April 16, 2017

The Easter Itinerancy

(An old post updated)

Every year on this holy night I reflect on the grace of itinerancy that the Holy Spirit has given me; only twice in my whole baptism have I been in the same place for the Easter Vigil for more than two years in a row. When I think about the places I've been for the Vigil, it puts me in awe of God and in a state of gratitude for my journey.

Here's my Easter Vigil history:
  • 2017: San Camillo de Lellis, Rome (in the 25th year of my baptism)
  • 2016: Capuchin General Curia, Rome (concelebrant)


  • 2015: (None, didn't feel well. I prayed what the Liturgy of the Hours provides for those who don't take part--first time for that!)
  • 2014: Capuchin International College 'San Lorenzo da Brindisi,' Rome (concelebrant)
  • 2013: Capuchin International College 'San Lorenzo da Brindisi,' Rome (concelebrant)
  • 2012: Monastery of St. Clare, Jamaica Plain, MA (celebrant)
  • 2011: Rosary Manor, Dominican Sisters of Peace, Watertown, MA
  • 2010: Sacred Heart, Yonkers, NY (concelebrant, initiation of my first born)
  • 2009: Sacred Heart, Yonkers, NY (concelebrant)


  • 2008: Sacred Heart, Yonkers, NY (concelebrant)
  • 2007: St. Anne-St. Augustin, Manchester, NH (deacon)


  • 2006: St. Anne, Readville, MA (acolyte)
  • 2005: St. Anne, Readville, MA (acolyte)
  • 2004: Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain, MA (server)
  • 2003: Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain, MA (server)
  • 2002: St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary, WI
  • 2001: St. Francis Friary, Garrison, NY (server)
  • 2000: St. Francis Friary, Garrison, NY (lector)
  • 1999: St. Lawrence, West Haven, CT
  • 1998: St. Lawrence, West Haven, CT
  • 1997: St. Lawrence, West Haven, CT
  • 1996: St. Mary's, New Haven, CT
  • 1995: Holy Cross, Bronx, NY
  • 1994: St. Mary's Abbey, Morris Township, NJ
  • 1993, ?, Verona, Italy

Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!

April 9, 2017

Franciscan Identity Crisis Ramble

I've been thinking about trying to write this post for a long time.

There's a lot of begging in Rome. There are scammers too, but with the scams that I usually get, I guess because I look like a good 'ugly American' mark, I've grown wise and I turn the tables and frustrate the person and try to playfully shame him."What would your mama say? Going around tricking foreigners!"

But it's the begging that troubles me more.

March 10, 2017

Eating in a Hurry

Yesterday there came around in the Office of Readings the instructions for the Passover in Exodus chapter 12.

This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you will eat it in a hurry. It is the LORD’s Passover. (Exodus 12:11)

The Passover is eaten like those in flight,  fleeing from the oppression and slavery of Egypt, reeling with God's plagues, into the long journey that will one day bring God's people into the Promised Land.

February 25, 2017

On Judging Others (and God)

"Such is the lowliness of our condition in this life; for we think others are like ourselves and we judge others according to what we ourselves are, since our judgment arises from within us and not outside us. Thus the thief thinks others also steal; and the lustful think others are lustful too; and the malicious think others also bear malice, their judgment stemming from their own malice; and the good think well of others, for their judgment flows from the goodness of their own thoughts; and to those who are careless and asleep, it seems that others are too.

"Hence it is that when we are careless and asleep in God's presence, it seems to us it is God who is asleep and neglectful of us, as is seen in psalm 43 were David calls to him: Arise, Lord, why do you sleep? Arise (Ps. 44:23). He attributed to God what is characteristic of humans, for since they are the ones who are fallen and asleep, he tells God to arise and awaken; although he who watches over Israel never sleeps (Ps. 121:4)."

(John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love, 4,8)

February 13, 2017

The Many Patron Saints of Europe

One of the things you notice living the liturgy here in Europe is that they have a lot of patron saints. Six, in fact. And so their feast days come around with some regularity:
  • Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop, February 14
  • Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor, April 29
  • Benedict, abbot, July 11
  • Bridget of Sweden, founder (and mother of a saint, Catherine of Sweden), July 23
  • Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin and martyr (Edith Stein), August 9
Seeing that tomorrow is one of these feast days, I did a little looking around and discovered that all of this heavenly patronage is of fairly recent articulation.

February 3, 2017

Friday Ramble

Recently I was in an email thread with some friars on the 'Lent of Benediction,' one the fasts described in the Rule. It begins after Epiphany. It's called 'of benediction' because it's optional according to the Rule and those who keep it are 'blessed.'

The conversation inspired me to reread, or perhaps read properly for the first time, Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini (1966) on fast and abstinence. This led me also to read, I'm sure for the first time (to my shame) the United States Bishops' Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, issued later the same year.

I admit that I was surprised and struck by this section in Paenitemini:
The time of Lent preserves its penitential character. The days of penitence to be observed under obligation throughout the Church are all Fridays and Ash Wednesday ... Their substantial observance binds gravely. (II. 1)
(my emphasis)

January 28, 2017

Dom Chautard on Losing Youth

Recently I read some alarming thing about how people are abandoning the faith younger and younger. I was reminded of one of the times some poor bird got into the church in Yonkers and everyone was discussing how to help it escape. 

"Give it the sacrament of Confirmation," offered one sardonic soul.

January 19, 2017

Macarius the Great

According the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of Macarius the Great.
A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, 'Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.' So the old man said, 'Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.' The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, 'Didn't they say anything to you?' He replied, 'No.' The old man said, 'Go back tomorrow and praise them.' So the brother went away and praised them, calling them, 'Apostles, saints and righteous men.' He returned to the old man and said to him, ‘ I have complimented them’. And the old man said to him, 'Did they not answer you?' The brother said no. The old man said to him, 'You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you too if you wish to be saved must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved.'
(Sayings of the Desert Fathers)



All Things To All

"I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" said St. Paul. (1 Cor 9:22) And so the saints who followed.

In that spirit, Mother Teresa now available in happy, pensive, disapproving, motherly, frozen in carbonite, and mermaid.

(click to enlarge)