Monday, July 29, 2013

Not Judging

The Pope's plane ride back to Rome, Italy last night must have been quite exciting with the reporters.

Radio reports said Pope Francis said he would not judge gays.

How blest we are with such a heart to include and not condemn and oust any human beings.

Although he is not changing Church teaching on the issue of same-gender attractions, Pope Francis is making room for all.

His dialog is encouraging for those who have suffered by condemnation.

His non-judgmental attitude is a sure way of promoting conversation, while avoiding further 'chasing out' and having gays walk from the Catholic community that many love and were born into from birth and baptism.

Praise be Pope Francis for lifting up the dignity of every human once more.

How about his missionary attitude to get us all out into the trenches to spread Good News?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

God of the Earth

Gracious God of the Earth and Heaven:

You invited us to be one with each other and with you.

Praise be to you.

Thank you for inviting us to be one in accord with you and all inhabitants of the Earth, and heaven.

Your love expands the boundaries and strictures we place on each other.

I'm sorry.

Why we exclude, I don't know.

Is it to be first?

Does ego reign?

Help me stay in the positive with you as the circle enlarges to include all sisters and brothers, and, planet Earth, among others.

Your grace build upon human nature that encompasses everything your hand has made from the beginning.

Help me, us to get it and to enlarge our vision of the one earth, one world, and, a single globe.


So be it.

Praise you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Detroit Area Clergy Press for Greater Dialog

Area clergy, among others, met in Pilgrim Baptist Church in Detroit Thursday, calling for intense dialog to solve Detroit's woes.

Pastor Sidney Griffin, host of the ecumenical gathering, pushed for "a march that shows our solidarity and unity as leaders."

"People will see us together walking as one to get things done," shouted the former Wayne County, MI., point person for faith-based issues.

Rabbi Dorit Edut agreed.

"I'm shopping at the new Meijer Market on 8 Mile in Detroit tomorrow  as a sign of solidarity with the City," Edut said.

Alex Potyok concurred.

"We have to stop trying to be right, and we need to show that it's OK to be different, even poor and without any money," said Potyok, 23, of Detroit.  He aims to help produce a U Tube video on dialogs such at Thursday's meeting.

Plans for a march from Detroit to Warren are in the making, according to organizers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Saint Christina the Astonishing

Her feast is July 24th each year.

Saint Christina is patroness of mental health therapists.

She was born in Belgium in 1150 and orphaned at 15.

At 21, she had an epileptic seizure and seemed to have expired.

A funeral was held, and, during the service, Christina levitated to the roof of the church.

She was asked to come down and obeyed.

Christina lived as a homeless woman who was dressed in rags and found sleeping on rocks.

She acted as the people's conscience.

In fact, she told the Count of Looz every sin he committed as he lay dying.

Some thought that Christina was insane, yet, others venerated her and respected her very much.

In 1224, she died in a convent, dubbed as an obedient Christian despite her condition.

I turn to her to intercede for those I visit in counseling.

At Saint Christine Church, located in Detroit, MI.,  where I was a young pastor, I would tell people about Christina, and they would laugh, for the most part.

Saints are like us, I think.

We are unfinished works of art.

 We are made by God.

Sunday's Sermon: July 28, 2013 Genesis 18:20-32, Psalm 138, Colossians 2:12-14, Luke 11:1-13

When I ask, I receive.


I do.

Jesus advises us to "ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

I ask for just enough money to pay my bills, put food on the table for my four-legged Bichon Frise, Woofie, and me.

For health, for God's will in my life, and how to spend the limited time God gives on this earth.

For all of that I ask, and, in reflection over time, I discover that God answers prayer.

God does.

We're assured in the scriptures that God knows well how to "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask."

It's when I forget to ask that I grow weary, doubtful and despairing.

And, in a culture when independency seems to rule, asking may be something I refuse to do.  After all, "I'm an American, I can do it myself, thank you."

The other day in prayer, I asked God to help me to know how to serve amid volumes of violence daily, injustices all around us, and a sense of helplessness to assist in the change of hearts that it will take to revisit the "I Have a Dream" speech and march that fascinated this Nation 50 years ago August 28, 1968.

That day, a clergyman stood up and steered a march on Washington, D.C., for quality health care, education, housing, and more for the most vulnerable among us.

In my wrestling with God these days in prayer, I find myself staking everything on God's future for the world today.

And, I engage the imperatives in Luke's Gospel today.

"Hallowed be,"  is an imperative.  It is not something we do, but, rather that God does through us.

"Your kingdom come," is an imperative.  We are ordered to tell God to bring on God's dominaton-free order.

We can demand our daily bread from God.

We can.

I can insist that I be forgiven and safe from temptation.

