Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big House in Clinton Township, MI.

The big house.

That's how the youngsters in the Clinton Township, MI., area of Fourteen and Beaconsfield Streets refer to the former St. Claude Rectory, the residence with six suites of rooms, three huge office spaces for pastoral and professional spiritual directors, and, Catholic psychologisists, among others healing helpers. The large finished basement affords room for group spiritual direction, centering prayer, growth groups, aerobics, and more. The four-car garage is a site to see itself. The edifice is used for daily prayer, meetings, and, of course, Mass every Sunday at 11 am and 7 pm. In fact, it's my pleasure presiding there for the evening Mass the next couple of Sundays. Amid the frenetic pace of city life, the big house and campus is a pause to ponder and notice God's good earth, and the beat and beauty of all of creation.

With a private upper level residence with two separate two-room suites, and a private entrance, and, a common kitchen and sitting area, and balcony, the beautiful parklike setting is ideal for persons who are working on recovering, and, in remission from substance and process addictions. Perhaps residents want some minimal community, supervision or engaging with peers on the mend, and, motivated to maintain sobriety.

Mary Zuby, Marge Hallman, Carol Sharber, John Jesnig and I were sprucing up the big house this week. It is an ideal pastoral setting where I live, and, am hoping others, including clergy,
may inquire.

What busy beavers we were working away at installing concrete steps at the back door, shining glass, scrubbing toilets, cleaning the kitchen, washing dishes, and more this week. A pause here and there to connect with the Creator reminded me of Labor Day's meaning Monday and the unofficial end of Summer.

The big house is part of the complex and parish of St. Thecla on Metropolitan Parkway near Groesbeck.

A city-block-size campus nestled amid giant trees and other plush greenery, the house and edifice is encased with shiny black fencing in the retreat-like site. It is ideal for reflection. In fact, one evening this week, as I returned home there in the dark, I noticed a person walking without any response to my greeting until I shouted: "Is that you, John?" A voice shot back: "I'm not a man, and I'm making the stations of the cross." "That's good. We need all the prayer we can do,"
I praised her after my apology: "I'm sorry, I can't see in the dark."

Young people apparently planted the fourteen stations of the trek of Jesus before his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead in the first century. Trees have posted an eight-and-one-half by eleven picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, his falls, his wiping the face of Veronica,
and more all the way to Calvary.

Serenity lives on these grounds, for sure. A Serenity House of Prayer sounds like an appropriate name for those who rent the spaces soon, I hope.

A garden with a concrete gray-colored Saint Francis statue adorns another area of the trailway where pedestrian traffic can be noticed early in the morning and later at night as neighbors stroll through the green grounds. Red, purple and other bright flowers add to the beauty everywhere.

One man regularly kneels on the asphalt imploring the help of the copper-colored image of Mary, Mother of God, as she holds the young Jesus with a wall plaque nearby for the dignity of babies in and outside mom's womb. I notice how gracefully this same guy makes the sign of the cross + at the beginning and end of his prayer period, an iconic mark and practice of Catholics connecting with the maker often during the day. The Angelus comes to mind, and, of course, the cherished rosary prayed by so many so often.

What I relish mostly is a prayer walk there daily as I ponder on a word from the Sacred Scriptures, such as love. All of the gospels of Matthew's 25th chapter surface in my slow walk on the grass and trailway. Woof and Wolf, my two-year-old Bich0n Frise dogs can't wait to hit the door and frolic outside the big house twice a day at least. A walkers' club weekly would be awesome as people exercise their living Temples made by God. A single and young adult fireside grill with songs Saturday, September 24th from 7-9 pm will offer the faithful a chance to visit the holy site and roast marshmallows, hot dog or burgers they bring to grill.

One of the volunteers, Mary, who really gets things moving, moved Woof with me as Wolf grasped the leash pulling Wolf in every direction earlier this afternoon as we finished cleaning. What a delightful seen to watch the spontaneity of both creatures. Each has its own personality, like each of us made in God's wonderful image and likeness. Witnessing people praying here is a sight to behold. Devoted, fervent and regular faithful remind me of the value of routine daily.

Forward your ideas and comments to me at sacredheartroseville@saintly.com, or call me at 586 777 9116. I'd savor your inquiries, rental questions, and suggestions about using this space well and wonderfully for the community.

Prasing God for the beauty of creation consumes me these days as we pause to ponder this Labor Day weekend.

