Wednesday, May 31, 2006

From My Inbox: Church Donations

This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic churches than casinos in Vegas. Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed. Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.

This is done by the chip monks.

Tags: From My Inbox

Music That Matters - Michael W. Smith

My anonymous reader who has been feeding me with songs/lyrics and reflections must have received a large collection of CDs recently, for today I am happy to ofer you today a three-pack from Michael W. Smith's album "I'll Lead You Home"!

The songs are presented here not in the order in which they appear on the album, but in the order which reflects a journey back to the Church - back to one's own faith.

If you didn't know, you can click on the songs' titles and a new window will pop up and play the song for your listening pleasure. It may take some time depending on your connection, but please be patient - it's worth the wait. If you are using the Firefox browser, you'll have to click on the stop button, then click on the play button to hear the music. IE will play it automatically after the song loads.

Many new Catholics willingly offer their conversion stories. What we don't often get to hear or read are the stories of cradle Catholics who have either remained in the Church or who have left for periods of time and have returned.

Listen to and read the lyrics of these three songs in the order I have presented them. For me, and certainly my anonymous reader who supplies me with the material for Music That Matters, these songs illustrate the difficulty of staying faithful.

Cry For Love
Michael W. Smith
Album - I'll Lead You Home

My life is like a racing car hurtling towards the wall
At the speed of sound
My time has been so finely tuned
But I've never seen a human being so tightly wound
At times it seems beyond belief
I just need a bit of relief
Like a war-weary soldier
Marching up and over the edge
Take my hand and pull me up cause I'm falling too fast
Somehow I've lost my way - I'm cryin' save me

Can you hear me...I'm calling out
I'm crying out...a cry for love
I can feel're touching me
You healing cry for love

I will be the first to admit
I don't have the strength to handle it alone anymore
I don't have to fret, don't have to explain
All my worrying's in vain
I'm not alone anymore

Why is this so hard to believe
What is mine is mine to freely receive
Like the changing of seasons
This is the beauty of the word
And for all that I have seen and heard
Oh I want to come home
Somehow I'll make my way - my way home to you


Oh Father hear my call (Oh Father hear my call)
I know you'll catch me when I fall
Oh Father hear my callI know you'll catch me when I fall
Oh I pray that you'll hold me now
Hold me
And take my fear away

I'm cryin' save me
Oh I know that you can hear me
Hear me crying out for love
Oh I know that you can feel my cry for love...ooh...

I can feel you - you're calling out
You're crying out - a cry for love
I can feel you - you're touching me
You're healing me - my cry for love

I'll Lead You Home
Michael W. Smith
Album - I'll Lead You Home

Wandering the road of desperate life
Aimlessly beneath the barren sky
Leave it to me
I'll lead you home
So afraid that you will not be found
It won't be long before your sun goes down
Just leave it to me
I'll lead you home

Hear me calling
Hear me calling
Just leave it to me - I'll lead you home

A troubled mind and a doubter's heart
You wonder how you ever got this far
Leave it to me, I'll lead you home

Vultures of darkness ate the crumbs you left
And you got no way to retrace your steps
Just leave it to me
I'll lead you home

Chorus 2:
Hear me calling
Hear me calling
You're lost and alone
Leave it to meI'll lead you home

Chorus 2

So let it go and turn it over to
The one who chose to give his life for you
Leave it to me
I'll lead you home

So let it go and turn it over to
The one who chose to give his life for you
Just leave it to me
I'll lead you home
Leave it to me
I'll lead you home

Chorus 2

I'm Waiting For You
Michael W. Smith
Album - I'll Lead You Home

I walked this road
So very long ago
To show the way
So you would know
I walked the road
With holes in my hands in feet
To make the way
Come follow me

No, you are not alone
You will be free indeed
The journey begins and ends
With me
One million miles
It starts with a step or two
What are you waiting for?
I'm waiting for you

You run the race
Thinking you've almost won
Then you may find
You've only begun
You're on the road
Thinking you're far from here
And suddenly find
You're very near


In Memory: Diane Endler

Diane Endler, a member of our parish passed away Saturday. The funeral Mass is today at 11:00.

