Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just Don't Do It!

Is it that simple?

Just don't do violence if you want to stop it.

For sure.

If I don't want to pick a fight with you, I won't start one.

I change my mind.

And, when I change my mind, my way is changed.

I walk down another street, you may say.


Violence, like a snowball, is shaped with snowflakes rolled up in a ball, altogether, like violence.

It gets its energy from anger and hate that stems from within one's self.

There is no other way.

Either I morph, and, help mend the wounded in street or war violence, or, like a rolling snowball,
I add to the force of evil.

Take Chicago, for example.

500 dead this year.  That's the highest number of murders since 2008.

Portia Nelson's story seems like the way out.

When violence wants to emerge its ugly head, go down another street.  That way, one avoids ereuption emerging from within one's erupting inner life that is far from peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the land.  Jesus said that.

His own native land is wrought with evil violent acts now.

To stop the slaughter, one needs to walk another way.  "I am the way, the truth, and the life,"  Jesus also said.

He is the way.

I'll walk that way.

Will you go with me?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

+ Eternal Rest Unto Norman Schwarzkopf + + +

"Stormin Norman" was the affectionate name given to this respected  U.S. military General.

And Infant of Prague statue of Jesus that was dressed in glistening garb, adorned his bedside table in his tent, reports indicate.

A tough leader, Norm Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Florida, recently.

I remember Father Richard Rohr, OFM, Cap., telling us on retreat about the image of Jesus near his bed while in war's theatre.

Such a simple, prayerful, powerful presence and reminder of God.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Season Through Mid-January

Christmas is like holy matrimony.  It's more than one day, or, the day of the wedding for the bride and the groom. 

Christmas is a season through Epiphany, and, the baptism of Jesus, the Savior, Christians revere.

A joy-filled time, believers relish the days of the Christmas tide.

At least, I do.

I catch up on inviting acquaintances, or, friends, over to my place for a home-cooked meal.

Little gifts are given to some, including my family.

And, a relaxed pace fills my being fully, it seems.

That's enjoyable.

The season merits twelve days of celebrating.

After all, God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, as the Gospel of John, notes on placards and signage at ball parks across the globe.

Love is like that.

Good news, indeed.

In fact.

Long,  like a marriage that grows with deep respect for one's spouse.

Christmas season. 

I savor it.

Fresh, Father Time, As It's Called

We all like fresh bread and cakes.

At least, I do.

And, with the page of the calendar turning to 2013, I'm  trying to turn my heart with it.

That is to say, I'd like to ask forgiveness for an offensive story that had my name on it in The Oakland Press, and, The Daily Tribune.

You see, when I was growing up, my parents taught me to reconcile with them, and, my siblings, among others, before we arrived in our brown, Dodge automobile, at the late Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Detroit.

Only then were the car doors unlocked for us to tell our pastor our sins. Imagine nine of us sitting on a sibling's lap in that vehicle!

Formally, confessions are private and personal.  Yet, although that is not what I'm telling readers here, this revered parental practice that I was taught, means so much to me today, also.

I offended my editor, and, the family of the brother, among others, who I sat next to in the edifice at the final Mass on a Sunday afternoon, recently. His parent's names were written by him at the top of my pad, along with Madison Heights, as the interviewee's city of residence, only blocks away, he assured me, when I confirmed the name and city.  Wrong!

Boy, was that incorrect, even after I questioned him from my chair, pointing to the names he listed at the top, with Royal Oak crossed out when the parishioner told me he resides in Madison Heights.
My apology was accepted by a member of the family by way of an online media outlet, when I called the lone telephone I could secure since parishioner contact information records were "accidently deleted" at St. Dennis, admitted a receptionist at the merging parish in Madison Heights, MI.  What else could go wrong here, I thought.

Even though my editor told me on the telephone to forget this issue when we discussed it, it's an unhealed wound for me, given my Catholic practices. Resitution has to be made, I was taught.  And, when I was told I ruined one's reputation, I am all the more in need of seeking forgiveness.

Julie Jacobson is a well-known and respected journalist, and, city editor, who manages The Oakland Press, a major metropolitan daily. She challenged me to rewrite copy often. I learned a lot from her.

Roger Wingelaar, another former writer, and, Jacobson taught me how to write clear, succinctly, and, factually. But, I got this lone story wrong after a half-decade of submissions. It was flawed. I accept responsibility.  The buck stops here with this writer.

And, I own up the errors in the piece that offended alumni of St. Dennis School, readers, my editor, and, staff, among others, at the distinguished, The Oakland Press. 

I'm willing to meet face-to-face to seek forgiveness.  Is there any other humane way, despite digital media, or, the telephone that limps for this kind of reconciliation?

That meeting would honor my parents, also, who taught the seven of us youngsters how to ask for forgiveness, that, missing the mark, like the archer who aims poorly, although my error was far from intentional to qualify for sinful matter.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Wish List This Christmas

That Sadeer Farjo's matrimony this April will be a lifelong blessing with his bride.

That Sacred Heart Church in Roseville, MI., continues to stand up, and, speak up,  to be a people's parish, like the pilgrim people of God.

That Ken Kaucheck stands tall once more as parishioners welcome him!

That the religious leaders take bolder positions to lift up Detroit, and, the vulnerable young, especially, in, and, outside the womb, among us.

That the poor find in me, and, others, supportive companions of the Gospel.

That children are secure in schools.

That 2013's fresh start stirs hope, and, aims to help the common good.

That Ray and Renia's 35th anniversary of marriage be a blessing to Jennifer, Matt, among others.

That this winter's weather be free of icy, dangerous sidewalks, especially for those challenged by nature's glassy ice.

That condominium boards be formed in how to serve beyond being self-serving leaders.  That they learn how to lead with rules and regulations applied to all, incuding themselves.  Is is true that condo boards everywhere are disruptive, and, problematic?

That education, and, growth, be a priority for me in new time.

That I keep praying, and, reading, regularly and daily.

That  Theology On Tap morphs and mends many in the metropolitan Detroit, MI., area.

That Woof, my snowy white, Bichon Frise, continues to be the gift he is for others, for me.

That the struggling, print media newspapers, find a buyer to keep a paper coming to my porch daily.

That good news is part of our culture once more.

That life continues to be a blessing.

That I look out for the lost and left out, among those pressed and packed at the bottom.

That the personnel problems of parishioners, ecclesiastical leaders, and, the pope imagine a way to thrive beyond clusters and mergers. 

That health, wellness, and, faith grip us all. 

That the Christmas season is celebrated through mid-January, and beyond.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

The mayor of Bethleham is pleased that all the hotel rooms are filled in that town where Jesus the Christ was born centuries ago. And, believers, are perhaps, even more glad to ring in "peace on earth goodwill toward all" in this time of national discord, school massacres, and more.

Although the economy is bad there in the Little Town of Bethleham, also, the first female mayor, is upbeat according to reports.

While, elsewhere, and, especially here in metropolitan Detroit, everyone wants in on a good party, it seems.  Amid the heartache and desolation, the calming consolation of "Silent Night" sings out in churches across the universeral Catholic world, along with other Christian edifaces.

"Hark the Herald Angel Sing" resounds with vibrant voices of hope-filled victory over vice, sin, guns, and, other weapons of mass destruction. How I long for this peace, even if for a moment in time!

Welcome aboard Jewish, among other faith tradition, including Muslims and their love of Mary.

A Huntington Woods, Michigan rabbi was wrapping gifts the other day when we talked on the phone about the January 21st observance of the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with an 8:30 am breakfast and service at Unity Temple near Palmer Park and McNichols and west of the Woodward Avenue area in Detroit.  She steers the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), an intra and inter-faith coalition of diverse clergy, among other various faithful of all faith traditions, who aim to lift up Detroit and its young people, accoridng to DION's mission.

Saying "Merry Christmas," is a greeting that many of my acquantances who are leaders of Jewish, Christian, Muslims, and more,  repeat with a reverential respect these days leading up to tomorrow, Christmas Eve, the day before the observance of the Nativity, the anniversary celebration of Jesus' simple and humble birth by way of a maiden who "did not know man."  Talk about town tongues wagging about that mystery when Jesus seemed to quietly sneak into our reality, thanks be to God!

What is observed seems to fulfill prophetic and Bible beliefs about one who is to come to make straight the way.

At 10 pm Mass at Saint Thecla Chuurch on Nunelly near Groesbeck and Metropolitan Parkway in Clinton Township on Christmas Eve, deep feelings of faith will reverberate within me as I lead Christ's Mass, meaning, Christmas, there amid the faithful, and, in Hamtramck, MI., at 12 noon at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church on Conant, north of Caniff on December 25th.

Little else thrills pastors more than serving parishioners these high, holy days.

A diverse population of accents will ascend into the Romanesque Hamtramck ediface with middle easterners and southern Asians, in what is, perhaps, the most enthnically diverse town in America where immigrants migrated to work at the Dodge automobile plant in this town the size of Harrison Twonship, where I reside.

Bells will ring as incense rises like smoke to fill the olfactory nerves of one's nose amid choir voices singing out "Ave Maria," and more. At the table of the Word, and, the altar of sacrifice, both feeding troughs like the crib of Jesus, the faith will flock, and, be fed. Later, parents, will present their youngsters, the size of the kindergarteners in Newtown, CT., to the Christmas crib of shepherds, angels, Magi and more.

For a brief moment in time, all will be calm and bright, perhaps, in a declared and respected cease fire filling the air in that ancient part of our world where many believe forgiveness, peace and healing was originally born.

