White Lake, Michican

July 8, 2015

This week it is Michigan for me, and two full and wonderful days at the NPM Convention in Grand Rapids. NPM = National Pastoral Musicians. I had a great time with some good musicians and friends from St William and St Agnes Parish in Naples. The two-day one night stay in Grand Rapids allowed a reunion with a friend from St Meinrad days 50 years ago, Father Dan Daly. I had not seen him in all that time. Soon to retire he has been pastor of St Nicholas Orthodox Church for nearly 15 years. Take a look at the Dome and the Apse “written” by a Canadian.
Tonight having returned to the Detroit suburb of “White Lake” there was a sunset that matched the magnificent music I’ve heard for two days. … more »

The June 2015 Road Trip

The June road trip is winding down as I point the blue car toward Oklahoma for the Holiday Weekend. Saturday, June 27 a joyful celebration of thanksgiving took place in the Immaculate Conception Church at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence. More than 300 Sisters were there to celebrate Golden and Silver Jubilarians. Among the Golden Jubilarians was Sister Betty Paul who worked with me in Youth Ministry from 1977 till 1989. The sound of 300 Sisters singing in this grand church was extraordinary. The joy and commitment of the Sisters bears witness to the faith, courage, and vision of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin who came from France in the 1840 founding this community of women who have extended their ministry from the great forest on the banks of the Wabash River to the founding of Bishop McGuinness High School, and Corpus Christi Grade School in Oklahoma all the way to Taiwan and today in China. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 14 June 20, 2015


Late sleeping as the clocks are turned back to Pacific Daylight Time was the first order of the day with nothing much to do but read and write (homilies for later in the summer). I had lunch down below in the “Crew Mess” where the food is plentiful but a bit more spiced up to the taste of Asians who staff most of the departments on the ship. It was a time for some farewells with crew members and entertainers with whom I have spent the last 14 days. A couple of cards and gifts for the stewards who have helped me are addressed, and there was even an initial effort at packing that distracted me for awhile. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 13 June 19, 2015


It was a brief call at the Port of Ketchikan and the usual array of T Shirt Shops and Jewelry Shops about sums it up. There is a “Lumber Jack” Show that attracts people whose cheers can be heard all through downtown. Ketchikan is all about Salmon Fishing. There are plenty of fishing boats to suggest that, and a hatchery. When I was here in September the Salmon were “running” up the creek, making for quite a site; but this is not the right time. So if emeralds, soap stone carvings, totems, furs, or smoked salmon in vacuum bags is not your thing, there are several wonderful walking trails, and today’s sunshine made that all perfect. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 12 June 18, 2015


This port is my favorite, and there was no disappointment today. Fr Jacobi and I managed to get five miles in with much of that in the State Park walking through the Rain Forest and learning about Totums. There was a visit to the St Michael Russian Orthodox Cathedral again, and this time around we took the tour of the second floor of the Bishop’s House which is carefully restored to the conditions in which he lived with the original furnishing, and other pieces of the late 1700s when “Father Innocent” who first came here as a missionary priest and later returned at the direction of the Czar as the Bishop of a Diocese that covered all of Alaska and the eastern portion of Siberia. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 11 June 17, 2015


58 degrees in Juneau today, low clouds, and no rain in the “Rain Forest”. However, it certainly looks like rain in Oklahoma City which may soon become a “Rain Forest” if typical summer weather doesn’t start. After a waiting for everyone to get off who had signed up for tours and excursions locally, I got my 10,000 steps in around downtown Juneau. If there is an “Uptown” in Juneau, it’s everything except Main Street because the hills are steep. I should get credit for twice as many steps because I made it up to 5th street again trying once more to get into the Russian Orthodox Church. NOT! Two signs in the gift shop window said “OPEN”. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2


Day 10 June 16, 2015

Sailing the Tracy Arm

We sailed up the Stephens Passage all morning, and just after lunch we turned into Holkham Bay, past Harbor Island and into the Tracy Arm named after a Secretary of the Navy probably during Teddy Roosevelt’s time. He was the president who designated the Tongass National Rain Forest as a preserve. The day began very overcast, but the ceiling lifted about the time we turned into Tracy Arm, and within an hour the sun was out. There was very little wind, and it was much warmer than last week. Tracy Arm, as I said last week, is a true Fjord about a 1000 fee deep in most areas, and the walls rise up sharply about 3000 feet on either side. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 9 June 15, 2015

At Sea

It’s strange to me how fast the “At Sea” days fly by when anyone might imagine that spending the entire day on board a ship would make f or a long a day, but that is not my experience. Suddenly it is nearly midnight, and the last light of day is fading just before dawn begins about three hours from now. The sun will come up at 4:17 am. We pass into another time zone tonight giving an extra hour of sleep, but what is given will be taken away at the end of the week. There was a pleasant group for the morning Mass, and I had breakfast in the Lido and then moved to the Crow’s Nest to read for several hours. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam Week 2

Day 8 June 14, 2015


Now begins a repeat of last week’s cruise. Father Jacobi from Holy Spirit Parish in Mustang, OK boarded the Amsterdam as passenger. It is his first time on a cruise ship. For me the day went by quickly. I did the “meet and greet” routine at the entrance from 11:00 am till 2:00 when Fr Joe boarded, we had some lunch with a quick look around the ship. We were just about to take a look at a rehearsal for tonight’s entertainment in the Queen’s Lounge when a lady walked up and wanted to go in with us. She is on board with her 16 year old son who is very interested in Theater and Dance. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

Day 7 Thursday June 11, 2015

Victoria, B.C.

Much of this day was spent “at sea” in the north Pacific before we entered the passage that leads to the bay where Vancouver Island sits off the coast of Canada. For me it was a work day, and I spent several hours in the “Explorations Cafe” where there are good desks, good light, and relative quiet for reading and work. It is actually the “Library.” The problem was that with little to do other than the usual games, a lot of people were there talking and playing cards loudly — out came the headphones! The good news is that I have worked my way though 16 of the 20 talks I will be giving to the Sisters of St Francis in August, and this gives me a lot of relief. … more »