Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Don't Let Me Be The Same

Here's a great Lenten reflection from my dear friend, Vince Salomon. I am continually struck by Vince's desire to change and grow while also guiding his family in faith and virtue, as reflected in his most recent blog entry. May this post give you a little boost on your Lenten journey. It sure did for me.
(Click here to go to the post).

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Hero to the Heroes

William is considered an amazing person and an incredibly devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, doctor, boss, co-worker, and friend. But to me, my brother is my hero.
William looked out for me and my seven siblings after we lost our father to cancer 28 years ago. He has kept the family united by generously hosting numerous family gatherings. There's a picture of William holding me on his shoulders when I was about 4 years old (he is 14 years older). That picture really depicts what William has been to our family - the shoulders on which we have rested through his constant support and encouragement.
Many of the soldiers that he serves would also consider William a hero. William has spent the last 13+ years as the lead chiropractor on Fort Hood. He is passionate and persistent about his role in caring for members of our military. One off the first things that he said after waking up from emergency surgery when initially diagnosed with colon cancer was, “Shit, who’s going to take care of my soldiers?”
Yet, that's how my brother rolls; constantly thinking of others. He often arrives at his clinic by 6am to start treating soldiers, with constant care and dedication to relieve as many of them from their pain. Many of his patients have returned recently from deployment over to the Middle East.
Another situation that depicts the strength and fortitude William possesses: Several years ago Fort Hood experienced the pain of losing 13 soldiers in a shooting on the base. The situation occurred in the building next to my brother's clinic. The courage and strength he revealed during this traumatic experience was a calming force to his co-workers as they waited under lock down which lasted into the evening hours. Even then, my brother was back on the job the next day with a positive spirit ready to encourage his staff to move forward.
William is also active in his church community. Before being diagnosed with cancer, William taught Confirmation class for the past 11 years. It all started with him taking on his son's Wednesday night Church class -- just so he could have the opportunity to spend more quality time with his son. William is one of the most devoted fathers you'll ever meet.
As you can tell, my brother has a heart of gold. Not only is he constantly focused on the needs of others, but – in the midst of his own suffering – he is one of the brightest, most positive people you’ll ever meet. As a matter of fact, even his own wife did not know the extent of the pain he had been in prior to emergency surgery over a year ago -- simply because he never complained.
Will you help us to honor William, a hero in our midst? Please consider donating towards the Hope for William Go Fund Me Campaign as William continues to fight the good fight.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sound familiar?

Does this sound familiar? Paul Harvey's "If I were the devil..". 1965 or 2014? Hauntingly prophetic.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heart of Gold

My parents were huge fans of Fulton Sheen. They loved the way he articulated the faith in a way that was easy to understand. My mom still beams when she refers to the television "days of Fulton Sheen".
Today we are surrounded by modern day Fulton Sheens -- such as the Chicago based company known as Spirit Juice Films. They have a dynamic way of presenting the Gospel through digital and social media.
I was able to see SJF in action as they recorded Fr. Barron's upcoming study program, Priest, Prophet, King. Admittedly, I found myself just a tad more mesmerized with the SJF crew than the delivery of the talks. There was just something to these Catholic hipsters as they subtly ‘floated about', filming the series with a sense of mission.
Today Spirit Juice Films released Heart of Gold, their newest video of Fr. Claude “Dusty” Burns aka Fr. Pontifex. Check it out:

Here's a behind the scenes look at Heart of Gold:

Who is Spirit Juice Films?
"Our goal is simple. We exist to support the Church’s mission through the most relevant medium today – digital video. Our work endeavors to be engaging and visually striking, but uplifting. We believe that our values don’t have to conflict with our entertainment, they can enrich it. We believe that there is a wide market for this kind of media, but that it’s critically under served. We plan to fill this niche by creating cutting-edge, high production value content with wide appeal. We are Spirit Juice Films."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hope in Humboldt Park

Have I mentioned how much I love Chicago? It's a place where hope thrives. Especially in Humboldt Park.
Recently a group from my parish volunteered a morning of service at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in Humboldt Park on Chicago’s west side. Since moving to Chicago I've been hearing about the miraculous transformation of this historical church and surrounding property that had once been boarded up and laid in ruins.
Headed up by Fr. Bob Lombardo CFR, the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels provides outreach to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago while also sharing the treasures of our Catholic faith.
Our main responsibility included assisting with the mobile food pantry in Kelly Hall Parking Lot. It was a step by step process by which we unloaded food from the food truck, moved the packages to the various stations, repackaged the food for distribution, assisted residents with gathering food, and loaded/carried the items to their vehicles or nearby homes.
It was extremely cold morning ...though nowhere near the subzero weather that shortly followed. Regardless, it didn't keep the volunteers and residents away. As I reflected on my experience I realized that despite the cold weather folks came searching for something more than the food and hospitality we offered.
What they seemed to be searching for was a sense of hope. And it seemed the more we shared hope with the neighbors that arrived, the more we found ourselves being filled with a sense of hope. It is in giving that we receive.
Our service project concluded in a time of Adoration followed by lunch with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and Father Bob. It was the perfect end to a perfect morning.
A special thank you to our leader, Christian from St. Mary of the Angels, for organizing this amazing opportunity!
Check out the following videos depicting the 'from tragedy to triumph' story of Our Lady of the Angels (first video) and one of the recent outreach programs offered by the mission (second video).
Rededication of Mission OLA:
Thanksgiving Outreach 2013:
Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry,shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn... Isaiah 58:7

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

March for Life 2014

Students from Holy Angels Catholic School, under the patronage of Father Augustine Tolton, joined tens of thousands of other pro-lifers in the annual March for Life.
Our walk along Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill was accompanied by freezing temperatures. And, yes, Even for a bunch of Chicagoans the 19 degree weather was quite brutal.
The middle school students didn’t complain a bit and made it through the entire march -- even when they had the option to initially go back to the hotel. "But this is what we came for!" Their enthusiastic cheers and overall positivity inspired me to also, 'march on'.
Kudos to Devin Jones and the months of preparation dedicated to helping his students understand the value and dignity of every human life. You can find out more about Devin’s work with the students at Holy Angels through his interview with Life Site News. Devin will also share more about our pilgrimage to DC tomorrow morning at 9am on Relevant Radio 950-AM. He will be joined by a couple of Holy Angel students on the program.
What an amazing day! Below are a few photos from our trek to DC: send-off Mass, praying at the DC Planned Parenthood Clinic on arrival day, attending the Youth Rally at DC Armory, meeting with Terrence Gainer, Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate and alumnus of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic School who traveled with us on our pilgrimage.