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29Apr, 2005

April 2005

  Friday, April 29, 2005
April has been a fascinating month.  I have blogged daily (Sometimes catching up, sometimes looking forward..) and you can see the interest and excitement about what’s swirling around. It has been a month about springtime rebirth and that is the stuff of happiness. "There was a star danced, and under that was I born." William Shakespeare, "Much Ado about Nothing", Act 2 scene 1  << Culture >>


  Thursday, April 28, 2005
The St. Francis of Assisi Youth Ministry (AYM) adults gather tonight for the yearly Archdiocesan celebration.  Proudly, we will be 21 strong and that still is not everyone.  It has been a good year at AYM!  << Parish >>


  Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I have friends who will serve as witnesses!!!  I suggested hours after the death of Pope John Paul II that a local consequence would result in a visit from the Holy Father- whoever it was. Therefore, no surprise that in today’s news…
From WBAL: New Pope Could Travel To Baltimore, Keeler Says
From WTOP: McCarrick Invites Pope to Visit D.C. << Pope >>

  Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I have a favorite little side chapel over at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.   It is just to the left of the crypt church.   It is dedicated to Our Lady of Hope.  This place has remained a constant through the many transitions in my life over the past six years in times of sadness, times of joy, and time of transition.  Again, this morning, I have just returned from there.

(as a slightly oddball piece of catholic trivia that appeals to my sense of wacky church stuff as well as probably yours—  The Our Lady of Hope chapel was donated Deloris and Bob Hope- yea, that Bob Hope!) << Church >>


  Monday, April 25, 2005
CNN.com: Pope Benedict XVI has revealed he prayed to God during the conclave not to be elected pope but that "evidently this time He didn’t listen to me." Benedict made the comments at an audience Monday with German pilgrims, who enthusiastically greeted the first German pope in centuries. . . .   Perhaps Benedict might intercede on behalf of the Orioles and the Nationals as well!!! << Pope >>

  Sunday, April 24, 2005
Wrapped up the retreat, work off last sustaining vestiges of energy in the gym, visit AYM without having to do anything more than visit, two long hot showers, a little homecleaning, attempts to check in with the kids…  All in all, a full day after leaving the retreat at 1pm… it is good to remember how exhausting the energy of the stand up, the voice projection, and the intentional concentration for large group management can be…  Many of the kids commented that they had good experiences, so it was a full but peaceful Sunday! << Work Day >>


  Saturday, April 23, 2005
For a movie that seemingly goes to lengths to avoid talking about faith, religion, etc… there certainly is a lot of discussion about being brought back to life, living outside one’s self, as facing decision at a crossroads.  Anyways, there were the new additions to the confirmation retreat going on this weekend Up at the retreat house.  All good stuff… great kids!  There is the good energy of being on your game as well.  This is a good weekend! << Culture >>

  Friday, April 22, 2005
As goes with a field that doesn’t always merit financial respect as well as the fiscal confoundings of relationships, I have spent the past year working diligently on repairing personal credit.  Today, the car loan taken last year at 18.5%  was refinanced down to 4.7%  Between a good five days at work, speaking gigs bookending the week’s calendar (Pope for AYM, Theology of the Body for OL of the Chesapeake, and a Confirmation retreat for Grace’s 70 ninth graders), experiencing the softer side of Eldersburg, and rediscovering baseball… I really must do something regarding the dazed but smiling expression on my face.  << Friends + Family >>


  Thursday, April 21, 2005
Had a new article published in the NFCYM’s Connections e-newsletter.  It is related to Adolescent Catechesis and the NDC. (See publishing!) << Work Day >>
WASHINGTON — An error by shortstop Cristian Guzman in the top of the ninth inning helped the Braves defeat the Nationals, 2-1, in front of 30,728 fans at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium on a rainy Thursday afternoon. With two outs and the Nationals leading, 1-0, the Braves had the bases loaded when Raul Mondesi game to the plate. Mondesi hit a sharp groundball to Guzman, who threw the ball past first baseman Nick Johnson for an error. It allowed Marcus Giles and Chipper Jones to score on the play. << Friends + Family >>
From Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, … But the selection does raise the question: What does the name mean in the end? Does the name shape the Pope or does the Pope shape the name? If we could ask one past Pope for an answer, it would be the Cardinal who advanced to the title in 468. He became Pope Hilarius. At the time, the word — in Latin and Greek alike — still principally meant gracious or cheerful, and had not yet assumed its current sense of stand-up comedy. They made him a Saint — possibly because he’d have to carry that name throughout history. But it’s instructive to note that there has yet to be a Pope Hilarius II. << Funny Business >>

