“We can have the most beautiful Liturgy in the World, but without love it is for nothing.”


The video below is of Archbishop Alexander Sample’s homily on the Liturgy, which he offered on Quinquegesima Sunday at the Brigittine Monastery of Our Lady of Consolation. Wow! Wonderful homily. One of my favorite quotes from it is: “We can have the most beautiful Liturgy in the World, but without love it is for nothing.” The Mass is not about us, but about Christ. Everything we do is a call to give the glory to God that is due him. The Liturgy is a wonderful opportunity to grow in our love of Christ and deepen our faith. Beautiful liturgies have played a great part in my life, especially in inspiring my vocation. I give thanks for being able to be a part of many beautiful liturgies over the year. We are blessed to celebrate beautiful liturgies at the seminary and it really adds to the spiritual growth that our men experience at Bishop Bruté. The love of the priests in my life for God has shown by how they celebrate the Mass and it trull has deepened my faith.

No matter whether the Mass is celebrated in the Novus Ordo, Byzantine, Dominican, Carmelite, Extraordinary, or another Rite/Form the Liturgy is a way to bring Heaven to Earth, to interact with the people in a very real way and draw them closer to God. Our love of God should echo in the ways in which we attend and celebrate Mass. Our movements, gaze, voice, everything we do leads us to God in extremely intimate ways.

May Our Lady queen of priests, always help priests and those who assist them to celebrate beautiful liturgies, truly worthy of the sacrifice being offered. As we near Holy Week and the Triduum, may our hearts and minds be on Christ, the mysteries we celebrate, and may we be granted the graces to serve at his Altar’s worthily, and with much love. Amen.


Link to my Interview on VocationBoom! Radio

Link to my Interview on VocationBoom! Radio


On Saturday, I was interviewed by VocationBoom! Radio, a national radio show on over 230 radio affiliates. It is an hour long program and consists of my “shortened” vocation story (covering my life in Quincy, Beatrice, and Kentucky), answering questions from call-ins as well as talking about life as a seminarian from the Diocese of Owensboro attending Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary. Click on the link above, scroll to the bottom and click on the show for March 29, 2014. If you haven’t invited a young man to consider a vocation to the priesthood, please suggest it to him, pray for more vocations, and visit VocationBoom.com for more info, such as joining their prayer network.




O Mary queen of priests – pray for us!

May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi!

The Gospel reading for Mass yesterday was from Mark 1:14-20.

Here’s an excerpt from the Gospel:

“As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.”

The video above is done by Rob Bell, a evangelical pastor. Yes, not everything that he says is in line with church teaching, but the above video has a lot of important things and is based mostly, purely on history. “Dust” is a video which challenges us to consider what it took for the rabbi to choose his disciples. Christ was a revolutionary, he chose simple fishermen. We have a saying in Vocations Ministry that God doesn’t “Call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” What a wonderful thing we have to look forward to as men in formation! The entire work of formation is devoted to forming men after Christ’s heart. We need pastors who are sincere, who love the Eucharist, we need men who are willing to fight in the trenches and bring souls home for Christ! We need men who will be sacrificial and love all, putting their very lives on the line, so that souls may be rescued. We need a renewal in our culture and the church is forming men to combat the evil in the world. May God grant us the grace to persevere, may we as Pope Francis said, “smell like our sheep” May we be covered in the dust of our rabbi!

Invite a man to consider priesthood!

St. Stephen and the “Bloody Octave of Christmas”

St.  Stephen: protomartyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro

St. Stephen: protomartyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro. This image hangs in the back of the Cathedral, near the baptismal font.

A blessed feast of St. Stephen to you all! St. Stephen is the patron saint of the Cathedral and Diocese of Owensboro, KY. He was the first martyr of the early Christian church, and was also a deacon. His death (by stoning) is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, having been witnessed by Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul). Stephen’s name is derived from the greek Stephanos, meaning “crown”. Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyr’s palm. (In our Cathedral image, though he is just shown wearing a dalmatic (the vestment of the deacon in the Mass.) I keep a small statue of St. Stephen on my nightstand at the seminary, reminding me to ask for his intercession and to pray for the people in the diocese who are praying for me.

Our Cathedral was restored as part of the Diocesan celebrations for our 75th anniversary. Sam and I who were the only college seminarians for the diocese at Bishop Bruté, were able to take part in the historic, Solemn dedication of the renovated cathedral. You can see pictures from the day, by visiting my old Flickr profile, which is the last link on my photos page.

St .Stephen Cathedral in all of it's glory!

