Failure and defeat never have the last word

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“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15) Jesus reminds his hearers of the odd way God saved Israelites who had been bitten by poisonous snakes in the desert. Moses made a serpent… Read more »

A Lenten Visit

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The Gawler family came to Walton at just the right time this month. Bad news has been the regular currency for our town most of this year. The school budget was slashed again. The economic plight has only seemed to deepen over the winter with more store windows boarded over on Walton’s main street. And… Read more »

IVC and Me

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When I first heard about the IVC, it was in 2002 in the context of Pastoral Formation Institute, a diocesan school for lay people on Long Island, NY. One of the IVC members was traveling a great distance to a school in Brooklyn, and she wanted to know if there were any service opportunities closer… Read more »

The God of Christmas is the God of Lent

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“Know that I am with you and will keep you, wherever you go” (Gen 28:15) “Even if I sin?” “Especially then.” The conversation (related with permission) between Our Lord and a retreatant of several years ago plays in my ears through the days of Lent like the refrain of a song. We have barely come… Read more »

We are an immigrant nation

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I wish the people who grumble that immigrants should be “required” to learn English could sit in on one of my ESL classes at Cabrini Immigrant Services in Manhattan. It’s a daytime class, so the students are mostly senior citizens and mothers of schoolchildren. This year, they’re all Chinese, but at various times in the… Read more »

God is the Electricity

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For the past year and a half, my wife and I have been assigned to work in a shelter for homeless, pregnant young women. And one thing we have discovered is that there are no easy answers, there are no simple explanations, and judgments and labels are meaningless. In the past month, this discovery has… Read more »

Changing Lives: The remarkable story of “El Sistema”

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It’s February and it’s snowing here in Walton, NY, a small town in the foothills of the Catskills.  Winter is supposed to be a quiet time, a time to read and reflect, but my mind is anything but quiet.  It is swirling with ideas and possibilities.  It all started when I asked my wife to… Read more »

God with some skin

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A delightful story recounted in The Holy Longing by Ron Rolheiser tells of a 4-year-old girl who feared spooks and monsters in the dark of her room. One night, she ran to her parents’ bed, and her mother calmed her down. As she led her daughter back to her room, she said: “‘You needn’t be… Read more »

Simple truths from IVC’s founder

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I don’t pay much attention to blogs by-in-large.  So often there are too many words which add to the din and make life more cluttered and less reflective.  It’s hard to find God when there is so much pounding on me. But this is the inaugural Ignatian Volunteer Corps blog post, so let me suggest… Read more »