Category Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

UPDATE: “I’m here for killing Jews” Sean Patrick Nielson (Charlottesville)

A short time after I had put up the above video of Sean Patrick Nielson at Charlottesville, Virginia, I started getting hits to that post from a certain computer at a certain company on the southeast of Columbus, Ohio, like, all the time, day in and day out, a kind of mania. Looking for comments? Was it the perp himself? Was it a wannabe? Was it an offended party or someone who was simply using that post as PTSD fodder for prayer? Dunno.

A short time after that, the audio of the above video was scrambled on purpose. I thought that was really interesting. Because of that, I searched for an unscrambled version and found it in a longer video at the Washington Post.

Some years have passed. All of a sudden, there is quite a bit of interest in Sean Patrick Nielson again, particularly from a particular flight school. I thought that interesting enough to hunt down my original posts. To my surprise, the audio has been UN-scrambled in the first video. ;-) We’ll see how long that lasts. Interesting.

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Obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death. Then…

last rites

A good friend, an 82nd Airborne Fireman EMT Scots-Irish disaffected Baptist mentioned to me that he just ambulance-delivered an elderly friend of his to a hospital (a new one to me). “He’s Catholic,” he said, adding, “He’s pretty near death.” He told me more about him: “Everything for him is trucks, that was his whole life. He’s pretty crotchety. His parish is […] but we couldn’t get hold of the priest there.” “Just tell me about all those cases,” I requested. “O.K. I sure will,” he said, sorry that he didn’t tell me some hours earlier.

Thinking he might just still be alive, I took off and met this fellow in his hospital room. He was awake, but utterly non-communicative, other than fierce growling noises. He made it clear that he was the most obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death that anyone would ever meet in this world.

There being a chair in the room, I plopped myself down and told him about our common friend. The reaction was for him to be as obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety as ever, though this new information seemed to make him a bit curious. That was my invitation to continue.

Here’s the deal: Never believe obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety. That’s just a test to see if someone can respond in kind (that’s some people’s preferred method of communication and there’s no harm in it), a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing. Anyway…

I told him that Jesus wants him in heaven, that Jesus is just that good and kind, even for him, even for me. Always include yourself in making such statements. It’s a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing.

I walked him through how we would go about him receiving the Sacraments and blessings in the present circumstances, interspersing this with how it is that Jesus wound up on the Cross, taking our place, so that Jesus is deadly serious about getting us to heaven, that He didn’t do that so we could just go to hell. He gave a nod of agreement. So, off we went through a flood of sanctifying grace and hope and being pointed to heaven. Was that just about a tear in his eye that I saw?

As a thanks he tried to express his gratitude, but his impossible voice box and weakened state only made it all sound like more obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety sounds. And yet, these were polite, as it were. And the eyes told the whole story.

My one-time Baptist friend is the best for alerting me for needs for Last Rites. Don’t think that the angels are not at work.

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On dying, death and purgatory

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Allow me to share a couple of stories from the rehab / nursing homes of the parish. This is my joy in life, going to the rehab / nursing homes / hospitals / …

Diane:

I’ve been regularly visiting an elderly lady, Diane by name, at Valley View nursing home for many months. She received all the sacraments and last rites and got all the Pontifical blessings and indulgences. We prayed together some hours previous to her passing on, preceding the rest of us who remain – for the moment – here on earth.

I told her that she was leading the way, that we would soon follow. She expressed some fear. But grace was with her. She took in my words, inept as they were, about being at peace because Jesus has a good grip on her soul, flooded with grace as she was with so many sacraments and the rest. She became so peaceful. She was so very thankful. “Thank you, Father,” she weakly whispered many times. Such a gentle soul. Such a good soul.

