Help….I’ve fallen…..

I can only dream that it will be this easy!

Remember that commercial of the lady who falls and can’t get up? Did you know the original lady in that commercial died? Just a little fun fact to place in your pie plate. The whole thing on aging has kind of swung around again. this may 11th I will turn 56 years old. Not a big deal right? At least that’s what the older generations tell me. “Wait till you turn my age!” is the common retort from a member of that team. Well guess what, I’m feeling it now! So right now, in this moment, it’s all about me. I think I’m entitled.

All this started from a news report about when the anniversary of astronaut John Glenn made his trips around the earth. My goodness that was fifty years ago…..and I remember it. I remember it because John Glenn was probably my first hero. I remember having a color photo of him hanging on my bedroom wall along with a picture poster from NASA with all the astronauts on it. My fascination with all things “Outer Space” was a great fad that had a great run. But it seemed to diminish after watching the first man walk on the moon. I’m sure my interests moved on to something else.

As I look over my life in the past fifty years, I can recall so many things. I seem to be losing my innate ability to remember the itsy-bitsy stuff but I believe that is natural. I guess the one thing that saddens me is the way things die. I clearly remember the City of Gary as it used to be and not how it is today. There is plenty of blame to go around as to why the city is in ruins. But I prefer to look ahead with the hope that it can come back. Maybe not in my lifetime….but somewhere when someone who has a dream to make it happen.

Growing older is supposed to be the time when we become wiser, more compassionate  and more understanding. That is the state of my “growing older” that I wish to accomplish.

Early Bird!

Moving and cleaning is GOOD!

I made an executive decision today. I decided to move my bedroom to the front of the rectory. this means putting my ginormous king size bed into my larger room. I’ve been contemplating this move for awhile and today it took all the energy I had to start it going. I made significant progress but I also knew that I would have to do some serious cleaning. Namely with the vacuum and carpet cleaner. I finally got to see where all the cats have been throwing up and where that dog I fostered made pee-pee all over the place. I am so glad I bought soil resistant carpet with pets in mind. Nasty, nasty, nasty! But it will all be good and by this evening I should be done.

But this all started a couple of weeks ago when I watched an episode of Hoarders on TLC. Yikes! I began to look at all my “stuff” and realized, this stuff has got to go. My biggest hoard is clothing. I have four closets worth of clothes. And they are good clothes. Some of them are off only one size and I paid a lot of bucks for them. I can honestly say that my weight does float 10 to 15 pounds. But there are some things I haven’t worn in a few years and now its come to this…..get rid of it!

But there is other clutter in my life too. There is a reason for my madness although I know its not the best reason. Let’s be honest and say its an excuse. We all have some type of clutter in our lives. Whether it be spiritual, physical or emotional. We all need to clean our “house” from time to time. I invite you to reflect with me. What are the things that are cluttering up your life?

Super Sunday


I’m rooting for New York Giants! Why?  Why not?! I love New York! In fact, I’m counting down the days until my trip in March to see some shows: Book of Mormon, David Letterman, and Spiderman. I also plan on visiting the Today Show, The 911 Museum and just do some shopping and other tourist kind of stuff. Yes….I love New York!

I am also so proud to be a Hoosier today as I watch all the reports coming out of Indy about how well organized the Super Bowl Events. I wish I could do this zip line I’ve been seeing. Everyone I’ve talked to who has been to the Super Bowl Village has told me how exciting it was. To top it off, God really blessed Indiana with NO SNOW!

So tonight I can hardly wait to watch the game. GO NEW YORK!

Getting Behind

I was hoping to turn a new leaf and begin posting faithfully. Sounded good at first but in reality when I come home after 10 days of being on vacation, I always find myself thrown into the Lion’s mouth. Not that anything has been difficult or unusual to the ordinary parish priest but certainly a busy schedule resumes. AND, I thrive on it! Never a dull moment indeed.

This week my heart has been touched by sadness. One of my parishioners whom I had become close to passed away suddenly. Chris was 39 years old did not wake up last Saturday morning. The shock of his death sent waves throughout the community. Chris worked at Menard’s here in Portage. But he also worked for the community. Chris had a vision. He wanted to see the city that he lived in do good things. One of his pet projects was Rebuilding Together Portage. Chris and I were working closely on putting together a fund raiser that would help generate some dollars. RTP helps persons of low income to make necessary repairs to their homes that they cannot afford for various reasons, whether they were unemployed, aged, widowed. It is a classic case of stewardship that Chris awoke to and his mission was fierce.

