Sunday, August 24, 2008

Great Little Meditation Book - and Prayer

Before I went on vacation I got a recommendation somewhere (Amazon or another website) for a little meditation book titled "Take Five, On-The-Job Meditations With St. Ignatius". Looked and sounded good so I ordered it. Like most books, they end up on my nightstand for awhile before I get to them. This one, though, because of the "On-The-Job...." subtitle, I tossed it in my briefcase. I've been exceptionally busy at work since I got back from vacation but the other day I actually pulled it out and started using it. And am glad I did!

This little book incorporates St. Ignatius writings with the Gospel and short meditations including a a thought you can memorize and use throughout the day.

Quick warning: if you are the type of person that believes that perfection is not something to seek than it may not be for you. That doesn't mean I believe I will ever be perfect but I do believe that striving for perfection is still a worthy goal and one that Christ set for us. For example, in the second meditation they quote Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect". Does God expect me to be perfect? No. But that doesn't mean that there is no virtue in striving to be "perfect" in God's eyes.

The main reason I post tonight is the prayer found in the third meditation and it goes like this:

"Teach us, good Lord, to serve You as You deserve,
to give and not count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not seek for rest,
to labor and not ask for any reward
except that of knowing that we do Your will."

Does that impress upon you the consistency between St. Ignatius teaching and the 12 Steps or what?

For more information about this great little book you can click on the book at the lower left in "My Library".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saint John Eudes?

I had never heard of St. John Eudes before today. I must have been out of it on August 19th the past few years as today is his feast day. You can click the link to read more about him or search on Google. One of his claims to fame is preaching more than 110 missions. And based on the reading in today's Office of Readings I can understand why. I think it is worth typing out the whole of today's passage here.

From a treatise on the admirable Heart of Jesus by Saint John Eudes, priest

I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head and that you are a member of his body. He belongs to you as the head belongs to the body. All that is his is yours: breath, heart, body, soul and all his faculties. All of these you must use as if they belonged to you, so that is serving him you may give him praise, love and glory. You belong to him as a member belongs to the head. This is why h earnestly desires you to serve and glorify the Father by using all your faculties as if they were his.

He belongs to you, but more than that, he longs to be in you, living and ruling in you, as the head lives and rules in the body. He desires that whatever is in him may live and rule in you: his breath in your breath, his heart in your heart, all the faculties of his soul in the faculties of your soul, so that these words may be fulfilled in you: Glorify God and bear him in your body, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in you.

You belong to the Son of God, but more than that, you ought to be in him as the members are in the head. All that is in you must be incorporated into him. You must receive life from him and be ruled by him. There will be no true life for you except in him, for he is the one source of true life. Apart from him you will find only death and destruction. Let him be the only source of your moments, of the actions and the strength of your life. He must be both the source and the purpose of your life, so that you may fulfill these words: None of us lives as his own master and none of us dies as his own master. While we live, we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die, we die as his servants. Both in life and death we are the Lord's. That is why Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9)

Finally, you are one with Jesus as the body is one with the head. You must, then, have one breath with him, one soul, one will, one mind, one heart. And he must be your breath, heart, love, life, your all. These great gifts in the follower of Christ originate from baptism. They are increased and strengthened through confirmation and by making good use of other graces that are given by God. Through the holy eucharist they are brought to perfection.

I think reading this passage daily for a few days will not only the recovering Catholic but every Christian. Imagine a world, or a country, or a state or even a town where everyone thought like this. If you can do that you have just gotten a glimpse of heaven!

Friday, August 1, 2008

St. Ignatius and Bill Wilson

Today (well yesterday since I posted this after midnight!) the Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola .

Like most people, there have been many twists and turns my journey in recovery. Early on I had read some of the AA books like "Pass It On" and "AA Comes of Age" and learned of the initial meeting between Bill W. and Fr. Ed Dowling. It wasn't until years later that I would really learn the importance of that meeting.

