Letter to the Editor

Provided by Father Frank O’Laughlin (he picks good articles to read)

Benedict’s legacy will be a contested one. “Your wonderful and at times heartbreaking edition of 7 January confirmed everything I felt for this very holy, peaceful, gentle but strong human being. Thank you for a rare, moving and honest series of features”, writes John Elder in our Letters pages this week. “Through his writings he set out in search of lost sheep, lifted me on to his shoulders, and carried me home,” adds Paul Hammond; “His legacy is of a timid man burned by the experience of Nazism then blinded by the glare of modernity who sought guidance by looking in the rear-view mirror”, offers Dominic Kirkham. 

One – imperfect but not unhelpful – way the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are characterised is as an echo of the contrasting visions of two of the great theologians of the last century, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Rahner saw the grace of God at work in the world, thick with anonymous Christians; Balthasar saw a world of totalitarian nightmares, of nuclear arsenals, labour camps and torture chambers crying out for the abrasive medicine of the Gospel. As we write in our leader this week, “The Balthasar/Rahner debate, the dialogue between Benedict and Francis, is something the Church needs constantly to ponder – without trying to bring it to a simple resolution and without one side demonising the other. For they were both right. Humankind is simultaneously both redeemed and fallen.”

The other link: Why the dialogue between Benedict and Francis is something the Church needs constantly to ponder.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

You in turn shall save your own life

Greetings on this the Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 10:8-11; PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131; LK 19:45-48
Notes: End the old year and start the new year with the Rite of Reconciliation.

First reading
The Angel with the Small Scroll.

He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”

The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God’s people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings. Cf. Ez 3:1–3. (NABRE, comment on verse).

Reconciliation is similar.

  • It is a sour experience in the way of dealing with our own sin.
  • It is sweet as honey because it refreshes you in new life.


We share a common need to move forward spiritually. Prophesy is one vehicle of helping. Friendship helps too.

You help me.
I help you.

See The Prophet as Sentinel (a/k/a warning).
Ez 3:17-21.

Responsorial Psalm
How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Alleluia Verse
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.

Gospel Portion
The Cleansing of the Temple.

You are his temple in that your soul is where G-d dwells.

Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’”

Let’s cleanse our temple to receive him.
Christ, the King of the Universe, wishes to dwell within us as guest.

Advent 2023 approaches

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Camino de Santiago – Last Leg

Me: I am a prideful man. Silence: You are impressed with your accomplishments. I cherish your kindness. Do that.

As I write this I’ve already made it to Compostela de Santiago. Already got my certificate and travel verification of 180 km.

But let’s continue our journey together. This last day unlike the other days, keeping up with the young, a gopher tortoise would move faster than I did.

But I continued to place prayer cards at different churches along the way.

Scenes below

Geese in pen
Cows in pasture
Hey ly Repose
Rained the entire day
Jesus, I trust in you.

Some I took to the final stop and brought them into the Pilgrim’s Chapel.

As it rained I recalled how the priest blessed his sacred ministerial hands with plain water, ‘Lord, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me of m sins’.

In an analogous way, in our common priesthood of baptism we too can say, Lord, wash me of my iniquity and cleanse me of my sins. I prayed it a lot today.

You can too.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Camino de Santiago – lIFe or LifE

Made it to Padron.
Just in time for heavy rains!

Me: I get jealous. Silence: you don’t trust love.

Speaking of patience, it appears I did not read my travel plans correctly. I skipped one stop by mistake and one stop by design. The good news is I get to spend two days in Santiago de Compostela.

First some calming photos.

Vineyard and corn fields side by side
Literally a railroad crossing complete with hold arms just for Pilgrims.
Trail gets more populated as we converge on nearby cities to Compostela.

LifE or lIFe – where is your emphasis?

lIFe is a life spent in the middle and always calculating the odds, outcomes, circumstances or consequences.

lIFe is the life of “IF” what if? If only! If I had this. If I didn’t have that. It’s an urge to control beyond what is rationally yours to control. Or the if of alliance, advantage or acquiring.

