Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vietnam War Changed Me: Peacemaking Is the Lone Way

The Vietnam War, the American War, the Second Indochina War from 1959-75 changed me.

That war killed my brother on February 18, 1968. PFC Lukas Ventline, 23, was among more than 58,000 other Americans killed, let alone the wounded, and, so many more noncombatants.

Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of the Parish Peace Accords to declare a cease fire, U.S. personnel were withdrawn wihin sixty days, and American prisoners of war were released in as many days.

It slipped by unnocticed this past Sunday, I imagine, by most Americans.

But, trauma that hits home has a way of waking one up.  It awakened me to the truth that war is not the answer. 

Truth is like that.  It has to be paid attention. 

It grows like it did for Father George Zabelka, the chaplain who blessed the Hiroshima bomb. He regretted blessing that bomb.  That truth awakened him to Jesus' plea to love one's enemies.  Zabelka didn't get that message earlier. 

Love is the answer.  War is not.

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, named a bishop in Detroit, MI., in 1968, is in Vietnam currently through Friday marking the anniversary there.

He is a remarkable human being and follower of Jesus.

Only a profound conversion can prevent war by all of us.

Leaders in the front will cause peace to reign.  Yet, they refuse.

Gumbleton is a pacifist pastor who was born in 1920 in Detroit. 

He was challenged by priests in the peace movement to conclude that the Vietnam War was wrong.

It was.

Gumbleton, now in his early 80s, says the the Gospels cry out to us for peace.

They do.

He knows.

Gumbleton is a student of the Scriptures.  He prays them,  and, reads them regularly, daily, as much as he swims daily to maintain wellness and stay slim.

He cites Nelson Mandela and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as models of peace.

Mandela morphed from a violent revolutionary and emerged from prison as a mended man who said he had to forgive those who imprisoned him.  Otherwise, admitted Mandela,  he would still be imprisoned in his own heart.

Love is nonviolence.

It can change the world.

That may sound crazy and have people calling pacifist pastor's like Gumbleton, among others, crazy also. 

Yet, nonviolence is the radical thought of Jesus.

The 1983 U.S. Catholic Bishops' Challenge to Peace condemned nuclear war, and, having and using them.

A disciple of Jesus and Pope John the XXIII's Vatican II -- a revolutionary council of worldwide bishops from '62-65 -- Thomas Gumbleton was a canon law student in Rome at that time.

A peace-making man since then, he's spoken up for human rights among all, including gays, and more.  He founded Pax Christi, USA, and was president of Bread for the World, a Christian citizens movement to press for legislation to feed the hungry.

We were in El Salvador together in the late '80s.  He met with leaders in that civil strife in efforts to stop the violence.  Jesuit priests and their aides were murdered in the dark of night a few days after we left.

Vietnam changed me  mostly, however.  I could never view enough movies on Vietnam to address my unhealed wound, and, the haunting demise of my oldest brother.

Gumbleton treks across the globe working for peace.

His homilies are posted at http://www.nathcath.org.

He returns Friday from Vietnam.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


It finds us.

Truth is like that.

Over time, truth emerges and I have to faithfully follow it.

That was true for Ghandi.

For George Zabelka, the Catholic chaplain, who blessed the bomb blasting Hiroshima, also.

Over time, the truth discovered him and Jesus' mandate to love enemies was clear to him and his trek.

It was as though Zabelka heard for the first time that call of the Lord.

He had to change.

He followed the truth.

Lessons in life are like that.

For Restless Heart, a movie about Saint Augustine, truth about Christianity emerged from his mother's prayers, and his conversion from his false beliefs.

Truth sets one free.

It does.

How we need it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

This Sunday's Sermon

When I least expect them, they're there.

And, little did I think that she or he would make all the difference in the world.

Only thing is, I took her or him for granted.

You got to be kidding, I'd say, who does he think he is?

Unique, different for sure, unassuming, even considered to small for life's challenges.

So . . .

I remember playing football in high school on Detroit's east side. 

