Thursday, July 7, 2022



Laugh Out Loud

You knew when you were working full-time, you could explain to people that you were busy and they would believe you.  Now they think you are lying! 

You have to find new and more creative ways to explain to people why you would rather do fifty funerals than one wedding because funerals are less stressful!

You get to watch prices go up, up, up while you watch your retirement savings go down, down down

You brag about having very little on your calendar "next week" only to wake up next week and realize that "next week" is full again. 

You know there are people out there right now thinking, "Let's call him! He's not doing anything! He'll do it! He's retired! 

You realize that some people are actually pressuring you to do things at inconvenient times they would rather not do - like visiting people you have never heard of in nursing homes, hospitals and funeral homes. At the end of their request, there is always this: "....and while you're there, tell them I send my regards and best wishes!" 

If you are in your car, but not speeding, running red-lights or riding someone's bumper, people curse at you and honk their horns at you for being an "aggravating old senior citizen!"



Tuesday, July 5, 2022



Signs of a Loner

 Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 02, 2020

What is a Loner?

Being a loner means that you often prefer to be by yourself rather than with others. Depending on the context of the situation and your personality and preferences, this could be a good or bad thing.

Some people view loners in a negative context. However, some studies show that being a loner can lead to happiness for the individual and could actually be good for your health. Some people in this study experienced greater life satisfaction with less frequent interaction with their friends.

Introverts can also sometimes be considered loners. These are people who enjoy time alone, not necessarily because they don’t like being around other people, but rather because they are more interested in their own inner thoughts and feelings. Spending quality time by themselves is how they are able to regain energy.

Types of a Loner

Loners display varying degrees of wanting to or needing to be alone. There are positive, healthy reasons for being a loner, as well as negative, destructive reasons. Here are several general categories of loners:

The Intentional Positive Loner

These are individuals who have specifically chosen to be alone because it fits their personality or lifestyle. Recent research has found that positive loners describe themselves as autonomous. Their behaviors, values, and interests are “resistant to pressure from others,” and they are “interested in learning more about their personal experiences and emotions”.

The Intentional Negative Loner

These people have chosen to be alone because they dislike other people or have strong anti-social tendencies. They have negative outlooks on society and prefer not to associate or assimilate with others. These can be a beginning sign of an antisocial personality disorder.

The Unintentional Loner

These individuals are forced into isolation because they are or feel like they have been rejected by society. They want to belong to a community, but mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia isolate them from others. 

Short-term Loner

These people get away from others but only for a short time, either to rest or just because they enjoy solitude. It can be for a couple of hours or days, but they usually tend to spend significant time both being alone and being with others.

Chronic Loneliness

Short-term episodes of loneliness are normal and can occur at any point in our lives. If the feelings of loneliness persist or get worse; however, that could be a sign of chronic loneliness.

Signs of a Loner

Regardless of whether you are an intentional loner or an unintentional loner, there are several signs that can mean that you are a loner:

You Enjoy Doing Things by Yourself

Does a night watching a movie or reading a book by yourself sound like a wonderful time? Do you love traveling somewhere and exploring on your own? Are you comfortable making a dinner reservation for one? Being able to not only enjoy but look forward to doing things by yourself is a sign you are a loner.

You Don’t Enjoy Superficial Social Gatherings or Unnecessary Meetings

If a feeling of dread fills you when you get an email from your boss scheduling a last-minute meeting of the whole team, or one of your friends is nagging you to come with them to a party, you might be a loner. While you are probably fine going to planned events, last-minute ones are not your cup of tea.

You’re a Self-Starter

You enjoy putting your earbuds in and shutting the outside world out so you can get stuff done. You’re able to manage your own schedule and can stay on task much easier without everyone stopping by to bother you. And you have set a clear path for your future that you know you can achieve on your own. These are all traits of people who like to do things their own way and by themselves.

You Take Your Time

Rash, spur of the moment decisions are definitely not your thing. You prefer to sit and mull over your thoughts and be well-prepared before having to speak. You rationalize ideas and formulate plans with your inner voice instead of your outer voice. And you are totally fine with taking time to formulate answers and solutions.