God's big serenity house, imagine that!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gone Fishing

I don't care if it rains or freezes
I am safe in the arms of Jesus.
I am Jesus' little man
Yes, by Jesus Christ I am.
- Recited by Sage, Bill Litwaitis
- Miss Bruce, 1930s
Teacher, Holy Redeemer School, Detroit

At a resale shop next to Bark of the Town dog grooming, Bill was rocking in a chair when we welcomed each other by name. A bit shy at first about singing those words, he opened up and
shared the gem from his instructor decades ago when his parents, the primary educators, sent him off to school. Today, he must be 80 and awesome as he smiles and conversed with me the other day as two-year-old pristine white Bichon Frise's, Woof and Wolf, the other eight feet in my home, went primping next door.

Gone fishing. Me also.

Off to Port Austin, Michigan's Thumb, tomorrow.

Along M-25, the coastline of multiple Lakes in Michigan, it is a two-lane highway steering its way from metropolitan Detroit up into this beautiful plush and pastoral land filled with resorters already for Labor Day, I'm sure.

Fishing is also a metaphor for time away casting cares on the sea. It's about listening to the Lord of life and love.

Fishing I will, trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5).

With calm endurance, patience, the lack of which will make a patient of all of us, slowly and attentively I will Jeep my way into this slower, calmer community of Bad Axe into Port Austin, and more, where my dad's root reside, and my brother, Bob, now retired from Chrysler's many years, lives.

Clearly, The Creator is good to those who wait on God, and, to the soul seeking the Maker, the powerful book of Lamentations, (of lamenting of so much depressing sadness, like the 9/11/01 horror's fear that frustrates and fills so many with fear still a decade later), told in Lamentations, 3:25.

A pause to ponder.

That's this holy day before the break of Labor Day, and, summer's unofficial ending for youngsters, especially, who have headed back to school already.

Gone fishing.

Thank God for this routine that sees us work, wait, watch and pause before the frenetic American lifestyle pushes into high gear in September.

But, before that, I hope you get to pause, ponder, and, even go fishing, friend!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Night Life, Traffic Moving

While driving to the Dollar Store for odds and ends the other night, with others behind me, cars stopped for the stop sign.

Huddled nearby were youngsters on either side of Beaconsfield Road in Clinton Township, MI.

Suddenly, as cars moved forward, stones against metal was heard. I stopped. Suddenly.
As I looked back with my door open, they appeared innocent on my side of the road. With cars behind me, I couldn't afford to assess the other side where the pellets probably appeared.

Night life.


"I don't take my dog out in the dark. There's too much traffic," a regular passerby said to me
yesterday morning at the break of dawn.

Nothing to do? Just hanging around corners. Perhaps, bored, and more, I thought.

Like we were for a moment or two. Then, we played touch football in the street. I hardly see
that anymore. Although I did see two little girls each bouncing a ball facing each others last
Sunday. Alone . . . together. Interesting!

Do children enjoy the summer sun anymore? Wasting time may be fine but when trouble at the expense of others brews, I don't know.

I remember laying on the blades of plush green grass looking up into the sky and clouds.

Awed by it all, I recalled what later in life became Psalm 91. It's about the Creator protecting us.
It notes to be unafraid for God is already there for us tomorrow.

Those words I appreciate as life unfolds.

But, the youngsters who are always supervised these days, it seems, at least at school, may have need of parental observations.

Do parents know where their kids are?

Clearly when school begins in days, parents will be assured that distinguished teachers will be there watching them.

God also.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Under New Management

From Oakland to Wayne to Macomb County there's mounting new management in churches everywhere, it seems.

At a meeting Saturday of ecumenical leaders at Leland Baptist Church, next door to the former St. Christine Church on Fenkell, east of Telegraph, where I was a pastor over thirty years ago in the Brightmoor community, during breaks, I decided to greet people who were open for business at their resale shop in the former edifice where Mass was celebrated since 1954 with Father Ben Postula. A huge hug by the smiling face who welcomed me assured me that hospitality in Brightmoor had not changed there since 1981 when our soup kitchen and food pantry was full steam ahead. And, by the way, they are the lone two buildings across the street still in sole ownsership by the Archbishop of Detroit, MI., now under the canonical head of Christ the King Church at least a mile away, the Father Clem Kern building we named and purchased that served as a gym for the now closed and empty St. Christine School under new management next door, happy, yet sad to admit.