Because I wanted to be included and part of the popular group of guys, I decided to attend regular practices.  Even though I missed much of the summer's double sessions because I needed to work at the ice cream parlor, and scrub grace markers for Fred Shultz who was across from Forest Lawn Cemetary on Van Dyke near McNichols, and, rigth next store to the soda jerk job, it was all convenient.

The scrubbing of marker's job was a hand-me-down from my oldest brother who died in Vietnam later in 1968.  Butch outgrew that job and now worked at the Jefferson Chrysler Plant near downtown Detroit.

We were up for a championship game one year, I recall.

Or, were we?

We beat every team in the league.

But, we'd have to beat the same team we played twice and won, for the crown.

The coach reminded us to practice hard and often.

Don't take that team for granted, he warned.

Well, we did.

And, were the coaches and his aides, upset with us.

And, with the refererees.

Both coaches were thrown out of the game after angrily challenging the ref.

And, the youngest assistant took charge.  He had to.

Who does he think he is, one player asked.

Press them, he shouted.

My team refused his direction.

At first, we complied. 

Later, we let up.

And, lost by a few points.

Decades later I'm still haunted:  Don't take any prophet for granted.

Listen up!

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Give me chastity and continence, but not yet." Augustine of Hippo, Africa

"You have made us to Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

Augustine's classic Confessions, is a love song to God who was always closer to him than his own heartbeat.

This complex saint and doctor of the church (354-430) is largely responsible for defining the theology of original sin, and orthodoxy. 

His mother, Monica, prayed for his conversion for a long time.

Augustine is a significant figure in the history of Christian spirituality, according to author, Robert Ellsberg in his, All Saints.

Now, "Restless Heart - the Confessions of Augustine, is showing, January 26 at 7 pm,  and January 27 at 5 pm in the AMC Star Gratiot Theatre, 35705 Gratiot (north of 15 Mile) in Clinton Township, MI.

Tickets are $10.  (313) 407 2284.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"The Measure of Love Is to Love Without Measure"

Among the great human beings, who called for conversion, holiness, and morphing until his death in 1622, was Francis de Sales.

According to Robert Ellsberg's ALL SAINTS:DAILY REFLECTIONS ON SAINTS, PROPHETS, AND WITNESSES FOR OUR TIME, St. Francis de Sales was a spiritual director and bishop who called for moderation and charity as a way to restore church vitality.

He earned a doctorate in law but chose to be a priest over a lawyer.

His feast day is celebrated today the world over in the Catholic Church.

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE, a manual of devotions, is a classic book on spirituality that de Sales wrote.

His was a life of poverty and exceptional ways, founding an Order of the Visitation  with a widow, Jeanne de Chantal as first superior.

He relied on alms and served Geneva from 1602 as a bishop.

During this season called, Ordinary Time, in the life of the Church, the Scriptures proclaimed at daily Mass and on Sunday are about the public ministry of Jesus.  The call of his disciples, his intimate followers, is announced also in the Bible.

Doing ordinary things with love is what holiness calls Christians to be about each day.  Simply that.
Nothing extraordinary is required but charity.

Loving God with one's entire heart and being, however, is required of saints, and, the faithful like ourselves.

We are called to be holy in the ordinary, mundane living each day at home, at work, at school, and, at play. 

Marks of holiness and baptismal ministry include humility, tranquility, and, an ability to "let go" of attachments, causes, and more, that derail one from holiness. 

Holiness aims for union with God.

Seeking God's Will in all things to follow the Creator is a clarion call today.

It is possible.

Keeping one's eyes on Christ will steer one home.

Saint Francis de Sales did it amid having so much, being so learned, yet, so saintly living in poverty.

Saints challenge us to do as much.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."   Psalm 139.14

This living temple, this shell, skeleton and soul encased by God and wrapped in divince favor, grace, and, a blessing to be.

In and outside the womb of my mother.

From the start.

From the get go!  Even before, the prophet, Jeremiah, notes.  Before I formed you, I knew you!

At the origins of birth, and before.

People debate about at what point there's life.

It's all life.

Always life. Pure Love.  Divine being. A little less than an angel!

But, what's known well, is that that DNA is marked by a Creator from time immemorial.


Life budding at the beginning.


Awesomely here, or, in the womb made by God.

