Month: May 2011

Be Happily and Uncomplicatedly Catholic

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.  

My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe


Jesus and Mary 

 Regarding Mary’s relationship with Jesus during the time of his ministry, (which was Frank Cerillo’s suggested topic), here are a few comment from you lay theologians:

          – I am certain there were countless times that Mary and Jesus had private times together and that she was a worthy source of inspiration and encouragement for him.       Jim,Orlando,FL.

          – Although she was interested in the things Jesus was doing, Mary was not a typical Jewish mother who wants to have a never-ending intimate involvement in a son’s adult life. I picture her as being a quiet and approving witness. AJC, New York, NY

          – I picture Mary often getting word to Jesus, “Hey, Son, I’ve made a large stew you and your buddies would enjoy. So, come and bring them along for supper tonight.” Maria, Toledo, OH

          – When Mary’s neighbors would tell her about the miraculous things Jesus was doing, she would nod with a little smile.Regina, Queenstown, NZ

They had such a phenomenal mother-son relationship that Mary was an invisibly witness to all that Jesus was doing.  Rev. Ron.

          (And for voices from the past)

In 410, St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, Mary is indeed the Mother of Christ’s members, that is, of ourselves. For it is by her work of love that men have been born in the Church, faithful men who are the body of the head, whose mother she was in the flesh.

          Mary was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than having conceived Him in the flesh.

  In 1450, Saint Antoninus, a Dominican priest and archbishop of Florence, wrote, Mary visited the places where her Son had done any miraculous deed, and there she contemplated the sacred mysteries. Sometimes in Nazareth she went to the place where the angel had made his announcement to her and she had conceived the Son of God, and there she contemplated God’s boundless charity.

In 1722, Saint Veronica Giuliani, the Capuchin Poor Clare outstanding mystic, wrote in her diary about Mary, She participated in the same torments, not by way of the executioners, like Jesus, but she, by way of love and sorrow, participated in all the torments, one by one. The heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary both stood united in suffering and in love, and this they offered to God the Father for all of us mortals.



 Other recommended Catholic blogs

–         Patrick Madrid

–         Standing on my Head

–         The Hermeneutic of Continuity



Recommended Readings

–         “Muslim on Main Street” U.S. Catholic (May)

–         “Divided on Torture”  America (April 18)

–        “Time to Take Religious Freedom Seriously” The Catholic World Review                  (April)


Those Frigging Militant Moslems

  – After the Easter Mass in theSacred Heart Churchin Bagdad, a bomb exploded, wounding seven parishioners. Fr. Hanna Sirop, a Chaldean priest who had been a 2006 kidnapped victim, said, “Our life inIraqis full of fear, but we have to live in faith and trust.” (Note that in the past ten years, 2/3 of the Christians inIraq have departed.)


Big Correction ! 

In the last issue, I credited Israelas being the only Middle East Country to come to the aid of stricken Japan. I was dead wrong. AlthoughIsrael made an excellent contribution, here are the other countries which sent aid:

    Qatarsent $100 million

    Saudi Arabia$20 million

    Hong Kong$5 million

    Iran- 50,000 canned goods

    Kuwait- 240 footballs and relief goods

     Bangladesh – 2,000 blankets, plus shoes, boots and gloves


We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.

 We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop ofSanta Fe


–         The Joyful Catholic has been added to the select list of Catholic Blogs.

–         The British government is planning to end the current ban on religious ceremonies for same-sex marriages, but churches would not be required to perform such ceremonies.

–         Regarding where your charity dollars go, Catholic Charities and Salvation Army have the smallest administrative expenses. Those who eat up most of your charitable dollars before they reach recipients are: UNICEF ($1,200,000 for CEO Careel Stern); American Red Cross ($652,000 salary for President Marsha Evans), The United Way ($375,000 for President Brian Gallagher).

–         The World Bank reported that surging food prices have pushed 44million people worldwide into extreme poverty. This increases the number of undernourished people to 1 billion.

–         In his Easter message, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, endorsed (though not specifically) us Joyful Catholics when he said, “We are officially told it is good to be happy. Politicians have started talking about happiness rather than prosperity and there is even a research programme on the subject… Let a thousand street parties blossom!”


                                                      Today’s Martyrs

Qamar David, a Catholic businessman inPakistan, who was imprisoned for life for blasphemy against the Koran, was tortured and murdered in jail on March 15.


My favorite priest, layperson, breathing saint or organization

 Tom Crowe recommends Father Michael Scanlan at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. “In 1974 when he took charge of the failing college, Father Scanlon re-invigorated it with the person of Jesus Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, trying in every way to make the person of Christ the center of College activities. In getting to know the students, to solve the major problem of loneliness he launched the faith household system in which, today, 60 % of the student body participate. Under his guidance, the school grew from a few hundred students to over 2,400.

