Monday, September 26, 2016

Perpetual Vows

What a weekend! I really enjoyed myself during my stay in St. Louis for the Perpetual Vows of our Brothers, Brandon Paluch, S.M., and Michael Chiuri, S.M. 

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and my good friend Br. Jesse was waiting for me in the airport.  We went to the car rental center to pick up the car and made our way to Maryland Ave.  There were a good 10 of us staying at this community for the weekend festivities so the house was full!  We had Mass and Dinner on Thursday evening and shared in many laughs and stories throughout the dinner.  After dinner, Jesse and I walked to a local bar known for its vodka drinks.  It was called Sub Zero because on the bar itself was a sheet of ice to keep your drinks cold! Well, lets just say that the martini's were great....and cold!

The next day, we did some site seeing and had lunch out.  In the early evening there was a get together at the community where I lived two years ago.  There were probably close to 75 people there.  It was great to catch up with some, and meet others for the first time.  It was a great testimony to Brandon and Michael about how many people care enough about them to travel to St. Louis to witness their Final Profession. 

Saturday morning, I woke up early, went to a WW meeting and weighed in.  I'm on track!! Now the WW scale is different from my home scale, so I had to make some mental adjustments to the number in front of me, but it will all work out in the end.  When I returned, I ran for 3 miles in Forest Park, showered and headed to the Perpetual Vow Ceremony at Our Lady of the Pillar Church.  I was fortunate enough to be with some great friends during the ceremony and after.  There were probably a good 250 people in Church and 68 of those people were members of the community.  The ritual was beautiful, and there were many tears shed by many in the congregation.  I was so happy to be part of this day and so happy to be a Marianist.  After the Mass, we had a reception at Chaminade Prep and we were treated to some great food and drinks!  After the festivities, we all went home, took a nap to get ready for round 2 in the community later that evening.  So much food and drink...I was glad I weighed in on Saturday morning!
Fr. Dave, Fr. John, Br. Jesse
Vow Class 92

Br. Michael, Fr. John, Br. Brandon

I made it back safely yesterday afternoon and presided at the 6pm Mass in the Colonia.  Today we are gearing up for a big meeting that we are hosting here in Queretaro.  It is the meeting of the superiors of the Latin American Marianists (CLAMAR).  In attendance will be Brothers from Argentina, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico. You might remember that I attended this same meeting last year in Bogota around the same time.  I will definitely fill you in at the end of the week about our time together.   It will be a fun, but busy week!

Here is my homily from this past Sunday

Homily September 25, 2016

Good evening Church! So here we are on another Sunday, and the Word of God continues to challenge us to care for the needs of others, Amen? As a people of faith we are all called to be mindful of the needs of others, especially the poor. And yet, sometimes we can forget that caring for the poor is not just an option for people of faith, but it is a demand an imperative from Jesus.  When we think about the needs of others, it helps us to not focus on all of our own problems and helps us to realize that although each of us may have problems, that there are always people who have more problems than we do.  Sometimes the poor can almost become invisible to us if we do not go out of our way to look at the poor in the same way Jesus looks at them.  We must be vigilant in caring for the poor and not be complacent.  Complacency is probably the worst sin for Christians, because complacency allows us to sit back and let things happen.  We may know that what is happening is wrong, but when we are complacent it is difficult to move into action, and as disciples of Jesus we are supposed to be men and women of action, Amen?

The prophet Amos warned the rich of his time to get off the couch, to stop focusing on wealth and acquiring more material goods, to stop making a show of having the best while there are people who suffer and who do with far less. The prophet warns us that when we are caught up in acquiring more riches, we forget the poor in our presence and forget how to act as a community.  Wealth is not bad, but wealth can prevent us from opening up our eyes to the reality of other people.  When we no longer see the reality of those around us, we have forgotten that we are a community called to help one another, especially those in most dire need.  The prophet warns the people, and he warns us today, not to be complacent in our care for one another.

Saint Paul implores Timothy to purse righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Not once does Paul mention money or material things.  Money cannot buy devotion, faith, love, and patience.  These things are priceless in the eyes of Paul.  How often do we ask our children what they want to be when they grow up? Or, what they may want to study at the university so that they may have a good career? Yes, these are important things, but not the most important.  For those of you who are parents, have you asked your children to pursue devotion, faith, love, patience as the most important thing in life, or do you want to know how much money they will make in the future?  As I have said in the past, money will come and go, but a strong relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal.  And that strong relationship helps inform our future decisions in life.  A Christian does not ask the question do I do this?  A Christian asks the question, Should I do this? Our faith should inform our decision, Amen?

The Gospel of Luke is often referred to the Gospel of the Poor.  Over and over again, Luke writes about the importance of the community caring for the needs of the poor.  Today, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man reinforces the importance of caring for the needs of the poor.  This parable reinforces the idea that sometimes we can be blind to the reality around us.  Lazarus was at the doorstep of the rich man each day.  The rich man did not see Lazarus as a person, only as a beggar.  God sees each of us for who we are.  The rich man did not see Lazarus with the eyes of God, he only saw him as a nuisance. The rich man was more interested in the finest of food, clothes and appearances.  Each time he held a banquet, the rich man ignored the cries of Lazarus.  The rich man did not notice Lazarus in the same way that God noticed Lazarus.  Not only did God notice Lazarus, but he cared for him in the next world.  The rich man could not enjoy eternity because he did not do the things he was supposed to do for the poor in this life.  These words are very challenging! Each of us must ask ourselves the question, How have I treated the poor? How have I treated those in need?  Do I ignore people who need my help? Am I complacent in my discipleship? Am I blind to the reality of those around me? If God were to take me today, would I be enjoying the joys of eternity, or would I be suffering like the rich man in our story?  See, we did have someone who came back from the dead to tell us how we should act. Do we act in the way that Jesus would want us to act? 

So, today is about action.  From moving from complacency to action.  Today is about caring for the needs of the poor and focusing less on money and fame and more on doing things for those around us.  It is easy to sometimes be so caught up in our own lives and problems that we forget that we are responsible to care for those who are less fortunate than us.  Today we are reminded that we must do both.  We must care for ourselves and the needs of our family, but we must also care for the needs of the poor.  This is not optional.  This is not extra.  This is what it means to be a Christian.  As Scripture states, How can you say that you love God whom you cannot see and yet do not love your sister and brother whom you can see.  Today we are reminded to open our eyes and see those around us who need our help.  The Word of God today is a call to action.  Are you ready to be the hands of Christ in our world? Jesus needs you.  Will you work for him this day? Turn to the person next to you and say, I will work for Jesus today…Amen?

