Masticate and Swallow - Book Review

In this endearing memoir, Masticate and Swallow, by Fabio Alberto Hurtado, we learn of a young Cuban boy from the 1970’s, who emigrates to the United States. Hurtado sets the stage with a series of short stories from his childhood in Cuba, highlighting his relationship with family and the state. Masticate and Swallow – A Heartwarming Story He speaks of hardships living in a Communist country; yet he does it with humor. One of my favorite stories centers around a family game of Parchesi, where the family has only one die to play the game (The other was lost long ago). The game was competitive, and both Fabio and his cousin Sara did not like to lose. Fabio was one roll away from winning the game. Rather than lose to Fabio, Sara swallowed the die! Now, in Cuba, one cannot simply go down to the local store and purchase a new set of dice. So, what was anyone to do, but to wait for the die to appear again. As Fabio put it, “I do remember playing Parchesi again a week or so later with a shin…

Encountering Jesus

This week someone told me how much she liked my book The Fisherman’s Wife: The Gospel According to St. Peter’s Spouse. She said it made the Gospel come alive for her and helped her realize more what it was like for Jesus to live on earth. She also appreciated the humor.  So this week I am sharing a post about this book that I wrote for someone else’s blog:

I’ve written dozens of books on spirituality and religious education, but only one novel. This is now my favorite book. It is a historical romance in that it develops the relationship between Peter and his wife, but it is also “the Gospel lite.” The path the heroine takes to following Jesus parallels my own path and that of any disciple: knowledge, surrender, commitment. Click to continue

'I am with you always.' Sunday Reflections, Trinity Sunday, Year B

Holy Trinity, Jusepe de Ribera [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelMatthew 28:16-20 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Words by Blessed John Henry Newman Stanzas 1, 2, 3 and 6 sung here.

From the evening of 23 May until the morning of 1 June in 2012 I was giving a retreat to a group of Canossian Daughters of Charit…

Jesus Asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?”

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?(Mark 9:19). On face value, it seems like a couple of strange questions, coming from Jesus, given that He has promised to be with us always, even until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). To the average reader, this would seem like a contradiction. So, what exactly is Jesus saying when He asks these questions? “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? Jesus never answers this question. He only poses it, as a rhetorical question, to a group of people gathered around Him seeking Jesus’ assistance in curing a young boy of seizures.  By His statement, He recognizes the weakness of human faith, as we are imperfect beings. We all have our doubts from time to time. His reaction is to cure the boy of seizures; to demonstrate to each of us that we can place our full faith and trust in Him. Therefore, He is calling us to be a faith-filled generation. How long will I e…

Royal Weddings, Royal Fascination

The world watched in breathless anticipation as the former Meghan Markle, a divorced American actress, married Princess Diana and Prince Charles' second son, Prince Harry. Why the fascination with the royal wedding? I questioned myself about this, read a great essay by Father Dwight Longnecker, and came up with the answer: we yearn for Tradition.  Read the full piece here on my author blog, Royal Weddings, Royal Fascination - Why the Fascination (and Fascinators?)



Reasons for the Holy Spirit job. ( Spanish) El por qué de Pentecostés.


'As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ Sunday Reflections, Pentecost, Year B

Pentecost, Sir Anthony van Dyck [Web Gallery of Art]

Vigil Mass
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Mass during the Day
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelJohn 20:19-23 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the…

Are You Ready for the Holy Spirit? Pentecost is Upon Us!

This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost, the birth of Christ’s Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and confirmed them in the faith. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit graced them with the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Awe. These gifts enabled them to go out and preach the Gospel. To be effective in fulfilling Christ’s mission, they needed: Wisdom, to know and aspire for the things of eternal lifeUnderstanding of the Divine truthsCounsel of the Holy Spirit, to know the ways of God, so that we may fulfill God’s planFortitude, to bear their own crosses and fate awaiting themKnowledge, to know God, as well as themselves; to grow in perfection and saintly waysPiety, to find honor in serving GodAwe, to be filled with reverence for God Get Ready to Receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit We are just like that scraggly group of men who became the first leaders of Christ’s Church on earth. Read more...

