Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If you read it in Huffington Post, it MUST be true...

The little tongue and cheek humor of the title of this post comes from the old Saturday morning cartoon "Garfield and Friends". This can also be applied to the Huffington Post blog that comes from "journalist" Arianna Huffington. I first took note of Ms. Huffington when I was running "The McLaughlin Group" while I was working in master control at my local PBS station in the late 90s. She seemed credible enough at first but started going flaming liberal after she left the show. Now, her staff of writers blog (who doesn't these days?) and post gems like this one, insinuating that all the people in the Team Sarah online community are a bunch of radical right wing under-educated rednecks.

It's funny how the left wing has a tendency to just assume that everyone who doesn't agree with them are like this. Sadly, there are just as many left wing hipsters sitting in Starbucks wearing their Obama t-shirts blogging about how mean the big bad Republican party is, and they're just as uninformed and not as well versed on the subject as some of their counterparts in the right wing.

Of course, they will TELL you that they are, but when push comes to shove, they make up stories to cover their hindquarters.

Look at Huffington Post's way they treated the Sarah Palin Towel Incident. You can say that "Newsweek said..." or "The Daily Worker reported that..." but the plain and simple fact is this: It's gossip. It's heresay after the fact to try to discredit Sarah Palin. If Hilary Clinton or Michelle Obama were the subject of that blog (which they wouldn't be not because they might not do that but because the left would never report on that to begin with), the blogger would once again be uninformed and not smart enough to understand.

The bottom line is this: The Huffington Post is really no more that a gossip paper; an online National Enquirer if you will. And to those people who take what happens on her blog as Gospel, take a good long hard look at yourself. I hope you see that the left is manipulating you like a cheap tool. And if you want to say that you're an individual who comes up with his own opinion, you're really no different that the crowd in this video clip.

Thanks to Clarevaux for pointing this out. I might also add you should drop the author and Ariana a note thanking them for pointing others to Catholics for Sarah, but personally, I'd stick to sources of news that are a little more, well, newsworthy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Catholic League reports more Christmastime vandalism

What follows just came in from the Catholic League. It never seems to fail, does it? All these morons who bitch and moan about "having religion forced down their throats" are normally the first ones to force their atheism down ours.

If you take the Mary statue from our house, you'll have to answer to me...if there's anything left of you after my wife is through with you.


December 22, 2008

Every year we are flooded with reports from across the nation about nativity scenes being vandalized. This year was no different.

Here is a list of some of the incidents that came to our attention:

· In Sandusky, Ohio a 50-year old figure of the Baby Jesus was stolen from a downtown park; it was found a few days later hanging from a ceiling fan in the apartment of the thief who stole it
· A Christian pastor in Loma Linda, California was beaten and left in critical condition while decorating his church
· In Orange County, Florida a Christian church’s drive-through nativity scene was completely demolished by vandals
· The Blessed Virgin figure was stolen from a nativity scene in front of a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado
· Twice within a couple of weeks, the crèche in Norwood, Massachusetts was vandalized
· A drive-through nativity built by a Christian church in Stone Mountain, Georgia was destroyed
· In Waggaman, Louisiana, a 38-year old man, accompanied by two boys, trashed Christmas decorations at five homes
· A 50-year old statue of a shepherd was beheaded in a nativity scene in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee
· The Holy Family was stolen from a crèche outside of a home in New Albany, Indiana
· The nativity scene in front of a Christian church in Christoval, Texas was splattered with red paint
· Figures of the Baby Jesus were stolen from homes or churches in Memphis, Tennessee; Littlestown, Pennsylvania; Valrico, California; Akron, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Andover, New York; Sumter, South Carolina; St. Charles, Illinois; Moberly, Missouri; Lehighton, Pennsylvania; Bismarck, North Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; Paw Paw, Michigan; North Richland Hills, Texas; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"See the Face of Jesus in Each One"

Around Christmas just about every year, we see a lot of those people collecting for the Salvation Army in those red kettles outside of major stores, or in the "human interest" story on the news (likely staring and produced by "The B-Crew") they talk about some parish or congregation of some sort having their Christmas dinner for the poor, or perhaps even the Knights of Columbus raising money for their Christmas charity work. And sometimes we stop and put something in the kettle and get our warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

The big questions still remain: Do we have to wait for Christmas to do this? Is it really about that warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside?

