Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Generation

Generation X, Y, or Z.

They probably aren't interested in the presidential campaign, or voting, for that matter.

I wouldn't count on them to be at the public rally at 23500 West 7 Mile Road, Detroit, 48219,  September 23 at 3:30 pm hosted by the Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (, entitled, Fire of Faith: Rekindling Democracy.

Or, at a Catholic RCIA/C growth group for recovering the beatitudes, or coping with attachment disorders (addictions), or viewing Nick Nolte's "Peaceful Warrior" startings September 10 in Sacred Heart Church (lower level) and continuing on Mondays through Pentecost Sunday in June of 2013, at 18430 Utica Road at Gratiot in Roseville, MI., 586 777 9116.

I bet they meet online, on the U Tube, or Tweet, for sure, however.

Good for them.

But physical presence to one another, unless sciping is considered visual, is so vital to ongoing relationships that grow and foster, no?

I would like to include them and invite them October 22nd at 5-7 pm for a town-hall-like session 50 years since the start of the ecumenical Vatican Council II that I know they were not around, or, even a thought in their parents eyes who may not have even met yet in October, 1962, when this historic council called for "full, active and conscious" participation and a collaborative, and, an engaging Catholic Church. THe council invited all the charisms and gifts of people to be employed.  How are we doing People of God?  Are your gifts engaged, solicited, asked for?  Or, are you feeling excluded?

Are we there yet Generation X?

You see, I'm of the babyboomer generation when babies were booming the way Muslims now are fruitufl and procreate as the Good Book suggests.

Boomers from 1946-64 began the rejection and redefinition of traditional values.

Boomers consider them "special" as my boss' aide must have when he worked out a "special assignment," cryptic as that seems, withe me for the AOD,.MI.

Drastic social change came with my generation with experimental, go-it-alone, free spirited, cause oriented, caught up in modern marvels like technology, and the first to grow up with TV, a man on the moon, a Cold War era, risk of draft in Vietnam with my brother killed there with 58,000 others, let alone all the South Vietnamese, the start of the women's movement in '68, the assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and much more.

I'm not sure what we're leaving is a legacy of dignity and worth, is it generaton X,Y, and Z?

But, I think Vatican II's countercultural call of the Church, a good thing, is directed to boomers, and, is a call to all people, no?

Perhaps the unique boomer subcultures of the Beats and Hippies, to name a couple, will recall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MSU Horror of Hate Crime Against Jewish Zachary Tennen

Condemnation of the assualt against Michigan State University student Zachary Tennen must be pronounced loud and clear, and, in unison with the the interfaith community, among other citizens.

Today, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion called on "law enforcement and MSU faculty and students to bring justice to Tennen, a journalism sophomore allegedly attacked early Sunday morning after being asked if he was Jewish."

A sign of solidarity at a press conference is in order in the next couple days.

To stand up while others choose to sit and say nothing is the right thing to do.

"We must stand up for the other at times when they are most vulnerable and discriminated against,"
said president and CEO of the MRDI.

For more information, visit  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School Bells Ring Out: Will Purpose Persist for Our Children?

With 9/11's eleventh anniversary that remembers thousands to perished in that act of terror, and rising "loners" massacres mounting, school bells chime once more.

Parents must wonder what awaits their youngsters in fledgling schools that seem to have lost their way, or, at least sufficient supplies for students.

"The only foundation for a republic is to be laid in religion.  Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments," said Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress.

Liberty is held hostage by those who lack purpose, meaning, and, an aim for daily living. 

Government can't fix issues of the soul and inner core of one's conscience.

More mandates and laws don't seem to be the solution to problems we face. 

Divisions in our hearts, land, streets, and in Washington, D.C., run rampant.  All battles, evil begins within the recesses of one's soul.

People have to mend these moral issues of the soul.

Joblessness, unemployment, babies born out of wedlock, high school drop outs, deaths in and outside the womb with war, and more, must morph from within.

Awakening of a sleeping nation now is a need in a culture that has lost its way.

Standing up while others choose to sit will alone help to solve these issues.  Government cannot heal our souls.

Faith can.  Religion will.

Virtue will see us through.

And, all along the way, children will be watching adults.

They will.

And, they may turn out just like dad or mom amid single-parent homes.

Meaning helps one to get through almost any obstacle, history shows.

Parents and teachers can give aim, purpose and meaning to children by motivating them to be their best in the classroom, at home, and in the community. Parents are the first teachers.

We all can do better as bells ring out for school once more.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday's Short Sermon: Labor Day

A Short Sermon for September 2, 2012 / Homily by Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min., Based on  Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8   James 1: 17-18, 21b-22, 27  Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Take only one cookie.

Leave it the way you found it.


Do your homework.

Bless the food and family before eating.

Speak your truth in love. And, make sure it's God's version, not my own.

Miss Manners would be pleased with the reminders in today's Good News: Wash your hands before eating.  Wouldn't she?

Imagine that causing conflict among people in the ancient biblical world.

Jesus calls into question the scrupulous tradition about washing before eating, however.

"Listen to me, all of you and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile."

The Bard of Avon knows that.  There is "nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

And, the twelfth century Francis of Asisi, Italy noted that one should preach with his or her life and use words only when necessary.

Not bad advice!

Walk the talk then, today.

Labor Day reminds us also of the importance of the fruit of our work and the virtues and strengths that make us congruent, that is, living on the outside what we already know deep inside the recesses of our heart and mind. 

Fair wages with an honest day's work coupled with the virtues of justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance amid faith, hope and charity.

