Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How'd You Get In Here?

Those were the exact words said to me.
Just a few minutes ago, in fact.

I happened to be walking down the hallway of the parish office/chapel complex (where I work part time).  I just put out some flyers for an upcoming Medjugorje Pilgrimage and finished tidying up a meeting space from last evening's youth ministry party.

I noticed a lady and man with their hands full of bags struggling to open the doors and come inside.  I did just a normal thing and opened the doors for them.
She said, "How'd you get in here?"
"I work here."

It was an unusual thing to say to someone unfamiliar.  I could see if someone you knew was joking, like "Boy, they let anyone in here now!"  or something like that...

I think the person may work in the parish mission clothing outlet.
In other words, this person gives out clothes to the less fortunate and down and out.
Clearly she thought that I was one of the day's clients and that I had somehow managed to get in the building before the other client's were allowed to enter.

"How'd YOU get in HERE?"
I must need to comb my beard and what little hair I have.

In one of my past lives I was a chauffeur for a funeral home (it was a difficult time I just left (was fired) from my job as a rector of a protestant congregation (of which my attempted resignation wasn't accepted---long story).  Anyways I had to pick up some people at a hotel.  They complained about everything, I was apparently late, I was supposed to come into the lobby to 'help' them to the car, I was even called, "driver".
I was clearly of the 'servant class'.  It didn't matter that I was a father or husband or son.  It didn't matter that I was ordained or held a graduate degree or was a rector or held different positions on boards and committees.
Finally I couldn't take the snobbery anymore--I let it slip that my wife was a physician.
Oh how the tune changed.

Sometimes I am on the other side of the equation.  Once while walking with my lovely wife and son along the inner harbor in Baltimore--a man approached us and said something to me.
I was in protective mode.
"No!"  I firmly replied.
My wife and son laughed.  "Why'd you say 'No'?"
"I didn't want to give him any money."
They shook their heads "He wasn't asking for money.  He said to you 'Nice shirt.' "
So I replied to a compliment with. "No."

Oh well.  May we all learn to see Christ a little more.
Come Lord Jesus.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stages of Life

(Prior to the post "DON'T Worry" (see below)  I was writing this post.  I planned on working on it later in the day.  I never finished it....but find it interesting where it was headed considering the horrible evil event of the school shooting...)

For years my family and I have been frequenting the Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg, Pa.  Just a few weeks ago, in the midst of a family road trip to a Healing of the family tree Mass--we took a detour and found ourselves once again sitting on a worn bench next to a stone foundation and fireplace.  The ice cold brew, family, and food was great.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.
Part of my tavern tradition (more out of necessity) is to use the facilities, where, hanging on the wall is a certain colonial print describing the stages in a man's life.
I have stood and looked at the print for close to 35 some years.
And it is pretty much spot on.
Now I am at the stage where I am considered learned and wise---having moved on from the rebel and romancer.
So here is my learned and wise commentary for the day...

The world is in moral decay.  You can't even do a search on the internet.  Moral relativism is in charge--not God.  Anything goes and if you don't like it--tough.
Evil is actively sought, engaged, and allowed.
If you take a stand--you are out of touch or an old fart.  Teachers are afraid to teach or simply don't know how.
Why even take a stand?  I mean life is wonderful.  No sin right?
How many times a day do you encounter God being ignored?--even in the church!?......

Don't worry...

Many years ago--I recall people who were concerned about violence in video games.  I didn't give it much thought since I was a kid and I didn't see anything wrong with space invaders or asteroids.
But apparently today the invaders and asteroids have taken on new forms--human forms with blood and gore and sex and graphic warnings.  (Don't worry though there is a warning label on them and they never make it into kids hands).

I remember hearing concerns over violence on television--but that was addressed-- they put the shows on late at night.  (Don't worry, all young impressionable minds went to bed by 8pm)  Today such shows can't be accessed by any young eyes. (Don't worry the ads and enticements are just a click away and kids never go to those websites or channels ).

I remember when all the signals of a culture of death--like death metal and body mutilation and goth--were simply not tolerated. (Again, don't worry while this is tolerated and even allowed in schools it never affects the day to day life of students or teachers, cause the lyrics and lifestyle mean nothing)

Look where we are people.
The chains of satan have been loosed and with the passing of each day--getting worse and worse.

Get on your knees.
Fast--yes fast
What more needs to happen?

