Box of Treasures


What a treat it was to receive a new Box of Treasures in the mail!

A load of new books from my good friend Pat Gohn covering a wide range of topics that will really come in handy with the students.  I was really glad to see a number of books on priesthood and women’s issues.

Pat also included her own new book, “Bold, Beautiful and Bodacious.”  I was hoping that she would include a copy as I’ve been wanting to read it.  I’ve just finished the Introduction and since I know Pat well, can read it with her own voice in my head.  A little weird, but comforting too.

My friend Brandon Vogt also included a few books in the shipment.  I don’t know how that came about, but he also included his book, “The Church and New Media,” a topic near to my heart and something that the Church in PNG needs to embrace more.

The library here at St. Fidelis has some excellent material in it, but it does lack some of the more modern publications by writers such as Scott Hahn, George Weigel, Pope Benedict XVI and others.  Fr. Cyril was particularly interested in seeing the second and third books in Pope Benedict’s Jesus series.

What a terrific gift to send to St. Fidelis!

Many thanks to Pat and Brandon for their contribution to the education of PNG’s budding seminarians!

7 Quick Takes Friday – July 6th

— 1 —

Holy Moly it’s July already.  Only about 12 weeks left of summer here in Oklahoma.  Oh sure, we complain about the heat, but I know that everyone here secretly loves the heat and loathes the cold.

— 2 —

Have I mentioned the Catholic New Media Conference lately?  Plans are really coming together for our best one yet.  You should come.  Really.  Click that link and find out about it.



— 3 —

Independence Day was very enjoyable.  You can read about it here if you like.  Topped it off with a trip to the Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball game last night.  My brother and my good friends Jeff, Jim and Bryan were all there in spite of the 95+ degree temps.

— 4 —

Fr. Stanley Francis Rother

Sainthood cause for Oklahoma’s Fr. Stanley Rother has advanced a little bit.  An official relator has been appointed by the Vatican to explore the issue of his martyrdom.  I blogged about it here.  It would be a tremendous thing for Oklahoma and Guatemala if he should ever be canonized.  I hope I live to see that day.  Excitement is also building here amongst our Native American population for the canonization of Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha this October.


— 5 —

Squirrels.  Once again my nemeses caused damage to my house, this time chewing through the coax cables for my internet service.  Really?  They actually like that stuff? They should go get real jobs.

— 6 —

My first college band director passed away yesterday.  Paul A. Montemurro, called “Prof” by his students, was one of a kind.  Italian by ancestry, you were one moment his little “gagutz” (an endearing term we later learned means idiot), and the next the object of an emotional tirade.

Even so, you loved this bigger than life man as only true band geeks can understand.  I don’t know if I would have been half as successful in college if it hadn’t been the band community that formed around his bands at Oklahoma State University in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Rest in peace, Prof!

— 7 —

Ordination of John Grant by Bishop Edward Slattery

Blessing and congratulations to Fr. John Grant, a former Newman Center student of mine who was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Tulsa last weekend.

It was a joy to be there and to share the occasion with so many friends.

(photo source:  Diocese of Tulsa)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Fortnight for Freedom: Day 10 – “We didn’t pick the time, nor did we pick the fight”

I had the pleasure to meet Archbishop Joseph Naumann briefly during the 2011 Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City, KS.

This interview with him, published in the Catholic World Report, has some very interesting comments about the fight for religious liberty, social justice, the principle of subsidiarity and personal virtue.

Social justice doesn’t mean the state taking care of everybody, but empowering people so they can take care of themselves and their families. That’s the real dignity we want to help people achieve.


I so agree with this.  We have so many problems to address in our society, but in my belief, very very few of them must be solved by the government, the least effective means of solving any problem.

Does the state have some role to play with the poor? Absolutely, I think, in terms of a safety net. But that doesn’t mean that we keep increasing the number of people who are dependent on the state in some way. That, to me, is the direction we’ve been going for the last 50 years.

When the government purposely strives to have the majority of its people dependent on it for food, health care, etc., it is subverting the true meaning of that wonderful phrase from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.