There is something about the oneness and union of what we think and what we do in communion and solidarity with those we live with, the neighborhood, and the world for that matter.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pause and Prayer

Creator and Maker of All:

Our  help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

For sure, O Maker.

I need your help.

When so much fracture and division abounds as this culture finds its path anew, I implore you to assist us.

Don't enable us, however.

We need to shape up or ship out, as they say.  Don't know where, however.

All the guns blowing away people daily got to go.

And, you tell us to not kill.  And, who do we think we are to outguess you and shoot anyone?

Efforts to ignite the conversation on limits on automatic weapons failed, as you know.

No one seems to want to talk while an election year clogs this culture and wastes so much cash.

In and outside the womb, people are angry it seems and acting out.

Confict stirs almost everywhere it seems as people fight.

How do you manage this world, I wonder O God?  How?

I think of praying for you yet know that you are the Creator who needs not our prayer.

Rather, you need our faithfulness to your way, truth and life, no?

You need good fruits to flow from each of us from the youngest to the eldest.

What a wonderful world that Louis Armstrong sings still awakens me each day after my psalms are
reviewed and explored as all your feelings unfold for me.

It is a wonderful world.

Yet, we need you now, more than ever perhaps.

The urgency of the hour requires us to surrender to you now.

Help me, others to bow in faithful surrender to You.

Will you help me ask your Mother, Mary, to help.  When the young married couple ran out of wine Mary told the stewards to do whatever Jesus told them.

Maybe we could start doing whatever Jesus tell us.


So be it.

Our help is in th ename of the Lord.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Impressive and Active Outreach and Fraternal Organization

They're impressive.

And, they reach out, and, have been since 1882 when a pastor founded the fraternal society that helps a lot of people all over America, from Royal Oak to Cheboygan, Michigan, and beyond.

In fact, just the other day at least a half dozen of these men were hovering over a roasted turkey that needed carving for a benefit that Wednesday evening last week for enhancing the local school's internet program.

Cheers to them!

I thought that these guys cook and clean more than the gals did in the "old days." My mother and sisters seemed to do all the work of cooking and cleaning while I was growing up on Detroit's east side.

Sure hope the local bishop there applauds these guys for the distinguishing charity and fruit of their labor.

Not only did I witness their cooking, another group was busy mopping and waxing the floor of their hall for an upcoming wedding today, beyond that benefit I enjoyed with a full turkey dinner and ice cream also.

For the dinner they simply requested a free-will donation. 

They claim that people always give more this way than tagging a designated price for it.

Thanks to the awesome Cheboygan Knights of Columbus on M-27. For more information, or, to become a member, contact, or write me at, or (586) 777 9116.

Fruitful Christian outreach that goes unnoticed often, not that they want to be recognized.  But, affirmation goes a long way especially in the Catholic community, praise God!

Honoring the K of C some day soon with a supper like the events honoring women mushrooming across this Nation these days as the start of Vatican II fifty years ago this October is celebrated is worth setting up and scheduling for this Fall.

Anyone want to help me please?

You go guys!  Way to go again and again tirelessly doing the revered  spiritual and corporal works of mercy that Jesus spoke about as recorded in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 25 - lone marks we'll be judged by one day by the Maker, I'm told often.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friends for a Reason, A Season, A Lifetime: This Sunday's Sermon

August 26, 2012 /   Joshua 24:1-2a,15-17,18b  Ephesians 5:21-32   John 6:60-69
St. Claude Chapel, 7 pm Mass, located on Beaconsfield, north of 14 Mile Road, in Clinton Twp., MI.

Friends Who Follow, Those Who Forget, Those Who Flee From Us.

Friends for a reason.

Those for a season.

And, those for a lifetime.


Faithful and forever with fidelity in vows said and commitments chosen.

We have a few friends and many acquaintances, no?

Friends fail, flee, forget us.  Friends are human like the rest of us.

And, those who are faithful and forever are fans and followers.

Hell in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, is envisioned as a dismal town where pople dwell after crafting homes at whim.  They don't enjoy each other.  They grow apart.  Division dwells there.

In his Brittish way, Lewis tells of one resident in hell who wants to see a famous sinner.

But, all the famous sinners moved hundreds of miles away from anyone else.

Nevertheless this person figured out where Napoleon lived and spent months treking him there.

When he arrived and found him, he noticed a huge mansion flooded with light. 

Peeping in the window,  he saw Napoleon marching up and down the halls muttering:

"It was Josephine's fault.  It was Wellington's fault.  It was Lafayette's fault. . ."

Always and forever the blame game for failed, even frutifless friendship, fledgling relationships.

It can't be me! Can it be me?

Yet, grumblers finally desert and flee and forget us . . . and Jesus, in today's hard gospel about "eating my body and drinking my blood."  Go figure!

I may be among them at times.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Believers in God trust God.  Friends trust us despite seeming paradoxes, no?

The longest journey is within, warned Dag Hammershold.

It is.

Befriending God, and my friends begins within. 

Deep within my heart. There within I connect with the Creator, and, the Created friends first.

Deserters rely on themselves alone.

"Lord, to whom shall we go?" Peter asks Jesus.  "You have the words of eternal life."

Difficult dealings in relationships.  In life.  In friendships also.

Life is like that.  Ups and down, betrayal, abandonments,  twists and turns. . .consolations, desolations, blessings, even deserters who abandon us and leave us alone. 

Friends for life and those for a season or a reason only.  There are.

I rely on Jesus and trust in him the Way, Truth, Life!

My friendship with him develops deep within where all connections emerge and start. It takes time. A lot of time.

My source, resource is God.

When I depend on myself and my resources alone, I fail and fumble in fidelity, faithfulness, and friendships.  I do.