Dealing with a Loner

Loners, by nature do things by themselves and therefore prefer to solve any issues or problems their own way. When dealing with a loner, make sure to give them plenty of space to think and breathe. Don’t rush them to make a decision, and don’t pressure them to move too quickly.

Patience and understanding are appropriate approaches when dealing with loners. Allow them to recharge and become comfortable with where they are before trying to engage. By providing them the space they need, they will more likely open up and let you into their solitary world.

Sunday, July 3, 2022



Given at St. Frances of Rome Church

No moneybag! No sack! No sandals! Stay in one place!
Some people will not accept you! Tell them that the Kingdom 
of God is here for them. 
 Luke 10                

What we have here are the “marching orders” for the first apostles and those of us who carry on their work. That work includes each and every one of us!  We were all commissioned at our baptisms to be "ambassadors" for Christ! These “missionary” instructions are as valid today as they were then, and just as demanding, too. What I think Jesus is saying to us here, in plain English, is this: (1) keep it simple (2) bloom where you are planted (3) don’t forget what is really important, and (4) expect some rejection.

These marching orders have serious implications for those who carry on the work of the apostles as priests, yes, but they have serious implications also for those of you who carry on their work as parents, those who work in the world and citizens of this country. We may not learn these four things in the sequence given, or all at once, but sooner or later they will have to be learned. After 52 years of priesthood, I can say I have experienced all of them, and some of them several times over.

The first thing I had to learn was to “bloom where you are planted.” Just as some of the missionaries that Jesus “sent out” shopped around for the bigger and better deals, priests today can be very rigid about what they will, or will not accept, in an assignment.  When I was first ordained, I had my heart set on being an associate pastor in a comfortable suburban parish so that, after living mostly in the country, I could  finally enjoy the benefits of the big city. What I got was an assignment to the “home missions," three and a half hours away from here.  This first crisis of my priesthood took place just two weeks into priesthood.  When I heard where I was being sent, I pleaded, begged and cried to no avail. I finally had to accept the fact that I had to go, one way or another, willingly or unwillingly. In the car, on the way down there, I made one of the most important decisions of my priesthood: since I didn’t get what I wanted, I consciously decided to want what I got. My heart and mind opened and I decided to do everything in my power to  “bloom where I was being planted.”  In final analysis, it turned out to be an incredible 10 years. I used to teach what I had learned from this experience to priests-to-be when I worked at St. Meinrad Seminary. I used to tell them that  when it comes to assignments from the Bishop, if you don't get what you want, you can always turn and make up your mind to want what you got! I tried to tell them that it is always possible to "bloom where you are planted!"

"Bloom where you are planted" can apply to the rest of you as well - whether your life is focused mostly in the professional world, mostly in the work world or mostly in the home world. There are opportunities everywhere to "preach the gospel" by your actions, "using words if you have to" as St. Francis supposedly said. You don't need to stand on street corners and preach, all you need to do is to just focus on being the best marriage partner you can be, the best parent you can be and the best professional or laborer you can be!  Yes, if you just "bloom right where you are planted" that will be enough! 

The second thing I had to learn was to “keep it simple.” In 1975, I was assigned two rural counties where I was expected to start two mission parishes where the Catholic Church had never been before. In all of history, I became the first resident Catholic priest to live in Wayne County, Kentucky. When I moved into the basement apartment of St. Peter Mission Church, all I had was an old bed, a bedside table, a tacky old yard-sale lamp, a warped green kitchen table with two matching chairs, a total of 6 parishioners and $70.00 in the parish bank account.  I remember lying in bed that first night recalling the words of today's gospel: “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals” I kept asking myself that night: “What in the hell has just happened to me?” That night the challenge to “keep it simple” became a very stark reality for me! 

