Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Father Prus on Personal Prayer, and, on Being Polish

Edward Prus is into his eighth decade of life.

This Catholic priest smiles widely while he tells a couple of dozen of participants, including Jewish, Christians, and Muslims, of how he prays.

From River Rouge, MI., Father Prus, a retired priest who spent years in Recife, Brazil, tells of how he grew up learning to pray formal prayers at his bedside, and, with his parents.

Walking daily through the streets of Ferndale, Ed recites the rosary prayers, while one resident, for example, wondered if he lost his dog.

"You never know," the pastor says.

Prus tells of how he grew up Polish, proud, and confident about God.  He speaks of being a pastor who never though he'd make it through the seminary that taught only in Latin.  "I made it; they didn't kick me out," he announced with pride.

"People want to be independent these days  but they long for connections which is what prayer is all about," he believes. "Prayer is communion with God."

How his prayer evolved over his rich and long life had rabbis, imams, and other clergy listening at the iconic Detroit Focus:HOPE, April 29th, that Fr. Cunningham founded in 1968 after the riot. 

These clergy, and their supporters aim to stand with Detroit, and, to follow the mandate of Jesus, to love your neighbor as your self.

They'll walk with thousands of others on Sunday, Oct. 13th when Focus:HOPE hosts it annual walk of four miles through Detroit streets.

They'll listen to Michigan Chronicle editor, Bankole Thompson, June 6th at 11:45 am at Focus:HOPE as they continue to find ways to assist the fledgling Detroit where most of them grew up.

They're standing together.

With each other.

With hope.

And, a bit of help from heaven and the late founders of Focus:HOPE, FatherWilliam Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Family is the foundation of our society.

It is.

When culture has vibrant and secure households, it has less poverty, research proves.

Why is it that few speak up for strengthening family?  For firmer families and stronger marriages?

I don't know.

What is known, however, is that when families were firm, there was less poverty that sparked more crime in the city.

Accountability kept families together.  Neighbors watched.  And, kids behaved less their parent find out from the neighbor next store.

It worked for my family as we grew up on Lynch Road at Van Dyke on Detroit's east side.

My neighbors watched.   Where our parents couldn't always be, Mr. Kowalski across the street was watching us.  Or, Mrs.  Lewandowski, the neighborhood nurse, would glance out and watch how we behaved as we played two-hand touch football on Arcola Street near our two-family, aluminum-sided home.

It does take a village to raise a child, let alone seven of us in my home.

When will leaders step up to the plate and stand up for firmer families, and, a firmer society?


Friday, April 26, 2013

On Strengthening Marriage and Ending Poverty

Jim Wallis' latest tome, On God's Side, suggests that we help strengthen it.

Wallis writes:

"Marriage is actually on the decline now around our country across all classes, but especially among low-income people. Research from across the political spectrum - from the liberal Brookings Institution to the conservative Heritage Foundation - shows that marriage is one of the most critical factors in assessing the well-being of children and the common good-period.  Children from marriage households do far better in life than children from unmarried households in regard to success in education, avoiding substance abuse and crime, and staying out of poverty."

A crowd of All Faiths Festival clergy crafted and held a press conference to Strengthen Marriage and Family over five years ago.

The document for Macomb County, Michigan, has as its sole purpose the strengthening of marriage.

It has been met by opposing and supportive clergy, among others, of all sorts and positions.  It was dismissed by some clergy and other faithful.

It was publicly signed with the support of leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, among others, and, is available on large posters to stand in your gathering place at worship.

Is it time to revisit this document?

Wallis' subtitle of his book is "What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good."

The New York Times best-selling author quotes Abraham Lincoln:

"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Darkness and Light

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.

How true.

When I think that revenge will satisfy this human heart I quickly come to my senses to affirm that on God's light will rid the world of evil.

Evil seems everywhere these days.

It does.

The recent Boston Marathon bombers come to mind.

The darkness in my own heart where sin sits.  In homes where violence in all its forms reside.

Sacred Scripture, nonetheless, assures of the lone force that can rid this world of darkness and dreaded deeds.


