I invite you to sign The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Preach Like a Deacon

The first in a series of arguments supporting my contention that


It has been a while since I heard a deacon give a homily(thank God!), but our recent trip up North brought the whole genre of deacon homilies crashing back into my brain. They are so easy to deliver that I shall end this tirade by formulating one which I could have given today, August 31, if I were a deacon.

The outline of the homily, just like most military plans, consists of three parts. No, I don't mean the introduction, body, and the conclusion. Instead we must remember we are speaking to a group where the majority of them really don't want to be there in the first place. One must grab and hold onto the audience's or congregation's attention. The effective deacon builds his homily on these three parts:

1. The real-world experience anecdote. This is far more than just an attention-grabber. This little nugget of secular life solidifies the deacon's position as one of the people, one who has actually had to work for a living - unlike the priest, who only works weekends. This first part of the homily will bring back a few men who were preparing to meditate on their golf game or mowing the lawn, especially if the story shows how someone at the deacon's work looked really stupid.

It is important to have a segue to connect the first part of the homily with the next one.

2. A brief reference to the readings or the Gospel. There is no need to mention all three, although it suggests that the deacon gave more than passing thought to the homily. At least one of the readings should be discussed, and re-reading part of the text may result in a few people remembering at least one of the readings.

There is no need for a bridge to the final part of the homily.

3. A long, detailed reference to a movie which everyone has seen. One favorite is 'The Scarlet and the Black,' but few have seen that movie, so the better choice is to describe a scene from any movie directed by Steven Spielberg. Extra points are given if one can describe a scene from 'Schindler's List.'

Now that we have the ground rules set up, let me demonstrate 'how to preach like a deacon' using today's Gospel as a reference. As you recall, today's Gospel is when St. Peter got his comeuppance for trying to correct Jesus. Jesus utters those words which none of us would want to hear spoken to us: 'get behind me, Satan.'

Here goes:

"When I was a first year medical student, one of our courses was 'gross anatomy,' where we spent a semester dissecting a cadaver."

Anybody NOT listening to this homily so far?

"One of the members of our 'dissecting group,' was a total klutz, and so we limited his time actually working on the cadaver. I think he went into psychiatry(this will stimulate laughter from those who are listening). Anyway, one day he cut apart a very important structure which we needed to keep intact for our studies. After that, we never let this clumsy medical student touch the cadaver. If we saw him near the table, we would tell him to 'get behind me' so we could work on the cadaver instead."

Here comes the segue:

"In the same way, the Gospel relates how Jesus orders Peter to 'get out of the way' of what is to be the culmination of His mission; namely, His death and resurrection and opening up the Gates of Heaven for us. We have to be followers of God, not stumbling blocks for those who are trying to do His Will."

Consider that the last movie I saw was 'Into Great Silence' when reading this last part. The last Steven Spielberg movie I think I saw was E.T. or maybe one of those Indiana Jones movies.

"Just as Philip Groning sometimes got in the way of the Carthusian monks in the Grand Chartreuse while filming them in the movie Into Great Silence, we too must learn to stand aside and follow the Will of God. If Philip had never learned to do this, we would never have had the scene where the old monk feeds the barn cats."

"Please stand for the Creed."

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Leaving on a jet plane after two weeks of joy and yes, some sorrow, as we send our oldest son to college. To my readers in Harrisburg, PA, perhaps another time. Contact me for information about coming and speaking at your event!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Carlisle PA

Visiting friends in PA before returning to Texas on Saturday. This baby rabbit was caught on the grounds of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's Basilica. Yes, I washed my hands afterwards.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Sixth Monkey...

...at prayer in her room.

The Sixth Monkey, and a prayer request....

I am on vacation, but the brain never stops churning over thoughts, and the Noisykids don't sleep for long. So here it is, almost midnight, and all the Noisykids are asleep, and even the rock band next door can't complain about our children ruining their peace and quiet. Sounds like a great time to blog....

