Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feast of Bishop Grafton - a great light of the Anglo-catholic movement

Charles Chapman Grafton was born in Boston, April 12, 1830. He attended the Boston Latin School, and later received his LL.B. from the Harvard Law School. He entered the counting-house of Mr. Walker, whose fortune was recently given by his niece to start the Cathedral foundation [5/6] for the Diocese of Massachusetts. Coming under the influence of the Rev. Dr. Croswell and the Rev. Oliver S. Prescott, he was confirmed. Resisting the allurements of business and social preferment, he became a candidate for Holy Orders under the Bishop of Maryland. He was ordained deacon in 1855 and priest in 1858 by Bishop Whittingham. During the Civil war he was curate at St. Paul's, Baltimore, and was chaplain for a Sisterhood that was undertaken at that time.
He refused flattering calls to Washington and Philadelphia, and in 1865 went to Oxford, where he met the unusual group of men that rallied then the Catholic cause of the English Church.
Dr. Pusey had won his fight and was in his prime. Canon Liddon was at Oxford, and Fr. Benson, Fr. O'Neil, Fr. Prescott, and the present Lord Halifax were interested in organizing the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Fr. Grafton gave his inheritance as well as himself to the enterprise. During the cholera epidemic in London he assisted in Fr. Lowder's parish, and was one of the leaders in the first great parochial mission held in London, when many parishes joined and 60,000 people are said to have attended the services. Fr. Grafton still belonged to the Diocese of Maryland, and because of that fact he was able to accept an election as rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, in 1872.
The plan was to organize a branch of the order in America, which, after forty years has at last been realized. The Sisters of St. Margaret were brought out from England, and in 1882 the [6/7] Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity was founded for parochial mission work.
In the autumn of 1888 Fr. Grafton was elected Bishop of Fond du Lac, and on St. Mark's Day, 1889, he was consecrated in the Cathedral at Fond du Lac.
In 1868 Bishop Kemper referred to the plans for organizing the Diocese of Fond du Lac in the following words: "The example of zeal and true Christian faith would be so beneficial, and so encouraging to the whole of the Reformed Catholic Church, throughout the world, that I hereby pledge my cordial support." The words now seem to have been prophetic. In that spirit Bishop Grafton undertook his episcopate, and for twenty-three years, in single hearted zeal and true Christian faith, he labored for the upbuilding of his Diocese. He was in touch with the Catholic Church throughout the world and all acknowledged his truly Catholic devotion and orthodoxy. But his fullest interest and support were always given to each feeble effort in the building up of struggling missions in the Diocese, for which he felt particularly the burden of responsibility.
In twenty years the number of the clergy, the communicants and properties of the Diocese had increased two-fold, and yet, as he fully realized, was still insufficient to minister to the nearly one million souls and diverse races that had gathered in his Diocese from every country of Europe and western Asia, with a large remnant of the native Indians.
He had given away all his own estate and all that friends had given him, and died a poor man.
His obsequies were most impressive. The body was reverently prepared in priestly vestments and white mitre, and a simple plated chalice was placed in his hand. His constant prayer had been that he might be restored to the Altar, now so fully realized. Six priests led by Bishop, Weller acted as pall bearers and walked on either side of the hearse the body to the Cathedral, where it lay in state with a watch of clergy from Monday noon until Tuesday morning. Six lighted tapers surrounded the casket, and litanies and offices for the dead were recited continually, and multitudes passed by to pay their last token of respect to one whom they had learned to love. There was no distinction of creed or color.
At ten o'clock Tuesday morning the casket was closed. The procession for the service formed in the Cathedral garth: the Business Men's Association, the Twilight Club, the Members of the Bar, the Mayor and Council, the Lay members of Grafton Hall, the Lay officers of the Diocese and Cathedral, the choir, the visiting clergy, the clergy of the Diocese, the Bishops, in cope and mitre, and the sacred ministers. The opening sentences were read by the Bishop of Western Michigan, the choir in toned the Psalms, and the lesson was read by Bishop Toll, Bishop Weller sang the Solemn Requiem with deacon and sub-deacon using holy water and incense at the absolution of the dead. Father Huntington, O.H.C., preached a stirring sermon. One could feel a thrill of affirmation pass over the crowded congregation when he declared: [8/9] "You all know that Bishop Grafton would have died rather than deny the Catholic Religion." The Bishop of Milwaukee read the service at the grave. The interment was in the sisters' lot in Rienzi Cemetery at the foot of the stone crucifix. (his remains were later interred inside St. Paul's Cathedral, pictured above).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Grasshopper Team Photo