Hard sayings of Jesus remind us that we are spiritual beings who thirst and long for meaning and more.  When I have meaning and purspose I have everything.  And, I can bear most every travail and obstacle.

  Cheers.  To the Source!

To life.  To the Friend.  And, friends.  Life!  La Hayem!  La Vida! 

The Time of Our Life: Cheboygan, MI.,Wichlacz, Etc. Reunion



And, religion.

All was there in Cheboygan this week for the Wichlacz Family, Etc., Reunion August 23, 2012.

Cousins were praised in poetry and in person with countless first, second and third cousins connecting once more in an annual re-union south of Mackinaw.

With Mass in the historic St. Mary Church, they came from Northville, Michigan and more, including Warren, Reese, and Saint Clair Shores.  A group photo was taken on the steps in front of the white, wooded ediface following the service.

"Happy Birthday" was sung to Chester Wichlacz, among others with a Swiderek cake with multiple eggs, and mmmmmmmmmmm............good!  Thanks so much for that cool frosting and 82 candles!

The Everly Brothers' tune, "Mention My Name in Sheboygan," was unsung, but borrowed.

"Mention my name in Sheboygan
It's the greatest little town in the world
Just tell them you're an old friend of mine
And evey door in town will have a big welcome sign
So mention my name in Sheboygan
And if you ever get in a jam
Just mention my name, I said mention my name
But please don't tell them whre I am."

They were all there, it seemed.  A litany list long includes:

John and Carol Romanik
Andrew Romanik
Shirley Blaskowski
Father Paul Megge
Robert Vetnline
Marcy Anna and Bruce Barabas
Brenda Romanik Sangsten
Margaret Swiderek
Josephine Robydek
Steve and Francis Fay
Donna Fisher and Emma
Tony and Sue Stempky
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Muchlock
Rosemary Robydek
Dennis Cuddington
Debra Wichlacz Sluchak
Rick Swiderek
Father Joe Ortega
Georgetta Stempky Gunthoy
Ronnie Budzinski Stempky
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Stempky
Dennis and Karen Wichlacz
Phyllis and Ray Koolwick Wichlacz
and me, Fr. Ventline,, and more by helping us complete the list including those who didn't sign in with contact information please.

Debbie Sluchak and Ray Koolwick took photos.  Ray said he'll send them.
Andrew and Marcy starred in a duet on "Cousins."

Next year's reunion in the Cheboygan Knights of Columbus Hall is Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 with a noon lunch and  6 pm supper. The time of your life follows the weekend in Cheboygan. Photos of family will be copied for a DVD to show, and Memories of Gramma and Grampa will be shared.

Engaged, enjoying, conversing, sharing. . .laughing, living life fully, and more.

The time of our life!



And, religion.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rediscovering Vatican II

Welcome to the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

The newly elected Pope John XXIII had convoked the Council with the Holy Spirit, that is, "a sudden flash of inspiration" as he called it. 

On October 11, 1962, the so-called "caretaker Pope" challenged the "prophets of doom" to shake up their hope and realize that the human family and Church were embarked on "the threshold of a new era."

"What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind..." 

John the XXIII ushered in "a new day dawning on the Church, bathing her in radiant splendor.  It is yet the dawn," he shouted, "but the sun in its rising has already set our hearts aglow."

Some have concluded that the reforms of Vatican II were the start of chaos.

Some want a more tranquil time.

Yes, the "prophets of doom" were wrong.

Vatican II should have settled the personnel problem also.

It could have, but didn't address the implosion that seems to be rocking the Roman Church today as "stuff" and edifaces shutter left and right, multiple numbers at a time in dioceses across the globe.

Bankrupcy faces many.

Yet,one people of God are called to holiness, the Council proclaimed.

Hearts are set aglow.

As some hierarchs aim to turn back and ruin what Vatican II, the Spirit sends forth winds of wonder yet to be implemented.

Far more expansive and visionary documents were produced here than any of the previous Councils
with other Christians outside the Catholic Church present from 1962-65.

Liturgy, Revelation, the Church, and, the Church in the Modern World, the Laity, Religous Life, and Non-Christian Religions, and Religious Freedom.  They are all there as fruits.

We would get nowhere condemning the world, John the XXIII said.

Rather, the Church must be open to it.

After all, living organisms must grow or they will die.

Grow more, we must with "fresh air."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Time in Jail in Macomb, MI

They sang "Amazing Grace" with gusto.
A classroom full of inmates.
Fully engaged as far as I could tell, these guys seemed ready to repent and reconcile.
One of them was a lector reading the Word from St. Paul, while Psalm 53 was proclaimed by another, announcing unending trust in God.
Awesome, I thought.
Simon Peter's mother-in-law - yes,  the Rock,  he was married - was healed by Jesus.
When asked if any were sick, one hand went up.
When reminded that we're all sick, hands began to fly up all over the room filled with desks like we had in Saint Thomas School, decades ago, in fact, the last century.
What stuck out for them?
How Peter's mother-in-law "served when healed." 
How she stooped to lift life.
Many admitted of addictions in need of recovery.
One said that addicted and attachment disorder people are the "most self-centered of all."
Heads bowed in agreement.
How true, I thought.
From experience it seemed that by their own admission, 12 steppers knew they were sick because of the need to be front and center like Adam and Eve of Genesis mythology in the first book of the Word.
Some of these men embraced Twelve Step Spirituality.
Prayers of the faithful came from deep within their hearts and need.
Nothing "canned" about these prayers.
Not at all.
For a job.
To get out of jail.
For a plan.
To find toxic-free friends.
Like that, they prayed.
After reception of holy communion they gave thanks aloud.
For Eucharist, (the Greek, "eucharistan," means thanks).
For Mass.
For a roof and food.
For life.
Like that.
"Glory and Priase to God" chimed in with the jail roof raised it seemed with voices belting out "Amazing Grace."
And the Amen resounded and echoes still.  It is true.  So be it.  Verdad!
I felt like we all prayed and were in need of the Savior's healing like Simon Peter's mother-in-law.
If Sunday liturgy could be so powerful, mending, repenting, and morphing.
If. . .They filed out and thanked Bill and I for leading the service again.Grateful hearts.
When you're on all four, down and out, incarcerated like St. Paul, praises pound and poke penitratingly deep, praise God and these fine inmates.
I really felt like I went to church today.
A feeling not felt often in a "cleaned up" and anaseptic kind of environment far from in need.

