The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood


Pentecost as seen through the eyes of the painter Jean II Restout, 1732
Mission Statistics Quotes Links Success Stories Resources Lighter Side Search Authors Home

Sunday Sermon

Click here to visit our new page of Sunday Sermons and hear the latest from Saint Vincent's

(Please give them a moment or two to download to your PC)

Father Gene reflects on the missionaries who came to this country, their courage and their commitment to the faith

Father Gene shares his thoughts about an amazing exhibit called "Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea" and highly recommends it

New Year's Resolutions from a different perspective

Father Gene's thoughts on the Immaculate Conception and the Holy Family

Father Gene reflects on Chaplains and our nation's veterans on Veterans Day

Father Gene shares his thoughts about procrastination

Father Gene visits Relevant Radio to discuss the lessons learned from the events of September 11

Can something as simple as a garden make a difference in your life? -- Father Gene explains how it's done -- August 12, 2014

Father Gene Hemrick shares his thoughts about the virtue of understanding (May 13, 2014)

Fr. Gene interviewed on Relevant Radio about Multi-Culturism

This is the time of year when hope is in abundance -- Father Gene thinks so too, and shares some ideas about hope on Relevant Radio

November 12 interview with Father Gene about the lessons to be learned from "Homespun Wisdom"

Interesting interview with Fr. Gene about the changes we see all around us dealing with security -- our own and that of others

Follow this link to our digital Archive
and explore some more of our audio files

April 17, 2015

In this edition:
1. Pope's document on mercy.
2. What is mercy?
3. Credibility of pastoral action.
4. Quotes to ponder in document:
a) Judgment, condemnation.
b) Crime and corruption.
c) For believers and others.
5. Holy year and council's legacy.
6. Pope lists many who need mercy.
7. On confessors and indulgences.

March 27, 2015

In this edition:
1. Good Friday's message.
2. Daring to hope this Easter.
3. Transformative Latin American pastors.
4. Current quotes to ponder:
a) Archbishop Romero's witness.
b) The homeless visit Sistine Chapel.
c) Ending the death penalty.
5. Dialogue with Muslims today.
6. Interreligious conflict and harmony.

(Click on the title for the rest of each newsletter)

Here's What We're Reading!

The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back To The Church, Author: Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP

Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith, Author: Judith Valente

Ring Bell Walk in: Been There All Along, Author: Tracy O'Sullivan, O. Carm.

No Man's Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post 9/11 America, Author: Elizabeth D. Samet

Catholic Prayer Book for Separated and Divorced, Woodeene Koenig-Bricker and David Dziena

The Quick Reference Guide to the Catholic Bible, Author: Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan

It's in the News!

Woman of Strength: Learning from the Proverbs 31 Women

Authors include: Kimberly Hahn, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, Gina Loehr, Barbara Curtis, Genevieve Kineke, Anne Costa, Heidi Bratton, Johnnette Benkovic Servant Media.
Cincinnati, OH. 2015. Pp. 112

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In this book of meditations, you well meet the real woman of Proverbs 31: dignified, strong, caring, creative, and resourceful. Most of all, she's a woman who knows what really matters: loving God and growing in her faith. The reflections in Woman of Strength focus on the attributes and virtues found in Proverbs 31 and suggests a prayer for each day.

An Excerpt from the Book:

With Willing Hands

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God

The fact that the Proverbs 31 woman works with willing hands highlights her delight in her work. She has a cheerful rather than a complaining spirit about her work. The translation from Syriac says "Her hands are active after the pleasure of her heart." This is the attribute I want to have.

Usually, homemaking tasks do not frustrate me. Sure, doing the same chores week after week can get tedious, but I have been trained by my mother to see the spiritual side of things --- it is possible to rise above the mundane to see the big picture. What seems like menial work can be meaningful work.

(Click title to read more)

With Scars and All

by Eric Immel, SJ
From the Jesuit Post

On the right side of her chest just below the clavicle, she has a scar. 12 years ago, it was a freshly stitched incision and beneath it, bulging and unnatural, was a port with tubes twisting into the dark depths of her insides.

She was diagnosed over Christmas break during her freshman year. Against her will, she took the spring semester off. I was a sophomore at the time. I got a note from her in the mail scribbled on construction paper in blue crayon. I can't remember what it said, but I knew she was bored. We never wrote letters to each other. My sister wanted dorm rooms and late night pizza, not her childhood bedroom and home cooked meals.

