Showing posts from May, 2007

The Building No One Built... ?

Wow.... I've been away from the blog awhile! A sure sign that school's wrapping up and life has been busy busy busy! But come June 7th, sweet freedom! (no offense boys, it's been another great year at Malvern).Anyhoo, let me toss this thought out into the blogosphere and see if I get any bites.

I've been reading randomly from two very different books: 1. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and 2.The Evidential Power of Beauty by Thomas Dubay. They are as alike as a granite boulder and a piece of cheese. One looks at life in the universe as happening purely by chance (no God or gods, no supernatural presence whatsoever), and the other sees God present all the while, supercharging every proton and particle that is, peering like a lover through the lattices of all things created. (Can you guess which book I'm diggin'?)

Now this is just a thought (a weak analogy, actually). I want to put it out there without a hint of sarcasm. I am serious. Let's get beyond agen…

Tonight's Radio Show - May 29

Tune in tonight from 5pm to 6pm EST for The Heart of Things Radio Show, live @ 800AM or log in live at 5 @
My guest will be Fr. Kevin McGoldrick, a gifted young priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We'll speak on his vocation story, music ministry, the New Evangelization and working with teens and young adults in the Church today (how to get the Gospel through the culture and to the kids!)

To call into the show with your thoughts or questions..... in the Philadelphia region: 610-527-2906 or outside the Philadelphia region, call toll free: 888-343-2484


Happy Memorial Day Weekend 2007! Hope yours was safe and swell (let's bring that word back into vogue!) Here's a few snapshots of our time up in NY state...

+ babysitting for Peter and Ali, watching little Aileen and Michaela at the house Peter built in the woods. Singing Michaela to sleep to the sound of the crickets "sleep sleep.... sleep sleep."

+ eating chips and watching Planet Earth with the father-in-law. Those snow leopards are awesome!

+ sleeping at the lakehouse, sitting on the dock before the cool, clear water, watching the sky moods reflecting in its watery face

+ Pentecost Sunday at the little country church, which is really a kind of gym. Standing room only, and Jesus in our midst

+ breakfast at Benny's in Wurtsboro with the relations. Teaching Taylor and Travis the drawing game on the placemats (great homefries, by the way!)

+ laughing at Friday's, that huge mojito, popping into Barnes & Nobles for the Pope's new book, and Tolkien's too!


Pope's New Book: Jesus of Nazareth

I'm excited about picking up Pope Benedict's new book on Jesus. Here's a little excerpt:

"...the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: But what has Jesus really brought, then, if he has not brought world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought? The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who once gradually unveiled his countenance first to Abraham, then to Moses and the prophets, and then in the wisdom literature—the God who showed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth. He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: …

Protestant and Catholic Heaven

Sorry for the dry week of blogs. School's rapping up and time has been tight! So here's a little silliness for your Friday. It's completely irreverent but nonetheless hilarious. Ironically, it captures the essence of the Catholic Church... which is Her catholicity, or universality. Sometimes the Simpsons just nail it, don't they? Enjoy the holiday weekend (and stay off that Jersey Turnpike!)

This Week's Radio Guest

I'll be speaking with award-winning journalist and author Susan Brinkmann on The Heart of Things radio show this Tuesday evening from 5-6pm Eastern Standard Time at or for southeastern PA, NJ and Delaware at 800 AM from 5 to 6pm EST. Susan is the special correspondent to the Catholic Standard & Times newspaper in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as the author of several books, including “The Kinsey Corruption.” She has written numerous children’s plays, as well as a beautiful devotional on prayer entitled "Lord Teach Us to Pray." Susan received the Barnardin-O’Connor Award for Pro-Life Journalism in both 2002 and 2003. She became a professed member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in October 2000. Join in on our conversation as we discuss a variety of topics, from prayer and vocations, to the struggles of a daily practice of faith in American culture today.

Words of Witness from Fr. Cantalamessa

Great words from Fr. Cantalamessa, the Preacher for the Papal Household at the Vatican. He offered this reflection yesterday:

"The witness is one who speaks with his life. A believing father and mother must be "the first witnesses of faith" for their children. (The Church asks this for them from God in the blessing that follows the rite of matrimony).