Back Row: Coach David Landuyt, Coach Jim Triano, Derek Bowman, Manager Steven Kelly
Middle: Sam Kelly, Andrew Koehler, Chris Gordon, Michael Landuyt, Billy Michals, Own Pfaff, Will Minetola
Kneeling - Andrew Kelly, Jason Somerville, Cameron Roberts, Robbie Triano, Charlie Gordon

Not pictured - Max Portwood, Zach Simmett, Robert Somerville, Coach Rick Portwood, Scorekeepers Ann Zwiebel Gordon and Peter Pfaff

This photo is by Herb Gunn of The Record (the newspaper of The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan), which he used in his article about Sean Casey and me.

It is staged, but it is Sam the pitcher giving up the ball to the manager (me) while his brother Andrew the catcher joins in the mound conference.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last game tonight

Baseball season began for the Kelly boys (and Dad) at the beginning of April. Now 5 months later we have our last game tonight.

Second season has been very interesting. It is a large team and the attendance on any given evening has been one of flux; vacations, football practices, hockey practices, etc.

It is my first experience as a manager and has proven I am coach but not manager material!

But I do have to say, my Grasshopper team is replete with lots of GREAT kids and it has been a joy coaching them!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Here it is....

....our new house. The last contingency has been removed (inspection), and in the next month (Deo volente) we will close on this house.

It is located 7 blocks from our current house, and offers us nearly 1/4 more square footage (we have 1/4 more kids since we bought the last one and they have all grown too) plus a much larger lot (more grass to cut).

We are really excited to move into a house not only generally larger, but with more 'common space' on the first floor for entertaining, and perhaps a bible study (our old house had two of the 4 bedrooms on the first floor and a tiny living and dining room).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Listening to music and sermons on the internet

While working on the computer I like to listen to music, services, and sermons on the internet.

Some of my favorites?

yes, I check out my sermons to see if I was at all coherent on Sunday. I don't write out my sermons in advance, and as I listen I think of how perhaps I could state points better next time.
In coming months, once we have tweaked the new recording system, we will place musical highlights on our website from each Sunday as well.

St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue in New York City has a world class choir boy school and in addition to putting Sunday Services on the website (Morning Holy Communion and Evensong), during the school year the Choir of Men and Boys sings Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Evensong and it is on the website. They actually broadcast the services live, and then put the recorded service on the site for a few days following

S. Clement's Church in Philadelphia is a REALLY High Church shrine parish. This link is to a download of the audio of the entire Sunday Service.
This link is for smaller downloads of particular musical pieces sung by their professional choir.

The recordings from St. John's, Detroit and S. Clement's, Philadelphia can be downloaded on your computer to listen to or to an ipod/mp3 player to take with you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Somebody contact Benedict....

...and get this bishop back on track. Theologically, this might be one of the worse suggestions by a Roman bishop in a long time!
Catholic churches in the Netherlands should use the name Allah for God to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, says a Dutch bishop.
Tiny Muskens, the bishop of Breda, told the Dutch TV program "Network" Monday night he believes God doesn't mind what he is called, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.
The Almighty is above such "discussion and bickering," he insisted.
Muskens points to Indonesia, where he served 30 years ago, as an example for Dutch churches. Christians in the Middle East also use the term Allah for God.
"Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years," Muskens said. "In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?"
Muskens thinks it could take another 100 years, but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches, promoting rapprochement between the two religions, he said, according to Radio Netherlands.
However, a survey published today in the Netherlands' largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, showed 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled oppose the bishop's view, the Associated Press reported.

