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Sanctification in Daily Work
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Welcome Bishop-Elect William A Wack

It is a joyful time in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Pope Francis appointed a new Bishop for us. BTW. His name is pronounced, “Wok.” He presided at Mass last week but we completely missed it. But I’m sure we’ll get to meet him soon. The photo is of him at the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in the heart of downtown Pensacola.

Here is some information from the official press release.

On May 29, 2017, it was announced that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop-elect William A. Wack the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Bishop-elect Wack comes to the diocese from the Diocese of Austin (TX), where he has been pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish.

The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee has been without a bishop since January 4, 2017, when Bishop Gregory Parkes was installed as Bishop of St. Petersburg. In the interim, the diocese has been under the guidance of Msgr. James Flaherty, diocesan administrator.

Bishop-elect Wack is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, a religious order of priests. He was ordained to the priesthood April 9, 1994. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, with an undergraduate degree in government and international relations and a graduate degree in divinity.

Bishop-elect Wack will be ordained a bishop and installed as the Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee in solemn ceremonies on a date to be determined.

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and fifth bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, said, “I share in the joy of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee with the announcement of their new bishop. Bishop-Elect Wack and the diocese will be in my prayers during this time of transition.”

Moms & Kids

I’m behind on this but better late than never.

For Mother’s Day we went to the beach. Cindy is pictured with our daughters and Caitlin’s babies. The girls all spent the night in a hotel room on the beach and the boys went home.

For this grand daddy it is amazing to see our little babies now having babies and already seeing them grow.

My Shoulder to Bear

Just over a week ago I had rotator cuff repair surgery. It doesn’t really sound too intimidating until you learn about it and especially those first few days after the surgery. I confess that I was dreading it and scared of it. I had to make a promise to myself to quite Googling every term, medication, outcome, problem.

To start with, it means that I can’t drive for at least six weeks and have to have my arm in a sling night/day. So that means no business travel or the kind of field work I do. Then I have another six weeks before I’m allowed to lift anything with my dominate right arm.

Lots of questions about how this is going to affect my business, how am I going to be one-armed and left handed, will the surgery be successful, etc. were running through my mind constantly.

I was finding it very hard to concentrate on my prayer life and to trust in God that no matter what happens it is His will and He will give me strength to deal with it. So, I’ve made it a part of my meditation each day to just let God help me, provide me with inspiration. Then when this subject came up speaking with my wife and Chelsea, my daughter who was paralyzed in an auto accident 17 years ago. I was complaining about how annoying having my arm strapped to my side was. She casually reminded me that she wore a very restrictive collar around her neck for months after her spinal cord surgery. Wow. Did that ever put things in perspective for me. I almost started crying on the spot out of shame for this trivial little matter that will most likely be very successful for full arm use and within less than that amount of time.

How can I not be thankful to God for this? It happened when I picked up a heavy object and there was a loud (to me) pop and pain in my shoulder. Yep, torn tendon. Not good. But then, maybe it really is. I can thank God for this and offer up my pain united with His on the Cross.

I have still had a few early bouts of what I guess they call situational depression while sitting in a recliner and feeling sorry for myself. Worse, I’ve imagined all the things that can go wrong and started focusing on the challenges my business faces, family relationship problems and more.

It’s pretty easy to become lukewarm with my faith at these times but that does no good. By the end of my first week post-surgery I am feeling a renewed energy and positive outlook for the future. I know my goal on Earth is to become a saint and look at this wonderful opportunity God has given me to work toward that.

I continue to pray that I’m worthy of God’s love, dedicate myself to my prayers and finding ways to help others, by starting with my wonderful wife and business partner. I take her for granted so much. She is the wonderful mother of my children and on this Mother’s Day I want her to feel special, needed, valued and loved. I pray to my Mother Mary to pray for me and for us as we move forward on the path to holiness. Amen.

Our Divine Mercy Celebration

Yesterday at the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in Pensacola, FL we held a ceremony that consisted of Exposition/Adoration, confession, a meditation, both recited and sung chaplets and Benediction. We had four priests available for confession throughout the time and it seemed like we had a lot of people attending.

This was a city wide celebration for all who wanted to, to attend. After confession Cindy and I just spent some quiet time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar.

I was told by one of the priests that we can always use the word mercy in place of love because they have such a close meaning. It made for a nice meditation about how God’s love is so great and how infinite His mercy is.

So, peace be to you during this Easter season.

Grandpa’s Little Angel

No Grandpa can keep a smile off his face when he’s holding a little angel. Cove Angel Underwood is Cindy’s and my 3rd grand baby!

She is a joy to hold and I love to hold her. We’ve been blessed that our daughter Caitlin and husband Clint now live here in Pensacola, FL and that Clint is the General Manager of our company. So we get to see the babies. They’re growing so fast.

It’s getting hard to get Cindy to focus on work because she just wants to spend time with her “babies.” Cruz, the oldest is past three years old and is a handful. And Case, the middle boy is kind of like the class clown. Three different personalities and we love them dearly.