Alone at home, or here with others in Holy Communion, I can let the imperatives begin!

May the imperative force be with you!

Monday, July 22, 2013


It's a help.

A big help for people attached to alcohol, and more deadly, toxic process or substance addictions.

Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross of Spain addressed attachment long before the dawning of modern psychology, or, Sigmund Freud, for example.

It's a blue book with a blue and white cover.

Blue is the color for depression, although on this feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, blue refers to the sky, The Best of the Blues, the deep blue sea, the Queen who reigns above and beneath the heavens, the Stella Maris on the trek of life, and much more.

The contents of this tome first appeared in a series of Blue Books about treatment and alcohol.

The blue ribbon book!

It is.


It is the fruit of the labor of the likes of Catholic priests: Fathers Kennedy, Pfau, Popielarz, Quinn, and many more.

Alcoholism: A Source Book for Priests has advice for divinity and seminarian students, and, it treats psychiatry, the predisposition to alcohol, sobriety, the sociopath, recovery, the 12-step spirituality,  AA, Abstinence, the alcoholic priest, the disease, and health, among other topics.

Some pastors tell me they have no time during the day or at night to treat such attached persons.

Others deny that the 12 steps have anything to do with religion.

Some say that alcoholism is a moral failure not a disease.

So. . .

Shepherds help steer those heading toward destruction.

They do.

Father Edward Popielarz helped others with this disease.  He did.  Many of them.

He saved David Johnstone's life, for example, a metropolitan Detroit leader who facilitates Fr. Pops' class in acceptance.  That weekly class help others accept their demons.

Of course, God is the Divine Physician.

Shepherds help with support groups for those facing the struggle of addictive behavior.  This family disease demands help from the Body of Christ, the Church.

One lost lamb of God, one wayward sheep, is worth the search to lift up with hope.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Prayer for Our City

With my Motown's moment of "going under," Detroit will rise again.

Prayer helps, however, as we fall, and give way to something new and fresh, vibrant and whole!

With the Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment, our rational mind was intrigued by what modern men and women could do.

In turn, prayer took a back seat to our whims and ways.

As usual.

That's how contemplation, also, was reduced, and thinking without pausing and praying pervaded the cultures.

Yet, this was not always true.

Monasteries, and more, taught praying and pausing before thinking and acting, or, reacting to situations, or others, in conversation.

Current cultures want to restore contemplation, however.

It is the better way.


Contemplation enables one to accept reality.

It affords one a better life with less stress and the frenetic pace of our society today.

Twenty minutes of contemplation twice a day works wonders when I am faithful to it consistently.

When I am not, what a mess of things I make.

Sound familiar?

"Beloved" becomes my litany word to focus on when distractions come during a pause to ponder with the all-Powerful One.

Simply going back to "beloved" ensures calm and contemplation.

Without any panic, I give little energy to the programs of the current moment, and life's unfoldings. 

God enters then, and the "rat race" of life passes by without energy.


Union with God happens in the final few, if at all, as all the "gunk" and negativity of life falls away.

A pause and prayer for my Motown gives way to possibilities of God's way governing in integrity and truth again.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Coming together.

Union. United.

One family.

Surveys shows that families who gather for dinner daily are less likely to have children ending up addicted to drugs, and, living promiscuosly.

Of course that makes sense.

Time together means sharing moments of joy and grief, sad times and events that are satisfying.

Dinner and feeding people is a sure way to keep households happy, or, at least wholesome and steering well.

To that end, our all-family reunion of merged households gathers in Cheboygan, MI., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013.

The 2012 reunion was attended by many members of the family I still am coming to know better.

The lounge at the Knights of Columbus Hall was full.

It was beaming with smiles from my Uncle Chester who walked into the hall with the help of his walker.  He knew nothing of the surprise birthday party.  Others marking birthdays joined in the singing of "Happy Birthday."

I look forward to this year's re-union.

Although it is a struggle to get people committed to help, let alone participate, the effort merits attention.

We need to gather as family, like a church, or, any other group.

Time together is a strength.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Third Wednesdays Monthly, A Class in Acceptance Meets in Big Jack's Bar-B-Q Grille, Roseville, MI.

Acceptance is an agreement of freedom according to founder of the class, the late Edward D. Popielarz, a popular pastor who I met at my home parish of Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, Detroit.

He taught the class weekly in a few parishes in the metropolitan area, and, although I was too young to appreciate it in high school, now, I have learned to respect his notes that he left me.

In fact, I lead his class the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm in Big Jack's Bar-B-Q in Roseville, MI.

Fr. Pops, as he's been called over the years, helped numerous people who attended.

His blend of spirituality, religion, psychology, and the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, makes for an interesting class.  High school students, and more participated.

