Posted by: frroberts | September 23, 2016

Why we don’t feel like God loves us

The nearness of God’s of love for us in the one the central elements of the proclamation of the Christian message.   My own experience is that proclaiming this message is exceedingly difficult.

Why?

Our identity as beloved sons and daughters of our loving Father in Jesus Christ is a wonderful reality, but it can seem a pretty impractical to take as the foundation of our lives.  When was the last time the love of God helped us in a job interview?  Or when was the last time that God’s love helped our children’s college fund to grow?

While positive answers to questions like these are not impossible, they take a deep faith to see with much clarity.

We have to learn how to put on masks and play certain roles in order to live in the world.  For example, a certain level of natural prudence is necessary for success in business.  Such prudence is generally acquired through human effort, not through direct divine infusion.  The life of faith is generally helpful in aiding the acquisition of such human virtues, but God is usually content to let nature take its course.  We can begin to focus on the mask and not what underlies it, which is God’s love.

The problem comes when we get so accustomed to the roles we play that we think they are our primary identity.  For myself, being a priest is an important role that I play, but when I start to understand my identity as being primarily “priest” rather than “child of God,” my spiritual condition is not very good.  When I live out of my identity as a child of God, I am a much better priest because I realize that my priesthood is not the be all and end all of my happiness; God’s love for me is.  Married persons have a special challenge in this respect.  They not only have to balance their roles in their career, marriage and as parents, which is hard enough, they also have to keep their fundamental focus on their identity as children of God at the same time.

Regular prayer is the means by which we remain centered in our identity as beloved children of God.  If we don’t feel like God loves us, the cause is generally that we are not connected with God as we are called to be in prayer.

Posted by: frroberts | September 21, 2016

Recreation of a 15th Century Mass

Posted by: frroberts | September 19, 2016

The Scandal of Elijah

“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” 1 Kings 18:40

During weekday Masses in Ordinary Time, there is a continuous reading of the Elijah cycle in 1 Kings.    For reasons of pastoral sensitivity, the editors of the Lectionary omit 1 Kings 18:40 (cited above).  The idea that a man of God, a prophet, would slaughter adherents of another religion is deeply offensive to our post-modern sensibilities.

Context is crucial.  Only years after the death of Solomon in 922 B.C., the northern tribes of Israel broke with the southern tribes.  The kingdom of the south, with its capital and Temple in Jerusalem, was called Judah.  The northern kingdom, with a new capital in Samaria, was called Israel.  The kings of Israel did not like the fact that many of their subjects continued to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem and erected places of worship in the northern cities of Bethel and Dan containing a molten image of a large golden calf in order to give their subjects alternative places of worship.

The worship of Ba’al was introduced to the Kingdom of Israel less than 50 years later when the crown-prince of Israel, Ahab, married the princess of Phoenicia and priestess of Ba’al, Jezebel.  Ba’al was the chief god of the Canaanites, the grandson of their sky god El and consort of the godess Asherah.  According to the Old Testament, worship of Ba’al involved cultic prostitution and child sacrifice.  Extrabiblical sources indicate that this was not merely religious propaganda.  The Phoenician colony of Carthage was notorious in the ancient world for its practice of human sacrifice, which was only put to an end when the Romans wiped out the city at the end of the Third Punic War (149-146 B.C.).

The marriage alliance between Phoenicia and Israel brought prosperity and peace.  It also brought the worship of Ba’al into Israelite religion.  Rather than acknowledging the worship of Ba’al and the Lord as different religions, there was a great deal of royal pressure to simply merge the two religions into one, which meant that child sacrifice and cultic prostitution would become part of Israelite monotheism.  Elijah’s prophetic career was dedicated to resisting this pressure toward syncretism.

The first thing that Elijah did in his campaign against Ba’al was to call down a three-year plus drought on the Kingdom of Israel.  If Ba’al were really the grandson of the sky god, one would think that he would have power to ensure that rain would fall in the land that was beginning to worship him.  Elijah’s sign aimed at discrediting Ba’al.  The second action of Elijah came in his challenge to the priests of Ba’al.  Which god, the Lord or Ba’al, had the power to send miraculous fire down on the altar?   After Elijah’s prayers brought down the fire and the prayers of the priests of Ba’al did not, Elijah took advantage of the popular sentiment to incite the execution of his adversaries.

Still disgusted?

