Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Listen for Angel Music"


Each year my sister Mary designs and produces her own Christmas card.  This year without fail the card arrived in a timely fashion.    The interior card inscription:

Listen for Angel Music

And some singers came to our Jesuit Center to help us fulfill the wish.


If my sister was looking for some confirmation about angel colors, she could have looked up in the sky on a morning this past week.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ignatius the Pilgrim in winter





Sunday, November 27, 2016

RALPH S. SAUL rip OCT 4, 2016


Memorial to Ralph S. Saul, November 25, 2016

Thank you, Jane and Bob, for giving me an opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for Ralph and his Spirit that surrounds us this evening.   As the relationships developed that propelled the Gesu School’s successes, I marveled as they happened at the beautiful straight line of encouragement that started with a member of the Jesuit parish of Old St. Joseph’s,  ran then to Patricia and Gordon Cooney, then to our dear Ralph and Bette, then to John DiIulio and then on to the Symposium idea that still features so many regional and national figures, Tim Russert and Bill Bennett as examples. 

Patricia and Gordon Cooney introduced Ralph and Bette to Gesu School at the earliest of our fundraising events, one held at St. Joseph’s University.   It was 1992, I believe.   It was a dinner.  Ellen and I were nervous about the choir and about how everything would turn out.  We were seated at table with Ralph, Bette, Patricia and Gordon.   Patricia in her marvelous way made us all feel comfortable, a sign of the fruitful friendship already among the four guests and the encouragement that would flow out of those four hearts in the direction of Gesu’s children.   We enjoyed the evening.  

Then Ralph and Bette took so much initiative, visiting the school and encouraging us.  They perceived Gesu School as doing something unique.   In some troubled areas of Philadelphia this was an accurate perception.  From then on propelled by his and Bette’s kindness to the children and support for the teachers and administrators Ralph introduced the school to a far wider audience: John and Rosalie DiIulio and the honorable symposium guests.  There were strategy meetings at Ralph’s office with our first chair and great friend Win Churchill and others.   Ralph’s assistant, Mary Shields, always generous and kind.   There were tours of the school with persons whom Ralph was sure would help us.   

Encouraged by Ralph we grew at the school developing our own talents and becoming more ambitious to secure its future.   All of the elements of stability came together: the place of the school in the region, the financial resources, the talent devoted to the classroom. 

Ralph kept up to date with the marvelous work that Chris Beck and Bryan Carter brought to the office of president since 2003.  Right down to recent months.   Our current chair Gordon and, of course, Sister Ellen represent a marvelous continuity.    Today amazing things at Gesu:  for example, the students in the older grades all do their school work on tablets!   They had them operating even before the Prep introduced them as a requirement.

There is a beautiful hymn of worship with these words about the just man:   We proclaim the words in Ralph’s memory: “In your strength, O Lord God, the just man rejoices and in your victory he greatly exults.”   Thank you, Ralph, for drawing us into this spirit of praise for the God that blessed us, thousands of work colleagues, friends, the children at Gesu and, of course, your wonderful family with your gifts.

(See Ralph's obituary in the Inquirer  (October, 2016) with details of his  extraordinary life.)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day TEN LEPERS


You might enjoy today opening the web page of the Wall Street Journal and seeing a review of President Obama’s humorous ways over the years of following the tradition of granting a turkey a pardon on this holiday.   The video shows the ten favorite turkey day clemency jokes.   For example just as the president is called POTUS, he refers to one forgiven turkey as TOTUS.   In another pardon ceremony the turkey has the name Popcorn.  This, President Barack Obama says, just proves that somebody with a silly name can make it to the White House.

So much for that.  Let’s move from turkeys to lepers.   I have an artistic representation of the miracle of the ten lepers which focuses on the attitudes that surround the miracle itself.  Here we see the ten lepers sticking together by necessity in the outskirts of some town.   We see them pleading with Jesus for help.  Material assistance may be their typical request but the intensity of their petition seems to indicate their knowledge of Jesus’ healing gifts.   At this moment Jesus is approaching them but his disciples hang back illustrating that they share their culture’s fear of associating with lepers…..

 “The Jesuit is called to travel –as Ignatius says—and make our life in whatever part of the world there is hope of greater service to God and help of souls.”

