St. Gregory’s University Announces Closing

I haven’t posted on here in a long time but this news has stirred me to speak up. First of all, here is a link to donate:

St. Gregory’s University Web Site

In the fall of 1979, right after graduating from Claremore High School, I walked onto the campus of St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, OK. I had been Confirmed earlier in the year and was eager to study under some of the Titans in Liberal Arts. I was naive but eager to learn.

I came onto a campus where the professors cared about the students, where, if you missed a class because I was ill (or hungover), I could expect one of my professors knocking on my dorm room door! During my two years there, I learned, served in parishes with Fr. Augustine, smoked pipes and cigars with Tim Copelin (later Very Rev. Fr. Boniface Copelin, O.S.B.), learned history from Fr. Joe Murphy, O.S.B., learned about the “Ultimate reality” from Fr. Theodore, OSB, had walking Confessions with Fr. Ian, OSB and learned how to BE Catholic rather than just be.

Sometimes it seemed like Fr. Denis intimidated as much as taught but, in the years since, I have realized the value of his Logic and Philosophy lessons. He taught us to stand up for what we believed in. I don’t know about others, but I know that I left his classes with a conviction to stand up for what I believe and proud of my work. Fr. Joachim showed me the reality of God is the only existence that is truly Real.

I pray that this experience, as it was passed down for a hundred years before I arrived, will be shared for more generations to follow. Keep the Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey in your prayers and do what you can to keep those doors open for the next generation.

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What are Saints? Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta?

I received a text from my little sister, Christina, this morning asking “What is Mother Teresa the Saint of?”. I answered pretty well, at least as well as might be possible in texts. But, since I have more space and am able to give something more definitive here, I thought I would take a stab at the answer here. Thank you, Christina, for the question! This is something that is near and Dear to Christians, past and present.

So, to start, the Catholic Church does not “Make” saints, God does. The Church takes the signs that God provides and discerns if a person is in Heaven by following those signs or miracles. Over the centuries, many have noticed that some Saints interceed on the behalf of many in professions or walks of life, or the Church holds up a certain person as a special patron of those walks of life. The Cure de Ars, for example, who spent many many hours in the Confessional and hundreds of thousands from all France and Europe came to him for his guidance and wisdom in the Confessional, is the Patron of the Parish Priest. Others, such as founders of Religious Orders, are the patrons of their Orders. I’m sure that St. Mother Teresa is the “Patroness” of the Sisters of Charity, which she founded.

What is a “Saint”? In this context, a Saint is someone who has died with the mark of faith and is in Heaven with with Christ. There are many more Saints than we know about, God has chosen to make known the relatively few that we know about by giving us signs, or miracles. We ask, pray, for the Saints to pray for us. In the Early Church, we have graffiti from graves of early martyrs that are asking for their prayers. These date all the way back to the Apostles’ graves. The graves of of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Polycarp, St. Cecilia, and the list goes on. The earliest Christians asked their Triumphant brothers and sisters to carry their petitions to the feet of Christ and the Father. Just as we do now, with our living friends and, even strangers (just look at any Facebook feed and you will see someone asking for prayers), the Christian faithful have asked their resurrected brothers and sisters to pray for them too.

From these prayers, God has seen fit to strengthen his people by showing them signs that the Resurrection is, indeed, real. By the miracles gained from the Saints’ intercessions, we see that Christ’s promise of “Today you will be with me in Paradise” is not just empty words, but a Promise!

Sainthood is not a “Reward” of the Church, there are many deserving men and women who are probably in Heaven, but their intercessions have not brought about the miracles necessary for recognition. That is God’s choice, not the Church’s. The Church merely follows the signs that God provides and raises them up for recognition. Gifts of saints that lived while we lived, show us in no uncertain terms, that Christ is alive and well and has Dominion over this world today, just as He always has! Saint Mother Teresa, and her contemporary, Pope Saint John Paul II, show us that the “modern world” has not overtaken God and made Him obsolete, but that men and women walk our streets today, struggle through life, and are on the path to Heaven as these two were.

