Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We'll Keep Paying for Poverty Despite Oct. 1st Welfare Kick Out

What are the poor to do in Michigan? The poor children, specifically?

Welfare payments end for nearly 30,000 youngsters this weekend.

Furthermore, after four years maximum, people no longer qualify for welfare assistance.

But pay we will for the increasing poverty put upon us at a time when more people live in poverty today than at any period since statistics have been recorded in American history. 46 million is the number at 15 percent and spiking still. In Michigan, however, the past 36 months have seen poverty rise by twenty percent.

When people get even more desperate and start stealing even more than they are these days we'll wonder what Michigan's State Legislature really starts Oct. 1st.

Talk to anyone who has experienced robbery or vandalism and you'll get what I mean.

How much more can pay when ever institution is hurting, including churches and checks that aren't rising with the cost of living.

Why isn't anyone rising up about this impending protest of the poor perhaps by the children themselves this winter when warmth and food better bless them, or else!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going to the chapel to pray

It dawned on me recently that it is uncommon to hear people announce that they're going to pray.

Ordinarily, one hears of visits to the doctor, the store, the ballgame, the parent meeting . . .

What about an appointment with the Creator to chill and calm down, to "be still and know that I am God," as the Hebrew Scriptures note, and the psalms repeat?

Research tells of the healing powers of praying time.

Hospital patients heal up faster knowing that someone is praying for them.

People, in general, it seems to me who pray the liturgy of the hours, the offical prayer of the Church, daily devotionals, or, simply sit still in their favored form of prayer, are better off, and,

If you have a routine of prayer each day, let me know at please.

What's your experience, or that of the youngsters in your home, or, the older sages who know the value of prayer like my own parents who taught me how to connect with the Creator often
during the day.



It's everywhere. Under the bed. In the closet, the basement, and attic and garage.

So much stuff.

Stuff we don't need, haven't used, never wore, or, even washed.

New stuff with tags on yet.

Americans like stuff, don't we?

Piles of stuff everywhere. On the desk and in the drawers.

The only way out of this stuff is to give it away, take it to the St. Vincent De Paul Society, throw it out. Or, give it to a neighbor, or the needy.

Less stuff is healthier. And, a spirituality of subtraction is stylish, let alone adds to one's wellness.

We're unburdened by less. We are less worried when we get rid of some of the stuff. A piece.
A box full. A truck load of the stuff.

Letting go of this stuff will make us better human beings.

Focus and aim will have clarity, then, with less stuff that clutters the bedroom, the dining room, and the basement.

We still hoard tons of stuff in America, land of the free and home of the brave. Too much stuff.

We better talk to the shrink about this one, or, the pastor, rabbi or imam preferably, among other spiritual leaders. Forget more stuff, however, like the medications the psychiatrist may want to prescribe. Who needs another bottle on the counter?

More stuff adds to a people stressed.

I got to get rid of this stuff.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Roseville Sacred Heart Catholic Church Celebrates 150 Years

By Lawrence M. Ventline

The melody and memory of the words, "love and marriage and a horse and carriage," resound loud and clear these days in a Roseville church. Love of faith, and the sure commitment of a church, a pastor, and, area faithful, that is.

Back more than a hundred fifty years ago, around 1861, a horse and buggy headed from the stony McNichols and Gratiot roads in Detroit northbound toward Utica Junction.

And, hundreds of Polish, Belgian, Irish and German faithful, among others, today, who are linked to the huge edifice and 607 registered households of the historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church and schools, are ringing out that melody with memories of the sprawling community.

"Father Amadeus Vandendriessche was pastor of Assumption Grotto Church and he rode his horse and buggy from there every second Sunday of the month for Mass for the small flock of thirty-five families," Diane Kramer, office manager and receptionist of Sacred Heart Church, said, looking at a parish history book.

"However, in 1864, the ever-increasing number of Catholic families made it necessary to move from a vacant store nearer to the property for the future parish," Kramer, who has served the church for more than half a decade, concluded.

This mission that sat near what is today Gratiot and Utica Roads was officially designated in June of the same year by the local Detroit leader at the time, Bishop Caspar Borgess, second head of this local diocese. Mass in the edifice built for 300 faithful has been celebrated every Sunday since in another structure, however. Sacred Heart mission bcame a parish in 1872, according to the bronze Michigan and national historic marker outlining the church's storyline on the corners of Gratiot at Utica.