Bi-weekly chemotherapy took its toll -- the port served as an entry point for the toxic chemicals that were supposed to save her life. She rested, read, prayed. My parents did their best, which was more than enough. We lopped off her thinning hair sometime shortly after her birthday in late January; just before that, she had dyed it purple. My mom, I think, was unhappy, but, it was going to fall out anyway. When we got down to the last of it, mom took over. We all watched silently as she made firm but tender passes with the clippers. She did the job right. She made sure my sister knew that she was still beautiful.

I remember accompanying her to the doctor one day for treatment. My friend Paul came with and, like any good big brother and his friend would, we made loud, dry-heaving noises to encourage the vomiting that always came with the drugs. Thanks, she said. I am glad someone is having fun. We took her home a few hours later and my dad met us at the car. She, fragile but fighting,

(Click title to read more)

Merton & Waugh: A Monk, A Crusty Old Man & The Seven Storey Mountain

Author: Mary Frances Coady
Paraclete, Brewster, Massachusetts. 2015., Pp. 155

An Excerpt on Contents:

The lives of these two famous and controversial writers converged for a brief time. Both their fame and the controversy surrounding them have increased over time: Waugh the peerless prose writer, the champion of Catholicism. A snob? A reactionary? Merton the Trappist monk and tireless spiritual writer. A hypocrite? A narcissist? A slapdash writer? What did two such dissimilar characters have in common?

Find out in this singular study of their correspondence and relationship. Twenty letters: thirteen from Merton and seven from Waugh, intended only for each other, make stimulating reading, in all of their spontaneity and frankness.

In addition to expertly editing the correspondence, Mary Frances Coady sets the scene perfectly in her Introduction: "In the early summer of 1948, the British novelist Evelyn Waugh, low in spirits because of unrelenting rain and an itchy nettle rash, received a manuscript in the mail from an American publisher, along with a request for an endorsement. . . "

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Entralling Task

What was it about The Seven Storey Mountain that elicited Evelyn Waugh's excitement and

(Click title to read more)

The Archaeology of Faith: A Personal Exploration of How We Come to Believe

Author: Louis J. Cameli
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2015. Pp. 205

An Excerpt from the Preface:

The Verdi Paradox

On the occasion of Giuseppe Verdi's two-hundredth birthday, Riccardo Muti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and chorus in an extraordinary and memorable performance of Verdi's Requiem.

. . .What move me most in that performance was the intense quality of prayer conveyed by the music.

. . .Verdi was baptized the day after his birth and raised a Catholic. As he matured, however, he was caught up, as much of nineteenth-century Italy was, in the anticlericalism and anti-Church climate of the Risorgimento, a movement that sought to unify Italy and that viewed the Church and religion as obstacles to forging a national identity. Perhaps more decisive

(Click title to read more)

Principles for Interfaith Dialogue and Interfaith Attitudes

Ron Rolheiser

We live inside a world and inside religions that are too given to disrespect and violence. Virtually every newscast today documents the prevalence of disrespect and violence done in the name of religion, disrespect done for the sake of God (strange as that expression may seem). Invariably those acting in this way see their actions as sacral, justified by sacred cause.

And, if history is to be believed, it has always been so. No religion, Christianity no less than any other, has been innocent. Every one of the great religions of the world has been, at various times, both persecuted and persecutor. So this begs the question: What are some fundamental principles we are asked to live out apposite our relationship to other faiths, irrespective our particular faith?

What's best in each of our traditions would suggest these ten principles:

1. All that is good, true, and beautiful comes from one and the same author, God. Nothing that is true, irrespective of its particular religious or secular cloak, may be seen as opposed to true faith and religion.

(Click title to read more)

Searching for a Universal Ethic

Edited by John Verkman and William C. Mattison III
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids. 2014. Pp. 327

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In this volume twenty-three major scholars comment on and critically evaluate In Search of a Universal Ethic, the 2009 document written by the International Theological Commission (OTC) of the Catholic Church. That historic document represents an official Church contribution both to a more adequate understanding of a universal ethnic and to Catholicism's own tradition of reflection on natural law.