Pastor Cecil Poe, who was an assistant when Sister Maria Kurrie, SSJ, TOSF, Sister Agnestine Rosinski, CSSF, Deacon Ray Kunik and I led the very faithful and fledgling St. Christine's said he was waiting for the one-floor, K-8 school building to fall to replace it with
senior housing.

The edifice would become a gym under new management. Sister Thomasine, another Felician sister was at the helm of our vibrant school decades ago. Former Madonna University president, the late Sister Francilene VanDevyver, doubled her duties and played the organ for Mass on Sundays when St. Christine's lively worship was the highlight of the week, amid all the social services, and daily Mass and Scripture study we stressed.

Under new management, I thought, as my heart sank when I surveyed rack after rack of clothes on the crucifix and altarless, pewless, and carpetless, dark floor in my visit home to St. Christine Church building. As if in denial, I quickly walked back outside of the side door onto the parking lot where a bar-b-que steered my nose with flavorful ribs and chicken. Hmmm good! A deep breathe recovered my heartbreak. Such aches get easier when one witnesses it again and again. And a visit to mainstay Scotty's Fish and Chips on Dolphin moments later with Archbishop George Stallings, Jr., of Washington, D.C., among others, would satisfy my hunger, for sure, as Harry and his staff at Scotty's fed me many times while I would walk the streets of Brightmoor's businesses in the 80s, organize community, complete my doctoral thesis at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, MD., and, head the ecumenical Michigan Coaliton for Human Rights with Bishop H. Colemena McGehee, Jr. among others. Multi-tasks for one human being trying to make a difference in what a priest friend of mine, said "was always a hellhole," when I returned his call Saturday from St. Christine's.

Under new management is as common as blowing one's nose these days, it seems.

On the east side, in Macomb County, a four-car-garage rectory has been empty for months as area residents care for the grounds, plant colorful flowers, and manage sufficient security to keep vandals away. Squatters who rented another church-owned building left it filthy and in need of repairs for parishioners to fix. Do landlords know, care? Are they over their heads in property now with less urgency for personnel and imagination to lead faithful longing for God, effective preaching and community again? With a 34 million dollar loss on a museum built in Washington, D.C, reported this week in the National Catholic Reporter, and, on the backs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and a lien on it from a loan from an Irish bank, how will we ever re-focus to our original mission of bringing Jesus the Christ to a waiting Michigan? How? With a miracle and minds who are welcome to imagine morphing and change for the better.

Another pretty, pastoral place no longer has a resident pastor either. Not enough Catholic clergy, leaders say is the blame for minimal Masses now and less pastoral care. Imagine that while you imagine more and step up to the plate to speak up and lead! To speak truth to power in love, of course.

Imploding. That's how one area resident, walking his dog, felt when we greeted each other along
Fourteen Mile Road. "It's all imploding," he shouted with a sense of sadness in his loud and troubled voice.

Will the whole enterprise implode some day? Will leadership step forth to imagine ways to turn around this crumbling situation? Or, will shrinking numbers of clergy continue to be listed as the reason for the implosion?

Who will step up to go against the tide as parishioners rose up in the 70s when my home parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Detroit's east side was slated for bulldozing after an inner-city church could not get a bank loan to purchase the towering Romanesque edifice build in 1927?
Just last week at another ecumenical meeting in Oakland County, I discovered countless empty buildings that were once thriving Catholic communities. My heart sank then, also, when I heard of such closures, and, under new managament, stories from clergy and other faithful. It is depressing.

Who will imagine other solutions to go against the accepted "learned helplessness" that seems to be the thinking these days as national clerical CEOs uneventfully and quietly seem to cluster, close or merge because there aren't enough priests like me to go around?

Who will promote the original mission of Jesus, our founder, to reach out, baptize and teach and sanctify? We all can do something, and the buck does stop with you and me, after all. And, collaboration is a sound teaching of Vatican II.

Who will put the institution back on the track far from the sole business model we were never meant to have as its priority?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quiet Hero Book Is Troubling Tale of Terror with Proceeds to Injured Veterans

Polish Tale of Terror Told by Resistance Fighter's Daughter in Book to Speak at Orchard Lake Sept. 20

By Lawrence M. Ventline
Special to the Oakland Press

We're as sick as our secrets. And, knowing one's story and family tree is liberating and reconciling, even redemptive for those on the quest for closure.