Light shines.  And, a star is born.

I'll pray that we heed the plea of this new-born King, this Jesus who is "the way, the truth and life," that is not a metaphor, but a reality, yet to guide and grip us in a firm embrace.

Following that, my family will feast on turkey, ham, and, a hearty meal.  Stories will be shared.
And, some oplatek, a thin wafer of bread, an ancient Polish practice, will be broken as we greet one another with "Merry Christmas" that runs through mid-January, 2013.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Print Media Struggling

Months ago, a parishioner who works for The Detroit Free Press told me before Mass one Sunday evening that the Freep was buying the bankrupt Journal Register Media, including The Macomb Daily, and, The Oakland Press, among other local, sister papers.

Late tonight, I heard that the Journal Register will be auctioned off to the highest bidder in January.

The Oakland Press re-invented itself with a journalism laboratory, citizen journalists, and more.

As a citizen journalist myself, I learned a lot about writing a news story.  For example, Roger at The Oakland Press told me to write down everything I wanted to tell readers about at any event I was covering.  Note the opening sentence, with all else following in separate paragraphs with tansitional devices and a summary of the story in the final sentence.

Mistakes happened. 

Life is like that.

Yet, I learned from them.  For example, when I asked the guy sitting next to me at Mass to jot down his name at St. Dennis Church in Royal Oak, MI., he must not have heard me, since he wrote down his parent's names, and, all his siblings in the order of birth.

It was too late when I figured that out, and, a complaint was made by this guy's brother.  He wasn't at church that Sunday, nor did he call me when I left a voice message, although he did accept my apology.

I asked the subject sitting next to me for his city of residence, and, he pointed to Madison Heights nearby as I pointed to it, confirming that the names at the top were his, as I assumed the gal sitting next to him was related since she chimed in also.  Again, I think he had a hearing problem but would not admit it.  What a blunder.  I quoted his deceased parents in the paper,in fact.

The brother was upset, but, I didn't hear back from the guy I interviewed for a story about the final Mass at St. Dennis Church. His brother seemed to challenge the error.

Live and learn.

I'll miss The Oakland Press, and, the front page stories I wrote for it, and, for The Macomb Daily.

What the future of Journal Register is, I do not know.

I bet the Free Press is the highest bidder, however.

It could use some subscriptions as its sales dwindled since a nasty strike decades ago.

I wish the editors and reporters at the Journal Register well. May they find employment.

It is a tough time for print media.

And, for employment.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Newtown Victims Get Shrine Dedicated to Them from Care of the Soul's All Faiths Festival

Hearts are broken.

Even the yellow smiley face baloon secured on a string near a makeshift shrine for the "angels" has a band-aid on its left cheek. That's hopeful thinking for survivors who prayed Tuesday in front of the historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseville, MI., with an Advent Tea following for all at the interfaith service.  The Care of the Soul and Companions' All Faiths Festival hosted the event marking 23 days of preparation and anticipation of God's light before Christmas Day when believers hold that Jesus the Christ was born in Bethleham, near Nazareth where he grew up in a troubled Palestine then, and now.

Like a litany, the list was read for 26 people, the participants in the prayer service, called, angels.

The killer, and, his mother, were also remembered as the group sang, "Silent Night," and "Hark
the Herald Angels Sing."

At Gratiot and Utica Road, cars honked as they joined in the prayer, it seemed, December 18, 2012.

The "Our Father" was prayed, while media bolted for comments for the early aftenoon news that dark, wintry day of 36 degrees.

Faith, and, its inner resource, will see the parents, siblings, teachers, and Newtown, CT, residents through this horror of a massacre with an assault weapon that killed 20  5-6-year-olds in Sandy Hook Elementary School last week Friday.

More flowers, a butterfly, and candles adorned the shrine on Wednesday as caregivers maintain it through Christmas - the Nativity, when Jesus the Christ was born centuries ago in the greatest story ever told in the Bible.

"Let the little children come unto me," words from the Christian Scriptures in Matthew's Gospel, said by Jesus, were noted on a sandwich board sign, and read by mother and grandmother, Linda Beaumont of Madison Heights, MI.

A procession of passersby frequent the shrine daily now. A teddy bear or two crowd the sign that notes in bold, black letters:  26 Angels.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

And, God, help us with this nation's obsession with weapons of mass destruction. Are the words of Jesus that those who live by the sword, die by the sword, words  I believe in personally?

I do.

Other groups, including a metropolitan interfaith council of clergy and citizens, incldug Victor Beggs, and Robert Brutrell, plan a remembrance vigil for tonight in Beverly Hills, MI., on the west side of the metropolitan area.

Hearts are broken everywhere.  They hurt and ache for the little angels. 

We are literally dying over guns.

God help us in our insanity, and, the out-of-control gun cartel in this country I so love.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Principal Protected, Shielded Her Students

She didn't save her life.

The principal at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT., allegedly ran toward the killer in her attempt to protect her students.  She died in the fray.  And, did what she had to to protect her students.

She lost her life.

And, laid it down for the sheep to use the metaphor Jesus uses as told by the Gospel writers.

Lose your life to save it, the Good Book says.

She did just that.

Her sacrifice follows the Christian guidance of Jesus, the New Testament, or, Christian scriptures distinguished shepherd.

What a way to exit, that is, to shield the sheep, as it were, when trouble and evil lurks.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.

A remarkable and impressive woman.

I am heartborken over the action she took to try to stop the killer.

She lost her life to lift the life of others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Family Is Fractured

When a family member dies, a father is affected. 

At least, this one, affectionately called, "Father,"  is indeed touched and poked with pain when parishioners perish.

Profound pain at the loss of the innocent lives.  26 of God's creations gone now.

Moms also are clearly left with grief also.  A lot of it.  A parent's nightmare.

Little lambs of God.  And older angels, servants of these youngsters and society.

I'm angry.  And, more.

Protecting families rests on parents, and adults.  After all, it does take a village to raise a child.

As youngsters, my sisters and brothers would fall down the stairwell of our two-story, aluminum-sided home on Detroit's east side near the City Airport, not far from Lynch Road and Van Dyke.

At times, I'd fall into the radiator on the landing where another dozen steps awaited my footsteps.

Once upon a time, I recall crying only after my dad picked me up from another fall in that stairwell.  When he swooped  me up into his arms with a prompting from my mother, I weeped.

Not before when the bruise first afflicted me. 

Now, in dad's hands, however, I felt safe. 

Very safe.

Safe enough to cry.

Perhaps it's that way wit the 20 youngsters now. And, the six adults, teachers, a counselor, their principal.  They're safe now.

Yes, safe in the arms of God.  Away from the harm, and, at times the culture of death that is consuming us in its doubt, despair, even the denial about this land's attachment and obsession with guns killing our kids, and more.

My kids.

It seems that few civic and clergy leaders, let alone police chiefs and other first responders, want to begin a national conversation about guns.  Why not?

Will it require some change?

To do more, to morph, in fact, to keep my kids safe and secure.

Perhaps, now, they will.

Hopefully, they'll join me Tuesday Dec. 18 at 12 noon at Roseville, Michigan Sacred Heart Catholic Church for an interfaith vigil to remember.  To feel the grief.  To act. And, to be together once more when these national tragedies are as common as blwoing one's nose.

The litany list of victims will be read.  Names of my family.  My kids.  Their father."

We'll sing the hymn, "Silent Night."

We'll be family.  Yet, a fractured family wanting to do more to protect children, among others.

We'll pray.

We may look up now, knowing  that more angels are watching to tell us we need to do more when it comes to gun control in this nation I love.

"We can never do enough for families," noted the late and loved, Cardinal John Dearden of Detroit, a shepherd, one who enjoyed being called, "Father," also.

After all, he was.

Like myself.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We're Wired for Love, Meaning, Purpose, Gratitude

The fabulous four, I call them:

1)  Love:  We're wired for love and charity.  It's in our DNA.  War is not what we're made for, yet more energy is placed in fighting, it seems, than in loving, lifting up life in charity.  We pray for peace, and pay for war, go figure!

2) Meaning:  It comes from reaches out and looking out for each other; from getting to know one another on our street, next door.

3) Purpose:  Why did God make me?  To know, love and serve God.  Without a purpose, people perish.

4) Gratitude:  A grateful heart is a hopeful and healed heart.  It is.  Really.  An attitude of gratitude is a pure prayer.  Single-minded beyond a double-mind.

The fabulous four.  They are. 

Really, for me, perhaps for you?

Dear Principal, Children, and Others in the Horror in Newtown, Connecticut

Dear Principal, Children, Other Victims of Violence in Newtown, Connecticut:

Saying I'm sorry seems so little to say in the death you experienced earlier today. 

It seems that your lives were so full and lively with an eagerness to excell and study well.

When Americans are attached to nearly 300 million guns, some conclude that it's useless to try to turn the tide with gun control. 

In fact, this month's, The Atlantic, published a piece by Jefrey Goldberg, "The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control)." 

See what I mean?

As you were silenced, I prayed for your peace, and, that of your families and friends who grieve your deaths.

I am sorry that I have not stood up more assertively to try to help close the loop with the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004 and was not renewed.

There are some who think that more guns will help us thwart off gun carriers who explode with rage, for example, as the 20-year-old, seems to have done on the taking of your precious lives. 

