 
What emerges over time, for those who live alone, is an at-home self that is markedly different — in ways big and small — from the self they present to the world. We all have private selves, of course, but people who live alone spend a good deal more time exploring them. Personally, I have a two-floor condo. The upstairs, where people come in, is always clean and tidy. The downstairs, where I spend a lot more time, not so much! 
I read about one man who said living-alone indulgences center on his sleep cycle. A 40 year old record producer said he’ll go to bed at 2 a.m. one night, and then retire later and later by increments, “until I go to bed when the sun comes up.” These days, personally, I often stay up past midnight. I love to write late at night. Even after I go to bed, I sometimes get up and go downstairs to work on the computer about 2:00 am and then go back up around 3:00 am and go right back to sleep – so far without a problem. 
A 70 year old woman writes a blog on aging,, has lived alone for all but 10 or so years of her adult life. She said she has adopted a classic living-alone habit: “I never, ever close the bathroom door.” 
Leaving it open “is one of those little habits that makes no difference most of the time,” she said. But when guests visit her two-bedroom apartment outside Portland, Ore., she added: “I have to make huge mental efforts to remind myself to close the door. 
Like many, she also talks to herself — or, rather, to her cat. “I’ll try things out on him when I’m writing,” she said. “He’ll look at me like he’s actually listening. I wouldn’t discuss what I’m writing with my cat if someone were around.” I don’t have a cat, but I do ask myself questions, out loud, when no one is around! 
Other people say their greatest eccentricities emerge in the kitchen. Eating can be a personal, even self-conscious act, and in the absence of a roommate or partner, unconventional approaches to food emerge. 
“I very rarely have what you would call ‘meals,’ ” said Steve Zimmer, a computer programmer in his 40s who lives by himself in a Manhattan loft. Instead of adhering to regular meals or meal times, he said, he makes “six or seven” trips an hour to the refrigerator and subsists largely on cereal. As for me, I cannot go to sleep with knives on the counter in the kitchen. They have to be out of sight so that an intruder cannot find them so easily. 
The founder of the Web site, is a kind of unofficial spokeswoman and lobbyist for singletons. She has had roommates in the past but now lives alone. She said that rather than cooking a big meal for one, an unappealing prospect, she fashions dinner out of “discrete objects”: “I’m often, like, here’s a sweet potato! Let me throw that in the oven with aluminum foil and eat it.” Personally, it’s not a problem for me to eat a piece of cake followed by a salad - and popcorn, if I am still hungry! 
One woman noted that the longer she lives alone, the less flexible she becomes — and the less considerate of others’ needs. “If I go on vacation with a group of friends, I feel a little overwhelmed,” she said. “I’ve got to share this room with other people? We have to organize showers?” Personally, I would rather stay home than share a room with someone on a vacation – even if it were a "free "vacation! 
A computer programmer said he is also conscious of becoming too set in his ways, especially where sleeping is concerned. “I just do not sleep as well with someone else,” he said. “A lot of homes have double master bedrooms. I can really see the value of that.” Personally, I cannot imagine sleeping with someone else in the bed with me! No way! 
My “single habits” are many. I clean my house before the cleaning lady comes every couple of months. I cannot go to sleep unless my car keys are next to my bed “in case of an emergency” during the night. I have to turn off the water and check the stove before I leave the house overnight. Before I go to sleep, I have been known to check the door several times in a row “to be sure I locked it!” 
It is aggravating sometimes to have to “do it all” when you live by yourself, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!  
watch this video for a laugh

Wednesday, March 20, 2019



Saint Joseph, the carpenter and the boy Jesus.

Yesterday, March 19, was the Feast of Saint Joseph, patron of the local Saint Joseph Home for the Aged operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. Some the the lay Board Members and some of us local priests attended Mass together with the Sisters and Residents. Afterwards, the Sisters and priests waited on tables for lunch. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019




Besides regular Masses at the Cathedral, posting regularly on this blog, presiding at funerals and attending to other normal obligations, I have the following "major events" on the calendar - some of them week-long events.  It's still early in the year, so I need to start saying "no" before my calendar fills up! It's still March, for God's sake! 

My problem is that I like doing more than is actually good for a 75 year old priest. As Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!" I hope I can do well all the things I am committed to this year! I need to pace myself, but I have never been good at that. I tend to go and go till I get sick and have to stop. Praying for good health is always at the top of my list these days. 

Regional Parish Mission at Saint Brigid Church in Vine Grove, Kentucky, March 11-13

Inter-Diocesan Parish Mission at Holy Family Church in Louisville, Kentucky, March 25-27

Mission Trip Number Twelve to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines March 30 - April 6. 

My 75th Birthday - April 28

Clergy Conference for Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, April 28 - May 1.

Visitor from Ireland - May 18 - 25

Priest Retreat
Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, June 9 - 13. 

Presentation on Preaching at the Notre Dame University Preaching Conference, June 25. 

