The Demise of the Catholic University


Catholic Education in America historically has been rooted in the study of the Catholic faith and that faith was an integral part of one’s experience at the University level.  However, recently there has been a trend to expeditiously remove any signs of Catholicism from many of these campuses.  

For example, how can a Catholic University remain loyal to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and allow openly homosexual persons to remain on their staff?  How can a Catholic University allow the teaching of abortion?  How can a truly Catholic University allow its professors to continually date students, some half their age?  How can a Catholic University allow a staff member to serve openly as a surrogate Mother?

To answer these questions, one must look at what Catholic Education has become.  In most Catholic Universities, the primary goals are: making money, creating new programs, and increasing enrollment.  All fine and this needs to be done, but the primary focus should be on Catholicism; its tenets, its beliefs, its practices, and the opportunity for the students to receive the Sacraments.  Catholicism itself has taken a back seat to the secularization of the once Catholic University.

Moreover, let’s consider a Franciscan University.  One, I will not mention by name but I believe has become a CINO University (Catholic In Name Only), which describes itself in its Mission and Ministry statement as having

“Franciscan Values as a Community of Learning, a Community of Reverence, a Community of Service”

It has to be noted that there is nothing uniquely Catholic about this statement. Many secular Universities offer the same values, although they would certainly not call themselves Franciscan.  Furthermore, a Catholic University that offers outreach programs to the poor and homeless is very noble, but Secular Universities also do this.  Image

So What does make a University Catholic more than one in name only?  Here are a few points to consider: Does the College offer daily Mass? Is the “Mandatum” adhered to by the Theology Professors?   Any Catholic institution that minimizes or subverts Ex corde Ecclesiae, written by Pope John Paul II and has the force of Canon Law, has serious problems with its Catholic identity.

Click this link for more information from The Cardinal Newman Society on this topic:

http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/TheNewmanGuide/About/FAQsAboutThisGuide.aspx

Lastly, there are about 28 distinctly Catholic Colleges and Universities in America.  The Newman Guide is a free publication and lists them all. They all have great programs, extracurricular activities, and segregated housing.  Mainly they offer what Catholic young people need; growth in their faith!

God Bless You!

 

 

 

 

The Art Of Appreciation


Listen to me, my son, and do not disregard me, and in the end you will appreciate my words. In all your work be industrious, and no sickness will overtake you. Sirach 31:22

Tonight, our car broke down as my Mother and I were leaving the Church.  I was able to nurse it along to the dealership which was not far away.  Since it was closed, we had to leave the car there until Monday and we found ourselves with no way to get home on a Saturday night.  I called a few people, but all had commitments.  So I did something I probably had not done in 20 years; I called a taxi cab.  While we were waiting for the cab, a vicious storm blew over us.  Winds were blowing and rain was pouring, but we sat in the car and waited.  When the taxi arrived, the rain stopped.  One of God ‘s ways I think of telling us everything will be okay.  The cab driver was very friendly as was the dispatcher I spoke with on the phone.  We made it home safely after the storm had passed and I left the driver with a healthy tip and called the cab company back to compliment him.  Thanks to this daring driver, our needs were met, although I am afraid to see the bill for the car!

As one who is working in the field of Catholic Media,  I often times find myself wondering about how my work is perceived by others.  Oh, I guess I do a fair enough job, but then again, that is hard to approximate.  Sometimes, there are those who forget to separate the personal from the professional side of things, but that should not be the case. Image The art of appreciation can go a long way in making someone’s day.  A quick “thanks” is all it might take to lift one’s spirits.  We all have our crosses to carry and our burdens in life.  There is no getting away form that, however I try to invoke the 3 P’s to help me through it: Prayer, Presence, Participation.

It is always important to include a Prayer for others in daily life.  Say a prayer today for someone; maybe one you know well, maybe someone in a service job who helps you, or maybe the cashier at the store who looks worried. 

Our Presence to everyone is important too. Being Present as a way of showing support in the name of Jesus can do wonders for someone who is down. I believe it is important to treat others like they are the only one’s alive at that given moment. Focus directly on them with distraction.

