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Showing posts from June, 2009

Getting focused

Over the past two months this blog has become a truly exciting adventure for me. As it has evolved and the viewer list keeps growing some questions have been raised in my mind regarding what direction, what focus will this blog take.

I received many positive e-mails on my Corpus Christi homily as well as some constructive criticism which I intend to put into practice. As people started asking me however if "next Sunday's homily will be onyour blog and YouTube page Fr. John,"I stopped and thought, "Is that what I want to do?" Though I was flattered by the desire to have my homilies available, I realized that at this time I was not in a position to that every week, or even almost every week.

What I have realized more clearly is that this blog is intended to be an extension of my ministry as a member of the Franciscan Ministry of the Word (MOW). What is it that we in the MOW try to do. While some of my brother friars my use different words to answer that…

Father's Day and calming the waters

Greetings to one and all from Eagle River, WI.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. I will be speaking of that in my Sunday homily. The Gospel text of the day is the story of Jesus calming the waters. MMmmmm. How do these two things fit together?

It's no secret that the role of fathers has changed. As I travel around I note that many men's rooms in roadside rest areas have baby changing areas--and they are used. Dads are doing many things that only mom did twenty or thirty years ago--cooking, cleaning, child care, etc. I think that is all for the good. There are also dads who are divorced or separated, but who still have contact with their kids and who are involved in their lives. Behind all of this there is one thing, I think, that good fathers have always done--teach their kids to get through difficult times. My father, who died in January of 2007, did that for me.

Let's take a look at today's gospel passage (Mark 4, 35-41). Mark has Jesus asleep on a cushion in …

On Being a Franciscan

Hello again dear friends,

Having just finished a reflection on priesthood a few e-mails asked for one on being a Franciscan. I will do one of my own on this topic later in the summer but for now thought I would share an article written by our vice-provincial, Dominic Monti, OFM in The Evangelist, the newspaper of the diocese of Albany, NY Just click and read

Year of the priest--A personal reflection

Greetings to all. I am on the move this week and will arrive in Eagle River on Friday evening. Once I get there I will resume my YouTube videos.

Pope Benedict XVI has declared the coming year to be a year of the priesthood. He has asked for prayers for priests and has called us to be more holy, more truly men of prayer. There are many challenges for us priests today, e.g. a decrease of credibility and respect due to the sexual abuse scandals of recent years. There are also issues of who should be ordained--women, married people, etc. I will not address those in this reflection though they loom on the horizon and cannot be swept under the rug. What I will do instead is offer some thoughts on what 38 years of priestly ministry have meant to me.

Let me begin by saying that these 38 years have been rewarding and fulfilling beyond my wildest imagination. I entered the seminary in 1962, just as the Vatican council was opening and was ordained on May 22, 1971. Duri…

An Immigrant Church

I recently received an e-mail copy from an Eagle River parishioner of an article entitled Newark: Immigrant Church is its history and future. As I read the article which is about the archdioces of Newark, NJ, where I spent many years of my priestly ministry I was lead to reflect on my present experience as a traveling preacher. I speak Spanish and often find myself, along with the other friars on our Ministry of the Word team, preaching missions to Hispanic congregations in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Most of the folks I meet are from Mexico and Central America, though in south Florida they are predominantly Cuban. There are a good number from South America as well. Besides the Spanish speaking peoples, with whom I am more familiar, I have met immigrants from Vietnam, the Phillipines and from various African countries.
What are we, as Catholics, to make of this contemporary immigrant experience? What can we learn from the immigrants? What challenges face us.

My Summer Ministry

Every year at this time I get my room here in St. Petersburg cleaned up well and start packing for my trip north to Wisconsin where I spend the summer months ministering at St. Peter the Fisherman parish in Eagle River, WI.
My time in Eagle River is enjoyable and gives me a taste of regular parish ministry. I also feel that I am fulfilling a real need there as the pastor, Fr. Bob Koszarek, has two other churches to attend to, in addition to St. Peter's. Eagle River is a great vacation spot for folks from southern Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as other neighboring states, and extra weekend Masses are called for during the summer months.
Most importantly the people of St. Peter's parish as well as St. Albert's in Land O'lakes and St. Mary's in Phelps have become a part of the fabris of my life. I look forward to seeing them, cathching upo on what's been going on in our lives, and joining in on the various special activities of each parish during th…