In our image we see the disciples traveling with the Lord but their traditions and customs are obstacles on the way prompting them to hold back.   Pope Francis says this (to us Jesuits) about the process of traveling: “Being on the road for Ignatius is more than just setting off and moving alone.   It indicates a state of being.  It’s all about drawing profit, progress, moving forward, doing things for others’ benefit."

In our image Jesus’ willingness to move closer to the lepers models this as the first step in the process of being of service to them.  In this image the only positive note of the disciples holding back is that they are sticking together and trying to understand.  Their isolation and their togetherness is in some sense a mirror image of the lepers.  In the process of healing the lepers Jesus is beginning also a process of healing the disciples of their fear of the unknown……

Let us even if we are reluctant like the disciples to participate in this scene pray for the spirit of joy and consolation that the lepers surely experienced.  And for that sense of gratitude that Jesus here and elsewhere names: “I thank thee, Father, that you have revealed to these little ones the mystery of your Kingdom.”……

And also ask for the attitude of the leper who returns to give thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Prep Kairos 152 at Jesuit Center

These seven young men, seniors at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia finish today their service to Kairos 152.  They led a group of Prep juniors during the three-day retreat.    They are left to right:  Matt Zito, Mike Leonard, Dave Molz, Jon Erdy, Ryan Breslin, Chris Coney and Charlie Nugent.

I wish we were delivering a better world to these young men.  But I have confidence in their integrity.  Of course, as a people of hope we still count on miracles!   Let's encourage these guys to expect them.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

David Gross & Tim Gross Music in the Main Chapel

November 14, 2016
3:00 PM

Organ and alto (and tenor) Sax Concert

David Gross (organ) and Tim Gross (sax) filled this big space with sound!

They entertained us for about an hour with a variety of music composed and arranged for the two instruments.   There were soothing melodies (an organ Pastorale by Guilmant), a jarring piece for organ and tenor sax (Music for a Short Subject by DeBlasio), an amusing piece (Cat Suite by Bedard) and a setting of hymns (Hartley's My Shepherd's Sacred Throne).

Frank Fischer celebrates ninety years

Frank Fischer celebrates his ninetieth birthday!

Nephew Kevin Bur w his friend Vanessa gives him the big  9 0 

Frank's students from Loyola High School (circa '70) celebrate with him.

And so do I with my poetry!   How could we have a party for Frank and be without limericks?

Frank Fischer still keeps on the go.
He's with it win place or show.
How can that be
At the age of ninety?
It must be that glass of Merlot!

Frank treats us to cakes of crab!
He pays for our meals, plain or fab!
For this party galore,
For hundreds and more,
We won't let him pick up the tab!

And there was plenty of singing, too,   This pictures the serenade of "Old Man River."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Only voting was never enough!


Politics only rarely finds a place on this blog.    The last entry with any political reference was back in March when I quoted in agreement the statement issued by some conservative Catholics, Robert George in particular.   He and others found Trump “manifestly unfit to be president.”   All the way through to election day, George did not waver one bit from this opinion even though he made it clear that Clinton had no place as president either.

In the waning days of the campaign (and why not before?), I found myself praying for all the candidates on the ballot that I would see on November 8.   I realized by then that the country was dangerously divided.  And I felt some of the shame and confusion that many commentators have expressed because they missed the pain that called out for change.   Let's pray, for example, that the cry for jobs will resonate.  Just rebuilding our infrastructure would create a wealth of jobs.   

It did not take the election to know that any leader would have great difficulty unifying the country around goals that would meet expectations…much less goals that addressed all the issues of the common good.

On the Sunday before the election I preached about our duties after the election.   If any of us had been somewhat uninvolved in the community, that time is now past.  

Despite the “manifest unfitness” of our new president, we Jesuits have an opportunity to heed a warning that Ignatius was moved to give to his companions in the earliest days of the Jesuits.   It happened that a man who had a strong dislike of the Jesuits became Pope.  Ignatius asked his companions not to speak ill of him and he himself made every effort to convince the new Pope of the value of the Jesuit mission.  (During his short reign, the Pope made many bad decisions.)   But the point that Ignatius made was well within his own practice: try to make the most generous judgment you can of those who carry opinions contrary to your own.   Respect of our political figures must be the first rule of our political advocacy.

We will do our best.  I think first of all of Jesuits and their colleagues who serve the needs of immigrants and refugees along the Mexican border, especially those in the Kino Border Initiative  in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, two towns on the opposite sides of the border.   Immigration policies promoted by the Bishops of the United States stand little chance of being enacted by the new president.    But more to the point the Kino Border Initiative and others are not likely to stay silent should new deportation policies create situations like the break up of families.

