“To be a deacon in today’s church is to be busy. Very busy.”

A few words from someone in a position to know, from the next edition of Our Sunday Visitor: On an otherwise unremarkable Sunday in July 2007, I found myself face-to-face with a bewitching young Irish lass, Margaret Flanagan, who would forever change my life. I remember gazing down at her pink cheeks and laughing eyes. [Read More...]

“What is a parish?”: a homily for September 15, 2013

Today, traditionally the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, is also my parish’s feast day. Late yesterday, the parish administrator said, “You wanna throw together a few words for the 11:30 Mass?”  Okay, I said.  Here they are.  Yesterday, as I do every month, I met with families to schedule baptisms. And I’m always surprised [Read More...]

Next season’s judges on “American Idol”…?

Okay. Maybe not. From left to right: Gary Ziuraitis, CSsR, Director of Communications for the Redemptorist General Government; Rocco “Whispers in the Loggia” Palmo; Your Humble Blogger; Dave Dwyer, CSP, Executive Director of “Busted Halo” and co-host of “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan” on Sirius XM Radio. At the conference I’m attending in Long Branch, New [Read More...]

I’m going down the shore

Which, of course, means the Jersey Shore. I’ll be speaking at a conference in Long Branch, New Jersey, at the venerable San Alfonso Retreat House, run by the Redemptorists. The topic for the next four days: “Preaching the Gospel Anew.”  Looking forward to catching up with some old friends like the “Church Whisperer” and that [Read More...]


Well, it’s over. Msgr. Joseph Funaro, my pastor emeritus, has been to sent to his rest. The funeral Mass this morning was beautiful. On a glorious summer Saturday, the church in Forest Hills was packed: two bishops, a couple dozen priests, throngs of friends and family, a small army of altar servers.  Music ranged from [Read More...]

A Maryland milestone: parish marks 200-year anniversary

St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Photo by Tom Fedor/The Gazette I stumbled on this bit of news this morning, about the Maryland parish where my wife and were married in 1986. From the Gazette newspapers:  In its 200 years, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville has seen Civil War soldiers, famous authors and thousands of Rockville [Read More...]

In Queens this afternoon…

Msgr. Funaro had a great devotion to his patron, St. Joseph.   The prayer on the back of the card: Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful [Read More...]

Requiescat in pace

Lord God, You chose our brother Joseph to serve your people as a priest and to share the joys and burdens of their lives. Look with mercy on him and give him the reward of his labors, the fullness of life promised to those who preach your holy Gospel. We ask this through Christ our [Read More...]

When a priest dies

Since this is a subject my parish is now facing, I thought I’d share some details about traditions and customs surrounding the funeral of a priest. Fr. Joshua Janko blogged about this a few years ago: What are some of the traditional practices that accompany a priest when they die? Well, I should first start [Read More...]

Rest in peace, Msgr. Joseph Funaro

Yesterday, I asked for prayers for my pastor emeritus, Msgr. Joseph Funaro. Early this morning, his earthly journey came to an end.  He was 76. O God, Thou didst raise Thy servant, Joseph, to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving him the sublime power to offer the Eternal [Read More...]