Land was purchased the next year for a cemetary, and, in 1915, expansion of the Detroit to Port Huron interurban railway, forced moving the church building east. To that end, the basement of the current church was poured in 1930. However, the great depression, and World War II delayed construction of the main, upper church for decades until 1950.

Allen H. Vigneron, archbishop of Detroit, will lead a 150th anniversary celebration of Sacred Heart Parish with current pastor, Eugene Katcher, Sunday, October 23 at Mass at 11 am. Eastpointe Manor will host a celebration dinner the same day from 2 pm. Dinner tickets are available at 586 777-9116. The Mass is open to the public.

According to a former pastor from '76-'79, Bishop Walter Hurley of Grand Rapids: "Sacred Heart has stood tall in the community as a beacon of Gospel values and community service for 150 years."

When asked what was defining for him as pastor at the church for eight years from 1996, the now retired senior priest, Father William Bonnici, who resides in Mayville, said:

"To help parish finances, and, to keep people growing and reading, we opened a bookstore that thrived," with about 900 registered households at the time, according to archives.

A "long line of Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters served" the schools at the church with Bonnici until 2004, including Sister Anne Mamienski of St. Thecla Catholic Church and St. Claude Chapel in Clinton Township. Mamienski remembers "tons of IHMs sisters staffing the grade and high schools from the parish's inception, including the currently ill, Sister Mary Frances Ryan, now at their Monroe-based nursing care facility, and, Sister Mary Uicker, music minister from '96 through 2004. Some sisters resided in the school classrooms early in the school's development, according to Mamienski.

"Sacred Heart was one of a few schools open outside the city limits at the time," Mamienski said, praising the "work of wonderful laity and women religious." Mamienski will celebrate thirty-five years of religious life with others, Saturday, October 8th at Sacred Heart's 5 pm Mass, and, "pot luck" meal afterwards, perhaps dancing to tunes of Mike Zawojsky from 6 pm in the lower level of the edifice. Mamienski "proudly served" for six years in a line of IHM sisters throughout its story, she admits.

During the church's centennial celebration in 1961, pastor Father Raymond Clancy, recived a parchment apostolic blessing for parishioners and benefactors of Sacred Heart Church from the beloved Pope John the XXIII, Vatican head of the worldwide Catholic community who convened the ecumenical second Vatican Council from 1962-65, a church with the largest global membership, according to official records.

Among outreach ministries provided at the church is the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a seasonal warming center for the homeless, longtime leadership skills development in Stephen Ministry, pastoral counseling, youth ministry, rite of Christian initiation of adults, family religious education, and numerous adult education programs. A nurse from St. John's Hospital visits parisioners in a program started by Mamienski.

The parish is "warm and welcoming and blessed with a pastor who encourages Gospel values to flourish," according to Carol Hofer who heads youth ministry, musical benefits, and yard sales with Doris Rollinger.

Katcher agrees. With his parishioners, he has chipped away, downing a $900,000.00 debt to about $500,000 since he was named pastor at the remodeled church in 2004.

"From the first day of our Parish in 1861, until its last, the center will be the Gospels of Jesus Christ," Father Katcher said.

Archdiocesan staff, and other area officials have suggested that the financially fledgling church that is comprised of many senior citizens on fixed incomes, combine with neighboring St. Athanasius Church that is also in Roseville, and, Our Lady Queen of All Saints in Fraser.

Roseville city council members, among others, plan on being part of the year-long celebration. U.S. House of Representatives, John Conyers, Jr., a member of Congress, in a tribute, recognized "the church's 150th annniversary celebration, a distinction truly worth honoring."

"I salute you and wish you many more years of blessings," Conyers concluded.

A horse and buggy's trek northward by a pastor, coupled with dozens of people's faith and fervor founded and formed Sacred Heart.

For more information, contact the church office at 777 9116,, or visit,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Do, I Do

Couples who mark milestone anniversaries of marriage inspire me.

Marriage is the tougher route and trek to take amid cultural distractions and temptations that may veer one from the covenant and commitment that one endures with longsuffering, patience and all the other strengths and virtues married love and family life require.

When marriage gets little support these days for its value as the cornerstone foundation of family life, the "I do" the bride and groom promise reminds me of baptismal promises, and the countless times each one says "I do" daily for the common good of society, family, the school, neighborhood and workplace.

Each of us gives and gives, repeats the words, "I do," or "I will" daily.

I will do my homework. I will put in a day's work. I will cook dinner. I do promise to visit the neighbor alone at home.