As I heard from one of the nurses later, the door to her room was open, as usual, and, across the hallway, many of the residents were eating in the dining room, which also had its doors open. What I report next tends to give shivers to the listeners, with smiles and wide eyes of wonder. As seen from the dining room, a super bright light filled Diane’s room, like the flash of a soul come to life after a long exile upon earth: “The light was so very bright, and filling her room, so bright” recounted one of the residents in the dining room. That’s, of course, when she died. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. Hail Mary…

Marie:

Marie’s good sister, Cathy, is the one who put that sticky note pictured on the top of this post on the door of Marie’s room just as I was about to knock. “No priests allowed” – with a smiley face, mind you. Hahaha. What it means is that I’m not allowed to have a room in the rehab / nursing home and be one way to heaven before anyone else. They want all the sacraments and such so as to be on their way in good order.

There were many visitors there. Lots of laughter, some tears. Marie received a pretty devastating diagnosis. Going back another day, I was greeted outside the room by this new sticky note:

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Not that I’m a “good priest.” Hahaha. You might as well say, “No Father George allowed.” Anyway, this thing about being a good priest quickly turned into a discussion about purgatory, what with me saying that even though I’m so evil and bad, I still want to go to heaven. Miss Marie, as always, is want to say the following:

“Oh, that’s right Father George, just go ahead and go to heaven right now and then end up in purgatory until the. end. of. the. world. Or, you can wait until Jesus calls you and then you can go straight to heaven. Your choice, Father George.”

Stunning, really. Said like a modern day Saint Catherine of Siena who spoke so eloquently about purgatory.

This went on to a discussion about Saint Therese of Lisieux and her desire to go straight to heaven. She was berated by an elderly nun who said that she herself feared Jesus as the great Administrator of Justice and that she expected to be in purgatory. She died before Therese did, and appeared to Therese from purgatory to say that she was there because of concentrating on justice over against mercy. These two go hand in hand. Saint Therese, trusting in Jesus’ friendship, who Himself is eager to be good friends with us, calling us His friends, seems to have gone straight to heaven.

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Pope Francis: Let *us* journey together. What about Jesus?

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

There is no dialogue between Jesus and Peter regarding confirming the brethren in the faith. Jesus commanded Peter that when he converted he would be under constraint to confirm the brethren in the faith. Period. No dialogue. No ifs, ands or buts.

I must be a bad priest, a terrible Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis…

I always tell people to walk with Jesus, to walk in God’s presence, to be bound to the love and truth and honesty and integrity and goodness and kindness of Jesus, all in humble thanksgiving before Jesus, in a reverence of friendship with Jesus, promptly eager to learn more of the love AND truth of Jesus, promptly eager to be faithful, loyal, with purity of heart and agility of soul as we are brought by Jesus to be close to Him, as it’s all about Jesus, with Jesus being The OneThe Only One, whose loving truth is stronger than our weakness, stronger than temptation, stronger than our darkness, stronger than our feeling distant from God, stronger than death, so strong that in loving Jesus we will keep the commandments, as He said. In one’s weakness one learns to thank Jesus for His overwhelming strength. This is about love and truth.

I never tell people who are already believers but just feeling a bit weak to go ahead and sin, thus putting themselves on some sort of journey. That would throw one into ambiguity, confusion, with lack of clarity bringing zero hope of change for the better, always being smacked down into depression and despair every time one wants to follow clear truth in Jesus and clear morality in Jesus, being told that it’s only and always a journey which never ends, so that we never meet Jesus, never meet Him who is Truth, Him who is Love, but instead we are always to come up with excuses for ourselves in all casuistry as to why ignoring Jesus is best for us who are a journeying people, a people of dialogue, a people incapable of knowing the truth, never being able to keep the commandments, never becoming friends with Jesus, always insulted that we are perpetually lusty thieves and liars who can never change and so we are to give up trying by always coming up with one more excuse, being content with the dark and distressing walk through the peripheries only to be hacked down by others as evil as ourselves, or hacking others down because, in the always unending dialogue, it just is what it is.

As a confessor, a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, instead of finding excuses for sin (which is solicitation by the way), I’ve always instead found that presenting Jesus’ love and encouragement is the way, the only way. Jesus is the way. He’s our truth. He’s our life.

