View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blame us for the Coulters of the world

Ann Coulter,
sensibility jolter,
will continue to say what she wants to say
as long as we pay


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A week after the meeting: Spirituality

It's been a week since I met with the spiritual director.

Things remain up in the air.

Certainly one question raised in our discussion is weighing on me: How much is my desire to be a deacon a call from God, and how much of it is a symptom of my desire to be busy and take care of others? And if I don't have a rich prayer/spiritual life, how effective would I be?

Some positive notes: Per one of the director's suggestions I have begun keeping a journal in which I record each night at least three things from that day for which I am grateful. It's not easy. I forget things from earlier in the day - maybe I need to jot things down as they happen. But I have been doing it.

I did get a bike. I’ve been riding every day - now up to half an hour. My body is still adjusting (after 28 years, the butt is feeling it!), but it's getting better. So far, some wonderful moments riding the Erie Canal trail, saying hi to other riders, watching all the critters along the way.

I've also been reading Brother David Steindl-Rast’s Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer. The book's title explains it all.

As for the canonical issue, no word yet. If it's a no, then any decision on the diaconate becomes moot.

But the more important point in all this is growing spiritually.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I love baseball. I'm one of those folks who poures over the box scores, searching out favorite players. I even have a couple of fantasy teams.

I do have favorite teams. I was born in Boston, so naturally the Red Sox is one of them - I consider them my American League team.

Back in the late 60s when I was growing up in Geneva, we got one of the earliest forms of cable, and one of the channels was out of New York City - WOR? - and carried the Mets games. I got hooked just in time for the 1969 World Series. So the Mets are my National League team.

Red Sox/Mets - 1986 was heaven (though I still feel bad for Buckner).

Those being my teams, I naturally have a team that I wish the worst for - the Yankees.

I root for anyone playing against them.

Maybe that's why as a Civil War buff I have a fondness for the South - get them Yankees!

Anyway, this Saturday morning, I look at the standings:

Boston 46-25 - .648 - First Place in their division
Mets 38-32 - .543 - First Place in their division
Yankees 35-35 - .500 - Second Place in their division

How about another Red Sox/Mets World Series?



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More on spiritual director

One thing that really saddened me was when she asked me to think of one moment in the last week when I felt genuinely happy and sensed God.

I could think of nothing.

Every time a happy event popped in my head, what I remembered of it was that my mind was constanlty on what I had to do next - pick someone up, write a blog entry, get to a meeting, visit my dad, and so on.

I could savor none of the moments.

So she gave me as an exercise keeping a journal. Each night I have to record at least three things that happened that day for which I'm grateful.

The ultimate goal is to discover God in all those joyful things I'm too busy or distracted to see.

She also thought my plan to get a bike was a good idea. Exercise, a chance to get in nature, and a chance to get out on my own.

So I did. Today.

Tally ho!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spiritual director meeting


I met with the possible spiritual director today.

After listening to me and asking a few questions, she concluded in essence that I’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else for the last 20 years that I basically have had and continue to have no time for a spiritual life.

She also said that it’s obvious I have a lot of hurt and anger bottled up that interferes with spiritual growth. (She does counseling as well.)

No quite what I expected to hear, but I did say I need someone to give me a good kick.

Ironically, we had to hurry the session because my wife’s car has a coolant leak so she is “terrified” of driving it. She knew I had the appointment, but still demanded that I get home in time to get her to work.

The spiritual director suggested that I need to just tell all these people depending on me "No" once in a while if I'm going to make time for spirituality - or even my own mental health!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A memorial tribute

It was a line in a death notice, but it made me smile.

Barbara Hoffman, formerly of Rochester, more recently working as an English professor at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, died at age 65.

The notice listed all the usual details about relatives, burial, a memorial Mass, and so on.

But it included: "In Barbara's memory, read a book or poem, savor beauty, live life deeply with gratitude for all God's gifts."

What a great tribute.

Friday, June 15, 2007


"I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." - Elwood P. Dowd (Harvey)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Strange bedfellows

From Politico:

Rudy's Iowa co-chair served on state's Planned Parenthood board

The co-chair of Rudy Giuliani's Iowa campaign formerly served on the board of the state's chapter of Planned Parenthood and led the organization's fundraising drive in 2002.

Joy Corning, who served as lieutenant governor for former Gov. Terry Branstad's final eight years in office in the 1990s, was on the Board of Trustees of Planned Parenthood for Greater Iowa as recently as 2005, according a copy of the group's annual report. The document, found online, was provided by a rival campaign.