Each week in the Thumb of Michigan's heart, there is a city that hosts a market on Mondays.  My brother, Bob, said that many guns are sold there without any ordinances for registration or clearance to check with buyers are not mentally ill.

Even some police chiefs I know in the Detroit area told me that some countries that allow citizens to carry guns have less crime.

So, if I had a gun and was a teacher in your schoool, and, I used the gun on the killer, that would help solve our solution to gun violence in America?

I don't know.

What I do know, however, is that when people are asked to enter a local and national conversation about limiting assault weapons, few attend meetings.

In your memory, however, dear sisters and brothers, (not that it will change the horror and bring you back to life), citizens, clergy, and others will be meeting Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm for about an hour or more in the Saint Clair Shores Public Library at 22500 Eleven Mile Road at Jefferson, to re-ignite the conversation.

I know it's too late.

Yet, I hold out hope to help, to not let your lifes go in vain.

Even a poet, chimed in centuries ago, saying, "So late, ever so late. . .

It is late. Is it too late?

Is there turning back the tide of the escalating numbers of guns, and, especially assault weapons?

Like others, I doubt it.

We will have to learn to live with guns in this nation. How strange that we cannot learn to live with each other without violence.  People will need to be trained to respect guns.  Similar to young people, among others, being taught to respect sexuality. 

I am so sorry about what has happened to you today.

I am even more sorry that I doubt that anything will change. We just way for the next rampage, and, move on days later without a conversation about imagining ways out of this dilema.

The next outrage of gun violence will bring about the usual repsonses.

Turning the newspaper's page, yawning, commenting, or . . .

Even dubbing it as "normal" will be the battle cry of some.

Normal as blowing one's nose.  That's how deeply embedded is violence in this land that I love.

Eternal rest grant unto you, and, let perpetual light shine upon you all.

What Jesus was to have said seems so fitting in our culture whre guns are so present.

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.  I don't mean you personally, but a nation that lives by violence.

Will we?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unresolved Disagreements

Recently, an unresolved issue, emerged again, as it has repeatedly.

There's little else that grows dangerously harmful for unity in the workplace, or, other systems, for that matter. Disunity spills over, as, this case I refer to, does.

In fact, as the problem was faced, they were no follow-up.  Frustration finds its way into one's self, one's roots and relationships.

Consequently, bitterness explodes.  Feelings are hurt.  Communications are unclear, an axe to grind stays current, even cynical, so to speak, and, failure in intent abounds.  Gossip follows for sure.

When a team works together, it shows.

And, marketing morality makes the system, the team, the synagogue, the family, the school, the church, the neighborhood, the business, or, the mosque, flourish and thrive.

People are pleased with clarity and crispness of thought.  Aims and goals are front and center.  Team spirit soars also.

Unity, oneness, not sameness, singlemindedness beyond double-minds, is contagious. Witnessing unity attracts others to want to join, be part of the team, the system, even a family.

To be one is a mark of the church. 

One, holy, Catholic, and apostolic are the four marks of teh Catholic Church.

They're aims.  They're goals like stepping on the rungs, or, objectives, to get to the top of the ladder.

Trust enters.  It takes time, however, among individuals, and groups.  When a new members comes in, others have to move over, and, be open to the novice.

Otherwise morale limps.

How blessed are the single-minded. . . the Good Book notes.

Things get done in singleness of mind.  Double-mindedness defeats the spirit of the team.

Sin is like that.  The "harmatia," missing the mark, is when the Israelites, for example, were in exile.
They were not at home.

No union and unity.

They were homeless, then.

Not being at home, causes distress with the team, or, the family.

A culture of unity is the product of giants, of legends we become as managers, parents, bosses, or pastors and principals for others to emulate.

It is rare.

Yet, unity is possible.

"That they may be one," was the prayer of  God in the Gospels.



How sweet it is when witnessed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

National Conversation

Clergy personnel are protesting the proposed gun legislation that is headed for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's desk.

The gun conversation and the fifth commandment merits serious debate.

Detroit area Police chiefs have told me that they prefer pemitting people to have guns and assault weapons as some countries allow.  Local chiefs seem to conclude guns by all deter criminals.

Go figure.

Solving conflict by other less deadly means is what I'd market by way of ethics and morality of the great commandments to love God and neighbor.  Imagination is short here it seems on this issue.  Weapons of mass destruction seem to be the easy way out.

I am confounded by the lack of leadership to seriously sit down to resolve this gun battle before the next outrageous slaughter at a mall, or, other places people gather.

If I sat in the back of the theatre in Colorado, for example,  with my own assault weapons and shot back at the armed criminal shooting at people watching the movie, would I be arrested?  Would I be considered an accomplice?

Serious heads and hearts need to gather to talk as human lives continue to be snuffed out by the minute in this nation that knows better.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Christmas Tale

The young lad wrote down his 'to-do' list.

That is, the gifts he expected from God, or, St. Nick.  Whoever responded fast and first was OK with him.

A bicycle.

That was at the top of the list.

As was his praying daily to God.

Why the bike wasn't coming, he wasn't sure.

So. . .

After everyone left church one Sunday afternoon.

And, after another prayer for that shiny Scwinn bicycle, he stepped up to the sanctuary.

There, he has a word or two with Mary, the tall, blue statue depicting the Mother of God.

And, the icon for Catholics.

The one they go to when all else fails.

Well. . .

He carried her home, and, put her under his bed.

An hour later, he prayed for that bike again.

"God," he shouted.

"It's me again.  I want that bike for Christmas.  I got your mother!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saint Nicholas Checking Who Is Naughty or Nice

He is.


Saint Nicholas is the saint who would be Santa Claus.

He's a link with the gift of charity - love - that is Christmas.

A special St. Nicholas Day cookie, called speculaas, is eaten and shared by all in
Belgium and the Netherlands this day.

These customs, like so many, merit preservation and passing on to families everywhere.

Today is the day, December 6th, parents often put a gift into their children's  shoes, recalling why all those presents are purchased these twenty-three days before Christmas, December 25, a time and season called Advent.

Advent is an adventure anticipating, preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ in Bethleham.

And, St. Nick's was brought to this land by German and Dutch immigrants, among others.  He traded in his pointed hat - a miter a bishop wears - and a shepherd's staff - a crosier - for a cap and white, fur-trimmed dashing red suit.

The practice began in Germany and the Netherlands  where youngsters hoped to be declared nice, not naughty by this churchly-dressed, "Sinterklaas."

Nicholas, santa's name, combines the Greek words for, "people" and "victory."

Legends loom large about good ole Saint Nick who makes many happy this day.

Monday, December 3, 2012


What is it?

What does it look like? 

Who is holy may be a better question.

Whole.  Holy.  Wholeness.  Holiness.


Connecting daily seems to be a fruit of holiness.

Visiting multiple times a day with the Creator may well be holiness.

Such centering and focus gives way to fruits showing themselves in rapport with others, the stranger, the immigrant, the lost, the oppressed, the incarcerated, the pressed down, the home-bound elderly one, the jobless, the foreign faces we fear. 

All of them.

Fear flees in connection with the Maker.

It does.

Spontaneity in engaging and reaching out, reaching down, and, lifting up the vulnerable everywhere.

Is that holiness?

Urgency and ardor amid a digital culture that engages media to mount an offensive for showing the face of God in the "Good News" always and evrywhere we are planted.

Powerful Pentecost and Presence will fuel the evangelizing with a fresh and lively approach.

This holiness begins within.

Where all love, and, the Kingdom of God lives, as Jesus said.

The Kingdom of God is within.


It starts here inside in one's soul - the spiritual heart of one's living temple, and Body of Christ.

Giving God's face away in one's own.

Is that holiness?

From Hostility to Hospitality

The courtliness of Francis of Assisi, Italy tells of queens and kings.

Each person is considered to be precious as royalty.

Courtesy comes from the word, courtliness, acting as in the courts of law.

Cultural shifts find this society moving from hospitality.

An air of hostility and contentiousness pervades, it seems to me.

Go figure.

A rabbi told me once of a quote from a learned scholar and biblical commentator who was also a rabbi.  He was to have said that how we look at someone, or, something is how we perceive it.

How true.

Fresh looks matter beyond stereotypes made of people met.

From hostility to hospitality is a global shift, even enormous.

It takes presence, listening, and charity as strong as love for people.

To be really present, as a presence, like the Presence!

Imagine that.

The Advent days for believers are an adventure in hospitality.

Like that of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth in Palestine.

They were happy to visit.

With fullness of presence they were there for each other. Fully, consciously, actively enthused!

And, the baby in mother's womb leapt for joy, say the Scriptures.

With enthusiasm. A wild kind of joy, it seems.

The word, enthusiasm, means, God within! There's a vitality, an ardor, a fresh engagement.

Providing a space, even a womb, for others this season -- that could be a challenge if
the practice of hospitality is rare.

It gets easier each time one is welcomed, and paid full attention in visitations.

It's a movement from a hostile culture, at times, to hospitality, Presence, presence.

Truly a gift.  Such dignity shinng forth in conversations with family, acquaintances, and more.

A Christmas greeting, a gift.

Visits like that of Mary and Elizabeth this Advent season loom large for people, witnesses, guests, and visitors.

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Requiem I Will Remember

When I was welcomed to the final Mass at a Royal Oak church recently, I noticed that memories of the closure of my own home parish of Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, readily emerged.

Sad feelings filled and flooded me.

Hospitality greeters met me at the door of the edifice adorned with iconic paintings along the walls of the church all the way up to the sanctuary.