In all of this I have NO IDEA what Pope Francis teaches, what he wants. Nothing. It’s always and only contradictions. It’s kinda good one day. It’s all BS the next. Nothing. Even the something is nothing as it’s then mocked with a contradiction. What to do?

What to do is to not give that maelstrom a second thought. Don’t go near it. Leave it be. What we must do is to be close to Jesus, keeping up with the sacraments. We must be holy. We must be saints. We must go to heaven. And… and… it is a great joy, a profound joy to be with Jesus, to thank Jesus. He truly is the One, the Only One.

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Omar: white men in USA worse than jihadist terrorists

For Omar, it seems like a matter of “cut them down wherever you see them.”

Is this not giving the enemy comfort?

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Shadow-dog Literary-dog

Shadow-dog, the Whatever-It-Takes-dog, the Get-It-Done-dog. BTW, when he gets hosed down, he turns all black once again. Shadow may become a character in some literary effort I may undertake. To think this out I need some precise definitions of genre. Tell me if you can, with precision, and critiques, the difference between fiction, faction, analogy, allegory, parable, novel, historical novel, story, fable, etc., what can be embraced or avoided either entirely or with distinctions.

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What do you even do as a priest?

That question is sometimes asked with the cynicism of someone afraid to know the answer. The question is not about Adoration and Confessions and Masses and whatever of other sacraments. The question isn’t about meetings, opening the mail, checking phone messages. All of that is dismissed as unimportant.

The question about what a priest does refers to “the rest of the time”, which is, in this logic, dismissed as even more surreally ridiculously unimportant than all the rest. Visiting the sick and shut-ins, those in the emergency rooms and ICUs and hospital rooms and nursing homes and rehabs just doesn’t count, you know, for the reason that all of that is not at all anything that they themselves would ever be caught dead doing. Not their scene.

The question is actually addressed to Jesus, to dismiss Him, using the priest as an excuse to vent. It’s a teaching moment, as is said. The teaching, however, is often in the form of just taking the rubbish in silence. The eloquence of that silence speaks through the years, and may be the one thing that will bring the cynic to call upon Jesus, even if only at the very moment of death.

It’s a good thing to be smashed to one’s knees in reverence before the irony of what’s happening. The very Word of our Heavenly Father is silent, and then silenced in death.

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On irreversibly changing the Church

PROMETHEUS

It takes a Prometheanesque power-hungery self-referential arrogant self-congratulator to proclaim that he is irreversibly changing the Church forever. And yet, this is a favorite proclamation of the in-crowd to make. They are the ones. They are the only ones. In their own eyes. How many Cardinals and Bishops and hipster Clergy repeat this self-congratulation.

Such people have no time for Christ Jesus as they refuse to recognize that the Son of the Living God is the very Creator of time, holding all of time in His hands. They are, instead, progressive, never ancient, only new.

But the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is the One who is, who was, and who is to come. In Icons of Jesus one often sees the three letters of the sentence inside the halo that read: The One Who Is, that is, all the time and in eternity.

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Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, ever ancient and ever new, because He is the One who is life, who is love, who is truth. The Church is the Body of Christ with Jesus as the Head and we the members. Irreversibly change the Body of Christ? Who do these anti-Christians, these atheists think they are?

And if you want to walk into the future accompanying each other without Jesus, know what that future has in store for you: Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Those who have denied Him will be denied by Him before our Heavenly Father.

Also, if you want scriptural accompaniment, lets see what happened in the Old Testament for misdeeds so as to smack people down to be introduced to the seriousness of original sin and personal sin so that they would understand what it means when the Messiah stands in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. He was tortured to death. In the Old Testament, people were continuously accompanied with getting stoned to death, with being beheaded, with being enslaved and forced into dispersion and exile. We have to shaken up so as to see that we have a serious situation here. We have to understand this so as to take in what is happening with the wounds borne by the Son of the Living God.