Since I could not do grand things in a situation like that, I was forced to look for simple ways to make an impression in the community. I remember deciding to pray for the other churches, one by one every week, until I had covered every church in Wayne County.  Each week, I would write a letter to the church pastors telling them we were praying for them and for the success of their ministry at the coming weekend Masses. One year, when I was able to get a semi-truck load of educational toys from PLAYSKOOL TOY COMPANY in Chicago through one of my seminary classmates, I divided them among the Sunday School classrooms in all the churches of Wayne County who would accept them. 

Because I had to "keep it simple," I came to believe that one of the most effective ways of making a difference in the world is to simply lead by example.  Practicing simple random acts of kindness is an effective way to set a good example on how to behave in the world. People today are often surprised by simple acts of kindness. Benjamin Franklin once said, "The best sermon is a good example." Whether you are a priest or a parent, I believe that "setting an example" can be a much more effective way to "preach the gospel" than reading from a Bible on street corners, no matter how loud one gets! I like to think that my own personal "acts of kindness" have been just as effective as any of the words I might have used in a pulpit. 

As an "ambassador of Christ" in the world, the third thing I had to learn was to “expect rejection.”  One of the reasons I did not respond positively to the news of my first assignment to the "home missions" in the southern part of the state, where Catholics made up only one-tenth of one percent of the population, was the fact that anti-Catholicism was very much a reality down there at that time. I grew up very much fearing rejection so that scared me!

The first day I went into a local “ministerial association” meeting, the host minister saw my Roman collar, left the room abruptly and sent a note back to us by his secretary, which read, “I can no longer be part of this group, now that it has a Catholic in it. Please leave my church!” Thank God all the other ministers stood up with me and walked out. We went across the street to another church to finish our meeting! I was regularly preached about, by name, on the radio. One minister told his radio audience, “If you people had prayed harder, those Catholics would not have come!"  Even when I got my own radio program, I was thrown off the air while I was on vacation, because some local ministers showed up at the radio station to complain. I didn’t “shake off the dust” in the sense of leaving town, but I decided not to let those comments affect me. I simply refused to take them personally. I simply turned the other cheek and decided that I would "kill them with kindness" until I was accepted.  It worked! 

Many of you parents, who do the heroic work of raising children, have had to endure rejection from your own children, especially as they go through puberty! As Shakespeare said, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" During that transition to adulthood, there may be times when your children call you every name in the book and quit speaking to you for weeks, but you remain steadfast, parenting as best you can as they work their way through the trials of growing up!  

The last thing I had to learn as an "ambassador for Christ" was “not to forget what is truly important.” Some priests think their main mission in ministry is to be the “town scold,” always looking for evil to condemn - "mousing for vermin" as one writer called it! Well, I have always believed differently. I believe that we actually see what we look for, so one day I decided to start writing a weekly column in The Record called "An Encouraging Word." Rather than always looking for evil to condemn, I tried to look for goodness to affirm in the ordinary people moving around me. I wrote that column every week for fifteen years. I wrote a total of 750 weekly columns in all! I always found some goodness to affirm because I was training myself to look for it!

I believe that the last thing our people need from us, when we go into their parishes, is always telling them what’s wrong with them. What they need from us is encouragement. In many cases, it is obvious to me that they already have more faith than I do. What they need, I believe, is God's encouragement, the encouragement of the “good news,” the good news of God’s universal and unconditional love for all people. If announcing the “good news" is not our passion, but instead being one of those who is always wallowing in that small world of nit-picking liturgical issues, then we are guilty of overlooking the great treasure in favor of focusing on the humble crock that holds it. In the priesthood and in family life, there is always so much to do that it is very easy to forget what is truly important. People today still crave hearing the “good news” and still respond to it enthusiastically when they hear it. When we remember the "good news" ourselves, and help others remember it, we will always be remembering what is truly important. 

My friends, all of us are "evangelists." All of us are "preachers of the good news." All of us are "ambassadors for Christ." We just carry that "good news" out to the world in a variety of ways. Some of us do it mainly with our words. Some of us do it mainly with our actions. Either way, we are all called "to keep it simple, to bloom where we are planted, to remember what is important and to expect rejection!