Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homily Advent III 2011 Year B

Talk to Men and Women United for Life

Men and Women United for Life
5 December 2011

1. In my family, being pro-life and
appreciating the beauty and dignity of every human person is second
nature. I grew up in a solidly Catholic
family and in small towns, so as a child and young adult I never faced the culture
of death head-on.

When I left home for the first
time, having turned eighteen just four days prior, I was entering seminary at
the Josephinum in Columbus. It was
August 25th, 1999. I had
graduated high school in the spring and, after two visits to the seminary and
many hours of prayer and conversation with priests, made up my mind to trust
God and give discernment of a vocation to the priesthood a serious

Within a few weeks, in that first
Fall, I was approached by some of the older men from Columbus and Wichita
diocese, who invited me into their circle of established pro-life
activities. I went along with a group of
15 or so seminarians and priests on many Saturdays – warm or cold, rain or
shine – to pray the Rosary outside of the abortion clinic on High Street. When I was assigned to Saint Vincent
Seminary, I continued prayerful witness at the clinic in Pittsburgh. Six of my eight years in seminary I travelled
to Washington, DC, for the March for Life, sleeping on the floor at Theological
College in DC and walking in procession at the Vigil Mass in the National
Shrine. With my brother seminarians, I
was part of seminary social concerns committees and March for Life pilgrimage
planning. It was such an exciting
opportunity and honor to be part of this apostolate in defense of the

It was a personal invitation by
other men discerning their call to the altar along with me that brought me into
the pro-life work of the Church. Since
1999, I have been able to attend the March for Life 10 times and pray in front
of abortion clinics in three different cities.
As a parish priest, I was delighted to support devout parishioners in
forming a pro-life committee, which completed phenomenal, literally
award-winning, work on behalf of the innocent and voiceless among us.

Because God does not let me sit
still for long, nor keep a great distance from the pro-life movement, in my
assignment as catechist at Warren JFK Catholic School, we have introduced
pro-life speakers, field trips and lessons into the curriculum. The Pro-Life Youth Congress honored me by
asking me to be their chaplain two years ago and the young people across the
country who are members of the PLYC chapters are my hope for the future of our
world. I have seen lives transformed,
babies saved, and men and women united in the cause of life. I have made friends and been blessed to lead
others in the pro-life movement myself.
God has blessed me abundantly indeed!

2. In my ten pilgrimages to DC for
the March for Life, I have concluded that, in spite of scandal and a general
decline in religious participation in the U.S. and Western Europe, the Catholic
Church remains a powerful force for good in our world. Hundreds of parishes, K of C councils,
schools and diocese come together for this epic battle against the culture of
death. The seminarians alone are
numerous enough to be extras in a Cecil B. DeMille film! The annual Vigil Mass tests the fire code and
organizational abilities of the Basilica staff, and the bishops’ homilies
proclaim without hesitation that God’s holy Church is unequivocally pro-life!

My experience has also showed me
that the pro-life fever displayed by the largest crowds that assemble in our
nation’s capital, and yet the most peaceful and joyful, extends beyond the
boundaries of the Church. There are
Anglicans for Life and Lutherans for Life and, one of my favorite Rally for
Life speakers, the Jewish Rabbis from New York, whose zeal are unparalleled on
the face of the earth.

Even outside of organized religion,
an understanding of the dignity present within each unborn child is found among
the Atheists for Life – a group that shows that being pro-life is so
fundamental it is possible without recognizing the existence of God.

3. The March for Life exemplifies
an inter-generational, cross-creedal consensus among Americans that life is
valuable and the protection of innocent life should be enshrined in law. Statistics and anecdotes from across the
fruited plain indicate that this consensus runs deeper and broader than we might
imagine. Human persons recognize, even
if incompletely, the evil of the murder of the innocent unborn.

I would even be so bold as to say
that being pro-life is intrinsically human.
To be created by God in His own divine image means that we are called to
self-giving love, in the image of God who shares His life in the splendor of
creation and gives His life for the salvation of the world. The human vocation to love necessarily
includes the love for the life and soul of every human person: we are made to
build up and not tear down the life of another human person. The Fifth Commandment and the wisdom of God’s
Word manifest this fundamental truth. To
kill is to forget and wound the very core of humanity within us. We want to see people built up: out of
poverty, holding down a good job, supporting a family and living in peace. There is something inherently wrong in
wishing a worse condition or death on another.
It is innately human to desire life and prosperity for our fellow man
and woman. To support the culture of
death means one has lost sight of one’s true human vocation to love.

Since Adam and Eve put themselves
before the law of God, there has always been, because of the influence of
worldly desires and the Evil One, violence against life. Yet, never before 1973 has a civilization so
advanced and prosperous as ours supported with its laws the death of the unborn
child. We are dealing with something
uniquely evil today.

4. It must be remembered that the cornucopia
of pro-life issues extends beyond the most numerous and heinous attacks against
life through abortion to include violation of the unborn child through ESCR,
termination of the lives of the elderly and infirm through euthanasia, unnecessary
implementation of capital punishment and execution of criminals, and the need
to work for justice in order to overcome poverty conditions for those less
fortunate than ourselves. Life from
conception to natural death demands our attention and our constant prayerful
and courageous witness.

At the top of the hierarchy of
values from the Christian perspective are intrinsically evil acts – those
actions which are morally wrong in every case regardless of the circumstances
in which they occur. In terms of life,
they are ESCR, euthanasia and abortion. These
can never be supported and must always be opposed.

5. For the moment, let us direct
our attention to the unborn child. Why
is it that 400,000 people of every race, creed and age – particularly tens of
thousands of young people – gather every January in the DC metro tundra to say
“No, thank you” to Roe v. Wade? And what
is our role in the pro-life movement?
How do we understand how our call to defend life intersects with the
reality of the prominent issues and sentiments of our day?