In my mail Friday came an invitation to address the famine that is devastating Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa, it seems, while prices for wheat, corn, rice and others staple foods have soared.

I hesitated, and put the "I will" card on a pile with other mail to respond to this week.

But, repeatedly, I went back to the Bread for the World letter I opened yesterday.

YES, I want to help save the lives of of the hungry by joining Bread for the World ( I checked the dollar amount box. A check was inserted into the return envelope.


I did it. I do. I will help. All my waffling of back and forth finally got settled with a decision to do.

The fickleness of the human heart prevented me from giving an all-out YES to commit, to give, and to help. The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 21: 28-32 awaits a re-read.

Dear God:

In my waking hours the remainder of this
day I will give all I have, and I will commit
to move with enthusiasm in my words and
At Mass tomorrow I will enthusiastically
put my entire being into it with song,
praise, listening to the Word of God, and
going forth a morphed, changed, and, a "new" man
for a change.
So help me God, I will.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mending, Recovery, and Soul Stuff

We are all addicts in one way or another.

That's what Richard Rohr notes in his freshest tome just out, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps.

. . .And institutions, nations and cultures often exhibit addictive neuroses.

Rohr concludes that also in this tome.

The articulate and conversant pastor points to control, consumerism, desires of the senses, and more, in our Western culture.

Oil, empire and war are American addictions, he claims.

Absolute exceptionalism is the church's addiction, Rohr notes.

"How helpful it is to see sin, like addiction, as a disease, a very destructive disease, instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable or 'made God unhappy,'" Rohr writes, using notes from talks on the twelve steps he gave a quarter of a century ago.

And, Rohr says:

"If sin indeed made God unhappy, it was because God desires nothing more than our happiness, and the willing healing of our disease."

When conflict, violence, guns, bullying and brokeness is everywhere these days, this refreshing
book is a reminder that Jesus was about healing his entire brief life on earth, and today also as
advocates follow his teachings and model for living well.

Healing is central to Jesus. Mending means more than adherance to truths borne back in the fourth century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Certain truths point to the afterlife beyond the daily routine and struggles coupled with suffering that need healing salve and salvation now. Following Jesus was always a preferance over how to worship him. Living in the present and Presence with an eye on the 'prize' seems to be what Rohr suggests.

Acceptance of powerlessness over sin, addictions and attachments begins the process of morphing and mending, according to Rohr and countless 12-step groups with proven track records of fruifulness as the American contribution to Western spirituality.

Finally, Rohr says that all are spiritually powerless, including not only those physically addicted to process or substance attachments. Repeatedly doing the same things over and over again, such as ritually and habitually confessing the same sins week after week without resolution, for example, remind readers of the spiritual powerlessness we've embraced and are stuck in one way or another.

Compassion and forgiveness fails to go deep enough within to the soul of seekers and searchers of the healing God. Consequently, recovering Catholics, claim they didn't get the good news they needed.

Faith has to take people beyond self to the mystical - one who is head over heel in love with God - and past the dualistic level of thinking of who is in, out, good, bad, up, down, win, lose. . .

"Nunc, et," are Latin words for "both, and." The good news of the Gospel is both old and new at the same time, Rohr concludes.

This is needed fresh air and good news concurrently.

Jobs, Neighborhood and the Right Thing to Do

Since the death of Focus:HOPE Co-founder, Eleanor Josaitis, recently, the diversity-sensitive civil and human rights organization led now by CEO William Jones, Jr., has hired Detroit residents for manufacturing jobs with auto supplier, Android Industries.

Android leases 70,000 square feet of the Detroit campus of Focus:HOPE for assembling headliners and front and rear suspension modules for the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, according to officials.

The GM plant in Hamtramck assembles the parts that are produced on demand.

A press conference unveiling the news was held Monday with Governor Rick Snyder attending.

"It's the right thing to do," Android, Industries CEO Jerry Elson said.

Officials at Focus:HOPE conclude that 75 percent of job training graduates are employed within 90 days of completing their program.

Focus:HOPE is morphing what commununity and workforce mean in neighborhoods.

It's the right thing to do.

That has always been the aim at Focus:HOPE that sits at 1355 Oakman Boulevard now over forty years since its founding by the late Father William Cunnigham and Josaitis when riots erupted in Detroit.

Visit Focus:HOPE at, or call 313 494 5500.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Burning Desire and Goal to Aim for

Life's aims and goals are achieved in slow and timely sowing.