We Catholics speak a great deal about abortion policy, too.  And most of us will welcome a new judge on the Supreme Court who wants to curb the extent of late-term abortion.   What else the Court might do regarding abortion with another one or two newly appointed figures on the Court is difficult to predict.    It is at the same time difficult to predict the commitment of the new president to any substantial shift in abortion policy.  But there is no question about our own need to expand our services to pregnant women who need help to bring their children to term.

Health care, climate change, religious tests for civic involvement,

Any one issue of many could bring some Catholics to engage in civil disobedience or even risk arrest.    In this present climate all kinds of policies benefiting the common good will come under fresh review.    Such reviews demand a broad range of eyes.   Maybe politics needs a broader place even here.

Friday, November 04, 2016

On a clear autumn day at the Jesuit Center

From the morning star until this later afternoon light, today was one of the clearest of days here at the Jesuit Center.   None of us who live here could do anything to merit this air.    Out of its freshness, however, we can work with others to fashion a world where all share the benefits of fresh air...and fresh water, too.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Colors of October 2016 at Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth








Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18: 9-14

Jesus' parable (Luke 18: 9-14) encourages humble prayer.   My contemporary parable describes the postures of the Pharisee and tax collector with a different image.    

...........In contemporary society to discuss the contrast between prideful and humble postures, Jesus might use a different image from that of the Pharisee and tax collector at prayer in the Temple.    Think of the sort of anonymous human behavior described in his parable, the two strangers acting so differently in a public place, the one boastful and contrasting himself to the meeker one.    Where in modern life does this type of contrast so often occur?  Let me suggest:

Two drivers are moving along the highway, the one in a big red Mercedes with the lights on, the other in a small VW.   As a sign of self-earned prosperity the Mercedes driver maneuvers along the crowded highway at high speed in the passing lane. But then the Mercedes is slowed by the VW driver moving at about the speed limit and passing a slower truck or two.   The Mercedes driver tailgates the VW, flashes the lights and finally sounds the horn, all this an arrogant expression of the Mercedes’ superiority.  The VW driver hastens to pass the trucks and moves into the right lane.   

Later down the highway the VW driver will not fail to notice the Mercedes driver stopped and delayed on the shoulder with the flashing lights of the State Police parked at the Mercedes rear bumper.   Passing on 
the VW will deliver its driver at the appointed time for a scheduled meeting.   “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I drive an older car on the highway just about every week or so.    And I am not always so yielding either in thought or action to the tailgaters.  The truly humble driver would always assume an emergency in the car of the tailgater, a baby about to be born, for example......

Sunday, October 09, 2016

CYO Track Meet at the Jesuit Center property

on the grounds of the Jesuit Center

Sun breaks out to welcome runners on Sunday afternoon, October 9

Father Steve Isaac leads the prayer before the start of the CYO regional track meet at the Jesuit Center property.   Several age groups compete beginning here with the K-2nd grade girls.  This group basically ran around the building!    The 7th and 8th grade took on some hills and valleys.

 And they're off!

One runner approaches the finish line and her green colored medallion band!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Rich Man and Lazarus, gospel reading for this Sunday

Small lidded soapstone ring box purchased at tourist shop in Calcutta (2003).   My sister Jeanne kept it for me until her death.

The Rich Man and Lazarus  Luke 16: 19 & ff

(story about meeting a beggar boy when with some tourists in Calcutta)

One afternoon we took a cab to a downtown craft shop that catered to tourists; some of us wanted to purchase gifts to take home.   I finished my shopping first and decided to wait for the others outside on the crowded street hoping to find some rhyme or reason to the riddle of Calcutta.  I found something that surprised me.   A beggar boy of about ten, no doubt carefully trained and rewarded for his skill, began to pester me for a handout.  I resisted and decided to go back into the store knowing that the guard would prevent him from coming in.   

But as I sat inside waiting for my companions the boy kept up a vigil within sight of me through the plate glass doors of the entrance.   He stared at me and every once in a while our eyes met.  No doubt his handlers trained him in this stare convinced that it would finally shame the target into making a donation. 

