Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fraternity as Family

Last night at our Fraternity meeting several people noted that with the Fraternity they felt as if they were among family - something they sensed even before beginning formation and being professed.

I understood what they were saying. My Fraternity is indeed like a family in so many ways to me. I can be myself in many ways I can't even be with some members of my biological family.

One person noted, however, that it took many years before he came to that realization, and only after he discovered he could not pursue priesthood. He needed to grow before he was ready to see what the Fraternity was.

I also understood that. I remember my first encounter with the Fraternity nearly 30 years ago. I went to a Fraternity picnic with a friend who was a Secular Franciscan.

I was in the midst of my progressive Catholic phase. I looked at the Franciscans as nice, but kind of quirky, quaint, and old-fashioned for my taste. I viewed them as representing the "old Church." 

I had a lot of growing to do before I was ready to see the Secular Franciscans for who they truly were.

Then in 2008, after my pursuit of the diaconate proved a dead end, I thought of checking out the Franciscans again. I went to my first meeting in September of that year, and things just clicked. Some of the same people, the same spirituality, but this time it clicked.

I'd found a home and family.

And this July I will mark 4 years of being a professed member.


Pax et bonum

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Morality vs. Mystery Plays (Miller vs. Williams)

One of the recent books I read was 100 Essays I Don't Have Time To Write by playwright Sarah Ruhl.

I enjoyed many of these short essays - about writing plays, acting in plays, audiences, parenthood, and so on.

One of the observations Ruhl made was that American playwrights tend to fall into two school -- that of Arthur Miller, and that of Tennessee Williams. Miller, she suggests, carries on the tradition of Morality plays - plays with scaffolding, architecture, building to a moral - and Williams tends to be in the tradition of Mystery plays, full of emotion, and poetry, focusing on the moment.

It's an interesting observation - one that resonate with me. I've always preferred the Miller form of drama to the Williams one. My own plays tends to be Milleresque morality plays. Even when I experiment with Dada dramas - which would seem to suggest celebrating the moment in the Williams/Mystery style - there's always an underlying moral message.

Food for thought.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Catholic theater dreams

I'm in the process of getting ready to apply for a teaching position to a new school - a small orthodox Catholic one. There are many reasons to apply there - the spirituality, the academic program, the opportunity to closely with students in a way I can't at a larger school, and so on.

But lately I've been thinking about another reason.


At my previous school - a small religious one - I wrote and directed all the plays. I wrote for the actors I had, creating characters based on the personalities and abilities of the students. I was also able to control what went into the play, making sure they fit the Christian environment.

I can imagine me at a small Catholic school creating plays about spirituality and saints, and, of course, doing ones that have appropriate humor. I'm big on humor.

So one of my dreams is if I am hired helping to create plays for my students, or adapting classic plays and especially some with spiritual roots.

Of course, there may be no opening, or I might not get hired. I'll just stay where I am then - there is much that is good about my current school.

But I can hope!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion pictures

Some images for the 2015 Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion march on Good Friday. 

I'm pleased to see so many young people.

We will win through the power of prayer.

Pax et bonum

Face palm time - again (liturgical violations)

The Good Looking One and I decided to go to our parish for Good Friday services rather than the Trappist Abbey we've been going to for years on Good Friday. We've been more comfortable lately at the parish as some of the liturgical improprieties have been corrected (after questions by me, and I suspect word from the chancery).

One of the violations had been lay preaching.

I got uneasy a few weeks ago when at a Mass honoring teens Father gave a short homily, then allowed one of the teens to speak during the homily time - instead of at the appropriate time at the beginning or end of Mass. I meant to say something to Father, but didn't get a chance after that Mass, and then time passed, and, well, it seems Father gets a troubled look on his face when I approach him - too many questions on my part? So I said nothing, hoping it was an anomaly. Sigh - a sin of omission?

Anyway, after the Gospel readings concluded Good Friday, the priest and deacon sat, and the religious sister who had been the main lay preaching culprit got up and delivered a brief talk. During the time in missalette that clearly said "homily." While the priest and deacon sat.

Now I know that the Good Friday service isn't a Mass, but it is clearly not one of the services when lay preaching is allowed. I went home and did some research - and it is not permitted for a lay person to preach at the service, especially with a priest and a deacon present.

Is the pastor stretching the rules as he has been done before? And this comes on top of that teen preaching. What more violations or stretching will there be?

Do I say something to him, or have we gotten beyond that? Do I just write to the bishop with questions?  Mulling over what to do.

But, as I sat there, my heart closed to the parish again. The positive feelings that had grown after many of the abuses ceased last fall disappeared.

I will not be rejoining the choir - I don't want to get caught like this again. I will continue to go to the parish when the music group I am in is playing, but otherwise I will minimize my attendance at this particular church - there are other options. As for the collection basket - my funds will go elsewhere.

Pax et bonum

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion

I joined with some 200 other people for the annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross for Life.

We started out at a local Catholic high school for a prayer service, then marched to the office of Dr. Morris Wortman, a local doctor whose practice includes murdering babies.

The Stations include not only prayers about abortion - but also about euthanasia, the death penalty, economic justice, and concern for refugees and prisoners, and so on.

We also pray for Dr. Wortman and his staff that they realize what they are doing and will stop, and for the women they victimize that they might find healing.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Haiku published in a new anthology

The Rochester Area Haiku Poets put out an anthology this spring - last ginkgo leaf - featuring local haiku poets, and the collection includes some of mine:

mother's rosary -
threads still hold
where links have broken

Father's Day -
the coolness
of his headstone

just before dawn
saving the end of the book
for later

winter moonlight -
the rise and fall of her
remaining breast

clear summer night -
my ex-wife's voice
when my daughter speaks

April morning –
cardinals in conclave
at the bird feeder

animal carcass
on the shoulder of the road
I don’t look – I look

your coffee cup
still on the table
half full

All of mine had been published previously, but it was nice to see them come out again, and to be featured among the haiku of so many fine poets. 
Pax et bonum