Archive for March, 2007

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P.J. has only been walking a few weeks and yet he joined the dancers at the K of C St. Patrick’s Day party!


P.J. and one of his favorite uncles, ME!


Daddy Patrick, P.J. & Me Again.

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Can you find the “C” ?


Once you’ve found the C……….
Find the 6!

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9999999999999999999999999999999999 9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999999999999999999999999999999999 9999999999999999999999999999999999
9999699999999999999999999999999999 9999999999999999999999999999999999
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9999999999999999999999999999999999 9999999999999999999999999999999999

Once you’ve found the 6… Find the N…


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A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern “snow belt,” either. It’s in the South.


Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, This house incorporates every “green” feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

So the answer is…

HOUSE #1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as “the Texas White House,” it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush. So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON’T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it’s truly “an inconvenient truth.”


FATHER JOE: A friend sent me this in an email. I know about the Gore Mansion, but is the bit about the BUSH Ranch House true?

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I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U C L A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead giveaway)

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

A calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

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comintogetyou.jpgA woman went to the doctor’s office, where she was seen by a young, new doctor. After about 4 minutes in the examination room, the doctor told her she was pregnant. She burst out screaming as she ran down the hall.

An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room.

The doctor marched down the hallway to the back where the first doctor was and demanded, “What’s the matter with you? This woman is 56 years old ; she has two grown children and several grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?!!”

The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, “Does she still have the hiccups?

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Send me funny Bush jokes and I might post them, too. These jokes do not necessarily represent my views or those of any organization with which I am affiliated. In any case, here are some of the jokes from late night TV about poor Hillary:

Hillary Clinton said that her childhood dream was to be an Olympic athlete. But she was not athletic enough. She said she wanted to be an astronaut, but at the time they didn’t take women. She said she wanted to go into medicine, but hospitals made her woozy. Should she be telling people this story? I mean she’s basically saying she wants to be president because she can’t do anything else.” –Jay Leno

“Well, the big story — Hillary Clinton will be running for president in 2008. You know why I think she’s running? I think she finally wants to see what it’s like to sleep in the president’s bed.” –Jay Leno

“Top Democrats have mixed feelings about Sen. Hillary Clinton running for president. Apparently, some Democrats don’t like the idea, while others hate it.” –Conan O’Brien

“In a fiery speech this weekend, Hillary Clinton wondered why President Bush can’t find the tallest man in Afghanistan. Probably for the same reason she couldn’t find the fattest intern under the desk.” –Jay Leno

“Former President Bill Clinton said that if his wife, Hillary, is elected president, he will do whatever she wants. You know Bill Clinton — when he makes a vow to Hillary, you can take that to the bank.”–Jay Leno

“Did you know Bill and Hillary Clinton were born under the same sign? Know what sign? ‘For Sale.’” –Jay Leno

“A student from the University of Washington has sold his soul on eBay for $400. He’s a law student, so he probably doesn’t need it, but still, that’s not very much. Today, Hillary Clinton said, ‘Hey, at least I got some furniture and a Senate seat for mine.” –Jay Leno

“Hillary Clinton said today that she wants legislation to allow all ex-felons to vote. See, this way all the Clinton’s former business partners can vote for her in 2008.” –Jay Leno

QUESTION: Do such jokes on television have any real effect upon political campaigns? And if so, what are these effects?

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For those wanting to read more about the AVE MARIA business and some interesting posts about trends in the Church, here is a link to a really “different” and “funny” Blog:


Examples of his creativity: 

My only recommendation is that if he is a student, his profile as “Et Invisibilium” is probably a wise one to maintain.

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fessio2.jpgThings are getting stranger and stranger at Ave Maria. Wednesday the word was that Father Fessio had been fired from Ave Maria. Students and faculty were upset. There was a formal protest. The negative feedback was devastating. Today, we hear that Fr. Fessio has been rehired, but to a new position. What is more, much is made of the fact that Fr. Fessio accepted the new “made-up” position, why? Could it be that he thinks so much of the school that he is willing to allow himself to be used so as to preserve its reputation and prospects? Hum.