Mention My Name in Cheboygan, MI

Roots run deep.

Relationships do also.

Humans need both, for sure.

"Mention my name in Cheboygan
It's the greatest little townin the world
Just tell themyou're an old friendof mine
And every door in town will have a big welcome sign
So mention my name in Cheboygan
And if you ever get in a jam
Just mention my name, I said mention my name
But pleae don't tell them where I am," sing the Everly Brothers, but with an S in Sheboygan.

Mushlock, Wichlacz, Blaskowski, Robytek, Stempky, and more.

They'll all be there in the Knights of Columbus Hall in Cheboygan this Thursday. 

Some will relish the North through Sunday, in fact.

My family pedigree takes me back to John Wichlacz who married Mary Muchlock (Musielak) in 1907.  Six years later she tragically died.  In 1914, John married Clara Muchlock, my grandmother, and Mary's younger sister.

I met and knew her as I grew up and visited the farm 20 miles south of Mackinaw Island, MI.

Marriage to in-laws was a usual practice in Poland and here at that time especially when children were growing up, according to Cecile Wendt Jensen who helped me trek my heritage and family tree online at the Orchard Lake Schools where she co-leads the Polonica Americana Research Instittue (PARI).

She used the Poznam Project devleoped by Lukasz Bielecki and valounteers around the world to locate the ancestral villages of the Musielak and Wichlacz families.  My descendents resided in German Poland, according to records online.

Both families prayed at the same parish church of Saint John the Baptist in Rozdrazew, Poland.  Microfilm shows this in Latin, Polish and German volumes from 1736 through 1912.  The local Family History Center there notes this information.

PARI is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council.  That money helped me track my journey that I should have made decades ago. 

But, better late than not at all, no?
I bet Wendt Jensen could help others trace their roots and relationships by calling her at (248) 683-0323.

I'll take this data to our family re-union when we party hearty, attend Mass and break bread Thursday.



They're all we got.

We Make Ourselves Real Telling the Truth

Trappist monk at Gethsemane, Kentucky, noted that before his unexpected death in Thailand in 1968, a year of so much tumult in this nation, and, the world

Is reality truth?

Is the unemployed father or mother of five reality and truth?

My parents and the seven of us children is a reality.

How each of us turned out is real and true and to be accepted, embraced, loved.

Of course.

This is reality.  Reality doesn't lie.  It is true.


A transgendered person at the Urban/Suburban Unity Picnic at the Detroit gem of Belle Isle August 5th was real in telling the story about change.

Homeless folks who enjoyed sitting with us and sharing the "pot luck" meal is real also.  And, true
that such humans exist in the USA.

Roots, relating are real.  Connecting is a truth to be told for all human who must, or else.
Living organisms change or die.

Humans accomodate situations.

They grow, give, forgive, give again, and forgive once more.

That's true also.

And a reality, no?

As Catholics celebrate the start of the second Vatican Council this October, fifty years ago, I'm conscious of the one, holy catholic and apostolic church, marks of the church.

Changing is another mark, it seems to me, at least.

Challenged to change, and change often, even morphing is required for meaning, reconciling, repenting, and renewing itself again and again, over and over each day.

Humans are like that.

"At present women are involved in nearly all spheres of life:  They ought to be permitted to play their part see to it that woman's specific and necessary participation in cultural life be acknowledged and fostered," notes Vatican II in its historic documents.

The reality is that living things change or die.



I think so.

We change everyday.

We accomodate the situation and realities of living in the trenches where life is experienced in its depths far from the heady halls of institutions that try to reason out of reality and change.

Strengthening Marriages in Michigan

With the support of civic leaders, clergy, among other marriage advocates issued a Macomb Community Marriage Covenant, March 6, 2009.

Efforts aim now to issue a similar policy for Oakland and Wayne Counties, Michigan.

More than 100 clergy and couples converged on Sacred Heart Church in Roseville, MI., for a "marriage summit," where they declared their support for an approach that claims to sharply reduce divorce rates.

Civic leaders, including Roseville Mayor John Chirkun, among other Macomb officials attended.

The Community Marriage Policy (CMP) for Macomb was signed by clergy and advocates of marriage from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith traditions, among others.

Its signing marked the 224th CMP in America, as a movement to reduce divorce spread across the nation.  It relies on counseling and mentoring to keep marriages intact.

It was presented to Archbishop Allen Vigneron when he reutrned from leading the diocese of Oakland, CA., to serve Detroit. He said he'd take his lead from the Michigan Catholic Conference, and, his own staff in a meeting I had with him the week of the summit.

Others were more encouraging of the covenant, however, including local Muslim and Jewish leaders.

When couples are really hurting, they finally do something and take action, hopefully. 

Some don't and everyone loses, including children and society.

The focus is on strengthening marriage. 