It was Fr. Dowling who had read about AA and it's Twelve Steps and immediately saw the link between the steps and, being a Jesuit, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. There is a short document available on the Internet that describes this link

There is also a wonderful book that documents the relationship between Bill Wilson and Fr. Dowling, "The Soul of Sponsorship". The book contains excepts from the letters exchanged between these men over many years. Fr. Dowling became Bill Wilson's spiritual director and some believe that Bill might have converted to Catholicism if it would not have given the appearance that the AA program was ultimately a path to the Catholic Church.

I was fortunate enough to make a seven day silent retreat at a Jesuit retreat house last year. It was during that retreat that I became more familiar with the Spiritual Exercises. I have tried, inconsistently mind you, to use a great book by Fr. Jim Harbaugh called "A Twelve Step Approach to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius" . He also has a similar volume called "A Twelve Step Approach to the Sunday Readings" . I highly recommend both!

So on this feast of St. Ignatius I would encourage anyone looking to incorporate the Catholic faith into their twelve step program to investigate the Spiritual Exercises.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"The Fountain of all Holiness"

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted.

The balance of the vacation was outstanding and now we're right back in the thick of things. Work, family, getting ready for retreat in a few weeks, getting our second child off to college, and the normal summer activities - friends, barbecues, swimming and baseball.

With my daily schedule I don't get to daily mass as often as I'd like. On some of those mornings I get to listen to Mass on The Catholic Channel on Sirius satellite radio (channel 159). They broadcast the daily 8:00 Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Listening while driving can often be interrupted by, can you believe it, paying attention to the road, especially in the Pennsylvania Turnpike construction zones! Different parts of the Mass will have different effects on me on any given today. Today it was the Eucharistic Prayer. I've heard it hundreds of times but today one line really hit me. It begins "Lord, you are holy indeed; the fountain of all holiness" and BOOM! God makes me holy. I cannot make me holy! May seem obvious to some but not me.

Why was this impactful? I go through periods of my life "doing" instead of "praying". I substitute what I believe are good actions for good prayer time. For example, I am busy preparing for a number of upcoming events (retreat weekend 8/15, Calix convention 8/1, Calix meeting at my parish 7/26) plus my normal busy schedule and prayer time gets cut short.

All this to say that I think I realized today that these actions are not what makes me grow in holiness. Don't get me wrong, God needs us to act to fulfill his will. But we can only learn what that is when we "retreat" from this world to spend time with Him in prayer. It is through this prayer time that one can grow in holiness, can grow closer to God. After all He is the fountain of ALL holiness; not some holiness, not most holiness, but ALL holiness.

Thanks for reading and I promise to be be back in less than a week!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Compromises - Cypress Gardens

"My way or the highway". That was the motto for most of my life before I got sober. You could either come along for the ride or hop off anytime you wanted. But don't expect me to change my mind for you. There were a couple notable exceptions, especially if you had something I wanted. But other than that it was my way.

So if you've been reading here for the last week or so you read about my first Latin Mass last week and how I was studying for and looking forward to going again this week. Well I haven't mentioned here yet that I'm married and have four children. One child (daughter) is out of college and living in Cincinnati. The second child (son) just graduated from high school and starts college in the Fall. Children three (son) and four (daughter) are on vacation with us. The choice today was my way (Latin Mass) or their way, the "regular" 11:30 Mass as a family. As much as I wanted to make the Latin Mass, I wanted to go to Mass as a family and I'm glad I did. The youngest really participated and my son, the one I hope will be my priest, always seems to like Mass.

After Mass we ran out to Cypress Gardens to check out the swamp. They are having some financial problems out there which resulted in them losing their crocodile collection. The boat ride through the swamp was cool and Charlie, our guide, was informative. The one thing I didn't know about cypress swamps was that the oil they release below water level forms a "slick" of sorts on top that prevents mosquito larvae from hatching so there were zero mosquitoes. We took a short carriage ride (available on Sundays) that Mary Kate just loved as she has always seemed to like horses.

After Cypress Gardens we came home to eat, went for a walk down the beach and stopped to visit with my in-laws. Then back up the beach to come home, played some games as a family and put the kids to bed. It just doesn't get any better than that.