Sowing tiny seeds after digging, raking, making small steps, crawling like a toddler. . .

Gardening's aim is vegetables and fruit: Vine-ripened red tomatoes, green and solid heads of lettuce, delicious granny green apples, and more.

Yet, a tiny seed must be planted to get the plant to begin.

My dad used string to plant tomato seeds in straight rows. And, he used a ruler to separate them to have the necessary space.

Like life.

One plants a picture in one's imagination and then feeds it. The more I keep focus, the easier the result is achieved. A flower blooms. A seed sprouts.

How it happens is a mystery.

Life is a lot of sowing. More sowing than reaping. Weeping is in the mix also as one wins some and loses others. It is still sowing, however. . .how ever. Still reaping as tiny or small the progress or produce, or product. Amid the watery tears, growing happens. It does. I believe.

And, yet, some sow while other's reap the harvest.

Still others, weep wildly loud with rage, or silently soft in hiding the heartache, hurt or pain of no produce this day, this month, this year. Like, no work or the one in six Americans living in poverty today. Feeling no produce, little worth without work, a job.

The Creator is in all of this nevertheless - the sowing, reaping, and weeping, especially when the goal and aim and dream falls or falls short, even seemingly sprouts nothing, nada, nich!

But God is there in it all. God is everywhere. In defeat and victory sitting next to passengers on the planes penetrating the Trade Towers, and in dashed dreams, unfuliflled dreams, crashed love, a fractured family, and a broken glass.

I trust and know that. So, I keep sowing abundantly also in the Maker's model and timeless days and dark nights, however. Something gives way. Not in my time, perhaps, as I keep sowing deeply, fully, generously.

Like the generous, abundant God loving who wants to save all. The stirrings within and without make me wonder and wander. That's sowing also, isn't it?

And, a door may close. One may be passed over. A child is rejected, abandoned. A team loses. But a crack, a window opens also.

Growth is like that. Faith also. I know as sure as the sun will rise, or come out tomorrow. . .

So be it.

An infant crawls no more. He or she walks. Then runs. And, runs, she will into the arms of the Beloved, finally, one day.

Giant steps with big feet have become those little feet. Like the little life of a plant, and before that a minuscule seedling. . . and before that. . .

Strong trees are born of miniature seeds. If but you have faith the size of a mustard seed, the Good Book notes.

Amen. It is true. Verdad! So be it!

God's in it all, all ways, always. Forever. I believe.

Some sow. Others reap. Weep also.

It is, life that is, is more sowing than anything else. Digging deep, raking, sprinkling and planting seeds. It's the hard and arduous tasks and stuff with hands to prove it. And a heart to go with it that breaks open over and over again.

And, I wonder why. And, I bet you do also.

Growing seeds and relationships are tough work. Hard. And heartless at times.

It is.

But, keep sowing. Spring comes.

And light, follows the night.

It does. Really. I know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Detroit Roaring for Lions, Tiger Teams

Hear the roar of Detroit fans?

Everyone loves a winner and we have winners in both the Tiger and Lion teams these days.

Glued to televised games or in person, fans fill the stadium and resound with the roar for our teams taking titles, or, sounding like they'll fill the top notch.

Like rite or ritual, they report to the game or TV on time. This weekend will be a rite of passage around home plate or through goal posts like no other. Kind of like praise and people who love God.

Cheers and shouts will ring out with the roar today, tomorrow, and beyond!

Detroit needs these teams to see us through hard times. They help us round the bases of life each day as people grind out an existence and put bread on the table for families.

Motown men and women have always been outstanding fans and folks who worked the assembly line and more. Detroiters know how to work and win! And, smile with fun, for sure, as they recreate and rest on Sundays, and the Sabbath, and more daily.

And, while my Uncle Chet rests at the U of Michigan Hospital Center in Ann Arbor, MI., he'll be roaring for the U of M and the Tigers and his home town even though he ordinarily farms in Cheboygan, MI., south of Macinaw Island, with his brother, my Uncle Phil who carries the load alone now while 81-year-old Chet mends at one of the best healing places in the nation.
Another winner around here!

Like teams coming together to be the winners we want and they will to be, people will come together these days, also, to do rite in praise of the Creator who makes the games and the guys the winners they are with rigorous help from their own discipline and daily routine of training.
Perhaps a prayer poking at the Maker also.

Play ball boys!