The March for Life displays a
deeply human truth: that life is precious and we are called to join together
and fend off attacks against the lives of our brothers and sisters. That truth is accepted by Americans from sea
to shining sea.

Carl Anderson highlights the quiet consensus on moral issues in America
in his book “Beyond a House Divided.”
Polls conducted by the K of C and
the Marist Institute for Public Opinion reveal a strong consensus among
Americans on moral issues: marriage and family, life and the role of morality
and ethics in public policy and the workplace.

Specifically, polls reveal that 8
out of 10 Americans favor restrictions that would limit abortion in our
country. I used to fear that the people
to whom I am called to minister were hopelessly divided and floundering on life
issues. I always desperately wanted to
believe that people deep down love life and are trapped in a cultural cyclone
against their deepest human desires – and now the polls show that is true!

79% of Americans would prefer
restrictions on abortion that would limit its practice far more than the laws
in effect today. Only 13% believe it
should be available to women at any time for any reason.
By a three to one ratio, Americans
believe that abortion should be limited to select circumstances – rape, incest
and to protect the mother’s life. And by
a difference of 82% to 76% women favor limiting abortion more than men. The maternal instinct that is part of the
beauty of womanhood demands that violation of the womb and the child be at
least limited.

Young people are increasingly pro-life
and, as they see their peers affected by abortion, the reality of its
destructive affects forms their opinions.
By a two to one margin, Americans believe abortion does not make a
woman’s life better but does more harm than good.

Stats locally show 70 % of people
in Mahoning valley are fundamentally pro-life.

Having been given the opportunity of
abortion on demand, Americans are seeing its wake of destruction and more and
more turning to better solutions to help women make better choices for themselves
and turn back the tide of bloodshed.

The experience of medical pregnancy clinics across the country attests to
the love for life deep in the hearts of mothers in crisis.
The medical community testifies
that life begins at conception. The
joining of egg and sperm and implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus
begins a miraculous process of development that, unless acted on by evil
forces, ends in a new human life.

Science displays the reality of
life. The miracle of the ultrasound
technology allows us to see the baby developing in the womb – fingers, toes,
heartbeat, reactions to pain inflicted on him or her, and all the awe-inspiring
occurrences in the sanctuary of the womb that only God can fully grasp.

Women who see their baby on the
ultrasound overwhelmingly choose life!
“abortion minded” 50 %
“abortion vulnerable” 80 %

Where the abortion industry and the
media want women to believe when is growing inside them is “just tissue” and
“not viable,” when a well-trained sonographer shows a woman her child, she is drawn
to love him or her. And I personally
believe that loving one’s child is so fundamental to a mother that the
remaining 20% would choose life but are like oppressed by other circumstances.

Story – mother at 9 weeks and heartbeat on ultrasound

40 Days for Life: conversions, 61 clinic
workers – exhausted with keeping up the fa├žade of abortion and pretending that
it’s good for women despite what they see first-hand every day.

Story: JFK Students transformed by one
visit to Bella and one day of talks by MWUFL...
My kids love you and love
life. See what you did in 2 days!

Story of girl who experienced
conversion: “I’m pro-life now!”

I see so much that gives me
hope! Young people, Bethesda healing
ministry, Bella, priests, MWUFL

My message to you is one of hope
and encouragement. The human desire and
the consensus of public opinion love for life!
6. I believe that human persons
naturally want to be fundamentally and unequivocally want to be pro-life but are
overcome in their decision-making by difficult circumstances and the attack of
the anti-life industry, which seeks only money and power.

So many women, while the phrase
pro-choice is used, face a situation that is not a free choice at all.
In the face of controlling spouses
and family, poverty and various struggles, they are desperate for help.

Elected representatives do not carry
out their work based on what people really need. They do not truly represent the values
expressed by Americans.
Mexico City Policy
Attacks on conscience clauses

Laws and judges
Anderson also points out in his
book the faulty constitutional law arguments on which Roe v. Wade is

Media obscures the reality of
abortion…coverage of MFL inaccurate…
They report “tens of thousands” of
anti-abortion protestors gathered in Washington, and find three pro-choice
people with signs in order to juxtapose the two and claim “both sides” are
represented. It’s worse than P. T.

The pro-abortion agenda depends on
a series of lies – about what is good for women, when a baby is a person, what
people want and need, what is a good law for our country, that the sick and
elderly have no value, that revenge is the answer to crime, that abortion is a
viable solution to a young woman’s problems.
These lies do not in any way
represent the reality of what the culture of death does to people nor do they
resonate with what human persons really desire!

7. What is our mission, then?
Is it legislative – overturning
laws? Or educational – sharing
information about the development of the child in the womb and the fallout of
the culture of death for women and families?
Or evangelical – preaching to the ignorant and convincing others that
taking innocent life is evil? Or
boycotting media outlets and corporations that support the culture of death?

Where do we fit in to a country
that longs to be pro-life but faces enormous obstacles from government,
politicians, the media and liberal intellectuals?

Who is our enemy? The mothers, the absent fathers, the doctors,
the politicians, the judges, the media?

Saint Paul…
“The last enemy to be defeated is
“Death, where is your victory?”
Ultimately, our enemy is death and
Christ has won the victory. With Him, we
have the power to overcome the death of the innocent by revealing to others the
truth about life to everyone we meet.

There are instances that call for
There are elections that demand
efforts to oust destructive candidates and office-holders.
There are appropriate times for teaching
and preaching.
There are always valuable moments
of counseling and prayer is irreplaceable.

In every one of our efforts to defend the innocent and vulnerable, we
have the opportunity to tap into the human person’s intrinsic nature and
natural instinct: to love life! We can
remind others of who they are and of the truth about life’s dignity that lies
deep within us all, despite the efforts of the media and government to obscure
that truth.

