Month: November 2009

The Cana Happening

A Favorite Quote

For if true friendship is exchanged between God and us, between human
beings and angels, between human beings and human beings, true friendship is love. Blessed Simon Fidati of Casc
An Augustinian friar 1348


The Cana Happening

It is understandable that, in 2002, when Church Fathers added the five additional Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary they included the Cana Wedding Party.  This was an event of spiritual importance.  For me, it provokes many thoughts.

          First, I think it important to know that Mary and Jesus were invited as guests to this prominent social event in their town.  They accepted, and I bet Mary was one of the most liked persons there. Like Mary, my own mother was popular at parties merely because, forgetful of self, she was genuinely interested in others and made them feel they were of value. At a cocktail party, I usually couldn’t see her because she was surrounded by other guests.

 I am also certain that Jesus was having a good time taking part in the joyful event. When Mary wanted to get his attention, I picture him across the room, laughing at jokes with his friends.  What great company he must have been!

It is interesting that Mary noticed the wine had run out. At that moment, she could have called Jesus and said, “The party is winding down, so let’s go home.”

Although others must also have known of the wine problem, Mary was the one who acted out of compassion for the parents of the wedding pair and for their guests.  This thought sparks my daily reminder that I should be aware of the concerns of others.   

I am fascinated by what Mary did next. She merely made Jesus aware of the problem.  With faith, she knew he would know how to solve it. She didn’t tell him what to do and how to do it. With my weak faith, when I make a prayer request, I make known the goal with a suggested blueprint of how to get there.

By inviting Jesus to perform a miracle that would keep the wine flowing, Mary was doing much more than saving a social event. She was catapulting Jesus into his ministry — of removing his Man mask to expose his Divine Nature. From that moment on, he would be acknowledged not merely as a village carpenter but a miracle worker with divine power.

As joyful Catholics, we should always enjoy the Cana Happening.  Like Mary, let us be aware of the needs of others.  And let us invite Jesus to work within us in demonstrating our concern and love for others.  

Admired saying

In other words, given what’s actually on offer in today’s religious market place, Catholicism often seems a balanced, moderate, and sophisticated option. For the record, this is how most people on the planet right now actually see the Catholic Church, in light of what else they see around them. That realization ought to have consequences not only for our missionary and pastoral strategies, but also for our own attitudes about the church.

          John Allen in National Catholic Reports (

Hurrah for Bishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe for criticizing his fellow bishops who objected to President Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame last May. He also said that withholding Holy Communion from pro-abortion politicians is a hysterical reaction.

 I have long been an admirer of this outstanding Church leader, who’s motto is “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholics!


 Haiku time

(Submitted by Eric Thompson, Cleveland, OH) 

Like a weaning babe

In my Mother Mary’s lap

I bask in her love.


(send me yours: 

Recommended reading (daily news from the Vatican)

In the November 16 issue of America, Maryann Cusimano Love has her splendid article, “A Surge in Clarity”, about our losing war in Afghanistan.




(The first to send the right answers to will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics) 

1.     What were the names of the two future disciples whom Jesus found casting their nets into the sea, and he told them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”?

2.     Who was the saint, born in Assisi in 1193, who established an order of women devoted to the poor?

3.     The Vatican Library originated in which time?

(a)  13th Century

(b)  15th Century

(c)   17th  Century

Chuckle Time

Parishioner: Father Smyth, I will better enjoy your homilies because I am wearing a new expensive hearing device, and I can hear like a teenager.

Father Smyth: Your new hearing aid — what kind is it?Parishioner (looking at his wrist): It’s two-thirty. 


My favorite priest

(Submit your favorite priest to      

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Bob Haines, Eileen Grotsky, 

Rebecca Matthews, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, 

Susan McGahee, Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor,

Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Joe Berger, Tom Ryan.


Pray with a Broad Brush

Open letter to Bishop Thomas Tobin 

If you had been the priest instructing me during my conversion to the Church, which happened before you were born, I would still be a Protestant. At that time I learned that being a Catholic was committing oneself to Christ and his teachings. It meant devoting one’s life to love of God and love of all others. Joining the Church would entitle me to receive the Eucharist and benefit from the other Sacraments.

          In your letter to Congressman Patrick Kennedy, you imply that when one becomes a Catholic, this person relinquishes freedom of thought and action. As demanded by the four most prominent dictators of the last century, all must conform to the dictates of authority.  Back then, citizens who did not commit to ordered thinking, talking and acting were considered traitors. Your requirement for membership in the Church calls for mandated conscience. And in your opinion, Catholic laypeople should be like robots, which nod in unison when Church leaders press the button. I have never studied theology, but I doubt if that is what Christ had in mind when he initiated the Church.

          You would like for Catholics to act as do pawn Congresspersons who vote as instructed by their Party, regarding of what they think of the merits of pending legislature. Although this is effective in cramming through legislation, I don’t think it should have a role in our Catholic religion.

