Month: February 2012

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   

My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop ofSanta   Fe


 News Flashes

 George Washington University professor, John Banzhaj, is suing Catholic University  for not accommodating Muslim religious practices. He previously sued the University for moving towards single-sex dorms.  (Comment: some people don’t have much to do.)

The government of Pakistanhas ordered mobile-phone companies to ban 1600 words it considers obscene, vulgar or otherwise harmful. The list includes “Jesus Christ”.

The House of Representatives approved a measure that seeks to permit religious symbols on federal war memorials, a response to a court ruling that declared a cross atop a San Diego memorial violated the Constitution. The War Memorial Protection Act passed on a voice vote but faces uncertainty in the Senate. 

Today’s Martyrs

 (Lest we forget)

 Let us purify ourselves through the martyrs, or rather, through him through whom they too were purified in blood and truth… St. Gregory Nazianzen (died 390)

As many as 35,000 people have fled their homes in northern Nigeria after continuing attacks from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Their numbers include a large number of Catholics who report that churches have been destroyed. On January 24, a source told Aid to the Church in Need on Jan. 24, “There is panic. Many just leave everything behind, and run for safety, because they do not know when violence might flare up again,”                                 

     My favorite priest, layperson, breathing saint or organization


Did you know that last May, Father Patrick Conroy, S.J., became the 60th chaplain of the U. S. House of Representatives?  He is the second Catholic priest to hold this post. In this important position, he serves the 138 Catholic and 300 non-Catholic legislators.  Pray for this poor fellow who has to try to keep in line this motley group.

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

 Interesting Sayings

Unless I live for joy, very soon I must die, for I, in this feeble flesh, cannot suffice to bear so flowing a sweetness, and ever it falls into inebriation; the flesh cannot fail in its virtue awhile the soul in such joy is ravished to joy.

Richard Rolle (died 1349) was a hermit, mystic and writer.

The whole of spirituality can be expressed in abridged form in this maxim; we should abandon ourselves purely and entirely to God’s design and with a complete self-forgetfulness, be eternally busied with loving and obeying him, without all these fears, reflections, twisting and turnings disquietudes which sometimes result from the care of our own salvation and perfection.                                                                                                                    

Father Jean-Pierre deCaussades, S.J. (died 1751)

I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God—that my whole life, down to the smallest detail, has been marked out for me in the plan of divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God’s all-seeing eyes.

St. Edith Stein

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Mark Twain


I strongly agree that the ethos of Catholics should be joy.

                                      Amy Grossman

                 (Regarding “The Intercepted Martian Communique”)

 You are poking fun at a true fact that we have Martian observers. For many years I have documented this truth, but it is falling on deaf ears.

                                      Roger P. Kennedy

What makes you so sure that the people in Mars live over 200 years?

                                      Elsie Rickerson

(reply: Prove I’m wrong.)

Chuckle Time

 Brief Encounter

(It actually happened)

As the commuter train toNew York left a station for the 25-minute ride into the city, a woman plunked into a seat, pulled her coat hood partly over her head and began a loud cell-phone call to a female friend. As the train came into Penn Station, and she turned off the phone, the man sitting next to her said, “Pardon, but I am confused. You must be a religious person because in your conversation, you said ‘Oh-my-God’ nineteen times, yet you caused two people to stand because you put your package in one seat and your bag in another.

Woman: You intruded on my privacy!

Man: No, madam, you intruded on my silence.


We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.  

My motto “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of SantaFe

Be a catholic Catholic

           catholic def: universal in extent; encompassing all; wide ranging.


Guest Columnist

During the first century of Christianity, the followers of Jesus belonged to the Church of Christ. Then credit for the name change goes to St. Ignatius of Antioch who, before he was martyred in A.D. 115, gave the church a name which defined its purpose. He declared, “Where the bishop appears, there let the people be; just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

We Catholics should never forget our prayer power and not be stingy is exercising this gift. For example, every time we are in a public place—a restaurant, airport, riding on a bus or plane—we should take a second to give a silent blessing to all those within our sight. Those recipients of our prayer may be unaware of the source of grace they have just received, and this grace has a boomerang effect for the sender.

