Short film about Net of Compassion: “Bread of Life”

posted by Mike on November 13th, 2019

Here’s some beautiful people and a tough side of the city.

Net of Compassion – Bread of Life from Votary Films on Vimeo.

Richie, Elizabeth, and their whole “Net of Compassion” crew do some amazing work, most visibly offering services in a series of tents along Worcester’s Main Street each Saturday. They also collaborate on “Hotel Grace,” turning the basement of St. John’s Church into a 50-bed homeless shelter any night the temperature in Worcester is expected to drop below freezing. And they are looking to do more. If you are curious about helping the down-and-out in our city, getting involved with Net of Compassion is a great way to start.

Bob Waldrop, 1952-2019

posted by Mike on September 9th, 2019

Bob Waldrop“We will not damn our souls to hell to satisfy corrupt politicians.”

Legendary Oklahoma Catholic Worker (and friend of this blog) Bob Waldrop has died at 67.

The Oklahoman:

Bob was buried in his overalls.

Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in Oklahoma City for the funeral Mass of Robert Max Augustine Waldrop, who served as the church’s director of music and liturgy, was a champion of the poor and started the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House.

Michael True, 1933-2019, RIP

posted by Mike on May 1st, 2019

Michael True, Worcester activist, writer, and educator, has died. His intelligence, diligence, generosity, and kindness will not be forgotten by those who knew him.

His funeral and burial will be in Minnesota. There will be a celebration of his life in Worcester June 1 at Mechanics Hall.
Read the rest of this entry »

Lenten Gameplan, 2019

posted by Mike on March 6th, 2019

Fasting: At last, Facebook has become a miserable enough experience that it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice to give it up. So the likely candidates this year are the old classics: giving up (some) sugar, giving up caffeine, and so on. There are so many fasting fads these days, I might play around with a few, more out of curiosity than spiritual discipline.

Prayer: This year, for the first time in a long time, I’m already doing plenty of praying by myself and with my various communities. My plan is to maintain these, in Lenten form, but not add much extra work.

Reading List: Kugel’s How to Read the Bible (because why not provoke a crisis of faith during Lent?), Hart’s weird New Testament translation (at least the Gospel of John, more if it seems helpful), the Catechism (spread out at around 20 pages per Lenten day, stopping at the nearest chapter/article/section break), and Dorothy Day’s diaries (stopping each day when I’m as inspired or discouraged as I need to be). Lent is 6½ weeks, so that feels like plenty of reading to me. (Looking at the stack, I notice that a bonus Lenten sacrifice may end up being “carrying heavy books.”) In the unlikely event I need to fill more time with reading, I have ebooks of St. Thérèse, Girard’s I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Spitzer’s How to Find True Happiness, and Pilgrim’s Progress at hand. This might be the perfect Lent to include some books or films on clergy sex abuse, but I am already reading tons on that, believe me.

Scent List: Zoologist’s perfume “Bat,” which Luca Turin observes is built around geosmin, the chemical odor of wet dirt and beets. Maybe the closest thing you’re going to get to ashes, but not incense-y, but not bad. Really only something I’m using on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Lent is not a self-help guide, but about entering Paschal Mystery:

The purpose of Lent, therefore, is a microcosm of the life and worldview of the Christian believer. Knowing themselves to be the sons and daughters of the Resurrection, everything they think, feel, and do is placed in the light and hope of eternity. This gives the disciple of Jesus Christ the strength to forgive an enemy, control their sexual passions, suffer patiently, and selflessly serve others. When the Resurrection is lived and heaven is seen as a real possibility for the righteous, then everything is worth it and everything becomes ordered to it.

This week’s notes on the Catholic clergy abuse crisis

posted by Mike on February 17th, 2019

Here’s a summary I wrote for this week’s radio show that I thought I’d post here.

This week we are seeing a historic meeting on clergy sex abuse, including some Worcester participants; expanded rights for victims of abuse; financial difficulties in the Diocese of Worcester; and even some relevant anecdotes from my own life as a faithful Catholic.
Read the rest of this entry »

Václav

posted by Kaihsu Tai on January 2nd, 2019

A recent sermon on the carol Good King Wenceslas reminded me of this text of mine six years ago:

Quando dou comida aos pobres, chamam-me de santo. Quando pergunto por que eles são pobres, chamam-me de comunista.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

Hélder Câmara

In the carol, King Wenceslas did everything right to be called a saint. The “poor” was “gathering winter fuel” on St Stephen’s. Who would collect the fuel otherwise? When else? – What other time? What’s wrong with collecting fuel? Even if it were wrong, the king’s response was not – “Let’s reorganize the system for energy in the neighbourhood around my palace” but to call his page. All right – a feast might be had by all on St Stephen’s if the entourage made it to yonder the poor’s.

