Saturday, July 28, 2012

Honoring Women Aug. 14

Women will be honored Aug. 14 at 5:45 pm Mass in Sacred Heart Church in Roseville, MI.

They should be.

In church and society women do so much. 

At home, for example, women are mothers who are closest to their children.

My own mother cared for seven of us, including two sets of twins.

That'a a load, in addition to a lot of work.  It's a full-time job, in fact. Homemakers are like that.

Woman are the backbone of the Catholic Church.  Without all the good they do and show, who knows where we'd be.

More mothers, additional woman in higher positions of power would enhance the Church, and, perhaps even see greater protection of children from predators.  After all, women will defend their children no end.  Even the animal world depicts females making the males stay outside the feeding circle until the mother and children are fed first.

Honoring women.

We do it everyday, don't with?

With respect, appreciation, and more, we show honor them.

One day, Aug. 14th, lifts them up in pride and praise.

A reception will follow the Mass that honors all woman in the lower level of the church at 18430 Utica Road at Gratiot.

All are welcome.

Join clergy like Revs. Lawrence Jackson and Richard Welsh who are planning this event, among others, along Barbara Robinson, minister of music at St. Michael Church in Sterling Heights, MI.,  and General Motors Chorus sunger, Bob Gillenkirk, singing the classic hymn, "Ave Maria."

Welcome women with me at the doors of the historic ediface.


Picnic Memories Pour Out

They are few but there are some of picnics growing up.

Because they were different, picnic engaged all seven of us kids on Detroit's east side.

My parents packed stuff, and, we carried the buckets and tiny shovels for the sand.

Such thoughts pour out these days as Mohamed Abbass, Shimone and Dorit Edut, David Kasbow,
Melissa, among others, prepare for the interfaith picnic Sunday, Aug. 5th near the children's play ar of the historic jewel in Detroit's crown, Belle Isle at Jefferson and East Grand Boulevard.

The buzz has begun.

People are calling. Some are making reservations.

One gal wants to hand out samples of her salads in her dishware for sale.

Soccer, volleyball, board games, ethnic dancing, a food festival, and more, are among the line-up of activites for young and older alike.

They'll all come.

Jewish, Christian, Muslim and more.

A picnic basket, hot dogs, hamburgers, relish, chips. . .

And, a diverse group of people from metropolitan Detroit.

A urban and suburban unity picnic from 12 noon until 4 pm August 5th with a worship service at
12:30 for all.

I won't miss it.

Join me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rising Together for the Children of this Nation

I must admit I am ashamed of the silence on changing gun laws to prevent further carnage of our children in America.

In my self, I have sensed a silence I do not like.  Cold cruelty I cannot tolerate.  The cruelty we show toward each other must be faced.  A restlessness stirs within me over the need for gun control laws.

Thinking only of myself, what I have, is far from what greatness is all about.
The silence of our President, our churches and synagogues, our selves, and our sisters and brothers is disturbing.

Because our second amendment allows for guns is no reason to back down and be silent.  The context there had no idea of the massive arsenal at our disposal of high-tech weapons.

We can expect more of each other as Americans.

These childen are our brothers and sisters.  We are tied together.

While Japan, and other nations do not allow guns from the start, we claim a right to them.

No wonder we are in the situation we are.

We must rise together NOW before the next massacre, and the NEXT one. And, the one after that.

In union we must press our leaders to change the gun laws now, so help us God!

Underground Church

A little church.

That's what Alcoholics Anonymous seems to be each day as the self-help groups meet regularly, even daily, downstairs in churches across this nation.

And, they never seem to have enough chairs.

That's a good thing.  Unlike the upstairs Sunday church that has plenty of pews and fewer people these days. One has to wonder why.

Participants in the downstairs church tell stories. They get down, deep and honest in the telling.

After all, they have only "up" to go after falling flat on their face, in many cases.

The upstairs church does recount the story, also, and centers on Jesus.