Jim, Diane's husband, is an usher/greeter at our 11:00 am Mass on Sundays. He was still there, shaking hands, crying, and accepting hugs and condolences last Sunday, the day after his wife passed away. An amazing testimony to his faith and love for his wife and for Christ.

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

From My Inbox: How Poor We Are

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On the return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Tags: From My Inbox

Music That Matters: Creed

It has been awhile since I have had a Music That Matters post, so I give you two recordings of the same song by two different artists. Rich Mullins, I understand, actually wrote the song based on the Nicene Creed. His version is much more "mellow" and contemporary that Third Day's "updated" version. Both versions resonate with the truths and beliefs I hold dear. My anonymous reader who sent me today's Music That Matters, has this personal reflection to share:

But at the very core of my being is a truth that cannot be denied, a belief system that is innate within me, and to which I can cling even in the midst of the greatest tempests. And that belief system is described succinctly in this song. No matter what seems to happen in my career, my personal life or my spiritual life, I really DO believe in a Trinitarian God, that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, that I am loved, that this love is not based on my merit but on the generosity of God, but that the love, while freely given, comes with responsibilities and accountability... and that my belief in the Catholic faith equally comes with responsibilities and accountability. I know that I will, because of my human nature, fall short and fail often, but that shouldnt stop me from striving and trying to be a better person, to have a closer relationship with God, and to be Christ-like in all that I do.

Creed (click to listen)
by Rich Mullins
Album - Songs

Creed (click to listen)
by Third Day
Album - Offerings II: All That I Have to Give

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

And I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered
Was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and
On the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where
He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning to
Judge the quick and the dead
Of the sons of men


I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son,
Our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church, the communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends


I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe it

Monday, May 29, 2006

Blogging Blocked

In the last couple of weeks, I have had difficulty getting onto any blogspot account, or even posting blogs of my own from work (they haven't officially blocked it, but I'm getting a 504 Gateway timeout msg.) I really don't want to contact tech support for our school district and ask, "Why can't I seem to access non-work-related blogs on company time anymore?" for fear of all my access being pulled, you know? And seeing that this used to be the time when I blogged the most, it has put a kink into things. Instead of blogging on "the man's" dime, I have to do it on my own time, so I'll have to carve out some time to do so - either in the morning or evening. Bummer.

So please be patient, as I find time, I'll post more frequently.

UPDATE: I'm baaack. Works now. Prayers answered.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Minute Meditations - May 27

Scripture"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the Spirit of Wisdom."
(Isaiah 11:2)

"Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have a right conception of everything.
Hence, many unlettered people enjoy such knowledge more than the wise."

- St. John Vianney

Father of every good gift, send forth Your Spirit upon me with His sevenfold gifts. Grant that I may see everything with Your eyes and always act according to Your will..

- Every Day is a Gift

Tags: Minute Meditations

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Today's Letter: E

From Ron Rolling via Julie D at Happy Catholic.

The rules of this game:

  1. Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter.

  2. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why.

  3. Pass out letters to those who want to play along.
  4. i>

Julie gave me "E". The first is obvious.

The Body and Blood of Christ - my sustenance
The most glorius day of the year.
The baby of our family.
The focus of my professional career.
The increased result of #8.
The expression I see on my kids face this last school day of the year.
What I strive for in everything I do (to no avail many times)
My life changing experience.
Vernal, that is, which marks the day of my birth.
That's all folks!

Letter anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Minute Meditations - May 24

"Mary...journeyed in haste into the hill counttry...where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth."

(Luke 1:39)

"In the interior life and in the apostolate, let us always work with Mary.
For then everything becomes easier and more certain, quicker and more delightful."

- St. Louis Grignion de Monfort

Lord Jesus, help me to labor hard in the Christian apostolate. Teach me to work always with Your holy Mother so that I may obtain the best fruits from this work.