Mahatma Ghandi's words swell within also when I weaken and lose courage to doubt.

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.  There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall," Ghandi assures me.

There's hope.


With a glimmer of light.

Even a little light will do to drive out the darkness.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unleashing the Power Within

Pentecost follows the Easter season of fifty full days of celebrating a vigorous life.

Pentecost is a powerful experience of the Holy Spirit in one's life.

It is.


Yet, fear can be an obstacle to reveling in the Spirit.

And, in Pentecost.

Unleashing and unlocking doors that block one's best self is a challenge these days.

While one often lacks a plan or an aim with lowered expectations, the power one has can beautifully unfold anew with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

It can.

Back in the 80s I participated in a transformative experience, walked across a bed of hot coals near Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, and renewed living where it was less that it could be.

I learned to live with passion and ardor.

Enthusiasm was unlocked.

And more.

One can break through limits and live a quality of life one desires in faith.

Anthony Robbins led the experience.

Another priest invited me to join him.

Fear about the experience was overcome.

TonyRobbins.com/Chicago, 800 331 2046.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Care for the Sick is Katera Tekakwitha's Aim

Born in 1656, she died in 1680 after dedicating her life to prayer, chastity and care for the ill.

The first Native American saint in the Catholic Church, Kateri Tekakwitha is called the Lily of the Mohawks, and the Apostle of the Indians. 

Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk Turtle chief, while her mother was Algonquin, a Christian native. Her parents and brother died when she was 4 of a smallpox epidemic. She was impaired.

Jesuits motivated her to be baptized with the name Kateri in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena.

Many of the Natives were destroyed in her community by French conquerors.

Michiganders can appreciate this New Yorker.

(This blog will continue after a parish mission, and some vacation, by April 24th).

Friday, April 12, 2013


People who want me to spell out my beliefs that only engage the mind is futile.

Faith is far from reason alone.

It involves one's total being of the spiritual, emotional and rational.

Faith is deeper than knowledge alone.  It is indeed a leap into the realm that some only want to know.
Yet, knowing alone won't work when it comes to faith.

Of course, religion have done inspiring and miraculous deeds.  It has also done, however, terrible things in the name of God.  Where people are, there will also be virtuous and less than that.

My faith is reasoned, balanced, fair and fruitful, it seems to me.

It has served me well through decades of life in desolation and consolation.  Faith is a good beyond price or even eyes of systems that move to extremes without moderation.  Systems can move to attachment disorders in their addictive and venture needs.

Out of control thoughts and deeds without balance are usually bad for us.

My faiths runs through my being like blood pours through my heart each moment.  Faith assures me that God is the ultimate being who lets be.

God runs the world.

When I want to be the driver, deeds go awry and I fall flat.  With God's guidance I let my ego and self go, and rely on  the Source of satisfaction, of the good and true.

Beauty rests there.

Faith fulfills every dream, hope and prosperous purpose.

It is like that.

For sure.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Around the world, 195 million children suffer from the effect of malnutrition, with 90 percent living in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.  The stakes are high.

Every year, malnutrition contributes to at least one-third of the eight million deaths of children under the age of five.

But the story does not have to end there.

Thanks to the support of caring people like you, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres medical teams are using innovative strategies to save lives and help malnourished children regain -- and keep -- their health.

Together we can rewrite the story of malnutrition.

Yes, we can!

Join  this 1999 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and help the hungry children.

Will you?

Visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org, or write them today at  333 Seventh Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001  888 392 0392.

(From a Doctors Without Borders Notebook)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


It never fails to emerge.


People wanting to share how they connect with each other and the Maker.

You know, the One who made you, me, others, and all.

After all, then, we all matter.

And, those I may think, don't.

For sure.

People want to converse about their faith, how the word, Israel, evolved.  How we're connected as One with the ONE.

All of us.

A rabbi, and imam and a pastor, among others will meet the third Thursday of each month at 11:30 am for a hour to come to know each other, and, God, more deeply.