His passing will certainly put a dent into the program but I am praying that his determination will be an inspiration to our community. I am hoping we, as a community, can collectively pick up the cross of grief and move forward and have great success in helping out those in need.


I was able to break into my web site and make a post thru my iPad. I am having a great time. I visited with the Swishers last night along with Kris and their new pup, Rosie. What an energetic bundle of love she is!
It’s always so good to visit them. I can just relax and be myself. Today I went up to the city of Orlando to visit Ben and Laura Downey. We went to lunch at a REAL Chinese restaurant that served Dim Sum style. It was an awesome experience. I was worried that my little tummy would not be able to consume much but boy was I wrong. It was an incredible experience. I have known Ben for 19 years. He was just a lad and now he is an adult and an incredible young man. His wife, Laura, is of Chinese descent and she is one of the loveliest people I I’ve met. They are so happy together and so in love. Warms my heart!
Unfortunately I missed my mass date with Tim, Cindy and Kris. It’s so hard to see everyone.
I’ve been really lucky to be able to have wonderful weather here. I am conscious that I will return to winter. But I go back knowing that Spring is one day closer.

I Heard the Mouse Call My Name!

Mom and Dad at Disney's Boardwalk in 2004.

It seems that right before I leave for vacation something big always falls in my lap. There are several things going on that I really don’t have the answer to and it’s very frustrating to know that lives are depending on me. I can only do so much but I will do what I can and that is the best way I can put it.

This morning I called two very old friends of mine from childhood. They lost their brother last night to cancer. Cancer sucks! They had hoped to see their brother at the end of the month but God had other plans. I know the feeling of not being able to say “goodbye” to a loved one. When my sister and brother died, there were no goodbye’s….they were just gone. Tony’s death was especially difficult because we were never allowed to see him because he was not viewable. This hurt us so very deeply. So, having walked that walk I called the two sisters to convey my heartfelt sympathies. And it was, indeed, heartfelt!

One of the things i had to do was call my sister, Susan, just to hear her voice. I, for selfish reasons, want her to move back to this area because I miss her so much. I have a special bond with her and I feel like the world is slipping away from me by not having my niece and nephew around to give them a sense of identity. I think her husband has the same feeling. He suffered the loss of both of his parents within a one year span and I have not been there for him physically to give him the support he needs.

I am also very mindful of my parents whom I am so lucky to still have but even with them being here, I see them slipping away. Mom is getting thinner and looking her age. My dad who is in a nursing home actually looks better than her. I shared a story with my sister about how I bought my mom a new phone and how she doesn’t know how to use it. Trying to explain the technical aspects of what a phone can do is exhausting BUT funny too. She doesn’t get it and thats okay!

In the meantime, i need to get through this next day and a half so I can enjoy my

The REAL Vacation

Disney's Boardwalk

It never fails. Whenever I go on vacation there is always someone who’s ready to say, “He’s going away again?” My reply is: “THAT’S RIGHT! AND I DESERVE IT!” After 18 years of hearing this I still get a little perturbed BUT then I forget. Especially as I am relaxing in the comfort, luxury and splendor of being in the Happiest Place in the World.    I’m staying at Disney’s Boardwalk which is prime Disney property for the Disney Vacation Club members.

I’m leaving on January 16th and have rented a car for my 10 day vacation. Yes, I know I was gone for 12 days in Oct/November in Europe but that was a working vacation as I am the tour director. A small portion of my touree’s are Senior Citizens and need extra love and care.

At my Disney condo, i can really relax, go out to dinner, visit friends and family members who reside in Florida and just move around as I wish. That to me is a vacation!

I especially love to dine at the Flying Fish Cafe located right here at the Boardwalk. They have the best crab cakes I have ever had. What makes this place extra special is that they recognize my recurring face and I even have my own waiter whose name is Didi. Now, in reality, Disney did not hire Didi especially for me but every time I visit, there he is! He remembers my name, he knows my likes and dislikes and just makes me feel special. I also love going to the ESPN Sports Bar for a few frothy libations. That’s where my bartender, Aaron works. He too knows my favorite beverage and my name.