Also detailed on the website is a description of Corning's role in the organization's capital campaign, which lasted from 2002-2006.

She led the "Responsible Choices" fundraising effort which, according to the website, raised over $11 million for, among other things, upgrades to Planned Parenthood facilities across the state.

A member of the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame, Corning was the first female elected to the Iowa state Senate. She briefly sought to become the state's first female governor, but dropped out early in the 1998 race.

While the other top GOP contenders have their share of pro-choice backers, the issue is especially sensitive for Giuliani, who maintains his pro-choice stance and himself contributed to the abortion rights organization in the 1990s. Giuliani released his Iowa leadership list today.

Asked to respond, a spokeswoman for the former mayor would only say that "Rudy enjoys widespread support from Republicans across the spectrum in Iowa and across the country."

Yep. Love that Rudy....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The choir takes a summer break

Well, I won't be viewing from the choir for a couple of months.

Today was the last day before we take our summer break.

Of course, this year, I've also been playing guitar with the choir.

For you purists, by the way, we two guitarists don't play on everything. The choir also sings many songs that are not suited to guitar. Then I just sing - as I did today on "Ave Verum Corpus."

For the summer, I'll be available to lector, and to sit with my wife.

She will like that.

As for my trusty Taylor, I hope to play at a few coffee houses or do some busking, so it will still be in use.
Oh, and when I say the choir is off for the summer, I don't mean this blog.
As for dad, I went over the the hospital today, told him a few jokes, and read some Bible passages (his Bible is back at the adult home; he didn't want to bring it with him). He has to undergo more tests tomorrow. He still can't eat anything.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Dad is in the hospital.

He was taken there Thursday with a bowel obstruction.

They found an abscess, and have since drained it.

We are waiting for test results to determine what bacteria is involved.

We are also waiting to find out if any further procedures are needed - such as surgery.

At his age and condition, that could be risky.

He's not very happy with that tube down his nose and into his stomach. He can't eat or drink until the abscess heals.

I sat at his bedside in the emergency room telling bad doctor jokes.

That got a few smiles out of him.

I was at the same hospital so many times with Nana the faces are familiar.

The situation doesn't sound too serious - yet. Hopefully it was just a flare-up.

I'm concerned that if he stays for any length of time, though, he will have to go to a rehab facility before he can get back to his senior living facility. I've had too many bad experiences with rehab places over the last few years with Dad and Nana. I sicced the state on one last year with Nana.

And in the back of my mind is another worry: Mom's illness two years ago is what halted the deacon process then.

Oh well, family comes first.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Slammin' Rudy

Here's a bishop who's not afraid to speak the truth about Rudy Giuliani and abortion.

Hooray for Bishop Tobin.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Broons

Daughter 2 (Bonnie Bridget) returned from a semester looking fine and healthy, and bearing gifts of tales of the homeland.

She also brought a few other gifts - including the above edition of "The Broons."

My mother having come from the land of kilts and bagpipes, we had a copy of one of the "The Broons" annuals in our house. Maybe we got it when we visited there when I was a wee lad. Or maybe a relative mailed it to us.

I read that auld copy again and again in my youth, so the comic holds for me fond memories of childhood.

I had mentioned "The Broons" to Bridget, and she found me a copy.


Below is one from the 1950s.

Bridget did not make it to my mother's hometown - Greenock - but did make it to nearby Glasgow.

And she never made it to Loch Ness.

Guess I'll just have to gae there meself!

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Deacon Ordination

I went to the Diocese of Rochester’s Deacon Ordination ceremony today (before going to pick up Daughter 2 from her friend’s house near Syracuse).

One transitional deacon (Deacon Edison Tayag, to the right of Bishop Clark), and six transitional deacons (from left, Deacons Emmanuel Asis, Robert Emerton, Walter Toot, Daniel Williams, Dennis Lohouse, and Robert Corsaro, and their respective spouses).

The ceremony was pretty simple. It was wonderful to see so many priests and deacons, and the cathedral full of well-wishers.

The joy was real, and pervasive.

I prayed for the men and their wives. What an awe-inspiring commitment.

Reading about them beforehand and witnessing the ceremony made me think of my own unworthiness. I don’t say that out of a false sense of humility. Even as I sat there, old Scratch kept sending me reminders of my own weaknesses.

My only comfort in this is that God uses us and our weaknesses in His service. After all, think of Peter and the Apostles! If this is what He wills for me, He will use even my faults.