I believe that. And, so does journalist Rita Cosby who is coming to the Polinica Americana Research Institute at the Orchard Lake Schools' Polish Mission, September 20th. She is a correspondent for the CBS program, Inside Edition, formerly of Fox News and MSNBC. Telling her own tale, she records inspiring lessons in her book, Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father's Past, available at Amazon.com, among local booksellers (www.ritacosby.evenbrite.com).

It is the true and troubling tale of her father, a native of Poland and former prisoner of war.

"Upon the death of her mother, Cosby found a suitcase belonging to her estranged father," noted Cecile Wendt-Jensen, director of PARI, and, a distinguished genealogist who is completing sessions this week in the Polish Mission at the Orchard Lake Schools at Commerce and Orchard Lake Roads in Oakland County. With grants, it assists families in discovering their roots, and, even, one's original family name. I did just that with her professional help in July when Donna Mesyn of Clinton Township, among others, made the trek to Orchard Lake, and, an on line visit to Poland.

"Rita's story is one that will touch every family...a loving, poignant tribute to her POW father and freedom," Senator John McCain noted.

Part of the proceeds of the best-selling book go to Operation Enduring Care to help injured verterans.

"It was while camping that I first consciously comprehended that a scar was an indication that something bad had happened, something we weren't supposed to talk about," Cosby wrote in her, Quiet Hero, soon to be a movie that documents "forgiveness" and the wartime experience of Catholic Pole Ryszard Kossobudzki, Cosy's father.

Wendt said: "As Rita drew these stories from her father and uncovered secrets and emotions that long were hidden, this daughter and father forged a fresh precious bond, deeper than either could have ever imagined."

Cosby was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of a Danish mother and a Polish father who came to the U.S. after World War II. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Her memoir uncovered a story of heroism and courage detailing her father's youth as a Polish Resistance fighter who battled the Nazis during Warsaw Uprising.

For more information about Cosby's appearance, contact cjensen@mipolonia.net, or visit www.mipolonia.net, http://grandparents.evenbrite.com/, or http://polishmission.com. Call PARI at 248 683 0323.

(Reach the Rev. Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min., a pastor and a board certified professional counselor for 35 years, and, a 1971 graduate of St. Mary's College, Orchard Lake, MI., at http://religionrootsrelationships.blogspot.com, 586 777 9116).


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spate of Violence and Pushing Back with Parents, Family

Violence in Detroit, and other cities, for sure, spilled from the streets a week ago into McDonald's at Six Mile and Livernois, Friday, with a young person facing off with a retired police officer. The young man was killed.

At yet, another McDonald's in southwest Detroit was the crime scene of a disgruntled exemployee who left a pipe bomb in the women's bathroom the same day, radio reported.

Last week, the spate of violence left eight shot last Wednesday, while six were murdered and nine other persons were wounded during a two-day period.

Neighbors and citizens pushed back in Brightmoor's community on Fenkell east of Telegraph where I was a pastor over thirty years ago. Dr. Cecil Poe, a pastor of Leland Missionary Baptist Church (capcivic@comcast.net), who purchased property of Saint Christine's Church next door, hosted the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) Saturday.

Washington D.C., archbishop George Stallings, Jr., flew in to get a crowd to "stand in the gap" and void on either side of Fenkell where participants stood to symbolize the hole in the heart of my Motown.

"Violence against anyone, anywhere, is violence against the sacred dignity and worth of everyone, everywhere," Stallings shouted to an inspired group of a hundred clergy, business leaders and area residents in Leland Church.

Each of us has to take responsibility for how we respond or react in rage toward another when conflicted. Blaming stops with me. Parents must teach anew the great laws of love in the revered Scriptures of all faith traditions to love God and one's neighbor. Places of worship seem to be more common today than bars on every other corner of the streets near Lynch Road and Van Dyke where I grew up. Churches can supplant and support parents but clergy and business leaders cannot do this for the family authority set on a dad and a mom wedded in holy matrimony.

Family is the foundation of our society in our culture and crisis of civilization today embedded in drugs, disease and comorbidity of pathologies everywhere these days in suburbs and city life.

The rousing meeting gathered for a prayer walk and linked arms in solidarity pledging to fill in the gap as the prophet Ezekiel warned in the Hebrew Scriptures centuries ago.

Who will fill in the gap?

Parents, will you?