I’ve always told my seminarians and my fellow priests and my parishes that there is a simple discernment one can make of any commentary of any theology, philosophy, psychology, economic system, whatever… and it is this: Does whatever it is help one or forbid one from coming to be in humble thanksgiving and reverence and friendship with the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception?

If the commentary is that one must wait millions of years for humanity to vicariously come to closer to the cosmic Christ, a vacuous imagination of ours placed somewhere in the coldest and darkest and impersonal regions of outerspace, then it is wrong.

If the commentary is that one must wait until dialectical materialism kills everyone in order to see goodness and kindness and honesty and integrity, then it is wrong.

If the commentary is that we cannot ever legitimately be in the good graces of Jesus, then it is wrong.

Those who parade themselves as more powerful than Jesus, more powerful than God, who think that walking together apart from Jesus is somehow going out into the peripheries are sadly mistaken. It is that type of condescending arrogance, that kind of dialectical materialism which threw people into the peripheries to begin with. Those thrown into the peripheries by the Prometheans suffer there, with Christ, who is also thrown unto the trash heap. Evangelizing the peripheries?

Those who walk together without Jesus – casting Jesus aside – are walking straight into hell. How dare they think they can cast aside God Himself, saying that His love and forgiveness and His insistence on us following the commandments in love are all bogus, a joke, to be ignored by those who are are wise and clever. I’ll leave them to it.

Much better to have Mary’s good Son revealed to us by our Heavenly Father. Much better to be as little children who are eager and prompt in obedience in all love to follow the commandments, doing the one thing necessary in being forgiven of any sin. Much better to have a future eternity in heaven by being in the state of that sanctifying grace which, as Saint Paul says will turn to glory in heaven. Love endures forever. Much better to be in that love immediately rather than going on and on and on in some blasphemous “accompaniment.”

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Mimosa mime, edition)

The Mimosa trees have been blossoming for quite a while now. The name Mimosa refers in Greek to “mime”. IMNSHO mimes are really annoying, you know, the ones who do the “monkey see monkey do” thing. You’ll remember the Calvin and Hobbes send up:

In Piazza Navona over in Rome there are always an abundance of mimes, including the “monkey see monkey do” type. Limping as I do after any distance walking about, a mime imitated my limp for the laughing crowd. I guess it’s good for humility. I was surprised one day going into Vatican City at the Porta Sant’Anna gate to be see such limping of mine being imitated again, this time by Vatican Police. I was on the sidewalk to the left in the picture, walking past the Swiss Guard Barracks, and the officer was on the sidewalk just outside the check point on the right, looking at me while walking like a limping ape. I mean, you would think they would get it right, and walk like a limping donkey!

What we fallen human beings really find annoying, however, is that God Himself mimics us, even to the point of taking on the punishment of our sin, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, looking like a criminal, a sinner, just like us, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. To forgive everything the mimicry has to be perfect.

We don’t want to see it, of course. It’s too humiliating for us, of course. So we don’t look at the Son of the Living God. But it’s difficult to avoid the eyes of His Immaculate Mother, who wants us to understand what her Son told us about the mimicry He desired of us: “As the Master, so the Disciple.” We take on the rejection He experienced when we live His love and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth. A Mimosa flower for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (What’s that? edition))

This is a progress report on a bush, flower, plant of some kind that a parishioner with a green thumb has growing out back. That’s cool. She says that it’s a “Cardinal Flower.” I haven’t looked that up yet to know the history of it or why it’s called that. It looks ready to grow taller and explode in very many blossoms.

“Cardinal” refers to a “hinge”.