Standing before or swimming in mom's womb tied to a life-giving cord that feeds, fuels me for life and faith outside, soon.

Wonderfully made.

For physicians to cause no harm.  To let life live.  To do all she or he can do to preserve life.


Wonder-filled me.


Others made in God's image in and outside the womb.

Imagine that, and, get your arms around this fact, this fruitful and abundant life emerging from a DNA that must have come from the Maker from before marked and measured time as we know , created it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dear Mr. President

Congratulations, Mr. President!

As head of the free world, your efforts to win the White House are commendable.

And, your leadership.

Thanks for steering my good ole USA!

With your latest grassroots organizing for action thrust, I hope you will incude Americans in the issues affecting us, and, the least among us.

Everyday, the unemployed are desperate.

Crime and violence surrounds a fearful people.

Drug dealers and addictions thrive amid a culture of violence, unemployment, family fracture, and more.

Our quality of life and security seems to struggle as discipline and integrity wane, it seems.

While we take life into our own hands, controlling its start and finish, experimenting with it, and, reducing its worth daily, I hope you will lead.

Does much of the fragility of life today stem from life inside the womb, Mr. President?

And, even though abortion-rights activists won an epic victory four decades ago with Roe v. Wade, they've been losing ever since, reports show.

Guttmacher, for example, notes a steady drop in the overall abortion rate to about 20 per 1,000 in 2008, from 30 per 1,000 mothers with a baby in their womb from ages 15 to 44 in 1981.

Fewer physicians seem willing to cause more harm these days.  Most Americans oppose that violent and horrific procedure these days.  No one seems to want to ever need such surgery.

Is one "pro-choice" to decide on wearing car seat belts?

In 1989 and 1998, the New York Times showed a shift from general acceptance of legalized abortion in the US.

Since 1973, on this day, millions of friends of life have gathered in the nation's capital to witness their respect for human life in and outside the womb.

One day this battle will triumph for the heart and soul of America.

It's a long journey home, however, for this civil rights issue, for the voiceless, vulnerable ones in the womb. 

Will you walk in the struggle for justice with those who march for life this day?

Equality in and outside the womb is vital to this nation's foundation.

Family is fragile, yet, with your lead, it can be firmer for all of us limping along step by step like in Selma, and, elsewhere. 

As in other struggles, light was at the end of the tunnel, and, will be for all youngsters, like we were not so long ago,  at the end of the birth canal again, soon.

And, Americans will continue to walk with these parents and their babies, and, raise them up.

Each separate step inches toward morphed and mending ways to "free at last" those held hostage in the tabernacle and sanctuary of their mother's wombs. 

Will you listen to women with babies in their wombs? 

Will you call a summit?
Will you walk with them in their struggle to choose life?

Will you find out why they're in the situation they are?

Will you help us help walk with them and their babies to see daylight?

That's what Americans do, don't we?

We stand with, struggle with, and walk with women and men.

After all, it does take a village to raise a family in and outside the womb.

Always has.

But, something has happened recently in our cutlure.

Individualism has taken over for many, as you noted so well in your Inaugural Address.

Will you, Mr. President?  Will you continue to press for the common good, what you started, what you said so well after your Oath of Office was administered?

Perhaps, our collective solidarity beyond the soul's strangling individualism these days, will see us through a new and noble nation under God once more.

In turn, a quality of life and security for all, will be retrieved, in and outside mom's womb.

For veterans, and senior citizens, for immigrants, and those devoted to climate change concerns, and children wondering how safe they are on the way to school in Detroit, Flint, and Roseville, and criminals who will take notice, and, think twice before committing violent acts.

With your  heightneing restrictions on guns here in the home of the free and land of the brave, will you add more of the same to limiting abortions?

Will you?

Life's quality and sanctity are at state, you know.

A nation enveloped in fear since 9/11 is failing in confidence, courage, and passion.

Imagining ways to win the day for all merits your time and mine, coupled with that of our citizenry.

I'm grateful to you for listening.

And, for the personal and professional struggles of your Office that you've overcome collectively for the common good.

You are in my daily prayers and Mass for discernment in your daunting and unenviable task, Mr. President. Stand tall.  And, walk with all of us, will you?