Join me, won't you?......

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  Rebuke him we humbly pray and cast into hell, satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Friday, December 7, 2012


--The study of Advent??

I thought a lot about Advent yesterday.
In fact most of my better thinking occurs when I'm in the stream fishing.
It's hunting season where I live.  This translates to empty streams. I lack the 'mammal hunting' part of the male DNA thus, the woods are full and the waterways are sparsely populated.

It all began with an 'Advent Gift' my lovely wife gave me this past Sunday--a fishing license for 2012.  While her intention was to give me a new fishing license for 2013 she accidentally clicked the wrong year.  So I have 20 some days left to hook some steelhead.  Begrudgingly I put on the waders and vest and ventured into the beautiful clear, crisp stream..ha.

I firmly believe that a signal transits through the water the very moment my wader hits the stream.  A radius extends out from my being keeping all marine life at bay.
Nonetheless I made my way to my favorite spot.
Only to be laughed at (I swear as time went on and I tried fly after fly--I saw a fish laugh at me).

"Why do I keep casting again and again when they're not taking anything?  I've been doing this for years!"
Again, again, and again.  The repetitive movement dulled my senses.

That's what God does to the soul.
Again--He offers love
Again--He offers hope
Again--He offers forgiveness.
Again and again and again.

The whole liturgical season is really about God's time with us--again and again and again.
Am I any deeper in union with God since last year?  Have I taken the hook?
Do I pray and give thanks to Him, again and again and again?  Have I taken the hook?
Do I confess and fast, again and again and again?  Have I taken the hook?
In other words---Where am I compared to last year at this time?  AM I GROWING DEEPER IN LOVE WITH GOD?

Eventually I was blessed with a steelhead on the other end--up and down the stream we went--finally he had enough jumped (laughed) and spit the fly back.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Confession Time (or maybe not)

Here is a public confession (just a note there are even more 'confessions' in the book-- A Lost Shepherd available at Amazon, local bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Nook, and New Hope Press to name a few -- this was an unpaid commercial one for your priest friend, your husband, wife, anybody who is angry at the church, divorced, remarried, ex-priest, convert, hopeless, helpless or feeling trapped and lost....end of commercial--ha)

Anyways..this public confession is rather boring.

We are decorated for Christmas.

Actually we were decorated way before Thanksgiving.

I remember years back when parish and diocesan, at least in the United States, wanted no Christmas parties for the parishes or rectories.  In fact when pushed--their reason was to have the 'liturgically correct parties' during the Octave of Christmas.  In an ideal world--maybe.
Here's an idea while I'm soapboxing--the recent Thanksgiving stir with black friday starting on thursday--why not offer an early morning Mass for the people of God?  Really.  They used to have them for hunters at 3 AM--so why not shoppers?  Come on--let's work with the challenges and create new opportunities.  Simply preaching against the phenomena hasn't worked and will not work.  It is time to adapt.  This isn't giving in.  It is allowing the Gospel to permeate the marketplace.

Maybe you recall the push to move the color of Advent from purple to blue? (I confess, I had a blue chasuble).
What can screw up a one car funeral.

Well, in our household (thanks to my wife's never ending Christmas Spirit) we are decorated, full bore.
Oh, there is an Advent tree and a wreath.  But the rest is out, a train, a caboose, some bells, some trees with twinkling lights.  Outside is a simple nativity scene my father made years ago.  Alone in the dark with a star above, old white plastic figures of the Virgin and her Spouse beckon us to look at the empty crib made by my son.
Alone in the dark it reminds us, calls us, beckons us to anticipate.

May your season of anticipation awake your soul's desire for God.
Because in the end--it has nothing to do with purple, blue, red, or green, a tree or a light or even a gift.
It has to do with your soul and the soul's under your charge.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Poem of the Man God Maria Valtorta

Yesterday I took a 'black Friday' motorcycle ride.
It was brief and somewhat windy.  Two hours after parking the bike we had snow.
I got the last ride in--just in time.
With winter upon us I vowed to finish a few of the books I began last spring and summer.  I sat in front of the fire with The Poem of the Man God.
I quote from an earlier post...

 The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta.  I wished I had read this back in seminary.  I am well aware of the controversy surrounding The Poem and I suggest the reader take a look at the above link concerning the Church's stance.  As recent events in the life of the church have shown--the greatest threat to the church is certainly not The Poem of the Man God.