There is no other agenda.

As much as the media wants to distract us and go down other roads, our purpose is to support marriages in crisis, young marrieds, and those marriages that are working also.

There are seasoned marriages who can assist others.  They want to help them.
We're trying to be proactive.

Currently, 61 percent of Macomb marriages fail. 

Clearly, the rates is even more devastating in Wayne County, for example.

And, leaders want to help.

Five basic ways are proposed for couples to enhance their marital bond:

Participating in four to six months of pre-marriage preparation, led by a trained mentor couple who teach communication skills and conflict resolution.  The newlyweds would also attend at least two post-wedding mentoring sessions.

Attending an annual retreat at a local worship site.

Having volunteer couples who once faced separation or divorce themselves engage in mentoring those who are considering divorce.

Reconciling separated couples by having the departing spouse take a 12-week class that relies on a textbook called "Marriage 911."

And, creating a step-family support group for those engged in a second marriage and struggling to make the new family connections work in such merged households.

This CMP concept was hatched in 1996 by Michael McManus at

He leads a nonprofit, Marriage Savers.

He wrote tomes on the topic of marriage, and, insists that this approach can cut divorce rates in half, if not eliminate failed marriages altogether.

Data is tracked.

Places that have met with success with this policy include Austin, exas; Kansas City, Kan.; and El Paso, Texas, to mention a few.

The strategy was tried and put to the test by McManus' local church in Bethesda, Md.  It helped 288 couples over 10 years.  After counseling and mentoring, 55 couples decided not to wed.  Of the 233 who did marry, only 7 later divorced.

An independent study shows that the first 114 cities to embrace the CMP saw divorce rates fall 17 percent over 7 years.

Rabbi Mordehi Waldman, formerly of the Congregation Beth Tephilath Moses in Mt. Clemens, MI., was on hand at the signing and issuing of the Macomb CMP.

"I truly believe there should be some kind of organization that promotes the idea of reconciliation and conflict resolution," Waldman said, "rather than running to the divorce lawyers right away."

Area clergy and couples, among others, are launching this massive offensive for marriage in Wayne and Oakland Counties.

It will be proposed to the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION) today.  Rabbi Dorit Edut steers the group comprised largely of internet membership of hundreds across metropolitan Detroit.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our One Great Act of Fidelity

An anchor for many lives.

And, how people pray, how they view the world, others.

The centrality of the Eucharist (means, thanksgiving) comes to life in  this book by Ronald Rolheiser, a bestselling author of the tome called, The Holy Longing, about the spiritual life.

True intimacy with God is revelaed in the Eucharist and the saced scriptures.

Why people celebrate the Eucharist everyday unfolds here.

In a series of person reflections on the Eucharist, Father Rolheiser helps us to appreciate the healing and uniting power of it in the oneness of God's love.

Stretched across inter-faith traditions, here are told the aspirations of a committed Chrisitan for the unity and peace that are the first fruits and harvest of communion with God.

Our one great act of fidelity.

The best we have.


And, are, as Saint Augustine said:  "Make of your hands a throne to receive who you are - the Body of Christ."

We are.

We behave that way.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It's about connecting with the Creator.

Did you hear the story about the passerby who noticed the progress a resident was making as he and his wife were sprucing up their yard?

The passerby said he'd intended to stop many times to tell the landlord how wonderful it is that God's creation is looking so nice.

Well, he did stop.

And, he did tell the owner of the nicely gardened grounds, coupled with the wonder of God's love.

"Well," the groomer said, "You should have seen it when God had it!"


But, we all do our share to cooperate with the Maker in imagining ways to spruce up life, help create a job or two for the unemployed, and, stand up to speak up when a companion on the trail hurts and needs a voice.

God would be pleased, I bet, no?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Honoring Women on This Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Never have I experienced so many widely smiling women as I did at the vigil Mass of the Assumption of Mary that Catholics observe Aug. 15th each year.

As hundreds processed to receive the Eucharist at Mass (the consecrated bread wafer that becomes the Body and Blood of Christ), woman after woman, among others, smiled brightly.

What a delightful encounter.  Smiling, happy hearts!
They were so glad to be affirmed, I imagine.

Great women.

All of them.

From crowds of women, including Sister Anne Mamienski, IHM, Jo Dare of Focus:HOPE to all of the Catholic religious, and Care of the Soul and Companions who attended with the interfaith community, including Rabbi Mordehai Waldman, Rev. David Kasbow, Mohamed Abbass, and others. These tireless sisters, as we normally call them, they are leaders who founded social service outlets, orphanages, hospitals, schools, and more.

"Ave Maria's" lyrics and melody that Bob Gillenkirk sang was magnificient, participants said, as they shared conversation and food after in the lower level of the historic Roseville, Michigan edifice with the interfaith community also present.

Jewish, Christian and Islamic leaders experienced what Catholics believe and harvest in Jesus' mission they follow.

Contemplation and community were among the "tools" Servite Sister Charlotte Huetteman expressed in her reflections on the Gospel of Luke, and Mary's journey to Elizabeth.

Barbara Robinson of Saint Michael Church in Sterling Heights, MI., was the enthusiastic minister of music at Mass.

The ever energetic Marge Hallman provided hospitality with Kathy, among others.

Honoring women.

The wombs who carried us.

The tabernacles like that of Mary carrying Jesus.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Gunfight: Bearing Arms Battle

Guns were regulated, contrary to how some interpret the "right to bear arms" and limit automatic, assault weapons of mass destruction.

Laws banning carrying concealed weapons passed in 1813 in Kentucky and Louisiana, for example.