The essays in this book reflect the ITC document's complementary emphasis of dialogue across traditions (universal ethic) and reflection on broadly applicable ethnical guidance within the Christian tradition (natural law). Among other things, the document situates the natural law ethical tradition within the larger search for a universal ethic. Among

(Click title to read more)

Where to Find Resurrection

Ron Rolheiser

Something there is that needs a crucifixion. Everything that's good eventually gets scapegoated and crucified. How? By that curious, perverse dictate somehow innate within human life that assures that there's always someone or something that cannot leave well enough alone, but, for reasons of its own, must hunt down and lash out at what's good. What's good, what's of God, will always at some point be misunderstood, envied, hated, pursued, falsely accused, and eventually nailed to some cross. Every body of Christ inevitably suffers the same fate as Jesus: death through misunderstanding, ignorance, and jealousy.

But there's a flipside as well: Resurrection always eventually trumps crucifixion. What's good eventually triumphs. Thus, while nothing that's of God will avoid crucifixion, no body of Christ stays in the tomb for long. God always rolls back the stone and, soon enough, new life bursts forth and we see why that original life had to be crucified. ("Wasn't it necessary that the Christ should so have to suffer and die?") Resurrection invariably follows crucifixion. Every crucified body will rise again. Our hope takes its root in that.

But how does this happen? Where do we see the resurrection? How do we experience resurrection after a crucifixion?

Scripture is subtle, though clear, on this. Where can we expect to experience resurrection? The gospel tell us that, on the morning of the resurrection, the women-followers of Jesus set out for the tomb of Jesus, carrying spices, expecting to anoint and embalm a dead body. Well-intentioned but misguided,

(Click title to read more)

Seeing in a Deeper Way

Ron Rolheiser

Sometimes you can see a whole lot of things just by looking. That's one of Yogi Berra's infamous aphorisms. It's a clever expression of course, but, sadly, perhaps mostly, the opposite is truer. Mostly we do a whole lot of looking without really seeing much. Seeing implies more than having good eyesight. Our eyes can be wide open and we can be seeing very little.

I've always been intrigued by how scripture describes Paul immediately after his conversion. We always assume that it tells us that Paul was struck blind by his vision, but, I think, the text implies more. It tells us that Paul got up off the ground with his eyes wide open, seeing nothing. That doesn't necessarily equate with physical blindness. He may well have been seeing physically, but he wasn't seeing the meaning of what he was getting himself into. Someone had to come and open his eyes, not just so that he could see again physically but especially that he could see more deeply into the mystery of Christ. Seeing, truly seeing, implies more than having eyes that are physically healthy and open. We all see the outer surface of things, but what's beneath isn't as automatically seen.

We see this, for instance, in what's contained inside the healing miracles of Jesus. In the Gospels, we see Jesus perform a number of healings. He heals lame people, deaf people, mute people, people with leprosy, and two women who for different reasons are unable to become pregnant. What's important to see in these various miracles is that, almost always, there's more at issue than mere physical healing. Jesus is healing people in a deeper way, that is, he is healing the lame so that they can walk in freedom and in

(Click title to read more)

Upright Living in an Upside Down World

by Eric Immel, SJ
From The Jesuit Post

The world is a mess . . . upside down and inside out. Our news feeds have been engulfed by images of Ferguson on fire, floods, and bombs lighting up dark skies all over the world. ISIS is rising and people are dying. We are captivated by crisis and catastrophe.

This is nothing new.

After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, some students at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison painted an 8x 4 sheet of plywood orange and maroon, and offered students a chance to write messages of hope and solidarity. Someone chose, however, to dominate the board with their own message, huge and brutal and scrawled in black: it'll happen here next. Sadly, it seems to be happening everywhere.


India is one of those everywhere places -- poverty and political corruption, abuses of women and religion in conflict. I experienced some of that complexity and chaos last summer and yet, I was mostly living in rural places, encountering people in simple ways. I sometimes felt more like a clydesdale show horse than a man, especially when surrounded by children. My white skin, blue eyes, long nose, balding head, and nearly 100-kg (220-ish pounds) frame were completely new to most of them. They thought I was a WWE superstar--giant, sweaty, and playfully physical. What they didn't know was that I was a professional. Sort of.