Here is a part that struck me.  It is when Jesus first meets Judas and Thomas.
"Why are you looking for Me?"
"To follow You, if You will allow us, because You have words of truth."
"Follow me?  But do you know where I am going?"
"No, Master, but certainly to glory."
"Yes.  But not to a glory of this world.  I am going to a glory which is in Heaven and is conquered by virtue and sacrifice.  Why do you want to follow Me?"  He asks them again.
"To take part in Your glory."
"According to Heaven?"
"Yes, according to Heaven."
(the next part is what struck me)
"Not everybody is able to arrive there.  Because Mammon lays more snares for those yearning for Heaven than for the others.  And only he who has strong will power can resist.  Why follow Me, if to follow Me implies a continuous struggle against the enemy, which is in us, against the hostile world, and against the Enemy who is Satan?"


So, why do I continue to try to follow Christ?  Why continue to struggle to resist the Mammon?  Why?
What is the Mammon in my life that I have decided to pursue and serve?
The exchange continues between Judas and Jesus with Jesus not accepting Judas's request to become a disciple.  Instead he sends him away to examine his motives and desires.
Of course we know what happens...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Okay--This Is Messy Ex-Priest Stuff

Read this...

"....Thomas Groome, an ex-priest who serves as national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama.
Groome, who has criticized Catholic teaching on women’s ordination, wrote in 2002 that “the presence of women as priests and bishops would be an extraordinary gift to the life of the Catholic Church.” In one work, he wrote:
I visited [Rome] on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 2000 … I was present for the papal mass on that Epiphany morning, and the liturgy reflected the same exclusivity – no women or people of color in the sanctuary, only white men and none of them looked poor. Now I found myself wondering if Jesus, who founded a radically inclusive community of disciples – catholic at its best – would recognize any of this as his legacy..."
It was taken from catholic culture. org 

Here is the part that gets me--the description of Thomas Groome, an 'ex-priest'.

Guys like him give guys like me a bad rap, (come to think of it--for a few years I did quite well at giving myself a bad rap, but I digress).
Here is my issue...if you are so blatantly disgusted with the Roman Catholic Church why you still hanging around?

I used the term 'ex-priest' in a memoir title--not to give the impression of authority or even to share an agenda.

If the title is used incorrectly, it comes off like the person has the inside scoop on what is really 'wrong' with the Church and it can play to a broad audience of people with a variety of issues (woman, birth control, and societal injustices to name a few).

The reality is--Thomas Groome shares nothing more than an opinion...just like this 'ex-priest' did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Pilgrimage is Good for the Soul

There is something spiritual about a physical journey.
Make a pilgrimage this year!!!

Check out the pilgrimage page for the latest offerings!!!

The May Medjugorje Pilgrimage was just arranged after a few young people felt called by the Holy Spirit (and the Blessed Virgin) to undertake the journey.  It's a great story. We'd love to have you come along!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Humility obliterates pride.
But it isn't easy.  
Humility is uncomfortable.
We want the favored seat, the place of prominence, the people to agree with me.
And we may even feign false humility--just to make us feel good about appearing humble.
Want to be humble?  Then look to the cross--no really take some time today and stare at a crucifix.

That man had it all.
He could cast out demons, heal the sick and lame.
He would never go hungary--loaves and fishes.
He evened raised the dead.

He gave it all up.
For you.
In His humility, through His humility, by His humility--for me, for you.

Got issues?--Get humble.  
Fast, pray and get to work.

Friday, November 9, 2012


A Lost Shepherd
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marian Gathering 2012 Cancelled...

I am very sorry to announce that the Marian Gathering scheduled for November 25 has been cancelled. We look forward to rescheduling the event within the year.

I have heard from several people planning to attend.  Please don't give up we will have a gathering sooner or later.  Again thanks for your understanding.

It's been a tough couple of months for planned events....first the fall Medjugorje pilgrimage was cancelled and now this.

God Bless you.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Disturbing News or No Big Surprise?

I recently came across an article written by an older priest where he aptly described one of the dilemmas facing the Mother Church--we are running out of priests.  

