Bridging the Gap
January 14, 2011
As you are reading this, I should be on the road to recovery from my second round of back surgery. Last April, I faced a first operation. A new occurrence of back trouble has forced me to face surgery once again. So on January 6 at UPMC Mercy, Dr. Daniel Bursick, who performed the previous operation, led the surgical team. I’ve been told by my doctors to clear my schedule for the month of January to ensure a full and total recovery.
December 24, 2010
There is an old O. Henry short story that you might have first read around Christmas time when you were in grade school or in high school. Called “The Gift of the Magi,” it is about a young and very poor couple—Jim and Della—and their Christmas gifts to each other.
Jim sells his prized pocket watch to buy a lovely brush for Della’s long hair; Della sells her beautiful hair to buy a fob chain for Jim’s watch. Both gave away their most valuable possessions for each other.
November 26, 2010
As I believe I have shared with you previously in this column, one of my favorite books is the classic The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The wisdom of the prince permeates the entire book. One of those nuggets of wisdom is: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.
November 19, 2010
In the community of Pittsburgh, we have a rich diversity of faith. Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, Jewish and Muslim, Eastern and Deist, believers and non-believers. I include the non-believers because in my experience, most people that call themselves non-believers are closer to believing than they realize. And if you are a non-believer that wants to discuss that, just give me a call.
We live this diversity of faith every day in our neighborhoods, shops and businesses. But despite that, we often don’t really get to know each other, particularly our religious beliefs.
October 8, 2010
There are times as a bishop that I face particularly difficult moments. There is nothing unique in that. It happens to every bishop. It happens to every person—moments when we know we just cannot face what we have to face alone.
When those times came when I was in Green Bay, I would call the Carmelite Sisters in Denmark, Wisconsin. I would ask for the prayers of the Sisters. They were prayers to ease a burden; they were prayers to make a tough decision simpler.
August 20, 2010
It happened! We spent last year together recognizing the “Year for Priests.” On the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney, the rural French pastor known to the world as the Curé of Ars, we celebrated the gift of our priests. Throughout the year we honored their priesthood, we honored their faith, we honored their service.
Our year of celebration ended in mid-June. I couldn’t help but wonder how we could make certain that this was not just 12 months gone by and on to the next thing.
July 16, 2010
It was two days shy of the third anniversary of “The Call.” July 7, 2010, Wednesday, very hot; very humid.
June 25, 2010
It all started with the last appointment with my back surgeon, Dr. Daniel Bursick. As a follow-up to my April surgery, Dr. Bursick was very emphatic in directing that I take some time off during the Memorial Day weekend. I dutifully and faithfully followed his orders. My two good friends from Green Bay, Dr. and Mrs. James McGovern, “Skip and Bernie,” and I did go away for a couple of days.
June 18, 2010
Among my favorite TV shows in the 1950’s was the series, “Father Knows Best,” starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt as Jim and Margaret Anderson, parents of three character children, Betty, James and Kathleen or affectionately called “Princess,” “Bud” and “Kitten” by their TV parents. The comedy show reflected a “typical” family in the 1950’s—the father was the center of the family and basically had the right to call all the shots.
Clearly much has changed to the family unit since then.
May 21, 2010
Here’s a question for you: who speaks for the Church?
For many Catholics, the answer is apparently “easy”: “The Pope,” they might say. Or, “My Bishop.” Or, “My Pastor.”
But the answer isn’t always that clear! In many ways, every single Catholic speaks for the Church. When we are at work, at home, at play, we are speaking for the Church.