Liking two-for-one, I include prayer in the routine things I do each day. For example, each morning I do a stretching exercise consisting of 12 motions. So, while doing it, I bless everyone on the planet. It also refreshes my geography.

This is now it works: I begin at the bottom of South America and sweep up through Central America and Mexico, praying for each soul within this area.

Mentally, next I make a large area bounded on the southeast by Key West, up to New York, then across to San Francisco and down to the California-Mexican border – praying for everyone in this region.

From San Francisco I head north through Seattle, Vancouver and all the way up to Alaska, then across Canada to Newfoundland, and down to New York. This blessed region includes the northern part of our country.

Next I begin at Greenland, go through Iceland, the U.K., Scandinavia and all the way across Russia (the largest country of all). Beginning with France, I sweep down to Greece, then far right to Turkey, north to the Russian border, and back to France. This blessing includes the many countries or Europe.

I lump in the whole African continent beginning at the north with Morocco over to Egypt, down the Nile and Indian Ocean, including Madagascar, South Africa and up the Atlantic coastline. This even includes the pirates in Somalia.

Next, the area covering the countries in the Middle East, beginning with Israel, down to Saudi Arabia and including Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here is especially pray for the miserable time our fellow Christians are having in this region of persecution.

My country, India, deserves its own stretch, because of its record number of Catholic conversions, and the vast number of new priests it is providing for the world.

Next is China, where I remember the one and a half million who have to practice their faith in private. I also pray for the bishop and sixteen priests who are missing, after having been arrested and imprisoned.

The area for Japan goes south to encompass Thailand, down through Malaysia and east to take in the Philippines and all the way to Hawaii.

Finally, I take in Australia and New Zealand. …..This is for all the countries I missed above, and then I add: For the man, woman or child on the planet who is most in need of my prayer. Amen!

As Sister Melannie Syboboda, S.N.D., has written, “Our church has to be more than a loving community of fellow believers. It must be a loving community whose love extends beyond is own members.”

Recommended Readings

  “Loving the Law” in January First Things.

Surpassing Pleasure is a splendid book of poems by John Slater, the pen name for Brother Isaac, an outstanding young (37 years old) Trappist who will be ordained at Catholic University this year. I have had the pleasure of meeting him. He could be our future Thomas Merton.

(not recommended) Man Seeks God by Eric Weiner. It’s entertaining and cutesy, but has little depth.

Five myths about anti-Christian persecution an article by John L  Allen, Jr, a NCR senior correspondent. (If you want a copy, I can e-mail it to you.

Bumper Sticker

I recently saw a Pennsylvania car with a rear bumper sticker stating: I am a Certified Christian. I was so impressed by this that I prepared and have printed a supply of stickers stating: I am a Joyful Catholic. If you have the gumption to put one on your car, let me know how many you want at no cost. Just send me your name and address.

Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests

The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (

Fr. Robert Aufieri (New York, NY)
Fr. John M. Bauer (Minneapolis, MN)
Fr. Edmund Connors, Katonah, NY                           NEW!

Fr. Paul Duchschere
Fr. Edward Gorman, O.P. (Providence, RI)
Fr. Andrew Gries (Washington, DC)
Msgr. Edward Filardi (Bethesda, MD)
Fr. Raymond Kemp (Washington, DC)
Bishop Joseph N. Latino (Jackson, MS)
Archbishop Jerome Listecki (Milwaukee, MN)
Bishop Dennis Madden (Baltimore, MD)
Fr. Joseph Marini (San Mateo,CA)
Msgr. Joseph Mayo (Salt Lake City, UT)
Fr. John Mericantante (Pahokee, FL)
Msgr. Thomas Modugno (New York,NY)
Fr. Kevin Nelson, (Lantana, FL)
Fr. John O’Donoghue (San Antonio,TX)
Fr. Antony Pulikal (Lntana, Fl)
Fr. James R. Purfield
Fr. Paul S. Quinter (Pittsburg, Pa)                             NEW!
Msg. David Robichcaux, V.F. (New Orleans, LA)
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi (Mobile, AL)
Msg. Paul L. Rohling (Birmingham, AL)
Fr. David Ross (Lima. OH)
Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (Kansas City, KS)
Fr. Michael Scanlon (Steubenville, OH)
Fr. Walter J. Szezesny (Buffalo, NY)
Fr. Richard Trout (Sanford, FL)
Fr. Hayden Vaverek (New York, NY)
Fr. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.P. (Washington, DC)
Canon Stuart Wilson (London, UK)