I was ordained years ago into a church where the 'identity' of the priest was a common topic at most gatherings.  Social sciences were touted as having the answer to priestly despair, loneliness, delusions, addictions, disorders and unhealthy behaviors.  Speakers and retreat masters elevated beating drums, 12 step programs and enneagrams.  
I spent more time reading pop psychology self help books than I did scripture.

I can't remember confessions or a day of fasting ever being offered at a priest gathering (now, there is the possibility that I did ignore such and invitation, which in my case--shame on me, but I honestly can't remember confessions or fasting or even Eucharistic Adoration ever being part of a priest convocation)
Maybe it was just assumed?  I'm not sure. 

So are the numbers really a surprise?
Spiritually it makes perfect sense.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This November...

A Marian Gathering

Camp Notre Dame
400 Eaton Road
Fairview, Pennsylvania

Feast of Christ the King
Sunday, November 25


Wayne Weible
Michael Ripple
Rev. William Kiel

10 am - 3 pm Concluding Holy Mass with Prayers for Healing

Participants are Requested to Provide Their Own Lunch

Light Refreshment and Drink will be Provided

No Admission or Registration Fees
However a Free Will Offering will be Greatly Appreciated

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Praylium Pilgrimage to St Michael's Shrine

Check out the upcoming pilgrimage to Rome and the Shrines of Italy with optional  Medjugorje trek.
Click the pilgrimage tab.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just Be Nice?? Not Anymore.

A few years ago a parishioner of mine (at the Episcopal church) launched a campaign asking people to  'be nice'.
It reminded me of the Oh God movies when those posters appeared asking people to think about God.
This fellow's campaign was very successful, at least according to billboards and placards.
But I'm not sure about people's hearts.

My son is in marching band.
So is my wife.  Actually she is helping with color guard.
This isn't their first go at it.
It is mine.


So I participate the best I can--I'm on pit crew.  This means I show up and load a trailer.  I drive to the competition (with my wife--so it is officially a date). I unload the trailer and move stuff on a field.  I watch 'judges' walk and talk and criticize.
We get home at four in the morning. (feels like it)

I love watching and feeling my son's and wife's excitement and I really do enjoy it.

This past week, as I stood in the high school band room, I made the following observation:
People are not nice. They don't know how to talk to each other or even ask someone a question in a nice way.  No--everything is a demand.  Like the person is entitled to talk however they want--demeaning and demanding.
This is a learned behavior of communication that is oppressive and demonic.

I am not asking for Christianity--just civility.

The part that really gets me is that it goes unchecked.
This way of communication and social interaction has become the norm.
Did you hear of the fans cheering a quarterback who was hurt?

No social norms, no civility, not even the ability to just say nothing....not in a band room--and not at a stadium.

It's getting worse and what do we try to teach?  Turn the other cheek?  Shake the dust?  Defend the weak?

Yep--satan just keeps pinging.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Worthy Read...

A great insight...
Unfortunately the author hasn't written as of late.
Word is--he is busy as a scholar, musician, and athlete.


A Lost Shepherd [Perfect Paperback]

Michael E. Ripple (Author)

Price:$15.95 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
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Perfect Paperback$15.95 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bullying and a Praylium observation

I have been working with teenagers and young adults for years.  On top of that, I have been a human (all my life).
Here is an observation--Bullying is Demonic

What makes a bully?
...a parent or maybe a lack of parent.
...low self esteem or an over-inflated ego?
...never being held accountable or feeling that the world owes you?
...envy and jealousy?
...maybe just plain sloth--I'm not going to work at it, and if you do--I will bully you.

How does a bully work?
...sometimes it's a frontal attack.
...often though it is behind ones back--with calculated pings.

Who else does calculated pings?
Yep, bullying is demonic.  It is rooted in demeaning the human spirit--that very creative power of the Almighty.  
Bullying happens everywhere. the school. the church.
....on the road. work.
....and, unfortunately even at play.

Why does it happen everywhere?  Because the demonic's purpose is to demean and disrupt anything that is good.
Stay strong--sometimes the battle gets a little rough.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Interesting word isn't it?--hacking--
Well I was a victim of a hacker.  They got onto the twitter account and managed to send out messages in my name.
Apparently others have been victims of a similar cyber attack.

I disabled the praylium twitter account today.

The Feast of St. Monica (patron of mothers with troubled children)....

God Bless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So My Head was Going to Explode...