          I pray for you.

jesus_entering_jerusalem_on_a_donkeyWhen Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the whole group of   disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for the miracles they had seen.

                                                                                      Luke 19:37 


Pray with a Broad Brush 

Never underestimate the effectiveness of your prayer.  In this world of unseen magical mystery, no one knows by what means one’s thoughts can affect another person.  But it can and often does. So, recognize this fact and put it to good use.  In my six-man prayer group which has been meeting for over a dozen years, we have had so many healings for those on our Special Intentions List that we refer to it as our Miracle List.

       costa_brava1   One summer, I was at a “Salvador Dali Happening” in a town in the Costa Brava region of Spain. The event was staged in the large market center where a string of bed sheets had been strung from wires.  When the great maestro appeared with his perfected waxed moustache, he took hoses filled with different colored waters and playfully sprayed designs on the hanging sheets and also splattered some of us in the crowd. Then he laughed and shouted, “Now you can tell your grandchildren you were painted by Dali!”

          That day, rather than painting on a small canvas, this artist created large patterns on the sheets.  In the same way, I find it invigorating to expand a secret prayer for many people. It can be done anywhere.  Often when I am on a plane or bus, I will pray for all the passengers.  While waiting in a crowded bustling airport, I might pray for everyone there.  I can imagine an anxious soul seated at the other end of the building, suddenly getting a tingle of comfort from my prayer, never knowing where it came from. This makes me feel like a generous and anonymous billionaire.

          So throughout the day, test your power of prayer by using it generously for all within your area of being. Be aware of your prayer-power and don’t be stingy.  Also, realize that out-going prayers have a boomerang effect.prayer.2

          In 1550, Blosius the Venerable, abbot of a Benediction abbey in Liessies, France, wrote, “Each man, without any exception whatever, must sincerely love as himself all others spiritually, desiring for them the grace of God and everlasting happiness. He should look upon all as bothers and sisters, called to the same happiness as himself.”

Admired sayings

“A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”

                                      Abigail “Dear Abby” Van Buren

Haiku time

          A joyful Catholic

          gives joy and love to all, so

          joyful Catholic be!

(Send me yours:

Current news

          april-fool-illusIn response to an atheist appealing to a Florida judge for an Atheist Holy Day, the judge told his attorney, “The calendar says April 1 is April Fools Day. Psalm 14.1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’ Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1 is his day. Court is adjourned!”

Joyful Catholic Quiz

The first winner of a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, who clocked in at 8:40AM on November 10th, is Luella Margarita in Key West, FL.

1.     Saint Luke died by hanging in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the non-believers.

2.     At the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica was built in the 16th century as a replacement of the original structure.

3.     Saint Jane Frances de Chantal is the saint who was married, had seven children; she established the order of Visitation nuns and eight-five monasteries before her death in 1641.

Chuckle time

Elderly parishioner: Oh, Father Moran, you have had such an interesting life, you should write your autobiography.  

Father Moran: As a matter of fact, I have been recording my life story. But I am so busy, it probably will be published postmortem.

Elderly parishioner: Well, the sooner the better.

My favorite priest

 Father John Mericantante,

Fr_%20John%20MericantantePastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pahokee, Florida.

Pahokee is a small agricultural community on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in central Florida.  The earth is rich and black, and from December to June it brings forth wonderful crops of vegetables and sugar cane. Later in the year an occasional September hurricane or a freeze in January/February can destroy those wonderful crops.  The people doing the back-breaking work to raise these crops are mostly poor migrants who came from Central and Latin America and are trying to eke out a meager living for themselves and their families.  The majority of them are Catholics. 

Father John was sent to St. Mary’s 10 years ago, without speaking Spanish, and he has submerged himself totally in their culture and needs, helping in every way possible.  For example, the water in Pahokee is very often not drinkable and he shares the clean water from the rectory’s filtering system with whoever needed it.  He has assisted in completing paperwork, obtaining housing etc. for his parishioners whenever asked. 

St. Mary’s Church is tiny and behind it there are two small wooden sheds, one for food and one for clothing and appliances.  People from other communities, members of the Knights of Columbus and unaffiliated private citizens bring the above-mentioned items to St. Mary’s.  Some are given away, some are sold at very low prices and any “profits” are then used to pay such things as electric bills for the needy.  When we bring a van full of items, Father helps unload the bags and boxes.  He has also arranged to have a clinic on the premises where doctors give their time without charge to give medical aid to the poor people in the area.  

He was recently offered a transfer to another parish but he chose to remain in Pahokee with the community that needs him so much.  In the midst of all this poverty a very special thing occurred last year: an anonymous donor gave $750,000 to St. Mary’s Church so that a new, larger Church can be built.  Hopefully, there will be a ground-breaking soon.  Fr. John is a very special person and a very special priest.

Submitted by Anita and Bob Kehlhofer in Atlantis, Florida

(Submit your favorite priest to

Special Intentionsprayer request

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Bob Haines, Eileen Grotsky,

Rebecca Matthews, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis,

Susan McGahee, Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor,

Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Joe Berger, Tom Ryan

Hurrah for Bishop Nickless !

Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter and you lips with rejoicing.  

                                                          Job 8;21

Hurrah for Bishop Nickless !

For years I have protested the post Vatican II degrading of the spiritual value of the Eucharist during a busy Mass. Every Catholic bishop and many priests have been exposed to Light Reading for Good and Wayward CathBookCatholics with my chapters, “Communion, ho-hum” and “The New Mass, a la Show Biz.”  My response from Catholic leaders was as effective as a whisper to the deaf. Seven Episcopal ministers sent praise and not a peep from these Catholic leaders. I assume they either think I’m a fool or they just don’t give a damn. I fear the latter is true.

          Now, like a white knight on a magnificent stallion, Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City, has come to the rescue of our Church in crisis. His “Pastoral Letter on the Future of the Church in the Diocese of Sioux City” should be spoon fed to every Church leader in America. It will be appreciated and acknowledged as one of the most effective Church writings of this century. The following are excerpts from this magnificent document 

         BishopNickless We need serious reflection and evaluation on the current state and direction, challenges and opportunities for faith and ministry in our Lord Jesus Christ in our Diocese.

          (After Vatican II) sometimes we set out to convert the world, but we were converted by it. We have sometimes lost sight of who we are and what we believe, and therefore have little to offer the world that so desperately needs the Gospel.

          “The ‘hermeneutic of discontinuity’…has wrecked havoc on the Church, systematically dismantling the Catholic Faith to please the world, watering down what is distinctively Catholic, and ironically becoming completely irrelevant and impotent for the mission of the Church in the world.  The Church that seeks simply what works or is “useful” in the end become useless.

          We must renew our reverence, love, admiration and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament

          It is imperative that we recover this wonder, awe, reverence and love for the liturgy and the Eucharist.

          The Council’s goal in reforming liturgy was, of course, to facilitate the “fully active and conscious participation” of the faithful…Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it.

          Conscious participation calls for the entire community to be properly instructed in the mysteries of the liturgy, lest the experience of workshop degenerate into a form of ritualism.

          I exhort all communities of the diocese to explore ways of making the Eucharist more central in our lives through periods of Exposition, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and Eucharist Processions.

          Devotion to the Blessed Mother, such an important part of our tradition and spirituality, also leads to a deeper appreciation and love of the Blessed Sacrament.

          The first two pastoral priorities, renewal in Eucharistic Spirituality and Catechesis will foster faithful family that is the foundation of the Church ad the society.

Thank you, God, for this splendid Church leader!

Current news

Early this fall, Father Timothy Keeney introduced his unique “Bluegrass Father Tim-Bluegrass MassMass” at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Bristol, VA.  He wrote Bluegrass songs for the congregation to sing for the entrance, including the Gloria, Sanctus, alleluia, Memorial Acclamation, the Amen, and especial singing during communion. He said, “You really need to do this. The people here need something Catholic that is part of the experience that goes on in our town. Everyone seemed to have big smiles on their faces as they left church.”

          A reporter stated that during the service, the congregation tapped feet in time with the music. And a jolly time was had by all.

 Recommended Reading

“An Emmaus Walk with Teresian Wisdom” by Sr. Mary C. Carroll, SSSF, in the fall issue of Spiritual Life.  Sister May Carroll is Associate Director of Pastoral Formation at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corner, Wisconsin. 

Joyful Catholic Quiz

(The first to send the right answers will receive a gift copy of

Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics

1.    How did Saint Luke die? 

2.    At the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica:

(a)             was built soon after Saint Peter’s death,

(b)            was order to be built by Emperor Constantine

in 324 A.D.,

(c)             was built in the 16thCentury as a replacement of the original structure.

 3.    Who was the saint who was married, had seven children, established the order of Visitation nuns and established eighty-five monasteries before her death in 1641? 

Chuckle Time

Instead of wearing a religious metal around his neck saying, “I am a Catholic. In case of an accident, call a priest”, a priest has one made saying, “I am a Catholic priest. In case of an accident, call a doctor.”priest Hospt


Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian no more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 

Answer by five-year-old Gregory: “I only know names of two angels. Hark and Harold.”angelCHILD

My Favorite Priest

Brother Edward Adams, FSC, MA, ML

interfaithThere is a joyful Catholic named Brother Ed Adams. He is always engaging people with joy in every environment he enters. He greets people with joy at church, in the library, at the malls, at the post office, at the car service center—in short, wherever he goes.

 People often ask him, “Why are you so joyful?”

  His reply is, “I’m so glad you asked. I am joyful because Jesus is in my heart, and I see him in every person I meet.”

  (Submitted by John Ceccotti, Bethesda, MD)

Brother Ed is a De La Salle Christian Brother, who was a high school teacher and administrator for 23 years. With a past of distinguished service in many branches of Catholic Faith, he is now Director of Inter-faith Activities at the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum and a board director of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, DC