Friday, August 30, 2013

The Catholic President: John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The public address announcement at Saint Thomas the Apostle School told of the death of President Kennedy early on that Friday of November 22, 1963.

I was in the eighth grade.

Walking home when class was dismissed early, out of respect for the President, I wondered and wandered even as I searched for answers everywhere in my disbelief.

How could anyone kill him, or, anyone for that matter?

But, the President of the United States of America?

He was young, vibrant and articulate.

He was a leader.

For sure.

He inspired me and began the Peace Corp.

He challenged us to put a man on the moon.

He did.

Fifty years ago.

Time Away for a Pause

Sandra Bell of Roseville, MI., knows what pausing can do for one's wellness.

Retreat time is part of her Catholic faith and journey.

When I invited her to invite other young women to participate in a three-day reflective growth group, September  27-29 beginning at 8 pm Friday and ending after 11 am Mass on Sunday at the Dominican Retreat Center in Oxford, north of Detroit, she seemed interested in the pause to ponder the theme, "I Do Believe, Help My Unbelief."

She did.

The women's weekend away will afford her some still time to recreate and renew her spirit in God.

We'll look at wounds, those healed and those left unhealed.  We'll see what obstacles prevent deeper belief and trust in God, and, in turn, in others.

Opportunities for common prayer in Liturgy of the Hours, meals together, and Mass will accompany the chance for women in today's culture to connect with each other, and, perhaps, share a story, a struggle, a dream, an accomplishment, and a joy.

I'll pack notes on stages of grief, and ten things I learned from the late Father Edward Popielarz, the founder of his famous class in acceptance, a covenant, an agreement of freedom as the good Father described acceptance to countless souls who encountered issues of acceptance of self, others, and God. 

Wounds we hold will be a part of my conferences.  And, wounds healed will also be held up.

Even Thomas the Apostle, a close friend of Jesus, doubted his faith.

We all do, perhaps.

That's part of our spiritual journey.

In fact, it seems to me, like Job's own travail of desolation and consolation, he came out a firmer follower of faith in God through his ordeal told in the Good Book.

I'm looking forward to this time together with companions on the journey.

Anora Ziler is the coordinator for registrants.  She can be reached at (313) 561 3764.

I'm hoping older teens and young adult women will consider joining me for this retreat.

They'll add some vibrancy and zest to the enthusiasm the group will bring to this time together in prayer, and more.

If you want to attend, and, have financial constraints, please contact me at and I'll make efforts to ask others to assist in the expenses.

I will.

Faith is like that.

And, I know you won't be left out, or, let down, for that matter.

After all, like you, I believe.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


How quickly times seems to pass.

At least on my clock.

Labor Day will soon be upon us as summer fades fast.

The word, rest, comes from the Hebrew, meaning, catch your breath.



Take a moment to breathe.

Summer's season seems to afford me a moment to change my regular routine rite of passage, and rhythm.

It does.

And, it seems vital to me, at least.

It helps me to reconnect with the Maker, with other loved Ones, with acquaintances, even with the season's days.

I attend more in the summer.  I attune to God more, also.  I pause and ponder, even poke at the beauty of the now in any given minute of my sunny days of Summer.

And, then it fades in its fleeting moments.

I'm grateful.

I catch my breath, thank God!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Try God

In Cheboygan on Catholic Radio, I hear "try God."

I do.

As I travel from our Stempky, Wichlacz, Blaskowski, Robytek, and more, family re-union, the FM station resounds with "try God."

It does.

Hosts on the morning show accompany me as I drive to Petoskey from the Sacramentine Monastery Augustine Center in Conway, MI., of Highway 31.

Try God.

Humans do nothing until we have to do it suddenly, it seems to me.

I clean the house when company are coming over.

That test students takes waits 'til the last minute for preparation.

And so it goes, no?

For some, God is "on hold," it seems, also, until a tragedy hits home, and, a sibling is hit by a car or by a sever disease, a divorce, or more.

God's ever-present being enfold all of us always from the core and center of one's being.

I must not forget that.


In my center, within, God resides.

Closer to my heart than I'll ever imagine.

Without God being front and center, I become eccentric, off balance, far from the center, even odd.

I do.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


We're it!

Family, that is.

That's all we got.

Each other.

Here in northern Michigan at the Benton Community Center, former Saint Francis Church and hall, we're gathering to eat and greet again in our annual Stempky, Wichlack, Mushlock, Blaszkowski, etc., re-union.

Starts at 10 am and goes 'til we shut the light out. . . or finish the food, or. . .

Then, I'm off to the Augustine Center in Conway, MI., for some refreshing time with God.

In quiet.

In communion.

The pastoral woods, and more, allows this connection with God away from distractions of the frenetic life in metropolitan Detroit.

A few days will do this soul well.

Then, Aug. 29th, I'll be back for an annual bar-b-q at my place to celebrate summer's ending and September's debut.