Let us give a specific example. At this time of year many children are preparing for first Communion and confirmation. A believing mother or father can help the child review the catechism, explain the meaning of the words to him, and help him memorize the responses. Such parents are doing a beautiful thing and if only there were more who did this!

But what would a child think if after all that his parents said and did for his first Communion, they never go to Mass on Sunday, they never make the sign of the cross and never pray? They have been teachers, but they haven't been witnesses.

Naturally, the testimony of the parent…

A Beautiful Voice

My friend Scott has a niece in voice training and he shared a video of hers with me the other day. What a gift! American Idol, eat your heart out! Her name is Marian.

Love One Another.... That's It?

One of the Gospel readings from daily mass last week had some spiritual dynamite in it. We heard from John, chapter 15:

Jesus said to his disciples: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.... This I command you: love one another."

I remember hearing a story about St. John the Apostle, who in his older days was exiled to the island of Patmos. Legend says the local community would carry him out each week for prayer, supporting his aging and frail body, like Simons bearing a human cross. Then St. John, the last of the Twelve Apostles, would simply say to the crowds around him "Love one another."

That's it.

A new member of the community grew a little impatient with these seemingly tedious and unoriginal sermons, mumbled softly every week. So he asked if John ever said anything else.

"What else is there to say?" said a woman beside him.

Whoa.... what else IS the…

Tuesday Night's Show

Our culture loves to polarize things; it makes for good drama, which makes for enticing news. One of the long-standing faceoffs in the secular mind is the whole God vs. Science, Faith vs. Reason debate. Can Catholics believe in the theory of evolution? Is creationism the only alternative? What's Intelligent Design all about? If you want to hear the skinny on this one, tune in to 800AM or log in at tonight, Tuesday, May 15, for the Heart of Things Radio Show. My guest is Mr. Tom Stewart, a science teacher, Catholic layman, and colleague of mine from Malvern Preparatory School. We'll be discussing the ideas of evolution, creationism, and Intelligent Design. We're not experts, but we'll be looking at a variety of sources to shed light on just what the Church believes about our origins. You might be surprised! To call into the show... In the Philadelphia region: 610-527-2906 Or outside call toll free: 888-343-2484

Bad News vs. Good News

I don't like watching the news. It's creepy. The talking heads are lovely and articulate, but somehow robotic. How else can we explain the cold and seemingly effortless shift from a man who murdered his baby to the home run "so and so" scored last night, and then neatly close with some footage of Boofie the Pirate Dog? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote that "Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press." (Hmm, that one is worth reading again). Is this how I'm going to end my day? Reflecting on a hodge podge of happenings that happened while I was working? I was just fine until this pile of depressing things was poured into my living room (and I include Boofie the Pirate Dog here). I know, I know.... we have a responsibility to know what's going on; to enter into the world around us and experience things as a big 'ole human family. I agree; that's…

Today's Show

For anyone curious about our topic on the Heart of Things Radio show today, here are a few resources: Our guests, Katherine and Colin, work for Generation Life ( They can be reached for a talk at your school or parish through this site. Just look up Katherine DeCamera or Colin Nykaza. For Christopher West's excellent study of the Pope's teaching on human sexuality, Introduction to the Theology of the Body, visit or www.ascensionpress.comFor Amy Welborn's book for teens, Here. Now: A Catholic Guide to the Good Life, visit

God All in My Face

We have Mass every morning at Malvern Prep. Last week, because of a spring concert and the need to set things up in chapel, Fr. Steve had to make a makeshift altar and bring it down in front of the first row of pews. Now I usually sit in the front row for Mass to get up and read, so when the altar came down, my entire field of vision was filled up with the sacred stuff of the Lord's Supper; the linen cloth, chalice, candles, the paten with the host on it, the hands of Fr. Steve moving over the wine and the water and the bread at the moment of consecration. I could almost reach out and touch the altar if I tried. God was all in my face. This was a little overwhelming; I was drawn in, captured. There was no escape and no chance for distraction. When God is all in your face, you have to look at Him. And when I looked I didn't see a big scary Overlord coming to dominate me or show commandments down my throat. I saw a God Who became little, to liberate me and give me the dominion …

Spiderman 3 - All Webbed Out

Well, we saw Spiderman 3 Saturday night. Here's my gut reaction:

- too many jokes
- too many bad guys
- too much violence for the dozens of 9 year olds in our theater

(Spoiler warning!)