But downstairs, people tell of the Twelve Steps in their own lives, up and close.  Even personal.

They tell of how alcohol, or other drugs, ravaged their lives and made them unmanageable.

And, of how a Power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity.

That's it!

After all, like the insanity of attachment disorders, even to guns, one goes under unless she or he gets help.

Ever since the '40s people have been meeting downstairs to purge and cleanse themselves of the evils of alcohol and other drugs, addictions and attachment disorders.

That's when these famous twelve steps were organized as means to healing and hope amid living ravaged lives.

Once, a woman told me that she found her way to the upstairs church after attending a 12-step meeting downstairs.

She reconnected with her Catholic roots.

Pleased and on the way to recovery, she had good news to share as she practiced the principles and twelve steps of Alchoholics Anonymous.

"A parachute has to be open to work," she told me,  "After all, a mind only works if it is open," she concluded.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ferocious, Dark, Fragile Friday


This one in a movie theatre amid the dark surroundings of the so-called, "Joker."

Friday had come. 

A ferocious Friday indeed for fragile lives simply there to watch a movie.

And, for at least twelve, it was the end of any more light in their lives, while at least seventy others were shot.

When will this end?

It won't.

How can it when anyone can get a gun it seems.

Loners like this killer are mounting and moving bullets everywhere and all around us.

Where are our leaders to stop the carnage, the craziness, the violence?

Where are they?

Monday, July 16, 2012



So many things.

They distract. 

"I have things to do," one often hears as an excuse to get together.

Father Anrew Greeley tells the story of the family who filled the van with things for the family vacation.

Sports toys, formal dining clothes and so much more were being packed into the SUV when mother handed the little baby in a car seat to one of the daughters who placed her near the van.

Quickly the van was filled leaving only room for the family.

After miles on the road, mom counted noses.  The little one came up missing.

Recounting the arguments here is useless.

They turned back.

An empty car seat was seen just where it was left.

Teens next door emerged with the little girl.

"We thought we'd keep her until you came back," they shouted, as mom was about  alert police.

The all climbed in once more.

The little girl kept smiling and fell asleep immediatley while the others were silent most of the way to the cottage.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why I'm Catholic

It amazes me months after the topic, "Why I'm Catholic," was addressed in Saint Sylvester Church in Warren, MI., that responses from participants still resound loud and clear.

I was born Catholic.

I was baptized Catholic.

Stain glass windows, insence, Mary, saints, more all keep me Catholic. 

The smell of church, the aroma of flowers, the seasons, colors, rich music, solemn Latin and English liturgy. We haveit all!

Fullness of faith.

I converted to Pentecostalism from Catholicisim and then returned home to my Catholic roots.

Never can I leave my Catholic faith.


Scripture is so rich with us Catholics since Vatican II called for more bible passages at Mass.

It's firm and sure faith for me being Catholic.

Of course, families fight and disagree.  Catholics also but why would I leave?

On and on went about ten participants who gave reasons for being Catholic in a few minutes to a crowd of sixty listening ears.

They also love being Catholics.

Jesus is my hero and why I'm Catholic, a younger one voiced before the accolade at evening end was complete.

And, yet another complained about dogma and doctrine and other "axes" to grind with a pastor, a sister, a neighbor. . .and fifty years later is still Catholic telling about it and committed to the faith, it seems to me.
And, the pastor and sociologist, Father Andrew Greeley, concludes from his research that Catholics are also sexier!

Why I'm Catholic. . .

This could catch on at most parishes and retreat houses.  That is, the topic could swell and welcome the story of each one who identifies as Catholic today.

Worth noting, isn't it?

The enthusiasm in the room could hardly be contained in the respectful and engaged listening as silence and pauses poked deeply when speakers grew emotional and profound in their witnessing.

And, savoring it all undoubtedly.

Friday, July 6, 2012

In the Hospital

Twenty-year-old Matthew needed to sleep his life away after surgery on his jaw this week.