Finally, our Participation in the Gospel message can always make someone’s day. Remember, it is not what you do or say that most people will recall about you, but rather it is the way you treated them  That’s what counts. Image

Lastly, always do what you say you are going to do, rather than say one thing and do another.  If you offer to help someone, make the time to do it.  If you are meeting someone for lunch, be sure to go and show your love and support to them.  If you are chatting on Skype, don’t try to carry on a chat on Facebook with someone else at the same time. 

Give your undivided attention to whoever you are with at any given moment.

Mother Angelica once said “Do not give others authority that they do not possess!” That is important here because sometimes there are tendencies to overrule others with our own selfishness.  One must always separate the personal from the professional and accept others as they are. That means showing support to the downtrodden, listening with an open heart and mind, and helping the poor whatever that need may be; recalling that poor can mean many things, such as mentally poor, spiritually poor, as well as the more common materially poor.  Ministerially speaking, appreciation goes a long way, Let others know how you feel about the good they have done for you.  Support them when they need you.  Most of all, don’t be threatened by anyone else, either personally or professionally.  Appreciation will go a long way in making lasting relationships and earning the respect of others.

Looking for perfection in a person brings too much expectation.  When your expectations are not met, too many disappointments come.  Learn to appreciate a person’s imperfections.  In them, you’ll find perfection.

God Bless You My Friends.Image

Being Honorable To One Another


“May God be gracious to us and bless us; may his face shine upon us.” ~ Psalm 67:2

Recently, I was rummaging through some old newspaper articles online and I came across one that was very interesting and a reminder of a more respectable time.  It is something that certainly would not hold true today.  Here in Toledo, Ohio where I hail from, in the Toledo Blade newspaper of April 12, 1965 which was Monday of Holy Week, there was a short blub about a local radio station changing its call letters from WTOL to WCWA.  I remember that well.  What is unique about it was that the change was scheduled to take place on Good Friday that week, but station management decided to wait until the following week to promote it so that the announcement would not conflict with the holiness of Good Friday, according to the news article.

What?  I read that in amazement because, in today’s society, the media does not care if it is Good Friday or not. They promote much more prominent things than this on the holiest days of the year such as basketball games, baseball games, concerts, and circuses. What happened to this kind of consideration that the media once showed to Christians, especially during important times of the year like Christmas and Easter?  I couldn’t help but to admire the station staff for doing this at that time.   Times sure were different. Priorities were different.  It was a time when people mattered more than revenue.  Attending and Promoting the Church were more important than criticizing it.

ImageI compare this to something I see today in our Catholic Churches: the sign of peace.  I remember when Masses first began offering the sign of peace.  The people participated, even though some didn’t like it, but all seemed willing to take the high road and give it a chance.  People shook the hands of those around, smiled courteously, and wished them peace.  At today’s Liturgies, I’ve noticed a change taking place during the sign of peace. Oh, there are still plenty of people who will look at me, shake my hand, and wish me peace. However, there seems to be more and more parishioners who will not even offer a sign of peace. Instead, they will just stand there and not look around while some others will kneel down and cover their face with their hands; some will look at the floor while they shake my hand never making eye contact; still others might shake my hand while looking at the person next to me or behind me.  What happened?  It has been said by some that there should not be a sign of peace during Mass. One can certainly have that opinion but it is not the congregation’s decision to make that call.  It is up to the priest.  Yes, the sign of peace is optional, but for the priest not the congregants.  If the priest calls for the sign of peace, it is up to all of us to comply.  It is a part of the Mass just like the responses, the readings, the homily, and the Eucharist.  No one has the right to shun others.  It is very unchristian-like behavior. Deliberately kneeling down and covering one’s face with one’s hands to avoid offering a sign of peace is rude to those around you.

I have decided that I will do the following at the sign of peace: I will hold onto the hand of  every person who shakes my hand until they make eye-contact with me; I will greet them warmly with a smile and say Peace be with you; and to those who ignore me, I make a special effort to touch them on the shoulder and wish them peace.  All that said, I do understand that there are exceptions, some people are sick and don’t want to spread germs for example.  However, there are ways to handle that.  I had one gentlemen politely smile to me and while not shaking my hand say ” I have a cold, peace be with you” to which I acknowledged “Thank you for telling me, Peace be with you.”

As the title of this blog implies, some people were more honorable in days gone by, and really not so long ago.  Some in our society have become a people of “what I want is right” instead of “how can I help YOU”.  Thankfully, there is still a majority of people today who do not only think of themselves. That number is dwindling however.  Remember this rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated and respect others.  Hopefully that is in an honorable way.