                                                Sincerely Yours,

                                                Reverend Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min.
                                                Director, Care of the Soul and Companions Counseling,
                                                The All Faiths Festival (AFF) of Metropolitan Detroit,
                                                Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
                                                18430 Utica Road
                                                Roseville, Michigan 48066
                                                (586) 777 9116,  Ext. 2

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Doping, Denying and Duplicity

The truth sets one free.

That sage advice comes from Jesus in the Christian srciptures.

After years of denying any doping, Lance Armstrong's life of duplicity was face with Oprah Winfrey.

With lesss than a month before Catholics, among others, start the penitential season of 40 days of intense prayer, fasting and almsgiving - pillars of Lent - these events of this cyclist came to mind.

Mardi Gras also emerged.

European celebrations of carnivals brought about this practice.

People don't know who one is when a mask is put on to one's face.

Taking off the masks one wears is the best policy.

Being true to who one is allows one to live in the true self beyond the false, fake self.

Denial of addictive behavior, lies, deceit and duplicity only traps one deeper into her or his ways.

People seem so willing to forgive.

Countless times, the Good Book, invites people to forgive one another.

Releasing the toxin of sin is the way out of doping, denying and duplicity.

"The truth will set you free,"  Jesus was to have said when he walked the earth in his distinguished and divine ministry.

He's always right.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When A Friend Is Sick in the Hospital

Over a week ago last Thursday, a friends of mine, was rushed to the hospital.

Tests finally determined a growth on his spine fill of bacteria infiltrating his system, he reported to me earlier today on the phone.

Surgery is an option.

But, his own physician was to see him today.

Other ways of treating and dissolving the problem with medicine are being explored amid the antibiotics pervading his his body since his arrival in intensive care where he remains.

Attempting to avoid the clinical side, we talked about his attitude, and the predicament that requires prayer for healing, for sure.

After a blessing over him the other day, I left the West Bloomfield, Michigan hospital.

When I was in my car another prayer was said.

Life is fragile.

One just never knows.

Upon retirement recently, this pastor was relishing his seven decades of life now.  He was free from administrative duties.  Months later he waits, wonders, and, hopes for healing of his temple that prayer will bring with the healing hands of his caregivers.

Our Lady of the sick, pray for us!

A Drum Major for What is Right, Ring Out Justice

Be a drum major.

Drum out justice, doing what is right, ring out together, free at last, thank God, we're free at last!

And, let freedom ring along with being a drum major for justice.  For right's sake. For violent-free living.

Mark's Gospel f the Good Book, chapter 10:35-45, regarding the ambition of James and John, the beloved of Jesus, was on the heart and mind of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Death was nearing for him.

The civil rights leader was writing his last sermon on service, "The Drum Major Instinct."

King eulogized about what he'd like said at his funeral in 1968 at 39 years of age.

"Tell them not to talk too long...I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others...tried to love somebody...tried to be right on the war question...tried to feed the hungry...that I tried to love and serve humanity."

Yes, sir!

A drum major for peace.

Be it!

Better we do as he did, work as he tried, struggle to stand up when others sit or simply speak or sing or say little for life.  Simply serve.

Ring out service. 

Stand up.


Sit little.  Talk less.  Act always.

Use words only when necessary.

And, let your being and body, limbs and life serve peace.

Six adults and 20 small children in Newtown, CT., were belted with bullets bought by a woman who was preparing to defend herself in battle. 

Yet, looking outside herself for the enemy, pointed to the enemy and conflict within her own soul.

Violence is like that. It brews inside us.  It stews.  And, it boils over in anger, in guns, in death of little ones, innocent ones, loved ones.

That's why peace is the way for you and me.

All of us.

Unless I have a gun, I can't kill.  Everyone knows that, including the NRA with their clever slogans to keep buying arsenals of guns.

Defending myself, ourselves on the outside with weapons of mass destruction, suggests what's going on in the inside, no?

Building an arsenal to protect myself from others shows troubled selves like that conflicted mother whose own son seemed to need to defend himself while wounded and hurt inside.

Obsessed with guns herself, and "her preoccupation with being armed and its role in her own demise may be a metaphor for the entire country," notes Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister.