After sitting down, a couple of others welcomed me also.

With sacred rite unfolding, in whisper tones I gratefully nodded.

When others continued to enter the building, fewer, if any available chairs, prompted me to give mine up.

Rows up toward the front of the filled church, I discovered a seat.

Next to me was a man who wrote down his name with a list of others, without indicating his city of residence as requested along with his identity initially.  At least, that's what I thought he wrote down, including what I thought was the name of his spouse who was engaged in my quiet requests as hymns sounded. 

Madison Heights or Royal Oak.  Unsure of their residence, I asked once more.  He confirmed Madison Heights.  A few blocks away, he added, as I pointed to the two names he listed at the top of my notebook.

Boy, was I wrong.

They weren't who he listed.  Days later I learned it was the names of his deceased parents he noted.

Then, some editing linked two worshippers with the first name of Tom, mixing up copy.  The psalm singer was Tom Zerafa, however, the other was not at all. Another error.

 Mounting mistakes!

When the story was published, another sibling of the mistaken idenity monopolized the unfolding drama of mistakes and took over without a word from his brother who was quoted in the article.

Then, a reporter added his spin in a separate story all about my mistakes.  And, that one was filled with assumptions and conclusions that were far from what I said to the reporter who was in a hurry to meet his deadline.  In fact, I asked him to slow down since I couldn't understand what he was saying and asking me.


The word has been taken apart. 

Its parts say it all in syllables.

I am so sorry.

Lesson learned:  I will ask multiple times about the accuracy of identity when people I interview respond to my request to note their names in my pad of paper.

And, I will be more attentive to their ability to listen, or, at least hear my requests.

In the meantime, I'm still awaiting the courtesy of  return calls from the allegedly offended family.

And, the guy who listed a couple of names in my notebook?  His brother is speaking for him.

Another mistake in direct and effective communications.

Life is full of errors.

I accept my role in all this.  And, have been forgiven by the brother of the guy I interviewed that day of fateful mistakes.

Like the demise of the church and its funeral of sorts that Sunday afternoon, grieving losses breeds anger already.  And, adding insult to injury mounts an offensive, or, a defensive disposition.

Eternal rest on the deceased parents whose names appeared in my story. And, were mistaken by me as the names of the couple sitting next to me in church.

Requiems are filled with feelings of mad, sad, glad, or scared, and, variations of these dominant feelings.  They are!

Wrong.  How wrong I was to assume the man listed his name, and that of the gal next to him!

His parents, noted by name, sound like exceptional believers who really gave their all, and, their children to their home church and school for 62 years.  They breathed life into this large family. Their service suggests how the rest of us need ties, close ties, to a people of faith. 

They stooped low to lift life, an aim I long to live each day.
With people who forgive, and, give, and love, like the Hurley family's parents.

And, added to that firm faith is civility, courtesy, decency, and, seeking truth and integrity in the trek.

After all, we all have our day making mistakes as human vessals.

We do.

We will.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Under Construction

Aren't we all?

In the meantime, no one can take away your joy.

You'll need to surrender it to the one who may want your joy.

Like being angry.

No one can make you angry.

One chooses to be angry.

If someone steps on my toe, I choose how I want to respond.

I may react.

Or, I may be proactive in my response.

Under construction.

Aren't we all?

Go and grow a little today!

Only God is perfect.

A Time for Light

Once, a teacher of mine noted on the black board with chalk: Wait for the light. 

The Advent season of a month's length for Christians marking the anniversary of the nativity, brings this story to mind today.

My high school classmates responded to the comment.

Some liked it.

One gal said it was important to have hope with even a little light.

Sister Mary Emily said she saw the sentence on a sign by a traffic light at the intersection of Harper and Van Dyke where my home church of Saint Thomas the Apostle once sat since its start in 1927.

A requiem for that edifice was a very troubling time for parishioners who fought to keep it open.

As churches close due to a lack of clergy and imagination to staff them beyond only clerics, we need Advent.

It starts Sunday.

Christians will hear Scripture passages about Saint John the Baptist's call for morphing and mending.

Repentance also.

We'll hear of Emmanuel, meaning, God with us!

And, bells will sound when the Good Book tells us of how "he pitched his tent" among us.

Wait for the light.



Be awake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Days Before Advent's Month-Long Rite, Thoughts Turn Toward Dorothy Day

How good it is to witness the consideration of Dorothy Day among the offical list of saints, just days before the Christian Advent trek. Misunderstood, pregnant, in the dark, one may say, heavy with the burden of taking her Catholic faith seriously.

Darkness descending down like dewfall as Christians mark the anniversary of the birth of Jesus.

And, joy fills the pilgrims mounting an offense preparing the way.

Bishops began the process of canonizing her, I noticed on EWTN.

I hope they get to El Salvador's Oscar Romero, among others.

Her name emerged from within as I wondered some about Mary, of whom I remember the late Eleanor Josaitis of Detroit's Focus:HOPE, who said to me well before her darker an dimmer days of dying:   "Now there's a fascinating woman!"

And, my response to Eli was:  "I'll get back with you on that one."

After all, we were in Sacred Heart Church of Roseville, MI., at an ecumenical prayer breakfast and the crowd awaited for Josaitis to speak.

It must be present to me since women are so much a part of the scriptures. And, session and growth groups that meet in Big Jack's in Roseville, MI.

Like Tamar.

Tamara Gumm told an On Tap session all about Tamar the other night at Big Jack's Bar-B-Q Grill. 

After all,we walk among Deborah who judged the Israelites with enduring strength.

And, Esther, who used her influence as queen for the common good.

Phoebe led an early church in the empire of Rome.

There's Mary Magdalene. She wept upon finding an empty tomb.

Christina the Astonishing rose from her casket, I'm told, resisting death at her own death!

Go figure!

The one who married imagination and theology is Julian of Norwich.

Pepetua of Carthage was a third-century witness who was martyred for it.

And, rising against her oppressors, there's Sojourner Truth.

Dorothy Day, however, came into being in Brooklyn, New York in 1897.

A Roman Catholic, she wed her inner faith with a passion for social justice. Day founded the Catholic Worker movement with Peter Maurin in 1933.  I still get the Catholic Worker newspaper in the mail.  The price listed is one cent.  That reminds me to pay up after more than four decades of getting it in my mail.

Day aims for clarity and crispness of thought, for a new society within the wall of the old.

Here's a women combining a kind of monasticism of piety with practice, love, and, giving one her or his due in justice.

A revolution of the heart was her challenge and call to all.

She was a journalist in the 20s and met acquaintances in Greewich Village.  While pregnant she morphed a love for Jesus the Christ. In 1926 while she resided with the father of a baby in her womb, she was a marked woman, alienated, would have been told, "Distance yourself from us and find a good lawyer," what some priests were told when they were alleged to have engaged in predatory behavior.

There's another woman like Dorothy.

Remember her name?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

When Death Happens in the Neighborhood

Molly Bish was a high school lamb of God kidnapped and murdered in West Warren, Massachusetts decades ago.

Her parents were my friends.  My sister, Patti, went to cosmetoogy school in Hamtramck with Molly's mom, and, John and I attended Saint Mary's College, Orchard Lake.

Still can't get that horror out of my mind.

In fact, Molly photo adorns my office study at home.

She is the face and faith of every child, each lamb of God.

And, of course, Molly's parents were devastated. 

They set off on a whole new trek through life.

They still live in depression.

That's swallowed grief.

They severed ties with friends.

They experienced health issues and more losses as a family.

Predators do enormous harm to humans.

They do.

Let us pray:

Lamb of God,
You take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us, on Molly Bish, on
the one(s) who murdered her brief trek
on earth.

Grant her parents peace.

For remission I pray for the tragic, and burdensome toil of our sinful world.

Give comfort amid terror, among other lambs of God led to the slaughter daily, moment by moment, it seems in my Motown,
in my Harrison Township.

Heal hurt and help us see the Light.

Comfort the sorrowful through others, me walking in support of so much loss and lessening and dminishment of life here.

Heaven help us.


When Divorce or Death of Clustered Churches Crushes

When divorce happens.

When the pastor of Saint Mary's Church of Royal Oak, MI., broke off the cluster relationship parishioners engaged with neighboring Saint James of Ferndale, MI., pain poked and penetrated deep in this divorce recently.

No kidding.

Divorce is to be a last resort, parishioners remind me.

That's what I was taught in my divinity school courses on sacraments, especially holy matrimony.

Little counseling, minimal communication, and high-handed decisions in this divorce.


And, go figure, the re-marriage with Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park suddenly set off the new romance, or, rapport with the stranded Saint James.

Slow down.  Grief takes time.

Prudence suggests that one wait at least a year before entering another marriage, merger!

Not this time. Not many times.  These clusters of clergy with multiple parishes need to be studied.

Grief takes at least a year to examine, to  wonder, to explore, to walk through the dark tunnel into the light again for most human beings.

That's good grief then in this procession of the desolation and consolation of a roller-coaster-like ride
that rocks people.

Grieve but not like those who have no hope, the Good Book notes.

Hope is that evergreen virtue, strength that is linked with faith and charity along with prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance.

Hopes sees me through each day.

It's like that.

Evergreen it is like the holiday tree one smells, like the fragrance and aroma of Christ we're each called to be as noted in the  Pauline theology addressed in the Christian Scriptures.

Woops!  Phones ringing.  Gotting get ready to go.