- Every Day is a Gift

Tags: Minute Meditations

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Minute Meditations - May 20

"If a man is just and does what is right..., he has withdrawn his hand from evildoing."

(Ezekiel 18: 5-8)

"Justice can be unsterstood in many and varied ways.
Among other things, justice is the constancy of a good will."

- St. Bernardine of Sienna

God of all justice, infuse me into the true virtue of justice. Let me have a good will toward You and toward all human beings - rendering to each everything that is due each.

- Every Day is a Gift

Tags: Minute Meditations

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Prayer for Students

On this last day of school (at least for my students), I offer this prayer to (my) all students and graduates this summer:


They have knowledge, so will You show them now,
How to use it wisely and find a way somehow
To make the world they live in a little better place,
And make life with its problems a little bit easier to face.

Grant them faith and courage and put purpose in their days,
And show them how to serve Thee in effective ways.

So their education, their knowledge and their skill
May find their true fulfillment as they learn to do Thy will.

And may they ever be aware in everything they do,
That knowledge comes from learning, and wisdom comes from You.


(modified from this prayer)

Monday, May 15, 2006

From My Inbox: Scratching the Door

What a wonderful way to explain death

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing... I know my Master is there and that is enough."

I just hope that the Pearly Gates are a little more durable than the door in the picture.

Tags: From My Inbox

Sunday, May 14, 2006

First Communion Sunday

On top of being Mother's Day, we also celebrated with about 25 second graders as they made their First Communion today. One of the things Father Jim hoped, was that these children would remember this day for the rest of their lives.

I remember my first communion in 1974 (see picture), albeit vague memories. It took place at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church on Bridgetown in Cincinnati, OH.

Does anyone remember their First Communion??

A prayer for the little ones:

Dear Jesus,
Bless these little children, who come to You today. Live in their hearts and touch their hearts in Your kind, loving way. Watch over and protect them, Lord, wherever they may go, for they have brought a world of joy to those who love them so. Amen.

Happy Mother's Day

From Women for Faith & Family, a prayer for mothers on this Mother's Day:

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.

You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children.

Watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your fatherly care and love for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.

To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child's first teacher and spiritual guide. Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the example of Mary, Elizabeth, and other holy women who follow Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

Assist all "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others -- of every age and state in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.

We beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.

We ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. AMEN.

St. Mark School May Carnival

Well, despite not winning the $10,000 in the Lion Share drawing (you had your chance!) we had a really good time. It was well attended. It rained for a little while, not not enough to send everyone in. I worked the inflatable boxing ring from 3:00-5:30 then headed to the beer garden! The kids had a wonderful time and won so many junkie little prizes!

Kathy had fun with the silent auctions. We ended winning the basket of lottery tickets, so after we finish scratching them off, the evening may prove to be more profitable than the grand prize drawing! Family of a parishioner won the $10K. The classroom plates and quilts went for close to $100 each!

I didn't have time to snap alot of pictures, but check out this slideshow to get a glimpse of what happened.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Safety Fair 2006

Just got back from the Safety Fair. Here's a slideshow of the pix I took. Off to the St. Mark School May Carnival...

In and Out this Weekend

Going to the Madison County Safety Fair this morning. Then on to the St. Mark School May Carnival this afternoon/evening.

Tomorrow - celebrating Mother's Day with Mass in the morning, then lunch. Visiting mom/sister and mother-in-law in the afternoon/evening.

Will try and post some pictures this evening.