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.  

My motto…“Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe

News Flashes

A  political sign photographed by Mark Leitner: “Obama is not the brown-skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare—you’re thinking of Jesus.”

The parliament of Nepalis considering a law that would bar evangelization and conversionfrom one religion to another.  (Note that in Nepal, only .02% of the 25.3 million population are Catholic, and 81% are Hindu.)

USATODAY reported that of the religious in the US, 51% are  Evangelical, Mainline and Black Protestants, and 24% are Catholic.

 On Christmas Day in Northern Nigeria, Islamist militants bombed churches, killing over two dozen Christians.


Today’s Martyrs

(Lest we forget)

St. Gregory Nazianzen (died 390)

Let us purify ourselves through the martyrs, or rather, through him through whom they too were purified in blood and truth.

My Favorite Priest, Layperson, Breathing Saint or Organization

In Faisalabad, Pakistan, Mariah Manisha, a Catholic girl was kidnapped by a Muslim man who wanted her to convert to Islam and marry him. When she refused, he murdered her. Fr. Zafal, a local priest, said, “It is very sad, Christians, often girls, are helpless victims. Cases like this occur daily.”

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

 Interesting Sayings

 Lord Jesus, help me to have a faith that has results…  Mitch Finley 

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness…  From theValley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Payers and Devotions.

We continue to be amazed and to believe even more in this “crazy” God who chose to become a small, poor, and fragile child. That child who two thousand years ago came to the world and exploded into history bursts into out lives today to re-write our history; mine, yours, and that of all our wounded humanity. This Jesus shatters our reality and makes his way with only the weapon of love, the only weapon that can cause the rocks of the hardest hearts to crumble…Mother Elvira Petrozzi, founder of Comunita Cenacolo

 When I was born, I was so shocked that I didn’t talk for a year and a half. ..Gracie Allen


Many thanks for your delightful blog, which brightens my day….Kathryne Greene, Liverpool,UK 

Re: World’s Greatest Myth …You have done a great disservice to our Faith by questioning the appearance of Jesus, which was revealed by revelation. The appearance of Jesus was confirmed in the Shroud of Turin. Mildred Zuckerman, Phoenix, AZ

Don’t kick what imagination has done to our concept of what our spiritual leaders looked like. Throughout the centuries, this has proved to be a great work-provider for artists and sculptors….Elmer Rickson, New York, NY

You jolted me into thinking about Jesus in spiritual rather than concrete terms….Rick Blacklaw, San Francisco,CA

Chuckle Time

An 78-year-old woman wrote to her priest:   “The other day I went to our local Christian book store and bought a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker and put it on my bumper.

Later, with my grandson in the backseat, I was waiting at a traffic light and thinking about all my blessings, and I didn’t notice the light had changed. Immediately, the man in the car behind me proclaimed he loved Jesus by blowing his horn. I waved and he waved back with his middle finger stuck out. My grandson explained this was the Hawaiian good luck sign, so I gave it back to him.

Just then the light was yellow, and I was the only car that made it through the intersection before it turned red. Then everyone who had been back of me proved they loved Jesus. Again I gave them the Hawaiian good luck sign, and I heard a man shouting to me, something about a sunny beach.

“What a joyful day!”