We are not alone! We have two parts of the Church, the “Church Militant” (which is the Church here on Earth and struggling to get to Heaven) and the “Church Triumphant” (which is the Church that has triumphed and is with Christ). We are not separate, we are bound together by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We can, and should, ask for their prayers to help us to achieve the triumph they have achieved. We pray for Grace, we pray for signs, we pray for our friends and family that have gone before us (because we don’t know, but we still beg for mercy for their sins.).

So, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pray for us!

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1984? DoubleThink and 2015

In his essay “Politics and the English Language“, George Orwell observes that political language serves to distort and obfuscate reality. Orwell’s description of political speech is extremely similar to the contemporary definition of doublespeak;

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, …[9]

Today, we are faced with such opposites and asked to believe them on face value, the language of the day. “Tolerance” is used to brow beat those that disagree so that those that do not hold those same views are “intolerant” and “haters”.

“Choice” is used to justify completely taking away choice from children and those that believe that abortion is murder are advocating taking away a woman’s right to choose.  Now we learn that a group that has made a campaign on describing the unborn child as no more than tissue are making money by selling the children’s organs as human tissue.

“Love” has been twisted into meaning whatever our carnal desires dictate rather than a life long commitment to raise children teaching the commitment to God, our spouse, and our children in a loving home. To disagree or to point out that an interpretation is wrong is not the same as hating another person.

I can tell you that a friend or family member is doing something that I believe is wrong without hating him or her. I have a family member that is an alcoholic, I do not condone the behavior, I do not condone the lifestyle. I may even chose not to be around that person. I do love that person and still try to be there as much as reasonable. I will not be around when they are drinking, which may be most of the time. But, despite that behavior, that person is stilled loved and will remain in my heart though I will not tell them that they have my approval.

Though the behavior is displayed more than I would like to admit, alcoholism is not WHO that person is. I do not define the person by their sins, I define them by who they are. I believe that is what God is calling me to do. I will accept a sinner into my home, just as Jesus did. However, I do not believe that Jesus defined his Apostles and disciples by their sins. He told the Magdalene, “Is there no one left to condemn you?… Nor do I. Go and sin no more.”

I condemn no one, that is not my place. I condemn behavior which I know is wrong. I taught my children what was wrong. Sometimes they chose do what I had taught them was wrong. I do not, nor can I, accept words on face value that have meanings that go well beyond what they say. I cannot believe that “Compassion” is taking someone’s life through Euthanasia, or that a “choice” is taking another life who cannot defend himself. I do not believe that “Love” can be gained by using acts rooted in hate or that disagreement is the same as “hate”.

I will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

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6th Annual Tulsa March for Life – Updated

Tomorrow Night – The 6th Annual March for Life featuring Rebecca Hamilton

March For Life 2015

Christianity started making waves, basically the Emperor’s New Clothes, and pointed out that there is no other God but the One True God. They refused to accept Roman gods or even acknowledge the divinity of Caesar. Sound familiar?

> Once again, the media all but ignored hundreds, maybe even well over a thousand, citizens marching in the streets to “Protest Abortion”. We weren’t protesting, we were demonstrating, we were challenging. Channel 8, KTUL, said there were “150” marching and cut to extensive coverage of a Planned Parenthood celebration of a “Woman’s Right to Choose” and talked about “a woman’s reproductive rights.”

Christians, once again, are being told that we can have our ‘god’ as long as we accept the gods of others. We may follow the teachings of our Sacred Scripture as long as we acknowledge that the Bible is one book among many, just a history book that must ‘change with the times’. Like the early Christians, we must be firm in our faith and in the knowledge that all religions are not the same and there is One Savior who washed our sins away in his own blood.