Jump Starting My Path

Well, you could say that I’ve taken a long sabbatical from writing on my blog! Almost two years. Wow.

But, I think it’s time to get started again. As I sit in a recliner in my home office because I can’t sleep thanks to a shoulder injury from the end of last week I’ve decided that it’s time to get over the procrastination and work on what I’ve wanted this website to be like from the beginning.

I will admit that I’ve had a fear of writing personally on topics that are very important to my faith because of the reaction I might generate. But that is just not acceptable to me any more. I may not be the best writer but I think I have a lot I can offer on the idea of living on a Path To Holiness.

I just recently went on retreat in Georgia conducted by the Magnalia Foundation. During my meditations I had several inspirations that include continuing to publish Path To Holiness. I also had one that addressed a real problem I’m having personally. I missed my retreat last year and was very overdue for the benefits that come with spending uninterrupted time in silent prayer with God.

I think my spiritual batteries have been re-charged and it is time to get back on The Path.

Visiting the Shroud of Turin

Shroud of TurinI have been very blessed in my work career to have traveled to places that I would never be able to otherwise. A few weeks ago that place was Turin, Italy. With a group of agricultural journalists from around the world we traveled there courtesy of New Holland tractor company.

I had a free afternoon so I took off to visit the Shroud of Turin while it was on public display. You had to pre-register for a specific time with a ticket to visit but there was no cost. I arrived just before a loud thunderstorm hit the area. A long covered walkway is set up for pilgrims to walk through before entering the Cathedral of Turin which is undergoing some major restoration. We were held in groups and watched a short video description of the shroud in comparison to scripture. Then we were allowed to enter and spend a little while in front of the Shroud in prayer. It’s hard to describe the feelings of seeing what seems very likely to be the actual cloth that Jesus was buried in. Let’s just say that I will never forget it.

After the time we had in Turin we traveled to Milan for the current version of the World’s Fair, Expo Milano 2015.

Grand Babies

Grand BabiesLast weekend Cindy and I got to visit our two grandsons, Cruz and new one, Case. Of course we loved seeing our daughter and her husband too.

It’s hard to describe how wonderful it is to hold your grandson and to play with him. Cruz walks and although he talks a lot I have no idea what he’s saying yet. Case eats and sleeps a lot still but he’s got big blue eyes and I could stare at him forever. They are awesome reminders of the miracle of life and we can’t wait for our next opportunity to see them which will be when Case gets baptized!

St. Josemaria Institute Podcast

St. Josemaria Institute PodcastI’ve been meaning to point out the St. Josemaria Institute Podcast. I get an email notification about it and received one this weekend for the latest episode which is a meditation on the Feast of St. Mark. If you would like to know about the life of St. Mark then listen in.

On April 25th we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. St. Mark wrote one of the Gospel accounts and was a companion of St. Paul on his first missionary journey. However, in the Acts of the Apostles, we discover that St. Mark abandoned St. Paul, and that St. Paul would not allow St. Mark to accompany him on his second journey.

In this meditation, Fr. Javier del Castillo explores the interesting dynamic between St. Paul and St. Mark, and what we can learn for our own life.

St. Patrick Unceasingly Thanked God

St. PatrickAfter watching hundreds of photos from friends on social media over the weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day I had to wonder if they know anything about St. Patrick. There were parties all about green and drinking. Lots of drinking from the looks of it. And already lots of eating corned beef and cabbage. But is that what the Commemoration Day for this holy man is all about?

Here’s what the Liturgy of the Hours says about St. Patrick:

Saint Patrick was born in Great Britain about the year 385. As a young man he was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland where he had to tend sheep. having escaped from slavery he chose to enter the priesthood, and later, as a bishop, he tirelessly preached the Gospel to the people of Ireland where he converted many to the faith and established the Church. He died in Down in 461.

In his Confession of Saint Patrick he says, “I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who keep me safe through all my trials.”

I don’t know if he ever had a green beer but I could see him enjoying one. His sounds like the kind of spirit that found joy even in suffering and trial. I ask for his prayers as we celebrate him tomorrow!

Extraordinary Year of Mercy Much Needed

Pope FrancisIf there has ever been more of a need for people to show mercy to each other it sure hasn’t happened in my lifetime. At least it seems that way to me. Of course we’re seeing men and women committing atrocities against other men and women in the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world but how about right here in the good old U.S.A.?

I don’t even have to look outside Pensacola, FL to see it. There are murders here that just make you shake your head in wonder and they never make national news. But there is plenty of it in the national news from places like Ferguson, MO.

So, I’m thrilled that Pope Francis has announced an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy:

Vatican City, 14 March 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday, 13 March 2015, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis declared the celebration of an extraordinary Holy year. The Jubilee announcement was made during the homily of the penitential celebration with which he opened the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative. This “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence with the opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December, and will conclude on November 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

The papal Bull will be made public on Divine Mercy Sunday, 12 April, the Feast day instituted by St. John Paul II and celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Let us pray that this coming Jubilee Year will be observed with much prayer throughout the world.

