26 Jan

We Are the Galilee of the Gentiles...

With the 7th graders. Happy Catholic Schools Week!

Letters from a Pastor to His People- January 26, 2020


Dear Parishioners,


"He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali..." 


Galilee was a sort of melting pot, kind of like Chicago, I imagine.  Think about the people whom Jesus would encounter: fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, Roman soldiers (pagan), Jewish synagogue officials, beggars, rich landowners, Greeks, Syrians, etc.  Only in Galilee could have had the assortment of spiritual experiences.


Pope Francis made this comment in an Angelus address several years back:

26 Jan

The Conversion on the Way to Damascus

The 17th Century painting by Caravaggio, The Conversion on the Way to Damascus, is a brilliant depiction of the monumental moment for Christianity.  Saint Paul lies on his back on the ground, below his horse.  Finely dressed as a soldier, the young man exudes strength and vigor.  His face is calm, his eyes are closed, and his muscular arms are extended heavenward, as if receiving a hug. 

26 Jan

Gospel January 26, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet blamed the defeat of the two provinces of Zebulum and Nephtali on the people of Israel. He considered it to be God’s punishment for their unfaithfulness and wickedness in abandoning God in favor of riches from trade. Isaiah seeks to offer words of hope and consolation to a people experiencing the darkness of oppression. “A new light will shine on a people living in a land of gloom.”

26 Jan

Basketball @ Mundelein

This last weekend at the seminary we had our annual basketball tournament, the Father Pat O’Malley Invitational. This year marked its twentieth anniversary. It is an awesome weekend to say the least. Sixteen seminaries from across the United States send teams to Mundelein Seminary to play in our tournament. We had guys from Nebraska, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin, to name a few.

25 Jan

The Surrender Novena

The Surrender Novena

Father Don Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970)


Day 1

Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying?

Leave the care of your affairs to me and everything will be peaceful.

I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10x)


Day 2

Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer.

It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything.

It is like the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way.

Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in my care, so that only I act.

Saying You take care of it.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 3

How many things I do when the soul,

in so much spiritual and material need turns to me, looks at me and says to me;

“You take care of it,” then close its eyes and rests.

In pain you pray for me to act, but that I act in the way you want.

You do not turn to me, instead, you want me to adapt to your ideas.

You are not sick people who ask the doctor to cure you, but rather sick people who tell the doctor how to.

So do not act this way, but pray as I taught you in the Our Father:

“Hallowed be thy Name”, that is, be glorified in my need.

“Thy kingdom come”, that is, let all that is in us and in the world be in accord with your kingdom.

“Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”, that is, in our need, decide as you see fit for our temporal and eternal life.

If you say to me truly:

“Thy will be done” which is the same as saying:

“You take care of it”

I will intervene with all my omnipotence, and I will resolve the most difficult situations.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 4

You see evil growing instead of weakening?

Do not worry,

Close your eyes and say to me with faith:

“Thy will be done, You take care of it.”

I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed.

Do you see that the sick person is getting worse?

Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say

“You take care of it.”

I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention.

By my love, I promise this to you.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 5

And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see,

I will prepare you;

I will carry you in my arms;

I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, on the other bank of the river.

What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 6

You are sleepless; you want to judge everything, direct everything and see to everything and you surrender to human strength, or worse - to men themselves, trusting in their intervention- this is what hinders my words and my views.

Oh how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you and how I suffer when I see you so agitated!

Satan tries to do exactly this: to agitate you and to remove you from my protection and to throw you into the jaws of human initiative.

So, trust only in me, rest in me, surrender to me in everything.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 7

I perform miracles in proportion to your full surrender to me and to your not thinking of yourselves.

I sow treasure troves of graces when you are in the deepest poverty.

No person of reason, no thinker, has ever performed miracles, not even among the saints.

He does divine works whosoever surrenders to God.

So don’t think about it any more, because your mind is acute and for you it is very hard to see evil and to trust in me and to not think of yourself.

Do this for all your needs, do this all of you and you will see great continual silent miracles. I will take care of things, I promise this to you.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 8

Close your eyes and let yourself be carried away on the flowing current of my grace; close your eyes and do not think of the present, turning your thoughts away from the future just as you would from temptation.

Repose in me, believing in my goodness, and I promise you by my love that if you say

"You take care of it,” I will take care of it all; I will console you, liberate you and guide you.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)


Day 9

Pray always in readiness to surrender, and you will receive from it great peace and great rewards, even when I confer on you the grace of immolation, of repentance and of love.

Then what does suffering matter? It seems impossible to you? Close your eyes and say with all your soul, “Jesus, you take care of it.” Do not be afraid, I will take care of things and you will bless my name by humbling yourself.

A thousand prayers cannot equal one single act of surrender, remember this well. There is no novena more effective than this:

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (x10)



19 Jan

Called to Be Holy

Thank you to the church sacristans for their good work preparing for Mass

Letters from a Pastor to His People- January 19, 2020


Dear Parishioners,


Called to be holy.  That is what Saint Paul says in our second reading from First Corinthians.  He tells the people they have been sanctified in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy.  What does holiness mean?


Let me answer by giving you what some folks, far holier and smarter than I, have said about the topic.  By the way, in my reading whenever I come across a definition or description of holiness, I write it down.  This is from my catalogue...

19 Jan

The Two Popes

I watched the Netflix movie The Two Popes recently and, I must say, I was not impressed.  Aside from it being unhelpful fiction, a profound spiritual lesson was distorted.  Towards the end, Benedict XVI, played by Anthony Hopkins, explains to Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio why he desires to retire.  God has abandoned him.  Benedict feels nothing in prayer.  He asks, he pleads, and "Silence!" is all he receives in return.  This abandonment the pope takes as a sign that God no longer is with him and no longer desires him to lead the Church.  He must resign.

19 Jan

Gospel Readings January 19, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. When commenting on the Book of Isaiah, scholars speak of three Isaiahs. Today’s reading is taken from second Isaiah, a prophet during Israel’s time in exile. Isaiah speaks of an unknown mysterious Servant who would one day unite the people of God. This Servant would restores Israel. He would be a light to the nations and brings back salvation to all the world. Christians have always understood Jesus and his mission to be the fulfillment of that messianic prophecy.   

19 Jan

Faith Formation Is Never Ending

So begins the last semester of my seminary career. It has been a total of six years in seminary formation. These six years of preparation for the priesthood of Jesus Christ have consisted in study, prayer, adventure and fraternity. The many hours spent in a classroom have left me with the conviction that the study of our faith is never-ending.

12 Jan

What Type of Leader Are You?

After I became pastor, I found myself reading biographies.  The stories of the great figures of history gave me just the advice and encouragement I needed.  Biographies on Abraham Lincoln were particularly insightful.  But I also found interesting the stories of LBJ, Napoleon, Douglas MacArthur, Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson, Al Smith, Cardinal Bernardin, George Washington, and Ulysses S. Grant, just to name a few that I have read over the past few years.  I have been given many books on leadership and administration from parishioners, but the best I have received have been these biographies.