Visitors from Germany, August 1 - 13. 

Priest Convocation, Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, September 9 - 11

Priest Convocation, Diocese of Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, October 21 - 24. 

Tentative Mission Trip Number Thirteen to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, December 7 -14

Blue Christmas Mass for the Grieving, Holy Family Church, December 24


Sunday, March 17, 2019



   Image result for saint Patrick's Day gif


Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became 
dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, 
and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. 
Luke 9

What a difference a few years make! Depressed by the sexual abuse scandal and feeling unsupported in my work as a Vocation Director, this time of the year in 2004 I was at an all-time low. News about the sexual abuse scandal was so bad that I asked for some time off to regain my balance. I needed to pull myself together and get some clarity about what to do next. I spent the whole month of February that year, alone, in a small cottage, on a deserted beach, in northern Florida. I probably spoke to one person that whole month. I loved it. I got my clarity. I went from having one of the worst years of my life, to one of the best years of my life. Even though things have gotten even worse, I can now handle the constant drip of bad news much better now. I guess you can get used to anything!

Last week, we read about Jesus going off into the desert, alone, for forty days. He, too, was looking for clarity about what it might mean for him to be “God’s beloved Son,” an insight he had received from God at the time of his baptism. That time-in-the-desert took place at the beginning of his ministry. It was followed by many trips to quiet places, during his ministry, to seek clarity from God about what he was supposed to do next.

Today, we fast-forward to the end of Jesus’ life, the time before his final entry into Jerusalem for his crucifixion, death and resurrection. At this point in his ministry, Jesus could read the handwriting on the wall and it spelled SUFFERING, in big letters. This time he went to the mountain, to get final clarity on whether this impending suffering was really the right thing. The question Jesus wanted an answer to, was not “what do I want to do” or “what do people want me to do,” but “what does God want me to do?”

Just as a desert is a good place for introspection, a mountain is a good place for perspective. In a desert, there is nothing to distract you. You are forced to look within. On a mountain, you can see in all directions at once. On the mountain, Jesus got a glimpse of the past, the present, the future and how they all fit together.  On the mountain Jesus was able to “see the connections” between where he was, where he came from and where he was going.  

(1) Jesus saw his connection to the past. Israel’s two great heroes appear to him and talk with him: Moses and Elijah. They told Jesus that indeed he was the one they had, centuries ago, dreamed of and had foretold would someday come. They told Jesus that he was indeed on the right path and that he should indeed proceed onward. If their word was not enough, from a cloud, God repeats the words that he spoke to Jesus at his baptism, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

(2) Jesus saw his connection to the future.  The words used to describe Jesus’ clothes becoming “white as light” are the same words used of his clothes at the resurrection.  His “white as light” clothing, gave him a glimpse of the glory to come. It helped him get a sneak preview of what was going to be on the other side of the suffering he was about to endure.

(3) Jesus saw his connection to the present, where he was on his journey. He tells his disciples, flattened with fear, that there was nothing to be scared of, even though they had to go down from the mountain and go through the pain ahead. This experience would help them through what was about to happen. In fact, this is where we get the expression “peak experience.” A “peak experience” is one of those magical times of spiritual experience that people, like good old St. Peter, like to hold onto or repeat again, but cannot. They are simply “glimpses of glory” and “sneak previews” of heaven itself. They are not meant to be permanent. They are meant to get us through the hard times. 

Going off to the desert, going off to the mountains, going off to the beach or simply going off to your room to listen to yourself think, to listen to your heart of heart, to listen to God is an absolute necessity for those who would follow Jesus.  The place is not important, but the listening is!  If you listen with your heart, you will get the clarity you need, no matter what questions you need to answer or problems you need to face.

No wonder so many in our culture seems to be so confused: our world is so crammed with noise that we cannot hear ourselves think.  We have been raised to believe that answers come when we can say what we want to do or when others tell us what we need to do. The only thing that will make us happy and get us back on our path is when we want what God wants for us.  The desert, beach, mountain or our room are just places of quiet, places quiet enough to hear that tiny whispering voice of God himself, deep within our own hearts. Lent, I believe, is not so much about giving up things as it is about giving up the constant noise that prevents us from hearing ourselves think!  

No wonder our culture seems so confused: our ears are being blasted with constant noise from cell phones, earphones and an over-saturation of electronic stimulation. No wonder our culture seems so confused: we consult our horoscopes and seek out expensive advice gurus, but we don’t take the time to go to the quiet and listen to ourselves.  We are driven to fill the quiet, to kill the quiet or to run from the quiet, as if the quiet were our worst enemy.  But the truth of the matter is, it is in the quiet that we get our bearings, clarity is given to us and a sense of who we are, and where we are going, is shown to us. 

My friends, the message today is simple: make friends with the quiet. In the quiet, everything falls into perspective, the path becomes clear and where we need to go becomes obvious. And to stay on the right path, we have to go to the quiet often, regularly and routinely, just as Jesus had to do!