Got to go now.  I apologize for the disruption and abrupt end to my blog here, more so, for this tragic tale repeatedly told by parishioners. Those hurting, and, those healing in the mending and morphing.

Like at Saint Valerie in Clinton Township, MI., when it was merged and I appeared to lead Mass there one Sunday a few years ago.  No one told me it was the final and Last Supper, the concluding Mass.

The funeral. 

Imagine that.

Early into that Mass, I saw people wiping away tears, so, I stopped and asked about what I'm missing.

Now, I do have to run but the litany list of  parish closures and clusters is taking a toll on humans.

Mass at Saint Dennis in Royal Oak, MI. now at 3 pm today, I'm told.

Another funeral Mass of a parish edifice I presided at for decades.

Nobody told me.

God help us.

Eternal rest grant unto Saint Dennis, O Lord!

And, let perpetual light shine upon them who remain crushed once more to pick up the pieces and move on and support another community in love amid their grief and loss.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Woof Makes a Visit

Visits with my two Bichons were not always easy.

They were growing, curious, even wildly wondering and wandering all over anyone's home when I took them for visits.

And, when left home alone, watch out!

Both were males.

Once I anguished over and gave one of these white and awesome pups to a needy lady who experienced the demise of her own, things changed with my solo dog, Woof.

No more domination by Wolf, his older brother!

No longer a back seat for Woof.

Last night, we decided to take some just-made, hot, Jewish stew to a friend.

Rabbi Mordehai Waldman gave me the recipe days before when I called him to invite him Monday, November 26 at 7 pm to Big Jack's in Roseville, MI., and, to the young adult Theology on Tap series starting December 26, and, January 2, at 5:30 pm at Big Jack's also.

The good rabbi said he would share about the 150 psalms and how they help him get through the holiday stress, and more.

"They're right up there next to our Pentateuch, the first five Hebrew books," he added.

So back to Woof who wouldn't leave after we packed a quart with a salad, crackers, and more, and left it with Marge and Donna.

Unaware of Woof's disdain for cars and driving in them with me, Marge said:

"He's so nice now. He wants to stay.  He's the one that would bite, no?"

I affirmed.

Biting no more. He morphed.

For months now, he's become a "new man," I mean a "new dog."

And, to think I'm his pleased and proud  trainer now.

Dog gone awesome, I wanted to sing.

Dog gone it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Imagination on Black Friday

I didn't intend to shop today.

No way.

But, after a physical exam with the doctor at 8 am, I was near Meijer.

While walking through the aisle looking for the sales, I ended up by the turkey bin.

After discovering that I would pay only ten dollars for a $20 Butterball turkey if I bought another $20 worth of groceries, a parishioner appeared.  Limit one per customer.

We shared notes, and went our way.

But, that wasn't over.

Ron was looking for me. And, he happily found me, admitted this engineer.

He imagined a way that I could get the turkey if I added my few items to his basket. I didn't need much but I did want to buy a turkey. 

And, since he was getting a turkey also, we took care of checking out my groceries first, at his request.

Ron combined our items and then took his to his car and aimed to come back into the store
to complete his list, do some more shopping, and, get his additional $20 worth of groceries for a half-priced turkey.

But. . .wait. . .there more in this turkey tale.  Much more.

He refused to let me pay him for my share of the groceries.

"My gift, Father,"  he said.

Protestation from me did little good as heads began to turn toward us.  And, our dispute!

Generous, I thought.

Imagination.  And generosity.

Surprises continue to follow me.

God is like that daily, I find.

And, all I need do is to be grateful for imangination, generosity, and, folks who still find ways to imagine how to get a job done, how to work together, and, how to get me a turkey at half price without all the unncecessary trimmings.

God's big heart, so to speak, swells for each of us always.

An enlarged heart.

Full.  Real full.

Less Stressed for the Season with Rabbi Dr. Mordehai Waldman, and, Me

Staying Less Stressed During this Season and Holiday.

That's a challenge.

For some, it's undoing a pattern of holiday blues.

It's grief.

But, good grief.

That's what Rabbi Modehahai, other interfaith leaders, and me, will address Monday, November 26 from 7 - 8:15 pm in Big Jack's Bar-B-Q, 27454 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville, MI., 48066.

And, that's what the doctors are prescribing Monday at the popular place for young adults, and, people looking for meaning.

More of it.

Mostly, how to cope with the holidays.

Does stress really exist?

Is it a problem of the soul?

Why would believers even entertain it?

Why have it at all?

A spiritual or clinical issue?  Which is it?  Nunc, et/both and?

Is it a manufactured malady of soccial scientists?

Does the DSM-5 list it as  manufactured by psychiatrists, others, who create another diagnosis each decade, or so?

You'll want to be here.

Don't be left in the cold, or, without ways to cope, and, take on what could be a monstrous moment of a holiday season, or, a bitter winter wrapped in resentment toward family, acquaintances, others.

You deserve better.  Everyone does. 

Emerging from the dark means one has to be vulnerable or the grief becomes more dark and drops itno depression.

And, you are better beyond bitter.

You are worth it.

Good grief.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Is A Daily Doing

It stops me in my tracks! Or, in my steps at Harrison Cove near Metropolitan Parkway where I reside in this plush, pastoral plot called Boat Town. About 25,000 others lives with me in Harrison Township, MI.

No turkeys noticed, however.  (Well, maybe!)

Thanksgiving slows me right down. Ruffles my feathers, one may conclude.

It opens my heart.


And, my hands and mind as well.  It tugs at my heartstrings for truths and lessons learned more than half a century ago.

This moment we have to hold. Gently.  Tenderly.  Ready to let it go.  To give it back to from where it first came.

It slips, however, through one's fingers like sand on the sea shore of Lake Huron running along Port Austin, Michigan, where I relish slippling away to walk at Jenks Park near my older brother, Bob's home. 

These roots run deep.

Family relationships are many. 

After all with twelve siblings each in merged families, dad was born there, while my mother sailed south to Detroit from Cheboygan, Michigan, story says. And, she told me.  My parents were farmers.  They knew how to work.  And, taught the seven of us kids how to push a broom, or, clean a house, or can tomatoes, and, how to bake apple or pumpkin pie.  And, cranberries cooked fresh.

They taught me that gratitude is a pure prayer.  Unvarnished from one's deepest heart.

 And so, with gray hair, I notice more now.

And, I'm more aware of how grateful I must be, want to be, choose to be. 

Age has a way of making me grateful.

After all, yesterday is gone and done and black Friday may not unfold for my eyes and breath tomorrow.

Yet, I have this single moment to savor for a super mind and brain to notice and be attuned to each minute.

Yes, I notice more. Know that life is short. So . . . I overlook a lot. Or, try.  I let the guy or gal, I want to call a jerk, go by.  Most of the time.

I pause more.  Pursue satisying and meaningful moments with family, friends, and, mostly acquaintances.

And, I tell a story.  Try to illumine the dark days of November with Spring waiting for its revenge on snow and shortened days of light to lavish and play inside longer through the night enveloping us. 

It's quite dark on Waterway Drive where I reside.  In fact, it's pitch black at the peak of day's end.

Turkeys could hide here from the hand of Americans who prey upon them this day.  They seem to long for the border. I would also. Their lives are threatened once more. Like many citizens without work, or roof, or food.

Multiple feelings flood me, however, as I refuse to let fear do my thinking, like that of those worried and wide-eyed turkeys.   I still go out and feel the breeze blow up into my face as light no longer looms as long today. 

On Jefferson toward Klix, along Lake St. Clair, a walk on the new wide path and brick sidewalk had me "light and lively" in the impending dark early last evening.  Five o'clock brings with it a covering of black in the air. Shorter days, darker nights.

Woof, my 3-year old white Bichon "lights" up passers-by.

We greet.

We let the rat race pass. 

Cars speeding. Horns honking. Patience running on reserve for some.  Pollution pouring out.

Let them go.  Just let them all go. They cannot rob my joy.

Walk, and praise the Provider. Connect with the Creator.  Hear a leaf underfoot crack and crumble.

Honor roots and relationships, and faith for sure.  Do a good deed daily.  Bear good fruit.  Blow a bubble also.

And, trust deepest dreams.

Follow my heart's beat and passion.

Be a drum major for justice. For God's sake.  And, others around.

Go up or down the stream, the spillway near my home, and, learn to breath under water the whole life through.

Refuse to die before my time.  Care for those no one else wants. 

Get a grip, but not too tightly (on the golf club!).  I'm allergic to them. I go to the gym.

Break bread often.  Share it.  Take a piece of the global pie.  One piece and leave the bigger portion for neighbors across this land  we inhabit this Thanksgiving Day. Work to pay the rent for occuping a piece of this plot for a while.

Do the turkey trot!  Make fresh footprints in the sand, or the snow, for sure.

Shoot for the moon and land among the stars, at least.

Glow and go to exercise in the clubhouse where I live.  Pump iron and muscle.  Breathe.
In and out.  Notice it.

Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a lamb as the greatest story every told suggests by way of Jesus, among other wise women and men.

Watch the turkey, or turkeys, as the case may be, crossing the road.  Get a life.  One beyond work. Have a hobby.

Cut the pie farly where ever I'm planted. 

Think of someone who was still among us last Thanksgiving Day.

And, have an attitude of gratitude -- a pure prayer.