Women who want to get in on a retreat I'm leading at the Domincan Retreat House in Oxford, MI., can call Anora Ziler at 313 561 3764 to sign up for it September 27-29, 2013.  The theme is "I do believe but help my unbelief."

The Center free for food and lodging is $160 with a $40 deposit.

Join me.

Call the St. Mary's Retreat Center at 248 628 3894 for more information, or google the name to check it out.

Be believing more boldly.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pausing, off fishing. . .

These entries will return.

I'm off to a family re-union in Cheboygan, MI., followed by a retreat in Conway, MI., at the Augustine Center through August 28th.

May you be a blessing.

You have been one for me walking on the journey of life's joys and sorrows.

August 29th is the day set for a home Mass, and an annual bar-b-q at my place from noon.

Peace be with you!

Economic Justice for All

The pursuit of economic justice is not an option or add-on for Catholics; it is part of who we are and what we believe.

We need to help our Church renew its sense of solidarity and our society rediscover a sense of national community.

Our community's greatest challenge is to encourage those with economic power to shape their decisions by how they affect the stability of families and the opportunities of people who are poor, while at the same time calling on all individuals to make personal choices that strengthen their families and contribute to the common good.

The call to economic justice is not a political preference or ideological choice, but a response to the Scriptures and a requirement of Catholic teaching.

It remains clear that the moral test of our society is how the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable are faring.

And, by this standard we are falling far short.

The challenge of this pastoral letter is not merely to think differently, but also to act differently.
The completion of a letter such as this is but the beginning of a long process of education, discussion, and action.

                                     -   From A DECADE AFTER ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL, National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the 10th Anniversary of the Economic Pastoral,

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear: Only love can do that.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.

Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.

Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

The martyr, Martin Luther King, Jr. who died at 38 in 1968 said that.

August 28, 1963, King was in Washington, D.C. steering a massive march that fascinated the world with over 250,000 people.

August 22, 2013, clergy will lead a Golden Rule - treat others as you want others to treat you - from the SW corner of 8 Mile/Van Dyke in Detroit, MI., to Toepher in Warren.

A supper after at the Metro Family Church follows.

Join me.

Life is too short to continue what we're doing to it across towns, villages and the globe.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Paths in the Circle of Life and the Lovely Lion King


It makes me bristle with union in the suffering of those in the line of fire in Egypt, elsewhere, and my own local towns, including Flint, Detroit, Harrison Township, Clinton Township, Royal Oak and Ferndale, Michigan to mention only a few.

The religiously-fractured Middle East, and 'burbanites and dwellers in the City of Detroit, for example, may heed and hear , even herald the Irish poet Seamus Heaney's poem on prejudice:

"History says, Don't hope /
On this side of the grave. /
But then, once in a lifetime /
The Longed-for tidal wave /
Of justice can rise up, /
And hope and history rhyme."

In spite of history, one hopes that the horror of bleeding bodies and bloodshed running down like rivers of water in the Arab world, and elsewhere, will be tempered with mercy, moderation and a measure of justice and peace.

The Lion King tale tells of one circle, one globe, one 'hoola-hoop', and, even one table, if you will, of a well, yet wounded world.

Suffering makes me shutter.

I'm old enough to know, however, that one transmits and projects unhealed pain and woundedness on to others what she or he does not heal by the grace of God.

Suffering is loss of the ability to manage or control one's life, one's being, one's community, one's aching tooth, for example.

The world is old enough to know, however, also, that the path of peace alone pokes out from within one's self where serenity and joy, amid suffering, still resides.

No one can rob peace from short of bullets and bombs that are more common these days than blowing one's nose.

Only charity and love will live on long in one's legacy after death.

This Thursday, August 22nd, at 6 pm at 8 Mile/Van Dyke, on Detroit's east side, a parade with a casket to bury segregation forever (and lent to us by Swanson Funeral Home at Mack and E. Grand Blvd., near Belle Isle Park), will lead clergy, among other faithful in an urban/suburban unity walk to release the wounds of our race relations.

Holding on to the wounds without releasing and letting them go will only transmit more of the same in our rapport with one another, or, the lack thereof peace for all people as one nation under God.

This painful trek and journey in time, in Egypt, and elsewhere, will surge on like a river of blood with bleeding hearts unless people of goodwill decide that enough is enough for now and forever.

Like the loving Lion King laying with the gentle lamb.

With each of us living human beings.

That Hebrew Scriptural metaphor told by the ancient and iconic prophets is an aim meriting a few moments in time Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 6 pm.

Walk with me in this moment in time, please. 

Pax, pokoj, pacem in terris. . .peace on earth, and, in one's heart.

Let us walk on through the wind and the rain.

Amid the storm, we hold high hope in my heart.

We do.

We will.

No?  Yes?  Maybe?

For sure, we can. . .together.

Despite the suffering endured the price of peace poking deep within is worth it.

