WOW!

Today my webmaster called to tell me I got a strange note. Apparently the person who wrote thinks I’m nuts! I think most of my good friends and parish family members would tell you that is what they like the best about me. I like to have fun and I love to joke around with my flock. I’m told it makes me approachable. The complaint also said that my using a beer bottle to blast on my page is sending the wrong message to our youth. I hardly doubt that any kids read my blog. And, apparently, I don’t think my complainer sees Facebook and some of the stuff that I see posted.
His recommendation to me was to recharge myself by going back to reading the Early Church fathers. Hey, I already did!
Then he interpreted my blog as being pro-choice! I have never been pro-choice. I certainly do not have to prove that to anyone but God!
I love being a priest. I love my priesthood. For some unknown person to come forward and start blasting more……well, think again sir!

The Race Begins!

I can feel the tension building as the day of election is slowly coming to the end. In all my life I have never seen such mean-spirited reporting. I feel safe in saying that it gets more vicious and somewhat out of control each day. Instead of being educated about the issues I feel that it is turning more into a political-drama-reality show. And can you blame the pundits? Political fodder is spewing everywhere and even to the point of being ridiculous. I get more information from Jon Stewart than anyone else.

People are always complaining about FOX news but MSNBC is just as bad (or good). I admit that I love Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. I may not agree with them on everything but I find them at least interesting. Even good old Al Sharpton is entertaining. Biased? You betcha he is! But his perspective is valuble in understanding the temperature of the African-American community.

There was a time when I was a staunch Republican. It was the Reagan days. Then there was a time when I was a staunch Democrat. I thought Jimmy Carter was a decent man. He just didn’t appear to have guts! So now I am a staunch Independent voter. I pledge no fidelity to any specific party. For me I will mix my vote between Democrat and Republican. Yes, I am one of those rare individuals who actually tries to study the candidates and the issues they strive to complete. This does not make me  the perfect voter by any means. What I am striving for is to try not to let others influence me no matter how mean, vicious or humorous they are. When you’re dealing with people’s livelihoods….it is a no joking matter!

The Chicken or the Egg!

I'm too young to die!

I have been watching with great interest this whole spectacle about whether or not to eat at Chik-Fil-A or not on August 1st, 2012. Both groups have turned this into a bonanza for the restaurant. It’s a win/win situation…..for the restaurant! I’m thinking of all the free advertising they are recieving: WIN!   I’m also looking at all the Lefty’s who plan on eating at the restaurant on that day as a show of solidarity and for standing up to the liberal agenda: again…a WIN for the restaurant! I’m sure I am missing many other twists and turn to this story but I really feel the restaurant CEO is either a genius or a madman or both.

Now, I have never eaten at Chik-Fil-A nor do I ever intend to. But it’s not because I agree or disagree with their philosophies but because I have a feeling I would really like it and the last thing I need to do is to become addicted to another fast food chain. In my neck of the woods there is only one Chik-Fil-A in this area and it is about 20 minutes away.

There was a time when White Castle Hamburgers were the thing to travel out of your way for. Those tiny little biscuit shaped hamburgers that were scrumtious bites of grease and dehydrated onions. I cannot tell you how many times as a young person I would jump in the car with the boys and we would make our “mecca” trip to Hammond to eat those tasty little treats. As we got older, I noticed that White Castle expanded and the distance between them was growing shorter. It is another right of passage when you turn drinking age to head to the “Porcelain Palace” (just another nickname for White Castle) and guzzle down a few dozen burgers to rest on that belly full of beer. What great stories of puking those square little beef pies in the parking lot after a night of Olympic drinking! Ah, yes the memories!

Okay, now back to the chicken thingy. Here’s my thought: On Wednesday, August 1st 2012, i am going to my butcher and buying a huge chicken to roast on my grill. I would advise you to do the same. I’m also going to invite friends over for dinner so that we can sit around a table without the clutter of people rushing in and out of a restaurant. I will avoid eating the processed chicken that has been placed on a mass produced bun. I will eat chicken that is one of ‘dem range chicken. You know….organic…no chemicals. I’m going to peel potatoes and make real mashed potatoes instead of deep fried sticks. I am going to delight my company by doing something we all have forgotten to do and that is to cook. I will not be talking about politics and hating someone else’s religious or other beliefs.

Instead I will be creating a long lasting memory spent with good friends and good food.

