The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Too busy to write

I've been procrastinating, and have consequently paid the price. We returned from our extended trip up north last weekend and I found myself facing immovable deadlines on two very incomplete projects.

The most pressing is a course I'm scheduled to teach for the diocesan religious education office this weekend at a nearby parish. The course is one of many that make up a diocesan certification program for catechists and Catholic school teachers. Over the past five years I've taught a number of these courses, but this is the first time for this particular course. And so I've been immersed in preparation to the tune of 10 hours/day for the past four days...except for a pleasant six-hour break today working at the soup kitchen. Ain't retirement grand? Actually, it is.

The course addresses Catechesis and Social Ministry, and I've just now completed the last of 108 PowerPoint slides that I hope will lead my students and me through 10-hours of classroom time together. It's a worthy subject and there's certainly an abundance of material to draw from. I'll let you know how it turned out later.

The other deadline also relates to course preparation. But this time the course is aimed at our own parishioners. I suspended our Bible Study for the summer since so many of our parishioners are "snow birds" and I hate to continue the program when so many would be unable to take part. So I decided to offer a "summer school" course on Church History for the brave folks who stay here in Florida during the steamy days of June, July and August. It will start two weeks from now and run for ten weekly one-hour sessions. Let's see...if I cover 2,000 years of history in 10 hours, I'll have to cover 200 years during each session. Arrrghh! I think we might have to gloss over a few events. Either that or I'll have to talk really fast.

New subject. Have you ever been surprised to discover that someone you respect had died perhaps months or even years before and for some reason you didn't know it? It happens to me all the time. And it always bothers me. I actually feel guilty. I should have known and can't understand how I missed it. This happened to me yesterday.

I was glancing through several of the magazines and journals that had piled up during our absence, when I came across an obituary for Father Stanley L. Jaki, OSB, who died almost two months ago on April 7. Father Jaki, one of my heroes, was a prolific author, a theologian and physicist, and a wonderful Benedictine priest. I encountered his writings far too late in life when I picked up a copy of his Genesis 1 Through the Ages a few years ago. This book, along with seven or eight other of his books I have read since, have all challenged and enlightened me. I highly recommend them. You can obtain his books directly from Real View Books and, of course, from Amazon and other online booksellers.

Other than the above, nothing is really new. The politicians continue to lie, cheat and steal and drive our soon-to-be-poor nation into oblivion. Oh, and speaking of oblivion and politicians and gullible voters, did you catch the opinion piece in, of all places, Pravda? If you're over 40 you should remember Pravda, the former official newspaper of the Soviet Union. The old joke back then related to Pravda, which means "truth", and the Soviet news agency, Izvestia, which means "news". Russians used to say, "There's no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia."

My, how things have changed! Today Pravda is an independent news source and their online version carried an interesting piece by someone named, Stanislav Mishin, in which he says unkind things about our political leaders and calls the American people, "sheeple". (Click here to read it. It's two pages so don't forget to read page 2.) I suppose we'll soon find out how accurate a prophet he is.

And don't forget to mark your calendars for June 19, the beginning of the Year for Priests called for by Pope Benedict XVI. Make an effort this year to pray for priestly vocations and that the Holy Spirit will support priests in their saving work.

Man and Gull at Chatham Light on Cape Cod (May 2009)

Oh, and you might enjoy this photo (above) I took in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod early one morning a week or so ago. The man was enjoying his before work cup of coffee and taking in the view near the Chatham Light when the gull landed a few feet away. I happened to have the camera in hand. I like the photo.

God's Peace.


  1. It's a lovely photo!

    Good luck with the Church history course. I did something similar, but limited myself to early history through the rise of Islam. It was still lots of work on my part, but well-received, which was gratifying.

    I read the Pravda article, but have no idea who Stanislav Mishin or why we should give him any credibility.

  2. Well, I've taught this Church History course before and it was a tight squeeze, but I might be able to convince my parishioners to add 15 minutes to each class. That would help.

    As for Pravda and Mr. Mishin, I suppose he has about as mich credibility as I...which ain't much. Heck, I end up disagreeing with myself half the time. I linked to it only because I thought it interesting that the former hard-line Communist newspaper should have so thoroughly reversed course.

    Glad you liked the photo.