June 2005

Catching up with my sort-of cousin

I had a chance today to catch up with someone I hadn’t seen in a long time: my “sort-of” cousin, Mary Kate. We call each other “sort-of cousins” because we aren’t really related, but her family is connected to mine by marriage: her uncle married my aunt, meaning that we have common cousins. We would see each other at family functions from time to time, giving a sense of being part of a broader family.

A reader writes asking for help on how to respond to the “condoms in Africa” issue

Her email:

Hi Father,
Thank you for this web page where I can discuss my Roman Catholic faith, and ask questions.

I was asked what advice priests should be giving when they see the many dying from aids in Africa and I sided with the Pope that they should learn/be taught Natural Family Planning and start to practice it. They replied that the pope has to be realistic and religion has to evolve to catch up with modern times. They say these African people are unteachable and no matter what we do they’ll never change.


God’s sense of humour

When the guy in my office launched into his story, I knew it was one of two things: a truly tragic case, or a scam. And as he went on, it smelled more and more like a scam. It contained a contrite explanation why I might not recognize him even though he is supposedly a parishioner. It contained enough details to make the story plausible, but not enough to make it verifiable. The need for money was terribly urgent, and of course, it involved the suffering of a small baby.

Congrats to our jubilarians

Today was the parish marriage jubilee, in which six couples who anniversary dates are evenly divisible by 5 publicly renewed their marriage vows before the community. Marriage is a vocation that is increasingly under pressure in our society, so I was very proud to be able to preside such a public witness to the importance of this sacrament. Congratulations!

Jesu Caritas

Today was the monthly meeting of our Jesu Caritas group, a group of priests who meet for prayer, sharing of life, and a good meal. I had missed the last two meetings, so it was good to reconnect.

Visiting around

It might not be the Philippines, but this parish covers quite a lot of interesting sights within its boundaries. Today I took Fr. Placido on a tour of area, to let him see what he will be getting into when he comes here to replace me in September.

The joys of (motor)home ownership

I’ve written in the past about the trailer I have, parked at a nearby camp site to act as a kind of poustinia for me. Today my father and I headed out to open it up for the season.

Propane? Check. Electricity? Check. Sewer connections? Check. Running water? Wait a second, what’s that hissing sound…..

Oh the joys of plumbing! Two leaky pipes, one that we were able to clamp, but the other (leading to the hot water tank) that will take a bit more work. So the trailer isn’t quite open yet.