  Wednesday, April 20, 2005
After quoting Cardinal Ratzinger… err, excuse me, Pope Benedict XIV… the last two days, you might say that I was expecting this selection.  Not so, after three other votes, I would have thought that the "draft Ratzinger" movement had had its play and the guys would be looking elsewhere. (So, I am 0 for 1 as a conclavologist.) 

Yesterday, his opening comments included, "I am consoled by the fact that the Lord is able to work and act with insufficient instruments and, above all, I rely on your prayers." From his first Mass this morning: "The new pope knows that his task is to make the light of Christ shine before men and women of world — not his own light, but that of Christ," Benedict said.

Let’s recognize, however, that JP II the Great loved kids, called them to discipleship, and thought that they contributed NOW!  Benedict’s comments included: "I am particularly thinking of young people. To them, the privileged interlocutors of John Paul II, I send an affectionate embrace in the hope, God willing, of meeting them at Cologne on the occasion of the next World Youth Day. With you, dear young people, I will continue to maintain a dialogue, listening to your expectations in an attempt to help you meet ever more profoundly the living, ever young, Christ." << Pope >>

  Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I really am, surprisingly, excited about this moment in the Church.  It’s kinda like playing a spiritual Mega-Millions lottery.  You know that the odds do not favor a massive amount of change in the church.  You know that it is very likely that the Cardinal’s will favor the sensibilities of John Paul’s leadership rather than the personality. You know that amidst the prayers for the intercession of the Holy Spirit there is some serious politicking and brokering that is also happening.  And yet, the white smoke, maybe even today, brings the promise of a springtime to the autumnal later years of John Paul.  Springtime in the church- – – there is still the hope and promise of these days. Meanwhile, more of Ratzinger’s comments from yesterday: "In these hours, above all, we ask God with insistence so that, after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will again give us a pastor according to his heart, a pastor who will lead us to knowledge of Christ, to his love and to true joy."  << Pope >>

  Monday, April 18, 2005
Here’s an interesting fantasy read on the thoughts of the red hats going into the conclave. Also, here’s more stuff regarding the qualities and hopes for the next white hat. Meanwhile, in the last public liturgy before entering the conclave, Cardinal Ratzinger delivered the homily which included these comments: "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism," Ratzinger said during the homily. "Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards," he continued. "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires."   << Pope >>

  Sunday, April 17, 2005
Making a presentation at AYM tonight using the ArchBalt power point.  Good stuff!!!  << Parish >>

  Saturday, April 16, 2005
Saw a surprisingly competent high school presentation of the Steven Sondheim musical last night and was reminded:
Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn. 
<< Culture >>

  Friday, April 15, 2005
For the record, filed my taxes in February, got my refund in March. << Friends + Family >>
Went to a meeting today that took the prize at attempting to get national organizations to collaborate. Clearly, they thought collaboration goes back to the pre-school game of "You show me yours, I’ll show you mine"  in terms of what we do.  Frankly, when it comes to sharing the agendas of very diverse organizations, I just do find that as sexy as it may have been in the school yard.  << Work Day >>


  Thursday, April 14, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. –  — Manager Frank Robinson said the first regular-season game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium since 1971 would not be meaningful unless the Nationals won. The Nationals did just that as they defeated the Diamondbacks, 5-3, on Thursday night in front of 45,596 in their home debut. Vinny Castilla went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs, while Livan Hernandez pitched 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing a three-run homer to Chad Tracy in the ninth. Chad Cordero recorded the final two outs to earn his second save of the season.  << Friends + Family >>


  Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Dear Brethren,
   Peace and Blessing be unto you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
   Let me start by introducing myself. I am Cardinal Bernardin Gantin,   Prefect Emeritus, Congregation for the Bishops. I am a personal adviser on charity affairs to the late His Holiness Pope John Paul II , may his soul rest in perfect peace. I have been his personal adviser on charity affaris for the past 9years. I also handle some parts of his financial issues in Vatican.
   Well I believe as time goes on we will get to know ourselves better, you can access my data on this site http://www.catholic-pages.com/hierarchy/cardinals_list.asp. Keep this to yourself.
   I want to inform you about a confidential discussion held between myself and the late His Holiness Pope John Paul II before he died.
His Holiness, entrusted me with some large amount of money precisely twelve million dollars ($12m) which he instructed me before he died that it should be used for charity donations all over the world.
   The money is presently in the custody of a security company kept by me as I was instructed by the His Holiness before he died. I have all necessary documents and legal papers backing this money.
   All I want now is a trustworthy, honest and devoted Christian that can be trusted and reliable to stand as a beneficiary of this money in the security company, because I cannot stand for this money due to my status in the vatican city, who would claim this money as a beneficiary and also do as His Holiness, John Paul II instructed before he died,  to use this money for charity donations all over the world.
   This is a confidential matter and should remain confidential because in the Vatican city a lot of things are happening since the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. So I would appreciate your prompt attention and reply to this email. I am rest assured that you can handle this, otherwise let me know, then we proceed with the necessary information and documents you need so that they can be sent to you as soon as possible and this can be done as instructed by our beloved Pope.
   I anticipate your urgent reply to my email so I can instruct you what will be done next.
   Thank you very much for your audience and co-operation. May God bless you and touch your heart as you come forward to do this,
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy bible according to the book of proverbs 16:20 "he who heeds the word wisely will find good and whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he". Amen
This is my information.
Private Email: cardinalbernardin@yahoo.com
Private Number: +447031846330  << Pope >>

  Tuesday, April 12, 2005
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – A talking Jesus doll is due to go on sale in May, along with versions of Moses, the Virgin Mary and David, as a teddy bear maker tries to find a market with churches and religious families. The foot-tall Jesus doll will be able to recite five Biblical verses at the push of button on its back, while the Moses doll will recite the Ten Commandments. The Mary doll will recite a long Bible verse. << Funny Business >>
When I was in Rome for World Youth Day in 2000, I had recently traveled to Jerusalem and the West Bank with Catholic Relief Services.  I was feeling really burned by "holy sites" and really blessed by the "holy people" found in the Palestinians that we had visited.  Therefore, I took a pass on the day that we were to go visit the Sistine Chapel.  I hope to return there someday, visit John Paul’s tomb, and see Michelangelo’s good works. << Church >>
"God is stressed and needs a break from the Earth and the troublesome human race. But before he can take his vacation, he has to find himself a temporary replacement."  This movie, which I watched over the weekend, has God looking for a saint in Brazil, because Brazil, a very Catholic country, has yet to have had a saint. It is told in Portuguese (with English subtitles) and is a buddy tale with a con man teaming up with God and a young woman, Mada.  It’s not rated G, it’s not rated at all, but it was good watching. << Culture >>

  Monday, April 11, 2005
So I moved to Baltimore, and who shows up in the first few weeks, but the Pope again… I swear the guy was stalking me. I was a part of the papal pre-game so that outlined the history of the Archdiocese (and, of course, as the premier see, the early days of American Catholicism.)  I was standing near second base with Bob as a procession of bishops began to process into the outfield.  They walked right past us and we were obnoxious enough to greet those who we recognized by name.  Along come John Ricard, who had served as the host for a youth event the previous night featuring Boyz II Men, Michael W. Smith, and Kathy Tracolli. "Bishop," we yell out, "What a great night last night!"  He stops, and engages us in a brief conversation about how excited he was about the previous evening.  But, each bishop in line behind Ricard also stops. For a brief moment, Bob and I had stopped a portion of US church hierarchy!

