Friday, June 25, 2010

Phoenix Controversy

A clear explanation that you won’t get from the newspaper or TV.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blackstone Legal Fellowship

Over the past two weeks I’ve had the honor of offering Mass for the Catholic participants in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, which is a ministry of the Alliance Defense Fund.

The Blackstone fellowship is an intensive nine week program for law students to equip them for facing the moral and ethical challenges in today’s legal system.  You can go to their site for a better explanation.  The students told me of the incredible speakers and programs offered during this two week session in Phoenix.  In fact, I was kind of jealous not to be able to attend the sessions myself.

I just wanted to offer my impressions of the Catholic students who attended Mass each day it was offered.

The students have a very full schedule from early in the morning until quite late at night.  The Mass was an optional part of the Catholic students day, and time that could have been devoted to free time, study, or simply trying to cope with the 100 degree plus days of a Phoenix summer (a few of the days were over 110).  The students who attended Mass were not there out of some sense of obligation, but out of a desire to grow closer to Christ.  I also was asked for some advice and for some impromptu confessions.  In fact, if I have this opportunity again, I’m going to schedule special time for confessions.

I cannot speak highly enough about the Blackstone Legal Fellowship and about the Alliance Defense Fund.  I know Mr. Alan Sears, the President & CEO of ADF and his family.  I know them to be faithful Catholics, in love with Christ and His Church, and alive in Christ in their family and in the world.  I invite you to go to the ADF site and read the section called “Actions” which outlines their current activity, their past victories, and the emerging issues facing all of us.  It is sobering reading, but issues where our prayers and support are needed.

May God continue to bless the efforts of the ADF and Blackstone Fellowship.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Office Software

For all of us on a budget (parishes, students, family), here are three ways to have free office software (Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentation software, etc) available.

Microsoft now offers a free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  All you need is a computer with internet access.  You also get 2GB of free online storage called SkyDrive.  The site is office.live.com.  The site is supported by advertising, so you see some ads for other products, but they aren’t distracting.

Why would you use this?

  • Opening a file attachment that someone sent you in email when you don’t have Microsoft Office installed on your computer.
  • Creating a document quickly, saving it to your SkyDrive (the free 2GB of storage), that you can retrieve from another computer (at work or home).  I actually have a few homilies I created this way until I got back to the parish to print them out.
  • Just having a free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote at your disposal.

But if you don’t like working on documents “in the cloud” and want those programs living on your computer, I recommend Microsoft Office Home & Student edition.  It sells for $150, but you can usually find it for $99, and it is what Microsoft calls a “family version” meaning you can install it on up to three computers.

Other free office helps are Google Docs at docs.google.com and you can download a completely free office suite called OpenOffice at www.openoffice.org.

Geek Factor Extreme!

Giant robots, made of Legos, playing chess.  We have achieved Nerd-vana.

It is a bit slow watching bits from just one game – but it is giant robots, made of Legos, playing chess!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweet 16

Recently I celebrated my 16th anniversary as a priest.  It was a good day.  As folks are likely to do, I did a little reflection on those years.  When a parishioner asked if I’d do it all again, the answer was an enthusiastic and immediate “Yes!”

There have been joys that I could not have imagined possible, and I’ve been part of people’s lives in an incredible way.  I’ve been able to tell people about Christ and His love.  I’ve been able to offer the Sacraments of that Love to the world.  There just isn’t anything better.  This always brings me to rejoice in Christ my Savior.  Thank You!

There have been detractors.  There have been people who have decided that I am wrong in everything I do and say, and make every effort to not only show me and tell me that, but spread it around in the parish and in the diocese.  There are folks who believe me to be the most incompetent clown ever to be ordained.  These are the folks who drove me to prayer the most.  These are the folks who made me turn in humble supplication to God for His guidance in my priesthood.  These are the folks who have forced me to spend the most time in front of the Blessed Sacrament in prayer.  Thank You!