October 2005

Consolacion library update: how big is a balikbayan box anyway?

In the original request that we made for funds to ship books to the Philippines, I mentioned that we would be sending the books by means of a “balikbayan box”. But just how big is one of these things anyway?

Answer: take a look!

The balikbayan system is really simple: you send a standard-size box by ship, and pay by volume rather than by weight (which means it costs the same whether the box is filled with ping-pong balls, or filled with scrap metal). The service is door to door, to anywhere in the Philippines.

Learning to control anger

A blog reader recently sent me the following testimony, and gave me permission to share it. It came to her during a time of special devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Why do we become angry?

Mostly because we see things that do not conform to our idea of fairness.

And if this injustice continues, we build up anger in our hearts. So what must we do to get rid of this anger? We must learn to forgive.

The first process is to make the decision to forgive, remembering that forgiveness is a decision not a feeling.

Meeting with the Presbyteral Council

Today I had a meeting with the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council. I am not a member of the Council, but I was there to give a financial presentation regarding a particular fund run by the diocese to help support priests in difficulty. The Presbyteral Council is one of the more important councils in any diocese -- every bishop must have one and must preside over it. So it was quite impressive for me to be there with 20 or so of my brother priests, as well as the Cardinal Archbishop and his two Auxiliary Bishops.

New salary figures for diocesan priests

One question I get a lot is: How much money does a priest make?

Let me start by clarifying that YES, we do in fact make a salary and earn a paycheck and deposit it in a bank account etc. The priests who are members of a religious order have their own special arrangements, made necessary in part because of their vow of poverty, but we diocesan priests (also called “secular” priests) live and work in the world and so live in many ways like other folks…..including in how we take care of our living.

Sharks in the water

This evening I had a chance to do something I haven’t done in a long time: shoot some pool! As a thank-you to a friend who helped me out with some automobile maintenance, I treated him to an evening of beer, bouffe and 8-ball. (For my non-Quebecois readers: “la bouffe” is a French slang term for food.) I won’t say who won, but let’s just say there were sharks in the water (insert Jaws theme song here). It was a good time.


I decided to visit the Palliative Care residence today. Why today? No special reason. But who comes in at the end of lunch but one of my parishioners, whom I met just a few days before. She is sick with cancer and just moved in to the residence that morning. We had a great chat, and remarked what an amazing coincidence it was that she arrived on the very same day that I came for lunch.

Liturgy of the hours apostolate

Recently I’ve had a number of people approach me asking for help in praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Some were youth with whom I travelled to Germany in August, others are adults for whom I am a spiritual director, and the most recent request has come from the parish in which I now serve.

A key barrier to praying the Liturgy of the Hours is the complexity of the breviary, as well as its cost. But today I was told about the Liturgy of the Hours Apostolate, which has all this stuff on-line. Amazing!

While golfing today, I got a hole in one…

…hundred. Or it felt like that, particularly for hole #9 where I got so fed up I eventually picked up the ball and threw it down the fairway. It added a touch of comic relief to the situation, which was just unbelievably bad.

Fr. Stephen Otvos was with me, as I treated him to a round of golf for his anniversary. As both Fr. Stephen and I (re)discovered while out today, this can be a frustrating game! At least we had the pleasure of a beautiful day and each other’s company — even if our scores went through the roof. Gotta get back to work on my swing!