We're behind you roaring resoundingly for the world to hear.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catholic Book Store in Detroit Posts 'Moved to Dearborn' Sign

Before my trek to SS. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church for the 11:40 am Mass with the Catholic Lawyer Society, I wanted to secure Richard Rohr's, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, Richard Foster's, Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer, and, Stephen Prothero's, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World.

As I parked and fed the meter on Washington Boulevard, I glanced at St. Aloysius Church and the Catholic Book Store next door.

It looked like the store was dark without the usual display of colorful small and huge tomes and books in the window to view.

And, only a white sign noting that the store moved to Dearborn was visible. Oh my . . .

I was surprised since this was the first I heard of this closure.

Perhaps my feelings felt were like of those who arrived at their gym recently only to find a notice indicating 'closed'.

An arrow pierced my heart, it seemed. At least, it felt that way.

A long-time relationship with the Catholic Book Store was over. And, the superb customer service with the manger, Dennis, would be missed. I was a bit upset to say the least.

Shifts in higher levels of common courtesy seem to get away with a failure to communicate such closures these days. Perhaps to avoid the flack from customers and parishioners. I don't know.
It would have been fitting to have a farewell gathering. A closure of sorts. A transition. To grieve, that's why. It's part of my faith tradition to grieve some, move on, and let go. But none of that!

Perhaps others made the decision for Dennis and the Catholic Book Store. I don't know.

Customer care from those in charge of top-level decisions seems to be lacking these days, sad to admit.

Dearborn, Michigan is a distance from the East Side. Going the distance is worth it with Dennis at the helm, however.

Praise to Dennis who was always available and present in a culture when customer care
dwindles daily, it seems, while prompters replace a "live" receptionist on the phone. His telephone was always answered personally with a living person at the other end of the phone.

I will miss the service Dennis and his helpers provided and the care they offered that other
big stores would not afford. Bookstores have tough towing these days competing with bigger Barnes and Nobles, and the Internet, for example.

Off I went after Mass to Barnes and Nobles on Seven Mile at Mack to get the three tomes I wanted.

The Catholic Book Store stood the test of time. Like other independent operators, this store
was destined to move from downtown Detroit like so many other businesses do.

It just did not seem right how it was announced that the store moved.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9 11 Mending, Action Beyond Talking

Focus:HOPE, the iconic civil and human rights organization that emerged from the ashes of the Detroit riot in the 60s hosted Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Sunday, September 11th on the tenth anniversary of the memorial of the terrorist attack on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

It was all conversation while cleaning, serving and sprucing up a community garden near Oakman Boulevard where Focus:HOPE was situated by the late Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis near Madonna Catholic Church on Oakman Boulevard.

Exchange students from the University of Michigan included Chinese and South Americans working side by side with Arab Americans and Caucasians Sunday afternoon, and more.

President Barack Obama requested that the 9 11 01 day be turned from mourning to one of national service and remembrance of the thousands of victims killed a decade ago on September 11.

Josephine Dare of Royal Oak, MI., was sprucing up the community garden at Kendell and Linwood, while other Christians, Jews and Muslims labored with Muslims and Buddhists, among other faith traditions of diversity. They talked while they worked and learned much.

The evening before, and earlier Sunday morning, people gathered at SS. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in downtown Detroit, and at Madonna Catholic Church next to Focus:HOPE to remember the late co-founder of Focus:HOPE, Eleanor Josaitis who died Aug. 9th, with a Month's Mind Mass, a customary Catholics practice.

Action and engaging conversation with diverse groups of all faiths of young and old alike came together. CEO William Jones, Jr., estimated that 800 volunteers took time to pack food for low income elderly, fill backpacks with school supplies for youngsters, and work at the scraps and arts area, and attend table dialog sessions to conclude the six hours of service.

Focus: HOPE.

A fruitful sucess story for over 40 years now.

Visit to contribute, serve and be informed, or call 313 494 4270 to join the Oct. 9th 4-mile trek to benefit services of Focus:HOPE.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Staying the Course

Staying the course can be a difficult one.

Keeping one's hand to the plow, as it were, is a tough task to navigate. Yet, persistence
and passion will see one through.

A man once told me he was angry and did not know why. He worked ninety hours weeks in a restaurant. He was unable to discover why he was "short" with his family and co-workers. He said he couldn't pray.

"Are you getting enough sleep," he was asked.

Five or six hours was the amount of rest each night as he emerged from bed by 6 am daily and off to the race it was.