Consider for a moment how we would react if someone were attempting to impose a religion on us that involved forcibly re-enslaving African-Americans, abrogating freedom of religion and a military alliance with a state dominated by al-Qaeda.  We can only imagine that we would not take the time with the preliminaries that Elijah did and rise up in revolt.  In the ancient world, where religion and politics were intertwined, as they still are in much of the world today, something like this was going on in the Kingdom of Israel.   The government had just contracted an alliance, sealed by marriage, with a hated enemy.  This alliance brought the imposition of a new hybrid religion that involved the forced re-introduction of social practices, like cultic prostitution and child sacrifice, that had been rejected long ago.   The priests of Ba’al were the vanguard of this imposed cultural revolution.  In the face of a state-enforced attempt to stamp out Israelite religion and culture, Elijah resorted to violence.

I am not arguing that we have to take what Elijah did then as model for us here and now.  I am arguing that when placed in their proper context, his actions do not seem as repulsive as they do when considered out of context.

When many of us read Old Testament stories like Elijah slaughtering the priests of Ba’al, there is a great temptation for us to say that we do not accept the angry, Old Testament god, who threatened his followers with hellfire and brimstone, but we instead choose the God of love and compassion revealed by Jesus in the New Testament.

This position, while superficially attractive, misses the truth by half.  Firstly, it is factually incorrect.  Mentions of the concept of personal immorality with heaven and hell as distinct eternal destinations are very few if not entirely absent in the Old Testament.   With reference to hell, it would be closer to the truth to say that the words of Jesus in the New Testament introduce the concept into our faith, although would not be entirely true.

Secondly, like most errors, the rejection of the Old Testament as authentic divine revelation mixes a truth with a falsehood.  Christians believe that Old Testament, while being true divine revelation, is not the definitive divine self-revelation.  We can understand this distinction better if we take human self-revelation as our baseline.

When we make a new acquaintances and decide that they are worth getting to know better, we start sharing things about ourselves with them.  If we value honesty, we will never attempt to deceive them, but we will not start out our friendship by sharing our most deeply-guarded intimacies.  In trying to let others get to know us, we are truthful, but we do not always tell the whole truth.  Facts about persons require interpretation and contextualization.  Sharing events of our past truthfully but without an interpretive context can easily lead to the other drawing false conclusions.  Sometimes we have to tolerate misconceptions or even subjective errors about our message.

For this reason, we start by revealing things about ourself to others (which corresponds to the Old Testament) then progress to revealing ourselves to others (corresponding to the New Testament).  On a factual level, it could appear that there are some contradictions between the first and the second, but these divergences seem to be only contradictions when we place both categories of knowledge on the same level.  When both forms of revelation are appropriately distinguished, the appearance of opposition dissovles.

In the Old Testament God shares things about Himself, but does not reveal Himself.  Can we blame Him? Would it have made any sense for Him to reveal  Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit to a people who had not yet learned that He is One God?  Would it  have made any sense for Him to reveal Himself as compassionate, forgiving Love to a people who had not yet learned to limit themselves to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?  First things have to come first.  It would seem in His process of education of Israel, He judged that inculcating strict monotheism took priority over building a multi-credal civil society in which tolerance is of paramount importance.

Now that I think about it, I am not certain that tolerance and diversity as they are presented today easily find a place even in the teaching of Jesus.  We would do well to actually read the New Testament rather than talk about what we think it says.

If we did, we would find that for all but the most holy among us it would boil us alive, but in ways that would surprise us.  At least that has been and continues to be my own experience.

 

Posted by: frroberts | September 19, 2016

Crumbling Masonry At Saint Mary, Union City

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For some years, the masonry at the front entrance of Saint Mary Church in Union City has been crumbling.  Superficial repairs have done little but kick the can down the road.  We have reached the end of the road.  These repairs will likely cost at around $5,000.  Take a look (note that the datestamp is incorrect, I took the photos today, August 12, 2016):

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Posted by: frroberts | September 16, 2016

Being American and Being Catholic

Several years ago, I read John McGreevy’s Catholicism and American Freedom.  I must confess that when I have sat down with this book in the evening I found it difficult to put down because it has been so enjoyable.  The book traces the interesting process of Catholic integration into the mainstream of American culture.  This topic has been of special interest to me ever since I wrote my senior thesis, which I am in the process of revising, about how the rhetoric of the US Catholic hierarchy changed toward the Papacy during World War II.

