Saturday, March 23, 2019

more on weakness

As I approach the 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, I am trying to embrace weakness, especially by seeing beauty in it. I was asked about the promise of obedience last night, for example. Fidelity to that promise has put me into unexpected situations and redirected whatever plans and ambitions I may have had. It has forced me to grow in ways that I would not have sought on my own. It is has been the catalyst for much that is beautiful in my life. It is also hard. To move, for example, two times in two years to two very different assignments and places is not easy. I can't say that I really understand the reasoning sometimes. But it is also what has brought about the situation of my learning Spanish at my age and being on a college campus as a student! In the move to the parish, I have shifted from implementing the program of the rector at the seminary to trying to articulate and implement a vision as pastor in the parish. In order to do this effectively, I need to know my weakness and to recognize and to rely on the talents and generosity of others. Letting go of illusions of control is essential. Coming to prefer being weak is the secret.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

new rector at Josephinum -- a friend

Fr. Steve Beseau with Bishop Campbell, retired bishop of Columbus, at the Josephinum yesterday on St. Joseph's Day.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

the way to do it

It struck me after my last post how remarkable the float from St. Patrick's Church in the Erin, Tennessee Irish Days parade was in 1964! The Second Vatican Council was still going on then. The small Catholic community of McEwen was evangelical enough to make the case publicly and attractively between the celebrations in Houston County, Tennessee and ancient faith that St. Patrick spread throughout Ireland. The little mission church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Tennessee Ridge (just up the road from Erin) would not be built for another 15+ years. This was new evangelization before anyone had heard the term. This float was making the point that St. Patrick is a man, not a myth.

Friday, March 15, 2019

my former parishes

This is a picture (compliments of the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle) from 1964 Irish Days parade in Erin, Tennessee. Erin is the county seat of Houston County. It has an Irish name, but there is nothing particularly Irish about Erin, although it is a charming town. This picture is of a float in the parade from St. Patrick's in McEwen, which is an authentically Irish settlement in Humphries County, just south of Houston County. I was the pastor of both places for over nine years. Even though the Irish of McEwen have long assimilated culturally, they proudly retain their Catholic faith. The Catholics of McEwen were even formerly referred to locally as "Irishmen." The settlers to McEwen had come to America to escape the potato famine, with he first wave coming via New Orleans in the 1840's and another wave building the railroad in the 1850's. For a long time, McEwen had one of the only Catholic churches between Memphis and Nashville, and St. Patrick's School is the oldest in the Diocese of Nashville. St. Patrick's has a proud heritage, but it has little to do with leprechauns! Much more with barbecue...

Monday, March 11, 2019


Sunday, February 3, 2019

killing sins

That's what we were doing here at St. Rose yesterday. I would estimate the number of confessions heard this weekend in the hundreds. On Saturday morning, we celebrated our children's first confessions -- well over 100 of them, as well as a good number of their parents and family members. That took all morning and about 10 priests at different times. And then in the afternoon for some wonderful reason, we had a huge line at the regular confession time so that I opened up a second confessional. Praise God!

Update: The lines for confession kept up all weekend!

more on weakness

As I approach the 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, I am trying to embrace weakness, especially by seeing beauty in it. I wa...

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