But on the festival of St John the Evangelist, on the Day of the Holy Innocents, the King remains king, the page page, the poor still poor. Only that the King now sleeps sounder on the 27th of December and will not look out. He may then commission the carol writer later in the afternoon for his hagiography. The unnamed “poor man” does not stop collecting winter fuel – even come January.

(New Year’s Day 2013)

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Christmas, Hagiography, Heresy | on January 2nd, 2019 | Permanent Link to “Václav” | No Comments »

Credo

posted by Kaihsu Tai on December 14th, 2018

Credo – uskon siihen, että: Taivas ja Maa on täynnä Jumalan kirkkautta. Hänen luomakuntansa avautuu kuin sateenkaaren värit kirkkaasta valosta. Rauhan liiton merkki on monivärinen. – Mekin kaikki saamme osallistua Jumalan ikuiseen liittoon. Kun syömme yhdessä, leipä ja viini tulevat meille lihaksi ja vereksi. Näin osallistumme Kristuksen seurakuntaan. Hoosianna! – Pyhä Henki liikkuu meissä, kun puhumme ja ymmärrämme toistemme kieliä. Näin osallistumme taivaan valtakuntaan.

Credo – I believe: Heaven and Earth are full of the glory of God. God’s creation opens up like the colours of the rainbow coming out of the bright light. The sign of the covenant of peace is multicoloured. – We too can participate in the eternal covenant of God. When we eat together, the bread and the wine become for us flesh and blood. This is how we become part of the fellowship of Christ. Hosanna! – Holy Spirit moves within us when we speak in tongues … when we understand each other’s languages. This is how we get to the realm of heaven.

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Catechism, Finland, Heresy | on December 14th, 2018 | Permanent Link to “Credo” | No Comments »

[plate clatters] [sighs]

posted by Mike on August 28th, 2018

Five years ago I went to the mass celebrating the election of this pope feeling ill over the first round of allegations against him. This weekend I went to mass feeling ill over the latest ones. In between, I’d hoped that the church would change, if not radically, then at least in that it would prioritize justice and healing for its victims. In some places [PDF], maybe this has happened. In the top ranks, apparently not so much.

Some of my Catholic friends have reminded me that we should live in hope, that maybe something really good will come from this summer’s revelations. I’m not feeling that way. Every morning I wake up feeling as disoriented as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell. On bad mornings I feel as impotent, too.

Lenten gameplan, 2018

posted by Mike on February 14th, 2018

A: As Lent approaches, I am both grateful that Facebook remains the *perfect* thing to “give up,” as well as a bit concerned that what with recent Facebook timeline tweaks making it more boring, the time may soon come when giving up Facebook is as blah as giving up LinkedIn. Maybe we didn’t know how good we had it…

B: Resources. Do I want to waste either of our time pointing you to some good resources? If there’s one thing our cup overfloweth with in 2018, it is resources.

C: Elizabeth Bruenig at Harvard Feb 20: “Religion, Politics, and the Left.” The last time both Bruenigs spoke at Harvard it was not only a great lecture it drew a really fun crowd. Let’s rideshare to this Liz-only talk Worcester buds. (In her last talk she did say of the Catholic Worker movement, “While it was flourishing, it was pretty impressive.” We will overlook that.)

D: Discouraging pope news of the season. Part 1: “Despite denial, Pope Francis got Chilean abuse victim’s letter.” (But see also “Reactions after Pope Francis’s decision to send a top prosecutor to Chile.”) Part 2: “Vatican Sells Out Chinese Catacombers.” (But see also “Why the Vatican’s potential deal with China is a good thing” and John Allen’s “Explaining why the Vatican seems so eager for a deal with China.”)

posted by Mike in Items, Lent | on February 14th, 2018 | Permanent Link to “Lenten gameplan, 2018” | No Comments »

Sata vuotta sitten – one hundred years ago

posted by Kaihsu Tai on December 3rd, 2017

Pohjois-Haagan veljeshauta
My rough translation of a first-hand account of the Finnish Civil War, from a 1960 book. The citation and a link to the original text is at the end.

On the way to armed struggle

Dr J. A. Pärnänen had been the headmaster of the Workers’ Education Institute [in Tampere] since 1908. He made sure that the lecturers were not only academics with just master’s degrees or mere doctorates, but also professors from universities – occasionally also lawyers. As 1918 approached with all its tensions, he wanted a lawyer to come to explain to the youth about the new Acts on local elections, which were passed after much controversy. The job fell on the secretary of the city council, a young lawyer [the author himself]. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Advent, Books, Finland, Hagiography, Weapons | on December 3rd, 2017 | Permanent Link to “Sata vuotta sitten – one hundred years ago” | Comments Off on Sata vuotta sitten – one hundred years ago