                                        Homilía 25  de septiembre

Buenas Tardes Iglesia! Así que aquí estamos en otro domingo, y la Palabra de Dios continúa desafiándonos para el cuidado de las necesidades de los demás, Amén? Como un pueblo de fe que todos estamos llamados a ser conscientes de las necesidades de los demás, especialmente a los pobres. Y, sin embargo, a veces nos podemos olvidar que el cuidado de los pobres no es sólo una opción para las personas de fe, pero es una demanda de un imperativo de Jesús. Cuando pensamos en las necesidades de los demás, nos ayuda a no centrarse en todos nuestros propios problemas y nos hace entender que, aunque cada uno de nosotros puede tener problemas, que siempre hay personas que tienen más problemas que nosotros. A veces los pobres pueden llegar a ser casi invisible para nosotros si no nos salimos de nuestra manera de mirar a los pobres de la misma manera en que Jesús los mira. Debemos ser vigilantes en el cuidado de los pobres y no ser complaciente. La complacencia es probablemente el peor pecado para los cristianos, porque la complacencia nos permite sentarse y dejar que las cosas sucedan. Podemos saber que lo que está sucediendo es malo, pero cuando estamos satisfechos es difícil pasar a la acción, y como discípulos de Jesús se supone que debemos ser hombres y mujeres de acción, Amén?

El profeta Amós advirtió a los ricos de su tiempo a levantarse del sofá, dejar de centrarse en la riqueza y la adquisición de bienes materiales, que dejar de hacer un espectáculo de tener el mejor mientras que hay personas que sufren y que lo hacen con mucho menos. El profeta nos advierte que cuando estamos atrapados en la adquisición de más riquezas, nos olvidamos de los pobres en nuestra presencia y olvidar cómo actuar como una comunidad. La riqueza no es mala, pero la riqueza puede evitar que la apertura de los ojos a la realidad de otras personas. Cuando ya no vemos la realidad de los que nos rodean, nos hemos olvidado que somos una comunidad llamada a ayudarse unos a otros, especialmente a las más extremas necesidades. El profeta advierte al pueblo, y él nos advierte hoy, no ser complacientes en la consideración de los otros.

San Pablo a Timoteo que implora monedero justicia, la piedad, la fe, el amor, la paciencia y la dulzura. Ni una sola vez menciona Pablo dinero o cosas materiales. El dinero no puede comprar la devoción, la fe, el amor y la paciencia. Estas cosas no tienen precio a los ojos de Pablo ¿Cuántas veces nos preguntamos a nuestros hijos lo que quieren ser cuando crezcan? O, lo que es posible que quieran estudiar en la universidad para que puedan tener una buena carrera? Sí, estas son las cosas importantes, pero no el más importante. Para aquellos de ustedes que son padres, ¿ha pedido a sus hijos a seguir la devoción, la fe, el amor, la paciencia como la cosa más importante en la vida, o quieres saber cuánto dinero van a hacer en el futuro? Como ya he dicho en el pasado, el dinero va a ir y venir, pero una fuerte relación con Jesucristo es eterno. Y que la fuerte relación a las decisiones de futuro en la vida. Un cristiano no pide la pregunta qué hago esto? Un cristiano hace la pregunta: ¿Debo hacer esto? Nuestra fe debe informar a nuestra decisión, Amén?

El Evangelio de Lucas se refiere a menudo el Evangelio de los pobres. Una y otra vez, Lucas escribe sobre la importancia del cuidado de la comunidad para las necesidades de los pobres. Hoy en día, la parábola de Lázaro y el hombre rico refuerza la importancia del cuidado de las necesidades de los pobres. Esta parábola refuerza la idea de que a veces podemos ser ciegos a la realidad que nos rodea. Lázaro estaba en la puerta del hombre rico cada día. El rico no vio a Lázaro como persona, sólo como un mendigo. Dios ve cada uno de nosotros por lo que somos. El rico no vio a Lázaro con los ojos de Dios, él sólo lo veía como una molestia. El hombre rico estaba más interesado en el mejor de los alimentos, la ropa y las apariencias. Cada vez que él llevó a cabo un banquete, el rico se hizo caso omiso de los gritos de Lázaro. El rico no se dio cuenta a Lázaro de la misma manera que Dios se dio cuenta de Lázaro. No solo Dios cuenta Lázaro, pero él se preocupaba por él en el otro mundo. El hombre rico no podría disfrutar de la eternidad porque no hacer las cosas que se supone que debe hacer por los pobres en esta vida. Estas palabras son muy difíciles! Cada uno de nosotros debe preguntarse la pregunta, ¿Cómo he tratado a los pobres? ¿Cómo he tratado a los necesitados? Hago caso de las personas que necesitan mi ayuda? ¿Estoy complaciente en mi discipulado? ¿Estoy ciego a la realidad de los que me rodean? Si Dios me llevará hoy, ¿estaría disfrutando de los placeres de la eternidad, o iba a estar sufriendo como el rico de nuestra historia? Véase, tuvimos que alguien que regresó de entre los muertos para decirnos cómo debemos actuar. Por qué actuamos de la manera que Jesús querría que actuar?

Por lo tanto, hoy en día se trata de una acción. De pasar de la complacencia a la acción. Hoy se trata de atender a las necesidades de los pobres y centrarse menos en el dinero y la fama, y ​​más en hacer las cosas para los que nos rodean. Es fácil ser atrapado por lo que a veces hasta en nuestra propia vida y los problemas que nos olvidamos de que somos responsables de cuidar a aquellos que son menos afortunados que nosotros. Hoy se nos recuerda que tenemos que hacer las dos cosas. Hay que cuidar de nosotros mismos y de las necesidades de nuestra familia, pero también hay que cuidar de las necesidades de los pobres. Esto no es opcional. Esto no es extra. Esto es lo que significa ser un cristiano. Como dice la Escritura, ¿Cómo puedes decir que amas a Dios a quien no puede ver y sin embargo no ama a su hermana y hermano, a quien se puede ver. Hoy se nos recuerda que abrir los ojos y ver los que nos rodean que necesitan nuestra ayuda. La Palabra de Dios hoy es una llamada a la acción. ¿Estás listo para ser las manos de Cristo en nuestro mundo? Jesús te necesita. Va a trabajar para él el día de hoy? Vuelvo a la persona a tu lado y decir, voy a trabajar para Jesús hoy ... Amén?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Viva Mexico!

Well this past week we celebrated Mexican Independence Day on Thursday! We had a great meal with wine and tequila and pozole, a Mexican delicacy.  There were many firecrackers and other sounds of parties in the neighborhood.  The following day was quiet as I think everyone was sleeping off the day before! After Mass I walked to the gym only to find it was closed for the holiday, I guess you win some and lose some!

Starting on Friday afternoon we hosted a Vocation Retreat (jornada) for 5 men ranging in ages from 23-47.  Br. Nereo arranged for all of the guys to come from different parts of Mexico to have an opportunity to get to know the community better.  Some of the men I had met before, but others were new for me.  Each of the Brothers in the community played a role in the retreat, either giving presentations, or helping in the kitchen and tending to the needs of the young men.  They all went into the Center of Queretaro on Friday night to experience the festivities of the holiday, the next day was filled with prayer, presentations, recreation, quiet time, and a trip to a Lay community in Apaseo Grande where the American Brothers first worked back in the 1980s.  Sunday they all came to the 8:30am Mass and then continued the day with presentations and reflection.  I had 3 Masses on Sunday, so I was not able to join them for some of the other activities on Sunday morning. 

On my way to one of the Chapels, I was thinking about our early Brothers and the sacrifices they made to go to distant lands, taking boats, riding horses, taking trains all a great distance.  I was thinking about this because I had to walk up a big hill and then walk on roads that were not paved so well.  I felt a bit in solidarity with my ancestors in the Society of Mary because I was heading to Mass and I wasn't in a car, but instead I had to walk....and lo and behold this is what I stumbled upon on my way to the Chapel.  I knew I wasn't in St. Louis on my way to celebrate Mass at Our Lady of the Pillar Church!!!

As you can see the area is not well off, and the people are simple and very nice.  It was okay sharing the road with 2 cows on the way to Church! After Church I walked back down the hill and had a little time to myself before we gathered for the afternoon meal.

We all ate dinner together on Sunday and then they were off to the bus station to go to the many places from where they came.  It was a good weekend, and I was happy with the way the Brothers all pitched in and made the weekend a success.
The 5 Candidates

The Candidates with the Community
We are all wearing Bicentennial Shirts....the Logo was misplaced on the back!

I will be heading to St. Louis on Thursday to attend the Perpetual Vows of two of our Brothers, Br. Brandon and Br. Michael.  I am looking forward to seeing many people there, we all come out of the woodwork for professions and ordinations...its a great family reunion!

Enjoy the rest of the week and keep me in your prayers! 
Here is my homily from this past weekend,

Homily 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Good morning Church! Turn to the person next to you and say, I’m glad you are here! If you are glad to be here, say Amen! You don’t sound convinced! Are you glad to be here?  Yes, we should always be glad to hear God’s Word and to receive the Body of Christ each week, Amen? And the Word of God this week reminds us to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.  In the book of Genesis, God tells Adam that he would have dominion over all of the earth that he needed to be a caretaker, a good steward of the Garden of Eden.  Adam was not the owner, but the caretaker of the Garden.  God is the owner, Amen?  In the end, nothing really belongs to us, we are only stewards or caretakers of the things that we have.  In the same way, we are stewards of our life, but God is the owner.  God entrusts our life to us and we are to do the best we can to honor, protect, and preserve our lives. We only have one life on this earth, are you doing everything you can to be a good steward of your life? Are you concerned about your mind, heart, body and soul, or are you only concerned with material things and money? The Word of God continues to challenge us to think about higher things for our life.
The Prophet Amos warned the people to be concerned about more things than making money and finding not so moral ways to make money.  Is money more important than your reputation? Is money more important than honor? Is money more important than your family name? Yes, we all need money to live, but if making and having money consumes every waking thought, then we have not learned the ways of God correctly.  If money becomes more important than honoring God and the Sabbath, then we have forgotten who the owner is of our life, Amen? As the Gospel states very clearly today, “one cannot serve two masters”.
Saint Paul reminds Timothy that all people must pray for leaders in nations and that in every day and age, we should lift up our holy hands and give praise to our God.  Again, it is difficult to raise your hands in prayer when you have one hand looking through your wallet looking for more money! As Christians we are called to live a quiet life with dignity and devotion.  When we serve God and not money, this type of life is possible.  But if we serve money, then our lives are fast, never satisfied, always looking for more.  We will never have enough when we are always looking for more.  Is this the life that God wants for us?  I don’t think so! Being a good administrator of our lives, we need to keep our lives in balance and not live on the extremes of too much and too few.
The Gospel today from Saint Luke once again challenges us to live our lives fully and to honor all that has been given to us.  The administrator in the story squandered the property of the master.  He did not realize the importance of the gift that was in front of him.  When the master was going to fire him, the administrator used his intelligence to make things right with both the debtors and the master by reducing the amount owed to the master.  This was probably an interest placed on top of the debt so that the administrator could earn some money.  The administrator came to his senses and realized that money was not the most important thing in the world, but rather, a roof over his head, food on his table, a good reference so that he could get a job after the master would fire him.  These were the things that were going to sustain in for the rest of his life, not a percentage of the money owed to the master.  Sometimes we need to come to our senses about what is truly important in our lives, Amen?
I read this recently on social media which I think fits into being good administrators of the goods and the life that God gave each us.
10 Signs You Are Doing Well in Life
1.     You have a roof over your head
2.     You ate or will eat today
3.     You have a good heart
4.     You wish good for others
5.     You have clean water
6.     Someone cares about you
7.     You forgive others
8.     You have clean clothes
9.     You have faith
10.  You are breathing
Many people in our world cannot say yes to as many of the preceding statements that we can.  Sometimes it is the little things in life that matter most.  I can say yes to all of those signs in life.  This is the life that God entrusts to us.  It is not about cars, money, big houses, expensive clothes.  It is about the simple things, because the simple things make us appreciate all that we have and help us to work for others who have far less, Amen?
So, are you glad you are here?  Are you glad to be alive? Are you happy for the things you have in your life? Will you honor the life that God gave you? It is difficult to serve God and money.  Money will pass, but God is eternal.  As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, Amen?
                                Homilía Domingo 25 del tiempo ordinario