This past Sunday I encountered one of the worst headaches of my life.
It was my fault.
I was power washing an outbuilding basement.
I thought I had good ventilation.
The first time I thought I just needed some air.  My brother had closed off one of the vent pipes with a bucket because water was coming out and inhibiting him from putting in a new window.
I realized this as I climbed out of the outside cellar entrance, gasping for air.
"You trying to kill me? I'm dizzy."
"You've always been dizzy." He replied.
"Good one."

(At that point I secretly hoped his window endeavor would end up crooked)

After a couple minutes I went back down.
The second time I emerged and that was it.
I was down for the count, the day, the evening, the night, and the next morning.

Now, in order that the truth be told without bias I need to share the way things happened immediately following my getting some oxygen back into my system.
My wife-doctor appraised, assessed, checked blood pressure and heart rate and assured me I would be okay.  She sent me to bed. 
While I was in bed my son and her decided to watch some dvd's on the end of the world and death.
Now, with a terrible headache--none like I ever had--I couldn't help but...well you know....
Besides I knew two people who died because of aneurisms.  So, while they were casually listening I was beginning to think of what priest should I call.

They left the room and then I began to fret.
Yep, I'm a baby.
Eventually I had myself convinced my head was going to explode.
That was it.  
On my gravestone---His last action was power washing--done in by a bucket over a drain pipe.
I kicked the bucket.

You know that time when you have a fever, or headache, or maybe just during those morning hours when you have a dream?  That's the time when something becomes a little more clear--perhaps a quandary or dilemma is solved, or maybe, just maybe an angel holds you and you are inspired.

Mine was simple.  
Read more Scripture.

My loving caring doctor wife continued to calm my fears.
In the morning I was embarrassed and shared it with her and my son.  Their reply was so very Christian.  First they made fun of me and then throughout the day told everyone about their father's inability to just take a pill and shut up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why not come along?

There are still some spaces on our Pilgrimage to Medjugorje this October.
Click this link.

Mary's Assumption and Assistance

I had an interesting conversation with a few people today concerning the use of mediums and/or seances and the demonic.
Simply put--don't.
Don't mess with it.  Don't play with it.  Don't be entertained by it.

It is nothing more than an opportunity for the wrong kind of spirit to enter.
I remember growing up and seeing the game board--ouiga.  Even then I thought something was odd that we could ask a question and then have an answer given to us from some other force.  In my little kid mind I  associated it with the passage in scripture where Jesus said--Where two or three are gathered....
I'm not sure what happened to the 'game'

Evil starts nice.
It starts playful.
It's promise--a relief from the reality--a game, or even a suffering.  If you miss a loved one--why not contact them?

Recently I had a book signing near an area known as lillydale--you can look it up.  The store had some  books on the spiritism of this specific geographic area--weird.

The demonic only wants one thing--your soul.
It doesn't care what sin you use to lose it.

So today use this feast of the Assumption.  Mary's feast of falling asleep in God and allow her intercession in your life.  May she assist you in doing battle against all those empty promises of satan and the demonic.  She is, after all a Mother and she will watch over her children.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Favor?

My computer skills are limited to the text box used for blogging.

I began a Facebook page for the purpose of publicizing the release of A Lost Shepherd.
Please do me a favor and click on the Facebook box at the left and help spread the word!
 (apologies to the two people who 'liked' the Facebook account from yesterday..that info has been lost)

God Bless

Here We Go--What's on Your Reading List?

Let's get back into some blogging shall we?
How's this for a start?

I came across the above book in the midst of re-organizing a parish library.
I made a copy of the book's cover--as soon as the copy was produced the machine quit working! (seriously, the repairman was in today)

At one point, as the pastor and I weeded through the piles of books, I remarked how everything has been said at one time or another.  We reinvent the wheel about every 20 years--theologically and spiritually. Pick up the writings of St. Augustine, or St. Theresa of Avila, or St. Alphonse Liguori--and you will have a 'way' to holiness.  You don't need some pop psychology/theology approach.
But we complicate the obvious.  
Treat yourself--pick up a spiritual classic.

My lovely wife recently completed The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta.
On her recommendation I began with volume one a couple weeks back.  All I can say is I wished I had read this back in seminary.  I am well aware of the controversy surrounding The Poem and I suggest the reader take a look at the above link concerning the Church's stance.  As recent events in the life of the church have shown--the greatest threat to the church is certainly not The Poem of the Man God.