God Bless You.

Professionalism or the Limelight


Work is a crazy thing. It is something most of us have to do daily for much of our lives.  The thought occurred to me that there are different ways to approach our work.  It can be viewed as a drudgery, as pleasant, as insightful, even as glorified, depending on how we portray ourselves.  Some are leaders while some are bosses. Others are followers while there are those who seek recognition.

However, there are those who prefer to seek the limelight. You know the type, they always have to be in the forefront of the operation and be noticed.  Sometimes that can become a hindrance or a distraction.  Take for example, the person who has a behind the scenes role in their organization most of the time.  I have seen where this type of person just slides by, doing what is absolutely necessary until there is a need for exposure to the public.  Suddenly that person wants center stage.  To me this is not professional.  A professional employee (or volunteer) is one who does whatever is needed.  No restrictions, no pettiness, and no questions asked.

Then there are those who lead by example.  Thirty years ago, I worked for a man who did just that.  He was a wonderful man, nothing special really.  He came to work everyday and in his supervisory position, he knew how to treat people.  He was a great leader, a quiet but real presence of Christ.  When some people were late for work, he understood and would not reprimand them.  If someone got into trouble, he supported them, even if he knew they were wrong.  In other words, he used his life and work to always try and teach a lesson about life.  He is no longer with us now, God rest his soul, but I will never forget the kindness, humility, and non-judgmental attitude he exhibited in his leadership style-a true professional in every way and always very respected by his peers.

That is the art of appreciation.  So remember to  thank your co-workers, your leaders, or your employees and volunteers.  Others are not there to threaten anybody or take your job away (usually), they just want to do their work and get through the day, and through life.  Show your professionalism and appreciate everyone, especially those you do not like.  There is no need to be threatened by anyone else’s presence nor is there a need to be in the limelight.

There is a book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.  It is a very prophetic and practical approach to the meaning of life.  In essence, Ruiz lists four points to make the most out of life:

Be impeccable with your word: that is, live without sin, always honor what you say and do what you say you are going to do.Live honestly.

Don’t make assumptions: as much as we think we know someone, we really don’t.  So never assume someone’s action’s are about you because those actions actually say much more about them.

Don’t take things personally: many times we are hurt by someone, when in reality, that person doesn’t even know they hurt us.  Again, it is about them, not you.

Always do your best: live the best way you can always focused on others in your work, at home, and in life.

Living by these four points will certainly help one to focus on their own life and not on the behaviors of others. That is what Professionalism is all about.

God Bless You!

35>55=Wisdom?


It has been said that “With Age Comes Wisdom” but I always liked to think of it as “With Wisdom Comes Age!” All kidding aside, Wisdom is something that one learns over the years. At age 35, I thought I knew everything about anything, but as I grew older, I realized that I actually knew very little about a lot of things and am still learning as I travel along the road of life. 

For example, what ever happened to common courtesy is our society? Everyone is in such a hurry these days, and for whatever reasons, we neglect to show love and respect to those around us and even to those who we deal with everyday.  Many times, emails, text messages, and voice mail messages go unanswered. Are we really that busy that we cannot take a few seconds to politely respond to someone who calls us or asks us a simple question via email or text? I am not talking about all the spam we all now receive, I am talking about messages from those who we know, love, and work. Many of us on our voice mail will say something like “Leave me a message and I will get right back to you,” but do we? There are so many times when we might just shrug off a message and think it is not important, so we do not bother to respond. However, the person on the other end obviously thought it was important or they would not have contacted us. So the point here is to do what you say you are going to do. If your voice mail says that you will call the person back, then do it, or change your voice mail to say “I might call you back if I feel like it.” None of us should be so busy as to not give respect and dignity to our fellow human beings. Ignoring someone only creates bitter feelings among friends and co-workers. Remember, as Jesus Himself said, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34)

Moreover, if you are friends with someone on Facebook, then engage with them by Liking and Commenting on their posts once in a while. Facebook isn’t about seeing who can have the most friends. It is a form of friendship that you and everyone you are connected to should take seriously. Furthermore, your own posts on Facebook should be enlightening enough to entice others to want to engage with you. Simply posting “It’s raining outside” is not an engaging post. The same is true for Twitter and Linked In. If you connect with someone, read their tweets, or endorse them and read their profile on Linked In. Be supportive to those you have connected with on any form of social media. Friendships are something I take very seriously as I think everyone should.