Buenos días Iglesia! Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir, estoy feliz de que estés aquí! Si Uds. están contento de estar aquí, decir Amén! No parece convencido! ¿Están contento de estar aquí? Sí, debemos estar siempre contento de escuchar la Palabra de Dios y para recibir el Cuerpo de Cristo cada semana, Amén? Y la Palabra de Dios esta semana nos recuerda que debemos ser buenos administradores de lo que Dios nos ha confiado. En el libro de Génesis, Dios le dice a Adán que iba a tener dominio sobre toda la tierra que tenía que ser un cuidador, un buen administrador del Jardín del Edén. Adán no era el dueño , pero el cuidador del jardín. Dios es el dueño, Amén? Al final, nada realmente nos pertenece, somos sólo administradores o encargados de las cosas que tenemos. De la misma manera, somos corresponsables de nuestra vida, pero Dios es el dueño. Dios confía a nuestra vida para nosotros y tenemos que hacer lo mejor que pueda para honrar, proteger y preservar nuestras vidas. Sólo tenemos una vida en esta tierra, Uds. están haciendo todo lo posible para ser un buen administrador de su vida? ¿Uds. Están preocupado por su mente, corazón, cuerpo y alma, o están sólo se ocupan de las cosas materiales y el dinero? La Palabra de Dios continúa desafiándonos a pensar en cosas más elevadas para nuestra vida.
El profeta Amós advirtió a la gente a preocuparse por cosas más que hacer dinero y no encontrar maneras de modo morales de hacer dinero. ¿Es el dinero más importante que su reputación? ¿Es el dinero más importante que el honor? ¿Es el dinero más importante que su apellido? Sí, todos necesitamos dinero para vivir, pero si hacer y tener dinero consume cada pensamiento de vigilia, entonces no hemos aprendido correctamente los caminos de Dios. Si el dinero es más importante que honrar a Dios y el domingo, a continuación, nos hemos olvidado de quién es el dueño de nuestra vida, Amén? A medida que el Evangelio dice muy claramente hoy en día, "no se puede servir a dos señores".
San Pablo recuerda a Timoteo que todas las personas deben orar por los líderes de las naciones y que en cada día y edad, que deben levantar nuestras manos santas y alabar a nuestro Dios. Una vez más, es difícil levantar las manos en la oración cuando se tiene un lado que mira a través de su cartera en busca de más dinero! Como cristianos, estamos llamados a vivir una vida tranquila con dignidad y devoción. Cuando servimos a Dios y no el dinero, este tipo de vida es posible. Pero si servimos dinero, entonces nuestras vidas son rápidos, nunca satisfecho, siempre en busca de más. Nunca tendremos suficiente cuando estamos siempre en busca de más. Es esta la vida que Dios quiere para nosotros? ¡No lo creo! Al ser un buen administrador de nuestras vidas, tenemos que mantener nuestra vida en equilibrio y no vive en los extremos de demasiado y demasiado pocos.
El Evangelio de hoy de San Lucas, una vez más nos desafía a vivir nuestras vidas plenamente y en honor a todo lo que ha sido dado. El administrador de la historia desperdició la propiedad del amo. No se dio cuenta de la importancia de la donación que estaba frente a él. Cuando el maestro le iba a disparar, el administrador utiliza su inteligencia para hacer las cosas bien tanto con los deudores y el maestro mediante la reducción de la cantidad adeudada al maestro. Esto fue probablemente un interés colocado en la parte superior de la deuda para que el administrador podría ganar algo de dinero. El administrador volvió en sí y se dio cuenta que el dinero no era lo más importante en el mundo, sino más bien, un techo sobre su cabeza, comida en su mesa, una buena referencia para que pudiera conseguir un trabajo después de que el maestro le dispararía . Estas eran las cosas que iban a sostener en el resto de su vida, no un porcentaje del dinero adeudado al maestro. A veces tenemos que volver a nuestros sentidos acerca de lo que es verdaderamente importante en nuestras vidas, Amén?
He leído esto recientemente en los medios sociales, que creo que encaja en ser buenos administradores de los bienes y la vida que Dios le dio a cada uno de nosotros.
10 señales de que está haciendo bien en la vida
1. Usted tiene un techo sobre su cabeza
2. Usted comió o va a comer hoy
3. Tiene un buen corazón
4. Usted desea bien a los demás
5. Usted tiene el agua limpia
6. Alguien se preocupa por ti
7. Perdonar a los hombres
8. Usted tiene ropa limpia
9. Usted tiene fe
10. Usted está respirando

Muchas personas en el mundo no pueden decir que sí a que muchas de las afirmaciones anteriores que podemos. A veces son las pequeñas cosas de la vida que son más importantes. Puedo decir que sí a todas esas señales en la vida. Esta es la vida que Dios nos confía. No se trata de coches, dinero, casas grandes, ropa cara. Se trata de las cosas simples, porque las cosas simples hacen a apreciar todo lo que tenemos y nos ayudan a trabajar para otros que tienen mucho menos, Amén?

Entonces, ¿Uds están contenta de que está aquí? ¿Están contento de estar vivo? ¿Están feliz por las cosas que tienen en su vida? Van a honrar la vida que Dios les dio? Es difícil para servir a Dios y al dinero. El dinero va a pasar, pero Dios es eterno. En cuanto a mí y mi casa serviremos al Señor, Amén?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Two Cities: Two Different Experiences

Well, my time in Orlando was very good.  It was great to see my dad and catch up with him.  I was able to do a few "business" things for him and we went out to lunch both days.  He is doing very well and really likes where he is living right now...Thank God! I also had a chance to visit with my brother Jim and his family.  We shared some laughs and ate some very good Chinese food.  I filled them in on my experience in Mexico...for some reason they did not want to speak Spanish to me?  I also had the opportunity to visit with a former co-worker of mine, Erin.  We met for an early dinner and spent almost 3 hours together sharing and catching up.  It was great to see her too...she lives pretty close to my dad so it made it easy to visit with her after I spent time with my dad.  My almost 3 days in Orlando was short, but great!

Then, I was off to San Antonio for Provincial Council meetings.  I arrived Friday evening.  One of our Brothers passed away and Friday afternoon was the funeral, so I literally got off the plane and then went into the social after the funeral Mass.  I was able to see many people and catch up with them too.  Our meetings started the next day at the University. Each day I woke up early to get my 5 miles of walking in before the meeting! Our meetings lasted only 2 days but they were action packed and we covered a lot of ground in those two days.  We went out to the River Walk for dinner on Saturday night to a place called Boudrous.  It was excellent and the River Walk was packed with people!

Here's a look at the campus
Front entrance to St. Mary's

Statue of St. Joseph

Marianist Cemetery on grounds of the University

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, it is considered the patronal feast of the Society of Mary.  We had Mass in the community in the morning and one of the Brothers in San Antonio gave a very good reflection about commitment to the Society of Mary.  The day was filled with many activities, walking, and grading for my on-line class which finished this past Sunday. 