When his parents and I walked into his room with a grocery-bag full of medicines to calm the ache,
Matthew almost immediately asked if he could have something for the pain.

After all, they'd be driving miles back to the Thumb from Royal Oak. It's a two-hour hike by car.

Matthew would attempt to sleep most of the way, I'm guessing.

I asked his parents if they had stock in the hospital since they were just in town to "relax the achilles tendons of another younger son, Tyler.  And, on and on the trek goes for hospital care from early on in the life of Tyler.

Yet, his parents seemed to "bounce" with it all.

They seemed to accept the situation.

They were ready to fill their car and drive home amid sizzling heat of close to 100 degrees in Detroit.

A few floors up, I was greeted by a handful of physicians, family and other attendants for another
patient who was brougt in days earlier with high blood pressure and chest pains.

With a smile and a firm hand grip, Ron seemed cheerful, and, looked to have some color in his face to complement his wide smile.

His family was cheerful despite news that Ron would be transported to Henry Ford in an hour or so.

With a blessing, some assuring words, and, the sacrament, called, anointing of the sick, I said "good-bye" after some humorous exchanges.

Hospital visits are an enjoyable part of ministry.

Being there when people are in crisis is what pastors do best, it seems to me.

As I got into my car I wondered why others wouldn't choose the life of an ordained priest.

Meaningfulness abounds.

At least for this pastor this bountiful day, thanks be to God.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Birthday of a Young Nation

July 4th.

Independence Day.  Our birthday, some say.

Birth brings pain with it, I recall my mother who encountered it when one or two of the the seven of us, including two sets of twins, emerged through her birth canal.

Pain pokes and penetrates for life and liberty.

Recall all the civil rights workers. 

Pain knocked often for them.

For the late Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis who founded Detroit's Focus:HOPE amid death threats, hate, and name calling.

Must be like earlier pioneers experienced in passage of the Voter's Rights Act, and, more.  Sanitation workers in the South.  Even, Rosa Parks on the bus and because she was so tired from a day's work, refused to get up for a White man.  Good for her! 

And, us!

Never give up, or give in!

The right to love is the lone right God gives us as we mark the U.S. birthday once more.

Rights can be controversial.

But love is not.

God's love invites people to stand up while others choose to silently sit and say nothing for the most vulnerable old or young in and outside the womb today.

Love is a foundational freedom freely given as a gift by the Creator. 

Founding fathers and mothers, for that matter, knew that.

Puritans pounded and pressed for furtherance of liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy birthday, dear United States!

Bridge the gaps widening in wealth these days, lift up the poor and oppressed, serve selflessly, and, reconcile across isles for the common good beyond politicians' need to be right, to beat, and, to be above, and  over the other side. 

The millions without heath care should have it. 

We can all make that possible by sharing a bit of what we have been blessed with as a Nation. Those who have more, need to give more, my farming parents from Cheboygan and Port Austin, Michigan, always taught the seven of us at home.  Share a piece of the pie for peace sake!

Serve for a change.

As the founders fought for freedom.  And, the right to life, libery and the pursuit of happiness with a right to housing, to a job, to dignity that all matter.

You matter.

Others matter also, however.

And, the Savior stirs worth within and among us as the Maker embraces the one world and one globe God made.

Explode with enthusiasm for this land's freedom beyond the bang of fire crackers, guns and words of hate that live these days in the hearts and hands of so many angry souls.

Putting down vices and lifting up virtues of faith, hope and charity, prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance, and, strengths like these that give continual birth to the good ole USA work well as we find our way out of this "lost" Nation, blind so often to the common good beyond me, myself and I!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

When a Friend Dies

Touch football on Arcola Street was a big part of our unsurpervised activity on Detroit's east side.

We would routinely play in front of our two-story aluminum-sided home where my parents and six siblings resided. 

