Friday, November 20, 2015


I thank all who have been a prayerful support and have shared my sabbatical with me.  Enjoy this farewell video.


Relic of the chains which bound St. Peter during his captivity in Rome
The final week of my sabbatical program here in Rome was a retreat given to us by the theologian of the Papal Household, Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.  Fr. Giertych's led us in examining the discipleship of Peter, as seen from the perspective of Mark's gospel. It has long been a tradition in scripture scholarship that the author of Mark's gospel is a companion of Peter, who writes for the Christian community in 1st century Rome.  For the purpose of the retreat, Father asked us to read this gospel as Peter remembering his time with Jesus.  From this lens, we were seeing the gospel's perspective not as one of triumph but also a reflection of Peter's regrets and failure's along the way. Peter is harsh on himself and the other disciples and therefore tells the story of the Good News, from one who was weak, sometimes failed and maybe perhaps wished he could go back and re-do what he had missed.  As Peter approaches death, he remembers what he has done and what he has failed to do.
Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.

We were blessed with many insights during the talks, but the overall theme stuck with me.  As I leave Rome, part of my sadness is that I look back on the 7 weeks and reevaluate what I could have taken better advantage of.  I know that in my life too, I can get stuck on past failures and missed opportunities. Our meditation on Mark's Gospel, as Peter's reflection on his past, brought us to a closer realization and acceptance of the fact that it is not about our accomplishments and satisfaction.  "Thy will be done," we pray.  The Father's will is done, not through me but through Christ who chooses me as he chose Peter, with human weakness clearly evident. I may never feel completely accomplished, but the real measure is what has God accomplished through me. 

I don't think in offering us these insights we were being encouraged to not worry about our shortcomings, but rather to recognize the love of Christ for me, who fails, and because he loves me, he asks me as he asked Peter, "Do you love me?....Feed my sheep."

Celebrating Mass at the nearby church dedicated to St. Onafrio.
The rector of the church is the brother of a Holy Family parishioner

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Fr. Gerard Gentleman with Diocese of Rockville Centre Seminarians
Alexander Turpin, Michael Bissex and Leo Song
after celebrating Mass together at St. Peter's Basilica
"I will give you shepherds after my own heart" (Jer. 3:15).
In these words from the prophet Jeremiah, God promises his people that he will never leave them without shepherds to gather them together and guide them:

Saturday, November 07, 2015

MALTA - A Pilgrimage Experience

St. Paul's Island, Malta - The sight of the shipwreck of the vessel carrying the imprisoned St. Paul to Rome
In reviewing the outline of my Roman sabbatical program, the pilgrimage to Malta intrigued me on two levels.  First, I questioned how this fit the theme of the sabbatical module on evangelization and second, I wondered, what there really was to do in Malta. My questions were more then answered in these five days. 

Friday, October 30, 2015


We head for Malta tomorrow and won't be able to update the blog until I return next weekend.  So enjoy the update video

Sunday, October 25, 2015

IMAGINATION, The Art of Faith Proclaimed

The Chapel at Casa O'Toole - the site of the Institute of Continuing Education for Priests
at the Pontifical North American College
These days of sabbatical, which have been devoted to preaching, have often evoked a discussion on imagination.  Through these discussions I have come to a renewed understanding of the importance of creativity in preaching.

Monday, October 19, 2015

ASSISI - Discerning God's Holy Will

The Church of San Damiano outside of Assisi
The original cross was moved by the Poor Clares
to the basilica in Assisi dedicated to St. Clare
St. Francis of Assisi's Prayer before the Cross

Most high, glorious God, 
illuminate the darkness of my heart. 
Give me right faith,
perfect charity,
profound humility.

Give me Lord,
judgement and discernment
to fulfill your true and holy will.

The first time I can recall the word, "discernment," it

Sunday, October 11, 2015

FAMILY - Our deepest experience

 © Mazur/
Pope Francis prays before an icon of the Holy Family at the prayer vigil ahead of the opening of the Synod on Families
As the first week of my sabbatical nears its conclusion, I am very much mindful of my parish family back home.