Counseling moms, witnessing – no negativity,
Pastors and teachers – positive,
Sonographer has the
blessed opportunity, with the ultrasound technology, to speak the truth to
women, open their eyes to the truth of life…like the story I shared earlier…

Friends, family, classmates,
coworkers…can show women in need that there are other options and say with
words and actions “Let me help you love your baby.”

Top 3 most valuable:
teaching young people that there are other options, the development of the
baby; being there to offer another way out for pregnant moms; being a positive
influence on the faith and values of every young person in your life – so they
never need to consider abortion, so we change their hearts…

Regarding other attacks
against life…what is the reason they exist?
Capital Punishment:
revenge, justice, closure…
Euthanasia: avoiding
ESCR: selfish desire
to find a cure at the expense of another life…

Gently teach people
the truth of human person – to love, not seek revenge, lay down one’s life,
seek not own interests first…be a living example of love!
Anger we see in those
who have embraced culture of death and refuse even to dialogue is from the Evil
One. “Some of these can only be overcome
by fasting and prayer.”

Pro-life work is about
identifying and exploring the deepest human realities in those who do not, for
whatever reason, see the truth that lies within their own self.

Our constant internal
question should be: what is clouding the child of God in front of me from
seeing who they really are and the truth that lies within them?
We speak the truth in
love, in a way that is accommodated to their needs.

Pray every day and ask
God to open and change the hearts of all, and make us better instruments of His
truth and love, so we can help all people to see the truth that lies within
them and embrace it, despite the obstacles that stand in the way, and so build
up a culture of life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Sunday of Advent 2011

Click on title for audio of homily...
The new translation went well at St. Mary's. I found the words of consecration in Eucharistic Prayer I to be particularly moving. It was like another "first Mass" in that I was reading the whole Mass from the Missal and discovering new prayers as I went along. What an enriching gift for all English-speaking Catholics!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Prepare the way...

As tomorrow we begin anew the holy season of Advent, we prepare for Christ's coming: preparing for the celebration of His historical coming into the world as Mary's child; preparing to receive Him again at His second coming at the end of time; and personal spiritual preparation for His coming under our roofs in the Holy Eucharist. We have been preparing for some time to welcome with joy the new translation of the Roman Missal, the prayers of which leave behind banality and pedestrian vocabulary and are composed in language rich in theology, expressive of scripture and beautiful in their poetic language - and thus fitting for divine worship. May we prepare for Christ's coming among us with joyful, dilligent and reverent recitation of these newly translated prayers, and so welcome Christ with due honor in our worship. What a Christmas it will be when we sing the new Gloria! Blessed Advent to all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Solemnity of Christ the King

Click on title for audio file of homily.
Yesterday's Solemnity marked the final Sunday of the usage of the current translation of the Roman Missal. With Advent, on November 27th, we begin using the more complete and more beautiful prayers of the third typical edition. Praise God!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Translation of the Roman Missal

Ancient Prayers, New English Words, An Opportunity for Holiness
Fr. Matthew J. Albright, M.A., M.Div.

1. Why a new
translation? All the texts of the
Church, prayers, teaching documents, laws, are written first in Latin and then
translated into the various languages spoken by Catholics throughout the
world. In 1969, the Mass was translated
into English from Latin because the Second Vatican Council decreed that the
vernacular should be used in the Mass.
That first English translation was done in a hurry to get the Mass out
in English so people could pray it. The
meaning of the text was translated but not the original Latin words and
grammar. Translation can be difficult
and theology needs to be transmitted precisely in our prayers because how we
pray reflects and shapes what we believe.
The translation we have been using is incomplete in certain ways. The bishops recently undertook a new English
translation of the original text of the Mass prayers in order to give us a more
complete experience of our worship.

2. What does the new
translation do for us as Catholics? It
gives us prayers that are beautiful in their language, deep in theology and
richer in references to scripture. It also
provides us the opportunity to understand the liturgy more fully and grow in
our relationship with God.

3. What is the impact for the
faithful? It will take time and effort
to learn new words and phrases but the Mass is well worth the effort. Most of the new translation affects the
priest’s parts.

4. Where will the faithful
see changes in the Mass? The greetings,
the Confiteor, the Gloria, the Creed, the response to the priest in the
Offertory, the Sanctus, the Preface Dialogue, the Sanctus, the response to the priest
at Communion.

5. Which changes are most
noticeable and meaningful? The “Big 5.”
1. Greeting. “The
Lord be with you. And with your spirit.”
refers to the sacramental character of the priest, for this greeting is
exchanged between people and priest (deacon).
In saying this, the faithful express their desire for the Lord to bless
him in his priestly vocation. You want
me to be a holy priest!
2. Creed.
“I believe” because the creed is a personal statement of faith made in
the context of the Church’s communal worship.
“Consubstantial” means Jesus is of the same substance as the Father
(same as “homoousious” in Greek, the word chosen by the bishops at the Council
of Nicea when the creed was written).
“Incarnate” refers to Jesus’ conception when the angel appeared to Mary,
nine months before He was born.
3. Offertory. “My sacrifice and yours” – emphasizes that,
while priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass, the people are not spectators
but offer their own valuable sacrifice of their lives and needs to God when
they come to Mass – symbolized by the people’s offering of the gifts of bread
and wine.
4. Consecration. “For many.”
NOT a theological change. Jesus
indeed died for ALL. Original Latin text
clearly says “multis” (many) and not “omnis” (all). Jesus says “many” at the Last Supper and
Isaiah speaks of the Messiah “taking away the sins of many” (Is. 53: 12). Jesus
says “for you and for many,” referring to the Apostles who are present with Him
and “the many who are not here who will be saved.” It is important to be true to the original
text and to the Bible.
5. Communion. “Behold the Lamb of God…Blessed are they who
are called to the Supper of the Lamb.”
This refers to Revelation 19, the wedding feast of the Lamb, an image of
Heaven where all are united perfectly to God.
Communion is union with God on earth.
In Mass, Heaven and earth unite.
“Lord, I am not worthy to enter under your roof.” This refers to Jesus healing the centurion’s
servant (Matthew 8:8). We express our
unworthiness to have Jesus come into our bodies and souls.