I am convinced that my youngest daughter is the mysterious 'Sixth Monkey' who was written out of the book about the Five Little Monkeys. She demonstrates many of the same characteristics of the other monkeys, especially the desire to put oneself at risk for serious injury in the pursuit of thrills and adventure. While she has not ended up in a hospital yet, we have initiated a protocol where we map out directions to the nearest emergency room 'just in case' we need them in a hurry. The 'Sixth Monkey' probably was omitted for economic reasons - cost for ink, paper, binding - plus the fact that most good little boys and girls get the point after watching FIVE monkeys suffer from a closed head injury. We, however, suspect it had more to do with the extreme daring that our own little 'Sixth Monkey' exhibits as she skates her way through the minefield known as the life of a toddler.

For those of you scratching your heads about monkeys, I shall provide a reminder:

"Five little monkeys, jumping on a bed.
One fell off and broke his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

Repeat the verse, adjusting the number of monkeys to account for attrition. It seems as if this poem/story could be worked into a Fortran program in one of those computer science classess I took in high school or college.


The repose of the soul of David P., and for his family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In your charity of prayers, please pray for the repose of the soul of David P. who died today.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Night Basketball

With the Moon as the ball, every shot is nothin' but net.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It appears as if my new cell phone has molted. How big could it grow? Where is it, anyway?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is it raining where you are?

Is it raining where you are?

Droplets running down your hair,
coalescing over your heart
before settling on the swelling
made by our unborn child.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fr. Carl Vogel, R.I.P.

"The nuns despaired of Carl and me and offered Perpetual Novenas that God would take us before we were sent to the Penitentiary."
- Fr. Denis E. O’Brien, M.M.

I never met this priest, but references to him are found in many of the sermons of THIS priest. He died on August 6, 2008 after a brief illness. He was 89 years old. Please pray for the repose of the soul of this priest.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chicken Dance Chicken



New Toy

I got a new toy yesterday. After much soul-searching, I went back to a Palm-operated PDA. I had wandered away from the Treo several years ago, then I dabbled into the Microsoft Windows Mobile, then I thought I would try my hand at the Blackberry. After looking at all three systems, I realized that the Palm OS gave me the best service for my many clinical needs.

Plus, it has a camera. That means the moratorium on photographs may be lifting soon.

I know some of you have commented that the best part of this blog was the photographs of stuffed animals.

Seriously, today marks four months since Theodore died. I had been thinking about Theodore when this song came up on the iPod:

I could imagine being one of the people in this video, holding a photograph of Theodore.

Friday, August 01, 2008

First Friday Thoughts

Number 1:

Today begins week #15 for the pregnancy of Wifeofdadwithnoisykids. In the same manner that we eagerly await February 2nd with its emergence of the groundhog out of his lair to tell us we have more Winter to come, the start of week #15 usually means that the the 24/7 morning sickness has ended.

That is, if it's a boy.

So, with my wife sitting in a rocking chair behind me, trying to hold down dinner while reading to Noisykid #12, the odds of this being a girl just got higher.

Number 2:

We went to Mass tonight - 'we' being Mom, Dad, and those Noisykids who were not at work or visiting friends this evening. I went straight from work, and so I had a few minutes in the pew to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the rest of the family arrived. At some point I was distracted, and I began to meditate on the inadequacies of my Blackberry.

As the Noisykids trooped into the pew, the younger ones who were wearing Crocs sat down and proceeded to take off their shoes. Each of them began to conduct some rather involved foot care, starting with removing stuff from between their toes. My wife pointed this out to me, and asked me to get them all to put their shoes back on - after I put my own socks and boots back on.

Number 3:

I have said it before, but it bears saying again: All Noisykids come with a built-in soundtrack. I was reminded of this fact when the youngest air-breathing Noisykid started humming loudly during the Consecration. She was considerate enough to cover her mouth so it wasn't too loud.

Number 4:

Trying to keep order in the pew reminded me of an idea that I have been tossing around. I think there may be a big demand for it, too.

I propose to develop 'Ritalin Darts.' Imagine the way to settle that unruly child from a safe distance. All you need is an airgun, a keen eye, and a Ritalin-tipped dart to restore order in the house. I know a few Noisykids who could benefit from it....
Ritalin Darts are only available by prescription. If you are concerned about possible interactions with other drugs, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or gun dealer. See package insert for complete information, or look at our website, RitalinDarts.com.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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Amateur Catholic B-Team Member