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.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Where we are.

I just heard on the radio a commercial for a show on the OWN network highlighting the upcoming movie Selma about the historic Selma Alabama marches 50 years ago. One of the gentleman commenting on the importance of the film stated that it was timely for where we are now as a nation.  Hopefully he didn't mean that the times and experiences are similar. Dr King was a civilized man of faith and morals peacefully fighting against racist discrimination of African Americans. What we have now are cop killers and mobs who disregard the rule of law and strike out violently and irrationally. Racial tensions are further manipulated and exacerbated by pundits and politicians. There is no comparison. If the film is timely it is to remind us to worship God as Dr King did and to voice our grievances as civilized law-abiding citizens not in angry mobs.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Mary Ellen Albright

Homily – Funeral for Mary Ellen Albright                 Is 25 / 1 Cor 5 / Jn 14

Obituary available at

On behalf of Fr. Batt, the pastor of Saint Mary’s, and my family, we are grateful to all of you who came to honor my grandmother, Mary Ellen Albright, and to pray with us for her and for each other.


On behalf of our family, I also want to thank the staff of Aultman hospital, the Woodlawn facility and the Compassionate Care Center for taking excellent care of Grandma. 


In a special way, I want to recognize and thank Aunt Jody for being Grandma’s caregiver day and night during her illness. 


More often than not, when I came home for a holiday or summer break and visited Grandma, I was soon headed off to some other city or even another state…back to seminary…back to the parish…


So invariably, the last word Grandma spoke to me each time I left, as I said goodbye and gave her a hug, were “Be careful on the road.”  Maybe you heard her say that too.  She even said it when she was in the hospice center.


Be careful on the road. 

Grandma was worried about me arriving in Columbus or Latrobe or Youngstown or Ashtabula County safely. 

She was worried about her young grandson getting lost or hurt, veering off the road into danger.


Be careful on the road.

We are all on the road: a journey that at times is smooth but often is treacherous, a journey through life to our heavenly homeland, our Father’s house.


Our faith gives us the assurance that we were created by a loving God,

who made us to know, to love and to serve Him,

each according to a unique plan and purpose,

and that we were redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus,

so that we can be united with Him forever in happiness in heaven. 


This is our purpose in life: to know, love and serve God so that we can be happy with Him forever in Heaven


Be careful on the road.

On this road of life, our journey to union with God, we need to be on guard so that we can arrive safely.

So many influences from the world around us, the culture, the Evil One himself, draw us away from the Lord. 

The Lord reminds us often in the Scriptures to be on guard, to stay awake, to be vigilant, to arm ourselves with faith and prayer in order to be prepared for the inevitable and unforeseeable day on which He calls us to account for our lives and calls us home to Himself. 


Along the road of life, there are signposts and aids to keep us safe, help us stay on the road and not swerve off into danger and arrive safely home.


The Lord gives us the Bible, His holy Word, to reveal to us His will and keep us rooted in the values and virtues that matter most. 


The Church gives us the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as outward signs of God’s love and grace at work in us. 


Our daily prayer keeps us centered in God and focused on the goal, the reward of eternal life, lest we fall into the trap of relying on ourselves and following our own designs. 


These guideposts fortify us for the difficult stretches and unexpected turns on the road of life.


The Paschal Candle, which is lit for the celebration of Easter, is lit in honor of an individual Christian only twice in their life: at the beginning of their journey of faith, their Baptism; and at the end of the earthly journey, their funeral.


The light of Christ is entrusted to the baptized person to be kept burning brightly, with the aid of their parents and godparents, from Baptism, through the whole of life, until death. 


Today, we mark the end of that journey in this world for Mary Ellen:

a life lived with a sense of purpose

a life of faith, love and sacrifice

a life in which the light of Christ burned brightly


We assemble today before the altar at which Mary Ellen so often worshipped and was nourished by the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist.


She had an unshakable belief in God and when she was married she converted to the Catholic faith, the faith in which she raised her children. 


