Ordination Registry: like a wedding registry, but for Catholic Priests

During my immediate preparation for Ordination 5 years ago, Many priests told me to discourage gifts of Rosaries and Crucifixes. Some priests were considerate by gifting a useful Ritual Item from the Church Supply Store. However, many Catholics are understandably clueless on what sort of useful gifts to give priests, or where to find them.

So I steered people in the direction of Restaurant Gift Cards. I received a Gift Certificate to a local Church supply store from a leader in one of our parishes. I attempted to purchase useful items for priestly ministry. One person wanted to purchase a Chasuble, but relented upon discovering the average pricetag of $500+. Another person desired I have a Travel Mass kit, but was shocked to find them upwards of $600.

In 2013, I used Amazon to only purchase text books, Blu Ray movies or electronic supplies. It would not have occured to me to search Amazon for Clergy or Church supplies. In my quest to construct a Travel Mass kit, I scoured the internet, and shocked to find so much available on Amazon. It was no surprise to find Ritual Books, but to find Holy Water Sprinklers, Chasubles, Stoles, Holy Oil Stocks, and even Statues was a novelty. I realized that I could have created an Amazon wishlist like an Ordination Registry. Often, these items are third-party vendors, that are able to sell merchandise through Amazon, so you may actually be supporting small Christian business throughout the country.

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Movies about Saints my way

Temptation

Salvador Dali’s Temptation of St Anthony

With the Golden Globes finished, and the Academy Awards around the corner, I wanted to publish this long overdue. I often find Catholic Saints film a bore. For fifth grade catechesis, maybe, but not much for inspiration in my faith. For Greater Glory & There Be Dragons pushed the Action and Intrigue. They attempted to make Saint stories suitable for Big Budget / Big Screen Cinema. In 2014, we had Biblical epics picked up by Directors who may have been atheists. The Gospel According to St Matthew, directed by atheist, marxist, homosexual Pasolini, is on the Vatican’s list of top faith films.

While many Catholics dream of big budget, suround sound, 3-D, nationally screened Saint films, I wonder what could be lost. Some saints might get their action sequences. Most saints are dealing with interior dilemmas that just cannot be communicated in the same manner as Big Budget / Big Screen Cinema. You might have to talk to directors who have dealt with smaller scale, intimate portrayals, accompanied by character development. On the one hand, you might limit the audience. On the other hand you might reach an audience (that wouldn’t waste their time on a cheesy sentimental saint film) for an intelligent, thoughtful, artfully crafted film experience around a particular saint.

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4 unusual, although typical priestly encounters

When random people encounter a priest, they are often ready to open up about their entire life. I find, that when I visit different parishes to preside at Sunday Masses, there is always a person or two who will briefly tell me their life story, or want to know mine.

As I am a “young” or “cool” priest, or perhaps a priest without grey hair or a gut, somehow they find me strangely fascinating. My actual ministry is to high school students at an all boys school, and so these sorts of encounters don’t happen at all where I work. Most adolescent boys like to hear stories from their teachers. Myself included. Yet, they never ask me for my vocation story, quite like the adults or elderly people that I encounter at parishes.

Just yesterday, I literally had 4 encounters that I think could virtually sum up what all such encounters.

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Sisterhood, Reality TV about young discerners

Be sure to check out the show on LifeTime: mylifetime.com/shows/the-sisterhood-becoming-nuns

Be sure to check out the show on LifeTime: mylifetime.com/shows/the-sisterhood-becoming-nuns

The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns is a reality show on Lifetime candidly chronicling 5 20-something women discerning a call to Religious Life. I joined the Augustinians in my early 20’s, and thought I could attest to the validity of what these women go through in the course of the series. However, there were only two noticeable differences that I will comment on briefly. However, instead of commenting overall what seems true for almost anyone, I would rather comment on what I have related to in one way or another discussing each of the Sisters, and what they are going through.

“God or the Girl” Reality Show about Priesthood Discerners?

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Advent, Vegetarians, John the Baptist…

The second week of Advent, we see our readings concentrating on John the Baptist, who wore wild fur, ate honey and locusts…

I was once in a fourth grade, and one bright girl was asking some pretty deep questions, way beyond, I conceive of a typical fourth grader’s critical thinking skills.  While most kids were asking about “Are you allowed to have pets? Are you allowed to play sports?”… This girl asked “If you are supposed to care about all God’s creature, why aren’t more priests vegetarians?”

I thought WOW!!!!  Yeah why not?

There was a time when Religious, those monks and nuns dedicated to prayer… were also dedicated to fasting.  They saw meat as a luxury they were not worthy to consume.  In an ascetic spirit of sacrifice, like Christ who carried the cross, the pleasure of meat was something to be given up.  The spirit of fasting and abstinence carried over onto lay catholics as well.  They wanted to make the extra move to fast a little bit more.

When we, as Catholics, talk about fasting… well we talk about eating one meal, and two snacks that do not measure up to a meal, and abstaining from meat only two days a year.  How lame, I wonder, when I compare ourselves to devout Hindus, Muslims, and Native Americans who engage in much more rigorous fasting.  Of course, our context for fasting is a bare minimum that is required, which is made to be as inclusive as possible to the weakest imaginable.  But, when we promote that to our kids, we make fasting lame!  Advent even used to be a time of some fasting, which we have somewhat forgotten.  Yet sometimes i think letting go of our garbage, or petty things can help us prepare the way for the coming King.

John the Baptist certainly stands in contrast to this, particularly the shallow legalism of the Pharisees, who he proclaims a brood of vipers.

What if we asked them to be creative, and find more things to fast from?  I do not think that God is going to send us to hell for failing to fast perfectly.  Yet, what about the benefits of fasting?

Essentially Fasting and abstinence are about freeing ourselves from out attachments, so that we can be filled with the grace and holiness which are of God.  We might have more time to pray if we spent less time with addictive facebook or television.  We might have more willpower to eat healthy if we were hungry from eating less junk food.

But even thinking about how lame we as Catholics have become with fasting, I wonder how this relates to obesity?  It is worth asking?  I mean, obesity is one of our scandalous problems in our nation, which side by side, exists in a world where children die of starvation.  I think people have good reason to ask the question, is our unwillingness to fasting contributing to our problem with obesity?

Certainly, lack of knowledge and access to nutrition could be a problem.  Poverty could also be a problem, seeing as how McDonalds is cheaper then a healthy restaurant.  Lack of time to exercise as well.  But, think in yourself how much of letting go is a priority?

I am not a vegetarian, but i do ask myself that frequently.

There are some, who want to legislate nutritional food, and impose the discipline of good eating by externals.  For instance removing toys from happy meals, and limiting the diet at public schools.  These are all good, but wisdom teaches us that a system of good nutrition imposed externally will not actually teach us the inner will power and discipline to make a good choice of what we eat.  Fasting is the one thing that will.  I think that some vegetarians, and vegans, whether concerned over animals, or their own lack of will power ask this question for purely secular reasons.  What about us, as a physiological spiritual inner union… our bodily discipline will effect our spiritual discipline.

John the Baptist is a sign of this.