Rest is essential for wellness and relationships.

The seeming successful man seemed surprised when he was questioned about his self-caring behavior.

Was he getting enought sleep?

Was he taking time for recreation?

Was he being still some each day?

If nothing changes, nothing changes and the same old results will surface.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's Catholic?

The word "catholic" is defined in the dictionary as broad-minded, as in belief or tastes; liberal; comprehensive; large.

With a capitol "C" the word Catholic is described in the dictionary as an adjective, since the Reformtion; of or pertaining to the Roman Catholic Church; designating those churches that claim to have the apostolic doctrine and sacraments of the ancient, undivided church, and including the Anglican, Old Catholic, Orthodox communions.

Catholicism is the doctrine, system and practice of a Catholic church, especially the Roman Catholic Church.

To catholicize is to make or become catholic or Catholic.

Catholics believe that God created the human race to know, love and serve the Creator.

It was through the disobedience, however, of the first man and woman that the human race fragmented itself from the favor, grace and blessing of God. Yet, in the infinite, all-loving mercy and forgiveness of God, however, the Maker sent the only begotten son to die for their sins (Greek, "harmatia," meaning, missing the mark).

Jesus' sacrifice on the cross gave way to abundant grace and reunited humankind to God. People are saved (salvation, healing) by the grace of Jesus the Christ alone. To accept this grace, they have to have faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Daily connections with the Creator, the Word of God in the bible, with intercession of the saints, and Mary, mother of God, and of the Church, this happens.

Without actions and good fruits and works such a relationship is void of meaning, however.

"If you love me you will keep my commandments," the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 15 notes.

Catholic Christians are called by the commandments to love God above all things and to love one's neighbor as one's self, the greatest of the ten laws summarized by Jesus.

In worship, love for God is demonstrated through Mass, prayers, Scripture, sacraments, saints and service to the community as expressed in Catholic social teaching and service to the world.

Marks of the Church are one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Faith, hope, love, prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance are strengths (virtues) emphasized in the Church for all to practice daily with prayer, and the Mass, of course.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you," St. Luke, chapter 6:31, notes. Moral standards make Catholics aim high to do this.

Completing God's law of love fully, however, is a human impossibility, given one's fallen human nature. But, "with God all things are possible," St. Matthew notes in chapter 19:26. "Ask and you will receive," reminds Catholics of the help and strength God provides those who seek and find it through the source and summit of all prayer, especially, in the daily bread, Mass (Eucharist, meaning "thanksgiving," from the Greek) and other sacraments. Family and home is the domestic church where parents, a mother and father, are primary formators in the faith. Schools and churches supplant what is taught in the domestic church of the home. Example is the best teacher. Sponsors, grandparents, and others, help parents especially where neglect of the faith is present.

Christ instituted the Catholic Church to administer the sacraments and instruct by way of application of God's law. For over two thousand years, the Catholic Church has witnessed to this law of God's love. Humans are challenged to membership in the Catholic Church.

Recovering Catholics

At an engaging, uplifting interfaith evening of prayer for world peace, so-called recovering Catholics were asked, from what are you recovering?

With candidness, one former parishioner of my own home church of Saint Thomas the Apostle on Detroit's east side at Miller and Townsend, a stone's throw from the I-94 freeway, shouted:


What embracing honesty, I thought about this exuberant and enthusiastic believer in the twelve-step spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and the power of treatment and rehab programs she attended repeatedly, she said.

Traditionally known as a twelve-step advocate, Renaissance Unity, formerly Church of Today with the spiritual leadership of its founder, Jack Boland, overflowed in the past with recovery groups that poured out of the Mystic Cafe into the hallway, for example, and other meeting rooms, I recalled in my visit there once more last night. Back in '99, Magi and John Bish from West Warren, Massachusetts, wanted to go there to find solace from the abduction of their youngest child, Molly, a lovely lifeguard at a popular swimming hole near their home. Magi was fond of the spiritual leader there, Marianne Williamson. Jim Lee, Sandy Hess, among others, lead Reanissance Unity today.

Paths of many faiths addressed the fragile peace and the channel each person is to make serenity a reality today.

I was at home with the crowd as we mingled after over tea and cakes after Buddhist monks from nearby Sterling Heights meditated aloud, and Rabbi Nelson and Paula Drewek, among other Hindu, Native American, Muslim faiths, and me, among others kept the assembly engaged.