His wisdom has me leading the class currently, along with Father Fred Klettner who led it for decades.

The class is for people who are coping with issues and want to learn to accept them.

In a group setting, participants glean from the ways and wisdom of Fr. Pops along with those in the group.  Attendees are able to discover how to deal with problems of possessiveness, for example, among other concerns.

Entire families attend.

If  you have questions, or, are curious, give a call at (313) 530 2777.

We'll be there Wednesday, July 17 at 5:30 pm for an hour, followed at 7 pm with "Serving Supper Well: The General Instructions of the Roman Missal," with Dan McAfee of the Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Give a call, or write to reserve a spot, and, to set up the room.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

For the Duration, the Golden Rule Reigns in Regional Cooperation of Metropolitan Detroit

So, temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, and more, have been around for centuries.

But, what difference are they making?

Couple that with households with parents as the moral compass for their children, and, can we say that society is more civil, more humane, more accepting and tolerant of dwellers?

Why have some given up, or given into corruption, selfish gains, sin and living out a smaller plan and vision far from that of God's rule?

Area Detroit clergy are stepping up to the plate to press for change, morphing and mending the metropolitan Detroit area these days.

In fact, in the spirit of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., plans are set for a march, a walk, a parade, if you will, from Detroit, MI., into Warren, August 22nd, at 11:45 am from Van Dyke and Eight Mile to Toepher Street in Warren, MI.

All are welcome.

These past Wednesdays of the Summer the same clergy, among other faith leaders, have been meeting to bond and respect and recognize each other's religion.

They are growing into a force to reckon with one and all as they join in solidarity like the "I Have a Dream" speech lived out with millions in the march on Washington, D.C., fifty years ago this August.

We can do better.

I can.

You can.

Together we can lead Detroit into the City it once was proud to be as "my town," and, your own.

Will you join us August 22nd as we join hand in hand for the Golden Rule in regional cooperation?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Liturgy Is To Help People Pray

The changes.

Participants at Mass claimed it was the changes that they didn't like.

It is legitimate.

Less reverence is what people can't accept.

A sense of the holy has to be present before, during, and after Mass.  At home, work, school, in the parking lot leaving Mass, and more.

Reverence includes respect, a Latin word, for "hope."

Awe and affection is also part of reverence and respect at Mass.

Those who lead liturgy need to have appreciation for this expressed need of the worshipers.

After all, this is the people's prayer at work.

Silence is also prayer.  It speaks volumes quietly!

Space for silence is key at Mass. 

Silence prepares people for the proclamation of the Word of God, and Eucharist.

It does.

Next Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 7 pm in Big Jack's Bar-B-Q Grille, in Roseville, MI., Dan McAfee of the Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Detroit, MI., will address, "Serving Supper Well: The General Instructions of the Roman Missal." 

About twenty people have indicated their interest in attending.

The revised instructions after months of implementation now will be discussed.

I bet reverence will emerge.  It's key to communicating, isn't it?

Prayer is like that, no?

Respect, awe, and affection.

They're all part of reverence at Mass.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First person narratives of those who aborted now needed

When depth is lacking, people may choose anything anywhere, anyhow, no?

First-hand narratives of women who have had abortions could prevent many others from choosing what they really are unaware of in the aftermath of such a procedure, for example, it seems to me, among others.

Experience in telling of their own abortions, among other situations of significance in one's life can make all the differences in the world when one decides one way or another.

Complacency is easy.  In depth consideration merits time, energy, prayer and reflection about this vital moral concern.

Ultrasound imaging, for example, is assisting mother's with baby(ies) in the womb and tabernacle of their own physical being, to choose LIFE!

Experience is the best teacher.

It will make all the difference in the world to CHOOSE LIFE!

Read Brian Dickerson's point of view and opinion, for example in Sunday, July 7th's Detroit Free Press for statistics and more.  Hearing their own story, from women, however, will chart a win for a baby's life amid so many who have told me that abortion rights have brought unsafe procedures out of the alley!

Write me your story at please, or call me at (313) 530 2777.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Next Sunday's Sermon: God, the True Neighbor Dwelling in My Heart

One's neighbor.

Who is she, or he?

The one next door?  Down the street?

In today's Good News?

Who is my neighbor?

"Near" is rooted in the word, from the Old English, "neighbor" and "neah" a dweller ("gebur").

A neighbor dwells near.

People who live next door to me on Arcola Street on Detroit's East were my neighbors.

Mr. Kowalski, Mrs. Suminski, Mr. and Mrs. White, Mrs. Sacmar and her sons. . .

To be a neighbor one penetrates boundaries and obstacles and helps.

Mercy and meekness abound in neighborliness.