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS reports about it:


Mar. 23, 2007 – Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, who was dismissed as provost of Ave Maria University on March 21, has been retained by the school in a different capacity.

The abrupt dismissal of the prominent Jesuit had sparked protests on the Florida campus, and raised concerns among the supporters of the young Catholic institution.

I suppose this is good news of a sort, but something still does not smell right. I wonder what happened… [Father Joe enters another Walter Mitty like daydream]

healy2.jpgThe Telephone: RING! RING! RING!

Dr. Healy: Oh no, not another phone call! This is too much!

The Telephone: RING! RING!

Dr. Healy: [picking up receiver] Hello, this is Ave Maria, can I help you? [Pause] Is this for real? [Cough] Yes, I will take the call. [Clears Throat] Hello, Holiness, I am so honored to have you call me, I um…yes, I know he’s a good man, but…yes…yes…[Gulp!]…if it is okay by you I think I would rather kiss your ring…right…I did not know you had such a powerful voice, let me change ears, I think I went deaf in that one [Switches Phone to Other Ear]…aaaahuh, aaaahuh, I understand…or else…I am not sure that is anatomically possible, but if you say so…not worthy to untie his shoes…he’s like a son to you…the man you most trust in America…no, I don’t think interdiction is necessary…yes, I’ve learned my lesson…but what about Tom Monaghan?…choke on his pizza?…you talked to him already…yes, I see…excuse me?…yes, I have seen a few episodes of the Sopranos…aaaahuh, Guido will pay me a visit…oh, I think your phone call is all the encouragement I need…yes, I’m sure…I’ll make it right…I promise…yes, I am sorry…very sorry…really, very, very sorry with a cherry on top…thank you for understanding…may I have your blessing…is that a blessing?…um, thank you for calling Holy Father,…yes, I will get to it before the week is out…yes…


The Telephone: DISCONNECTS

Dr. Healy: Bye, um…I guess he already hung up.

The Telephone: RING! RING!

Dr. Healy: [picking up receiver] Hello, this is…oh, hi Tom…yes, so you got a call, too…right…some guy named Guido…oh my, well I am sure your thumbs and leg will heal with time…yes, aaaahuh…I will get to it right now…

The Telephone: RING! RING! RING!

fessio13.jpgDr. Healy: [picking up receiver] Hello, this is Ave Maria, can I help…oh, hi Fr. Fessio, I was just getting ready to call you…yes your second father did call me…aaahuh, well he sure loves you, that’s for sure…and so do I…I am sorry about my miscommunication the other day…you know us Charismatics, you never know what’s going to come out of our mouths…gobblegunkglueIminthestew…hehehe…please, forgive me and come back to us…we need you…there is no Ave Maria without you…the Holy Father even said so [Cough] very forcibly I might add…oh yes, you will have your own room…take mine even, it’s too big for me…teach whatever you want, sure…we’ll put the altar anywhere you want it…that’s right…thank you, thank you, thank you. Bye now.

Dr. Healy: [buzzing his secretary] Maggie, can you run to my home and bring me back a spare pair of trousers, um, and maybe underwear too…no I can’t say what happen…thanks, and be prepared to take some shorthand…I have a significant statement that must be released this Friday morning…yes, it is urgent, thanks.

President Nicholas Healy had this to say:

We expressed yesterday that the separation of Father Fessio from the University’s administration had nothing to do with our shared commitment to our mission as a Catholic university ex corde ecclesiae. As a sign of our esteem for his great gifts and abilities, we have asked Father Fessio and he has agreed to continue a relationship with us. This will include the following:

He will be designated a theologian in residence and maintain a room on campus.

He will join us for the Commencement exercises.

He will teach the planned summer program for high school students.

He will explore a semester abroad program in Rome and how our Austrian semester abroad program might be continued. It is expected that in developing plans for study abroad programs Father Fessio will be spending a significant amount of time in Europe.
It is anticipated that beginning in the spring semester, Father Fessio will assume teaching responsibilities at AMU, although the precise schedule for the teaching hours will need to be worked out.