Some letters to the paper were filled with ridicule for the bishop.
"Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun," wrote Welmoet Koppenhol.
The chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Gerrit de Fijter, told the Dutch paper he welcomed any attempt to "create more dialogue," according to the AP. But he said, "Calling God 'Allah' does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it."
A Muslim spokesman, for Amsterdam's union of Moroccan mosques, said Muslims had not asked for such a gesture from Christians, the AP reported.
Tensions with the Netherlands' 1-million-strong Muslim community have been high since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim avenging a film critical of Islam.
Last week, politician Geert Wilders talked about banning the Quran, shortly after the head of a group of former Muslims, Ehsan Jami, compared Islam's prophet Muhammad with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Muskens made similar remarks several year ago about using the name of Allah, Radio Netherlands reported. He also suggested replacing the national Christian holiday Whit Monday – celebrated the day after Pentecost – with an Islamic religious day.
The bishop also has offended Muslims, saying in 2005 Islam was a religion without a future because it has too many violent aspects.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Photos from the Sean Casey interview

Herb Gunn, the editor of The Record, passed on these photos from my interview with Sean Casey on Wednesday.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A fun afternoon last Wednesday

Having gotten caught up in the lawsuit ruling and those postings, I didn't share my fun afternoon last Wednesday.

Herb Gunn, the editor of the Diocesan paper, The Record, arranged to interview Sean Casey, the Detroit Tigers first baseman. He decided I should come, and he would record it as a conversation between Casey and Fr. Kelly (which is a series they have been doing, providing the audio on their website of various conversations).

While waiting for the elevator down to the clubhouse we saw hall of famer Al Kaline. We shared an elevator with former Tiger, now Tampa Bay Devil Ray, Carlos Pena. While in the dugout I saw Andrew Miller in the outfield doing some rehab on his hamstring and had a quick hello with him as he passed by into the clubhouse. I was really nervous waiting with Herb and his wife for Sean to come out.

The minute he greeted us with his big friendly grin I was at ease. We were told we had only 20 minutes so we jumped right into the conversation. He was a really nice guy (which is his reputation in Major League Baseball), and easy to talk to about faith and family. We went on for at least 25 minutes (the Fox Sports Net crew waited patiently to speak with him next). I gave him a St. John's DVD and brochure, and of course invited him to join us some Sunday at St. John's! Of course, I invite EVERYONE I meet to come to St. John's!

As I was leaving, other players were trickling out on the field for practice. Pitcher Justin Verlander was swinging a bat, an unusual sight since as a pitcher he doesn't get to bat. When he saw me there I said, "they aren't changing the rules tonight and making you bat?" He smiled and said no. I then congratulated him on his no-hitter and told him we were here for that game. By now he had come over and shook my hand and we had a short conversation. Of course, I invited him to St. John's as well.

Herb Gunn took pictures of Sean Casey and I together during the interview, and then snapped this picture from afar while I was talking to Verlander. It was Herb who added the funny quote at the bottom!

When I get more photos from Herb I will be sure to post them here. Also, I will supply a link to the interview when they publish it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More on the lawsuit from our representing counsel

ADF attorneys secure victory for church in lawsuit brought by American AtheistsWednesday, August 08, 2007, 12:35 PM (MST) ADF Media Relations 480-444-0020

Court grants ADF motion to represent church in suit filed by atheists against city of Detroit