Will husband and wife, parents and children and neighbors and God?

Pledging to take action to bridge the gap in our homes, churches and community of Brighmoor and metropolitan Detroit persists now.

Can we fill in the gap?

Will you?

Tomorrow depends on it. Family's future requires commitment today.

Do you pledge this? Dad, mom, son, daughter, neighbor?

Contact David Kasbow at kasbow@earthlink.net, or lventline@att.net, or call 586 77709116 for help. Together we can!

And, be at the MOSES meeting and summit for clergy and others, Thursday, Sept. 1 at 1:30 pm in Temple Emanu El at 14450 W. Ten Mile Road, Oak Park, 48237. Call 313 962 5290. Visit www.mosesmi.org.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Violence in Motown, Michigan and Linking Arms Saturday

Deadly day rattles Detroit got me urging to push back the violence with charity and peace that has yet to be tried on a global stage. Dismissing this as "pie in the sky" thinking will only spike the spate of shootings that left seven dead and nine injured over the weekend in Motown.

Many clergy will meet Saturday in Leland Baptist Church next to my own stomping grounds on Fenkell, east of Telegraph in Brightmoor, where I was a pastor in 1981. Poverty and social unrest rang loud and clear throughout that neighborhood, let alone the racial tension among those facing off for turf, or more. Our soup kitchen at St. Christine began while fireman, Ray Kunik served as deacon with Sister Maria Kurrie and me. Christian services were never enough in this blighted area fractured by poverty, broken relationships and families in need of mending, and, deeper prayer. God's there somewhere, I believe and preached. God is, after all, God is everywhere in an omnipresence and omnipotent Power.

A walk, link of arms and a declaration for pro-peaceful living signed and pledged by parents, families and households, among business owners and community leaders will begin about 11:30 am after a prayer breakfast hosted by the American Clergy Leadership Conference and Revs. David Kasbow and Earnest Hatcher, co-chairmen.

Archbishop George Stallings of Washington, D.C., voiced in our telephone conference Wednesday night "that violence anywhere in anyone is violence against the dignity and esteem of everyone, everywhere." Rev. Dr. Cecil Poe is host pastor of Leland Baptist Church where we convene, link arms, pray, and walk to pledge and to push back violence. As common as blowing one's nose, we need to step up to the plate with parents and businesses in Brightmoor to say, NEVER AGAIN to violence. We need to help parents teach right from wrong, the consequences of evil, and respect for all of life in and outside the womb.

I hope parents, families and business leaders, among others, will link arms, walk on Fenkell, and pledge to be nonviolent.

What else can we do?

This epidemic of horror repeats itself enough each day in Detroit for all of us to scratch our heads, yes, but also, to step up to the plate with parents to preserve the social foundation of family.

Join us Saturday please and pledge to commit to charity, a revered and ancient virtue and strength that can go a million miles in love, into the heart of every human.

In a global world of weapons of mass destruction, the love of God we have not tried will equip us saints and sinners with the loving armour necessary to stay the course on this one in long suffering and resolution to get the job done in parenting, leading and forming our families well.

Please call David Kasbow at 734 546 4395 and let him know you're ready to pledge and link arms tomorrow at the prayer breakfast and walk arm in arm to push back the violence

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fond Farewell at Funeral for Faithful Friend Who Put Everyone in the Front Pew

Everyone matters.

You do.

And, everyone else matters enough to be in the front pew of the funeral of the faithful friend of Detroit, Focus:HOPE'S, Eleanor Josaitis, who was celebrated Saturday in the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Woodward.

"Eleanor Josaitis had the power to bring people together, " the Rev. Tim Kane, Josaitis' pastor said, as he stood in front of the casket and looked out at the sea of people in attendance.

Over 800 people sat shoulder to shoulder with family, poor and rich, politicians and prelates, and paupers amid a Catholic Mass fit for one fondly remembered for her 43 years of service to the civil and human rights organization that morphed the lives of men and women from Motown to Oakland County and beyond.

Everyone seemed to be in the front row with a first-rate funeral for a first-class woman who made everyone feel deserving of the front pew at the two-hour service that began at 1 pm Saturday as throngs poured into the hugh edifice.

Pennies continued to press the hands of participants as others continued the practice of Josaitis to place a copper penny in the palm of people she met. Hope was her aim. Her faith made her do that it seemed.