This weekend we will have a Vocation Discernment Retreat in Mexico.  We expect between 3-5 young men to attend.  Please keep this in your prayers!  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods...until we meet again, let us remember to pray for one another!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day

Well folks, Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying themselves on the unofficial last day of summer! No picnic's, BBQs, or pool parties for me! We do not celebrate Labor Day here in I don't have to worry about going over my allotted points on WW!!! Speaking of WW, it was a rough summer with lot's of gains and losses with each of my trips, but the net result from Memorial Day until Labor Day was -10.3lbs.  I'm 16lbs from my goal weight!!! I've been laser focused for the past 10 days and hope that it will carry me into my next trip to the US tomorrow.

Life here in Mexico has been good and busy.  Br. Nero and I went to Puebla on Thursday afternoon to have a meeting with our accountant and then to meet with Br. Chui for a Sector Council meeting.  It's a 4 hour trip between Queretaro and Puebla with good traffic.  We did pretty well, but when we arrived there was lots of traffic and lots of rain, so it took us almost 45 minutes to make it to the community.  The next morning, after Morning Prayer, Mass, and Meditation, I went to the park for a 5 mile walk/run.  That helped me be prepared for the 2 hour meeting with the accountant.  I was grateful that Fr. Quentin (an American) was available during our meeting because he was able to provide me with some translation when the discussion was getting confusing....yes, numbers in Spanish! It was a productive meeting.  After eating our main meal at 2pm, the Sector Council met again to discuss some issues within the Sector.  It was a very good meeting where we were able to air some differences and try to problem solve some areas that currently need some leadership attention.  Nereo and I left early on Saturday morning.  We arrived in Queretaro at 12:30pm, took a taxi to the community and joined the community for La Comida at 2pm.  After dinner, I worked on my homily and then took a 5 mile walk.  For the past week, I've been binging on Downton Abbey on Netflix, so my wild Saturday night comprised of several episodes of Downton Abbey !

Sunday I woke up early, reviewed my homily a few times and reviewed the prayers and Gospel for the day.  I had 3 Masses on Sunday and by the end of the last one at 7pm I was pretty tired.  I had to wait around a bit because we were waiting for "pilgrims" to arrive at our Church.  Apparently, bike riding pilgrims are all the rage in Mexico!  They were making their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  They arrived and then the holy water flew everywhere! The Mexican people love blessings!  I had to bless the riders, their bikes, the image of La Virgen, the food they were about to eat...and then it started raining and my sprinkling holy water on them seemed superfluous!

All in all, it was a good weekend, filled with many activities.  I head to Orlando tomorrow to visit my dad for a few days before my Provincial Council meetings in San Antonio on Saturday morning.  I'm looking forward to seeing my dad, I have not seen him since April and I am very frustrated with his phone right now.  My older brother keeps saying that the issue is not the phone, its Operator Error...I think he may be right, but what do you expect at 88 years old! I guess you just gotta love him!

Enjoy the week! Keep me in your prayers....
Here's my homily from this past Sunday


Good Morning Church! Are you ready to be a disciple? Turn to the person next to you and say, “I want to follow Jesus.” Yes, if we showed up to Church today, we all want to follow Jesus, but it is one thing to say I want to follow him, it is another thing to understand all that it means to follow him.  If we want to follow Jesus, then we need to be aware of a few things.  The Word of God today gives us three important things to think about if we want to follow Jesus.  In the Book of Wisdom, the author challenges us to seek the wisdom of God in our lives.  In the letter of Paul to Philemon, Paul invites Philemon to have a change of heart and see Onesimus not as a slave, but as a brother in the Lord, and in the Gospel, Jesus invites the crowd to understand that there is a cost to being a disciple, and that cost demands preparation and sacrifice.

Who can know the mind of God? That is a great question? We seek the wisdom of God in our daily lives in order to live our lives in a loving and understanding way, Amen? Now, I do not know the mind of God, but I do know what Scripture tells us about God, and that is, that God’s ways are not our ways.  God does not think the same way we think.  God is much more open than we are! God is more forgiving, compassionate, understanding, and loving than I am! So, when I think about the wisdom of God, I often think about what my response would be and then I magnify it one hundred percent, because my vision is limited and God’s vision is not, Amen? So, when you have a situation in your life and you are trying to make a decision, think about if that decision is limiting yourself or others, and then think about magnifying and opening up your decision, and that is probably where the wisdom of God will be.  The wisdom of God opens us up and does not close us in on ourselves.  Who can know the mind of God?  No one really, but we have some hints from the Word of God as to what we need to do in our lives.

When we are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, woman or man.  All are equal in the name of the Lord.  Paul wrote to Philemon to remind him of the new reality that comes to us who are united in the Lord.  Onesimus was a runaway slave.  Philemon, by the law at the time, had the right to punish his runaway slave.  Paul reminds Philemon that in Christ Jesus, believers are called to a higher standard than the civil law demands.  As a newly baptized person, Onesimus was equal to his former master and deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.  Paul begged Philemon to have a change of heart with regards to Onisimus.  This is the same change of heart that all of us must have when we encounter a brother or sister in the Lord.  All are equal through the waters of baptism.  Our relationship changes with one another because of baptism.  Maybe there is someone in your life that the Lord is asking you to have a change of heart? Another way of saying this same thing is, is there someone in your life that if you saw them through the eyes of faith, you would see them differently? A husband, a wife, a son or daughter, a friend, a coworker, a person in Church.  If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, then you must have a change of heart in those relationships were you do not see the other person as an equal.  Baptism demands equality!

Jesus told the crowd that if they wanted to be a disciple, then they might even face not being accepted by family members.  That was difficult to hear in a culture that was very family oriented.  I am sure that is difficult to hear in this culture too! Jesus invited the crowd to a different relationship with one another.  In making changes in their lives, sometimes those changes might be against the ways of a family or the wishes of a mother or father.  The call to follow Jesus must be stronger than the wishes of the family.  Jesus did not want to paint an easy picture for those who wanted to follow him.  It was not going to be easy.  Following Jesus demanded sacrifices, even sacrifices to the family. Jesus also reminded the crowd that if they were going to follow him, they needed to be prepared to follow him.  They needed to be certain of the cost and so he used the image of building a tower without the full amount of money, or going into battle before weighing the options.  If we are going to follow Jesus, it is not just because everyone else is following him.  It takes a personal sacrifice and an informed decision to want to follow him, knowing that there are consequences for taking up our cross and following him.  I am sure that all of us in this Chapel made sacrifices in our lives to follow Jesus.  The road has not always been fun, but the road has been worth it, Amen?

So, do you still want to be a disciple of Jesus? Say, Amen! The Word of God challenges us to seek wisdom, change our hearts and count the cost of following Jesus.  Being a disciple is a demanding life, but the rewards are eternal, Amen?