It worked but in this unexpected way.  Sitting there I saw the eyes of that beggar boy telling me that I was no better off than he.   In the great scheme of things, his eyes said, we are both beggars lacking the means to a secure destiny.   And I heard Jesus’ question from the scripture: “Which of you by worrying can add even a cubit to your stature?”    His stare said to me: “you are poor like me; we are all poor; and the poor always share what little they have.

Myself and my companions as well, we all gave him some money as we left that tourist shop and it was all we could do to tumble into a cab before other beggars came to besiege us.   I have no illusions about that boy…. His future would be the hardness of the street.  At best when he got older he could use his skill to get other boys to work for him the way he himself was working in some syndicate of beggars.

As this boy’s face lingers in my memory, so, too, does the lesson I learned that day.  We are all poor beggars lacking the means to a secure destiny.   Our destiny is with the Lord Jesus who empties himself and makes himself like us.  Jesus offers us the destiny of freedom from sin and the security of salvation.  

The plate glass doors separating me from the beggar boy were the chasm of the scriptures that separated the Rich Man from Lazarus.  But God’s mercy and the boys’ eyes created a bridge across the chasm.   Not that either one of us changed much.  Yes, my companions and I gave him a pittance and I learned a lesson about my own poverty.   A fragile, fleeting bridge to be sure.   But if I am to meet anyone in the afterlife, this boy will be among them.   And I will thank him for teaching me something about the human condition.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

9/11: Opus One.... Choir presents Mozart's Requiem





Susan Pena, Reading Eagle Correspondent wrote the Concert Review with the heading:  "Opus One's Requiem overwhelms with sound and emotion....Mozart's Requiem was uniquely suited to this day.  (Choir members) under the direction of Christopher Hoster, gave an extraordinary performance, heartfelt and beautifully sung."    After the last notes of  "quia pius es", silence filled the chapel while some shed tears.

Among the guests were the parents of Johanna Sigmund who died in the Twin Towers.   John and Ruth Sigmund and Johanna's uncle indicated afterward that annually this day is "hard".    Eased it was by a morning Mass honoring the victims of 9/11 and celebrated in their home church with friends and family.   Eased it was, too, by music which Ruth termed a powerful piece "of hope and unity."

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Journey to a Great Life


I have finished most of the journey myself but this video describes for those seekers some of the great things that we Jesuits experience.    And now that I have watched it, I am happy to say that I have lived with two of the stars and got to know a third one, too, before he was a Jesuit.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Abbey of the Genesee, Piffard, NY

The Chapel of the Abbey of the Genesee, Cistercian monastery about 35 miles south of Rochester NY.  Here I spent seven days on  quiet retreat.    Retreatants were housed about a half mile away but within easy walk or ride to the chapel for Morning Prayer and Mass at 6 AM and Evening Prayer at 6:40 PM

The monks bake bread, Monks' Bread,  each morning.  They and the bread rise well before 6 AM, the monks for prayer at about 2:30 AM.   Not being a baker, I slept in each day.

 Interior of the Chapel with choir stalls to right and left.   Visitors watching from the side of the choirs joined in the psalm chants of the office using texts in the foreground'

The area separating the choir stalls included the Eucharistic table and the lectern with the tabernacle on the back wall.   Colorful windows brought in the light of the rising sun.

      On the walk through the corn and crop fields surrounding the monastery, I  saw this tree that always captured my attention.   It appeared ready to address the cornfield.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fr. Edwin Sanders, S.J. celebrates 70 years as a Jesuit

Today over one hundred guests  joined us Jesuits here at the Jesuit Center to celebrate Fr. Edwin Sanders.  He began his novitiate as a Jesuit here on August 14, 1946.   Ed celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in our Main Chapel grateful for his seventy years as a Jesuit.   Deacon Richard Wentzel, from St.Mary's in Lebanon, preached.  His humorous memory of Ed included Ed's remark after his accidental fall in the church aisle as he began the final commendation at the coffin of a St.Mary's parishioner.   This parishioner had grown into her senior years in the parish.  And Ed remarked that he counted himself the last man to fall for her.

Among those attending were a couple, Pat and Eileen, who served with him on marriage encounter teams in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   Also a brother with his sister, the brother being among his first altar servers at the Pittsburgh parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1968.

Among my remarks to those gathered to celebrate Ed:

"Ed has never retired and still celebrates Mass at Highlands (a retirement community) and hears confessions at St. Joseph’s Villa (a covent).  Here at home he is available for spiritual direction and hears the confessions of retreatants and others.  