Healing wounds left unhealed over centuries fester and years for living waters shared by all of creation, lions and lambs alike.

Together we can let peace's path point the way in Detroit, Egypt and elsewhere.

We can.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pere Marie-Benoit Rescues Jews

A tree at the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembers a French priest, Pere Marie-Benoit for rescuing thousands of Jews in France and Italy.

In 1966, Israel honored him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

And now, Susan Zuccotti authored a book about him, Pere Marie-Benoit and Jewish Rescue.

This Catholic pastor showed empathy for Jews where faithful Catholics were persecuted in France.

Experiences in one's own life motivate others to a call to action to assist others.

Suffering is like that.

It is.

Evil can be overcome despite people who kill and live the lie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cura Animarum to Celebrate Founding 15 Years Ago

Two gratitude galas are set for Cura Animarum/Catholic Care/Cure of the Soul & Companions Counseling, and the All-Faiths Festival, including:

September 18, 5:30 pm, in Big Jacks' Bar-B-Q Grille, 27454 Gratiot, Roseville, 48066, with actor, Joe Maher of Opus Bono Sacerdotti, and, student and devotee of Father Popielarz' famous class in acceptance, David Johnstone, addressing, "Giving, Forgiving and Acceptance;"  and,

October 23, 5:30 pm, in Mr. Paul's Chophouse, 29850 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville, 48066, with song and saxophone entertainment. 

Reservations are requested by calling co-chairwomen, Sandra Bell, 586 778 6015, or, Marge Hallman, 586 776 0486.

A healing ministry, Care of the Soul All-Faiths Festival, is a mending and recovery outreach organization that provides growth group sessions and individual counseling for all.

Memories, resolutions, commendations and photos from thousands of participants over fifteen years can be sent to, care of,  Director, Care of the Soul & Companions, 25959 Waterway Drive, Harrison Twp., MI., 48045.

"Father Pops saved my life," said Johnstone, a longtime disciple of the founder of the class in acceptance, the Rev. Edward D. Popielarz, a professor at the Orchard Lake Schools, and, a pastor at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, Detroit, the boyhood parish of Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min., a pastor and board certified professional counselor for 37 years who counsels and leads the mending and growth groups the first Monday mending monthly sessions at 5:30 pm in Big Jack's Bar-B-Que, and, the third Wednesday of the month class in acceptance,  also at 5:30 pm.  Reservations are required at (313) 530 2777, or,

The public is welcome to the celebrations.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

You have to be taught. . .

You do.

Oscar and Hammerstein sing those lyrics in a classic stage play.

When I grew up on Detroit's East Side, trusting and talking to people of color in the nearby neighborhood, let alone the nation, and, on the way to Saint Thomas the Apostle School on Miller and Townsend past Burrough's Junior High at Saint Cyril and George, was not on my radar.

I was taught to exclude.

Outstanding mentors have helped me to undo that harmful learning.

Richard Rohr, for example, a Franciscan pastor, notes of the separate and autonomous self and individual that keeps people alone and isolated.  He claims this posture is an illusion.

It is.

We were made for each other. 

To be with each other.

To be one nation under God.

To be in communion with the community.

In union, in solidarity with each other.

A regional cooperation parade is set for Thursday, August 22nd at 6 pm at 8 Mile/Van Dyke, for unity. Bring a bell, and, a banner to carry to Toepher Street in Warren.

From 6 pm that evening, a supper will be served at 22021 Memphis (2 blocks west of Van Dyke, 8 blocks south of 9 Mile) in Warren, guests of Rev. David Kasbow of the Metro Detroit Family Church. We will bury segregation and lift up diversity and the dignity of each one.

Join me, will you please?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rivendell and Healing of Fracture

J.R.R. Tolkien's books tell of Rivendell as the safe house in the wilderness, a place of refuge and comfort.

Guarded by elves, the "cloven vale" was safe from all evil.

"Merely to be present there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness."

Visitors talked and thought about their past journeys and the perils they confront, yet, the spirit of the land soon lifted their fear and anxiety.

Their own experience of the good or ill of their own stories was not forgotten, but their power over them ceased.

Instead, health and hope grew strong in them, and the pilgrim learned to be satisfied with each day, and, to take pleasure in every meal, word and song.

Care of the Soul's Faiths Festival believes that healing is a natural process in everyone, and that it will occur if the environment, both within and outside the person, is nourishing and secure from harm or disease and fracture and brokenness.

Join us for our fifteenth anniversary of founding, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm at either Big Jack's Bar-B-Q Grille, or Mr. Paul's Chop House in Roseville (TBD).

Currently, growth groups that I lead meet the first Monday monthly, called, Morphing/Mending, and the third Wednesday monthly, called, Father Pops' Class in Acceptance.  Both meet at 5:30 pm in Big Jack's, 27454 Gratiot, Roseville, MI., 48066.

Welcome also for individual, couples or family counseling by calling me at (313) 530 2777, or,