Obviously I can't and don't assume that everybody ONLY gives to the poor during Christmas. There are many who are active volunteers with their St. Vincent DePaul Societies, food pantries, and soup kitchens, and do this on a weekly basis. Yet the need is still there; times are extremely tough right now and the need has actually gone up with more people losing jobs and homes in a bad economy, and the giving has went down. Having been impoverished for six months while looking for work, I know it goes. And those who are active in these charities, hat's off to you. Thank you for all the hard work you do. It's just that people who do this 24/7 are hard to come by.

One such person who DID do this 24/7 was a man named Lucious Newsom. He ran The Lord's Pantry on the near westside of Indianapolis from the late 1980s up until his death in August 2008. He was 92 when he passed away, but worked feeding the poor up until he went on to be with the Lord. He was an African American gentleman from Chattanooga, Tennesee. He was a retired Baptist minister who entered the Catholic Church at the age of about 77. He came up to Indianapolis during the Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner to lend a hand, and afterwards asked "What do these people do the other 364 days of the year?" He decided to stick around and see what he could do to help.

He did this for over 20 years.

If you want a general synopsis of who this man was, watch this video from WISH-TV in Indianapolis, but that doesn't even remotely start to paint the picture of this saintly man. Everybody who worked with Lucious had stories about him. My favorite one is when my sister and I went down to help one Saturday morning, and NFL quarterback Jeff George was also helping. He said afterwards that Lucious had called him early one morning and told him where he could get neckbone and Jeff said "I don't eat neckbone. I eat Perdue chicken, and that's what I'm going to buy for your people." The times I saw Jeff down there, he was always wearing a big smile.

For the record, Jeff George is a stand-up guy all by himself, but being around Lucious brought out that much more of the best in everybody. Lucious just had that effect on people.

I had videotaped Lucious a couple of times when him and his family would do Gospel concerts to raise money for The Lord's Pantry, and also ran audio once for him at my old parish in Indiana. He was one of those kind of guys who did so much good in the community, and in the world, that you didn't mind helping, even if he didn't ask you. You just kind of stepped up and did it. I've hugged this man enough that should he ever become canonized, I'll be a 3rd class relic myself.

And always, BUT ALWAYS, did he remind us to "See the face of Jesus in each one we serve." The dignity of those he served was always paramount to Lucious and he refused to exploit them. He made sure news crews would only tape volunteers and not those being served. I even offered to produce a documentary about him, and all he told me was "No, thank you." For Lucious Newsom, it was never, ever about him. He was never bigger than the message.

Not every community has a Lucious Newsom. Every community has those in need. Get involved, and you too can "See the face of Jesus in each one you serve."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are We Prepared?

Sorry for the latency in posts. In the last two weeks, we've had three birthdays, a holy day, and other crises that needed to be attended to. I promise to the four or so of you who subscribe to this blog that I will get some new writing out here soon. In the meantime, here's another "rerun", originally taken The Catholic Moment for the week of December 23, 2007...

Are We Prepared?

Advent has always been a season of penance and preparing for the coming of Jesus. For a while, it seemed as if we had gotten away from that. Recently, however, the traditional practices of penance have been coming back and we have many good priests who talk about important things, such as prayer and penance, as good practices during the season of Advent.

It’s really not too difficult to lose sight of this important practice in this day and age. We are constantly bombarded by TV, newspaper and Internet ads screaming “Buy! Buy! Buy!” normally starting sometime around Halloween, and the only preparing that many of us wind up doing is buying an Xbox for the son, an iPod for the daughter, and a high-definition TV for the living room. Not that I have a problem per se with those items, but during Advent, our thoughts and actions are best taken elsewhere.

How often do we actually contemplate what Christmas is all about? I mean, we always hear someone say “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but amidst all the gifts, parties and Christmas food, how much do we really appreciate the fact that Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord on the liturgical calendar, is when we celebrate the day that salvation came to the world? And are we fully prepared for it?

Confession during Advent is just as important as confession during Lent. It makes sense to me that if one goes to confession before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist at Sunday Mass, then likewise one would go to confession before receiving Jesus into the world at Christmas.

As Advent draws to a close, we need to keep in mind that while we are preparing to celebrate Jesus’ first coming, we need to be ready for Jesus’ second coming as well. If you’ve not been to confession in a while, now may be the time to do so. After all, the greatest gift that any one of us could ever hope to receive is salvation.

