March 24, 2021

“Jesus is radical,” stated Pope Francis during the canonization Mass of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero three years ago.  “He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart… Jesus is not content with a percentage of love: we cannot love him twenty or fifty or sixty percent. It is either all or nothing.” The Gospel of the rich man who went away sad after Jesus asked him… Read more

March 7, 2021

This morning as I got ready for Mass, I watched the Pope meet with people in the midst of a ruined Mosul.  Where just a few years ago ISIS was killing and destroying, today people gathered to pray with Pope Francis.  Light entered where darkness had spread.  The Pope echoed his strong condemnation of the use of violence and terrorism for religious purposes. I watched the Pope drive through the streets of the Christian community of Qaraqosh and heard him… Read more

March 6, 2021

After a meeting with the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who is the highest leader of Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Pope Francis participated in an interreligious gathering in the Plain of Ur where he addressed those gathered.  The chosen location for the gathering cannot be underestimated since it is the ancient homeland of our common Father in Faith, Abraham. After the beautiful chanting of the accounts of Abraham from both the Bible and the Koran, various speakers addressed the Pope, including… Read more

March 5, 2021

After fifteen months of no travel, Pope Francis made history by flying four and a half hours east from Rome to Baghdad, Iraq for the first Apostolic Journey to that country.  Pope John Paul II had a great desire to visit Iraq in the year 2000, but due to security concerns, the trip never came to fruition.  Today, Pope Francis landed in one of the best well known “peripheries” of the world to show us the face of Jesus amidst… Read more

March 3, 2021

Nine years ago, a diocesan meeting was held at Sacred Heart Parish in Warner Robins to discuss various issues with the newly ordained bishop.  Bishop Hartmayer listened attentively to priests and laypeople from throughout the Diocese who worked with immigrant communities.  That same day I received a phone call from Michael Johnson, editor of the Southern Cross which is my diocesan newspaper, and I agreed to write an article about the gathering in both English and Spanish.  A few weeks… Read more

February 16, 2021

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent marked with the celebration of Ash Wednesday.  Historically the days before Lent have been marked by intense celebrations such as Mardi Gras and Carnaval.  Though official celebrations throughout the world have been significantly curtailed due to the COVID pandemic, today can still be celebrated in anticipation to the Lenten period of fasting, praying and almsgiving. There has been somewhat of a buzz in regards to the distribution of ashes during the Ash Wednesday liturgy…. Read more

February 12, 2021

Al salir de la hermosa iglesia colonial de San Francisco en el centro de Lima con un amigo de la universidad que había viajado conmigo al Perú por unas semanas, cinco camiones militares con cañones de agua pasaron apresurados por la calle estrecha junto a la imponente estructura. Había visto las noticias antes de ir al centro y sabia que manifestantes se estaban reuniendo cerca del Congreso. Mi amigo bastante alarmado me dijo: “¿qué vamos a hacer ahora?” Tranquilamente respondí:… Read more

February 11, 2021

As I left the beautiful, colonial Franciscan church in downtown Lima, Peru with a college friend who had traveled with me to my native country for a few weeks, five military trucks with water cannons raced down the narrow street beside the imposing structure.  I had watched the news before driving downtown – protestors were gathering near Congress.  My friend, alarmed, said, “what are we going to do now?”  Calmly I responded, “we will just walk the opposite way from… Read more

February 6, 2021

Father Michael Schmitz has become a highly recognized Catholic speaker over the past few years.  A priest of the Diocese of Duluth, he has become known mostly through his online presence.  Most recently along with Ascension Press, he launched a podcast titled “The Bible in a Year.”  It quickly became the number one ranked podcast. Tonight, Father Michael addressed the thousands of SEEK21 participants from the University of Minnesota Duluth where he is the chaplain.  I was reminded of his… Read more

February 4, 2021

The 2021 SEEK Conference organized by the Fellowship of Catholic College Students (FOCUS) started tonight.  Usually held every two years at a prominent city in the USA, this year the event is being live-streamed.  An estimated 26,000 from throughout the world are attending, half of which are college students of which most are in one of 200 college campuses where FOCUS has a presence. Sister Miriam, SOLT and Bishop Robert Barron were the keynote speakers tonight, preparing the students for… Read more

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