DETROIT — A federal court Wednesday ruled against the American Atheists in its lawsuit against the city of Detroit. The atheist group sued because the city promised to reimburse a church for property improvements. Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund represented the church’s interests in the suit. “Churches cannot be treated as second class simply because they are religious institutions. They have the same right to reimbursement for physical improvements as all other entities have,” said ADF Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. “No reasonable person would consider a church’s receipt of contractually-promised reimbursement to be a government endorsement of religion. The court agreed that the church was rightfully allowed to be part of the city’s program.”
The City of Detroit Development Agency entered into a contract with St. John’s Episcopal Church to improve its exterior appearance to enhance the city’s image prior to the 2006 Super Bowl and to spur economic development in the area. The city entered into a contract with the church to reimburse half of its expenses, up to $180,000. American Atheists filed suit on behalf of itself and residents claiming a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As a result of the suit, the city withheld reimbursement to the church, which had already secured a loan and completed the improvements (www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3958). In its opinion, the court ruled that the church should receive most of the reimbursement promised by the city. “Despite the cramped interpretation of the First Amendment by the American Atheists, reimbursing churches for non-religious purposes is not an establishment of religion, just like reimbursing a secular business is not an endorsement of the store or its products,” said Schowengerdt. “We’re glad that the court saw through this blatant attempt to punish an inner-city church when all it desired to be is a good member of the Detroit community by agreeing to improve its property.” A copy of the opinion in American Atheists v. City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, can be read at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/DetroitOpinion.pdf. ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.
Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Ruling on the lawsuit with the American Atheists

This ruling has been generally in our favor! But we wait to see if the American Atheists will appeal.

Of course, keep praying for them. I would rather have their conversion than the money!
From the Detroit News

Some fix-up grants illegal
Money to spruce up churches for Super Bowl ruled unconstitutional.
Paul Egan / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Certain fix-up grants a city agency promised Detroit churches as part of a program to spruce up the downtown for the 2006 Super Bowl violated the constitutional separation between church and state, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn ruled the Detroit Downtown Development Authority should not have awarded the churches matching grants to improve large signs in front or stained glass windows that contained religious imagery.
The signs and the windows convey religious messages, and government support for them violates the U.S. Constitution, Cohn said in a 46-page opinion and order.
But Cohn ruled most of the $725,000 in fix-up grants the agency promised three downtown churches did pass constitutional muster because any downtown property owner was eligible to apply and the church items the grants helped pay for -- which included improvements to lighting, landscaping and a steeple clock -- did not convey a religious message.
It's not clear how much of the total grants would be disallowed under Cohn's ruling, but most improvements were not to signs or stained glass windows.
American Atheists Inc. brought a federal lawsuit against the city agency last year, objecting to the grants approved under the downtown facade improvement program.
The Rev. Frank R. Leineke, associate pastor of Central United Methodist Church, said he is pleased with the ruling. The church on East Adams was approved for grants totaling $360,000. Leineke said the church borrowed money to pay for the work, and the delay receiving the grant money as a result of the court challenge has caused hardship.
"We were not advertising our religion; we were fixing up the building so the building gave a wholesome appearance," he said.
But Robert Bruno, a Minnesota lawyer for American Atheists, said he may appeal Cohn's ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Direct grants to religious organizations are unconstitutional and "we think the judge didn't correctly decide the law in this case," he said.
You can reach Paul Egan at (313) 222-2069 or pegan@detnews.com.
From the Detroit Free Press
Agency, churches to collect grant money
Detroit's Downtown Development Authority and three churches Wednesday won a legal battle to collect $734,570 for façade uplifts for the 2006 Super Bowl.
A federal judge ruled that all but several thousand dollars of the grants were justified even though a national atheist group said the expenditures -- made with public funds -- would violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said all of the expenditures were appropriate except for money spent on church signs and a stained-glass window that has religious symbols.
A development official said the DDA was pleased with the decision. The president of American Atheists of New Jersey said the group is considering an appeal.
Compiled by Ben Schmitt and David Ashenfelter

Opportunity for forgivenss...

This article really upset me. These folks help the poor in wonderful ways...and then this happens! UGH!

Detroit Free Press -
Vandals do thousands in damage to soup kitchen
Someone vandalized the Capuchin Soup Kitchen's Services Center on Detroit's east side over the weekend, causing an estimated $50,000-$60,000 damage.
Center officials said the vandalism occurred at the center at 6333 Medbury between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.
Five heating and air conditioning units were destroyed, as were two freezer compressors. Officials suspect the vandals were trying to get the copper and aluminum from the units.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy Birthday William!

It is incredible to me to think that our 'baby boy', William, was born SEVEN YEARS AGO today (actually this morning) at the Birth Center next to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh!