Indiana followed suit in 1820 while Virginia and Tennessee did in 1838.

Alabama followed in 1839.

Ohio got in line in 1859 also following leaders of limiting guns suffocating the soul of America.

"The mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder," noted the Texas Governor in 1893.

Getting up beyond sitting, and, standing up in solidarity to ban assault weapons and limit such weapons of mass destruction waiting to happen again soon in the next massacre in the U.S.A. is to be a patriot. To be an American wo studies history of limiting guns.

Those fighting reasonable and intelligent crafting of legislation to limit guns are hardly American.

Our story proves them wrong.

Honest study beyond superficial citizens and legislators, for that matter,  loading their aresenals is the call to order now.

Contact me at 586 777 9116, or, Macomb County Sheriff Wickersham, in Michigan, among thirty other citizens, including clergy, and my state representative Anthony Forlini, and, senator, Jack Brandenburg, Oakland County, MI.,  Sheriff Bouchard, and, Rabbi Dorit Edut, among others to re-ignite the conversation and to craft legislation now to limit gun arsenals.

I know we can't control those who may be "crazy," but we can speak up and stop the insanity related to guns.

That's before the next horror please!

Are you in?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Foreclosure Loan Assistance Program and the Gospel

Good news indeed!

Michigan Catholics for the Common Good are addressing the "thousands of homes in foreclosure in Detroit area" they claim. 

And, with the help of  (313 963 3298 or 963 3299) staff  available to meet with groups to explain.

United Community Housing Coalition is supposedly helping very low income households, especially "homeowners and elderly" in the metro area, according to a letter from Tony Kosnik.  Contributions to the UCHC and Ted Phillips were also asked for, however, to be sent to them at 220 Bagley, Suite 224, Detroit, MI. 48226.

My scouts are checking this group out.  I'll let you know how effective they are in another post.

Also, leaders from People Before Banks "told us of the tragedy of thousands of foreclosures/evictions in the State," noted the letter of the MCCG singed by Hooper and Kosnik.

Irresponsible banks were given the blame for devastated families, home devaluation, and more. The MCCG plans to pickets such abuse.  Join them at,  or, write
John Hooper, Chair, at the Michigan Catholics for the Common Good, PO Box 7064, Huntington Woods, MI 48070.

Is this Good News the Gospels call us to in assisting our struggling sisters and brothers who have a right to a roof?

I sure hope so.

We'll see.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


The pig that was roasted today in Royal Oak, MI., didn't have a good day, obviously.

Others, however did, and will.

Peter and his wife believe that.

So do I.

A pig roast and fundraiser was hosted today at the Royal Canadian on Eleven Mile, east of Woodward.

A crowd poured in after the Saturday evening Mass at nearby parishes.

The Knights of Columbus support the Mother and Unborn Baby Care.

Why not visit, or write PO BPX 3250, Southfield, MI. 48037.
A personal call may be made to Peter Riccardo at 248 286 1031, or write him at

Pregnant moms may want to touch base with them.

And, those with concerns about their baby in the womb.

Be unafraid.  Call or visit the website now.

The pig?

Well. . .I'm not sure.

Perhaps the half dozen of young adults I sat with who are from out of state will tell you.

They're visiting Michigan and on pilgrimage hosted by the Jesuits on Seven Mile where they are residing.

They admitted they read the Austrailian author, Matthew Kelly's Rediscovering Catholicism while Buzz held his baby, Francis.

Buzz got a copy from me and is going to read it and pass it on to other Knights.

That is in between his and his wife's tender moments with their baby.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pledge Intelligent and Practical Action to Overcome Poverty, Injustice, Racism

And, to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection.

Detroit Focus:HOPE'S mission statement begins:

Recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, WE PLEDGE . . .lives. . . I add,

"Living truth in love," as Paul the Apostle to the Church at Ephesus was to have said.

So . . .

Focus:HOPE's 38th annual walk is set for you, family, friends and acquainances, and me Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 12:30 p.m..

For information call 313.4944270 or to register online, visit

Follow Focus:HOPE on Facebook and Twitter at

Save the date.

Celebrating diversity since 1968 in Detroit and our metropolitan area.

Based at 1355 Oakman Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan 48238.

Walk with me.

Walk in support of life-changing ways.

Share some food, entertainment and children's activities after the walk.

Walk by "living truth in love."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"One who belongs to God, no one can defeat them"

No one can rob one of his or her joy.

One surrenders it freely alone.

That Punjabi language phrase had me humming along Wednesday night in Hidden Falls Gurdwara Sikh temple near Schoolcraft and Haggerty in  Plymouth, MI., as hundreds remembered the victims of a rampage in Oak Creek, near Milwaukee.

I lit a candle with a wide and diverse group in the parking lot recalling those murdered Sunday inside a temple during worship services.

News filled the minds and hearts of a crowd of worshippers at an interfaith Belle Isle picnic at the same time Sunday when Southfield leader, Dawud Walid of the Council of American-Islamic Relations interupted and rushed up to ask me to lead a prayer for those victims.

Anti-Sikh crimes or threats have hovered about the Sikh community since the 19th century when they arrived in the U.S.

"Since 9-11, we were the most targeted community," said Chain Singh Sandhu, chair of the Sikh Cultural Foundation of Michigan and head of an auto supply company in nearby Livonia.

But, before the vigil started with candles illumining the dark and sad, a vegetarian supper of rice, Indian flatbread, daal and vegetables, lentil soup, and water was served as I sat on the floor next to worshippers who came to mourn with the temple frequenters.

"We believe in keeping your spirts up and moving on," voiced Mandheer Singh of Rochester.