6. Greet the new translation
with joy and allow it to lead you though prayer to union with God!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Homily 29th Sunday of the Year 2011

Click on title for audio file...Roman Missal "Big 5" in this homily...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Homily September 18th 2011 25th Sunday of the Year

Click on title for audio file of homily from September 18th.
Sorry, no recording available for last week.
Beginning this week, I will be at St. Mary, Warren for Sunday Mass.
October 2nd: 8:00 am

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Updates and Last Week's Homily

Click on title of post for audio file of last week's homily. This is the only one you missed as there were two weeks I did not have a sunday assignment. :-(
September 18th: 9 am holy Name, 10:30 Sts Cyril and Methodius, Youngstown.
Please pray for Fr. Frank Pavone is his time of trial. He is a model of priestly obedience and love for human life. May he remain strong and return soon to the ministry to which God has called him.

Pray for all clergy, especially those who have been in the media for scandalous behavior or suspension. Remembering that they, too, are "priests forever, according to the line of Melchizedech," we pray for their growth in holiness and their eternal salvation. Prayerfully and enthusiastically support our valiant priests who daily give their lives in service of Christ and His Church. Thank you for your support of the priesthood!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Assumption Triduum Homily

Assumption Triduum
Saint Joseph Parish, Randolph, Ohio
13 August 2011
Outdoor Grotto Mass and Rosary Procession
Sunday Mass at OLMC, Youngstown, 10 a.m.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homily 18th Sunday of the Year July 31st 2011

Click on title for audio. I am sorry for the delay in some publishing. I have been at a Catholic educators' conference at Franciscan (fantastic!!!) and helping rebuild a house on an Appalachian mission trip (outstanding!!!). God is so good. Please take time to read about Fr. Beiting's Appalachian Mission - he is a living saint!

Homily 16th Sunday of the Year July 17th 2011

Click on title for audio. I am sorry that the recordiing runs out before the last few sentences. :-(

Saturday, June 25, 2011

France Pilgrimage Pictures...

View pictures of the pilgrimage to France here...
See...Bordeaux, Lourdes, Avignon, Lyon, Ars, Paray le Monial, Lisieux and Paris

Pentecost Homily 2011

Click on title for audio...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

mass in ars

on wednesday we visited ars a second day and celebrated mass at the altar of the relic of saint john vianney, beneath his body, using his own chalice. it was perhaps the most sacred and meaningful mass i have ever celebrated. it was deeply moving for both of us and the fulfillment of a long time dream. last night we came to paris for dinner.

today we took a day trip to lisieux, to see the remains and basilica of st therese. it is also a moving and beautiful sight. back in paris we visited the chapel of the miraculous medal.

i have been given so many grace filled moments and spiritual insights and opportunities for prayer on this pilgrimage. i pray that i can live the wisdom of god revealed in these holy places.

i have prayed for the intentions sent to me and fo all my family friends and brother priests at lources ars lisieux paray le monial lisieux and paris, in a number of sacred shrines and churches.

tonight is our last night on the town in paris and tomorrow we fly home. thanks for following our pilgrimage. keep visiting the blog forma link to pictures...i hope. ;)
god bless you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ars Mass

today we also took a side trip to paray le monial to visit the tomb and basilica of st margaret mary. it was beautiful and i was able to offer prayers for my mother...margaret...and my family. her body is in the church where jesus revealed to her his sacred heart and she is the origin of the sacred heart devotion so many people love. this pilgrimage is incredibly exciting and grace filled!
tomorrow we will celebrate a private mass on the altar at the tomb of st john vianney at four a m est...ten here. a priest at the shrine said people can watch on the website/webcam of the shrine...arsnet...but i cant find it. youre welcome to try. please join us in prayer at ten/four and make a spiritual communion. god bless you!


this morning we visited ars...the highlight and major purpose of our trip and a sacred place i have desired to see for over a decade. words cannot fully describe its significance nor that of the visit to me as a priest. it took us a while to find the tiny village...appropriate since vianney himself had trouble. :) when we arrived and almost life sized statue greeted us...i held the cure's hand and almost cried. i was finally in ars! i saw the confessional st john vianney used, touched the pulpit from which he preached and the cabinet where he vested, toured the house where he lived and saw the school he founded. we walked to the statue which commemorates the boy antoine telling the cure how to find ars and walked the road he would have walked into the town. i had a beautiful confession and we concelebrated mass in the basilica that is now built around vianney's original parish church. i also spent a good bit of time in quiet prayer. the nuns at the shrine and the people in the town are wonderful and seem to have absorbed vianney's spirit and keep his legacy alive. i beg god to be a holy priest like john vianney.

Monday, June 20, 2011


yesterday and this morning we visited avignon...the city where the popes lived for a century when they moved from rome for largely political reasons. the papal palace is incredible! we ate our lunch on the a cafe built on what was once an audience reception area for the popes guests. avignon is still a walled in medieval times. it is a truly beautiful and deeply historic place.
tonight we are in lyon and we drive to ars in our rented mercedes benz...a mistake in the resrvation got us a cheap upgrade because it was the only automatic tranny left! :) i canno wait to see ars. i have waited eleven years...ever since i heard of it from msgr farley at the pontifinium.
pray for me
leave comments
im sorry i cant post pics here...when i get home i will make them available.
god bless and good night!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

candlelight procession two

i apologize for the technical difficulties...

so we concelebrated mass at eleven pm in the grotto where bernadette saw mary! it was in italian so msgr was in his glory...especially reciting part of the canon. adoration flowed from the brief liturgy until midnight. what a spectacular day of peaceful prayer and devotion! i am imprssed by the reverence of the faithful and the devotion of the priests. it is wonderful to be catholic!