St .Stephen Cathedral in all of it’s glory! AP Imagery: photographer. Find his (Adam Paris) work on Flickr.com

https://flic.kr/p/9r2m8Q (To find photo, search “St. Stephen Cathedral” on Flickr.com)


The Cathedral renovation was done by the Talleres Art de Granda studio out of Spain. The work they do is absolutely beautiful, and it really showed with our Cathedral. Part of the renovation project included a new Allen 3-manual organ. We already have a Wicks Pipe Organ in the Choir Loft of the cathedral, so having two organs, both of which are magnificent instruments, really makes an organ nerd(and novice) like me happy!

The "former" cathedral decor. Notice the sound tile in the Choir Loft and the very pale, non vibrant color scheme. It fit it's time, but the new decor fits even better!

The “former” cathedral decor. Notice the sound tile in the Choir Loft and the very pale, non vibrant color scheme. It fit it’s time, but the new decor fits even better! (Wicks Pipe organ casing in the Choir Loft.)

3-manual Allen organ, that was installed in the Cathedral. Notice, the change in color schemes and the organ pipe casing in the choir loft. (There's another organ up there!)

3-manual Allen organ, that was installed in the Cathedral. Notice, the change in color schemes and the organ pipe casing in the choir loft. (There’s another organ up there!)









The cathedral renovation included a reredos, containing three sculptures of the life of St. Stephen. It is a beautiful piece!

The Sanctuary of St. Stephen Cathedral, notice the gold leafing on the Altar, Reredos, etc. Truly a work of art, fitting for God!

The Sanctuary of St. Stephen Cathedral, notice the gold leafing on the Altar, Reredos, etc. Truly a work of art, fitting for God!

So, the next time you are in Owensboro, I encourage you to stop by and visit our lovely cathedral. It will be well worth your time and I am positive that you will enjoy your time with our Lord!

The main entrance to the Cathedral.

The main entrance to the Cathedral.


The historic octave of Christmas is one of my favorites. (Yes, in the modern Roman Calendar, there are only two octaves (Easter & Christmas), but the octave of Christmas is one of great rejoicing, in a different sense. Monsignor Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington wrote a beautiful meditation on what he calls the Bloody Octave. What is the Bloody Octave? Monsignor Pope states: “It is one of the bloodiest weeks of the Church’s years. Thus, on December 26th, when we have hardly digested our Christmas dinner, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the Martyr who was stoned to death. On December 28th we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young and infant boys who were murdered by Herod seeking to kill Christ. On December 29th we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. (I’m planning on watching the great film Becket 1964, starring Richard Burton & Peter O’Toole. You can watch the whole movie free on Youtube here.Even St. (King) Wenceslaus of whom we happily sing “on the Feast of Stephen” was brutally killed by his brother.” 

So, we have a week of blood, a week of remembrance of those who gave their lives for the faith. (Remember Pope Benedict  wearing red shoes? It was a tradition in the church of showing the blood of the martyrs, which he (the pope) would be willing to accept in a moment for the sake of Christ. (JPII and Pope Francis are the first pope in hundreds of years not to wear the shoes))

Christ was born, as a sacrifice, he came to bring peace, through the offering of his life. “He who knew no sin, was made sin for us…” -2 Corinthians 5:12. Christ came to die, he was born into a world, so that he could give his life for it. Christ was born into the wood of the crib, only to be killed on the wood of the cross. This “bloody octave” teaches us that our faith is not that requires no effort, rather it is one that requires a total gift of self like the martyrs. Maybe we aren’t called to be killed physically for Christ, but we are called every day to pick up our cross, face the challenges of life, battle sin and temptation, and work toward our goal of Heaven. May these blessed “bloody” martyrs help us ever in our path toward Heaven as we continue on this Christmas Season, proclaiming: Glory to god in the Highest, and on earth peace to men of good will…

I hope that you and your families have a blessed Christmas Season! Remember, it’s not over until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord if you follow the Novus Ordo Mass, and then not until February 2nd (The Purification of Mary, Candlemas) in the Extraordinary form. Also, this Friday ranks as a solemnity (it falls in the Octave of Christmas) so go ahead and eat meat, enjoy a piece of cake, Christ the savior is born and we are celebrating!

Merry Christmas!


St. Stephen, martyr, deacon, and patron of the Diocese of Owensboro, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

O Oriens!


O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

From the Lectionary Cycle:

Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae:
veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death!

From the Hymn:

Veni, Veni O Oriens, solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas, dirasque mortis tenebras.

