Thursday, August 1, 2019

A New Direction

   As I write I imagine that some of my regular blog readers have thought that my blogging days are over.  They almost were.  I was running out of gas, new thoughts and ideas. Also, I wanted to avoid the vitriol afflicting our society and passing over the internet.

  I have decided, for the time being at least, to use this blog to offer folks a glimpse into my life and ministry.

   For almost thirty-two years I have been an itinerant preacher, preaching over 500 parish missions, several retreats for priests and religious and a number of days of prayer and recollection. For the past 3 years I have preached weekend campaigns for Unbound, a wonderful Catholic charitable organization that invites people to sponsor children and elders in various poor countries. Every one of these events had given me the opportunity to meet some interesting people and more importantly to experience God's action in many lives.

   Since I last wrote on this blog I have been in Florida, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Hawaii, Texas and North Dakota.  There are interesting people everywhere. I have been with priests from Vietnam and Zambia as well as several Latin American countries.  I have met 2 beekeepers and one wine maker.  Also, and most importantly I have had a glimpse into the life of the Church.  If one takes the image of the Church given by the media we are dying and ridden by scandal.  I don't want to minimize the impact of the sex abuse scandal.  It is real. It has driven people away, but I am also meeting many folks who say that their faith is becoming stronger because the scandals have caused them to go deeper in their living of the faith. 

   Another point that I would make strongly is that we are an immigrant and diverse Church.  There are few "nones" (those who believe in God but have no Church affiliation) among the Latino, Filipino, Vietnamese populations, to mention the most predominant immigrant groups. There are young families and children in these groups and they are the future of the Catholic Church in America, just as Irish, Italian, Polish and German immigrants were in previous generations.

   Unfortunately most people, including practicing Catholics, associate Church with clergy. The Laity my friends are the Church too and these days I think they are the strength of the Church.

   All of the above are my own impressions, not based on any formal sociological study, but I believe them to be true.

   I have mentioned Unbound in this article and in previous ones.  I will see more about my experience with them in the future.  In fact, the next time I write will be next week from Peru where I will be on an Unbound awareness trip which will include meeting with Anthony, a young man that I am sponsoring.

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