December 2004

Making connections

While in Ottawa I had a chance to connect with John Pacheco, the Director of Catholic Legate, the Canadian Catholic apologetics organization. He very kindly offered to have me over for supper (excellent food, I must say!), which gave me a chance to meet his wife and three children. We shared a few stories and plotted taking over the world together discussed how to offer some sort of practical training in apologetics to a broader audience.

Home sweet home

Well, I made it to Ottawa. My pastor, Fr. Gilles, generously offered to give me most of the week off (I need to be back on Dec 31), which I happily accepted, given that over the last few weeks I’d barely seen them. My plan? Read a bit, write a bit, and play *lots* of video games :-)

Thoughts on Christmas eve

Today is Christmas eve. The parish is gearing up for the onslaught of visitors. We have so many tonight that we need to have 6 masses. Boy am I glad that Fr. Gilles is back, and that Fr. Mike Shaw will be assisting us. As for myself, I’ve been taking the day easy, preparing my homily and meditating on the mystery before us.

Why did Vatican II change the liturgy?

As a priest in a parish I can tell you that one of the most delicate things to change is the liturgy.  Enormous conflicts can start over things as simple as whether or not the eucharistic ministers should wear robes.  Any small change is noticed, and must be explained.  And yet, the Catholic Church in the 20th century made HUGE changes in the outward forms of her liturgical celebrations.  Why?  If things had been going well before with only minor changes here and there, why make such changes?  Let's take a look at paragraph 1 of Sacrosanctum Concilium:

Busy day in the confessional

I guess it is because it is the last Sunday before Christmas, but I heard a *lot* of confessions today. If you add up all the lengths of time since the last confession for each person, I’d say I heard over 50 years worth of sins! But I love hearing confessions, so I’m not complaining — “this is the work of the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes”.

Welcome back Fr. Gilles!

My pastor arrived back from his sabbatical today, having driven all the way from Chicago. Boy am I glad to have him back! I mean, it *has* been fun being the parochial administrator in his absence (as well as a great learning experience), but I’ve missed the company of a good friend and mentor. As well, as some may have noticed, this parish is a very busy place! Having one more priest at their service can only be a good thing for the people.

Reviewing the liturgy

For the last several weeks we’ve been had a small committee going here at the parish to review the Vatican document Redemptionis Sacramentum, which outlines things to do and not do regarding the Eucharist. We’ve simply taken one chapter per meeting, read it out loud together, occasionally had some additional explanation, and finally done an honest assessment to see where we are in line versus where we need to improve.

I guess I’m still a little boy at heart

Today our parish DRE generously invited me over for supper, and as I got the tour of the house I couldn’t help but notice the network of computers in the basement. One of her sons started to tell me about the games installed, and when I discovered one of them was Red Alert 2 (n.b. this link uses IE-specific features) I asked him, “Wanna go head-to-head?” Next thing I know the German army (me) is up against the Libyans (him) in a fight for survival.

A special First Communion

Today I had a very special opportunity: the chance to preside the First Communion of one of our parish children. You may be wondering, “What’s so special about that? Don’t you do lots of those as a priest?” Well, yes, but this young man is in a bit of a special situation due to his autism. The family approached the parish and asked if something special could be done for him, as he might not handle the large crowds well as a regular First Communion situation, and we were happy to oblige.

Not again

Tonight was the annual Christmas party hosted by the Cardinal for the English-speaking sector of the diocese. Unfortunately I missed half of it: on my way into town, as traffic was moving slowly along the highway, my car was rear-ended.


3rd anniversary as a priest

3 years ago today (well, more accurately, 3 years ago this evening) I was ordained a priest. It has been a wild and crazy ride, something to which readers of my blog can attest. Life in the service of the Lord sure isn’t boring! There have been many joys and laughs in this ministry, as well as moments of great intensity and challenge. But no matter what, it has all been very *real*. If you are the type of person content with mediocrity, don’t bother considering priesthood (or, indeed, Catholicism) for your path in life.

A quick but important visit

Today I visited a woman in an elder-care residence. The family had asked her if she wanted to receive the Anointing of the Sick, she is very old and sickly, and she had said yes. They then invited me to go see her and offer her the sacrament, so off I went.

When I arrived she was sleeping, bundled up under her covers. She did not look well at all. I called out her name, and she woke with a puzzled look on her face. “I’m a Catholic priest,” I said to her, pointing to my collar. “Would you like to receive the Anointing?” She nodded yes.

Mixed marriages

People often ask me questions about mixed marriages (i.e. a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic), asking questions like "Does the Catholic Church do those sorts of weddings?" I'd like to just take a moment and clarify a few points.

I am now officially the geekiest priest on the planet

The mail today brought my complementary copy of the 5th edition rules for Ars Magica, as well as the Calebais adventure. If you look real hard you’ll find my name in the credits for each book, as I helped review the rules, and even contributed a game design suggestion.

So not only am I a priest with a blog, I am also a priest who helps design role-playing games. Just call me “Father Übergeek”.

Congrats to Fr. Fred

One of my colleagues, Fr. Fred Kirouac, is off to Rome next February for 8 weeks, as part of a diocesan program called the “stage de Rome”. It will give him a chance to live Lent and Holy Week with the Pope, as well as encounter the members of the various Roman congregations and, in a sense, live the “catholicity” of the Church.