Friday, December 28, 2012

Spectacular gift for a priest!

Many people who try to get a gift for their priest(s) at Christmas struggle with ideas for appropriate and useful presents.  In the parishes, food (especially goodies) is most popular and, of course, well-received.  In campus ministry, donations are the most welcomed gift! the ministry, of course (donations to my golf game are a distant second...distant).

Check out this gift from Amy (campus minister) and Dave (her fiance).  It is a small collage of pictures in a black frame with an incredible quote about the is spectacular!  I love this gift not because of the pics (although some made me laugh out loud), but because of the giver's love of the priesthood.  For a priest, receiving any gift from people is meaningful for the same reasons that gifts are meaningful to anyone.  But in a special way, a gift to a priest is an indirect sign of people's love for and faith in Christ through him.  And, when that present is a direct sign of the giver's love for and faith in Christ (through the priesthood or the Church or the Eucharist or Mary, etc.), then it blows away the priest as this one blew me away.  Thank you, Amy and Dave!


Monday, December 24, 2012

"Superman and Christmas"

Last week, I made a 5 day retreat at the Franciscan Monastery in DC.  Canon law requires priests to make a (5 day minimum) retreat every year.  Happy to follow that law! It was a fruiftul and restful time with the Word of God.  My spiritual director suggested that I listen to the recordings of one of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's retreat for priests.  I did and man, was I rewarded.  I have listen to Fulton Sheen before, but it had been a while.  He was so good as a teacher and communicator.  His cause for canonization is well under way.

For those who have smart phones, I recommend getting the app, "".  It has a library of many, many Sheen talks.  The whole library costs just $8.99.  For GW Catholics, the Newman Center will reimburse your expense for the library.  It is worth it because Archbishop Sheen is probably the best and most inspiring teacher of the Catholic faith the United States has ever seen or heard.     

Here is a video of Sheen on Christmas.  A Blessed Christmas to all!!  Christ is born!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hopefully, a fruitful interview

Praise God for the opportunity to speak to Channel 9's Bruce Johnson on TV last Saturday about faith in the wake of a tragedy like the Connecticut shootings.  Thank you, GW Catholics, for your witness, especially Brooke Talbot who I referenced in the interview (the student from Newtown); it really helped answer some of his tough questions.  Hopefully, the interview was fruitful.

Click here to view it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homily - "Rejoice in life"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rest in peace, Dr. Panke

Dr. William Panke, the father of former GW Newman Center chaplain Monsignor Rob Panke, passed away last evening. Plans have not yet been finalized. However, the wake is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday evening, and the funeral on Thursday morning.  Please pray for the soul of this great man and for Mrs. Panke, Msgr. Panke, and their wonderful family.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayer Vigil tonight

Prayer vigil outside of Newman tonight at 8:45 pm.  All members of the GW community are invited to pray for the victims of the awful Connecticut tragedy today.

Beautiful scene / getting ready


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A student's prayer (during exams)

Happy Feast of Our Lady (of Guadalupe)!

A STUDENT'S PRAYER (By St. Thomas Aquinas)

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homily - "I absolve you of your sins"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Saturday HDO (Holy Day of Obligation)!

Tomorrow is a HDO (Holy Day of Obligation), celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Masses at Newman are: 1) Friday, 4:30 Vigil, and 2) Saturday, 12 noon. 

As we have been saying about this feast, it celebrates the conception of Mary, not Jesus (his conception is celebrated on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation). 

"I desire you to know who I am"

Many GW Catholics have told me they do not know Mary, but want to know more about it her.  Mary wants you to know who she is. When she appeared in Mexico in 1521, she said to St. Juan Diego (who represents all of us in the Americas), "I desire you to know who I am".  Below is an incredible video about Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the description of her apparition.  Get to know Mary!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Rose Mesoamerica, the New World, 1521: The capital city of the Aztec empire falls under the Spanish forces. Less than 20 years later, 9 million of the inhabitants of the land, who professed for centuries a polytheistic and human sacrificing religion, are converted to Christianity. What happened in those times that produced such an incredible and historically unprecedented conversion?

In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to a humble Native American at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City.

She identified herself as the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth.

She made a request for a church to be built on the site, and submitted her wish to the local Bishop. When the Bishop hesitated, and requested her for a sign, the Mother of God obeyed without delay or question to the Church's local Bishop, and sent her native messenger to the top of the hill in mid-December to gather an assorment of roses for the Bishop.

After complying to the Bishop's request for a sign, She also left for us an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native's tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 480 years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

It apparently even reflects in Her eyes what was in front of her in 1531.

Her message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind, as well as the story of the apparitions, are described in the "Nican Mopohua", a 16th century document written in the native Nahuatl language.

There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very special.

An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions are attributed to Her. Yearly, between 18 - 20 million pilgrims visit the Basilica, making it Christianity's most visited sanctuary.

Altogether 25 popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe. His Holiness John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times: on his first apostolic trip outside Rome as Pope in 1979, and again in 1990, 1999 and 2002.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th. In 1999, Pope John Paul II, in his homily from the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, during his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent.

During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

"Satan is a 'believer'"

A student who comes to see me regularly told me about a post on Facebook that a friend of hers made and that she really liked.  She was especially moved by the last line about Satan being a believer, too.  I've heard that before, but it's just as powerful a statement about merely having faith as when I first heard it.  I don't know her friend or what her faith background is, but this simple little reflection about faith and works sounds very Catholic:

What gets you into heaven? Believing in Jesus? That's what most of us
were taught. I was thinking about this today, it kind of bugged me
lately. How sure are we that we will go to heaven or be taken up in
the rapture when Jesus comes? Some people say that the Left Behind
series is inaccurate and unBiblical because scripture does not say
that believers will be "left behind", but if you think about it, it
makes perfect sense.

Simply believing is not enough, I think we should
stop using that phrase "believing in Jesus", instead we should say
what it really means, FOLLOWING Jesus. That gives it a deeper meaning.
I "believe" in my friend Jody (one of my good friends), I "believe"
that she was born on June 3rd 1974 and lives today. Do I like or agree
with everything she says and does? Do I want to be just like her? Do I
TRY to be just like her? No. Just "believing" in her doesn't mean
much. But, if I "followed" her it would mean that I wanted to be like
her, learn what she did, and do it, listen to everything she said,
ect. I would want to give up my comforts and follow her around.


Faith without works is dead, we can believe all we want, but if we are
followers, we will naturally want to do those things we are commanded
to do. I have no idea what a true follower should look like, we are
all imperfect and selfish, but we need to stop teaching our kids that
"if you believe in Jesus you will go to heaven", yes the Bible says
that (John 3:16), but...what does it REALLY mean to believe? Remember,
Satan is a "believer", too and we all know we won't see him in heaven.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Homily - "Pass Judgement"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.