(6) O Come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

This Evening the Church in her wisdom calls us to look to the Orient, the East, to look forward to the second coming of Christ. (Kind of fits with the whole Mayan World-ending thing don’t you think?) We gather together as a people who long to see Christ, we long for him to come, we long to see him, our Savior. We look to the East, because that is where the Dawn comes from, where the first rays of the sunlight of a new day come forth from. That is why for the longest amount of the Church’s history Mass was celebrated Ad Orientem, that is (to the East, though it became the Liturgical East in some places, because churches couldn’t always be built with the High Altar on the East side of the Church) Mass can still be celebrated this way, though many choose not to as the custom with the Novus Ordo is to celebrate Ad populum, (To the people). We await the coming of Christ from the East, we await him the dawn of a new day, he is the dawn who makes all things new. He comes to set us free of our sin and start us on the path to our redemption. He comes to restore the human race with God and open up the gates of Heaven for us through his death on the cross.

We seek the Son of Justice, who when he comes on that new dawn, that new day, he will give to each what they deserve. This is why Christ gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you haven’t made your Christmas confession yet, please GO! Now! Jesus is waiting for us to ask him for his help, to be the new day in our life, to be the new dawn of justice, the new dawn of love, the new dawn of whatever we are needing refreshed, open up your souls to him! Open up your hearts and sweep the staleness of not praying and sin out, ask for him to come and be your new day. Join with the church in welcoming him O Oriens, O Dawn, O Christ born for our salvation in a stable in Bethlehem. Come o Oriens, dawn of the new day. Come and refresh us, and make us yours, even so Lord Jesus, come and do not tarry!

Scriptural References for O Oriens:

Isaiah 9:158:860:18-20

Malachi 4:2

Luke 1:78-79

John 8:12

Revelation 22:16

Requiescat in Pace Daddy Winders!

Requiescat in Pace Daddy Winders!

I was very saddened today to learn that one of my former teachers had passed away. Mr. Nikki Winders was a substitute teacher at Crittenden County and always subbed for the Agricultural Classes. He was a Baptist Preacher and the Voice of the Rockets on the local Radio station WMJL.

I was blessed to get to know “Daddy Winders” as he was affectionately called throughout my time in the Crittenden County School System. And I was blessed to get to know him even more as I would always sit with him during Basketball games. (I helped broadcast all of our Basketball games on iHigh, while he voiced them onto the radio. He was a fantastic man who really cared about those around him. Probably my fondest memory was when he got locked in the AG office with my friends Stacia Snow and Cortni Head. We had been trying to fix the door and Daniel Patton and I had just walked out. The look on his face as he realized that he was locked in there in what turned out to be a 45 minute period was priceless. Mr. Winders was a wonderful God-fearing man who will be greatly missed by all in Crittenden County and especially by his students. May God have mercy on his soul and may he rest in peace.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday

From Vocation Boom: “Maybe not the holiest or most important day we commemorate during the liturgical year. But for priests and seminarians – really, for all of us – today is a day of unspeakable joy and glory. For the countless times your life has been touched by a priest, or for the innumerable times you’ve received the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, this is our day to celebrate and rejoice. May you be given new eyes to see, and a new heart to appreciate, what our humble servant Lord has done for us. Where would you be without these incredible gifts?”

As a Seminarian, I agree wholeheartedly and am very excited this Holy Thursday. May I offer my thanks as well to those priests in my life who have made such an impact. Here is a link to my post last year on the Feast of St. John Vianney which lists them.


In His Mercy,


My first Protestant Church visit

Okay, well technically it wasn’t my first, as my Grandfather’s funeral back in February would be my first visit during a Protestant service. Last night though, was my first visit to an actual protestant worship service. Now why would I, a Catholic seminarian make a visit to a protestant worship service. Surely I am not considering converting.

No, I am not considering converting, but I am very happy that I was able to attend. One of our class projects for Dr. Kevin Schemenauer’s Theology 105 Class at Marian is to visit another faith’s worship service, interview the pastor (or equivalent), and write a paper on the experience. Because I was back home I chose to go to a church, where I knew a lot of the people and had heard about it through them.

So I researched the church a little online, texted one of my old teacher’s and now great friend to find out about times and such, called the pastor (who I have known from school events) and headed 1.2 miles down the road from my house to Life in Christ Church. Upon arrival at the church I was greeted instantly by a greeter at the door, welcomed inside, given a welcome mug, introduced to an usher who directed me to some old classmates, offered coffee and water, and then ushered to my seat up at the front next to the pastor, his wife and a few of the music leadership.