All who seriously pursue the Maker are welcomed to the Muslim Center of Detroit at W. Davison and Woodrow Wilson, May 23, 2012 (just happens to be 5 Thursdays in May) with Imam El-Amin Abdullah hosting and Rabbi Edut leading with a presentation to get us started on wrestling and knowing Yahweh, and, each other.

Before that, on Monday, April 29th enthusiasm soars for another event at 11:45 am at 1400 Oakman Blvd, Detroit on the campus of the renowned Focus:HOPE that emerged from the ashes of the riots of Detroit with the late William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis heading the distinguished organization.  Then, on  Thursday, May 30 at 11:45 am at Focus:HOPE, people will gather to lift up Detroit and this region aching for more from all of us.

People will tell how they pray and how it moves them to community action, even prophetic actions like the birth of Focus:HOPE.

Join me.

Welcome one and all faith traditions.

I appreciate the enthusiasm, Greek that means "God within",  that mounts for these events.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Closed Doors and a Miracle: A Sermon by Saint Augustine of Hippo

What did we hear in the reading today?

That on the very day on which He rose again, that is, on the Lord's Day, when it had become late and the disciples were together in one place, with the doors closed for fear of the Jews, the Lord appeared in the midst of them.

Hence, on that day, as John the Evangelist is witness, He appeared twice to His disciples, once in the morning and once in the evening...Let us see, therefore, what today's reading presents to us for discussion.

Obviously, the passage urges us, and in a certain manner tells us to say something as to how the Lord was able to appear to His disciples when the doors were closed, since He had risen in such physical substantiality that He was not only seen by His disciples but even touched by them. 

Some persons are so disturbed about this matter that they endanger themselves, setting up the prejudice of their own reasoning against divine miracles.

In fact, they argue in this fashion:

"If there was a body, if there were flesh and bones, if that body which hung on the cross rose again from the tomb, how could it enter through closed doors?

"If it could not do this," they say, "then it was not done.  If it could do this, how was it able to do so?"

If you understand the way, there is no miracle; and if there seems to you to be no miracle, you are close to denying that He rose again from the tomb.

                                                             St. Augustine of Hippo

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cowardice Christians

A picture of Jesus that was among other dignitaries in Kansas was removed from a school after being there since 1947, EWTN reported recently.

The ACLU threatened lawsuit if left unmoved.

Jesus went.

Whatever happened to civil disobedience?

If coaches and team captains decide to pray before games despite the supposed unlawfulness, the united front of history proves effective.

Where are our Christians, clergy, and others standing up to keep Jesus Christ in the Judeo-Christian foundation the USA is from its founding?

Has Christianity been reduced, in turn, from the assertive days of martyrs as depicted in the recent History Channel's, The Bible, with all its torture of those who stood up for the Lord of life?

Who will rise for Christ's sake?


Let us begin now.

OUR MOMENTS, and the Movie, Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine, April 14, 4 pm AMC Star, 35705 Gratiot, N. of 15 Mile in Clinton Twp., MI.

It's described as a magazine for in-depth stories on inspiration, formation and faith. And, there's a riveting movie on Augustine who shaped much of the way of Jesus after Saul who morphed into Paul the apostle, called, RESTLESS HEART.

Even more.

Tales of fasting, of the life of a deacon in the Catholic Church, on the unborn, vocations, and, the story of St. Mark's on Harsen's Island, MI., in St. Clair County, and, so much more.

Published by the Rev. Robert Schuster who is editor-in-chief, OUR MOMENTS, is a rare chance to look deeply into the faith of Catholics.

It's a head-turner of a piece with photos, colorful, crisp, long on words, and limited in editing and websites for ongoing and more information. 

Told by parishioners, the Spring and Winter publication, reminds me of the late Bishop Kenneth Untenter's, SEASONS.  Its  topics bring Good News to inform the faithful, among the curious, and, those interested in the Catholic community.

A quick review will appoint a designated time to sit in an E-Z chair to cozy up for a story or two.

Ideas become stories.

Ideas make sense only in story and example as illustrated in OUR MOMENTS.  Zorba the Greek's
piece concludes that, while, this publication applies illustrations to ideas well, and wonderfully.