Buenos días Iglesia! ¿Estás listo para ser un discípulo? Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir: "Quiero seguir a Jesús." Sí, si llegamos a la Iglesia de hoy, todos queremos seguir a Jesús, pero es una cosa que decir que quiero seguirlo, es otra cosa a entender todo lo que significa para seguirlo. Si queremos seguir a Jesús, entonces tenemos que tener en cuenta algunas cosas. La Palabra de Dios hoy nos da tres cosas importantes en que pensar si queremos seguir a Jesús. En el libro de la Sabiduría, el autor nos desafía a buscar la sabiduría de Dios en nuestras vidas. En la carta de Pablo a Filemón, Pablo invita a Filemón a tener un cambio de corazón y ver Onésimo no como esclavo, sino como un hermano en el Señor, y en el Evangelio, Jesús invita a la gente a entender que hay un costo de ser un discípulo, y que el costo exige preparación y sacrificio.

Quién puede conocer la mente de Dios? ¿Esa es una buena pregunta? Buscamos la sabiduría de Dios en nuestra vida diaria con el fin de vivir nuestras vidas de una manera amorosa y comprensión, Amén? Ahora, no sé la mente de Dios, pero sí sé lo que la Escritura nos dice acerca de Dios, y eso es, que los caminos de Dios no son nuestros caminos. Dios no piensa de la misma manera en que pensamos. Dios es mucho más abierta de lo que somos! Dios es más tolerante, compasivo, la comprensión, y amante de lo que soy! Por lo tanto, cuando pienso en la sabiduría de Dios, a menudo pienso en lo que sería mi respuesta y luego magnifico que el cien por cien, porque mi visión es limitada y la visión de Dios no es, Amén? Por lo tanto, cuando se tiene una situación en su vida y que está tratando de tomar una decisión, pensar si esa decisión está limitando a sí mismo a los demás, y luego pensar en aumento y la apertura de su decisión, y eso es probablemente donde la sabiduría de Dios estarán. La sabiduría de Dios nos abre y no nos encerrarnos en nosotros mismos. ¿Quién puede conocer la mente de Dios? En realidad, nadie, pero tenemos algunas pistas de la Palabra de Dios en cuanto a lo que tenemos que hacer en nuestras vidas.

Cuando somos bautizados en el nombre del Señor Jesucristo, no hay Judío ni griego, esclavo o libre, hombre o mujer. Todos son iguales en el nombre del Señor. Pablo escribió a Filemón para recordarle la nueva realidad que viene a nosotros que están unidos en el Señor. Onésimo era un esclavo fugitivo. Filemón, por la ley en el momento, tenía el derecho de castigar a su esclavo fugitivo. Pablo recuerda a Filemón que en Cristo Jesús, los creyentes están llamados a un nivel más alto que las exigencias de la ley civil. Como recién bautizado, Onésimo era igual a su antiguo maestro y merecía ser tratado con dignidad y respeto. Pablo rogó a Filemón a tener un cambio de corazón con respecto a Onésimo. Este es el mismo cambio de corazón que todos debemos tener cuando nos encontramos con un hermano o hermana en el Señor. Todos son iguales a través de las aguas del bautismo. Nuestra relación cambia entre sí a causa de bautismo. Tal vez hay alguien en su vida que el Señor le está pidiendo que tener un cambio de corazón? Otra forma de decir esto es lo mismo, ¿hay alguien en su vida que si usted los vio a través de los ojos de la fe, que se vería de forma diferente? Un marido, una esposa, un hijo o una hija, un amigo, un compañero de trabajo, una persona en la Iglesia. Si quieres ser un discípulo de Jesús, entonces usted debe tener un cambio de corazón en esas relaciones eran no ve al otro como a un igual. El bautismo exige igualdad!

Jesús dijo a la multitud que si querían ser discípulo, entonces puede ser que incluso se enfrentan a no ser aceptado por los miembros de la familia. Eso fue difícil de escuchar en una cultura que fue muy adecuado para familias. Estoy seguro de que es difícil de apreciar en esta cultura también! Jesús invitó a la multitud a una relación diferente entre sí. Al hacer cambios en sus vidas, a veces esos cambios podrían estar en contra de las formas de una familia o los deseos de una madre o padre. La llamada a seguir a Jesús debe ser más fuerte que los deseos de la familia. Jesús no quería pintar un cuadro fácil para los que querían seguirlo. No iba a ser fácil. El seguimiento de Jesús exigía sacrificios, incluso sacrificios a la familia. Jesús también recordó a la multitud que si iban a seguirlo, tenían que estar preparados para seguirlo. Tenían que estar seguro del costo y por lo que utilizó la imagen de la construcción de una torre sin la cantidad total de dinero, o ir a la batalla antes de pesar las opciones. Si vamos a seguir a Jesús, no es sólo porque todo el mundo lo está siguiendo. Se necesita un sacrificio personal y una decisión informada para querer seguirlo, sabiendo que hay consecuencias por tomar nuestra cruz y seguirlo. Estoy seguro de que todos nosotros en esta capilla hacían sacrificios en nuestras vidas para seguir a Jesús. El camino no siempre ha sido muy divertido, pero el camino ha valido la pena, Amén?

Así que, ¿todavía quiere ser un discípulo de Jesús? Decir, Amén! La Palabra de Dios nos desafía a buscar la sabiduría, cambiar nuestro corazón y contar el costo de seguir a Jesús. Ser discípulo es una vida exigente, pero la recompensa eterna, Amén?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Back to the Routine

21 Days of Back to School Basics - Back into the Routine!, 21 Day Fix, Julie Little

Well Good People, I am back to posting weekly (I hope)!
Last week we met several times during the week to discuss some changes in our community timetable and how we will minister in the two Chapels for which we have responsibility.  I think the changes in our routine will be good for the community and good for each one of us personally because the changes demand that we are attentive to one another and active in our decision making. 

Some changes that are now part of our daily routine:
1. Each brother has the responsibility to give a reflection at daily Mass.  This is a Win-Win for me because it helps the individual Brother focus more deliberately on the Word of God and it gives me a break from preaching every day.  I am now the only priest in the house, so I do preside each morning at the Eucharist.  I still need to practice the Gospel and practice the prayers each day, but it is a relief not to have to have a homily prepared.  If it were in English, I could do it...but in Spanish, es dificil!
2. Each brother cooks the morning breakfast and other are assigned to dishes.  This is good because last year this task was a bit uneven...there were always some Brothers who either arrived later for breakfast and so therefore never cooked, and others who always had a meeting right after breakfast so they conveniently got out of dishes.  Let me assure you....I was neither of these!
3. We have a cook now for our main meal at 2pm.  Yolanda will cook for us M-F.  She is an excellent cook and a wonderful person.  This has helped me on WW because she provides pretty healthy meals which include salad and vegetables.  There are still some fried options, but you can't have everything!
4. We have weekly community meetings scheduled in our calendars.  Last year, the meetings were few and far between.  This will definitely help us in our living together. 

I think these changes will definitely change our community for the better!

We had a meeting on Saturday with our former teacher, Rita Fermini, who will lead us through a mini internship in some schools in Mexico.  During the month of October, the Brothers will go to different sites throughout Mexico to complete a mini internship in a school.  They will arrive on Sunday, and depart on Friday.  This will be a good way of contextualing the material that they learned during our course with Rita.  We are all excited to see the results of our learning.

On Sunday, I presided at two Masses.  It was good to be back into the swing of things.  I'm still struggling with Spanish, but I think I'm harder on myself than the people are on me!  We meet again this afternoon to continue our meetings.  Br. Nereo and I will go to Puebla on Thursday afternoon for a meeting of the Sector Council and to meet with our accountant to review some of our financial questions.  It will be good to be back in Puebla and to spend some time with the Brothers in that community. 

All for now.  Here is my homily from this past Sunday!

Homily August 28, 2016
Morning Church! Welcome to the Feast, welcome to the banquet! Each and every Sunday we are invited to eat at the Supper of the Lord.  Today, the Gospel invites us to look at our meals in a different way, and perhaps we should look at how we celebrate our time around the Altar in a similar way.
Now all of us here have had the experience of eating a meal with others, Amen? When we were younger our mom and dad explained to us the proper manners at the table, what to talk about and what not to talk about at the dinner table.  We learned that on special occasions we invited others to our table, and sometimes we had to give up our place at the table for an invited guest.  Usually mom told us to let the guests take their food first and then we could follow.  We were usually reminded not to take too much the first time and then we may go back for seconds once everyone has eaten their fill.  This was something my mom always told my brothers and myself.  With four boys in the family, we certainly could eat a lot and forget that there were others who also had to eat!  During these meals we usually all ate together and only left the table at the end of the meal when everyone was finished. With formal dinners we usually took our time and ate slowly and spent the time talking and listening to one another.  At the table, we learned to share, to look out for one another, to be flexible, to sacrifice for others and to respect our elders.  Many things were learned sitting at the dinner table.
Jesus uses the same imagery of a feast, a banquet, a special meal in order to teach those around him the importance of sharing and humility.  Jesus used many simple ideas in order to teach a lesson.  Many of those who heard the parable had an experience of eating at table with others, of perhaps being invited to a formal dinner and maybe even having the experience of not being invited to a celebration. 
Jesus reminded the people to not take a place of honor, but rather to be invited to that place.  Jesus echoes the word of the Book of Sirach today who stated, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.  Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” Jesus reminded the Pharisees that, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” So it seems that humility is important to the Christian life, Amen?
So the parable today teaches us about humility and finding our proper place before God and others, but it also teaches us many other things both personally and as a Church.  The parable tells us about the invited guests.  As young people we learn how to invite others to share in our meals by the example of our mothers and fathers.  We learn that it is important to open up our homes and our table to others, sometimes other family members but also, sometimes strangers and those who have no one else.  We learn to invite because we have been invited in our own lives.  We also need to think about this in terms of the Church.  Do we seek out others and invite them to come to feast at the Supper of the Lord?  Do we open up our space so that others may feel welcomed?  Are we okay if someone sits in “our spot”, as if we had assigned seating in the Church? Are we a welcoming community? The banquet metaphor is important for us who gather around the Table of the Lord each and every week.
We also learn how to be a host by our mom and dad.  Do we seek out others and make our guests feel comfortable?  Are we willing to be of service to others so that they can enjoy themselves in our presence? When we are humble, then there is no one too good or not good enough to share in the Banquet of the Lord.  When you are the host, you are attentive to the needs of your guests over your own needs.  Is the Church a host for the poor, the marginalized, the outcast and those uninvited in our society? That is the role of the Church that is our role as believers, to let everyone know that all are welcome to dine at the Supper of the Lord, Amen?
The imagery of a banquet, a meal, was common in the time of Jesus and it is common in our day and age.  Today the Word of God reminds us to be humble, to invite others, and to let others feel welcomed when we come to our Banquet each and every Sunday.  We learned all of these things as children….we need to remember them as adults if we are to enter the Kingdom of God, Amen?
Buenos días Iglesia! Bienvenido a la fiesta, beinvenido al banquete! Todos y cada domingo se nos invita a comer en la Cena del Señor. Hoy, el Evangelio nos invita a mirar a nuestras comidas de una manera diferente, y quizás deberíamos mirar cómo celebramos nuestro tiempo en el altar de una manera similar.
Ahora todos nosotros hemos tenido la experiencia de comer una comida con otros, Amén? Cuando éramos más jóvenes de nuestra mamá y papá nos explicaron los buenos modales en la mesa, de qué hablar y qué no hablan en la mesa de la cena. Hemos aprendido que en ocasiones especiales se invitó a otros a nuestra mesa, ya veces tuvimos que renunciar a nuestro lugar en la mesa para un invitado. Por lo general, la madre nos dijo que dejar que los huéspedes tomar su comida primero y luego nos podrían seguir. por lo general se nos recordó que no debe tomar demasiado la primera vez y luego podemos volver por unos segundos una vez que todo el mundo ha comido hasta saciarse. Esto era algo que mi madre siempre le dijo a mis hermanos y yo. Con cuatro niños en la familia, que sin duda podría comer mucho y olvidar que había otros que también tenían que comer! Durante estas comidas que por lo general todos comimos juntos y sólo dejamos la tabla al final de la comida cuando todo el mundo estaba acabado. Con cenas formales por lo general tomamos nuestro tiempo y comimos lentamente y pasamos el tiempo hablando y escuchando el uno al otro. En la mesa, hemos aprendido a compartir, a tener en cuenta unos a los otros, ser flexible, a sacrificarse por los demás y respetar a nuestros mayores. Hay muchas cosas que se aprendieron sentados en la mesa de la cena.
Jesús usa la misma imagen de una fiesta, un banquete, una comida especial con el fin de enseñar a los que le rodean la importancia de compartir y humildad. Jesús usó muchas ideas simples con el fin de dar una lección. Muchos de los que habían oído la parábola tenía una experiencia de comer en la mesa con los demás, de tal vez ser invitado a una cena formal y tal vez ni siquiera tener la experiencia de no ser invitado a una celebración
Jesús le recordó a la gente a no tener un lugar de honor, sino que se invitará a ese lugar. Jesús se hace eco de la palabra del libro del Eclesiástico hoy en día que declaró: "Mi hijo, en tus asuntos procede con humildad, y te amaran más que al hombre dadivoso. Hazte tanto mas pequeño cuanto más grande seas y hallaras gracia ante el Señor.”  Jesús le recordó a los fariseos " porque el que se engrandece a sí mismo, será humillado, pero el que se humilla será engrandece.”  Por lo tanto, parece que la humildad es importante para la vida cristiana, Amén?
Así la parábola de hoy nos enseña acerca de la humildad y encontrar nuestro propio lugar ante Dios y los demás, sino que también nos enseña muchas otras cosas en lo personal y como Iglesia. La parábola nos habla de los invitados. A medida que los jóvenes se aprende cómo invitar a otros a compartir nuestras comidas por el ejemplo de nuestros padres y madres. Aprendemos que es importante abrir nuestros hogares y nuestra mesa a los demás, a veces otros miembros de la familia, sino también, a veces extraños y los que tienen a nadie más. Aprendemos a invitar porque hemos sido invitados en nuestra propia vida. También tenemos que pensar en esto en términos de la Iglesia. ¿Buscamos a cabo otros e invitarles a que vengan a la fiesta en la Cena del Señor? Hacer abrimos nuestro espacio para que otros puedan sentir como en casa? ¿Estamos bien si alguien se sienta en "nuestro lugar", como si hubiéramos asignado asientos en la Iglesia? ¿Somos una comunidad de acogida? La metáfora de banquetes es importante para nosotros que se reúnen alrededor de la mesa del Señor cada semana.
También aprendemos cómo ser un anfitrión de nuestra mamá y papá. ¿Buscamos a cabo los demás y hacer que nuestros huéspedes se sientan cómodos? ¿Estamos dispuestos a ser de servicio a los demás para que puedan disfrutar en nuestra presencia? Cuando somos humildes, entonces no hay nadie demasiado bueno o no lo suficientemente bueno para compartir en el banquete del Señor. Cuando usted es el anfitrión, que está atento a las necesidades de sus clientes más de sus propias necesidades. ¿Es la Iglesia una gran cantidad de los pobres, los marginados, los marginados y los que no invitado en nuestra sociedad? Ese es el papel de la Iglesia que es nuestro papel como creyentes, para que todos sepan que todos son bienvenidos a cenar en la Cena del Señor, Amén?
Las imágenes de un banquete, una comida, era común en la época de Jesús y es común en nuestra época. Hoy en día la Palabra de Dios nos recuerda que debemos ser humildes, para invitar a los demás, y dejar que los demás se sientan bienvenidos cuando llegamos a nuestro banquete de cada uno y todos los domingos. Hemos aprendido todas estas cosas como los niños... .No necesitan recordar como adultos si vamos a entrar en el Reino de Dios, Amén?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Year in Mexico