Coming to the church as being a somewhat well-known Catholic in the local school, now a seminarian and seeing friends and people who I had met after giving my baccalaureate address at graduation last year, I am pretty sure that some were wondering as to why I was there. Not to worry though if anyone asked I did share with them, the purpose of my visit.

Needless to say I had a very enjoyable experience during the service, I was grateful to all who made my visit comfortable and extremely thankful to Pastor Chris for talking with me and answering my questions afterwards. Life in Christ has a beautiful comfortable setting and is doing great things in our community, including feeding many elderly who can’t afford food and bringing souls to Christ. Many for the first time.

This brings me to my next point, while as a Catholic some of the aspects of the worship service at Life in Christ might have not been my cup of tea (which I like Mint by the way…haha) but I could recognize the different aspects of how through the way they worship they were bringing souls to Christ. When I was talking to Pastor Chris after the service he made a comment that I hope I can paraphrase correctly, as it really sat with me. “We may not do things like everyone else, but that’s okay because we are all on the same team. We are all trying to bring our faith to others.”

The importance of Ecumenism in today’s culture is one that is highly prominent. As a Seminarian who watched and looked up to Pope- Emeritus Benedict I saw the ways in which he brought souls home to Christ and tried to bring many back into the folds of Christ’s church. I was able to witness this especially by attending an Anglican-use Mass a while back. In today’s culture so many are thirsting for God. So many of our youth are looking for that something, or someone to whom they could receive love from. In visiting Life in Christ Church I witnessed a way in which Christ was calling that group of people to himself. Through visiting Life in Christ I witnessed many who were searching for that someone whom they could receive love from.

It is time for Catholics everywhere to stand-up and embrace some of the ways in which other faith’s are bringing souls to their church. I hope that through Pope Francis many will embrace the call to spread the Gospel of God and that Francis will continue the mission of Benedict to reconcile all to Christ and bring them home to the church that Christ founded.

As Maundy Thursday is the day of the birth of the priesthood and the Eucharist, let us all give thanks to the many brothers and sisters of Christ who though they are separated by faith now, we pray that in time all will come home to the church founded by Christ 2000 years ago. I give thanks for all who made my first “visit” to a protestant church an enjoyable experience and urge them and all to continue bringing soul to Christ. I look forward to the future where God-willing if priesthood is my calling I can work with other ministers in the area in bringing more souls to Christ and calling all home.

I give thanks for my parent’s and family’s faith which they passed onto me. I am so thankful for the Eucharist in my life and for being able to receive Christ, body, blood, soul and, divinity into my body at each Mass. Have a blessed Maundy Thursday everyone and don’t forget to go to Mass tonight!

And once again thank-you all at Life in Christ and to Pastor Chris for assisting me and welcoming me into your community for the night. Keep up the great work!

-In His Mercy,


FCA Speech @ Crittenden Co. High School

The following is the text of my speech that I gave to the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at Crittenden County High School on January 11, 2012, after the invitation of one of my former teachers and good friend, Mrs. Carol West. So without further adieu…

I want to cover three phrases that come from our Lord’s life in my time speaking with you all today. We are just leaving the Christmas Season this Sunday in the Catholic Church as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River.


            Now, being that we are still in the Christmas Season, I wanted to call to our minds to a thought, that we normally don’t consider when we think of Christmas. Usually we think of Joy, peace, The Nativity, Poinsettias, Three kings, Christmas Trees, The three Magi.


            When we think of Christmas we don’t usually think of death, pain, torture, sin, the cross, Christ’s passion. But if we think of the meaning of Christmas and the reason that Christ came into this world, we realize that he was born to die for our sins. He was born a sacrifice. This is the reason that Christ came into the world: 1: to do the Father’s will. 2: To Glorify the Father, and 3 To offer his life as reparation for our sins.”


            The Three phrases that I want to focus on today are: “Do Not Be afraid, Do Whatever He Tells you, and I Thirst.


            The First quote: “Do not Be afraid” comes from the Gospel of Luke, when Gabriel the Archangel appears to Mary. His first words are: “Do Not Be afraid” Now we all know that Mary had much to be frightened of, she has a strange person who says that he is an angel appearing to her in her room, she is told that she is going to give birth to the Son of God,, She is about to leave her family and everything she knows and live in Egypt, she will lose her son in the temple, And after much more, she will see her son, beaten, harasses, spat upon, and crucified all for a people who don’t care about him. She has a lot to be afraid of, yet the angel tells her: “Do Not be afraid”, why? Because God is with her, because God loves her and has chosen her, He has had a plan for her since the beginning of time.