God help us.

Be a drum major for peace Monday and the next day.


Lift up this nation, and, heal its woundedness for King's sake.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fiddler's Tradition!


Fiddler on the Roof's melody marks my memory about this savored, cherished and revered tradition.

Who else leads on traditions besides the stage players in Fiddler?

Are slogans real?  Does "liberal" squeeze out any room for tradition?

Is much of the culture selfish as pundits chime in?  Is the traditional way my family of nine was raised dubbed as less than adequate these days?

If so, why?

I know the culture is a busy one. I tire of hearing how busy people are zooming in this Internet buzz.

Almost everyone I talk with seems to suggest that she or he is "too busy to get together."

Go figure.

Too much to do to be family also?

Makes me wonder.

So much going that I don't know my neighbors driving out of their attached garage in the condominium next door?  And, prefer it that way, they say, and imply often!

So busy!

With seven children and four in diapers when they were cloth, I never heard my parents say that they were "too busy."

Must be a new fad.

At least, a more recent fad, attachment, addictive disorder, in fact, interfering with family's well functioning.

Furthermore, my parents didn't have all the gadgets, microwaves, and high-tech toys that vowed to give us more time together.

And, we wonder about family fracturing.

I have to wonder why when the foundation of society is crumbling before our eyes.

Some yawn.  Others are too busy to be aware and take notice of this epidemic today.

Who will lead with altruistic, common good values and virtues these days?


And, if not you, why not?

If not now, when?

Monday, January 14, 2013

His, Hers, Theirs

His, Hers, Theirs

When my cousin wondered why I didn't remember all the names of my dad's merged families, I thought of marriage, and more.

My parents, both from northern Michigan towns, gave birth to seven of us, including two sets of twins.

That meant there were four infants in cloth diapers before the debut of throw-away plastic ones.  Only years apart, my parents had their hands full. 

Yet, I never heard they were "too busy" to make visits to relatives, and, to have family relatives over for dinner, and such.

Marriage was their vocation.

They supported and encouarged whatever their children wanted to end up doing as a career, or, a vocation, a calling.

Pastors at my home church impressed me with how they helped people in pastoral care, hospital visits, calls to the jails, home visitations, and the like.

Pusuing priesthood was my aim after high school.

I wanted to study medicine but the Maker had other plans.

In trust, I followed that call after long periods of discernment with people I knew.

Some encouraged me, while others said, it would be a lonely life.

The ideals are respected by me as an ordained pastor today.

I relish serving the vulnerable, those in crisis, addicted, and others while leading Mass, our
worship time daily and on Sundays.

Healing is mending and more. 

It's a joy to witness people heal up from image issues to attachment disorders that Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, Spain, addressed in the consolation and desolation of life's trek.

These mystics, head over heel in love with God, emerged with spiritual solutions to problems long before the advent of psychiatry.

Vocations do a world of good, including sacraments Catholics call baptism, eucharist, confirmation, reconciliation, martrimony, ordination, and, anointing of the sick (formerly extreme unction when one was dying).

Serving as a priest, like life's roller-coaster ride, has its ups and down.  Life is like that.

For the most part, I savor having served for thirty-seven years, and sixty-three as a baptized believer.

Thank God for holy matrimony.  I would not be ordained today without it.

If you're curious and discerning a vocation, give a call to the Reverend Tim Birney at the Archdiocese of Detroit at (313) 237 5800, or, chat with a religious, a brother, a sister, a nun, a married person, a single, a priest, among others who attract you by their career, or holiness of life.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Everyone desires to belong.

To belong somewhere, to someplace, to someone even.

It's a human need to belong.

Like community.

Like home, household, family.


Catholics believe that baptism marks one with the sense of belonging to the Creator, to family, parents, neighborhood, community, and church.

Imagine that.

Water and the Holy Spirit with the sign of the cross + makes one a member of the Body of Christ.

Parents stand in for infants who are baptized.

They always have.

Parents, the primary formators for their children's faith, speak for their children until they turn the legal age.

Yet, a parent's role is to help a child walk, walk away, and come home again, and connect.