Well Good Afternoon Good People!  I know I have been very remiss over the Summer with my postings but I've been traveling and very busy during the months of July and August.  I am finally back in Mexico and ready to get back into a normal routine.  I now mark my one year anniversary in Mexico.  So many things have happened during this year that it is hard to recount all of the graces received.  What I can tell you is that one year later my Spanish is better than when I arrived (I still struggle here), I feel part of the local community, I traveled a great deal in this past year, and I lost some weight.  All good things!

So here's a recap of my time away during the Summer:

- Visited LA for a few days
- Spent some time in San Francisco, Pacifica, Sacramento, and Menlo Park, California
It was great to see and visit with so many people.  I had lunch with my advisor for my doctoral studies, and also had lunch with my former personal trainer in San Francisco.  I spent a few days with my aunts, Marge and Gayle and as always we had a great time together.  I also spent the weekend with my friends Marisa and Gene in Pacifica where we had a great dinner party one night and then Mass on their patio the next morning with parishioner's from St. Peter Church where I ministered while I was in doctoral studies.  After all that fun, I went down to Menlo Park to attend a conference with the Brothers.  It was a great experience for all of us!
Guess who I am?

- I spent some time in NY before going to Cape May.  I caught up with a good buddy of mine, Stephen, one day and walked in Central Park the other days trying to work off all the good food and adult beverages!  I also visited St. Patrick's Cathedral to view the renovations.  It was beautiful and a peaceful refuge in the midst of the "City that Never Sleeps"
 Central Park
 St. Patrick's Cathedral
Columbus Circle

- My friends Ann and Chris picked me up in New York and drove me down to Cape May and we all worked on the Family Retreat Program.  I've been working with them off and on for the past 17 years...needless to say, we know each other very well!  We had a great time and as always I felt connected to so many great people.  I was able to walk the beach in the morning to prepare for the day and just relax, pray, and have some fun with a great group of people.
Me, Annie, Chris, Sue, Billy

Mary's House
View of the Lighthouse from the Bay

After my time in Cape May, I spent another day in Manhattan.  It was so hot in the city! My uncle Mike picked me up and we headed to Brooklyn where I stayed at Mike and Cathy's house for 2 days.  I did the same thing last year, so now I guess it's part of my Tradition with my trip to Cape May.  It was very easy being with them and we enjoyed a few drinks and I even learned how to play Kings in the Corner...I learned, I wasn't very good at it..YET!

After all this fun I found myself in St. Louis for our Provincial Council meetings.  We had our meetings out at our Retreat Center in Eureka, MO.  The meetings were good but at times pretty stressful with some decisions we needed to make.  I was able to walk 5 miles each morning and spent that time thinking, praying and reflecting upon my life and my responsibilities.  I was glad to have the time. 

I returned to Mexico on Sunday night.  This week has been filled with meetings and more meetings! We are planning for our year together and there are many things we need to discuss and change for the coming year.  I'm glad to be back so that I can be faithful to my weight loss.  I actually  do better when I am in Mexico...go figure! I'm back at the gym and back to running again on the treadmill.  I am hoping to make some headway with my weight loss. I'm down 42 lbs and need to lose another 20.  I will get there in due time.  I have not given myself a goal date because that usually sabotages my efforts! So, here's to seeing LESS of me! 
Working hard this morning

So, now you are all caught up...there are always more details to share, but I just wanted to get something up for all of you to know that I am alive and well and ready for a new ministerial year! Only a few more days until Labor Day and the "official" end of the Summer...Make the most of it!