Humility to help also.

God is the true neighbor to me as Moses notes.

God lives in my heart.

I need to remember that always, all ways!

Friday, July 5, 2013

When a Parish Church Folds

Multiple parish churches are closing these days as they consolidate buildings, among other resources and human personnel.
The hearts of the faithful break, for sure.

Grieving is the normal and natural process by which a person makes a healthy adjustment to any significant loss in his or her life.

This process takes as long as one year to move through the ebb and flow of the tides.  It is more than the smooth passage of a straight line.

It involves ten stages, including normal and acute grief.  Mourning shows itself outwardly, while grief stirs within.

Shock involves numbness, disbelief, even denial as the bottom falls out of one's world, so to speak.

Tears, cursing and expression of mutliple feelings follow as emotional releases.

Sleep and normal patterns of life are altered by way of physical body manifestations.

A long blacck tunnel ensues with suicidal ideations and questioning of whether one will ever recover in this depression/panic and detaching stage.

Guilt follows with wonderment about how one was involved in the loss.  Reality is questioned as well as whether one can forgive self or others.

Hostility and anger, even rage is directed toward others.  Unhealed wounds are projected on to others.  That's is why counseling is critical to be healed by the grace of God.  What one refused to feel or talk through is left festering as wounds will.

Idealization emerges about the past that seemed perfect.  The future offers little hope, grievers admit.

One begins to realize that the past had its faults, and the future is welcomed.

Images of the past loom away now as fresh patterns develop.

One begins to live with the loss. 

Healthy adjustment recognizes the loss.  It is no longer disturbed by it.

Grief work gives way to a stronger individual given the experience.

Parishioners walk through this process alone and with others who can navigate the ache, thank God!

Vigil with President Mandela

As he lay dying, Nelson Mandela's perilous state keeps my mind and prayers centered on his impending death and passing over.

Like others, I rest on his shoulders. 

Those that carried South Africa to nonracial democracy and more in a land of apartheid.

Even after his release from decades in prison, Mandela responded positively to those who asked him if he forgave his unjust accusers who incarcerated him.

If he didn't forgive them, he reportedly said, Mandela would still be in jail.

Keeping vigil is a tradition I cherish.

The pause to ponder gives me moments to reflect on life's travails, aches and joys.

Candle lights come to mind.

After all, Mandela was an illumined light and more.

A courageous prophet to many, Mandela mentored many, and me.

Like the "dean of psychiatry' of the 60s, Karl Menninger was a conscience to America, and more, when he asked in his book, "Whatever Became of Sin?"

In my Motown, Clement Kern, pastor of Holy Trinity in Detroit, MI., was another voice of conscience.

They all speak truth to power.



Compassionate for those left out, abandoned, excluded and lost.

They all are that, and more.

Thank God for these consciences of America, and the world.

Where are our clarion voices today?

Who stands up anymore in selfless style with such courageous certainty and peaceful resistance?


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stages of Grieving

A parishioner well into her eighties was in deep grief Sunday when her parish, Saint Peter's in Harper Woods, MI., was shuttered.

She ached no end.

Deep roots consist of her husband being buried for Saint Peter's Church, along with her children all celebrating the sacraments there, and more.

Grief is a normal and natural process by which a person makes a healthy adjustment to a significant loss of life, love, limb, and more in life.

You know.

You've been there also, I bet.

The bottom falls out for her in the shock she feels, and, the disbelief about her relationship with the parish community dying.

Of course, some things, systems, charisms even have to die for something new and vibrant to emerge.

Yet, the process takes time.

Numbness accompanies the shock also in a first stage of grief that Granger Westberg describes in his, Good Grief.

Tears follow the shock.  Other feelings follow, including cursing and expression of mad, sad, even scared feelings or variations of dominant feelings.

The long black tunnel like the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel  persists in grieving.  Depression sets in.  One asks will I recover from this loss?

Even suicide is a possibility.

How was I involved in the loss?  Can I forgive those who closed my church?

Anger ensues.

It is irrational often.

One feels as though the past was perfect while the future offers little hope.

Eventually, this parishioner will realize that the past had its faults also.

This takes time.

A year approximately in some situations.

New patterns emerge. Different ways of doing things happen.

She will eventually decide to live with the loss of her parish.

She may move on.  She may quit altogether.  I doubt that for her, however.

This is called healthy adjustment.

She will no longer be disturbed by this loss.

And, she emerges stronger for the grief work that takes time.

One cannot make this process happen.  It cannot be forced.

When a church shuts down someone better be around to pick up the pieces of loss, abandonment and more.

Praying out loud will help.

Eternal rest grant unto Saint Peter's Church, O Lord, and give my parish community eternal rest.