We must, we absolutely MUST, acknowledge life as separate and definite. A child is NOT a woman’s body, it is a distinct life form that will develop an independent consciousness. If a child were just a part of the woman’s body, it would not be expelled after a specific period of time to function relatively independently. A child outside the womb remains dependent upon the parents. A child inside the woman has its own circulation and can even have differing blood types from the mother.

No, the child deserves our protection. If we choose not to protect the child in the womb, what prevents us from withholding protection to the battered woman, the abused child, the murdered innocent?

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9/11 Thoughts

A co-worker was mentioning how this day seems so over-rated and how it seems like we aren’t allowed to be happy on this day. Comments made were that we didn’t seem to be allowed to forget. My thoughts are a little different, we should not forget and, on this day, we have the opportunity to go beyond politics and remember the impact of evil in our lives.

Our grandparents had Pearl Harbor but, in that instance, it was a military target that brought us into the war. In this instance, when we woke up to smoke billowing from the World Trade Center Tower, then watched as another plane impacted the second tower, we witnessed pure evil. We read comic books when we were young with villains that were evil but they were fiction. This was cruel and aimed at innocent men and women going to work and living their lives. These victims were not at war, they were not ‘enemies’ in anyone’s mind other than the terrorists who hijacked planes and purposefully slammed them into buildings and those who planned and financed their evil enterprise.

“How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it.” —Pope Saint John Paul II, general audience, September 12, 2001

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A Cousin’s Memories

My first recollection of the McGrew family was after our return from living in California.  I was around six at that time. Uncle Bob and Aunt Wilma were to begin with, my cousins mom and dad.  From those early days, I remember Uncle Bob as a laid back likable guy that loved his family and also love to fix up cars. I can remember him whistling church songs as he went about his work.

Uncle Bob was very smart and talented.  He gained several patents when he worked for W.C. Norris Company.  Bobby and I stopped by his office one day and I was very impressed seeing him at his drafting table. 

I was also impressed when he built an addition to their house when Bobby was in grade school. He, Uncle Floyd, and my dad would at times work for Uncle Clifford in his welding shop to make a few extra dollars.  

I heard of stories how Bob served in Alaska during WWII.  And I remember something about him diving off a dam to save Jack and Shirley from drowning.  Jack may remember that, I was pretty young. 

Bob furthered his education the hard way, by taking correspondence classes.  Something that I admired that he did, so he could keep working to support his family. 

Aunt Wilma was a very bright witty and hospitable person. She had a great sense of humor and she always seemed sincerely interested in what I had to say.  I remember she would call into radio programs and give her opinion. She was independent in a good way. A very good and interesting conversationalist. She always enjoyed my jokes. She was always happy to see me, and encourage me.
Ron Ellison

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Grandma Taught me How Precious Life is.

Probably tomorrow I will post the eulogy that I wrote for Grandma’s funeral. As much it is her eulogy, it is a eulogy for “Grandma and Grandpa”. I know that they were not perfect, Grandpa was intimidating in his silence, and Grandma was probably not perfect either but I just can’t think of how at the moment. Humor aside, they were normal human beings that tried to love each other, their children and grandchildren and make a life for their family. I know that, as I age and am a grandparent myself now, they must have looked upon their children’s lives and wondered what they did wrong.

The very fact that they spent more time raising me than my mother did attests to the fact that they gave up their empty nest to populate it with their grandchildren. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, my little sister was living full time with her dad in Inola and, when we returned to Oklahoma, I was spending most, if not all, weekends in Tulsa with my grandparents. I truly regret that, being 16 and driving, I was using their house for little more than a bed since I was back in Claremore with my friends. Had I known the unknowable, that Grandma’s days were numbered and she would be gone within 6 years, maybe I would have changed my behavior.