If I had pressed for the 6:00 Latin Mass tonight the whole day would have been different, starting with the "discussion" this morning about what Mass I was going to. So I'll just have to find a Latin Mass back in the Philly area. Small price to pay, huh!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mere Christianity and the 4th of July

A few weeks back I heard an interview on EWTN radio of an "expert" on authors C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton (did any of these guys use their given names???). In the course of the discussion they talked about Lewis' book "Mere Christianity". And they mentioned a part of the book which any alcoholic or addict can relate to and is what made me run out and purchase "The Complete C.S. Lewis" (see my library link below and left). One of the benefits of being on vacation is lots of time to read!

In Chapter 10 of book 3 - don't worry each chapter is only 3-5 pages! - Lewis writes:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand , never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same.

How many times have we heard that people were searching for the answer in a bottle only to never be fulfilled. Here, then, is the answer. If nothing in this world satisfies our desire then we were made for another world, Heaven!

And the closing sentence sums up what we can learn in recovery, namely that we will not only satisfy that desire but help others to satisfy theirs as well. Just like we say in AA's Step 12 - "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these steps in all our affairs." Perhaps that awakening may be to the fact that we are made for another world and that we "must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same".

Finally - it's only fitting that we speak of country on this 4th of July holiday. For my American friends, let us thank God this day for the blessings of this wonderful country, flaws and all, where we are able to worship God freely and pursue that other country that Lewis talks about. Come to think of it, maybe that's what is meant in our Declaration of Independence where our founding fathers guaranteed us the right to the pursuit of happiness!

Note - I highly recommend "Mere Christianity" for anyone interested in or already living the Christian faith. It's only 175 pages or so and is a great introduction to the Christian life without any real deep theological writing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feast of St. Thomas

Well if your name is Tom today is a special day for you. Each year on July 3 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Thomas, the apostle.

In today's Office of Readings the second reading comes from a homily on the Gospels by Saint (and pope) Gregory the Great. It reads, in part:

Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.

Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God's providence. In a marvelous way God's mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master's body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ's wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.

In all matters, it seems, God is in control. Thomas just happened to be running an errand when Jesus shows up! How many times do we find ourselves in a situation that, in hindsight, we know was a direct result of God's promptings in our life? We are placed in situations that we would not have normally been in. Or, even odder, we are not somewhere we should have been and avoided some crisis.

How fitting is it, then, that circumstances were such that one of the disciples was not present when Jesus returned, only to be used to confirm through physical proof that the resurrection had really taken place. And through this proof, some 2000 years later all Christians know the story of "doubting Thomas" and because of his disbelief, believe!

From a recovery standpoint, how many newcomers do we meet who cannot believe that a 12- step program can bring them relief? And then the miracle happens and they not only recover but become the most vocal in a group when it comes to letting the next newcomer know that it works! As Thomas came to believe and supposedly went on to preach in Asia, so our believers in recovery go on to help the newcomer that follows for he now has proof that the 12-steps work.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Watch What You Pray For

We have had two gorgeous days here on Isle of Palms. Played golf yesterday with my brother-in law over at Dunes West. Great day despite the 100 score I had and the many lessons of humility I receive every time I play. Golf is so much like life but I'll save that for another day.

This morning I had the opportunity to attend daily Mass and a nice surprise after Mass was that the priest and a dozen or so others stuck around for Morning Prayer. Saying the Liturgy of the Hours with a group, I find, is much more fulfilling than praying them alone.

When I got home I had some breakfast with the kids and then took a few minutes to pray the Office of Readings for today. Today's second reading was taken from "The Way of Perfection" by Saint Teresa of Avila and as I read it I thought how many times in a meeting (or elsewhere) that we here the phrase "watch what you pray for, you may just get it!".

It opens with, "When asking a favor of some person of importance would anyone be so ill-mannered and thoughtless as not first to consider how best to address him in order to make a good impression and give no cause for offense? Surely he would think over his petition carefully and his reason for asking it, especially if it were for something specific and important as our good Jesus tells us our petitions should be."

