A day of prayer for Covid-19

We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, here, and in all your churches throughout the world, and we bless you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

St. Francis of Assisi

Two years ago I was in Assisi with a group of United States Veterans as part of a Franciscan pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. That morning the friar leading our pilgrimage celebrated Mass at the Portiuncola. It was a peak experience for me and other members of our group. Now, two years later as we are reeling from the effects of this global pandemic those days come into sharper focus. Pope Francis has designated the entire month of May as a time of prayer for relief from Covid-19. Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM who is the provincial of Holy Name of Jesus Province of the Order of Friars Minor has designated today as a special day of prayer.

Therefore I’m joining Franciscans and others in a special day of prayer. The crucifix below is a San Damiano Cross I received on the pilgrimage.

We have been called

Earlier today I came across a quote from St. Francis of Assisi. I really liked it and it’s something that’s related to one of my earlier posts, “An Orientation to Social Welfare.”

“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”

What am I doing to heal wounds? Do I look to be helpful to those who have lost their way? What can I do to unite what has fallen apart? Helping others and being cheerful actually lowers stress both for the initiator and the receiver. Another of St. Francis’ prayers states that it is better to give than to receive. Caring for others invariably winds up being care for ourselves. Economy is strongly connected to community. And community is invariably about care for the other.

Altissimo Omnipotente Bon Signore

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l’honore et onne benedictione.
— St. Francis of Assisi

Translated from the original Umbrian dialect this is: Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. That was on my heart tonight as I drove away from home and toward my destination. It was a beautiful night for a drive. Temperature hovering at 81 F and low relative humidity. I reflected on the blessings of the day and of year and years. This has been a year of reflection. Yesterday my wife and I celebrated thirty years of marriage. Today it was another memory of an earlier time prior to meeting Diane that had my attention. I’ve been consciously trying to be more grateful. I’ve been following the suggestions of Positive Psychologists and making note of three things each day that have gone well. Originally I noted them here, but have taken to using the notepad app on my iPhone. In any event I am living more mindfully and that is a plus.  It’s easy in the hustle and bustle of everyday to live mindlessly and I do that, but in the past almost 18 months I’ve been living more mindfully and practicing yoga which I’ve found has increased my focus, relaxed me and complemented my contemplative life.

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to my wife, my Mom, my mother-in-law who is in heaven and to all the moms and other people who have been moms to us. Happy Mothers Day to the Blessed Mother who continues to bless and protect us. St. Francis always spoke of Lady Poverty and I hope to embody that spirit within my heart as my wife and mother have with our family and with all they come in contact with. 

We are all mothers and brothers and sisters and fathers to each other. On this day however we honor the mothers in our midst who have stood with us long hours and held us in their arms when we needed that special touch that only mothers can give. 

The Storm

It’s storming now and kind of frightening with all the news from the mid-west of tornadoes. I am scared too but welcome the peaceful sound of the rain, wind and lightning too as it is all produced by the creator of heaven and earth.

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore. – Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! — Francis of Assisi.

It’s from the Canticle of the Sun. It is scary but welcome too. I am tired and not just bone weary but tired of chicanery everywhere.  Today one I was told at my work that I  was not to make peace. The person doesn’t know that I work for the King of Kings and my job is to make peace. I welcome the peace of Christ even in the midst of this storm. I am still and know that you are God. I am still and know. I am still. I am here and I am waiting for you. Altissimu, omnipotente bon Signore! Pace.

The Immaculate Conception

Today is my birthday. It’s also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Besides being my birthday which is an important event in my life I share this wonderful Marian feast. I don’t talk about her much, but Mary holds a special part in heart and it’s because of this feast I guess. My mother is the best model of Mary I have. Mom loves me more than anything else. She gave me life and on this day 57 years ago welcomed me into the world, her first born.

Mom made sure that I had a proper up-bringing and that included 9 years of Catholic primary school and a couple of years of Catholic high school. I don’t mean to imply that if you didn’t go to Catholic schools that you are somehow stunted because nothing could be further from the truth. But, giving her son those same chances she enjoyed and more were what was important in Mom’s life. Her devotion to Our Lady permeates her life and it touched mine too. Mary occupied an esteemed place in St. Francis of Assisi’s life too as the mother of Jesus. This prayer attributed to Francis bears that out.

Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin.
You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven,
consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace.
Hail His Tabernacle.
Hail His Robe.
Hail His Handmaid.
Hail, His Mother.
and Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from their faithless state, they may be made faithful servants of God through you.

Deo Gratias for 57 years of wonderful life and praise to the Holy Queen of Heaven.