In a turban and full beard, Singh addmitted that the killer "is the one who is anti-American."
He was countering those who charge Sikhs with being against America.

A litany list of speakers, singers, and those leading prayers filled the two-hour vigil for the dead and the survivors. Grief was being processed through the black tunnel some trekked this night.

Similar common themes of the Abrahamic faiths resounded from a speaker on an overhead screen in Punjabi:  The Lord alone is worthy, and,  an anchor.  All else is futile in life. Possessions are of little value.  Life is passing, eternal.

"It's frigthening," confessed Bob Bruttell, chairman of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Detroit directing a procession of speakers expressing sympathy and grief, and  horror, and, condemning the assault, including Steve Spreitzer of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

"Hate has a corrosive effect on the entire community," added Bruttell before the crowd dispersed in the darkened skies.

Barry Ross, a local radio and TV host and community leader was among those who participated, including Eide Alawan, a leader with the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, and Andy Meisner, Oakland County treasurer, who I stood side by side with during the outside vigil. We exchanged thoughts while he smiled widely, and he had me saying, "He's a rising star."

"With what's right with America we can fix what's wrong," said Misner, quoting one of the U.S. Presidents.

When he was State Rperesentative for the Ferndale area decades ago, he led a job fair with me at St. James Catholic Church on Pearson and Woodward. In his running shoes and suit, I asked him if he jogged here.  "I did," he admitted.

No one can rob one of her or his joy.  I may only lay it down on my own.

Violence by people using guns, and, a conversaton about automatic arsenals and limits on these weapons of mass destruction needs to be re-ignited.  Macomb Sheriff Wickersham is willing to talk with citizens and clergy.  Are you in?  Stand up, speak up, and, let others simply sit and wait for the next outburst with guns in a culture that has lost its way, God help us!

As I drove back home to Harrison Township with Rabbi Dorit and her husband, Shimon Edut of Hungtington Woods, my heart swelled in sadness, repeating, "One who belongs to God, no one can defeat them."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Women and Catholic Nuns to be Honored August 14th in Roseville, MI., Sacred Heart Church

Women will be honored along with Catholic nuns Tuesday, August 14 at 5:45 pm Mass in Roseville Sacred Heart Church at 18430 Utica Road at Gratiot.

Appreciation for these very distinguished and pioneering women is important.  Jo Dare of Focus:HOPE, an honorary chair of the event steered by the Rev. Lawrence Jackson and Rev. Richard Welsh, among others, including Marge Hallman heading the reception following downstairs, with Barbara Robinson at the keyboard, and Bob Gillenkirk singing "Ave Maria," are among highlights of the event that Servite Sister Charlotte Huetteman will  reflect on the Scriptures of the vigil of the feast of the Assumption of Mary.

We enter this moment at Mass honoring women "living the truth in love," to quote St. Paul's Letter to the Church at Ephesus, Chapter 4, 15.

Sisters of St. Jospeh of the Third Order of St. Francis taught me at Saint Thomas School on Detroit's east side from the first through the twelfth grade.

Nuns founded schools, hospitals, orphanages, and more.

They are among the finest women in the world.


Smart, imaginative, in the messy trenches of life's trek, nuns are there for us daily.

They deserve our support.

The backbone of the Catholic community, they stoop low to lift life high.

We all could learn from their service. And, their imagination along with their bright beings and love of God and society.

Those also who don't lift a hand to help heal the unhealed wound of the world, and, this local metropolitan Detroit area.

Honoring women.

That's worth participating in August 14th.

Sister says:  "Be there!"

Pausing, Pondering Primary Election Day Dedicated to US Congressman Hansen Clarke

To serve, O God, help me!

Help me to be a vessel "living the truth in love," O Creator,
as noted in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4:15.

Your truth, not my version of it.  And, in love, your love rather than my take on its meaning.

To stoop low, to lift up life, inspire me.

While others may choose to sit, nudge me to stand
up to speak up for the most vulnerable needy now.

Raise me to rise with joy to shine off of the face of
others calling upon me.

And, as I call upon you  this primary election day in
Michigan, assist voters to choose well and wisely.

As the spiritually-based and distinguished
US Congressman Hansen Clarke says, so I echo:

"I pray that I do God's will and what God wants for me."

That work is in the trenches where people are hurting in this depressed
economy, or with lifestyles they can no longer afford and think
they can.

Keep me there. 

In the trenches serving well and wonderfully in your name, O Maker!

Lift up leaders who love justice, fortitude, temperance and prudence,
along with the other virtues, or interior strenths of faith, hope and

May the mission, God, of all elected be of your mind, Maker, to
live justly, walk humbly and love tenderly today and all the days of
their service to citizens, with power to the people.  Your power, God!

Your saving grace, favor and blessing on all!
Help the elected to pause and ponder often not simply when they want to

Lift all authority, and, the respect Americans are called to have for all

May all have the courtliness and courtesy of the Twelfth Century Saint Francis who said to preach with our lives and use words only when necesssary. 

Wow!  Less words, more truth, action, witness of your love, God, for all!

I ask all of this for our help is in the name of the Lord, who made
heaven and earth!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Melt Mt. Clemens, Harrison Township, More Into Macomb County


Now that election day will bring out a few who will support local millages and money for specific services for my Harrison Township and Mt. Clemens, for example.

What if Macomb County was the "seat" of the governance of Mt. Clemens, Harrison Township, and, even Clinton Township at that proposed building for the grand salary of the county executive?

Imagine the overhead and others savings on fire, police, and more that would merge into Macomb County. 

Sure, current city and township leaders would revolt!

Their jobs are at stake.