 

Celebrating Our Heritage!

My father is turning 88 years old on Friday July 27th. As I reflect on his life I can only say that he has been the most resilient of all his good friends. I say that because most of his good friends have now passed on. He has also outlived all his brothers. I say this not to brag but to just state the facts. My father’s mother lived to the great age of 93! I just wonder how long God will allow us to have him around. When people ask me how he’s doing, my first reaction is, “why don’t you go see him?” I would say it with a smile but it also has a cutting seriousness. As someone who goes to nursing homes I see the loneliness of so many people who have been storehoused. Out of sight, out of mind. Even I have to remember that he is there and it’s not going to kill me to pop in for a few minutes.

It’s just like I call my mother every day. sometimes twice a day. When I have told people this they say “WHY?” and I always reply, “because I can!”  The only redeeming fact I can rely on is that my dad gets excellent care by a hard working staff. That is a difficult vocation and if you do not love the elderly then maybe you shouldn’t work there. I always teasingly say that I speak “senior citizen.”  There is an honest truth to that. Sometimes our aged loved ones don’t always grasp concepts and it requires extra time and patience to reassure our beloved’s that all is well.

On Saturday I am having a birthday party for him. Sister Sue is driving down from Minneapolis to be here. I’ve invited dad’s sisters and have tried to get the word out to the cousins. It will be a simple celebration. I made some taco meat and fried some tostada shells. We’ll probably have the staples of beans and rice; the usual! Our simple ancestral foods that never cease to delight us. We will create a memory and it will give papa a chance to bust out of the home. It will be some simple down time. Time to smile, relax and be with one another while we are still here. There will be a day when even those present will only be a memory. Happy Birthday Papa! I love you!

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Festival Around the Corner!

Beth halfman setting up the drinks and Ice Cream Booth. They make the best Root Beer Floats!

My feature picture is from last year’s Festival but it pretty much looks the same as far as setting up. Getting everything ready has been a lot of work but this year we are really kind of feeling our groove as we have made so many more new positive changes. One of the things that we’ve had to do the past two years is to upgrade much of our equipment such as electrical wiring and new coolers and roasters. This equipment sure does take a beating over these four days.

Our ladies (and gentlemen) in the kitchen have been grueling away at making the festival food. Our Knights f Columbus have been helping us haul out equipment from the pole barn and our young men on the crew have been assembling the booths.

Last weekend and this weekend our festival chairpersons have been in the lobby of the church trying to recruit help for the festival. It takes many helping hands to put it all together to make our festival a success.

These past few days have brought on the heat and much needed rain which is fine but we will still be praying for good festival weather regardless. I can handle the heat but the rain keeps the folks away.

Modern Midways will start bringing in their stuff by the end of the week and the stage for the bands will be assembled too. We have some mighty fine entertainment coming in. One of the things we’re doing is bringing in a Mariachi Band from Indianapolis to play on Sunday night from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We’re hoping this new venue will bring in some fun with an ethnic flair!

Until then it’s time to get back to work and we hope to see you there!

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Hello!

I was offline for awhile. Our server host had some kind of computer problems but it seems to be okay for now. These past few weeks have been incredible. Saying goodbye to our 8th Graders was really tough. A great group of kids whom I will truly miss. Our school next year is going to be almost at maximum. We picked up a few families from St. Bridget with the announcement that their school is closing it’s doors. I find this to be a very sad situation whenever we close another school. I had high hopes for St. Bridget as I’m sure they did. It is a wonderful facility and a great city.

We had some tough news on the let day of school. One of our school kids was hit by a car. He suffered a broken foot which is going to lay him up for most of the summer. I would ask you to keep Tyler Chandler in your prayers. He’s a great kid with awesome parents and they are sticking very close to him these days.

Our festival is quickly approaching and we always seem to think we have everything together and we always forget a few items. Nothing life threatening but something we didn’t see that kind of smacks us in the face.

I have my garden in place and I have several tomatoes plants, jalapeños and Serrano peppers along with one cucumber plant and tons of herbs like basil, cilantro, thyme and marjoram.

I am also loving this hot weather. As long as I can find respite in air conditioning I’m fine.