We are pleased that we can confirm the continuing association with Father Fessio and his commitment to the ongoing development of Ave Maria University in a non-administrative capacity. 


Father Fessio will be teaching high school students?

He will be sent to Austria to see how the abroad program is going? That is about as far as one might go from Naples…is this exile?

We can only “assume” that he will be teaching at Ave Maria and that a precise schedule will need “to be worked out”?  Look at all the qualifying language!

He is pleased to announce a “continuing association” but the terms of that association are a bit vague and the emphasis seems upon the “ongoing development” of the school, which is important to Fr. Fessio.  Nevertheless, he remains fired from any “administrative capacity”. In other words, he has no more real say about things.

Time for another phone call?


Telephone:  RING!  RING! 

Father Joe:  [picking up receiver]  Hello, can I help you?  You can help me?  What do you mean, the pizza king has no sense of humor?  Who is this?  Guido…? 

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This breaking news story is very disheartening:


Ave Maria provost fired: Father Fessio’s reaction
By Jacob Ogles
March 21, 2007


Father Joseph Fessio said he had no indication before today that he would be asked to step down as provost of Ave Maria University.

“Obviously, I think it was a mistake, but I am not in charge,” he said.

Fessio said he was asked to a private meeting this morning with chancellor Tom Monaghan. At the meeting, Fessio said he was asked to resign his position with the school, clear his office and leave campus by the end of the day.

“I asked for a reason but was not given one,” Fessio said..

Okay, University of San Francisco I could understand. Liberal Jesuits hate their brother’s traditionalism and orthodoxy…but Ave Maria? What is going on?

This is hardly the way that a professor of theology and school provost should be treated. Monaghan may have funneled millions into his school, but he has asked other Catholics to come on board to help in his effort. Father Fessio has written fundraising letters and has attracted many of the best students and teachers to the school. I would seriously question how believers can continue to routinely support him given such actions. If he wants he can call it Monaghan University, then he can do what he wants, but a truly Catholic school must respect the integrity of both its students and its teachers. It cannot merely reflect a privatized version of the faith, but that universal faith which is shared by believers around the world. I suspect that this firing reflects an extremely narrow ecclesiology. I am not talking here about friction with liberals or dissenters; rather, I am focusing upon the increased tensions within orthodoxy and on the right. Monaghan reflects a more Charismatic Christianity, akin to that of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Some might argue that while this form of Catholicism is faithful, it has, nonetheless, adopted elements of Pentecostalism. Sometimes, but not always, associated with such a faith is an individualism that runs counter to the genuine corporate nature of the Church rooted in tradition and centered upon the Magisterium. [However, I have the greatest respect for Steubenville, where a large percentage (majority) of students participate at daily Mass and where a major is offered in PRO-LIFE studies.  They also have several renown orthodox teachers, including the apologetics master, Dr. Scott Hahn.]  Father Fessio is considered conservative, but much more in the Pope Benedict XVI sense, especially in regard to the liturgy. Is this where the fight happened?

The school would only offer the following statement:

“Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. was asked to step down as Provost of the University as a result of irreconcilable differences over administrative policies and practices.”

What in the world were they thinking? After all the bad press about the law school and the Michigan campus, this kind of publicity Ave Maria in Naples does not need. Fr. Fessio is a close friend of Pope Benedict XVI. How can a school claim true orthodoxy and yet distance itself from a man who founded Ignatius Press and has suffered much for the sake of the true faith here in the United States? Such a curt statement could be very damaging to this good priest’s reputation as well.

Father Fessio accepted the dismissal and rebuke with his usual humility:

“A great burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I can pray and work for the Lord’s vineyards in other ways. The Lord has a plan. It will be revealed.”

The article continues:

According to Catholic World News, Fessio was instrumental in attracting prestigious Catholic faculty members to the university and that his “sudden departure raised questions about the overall future direction of Ave Maria University.”