How many times have I prayed without thinking? How many times have I asked for what I thought were immediate needs but would have long-term consequences. I think about the times where I have had to ask people for something (an employer for a raise or promotion, a parent for something "big", a child for something that they may not like, etc.) and how I play the scene through my mind many times before I approach them. On the other hand, I may not think at all about a request I am going to make of Jesus, expecting him to come through as long as it is His will.

On the other hand, how much greater would that prayer and petition be if we take the time to think it through. What do I really need? What is God's will for me? Today? Tomorrow? St. Teresa goes on, "O Eternal Wisdom, between you and your Father that was enough; that was how you prayed in the garden. You expressed your desire and fear but surrendered yourself to his will. But as for us, Lord, you know that we are less submissive to the will of your Father and need to mention each thing separately in order to stop and think whether it would be good for us, and otherwise not ask for it. You see, the gift our Lord intends for us may be by far the best, but if it is not what we wanted we are quite capable of flinging it back in his face. That is the kind of people we are; ready cash is the only wealth we understand". I can relate. Can you?

Recently a fellow Calix member shared about how she would pray for patience. Rather than receiving the gift of patience she would get a series of "opportunities" to be patient in order to learn patience. None of us have experienced that, right? But we curse those "opportunities" until we come to realize, sometimes many years later, that we have become patient. So it begs the question, do we ever really know what's good for us? Or, should we focus more on what God's will is for us and surrender to Him who knows what's best for us?

And, as a side note, my Latin-English Missal booklets arrived today. Time to start studying for Mass this coming Sunday!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Holy Martyrs

Being on vacation has given me time for some of my favorite things: Daily Mass and Liturgy of the Hours.

Many nights I go to bed with the intention of making 6:30 AM Mass before work. With the price of gas I am back to carpooling which makes that difficult. It also doesn't help that I am terrible at getting out of bed in the morning!

This morning I woke up before the alarm - yea, I set the alarm on vacation - and was able to get to Church about 30 minutes before Mass. This gave me ample time to pray Morning Prayer and prepare for Mass. Both (Mass and today's Office) were celebrating the feast of the "First Martyrs of the Church of Rome". You may recall that yesterday was the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul who were also martyrs. Today we celebrate all those martyrs that died as a result of Nero's persecution of the Christians in 64 AD.

I had a couple of thoughts as Mass went on and as I prayed the the Office throughout the day. The first is that from age 3 to 22 I lived in a parish named Holy Martyrs. I even went to the parish grade school. And today I am pretty certain that the parish was named for the martyrs whose feast we celebrated today but I can't ever recall anyone telling us that when I was there. The feast day didn't fall during the school year so that "teaching" opportunity wasn't available. In Father's homily this morning he stated that today's feast was instituted in the universal church in 1969 but was always celebrated in Rome. Certainly I should have heard at least once between 1969 and 1983 when I moved out of my parent's home the story behind our parish name. Maybe I did and just wasn't paying attention!

The other thought was a comparison between myself and both the martyrs whose deaths we celebrate today and the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul that we celebrated yesterday. What kept going through my mind was how selfish and self-centered I was - and can still be from time to time - before I got sober. And how in sobriety the twelve steps are used to rein in that "self" to the point where I can and must be of service to my fellow man. And what better role models than the two saints and the martyrs that the Church brought to our attention the last couple of days. Today I thank God again for for my sobriety and the AA program that brought me back to the Catholic faith. I will watch what I pray for because to be a saint you must be dead and to be a martyr you must die for the faith, usually a horrible death. Instead I ask our Lord and Savior to continue to work in and through me to help bring me closer to Him and put me in situations where I can continue to be of service to Him and my fellow man, following the example of the saints and martyrs.

TLM (Traditional Latin Mass)

Thank you, Lord, for vacations!

Not only am I getting to spend more time with my family but more time with the Lord!