Of course, what is gone is gone and now we have passed 20 years since Grandpa died in 1994 and 30 since Grandma died in 1984. Life is so very precious and, sadly, I don’t believe that we’ve learned much in how to teach and express how precious those lives around us are.  I have begun to wonder if we are in a society that has taught our children that life is insignificant. I absolutely realize that we live in a culture of death, but that culture seems to infiltrated our lives to such a degree that I see our children seem to have diminished the importance of their family. It is almost as if our deaths will be a meaningless blimp when we are gone.

Will anyone mourn mine or my wife’s passing like we’ve mourned the passing of our grandparents or parents? If children are callous enough that they can act as if their parents are dead to them while they are alive, how much different will it be when they are actually gone? I do wonder what my grandparents endured from the hands of their children. I can only speculate unless they shared with someone that happens to read this or can share. I know that my grandparents did not tell their children or grandchildren one thing and do something else, I know they did not change what they believed or thought to avoid waves, they stuck to what they said and believed.

Tomorrow I will retyping my eulogy and I will remember my Grandpa and Grandma, as I do everyday. There is not a day that goes by that I do not remember them. I remember them as in the first two pictures. I also know that the last picture, the black and white with the young couple, was how they started. Our beginnings lead us to our endings. I, like everyone of us, am on a journey. If I journey correctly, I am on a journey for “the Greater Glory of God” (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam””). I don’t succeed as often as I want. I probably fail more than I succeed. What I do is try everyday to live up to my Faith and their legacy.

I love you, Grandma and Grandpa.


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Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter’s Square the Holy Father, in his general audience, continued to speak about the People of God, a theme that he began to explore last Wednesday. Today he highlighted the importance for a Christian of belonging to this people, and reiterated that we are not isolated Christians. “Belonging is our identity”, he said. “We are Christians because we belong to the Church. It is like a surname: if our name is ‘I am Christian’, our surname is ‘I belong to the Church’.

“No-one becomes a Christian alone; we must think first, with gratitude, of all those who have preceded us”, he continued. “If we believe, if we pray, if we know the Lord and are able to listen to His Word, we feel close to Him and recognise Him in our brethren, and because others before us have lived faith and transmitted it to us, have taught us. The Church is a family in which one is welcomed and learns to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus”. The Pope explained that this is a path that one may undertake not thanks to others, but rather united with others, and emphasised that a “do-it-yourself Church” does not exist.

“How many times did Benedict XVI describe the Church as an ecclesiastical ‘we’? Often we hear people say, ‘I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I am not interested in the Church…”. There are those who believe they can have a personal relationship, direct and immediate, with Jesus Christ removed from communion and the mediation of the Church. They are dangerous and damaging temptations. They are, as the great Paul VI said, absurd dichotomies. It is true that to walk together is challenging and difficult. … But the Lord has entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to all all of us, as witnesses; and it is in our brothers and sisters, with their gifts and their limits, that it comes towards us and is revealed to us. And this is what belonging to the Church means. Remember: being Christian means belonging to the Church”.

Before concluding, the Pope asked that the Lord, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, might grant us the grace never to give in to the temptation to think we can do without other people, that we can do without the Church and save ourselves alone, that we can be ‘laboratory Christians’. On the contrary, it is not possible to love God without loving one’s brethren, it is not possible to love God outside the Church; it is not possible to be in communion with God without being in communion with the Church, and we cannot be good Christians other than by staying together with those who follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, a single body”.

Following his catechesis, the Pope greeted a delegation from the Bethlehem University, the first university founded in the West Bank and inspired by the principles of the schools established by the De La Salle Christian brothers, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. He gave special thanks to them for their “laudable academic activity in support of the Palestinian people”.

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Fundraiser Approaching

As June 9th quickly approaches, so too do many very full days. Bryan Ketterer will be ordained a priest on Saturday, marking an end to several years of Formation. Our youngest priest will have an Honor Guard at his Ordination and his Mass of Thanksgiving.



Keep us in prayers!

On June 9th Linda and I will host the Bishop at our home to help raise funds for the Seminarians Trust.