That’s why there are sins called “cardinal sins” or sins opening the door to other sins. There are different numbers in the lists that come up through the centuries. Here’s a list of eight cardinal sins:

  1. Gula (gluttony)
  2. Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
  3. Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  4. Superbia (pride, hubris)
  5. Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
  6. Ira (wrath)
  7. Vanagloria (vainglory)
  8. Acedia (sloth)

There are also cardinal virtues, which open the door, as it were, other virtues, upon which other virtues depend:

  1. Justice
  2. Temperance
  3. Fortitude
  4. Prudence

Those work as a good examination of conscience. Meanwhile, there are “cardinals” in the church hierarchy, presently those archbishops who are so named to be of special assistance to the Bishop of Rome, who is necessarily the Successor of Peter. It is upon them, it is said, that much hinges.

And here we become bewildered. No worries. The One upon whom the entire universe and all of time hinges is the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, from whom we made red blood to flow. You saw it, Mary. A flower for you.

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Going to Jail

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In one of the many counties of the parish we have a new jail, partially pictured above.

I was able to arrange a face to face with a prisoner. There are a number of Catholics on the inside. If not face to face, a huge exception to the rule – conversations are all recorded by way of video conferencing from the entrance way. But it’s all recorded anyway  even when brought inside for face to face in an interrogation room! If Pope Francis only knew that his Missionary of Mercy is talking to people in actual interrogation rooms! Anyway, face to face is a real help.

My foray into face to face took yet another full law enforcement check on yours truly by the Sheriff, as the DOC is under him and they have to defer to him for such an exception. I think I’m the most checked priest ever.

I must say, everyone at the DOC and the adjunct Sheriff’s Office was entirely and totally kind and helpful to yours truly and I thank them for that.

Perhaps that check was easier and faster than normal since my last massive and entirely absolutely thorough check was spearheaded by the FBI quite recently. I had brought something to the Agency – which preliminaries took some months with various top-level agents – until they then decided to bring the case forward. What that means is that after such preliminaries, and then before they start in on whatever case which looks to have some merit, they do a massive, thorough check on the one bringing the case, you know, because, after all, he could be the guilty party trying to frame someone else, right? So that itself took a number of months. I was told that centers all over the country were involved with the investigation, each specializing in different areas of the law using different methods of investigation. Finally, I was told that I sailed through. So, after even more preliminary questions, they started the case. All I can say is that they are following the case rather closely. :-)

Anyway, the diocese then faxed the DOC a letter of good standing for me to be a volunteer.

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Gunslingery and Confession: perishable skills

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I’ve done about zilch target practice on the days off these past weeks what with not feeling well. Although going to the hermitage “range” and getting all set up, I just had no energy to pull the trigger. So, no. For me, that‘s feeling under the weather. I try not to let anything stop me from anything. Gunslinggery is a perishable skill and has to be kept up with. But, no. So, any skill sets have faded.

The last time I seriously threw out some bullets, say, a month ago, I had practiced what’s also called “the failure drill” of two to the body one to the head out 21 feet with a 6″x10″ “body” and 2″x4″ “head.” The anomalous best I had gotten down to 1.1 seconds from the holster, but maybe not accurate (I hadn’t kept up with marking the target). Anomalous means nothing to do with reality, btw.

This time, catching up again – and not yet fully recovered from feeling terribly under the weather which was already bad – I got 1.86 seconds with accuracy, twice, from the holster. But even those times are anomalous, as it’s usually a bit slower than that, in the 2.25″ range. Anywhere under 2 seconds is almost guaranteed to be faster than any urgent mortal threat being carried out as criminals usually aren’t so well practiced.

As someone said, if you want to know where you’re really at, do it ten times in a row all under time with a hundred percent accuracy each time. So, not in this life for me I don’t think. I’ve never done anything like that, at least so far. At least I had a couple of good 1.86 times. Our special operators and agents must do it 100% of the time.

But I did get a 96% (one bullet slightly stray of my reduced tiny targets) on the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Course. But I was  also DQ’d for all that by edging over-time on a stage or two of that seven stage course. And it wasn’t cold barrel. I was happy to be back again.


Confession: If you’ve been away from Confession for a while, you know that that’s also a perishable skill.