          “He initiated summer youth conferences which last year had 35,000 teens participating in 18 locations across the U. S.and Canada. On the local level, he was a champion of civil rights and personally integrated the local public swimming pool.

          “Father Mike, though his devotion to the Holy Spirit and his dedication to education has done as much as any single person in this country over the past 50 years to rebuild this Church. He is moving on to the next phase of his life. We are all better, much better, for his work at the tiny college in this post-industrial rust belt town, because from it emanates a spirit, an energy that can set the world on fire.

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

 Interesting sayings

 As I sit here, the beating of my heart, the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind are all signs of God’s ongoing creation of me. I pause for a moment and become aware of the presence of God within me.

Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2009


Ilia Delio on the cover of America, the Catholic

If the secular, scientific culture behaves like a rabbit, leaping across vast areas of discovery and invention, the Catholic Church too often behaves like a turtle, crawling up from behind, hesitant to accept new scientific discoveries.

Ilia Delio, O.S.F.


In Eugene O’Neill’s play, Lazarus Laughed, a witness standing by the tomb, half dead with fright, tells how Jesus and Lazarus looked at each other for a long time. Then Jesus smiles and Lazarus begins to laugh and cries out, “There is no death! There’s only life!”

Patricia Livingston



–         I congratulate your for your blog which fecundates our Catholicism.

Roger Wentworth,Cambridge,MA 

–         Your continuing to report on today’s Christians martyrs puts a dampener on the concept of respect for other religions.

Rezar Johnson, New York, NY 

–         How can I suggest a topic for one of your future blogs?

Helen Ellis, Miami, FL

(Please be my guest and send your suggestions to me at


Chuckle time

The bishop went into the church office and handed several pieces of paper to a young volunteer standing next to the shredder, “Please help me,” he said. “I don’t know how to work these different machines.”

          After the volunteer inserted the papers and pressed the button, the bishop said, “This is tomorrow’s homily I have been working on for two weeks. I only want one copy.”

 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, Isola Todd, Jill Todd, David Abbey, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo,

 Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards,  

Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore, Joan Barrett,

8-year-old Michael Fotta and his parents, Lolita Alvarez,

Camilus Musselman, Ed Block, Isobel Milligan, Peter Bartkiewiez and his family, Joe Toles, Camilus Musselman,   Ed Cole, Bishop Thomas Olmsted,

Jay Parker, William Stephenson, Roger Stoven, Bob Abbott, Denny Kline, Lois Pinkin, Larry Mannino, Cheryl DeSantis, Lenore Sommers

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Laura Marsh, Marie Lyons, John Vaughey,

Christian martyrs in the Middle East, those in refugee camps throughout the world, the Japanese victims of their recent calamity.

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.

My motto, “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe



Calling You Lay Theologians to Think About Mary

A suggestion from Frank Cerillo in Monroe Township, NJ.

He points out that our Bible mentions Mary only three times during Jesus’ adult life. First at the Cana banquet when she initiates Jesus’ ministry by having him change the water into wine. A second reference is when they tell Jesus at a meeting that Mary and his brethren are outside, waiting to see him. And lastly, Mary is mentioned being at the foot of the cross.

Frank’s question is: What was the contact and relationship of Mary and her son during his three years of his ministry

Your supposition is as good as that of any of the great Church theologians.  Think about this and send me your thoughts to share with your fellow readers. 

Thought joggers might be: (1) As Jesus was doing his work in his home area, how often do you think he and Mary talked, visited and perhaps enjoyed a meal together? (2) Was there a telepathic relationship which enabled Mary to be aware of what her son was doing? (3) Would Mary have been in the congregation when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue? (4) What do you think was Mary’s reputation in the community? (5) Do you think Mary had a sense of humor?

And send your comments to me at

Other recommended Catholic blogs

Conversion Diary

New Advent

Creative Minority Report

Recommended readings

“Are Theologians Necessary?” in April New Oxford Reviews.

“What I Learned from the Jesuits” in April 22 Commonweal

“Jesus Talks with a Rabbi” in April Homiletic & Pastoral Review


Muslims ?


Question: Of all the Middle East countries, including those with billions of petro-dollars, which is the only country that came to the aid of the tsunami-stricken Japanese?

Answer: Israel sent 50 doctors to set up clinics with 32 tons of equipment for orthopedics, surgical and intensive care; 18 tons on humanitarian aid, 10,000 coats, 6,000 gloves and 150 portable toilets.

Conclusion: (Draw your own.)



 Last week, the winner of the autographed copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholic is Geoffrey Brigand in Nome, Alaska. Here are the answers:

  1. The first man who broke the Ten Commandments was Moses. When he came down from the mountain, he shattered the marble tablet.
  2. Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first American-born canonized saint.
  3. Before he became a disciple, Matthew was a tax collector.