2015 Retreat Planned

Roseaire Retreat CenterIt’s official. I’m going on a retreat this year! Last year I never did get one on my calendar. That was the first time in more years than I can remember that I missed going on a retreat. By the end of last year I could “feel” something was missing spiritually. That’s how important an annual retreat can be for your spiritual health and growth.

So, I’ll be attending a Roseaire Retreat and looking forward to seeing their new facilities. They have added a dorm section with more rooms for attendees.

Roseaire Retreat encourages individuals to recognize and foster the unique contribution they make to society when they integrate their faith with their daily work, their family, friendships and social relationships. We offer spiritual retreats, workshops, summer camps and professional workshops to middle school, high school, and college students, as well as young professionals and men and women from all over the country.

The spiritual and doctrinal activities offered at Roseaire Retreat are entrusted to Opus Dei, a personal Prelature of the Catholic Church. Opus Dei helps people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, serving others and improving society. For more information about Opus Dei, please see www.opusdei.org.

Pope Francis Talks About Agriculture

Pope FrancisPope Francis put agriculture in focus this weekend when he met with a group of managers from the National Confederation of Direct Cultivators. His comments reflected on two main areas, poverty and hunger and protection of the environment. BTW. I love this photo of him from the L’Osservatore Romano.

Here are a few excerpts from his comments

“There is no humanity without the cultivation of the land; there is no good life without the food it produces for the men and women of every continent. Agriculture thus demonstrates its central role”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in audience two hundred managers from the National Confederation of Direct Cultivators in the Clementine Hall on the seventh anniversary of its foundation.

The name “direct cultivators”, explained the Pontiff, refers to cultivation, “a typically human and fundamental activity. In agricultural work there is, indeed, acceptance of the precious gift of the land that comes from God, but there is also its development through the equally valuable work of men and women, called to respond boldly and creatively to the mandate forever entrusted to mankind, the cultivation and stewardship of the land”.

This task, which requires time and energy, constitutes “a true vocation. It deserves to be recognised and suitably valued as such, also in concrete political and economic decisions. This means eliminating the obstacles that penalise such a valuable activity and that often make it appear unattractive to new generations, even though statistics show an increase in the number of students in schools and institutes of agriculture, which leads us to foresee and increase in the numbers of those employed in the agricultural sector. At the same time, it is necessary to pay due attention to the removal of land from agricultural use, to make it available for apparently more lucrative purposes”.

Regarding poverty and hunger he said, “Vatican Council II reiterated the common destination of earthly goods, but in reality the dominant economic system excludes many people from their correct use. The absolutism of the rules of the market and a throwaway culture in which waste of food has reached unacceptable proportions, along with other factors, have caused poverty and suffering for many families. Therefore, the system of production and distribution of food needs to be fundamentally re-evaluated. As our grandparents taught us, you do not play with food! Bread forms part of the sacredness of human life, and must not therefore be treated as a mere commodity”.

Then on the subject of the environment he refers to the Bible and the book of Genesis where man is called not only to cultivate the land, but also to take care of it. He also mentioned climate change, which he has done before by saying, “every agriculturalist is well aware of how difficult it has become to cultivate the land in a time of accelerated climate change and increasingly widespread extreme meteorological events. How can we continue to produce good food for the lives of all when climate stability is at risk, when the air, water and the earth itself lose their purity as a result of pollution?”

I’m not sure what information Pope Francis looks at when it comes to climate change but from the words I’ve seen him use he does seem to have a real concern for it and what it means to being able to feed everyone, including the poor. I personally think we have plenty of food to feed the world but have not come up with a system to distribute that food to the people who need it. There are too many political, criminal and other factors in the way right now.

Dr. Carly Zimmerman

Dr. Carly ZimmermanAnother major event for our family in 2014 was the December graduation of our daughter Carly. Carly graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy so she’s now Dr. Carly Zimmerman!

We can’t be more proud of Dr. Carly who not only followed through on the extra years of university but in the field she is most interested in. She also has her first job in Missouri where she wanted to be. How often does that happen?

So, right now Cindy and I are waiting on grandson number two and kind of wondering what else God has in store for us in 2015. We’re working on making some changes in our business and praying that we make good decisions.

Daughter’s Wedding in Cancun

Caitlin and Clint WeddingIn November last year our youngest daughter, Caitlin, got married to Clint Underwood. I’m still getting used to Caitlin Underwood!

Pictured is the priest who performed the Mass and wedding along with Caitlin, Clint and Cruz Baby. They were married in a beautiful chapel on the beach in Cancun. The Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel at the Grand Caribe Real was a perfect and unforgettable setting for the wedding.

This was just one of the big events in our family in 2014. But we had another one in December I’ll share next.