A person who goes to Confession frequently can develop an accurate, informed conscience that is devoid of scrupulosity but which takes care to avoid sin. Such as person more easily sees sin for what it is in all its ugly, selfish, arrogant, entitled reality because of being good friends with the Standard of Goodness and Kindness and Truth, Jesus Himself.

A person who doesn’t go to Confession, who’s been away for a long time, tends to think that they have no sin, that they are good people, that they don’t need any mercy, any forgiveness, that they are just fine with the type of life they have chosen, congratulating themselves that what they do “makes up for” not being good with God in the way Jesus indicated to the Apostles of His own Church, because, you know, they are good with God because they think that they do nice stuff, reciting that nice stuff for all to hear. But not everyone who says, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. People can be hypocrites.

It’s true that some who go to Confession do so for hypocritical reasons, as if this chance to be forgiven gives them a right to sin, but this is a sin against the Holy Spirit. It is a sin of despair. It says that one doesn’t want to be forgiven.

To get back to the practice of Confession, to pick up off the charts skill sets once again, one need only… go to Confession. Just do it. It brings great happiness. It lifts burdens. It is beautiful to say sorry to Jesus through the Church, the Body of Christ in the way Jesus had this done, being forgiven by God and neighbor – via the priest ordained for this purpose – simultaneously.

And then one has the peace of being in humble thanksgiving before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, whereby one’s life is once again on target with all God-speed, aimed at heaven.


And if anyone thinks that this is an inappropriate analogy, just remember that Jesus Himself said that those who go to heaven are those who take heaven by force, by violence.

That violence, by God’s grace, is being crucified to the world, the flesh and the devil so as to live for Jesus, for goodness and kindness and truth, that is, by Jesus’ goodness and kindness and truth. It’s all Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.


If you carry, practice often. Be frosty. Be edgy. Know how to deescalate situations. Know how to avoid situations.

Go to Confession regularly. This isn’t about us being merely exteriorly good as if that were something God appreciates. No. Saul kept the law exteriorly but interiorly carried hatred. Saint Paul, instead, was brought to understand that this was all a loss compared to keeping the law because one carries God’s love. That love, God’s love, only comes from God. That’s the renewal of sanctifying grace we receive with the absolution.

After Confession one isn’t to congratulate oneself for being good (which only sets one up for a fall, trusting in one’s strength one doesn’t have of oneself), but one is instead to be in humble thanksgiving before Jesus, walking with Jesus, rejoicing to walk with Jesus.

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George Byers Jr: Navy Censor[?!]

Looking up some of the names on this picture, I’m now guessing that this is a graduation picture of the Naval Pilot program. My dad, George Byers Jr, is the third one from the top-right, the only one who did not sign the picture. This one was for him. Looking at the back of the picture I saw that the picture had gone through the censor’s office, complete with stamp and signature of the censor. Wait a second! That’s dad’s signature! But wasn’t he a student? I’m guessing he had “borrowed” the stamp and signed everyone’s picture. Hahaha. ;-)

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Pilot down, injured, helpless, behind enemy lines, crying for help

“I am an American (UNITED NATIONS) flier. My plane has been shot down and I am helpless; but I want to get back and fight again for the peace of the world and your country.

“If you will help me and yourselves by getting me to the nearest American unit, my Government will reward you well. Help us and we will help you.”

This piece of cloth was carried by the pilots flying in the Pacific-Asia theater. I found it among some of dad’s things which, decades after he passed, has come my way. Imagine folding that up and putting it somewhere on one’s person ever single time one got in a plane for a mission. Quite the reminder of danger and mortality.

It’s also testimony to the fact that it wasn’t believed for a second that the populations of these countries were enemies, but were instead victims of the oppressive and arrogant murderers destabilizing the entire world.


That makes for an analogy, however imperfect, of the pilot’s cry for help above with, say, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Fatima. I wear it day and night. How about you? On this earth, we are in the ecclesia militans. While we live in this world we want to help people get out of purgatory (which we put ourselves in with the arrogance of our own sin). Then we want to bypass purgatory ourselves – or at least get out of on the first Saturday after our deaths, and be on our way to the Church triumphant in heaven. This is what the Scapular is all about, reminding us that our help comes from the Holy Family.