I’ve also been keeping a close eye on my oldest dog, Molly. It appears that she is slowly fading as the leukemia is settling in. My little momma never complains and is as strident as the day I got her over 10 years ago. I know that by the end of this year I may have to go the tough way of sending her across the Rainbow Bridge. I don’t feel as weepy about this as I would have before losing two previous dogs. I think her son, Gus II will miss her most since she still babies him. so, we shall see how this all goes!

Tyler Chandler

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June is Busting Out All Over!

Well, actually it’s kind of chilly today but warm weather is right around the corner now! But it’s JUNE! I have officially declared it to be Festival Mode Time! I love this time of the year because we get to see the fruits of our labors come alive. I really don’t have much more to add than the fact that the church remembers St. Justin, martyr!

Time

I don’t know why I have such a hard time keeping up with my blog. It’s not like I don’t have anything worthwhile to express. I certainly do. My discipline is lacking in this category. So there.
So let me start off by saying that I have now entered into Festival mode. All the planning we have been doing is now coming to the forefront and I am getting excited about it. I think we have some awesome bands lined up. I will be especially curious to see how the Mariachi band will fare on Sunday night.
My summer staff is home from college and they are busy getting the church look great for the summer. We will breaking in a new guy this summer. Actually he’s not new because he is one of parish kids but he will be getting his taste of work.
The month of May was just as hectic as I knew it would be. There is so much going on and without another priest here to assist, I become overwhelmed at all the work. This is where I’m so grateful to have three deacons. I have been pushing off a lot of work on them. I am simply letting them be the deacons they were ordained to be! To serve!
There are some things I am not able to let them have more freedom with and to be quite blunt….it is preaching. The reason why is that it is the only time I can reach out and express the Gospel and connect with my people. Yes, I am a little greedy and self-centered in that regards.
So, having said that , I will try to post again and soon. God Bless you all!

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Hello!

I got back from Washington D. C. one week ago and since then it’s been a whirlwind of activity. The trip with our 8th graders was wonderful. The kids were perfect. One major glitch that was no fault of our own and that was when our bus hit the side view mirror of another bus. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but it crashed into the windows along one side of our bus and blew out all the window. Frightening….you bet. Luckily, the glass did what it was supposed to do and that was to shatter instead of shard. Our entire bus was sprayed with little pellets that found themselves everywhere including hair and clothing.  Within an hour we were able to get a new bus and be on our way.

As usual, Gettysburg was awesome. We had Jim Roubal again as our guide. He is so awesome and he has a good memory. I have learned so much more as an adult about our country’s history by visiting these historic places. Of course, Mt. Vernon and the Naval Academy are cool too!

I really got to know some of our kids who are leaving us. They are genuinely nice kids and like the kids we had two years ago, I will really miss them. I also got to know some of our parents too and they were a blast too.

The school year is beginning to wind down but our parish is never asleep. We are already filling up for next year. Our pre-K and 1st Grade is on a waiting list and I imagine that we will be repeating this with the other grades too as the days move forward. I can’t even begin to express the pride I feel when hard work bears good fruit.

With the CSA (Catholic Services Appeal) beginning this weekend, I hope I can convince the Nativity community to be generous again. I would really like to put the roof repairs behind us and start working on some of the other things we need around here. Such as, our narthex! I would like to replace the cringing, put in new lighting, paint the walls, completely remodel the bathrooms, and rip out the carpet and replace it with tile. That’s all!

The festival will also be here before we know it and just about everything in that is pretty well set. Raffle tickets will be going out shortly and the new revamping of that should prove to be profitable provided that we execute it properly. By the way, the tickets went from a dollar a piece to $5 a ticket. the winnings are up too along with the odds of winning.

Thats all for now!

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A New Light!

I’m not even going to apologize for not being daily on this blog. Let’s just say I’ll do what I can!

This week I will be leaving for Washington, D.C. with my 8th graders and their chaperones. This will be my third trip with them. They are so much fun and they are also exhausting. I’m not talking about the kids, I’m talking about the itinerary. All we do is keep moving, moving, moving. Funny how I never get tired of seeing the same thing over and over. D.C. is an awesome town. My favorite places are the Newsuem, Gettysburg and the Naval Academy.

The personality of the groups are different too. This years group is going to be a lot of fun. Last years group was pure drama. There were a few great kids in that bunch but there were a few stinkers. And you know who you are!!!

Now that we’ve turned off the Easter parade we begin our trek towards the end of the school year, raffle tickets and of course the Parish Festival! It never ends! And please God, don’t let it end too soon.