sunday...blessed trinity sunday!
today is the festal anniversary of my first mass.
we concelebratec in the upper church and are now preparing to head off to avignon...more there...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

candlelight procession

after attending mass we had pizza for supper and then joined in the nightly candlelight procession. i saw priests and a bishop up front so we we ran up and snuck in. what a blessing that we did. we were able to pray the rosary with our brother priests all around the grounds...and then sit up front on the church steps with the priests for the final prayers. the bishop invited all the priests to join in giving the blessing! its cool to be a priest! :) at the end i asked for the bishops blessing personally...again in latin. jube domne benedicere. it was deeply moving to see all the sick people being wheeled up for the blessing. what a testament to faith and hope that they come streaming in seeking healing! we visited the adoration chapel for a bit. then at eleven pm we oncelebrated third mass and second concelebration mof the day...but

saturday in lourdes

yesterday after our delicious three hour lunch we boarded the train for lourdes. the countryside was lovely...dragging the fifty two pound suitcase now with a broken wheel from the cobblestones a mile to the train station was less lovely. :)

this morning i awoke and donned my cassock for a walk to the sanctuary of lourdes. the basilica is stunning and i concelebrated masst ten. it was in french but i know how it goes. :) when another priest pointed me to a station for communion i said the formula in latin...corpus christi. all the priests wave and smile at each other though we speak different languages and cannot talk when we meet on the streets or grotto grounds. praise god for the brotherhood of the priesthood. they made me feel welcome and beloved in the sacristy. i lit a candle at the grotto and prayed for all the intentions given to me by family and friends. i stood in the line with everyone else to tough the stone...and filled a bottle with holy water. what a glorious morning of prayer. msgr and i met up for lunch...a little nap...and then back to the shrine...

Friday, June 17, 2011

lunch friday...

this morning we found saint paul church...beautiful mass...extraordinary music...thank god for the dominicans!!! it was a lovely liturgical experience. we walked a bit more in bordeaux and are having lunch at a wine bar...goat cheese...prisciutto...local vintages...just perfect!

Thursday, June 16, 2011 three...

the five hour wine tour was lovely! we visited a few chateau and tasted exquisite bordeaux wines. im learning slowly how the french wine system works. the architecture here is so beautiful. we visited the cathedral of st andre...facade begun in ninth century and the rest completed in the twelfth...what an architectural difference...and what marvels faith can inspire without technology! lamb stew for dinner...provincial and delicious. walking the city is delightful. its a different world and its enriching to see how another culture lives. the wine tour guide and our british companions were lovely. i couldnt help but defend america against false impressions of how we do not appreciate the special relationship we have with england...america is not necesarily presented authentically by those who happen to represent us publicly. more later....

pilgrimage day one and two...

internet access temporary and sketchy. small screen so please dont mind the poor grammar. i hope this keeps working...keep checking back... we left tuesday and the plane had one bad fuel pump. we sat for five hours...flew to ny jfk...then switched planes for the trans atlantic flight. allergies affected by the recycled air. with train all in all 21 hours of travel to reach bordeaux. the lord wants me to do penance for my sins. :) restaurant on the place de victoire was fabulous...steak and local red wine of course. today...thursday...had a good rest and breakfast...were leaving soon to walk the city and we have a five hour tour of wineries in the afternoon. the adventure continues... i am reading three books...two small...fifteen days with the cure d ars and reflections of msgr marini the papal master of ceremonies...and one big book...bonhoeffer. i went to a french bathroom and found sweedish toilets and british seat covers...truly a global economy! our delyed delta plane was shuffled between gates and then parked on the tarmac...we walked down steps to a bus...when the bus parked at the terminal they opened one of six doors...perhaps a bias against the americans who inconveniened their schedule

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Masses: Saint Paul, North Canton, 10:30 and 12:00
Click on title for audio of homily from Sixth Sunday of Easter...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Article on John Paul II

May, 2011, issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

Audio of Sunday's Homily...

From St. Andrew, Sheffield; St. Joseph Calasanctius, Jefferson; Shrine of St. Paul, Cleveland.
2 copies one after another - morning Masses and Mass for Bethesda Healing Ministry in Cleveland.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Homily May 1 2011

Homily 1 May 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday

Beatification of John Paul II

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Half way across the world today a sacred event is occurring

which is the most significant moment in the Church in this young century

and a watershed religious experience

for the contemporary Catholic generation –

whether anyone in particular realizes it or not.

I shall keep you in suspense for a moment and return to that later.

For the story of the mysteries we celebrate today

begins in 1933 with a wise priest named Fr. Sopocko,

assigned as chaplain to the sisters in a small convent in Poland.

One of his regular spiritual directees was a young sister named Faustina,

who shared with him that she had been receiving visions from the Lord

since Lent of the previous year

and who possessed tremendous spiritual knowledge and insight.

In a pastoral decision that has impacted the Church for nearly a century,

Fr. Spopcko directed Sister Faustina to keep a diary of her spiritual journey.

This one volume of a simple polish nun has touched the hearts & souls of millions

who find in its pages a treasury of divine love and spiritual wisdom.

Faustina died at the tender age of 33.

Despite Fr. Sopocko’s valiant efforts to promote her writings and spirituality,

the diary was banned from publication –

mostly because of misunderstanding and mistranslation.

Fr. Spopcko died in 1975, three years before the ban was lifted.

At the time Faustina entered her eternal reward,

a young man named Karol Wojtyla was graduating from high school.

Wojtyla, as cardinal, received the torch, as it were, from Sopocko

and was responsible for opening the way for the diary to be published

and read by Christians everywhere.

In 1978, Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II,

and in 2000 he presided over the canonization of Sister Faustina.

He decreed that today, the Sunday after Easter, would be celebrated as

Divine Mercy Sunday – a day celebrating the mercy of Jesus

revealed in the Scriptures and in the life and writings of Faustina.