Happy Birthday to my gregarious pittsburgher son!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Global Cooling....

I remember this when I was nearly 9, in second and then in third grade (which would have been in Troy, Michigan at Popelton elementary, and then in Buffalo Grove, Illinois at Louisa May Alcott School), studying that there was a new ice-age coming and we had to stop pollution to stop the new ice age from coming. The pollution was blocking the sun, or something like this!

Perhaps hysteria is cyclical - like the weather!!!!

I stumbled into this Newsweek Aricle

To see a .pdf of the article go to

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”
A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”
Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
“The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.” Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Patron Saint of Parish Priests

This priest has intrigued my and challenged me since I first heard about him in a sermon while in seminary, given by my then diocesan bishop, Edward MacBurney. My using the phrase "THE GOOD GOD" comes from his example. Those who were at St. John's for my first sermon in February 2001 might remember that I used a scene from his life as an example. As a little boy lead him to Ars for the first time, he said to him, "well done - you have shown me the way to Ars, now I wil show you the way to heaven." I used this as a thank you to the Search Committee and Vestry for showing me the way to St. John's - and now I am showing you the way to heaven.
St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney

Cure of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 August, 1859; son of Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze.
In 1806, the curé at Ecully, M. Balley, opened a school for ecclesiastical students, and Jean-Marie was sent to him. Though he was of average intelligence and his masters never seem to have doubted his vocation, his knowledge was extremely limited, being confined to a little arithmetic, history, and geography, and he found learning, especially the study of Latin, excessively difficult. One of his fellow-students, Matthias Loras, afterwards first Bishop of Dubuque, assisted him with his Latin lessons.
But now another obstacle presented itself. Young Vianney was drawn in the conscription, the war with Spain and the urgent need of recruits having caused Napoleon to withdraw the exemption enjoyed by the ecclesiastical students in the diocese of his uncle, Cardinal Fesch. Matthieu Vianney tried unsuccessfully to procure a substitute, so his son was obliged to go. His regiment soon received marching orders. The morning of departure, Jean-Baptiste went to church to pray, and on his return to the barracks found that his comrades had already left. He was threatened with arrest, but the recruiting captain believed his story and sent him after the troops. At nightfall he met a young man who volunteered to guide him to his fellow-soldiers, but led him to Noes, where some deserters had gathered. The mayor persuaded him to remain there, under an assumed name, as schoolmaster. After fourteen months, he was able to communicate with his family. His father was vexed to know that he was a deserter and ordered him to surrender but the matter was settled by his younger brother offering to serve in his stead and being accepted.
Jean-Baptiste now resumed his studies at Ecully. In 1812, he was sent to the seminary at Verrieres; he was so deficient in Latin as to be obliged to follow the philosophy course in French. He failed to pass the examinations for entrance to the seminary proper, but on re-examination three months later succeeded. On 13 August, 1815, he was ordained priest by Mgr. Simon, Bishop of Grenoble. His difficulties in making the preparatory studies seem to have been due to a lack of mental suppleness in dealing with theory as distinct from practice -- a lack accounted for by the meagreness of his early schooling, the advanced age at which he began to study, the fact that he was not of more than average intelligence, and that he was far advanced in spiritual science and in the practice of virtue long before he came to study it in the abstract. He was sent to Ecully as assistant to M. Balley, who had first recognized and encouraged his vocation, who urged him to persevere when the obstacles in his way seemed insurmountable, who interceded with the examiners when he failed to pass for the higher seminary, and who was his model as well as his preceptor and patron. In 1818, after the death of M. Balley, M. Vianney was made parish priest of Ars, a village not very far from Lyons. It was in the exercise of the functions of the parish priest in this remote French hamlet that as the "curé d'Ars" he became known throughout France and the Christian world. A few years after he went to Ars, he founded a sort of orphanage for destitute girls. It was called "The Providence" and was the model of similar institutions established later all over France. M. Vianney himself instructed the children of "The Providenc" in the catechism, and these catechetical instructions came to be so popular that at last they were given every day in the church to large crowds. "The Providence" was the favourite work of the "curé d'Ars", but, although it was successful, it was closed in 1847, because the holy curé thought that he was not justified in maintaining it in the face of the opposition of many good people. Its closing was a very heavy trial to him.
But the chief labour of the Curé d'Ars was the direction of souls. He had not been long at Ars when people began coming to him from other parishes, then from distant places, then from all parts of France, and finally from other countries. As early as 1835, his bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of "the souls awaiting him yonder". During the last ten years of his life, he spent from sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional. His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties and the sick. In 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. The most distinguished persons visited Ars for the purpose of seeing the holy curé and hearing his daily instruction. The Venerable Father Colin was ordained deacon at the same time, and was his life-long friend, while Mother Marie de la Providence founded the Helpers of the Holy Souls on his advice and with his constant encouragement. His direction was characterized by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes divine sins withheld in an imperfect confession. His instructions were simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but breathing faith and that love of God which was his life principle and which he infused into his audience as much by his manner and appearance as by his words, for, at the last, his voice was almost inaudible.
The miracles recorded by his biographers are of three classes:
first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for his orphans;
secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future;
thirdly, healing the sick, especially children.
The greatest miracle of all was his life. He practised mortification from his early youth. and for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient, humanly speaking, to sustain life. And yet he laboured incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, until he was more than seventy-three years old.
Photos from the official shrine site http://www.arsnet.org/index_en.php
Biography from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08326c.htm which is linked at the St. John's Church website

