Best of 2018 – #1

December 31, 2018

Blessings on you this Christmas season!

For the week between Christmas and New Years, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2018 (based on the number of views / “hits” that particular post received). Today I offer the most-viewed post of 2018, a homily posted on July 29, 2018 titled: One More

I just returned from a quick trip to New Orleans. I attended a conference for deacons, celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate. It was a great event, with daily Mass celebrated by priests and bishops from around the country.

On the first day, Cardinal Tobin was the main celebrant. He began his homily by sharing this story: He was recessing out the main aisle of the cathedral following Mass, blessing the people as he walked. Near the back, a young girl was standing partially out in the aisle. She had her hands on her hips. The look on her face he described as “somewhere between curiosity and disgust.” When he got near her, he stopped and looked down.

She said, “I have a question.”

He squatted down in front of her and said, “Of course. What’s your question?”

She asked, again with disgust, “Why can’t you take off your own hat?”

He said he was struck by her sincerity and amused by her approach. However, he also came to a realization at that moment – he didn’t know the answer!

He smiled at the little girl and said, “I’m not sure, sweetheart. Maybe it’s a union thing.”

He used the story to emphasize that sometimes in life, particularly a life of ministry, we are asked questions we can’t answer. One of those questions, a recurring one, is: “What does God expect of me?” Continue reading

Best of 2018 – #2

December 30, 2018

Blessings on you this Christmas season!

For the week between Christmas and New Years, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2018 (based on the number of views / “hits” that particular post received). Today I offer #2, a letter posted on October 11, 2018 titled: Our Kids Are Watching

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community, but also an open letter to any adult attending high school athletic events:

This may not be the most popular letter I’ve ever written, but I feel a need to write it.

This is an open letter to all adult fans of high school athletic contests. It begins with a simple question: “Is it really necessary to have alcohol at pre-game tailgate parties at high school football games (or any other athletic event)?”

You may be able to guess my answer based on the biased wording of the question.

I think community building is awesome. Putting up a tent, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, serving soft drinks, playing cornhole, talking up the game – all are great ways to lead up to the main event. Inviting fans from the opposing team to join in the festivities? Even better.

Does alcohol need to be a part of the equation? The game will last about 2-1/2 hours. Allowing for a pre-game tailgate and the inevitable post-game analysis, we have 4-5 hours of time invested on a Friday night. I believe foregoing alcohol for those 4-5 hours is in the best interest of our kids.

I have a number of reasons for feeling this way. Allow me to offer two. Continue reading

Best of 2018 – #3

December 29, 2018

Blessings on you this Christmas season!

For the week between Christmas and New Years Day, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2018 (based on the number of views / “hits” that particular post received). Today I offer #3, a homily posted on August 19, 2018 titled: Wherever We Need Him to Be

A few years back, multiple teen suicides occurred in central Indiana within a very short period of time. The loss of young lives gave us pause, particularly those of us involved in ministry to young people. The incidents were particularly difficult for high school students grappling with their own identities and self-doubts.

It led to questions: Why is this happening? Who is next? Will our school be affected? And a common question in times of unfathomable loss or grief or tragedy – Where is God in all of this?

After the first suicide, we came together as a school to pray for the repose of the young man’s soul, and for peace and comfort for his family and friends. Later, after the third suicide in a month, I remember bringing our school community together again. Everyone – students, faculty, support staff, and administration. We came together again to pray, but we also gathered to ask the question aloud that so many of us had stuck in our heads, “Where is God in this?”

I knew I needed to respond to that question for our students, but until I opened my mouth, I had no idea what that response would be. This is what I shared with them: Continue reading

Best of 2018 – #4

December 28, 2018

Blessings on you this Christmas season!

For the week between Christmas and New Years, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2018 (based on the number of views / “hits” that particular post received). Today I offer #4, a post from August 17, 2018 titled: Reflecting on Anger

Perhaps my perception is colored by growing older and becoming more reflective, but I’ve been noticing how easily people get angry. I usually listen to sports talk radio on my way home from school each evening. I am a big NFL fan and I like to stay current on injuries, predictions, good games on the schedule for the next Sunday, etc. Since the stations are local, invariably much of the talk is centered on our hometown Colts.

People who call in are angry. Not disappointed, but angry. They talk loudly and curse (or I am assuming that is what’s going on when I hear the bleep). You can just picture the veins standing out on their temples and necks. They rage about who should be fired, and that player sucks, and those people don’t know what they’re doing. Any response from the host that questions what the caller has said is met with the receiver being slammed down. Continue reading

Best of 2018 – #5

December 27, 2018

Blessings on you this Christmas season!

For the week between Christmas and New Years Day, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2018 (based on the number of views / “hits” that particular post received). Today I offer #5, a homily posted on February 11, 2018 titled: It’s OK to Pick Up Tommy’s Tie

When I was in second grade, right here at St. Pius, the time came for my class to prepare for receiving our first Holy Communion. We practiced each day in the church, which is now Ross Hall. We were informed of all of the do’s and don’ts of our big day. The girls must wear white dresses and wear veils. The boys must wear dress shirts and sport coats and little clip-on ties. We were to walk in a straight line with our hands folded. There was to be no slouching.

A major emphasis, at least as far as Sr. Antoinette was concerned, was that we stay focused. That meant we were not to look around trying to find our parents or grandparents. We were not to look out the window. We were not to talk to anyone for any reason, except to say, “Amen” when Msgr. Ross offered us Holy Communion.

Sr. Antoinette was so passionate about us paying attention that she gave what I thought was a very odd example. She said, “Even if someone’s veil or tie falls off, you must continue to look straight ahead.”

I remember thinking what a strange example that was. I could imagine a veil falling off, but when has someone’s tie ever fallen off? Continue reading

Best of 2018 – #6

December 26, 2018

Blessing on you this Christmas season!

As is my custom, for the week between Christmas and New Years Day, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of the past year. Today I offer #6, a homily from July 8, 2018 titled: We Are Not Superheroes

Back when Lou Holtz was the head football coach at Notre Dame, he and his wife were out to dinner in Miami a few nights before his team was set to play in the Orange Bowl. A waiter came to him and asked, “You’re Coach Holtz from Notre Dame, aren’t you?”

Assuming the young man wanted an autograph, he reached into his pocket for a pen and replied, “Yes, I am.”

“In that case,” the waiter said. “I have a question for you: What’s the difference between Cheerios and Notre Dame?”

“I have no idea,” Coach Holtz replied.

The waiter said: “Cheerios belong in a bowl.”

Coach Holtz fumed the entire dinner. When the same waiter brought him his check at the end of the meal, Holtz said, “By the way, I have a question for you: What’s the difference between golf pros and Lou Holtz?”

“I have no idea,” the waiter replied.

Holtz said: “Golf pros give tips.”

Sorry, that has nothing to do with my homily…but it’s a good Lou Holtz intro. Continue reading