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Sanctification in Daily Work
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Lunch with Bishop Wack

Lunch with the BishopCindy and I had Lunch with the Bishop yesterday. That is with our Bishop, Most Reverend William A. Wack, CSC. This annual event provides a great opportunity to raise funds for Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. We can make a donation while also having a very good lunch catered locally by Classic City Catering.

You can provide your support easily and online. CCNF provides a variety of services which includes pregnancy and adoption services.

Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida serves, empowers, and advocates for impoverished and vulnerable families and individuals of any race, religion or national origin across the Florida Panhandle.

We are a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that helps to rebuild lives, each and every day.

We proudly carry out the social mission of the Catholic Church throughout 18 counties in the Florida Panhandle.

Check Vatican News Before Believing What Media Say

Vatican NewsI’ve lost track over the years about what used to be “the media” picking out a phrase from what the Pope says in interviews, audiences and writings. So many people just assume that what the read or hear is true and they don’t check the source.

Our church pastor has told us over and over to always go to the source – Vatican News. Every time I do so I see that the Pope is being taken out of context. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily like what he says about things that are not of church dogma. But at least I understand better what he is trying to say. I’ve lived through several popes and I know this is true of all of them.

I could give you several examples but if you just look and listen to what Pope Francis is saying and then go check on the documents in Vatican News you will find the truth. That’s my experience and I hope it will be yours.

Just Vote No on Florida Amendment 4

Vote No on Amendment 4On the ballot is the Florida’s Abortion Amendment. The bishops in Florida say it best.

“We urge all Floridians of goodwill to stand against the legalization of late-term abortion and oppose the abortion amendment. In doing so, we will not only protect the weakest, most innocent, and defenseless of human life among us but also countless women throughout the state from the harms of abortion,” said the bishops of Florida in their statement on Amendment 4. You can read the full proposed amendment here.

In my parish we have the Veronica Guild with contains 6 different teams. I serve on the one Honoring Life. So, for us this is just what we are all about. We honor life in all its stages. And, of course, abortion is a big part of our efforts. There is more information on it here.

Father and maker of all, you adorn all creation with splendor and beauty, and fashion human lives in your image and likeness. Awaken in every heart reverence for the work of your hands, and renew among your people a readiness to nurture and sustain your precious gift of life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen (USCCB)

Pope Francis Clears Way to Canonization of Blessed Carlo Acutis

Carlo AcutisThis is great news for young people as well as older. Here is an excerpt of the announcement on Vatican News.

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, met Thursday with Pope Francis, who approved the promulgation of several decrees related to the causes of canonization of several men and women.

For young Catholics, the most interesting is surely the recognition of a miracle attributed to Blessed Carlo Acutis.

The young layman was born on May 3, 1991, in London, England, and died on October 12, 2006, in Monza, Italy, succumbing to leukemia at the age of 15.

Pope Francis beatified the millenial in 2020 in Assisi, where Blessed Carlo had made multiple pilgrimages and where his mortal remains rest.

I have a grandson and Godson who are well aware of this remarkable young man. My wife and I sent them books about him since they have spent a lot of time on gaming and our hope is that the example of Carlo will help them be very careful about it and grow closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. That is our prayer.

You can find out more about Blessed Carlo Acutis on the Official Website of the Carlo Acutis Association and the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Carlo Acutis. On it is a prayer for the Canonization.

Retreat at Roseaire Conference Center

Roseaire Conference CenterThe last time I went on retreat at the Roseaire Conference Center was in 2015. Since then the facility has made some massive upgrades and a very accessible wing with rooms for more people. The center is beautiful and sits on property that contains about 20 large banyan trees and a trail through a gardeners dream of variety on flowering plants and coconut palms.

So, this retreat, which is managed by the Tekesta Study Center in Miami, is a silent men’s retreat. We listen to the priest provide talks for meditation as well as the sacraments of confession and the Mass. He is also available for a personal session of spiritual direction if you want. There are other talks from members who live and work in Miami as well.

There is a lot of time for meditation, spiritual reading and leaving all the distractions of phones and computers. I write lots of notes from the retreat that I use as social media posts on @PathToHoliness and at the end I select a couple of personal resolutions to look at daily and spend a little time meditating about them.

Most importantly, and something that takes practice, is to “listen to Jesus” along with the above. Sometimes I just sit and marvel about the beauty of God’s creation while not talking but listening. I may not hear Jesus speaking to me but my soul does and that’s what is important. I thank God for my ability to go on retreat as well as my wife who went on her retreat last month at a center in Missouri.

Veronica Guild Honoring Life – With Bishop William Wack

Bishop William WackThe Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in Pensacola, FL has many ministries. Relatively new is the Veronica Guild which contains several active teams, one of which is Honoring Life. “Promoting a reverence and respect for the dignity of human life in all its forms as being created in the Image and Likeness of God.”

I am a member of this team and throughout the year, each Friday of our Holy Hour prior to Mass we celebrate Fridays for Life. And the last Friday of each month a team member leads a rosary for life at 11:30am. In addition to these things we are having several meditations on life during the year. The first one was this past Friday when our own Bishop William Wack not only provided a meditation, “Loving Care for the elders among us and the gift of the Sacrament of Anointing,” but he also celebrated the Mass following it.

