Showing posts from June, 2016


We concluded a second St Michael's Youth Conference that can only be termed "highly-successful." Morning Prayer at 8:00, followed by packing and checking out of our rooms, and a concluding Solemn Mass (votive of St Michael & All Angels), with several family members of our "Michaelites" in attendance. We posed for pictures, cleaned up various liturgical-musical accoutrements, loaded up the YFNBmobile, said our goodbyes, and headed home. As our wheels left the grounds of Our Lady of the Snows, by sabbatical formally began. There is still a non-unsubstantial list of loose ends to be tied up, but I will take care of those from home over the next few days. But this will be my final post in this space until October 16. I begin my Camino de Compostela pilgrimage on August 12, and may post something on Facebook either sporadically or regularly for the ensuing 40 days, but nothing here. Have a great summer and early fall. And do pray for me.

Thursday (Joseph Butler)

When is McDonald's for breakfast the "healthier" alternative? When what's being served where you are is a protein-free assortment of carbohydrates. So Brenda and I made an early-morning McDonald's run. 8:00 Morning Prayer. From 8:45 until 11:20, we were in teaching mode: First Fr Halt making his second of two presentations on the Book of Genesis (Chapter 1-3 thereof, to be specific ... and it was quite fine), then YFNB on the final installment of my four-part series, focusing on how believing that Jesus really did rise from the dead is actually the most rationally plausible response to the documentary and historical data on the subject that we have. Choir practice in the chapel, followed by Mass for the lesser feast of Joseph Butler. I presided and Fr Tony Clavier preached. Lunch was at a simple picnic pavilion at a state park in East St Louis, and consisted by pizza, chips, animal crackers, and Gatorade. The actual air temperature hovered in the upper 90s, a

Wednesday (Evelyn Underhill)

Usual St Michael's Youth Conference morning routine: Morning Prayer at 8:00, followed by a teaching period (Fr Halt on the Book of Genesis), followed by my own teaching session, this one on the subject of Revelation (not the book of the Bible bearing that name, but the notion that there are some things about God that we would never know unless God revealed them to us). I celebrated the Mass for the lesser feast of Evelyn Underhill. Fr Baumann preached. Lunch in our usual location, followed by some mandatory "FOB" (flat on back) time for the youth. (Naps aren't just for kindergarteners anymore.) At 3:15, we convened for another of Fr Baumann's presentations on prayer, followed, about an hour later, by Evensong. We then carpooled to the Fairview Heights Metrolink station and made our way across the river to Busch Stadium for an encounter between the St Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. (The Astros won, which is what a handful of us were hoping for.) One

Tuesday (St Basil)

Morning Prayer (said) at 8:00. Another long and excellent teaching on the sacraments from Mother Beth Maynard, with a break in the middle and a break at the end. 45 minutes from YFNB on "How do we know stuff?"--one might say, an introduction to epistemology without using that word. This was a followup to yesterday's teaching on what it means to be a human person (theological anthropology) and a setup to tomorrow's presentation on Revelation. The responses from the kids confirmed (and then some) my suspicion that it is not only necessary to teach the content of the Christian and Catholic faith to our young folks, but to provide them with some intellectual/philosophical infrastructure that can subvert the cultural miasma of Cartesian subjectivism in which they swim. Choir practice, followed by Mass for the lesser feast of St Basil the Great. I presided, Mother Beth preached. Lunch in the usual place--the room adjacent to our meeting area. About 90 minutes of down


Continental breakfast in the lounge area of our guest accommodations at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. Morning Prayer at 8am. The rest of the morning was consumed by a superb presentation on the sacraments (the first of two) by Mother Beth Maynard, followed by a 40-minute presentation from YFNB on "What is it to be a human being?", which might be more succinctly described as "an introduction to theological anthropology." Only I didn't use that expression with the kids! Votive Mass of the Holy Trinity at noon, at which I presided and Fr Wetmore preached, preceded by 30 minutes of "choir practice"--learning/reviewing some of the service music for both Mass and Evensong. Lunch catered by the shrine staff in the same building as our meeting area. The afternoon was devoted to recreation. We car-pooled to a rock wall gym in St Louis. With my nearly pathological fear of heights, I didn't even make a pretense. But I was c

The Lord's Day (IV Pentecost)

Arose in my Joliet hotel room in time to get on the road and headed southward for the 10am Eucharist at St Matthew's, Bloomington, where I just sat in a pew and worshiped with the congregation. Then I got to spend about three hours at home--some of it resting--before Brenda and I headed south once again, this time with the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows as our destination, for the beginning of the second annual Diocese of Springfield St Michael's Youth Conference. We'll be here until midday Friday.

St Barnabas

Home is sweet, but this taste of sweetness was fleeting. I was unpacked and repacked and back on the road before 11:30, headed back north. By 3:00pm I was at St Paul's Church in Riverside (suburban Chicago--interestingly, a few yards from where I lived for the year that I should have been in kindergarten, but wasn't, because Riverside public schools didn't offer it in the 1950s) ... yes, out of my jurisdiction, but I was there with the permission of the Bishop of Chicago, since the occasion was the (transitional) diaconal ordination of Matthew Dallman, and St Paul's was Matthew's home parish before he was adopted by the Diocese of Springfield. It was a celebration that was splendid in every way, despite being in a church where the air conditioning wasn't keeping up with the 90+ degree heat. After the ordination, and a subsequent celebration in a nearby Irish pub, I headed back south as far as Joliet, where I am camped out at my home-away-from-home, the Hampton I

Friday (St Ephrem of Edessa)

Continued to participate in the Covenant authors seminar in Orlando. This is included presiding and preaching at the noon Eucharist, keeping the lesser feast of St Ephrem of Edessa. (I highlighted how, even as part of Covenant's mission is to irenically chip away at the philosophical underpinnings of postmodernism, we need to do so not only in a rational and verbal way, but in a poetic and artistic way as well, as Ephrem advanced to the cause of Nicene orthodoxy in his day through writing hymns.) At 2:45 I broke away from the group (the conference actually concludes Saturday morning) and began my long journey home ... Orlando to Atlanta and Atlanta to Bloomington by air, Bloomington to Springfield by car. I got home a little past midnight.