I was once a gymnast. In a stroke of keen observational prowess, my mother noticed that I had a unique ability to backflip off things,.

(Click title to read more)

Fear Masking Itself as Piety

Ron Rolheiser

It is easy to mistake piety for the genuine response that God wants of us, that is, to enter into a relationship of intimacy with Him and then try to help others have that same experience.

We see this everywhere in Scripture. For example, in Luke's Gospel, after witnessing a miraculous catch of fish, Peter responds by falling at Jesus' knees and saying: "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" At first glance that would seem the appropriate response, a wonderfully-pious one, an acknowledgement of his littleness and unworthiness in the face of God's abundance and goodness. But, as John Shea points out in his commentary on this text, Jesus names Peter's response differently and invites him to something else. What? Peter's response manifests a sincere piety, but it is, in Shea's words, "fearfully wrong": "The awareness of God makes him [Peter] tremble and crushes him down. If he clings to the knees of Jesus, he must be on his own knees. Peter does not embrace the fullness; he wants to go away. This is hardly the response Jesus wants. So he instructs Peter not to be afraid. Instead, he is to use what he experienced to bring others to the same experience. As Jesus has caught him, he is to catch others." Jesus is inviting Peter to move out of fear and into deeper waters of intimacy and God's

(Click title to read more)

Pope Paul VI On Human Life [Humanae Vitae]

Revisiting the most controversial and prescient encyclical of the modern age

Foreword by Mary Eberstadt, Afterword by James Hitchcock, and Postscript by Jennifer Fulwiler Ignatius Press, California. 2014. Pp. 111

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Humanae Vitae is Pope VI's explanation of why the Catholic Church rejects contraception. The pope referred to two aspects, or meanings, of human sexuality --- the unitive and the procreative. He also warned of the consequences if contraception became widely practiced --- consequences that have since come to pass: greater infidelity in marriage, confusion regarding the nature of human sexuality and its role in society, the objectification of women for sexual pleasure, compulsory government birth control policies, and the reduction of the human body to an instrument of human manipulation. The separation of sexuality from its dual purpose has also resulted in artificial reproduction technologies, including cloning, that threaten the dignity of the human person.

(Click title to read more)

5 Minutes with the Saints: More Spiritual Nourishment for Busy Teachers

Authors: Lou Delfra, C.S.C., and Ann Primus Berends
Ave Maria Press.
Notre Dame, IN. 2014. Pp. 170

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

These meditations on education, comprised of insights and anecdotes from great Catholic saints, are designed to motivate and inspire today's educators. Like the popular 5 Minutes with Christ (2011), this book was crafted by members of the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program, the most prestigious Catholic educator-training program in the United States. Designed to provide daily encouragement to teachers, each meditation features a personal reflection and a short prayer by such saints as Andre Bessette, Ignatius of Loyola, and Elizabeth Ann Seton.

An Excerpt from the Book:

St. Ambrose -- Whatever It Takes

In the Gospel, we are taught to

(Click title to read more)

Our inspiration for the National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood stems from a longstanding friendship with Father John Klein, a priest of the

Fr. Klein's picture

Archdiocese of Chicago. On the day of his passing in 1999 at the age of 49, Cardinal Francis George said "Father John Klein was a model for seminarians and priests. His joy in his priestly ministry encouraged all of us and was a sign of the Lord's constant presence in his life." May we learn from his example and strive to be the presence of Christ in the lives of all those we touch every day as priests and fellow citizens of the world.

Our work is made possible in part by grants from the Catholic Church Extension Society, the Paluch Family Foundation and Our Sunday Visitor. We are also grateful for the prayers of the Madonna House. In addition, The Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation has generously provided us with a grant in honor of Monsignor Ken Velo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who has been an inspiration to so many for so many years.

If there is any way that I can be of service to you, I hope you will take advantage of the link below to send me an email. I would enjoy hearing from you with any comments or questions you may have.

Father Gene Hemrick
The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood
Washington Theological Union
6896 Laurel Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C.

Dedicated to energizing the spiritual and intellectual life of the priesthood
through an ongoing dialogue via the Internet.

This Web page was created and is maintained by the National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood.

Please send comments to Father Hemrick by clicking on his name.

email us!.

free counters

Last updated April 20, 2015