In his talk he referred to the recent publication of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity. It is long but he recommends taking the time to read it because it focusing on many issues facing our world today when it comes to respecting life. You can find the recording of the Holy Hour, Talk and Mass on the church YouTube channel here. You can fast forward to Bishop Wack’s talk if you would like.

“Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” – St. Padre Pio

Padre Pio FoundationI have been learning more about Saint Padre Pio. What has especially attracted me is one of his quotes, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” (St. Padre Pio)

I have struggled with anxiety for a variety of reasons in the last couple years. Last year I resolved on my annual retreat to focus on this worry and anxiety and find peace. Sounds pretty easy, eh? But I have added prayers to Saint Pio in my morning prayers. So much of what I’ve read and what he has written strikse a cord in my mind and soul. For this reason, I recommend looking into his life more and the Padre Pio Foundation is a great resource for that. You can also purchase very good prayer booklets.

In addition to this I want to add another great resource to help in your search for peace if you are struggling with it. I mentioned it in my last post. That is a short book, “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart,” by Father Jacques Philippe. In part two, chapter 5, he talks about total abandonment to God in order to find peace. “In order that abandonment might be authentic and engender peace, it must be total. We must put everything, without exception, into the hands of God, not seeking any longer to manage or “to save” ourselves by our own means: not in the material domain, nor the emotional, nor the spiritual.” I have said this to God many times, “I abandon myself to you Lord and in you I find peace.” Meditating on this has brought me more peace along the journey. Perhaps it could to you?

The Lord is Risen – Wonderful Easter Weekend

Easter 2024I hope you are having a wonderful Easter. Cindy and I were Lectors for the 9am Mass on Easter day. We got someone to take a photo of us.

It has been quite a while since I have posted here. The months from the end of last year to the end of March this year have been very busy. I have been working on letting some things go and working on a plan for the future as Cindy and I have a desire to change the amount of work we do and especially work that requires significant travel. We’ve put this into God’s hand and will work on a plan with goals and He will let us know what He wants us to do.

Easy to say but with prayer and communication it will happen. I’ve struggled with anxiety over a number of things that include work and just plain getting older and starting to feel it. So, I’m very glad for my spiritual director and am looking forward to my annual retreat. This year it will be at the Rosaire Conference Center and put on by the Tekesta Study Center in Miami. I have been there before and have my travel plans made.

I still have a desire to do more with this website and will see if that is something God wants me to do. That includes my X account for @PathToHoliness.

My latest spiritual reading is a short one, “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart, by Fr. Jacques Philippe.” It has described me to a tee and has great advice.

Meditating in the Woods

Sunny day rainbowLast week I finished this season’s opening days for deer hunting in Georgia. I don’t know if we will keep this leased property that is shared by about 5 other men. But, for us, it’s good work, camaraderie, time to talk about things without interruptions and lots of hours of sitting in the woods.

For me, it’s prayer time. As soon as I’m sitting in a stand my rosary comes out. With a light breeze in the pines and other trees it’s easy to relax and talk to God and my guardian angel. I’ve been fall deer hunting for over 30 years and I’ve lost track of how many times a deer shows up after I say my rosary. My brother hunts with me and he does the same thing.

Although I take good care of my physical self the best I can, including regular workouts, I can tell you that at 65 years old things are a lot more difficult than when I started hunting! But you find ways to do things differently.

My mantra lately is a great quote from Saint Padre Pio: “Pray Hope and Don’t Worry”

Comparing Yourself to Others

St. Katharine Drexel Church and Sacred HeartI’ve always been competitive and in many ways like sports, jobs and businesses I have started. Currently my wife and I are nearing 20 years with our current business. We started it and created work for client companies that no one else was doing. Our work involves photography, audio interviews, some video and all to assist in marketing efforts for these companies and most of that involved significant travel. We’ve worked for many of the largest names in agriculture. A big part of what we “pioneered” was the use of blogs, podcasts and social media. But that has all changed in the last 10 years as we started getting competition and now everyone is an influencer, content creator, digital marketing expert . . . This has had a big impact on us, not counting the cost of COVID, although that was a rough time financially.

So, I point this out because for the first time in my life I’ve felt down, depressed and have lost my enthusiasm. I’ve prayed about this and asked God for what He wants of me, of my company, of my “retirement.” I’ve been receiving answers. Most recently being the realization that a lot of my mental attitude is the result of comparing myself to others. Things like new jobs they have, growth in their companies, the fun they’re having in their retirement, their ability to do more exercise. A majority of this comes from seeing and reading this via social media. What was once a core of our work has, in my opinion, become not only a sewer pit of trash, but something that you not only can’t trust is reality or is the constant barrage of people posting about how wonderful they are and how successful (they think) they are. It’s easy to get caught up in that.