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

News Briefs: Bill Cosby

From CNS News Briefs May 11, 2006:

Appearances by Cosby, Philbin help Kentucky parish pay off debt
RICHMOND, Ky. (CNS) -- Bill Cosby and Regis Philbin represent celebrity bookings any first-time agent would be proud of. But when the "booking agent" is a Catholic priest and the celebrities are raising funds for his parish and other charities, the story takes a twist. To top it off, the parish is not in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Philadelphia. It is in Richmond, some 25 miles down the road from Lexington. The story of how a small-town priest could attract big-name talent is an amazing one, and it's all tied into the drive, determination and the never-settle-for-no attitude of Father James W. Sichko, pastor of St. Mark Parish in Richmond. Facing a parish debt of close to $1 million at the time he was named pastor, Father Sichko was searching for a way to chip away at the debt, while involving hundreds of St. Mark's parishioners in the process. The idea he came up with led to the annual St. Mark's "An Evening Among Friends." The first event in 2005 featured television personality Philbin of "Live With Regis and Kelly." The second event April 30 featured comedian Cosby.

Prayer Answered!

My special intention has been answered!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Thursday, May 4, 2006

An Evening Among Friends II - Cosby

Our local paper covered the performance very well. Read about it in the Richmond Register.


I decided to copy the story and picture here so I'd have it, even if the Richmond Register link broke:

Cosby proves himself a master of comedy
Bill Robinson
Register Feature Writer

Bill Cosby is such a master of comedy, he merely has to squint or look out of the corner of one eye to make people laugh.

Cosby may not have invented the situation comedy, but he has certainly perfected the art of finding humor in almost any situation.The best-selling author, who was star of televisions long-running, top-rated Bill Cosby Show, brought his wry sense of humor to Richmond on Sunday for St. Mark Catholic Church's second annual "Evening with Friends".

Proceeds from Cosby's church-sponsored appearances will benefit St. Mark's building fund as well as Madison County Habitat for Humanity and the Enis Cosby Foundation.

After performing before a packed house at Eastern Kentucky Universitys 1,850-seat Brock Auditorium in the afternoon, Cosby gave a second, more intimate performance to another packed house of more than 500 Sunday evening in the St. Mark sanctuary. Extra chairs were brought in to accommodate the crowd.

Prior to his performance, Cosby met a number of patrons who had paid extra to met the world-famous entertainer and be photographed with him.

Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington and Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher with his wife Glenna were among the many out-of-town guests who heard Cosby at the church.

Fletcher said he had spoken on the phone with Cosby last year to invite him to the Kentucky Derby. "I had an uncle named Ernie Fletcher who is now deceased," Fletcher said Cosby told him. "It's interesting to learn that hes come back as a white man and is now governor of Kentucky," Cosby said.

Before Cosby spoke, Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson recalled meeting Cosby about 35 years ago in Las Vegas. "My husband and I had gone to Las Vegas to see Elvis Presley perform," she said. "In the hotel elevator we met Bill Cosby dressed to play tennis. He told us he had to hurry to his room and change. Elvis had canceled his show and he would have to go on early."

The Rev. Robert Blythe, pastor of the First Baptist Church on Francis Street, who also serves as Richmond's mayor pro tem, said he had gleaned lots of sermon topics from lessons that Cosby in his TV role of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable had taught his children.

Taking his cue from his performance location, Cosby, who was dressed in a St. Mark Lions sweatsuit, worked religious humor into his show.

Growing up in a Protestant family, Cosby said he regarded Catholics as quiet people. "They could communicate with God using hand gestures," he said. "They didn't have to shout the way we Protestants did."

Cosby said both his grandmothers were Methodists, while both his grandfathers were Baptists. One grandfather was a Baptist preacher.

As a child, Cosby said he was awakened at 5 a.m. every Sunday by his father to be present as his grandfather led the family in prayer.

The prayers sessions often lasted for extended periods. "I'd be praying that he would get done quickly, so we could eat the fried chicken, biscuit and gravy breakfast that was waiting for us," Cosby said.

Much of his grandfather's Sunday morning prayers were unintelligible, Cosby recalled. After he joined the U.S. Navy as a 19-year-old, Cosby attended a Catholic worship service with a buddy. "A lot of the service was in Latin, and I couldn't understand it," Cosby said. "It reminded me of my grandfather's prayers."

During one visit home from the Navy, Cosby worked up the courage to tell his grandfather that he did not understand a lot of what he was saying as he prayed. "I wasnt talking to you," his grandfather informed him.

