Sunday, April 18, 2010

After a performance by the Cape and Sword Drama Society of "The Drowsy Chaperone," the players sat on stage and answered a few questions. The foreground face in the upper picture is that of the director, Tony Braithwaite. His career as director here at SJP spans about twenty years and he gets performances from these young people that are spectacular and lots of fun. The Drowsy Chaperone speaks hopelessly about the prospects of marriage but then these kids, most of them, come from strong families that prepared them for their young adulthood. They are terrific and give the lie to the play's message.

This bright spring Sunday I was wandering around the city. At the Philadelphia Free Library off Logan Square (bottom picture) was a book festival. These magician clowns (top picture) entertained the kids with tricks of all kinds, even engaged some in their tomfoolery.
The middle photos attempt to illustrate the bald eagle couple roosting in Tinicum Wildlife Sanctuary. You can see them both hanging out to the left of their nest. The viewing spot is a couple of hundred yards from the nest and one of the viewers there guessed that one of the two chicks born in recent days had already died.
We took a shot at ruining the environment here in Philly but nature bounces back when given the chance. Trout in the Wissahickon, the Eagles at Tinicum and Shad running up the Schuylkill.

Sophomores Visit Retired Archbishop of New Orleans, Philadelphian Francis B. Schulte, SJP'45

Monday, April 05, 2010

One of the streams flowing along Lincoln Drive and into the Wissahickon.
Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010
Who would have thought that these trout waited all winter for these young fishers? They pulled them from the Wissahickon along Forbidden Drive, just a few miles from Center City!

Saturday, April 03, 2010


“Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed.”

During Masses in Lent these words of the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer soften some of the harshness of this season, a season when spring is not yet, a season when, as penitents, we realize in our own bodies the suffering of the Lord. Each year we celebrate within a cyclical pattern the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. In Christ, despite on-the-ground evidence moving us to the contrary, we are a joyful people. With Christ each year we receive hope filled gifts of renewal.

I have the privilege of working with high school boys and also with a talented group of young adults who are their teachers, mentors and coaches. They are a congregation that tests my seniority; my work is sometimes the work of fraternal correction and always the work of challenge and encouragement. And in this work, generally, I protect the young from some of my darker worries. Despite our repeated experience of this joyful season and of Easter renewal, threatening clouds can hover over the hearts of many of us.

Tomorrow on Friday we may speak of an intimacy with Jesus as he joins us in our sufferings. This evening we celebrate with another leading image: Jesus offers himself to us as a young and confident trusted servant aiding us, even leading us when we get weary on our journey from slavery into freedom.

Earlier this Lent we read from the Book of Numbers, the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch. Numbers tells the history of the Israelites as they suffer through the long journey in the desert, repeatedly despondent, rebellious and sinful, repeatedly rescued by God’s mercy and help but never fully satisfied. This book is about the survival of a people on a long trek. As they journey there is a tension between the old and the young. Some of the older among them remember a less challenging past and want to abandon the journey. They want even to return to their slave quarters and the good food back in Egypt thinking the whips of the Pharaoh a small price to pay. The younger among them, however, have no memory of Egypt and have not yet grown weary; they can imagine only freedom and they long for a place where they can settle and bring new life to their offspring.

For so many years we have been trudging through the desert and we have not reached the promised land. We know now that it is not within our own power to get there. We worry that stresses of all kinds are leading our world to ruin. Sometimes because of our greed and ignorance there seems no future but the one that threatens to end in global catastrophe. Like the Israelites on their journey, though, we know in our hearts that there is no return to some alleged comfortable past.

The Christ, of course, always remains young no matter the age of the world and its isms. We listen for his voice among the young, men and women of every culture and country. We marvel at the commitment of so many to justice, and at their longing for reconciliation and a new world. God is persistent in giving them gifts of faith, hope and love. But we all must remind ourselves of our duty to walk together, young and old.

The youthful Christ comforts us today by washing our tired feet, feeds us with his own manna and strengthens us for a journey on which the experiences of young and old are blended together. There are those of us who can remember Sister Pollard, a seventy year old early ally of Dr. King. She knew the price of her dignity. During the Montgomery Bus Boycott she refused the offer of a ride and preferred to walk. Her commitment encouraged the young Dr. King when he heard her say: “My feets is tired but my soul is rested.” They both reached the Promised Land!

“Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed.”