Key moment from JPII’s homily: "Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought."  << Pope >>

  Sunday, April 10, 2005
I was reminded of Pope stories as I prepared for the AYM middle schoolers this afternoon. When I first moved to Iowa (Davenport), John Paul II made his first visit to the United States and came to Des Moines and held an outdoor mass on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi at the Living History farms there. New to the diocese, I was nonetheless declared a "bus captain" (’cause, but of course, youth ministry types know how to manage a bus trip) and loaded up with my bus crew.  My crowd turned out to be a handful of seminarians from Saint Ambrose College and a crowd of senior citizens. (needless to say, a tough group to manage!) On the bus ride out, I was to distribute some breakfast rolls and some juice containers to my bus crowd.  But the sems were well fed and the senior citizens seem to be fasting for the morning.

We arrived in Des Moines and unpacked our crew out into the throngs of the crowd- sems and I assisting the older folks to as closes as they wanted to get within the crowd.  With the leftover rolls and juices, the sems (in collar) and I pushed forward until came upon the early arrivers who were clearly staking out their spots in some form of a midwestern papal land grab.  We would graciously offer the squatter some morning nourishment as we stepped in front of them-  working our way all the way to the security snow fences.  With the remaining snackage, we worked our way over to a fence side squatter who had a portable tv (this seems to be before the day of stadium large screen technology- I guess) and watched the airport arrival and everything.  After mass, our seniors were happily waiting for us where we had deposited them and we helped them to the bus.  Like any other bus crowd, we all napped on the way home. For more on the event, click on this (Adobe Acrobat) story link << Pope >>

  Saturday, April 9, 2005
My wallet went up and missing last week. This morning involved involved going around to the various settings that have graciously provided me picture id’s (yes, this includes the dreaded MVA) and smiling at the various folks who are authorized to issue such stuff.  Waiting in lines gave me sufficient opportunity to read portions of a book I picked up last night.  << Friends + Family >>


  Friday, April 8, 2005
Went to a program at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmetsburg today and ended up going to church as well.  The program featured Kendra Creasy Dean and she offered a great presentation that made it worth the trip.  At lunch, there was a memorial mass for the Pope which merited some observations:

  • A chapel filled with the many deep voices of seminarians fills out the depth of singing just that much more.  That was pretty cool.
  • They rang the outdoor church bells during the elevation.  I think this probably used to happen, as my daughter’s friend would say, "back in the day."  Nonetheless, if was a nice effect.
  • In a chapel filled with guys, the lector and altar servers were college girls.  One of the servers was clearly unprepared, more noticeable in the spotlight of historical context of the occasion.  In a school where priests are in formation, the focus should be expanded to "form" all the liturgical ministers
  • In Andrew Greeley’s romantic version of the seminaries of the 1950’s, there was a sense of alpha males who played sports.  My crowd at Morning Madness of diocesan directors (beta males and gals??) in their 30’s to 50’s could likely kick the butts of any five that this seminary could put together.
  • It was an exceptionally competent homily  (is that faint praise?) << Church >>

  Thursday, April 7, 2005
I have been joking for the past few days that there was a secret change in Canon Law and that the conclave would be presided over by Jeff Probst. Yesterday, the was a minor scandal that Jimmy Carter was slighted from the US funeral delegation.  I suggested that Carter was the secretly named cardinal and that this confounded the Republicans, Southern Baptists, and church hierarchy— basically, a trifecta of fun for me.  Today, I discovered the winner, however.  .  So, here’s the link for you to discover on the conclave will really work!  Go Duke! << Funny Business >>


  Wednesday, April 6, 2005
So, I set the tape for West Wing.  The sensibilities of this show remain that democracy works, especially when you place power in the hands of the people.  I always like the speeches and the poetic monologues.  Last night, candidate Santos (Jimmy Smits) placed his fate into the hands of convention delegates defying the convention of making backroom deals. Democracy is, of course, based on a religious concept that all are created equal.  This is why it is fascinating that we have, rightly or wrongly, brought religion back into public discourse enough so that three presidents and a secretary of state (not pictured) travel to Rome and kneel and pray.  Somewhere John Kennedy and Alfred E. Smith are toasting this moment. << Culture >>