May we, too, lay, religious and clergy, carry on our ministries with the commitment and love that you, Ed Sanders, show us daily well past those so-called limits set by retirement.   God has blessed you and us through you.  May God’s assistance continue ad multos annos." 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mars over the Jesuit Center in the August sky

The last three cool, clear evenings brought me out to see these two planets now in the southwestern sky over the Jesuit Center.  This pictures the sight at about 8:30 PM, Mars between Saturn above and the star Antares below not long after sunset.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Brickwork by "Kelly for Brickwork" at Jesuit Center

First Floor windows recessed and crowned
with arch and keystone.  This required bricks
of a different size to line some of the recess.

Second floor window at rows end capped 
with slanted "soldiers" with a circular base of tied-in bricks

One of the large dining hall windows
with rounded panes.


The plainer regular second story window with  slanted soldiers 
and sitting over the lower window's keystone.

The third story windows under the roof cornice.

The bricklayers in 1928 who built the walls of  what is now the Jesuit Center and home of the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth knew all about the intricacies of brick walls as more than a facade.  
John B. Kelly, "Kelly for Brickwork" worked under the general contractor Matthew McCloskey and Brothers of Philadelphia. Every surface brick is tied into the brick or cement block behind it with ties ( a brick laid directly perpendicular to the surface.)    And the hundreds of windows have a half dozen patterns of brick decor.  Only the most demanding building owners call on such skills today.  (It is said that there is somewhere in the walls a "green brick" said to be a Kelly trademark.   I have yet to scan all the bricks to find it!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jesuit Vows August 13, 2016 Jonathan Pennacchia

Each year young men after two years of formation as Jesuit novices, take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus. This past Saturday, August 13th,  nine young men joining the two east coast provinces took such vows.

Here am I with one of the men, Jonathan Pennacchia.   I got to meet Jonathan during his spring-time mission at Gesu School in Philadelphia, a school where I also worked some years ago.

He surprised me when I saw him after the vow ceremony on that Saturday because he was wearing a Gesu School lapel pin, one that I had a part in designing some 25 years ago.   

Thanks, Jonathan, for your outstanding service at Gesu School and for your years ahead on mission as a Jesuit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

ASSUMPTION of the Blessed Mother

Another elaborate floral display at the Shillington Convent of the Precious Blood Sisters.   The shy altar sister tells me that she creates these pieces, this one for a jubilee party for two of the sisters but also for today's feast.

FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION  2016    Our Lady’s body whether immediately upon death or even without death (as some believe) experienced a resurrection into a state of glory and became present with Jesus, her Son, in his full human self.    Early on this mystery came to be a common belief among so many Christians, a belief long celebrated in the common prayer of the faithful.   There are those that would say this dogma goes beyond proof of scripture.   One might say it is better left undefined as dogma.   But the dogma honors the human body in a time of crisis for the human body in faith and practice.   We live in a time when many dishonor the body in so many ways, with abortion, with drugs and alcohol, with euthanasia, with eating disorders, with promiscuity and the like.   

God out of love creates and sustains our human bodies.  God, moreover,  honors our human bodies by the Incarnation, where one of the Trinity, the Son Jesus, takes on a human body identical to ours.  God crowns these honors given to the human body  by raising the body of Jesus and welcoming it into the Kingdom of heaven and then in the Assumption of Mary.  

We do not believe that there are glorified human bodies in this Kingdom other than Jesus and Mary.    All our bodies will be gathered together on the last day.    But in the case of Our Lady, we believe that God has simply decided not to wait.  What can time mean in heaven in any case?   Immediately or later is as good as any time in forever.  But Mary’s is the body that bore Jesus.  This is the woman that fed him at her breasts.   This is the woman that guided him to the love and practice of first century Jewish faith.   This is the woman whom scripture pictures as present to the suffering death of her Son.  The dogma of the Assumption simply says that this great lady does not wait, so to speak, for the last day like the rest of the dead to be bodily with her Son.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Flannery O'Connor/Rufino deSantos Wedding


There is no place else I would rather have been on Saturday, July 30 than at the wedding of Fino and Flan in the Philadelphia Church of St. Peter the Apostle.  Fino teaches the sixth grade boys at Gesu School and Flannery teaches theology at Cristo Rey Philadelphia.

I was happy to be the priest of record for the marriage joining homilist, Father Lou Defra, CSC and concelebrant Father Efrem Esmilla.