Jesus wants us to be rational. Reason and faith should not be in competition. Rather Jesus asked over and over again:

What’s your opinion?

Either he asked for your reasoned reply to a parable or to an event that just occurred. Repeatedly, Jesus asks your opinion.

Life lived as LifE is a different approach. The two end points are the primacy of thought. L is for Love. E is for eternity.

A life lived as LifE, has if still but the if is the minor to the major. The major life reality is Love. Divine love and healthy human love. The E is for eternal. What separates love from every other characteristic is that for love to be it’s fullest it must be eternal.

For Catholics. This year is the Year of the Eucharist in Revival. So if you wish to make ‘E’ for the Eucharist I would agree. There is both temporal and eternal phases to Love and in the Eucharist.

Look at these photos and consider the actions taken long ago for us out of love. These are temporal, but the love that dreamed of you is eternal

And finally, this cross. Found in many small villages, it has three people on the cross. Jesus, Mary and the patron saint. Love-Eternal living.

Live an L-E life. Everything else is IFy.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Camino de Santiago – Pain, a New Look

I suppose you think I’m gonna whine about pain. Well, since you asked:

I gashed my knee, I don’t know how. I ache head to toe. I’m still bald.

But I’m smiling.

Just think how many in-pain penitential pilgrams have made this trail? We date the first event with the Apostle James, brother of John. Look at these two markers provided to ease the pain of uncertainty.

When you walk these trails, getting lost time and again, the relief when you see a valid marker!

Pain is a over used term. There are so many other words from use that more accurately describe your feelings and provide a healthier frame of reference.

Same goes for all the basic emotions: Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust & Enjoyment. But these are starting points only. We refine by:

1. Naming and renaming until satisfied.

2. Honor it as an authentic expression of your response to a person or event.

3. Make new expressions.

Be creative. See if you can find creative expressions in these photos.

Florida Trail patch FT added by me.

The road ahead changed with perspective. There were two young women on the trail and it was the last 5-6 km remaining. I was overtaking them because they were progressing at a snail’s pace. So…

I reminded them of Rocky Balboa’s theme song: Gonna Fly Now. Complete with me dancing and boxer prancing in an old man sort of way.

Not much immediate impact as they were downright miserable. But I began to hear giggles and the singing. Which required me playing the fool on an unnamed street in Spain. Reframing.

The road ahead is filled with wonder. Put your boxing gloves on.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Camino de Santiago – Silence

Pilgrim beacon to rest and be restored

Traditional catholic Albergues welcome all pilgrams. The standard is they present a las credentiales, showing the progress of your journey. Theoretically a person is briefed when receiving the booklet prior to the journey.

Social Room. Dormitories are stacked bunks, co-ed with little room but to sleep.
View of Bay, Vigo, Spain.
Portuguese Coastal route

Tomorrow plan.

Silence. I mean this in multiple ways. I could not send Saturday blog due to connectivity. Silence in that these walks offer significant timespans of worldy silence. Here are a few photos so you can imagine how.

But I want to focus on Divine Silence.

Let’s take the Incarnation, discarding a falsehood first. In the incarnation the Father was silent but he was a supreme gift giver: the second and third person of the Holy Trinity. During the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit Permanently came to live in the Blessed Mother, then (simultaneously or in sequence depends on your bias) Jesus was incarnate by the Holy Spirit. All by the silent desire and silent dreams of God.

Please reference Leonardo Boff, Thoughts and Dreams for deeper take.

Saint Joseph is given no speaking lines in the New Testament. Did he speak, yes, two ways. Like the Lord he dispensed divine silence in his action roles. He also spoke words as that’s the only way we know. Know he dreamed.

God dreams of you and then acts on it. Joseph dreamed about Mary and then acted on it. Dream, please.

So I mentioned that this is a penitential pilgrimage. So included in that is a continuous recollection and recounting of my faults and failures. But God went silent. It is tempting to be annoyed with him, yes?

But each fault I brought up silence spoke otherwise. In the silence I went deeper. If you are okay with Freudian or Jung psychology you may recognize the process as root analysis.

Me: I am impatient, Silence: you don’t feel respected. Me: I am prideful, Silence says you covet things you think I will take them away from you.

