Final Exam

05-31-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Graduations abound this time of year. Here's a reminder that education is supposed to teach you how to think. The student who took this test apparently learned how to think and quite humorously but not exactly as the teacher would have liked:

In which battle did Napoleon die?
His last one

Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
At the bottom of the page

River Ravi flows in which state?
Liquid state


The Road Less Traveled

05-24-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

The "road less traveled" is not the smoothest road. Anyone who takes being a Christian seriously will eventually find him or herself on that road. I don't just mean because of the challenges that come from without, whether persecutions, hostility or suffering personal loss because of your beliefs. Often the most difficult part resides within our own spiritual journeys. God has a way of being very exacting of his children. And for good reason: He wants us to live the abundant life. It's just that sometimes it seems as though He makes the grade in the road especially steep!

One of the reasons for this is that the Christian life is a life of virtue. And virtue is honed through experience. It is very easy to be virtuous when all is well; the road is smooth and difficulties scarce. It's another thing when the road less traveled is rough and uphill. That is where our true character is revealed and we see whether or not we have really internalized the life of grace and virtue.

It's relatively easy to practice charity when you have a lot to give. But when times are lean are you still willing to give? Remember the "widow's mite", Jesus praised her willingness to give from the little she had. She did not rationalize withholding her gift but despite her meager circumstances she freely gave and did not consider not giving. She practiced virtue when it mattered.


Who's Fault is It?

05-17-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

I’ve seen this scenario too many times unfortunately: Dad’s a heavy drinker and Mom and the kids know that when Dad comes home from work or wakes up on Saturday or Sunday there better be beer in the refrigerator or else there will be hell to pay. Mom is dutiful in making sure the refrigerator is well stocked at all times. Except one day the kids are sick and Mom has been running around to doctors and pharmacies and forgets to restock the beer. Dad goes to get a beer and doesn’t find any and proceeds to beat the hell out of his wife. Now some of Mom’s friends and family will tell her that she brought that beating on herself. After all she knew what would happen and should have been more responsible. She is even called a dumb, insensitive b#$!% who provoked Dad.

This is classic blame the victim rationale. It is exactly what I have been hearing regards the latest incident in Garland Texas. The organizers of the “Draw Mohammed Cartoon” Contest have been blamed for the violence that took place. They have been told that they “brought it on themselves”, “they only have themselves to blame”, “they knew what would happen and should have been more responsible”. And the main organizer has been referred to as a “dumb, insensitive b#$!% who provoked the terrorists. Blame the victim.


Here come everybody!

05-10-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Within the span of one minute I often hear: "hey Father from all the screaming babies I heard during Mass your parish has a great future, lots of life here!" and then the next person, "hey Father can you tell these parents to control their children?" Frankly I get whiplash.

To the latter statement I often think, "good luck with that. Did you ever try to control a squirrelly 3 year old or a 2 year old that is having a melt down?" The fact is that taking little children to Mass, which tends to be on the adult level is challenging and I admire the parents that do. At any given Mass a young child will decide to have a melt down, scream so loud they break the sound barrier or just decide that they need to talk as loud as the priest. Then there are those ones in diapers that will have a bowel movement that would make a horse jealous. And everyone around them knows it! So it goes with the baby human.

As far as I can see parents do their best to help shape their child's behavior in Church. But how can they do it if they don't ever bring their child to church to learn? Sometimes during Funerals people I don't know will come with their adolescent children and just by the way they act I can tell they have no idea how to act in public settings like a Church. Obviously they were never brought to Church as children. So while we offer childcare during Mass as an option it is an option and does not need to be a must.


We Have Been Warned: Part II

05-03-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Here is Part II of the late Cardinal Francis Georges column of September 2014.

(Part I can be found on our website under Bulletin of 26 April or on our Mobile site under Letters:

When the recent case about religious objection to one provision of the Health Care Act was decided against the State religion, the Huffington Post (June 30, 2014) raised "concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen." This is not the voice of the nativists who first fought against Catholic immigration in the 1830s. Nor is it the voice of those who burned convents and churches in Boston and Philadelphia a decade later. Neither is it the voice of the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850s, nor of the Ku Klux Klan, which burned crosses before Catholic churches in the Midwest after the civil war. It is a voice more sophisticated than that of the American Protective Association, whose members promised never to vote for a Catholic for public office. This is, rather, the self-righteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as "progressive" and "enlightened."