August 31, 2007

August 30, 2007

August 29, 2007


Two CFRs, a couple from India, a lad from Ireland (who calls Theology of the Body "the lovely tee-ology of de body"), a fireman from Florida, two seminarians from Orlando, a guy from the legislature of Kansas City, a British sister who works with AIDS patients in Zambia, Jesse Romero (awesome bil-lingual Catholic apologist), young pregnant couple from Milwaukee, two moms from Montana, two single women from Kalamazoo, a non-Catholic woman from the healthcare profession in Alabama, an Air Force chaplain, a Byzantine priest, a young woman who is moving to Medjugorje to be a full-time evangelist, a grandmother of 28, two young adult missionaries to Jamaica, a film editor, a Long Island banker who gave up her job to run a crisis pregnancy center.


Here we are at a Mennonite retreat house in Amish country, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a five-day Theology of the Body seminar with Christopher West. There are about 15 priests, 2 nuns, and 60 laypeople: couples, young, old, married, single.
The schedule is very intense as we are trying to squish a semester of teaching into the week! (30 hrs of teaching!)
The lectures are all before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the conference room with us, daily Mass, opportunity for confession, morning and night prayer, adoration, etc.
Meeting great folks from all over (including India and Ireland) with incredible personal stories, conversions, reasons for being here. Making lots of new friends! Fr. Loya--Byzantine "TOB priest"--from outside Chicago is one of our chaplains.
I feel so privileged to be here, learning from "the best"! We pray to JPII before each class: "John Paul II, apostle of the human person, witness to hope and servant of Jesus and Mary, intercede for us."
TOB quote for the day: "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible to himself; his life is senseless if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it." --Pope John Paul II
My mother asked me "What is TOB? Town of Belmont?" (my hometown)

August 26, 2007


Drove thru 6 states today sweating like a stuck pig (no A/C in the car):

MA--God's country, "the bay state"
CT--God's country, ???????
NY--God's country, "the empire state"
NJ--God's country, "the garden state"
DE--God's country, "the first state"
PA--God's country, "the keystone state"

Crossed 3 rivers: CT, Hudson, Delaware--take that, George Washington.

Backed into 1 limo at Burger King. The driver was nice about the scratch.

CT has the BEST rest areas in the COUNTRY.

NJ has NO Dunkin' Donuts off the highway.

That ginormous aluminum Immaculate Heart of Mary statue that had been touring the country is in.....Delaware!

August 25, 2007


"We are at the threshold of a new era...that must engage the globalization of human suffering for the first time, not with the tired tools of Enlightenment activism but with the twin Catholic principles of communion and transcendent desire." [Yikes!]

"You and I are a part of a worldwide religious life movement that has recognized the failures of the economic and philosophical models that have monopolized our imaginations for decades now." [OMGosh!]

"The problems of religious life have been largely misdiagnosed." [Land sakes alive!]

"Our religious life culture, once informed and defined almost exclusively by the sacramental discourse of Christendom, has been reinvested in the secular and political discourse of the Enlightenment that drains the transcendent out of our every desire, leaving only material want in the place where the desire for God once beckoned." [Double Yikes!]

"We in the West inherit the persuasions of the Enlightenment, its framework of scarcity and competition." "We need to reinvest in a theology of abundance and a discourse about God, life and church that is relational." [Holy Cow!]

"It is the traditional Catholic belief in abundance, the theological recognition that God is good, all good, supremely good, all the time and to everyone.
That which stands behind the moon and the stars and the other planets is not some unfeeling force or anonymous isolate but a God who is undeniably social and calls each of us into relationship, into the intricate network of interdependence and mutual compassion." [Kazowee!]

"The good news is--and I know it has been a long time in coming--that religious are becoming newly aware of their deepest desires, increasingly disillusioned and dissatisfied by the desires fabricated by modern American life. We have experienced firsthand what the prophet Amos calls a 'famine for the Word of God' (Amos 8:11)." [Phew!]

"It doesn't matter how small we get; it is our international character that gives us strength and influence in the world today. What diminishes us is diminishment thinking." [Bam!]

--Father Couturier, OFM Cap.

(italics, bold, and bracketed commentary and sound effects are mine)

August 24, 2007


My first cousin, Peggy Anne Canty, is a saint. She was a nurse for years at Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and at 75 is more active than ever, hobnobbing for charitable causes in her beloved Dorchester. Peggy Anne is as Irish and Catholic and Boston as they come (she used to operate the elevator at Fenway Park). She rides the MBTA like a pro (on her way to meet us she was on the MBTA reading an old children's book on St. Christopher: "Wayfarer's Friend" by Bruce Publishing). She never married, and cared for her mother, father and two sisters till their deaths. One sister, Claire, was mentally retarded with the aptitude of a seven year old. She was supposed to die at 12, but lived till 59 with Peggy Anne's TLC.

Ma and I just met Peggy Anne today for lunch in Harvard Square at 96 Winthrop St: "Tommy O'Doyle's" (great food!). Peggy Anne's surprise, once we were inside, is that this restaurant used to be the home of my great aunt, Kate Burns--a total character, deaf as a haddock and had to use an ear trumpet--who used to work for the now-defunct Riverside Press in Cambridge. My father told lots of stories about Kate. There are lots of characters in my family. And at least one saint.

August 23, 2007


Monsignor Schmidt of the Institute of Jesus Sovereign Priest has converted two present-day real-life playgirl European princesses (one a Borgia!) to Catholicism. One of them has written a European best-seller called "With New Eyes" (great title, eh?) Please pray it will be available in English soon!

August 22, 2007


"Being Jane"--the story of Jane Austen's real-life love--is tedious and boring in the beginning, but the ending is so strong and has so many unexpected twists that you must see this movie! The characters and story are not effectively developed at first. Anne Hathaway's (Jane Austen) acting is satisfying, but James McAvoy (who plays Jane's love interest, Tom) does not convey the proper emotions which obfuscates the story. He seems to be almost intimidated by Hathaway's acting. The chemistry doesn't quite kick in till the end. I was disappointed that the prominence of writing in Jane's life wasn't a little more emphasized. However, the case could be made that Jane acted as she did because she was a writer (and therefore, the plot actually implicitly rests on this fact). Like I said, check out the ending. Wow.