He universalized devotion to the prayers and the image of Divine Mercy,

revealed by the Lord Himself to Faustina in the privacy of her convent cell:

the image is of the Risen Christ

raising His right hand in blessing

and touching His chest with the left hand,

wherefrom emanates two rays: one red and the other white,

symbolizing the cleansing water of baptism

and the salvific blood of Christ

which poured forth from His pierced S.H.

Behold the incarnate God of mercy!

Jesus, risen triumphant from the grave, has destroyed the power of sin and death

and has opened the gates to the treasury of His merciful love.

No sin, no sorrow, no mortal wound can ever have the final word

for Christ has conquered

by the agony of the Cross and the glory of the resurrection!

How fitting that we should celebrate Divine Mercy this day,

for in the collect for this Sunday we prayed to the God of mercy,

whose Son has given us new life through the waters of Baptism

and redeemed us in His Precious Blood.

The feast of Divine Mercy is indeed an Easter celebration as well!

The Scriptures destined for this Sunday long before this feast was named

correspond providentially to its theme.

The mercy of the Lord, which endures forever,

has wrought marvels before our eyes that stir us to rejoicing.

In Christ the love of God takes on flesh and is made present to us –

God, whose mercy revealed in Christ has given us new life, new hope!

Christ is alive. He loves us passionately. He has put our sins to death on the Cross.

Thus we rejoice in the hope of life in Him on earth, and with Him forever.

John records in his Gospel the institution of the Sacrament of Penance.

Jesus entrusts to the Apostles the power to forgive sins in His Name,

sacred power handed on through apostolic succession to every priest.

Through the power of the Spirit and the ministry of the priest,

souls are washed clean and men and women set free from the chains of sin.

Divine Mercy Sunday is not a pleasant romp

through a meadow of Biblical platitudes about God’s love.

Today is an invitation to the Church and the world

to return to the Sacrament of Penance!
It is in the confessional – the antechamber of Heaven’s treasury –

that we hear the words of our sweet and merciful Jesus: I absolve you!

Fear not the confessional but cling to it as to a life raft in a storm-tossed sea.

God’s mercy is our hope and our salvation in a tempting and broken world.

The prayers of devotion to Divine Mercy are simply beautiful,

as is the Lord’s message to the world through Faustina:

He says: I love you. Trust in Me. There is nothing more powerful than my love!

Our Lord, who is merciful to the doubting Thomas, the woman caught in adultery

and to prodigal sons and daughters everywhere

will indeed be merciful to us, if we but call upon His Holy Name!

Wherever you are in life today, trust in Jesus,

whose merciful embrace envelops you

and whose flesh and blood will soon be united to yours.

This simple but compelling message would not have resonated so clearly

throughout the whole world,

had the trumpet not been sounded in Poland by one cloistered nun

and had one pope not wisely promoted this feast and devotion.

And so we come to the uniquely joyous event I mentioned at the beginning:

Today in Rome Pope John Paul II is beatified, the middle step toward sainthood,

and henceforth we shall call him Blessed John Paul II!

BJP’s institution of Divine Mercy Sunday is but the tip of the iceberg

that is the legacy of his papacy – a tremendous gift to the Church!

For 27 years, his heartwarming smile, brilliant mind and steel resolve

captivated the world and led the Church from confusion to renewed purpose

in the third Christian millennium.

On the shoulders of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, who oversaw Vatican II,

John Paul stood as a giant in his own way

and brought the vision of the Council to fruition in countless ways.

The Word of God and the authentic and rich teaching of our Church

flowed constantly from his lips and his pen

as he invited the world into deeper relationship with Jesus.

In a new edition of the Code of Canon Law,

the first publication of a universal Catechism of Catholic faith since 1585,

13 encyclicals and innumerable homilies, writings and talks,

BJP’s ministry touched every aspect of doctrine and morality

and reminded the world what is means to be Catholic.

He visited 129 countries, never missing an opportunity to tell others about the Lord

and remind the world of Who truly loves them unto death.

His famous invitation to begin a new evangelization –

to open wide the doors to Christ

and to be not afraid as we preach by word, sacrament and example –

rings true for each one of us today.

Because of BJPII, we can know who we are as Catholics, as where we must go!

We accept his invitation and follow after his splendid example

as his legacy of sweet smiles and strong teaching

beckons, even compels, us to embrace and share Jesus Christ!

His legacy continues in our hearts and in our lives of study, prayer and service

as much as we celebrate the sacraments with devotion

and spread the Word of God, revealed to us in Scripture and Tradition.

Jesus Christ, our risen and merciful Lord was the first and greatest love

of BJPII – may He by diligence and grace be our greatest love as well.

On this DMS, the peace and mercy of God descends upon the whole Church,

as Providence declares blessed our beloved JPII

and in so doing confirms from on high

that in his ministry and teaching

are found the way and truth that lead to life.

Today is indeed the day the Lord has made; we rejoice and are glad!

May we go forth from this holy church,

nourished in body and soul with the living presence of Jesus Christ

to proclaim to the world

that the risen Christ stands in our midst to bring us peace!

May BJPII intercede for and inspire us as we newly evangelize

within and without the Church with courage

and open wide the doors of every heart

to the merciful love and glorious truth of Jesus Christ!

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Introspective Journey Through Holy Week

Holy week is my favorite week of the year. Far more exciting than giving and receiving Christmas gifts, definitely more than celebrating another year of my earthly life, and even more than my priestly anniversary, is the annual return to the mysteries and events of our salvation. From the earliest memorable days of my childhood, I am aware of the unparalleled and intense joy I experienced in the liturgies of Holy Week. The gift of tears has even occasionally descended upon me as I soak in the sweet notes of the Church’s musical treasury and the rich prayers of her liturgical tradition, which is filled with particularly beautiful offerings during that sacred week. The priest who had the greatest single impact on my vocation story is the same priest who stirred in me a love for the Sacred Liturgy. His soaring chants and dramatic homilies during Holy Week were signs from God that I must be a priest, that I must enter into the sacred drama of worship and bring souls to the mysteries we celebrate! There is nothing so amazing as Holy Week – the love of God displayed in those historical events and the outpouring of grace experienced as we enter into the mysteries through the timeless and cosmic Liturgy of the Church.

