Thursday, July 27, 2006


Picture: Graduates of Gesu School, June 2006 These 12 students took part in Project Forward Leap, a prep for prep program.

More opinion to support early childhood, middle school and college prep for children who otherwise lack the proper foundation for college:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This site contains a chilling story of bodies floating in the Tigris. There is nothing redeeming about this story except that some Shiites believe it their religious duty to swim out into the river, collect the bodies and offer them proper burial.

See this article with photos at site below:

Volunteers Collect Bodies In Iraq
by Jamie Tarabay
Swimmers drag a bloated body towards the river bank. They volunteer every day to watch for people who've been killed north of Baghdad and then dumped in the Tigris River.

Altar Decor at Medical Missions July 23, 2006

Mark 6: 30-34 Medical Mission Sisters 10 AM

(opening paragraphs from homily)
You may remember that we did a brief unscientific survey one Sunday recently to determine the relative popularity of two gospels, the one according to Mark, the other according to John. There was no contest; John’s gospel was more popular hands down. But this morning we must suffer through a homily on Mark’s gospel, my favorite. Hang in there: the next five Sundays belong to most of you! You will be treated richly to John’s gospel.
In fact, in the gospel readings from this Sunday to next there is a deliberate and puzzling change. This Sunday’s reading from Mark is a transition reading and only an introduction to Mark’s presentation of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, sometimes called the feeding of the 5,000. But next Sunday, oddly enough and even puzzling to those of us who favor Mark, we reject the continuation in the narrative from today’s gospel; instead of reading Mark’s presentation of the miracle of the loaves and fish, we read rather John’s presentation of that same miracle. Well in any case this should be pleasing to you who choose John over Mark.
No matter. The sequence of the readings even if there is a change from Mark’s gospel to John’s respects the intent of Mark. In the reading today we hear of Christ’s compassion ("his guts," as Jake Donahue says) on the crowds that gather around him, a compassion that moves him to preach and teach. Today’s gospel is very much like the first section of our usual liturgy in which we experience the compassion of Jesus as he proclaims the word and seeks to help us understand it. Today we read about Jesus nourishing the minds and hearts of the crowd. Next week is much like our gathering around the table of thanksgiving and we read about his nourishment of their bodies in the feeding of the 5000....

(final paragraphs)

Because Jesus is compassionate, we also desire to be compassionate. Compassion, someone recently wrote, is the bridge between sympathy and action. It compels us to simple tasks: providing a meal for a family in mourning; for the benefit of others divesting ourselves of things that we do not need; devoting ourselves to study, building skills in language or medicine or art so that we can help others find themselves as God’s sons and daughters.
Compassion moves our leaders to found the renowned organizations that furnish us with large scale arguments for the primacy of love in this world. The Medical Mission Sisters are no strangers to the word compassion. May compassion in imitation of the Lord heal us of our weakness and continue to inspire our every day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

These Gesu School graduates (classes of 03 and 04) at-tended the Ignatian College Connection summer program at Saint Joseph's University, June 2006

first row: Stephanie, Latoya, Latanya, Courtney, Cherokee and Monique

second row: Emanuel, Jeremy, Horace, Leonard, Tristan and Michael Absent: Jahlil

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Duomo in Florence. July, 2006

Sunday Homily July 16, 2006

Introduction to Mass
Reports about our inhumanity fill today’s newspapers. I have no doubt that Israel has been anxiously waiting and planning for the right political opening to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Hezbollah purposefully and knowingly handed Israel the opportunity. And bullets killed five men on the streets of Philadelphia yesterday. We are at a loss. Let us pray to redouble our own efforts to make peace a priority in our own lives.

Beginning the Homily
Looking at the weather report for the week, I am tempted to take advantage and preach a sermon like one given by my Irish ancestors: thundering on about hellfire and brimstone. Recently I read a memoir that mentioned an Irish priest preaching on this topic some sixty years ago who did not raise the hairs on anyone’s head. His performance was judged as “watery.” I fear the same judgment and will let the weather and global warming speak for themselves. My sermon will be tame and brief but, I hope, challenging.

Mark 6: 7-13 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Here is the advice that Jesus gives to his disciples when he sends them out to preach the gospel: “Take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in your belts…wear sandals but not a second tunic.”

For those of us who are surrounded by things and still want to be good Christians, these directives are a hard saying. I was in an airport recently waiting to check my bags and ahead of me were two men trying to figure out how to lighten the baggage that they wanted to check. How could they shift things so that they could carry on some of the weight that they were not allowed to put in the checked bag? Out of that bag and into their carry-on luggage came the shoes: walking boots, dress shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, sandals. They were ready for anything but weighed down like most of us.....

I was reminded of a funny passage in a novel I recently read about the Pentecostal family who were flying from Atlanta to Africa to preach the gospel in some remote village. The father of the family, aware that the family had to pack any thing that they might need in that small village, dressed his daughters triply and quadrubly in layers of garments because he knew the airline weighed the checked baggage but didn’t weigh the people.
This quadruple dressing of the daughters strikes us as comical. And the comedy reveals a truth about ourselves. We are attached to our possessions....

But there is no doubt that a focus on our things can lead to a self-absorption that saps us of our openness to service, to love, to the changes that a conversion of heart might require.

What Jesus makes clear here and elsewhere in his preaching: our ambitions ought not to be for tangible things: houses, cars, money. Or for less tangible things: power, skills, entitlements. All of these can only be means to the truly ambitious end that Jesus has for us: the kingdom of God. His principal message here and elsewhere in the Gospels: trust in me.

Saint Ignatius gives us sage advice: if you need the grace to be relieved from a worry about possessions and personal attributes, pray for relief and pray for a confidence in the plan that God has for you. Our baptisms call us to be disciples, to step forward not trusting so much in the things or talents that we have been given but trusting rather in the plan that God has for us.