            Like Mary, God has a plan for us. He has a special plan for each of you. He knows that there will be trials in your life. He knows that sometimes you will have trouble with finding the strength to carry on. He knows that you will sin, and repent, and then sin some more. He knows each time you and your parent’s fight. He knows about your relationship troubles, he knows everything about you and he has a plan for you. Like Mary, he has a plan for you and for your future. Now he doesn’t send his angel to tell you “Do not be afraid” but that is exactly what he is saying to you. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know well the plans that I have  in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” God has a special plan for you, a special spot for you in his mission. He has something that he is calling you to do. Not what you think you want to do with your life, but something that you have been putting aside and telling him no. He has a vocation for each one of us. A part of his salvific mission that we are to play an important role in. A part of his mission that we are being called to.


            God loves you and wants you to come to him and be his.

How we do this? The next quote is from the second chapter of John: “Do, whatever He tells you.” What better advice the Mother of God can give to us, than to tell us to do whatever her son says.

A little aside: Mary and Jesus have both gone to a wedding in Cana and they are enjoying themselves eating and drinking and rejoicing with the bride and the bridegroom. They end up running out of wine and Mary finds out. Being the good Jewish woman that she is, she knows that without wine, the rejoicing cannot continue and the party cannot go on. So she after trying to find wine, comes to Christ and tells him, Son, they are out of wine.

Now we too, when we are burdened down with things of this world go to Christ and ask him for help. Christ turns and says to his Mother in a kind of flat out way, tells her: “Woman, my time has not yet come.” Now I don’t know about you, but if I called my mom woman and told her, that I wasn’t doing something because I wasn’t ready to. I would have got a nice and well-deserved smack, Mary on the other hand looks to the servants and gives them some of the best advice. “Do whatever HE tells you” She takes her problem and hands it over to Jesus, much like we do when we are burdened down. And so Christ performs his first miracle of turning water into wine, all because his mother told him to. All because the servants did whatever he told them to. What in our life are we ignoring Jesus on? What sin do we keep repeating, because it feels good? When we hear something at church that we are called to do, do we do it? How do we live out our call to be Heralds of the Gospel in today’s age?

These 5 words sum up our goals as Christians.  Do whatever he tells you. To follow his commandments, to follow the beatitudes, to live his Gospel Message. To come to him.

This is what Christ desires with his whole heart, he wants us to come to him. The next phrase is from when Jesus is hanging on the Cross. “I thirst” What is it that Christ thirsts for? Christ thirsts for us, he thirsts for our souls he thirsts for us to be with him forever in paradise.  If we look at Christ upon the Cross we see that he is bearing the weight of our sin upon his shoulders, and when he says I thirst, it is not for what the soldier offers him, but it is for our very soul. Christ thirsts for you to be with him. To repent, to give yourselves over to him.

There is a war that we are in brothers and sisters. It is a war for Christ, a war for Good. The present president’s administration seeks to cast out Christ from the public square. To cast out religious liberties and replace them with the government administered stipulations. We are fighting for our freedoms as Christians, we are fighting for our values. We are living in a world that to be Christian is cross-cultural. It goes against our society. We are told that materialism is good, that the bigger the better, that two kids are enough, that it is okay to kill the child in the womb. We are told that casual sex for pleasure and not for pro-creation is okay. We are told that so-called homosexual marriage is a right and is okay. We are told that being a Christian in support of the family is unnatural, or abnormal. We are told that Christ doesn’t matter, that our religious convictions don’t make us who we are. We are told that scantily clad men and women are okay to look at. That lustful thoughts and actions are only part of the human nature. Christ came to cast aside these beliefs in our society, he came to call us to glory. Christ thirsts for us to cast aside sin and win ourselves and others for him. I want to close with a short meditation from the book: “Consoling the Heart of Jesus. A do it yourself Ignatian Retreat”



We are the soldiers in a battle for Christ. Christ tells us to be not afraid to take up our cross and follow him, his Mother tells us to leave all and follow him by doing whatever he tells us, Christ thirsts for you, do you thirst for him

Prayer for National Vocations Awareness Week

Heavenly Father, Your divine Son taught us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard. We earnestly beg You to bless our Diocese with many holy priests, seminarians, religious, consecrated, deacons, marriages, men and women serving in ministry and all vocations, that they will love You fervently, gladly and courageously spend their lives in service to Your Son’s Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that their lives may be always centered on our Eucharistic Lord; that they be always faithful to the Holy Father; and that they may be devoted sons and daughters of Mary, our Mother, in making You known and loved; and that all may attain Heaven. Bless our families and our children and choose from our homes those whom You desire for this holy work. We ask this in Jesus’ name.


Pray for Vocations!! nuff said!