Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come and See Retreat

Dear friends,

Hopefully these coming months, more time will be afforded to write on the blog about some of the upcoming events we have in the Vocation Office.

On October 22-24th, the Vocation Office will be sponsoring a "Come and See" Retreat at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. This is a special opportunity for young men over the age of 16 to come visit the seminary for the weekend.

Why do we have a retreat like this? For many young men, a formal visit to the seminary can go a long way to help them discern whether or not they are called to take the next step towards the priesthood and enter the seminary. It can be that spark that one needs. It can also help one discern that perhaps they are not called.

In any retreat one makes, the individual should be open to hear the voice of God, and be open to doing whatever God is asking of you. The purpose of a retreat is to take time away so one can hear the voice of God, and to grow in holiness.

If you are reading this, and you are a young man who has possibly considered the priesthood, this retreat might be for you. This retreat is intended for those who have been considering the priesthood for a while, and it is also for those who have just started to think about the priesthood.

For more information, please visit our website, HeedTheCall. Here, you can sign up online, or you can call the Vocation Office to sign up.

God bless.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Vocation Director

Dear friends,

As of June 21st, Father Kevin Gallagher has become the Vocation Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Please pray for Fr. Gallagher as he begins his new ministry of full time vocation work, working with many young men who are discerning the call to the priesthood. More posts on this blog will be forthcoming. God bless.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Make All Things New

5th Sunday of Lent

We had an eventful week, this week. The celebration of St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph's Day and the start of March Madness. In that light it was a terrible week for me. I'm a Temple University Fan. What started off last Sunday as a great week, with the winning of the A-10 Championship Game, turned bad with our seating in the tournament and then worst with our loss on Friday to Cornell. Misery loves company though, so it was some consolation yesterday to see Villanova lose. Now we're all miserable, even Kansas lost!

In light of all that, we hear today's reading from Isaiah: God is doing something new. Remember not the events of the past, things long ago consider not, I am doing something new. Do you not perceive it? Theese my friends are words of command, words of hope as well. I make a way, in the desert, I put water in the desert, I bring hope to my people. Certainly, words of hope to Israel but to you and me today, for they are the words of God who is with us.

Today, we see that Word of God Jesus, bringing tremendous hope to his people. And specifically, to this poor woman who is brought to him.

Clearly, this woman was not having a good day. We are told that she was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Can you imagine?! The shame of that, they catch her and they drag her thru the streets...She has no defense, no excuse, nothing to hide behind, there she is right in the middle, brought before the Lord.

And we see what our Lord does. He does not take away her past or undermine it. He does not console her or put rose colored glasses on the scene. Rather, he bends down and slowly he reveals to all that she is not the only sinner in their midst. She has company....And as they all disappear into their holes, he says to her, has no one condemned you? "Neither do I, condemn you...Go and sin no more."

My friends, what a scene...What a meeting. St. Paul describes his meeting with Christ as something that transformed his life, in fact all else is rubbish compared to meeting Christ Jesus as Lord! To know and to experience the mercy of God is the greatest of all gifts.

Chances are we will not be dragged by others to Jesus. But we need at times to drag ourselves to him, to meet his mercy for our lives. And when that happens. When we can present ourselves to him, our lives can be we hear Him say to us...Neither do I condemn you, go sin no more.

Friends, we have need to hear such words, to receive such mercy. This week, let us get to confession so that we can experience this tremendous gift and God can make all things new for us. Let us yearn to hear Jesus say to us..."Has no one condemned you? Neither do I, go sin no more."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 3 --- Beware! No Spectators Allowed

3rd Sunday of Lent

I'd like to begin this writing with a little exercise. I'm going to type out a couple of verbs and I'd like you to pause for a moment and listen to what these verbs trigger in your heart. What comes to your mind and what's your heart's response is. Ready? cut-down, cut-off, cut-up, cut-in, cut-into, cut-short.

OK. I'm not sure what your heart's response is, but I'm certain that such verbs evoke a response....and tap into some of your life's experience. Times when we were cut-up, or cut-off. We can relate to such verbs and so too can our Lord.

Our first response to such experiences might be anger, but we need to take it further. We need to ask WHY??? We hear such questioning today in the Gospel.
Why did the tower fall on those people? Why did the Galieans get killed? We might ask Why did the boss cut-up my idea, Why Lord Why???

"WHY?" is a great question. It gets us thinking and when we address it to the Lord, it evokes from him a response. God invites such questions and thru questions, he leads us to so much more.

We see this today with the call of Moses. The question "why?" is what led Moses to encounter the Lord. He sees the burning bush and he wonders, why is it burning but not consumed? So he moves closer. And at that moment, he hears a voice, STOP...Remove your sandals from your feet, you stand on Holy Ground.

He removes them and then he hears even more from the Lord. Moses realizes that God knows him, God is familiar with the sufferings of Israel and furthermore, God has a plan. God sees how his people are cut-off from their homeland and cut-up by the Egyptians. And not only does God have a plan, he has a name. A name to be made known to the people, remembered, respected thru the ages....

Friends, we see and hear in this reading 3 tremendous truths which we need to make our own:

#1) When faced with questions in life, we need to face them with REVERENCE and RESPECT...Moses needed to take off his sandals, well we need to take off our attitude and pride and take all our questions to the Lord. Engage him with our whys.

#2) We need to remember that God has a plan, he sees all things, he knows all things.

#3) Finally We are integral parts of His Plan, God needs us and we will be answerable to Him. We must bear fruit.

We hear St. Paul telling the Corinthians today, Do NOT BE UNAWARE, but Be aware...It's not enough to be part of the crowd. He says that most of the Israelites who followed Moses were struck down, God was not pleased with them, for they were only part of the crowd.

And so we need to take care. Take Care of ourselves and not be along for the ride in life, but take care in the Lord.

Sometimes I think that we should post signs outside of Church...BEWARE: You are entering into a holy place. God's house, God's dwelling on earth. All are welcomed, no height, no weight restrictions, but you must be changed, you must be made new, converted and bear fruit. All who enter here must leave differently.

For our Church is not a stadium or arena, we are not to just warm the seats and pulpit. Our worship is not a spectator sport....Rather, here we will be challenged, fortified, healed, changed, engaged and sent forth.

My friends, God has great expectations for each and every one of us. Thru reverence, respect, humility, and obedient love...we will realize these expectations, we will be changed so that in due time...we will become who God calls us to be.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


2nd Sunday of Lent

I'm not sure if you have noticed it or not, but it's beginning to stay lighter longer, these days. Have you noticed?? Despite the snow storms, the signs of spring are beginning to manifest themselves, thru greater light, the crack of basball bats and the turning of the calendar from February to March. This is good news!

And yet, March is a tough month. It's an in between time...a time for mid-term exams for college students, a time when much promise is in the air, but is not yet fully here. We are still vulnerable to winter storms and trials. March as they say comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb...and we are in the midst of that transforming period.

Aware of this, and finding ourselves in Week 2 of Lent, we may be able to relate to this tough time. Chances are you are experiencing tremendous temptations surrounding those Lenten promises that you have made. Temptations around food especially. Isn't it something? Isn't it powerful? By Week 2 of Lent, it is not uncommon for many people to have fallen prey to such temptations. We may find by now broken Lenten promises and discouraged spirits. Easter is on the way but it's still a ways off.

With this in mind, our Gospel today becomes a great gift for us. The Gospel reminds us what Lent, what our Christian lives are all about. And that is TRANSFORMATION. We find in the Gospel today, Jesus with Peter, John and James...they've climbed the high mountain with our Lord and they fall asleep while he is in prayer. But we are told that they are awakened by a revelation of God's Glory, the TRANSFIGURATION of our Lord.

My friends, we need to pray for a similar manifestation of God's grace to us. That we may be awakened, encouraged and guided. We should pray Lord, transform me, Lord shine thru me, Lord use me in these days. We must not allow our Lenten observance to stand on its own, apart from Jesus. But rather, we must stand with Jesus, seeking his amazing grace.

Abram is an example of this, having been awakened in faith, he offers sacrifice and then waits for the coming of the Lord. We do the same. Thru Baptism, we are now IN JESUS, as St. Paul tells us, our citizenship is IN HEAVEN. Therefore, as we move thru these Lenten days, we do so with and in Jesus. And that truth and knowledge alone provides powerful grace for all of us. It makes a difference and will carry us thru this new month, it will carry us thru all difficulty, it will carry us thru these Lenten Days, to the Glory of Easter.

We pray: Jesus may my whole life, all that I am and do, be in you. And there, may I be transformed to be for you and with you in all things. AMEN.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


First Sunday of Lent

This morning in the newspaper, there was an article about a rather cool or rather "hot" invention called THE SNOW DRAGON. This machine is able to melt tons of snow...10 tons of snow an hour to be these parts of the Northeast this winter, such a machine is a gift indeed!

As I read about the "snow dragon", I thought how wonderful it would be to have a snow dragon for our hearts. To melt away all the resentments, lusts, greed, jealousies and anxieties that lurk about in the recesses of the heart. As I prayed,
I realized that we do have such a machine. It's the confessional and the season of Lent is the time to make use of this marvelous "machine"!

For many of us, we associate Lent as a time for Winter Spiritual Olympics...a time when WE do spiritual tricks, like the athletes we are watching in Vancouver. I might suggest, however, that we avoid such displays of personal heroics and allow this Lent to be a time when we allow our LORD to do HIS work IN us. A time for Jesus to be a "Snow Dragon" for us. A time when we allow our sin to melt away and be warmed up as we draw close to Jesus. Then, we wake up out of our cold winter.

Of course, such an invitation fits well with our Gospel today. For we find our Lord in a "hot climate" in the desert today, hungry, tired, alone and tempted. And it is here that he meets another type of dragon, SATAN. Jesus meets him head on and endures his wild attacks.

Friends, one of the things that this Gospel shows us is that this meeting between Jesus and Satan is real, it's not an anology, a fable or story. Satan is not just a pipe-dream...he is real! You may not have heard that recently from a catholic pulpit. But it's time to hear it and it's important for us to reflect on that today. For what happens in the Gospel today is crucial, it's real and in the temptations of Jesus we discover what Life is all about. It's a battle.

This is a good reminder, for in seeing this, we see Jesus to be who He is. And he at the root of things is Savior. He's not just a nice guy. Yeah, He's a nice guy, but He is savior. And as such He saves. He saves us. From what? From the fires of Hell. And oh, how we need that salvation.

In light of this fact, it might be helpful re-read once again, what exactly the Church teaches on HELL, i.e. what exactly Jesus saves us from. This reflection might help us in our spiritual life and warm our hearts to the love of Jesus. Let's take a look at the Catechism:

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"614

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."615 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

My friends, the Good News here is that this teaching does indeed help us to hear the CALL to CONVERSION. The Catechism describes this Call as Urgent. Lent is the time for this to happen.

Let us then, Heed the Call of our Lord. To keep our eyes on the goal and let us ask him to be our snow dragon this season, which will provide us victory over the Satan Dragon in our lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Just a note to those who read this blog, as you can see, I've decided to use this blog as a way of sharing weekly homilies. Comments about the homilies are appreciated and read, but will not be posted or responded to on the blog itself. Should you desire to ask me a question or seek an answer to a comment that you have, I ask you to email me directly by visiting our
I have found that responding directly to questions via email is more helpful then on the blog. Many thanks!