  Tuesday, April 5, 2005
   I was looking to see what others had done on the web for resources regarding the death of the Pope and all.  I knew… I just knew… that you and your folks would have acknowledged the event in some form so www.youthspecialties.com was actually quite early on my list of places to visit last Sunday morning.
thank you for providing links of resources to Catholic youth workers.  Thank you, also, for listing the NFCYM and our collaborators at Life Teen for those resources.
congratulations on the classiness of your expression of sympathy to Catholic youth workers and placing it upon your index web page.
a word about your “Word to Protestant Youth Workers about the Death of Pope John Paul II”…. “Wow” doesn’t just quite cut it so I have to resort to our Easter expression of “Alleluia!” 
You are exactly right when you suggest that we should all… Catholic, Protestant, whatever… see ourselves as it "embracients" instead.  John Paul was very good about that kind of stuff, praying at the Wailing Wall, visiting mosques, gathering with ecumenical crowds for shared prayer wherever he went.  He made effort to apologize on behalf of the Church for the sinful choices of our past and to seek reconciliation.   Nonetheless, he boldly proclaimed the Gospels as well. He was an “embracient.”
   Also, like you, John Paul liked kids.  He was a model for all church leaders because he liked kids… he liked kids A LOT!  As a priest, as a bishop, as a Pope, he celebrated and believed in young people….   Not just for the occasional “Woodstock-like” World Youth Days, but throughout his travels and his days.  Some of his final words were acknowledging the many young people gathered outside his window praying for him.
   So, Alleluia and thanks be to God for moments like these.
   Please know that you and all the staff at Youth Specialities will remain in our thoughts and our prayers during the next days of transition in our Church.  We (the NFCYM and Catholic youth ministry) have been blessed by your kindness, thoughtfulness, and vision.  << Work Day >>


  Monday, April 4, 2005
BALTIMORE — On a picturesque day at Camden Yards, in front of a record crowd, the Orioles were nearly flawless Monday in their 4-0 victory over the Oakland A’s. Rodrigo Lopez, the Opening Day starter expected to head a young and unproven staff, tossed six scoreless innings. Sammy Sosa, who made his customary sprint to right field in his first game for his new team, had two hits. Luis Matos, coming off a disappointing 2004 season where he struggled to hit left-handed pitching, smacked a two-run homer off Barry Zito. And the crowd of 48,271, the largest Opening Day crowd in stadium history, savored every minute of it. << Friends + Family >>


  Sunday, April 3, 2005
The guy liked kids.  My third chapter looked to how his ministry as a priest influenced World Youth Days and should influence our own ministry…. but it really all comes down to that the guy like kids. The NFCYM as well as many others have pages with resources up! << Pope >>


  Saturday, April 2, 2005
Our Board of Directors is discerning leadership positions today.  I came to assure that hospitality is had here at the hotel.  Part of that involves sitting outside during "closed" parts of the meeting… which means I’ll blog, continue my watch at the virtual deathbed of the Pope, get some homework done, and do some of the "extras" that I wanted for the the manuscript. I have yet to fully unravel the metaphor of my presence in this chair today, probably cause it would wear me out. << Work Day >>


  Friday, April 1, 2005
Today, our Board of Directors are in the office.  We will all learn some more internet gizmo stuff for communication.  This follows our training on Contribute Wednesday and some attempts to work with it yesterday. I picked up a new responsibility in the office yesterday in such a fast manner that it made my head spin at the time and upset my stomach throughout the night.  I have overdue homework this morning but opted to blog first. (priorities!) Nichole and Megs are in Iowa, Clark is traveling there today- a newborn cousin out there has been born and badly named. The Pope is clearly on his way out, the media vans are all lined up across the street as part of the deathwatch.  Oh, Lord, take me out to the ballgame-  opps, that’s right- – -  have tickets to opening day on Monday afternoon! Whew! << Work Day >>