Peace prize

Congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This puts him in heady company and I hope that he can live up to the billing. More important than Barack Obama is the fact that Americans went to the polls last November and elected a leader who has put our country back on the track of international diplomacy and away from international lawlessness. We have gone from pariah to promise in just shy of nine months. President Obama gets a prestigious award, which he was quick to say he was unworthy of. Worthy people always say things like that, that’s what makes them worthy. I congratulate the President, but also I congratulate the American people who put a man in office that once again makes most of us proud to be Americans.

I feel sorry for some of his opposition which include virulent members of the right wing of American politics, the Taliban and leaders of Hamas who fail to see anything positive. One of our greatest presidents and a man also hailing from the State of Illinois, once said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all the people, all the time.”

Some of my friends have suggested that the Nobel Prize Committee did this as way to shape America’s policy. That might be. Rewarding good behavior with compliments is an accepted practice in the world. Shunning bad behavior is also an acceptable practice. I hope the President lives up to the award and ends both the Iraq and Afghan wars, rids the world of nuclear weapons and also bring healing to the strident racism that affects our own country. The United States of America is a multi-cultural, pluralistic society and we need to foster that at every opportunity. May peace and good fortune continue to bless our leader. Shalom, Peace, Pace, Pax, Amani, Paix, Salaam, Shanti, Mire, Heddwich and on and on.


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. — St. Francis of Assisi

Francis Week

This week I actually attended more liturgical services at St. Bonaventure University than at any other time in my life. Since I’m now a graduate student there that is probably not too surprising, but it was a personal first. Last week I attended Sunday Mass and again this evening I joined the university community for a lovely Eucharist in the university chapel. When I first moved to the area in 1979 I used to come and sit in this chapel. I always liked it’s architecture and the peace that surrounded it. Tonight during the service I could hear a flock of geese as they were honking their way overhead. That seemed quite Franciscan as tonight we were marking the Feast of St. Francis. Last night I joined the university and local community along with Friars, Sister and Seculars as we marked the Transitus of St. Francis and renewed our commitment to follow the Gospel way of life in the manner of our seraphic father St. Francis. I felt honored and humbled to be in the presence of so many holy men and women. I’m grateful to be a Franciscan. I’m definitely one of the lesser brothers of the Secular Franciscan Order, but I am nonetheless a brother and follower of our Christ and St. Francis. Pace e Bene!


This summer I’ve been brewing Starbucks nearly every morning in a two-cup coffee maker that we’ve inherited from our daughter who left it here on a vacation a year or so ago. Having a summer off is a luxury for most folks and it was for me this year. I like my coffee black, aromatic and flavorful and Starbucks provides that better than almost any other blend. I must say that Dunkin’ Donuts does have good coffee too, but I’ve not brewed that at home.

I wasn’t always a Starbucks lover. I’m really indebted to my friend Br. Joe Kotula, OFM who got me going. Joe and I have been on some road trips together for ministry events held at least a couple of times at the St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in North Carolina. Traveling over 500 miles one way to get there provided ample time for a number of stops and more often than not Joe chose a place that served Starbucks. It’s funny how associations form in our minds and in my mind every time I see Starbucks I think of Joe and our trips to North Carolina. When I think of Br. Joe it reminds me of the Franciscans and Peace. Brother Joe is synonymous with peace, connectedness, St. Francis and of course Christ. There is a lot wrapped up in my association with Starbucks and its about peace and all good. Pax et Bonum, the motto of Holy Name Province and of Franciscans everywhere.

As I think about it now it’s all very Franciscan, without preaching a word, Br. Joe and the Holy Spirit formed an association for me with peace and all good and every time I brew a cup of Starbucks it’s a call to holiness. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Brother Fly

I’ve been enjoying a lovely summer. For the first time in almost ten years I’m not working twelve months. God has been very good to me and us and I’ve found consulting opportunities which have allowed me to make up the difference.  Our weather has been very rainy and I love to see the sun, but it’s been great to sleep in  and just enjoy sitting still.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing which have been very fulfilling pastimes. I’ve loved to read ever since I first learned how. As a child I lived next to a public library and it was my second home. I frequently tell people that a visit to a bookstore is a religious experience for me. Other than monasterys and other quiet places I frequently find myself in libraries and bookstores. In the past several years I’ve become very adept at reading RSS and that’s opened some new vistas for me.

St. Francis referred to sloth as Brother Fly and I can see how that could become habit forming.  I do enjoy the stillness and lack of routine this summer has brought into my life. Frequently I’ve found that epiphanies follow a change in routine. This summer has been filled with change. I fought it at first,  but now I’ve come to see that it’s just what I needed and I’m grateful for it.  Seeing God’s hand in my life often requires lots of help for me. This summer has given me new eyes.