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Grasshopper Baseball

okay - so that sounds funny. Actually, Sam and Andrew are playing Second Season, and I am managing the team. All the teams from Grosse Pointe Park have team names of minor league teams. Ours is the Grasshoppers.
This real team is the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a Class A affliate of the Florida Marlins.
We have the same hats as pictured to the right, but our shirts are Orange, with the Grasshopper logo on it.
Hardly a logo/mascot that inspires fear in the hearts of opponents!
Unlike the first season, second season is much more laid back. Teams are larger (16 people in our case) because so many come and go on vacations during the season (started July 23rd, ends at the end of August). In fact, we have had games for two weeks now, and I have 5 players who have yet to play in a game! Four return from out of town this week so we will have a fuller contingent (only one game have we had more than the minimum 9 present, and then one got injured!). But then others are going away next week or the week following. I frequently make up the line-ups/batting orders 10 minutes before the games start because I am not contacted about who will/will not be there that night!
Second Season also has all their games Monday through Thursday (people go away on weekends), there is no play-offs, and we play teams from the City/Farms and Shores/Woods. Grosse Pointe Park has 5 teams, and the other cities (their little leagues are combined, GPP stands alone) have 6 total.
So, how are we doing?
The first game ended in a 11-11 tie, called at the end of the 4th due to darkness. In fact, all our games have only lasted 4 of the 6 innings! This was against a City/Farms team.
Our second game vs. a GPP team we got clobbered - 22 to 6 (all six runs coming in the 4th/last inning).
Our third game vs. a GPP team we won 14 -13, with the opposing team walking in our winning run!
Our fourth game was cancelled (although no one bothered to call us and tell us, so we showed up anyway and had a practice) due to heat.
Tonight (Thrusday) for our fifth game against a Woods/Shores team we lost 14-12. In fact the outcome could have been very different due to a blotched play. One of our players (1st baseman) caught a fly ball between 1st and second which would have been the third out, and then dropped it having never had possession. Then the umpire was watching a run come home and missed that the pitcher had run to first, and the first baseman picked up the ball and forced the batter out at 1st. Having missed the call, the ump had to call him safe (he had him by 2 or 3 steps). They went on to score that run and another on the next batter - making the difference in the loss. If the 1st baseman had held on to the catch, or ump saw the other call it would have been a very different game. But he was doing his best and acknowledged to me that he missed the play at first so he had to call him safe. Such happend in second season and that is okay.
BTW - this is my first experience as the manager, and although I think I am handling the organizing part pretty well, I need help with the coaching players skills part! Thankfully, two players dads who have been managers return next week from Vacation to help coach!