Some may say that what I have just said here is so basic that it should not even need to be said. However, I would disagree. I think it needs to be said more than ever these days as our society and culture tend to lead us in the wrong direction; that our life is all about me, and who cares about the other guy. Common courtesy is lacking so much these days. Even though most of us are overworked in our lives, we need to set our priorities: God, Family, Others.

Wisdom is something that is an oncoming formation in each one of us. What I have learned through life is that I need to learn much more. Simple things like I have mentioned here are merely a small beginning. We all have so much further to go. So live your life with the fullest amount of greatness you can, but don’t forget the little guy who may need a dose of kindness from you. Live that greatness by being a model that everyone can follow; a model of respect, courtesy, compassion, and sincerity. That, my friends, is the tiny bit of wisdom I have to impart with you today.

God Bless You!

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New Year’s Relief


Hello Friends:

Well, it’s 2013!  Time to start fresh as they say, but what about last year?  Didn’t we say the same thing?  If you are like me you probably did and now as we look back on it, it is easy to see where our mistakes lie.  Although we might not have known it at the time, we all have been through a learning experience in the past year, and for all the previous years for that matter.

What lies ahead is our chance to move forward.  It is time to make the choice to forget the past.  We all make mistakes in life, almost everyday, but it isn’t healthy for us to dwell on them.  I made the grave mistake of dwelling on the past year’s mistakes that I’ve made for too long, and it wore me down.  I have since learned that I cannot control the behavior of others and will not let them control me.  The latter being far easier than the former, as I tend to like control.  Frankly, I think we all do to some point.  However, that is what learning is all about; starting fresh, taking a new route, discovering new avenues for growth, and most of all-letting go of past hurts.

Forgiveness is key in all of this.  If we can’t move on and “shake the dust from our feet” as the Scriptures tell us, then we will only harm ourselves because in reality, if we stew over what someone did or said to us, we will be the one who is hurting while that person is out enjoying a pizza!  They probably won’t give us a second thought.  So why bother thinking about the past. It really does not matter.

Good friends are hard to come by.  Let us not waste a moment by petty arguments, spreading nasty rumors, and not cherishing every single moment we have with that someone special.

What really matters is the present moment.  How can we be a presence of God to others in the here and now?  How can we bring His love and joy to those around us?  In order to accomplish that, we must be happy ourselves.  We must do His work.  We must be present to others by seeing Christ in them, and hopefully they will see Him is us!

Happy New Year my friends, and God Bless You.

Passion vs. Obsession


It has been said that some people have a Passion for what they do and I believe that to be true for the most part. When one believes in the foundation of their cause or job, they can be very giving towards it regardless of how much, if any, salary they receive, or how much acknowledgement they may receive for what they do. Passionately driven people are much like Christ in that they give without seeking reward, and I have much respect for those who give selflessly without seeking confirmation of their accomplishments. As it is in any ministry, and I would consider any type of work a ministry, much is expected. Long hours, low pay, and a lot of work are the norm. I have always believed this and have tried to live it out as best I could.

However, there comes a point where Passion for a cause becomes an Obsession. One must be careful not to cross that fine line. Passionately driven people should be filled with joy and respect for those around them. They must earn the respect of others and have others want to be around them. Those who become Obsessed with their work or cause can end up driving people away by their selfishness, anxiety, and obstinate attitude. The one who micro-manages is a good example. It is important to listen to others, receive their suggestions and ideas with an open mind, and recognize their presence in the group.

So if you are a leader, be sure to support those around you, whether that be with a kind word, a simple smile, a light-hearted conversation, or a simple show of appreciation that they are connected to your community. No entity can function without the support of others. I have seen that happen and ultimately the establishment fails because one controlling person feels that everything must go through them or be their idea. 

In closing, one can be very Passionate about their work, and still have an open mind to the feelings, thoughts, words, ideas and suggestions of those around them. Obsessiveness has no place in any organization. Be on guard, and don’t let yourself get into a situation like that, but if you do, think about how Christ might handle it. That is, with direct honesty and forthrightness.

God Bless You.