That's what the word "catholic" means, afterall: Broad-minded, open, universal.

The iconic, persistent and passionate Catholic, Eleanor Josaitis of Focus:HOPE, is a shining example of who a Catholic is as she navigated 79 years of life with ambivalence about the structure of her Church. Easily, she steered about leaders she wondered about, while getting the job done with little if any drama. She still shines spending these days four weeks after her final breath, spending her heaven on earth radiating within so many, for sure. Kind of like those statues I was given as a second grade student that glowed in the dark.

Stories, statues, scripture, sacraments, saints, spiritualities, and service are embedded within Catholics marks of the historically consistent one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church from the beginning before branches began and broke to bring about multiple paths beyond our Jewish roots, Christian and Muslim traditions of faith in that order as the stories unfolded.

Awesome. One, global, universal family under God.

The call to glow. Channels of light and abounding life of passion.

The Warren, MI., Renaissance Unity, ignited the dignity and worth of each one there, awakening that glow of the Creator and Spirit radiating from the hearts of God's people nearby to make a difference in the world.

Make me a channel of your peace, I prayed, while melodies of Imagine, and, We Are the World, and, the Prayer rang out loud and clear with hands and hearts joined as we swayed back and forth. . . to move forth in faith now with the urgency to bring the "good news" to all corners of the world as Jesus mandated in his clarion call of love of God and neighbor, now, especially in the most vulnerable in and outside the womb here, and in food wars in Ghana, in Africa where hunger is devasting sisters and brothers this moment crying for my ear.


Let it shine today in me, O Creator!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Bells Ring Today for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Detroit

Saint Catherine of Siena Academy in Oakland County starts the school year today at Napier Road, south of I-96 in Wixom, while Austin Catholic Academy near Romeo began its coed Catholic high school in Macomb County.

Thirty-six other Oakland County Catholic Schools ring out today as about 32,000 students in 99 schools in all counties of the Archdiocese of Detroit report to class, according to officials.

38 ninth graders join ten sophomores at Saint Caherine of Siena in a state-of-the-art facility built for 700 students. The all-girl school is located a mile west of the all-male Detroit Catholic Central in Novi. More than 1,000 students are enrolled there, school leaders say.

Local leaders complain that there's a lack of Catholic schools in the area counties. In 2008, Everest Academy added at high school to the Catholic grade school that was established in 1991 by Legionaries of Christ, an order of Catholic priests.

St. Catherine of Siena, a brilliant doctor of the Catholic Church was born in 1347. She was the twenty-fourth of twenty-five children in Siena, France. She challenged popes and was a local peacmaker, mediating between feuding and fractured families. She convinced Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome after a conflict between Florence and the Avignon-based papacy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Committed to Care

They pick up stray branches dropped from trees by gusts of wind. The litter of cans, battles, and paper are also lifed by committed community members and put in trash containers.

It amazes me how much people care about their community.

They want to be proud of where they live while others simply throw litter everywhere.

Generous and caring hearts and hands help to keep this town top notch.

Sunday I was impressed with the young people at Mass in St. Claude's in Clinton Township, MI.

The community blessed them and their teachers, parents and andminitrators as they return to school for the frentic Fall semester. These young people were enthusiastic, engaged with what the pastor preached about studying well, commitment to the classroom, and refraining from bullying classmates, teachers, and others.


Committment to it. It's awesome to watch people care, commits, and make a difference in this town.

They make life worth the effort to keep things things, pick up after one's self, to leave things as one found them, and to repsect people and property.

People still do this.

I'm grateful, and, even more inspired to keep at it when I witness such commitment to care by
young people.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Vibrant Metro Detroit Summit Today

Interfaith clergy partners commit and connect today, Sept. 1, 1:30-3 pm for an important summit on a vibrant metropolitan Detroit. Rabbi Joseph Klein at Temple Emanu El at 14450 W. Ten Mile Road, just east of Greenfield, in Oak Park, is host.

This clergy caucus is the arm of the interfaith, interracial, faith-based organization called MOSES, the Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength. For more information contact (313) 962-5590, or, visit

To ride together, contact me at 586 530 7576 by 12 noon please.

"Build up...prepare the way, remove every obstacle from my people's way (Isaiah 57:14) ...and Jesus' admonition: " everythng, do to others what you would have them do to you," (Matthew 7:12), "then justice shall roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream," (Amos 5;24), "and when Allah's will is done, justice will prevail..." (Qur'an 40:78).