Thursday, December 31, 2009



Postings on a damp cold winter day from the archives:

"At that haunted hour of late day, the entire earth seemed itself to be waiting, every needle and seed inclined to contemplation. The air had been full of sun, stunning in its stillness, the sort of afternoon in which the whole world appears finally to have gotten itself to rights. Indeed, anyone would have been hard-pressed to have (paused) on these slopes and escaped a little circumstantial peace with God." John Landretti, "Bear Butte Diary"

[I should have a picture of Bear Butte! If anyone has one, please send it!]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa and his elves arrive in the Prep Dining Hall to entertain the scores of children, offspring of faculty and staff. It looks like one of our elves is wearing a Prep color long-sleeved tee. Where would he have gotten that?

These particular elves were busy at the Prep while others were out in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Check out the Prep students who assisted Santa with the delivery of gifts.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Christmas break began on Friday, December 18. Father Richard Curry, S.J. celebrated our Christmas Mass at the opening bell. Rick attended the Prep for two years before finishing his high school as a student with the Christian Brothers in Maryland. Then he joined the Jesuits as a Jesuit Brother. See this fascinating Inquirer article about him published on Christmas eve.

Saturday all day the snow fell, time for us Jesuits to hang out at home. Sunday the Prep plow arrived early and helped us dig out our cars.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: MASS WITH THE CHILDREN OF STAFF AND FACULTYWelcome to this pre-Christmas liturgy. We tend to rush into the season of Christmas, the season of the Lord’s birth with readings that fill us with joy and promise on this Advent Sunday, even now two weeks before Christmas. Today, of course, surrounded by these children we have before us an image of the Lord Jesus as a child. We most often picture him as a tiny baby or as the mature Lord on the cross. But he was a rug rat, too; maybe a hyper-active one, curious about light and fire, about color and sound, about earth and its creatures, about the wind and the water. Today in the presence of our own rug rats, it is this Lord Jesus, the child, whom we wish to honor. He came to us from a heavenly kingdom to secure our dignity.

Today let us consider Christmas as the season, not when we get the present that we really want but as the season when we give away our most treasured possession. I ask each of you here to consider your most treasured possession. It may be a thing; it may be a talent or a way of being. Do a little thought experiment. Am I willing to give it away?

For our children here there is some object, some toy, some game, some favorite piece of clothing that you like to wear. ASK KIDS.

But would you give it away during this Christmas season? Jesus gave away the comfort of his heavenly home with his Father to be with us in this real world of cold and discomfort, of pain and anxiety. Can we think of ourselves in imitation of him willing to give away something that we treasure?

I brought this little model truck with me. It is a model of the pickup truck which the Jesuit saint Alberto Hurtado used to take food to the hungry and the poor in his home town of Santiago, Chile. But I bring it today for a different reason because it represents for me one of my prized possessions when I was a rug rat. One Christmas under the tree was a silver metal pickup truck model about twice the size of this model. But like it. I got attached to it. I did not know exactly why but now I understand. For me it represented all the excitement that I wanted in my future: speed, exploration, making things run, freedom. It was mine. If Jesus himself came to my house to play with me, he would not be allowed to touch my silver metal truck!

I ask the young ones here. ASK AGAIN. What is it that you really like among your toys or in your clothes closet? You might be like me and unwilling to give it away. Or you might be already generous and willing to give it away.

I still had my silver metal truck when I was a teenager. But the wheels had rusted and I moved on to other possessions. Today the wonder of the miracle of Jesus, our God, becoming one with us continues to challenge us to give up our doubts or anxieties or pride. May we enter into his presence in this Mass this morning; he gave up everything for us. May we be with him and allow him to encourage us.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pictured with Coach Cockenberg are most of the senior members of the Cross Country Team:

(l to r): James Murphy, Bernie Gray, Chris Dougherty, Matt Chung, Rob Cermignano, Chris O'Sullivan, Jon Sharp and Dennis Walsh (Nine of the Twelve Seniors on the Cross Country Team are members of the National Honor Society and carry a +3.5 GPA on our 4.0 scale.)

The Cross Country all-Catholic runners: Brian Wolf, Chris O'Sullivan, Owen Glatts, Paul Gennaro, Fran Kelly, Matt Chung and Patrick Murphy

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prep basketball begins with a 44-29 vistory over William Penn Charter

Pictures include Joe Nardi going for the layup and Coach Speedy Morris plotting their next move. The team opened the game with two or three well-executed plays though it took some more minutes for the ball to actually get through the basket.

Before the game we blessed the new floor on the court. Some of it had been damaged by water and had to be replaced; all of it was refinished, recoated and repainted.


With this mike in my hand and a silent gym, I feel like giving a sermon on the transcendent, God-like, heavenly quality of all human PLAY, basketball included. Nothing gives us more joy than a leisurely timeless afternoon when we can act like gym rats or be with our posse on a playground. This joy is a sign that God has great things in store for us not only in this life but in the next. In the next I look forward to playing soccer with the Spanish founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola…. on his team, of course. Maybe William Penn will play on the opposing team.

But I have the mike to bless our newly refinished floor here in the Kelly Fieldhouse. Damaged by water this past year, the floor is now refinished beautifully. We bless it this time with holy water. We thank the artists and craftmen who made it beautiful in our sight and in the eyes of God.

So we bow our heads: God and gracious God, we thank you for all the opportunities you give us for the exercise of our talents, physical, mental and spiritual. We thank you especially for this fieldhouse and its floor. We welcome you to all of our activities here. And especially today we count on your presence to guide these team members from St. Joseph’s Prep and William Penn Charter to do their best, to keep them free from injury and to help them appreciate above all the love and guidance of their parents, teachers and coaches, especially head coaches, Speedy Morris and Jim Phillips.

Thank you Lord, bless this floor (WATER) to your glory in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.