In much of Cosby's routine, he lamented his role as the hapless husband, always in trouble with the "little woman".

Whoever came up with the term "little woman"? he asked. Going over to Bob Geiger who was sitting near the stage with his wife, Cosby asked how long he had been married. "Forty-two years," Geiger replied. "How long before you found out you weren't the boss?" Cosby asked. "About two minutes," said Geiger, as the audience roared with laughter.

"I idolized Bill Cosby as a kid," said Kevin Rahimzadeh after the performance. "To see him in person is a dream come true."

Pat Reister said, "I thought he'd eventually run out of laughs, but he just kept them coming."

Bishop Gainer thanked Cosby for his generosity in coming to Richmond. He also congratulated Father James Sichko of St. Mark on the success achieved in two successive "Evenings with Friends".

Not many people, and "certainly not many clergy could pull this off," he said. "This is one church event where we passed the collection plate ahead of time," the bishop joked.

Father Sichkos mother, Thereze Sichko of Orange, Texas, came to Richmond for "An Evening with Friends". While his decision to enter the priesthood came as a surprise to her, his success and staging fund-raising events did not, Mrs. Sichko said.

"I've got 20 scrapbooks at home from all of his church as school activities as a boy," she said. As a high school student, her son organized disaster drills, among many other activities, she recalled.

As a college student at the New England Conservatory of Music, her son raised $25,000 and secured many in-kind donations to bring the conservatory choir to Texas for a performance in his hometown.

Before Cosby came on stage, Father Sichko and Bishop Gainer presented the parishs annual awards. The honorees included: Julia Hinkle, who joined St. Mark in 1938; Dr. and Mrs. James Bennett, who hosted last years "Evening with Friends", Deacon Richard Jackson and his wife Madeline, who have been married for more than 60 years; and church volunteer leaders Emma Esker and Ellen Kessler.

Gil and Carla Smith won an autographed caricature of Cosby that was raffled off as part of the fund-raising event.

St. Mark plans a third annual "Evening with Friends" for next year. A special guest has been secured, but will not be revealed until later, Father Sichko said. "Today is about Bill Cosby and An Evening with Friends."

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 623-1669, Ext. 267.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

KLC - Day One with pictures

Well, the conferences are over for the day and we have the rest of the evening free, so I'll take this time to describe the facilities.

I took some pictures, but the batteries died after five shots. I brought everything but the kitchen sink, but forgot to buy batteries. Oh well. I'll get some later tonight.

The Kentucky Leadership Center is....rustic. Simple. Non-luxurious. Away from civilization (Somerset is about 45 minutes away). We each have our own room which are equipped with two bunk-beds, a sink, a bathroom with shower, a clock radio and that's it. It is very quiet, and I hope to use some downtime to pray and unwind.

The main lodge has four conference rooms, a dining hall, a big screen TV (I hope there are other Lost fans here) and wireless access. The gounds are expansive, and I hope to walk tomorrow morning (if its not raining) and take some pictures of the cabins 4-Hers use in the summer and the lake.

Last year I hiked two miles to the lake, which wasn't bad considering it was all downhill. Unfortunately, the hike back was all uphill. This was pre-event and I was about 20 punds heavier. Hopefully the hike (if I get the guts to do it again) this time will go much easier.

While it is nice to have some time to unwind, it is frustrating tonight because today is Nicholas' 10th birthday, and I am not at home celebrating with the family. I had considered driving back home this evening to kiss him goodnight, but that would mean 4 more hours of driving this evening or two tonight and two tomorrow morning and the conference tomorrow starts at 7:30 am, so I called him instead. He understands, but still, its hard.

I hope to read and reflect this evening (after Lost) and write some more posts for uploading in the morning. Until then, good-night.

Out of town

I will be out of town today through Friday at a Transition Summit (job required) at the remote Ky Leadership Center in Nancy, KY.

They have wireless access in the conference building, so I'll be posting pictures and information in the evenings.

Have a great day