McGreevy begins his narrative in 1859, with the story of Thomas Wahl.  Thomas Wahl was a ten year-old Catholic boy of Irish descent who, during the days of school prayer, was beaten bloody by his Protestant assistant principal in the Boston Public Schools for refusing to recite the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, which included a denunciation of “graven images” popularly applied to Catholic religious art  (Protestants take the Ten Commandments from Exodus, Catholics from Deuteronomy).  From there he traces the tension between two different trends in the Church in the United States.  One trend focused on the otherness of Catholics, another sought to affirm American culture and adapted Catholicism to it whenever possible.

Rather than seek to conform to the dominantly Protestant culture, many Catholics in the 19th and 20th centuries embraced their differences from their countrymen.  At its best, this sense of otherness provided the energy that built an impressive system of Catholic schools, hospitals and charities that served Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  It also provided a more communitarian vision of the common good in the political discourse in a radically individualistic country.  At its worst, this sense of Catholic otherness led some prominent Catholics to show a preference for right-wing authoritarian models of government abroad and give uncritical support to American Cold War anti-communism under the rationale that these positions accorded with Papal social teaching.

The more accommodationist approach sought to create points of contact between Catholic life and democratic values.   Some of these attempts, such as allowing lay people to choose their priests and run parish finances, strike one as incompatible with hierarchical structure of the Church. Others, like promoting an American understanding of freedom of religion within Catholic social teaching, played an important role in shaping the teaching of Vatican II.   McGreevy identifies John Courtney Murray and Jacques Maritain as two prominent exponents of the accommodationist position.

By the late 1960s this tension was practically dissolved, largely on account the pressure that the organized anti-Catholicism of the Protestant elites put on Catholics by questioned whether Catholics could ever integrate themselves into “American culture.”  Just as Catholics were beginning to worship in the same tongue as their countrymen, most them rejected Pope Paul VI’s reaffirmation of traditional Catholic teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception and sterilization.   From there, there was little to stop the wholesale liquidation of the Catholic ghetto.  We should not be surprised that Catholic institutions continue to dwindle.

While I do not agree with all of McGreevy’s conclusions, the book is well-written and generally fair.  I would have liked to have seen McGreevy give more attention to two points.  Firstly, his narrative begins rather late in American History.  Had he addressed the Colonial and Revolutionary periods, he would have had to contextualize the long history of anti-Catholicism in the United States that antedated waves of Irish immigration.  For example, the only state that did not have anti-Catholic laws at the time of the American revolution was Pennsylvania.  Despite having its beginnings as a Catholic colony that had freedom of religion, Maryland had such restrictive anti-Catholic laws that Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, had to go to France in order to receive a Catholic education.  One of the four so-called “Intolerable Acts” that led to the American Revolution was the Catholic Toleration Act, which granted freedom of religion to Catholics in the newly conquered, formerly French, colony of Quebec.  Many, while not all, of the Founding Fathers were rabidly anti-Catholic.  What developments, if any, came between the Revolutionary War and the explosion of Irish immigration in the middle of the nineteenth century?

Secondly, Pope Leo XIII’s denunciation of the Americanist heresy is not treated at all.  In 1899 the Pope wrote a letter the James Cardinal Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore and the United States’ most senior churchman, calling into question perceived trends in Catholicism in the United States that threatened the integrity of the Catholic faith.  The genesis of the controversy came from a popular biography of the American priest and founder of the Paulist Order, Thomas Hecker.  There is a real question as to how widely the positions described in the letter were current among American Catholics.

There were four major trends outlined by Leo XIII.  The first had to do with the articulation of doctrine. According to the Americanist thesis, historically Catholic doctrines were to be evaluated according to the spirit of the age.  Those that suited the spirit of the age were to be embraced, those that ran contrary to it were to be neglected.  The second concerned Papal Infallibility, only defined dogmatically some two decades earlier.  Since there was a definition of Papal Infallibility, Catholics were free to believe whatever they liked on any subject that was not so defined.  Thus Papal Infallibility restricted the teaching authority of the Church instead of expanding it.  This minimalist understanding of freedom of conscience tended to separate conscience from the duty to seek truth.  The third problematic strain in the American Church that Leo identified was the exaltation of the active life above the contemplative life.  The Catholic faith holds that contemplative religious live a higher calling in the Church than active priests or religious.  Many in Europe read Hecker’s biography as a reversal of this position.  The final point that Leo XIII found problematic was a theory that Catholics who left the Church for a Protestant church should be left in peace and not called back to the one, true Church.  Here freedom of religion is understood as a positive good that enables the individual to freely pursue his own subjective truth regardless of what is objectively true.