In God we trust, seemed to say it all, as deep faith fueled this spiritual giant to make miracles happen in machinist training and engineer programs, food for infants, mothers and seniors and more at the social service outlet that emerged out of the 1967 riots in Detroit when whites and blacks faced off.

The late Father William Cunningham died in 1997 of cancer, and co-founder Eleanor Josaitis who also lost her battle with cancer Tuesday, joined together to make a difference in Detroit.

And, they did.

A big difference.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Present Pressed People to Simply Show Up

I miss her already.

Last thing I did before I dozed off last night was say a prayer to God and Eleanor Josaitis.

God knows her last name, but I wasn't sure all my blog readers did.

Eternal rest, I said, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on her.

And, on us, I added.

We need her light, little, large, whatever.

She was a blessing and a present to us all for 79 years. Pressed into being the CEO of Focus:HOPE after Father William Cunnigham, the other instigator who co-counded this
superb bond-building organization that was a job czar for Detroit and Michigan. It trained thousands of young women and men who were edged out of the market based on the color, not the content of their character.

Pressed she was. And, Focus:HOPE pressed on in this gift, this present of a person who died early Tuesday morning in Angela Hospice in Livonia, MI.

She pressed people to be and be better and bigger and bolder. She did.

Eleanor Josaitis pushed back the boulder of fear faced off in so many people. She and those filled with fear won over the enemy that held them back, shut them down, kept them from encountering people of a different accent, religion, race.

She pressed for the mix to be together and enjoy diversity and color and . . .

I miss her already.

What will I do without her now?

Well, I will still talk to her. Her heaven will be spent on earth doing good, and I want to be among that number.

This saint.

Where will I begin?

I will start by simply showing up to make a difference just for today as Eleanor's little black devotional page for each day noted, and she gripped with engagement to hear from a visitor
willing to pray.

Press me more to show up, O God, and Eleanor!

Monday, August 8, 2011

To be a child in summertime before it fades to fall season

School's discipline of regular classes, including gym and prayer gave way to summer vacation's chill time. I looked forward to summer.

Touch football in the streets, strides through Forestlawn and Mt. Olivet Cemetaries near Arcola and Van Dyke where we lived, and treks through the railroad tracks on Mt. Elliott and Lynch Road near Detroit's City Airport, gave us adventures of our lives. Memories will forever mark summer out of school.

Today's kids, on the other hand, are registered in everything from courses to summer camp, band, on-the-job training, and school-like tasks that make it hard for youngsters to enjoy summer's swift months off.

The other Sunday while driving home I notice two middle school kids,or younger, each dribbling large pink balls on the sidewalk on the street I pass. They were together but each bounced separately. At least, they're playing, I forgave them! At least summer is doing what it is supposed to do for them. Enjoy!

But, what I'd propose is no (anti) social media, no testing, TV, and talking on cell phones they all have nowadays. When my friends and I wanted to connect, we had to run over to their home, or shout loud enogh for the neighbors to complain. Today, young people meet on social media, they tweet, e-mail and more.

Face to face fun is what summer is meant to be for kids. They recreate for readying for the frenetic Fall classes.

They're supposed sit in the sun, be still, shout, laugh, run in the sun . . . and . . .

They're to be unsupervised like we were playing touch football in the street in front of our two-family aluminum-sided home where the nine of us lived and lavish the stories we tell these days as we watch teens, among others youth, miss.

What kid has time to shut down in the summer?

What gal or guy can just be, and play all summer without schedules?

Who cares about watching the clouds and the setting sun in summer?

Who can lighten up and be a kid again?

I can't do this for them, but parents can guide them to savor summer, and the delights it offers as fewer days remain before school bells ring in the new year for them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Early in the morning is always significant, and telling, to be sure.

It's still dark out this fresh Saturday morning. The sun has not greeted us. Dim glimpses of light poke through the cloudy sky. Yet, dark hovers.

And, Woof and Wolf, my Bichon Frises pups quickly move up the street, across the wet, shiny blades of of green grass. They enjoy and relish the new day.

Are they awaiting the sun like me?

Perhaps. I don't know.

Savoring the seconds they have to walk with me seems enough for them.

Running, jumping, grabbing the leash - that's their agenda. A lone focus for them.
Fun seems to be what they are about dashing here and there as they give me a workout.

We near the end of Waterway Drive in Harrison Township. The boys are panting now.
Slower. More steady they walk ever so gently.