I learned a long time ago that the sweetest sound that a person could ever hear was the sound of their own name. Perhaps this is why I try so hard to learn people’s names. I want them to know I took the time to get to know them and that they are important.

Preparing for the New Year!


One of the things that has dogged me since moving to this new rectory is cleaning my garage. I’m still throwing stuff out from my last 4 moves. I am determined to get this done not just to know I am not a hoarder but so that I can park my car into the garage. AND, if I am so blessed, I am hoping to have an associate assigned to me this summer and it would be nice if there was space for his car too! After perusing my junk I feel compelled now to get rid of all stuff….sentimental and all!

Not only am I going to get rid of my junk but I would also like to paint the walls and floor this summer. This morning I cleaned out my pantry and made a huge pile in the garage and just looked around and thought I was in an old episode of Sanford and Son. There are so many chemicals in my garage too which means I’m going to have to find a recycling drop off for paint and sprays that range from adhesives to only God knows what.

I am hoping that the Altar & Rosary girls are going to change their minds this spring about a Rummage sale because I am ready to help them make thousands of dollars with the sale of my stuff. Well, in fairness, it may be thousands of dollars that was paid for this no good pile of junk but they may make a few bucks out of it.

By the way, the picture I have posted next to this is not my garage but it’s a close call. The other thing I may have to do is clean out my spiritual house. It wouldn’t hurt to clean out all the junk that weighs me down, namely my own sin. A clean house and a clean soul can do great things for the whole package. This coming year is going to meet me with new challenges which means new joys and new sorrows.

Happy New Year everyone. God Bless You All!

Blessed indeed!

I have to admit that Christmas has never been one of my most favorite holidays. I could probably tell you why but some things I prefer to keep to myself. On the spiritual plane, that’s a different story. The Scriptures are full and rich with the wonder and mystery of the incarnation of Christ. I think some of my displeasure comes from the secularism of the holiday but I also feel that this season brings out the “ug” in ugly.

But despite my past differences, I must admit that this was probably one of the best Christmas’ I have enjoyed in years.  I think the number one thing I noticed was how happy people seemed to be. there is certainly a lot of stress related to this holiday and I went through a good portion of this but it was completed in a satisfactory manner that made it all worth it. The church looked great. I’m very happy with the design that was implemented. I just wish new people with imagination would come forward to add a little more drama to the design. When I say drama, I don’t mean human drama but rather a creative drama. I believe the Arts & Environment of a church should be simple….less is more. We are certainly challenged with the drab color of the bricks and carpet that makes many things clash but but with inspiration anything can happen.

The other good thing was meeting my two new great-nephews who were born this summer. It’s hard to believe our family is growing with the birth of the grandkids having kids. this was much to the delight of my parents who enjoy the new title of “Great”. My dad got to meet the new munchkins and I’m not truly sure if he comprehends the whole situation. But he certainly was ll smiles as he was able to see the new ones face to face.

I also made tamales by myself. I only made 12 dozen from 12 pounds of masa. It was enjoyable to do it on some spare time. My mom said she thought they were better than Danny’s. Of course, i say that freely because I know he never reads this blog.

The one shadow that hung over all of the holiday was the number of funerals I presided. It is always so sad to assist families in the holiday season. My heart is with them in a very special way.

Lastly, my people were so very generous to me. It is so nice to be remembered this way. Whether it was a monetary gift, a baked good, a gift card, a card or a curious little gift….all was appreciated!

It’s now on to another year. I wonder what 2012 will bring us?

You Better Watch Out….

I’m tired!

There, I said it!

This week I had a funeral every day except for Wednesday. It is so sad for any family who has to go through this experience right before and after a major holiday. I really don’t give any comfort by telling people that “at least they’ll spend christmas with the Lord“!

It comes off as kind of lame.

My heart truly goes out to these families after going through this same thing back in 1962 when my sister died on Thanksgiving Day. It was always a difficult holiday to celebrate with that memory looming over our heads. It took decades before I (we) were able to enjoy this holiday again.  I wonder what it is like for those who celebrate their birthday on December 25th. Or, every so many years, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day!

Huh! Do I hear whining before Christmas?

Okay, now I’m whining. I better stop because Santa may be zeroing in on me. I’ve been pretty good this year. Or maybe I should say I haven’t been AS naughty as I have been in the past.

Merry Christmas everyone!