Growth is like that, isn't it?

Baptism is a sacrament of belonging, membership in the body of Christ, in a community called Church.


Commitment to Jesus Christ.

Those dues are the price of being a disciple, a follower.

Otherwise, the ritual pouring of water with the Holy Spirit may be a empty gesture
without the ardor and enthusiasm required of believers.

Pour it on.

What a wonderful sacrament.

My own Godmother, Leona, from my dad's side of the family, and, Godfather, Uncle Lawrence, from mom's side of the family, took their role as Godparents seriously.

They did.

The helped mentor long with my mother and father.

A beautiful journey in the faith.

How could I be without baptism?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brother Lawrence (1611 -1691) January 11th

Nicholas Herman was born in Lorraine, France. 

Later, he assumed the name, Brother Lawrence, in Paris, in a Carmelite monastery.

His daily chores and mundane duties were done for God's sake as each task morphed into an opportunity for prayer, for connecting with the Creator.

He served briefly in the army and had little formal education.

One day while staring at a barren winter tree, he saw the Maker's providence, favor, blessings on people, and more. He morphed.

Today is his feast day on some calendars. 

Brother Lawrence integrated spirituality and work, calling it the "practice of the presence of God."

On January 12, 1948, Mohandas Gandhi started a final, fruitful fast in New Delhi.  It was an attempt to convince Muslims and Hindus there to aim for peace.

How refreshing in this culture of violence.

Gandhi reportedly read the sermon on the mount of Jesus most days.  He believed that it was far more mighty than the empire that occupied his native India, and, the enmity that divided Muslims and Hindus.

Jesus fasted often in the wilderness as he prayed alone.  Peace is borne of fasting and prayer.  It is the lone recipe to rid the world of evil, it seems, along with all faith traditions in submission on our knees to rid these times of people's cruel inhumanity toward one another, and, especially against the least, and innocent among us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fraught with Fear and Pressed Under the Gun in This Nation

Since 9/11, Americans have wrapped themselves in fear.

So much of it.

And, it freezes us in our steps. 

It keeps people from moving ahead, healing, recovering, reaching out.

People close in on themselves with fear.

We're under the gun also.

We worry about the next massacre.

Sunday night, after a service at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on Woodward, I headed south
toward downtown Detroit to a coney for my passenger.

When we emerged from my car, gunshots rang out in succession.

I ignored them.

So did Dennis who I was with at the time.

Fear paralyzes people.

And, when we're under the gun, how will we ever move forward?

How will we care for each other?

Alienation and separation will heighten.

Will distrust reign and steer indifference?

We are in a bind.

Only imagination to stop the violence will bring a quality of life and security that sets us free from fear.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Violence Epidemic and Facing Faith in the Future Offensive

Here we go again.

The epidemic of violence.

How will leaders imagine a way out of it?

Is there a will?

This moral issue merits mounting support from interfaith clergy.

Anyone who meets the Jesus of Christians, meets Judaism.

After all, the Jews are the people of the Old Covenant, the Hebrew Scriptures, who were never retracted by the Creator.

And, after a miliant Hindu nationalist shot down Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, George Bernanrd Shaw, said: "It shows how dangerous it is to be too good."

With a will to win the battle over a violent culture on the backs of our youth, evergreen hope heralds and assures of a universal moral law written on the human heart.

It does.

Will we engage to get the job done now, or, only follow a trail of blood in the next carnage of weapons of mass destruction with the usual rites of passage, the yawns, the indifference?

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Moses Anderson, Society of Saint Edmund, Detroit Pastor

Eternal rest grant unto Moses Anderson, O Lord, and, let perpetual light shine upon him!

Back in 1981 Bishop Anderson was quick to write a check to the soup kitchen when he visited at Saint Christine Catholic Church in Brightmoor, on Detroit's northwest side at Fenkell near Lahser Roads where the Monsginor Clement Kern Center, and the Bishop Dale Melczek Hall, and two-family home and office I resided in then, remains active today.

A generous heart.

An enlarged heart of God for people everywhere from Precious Blood Church where he was a pastor, to Ghana in Africa, to Livonia, and beyond.