It is good to confess objective actions as these are the doing. But Silence wants to fix the root cause. The root cause may also be sinful but MORE LIKELY the sin of our refusal to engage the silence that dreams dreams and acts on them.

Comforting Images that only speak when you consider them.

Laundry every other day.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Camino de Santiago – Penitential

Morning at A Guarda

A pilgrimage walk can be penitential pilgrimage when we are vulnerable, personal and minimalistic. We engage in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We abandon the world but for God. We let God reveal himself in creation, reason and faith. We seek God who first sought us. We answer God because he first answered us.

Many stops today, among them Oia, Mougas and Baiona. 30 km.

Lunch was so big lasted three meals for me.


Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth; break into song; sing praise. Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and those who dwell there. Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy (PS 98:4, 7-8)


Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy? Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Pay attention and come to me; listen, that you may have life. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, the steadfast loyalty promised to David (ISA 55:2-3).

Even the beasts of the field declare divine love.


So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it (ISA 55:11).

Trailside chapel.

Real Mosteiro de Oia.

12th century monastery in active restoration
Stone Holy Water font


God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:24)

Prayer on the trail get to the heart of the matter.


“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief (LK 22:42-45).

Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more (ROM 5:20b). The kindness of others is inspiring me. Bo Camino!


About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (LK 9:28-29).

I am getting requests for selfies. Maybe tomorrow. I am seeking my true inner self. So, yeah, very personal.


Our Father…


But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you (MT 6:17-18).

I have not fasted yet except from distractions. FoxNews and MSNBC, who are they again?


This story may not make sense but a woman on the trail caught sight of me and said she heard me praying in the little chapel earlier in the day and it gave her hope and great comfort. Pray is a unitive action.

But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you (MT 6:6).

My prayer strategy included a shoebox filled with prayer cards. As many cards I had I brought and pray each day in chapel. Sometimes for repose of soul. Sometimes for their ministry. It opens my rfaimind to so many others including you, dear reader.

So each category is but a entry into the real memory and quiet discourse for your well-being.

Priests, Joshua Swallows, John Christopher Sollee, Monsignor Stephen C. Bosso, strength and joy in ministry.

Deacons, Matthew Bartlett, Gerald Bott, Steven Dove, Angel Rivera, Roberto Juan Rodriguez, strength and joy in ministry.

Deacons, Andrew Plucinski, (Fr) Robert L. Pope, William G. Watzsk, George F White, strength and joy in ministry.

Friends, Jeffery A Case and Leonardo Morro, repose of soul.

Priest, Raymond P Hubert, Raymond D Auger, repose of his soul.

Parish friends, Olga Garcia, Fernando Garcia, William Bill Earl, repose of their souls.

Deacons and their family members who died, Ira Skinner, Billie Faye Skinner, Wanda Skinner, Janice M Weir, Dcn Ray Neubaubauer, Dcn George J Collins, Loretta B Collins, Dcn William H Cresswell, Bonnie Elaine Plucinski-Chavik, repose of their soul

Interfaith, hospice souls, Anna M Dolan, Joyce L Ward, Rita F La Grua, Elizabeth Velez, Patricia E Di Liberti, Anastasia Tachita Cortez, Atef Gedeon, Giuseppe Mignano, Henry Hall Greer Rose, Helen Virginia Nasby, Armand A Harnous, James J Brooks, Richard Lombardi, Edmond A Di Sandro, Lucia Luigini, Luigi Luigini, Roseanne G Catapano, Anne Puertolas, Vincent G Serritella, James William Dory, Patricia Wadden, Grace DeMonte, Tammy Faye Wetula, Herbert V Danielson, Elizabeth J Hickey, Pablo Miguel Falcon Lies, Alice White, Robert Mare, Rose Bilelli, David H Anthony, James Patrick Karle, Anna M Dolan, Paul Francis Lambert, Maria Giner, Daniel Jon Cesario, Marijuana Yuresko, Catherine Damaso, Mary Ann Calcagno, repose of their souls.


But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you (MT 6:3-4).

No major activity.



Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry