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A priest and his kids


There’s a buzz of excitement in our parish lately. A new priest is set to join us on the first of July -- and everyone can’t wait to hear all about his children.

Don’t mean that metaphorically. Like we would use, say, “flock.” Our new parish priest has kids. Of his own. From his marriage.

According to early reports circulating the pews, he joined the priesthood late in life, after his wife passed on and his children were grown. He’s served at other parishes in the Los Angeles area, and has a great reputation.

This is becoming more common, as the church reaches out in new ways to attract more priests to the fold. A Jesuit friend of mine comes from the same background – he commited to the priesthood after his wife’s untimely death. His two sons were (and are) very supportive -- he is a fantastic priest.

I get a kick out of him in a few ways: 1) I love watching people’s faces when he starts to talk about his children, his wife, his career and his marriage. 2) And I love calling him and hearing crying infants in the background, when he’s been recruited to help babysit for his grandchildren -- just to give the kids a bit of a break.

Traps and booms


Breton Sound, La. -- This is what it is all about. In the foreground are crab traps. They should be out in the water at this time of year. Instead, they are sitting on the dock. Meanwhile on the boat, deckhands are preparing to set off with a load of oil restraining boom.

I spent the morning out along Bayou La Loutre in St. Bernard Parish, La. An oil disaster response staging area has been set up here on Breton Sound.

Brother Louis and authentic holiness


It wasn’t long after my wife and I moved to Kansas City, Mo., 16 years ago that we met Brother Louis Rodemann. He is a short man, lean and wiry with enormous hands and ready smile. He has the strength of someone who for decades has carried cases of No. 10 cans of everything from the parking lot to the basement and back to the first floor.

He has lived for decades where most of us rarely visit. “The poor” is not an abstraction to him; he is one of those for whom biblical reality is not some proof-texting exercise or a trip into layers of interpretation.

The reality for him (Josh McElwee writes about him here) has been a call to unrelenting service to some of the most marginalized in our culture. He's taking a well-deserved sabbatical.

When So-called Pro-lifers Are Hateful


I know, I know. Interdict got a bad name and is viewed as a tad heavy-handed and what with all the controversies, the bishops are ill-advised to behave in such a manner. Still, reading this blogpost from a group that styles itself pro-life, and watching this video of protesters harassing the graduating class and faculty at Gonzaga High School, the thought of an interdict crossed my mind.

After 28 years, Catholic worker honored by Kansas City, Mo.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Catholic workers don't normally grab much attention. For one brief moment here last Thursday that changed.

After 28 years of service at the Holy Family Catholic Worker House, Christian Br. Louis Rodemann was honored by the mayor and city council of Kansas City, Mo. with an official city proclamation.

Citing his efforts to feed the hungry for the past three decades - going so far as to even mention his time 'dumpster diving' for discarded food that could still be used in the nightly meal - the council called Rodemann someone who exemplifies the true 'Kansas City spirit.'

Beyond the official recognition, though, the council gave Rodemann something most people - let alone Catholic workers - get the chance to have: their full attention.

After presenting the award to Rodemann, Mayor Mark Funkhouser gave the former teacher the microphone. With most of the city council present, Rodemann did what he's done for most of his adult life: he spoke of the need for justice for the city's economically impoverished and marginalized.

Kennedy and Daschle to Head Health Care Campaign


This, reported in "Mike Allen's Playbook" from Politico, is significant, and, for those who want health reform to work on both a policy and political level, smart. (You have to scroll a bit to get to the item after the link).

"Tom Daschle and Victoria Kennedy, the late senator’s wife, are expected to be named co-chairs this week of a well-funded campaign White House allies are rolling out to defend health reform against critics and help states implement it. The Health Information Center is being started by Andrew Grossman, a veteran Democratic operative who founded Wal-Mart Watch, a labor-backed group to challenge the world’s largest retailer. Grossman told us the lessons of Wal-Mart Watch will be helpful on health reform: 'When you treat people with respect and try to understand how they interact with businesses and politics, you can move them.'

Spare Ireland Vatican's misguided strategy


If John Cooney's report in The Irish Independent is correct,the Vatican's intent in sending foreign prelates to help the Irish will result in another practical and public relations train wreck.

"The nine-member team led by two cardinals will be instructed by the Vatican to restore a traditional sense of reverence among ordinary Catholics for their priests, the Irish Independent has learned," Cooney writes in the June 7 issue.

He said that priests will be instructed to end their public questioning of church policy on such issues as the church ban on artifical birth control or the banning from communion of divorced Catholics who have remarried without obtaining a church annulment.

"A major thrust of the Vatican investigation will be to counteract materialistic and secularist attitudes, which Pope Benedict believes have led many Irish Catholics to ignore church disciplines and become lax in following devotional practices such as going on pilgrimages and doing penance."


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