Lest Holy Week become an annual history lesson or a mere celebration of sweet memories and moving stories, I invite you to consider a daily question that will unite the life of Christ in His final earthly days to the details of life faced by us His servants.

1. Palm Sunday – Do I praise Jesus in public, as the crowds did who welcomed Him to Jerusalem, and confidently allow everyone to see that I follow Him, or do I keep my spiritual life compartmentalized?

2. Monday – Do I seek to know Jesus, who came into the world to save me, more fully each day?

3. Tuesday – Do I seek to serve Jesus in the men and women around me who are in need, as the women washed the feet of Jesus days before His bitter passion?

4. Spy Wednesday (the day of the Gospel of Judas’ plot with the Pharisees) – Do I betray Christ by hiding my faith when it is not popular, by setting a bad example to others, or by failing to remain committed to my duties to the Church?

5. Holy Thursday - Do I have a deep and lively faith in the Eucharist, which manifests itself in reverence and time spent in prayer with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?

6. Good Friday – Am I willing to give my whole life for Jesus, who died for me, and sacrifice everything that stands between me and His love?

7. Holy Saturday – Do I prepare each morning in prayer to welcome the Risen Christ into my life anew and to serve Him faithfully that day?

This list in no way intends to exhaust the possibilities for reflection during the days of Holy Week. It is simply a guidepost to entering deeply into those seven saving days. Each day, spend an hour in reflection on the day’s question and reading the prayers and Scriptures for that day’s Liturgy. Look deep inside and ask Jesus to draw you into Himself. The love of Jesus in Holy Week redeemed the world. He did it for you! Make this Holy Week one to remember, a week that will change your life!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homily Palm Sunday 2011

Click on title for audio file. Have a blessed Holy Week!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2011

Click on tite for audio file. Saint Anthony, 10:30 am on Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Third Week of Lent

Click on title for last week's homily. Sunday, April 3rd: 8:00 St. Jude, Columbiana 10:30 St. Christine, Youngstown

Monday, March 21, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent 2011

Dear Friends,
Please enjoy this past Sunday's homily from Saint Stanislaus in Youngstown.

No decent quality audio file available of last week's homily.
Next week: 9 and 11 am at I.C. in Ravenna, Ohio.

God bless your Lenten journey!

Fr. Matthew

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Season of Lent

A blessed Ash Wendesday and Season of Lent to all!!!

First Sunday of Lent: March 13, 2011
Saint Jude, Columbiana 8:00 am
Saint Anthony, Youngstown 10:30

Monday, March 07, 2011

Jesus Our Brother

Lecture notes from Day of Reflection at Sacred Heart Parish in Rock Creek, Ohio.
Audio begins mid-sentence and is at times of poor quality but you may listen by clicking on post title...

Jesus our Brother

Story of Second Grade Christmas Play

Song: The Friendly Beasts

I sang the donkey verse

Jesus our brother, kind and good

Was humbly born in a stable rude

The friendly beasts around Him stood

Jesus our brother kind and good

I said the donkey all shaggy and brown

I carried His mother uphill and down

I carried her safely to Bethlehem town

I said the donkey all shaggy and brown

Indeed a simple, humble, crude stable and a manger, a feeding box for the animals, was the nursery of the newborn Savior and the not-so-triumphant welcome offered to Christ our King

This is humanity at its simplest and loneliest – parents away from home with no safe place to have their first-born son – a dirty stable with a family cowering in the cold darkness.

Humanity at its simplest is embraced by the infinitely loving Son of God.

The mystery of the Incarnation is the event which begins the saving plan of God in JC

It begins a trajectory of salvific activity that extends from the manger, through the Cross, and down through the centuries to the altars and homes of our own day.

The Incarnation is the gateway to all the other saving actions and mysteries of Jesus, the entry way into the human experience for the God-made-man.

The Incarnate Christ reveals both the infinite love of God and the perfection of humanity.

In the Incarnation…
John 1:14 – Word becomes Flesh

God becomes man and takes on the fullness of the human experience, except of course sin

Christmas Preface

“In Christ we see God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.”

Preface of OT

“…that you might see and love in us what you see and love in Christ”

Antiphon of Divine Office for MMG

O Marvelous Exchange –

Offertory Prayers – by the mystery of water and wine…

God sent His Son to take on flesh and enter our world so that He could save us from within.

Fathers… “The God who created us without our permission would not save us without our cooperation.”

He came to reveal God’s perfect love…humble and life-giving love

Philippians 2: Jesus did not deem equality with God…emptied…humbled…

He became one of us to know us intimately from within and to experience all we know in life – the shelter of the womb through an ignominious death. In so doing, He reveals what it looks like to be human.

The humanity of Jesus is filled with lessons, images and inspiration sufficient to fill a lifetime of reflection. We shall consider a few insights today.

The childhood of Jesus reveals the value of obedience…


In His earthly ministry…by explicit teaching and by sincere example…Jesus reveals the character of the life of the Church

Baptism – takes on sin…it clings to Him like water…so we can be cleansed…

Preaching – teaching what it means to be Christian



Calls the disciples and teaches what it means to be friends of the Lord – come

and see

Invitation…not oppressive demand…

Issues the call to conversion…meet…follow…rejoice!

This is precisely what the Church exists to do – to heal, to baptize, to call others to unity and conversion, to celebrate the Sacraments and to preach the word in order to bring about the salvation of souls and bring human persons in to deeper relationship with Jesus.

Come and see! See the incredible Christ!