The sacrament of confession is a wonderful gift that’s freely offered all year around. It puts us back in harmony and friendship with God. It’s best that we’re prepared to receive the gift of salvation by preparing with the gift of confession.

Believe me, there’s no better gift you’re going to receive all year than that!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mass on Sunday

We registered last week at our new parish, St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne, WY. I had a nice surprise when our priest from Nigeria, used the Latin Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and part of the Communion prayers in Latin (he may have said the Creed in Latin, but I'm not sure - my daughter decided to start screaming so I had to take her out until she calmed down). This leads me to wonder two things...

  • Do those priests who weren't trained in the West get trained in Latin more often than those who were?
  • Why don't groups trying to get a TLM started in their area approach these priests about it more than they do? If a priest IS trained in Latin already, it couldn't hurt to at least ask.
The first question is kind of obvious. When Una Voce Carmel trying to get our initial permission from our bishop back in Indiana, the idea that most of our priests didn't have a good enough working knowledge of Latin. This didn't set well with me but it didn't surprise me, either, as I remember our bishop actually saying in an article after the passing of Pope John Paul II that he didn't have a very good working knowledge of Latin himself. I'm not thrilled with that, but I understand that learning Latin was de-emphasized in seminaries over the last forty years or so, so no, it came as no surprise.

Granted, more of the orthodox seminaries are beginning to emphasize it once again. The Archdiocese of Denver, for example, requires their seminarians to study four years of both Latin and Greek, and two years of Hebrew in their seminaries. The only vocation crisis they seem to be having is not having enough room to put all the interested seminarians. The younger generation of men in the seminaries want this! They want authentic Catholicism; not the fluff that's been emphasized in the Western Church for the last 40 plus years.

To answer the second question, with three Nigerian priests in my old diocese, I wonder why we didn't ask them. They weren't subject to the same studies after all, and it seems to me that priests who do have a good enough working knowledge of Latin don't seem to have near the issue with learning the extraordinary form. Or at least wanting to. Perhaps we should have looked towards the Nigerian priests there to see if they had the formation in Latin and knew it well enough to send them off to training at St. John Cantius in Chicago.

So perhaps that's part of the answer for those trying to get the Tridentine Mass started up in their area. Perhaps asking those missionary priests from Africa, Vietnam, and India to see if they have enough working knowledge of Latin to be interested in offering the extraordinary form.

It might be the best chance some places have for using the 1962 Missal.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vocational Crisis?

Shortly after we got here last month, we went to Mass at the Cathedral (no, there is no TLM here in Cheyenne, and the closest one is 40 miles away in Ft. Collins) and during the intercessory prayers, a plea to "end the draught of vocations in our diocese."

The smartalek in me wanted to say "This is Wyoming. Get more people and we can get more priests."

This isn't totally untrue. According to the Factfinder on the United States Census Bureau website, there were 522,830 people living in Wyoming in 2007. Compare that with 793,010 people in Indianapolis, Indiana alone. In other words, there are 270,180 more people living in Indianapolis than there are in the entire state of Wyoming. Do we honestly have enough priests in Wyoming with such a small population?

Considering that Wyoming is also over two and half times the size of Indiana from a geographical standpoint, the answer, of course, is no.

As you all already know, I came from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. In 2004, there were over 98,000 Catholics living in that diocese, with 95 diocesan priests and 19 religious priests for a total of 114 priests over an area of 9,832 square miles. In the same year, the Diocese of Cheyenne had 50 diocesan priests and 10 religious priests for a total of 60 priests over an area of 97,548 square miles for 47,800 Catholics. Comparing the two dioceses, Cheyenne had roughly half the priests that Lafayette-in-Indiana had to cover roughly ten times the area.

That ain't easy.

So how is this fixed? Obviously the Diocese of Cheyenne needs more priests. What I noted in Indiana about vocations was simply this: The parishes where there's Eucharistic Adoration on a regular if not perpetual basis are the ones that have the most amount of vocations coming from them. A mere eight years ago, when the priest who was saying our TLM for our deanery was entering the seminary, there were only about two seminarians before him. Now eight years later, there are 27 in formation for the diocese. Those parishes with perpetual adoration, like Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Carmel, Indiana have quite a few seminarians in formation for that diocese right now. In Lafayette, they have one place for perpetual Eucharistic Adoration - at the St. Elizabeth Hospital Chapel, and as a result, there are quite a few vocations coming from St. Boniface. They not only have quite a few diocesan seminarians but also recently had a priest for the FSSP ordained from there within the last year.