"There's a lot of history in there," one usher shouted as we parted after Mass Saturday night, and, he locked Holy Cross Church in Marine City, one of the triumvirate churches composing the unique piece.

To be savored and relished during this fresh Spring season, like the rite of baseball bats beaming balls beyond one's reach in Tiger town Detroit, OUR MOMENTS, satisfies the spiritual thirst and has one ready to taste more.

A home run.

Far out and deep into my soul and into the heavens it took this reader.


A man doesn't find the truth.  Man must let the truth find him or her.

RESTLESS HEART: THE CONFESSIONS OF AUGUSTINE, shows Sunday, April 14 at 4 pm in the AMC Star Gratiot, 35705 Gratiot Avenue, North of 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township, MI. $10.
More information at  iCtheLight@mail.com, or (313) 407 2285.


A winner of a film for the faithful viewing one man's struggle, debates on beliefs, and much more to keep you glued to the screen.  I saw it and savored it.

For sure.

GO MICHIGAN! On God's Side

Go Michigan!

That is, the U of M basketball team as they head to take on Louisville in Atlanta Monday night.

What side is God on, some ask?

Does God take sides?

Does God care?

I believe God loves deeply beyond one's own deepest compassion.

For the common good, God does take notice also, I think.

Jim Wallis of Sojourner Magazine removed himself from the routine of life and observed it for months.

Then, he wrote the book to tell about his experience: On God's Side: For the Common Good.

"It's time to reframe our priorities," concluded Wallis.  "I witnessed the worst of us as a nation."

When there's a lack of a look at others as sisters and brothers in this nation, Wallis asserts, and public service is replaced with power and privilege, and, campaigning replaces governing, it's time for change.

"What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving," is the subtitle of the good read that had me glued to the pages for days until I completed the tome.

Aim of the work is to engage a national dialog. 

Wallis worries about the common good.

I grew up with the common good.

That is, that you matter, and everyone else does.

The neighborhood on Lynch Road and Van Dyke, on Detroit's east side, was on the side of the common good.

Neighbors knew it.  My six siblings and I knew it as neighbors kept an eye on our behavior, and, first greeted us daily. Elders engaged with me.  In turn, they taught me how to be hospitable and conversant, along with my parents, pastors, teachers, others.

They helped, like a village, to raise a family.

Love your neighbor as yourself is the Christian foundation for the book.  It's the most morphing ethic of life, according to Wallis, the author, preacher, and conscience of America.

We owe each other the common good.

What else matters when it's God's agenda.

God's on all sides always.

But, especially that of  the common good.

The fading side on my watch.

Go team.  Go common good.

And, go Michigan Monday!

Win it for the common good.

Your team's aim.

Every team's thrust.

For sure.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

About Town This Easter Season

After Mass in Roseville, MI., this morning, I did the unusual.

A bus ride south on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit, earlier today, recalled to me leaders of this great City, and those who challenged residents to be better beyond bitter, angry, divisive, and more. Wonderful and conversant riders freely engaged with me.

This was a treat in humanity with high regard and respect for each person.

So much inhumanity to men and women and the most vulnerable among our youth must stop.

That DNA resides in the baby in the womb at birth cries out for deeper respect for all of life in and outside the womb.  The trail we're on only paves dead end for life.  Of course, extreme situations of back alley abortions were ended in large part with the like of people wanting to protect mothers from efforts to put away the child within with a coat hangar or worse. Hospitals replaced alleys.

Forty-five years ago on this day, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed.
His call for nonviolent resistance for change for the common good merits remembering.

Who leads today in the battle to save the soul of America?


King's demise, among other greats, also invites people to bridge the gap and the racial divide.
Suburban neighbors can be more outgoing in welcoming new neighbors.

Anonymity only provides for insecure streets and subdivision where rampant burglary thrives.

A stop at the On the Rise Capuchin Bakery at Gratiot and McClellan was another treat.  Former inmates bake breads of all sorts, loaf cakes, and more. I must admit they have me as a regular now having purchased a round loaf of rye bread and a banana nut loaf today.