Answer to your heart’s desire!

In addition to ecclesial ministry, Jesus shows us so much about the basic human experience and how we can realize it to the full and image the love of God in our lives.

1. Temptation – w/o sin

Paul – like us in all things but sin…

Original sin…concupiscence…we struggle and Jesus gives us the image of saying no to Satan, not testing God and relying on material comfort. We trust God and practice virtue.

2. Understands our weakness and struggles

Hebrews…we do not have a HP who

3. He is the model of compassion w/o hesitation

He connects with others and gives freely of His time

Woman at the well – John


In Job and in Christ we see the value of human presence, even touch…just being there…

4. Image of sacrificial love…Cross

5. Righteous anger is valid in it proper place as a response to injustice

Tables in Temple

Short of sin

6. Value of prayer…deserted places…if JC…how much more us poor sinners…

7. Jesus understands our human sadness…loss and pain

He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus

He consoled Martha and Mary, not so much with words as with His presence

I am the Resurrection and the life

Jesus knows what it means to lose one He loved

Why weep? He had to know He would save Him!

Humanity and divinity in tension…both kept intact!

Good to weep. Remain and allow others to remain in the reality of their appropriate emotions. Cannot explain it away

Bring them to Jesus’ presence…scripture, Eucharist, Adoration, prayer, loving embrace!

Grief is a long process, as we know, different for everyone

Do not need answers but love. Need Jesus!

Funerals must address the reality of death and emotions that go with it.

Not a canonization but an acknowledgement of loss and grace

– for deceased and loved ones


All Souls’ Day!


Jesus understands us! Never forget that…when no one else does…

His Sacred Heart beats and was pierced for love of you…

Jesus shows us humanity at its best.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. Genesis

God is love. I John. God is a relationship of persons in love.

Made for love and relationship

The sympathetic heart, compassion, prayerfulness, virtue, and sacrificial love of Jesus form a living image of humanity in its perfection. What He shows us is possible for us with His saving grace.

As we prepare to enter into Lent…we consider how we might draw from the example of the living Christ some resolutions for virtuous living.

How might I embrace a more complete experience of the Church Jesus revealed – more sacraments, more study of the Church teaching?

How might I respond more fully to the call to conversion and become a closer friend of the Lord?

How might I be more appreciative of what Jesus has done for me and revealed to me?

How might I learn to imitate the love of Jesus?

How might I learn to be more understanding of others in pain?

How might I deepen my prayer life?

Thus the humanity of Jesus becomes more than the vehicle for the well-known mysteries of faith – Christmas and Easter stories. Ordinary Time becomes more than an intervening time when we hear a series of easily-forgotten stories of healings and teachings and not the seemingly “important” ones. It is anything but ordinary.

The humanity of Jesus is our life, too.

Who He is, is who we are meant to be!

Jesus, our brother, leads on the journey into God and into a complete experience of ourselves – our identity and mission as h. p. and children of God.

After three years of ministry and human experiences, Jesus, as recorded by Luke, turns His face toward Jerusalem and sets His heart on the destiny for which He was sent: the Paschal Mystery – His sorrow and our salvation!

In the PM…in His divinity He is God who saves us…because of His humanity He is able to embrace our worst experiences – our sins and the suffering and guilt they cause – and put them to death.

The garden of Gethsemane is the scene of transition from earthly ministry to Passion…

The wood of the Manger is the wood of the Cross - Fathers

See-saw…fulcrum…walk up until it shifts and you come running down…all has been building up since the stable and now suffering and glory rush onto the human scene

Jesus grapples and accepts God’s will

Jesus Christ Superstar - most poignant portrayal of emotions in the Passion account

Take this cup away from me…

Emptiness and agony…sweat as blood…

Jesus accepts the will of the Father and is obedient to His plan for our salvation

Phillipians – Jesus emptied Himself…humbled Himself…obedience leads to glory

Does not grasp at divinity as Adam grasped at fruit…accepts God’s will!

Paradox of the Cross – power in weakness, glory in suffering, triumph in death

Gives us a glimpse into a proper understanding of freedom

Not license as modern world

Chase Bank

Burger King

Not freedom w/o law or responsibility

Freedom in obedience

We accept our free will in responsibility

We pursue the best…the truth

We are free but we exercise our freedom within the truth our identity as human persons and the loving plan of God for our lives.

This we call…in the Christian moral tradition…freedom for excellence

Also helps understand relationship to law…

Today Church law perceived as negative, oppressive…

In fact, canon law, liturgical law, moral law and the Ten C are the guideposts for holy living and salvation.

People think the Church is always saying “no” and laying down rules.

Pope Benedict says that the Church is not about saying “no” but about saying “yes” to Christ

Just like marrying a spouse, when we say yes to Christ, we say no to counterfeit versions of love and evils that threaten to hurt us.

Paul – Galatians: use your freedom in loving service

We accept our freedom not for ourselves but in responsibility, in truth, and in obedience to God’s will

Why did God make us?

To know Him, love Him, serve Him, so we can be happy with Him in heaven!

Offertory prayer: …may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled Himself to share in our humanity…

Man’s telos…his end…is union w/ God and a sharing in His life

All we do and are is directed toward Heaven!

The primary gift of love is a gift of self.

JPII: man is most fully himself when he makes a sincere gift of himself…

JFK: 50 years since inaugural address…

“Ask not…”

Are we living for ourselves, or in order to make a sincere gift of ourselves?

Jesus reveals the infinite love of God and the perfection of humanity.

Jesus our Brother shows us what it looks like to be a real human person, loving and self-giving, journeying forward toward the goal of union with the Father.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Reflect on the mystery of the incarnation and what Jesus has done for you, how you can more fully image the love of God in our world, and how we can together imitate the humanity of Christ.

Look to Jesus Christ, who leads us back to the Father and leads us into the realization of who we truly are.

Praise God for His love, revealed in Jesus Christ!