Thursday (St Columba)

Morning and afternoon sessions unpacking The Brothers Karamazov. I don't often get this sort of intellectual stimulation, and it is very life-giving for me. Our day was punctuated by both meals and worship (Morning Prayer, Mass, Evensong).


Out the door at 9:15, headed for Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington. Caught the 11:40 to Atlanta, eventually ending up in Orlando at 4:30 EDT. Devoured Cliff's Notes to The Brothers Karamazov (which I read in its entirety a couple of years ago) on both legs of the journey. Retrieved my checked luggage, picked up a rental car, and drove up to Oviedo, home of the Diocese of Central Florida's retreat and conference center (familiar territory for me from three prior visits). Joined over twenty other authors from the Covenant blog, in whose company I am proud to number myself. We will be chowing down over the next couple of days on the aforementioned Dostoyevsky novel. This is our annual retreat. Last year we did Augustine's City of God, so this is somewhat lighter fare!


Usual AM weekday routine on this, my last regular office weekday until mid-October. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Extended phone conversation with the Dean of Nashotah House, over some emerging concerns. Spoke by phone with the Bank of America employee who is effectively my co-trustee over the Putnam Trust. Sent the text of an old sermon for this coming Sunday to the licensed lay person who will be officiating in a currently priestless parish. Signed and sealed the ordination certificate for Matthew Dallman's deaconing, set for this Saturday afternoon. Got to work scanning the prodigious pile of materials in my physical inbox, taking odd moments in the process to also bring some order to my physical desktop. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Sat down with the Archdeacon to take stock of the financial resources available to assist seminarians, which we are shortly set to have more of than at any other time on my watch. Looped the Administrator in on the plans, since it

The Lord's Day (III Pentecost)

Arose at a seemly hour in my Mt Carmel guest accommodations (courtesy of some hospitable parishioners), and hit the road about 15 miles west to Albion, where the good people of St John's had agreed to move their accustomed 9:00 Mass to 8:30 for the same of my schedule. Shared Word and Sacrament with them, and visited for a while over a light repast in their right-sized parish hall. There are some solid and faithful disciples among this small band under the devoted pastoral care of Fr Bill Howard. Then I retraced the miles to Mt Carmel and the regular Sunday liturgy at St John the Baptist, pushed 30 minutes to 11am. I cannot fail to mention how well this group sings; they outshine some much larger congregations in that department! Fr Brant Hazelett takes good pastoral care of them. After some delicious potluck ham, I began the nearly 200 mile trek home a bit past 12:30, entertained by a Cubs game on the radio. While I did not enjoy the outcome, that sort of thing is very effective i

Sermon for Proper 5

St Mary's, Robinson; St John's, Albion; St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel -- Luke 7:11-17, I Kings 17:17-24 Let me pose a question that may seem like it has an obvious answer—but I wonder how readily any of us would be able to answer it: What’s the point of being a Christian?  Now, I’d kind of like to just pull up a chair and toss that one around with you for a while and see what we come up with. But we haven't got time for that, plus, I’m the one whose job it is to say something at this point in our liturgy. What’s the point of being a Christian? For many years, during my childhood and youth, my answer would have been: To go to Heaven, and not Hell, when I die. Many people hold this view. By default, we’re all going to Hell. But if, at any moment, you sincerely acknowledge to God that you are a sinner, and sincerely put your trust in the shed blood of Christ to atone for your sins, then you will go to Heaven. Saying that prayer makes a permanent change in one’s stand


Back from a wonderful couple of days of personal and family time in Chicago, wherein I took in a Cubs game at Wrigley, attended a performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and met the latest addition to the family, little Harriet ("Hattie") Lorell Solano Martins, born on May 31 to our son and his wife. She's amazing, even though that's what you'd expect a grandfather to say, right?  Today I allowed myself a usual relaxed-pace Saturday morning, eventually getting around to a four-mile walk up to and around Washington Park. By the time I got back, it was time to clean up and pack and hit the road in a southeasterly direction. Presided and preached at the specially-timed celebration of the Eucharist at St Mary's, Robinson, then visited with the folks over potluck, then privately with Mother Ann Tofani for a bit. It then took about an hour to drive down to my lodging in Mt Carmel, ahead of tomorrow's visits to St John the Baptist there and to St John

Wednesday (St Justin Martyr)

Devotions in the cathedral; Morning Prayer in the office. Conferred with the Archdeacon--and then again several times through the day--on the details of a Letter of Agreement for an impending call to one of our vacant cures. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Attended to a couple of pastoral-administrative items, both involving the initiation of a check-preparation process. Met with one of our new postulants for Holy Orders and discussed some of the details of his academic formation. Dashed off an email to the Academic Dean at Nashotah signaling my approval for three of our postulants to be residential students there in the fall. Attended via email to two more pastoral-administrative concerns. Met with yet another individual in the early stages of discernment of a possible vocation to ordination. I've had quite a raft of such conversations lately. Presided and preached at the 12:15 Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Justin Martyr. Lunch from McD's, e