With a huge hand, a hearty grip, and an embrace of a loving shepherd, Moses, came to Michigan from Alabama where he was a professor and a pastor who was cleaning the floor where he lived, when he was called to the order of bishop.

Although he seemed to keep a very low profile, when he spoke up, when he still shadowed chief shepherds here, his song and soul and spirit sounded loudly.  His melodies and music rang out tunes and hymns that engaged others with his deep, personal relationship with Jesus.

Out loud, and away from his Detroit diocese, out-of-state, he spoke up as he felt that America was back-peddling when it came to race relations that remain raw today.

How much more people wanted from this civil rights leader.

Perhaps, left unencouraged, to voice the clarion call to justice, he quietly ministered without much drama.

His generous giving of himself will be remembered most by me. 

When we visited weeks ago, he seemed content, at peace, and full of eight decades of life, of love.

A delightful smile, and, a presence that was attentive, Moses Anderson, a man of God, will be missed.

His mark for Jesus lives on always, I trust, I pray.

I am gladdened by his life that touched so many others, and, mine in the City of Detroit.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth!

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Skipping Easter March 31, 2013

What would it be like to skip Easter?

I plan to do just that.

With that in mind, a record of encountering the idea, skipping Easter, will give way to a manuscript.

Move over, Skipping Christmas!

Off to Easter Island this year, instead.

Skip Easter here at home.

Why not?

Does this include Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40day penitential period? 

I don't know yet.

Skipping Easter may be hard enough.


I wonder who has been to Easter Island, that Hawaii-like plush, pastoral place that few vacation at?

We'll want to take the family to Disney first on Easter Sunday.

Sounds like a plan, or a plot emerging, no?

Skipping Easter.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Hundreds of cars followed the body of Rabbi Irwin Groner Tuesday out of the lot at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on to Bell Road in Southfield, Michigan, where the wise, gentle scholar was rabbi since 1959.

Although death has silenced him, his book of sermons, his stories, his truths rise everywhere now with a clarion call. Awakening usually follows a death. A rise in one's sermons, sayings, stories, and more.

This quality kind of a man was indeed a gentle man, as his surviving wife asserted.

Rabbi Groner's, Renewing Jewish Faith, is full of values, wisdom and insight.

It is firmly about one's future, forgiveness, family, and more.

When visiting him at a conference, Rabbi Groner readily engaged me.

I forget what interfaith project we were discussing, but his interest, and, that of Rabbi Jospeh Krakoff, was riviting.  Enthusiasm filled both men of God as we talked.

Integrity flowed forth from Groner.

Perhaps it was about a marriage covenant that we met.  That covenant would interest most rabbis.  Family is like that.

An older brother in the family has died.

I'm grateful for his enthusiasm (from the Greek, meaning, "God within").

As the procession headed to the cemetary, a litany of reminders and remembrances followed me.
They all emerged as readily as fresh, revitalizing water flowing overhead in a shower.

Rabbi Groner showered his synagogue, among others, with living waters.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O God.

Skipping Easter

I am.

Now, why would someone skip Easter March 31, 2013?


I don't want to deal with the tension, the bunnies, the markets, cooking, and the Easter parade again.

I'm skipping Easter.

That's the title of my latest tome to be out before Easter.

Falls and rises.

That's the subtitle.

Since Easter is taken for granted, skipping it once, will help me appreciate its importance for me.

I think I take for granted the suffering, dying and rising that is the paschal mystery, the package we boy into at baptism as believers.

Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday are a major retreat for every parish.
Yet, it seems that few parishes encourage parishioners to observe a retreat based on the themes of these most holy days.

Watch for my reasons.

Why I'm skipping Easter this year - this is exciting, at least for me.

I'll have plenty of time on my hands, furthermore.

Who needs Easter?

Skip it for once.

Will you?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Father Time Debuts With Chance for Blessings

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

May God's face shine upon you and be gracious to you!

May the Maker fill you with peace in 2013!

=== Eternal rest grant unto Rabbi Groner of Southfield, MI.===

Before meals together, or alone,  at home:


Bless us O Lord, and, these your gifts which we are about to receive from your bounty (through Chrst, Our Lord).  Amen.