Yesterday I made that TLM Mass that I was so looking forward to. It was definitely different than anything I have experienced before. I was born in 1961 so I made my First Holy Communion at the altar rail but the Mass was in English and the priest was facing me. Yesterday I again received Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail. The whole experience was just plain different. It seemed more holy, more mysterious, more like I'm a sinner and really in need of God. I also felt that I was being led in the Mass and that as the priest offered prayers they were actually to God instead of him staring out into space. On the other hand there was very little participation on the part of the people, no interaction (Kiss of Peace), not even an Amen! when receiving Holy Communion.

So for now I don't think it better or worse, just different. Since I haven't experienced it before, I spent (too much) time using the Latin-English booklet which was a great help. So much so that I went to one of my favorite Catholic booksellers, Mark over at ,and ordered a few copies. Paid the expedited shipping and I should have them in plenty of time to study before next Sunday and be able to follow better. Click here to see the Latin-English Booklet Missal they use).

One of the real highlights, though, was the precision with which the Altar Servers assisted at Mass. Their reverence, attention, etc. all reminded me of how much I enjoyed and how seriously I took my role as an Altar Boy many moons ago!

I'll post another update on the TLM experience next week.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tired......and another blog to check out

Well it took us a little longer than expected to get to our "vacation destination" today. For the first time ever I had the wonderful experience to get out of the car in the middle of I-95 just south of Selma, NC for an hour or so. Unfortunately there was a terrible wreck - we saw the car on the back of a flatbed heading north while we were parked in the soutbound lanes. If the folks who were in that car survived it is a miracle.

Anyway - we took our time and spent about 7 hours on the road today so I am wiped out but wanted to check email, etc. Down the left side of this blog you'll see the blogs I check out and now I am adding to them because those blogs lead to other blogs and, well, you get the picture.

So over on Sober Catholic, Paul put up a link to Adrienne's blog. If you are a Catholic in recovery I think you might want to check out her blog here. She did a 15 part series entitled "12 Steps for Catholics". I only just started to read it myself and already think it's work passing on to others.

Looking forward to hitting the beach for a little while tomorrow before making that TLM Mass at 5:30 tomorrow evening. Michael (our 9-year-old) says he wants to go with me, too!

And now, "Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace". (Antiphon from Night Prayer in the The Liturgy of the Hours".

Theology of the Body

I frequent and support a great Catholic website called Catholic Exchange.

Today I got an email from them about a new "channel" they started with all kinds of inormation and insight into Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body". From the email:

Catholic Theologians have just begun to study and fully understand this rich body of work left for us by John Paul the Great, but it is already bearing fruit in thousands of lives touched by the Divine "One Flesh" vision for men and women. Here is the loving answer of the Church to a society that devalues the human person and tries to pit male and female against each other.

Leading us in this exploration are over a dozen writers and teachers who will be regularly contributing to this channel as well as talented and thoughtful guest columnists.

A list of these outstanding authors can be seen by putting your cursor over the "Columnists" link on the on the white navigation bar at the top of the TOB channel. Coordinating the contributors to this new channel is Steve Pokorny. Steve has an MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, received training from Christopher West, and will be completing his studies at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in 2009.

I highly recommend checking it out. Here's the link again in case you missed it above: TOB Channel

Friday, June 27, 2008


Counting down the minutes until we start our family vacation. My mother-in-law was born and raised in and around Charleston, SC and we often spend our vacations on nearby Isle of Palms. In addition to getting caught up with family members we'll be spending two weeks on the beach, fishing, golfing and just plain relaxing.

One of the things I'm hoping to do this year is make the 5:30 Mass at Stella Maris Church on neighboring Sullivans Island. It's a TLM (Tridentine Latin Mass) which I have never attended. I was born around the start of Vatican II and am old enough to remember making my First Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail but the Mass was already in English and the priest was facing me. So I am really looking forward to attending a Latin Mass.

I'll have the laptop with me (for pleasure only!) so will continue to post. One of the troubling things now is how dependent we have become on these computers for things like directions, movie listings, looking up telephone numbers. But one of the other benefits are websites like that let you get Mass times (as well as Eucharist adoration, confess, etc.) for just about anywhere you travel. That's exactly how I learned about the Mass at Stella Maris.