The bottom line is this:

  • Promote perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Those seem to be the parishes where the most vocations come from.
  • Stick to orthodoxy. If the parish has too many dissidents attending it, it's likely that most of the people there are going to try to "fix" the problem by promoting heterodox solutions. These solutions never seem to work. The young potential seminarians are not interested by and large in the "solutions" from 1976. They want to stick to the teachings of the Church and following the Pontiff's lead.
  • Select orthodox seminaries to send young men. Just like I aluded to above, if you send seminarians to orthodox seminaries, and other candidates know about it, they'll be more attracted to the priesthood. There's an excellent seminary in our area down in the Archdiocese of Denver that Archbishop Chaput opened a few years ago that's fantastic. They have a different kind of vocations problem: Too many seminiarians and not enough space to put them all.
I think this would be the best start for the Diocese of Cheyenne. If they can get this far, establishing a minor seminary at Wyoming Catholic College would not only be feasible but likely necessary into and of itself.

But first things first.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


We brought some food with us from Indiana; mostly just cereal and extra juice for the kids and what not. We wound up taking them over to St. Joseph's Food Pantry here in Cheyenne today. Our freezer, fridge and cupboards are stocked with food, I paid $1.409 per gallon of gas today and after my "weekend" (Wednesdays and Thursdays), I'm actually looking forward to going back to work, and not because I can't stand being around the house but rather because I totally love my job now.

Yeah, we've got a LOT to be thankful for this year.

Last year, I worked in a job that made me miserable in a company which I didn't like (they gave to Planned Murderhood), producing a product that I've not believed in my entire professional career. When we got the word that many of us were going to be laid off at the end of April, I was actually somewhat relieved. I was going to start looking after one year anyway.

Easier said than done.

The job market in Indianapolis wasn't too different than the rest of the country. The problem with being in broadcasting in Indianapolis is that the market is tight even when the economy is good. People just hang onto their jobs there for good reason, and I can't fault my former colleagues for that. In the same situation, I'd be no different.

We tried everything we possibly could to stay there, and at my wits end, I called my uncle in Houston. I'd not spoken to him since I was about 10 years old. He gave me some of the best advice I'd ever been given.

I needed to move. I needed to leave everything I know and love behind.

That's not how he said it; my version reads a LOT harsher than that. But what it boiled down to was this: You have to go where the jobs are. You need to be able to rely on yourself, and if that means leaving everything you know behind, then it must be done. He made a lot of sense, although we weren't done exhausting all of our options so we thought. When those were exhausted, I started rifling out resumes all over the country. Six months of unemployment was far too long, and it was taking it's toll.

A few weeks later, I had an interview here in Cheyenne. A couple of weeks after the interview, I had an offer.

I'm grateful to my uncle for giving me the advice. TV people aren't supposed to grow complacent. We are drifters; drifting from market to market. Thirteen years in Indy was probably a little too long, to be honest with you. That said, I do hope that I can stay with my present company as long as I can. It's a top notch operation, I like all my co-workers, and Cheyenne and Wyoming have really grown on me. The only thing I would have done different is come out here about three years ago. Granted, this company does have a similar facility down in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, and I'd consider going there for the right position, but if I stay in Cheyenne for awhile, I'll be perfectly content to do so.

So, what am I thankful for this year? Having not just a job that I totally love but one that pays me more than I've ever made before, in a city that's cheaper to live in. I can go home on I-80 heading west, looking at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. The people are extremely friendly and easy going. I'm thankful that my friend Desmond and his wife put my wife and I up for a couple of nights in Denver while we drove up here to search for a place. They, too, were instrumental in making this a success. I'm thankful for my parents helping us out and taking the kids while we settled in. We couldn't have done it without them either. And I'm thankful that if nothing else happened this year, at least I got back in touch with my uncle.

Yeah. I have a lot to be thankful for indeed.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year.

FUN FACT ABOUT WYOMING: Not so much about Wyoming as it is about my three year old. When he says "Wyoming" it's not much different than when he says "Yao Ming".