So, after about 3 days earlier this week I just felt deflated, no interest in anything, struggling to do things that have to be done, tired and finding myself just staring at the wall in my office. But then it really hit me out of no where it seemed that I’m doing this to myself and it is on one else’s fault. I’m not perfect. I’m not the best photographer. I’m not the best business man. I’m 65 and feeling older and yet trying to do everything I have done for over 40 years in my career. That’s crazy and I thank Jesus for opening my eyes to this. It has not been easy and I doubt I’m out of the woods yet. Although I hope to be in the woods next month for deer season!

I will also add the value of being able to talk to my wife and partner about this. She is pretty no nonsense and comes right to the point. She probably doesn’t know how important that is to me. But it is and since we are married, that includes Jesus as part of that union. It hasn’t been easy to talk about how I have been feeling. I’ve always struggled with some level of anxiety but it was never as bad as the last year.

If you or anyone you know has this kind of feelings or situation I hope you can find a way out of it. I only share this because I hope it might help someone. I have no idea what the next year will bring, much less the rest of this year. But as Saint Padre Pio would say, “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry.”

BTW. The picture is from a weekday Mass I attended in Springfield, IL at Sacred Heart Church which is run by the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Parish.

Litany of Humility

I may have seen this sometime ago but only recently said it carefully and daily. It can be easily found. The author is Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta. He was the Secretary of State to Pope Saint Pius X (1903-1914). I first found it in the book, Deliverance Prayers, For use by the Laity, by Fr. Chad Ripperberger, PhD. I’m posting it here from EWTN since it is easy to post it.

After turning 65 this year and looking ahead to that next life phase which might be a sort of retirement, this prayer has made me feel much more calm and less anxious. I’ve always been a competitor, in sports or in business. I don’t mind saying my goal was to become a millionaire. That didn’t go so well on the first business. Now Cindy and I are 20 years into a small business with a goal of not only doing good work but just being able to pay bills and raise a family of three daughters. We’re now 43 years after college, with 40 in the agricultural communications field. It has been rewarding, educational, fun, and I’ve been able to travel as see so many things that most people will never see. And as proud of I am of meeting a Pope, seeing Guadalupe, seeing the Shroud and many more, I cherish the memories but I don’t want to be honored/praised/preferred/approved. I want to love Jesus and be a good disciple. That is enough and that is a lot. So, whatever happens in the next little while, I want it to be for God only.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being loved,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being honored,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being praised,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being approved,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected,

Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Charity

Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth, bears with all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

To have Charity is to love God above all things for Himself and be ready to renounce all created things rather than offend Him by serious sin. ( Matt. 22:36-40)

Mass in Olds, Alberta, Canda at St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen's, Olds, Alberta, CanadaI recently returned from a 9 day trip to back to back conferences in Calgary and Olds, Alberta, Canada. The first one was primarily in Olds at the university there. So, I have added to my collection of churches I have been blessed to visit for Mass. This one is St. Stephen’s. I got a cab ride to Mass and found one of the attendees at the conference there at the end of Mass. We shared a ride back to the conference venue. I wish we could have had more attending but I am so glad for that opportunity. I couldn’t go to daily Mass but was able to do so for Sunday vigil Mass.

Officer Installation Dinner for KofC Council 8589

Knights of Columbus Council 8589 Officers InstallationThe St. Michael Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, #8589, held its officer installation on May 30, 2023 at V. Paul’s restaurant in Pensacola, FL. Not all officers were able to be present but most of them were. Officers were able to have their wives join them as well as a few guests.

We have often had the installation prior to a business meeting. However, this provided for a special ceremony which included not only having wives and some friends but some good social time without having to conduct business with reports and voting on activities.

Donating to The Arc Gateway

The Arc Gateway donation presentationMembers of Council 8589, Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, in Pensacola, FL donated the money collected through the annual Tootsie Roll campaign to The Arc Gateway. The council presented a check for over $540. The Arc Gateway provides life changing programs and services for more than 1,200 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Pictured are (l-r): The Arc Gateway: Stephen Rampersad, Chief Advancement Officer, Jenni Perkins, Marketing and Public Relations Director and Knights of Columbus Council 8589: Fred Myers, Deputy Grand Knight, Myself, Lecturer, Bob Clipper, Chancellor.

Afters making the presentation we were given a tour of the facilities that include classrooms for children with different disabilities and areas for adults to have a quiet, safe place to relax. Of real interest are the products that are produced to provide a work environment that will help people with disabilities find employment with local businesses. Some of those products include shredding paper and other materials, creating artwork for sale, concrete products and more.

Take Time for Family

Mother's Day FamilyMother’s Day is past but Cindy and I visited my Mother and other local family where she lives that weekend. It’s a long drive but well worth the effort. Mother took us all to LongHorn Steakhouse after morning Mass. She insisted it was her treat although we were all ready to take care of the meal. We not only had a good time going to Mass and lunch but spending time at Mother’s house and my brother/sister-n-law’s house with some of their children. We don’t know what the future holds and after losing my Father it really made me think a lot about finding time to visit family. Cindy and I have family scattered in 4 states so it’s not easy or inexpensive to make trips multiple times of the year. But we believe God will take care of all that as long as we talk to Him and use the treasures we are blessed with.

For Father’s Day we will be making a trip to Nashville to see our children and 1st year old grand baby. And we will have more plans to see family during the rest of the year.