March 2, 2015

Fr. Ted

Last Thursday, Fr. Ted Hesburgh, CSC, the president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952-1987, died at the age of 97.  Fr. Hesburgh was a giant in Catholic higher education and transformed Notre Dame from a small school known for football to the premier Catholic university in the country, if not the world.  My sister graduated from Notre Dame in 2000 and I spent a year there as a postulant with the Congregation of Holy Cross so I have some very small ties to the school.  I met Fr. Hesburgh in the spring of 2002 when all of us postulants went to meet him in his office in the Hesburgh Library.  I took my picture with him and he signed my copy of his autobiography "God, Country, Notre Dame."  I confess that I was very awestruck when I met him.

Fr. Hesburgh inspired me in my Catholic school vocation and I often think of him.  He wasn't afraid to make tough choices and he always prayed "Come Holy Spirit" before making them.  I started rereading his autobiography last week and pray that God may work through me in my work the way in which He worked through Fr. Hesburgh.  There are so many tributes to him online but perhaps the best place to start is the place he called home for most of his life.  You can see Notre Dame's special tribute page here.

May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

And we're back...

Today our school community returned from our February vacation.  Between vacation and all the snow days, we were hardly here last month (which is reflected in the few blog posts of mine from February) but now we will (hopefully) have almost two full months of classes.

We continued our daily observance of Lent today by praying the Stations of the Cross during our two lunch periods.  Students and faculty were welcome to join me in the chapel where we briefly (so they could have time to eat) prayed the 14 stations.  We used the prayers/reflections from Creighton University which has some wonderful resources for Lent.

The Friday before vacation we had Morning Prayer at 7:30am in our chapel - but I missed it!  My car got stuck backing out of my driveway and it took me over 30 minutes to get it out.  Then I realized that I had the keys to our other car in my pocket so I had to turn around and go back home so my wife and children weren't stranded all day!  I had the prayer sheets in the chapel already so Mrs. Courter of our English department and Jacob Jones '16 prayed morning prayer together.  They are always so faithful.

Tomorrow our chaplain Fr. Richard Dion will be here for confessions in our chapel from 11am-12pm as he will every Tuesday in March.  All are welcome.

February 19, 2015


Today during both of our lunch periods we screened the short film "Most" in Campus Ministry.  This 2003 short film from the Czech Republic is really a modern day telling of the crucifixion and the sacrifice God the Father made with God the Son.  It revolves around a single-dad who brings his son to work at a local bridge one afternoon.  The father is in charge of lifting and lowering the bridge for boats and for trains.

On the afternoon the father brings his son, the bridge is put up to let a boat through but a train shows up early and before the bridge can be lowered.  The son notices this first and can't get his father's attention.  So the son runs over and tries to lower the bridge himself but he falls into the area with the gears.  At this point the father finally sees the train coming and he has to make the spilt second decision to lower the bridge and save the people on the train or leave it up and save his son.  He decides to lower the bridge and his son dies after getting caught in the gears.  The people on the train are completely oblivious except for a girl who is a drug addict.  She notices the father's angst from her window, drops the drugs, and later completely changes her life.  We see her at the end of the film with a child of her own and all cleaned up.  She runs into the father on the street and he realizes that his actions not only saved lives but helped make a new one.

"Most" is a very powerful film and you can actually watch it online (see below).  It's a tragic and depressing film on one hand, but just as the crucifixion wasn't the final ending, this film has a happy ending as well!  What I especially like about it is that it's not preachy or religious at all.  But, you totally get it.

Take a look:

February 18, 2015

Lent 2015

We will be marking the season of Lent with daily activities and opportunities for prayer and almsgiving.  All are welcome to take part:

February 18: Ash Wednesday Mass - 9:15am in the gym
February 19: Screening of “Most” in Campus Ministry during lunch
February 20: Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel

Second Week of Lent
March 2:        Stations of the Cross during lunch in the chapel
March 3:        Confessions - 11am-12pm in the chapel
March 4:        Adoration in the chapel during freshman theology classes
March 5:        Serving Dinner at New Horizons -4:30pm-6pm
March 6:        Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel

Third Week of Lent
March 9:         Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel
March 10: Confessions - 11am-12pm in the chapel
March 11: Serving the elderly at St. Theresa’s Manor - 3pm-5pm
March 12: Seven Last Words of Jesus during senior theology classes
March 13: Pray a thon - all mods in the chapel

Fourth Week of Lent
March 16: Serving the poor at St. Raphael’s Food Pantry - 7pm-8pm
March 17: Confessions - 11am-12pm in the chapel
March 18: Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel
March 19: Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph - 9:15am gym
March 20: Baby Shower to benefit Our Place - all day Campus Ministry

Fifth Week of Lent
March 23: Seven Sorrows of Mary in the chapel during lunch
March 24: Confessions - 11am-12pm in the chapel
March 25: Rosary in the chapel during sophomore theology classes 
March 26: Distribution of palms in theology classes
March 27: Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel

Holy Week
March 30: Morning Prayer - 7:30am in the chapel
March 31: Confessions - 11am-12pm in the chapel
April 1:         Stations of the Cross during junior theology classes (outdoors)
April 2:        Holy Thursday Prayer Service - 8:30am in the gym
       Holy Thursday Pilgrimage - 7pm

For you are dust...

Fr. Richard blessing the ashes
Today our school community marked the beginning of Lent with Mass for Ash Wednesday.  Our chaplain, Fr. Richard Dion, was our celebrant and gave perhaps his greatest homily at Trinity High School.  He asked the students to consider 3 R's - Remember, Reconcile, and Recommit.  Remember who they are, Reconcile and say I am sorry when they've done wrong, and Recommit themselves to their vocation, whatever that might be.  He also talked about planting Christ in their lives and reminded them that Christ only lives in this world thorough them.  As he was saying this, he was holding our processional cross which is missing one of Jesus' arms.  The arm fell off a few years ago and I put it back on but it fell off again.  Around the same time I heard an amazing story about the former Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Memphis Mary McDonald who had a similar experience with missing arms from a cross (you can read it here).  I decided to leave it off as a reminder that we are to be the arms of Christ in this world.  I explained all this to the students after Mass as it tied in perfectly with Fr. Richard's homily (and I didn't want them thinking we used broken stuff at Mass!).

Continuing our custom of having one of our readings proclaimed in a foreign language, our second reading was read in Latin by Abbey Edwards '16.  She had come to me months ago asking if she could do a reading in Latin and her Latin teacher Mr. O'Leary was a big help with her in translating the reading.

At our Mass we remembered in a special way the soul of Mark Carrier P'14, the father of Matthew Carrier '14.  Mr. Carrier passed away suddenly this week and our prayers are certainly with Matt, his mother, and two sisters.  As I told the students, maybe it's because I am getting older and have my own children but when I hear stories like this, I am especially sad.  May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  Amen.

February 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Today our nation celebrates Washington's Birthday - not President's Day.  This holiday was established in the late 1800's to honor our first president but in recent years it has morphed into a generic President's Day (although not officially).  You can read an interesting article on the confusion here.

To mark the day we are having birthday cake (see one of them above) during lunch and our prayer today came from the end of Washington's first inaugural address:

Having thus imported to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

February 15, 2015

Alive and well...

So sorry for the radio silence the past 10 days or so.  This semester has been rather crazy with all the snow days and delays.  We always schedule 5 snow days into our calendar and we've used 4 in the past few weeks alone.  It's also been a little quiet on the Campus Ministry front since Bro. Paul's visit on February 3 and it's given me an opportunity to do some longer range planning and focus a little bit on my two classes, our mission trip to Guatemala over April vacation, and our Youth and Government program.

My wife is expecting our fourth child on May 22 which is very exciting for us.  However, it comes smack dab in the middle of our busiest month at school!  We have events every single week during May (some weeks have more than one event) so I have been trying to get some of the organizational things done now.  So during the past two weeks we began distributing senior candles for our Senior Farewell Mass, I sent out letters to parents about the Junior Leadership Ceremony and the Senior Day of Reflection, organized permission slips for senior events in May, etc.  I usually do all of this after February vacation but I figured we'd get it done early.  I am also lining up back-ups to cover my events in case Baby Flaherty arrives unannounced.

Lots to come, stay tuned!