It was an honest, sincere faith, expressed in her commitment to her family and in loving concern for everyone she met. 


Mary and her husband John remained committed to each other in Marriage for over 40 years.  Grandpa died before I was able to know him but, decades later, I still heard her speak fondly of him. 


Together they suffered the loss of a daughter in infancy and raised five sons through the era of the great depression and the Second World War, all the while maintaining her home and the family farm. 


Owning a farm meant daily chores and tough work, through the heat of summer and the cold of winter.


Yet, all throughout the best times and worst times of life’s journey, Mary and John enjoyed life to the fullest together.


They would take off from the farm in their airplane and flew as far as Canada and Oregon. 


They hosted card parties at the farm house and loved to go roller skating together.

Boy, I wish I could have seen grandma roller skating!


In their commitment to each other, they show us what true love is all about.  They kept each other safe on the road. 


Mary also enjoyed bowling with Aunt Irene, swimming, and of course there was Bingo. 


She was blessed with many good friends…Joanie, Lois and so many others…


In her later years, when was less active, she talked about how happy she was to spend time with Aunt Ruthie in Canton or go out to eat with “the cousins.”


I don’t know who “the cousins” are exactly, because she never called them by name, just “the cousins.”  But you know who you are.  She always looked forward to those times together.


Grandma always sent card for everyone’s birthday, anniversary, Christmas and other important days.  She always remembered every one of us. 


She was a woman of unparalleled kindness with an incredible memory for details…names, dates, birthdays, memories of times shared with people she loved...even who dealt which card in which hand in a game forty years ago!!!


She believed in working hard every day and I admire that strong work ethic very much. 


I remember a phrase she said often that makes a lot of sense to me: “God helps those who help themselves.” 


What a life she lived! 

What long, beautiful and, until the very end, healthy 94 years!


Mary Albright lived a full and generous life, grounded in the Lord, rising every day and doing what needed to be done.

Life was to her a blessing and a duty.

With her hand to the plow, she did not look back but made each moment the best it could be.


Today, as we remember her life, we lay her body in the earth and entrust her soul to God’s loving embrace, praying that the angels escort her to our Father’s house, where there is no more suffering or pain. 


In the readings from Scripture today, we hear the consolation of God’s Holy Word.


Isaiah speaks of the mountain of the Lord, where God will destroy death forever, wipe away all tears and feed all peoples with a rich and delightful bounty. 


For the Jewish people in ancient times, the mountain meant Mount Zion and the city of Jerusalem.

We who believe in Jesus Christ long to see the new and eternal Jerusalem, the splendor of God’s dwelling place in Heaven.


There, He will surely wipe away our tears and we will echo the words of Isaiah:

          Indeed this is our God to whom we looked!

Let us rejoice and be glad that He saved us!


Imagine Mary…Mom…Grandma…on the mountain of the Lord singing His praise! 

Rejoice, for God has saved us! 


There is no more suffering or pain,

only the happiness of being in total union with God,

in her eternal home

in her room in our loving Father’s house.


This is her reward.  It is our destiny.  We are eager to leave behind this temporary dwelling and enter the eternal dwelling prepared for us. 


Once again, the road up that mountain is not easy.

We need to be careful on the road of life, making use of the gifts God provides for us and remaining grounded in our relationship with Him.


Jesus says to us in the Gospel: I am the way, the truth and the life!


When the road is rough, Jesus is the way!

When we possess His truth, we discover life in its fullness. 


As Saint Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians,

In the days and weeks ahead, turn to others

and offer them the consolation we ourselves have received from God’s Word.


Support each other

Share stories

Take lessons from Mary, and live the values that made her 94 years a shining example for us – faith, commitment, love…


Recognizing that our own mortality is inescapable, prepare well for your own passing from this world. 

Know, love, and serve God more each day.

Put the other people in your life and their needs before your own.

And remember…be careful on the road…so that we may rejoice together with Mary in our eternal home.