I Could Have Baby-Sat the Pope

Being converted is simply meeting yourself for the purpose of going to the very end of your being. Conversion means a willingness to see the truth of things and conform one’s conduct to it.

                   Antonin Sertillanges

                   French spiritual writer 1863-1926


I Could Have Baby-Sat the Pope

          But Benedict XVI has been in the Church longer than I have because he is a born-Catholic and I didn’t convert until I was in my late twenties. 

As Archie Bunker said, “Ah, those were the days!” On the second Sundays of each month, over forty of us men in the Holy Name Society would gather for a rollicking breakfast in the basement of the church. Our occupations varied between a cab driver and construction worker to a federal judge and two doctors.  The many no-nonsense women in the Sodality made their presence known. And every Saturday there were lines outside the confessionals.  

          On each First Friday we had Nocturnal Adoration with good participation. I remember that the desk clerk in my apartment building was always puzzled when he would see me leave at 1:30 AM and return in good spirits two hours later.

          Back then, the Sacrament of the Eucharist was treated as the Holiest of the Holy. We would not receive Communion unless we had recently been to Confession and fasted since midnight. This time during the Mass was treated with quiet awareness and awe for one of the greatest Mysteries of our Faith.  In recognition of what was taking place there was respectful silence. Following the distribution of the Host, we had continued quiet time for thoughtful meditation.

          Today, the Church authorities have done an admirable job of watering down the importance of the Eucharist. They have achieved this by eliminating silence for depth of thought and by adding distractions to prevent more than two noiseless seconds.  The effective disconcerting things to keep the parishioner from being aware of the spiritual majesty of the Eucharistic include singing, announcements and the frequent second collection.

          Now, at Communion time, every Tom, Dick and Harriet line up like school children getting ready for recess and proceed to the front of the church.  As one parishioner told me, “Why not take Communion? It’s like a spiritual vitamin pill.  It can’t hurt and, besides, it’s free and part of the service.”

          I understand that if the present distractions had not succeeded in weakening the importance of the Eucharist, the bishops had planned to have ushers tap dance in the aisles with castanets. So be it.

          Back to Pope Benedict XVI, baby-sitting for him would have been a treat. I would have like him because I bet he was a bright and joyful kid who didn’t kick the dog.

          I do today.

(And you, who also are of vintage age, let me know your thoughts.)


Interesting sayings

 Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you — catching crystallizing your simpler clearer vision of life. The form must take care of it self if you can keep your vision clear. I some way feel that everyone is born with it clear but that with most of humanity it becomes blasted — one way or another.  

                                                Georgia O’Keefe 1926



Faith is not the refuge of the weak-minded but the domain of the brave.

                                                Psalm 116 (12) 

Do not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others discover it, too. This is because the Eucharist releases the joy that we need so much, and we must learn to grasp it ever more deeply, we must learn to love it.

                                                Pope Benedict XVI



(And what are a few of your favorite sayings?)


Fancy words

(this one is good for us Joyful Catholics)

          theosophy (def: being wise in the things of God)

(this is a no-no for us)

          solipsism (def: that self is the sole existence)

News flashes

After the worst snow storm in 100 years, the South End Baptist Church in Frederick, MD, posted this on their outdoor sign: “Whoever is praying for snow, please stop.”

In chapter “What can priest do to help themselves?” in Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, I recommend that a priest go shopping once a week in a supermarket where he can see and be seen. I read this week that Rev. Anita Naves, pastor of Cathedral of Life with no church, goes to the Giant Supermarket in Prince George County, MD, and accompanied by a saxophonist she offers to bless and pray with each customer. She has become so popular that she now has a sizeable following and has been given a location for her church. (Hey, you Catholic priests, are you paying attention?)

As I noted in the last issue, with the NBC’s poll on the question of whether to keep “In God We Trust” on our currency, 86% voted “yes”. However, with sneaky bureaucracy-at-its-best, the newly released dollar coin no longer has this phrase. I have received many blogs, recommending that we believers refuse to accept the new dollar coin when offered at the bank.


This week I sent donations to:

St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota (desperately in need of funds to cover their winter heating bills.)

Roman Catholic Heroes (doing good TV work for us Joyful Catholic.)


Other recommended Catholic Blogs

        Creative Minority Report

        Onward and Upward

        Roman Catholic Heroes

 Communiqués received

In regard to “Blessed are the poor” Beatitude, note that the Ten Commandments are negative and the Beatitudes are positive. 

           Charley Myers, Atlanta, GA 

Ain’t it a shame we can’t keep the spirit of Lent going throughout the year!

                                      Elmer Ruffson, Buffalo, NY 

I enjoy your blog which I share with friends. It is refreshing and oh so American.

                                      Alice Appleton, London, UK 

Yes, so long as people do not understand Scripture and Tradition regarding women deacons, there will be division and conflict. Hope you and all interested will use this as an opportunity to recover the historical diaconate for women in Christianity.

                                      Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.

                                      Visiting Professor of Theology and Religion

                                       Saint Leo University, FL

My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

This week I want to recognize Bill Clinton.  In serving as the U.N. representative in Haiti, he didn’t go there as do many celebrities who rush to a place of emergency to be photographed and quoted. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves, pitching in to help with his administrative skill and international influence.   President Bill, with your tireless effort, you set an example for all of us!

(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference



The first to send the right answers to joyfulcatholic@comcast.net will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

 1. In what year did Martin Luther tack his 95 theses on the church door in   Wittenberg?    

2.  Which of the disciples had been a follower of John the Baptist? 

3.  Who was the first America to participate in a papal election?

Chuckle time

(From our friend, Father Van Windsor, Episcopal Priest in Little Rock, AR.)

 One Sunday morning, Father Van noticed a six-year-old boy staring at the large plaque in the back of the church with American flags mounted at the top. When the youngster asked what it was, he explained it was a memorial to the young people who had died in the service.

          Then the kid asked, “Which service, the 8:30 or the 10:45?

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 joyfulcatholic@comcast.net. 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, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards, Msg. Louis Quinn, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein, Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been deleted and added to our Deo Gratias list.


One thought on “I Could Have Baby-Sat the Pope

  1. Just found your blog via your link in Mark Shea’s combox. Nice place you got here!

    By the way, last I saw, the presidential dollar coins had “In God we trust” inscribed on the edge of the coin rather than either side

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