Next, back on the bus, I was off to the Historic Trinity Lutheran Church where the Rev. Dr. Eberhard is pastor in this downtown Detroit edifice.  On Good Friday, I dropped in also.  No one was there so I left a note asking the pastor to call me to invite him to serve on an interfaith panel of rabbis, imams and pastors.  They'll each spend a few minutes telling participant, Monday, April 29th, at 11:45 am, at Focus:HOPE how they personally pray.

How prayer prompts prophetic action, and more, like the birth of the distinguished, nationally-recognized social services and job retraining, will be the theme with a tour of the sprawling civil rights organization founded by the late and charismatic Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis in the 60s.

Civil unrest and riots urged these leaders to stand in the gap and bridge the divide with food, jobs, and senior assistance, among others programs and services.

A visit to the Tree of Life Baptist Church near Nativity Catholic Church had me engaged with Rev. Nathan Proche on a discussion about wrestling with death, and, so much more.  He was invited to the event at Focus:HOPE and readily noted it in his calendar.

Some of his parishioners were holding a prayer and Bible study session while we joined them in the doorway from the pastor's office unwilling to be invasive of their sacred connection with the Creator.

Back at Sacred Heart Church in Roseville, MI., a couple of calls to William Easton at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, and a call to Jerome Singer at Nativity in Detroit rounded out the panel of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, among participants of other faith traditions.

It was time to head home.

A long and tiring day was met with a deep joy of fruitful ministry.

Easter season.

It's only day four into this 50-day season of rejoicing right up into Pentecost.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Aunt Wanda Ostrowski

Wanda Wichlacz, 85, of Cheboygan, Michigan, passed over March 27, 2013 in Leonard where she resided. Chester and Phil Wichlacz, brothers, survive her.  Wanda is my mother's sister who died in 1975 of colon cancer after Lucas died in Vietnam in '68. 40 years ago that war officially ended, and America fled that tortured people and land.

Grieve we will, but not without hope as the Good Book quotes John, a tortured disciple of Jesus in that world of emperors and the like looking for power.  They defeated anyone who threatened their own throne.  Innocent males, and more who would have been though to be Jesus - the victor of life over death.

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

We will place her in the East Lawn Cemetery in Lake Orion following Mass today in Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Lake Orion, and share stories, and more, following her burial, in the Addison Oak

Her husband, Frank, predeceased her along with her sons, Gary and Allen, and eight siblings.
Donna survives with Chris Coe.

Gentle like a lamb, Wan, as Donna and Chris call her, was a gardener, mom, and more who lived close to the earth as a farmer before coming to Detroit to work and marry.

"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock...they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord."  (Isaiah 65)

And, Jesus was led to the slaughter.  Innocent, gentle like a lamb - the Lamb of God - who takes away the sins of the world.

William Blake in his 'The Lamb,' in Songs of Innocence, notes:

"Little lamb, who made thee?  Dost thou know who made thee?  Gave thee life and bid thee feed by the stream and o'er the mead; gave thee clothing of delight, softest clothing, woolly, bright, gave thee such a tender voice, making all the vales rejoice?  Little lamb, who made thee?  Dost thou know who made thee?"

Full of gentleness and compassion, a lamb was Wan also, a lamb of God calling out to us to care for the earth, creation, the little lambs in and outside the womb.  Keep the lambs free from violence and rise up with Easter this day in love.

Wan may have said so.



For more, visit www.sparksgriffin.com, or, to note a message of condolence.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Holy Humor

"The first day of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

                                  - American Humorist Mark Twain

A check on myself ever so other reminds me to take myself less seriously.

I need to do that.

Humor is healing.

Laughter helps circulation, smiles and more. 

It really does.

For years, a holy humor group has been meeting in metropolitan Detroit to share funny stories and jokes.

No fooling!

Each participants has the chance to tell a light one to get us laugher.
To laugh even harder than the previous joke, for example.

It's not my world, after all.  God made it and will see it through as much as any of us may mess it up thinking we know better than the Maker.

April Fool's Day!

Now, whoever started this great day, at the beginning of the Easter season's 50 days of festivity -
has it together.


Where are the funnies and comics from the local papers when I need them?