Fortnight for Freedom: Day 5 – Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati


We, who by the grace of God are Catholics… must steel ourselves for the battle we shall certainly have to fight to fulfill our program and give our country, in the not too distant future, happier days and a morally healthy society, but to achieve this we need constant prayer to obtain from God that grace without which all our efforts are useless; organization and discipline to be ready for action at the right time; and finally, the sacrifice of our passion and of ourselves, because without that we cannot achieve our aim.”
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Turin, Italy, 1922


Learn more about Blessed Pier Giorgio here.

Fortnight for Freedom: Day 3

Set your DVRs for a special program to be broadcast on ETWN:

Life is Worth Living: The Glory of Being an American

Sat., Jun. 23 at 6 PM ET

Archbishop Fulton Sheen discusses the origin of our rights and liberties, the great value that Americans put upon the human person and then thirdly, what America’s done for the world.

Fortnight for Freedom: Day 2

Last Wednesday, on the eve of the beginning of the Fortnight for Freedom, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., delivered a speech to attendees of the Catholic Press Association conference, meeting in Indianapolis.

It is a very sobering assessment of the war being raged against religious freedom in our country, and how perilous the situation in the Church is today and its ability to confront it.

I urge you to take the time to read his speech, which can be found at First Things.

Where did the week go?

Does this happen to you?  Do you get to the end of the week and wonder where it went?

I’m not much of a blogger obviously, so I’m going to resist the shame of having two consecutive posts called “7 Quick Takes.”  So, pretend that this is something else.  (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)


I have a boarder.  My “godson” Alex is staying with me for a few months as he transitions into the next phase of his life.  He’s not technically my godson, but I did sponsor him when he joined the Church five years ago.   It’s fun having him here and he’s promised to do all the mowing.  Deal!


The mail just arrived with an invitation to the priestly ordination of one of my former students from the Univ. of Tulsa Newman Center.   Rev. Mr. John Grant will be ordained on June 30th by Bishop Edward Slattery at Tulsa’s Holy Family Cathedral.  You should check out his website:  His “wishlist” on is also interesting!  Just what do you get a newly ordained priest?

This is very exciting and I hope to go. He’s going to be such a blessed asset for our diocese.  Unfortunately, it’s also the wedding day in Denver for a very close friend.  I’m conflicted.


I recently re-committed to an hour each week at our perpetual adoration chapel.  Tuesday morning at 1am.  I’m finding it difficult to adjust to this new timeslot.   A few years ago, I  had a 4am Thursday morning slot, which I found much easier to manage from a sleep perspective.

This week, rather than taking a nap beforehand, I just stayed up for it.  It worked out much better and I was more focused and alert.

I like having this commitment and would encourage anyone to give it some consideration.


I’ve signed up for a retreat.  I’ve worked many, many retreats for college students, but this is the first personal one for so long that I can’t remember the last one.   It’s a two day drive to get there, but I’ve never been one to turn down a roadtrip.  Besides, I’m a proponent of having time before and after retreats as transition periods.


I had the best time last Sunday afternoon.  For Mother’s Day, another “godson”, if I can still use that term, asked me to take some photos of his wife and kids at Tulsa’s Woodward Park.  The kids were great, so darn cute, and I really like spending time with them.   I’m definitely not a professional photographer, but I do think some of the shots came out well.  I really need to practice more with my camera.


Most of the week’s work was focused on the upcoming Catholic New Media Conference.  We announced the speakers for the International Catholic Bloggers’ Summit, which is the theme for the final day of the 3-day conference.  It’s going to be great fun and so many good things are happening with it.  Another big announcement is coming, so keep an eye out for it.


I rediscovered the blog of another former Newman Center student.  Her name is Sarah and she’s got a great sense of humor and a quick wit.  If you like perusing other people’s blogs, check out Just a Brown-Eyed Girl.

That’s it!  I’ll really try to find something interesting to write about next week.  Heaven forbid that I have to resort to politics.  We both really don’t want that to happen!