Before dark, or the street lights came on, John Domenick, Eddie Stepowski, my brother Bob, Ray Malinowski, at times, among others, comprised the opposing teams.

Here we learned how to resolve conflict without parental or legal intrusion that prevents the like of play today.

John died about midnight as Saturday gave way to Sunday, July 1, 2012.

About thirty minutes earlier I left St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren.

Brenda Domenick, John's and Paul's older sister said she'd stay a bit longer after looking out of Room 625's window over the parking lot.  She worried if it was safe for her to leave alone.

"Leave with me, if you want," I suggested.

"I'll stay," quipped Brenda.

It was a long ordeal.  That day of his passing over also.  Long.  Yet, patient caregivers, among others, including a hospice nurse, responded well personally and professionally.  Chopped roast beef over bread with gravy, mashed potateos, and green beans was a treat the nurse generously offered me this long Saturday. And, the hospice nurse wanted to "up" his pain medication so John would be comfortable as he was dying.  +  Bless her!

After caring for his mother until her death, John's health seemed well even though he smoked and contended with diabetes until infection, internal organ malady, and more, silenced him late Saturday night.  He worked with his uncles in Detroit area dry clothing cleaners for years.  He like cigarettes and lottery tickets too.

Saint Clement Church in Center Line, Michigan, was the home church for his mother, Joan and dad, John.  Philip, his youngest brother was killed by a car on Van Dyke decades ago. John loved watching EWTN Mass and more daily. 

When silence poked deep I turned on that TV channel as John was passing over.

John's breathing slowed with loinger gaps in between each breath.  Morphine depressed his respiratory system as I watched him grip oblivion. 

After all, palliative care is the best medicine can provide to alleviate suffering.

John's eyes spoke volumes since he was unable to speak after a stroke and internal bleeding since

He seemed to penetrate my eyes locked  looking  deep into one's soul. After all, the eyes are the window of one's soul, noted  Ernest Hemmingway in the Old Man and the Sea.  "Everything was old but his eyes," observed the author Hemmingway.  I savor those words these days.

A faithful son to the end, John never married.  However, he seemed to like another resident at the nursing home he dwelled in for years now.  Happier, John, was excited to introduce me to her as he wheeled his way from his room to his down the hallway of the former Nightengale Nursing Home in Warren, MI.

Brenda was glad also that he met someone.

More buoyant now, John was making some progress, although I knew his kidneys were shutting down. Time was short. After all, both legs were removed.

Earlier today, I recalled my visits with John.  He knew suffering watching his own mother, Joan, die after a long bout with cancer.  And, Tony, the family dog was defensive for her as people came close and Tony would growl.  Tony has yet to learn of John's passing over, reported Paul when I asked if he told Tony, the family mascot of thirteen years or so.  Tony was getting groomed this Saturday while Paul completed a visit earlier with John before he returned Saturday night with his sister.

"Buddy" was the name John called me when I visited him at the same nursing facility where my Aunt Gertie died of Alzheimer's disease after twenty-four years there. I didn't relish the thought of John being there either, although John seemed satisfied for the duration of his days there.

I liked John's greeting, although I never thanked him for claiming me with that endearment. Regretfully, I would have told him I appreciated the salutation.  No second chances now.

John seemed to do the best he knew despite his pending death and obstacles for years now.

An ordinary guy, he was a joy to chat with regularly.

He seems depressed at times but that was far from his name.  Baseball was usual commentary.

I'll mist that.  I do already.  Visits were rare with him recently. I regret that also.  No second chances.

Death's knock seemed to scare him in his final days in ICU.

Trying to assure him, I thanked him for being a "good guy" who loved his mother.

The hole lingers long now.

Even though his death was anticipated, the final closure when the lights go out, grip me with sadness.

Stillness does that.

After all, John's legs propelled him to play and live and run with that football for years decades ago.

Now, his breathing labored until the last one.

Eternal rest grant unto you, O John, and may perpetual help be with you as you rest in peace, dear friend!