See what I mean about Thanksgiving?  At least my experience of it.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On Tap: Spirituality

Spirituality On Tap: "Getting Through the Holidays Unwounded, At Home, Homeless Feelings in America, and Homelessness," 5:30-7 pm, Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, and more for the fresh new year through June, at  Big Jack's Bar-B-Q, 27454 Gratiot, Roseville 48066. Invited guests to lead and navigate "On Tap" include Rev. Ken Kaucheck, Rabbi Dorit Edut, Sandy Bell, Minister Jim Lee, Sister (Dr.) Mary Angelica, Mohamad Abbass, David Kasbow, Bishop Tom Gumbleton, Jo Ann Loria, Rabbi Mordehai Waldman, Gail Katz of WISDOM,  Padma Kuppa, John Suggs, and more.

Engage, eat, be entertained with other young adults, and ask facilitators questions.

Express yourself.

After all, you're amazing! 

You are!

A benefit for people and places who help people feel 'at home' with others, self, and more, for the season.

Be there.

Don't be left out in the cold.

At home with self, others, the Maker, and more, for a spiritually enriching season of sharing.

Before this series, also, join others and me in Big Jack's, Monday, November 26 from 7 - 8:15 to hear interfaith leaders share ways of coping with real or imagined stress. 

Yoga, Mass, Centering, Ditching the TV, Journal writing, music, being,  rosary, stretching, breathing deeply, 3-step process of union with God (uncovering, discovering, recovering of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, support system, divine mercy mantra, exercise, and walking meditation, among other way of staying stress free and enjoying the spritual season and holidays.

Rabbis, Christian pastors, Imams, Hindu, Ba'hai, and Buddhists, among others,  demonstrate a particular practice, like the ancient, sung, hymnody and official prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, all Catholic faithful, are challenged to pray daily.

Hear common ways of believers connect with the Creator and creation across the globe. This is part of the fourth of wellness series, Good Grief: Grieve, But Not Like Those Without Hope: 10 Stages. I navigate the group through stages of their own procession through the dark tunnel into the light using the metaphor of driving and aiming toward the light of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.

Join me!  After all, swallowed grief is depression.

By the way, is stress, and, its drama in our lives at times told of in the DSM-6 and noted in the diagnostic statistical manual a new disease? A new diagnosis every decade or so seems to be established by the social scientists of psychiatrists and psychologists.

Religiosity was recently named. Spiritual solutions to clinical problems is a path I pursue in the pastoral counseling I do in my so-called, special assignment.

Google Landmark Education for awesome self-awareness for widening opportunities in one's trek through life's joys and obstacles. 

Graduates of this growth and development process are meeting Monday, December 10 for lunch from 11:30 am - 1 pm at Pronto's in Royal Oak, MI., and, to imagine and timeline concrete ways of lifting up Detroit together with its youth and families.

For more information, contact hostess Rabbi Dorit Edut at (248) 556 6316, or myself at (313) 530 2777, or,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Indifference Manifests As Frozen Heart

Mediocrity, unimportant, apathy, no interest or feeling, inert, inactive, unwilling to imagine more and be passionate.

Like a litany list indifference is defined online, in Funk and Wagnall.

What can I do anyway?

So much sadness everywhere and who needs some Catholic guilt about my cold-heartedness so often.

Perhaps its overload of pain poking through the globe, in homes, into hearts.

So much of it around everywhere it seems, my own, others: INDIFFERENCE.

Like a frozen heart, numbed by carelessness about a way out of the seeming impasse of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank.

Indifference is a frozen heart.  It kills the life out of one, of me.

It hurts one's heart and prevents mending, morphing, healing and reconciliation.

And, here I go again thinking that peace is manufactured and made with my friends, acquaintances, colleagues.

It's made with one's enemies.

A native son of that traumatized land knew that, taught that, lived it, said it often.

Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you.

Jesus said it.

Yes, but he  . . .

I better take heed.

While Metro Detroit Muslims, Jews Visit Each Other's Worship Sites, They Blame Other Side for Gaza

Hundreds of Jewish and Arab-Americans exploded in protest near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Friday, while other dozens of Jews and crowds of Muslims met in the Detroit Muslim Center forging friendships.

Today and Friday both faith traditions are visiting the Isaac Agree Synagogue in downtown Detroit, and the block-long mosque on West Davison at the John Lodge Expressway.

Missiles were fired Friday at Jerusalem, an urban city that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, while, at least three targetted Tel Aviv, media waves beamed in color on TV with the loud thuderous sounds of scary bombs in the background. Hundreds of wounded, including women and  children were among the victims with casualties mounting today as 30,000 Israeli troops prepared for ground theatre in Gaza and the West Bank.

 Rabbi Dorit Edut, a reformed Jew of Huntington Woods, MI., reported to me that Jews and Muslims are generally cordial with each other, while she defended Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas.

Dubbed as "twinning," the two Abrahamic traditions of faith and culture reached out to one another  by participating in each other's worship on the day of each one's respective weekly holy sabbath. Each joined regular weekly worshippers, perhaps for the first time ever.  Women with head scarfs met in a separate section in the back of the Muslim Center, while a larger group of men were in front of them, including prayer leader Imam Abdullah El-Amin who has headed the urban mosque for decades while engaging in inter-faith efforts for as long a time. El-Amin gets things done and moves the faithful forward forging friendships by relishing and nourishing relationships.

The tall and distinguished leader is administrator of the Rahman Funeral Home on Joseph Campau in
Hamtramck, MI., on days he's not occupied with the center.

El-Amin warmly welcomed Al Bileti of Fraser, MI., and me, representing the All Faiths Festival, a collection of clergy and other faithful who aim to recognize all religions, foster dialog, and build bridges. 

"You can't build a bridge by yourself," El-Amin said.

And, that's just what he intended to forge Friday shaking hands, widely smiling at guests, and answering questions about Islam.

"We took a step toward each other," said Bileti on the way home.  "Now, it's their turn," he added, as he lookied at me with satisfaction, and, quickly asked when the next AFF meeting holds court.

W.I.S.D.O.M. women I met were most delightful and direct about current and future inter and intra-faith relations especially related to the ordination of women, and a polorized and divided U.S. Catholic Church. I'm gathering that a "cold war" permeates rapport with Muslims as Christians are slaughtered in the Arabic world, and, elsewhere.  Not good not to talk!

Bileti, a Catholic, and decade-long inter-faith worker, is formerly a chairman of the AFF with Mohamad Abbass of the American-Islamic Community Center in Madison Heights, MI.

While war was raging thousands of miles away in the middle east, Arab-Americans and Jews, among others met in a Muslim center and synagogue this weekend.

"Comphrehension" is the word Trappist monk Thomas Merton -- who aimed to bridge the East and West -- used to summarize inter-faith work with Muslims in his diary in 1962 when he was consulted at the historic ecumenical Vatican II Council that concluded in 1965 after a three-year renewal of the Catholic Church convened by the Turkish legate, Pope John XXII.

That same Council revoked declarations blaming the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus after centuries of strife.

Faiths forging forward forgiving, mending and morphing for the common global good.


Imagine that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Avoiding the Frenetic Pace of the Season

How does one stay sane in a holiday frenzy that debuts next week with Thanksgiving Day, and lingers through the start of the new year?

That's what interfaith leaders are asking one another these days.
Rabbi Dr. Mordehai Walman of Berkley, and others, including myself, will tell ways to stay a little less stressed  through the season that launches Thanksgiving Day through the New Year.

Join us at Big Jack's Barb-Q, 27454 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville, Michigan from 7 until 8:15 pm.
Take, Rabbi Dorit Edut of Huntington Woods, MI., for example.

The Reform Jewess claims that Christianity's two major feasts - Easter and Christmas -
seem to set up believers for stress.

"Our high holidays are spread out over the year," adds the Rabbi.

Consequently, mounting and frenetic paces are less frequent and spread out over time.

Centering prayer is my way of staying grounded and calm amid a culture of commercial shopping, and more.

Common sense. 

The kind my parents had.

They were farmers who worked hard and slept as hard.

That's more important than piling up credentials and courses in stress reduction.

It works well when I honor the commitment and shut down for a period of time.

Twice daily for twenty minute sessions I choose a mantra, a litany word, such as "peace" to return to in my still time when distractions and noise inevitably enter the quiet.

Others choose exercise to vent anxiety, and more, that fills one's work and home life.

Yoga is just what the doctor prescribes for others.

Breathing in and out soothes others when the heart beats boldly.

Sitting silently in the presence of the blessed sacrament for Catholics works also for some.

We're wired with the capacity to respond beyond reaction to conflict and culture's impatience and fast pace.

It's up to me to enter a wrestling match.

I'm better off if I stay out of the ring.

After all, it takes to to tango, as the metaphor describes a way to entertain wellness amid holiday bells
and horns.

To find away to be in a world of motion makes all the difference, some say.

The holiday season doesn't have to be a rush pressing one into a basket case.

It's up to you.

And, me.

Mystical Prayer

A mystic is one who is head over heel in love with God.

And, mystical prayer is prayer of silence where one encounters the Divine at his or her center and still point.

These contemplative prayer paths are my preferred way of connecting with the Creator twice daily for twenty-minute sessions of quiet mindlessness.  For over three decades this practice has consumed me.

Here, noise and chatter is gently shut down.

In the near future, perhaps by the latter part of May in 2014, I would like to host a pilgrimage of silence to the Castilla and Leon regions of Spain where two revered mystics, Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila were born, resided, and are buried today.

John of the Cross rests in Segovia in a chapel in an edifice and residence that he crafted.  It is in the rural farms on the encircling Segovia.