Look at Pontiac, MI., and the Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard overseeing that historic City's finest police?

How much is Pontiac now saving with the County overseeing the police service, and more.

Of course  this needs to come to fruition now! In pressed economies people press for saving cash.

Territorialism triumphs, however.

Each town wants its own independence. We don't want the County dictating to Harrison, do we?

Sounds like the break of our so-called founders from the Brits and chasing the natives out.

Or, the territory now called Detroit's with residents fleeing when it was "founded, or, invaded, or . . .

Imagine that. . .

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trappist Thomas Merton on the Real and False Selves

I am a spiritual being with a body, flesh, matter.

And, my true self is the real self beyond the mask, the false self.

I love this reality Merton points out.

Merton is buried in Kentucky at Gethsemane Retreat House where he lived. 

That is my special place for a time to connect again more deeply with God, and, in turn with others through reflection, perspective, and renewed aim for the abundant and full life,  Jesus invites for me.

At the center of Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton's spirituality, is his view of our real and false selves.

The work Merton did to bridge the East and West is real today even after his unfortunate date by a supposed electric fire from a floor fan on pilgrimage in Asia in 1968.

Our false selves are the identities we cultivate in order to function in society with pride and self-possession.

Our real selves, however, are a deep religious mystery, known to God in full alone.

What we inhabit, our culture, cultivates the false self and ignores the real self.

The irony of human existence rests here. 

That is, the more I make of myself, for example, the less I exist.

For Merton, sin, missing the mark, conscious alienation from God and creation, emerges from my false self.  That's the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires.

That's the life of self-absorption.  It's the Adam and Even complex.

It's when I want to be the center of the world, or, worse, think I am!

All else in life is ordered around me. 

As with Adam and Eve of Genesis.

I wind experiences around myself and cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I  an invisibile body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface, notes Merton.

My vulnerable self is not my true identity, acording to Merton.  That's our mask, the false self.

Let go of the ego, and, the true self shows itself.


Being one's true self matters.

Masks, the false self, is for Halloween 365 days a week.
Trick or treat?

Be your true self.

Enough of the masks and false self.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Della Reese's Song

A life in song.

It's all gravy and goodness, admits Della Reese, at a wise 81, the singer-actress reminds in "Della Reese: My Life in Song."

The "Touched by an Angel" star shines strong in song, and more with music to light up lives.

How the bad of life turned to good, quips Reese, who rises and rides us through her roller-coaster ride of the good, the bad, the ugly, and, all of it planned by the awesome Providence of God.

Don't you Know
The Classic Della
Chico and the Man  and   .  .  . you star in it all with Della.

They are all there to cozy up in your favorite chair and remote TV to watch her tale of wonder, tale so true.

Amazing grace.
A wonderful place to be without worrying about  another job.

Europe envies her.

And, Spain more so with its 25% unemployment rate.

My dad always told me to get a "real job."

Work can be found.

There's plenty to fix in this world.  Sure thing!

Broken this and broken that. . . fractured folks all around.  Bombings, brusing, breaking . . .

Heal, give hope. . .

Even in desperation, never panic, but believe and be about finding a way to help someone and all else will follow.

Trust me.  Or trust Della. 

But, always trust God.

An amazing song in life.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Soccer, Assault Weapons, Respect for Life

Jeff, my nephew, asked if I'd come watch him and his team of mostly Chaldean young adults play soccer Thursday night.

My twin sister, Patti, and I decided to honor the request.

While we watched vibrant players zoom here, whack the ball from one head to another, and, eventually witness scoring in the net, current affairs emerged.

Like assault weapons.

Would re-igniting the conversation to ban assault weapons that can trigger multiple bullets to spray away human life work, someone of the adults I stood by with, asked.

Criminals will get what they want, one guy said firmly.

Igniting the conversation would be useless, another asked?

I think so, a third said.

Surprise shocked me that people think that arming ourselves to the teeth, so to speak, is the answer to this senseless out of control gun mess we're mired in now.

And, we're waiting for the next massacre and the usual rite of the U.S. President heading to the scene of the crime, offering comfort, and seeming little hope for bans on arsenals of guns like that carried by James Holmes, the bright doctoral student, who secured much of his supply online in the theatre in Colorado.

How did this happen?

Who checked?  How did he get clearance? Wasn't he under a psychiatrist's care?

Did the system goof again and give him the guns that murdered 12, injuring three times as many?

Japan has few murders each years, reports show.

Their laws forbid citizens to carry guns, it's reported.

The second amendment doesn't allow us to arm ourselves with such horrific weapons of mass destruction. The right to bear arms is subject to interpetation and contextualization like pastors and biblical scholars discern.

People allow citizens to arm themselves.  More and more seem to think that one has to have assualt weapons to defend self in this crazy culture of guns today. 

And, those with common sense, just shake their heads in disbelief at we watch where this nation I love is heading with its National Rifle Association, big money, and business is driving these death machines triggered by so-called human beings in the escalating massacres in this land of the free, and home of the brave.

God help us.

My nephew's team lost the soccer game. I enjoyed watching and conversing, nevertheless.

But, to think that some say guns shouldn't be more restricted?

Go figure.

That's scary.

Especially, in a uniquely crazy U.S. culture where tempers, drugs and alcohol are a toxic mix waiting to explode in the barrel of a gun.  At you.  Or, me!

The next massacre is waiting to be hatched.

And, the rite is repeated, believe me.

It will be until another solution to this maddening gun craze is applied.  The solution has to be different, however, and who is leading, or, at leat stirring the conversation?

I'll join you.

Let's talk with the crafters of legislation now.  In time, at least, before the next horror hits home.