Perhaps McGreevy excluded the Americanist controversy because he felt that Leo’s denunciation described a bogey that did not exist in the American Church of the late nineteenth century.  Even if this were the case, it is hard to understand his total silence.  It is all the more interesting because many of the trends described in the papal letter are certainly widespread in the Catholic Church in the United States today.

I just finished reading John McGreevy’s Catholicism and American Freedom.  I must confess that when I have sat down with this book in the evening I found it difficult to put down because it has been so enjoyable.  The book traces the interesting process of Catholic integration into the mainstream of American culture.  This topic has been of special interest to me ever since I wrote my senior thesis, which I am in the process of revising, about how the rhetoric of the US Catholic hierarchy changed toward the Papacy during World War II.

McGreevy begins his narrative in 1859, with the story of Thomas Wahl.  Thomas Wahl was a ten year-old Catholic boy of Irish descent who, during the days of school prayer, was beaten bloody by his Protestant assistant principal in the Boston Public Schools for refusing to recite the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, which included a denunciation of “graven images” popularly applied to Catholic religious art  (Protestants take the Ten Commandments from Exodus, Catholics from Deuteronomy).  From there he traces the tension between two different trends in the Church in the United States.  One trend focused on the otherness of Catholics, another sought to affirm American culture and adapted Catholicism to it whenever possible.

Rather than seek to conform to the dominantly Protestant culture, many Catholics in the 19th and 20th centuries embraced their differences from their countrymen.  At its best, this sense of otherness provided the energy that built an impressive system of Catholic schools, hospitals and charities that served Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  It also provided a more communitarian vision of the common good in the political discourse in a radically individualistic country.  At its worst, this sense of Catholic otherness led some prominent Catholics to show a preference for right-wing authoritarian models of government abroad and give uncritical support to American Cold War anti-communism under the rationale that these positions accorded with Papal social teaching.

The more accommodationist approach sought to create points of contact between Catholic life and democratic values.   Some of these attempts, such as allowing lay people to choose their priests and run parish finances, strike one as incompatible with hierarchical structure of the Church. Others, like promoting an American understanding of freedom of religion within Catholic social teaching, played an important role in shaping the teaching of Vatican II.   McGreevy identifies John Courtney Murray and Jacques Maritain as two prominent exponents of the accommodationist position.

By the late 1960s this tension was practically dissolved, largely on account the pressure that the organized anti-Catholicism of the Protestant elites put on Catholics by questioned whether Catholics could ever integrate themselves into “American culture.”  Just as Catholics were beginning to worship in the same tongue as their countrymen, most them rejected Pope Paul VI’s reaffirmation of traditional Catholic teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception and sterilization.   From there, there was little to stop the wholesale liquidation of the Catholic ghetto.  We should not be surprised that Catholic institutions continue to dwindle.

While I do not agree with all of McGreevy’s conclusions, the book is well-written and generally fair.  I would have liked to have seen McGreevy give more attention to two points.  Firstly, his narrative begins rather late in American History.  Had he addressed the Colonial and Revolutionary periods, he would have had to contextualize the long history of anti-Catholicism in the United States that antedated waves of Irish immigration.  For example, the only state that did not have anti-Catholic laws at the time of the American revolution was Pennsylvania.  Despite having its beginnings as a Catholic colony that had freedom of religion, Maryland had such restrictive anti-Catholic laws that Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, had to go to France in order to receive a Catholic education.  One of the four so-called “Intolerable Acts” that led to the American Revolution was the Catholic Toleration Act, which granted freedom of religion to Catholics in the newly conquered, formerly French, colony of Quebec.  Many, while not all, of the Founding Fathers were rabidly anti-Catholic.  What developments, if any, came between the Revolutionary War and the explosion of Irish immigration in the middle of the nineteenth century?

Secondly, Pope Leo XIII’s denunciation of the Americanist heresy is not treated at all.  In 1899 the Pope wrote a letter the James Cardinal Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore and the United States’ most senior churchman, calling into question perceived trends in Catholicism in the United States that threatened the integrity of the Catholic faith.  The genesis of the controversy came from a popular biography of the American priest and founder of the Paulist Order, Thomas Hecker.  There is a real question as to how widely the positions described in the letter were current among American Catholics.

There were four major trends outlined by Leo XIII.  The first had to do with the articulation of doctrine. According to the Americanist thesis, historically Catholic doctrines were to be evaluated according to the spirit of the age.  Those that suited the spirit of the age were to be embraced, those that ran contrary to it were to be neglected.  The second concerned Papal Infallibility, only defined dogmatically some two decades earlier.  Since there was a definition of Papal Infallibility, Catholics were free to believe whatever they liked on any subject that was not so defined.  Thus Papal Infallibility restricted the teaching authority of the Church instead of expanding it.  This minimalist understanding of freedom of conscience tended to separate conscience from the duty to seek truth.  The third problematic strain in the American Church that Leo identified was the exaltation of the active life above the contemplative life.  The Catholic faith holds that contemplative religious live a higher calling in the Church than active priests or religious.  Many in Europe read Hecker’s biography as a reversal of this position.  The final point that Leo XIII found problematic was a theory that Catholics who left the Church for a Protestant church should be left in peace and not called back to the one, true Church.  Here freedom of religion is understood as a positive good that enables the individual to freely pursue his own subjective truth regardless of what is objectively true.

Perhaps McGreevy excluded the Americanist controversy because he felt that Leo’s denunciation described a bogey that did not exist in the American Church of the late nineteenth century.  Even if this were the case, it is hard to understand his total silence.  It is all the more interesting because many of the trends described in the papal letter are certainly widespread in the Catholic Church in the United States today.

Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2016

Hail, O Cross, Our Only Hope

Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2016

Bishop Wright on Same-Sex Attraction

From In the Light of the Law:

Canon 915, the modern (yet resting on ancient roots) norm that prohibits ministers of holy Communion from giving that sacrament to Catholics who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin” does not expressly name divorced Catholics living in their second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) ‘marriages’ as examples of persons ineligible for holy Communion, but they have long been the ‘go-to’ example of those covered by the canon. Even its harshest critics generally conceded that Canon 915 applies to divorced-and-remarried Catholics—the emotional hardships associated with such cases being, in some critics’ minds, a good argument for abandoning the norm.

Now, in his unequivocal endorsement (“There are no other interpretations possible” [!]) of a leaked draft of some Argentine bishops’ plan for implementing his document Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis has neither ‘abrogated’ Canon 915 nor ‘interpreted’ it out of existence (both being the sort of technical operations the pope shows little interest in). Nevertheless, his action will likely make it harder for Catholic ministers, who remain bound by canon law even in stressful cases, to observe Canon 915 at the practical level.

Basically, the Argentine draft (assuming it is still a ‘draft’) directs ministers of holy Communion (chiefly parish priests) to work through concrete cases impacting access to at least three sacraments (Matrimony, Penance, and the Eucharist), guided not by the Church’s accumulated pastoral wisdom as summed up in norms like Canon 915 (which seem not even not to be mentioned!), but instead by a line of endlessly malleable considerations phrased in verbiage redolent of the 1970s. If some pastors after the publication Amoris were already being told by irate parishioners that ‘Pope Francis says you have to give me Communion’, what might they expect in the wake of his sweeping approval of this Argentine interpretation of Amoris?

3. As hard as it might be to follow, my basic advice to ministers of holy Communion in the context of divorced-and-remarried Catholics is to ignore the coming furor over the pope’s endorsement of an ambiguously worded document from some local bishops, and just follow the law of the Church, which is quite clear, unless and until that law is formally changed, at which point (if it comes to that) we will sit down and figure out what the new law directs.

Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2016

Communion for the Divorced and Remarried?

Let’s kick it off with Robert Royal:

In the Church’s 2000-year history – a history of apostles, martyrs, confessors, great saints, brilliant doctors, profound mystics – none thought this new teaching Catholic. Some even died to defend the indissolubility of marriage. For a pope to criticize those who remain faithful to that tradition, and characterize them as somehow unmerciful and as aligning themselves with hard-hearted Pharisees against the merciful Jesus is bizarre….

I say this in sorrow, but I’m afraid that the rest of this papacy is now going to be rent by bands of dissenters, charges of papal heresy, threats of – and perhaps outright –schism. Lord, have mercy.

 

I will withhold personal comment other than saying that we are living in very dangerous times for the faith.  There is widespread confusion and it grows daily.
Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2016

Spiritual Thought for the Day

Saint Ignatius of Loyola said that if the Pope said that white were black and black were white that one must yield to the judgment of the Pope and said that white is black and black is white.

My question is, “what happens when the Pope says that black is grey?”

Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2016

Father, what do you do all day?

When I was in seminary, my uncle used to tell me that the priesthood is a great job because priests only work on Sundays.  After ordination, I can remember spending fifteen minutes trying to convince one of my aunts that priests normally celebrate Mass every day of the week, not just on Sundays and that on weekends many priests celebrate five Masses.  Let’s be honest, some laypeople think that priests, especially their own, don’t work very hard.

What do I do all day?

The three main duties that a pastor has are to (1) to teach, (2) to sanctify himself and his people and (3) to govern his parishes.  Please let me explain how I try to live these out in the context of these parishes in a 72 hour work week.

As regards teaching, there is much more than meets the eye.  The most obvious ways that I teach are in the Sunday homily, leading book and Bible studies, preaching parish missions, writing bulletin notes, appointments for preparation to receive sacraments like baptism, confirmation and marriage as well as one-on-one or couples counseling.  I am also on the faculty of Saint Joseph College.  Last year, I taught two college-level theology classes in Muncie, donating my salary to the parish cluster.  Moreover, I am a doctoral student taking more than half of a full-time doctoral course load at the University of Dayton.  On average, I try to spend around 20 hours a week on work on my doctorate.  I would guess that I spend at least thirty hours a week working on teaching.

For me, the most important part of being a priest involves sanctifying.  I try to fulfill this duty through my contact with God and trying to be an instrument of helping others experience His love.  Every day I celebrate Mass at least once.  On Sunday, I celebrate Mass three times.  I visit all of our around 25 shut-ins at least twice a year.  When people are in the hospital in a county that is contiguous to Randolph County, I visit them when they request it.  I visit the Randolph County jail as needed.  I also hear confessions before and after every Sunday Mass.  I do funerals and baptisms as needed.  Outside of Mass, I set a daily goal to spend 2-2 and one-half hours in prayer.  I see a spiritual director in Monticello, Indiana, once a month to go to confession and talk about the state of my spiritual life.  Canon law mandates that I take a week every year outside of the parish for spiritual exercises at an annual retreat.  I spend at least thirty hours a week being directly involved in the office of sanctifying.

My least favorite part of being a priest is governing the parishes, which also includes going to diocesan meetings.  In an average week, I drive about 200-250 miles on parish business, which corresponds to about 4 hours a week of work-related driving.  I skip more diocesan meetings than I should, but I know that it is very important that I attend as many as possible.  I preside at pastoral council meetings once a month and each parish’s finance council quarterly.  I have the responsibility to supervise seven parish employees (three of which work 20 or more hours) and all parish volunteers.  I make sure that the physical plant at both parishes and the cemetery is in good condition.  Often this involves finding people to repair or maintain things.  Sometimes I just do it myself.  Finally, in small parishes like these, I do innumerable miscellaneous tasks that hired staff members would do in larger parishes.  I would love to be able to limit my weekly time spent governing to twelve hours a week.

My normal schedule involves working 12 hours a day, six days a week.  Sometimes, I have to work on my day of rest when something unforeseen comes up or I have fallen behind on doctoral work.  Besides a weekly day of rest, I take around twenty days a year outside of the parish for rest and relaxation or catching up on doctoral work. A priest reaches retirement age at 75.  

A forty hour a week job with two weeks of vacation involves working 2000 hours a year.  The schedule I have described above adds up to at least 3600 hours of work a year.

Now you know what I do all day.

 

Posted by: frroberts | September 13, 2016

Update on the Rectory/Office boiler

The Saint Mary and Saint Joseph rectory is in urgent needs of repairs.  One of the big needs is a new steam boiler or replacement of the heating and cooling system.  Based on initial estimates, a long-term fix could cost as much as $40,000.  Take a look at the state of the current boiler, which dates from 1975 (the pictures were taken on August 12, 2016, the datestamp is incorrect on all the photos):

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Lots of leaks!

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So much moisture that the water heater is starting rust out

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A closer loo at the water heater

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Another look

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Asbestos all around!

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More asbestos

Posted by: frroberts | September 10, 2016

Short documentary about the original 9/11

Posted by: frroberts | September 10, 2016

A good movie about the original 9/11

Posted by: frroberts | September 10, 2016

A clue to the meaning of the universe

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