I would relish sitting in this chapel repeating my mantra litany, "my beloved," when distractions come and pull me away from my prayer practice also known as centering prayer.

Or, I'd savor a walk in Spain's nature wrapped in the lap of the Lord and Maker of man and woman.

Avila, Spain is a day's trip from Segovia.

There sits the Monastery of the Incarnation where Teresa lived much of her time on earth.  Although she was 20 years older than John of the Cross, he was a guide, or, a spiritual director for her.

She was attached to her visions, John believed.  She could not detach from them, writers note.  She found another director for the path of holiness. That was a sure sign that she was attached and could not let go.

Although much of this description is a contemplative and solitary one, I welcome others to join me on the path for a pilgrimage to Spain.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Women Deacons?

Let the conversation continue about women as deacons in the Catholic Church, a role exclusive of men only.  But, debate sides with early tradition of "the way" with Priscalla, among others, living out their femininity as faithful deacons.

This emerging and renewed debate now is well over a hundred years old in the talking.  And, I'm told, when something is explored and commonly pursued over a century, it may become practice, even law.

At least, that's what I recall.

It's all about seeking truth.  Kernals that everyone embraces according to the ancient Augustine of Hippo.

Paths of truth must be taken.

Voices rise renewed for women as deacons.

Who wonders, other than Catholics, that females should be deacons?

Clearly, more than solely male tones at national meetings of leaders to witness and share Christian identity in  the so-called new evangelization heralded about at synods and meetings of bishops is most welcomed, I bet.

I believe and hope in charity - the strengths and virtues that guide while prudence, justice, temperance and justice are in the same front seat driving toward the day of women deacons, and more to enhance the faith of followers of Jesus and his beloved community.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Vet

I often wonder about him.

What would he be doing today if he survived Vietnam.

Would he have married?

What career would he have embarked?

After all, he was my oldest brother of seven.

Specialist Four Lukas J. Ventline, United States Army.

I recall the award of Purple Heart presented to my parents in 1969, a  year after his death on
February 18, 1968.

Veterans' Day.

It's special.

It always will be.

All veterans have an honored place in my heart.

They gave their all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


He wasn't getting out and about.

And, when he wasn't connecting and socializing things began to "fall apart" by his own admission.

Then the 24-year-old decided to reach out and join a grief group.

Now, he's talking.

Het gets issues out for the leader of the group to address.

Getting into a routine is a major part of the healing for this young man.

It isn't easy for him to talk in a group but he's come along and trusts others now.

Over time, he has learned to name his issues, claim them as his own, and then, by the grace of God,
tame them.

Others in the group have been a huge help for him.  He's gleaned from others, how his own problems aren't so unlike others in the group.
Help is on the way.

Friday, November 2, 2012



Dezell Washington stars in this thriller about how addictions affect family, work, and others in a tragic way.

Denial pervades throughout this ordeal.

Until the final curtain, the star is trapped in his alcoholism and cocaine addiction.

Finally, he gets honest, and, help.

Indeed, the movie is about his flight to freedom.

Like many others, it took a long time to get there.  To be free and honest with help.

The twelve step spirituality does indeed work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Travesty Unites Us

We're best in tragedy.

We are.


All of the heartache and horror of hurricane Sandy's plunge through the northeast has me grateful for the unity suffering brings.

Leaders are no longer fighting.

Americans are there to help those hurting.

My tears merge with the waters deluging fellow sisters and brothers.

And, I say a prayer for them.

People are getting the job of restoration done amid their own emotions that rock them, I'm sure.

We do what we have to do.

Resilient, rebounding and recovering from fear, fire, floods, and more these day.

Faith calls us to be together.

There for each other.

I'm grateful.

Fitness and Faith

Prayfit is author Jimmy Pena's 28-day plan for wellness of mind, body and spirit.

Faith and fitness are two areas that create one's well-being, according to the exercise guru who has morphed millions into better beings.

Pena has a guidebook, Prayfit, the companion to the serious participant.  It includes menus and exercises to steer that best look one is seeking.

One wonders what works given the plethora of books and ideas out there about wellness.

Tyler Perry, among others, have taken the plunge and commit to this plan.

I'll try it.  And, I'll be back about it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holy Matrimony

Raymond and Renia Malinowski are celebrating thier thirty-fifth wedding anniversary November 10th in the Polonia Hall on Yemans in Hamtramck, Michigan.

"We just decided to have a party after being together for thirty-five years through ups and downs," said the couple who met in Poland decades ago through the groom's Uncle Bob of Marshall, Michigan.

A marriage planted in Poland, the couple have two children, Jennifer and Matt.

Ray grew up on Detroit east side near Lynch Road and Van Dyke before going off to Castle Heights Military Academy.

They belong to St. Collette Church near their home in Livonia, MI., although they frequent numerous Polish parishes and organizations in the metropolitan Detroit area.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sacrament of the Sick

Those struggling to walk will come.

The elderly will amble into the church.

All kinds of sick people will be touched with the healing sacrament of the sick tonight in Warren, Michigan.

With Our Lady of Perpetual Help  pastor, Father Fadi Hadid, Mass will be celebrated with the Chaldean community who have invited parishioners of St. Sylvester to join them.

A powerful sacrament for the believer, the anointing of the sick, is a major manifestation of God's loving and healing presence to people of faith.

At 6:30 pm this Ocotber 25th at the church at 11200 Twelve Mile Road in Warren, people will sing, praise, and be healed in an ancient sacrament of laying on of hands and anointing with healing balm of oil.

Some will expect a miracle.

And, they will leave with it tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2012

First Native American Saint Kateri Tekawitha

As the sun rose Sunday there were Native Americans in beaded and color-feathered headdresses and leather-fringed tunics singing songs with the beat of drums.

The "Lily of the Mohawks," Kateri Tekawitha was born in 1956 to a pagan Iroquois father and an Algonquin mother who was Christian. Kateri died in Canada at 24.

80,000 pilgrims in flowered lei and traditional garb gathered in Saint Peter's Square to celebrate seven more saints, including two Americans. 

Both Americans come from upstate New York and lived centuries apart.

Mother Marianne Cope arrived in Hawaii in 1883 to care for leprosy patients on Kalaupapa on Molokai Island.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Go Tigers!

Everyone wants a winner!

And, Detroit has one in its Detroit Tiger baseball team who just swept the American league title.

Ray Malinowski, a boyhood friend, invited me to the title-winning game against New York Thursday night.  His daughter, Jenniffer, and, boyfirend, Joey, couldn't use the tickets Thursday after the rain apparently called the game near 10 pm Wednesday.

42,000 fans packed the place last night.

Everybody was happy, it seemed.

They clapped, stood, and applauded often.

Homeruns by the homtown team assured a sweep of the Yanks.

Detroit needs winners.

As we all get into the spirit of champions we can be champions right where we are at any given moment, for sure.

One more hurdle to take the title.

We can do this.

Champions are like that!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Patrick Cooney

Patrick Cooney always smiled easily.

And, he readily laughed.


He listened long and well hearing the one before him.

A priest for many years, then a bishop in Detroit and Gaylord, Michigan,
he died Monday after a long illness.

When churches in the City were on the chopping block I recall serving on a large committee with him to determine their fate.

That was no easy task.

Years later, and, away from that task, he said, "We won some and lost some."

An attitude of hope heralded for Patrick.

I always appreciated his company, and, willingness to sit and talk here in Detroit or at a visit with him in Gaylord.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


If we all remain civil things will change.

Civility has been reported to be declining.

It doesn't have to be, however.

We all can raise it up once more.  Yes, by doing our part to be polite, courteous, helpful and concerned about others, civility will reign again.

A culture of cruelty is how we're being described for behavior these days.

We can be more.

And, better.

Mean and mean-spiritedness is hardly the way.

The "courtly" way of Francis of Assisi, Italy, and his courtliness is a value worth savoring daily.

For sure.

Practice made it perfect for centuries.

When did its decline begin?

Did it start with "no problem?"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Savoring a Wet Walk

Tim Kane, a local pastor at Madonna and Saint Gregory Church near Oakman and Linwood, rode his bike Sunday, Oct. 14th, in the four-mile fund-raising trek for Focus:HOPE of Detroit.  Kane presided at the funeral of the late co-founder, Eleanor Josaitis, who died in 2010 after steering the organization for over a decade when Father William Cunningham died.

Walkers recalled how Eleanor would hand out candy while walkers passed her on the walk.
She was missed, it was clear to many.  Cunningham, a motorcylcle rider was also remembered by many for his passion as a Catholic pastor who made a difference for Detroit. Some even longed for impassioned leaders once more to guide the civil and human rights organization.

Founded in 1968 in  the wake of civil unrest when dozens died, the outreach agency provides training for manufacturing workers, and, distributes food for seniors, mothers and infants.

Despite a rainy and wet Sunday afternoon and less than the anticipated 5,000 walkers, over $400,000 was raised to help serve the community, according to Steve Regan, outreach leader at Focus:HOPE.
A $300,000.00 check was presented to CEO William Jones, Jr., from Plastic Omnium.

A diverse group of metropolitan Detroiters, including children in strollers, young and old, multiple dogs, and more, marched in the four-mile trek to the tunes of the University of Michigan band.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I wonder when one is quiet.

Then I begin to question:  Why is she or he quiet?

Or, I judge them.

To be wise is to be silent it seems.

Silent when unsure. 