Let’s not forget that the Little Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (from whose brown religious habit the Brown Scapular is derived) were by far the most ferocious military operators of the day, that is, the crusaders, going up against the ISIS of the day, and who then retired to Mount Carmel to become religious military operators, as it were, hermits whose lives were filled with prayer for six months of the year, and then with itinerant preaching for the other six months of the year. Battle hardened soldiers are the ones who gave us the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

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Fathers Day: Dies Domini… God, the Father of Mercies…

The renovation of the confessional continues. Penitent side needs a crucifix (I have a big one from the 1800s), some framed acts of contrition in various languages, perhaps a carpet to cut the sound a bit. A gentler light would be good.

The priest side needs framed absolutions, also in the old rite in Latin with preliminary cancelling of (undeclared) censures and excommunications. There is some artwork, so far…

That’s a working stole. No where to hang it yet. Go to Confession. Make your Heavenly Father and priestly Father happy. Thank them both.

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Ars-sur-Formans “Not this year”

There’s been a monkey on my back since last year, 2018, when – out of the blue – I was contacted by Father Patrice Chocholski, Rector of the Shrine of Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney in Ars-sur-Formans. As you know, his famed predecessor is the patron saint of priests, the Curé d’Ars, as far as I know, the only canonized priest who lived and died as a diocesan priest (though even he was also a T.O.S.F.). Sanctity is not easy for mere diocesan parish priests!

Father Chocholski was after me because Pope Francis has instituted me a Missionary of Mercy, and therefore as someone who is given to hearing confessions as much as this is possible. That’s what Father Chocholski needed: confessors! Saint John Vianney spent his life as a priest in the confessional. When people visit the Shrine in Ars they want to go to confession. This isn’t easy throughout the rest of France as there are so few priests, and so few among them hearing confessions. Two to three churches every day are attacked in France. No one speaks of this. The situation is dire.

Having put this to my ecclesiastical superiors, I awaited a decision, and waited, until just the other day. I pushed for an answer given that I would need to start on a religious worker visa, given that airline tickets would soon skyrocket in price for the Summer. A replacement for me in the parish here was sought, but as time went on it didn’t look good. In fact, just these past couple of weeks told the story, with various religious communities leaving parishes. This left the diocese stretched for resources. In the face of this the answer was given: “Not this year.”

So, what that means is, “Yes, this year, Andrews will be my Ars.” A profound feeling of being at home came over me.

All the same, at this late stage, I hope Father Chocholski might be able to find an English speaking confessor for the Shrine in Ars… Hail Mary…

Meanwhile, the renovation of the confessional is making good progress in the parish here. More on that later.

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More renovation of confessionals and the church

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The floors of the confessionals, the entrance way, the two storage and server-cassock closets and the floor of the main church are down. More work for the pews and putting stuff back for Mass later today.

I’ve told people that the confessional is just for confession (except when it’s a cry room during Mass). But, in other words, it’s NOT to be a broom closet, a place for music stuff overflow, etc.

We’ll need some dedicated artwork. Now that it’s divided, there will have to be a crucifix and other artwork on both sides, framed acts of contrition in whatever language. Perhaps English, Spanish and Latin. When a confessional is treated well, it sends the idea that the sacrament itself is actually important. That’s the message every wants. Lots of work with lots of enthusiasm is going into this, carpenters, electricians, ductwork specialists, flooring guys…

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Renovating Confessional encouraging Confessions

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An entirely appropriate Confessional, sure ’nuff (in the midst of Holy Week for those pictures, by the way). But, it could be better. Having discussed this with our Vicar Forane, and encouraged by him, I barely started to mention a renovation to some parishioners and they were all for it, only wanting to know more of the logistics. Lots of talent in the parish. It went to the Finance Council and everyone liked the idea in that august body as well. So, we got started:

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It’s advanced in the last days to be able to hear Confessions. Lots of Confessions! But it’s all a work in progress with lighting, with appropriate artwork, such as crucifixes on both sides, such as a framed “Act of Contrition”, two of them actually, in English and Spanish, to be placed on the left and right sides of the “Grill”. The “Grill” will get an added thin veil as well over the metal.