And one of the other things I hope to do is to read a couple new books that just arrived, in particular a book that contains writings by Tertullian, Origen and St. Cyprian on the Lord's Prayer. Two weeks ago the Office of Readings had excerpts from St. Cyprian's treatise on the Lord's Prayer. The little research I did revealed that St. Cyprian used the Lord's Prayer as a teaching tool in the 4th century when evangelizing non-Christians so I am looking forward to reading it in its entirety along with what Origen and Tertullian have written. Before getting into it though I'll be finishing up "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis which is great reading!

I should also mention that I found a great website to catalog your library ( and then link to it from a blog. Down near the bottom left you'll see some book covers and a link. I'll be keeping this up to date with what I'm currently reading so feel free to drop me a line if you have an interest in or have read what I'm currently reading.

Thanks for reading and the next post will be from Isle of Palms, SC!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So what became of the project?

Just to bring my previous post to conclusion -

In my attempt to find that article about Catholics and twelve steps program I did various searches. I never found that article and I am 100% certain it was out there! But what I did find was The Calix Soxiety. Here, there were a few laymen and a priest back in 1957 who had the same idea, i.e finding a way to combine the AA twelve-step program with the Catholic faith. Here was an organization that had already gone through the pains whenever an endeavor such as this is undertaken. They had materials, suggestions and some wonderful folks that were ready to help me get started.

We held our first meeting in January of 2007 and 18 months later we have almost 20 confirmed members. We meet on the last Saturday of each month at my parish (St. Luke the Evangelist in Glenside, PA) for Mass at 8:30 AM and then gather for a meeting that usually goes until 10:30 AM. Click here for our unit's website and please send an email or comment if you have any interest in starting a Calix unit in your area!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Am I Getting Myself Into?

I've thought about starting my own blog for some time now and reading a couple others I thought I just might have something to offer. Maybe....Maybe not. But I'm going to give it a shot.

I am a recovering alcoholic and am active in my Catholic faith, AA and The Calix Society (see for details). After being sober a short time I returned to my Catholic roots and I have somehow been able to mingle the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous with the Catholic faith in order to live a happy and sober life. I thank God every day for the Catholic upbringing I had and for every drink I had to drink in order to find AA. It was through AA that I learned about spirituality and the adage, "religion is for people afraid of going to hell; spirituality is for people who have already been there!" And I've been there (and dragged a few others with me)! I have now come to learn and love Catholic spirituality!

So I'm sure you are asking, "Where did you come up with the title for this blog?" Well it's a long story that I'll post later because (at least I think) it is rather interesting. But the short version is that after becoming active in a few ministries in my parish - lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, leading faith sharing groups and a bible study - I wanted to study the Catholic faith. I tried on my own for a few years when a co-worker introduced me to The Church Ministry Institute, a 3-year program offered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for lay Catholic ministers.

Part of the program was to start or get involved in a ministry in your parish with the approval of your pastor. I was constantly getting messages to do something for Catholics in recovery, to the point where I knew I had to do something!

I started attending more Big Book meetings and studying the steps while reading more about Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises. My goal was to come up with a "program" of sorts for these Catholics in recovery. And the name of the program was to be "We Are Not Saints...YET!"

When it came time to get approval from my pastor he let me know that he had other plans for me. I was disappointed to say the least but truly believed that God must have had something else in mind for me. Well the Monsignor's plans also faded and I was given permission to continue what I had started.

Early on in my research I came across an article on the Internet - which I have not been able to locate again - that basically stated that Catholics should not participate in Alcoholics Anonymous primarily because of a line in "How It Works" that states "We are not saints." As Catholics each and every one of us are called to be saints and believe that when we enter heaven we are indeed saints. So it only follows that Catholics in recovery are on a spiritual journey that will hopefully culminate in our spending eternity with God, and thus a saint!

Welcome to my blog and I hope you come back soon! Ken J