The Blog, WHISPERS IN THE LOGGIA, reports:


A senior university official said that one crux of the “irreconcilable differences” cited as the reason for the requested resignation was a divergence on liturgical tastes; Healy [university president] and much of his leadership team take their cue from the evangelical Charismatic school of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (to which they maintain close ties), while Fessio’s crowd gravitated toward a more solemn manner of ritual. The Jesuit’s Latin Masses — Novus Ordo, celebrated ad orientem — were reported to have drawn large numbers, while similar crowds were had for monthly Healing Masses celebrated by priest-in-residence Fr Richard McAlear, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

We are told that when news of his dismissal was released there were significult public demonstrations Wednesday afternoon on campus by the students in protest.

More about the story at CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS:




I may have to take back what I said about this being an argument among orthodox Catholics.  The ANGELQUEEN Blog notes liturgical deviation and novelty that goes against the current rubrics of the Mass.  The real tension was between Dr. Healey and Fr. Fessio.  The man with the purse-strings came down on the side of his friend Dr. Healy.  As far as I know, unlike Fr. Fessio, he is neither a theologian nor a liturgist.  This business is worse than when Dean Dobranski fired Dr. Charles Rice from the Ave Maria law school. 

Until such matters are resolved, I can no longer PERSONALLY recommend Ave Maria to the kids I know.  Many of us have a great trust and respect for Father Fessio.  He is an honest and holy man.  Those who operate the university had better be careful.  It would be a terrible mark against them if one day their history including the firing of a man raised to the highest honors of the altar and counted as “blessed” or as “saint”.  

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Here is another photograph of a road through the forest; but, for some reason, I find this one a bit more disturbing.  The trees are bare, too close together and ugly.  The path itself gives the appearance from this angle of simply stopping with a dead end.  Taken as a metaphor for life, there are people who feel like they have dead end lives and jobs. 

This picture reminds me of several events in my life.  I was walking through dark woods one time when I had a terrible asthma attack.  I felt like the darkness was pressing against me, trying to sophocate me. 

There is a story told about Father Vianney where the devils pressed upon his chest trying to sophocate the saint as he tried to take his rest.  I related to the story as a boy because I would sometimes awaken from my bed with asthma attacks so bad that I could not breathe at all.  I would gag and finally cough again and again until it drew blood.  I would fall to the floor, unable to speak, and yet pleading to God for air.  My whole childhood was heavily laden by this affliction.  I missed school and was often unable to go out and play with other boys. 

The fairytale about Pinocchio became very important for me, too.  It was not simply because I saw something of the Christ-story in the fable but because I could relate to the wooden doll who wanted so badly to be like the other children, a real boy able to run and dance and play.  My affliction compelled me to read books and to spend hours each day praying to God.  

As a kid, I had a regular dream about being lost in dark woods.  As fanciful as it might seem, I could well appreciate how Martin Luther might think the Black Forest was inhabited by small mythical people and creatures.  Such were the woods I dreamed about.  Ghosts flew between the tree trunks and I would imagine my brothers and I (dressed like army men) running from them along a trail.  Often the trail would come to a dead end.  Waiting there was a woman with long black hair, black fingernails, and in a flowing black garment.  My childish imagination saw in her everything that was a negation of my family and of my view of God.  Like a vampire it wanted to drain the life out of us.  I could not breathe and would try to escape.  It would call after us like an ancient Hellenic siren.  The song was hard to resist.  It was the melody of stolen cookies and forbidden candy swallowed at meal time.  It was the attraction to opening presents before going to Mass on Christmas morning.  It was every temper tantrum I ever had, especially at the doctor’s office prior to an injection.  It was like holding your head under water, and wondering if it was worth drowning to find a mermaid?  Just as I knew it was reaching out to me, I would wake up.

Just my imagination, right?  And yet, when I was about ten years old I could swear I felt its presence in a hallway adjacent to my bedroom door.  It was late at night and “the sense of not being alone” had actually awakened me.  I dared myself not to be afraid.  I reached my hand into the hallway.  It was pitch dark and I could not see and hear anything.  I had been afraid about nothing.  And then, fingers as cold as ice grabbed my outstretched hand.  I pulled back and hid myself shaking under my blanket, saying my prayers.

That is what I think about when I look at this picture.  It looks like those dead woods I dreamed about.  It is that hallway.  We thought we were alone.        

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