Flooring will have to wait for this next week when we start in on the church floor, which is a huge project what with moving all the pews and such. But, we forge ahead.

Religion is a virtue of justice. Religion is not a bad thing. The hatred of religion by, you know, “spiritual” people, is an attitude brought about by hopefully non-culpable ignorance. Religion is about rendering to God that which is His due in all justice. Only Jesus could do this, being obedient to the Father by walking among us and showing us the truth and love of God, which we hated unto death thinking that we are being incriminated by all this goodness. Having stood in our place, taking on the death we deserve because of sin, the Innocent for the guilty, Jesus had the right and has the right in His own justice to now command the Father on our behalf: “Father! Forgive them!”

Jesus has the right to take our sins. He has the right to forgive us. How dare we hold back and not give Him our sins for forgiveness and with us having all purpose of amendment so that we might walk in His friendship.

Go to Confession!

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Banging on the window at 1:38 AM like a thief in the night

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This happened a couple of days ago. The first reaction in the pitch dark was to grab the Glock 19 loaded up and chambered with HST defensive rounds (which protect any by-standers, as these stop in the threat instead of passing through, better helping to stop the threat). The second reaction was to check the time. Just a habit I’m in for stuff like this.

The first question that came to mind regarded the motivation of the guy banging on the window: Didn’t he see that “24 HR. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE” sticker all in capital letters right where he was banging on the window? So is this just someone in distress? So, why don’t they say anything, like, out loud?

The first action that was accomplished was not to peak out the blinds to see who was there and what was going on, but was instead to go to the back door to see if there was also someone there, so that the banging on the window out front was a diversion to enable a home-invasion from out back. Sorry, I’m bad and evil and totally think like a criminal. I know something of what Jesus saved me from. No one was out back. There are, after all, two dog-houses! When I did look out front no one was there either.

After Mass last night I mentioned this to a neighbor, and he said that at almost exactly the same time someone was banging on his door. He, being trusting, unlike me, simply opened the door right up. I told him to never do that. He’s got a wife and kids. If whoever it is insists, just call 911, being ready to fend off a home invasion. Anyway, the door was open, and the heavy stench of drugs immediately wafted into his house. The guy was asking for a ride over to his girl friend’s house and other like idiocies. No.

And then, some minutes later at the grocery store after Mass last night, another parishioner told me of other parishioners who were away for a while, only to return to find their house having been invaded and trashed by squatters.

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog were calm and cool through the incident. I went back to sleep. This could have turned out differently for any number of reasons. Say the guy was agitated by the drugs and terribly insisted, breaking windows, breaking in…

Anything can happen anytime, anywhere. And it can be fatal. For us. Are we ready?

Are we ready for Jesus to arrive like a thief in the night? The reaction better not be to get a Glock, but rather to fall on our knees. Are we ready to go with Jesus, to be on our way to heaven? At any moment? When least expected? Be ready! Be eager!

“Bless me, Father…”

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Our perception of time is surreal until

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Salvador Dali calls this The Persistence of Time. That’s our fallen human perspective of reality for sure. Surreal.

Meanwhile, time is drawn into one hour upon the Cross where we find the very Creator of time, time being drawn together in our redemption, He drawing all to Himself right through that hell of Calvary.

This is where we find the mercy of forgiveness, mercy being a dirty word for many these days, you know, for those who have no need of mercy whatsoever, so self-righteous are they.

But it is good to rejoice in mercy in humble thanksgiving, which becomes the engine of any firm purpose of amendment. This is most beautiful in contrast to the arrogance of self-righteousness to which so many run ever so breathlessly, congratulating themselves.

Confession!

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