Thirsty, I'm sure.

Like me, they thirst and long for light. For signs of a new day penetrating the good globe
as the sun will appear shortly from the East, over my balcony where some connection with
the Creator pauses me.

O happy day!

Yet, after the still time, a visit to Angela Hospice will happen early this morning.

Life lives long everywhere it seems. Short some also.


Early in the morning they went to the tomb and found that He was gone.

Rising early, before God? I doubt it.

What a wonderful world, to borrow from Louis Armstrong.

Praise be the Maker and Earth's debut once more for me, for you, for everyone we meet this morning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life's Schedule Today

My dad always wondered what I do all day?

He was quick to tell others: "I hope my son gets a real job!"

Of course, dad worked daily farming, and using his hands, in Port Austin, MI., like mom who hailed from Cheboygan, MI., where her family farmed also.

Each day is different, for sure.

This morning, after some connect time with the Creator, I met with Cher and Joe who will be married in October at SS. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church on Jefferson, downtown in Detroit.
They told me about the preparation they are getting in Virginia where Joe lives, and Cher who is a lawyer like Joe, her fiancee. Natural Family Planning is appreciated by them. The discipline, they told me helps them to plan to have or not have children. They both want children, they said.
To get to the parish on time, I left by 10 am from Harrison Twp., MI., where I reside, near 16 Mile and Jefferson.
Our 11 am appointment was running close to 11:40 am for daily Mass there. Cher and Joe participated and sat in the front pew.
Mass ended. I spent some time in thanks and left for a quick breast of chicken enroute to Livonia to see the chiropractor for a toe that stiffened some over time. I thought it was arthritus so I began to accept that and live with it until I passed Marcoux Chiropractic on Middlebelt near Woodhaven Nursing Center where I had been visiting weekly or more.

"Marcoux?" I asked. He was a parishioner at St. Christine in Brighmoor on Lahser and Fenkell back in 80s. He said he couldhelp after we caught up some. This second treatment of the toe worked again.

From there I went to Angela Hospice in Livonia, and visited a few patients where their days are dimming fast. They wrestle with the "last things." Heaven, for example, unless they have other plans.

From there I headed west on Eight Mile Road across town to Livernois where I made a pastoral call on Berkley Street near 7 Mile and Livernois in the Sherwood Forest historic district of Detroit.
After an hour, I headed to Sacred Heart Church in Roseville, MI., to fetch three boxes of file folders of notes from classes I taught over time. Loading them up in my Jeep I steered home on Gratiot to 13 Mile Road and I-94, picked up my mail and pulled into the garage.

Ready to chill some, I ate some cheese and put on the chicken soup I made last night.

I answered e-mails and had some soup, sat long, then headed to the lazy boy chair and prayed some before I watched TV shows and the news and dozed off a bit.

Woof and Wolf, my fluffy pristine white Bichon Frises wanted to walk so we went out for a trek around the condo complex where I live.

Then, I unpacked the boxes of file folders from the car, re-arranged some books in the garage, and, settled into my e-z chair to watch a special on people who had near-death experiences.

Then, some quiet reflecting, and, I'll ready myself for a night's sleep.

It all begins again in the morning, God willing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inspirational Interior Living

Primping and pumping iron and taking care of one's living temple, the physical frame we're blessed with, is common in the culture.

How about interior primping and caring for one's temple, however, on the interior?

Called an interior life, practice like that of the outer, exterior life, occurs with stillness, quiet, calm, recreation and connections with the Creator often.

As Ramadhan is observed this month by Muslims with strict introspection, prayer and fasting throughout August, the pause they take five days daily is inspiring.

Whether at work or at home, the 1.5 billion Muslims who fill the globe, with as many as 7 million in the U.S., and growing numbers in the Dearborn, Michigan area, prayer at the mosque is required as part of their daily discipline each Friday, their high holy day observance.

A regimin like this of prayer seems to assure healing, and focus on who and what matters most, and submission to the Maker of heaven and earth, and each of us, for sure.

The world would be a much better place if more of us took time to pause and ponder often throughout the day.

Primping the interior life does a world of good.

Ask anyone who practices interior living. Akin to weight training, cooking, running or walking regularly each day, pausing to submit to the Maker requires practice.

One is worth it. The world is also.

Go on now and practice the inner life with a brief pause to calm down. Scientists say such prayer and meditation is healing for patients, and, for all of us.