Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Speaking of Mark Shea...

I'm pleased as punch to announce that he is coming to my humble parish of St. Stanislaus this Thursday - Saturday, June 8-10. On Thursday, June 8 at 7:00 PM he will speak on "The DaVinci Deception": dispelling the falsehoods and foolishness in the dumb novel and even dumber movie "The DaVinci Code". On Saturday, June 10, Mark will give two talks: "Why Be Catholic?" and "Mary: The Real Sacred Feminine". Saturday's event will begin with Mass at 9:00 AM followed by the presentations. If you're in Western Michigan, come on over! Be enlightened and entertained!

Separated At Birth?

A few people have remarked on a certain resemblance between another Catholic writer and blogger (he's far more prolific at both) and myself:

Hmmm... you be the judge.

As far as I know, there's no relation between Mark and I. Perhaps there's some random "fat catholic guy" gene that we share...

Oh No, No, No, I'm A Rocket Man

As I mentioned in the previous post, last Friday was the last day of school here at St. Stanislaus. As my long-time readers know, one of my hobbies is building and flying model rockets. So, I gave the kids at the school a little demonstration and fly some of my rockets for them.

These rockets are built from kits, or from scratch. They use solid-fuel single-use engines. Some of them can go up to 3,000 feet high. I didn't launch any that high Friday - if you're going to launch something that high, you'd better be prepared to recover it up to 1/2 mile away, depending on wind drift!

Here I am showing them my "Honest John" rocket, a model of the '70's era Army artillery rocket of the same name. This is a big one, that's very impressive going up. Because it's so large, it takes a little while to get going, and you can see its lift-off very well. It won't go that high, though. The highest I've ever had it go is about 400 feet.

This is my newest-built rocket, the CFX-6. It stands over 6 feet tall. The kids were very impressed by it!

As you can see, I had the kids' rapt attention!

Here we are outside, and I'm prepping the "Honest John" for launch with the help of a young assistant. I would have liked to have a picture of this rocket in flight, but it suffered a mishap: when the ejection charge blew the nose cone off, it tore the shock cord holding the parachute to the main body tube right out of its mount: It plummeted to earth from about 300 ft. and sustained major damage.

This is my new rocket, the CFX-6, on the launch pad before its maiden flight. It went up flawlessly, a picture-perfect flight! I also allowed some of the kids to launch the rockets. They're electrically fired from about 25 feet away, so it's reasonably safe.

Here's the CFX-6 on its way back to earth, gently floating down on its parachute. I was impressed by how high it went up. Usually the larger rockets don't go that high, but this one went up about 600 feet.

It was a fun morning! I got to play with my rockets, teach the kids something, and the kids had a memorable last day of school!

It's Good To Be The Pastor, Part IV

Today is one of those beautiful late spring mornings: The sun is shining, it's cool and clear, I can hear the birds in the trees,and there's no sound of mowers or other power equipment to mar the calm of the day. Indeed, the only sound other than the birds is coming from the church, which I have opened up to air out: one of my parishioners is a Master's student in piano at the University of Illinois, home on break. She's in the church right now playing a Beethoven piano sonata, and the music is wafting across the driveway into my house. It's downright idyllic.

And I'm glad for an idyllic morning today, because I've been absolutely buried, chin deep in work since I came back from Nebraska last month (more about that later). Between First Communions, Confirmations, Graduations, etc. (remember that since I have a mission parish, everything is doubled), I've been swamped. Oh, and did I mention that my organist quit just before Ash Wednesday, and so I've been acting as my own Music Director since then? I've been able to arrange for substitutes and other stopgaps, but only with constant effort. However, that situation is well in hand - I've been interviewing candidates for the last two weeks, and I'm close to hiring someone. And thank God! I'll be glad to be able to turn that over to someone I can rely on.

Friday was the last day of school here. So now there really is quiet outside. No sound of kids playing games in PE, or during recess. If we didn't have a school at my parish, I think it my get just a little too quiet out here too often. I'm glad of having the summer break (and having been a teacher, I know they're glad of it too), but I'm even more glad that I have a school here at St. Stanislaus.

So, now that things have settled down a little bit, I'm planning on doing some blogging again. There's quite a bit of pent-up ideas I've been wanting to blog about. Sorry to have been away so long, but now I can give some time and attention not only to blogging, but some other writing projects I have in mind.