Summer and Recreation
I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and the grace of God in our lives. I am also a firm believer restful recreation. When these can happen together, wow, what a wonderful combination. It is truly one of the best ways to be refreshed. With God's hand comforting us and our vacations creating a restful openness, we can be reformed and enlivened in ways that can surprise even the one on vacation.

This month, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about a vacation being a "gift from God." For some, this means going to the coast while others it means going into the woods. The pope has a bias. For him, going into the mountainous forest is what gives him joy. In fact, the Holy Father praised the mountains, which "in particular, evoke the upward ascent of the spirit, the elevation toward the 'high measure' of our humanity, which daily life unfortunately tends to abase." Personally, I have always preferred the woods and mountains to the ocean. There's just something about the fresh mountain air and the fun that can be had at a lake that brings back the little kid in me. I love to water ski, play around on personal watercraft, do some fishing, catch up on my past issues of Astronomy and MacWorld magazines, and just generally lounge around. Having elongated conversations with God in this different environment helps me have a new perspective upon things.

Vacations can recreate oneself. In that mode, my creativity comes back as well as my positive attitude. I hope that you will find the time to get away and rest. Take God with you as you go. Make sure to find a place to go to Mass. Often we forget about taking God along. But, by making the effort to work it into your plans, not only are you fulfilling your Sunday Obligation, but you are also getting a different look at the way other faith communities express their faith. I hope you will see that the Catholic Church, while offering some variations, is quite consistent no matter where you go. Take a bulletin and bring it back. I'd love to see what others are doing.

My Fore into Art and Apparel
Yes, I am a priest and a geek, but did you know that I actually have something of an artistic side? Yup. Sort of anyway. Over a year ago I created some designs for apparel and have been continually pondering on new designs that folks might want to wear. Some are geared solely for our parish and our centennial. Others are more generic. Just a couple weeks ago I created a new one which I'm calling, "iCatholic." It's subtitle says, "Being faithful isn't just a matter of style." I like the message which came to me quickly when thinking about the shirt's creation. The meaning can be taken in many ways as resonates with the person who wears or sees it. The shirt examples below are just some of the many different apparel items that each logo can be printed upon. If you want to check them out for yourself, you can go to