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.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


When I arrived here at the Casa O'Toole on the grounds of the Pontifical North American College for the beginning of my sabbatical program, I was welcomed and taken to my room on the 3rd floor.  "Go over to the desk and open the window," the director of the program said to me.  When I did so, the view above is what I saw.  Today I moved some of the furniture around so I did not have to reach over the desk each day to open the window to let the awesome view of St. Peter's Basilica into my room.

In looking out onto this historic symbol of the Church and the incarnation of Christ from my room, I recalled words from Saint Ambrose that I read on the flight over.  In speaking of the admonition of Jesus to "go into your room (to pray,)" St. Ambrose comments...
But by “room” you must understand, not a room enclosed by walls that imprison your body, but the room that is within you, the room where you hide your thoughts, where you keep your affections. This room of prayer is always with you, wherever you are, and it is always a secret room, where only God can see you.
A hope for me during this blessed time is that I am opened in a new way to the voice of God.  I pray that I may open the window of my soul a bit more, so as to let the grandeur God enlighten my innermost being.  This too is the goal of preaching, the subject matter of my first 3 weeks here.  As a preacher, the words preached are most effective when they touch the inner soul of the hearer.  As a preacher, one must first be able to encourage the hearer to open the window of the soul, to let that word in.  
Before obeying the direction to "open the window," I asked, "why?"  "Just do it," my host said.  How often we are reluctant to be open, without knowing the outcome before hand.  As I begin my weeks here, I ask you to pray that I may be open to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Through this openness, may I grow in my own faith and therefore be able to offer to you God's word in a more effective way.  

Know that I pray for you, that you too might, "just do it," and open the window of your soul to the greatness of God.