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Showing posts from September, 2013

A New Vision

Ever since the election of Pope Francis last March I have frequently been asked what I think of him.  The answer is always something like "Tremendous" or "Amazing" or "Wonderful". I have also found myself almost daily finding something that he has said that I find uplifting and/or challenging for my life as a priest and religious.  What I would like to do here is offer more than a one-word answer to the question of my impressions of this wonderful pope.

   The first thing that we need to understand is that Pope Francis is not changing any core belief of the Church.  What he is doing is offering us a new vision of Church, a new way (actually a very old and traditional way) of living as the People of God, the Body of Christ.  What are some of the hallmarks of this new vision?

   1.  Pope Francis is inviting us to lead with the proclamation of the Gospel rather than with the pronouncement of moral teachings.  This confuses some people on both the left an…

September 11, Syria, Muslims, Christians and More

I remember very well where I was on September 11, 2001.  I was preaching a retreat to a small group of priests from the Stigmatine Order at their vacation house on Cape Cod.  As the news poured in that day I asked them to pray especially for Fr. Mychal Judge, a member of my province.  I knew that Mychal, fire chaplain for the FDNY, always had to be where the action was.  And indeed that was true as later that day I received an e-mail that he had perished while trying to assist firefighters and others on that day.  We friars were both saddened and proud because of the role that he played on that terrible day.

   It is now 12 years later and we are not even close to being done with the consequences of that act of terror.  I offer some thoughts on where we might go from here, thoughts not based on politics, but rather, as a Franciscan, on where the Gospel calls us to go.

   I am on Facebook, as many of you know, and that social medium today is rightly filled with "Let us never f…