Heroes and Poets


Challenge of the Week:

Choose God more deeply as your Hero and commit more fully to be his poet. Consider all that is yours–your time, talent, and treasure–as resources to do something beautiful for God…something that will draw others into your admiration and devotion to him…to choose him as their hero and join you in announcing the Good News as fellow poets.

You can find the readings for this Mass at:



A Small Whispering Sound


Challenge of the Week:

Try to spend five minutes each day in silent prayer, listening for the Lord to speak to you, giving Him a chance to draw you further along his plan for your life. Also try to make Sunday more a day of rest, recreation, and listening to the word of God. With these two things, may we be more open hear the word of the Lord our life and respond with generous hearts.

The readings for this Mass can be found at:



Deny Ourselves So Others May Live


Challenge of the Day:

What are some small things we can deny ourselves so that we can better give to the needs of the poor either materially or spiritually?

You can find the readings for this Mass at:



Free from Love of Money

2/8/13 12:20 PM

Reading 1 Heb 13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid? 
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Gospel Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Invitation to Love the Difficult

1/10/13 6:08 PM

You can find the readings for this Mass at:



Lost that Loving Feeling

11/19/12 12:18 PM

You can find the readings for this mass at:



Happy Feast of the Assumption!

Happy Feast of the Assumption everyone!

Today the Church celebrates a great miracle in the life of Mary–her being assumed into heaven. She stands as the hope for all the world–that we too may be assumed, body and soul, into heaven when Jesus comes again. Most people reading this probably are thinking, “Say what?”
Here is an article I came across today which does well to explain this special day…this special reality. WHAT IS THE “ASSUMPTION?”
Tomorrow I will be heading down to Orange Beach, AL for the week for the Annual Seminarian Gathering (see August 18, 2010 post for Last Year’s Gathering). So this will probably be my last post until after next Monday. This is the one time of the year when all of the Seminarians from the Archdiocese get together. It is a great time to build fraternity amongst the guys, especially since we are all scattered around in different seminaries. Archbishop Rodi, the Vocations Directors, and the Chancellor will spend the week with us. Please pray that we have good weather and times this week.
Before I head down, I thought I would share some shots of things over this past week.
On my way to make a couple home visits…

On Friday, I was able to meet with a good friend of mine from Furman University–where I went to College. We hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, so we thought we would meet at one of the nicest restaurants in the Wiregrass—Pizza Hut! Hahaha! I decided to capture the first encounter.

Patrick lives Mobile now and I am in Enterprise…so after some careful calculations…we deduced that Evergreen, AL was right in the middle. So we met right there for the afternoon at their local Pizza Hut. It was so refreshing to meet up with an old friend. Amazing how you can pick right back up where you left off. Shared some great times together in Greenville and really got to know one another over a 2 month Study Abroad Program in Chile back in 2006.
Here we are doing a little PR for the faithful Hut. We are really trying to highlight their “Cheesy Bites” and “Pepsi” while showcasing their ever-fresh salad bar just to our rear. Thanks to the Pizza Hut staff for letting us sit in their Hut for about 4 hours and for this photographic magic.

Driving back to Enterprise, I passed through Andalusia, AL. As I hit the main intersection…I ran into one of my past loves–Hawaaiin Shaved Ice! I used to make a DAILY pilgrimage to Sno Biz in high school. Seeing it, I just had to pay my respects.
As refreshing as the flavored shaved ice, was the chance to rub elbows with some locals. I struck up a convo with one kid and his Dad while waiting in line. I loved the way the kid introduced himself to me, “Hi! I’m in sixth grade and I play the drums!”
His comment made me chuckle as I witnessed in him the peaceful simplicity and enjoyment of a youth in a small town.

Saturday Night, I joined with the Guatemalan Prayer Group for probably the last time. Again they prayed for over 3 hours! Their fervor and devotion to prayer is one of the many treasures I hope to carry with me from Enterprise. They really made we felt welcome each time I joined them for prayer and praise. This past night they really offered some special prayers for me as I head back to seminary shortly. Thank God for them and for their special gift of prayer.

Well, again, Happy Feast Day!
May the peace that surpasses all understanding come more fully into your lives this day and every day.

Funeral Tuesday in Mobile

On Tuesday, I woke up early in the morning to serve at the Funeral Mass of Father Ernie Hyndman.
The sun was just finishing its rising when I was heading out. Made for a serene start to the day.

The first half of the drive was very beautiful as I rolled through small towns and farm land. Here was a little Country Store I passed by on the way.

Father Ernie grew up in Mobile graduating high school from McGill-Toolen and college from Spring Hill College with a degree in English.

Father Ernie is remembered for having a great sense of humor, being a die-hard LSU fan, and being a friend and Father to everyone in his midst.
Strangely and sadly, last week, Father Ernie took his own life.
A wave of grief swept through lower Alabama.
How? Why? Can this be true?
In the past week, many have wrestled to understand how such a young and lighthearted Priest could take his own life.
It is impossible to understand–the darkness one is facing when they come to that decision in life.
Only now, do many realize that Fr. Ernie had been battling depression for several years.
It is not for us to judge.
God alone sees into the heart. He alone can judge. His mercy alone can heal.
It was this kind of spirit that drew everyone together in Mobile.
The response of love and prayer for Fr. Ernie and his family was overwhelming. The Cathedral was packed. People were standing all along the back. Over 30 priests attended. Around 15 of us seminarians were able to be present as well. It was a sobering experience.
In the face of such a mysterious darkness, I found a newfound thankfulness for being part of the Christian body. To not have to face such darkness alone, felt so powerful. To be able to come together and kneel before the mystery of life and cry out to a God who is Beauty, Love, Goodness, and Truth and trust him with all that exceeds, boggles, and transcends the mind and heart. To be able to pray for Father Enrie with his family, with all the angels, the saints, with all his friends, and all gathered there that day…was a beautiful thing. To shower him with our prayers…to place him in the hands of a Merciful and Loving God. Faith become almost tangible in moment like that.
It was great to be with the other seminarians as well. Here are a couple shots of us getting ready for the Mass in the Sacristy. Even in such a dark hour, it was a gift to be able to be with these, my brothers and share the experience. Even find a way to make one another laugh in the midst of it all.

Fr. Paul Zoghby, one of Fr. Ernie’s closest friends, gave the homily at the funeral. His words were great, challenging everyone to realize that it was not helpful to obsess over the question “What If I would have?” at this point. Rather, we gather together to remember the ways in which Fr. Ernie brought the love of Christ into our lives and to pray for him…commending him to our Good and Merciful God. He even told a Budro joke (revolving around a Cajun guy named Budro) which Father Ernie was famous for routinely telling to his congregation. Even more than his words…it was a powerful thing to see his best friend find the courage to stand before a crowd of witnesses and say Goodbye.

After the Funeral Mass, we all caravanned over to the old Catholic Cemetery for the graveside ceremony.

You could almost feel the sacredness of the cemetery. As we drove in, we passed several graves over 150 years old. It was humbling to pass through the midst of so many lives that have past before our own….knowing that we too will join them one day…
This one funeral marker made a particular impression on me. The Angel looking so confidently and steadily over the cemetery gave me a certain sense of peace and security.

Too, it was great to run into some of my good friends from Seminary…who are now Mobile’s newest priests! It was my first time to see Fr. Travis and Fr. Stephen since there ordination in June.
(Left to Right) Fr. Stephen Vrazel (Ordained June 2011), Me, Fr. Fred Boni (Ordained June 2010), Fr. David Shoemaker (Ordained July 2000), Fr. Travis Burnett (Ordained June 2011)

This picture above may be entitled: “Veterans of Summer Assignments in Eufaula with Fr. Snowmaker.” Each of us spent a summer under the care of Fr. David. Thanks for putting up with us over the years, for all the hilarious memories, and priestly example.

The New Priests being “pastoral”

Ca is one of our seminarians from North Vietnam. The guy has a great sense of humor and always sports a smile. Archbishop Rodi passed his crosier to Ca to take care of it. He is smiling because he had just figured out how to unscrew it into two pieces.

Left is Matthew Stillwell, one of our newest seminarians. He will finish his Masters degree this fall and begin his seminary studies in the Spring. Right with the shades is Chris Boutin, going into his second year of seminary, reigning from Prattville, AL. With those shades, I guess Chris was hoping to catch some bass or field some grounders after the graveside service. hahaha.

It was a day of mixed emotions, experiences, and prayers. All of which reminded me to be thankful for my faith…without which I would have had no hope or recourse in confronting such a situation.

Here is an article that Dave O’Brien wrote about grief following Fr. Ernie’s death that some of ya’ll might find helpful.


Let’s continue to Pray for Father Ernie Hyndman and all those grieving his loss.

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.


I need to learn how to spell


is actually spelled


Thanks Rob.

Also “Jasmine”

is actually spelled


And finally, what we ate at Pablo’s birthday party was a “Shrimp BOIL” not a “bRoil.” Big difference. I should have known better! haha

Thanks Pablo.

Family Visits

Sorry it’s been a week since the last post. My evenings have been blessed with several home visits & activities this past week which have made posting difficult…especially considering the amount of food in the tank upon returning to the rectory! haha
Last Wednesday we had Youth Group as usual. After dinner and some games we talked about “Saints.” We had a nice discussion about what “Saints” are and the kids shared about different saints that they know.
As they would share, I would write down the saint’s name as well as common attributes of the saints (i.e. they are in heaven, they love us, they gave their lives heroically in love, they are our role models for Christian living, we can talk to them and ask them for prayers just like we can ask people in the Church community on earth to pray for us, etc.)
Here is the board at the end, decorated with my exquisite handwriting:

Sunday afternoons have been a great time to visit some families from the Hispanic Community at St. John’s. Sunday is, for many of our parishioners, the one day that they do not have to work. So it is a great time to drop by for some chatting, eating, discussion, and prayer.
Here are some shots I took this past Sunday of a trailer park where several families from our parish live.

Here is the field where all of the neighborhood kids play soccer everyday

Later on Sunday evening, Tom and Luanne invited me over to dinner at their home as well as Alice and Chuck. We enjoyed great food and wine and even better company.
Here is a shot of a beautiful lake on the way to their house.

Tom and Luanne have a lovely and most interesting home. Throughout Tom’s career in the Army, he and Luanne moved all around the world. Along the way they really developed a knack for collecting and decorating. Plus, Luanne was an elementary school teacher for several years, so, like most people in her field, her creativity knows no bounds.
Once, while visiting China, Luanne noticed a Chinese Coke bottle laying beside a trash can. Interested by the Chinese writing, she picked it up thinking it would be an interesting souvenir. Living in Korea at the time, Luanne then picked up another Coke bottle with the writing in Korean. Little did she know that this would over the years blossom into an extensive “Coke” parafanilia collection which now adorns there sun room making for a room-sized conversation piece.

I was amazed by Alice’s bravery in admitting that she prefers Pepsi as she sat on the Coke Couch in the Coke Room!!!! hahahahaha

Their back yard is a kid’s paradise. Besides the little pool, fountain, and space to run around…they also have a playhouse for their granddaughter and a “Crooked House” for their grandson.

Tonight, Eva, Pablo, and Jasmine invited Father and I over for a Shrimp Broil for Pablo’s 31st birthday. Happy Birthday Pablo!
Pablo has been in the Army for 9 years and is currently stationed at Fr. Rucker like many other of our parishioners are or have been before they retired.
Pabo is from Southern Texas and Eva is from just across the border. They are a great couple and have been very hospitable to me since arriving here. Jasmine is 6 and pretty much dominates the Coloring Book circuit. She had just churned out some masterpieces of Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez, and Phineas and Ferb earlier today which Father and I were able to enjoy. She loves the color Red, chocolate chip pancakes from Bob Evans, and losing teeth. She was sweet to let Father and I crash her Dad’s B-Day Bash! Thanks Jasmine!

And, as I am one that made a point to not make a serious face in a picture until the age of 11, I have to give Jasmine serious props for the face she made the first time we took a picture together.

That is pretty much unbeatable….so with that….
Thanks to everyone here in Enterprise for being so warm and inviting. It is a real blessing to be sharing in the richness, height, depth, diversity, and particularity of the People of God down here at St. John’s.
Goodnight and God Bless ya’ll.