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Year for Consecrated Life

To my friends who are priests, brothers and sisters in the Religious Life (Consecrated Life), our prayers go out to you as this special year begins.


Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Press Office of the Holy See, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation, presented the Year for Consecrated Life 2015. It was called for by Pope Francis at the end of his meeting with 120 superior generals of male institutes, at the suggestion of the heads of the aforementioned congregation on having heard from many of the consecrated.

“First of all,” Cardinal Braz de Aviz said, “this Year dedicated to consecrated life has been prepared in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and, more specifically, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the conciliar decree on the renewal of consecrated life ‘Perfectae caritatis’. … Because we recognize these 50 years that separate us from the Council as a moment of grace for consecrated life, as marked by the presence of the Spirit that leads us to live even our weaknesses and infidelities as an experience of God’s mercy and love, we want this Year to be an occasion for ‘gratefully remembering’ this recent past. This is the first objective of the Year for Consecrated Life.”

“With a positive look at this time of grace between the Council and today, we want the second objective to be ’embracing the future with hope’. We are well aware that the present moment is ‘difficult and delicate’ … and that the crisis facing society and the Church herself fully touches upon the consecrated life. But we want to take this crisis not as an antechamber of death but as … an opportunity to grow in depth, and thus in hope, motivated by the certainty that the consecrated life will never disappear from the Church because ‘it was desired by Jesus himself as an irremovable part of his Church’.”

“This hope,” he concluded, “doesn’t spare us—and the consecrated are well aware of this—from ‘living the present passionately’, and this is the third objective for the Year. … It will be an important moment for ‘evangelizing’ our vocation and for bearing witness to the beauty of the ‘sequela Christi’ in the many ways in which our lives are expressed. The consecrated take up the witness that has been left them by their respective founders and foundresses. … They want to ‘awaken the world’ with their prophetic witness, particularly with their presence at the existential margins of poverty and thought, as Pope Francis asked their superior generals.”

For his part, Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo explained the initiatives and events that will take place during the Year for Consecrated Life, which will begin this October to coincide with the anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar constitution “Lumen Gentium”.

The Year’s official inauguration is planned with a solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, possibly presided by the Holy Father, which could take place on 21 November, the World Day ‘Pro orantibus’. Still this November, it would be followed by a plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the theme of which would be “The ‘Novum’ in Consecrated Life beginning from Vatican II”.

Various international events are also planned for Rome, among which would include a meeting of young religious and novices, those who have professed temporary or final vows for less than ten years, a meeting for spiritual directors, an international theological conference on consecrated life dedicated to “Renewal of the Consecrated Life in Light of the Council and Perspectives for the Future”, and an international exhibit on “Consecrated Life: The Gospel in Human History”.

For the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life another concelebration presided by Pope Francis is planned, probably for 21 November 2015, 50 years after the decree “Perfecta caritatis”. Every four months throughout the year, the dicastery will publish a newsletter on themes related to consecrated life, the first of which will come out on 2 February of next year, entitled “Be Glad” and dedicated to the Magisterium of the Holy Father on consecrated life. In response to the Pope’s wishes, the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome will host a symposium on the management of economic goods and capital by religious from 8 to 9 March. There will be a series of initiatives planned particularly for contemplative religious, including a world Chain of Prayer among monasteries.

Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo also spoke of several documents that the dicastery is preparing. To that end, in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops and following a mandate by the Holy Father, the document “Mutuae relationes” on the relations between bishops and religious in the Church is being drawn up. Also, always on the mandate of the Pope, the instruction “Verbi Sponsa”, which deals with the autonomy and cloistering of entirely contemplative religious, is being revised. Another document in preparation will deal with the life and the mission of religious while a fourth one will touch on the question of how consecrated manage goods in order to offer some guidelines and direction in the complex situations that arise in that area.

Finally, during the Year of Consecrated Life, it is hoped that the Holy Father will promulgate a new apostolic constitution on contemplative life in place of “Sponsa Christi”, which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

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