Taking One for the Team

[portfolio_slideshow timeout=3000 include=”1666, 1665,1664,1663,1662,1661, 1660,1659,1658,1657,1656,1655,1654,1653,1652″]

SQPN had its annual online Podcast Marathon to end its Giving Campaign.  CEO Fr. Roderick Vonhogen literally took one for the team by allowing viewers to bid on ingredients for a nasty concoction.

The shots above show what a good sport Fr. Roderick is.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to stomach it.  The viewing crowd was sending prayers out to St. Timothy and St. Erasmus, both patrons of stomach disorders!  🙂

What were the ingredients?

  • apple juice
  • Tabasco sauce
  • condensed milk
  • hazel nut paste
  • raw, chopped onion
  • whipped cream
  • raw mushrooms
  • spicy French mustard

I’m still a bit queasy having watched it.  I have to award this concoction an ignominious 3 burnt toast.

Howdy! (New English Roman Missal)


Or perhaps I should be more exact and say “How do you do today?”

(See what I did there?  I translated my Okie greeting into more specific and more understandable English.)

So, about 96 days from when I’m writing this, the English-speaking parts of the Catholic Church will begin using a new English version of the Roman Missal.  This will be the 3rd official version of the Missal approved by the Church.    Only the third one since we began organizing all the various texts into one book more than 450 years ago.

What’s the Roman Missal, you ask?  It’s the ritual text that contains all the prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Holy Mass.    It’s a big deal.

The English version, and all the other language versions, are translations from the “official” Latin language Roman Missal that is issued by the Vatican with the approval of many, many people including the Pope.

There’s quite a bit of hub-bub about this new English Missal.  It’s taken many years to complete and there is quite a bit of confusion about why it’s being issued.  There’s also some resistance by some people who don’t want to change the prayers they’ve used their entire lives.  Understandable to have these feelings, but in my opinion, they are based on misunderstandings of the reasons for the changes.

I ran across the following three videos produced by Life Teen that give a brief yet entertaining explanation of the changes, the process involved, etc.  There’s one for adults/parent, one for teens, and one for middle school age kids.

They don’t tell the whole story, but I think they’re a good start and will hopefully open the minds of folks who are scared of change.

Have a look at these and let me know what you think in the comments.

Parent Version

Teen Version (my favorite!)

Middle School Version


Thanks to the Christe, Audi Nos! blog for pointing the way to these videos.

Rome & Radio

The theme for our Friday in Rome quickly centered around international Catholic radio.  During the morning hours, we settled into an upper room at the Dutch Friezen Church, just off of St. Peter’s Square.

I listened to Fr. Roderick and his radio crew record a radio program in Dutch for over 2 hours.  I never imagined that I would be in Rome but yet privy to the work of the Church from the Netherlands.

Later in the day, we had truly one of the best experiences I could have hoped for.  We had the privilege of visiting the offices and studios of Vatican Radio and were introduced to Fr. Roderick’s former professor Mr. Sean Patrick Lovett.  He is the director of the Italian and English language channels for Vatican Radio and a wonderful person to talk to about Catholic media, its past and future.  Vatican Radio is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and it a worldwide organization, broadcasting in 34 languages.  It was a great experience!

Mr. Lovett also gave us a tour of one of the radio studios where live broadcasts were in progress informing pilgrims in Rome about the upcoming Beatification, security, and traffic arrangements.    Mr. Lovett also expressed his interest in the work of SQPN and in some of the ways that our experience can benefit them.


Fr. Roderick and Mr. Sean Patrick Lovett at Vatican Radio

Vatican Radio Broadcast Studio

Vatican Radio Control Room





Our first full day in Rome, Fr. Roderick and I took some time to check out the preparations for the beatification in St. Peter’s Square and get our bearings on a few places that we’ll be visiting over the next few days.  We weren’t there too long, so I didn’t take too many photos.  No doubt there will be more as the excitement builds.

It seems to me that there are already quite few people in Rome for the beatification.  Strangely, I haven’t noticed any other Polish pilgrims but I have no doubt that there are loads of them here, somewhere.

Some SQPN fans from Indiana introduced themselves to us along one of the streets and we even had a brief encounter with Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who kindly hosted last year’s CNMC.

Here’s a little video of St. Peter’s that I shot as well.