The Blessed Virgin Mary: A Mother in Time of Need

This month someone asked me, "Why do you Catholics pray to Mary?" I explained why we regard Mary as a mother and why the National Geographic once called her "the most powerful woman on earth."  At the Annunciation, when Mary conceived Jesus, she also conceived us in a sense. Jesus became our brother and his mother became ours. This was confirmed on Calvary when Jesus said to John (who represented us) "Behold your mother."  Mary was in the midst of the Church on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down on the first members (that's in the Bible)...and Mary has never left the Church. The Second Vatican Council gave her the title "Mother of the Church" and now some 2,000 years after she lived (!), a memorial Mass was proclaimed in honor of Mary, Mother of the Church, observed this year on May 21.  We pray to our Blessed Mother because she is an effective intercessor. Remember the Wedding at Cana? Jesus did not intend to begin his public minist…

Why Most of Us Are Scapegoats, Not Saintly Martyrs

Every society, every culture has a tradition of a scapegoat: a person or group of people to blame and punish for the sins of that particular society. Centuries ago, old women were blamed for poor crops, cows which failed to produce milk and any birth defects. Less superstitious societies turned on each new group of immigrants to blame for their economic woes and rising crime rates. And, at the beginning of the spiritual life when we are confronted with our own sinfulness and those around us, we also tend to act just like scapegoats. Even if we live a devout, disciplined, ascetic lifestyle with a daily round of Mass, rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and frequent confession, most of us still fall into this scapegoat trap as we try to become devoted disciples of Jesus. Suffering For Our Own Sins When we suffer in isolation for our own failings or act like a scapegoat who suffers as the result of others who sin against us, we like to think of ourselves as saintly martyrs, but our sufferin…

Columban Fr Thomas Kilkenny RIP

Fr Thomas Kilkenny (23 July 1922 - 7 May 2018)
Fr Thomas Kilkenny was born in Lecarrow, Carrowbehy, Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland, on 23 July 1922. He was educated at Gorthaganny National School, County Roscommon, and Summerhill College, Sligo. He came to St Columban's, Dalgan Park, in September 1940 and was ordained priest in December 1946.
Castlerea, County Roscommon[Wikipedia]
Father Tom was assigned to Japan in 1947 and apart from his vacations and a year or so working in Mindanao, Philippines, in the 1950s, he spent the next fifty-five years working there in a variety of pastoral assignments. His first assignment was to Oiso. This was followed by stints in Toshima, Tokyo, and a longer period in Katase, Kanagawa.
Christ the King Church, Choshi[Source]
Then he spent time in two Chiba parishes, in Choshi and then in Tateyama. In Kumamoto he taught in the Marist High School and then worked for eight years in Tamana. After that there were assignments in Kamugawa, Chiba, and Hakon…

Remain in My Love; Love One Another

In today’s Gospel from John, we hear Our Lord command us, once again, to “love one another” (John 15:17). Jesus gives this directive, yet He leaves it up to our own free will to choose to love one another, for love is a choice. Love wouldn’t be love, if it were not given and received freely, for love is a gift. In this directive from Jesus, He is asking us to be generous with one another; to forgive, to be merciful, caring and compassionate with one another. He is asking us to treat others as He treats each of us; with a heart full of unconditional love! And when we do so, we remain in His love. When we love one another as Jesus loves us, we give back to Jesus His love, because Christ lives within each of us. That is how we remain in His love. The “Love One Another” Challenge I challenge you today, to step out of your comfort zone, and express Christ’s love to someone. Give the gift of your love, and as a result, show your unconditional love for Jesus. For example: ...Read more...

Children Know How To Play With God

People, from infants to the elderly, thrive spiritually when they have enough free time to relax, create, and pray. We all need unscheduled time, time to be bored in a positive sense because boredom can the birthplace of authentic spirituality and creativity. 

Self- obsessed business is often a superficial way of trying to obtain a sense of meaning and worth on our own, without God. When we refrain from distracting ourselves with what we think are important activities and embrace boring silence, we make ourselves available to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit. God, then, has an opportunity to connect with us.


Homer, Hegel, History and Hope

Folks who saw virtue in unquestioning devotion to established values didn't like the 1960s. No institution, custom or belief seemed safe from scrutiny.

Even the idea of progress — a cherished heirloom from the Age of Enlightenment — was challenged disputed, and ultimately rejected.

Visions of a technotopia, where our greatest challenge was deciding how to spend our leisure time, were fading.

Hopes for nuclear power's abundant clean energy were giving way to fears of an atomic holocaust and reactor meltdowns. Assuming that pollution didn't kill us first. (July 28, 2017; February 17, 2017)

Perhaps even more disturbing for social Luddites, the nation's youth seemed ill-suited for their assigned role as torchbearers for liberty, conformity and suburban living.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.



'You will be my witnesses . . .' Sunday Reflections, The Ascension of the Lord, Year B

'You will be my witnesses . . .' Sunday Reflections, The Ascension of the Lord, Year B The Ascension of Christ, Rembrandt [Web Gallery of Art]

The Ascension of the Lord, Year  B
The Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated on Ascension Thursday in England and Wales, in Scotland and in parts of the USA.  In these regions the Ascenson is a holy day of obligation. In other countries, including Australia, Ireland, Philippines and parts of the USA, the solemnity is observed on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday.
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelMark 16:15-20 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs wil…