One is wise when she or he is is author of her or his own words.

They embrace their actions, their lives.

They own them selves.

For a long time, I depended on books and notes of others.

Then, I looked into my heart.

There I savored what I owned.

It was mine to give, to share.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Progress of Women

Women and men of various faith traditions will gather Sunday, Oct. 14 at 3 pm in the Isaac Agree Synagogue, 1457 Griswold, Detroit, 48226.

The progress of women fifty years since the start of the second Vatican Council in October of 1962 will be the topic addressed by Hindu leader, Renu Malhota, Lutheran minister, Diane Van Marter, Baptist minister Joyce Jones, Catholic religious leader, Mary Caroline Jonah, Harei Krishna leader, Antariksha Das, and Jewish rabbi, Dorit Edut.  I will serve as moderator.

All are welcome to this free event. Over 2,500 Catholic bishops, among theologians and observers gathered at the historic conclave when Pope John XXIII called the Council that lifted blame for the death of Jesus on the Jews, and, the ancient Latin Mass was to be recited in the vernacular.

Contact or (248) 556 6316, for more information.

Friday, October 5, 2012


It's that easy.

Yet, that hard.

We make love complex.

Even, disect it.

To keep loving, despite what happens.

To keep giving and forgiving, no matter what.


It's a crazy kind of thing, isn't it?

It's commitment, however, you look at it.

All the rest is commentary.

And, interpretation.

Love You Forever!

That book is a story of eternal loving.


Love you forever. . .

Everything else is commentary.

Has love been tried?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Only Charity

For sure.

On this feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy, I recall how he received a vision, he claims, to "rebuild my church," so, he went about patching, laying bricks, repairing roofs, I imagine, but, the voice repeated:

"Rebuild my church."

Francis got it.  He bagan to rebuild with only love.  God's version,  Not his own.  Or, anyone else's.

While people may condemn you, hate you, betray you or more, only God's love is the order of the day, no? When names come or criticism, or envy, or, any of the capital sins, for example, charity is the way to respond.  Only love.  All the rest is politics that gets us all into trouble and away from our God who is love!

Take, for example, a letter that went out to Jay McNally, a former editor of the diocese's paper, noting that I do interfaith work but in no way speak for the archbishop.


Where that letter originated, I'm unsure. That's OK.  Why, it doesn't matter, does it?

After all, my "cryptic" assignment, as the beloved Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, calls it, was given by the AOD, MI.  He knows Jesus' love, for us to follow, for sure, no?

Even though I wonder why Ned McGrath seems to fear a recent piece that Rabbit Edut and I wrote for The Oakland Press, I still love after the heart of Jesus the Christ.  The lone way, truth, and life!

We all know that.

Maybe a reminder is all we need, as Seneca, the philospher, noted centuries ago. New information is unnecessary.  A reminder of the scriptures and the Life who leads us works best!

God is love!

The rest is politics that I want to steer clear of since love is the recipe the master and Lord gives me.

Practice is what it takes.  Daily.  Now. And, always. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pastor Stan Ulman on Vatican II's Historic Start 50 Years Ago

When I asked Stan Ulman about his experince of the ecumenical Vatican Council II, he noted:

"I only wish that I had paid closer attention to the Vatican Council while it was happening.  Being in high school and college at the time, I related to those events academically, but not personally.

It was only later that I realized what a momentous event this was.  It's not every day that your world gets turned upside down.  Liturgy was the most visible thing to change and very often with much opposition or uncritical adaptation. 

But, what was really changing was people's understanding of themselves as Catholics, their understanding of the world, and, the role of faith, relationships with other Chrisitans and non-Christians, the primacy of conscience in moral decisions, and, the servant role of those in charge. 

This was all very confusing and liberating. 

Today, some people are frightened by the implications of Vatican II and are willing to exchange its promise for the surety they think existed before Vatican II.  This pursuit will give them neither."

(The Rev. Stanley Ulman is a pastor at Saint Mary of the Hills Church in Rocheter Hills, MI.).

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Poverty, Jobless, Baby in the Womb

Given that a large percentage of people are given U.S. benefits, bridge cards, and more,  how do I respond to poverty, to those without work, to mothers with a baby in the womb?

May I walk with them, assist them, support them beyond mandates, dictates, commands, and more?

Talk is cheap.

And, easy.

But walking with a woman with a full womb is another thing, no?

Now we're talking.

Will I walk with her, try to listen to her, help her?

Or, will I simply judge her, without any thought of the guy who impregnated her?

Will I condemn her, or will I give her money to assist her with the life in the womb?

How about all the poor in a world with plenty of bountiful food?

Do I help feed them?

Or, just call them names?

And, those without work?

Am I willing to help them find work, imagine a job, get a job, or, am I quick to label them?

Being a Christian is an active verb, a life on the move to serve, to lift up the lowliest, no?

Matthew's 25th Gospel invites me to take care of the least among us.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Was away getting rooted recently.

Grounded, I mean.

Pausing and pondering occupied my heart and mind for a few days on retreat.

Getting clearer thoughts for realms of possibility in life that are opening up almost daily, it seems.

The long drive, the recreation, the rest, and the input from wise elders is welcome.

One can't give what he or she doesn't have.

And, inner work, the interior life, is the lone life worth living fully.

Primping on the outside has to match what's going on inside.

For sure.

Authenticity only comes for me when I'm self-caring and connecting in praying with the Creator as a human being.

I calm down.  Get still.  Shut down.  Remain awake, attentive, attuned, and more aware in stillness.

Doing only bothches things up.  What a mess!

Being decent demands pauses, hours, days of refreshment with the Maker. Daily chunks of prayer.

Otherwise, I am good for nothing, and, doing beyond being bolts me no end.

Silence is golden for this quiet time I relish often.

Is this savoring silence something that comes with age, maturity, or growing older gracefully?


Whatever mix it is, I relish it.

Rooted.  It's good.  It is grace, favor, blessing.

Thank God! 

I'm grateful to the One who alone manages the moments always.

Not me.

Pausing and going down deep into rooted grounding reminds me of my humanity and need for humility.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Solving Crisis of Souls Causing Disruption in World

By Rabbi Dorit Edut and Rev. Lawrence Ventline

Crime, anger, violence, and more, are issues of the soul.

These problems can only be solved within one's being and center where all evil and conflict starts.

Conversations at news conferences are insufficient in settling disputes and problems of one's soul.

It is dysfunctional to continue to do what has been done for decades.  Results to prove otherwise in stopping the outbursts and violence do not manifest with the same tried and tested approach.

"Love your neighbor as yourself," was quoted from Leviticus by Jesus in the Christian Bible.

When will parents, leaders, and clergy, in particular, create and imagine a plan for family today?
Families need more support than ever.

Assertive faith leaders are needed now to address this crisis of souls.

Who will stand?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Grief!

How often we hear that phrase.

Good grief!

Yet, when one experiences a loss of life, a love, a limb, one's name, or a home, for example, grieving is necessary to get through the tunnel.

Like the Detroit/Windsor tunnel.

Light is all I aim for when navigating that tunnel.

Like the dark surrounding me in that tunnel, so grief envelopes peope hurting over loss of a job, a reputation from gossip, or, foreclosure on their home, to illustrate my point.

Good grief is a process one treks to avoid depression.

Swallowing one's grief, one's loss of a parent or spouse, one feels depression.

And, time later, often years, one wonders why he or she is depressed.

Failure to grieve a loss causes depression.

The Mondays of November from 7-8:30 pm, persons grieving or mourning are welcome to a good grief growth group I lead at the historic Sacred Heart Church, 18430 Utica Road, Roseville, MI., 48066. To register, call 586 777 9116.  The cost is $5 per session.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dayton, Ohio Summit of Catholic Young Adults Oct. 5th

How would you like to be?

Are you happy?

What does God want of me?

The Dayton Holiday Inn Select Airport (937) 832 1234 will be the place for young adults, among other curious, to meet for a Catholic Alumni Clubs International summit retreat, 'Rediscovering Catholicism,' Friday, October 5th from 9 am until 4 pm.  More social events and a dinner comedy, with Sunday Mass are set, according to Andrea Brosch ( of Ohio. She hatched the idea years ago to connect more young adult Catholics.

Matthew Kelly's tome will be the theme with skits, activities, and more, including virtues, strengths that serve one well in the trek of daily life, such as patience, charity, prudence, fortitude, justice, and more.

Christianity comes to life here revitalizing individuals, communities and the universal church, in turn.

A bold, brilliant, practical and inspiring summit of sorts, you will be a better, bolder, more brilliant Catholic.

Contact Andrea at (513) 404 3641, or myself, (586) 777 9116 for more.

Join us for the ride.  And, be all you can be!

Rainbow Fish

It's a story about giving and sharing for the common good.

Something that we forgot.

Thinking of others.  Working together.  Lifting the lowly and vulnerable.

Giving what we have to help the needy among us.

Rainbow Fish strutts about in the great blue ocean showing off his beauty, his color, his scales.

Yet, he is alienated, alone.

No one seems to like Rainbow Fish, a tale available at local libraries.

Yet, Rainbow Fish morphs.

He share all his scales.

With love, Rainbow Fish, is happy for giving.

Rainbow Fish was read at Mass Sunday at Saint Claud Chapel in Clinton Township, MI.

It responds well to the question of Jesus' apostles:  "Who is the greatest?"

Jesus uses a child as an example in the Gospel.

Long live the Rainbow Fish folks everywhere.