There could have been some real sublime moments, but with a foundation of cheesy jokes, we almost weren't allowed to reach them. Like the scene where Spidey scales to the top of a cathedral, and beneath the shadow of a stone cross, he struggles with his inner demons.

Like a medieval gargoyle, we see his rain-soaked silhouette.... But just as the power of this image starts to permeate us, a third bad guy (yes third) appears down below, steps into a pew and looking up at a beautiful crucifix prays "Dear Sir, I know I've made mistakes, I humbly come before You and ask just one thing.... Please kill Peter Parker."

Huh? You want Jesus to kill Peter Parker?

Who writes this stuff? Who the heck talks like this? That would've been a fantastic spiritual battle up there until Jealous Bo…

Taking Heat for the Gospel

Have you ever had an Awkward Catholic Moment (henceforth referred to as an ACM)?

- Maybe you're about to make the sign of the cross in a restaurant or a diner before a meal and there's that brief second of indecision; "Am I being showy or saintly?" (ACM)

- A friend\co-worker says "You're Catholic, right?" (you swallow hard) "So what's the big hang-up with birth control? Are you guys trying to take over the world?!" (quick answer is yes, we are. See Genesis 1:28 and Matthew 28:19)

- Maybe someone at work or school drops a bomb on the table and says "they" should just let priests get married and that would solve the "problem," and in the seconds ticking between talk, you wonder if you should speak a clarifying word from Matthew 19:12 or the Catechism? (ACM)

- or maybe you're actually a little unsure about the meaning of the whole celibacy thing yourself and don't know what to say. (ACM Deluxe Edition)

- You're walk…

A Trip to the Video Gore, I Mean Store!

My dad's down from Maine and he stayed over our place this past weekend. On Friday night, we decided to "rent a movie" and just kick back casual style at the domicile. A little pizza, a little cinematic diversion... what could be more relaxing?

Now "renting a movie" at the video store is an activity practiced ritually by millions of Americans every day (and especially on Friday), even with the advent of Cable TV, Netflix, and those spy satellite dish thingees that you sometimes see resting ominously on people's homes, which allow you to access 348,431 channels ("I wish we had that Eskimo Cooking Tuscan Style Channel.... wait! We doooooo!")

Regardless of the plethora of programs available to us here, we still make our pilgrimage to "Movie Land Rentals!" in the hope that perhaps there we will find what our hearts are longing for... the quintessential "great movie." And some Jiffy Pop.

But what we find nearly every time we visit the …

Resources Cited on the Show

For those tuning in tonight, we'll cite a few resources on the Theology of the Body. For the link to Ascension Press, click here!

Theology of the Body for Beginners
by Christopher West

What is the "Theology of the Body"? According to Pope John Paul II, if we live according to the true meaning of our sexuality, we "fulfill the very meaning of [our] being and existence." The human body is a "theology" because it is meant to be a sign of God’s own life and love in the world. With clarity and precision, Christopher West unpacks John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, translating it into a language everyone can understand.

Good News About Sex and Marriage
by Christopher West

This easy-to-read, question-and-answer book by Christopher West offers a fresh, relevant, and convincing presentation of the Church's teachings on human sexuality and marriage. Rooted in Pope John Paul II's revolutionary Theology of the Body, this book is great fo…

Tonight's Radio Show - The Heart of Things

Our topic tonight, Tuesday, May 1, from 5-6pm Eastern Standard Time at or local 800 AM in Philadelphia, is going to be on the topic of the Theology of the Body, purity, and the secret to living chastity in today's world. The answer is not to "just say no!" but to say "yes!" to the beauty of God's plan for us.

My guests will be two young adults from Generation Life, Colin and Katherine.

Tune in and discover the freedom and joy God calls us to, and the reason why we're called to be the clean of heart who can see God, in and through the body! Hope you can join us!

Bill Donaghy

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld