In just two days, my debut novel will begin shipping. And I need to thank all of you who have reached out to inquire about the title, plot, genre, and where to get a copy. It has meant the world to me. In fact, it is the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since I was a child.
I already have my personal copy. (You get an advance copy shipped to you so you can make sure there are no major errors in the print.) And something funny happened when I opened that box and removed a novel with my name on it. It still didn’t feel real.READ MORE
Imagine a near-dystopian future where the United States has continued to slide away from the Faith to the point where speaking out against the culture and/ or the government gets you thrown in jail. But it isn’t just the authorities you have to worry about. Your primary enemy has become your fellow citizen. The vast majority are drinking the Kool Aid and will permit no dissent. Violence against those swimming against the tide is swift and carried out by self-appointed watchers.READ MORE
It’s been a long time since I mentioned the saints among us: you individuals who attend Mass faithfully every Sunday (and sometimes more often than that) all alone. Let me define this a bit more specifically: all of you who travel alone in a vehicle to the Church.
The truth is this: any of you could skip out on Mass. If questioned, you could lie and say you attended another Mass or even another parish. Yet, you come. You worship.READ MORE
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
Simple words. But we all know simple words don’t always equate to simple execution.
“Till death do us part” for example. :) The concept is simple, but the sacrament of marriage takes prayer, sweat, and occasional tears. Am I right?
So...back to “love one another as I have loved you.”READ MORE
Welcome to May in Arizona. You know what that means. Everything dies.
Starting in May...and lasting until...uh...Halloween...the temperatures go through the roof. You know. The roof we will all be hiding beneath for months on end.
Can you tell I’m not a fan of Arizona summers?
Why? I enjoy the color green. I need the outdoors. And I love it when things grow.READ MORE
I recently heard a severely misguided accusation I’ve heard less than ten times in over twenty years of parish work: “The parish staff are only in it for the money!”
Allow me to preface the next paragraph with the following heartfelt disclaimers: Being Director of Faith Formation at Our Lady of Joy is a dream job. I get to spend the majority of my day learning about and passing along the Catholic Faith. I have met and become friends with so many incredible parishioners. I work in an environment that benefits my Faith rather than eroding it. It is a tremendous blessing. Having said that, there are struggles for every parish worker I’ve ministered beside for over two decades.READ MORE
This week, I’m am writing to you from a farm in Stuttgart, Arkansas. I actually love hanging out with farmers. More often than not, you know where they stand. And if you don’t, just ask—they’ll tell you what they think. And those opinions are solidly grounded in common sense.
If you find a friend, keep them for life.
Do as much as you can with what has been entrusted to you.READ MORE
Congratulations are in order! Easter Morning has come and gone—which marks the end of thirteen months of Lent!
All kidding aside, we are an Easter people and it’s high time we start living like it!
Jesus defeated death.
If we REALLY believe that, there is nothing to be afraid of with the one exception being falling short of heaven. As Scripture says, “Death, where is your sting?” There is no persecution that can deny us entry into heaven. There is no burden that will not be lifted upon entry into heaven. No chronic pain or psychological illness that can rob us of heaven. There is nothing except our own free will.READ MORE
Welcome to Our Lady of Joy.
This parish belongs to God. And His family.
You are as much a member of His family as I am.
You are missed when you aren’t here. There is a hole that no one else can fill. Even when the pews are filled, the Church can never be full without you.
We could never be the same without you. Without your prayers. Without your gifts. Without your smile. Without your burdens.READ MORE
We are entering Holy Week. It is the most sacred week of the year for Catholics. Within eight days, we experience Jesus being hailed as King, presiding at the last supper, betrayed, captured, scourged, nailed to a cross, and rising from the dead.
And yet, for those of us who have been Catholic for years, Holy Week can become nothing more than the last stretch of giving up candy, alcohol, or television. For others, it can signal the end of meatless Fridays. Maybe it reminds us that we need to shop for ingredients that will go into a Easter Sunday feast. And sometimes, it means we will be joined by those family members who only agree to join us for Mass a few times a year.READ MORE
Have you ever known a bitter, hurt, or heartbroken person who cropped someone out of a picture? Have you ever been that person?
Either way—you know what I’m talking about.
After the crop, the remaining picture might just look like an incredibly happy individual. And it was an incredibly happy individual, but now that picture represents what is no longer there.
I have one of those pictures.READ MORE
I am proud of you.
I know it might not mean much, but I needed to say it just the same.
I am proud of you.
We’ve been at this for about a year now. All of this. It was a Monday morning when we received word from the diocese.
Since that day—you’ve done your best to navigate through opposing political agendas, to sift through shifting medical directives, and to endure through the Church’s attempt to do the same.
I am proud of you.
You’ve done your best to maintain civility in relationships with loved ones whose approach to any of the above differed from your own.READ MORE
Have you been watching my online Lenten Retreat on our parish YouTube channel? If not—it isn’t too late!
(And you’ll have to look for Week Three on the YouTube channel as it will be released after I write this, but before you read this.)
Now...here is a quick reflection on this weekend’s Gospel…READ MORE