"Pope Francis in his recent exhortation on the joy of love reminds us, when we are present at the events of marriage and family, to remember the presence of Jesus.   He looks on Fino and Flan "with love and tenderness."   He "accompanies their steps in truth, patience and mercy as He proclaims the obligations of the Kingdom."

We join Jesus and gaze on them today like Jesus encouraging and blessing their commitment to one another and to that new social order envisioned in the dedicated way they enrich one another and so many others day-to-day."

As the day drew to a close I shared with others in my age bracket and remarked how encouraged I was with the presence of so many young people who shared the values of this couple.   Sometimes I wonder about the future of this world but these young people will carry it on their capable and dedicated shoulders.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Paul Bothwell, may he rest in peace.


Paul Bothwell      1941-2016

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself so that where I am you also may be.”

From my homily at the funeral Mass:   We all share our condolences with Ellie, with Bob and John and Don and all of Paul’s relatives and friends.   We praise God for this opportunity to be together in our sorrow....   

When Paul and I were both in middle school, Paul and his family moved to Horace Avenue in Abington just a stone’s throw from where I had lived since birth.    We attended the parochial school here at Our Lady Help of Christians and after graduation went to different high schools, Paul to LaSalle College High School and myself to St. Joseph’s Prep.   But during that time we rode our bikes around town, played some rough games of ball on a nearby vacant lot and listened to many a Phillies game while playing cards together.  We also enjoyed getting into trouble with other boys in the eighth grade.   On one particularly beautiful spring day we refused to return to class after noon recess. Paul and I got a special audience with the eighth grade nun after that prank.  Later while in high school there was joy-riding with an older friend who had a car.  

But in public we appeared more pious when serving Mass together in the auditorium structure where we gathered before this Church was built.  Despite the different obligations of our high schools, we continued serving Mass together.   As a younger kid I had other friends in my immediate neighborhood but they were Lutherans, Episcopalians and Presbyterians.   In those days I was not sure that I could count on them.   But Father Shallow could count on Paul and me to serve Mass and we could count on each other.  No one was surprised that we entered seminary at the same time, myself to the Jesuit novitiate and Paul to St. Charles to prepare for our continued service in the Church.   Despite our separate ways later in life --God leading us along different paths, Paul to a loving marriage-- service in the Church dominated the life paths that we each chose,  Paul and his dear wife Ellie fulfilling their service in all of the local parishes wherever they lived.....

When they returned here to Philadelphia last year I did not imagine that Paul’s time with us would be so short.  I looked forward to having them visit me at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville and even to going to a baseball game with them.  These things never happened.   But it did happen that the two of them became well known as a strong and faithful couple at Simpson House willing to help others and to assist in contributing to that faith community just as they had done wherever they lived.....

All of us, Ellie and his brothers and other relatives especially, have memories of Paul.    And we hold on to these memories today as a way of consoling us in our grief at the loss of a husband, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a friend whom we loved.   We want, also, to consider how GOD remembers Paul, Paul’s own service on the altar, Paul’s own study and practice of prayer and of faith,  Paul’s generous sharing of life and service with Ellie,  Paul’s care for those in his family and for others.   These memories, even when some detail is lost can console us.   But in God’s heart these memories are vivid and strong, lively detailed images united with the images of God’s Son Jesus.   As God raises Jesus from the dead, so, too, God’s life-giving memory raises Paul to be with his Lord Jesus.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sunny California

No ID needed

I spent my walk time walking through the Presidio Park instead of across this famous bridge.

Facade of St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco

These towers are not unlike some planning renditions for the towers on the 
Church of the Gesu in Philadelphia.   The upper story there was never built.

The Mission Church of Saint Clare of Assisi, Santa Clara University
Campus decor includes hundreds of rose bushes and very many older Fan Palms

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Flowers for the Living at Precious Blood Convent Shillington, PA

Sunday Altar at Precious Blood Convent 
(Nathan, the altar server, happy to pose!)

Years ago I said prayers at a church service for the funeral of an older woman whose husband flooded the church with a dozen banks of flowers like these.    But this one bank of flowers was created this weekend by sister sacristan.  She framed it beautifully for a sister celebrating her Jubilee.   The jubilarian, while sick and near death herself, got to enjoy this display in the company of her community.

Pink sky at night, retreatants' delight July 2, 2016

Looking Southwest

Looking Northeast