The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood

Hope in the Lord as seen through the eyes of painter Greg Olsen

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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)

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

February 14, 2015

In this edition:
1. Archbishop Romero, martyr.
2. Assassination at the altar.
3. Lent: Confronting globalized indifference.
4. Current quotes to ponder:
a) Empathy inside out.
b) Faith and interfaith marriages.
c) Perspectives on globalization.
5. Vatican releases Homiletic Directory.
6. What does "spirituality" mean?
7. Goals for faith-based higher education.

January 25, 2015

In this edition:
1. The parts and whole of seminary theology.
2. Learning from families about communicating.
3. Current quotes to ponder:
a) An untold story about immigration.
b) Reconciliation and readiness to forgive.
c) Synods 2014 and 2015: the difference.
4. Junipero Serra's coming canonization.
5. After the terrorism in France: a challenge.

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

Here's What We're Reading!

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

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

Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood, Authors: Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak

It's in the News!

What Do I Say: Talking and praying with someone who is dying

Author: Margrit Anna Banta
Franciscan Media. Cincinnati, OH. 2015. Pp. 53

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

People who are dying want to know that they are loved and cared for. Your attentive presence can accomplish this, and What Do I Say? will tell you how. It gives family, friends, and caregivers of the terminally ill a personal and pastoral approach to being with someone who is dying, with suggestions for areas such as important topics to cover and what to do when someone can't communicate. Above all, this book encourages you to provide a steady presence, answering questions when necessary, simply listening at times, and praying with the person when that is desired.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Importance of Touch

He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I do choose. Be made clean!"

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Christ and Nature

Ron Rolheiser
February 16, 2015

Numerous groups and individuals today are challenging us in regards to our relationship to mother-earth. From Green Peace, from various environmental groups, from various Christian and other religious groups, and from various individual voices, comes the challenge to be less-blind, less-unthinking, and less-reckless in terms of how we relate to the earth. Every day our newscasts point out how, without much in the way of serious reflection, we are polluting the planet, strip-mining its resources, creating mega-landfills, pouring carbon dangerously into the atmosphere, causing the disappearance of thousands of species, creating bad air and bad water, and thinning the ozone layer. And so the cry goes out: live more simply, use fewer resources, lessen your carbon footprint, and try to recycle whatever you've used as much as you can.

That challenge, of course, is very good and very important. The air we breathe out is the air we will eventually inhale and so we need to be very careful about what we exhale. This planet is our home and we need to ensure that, long-term, it can provide us with the sustenance and comfort of a home.

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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

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Our Daydreams

Ron Rolheiser

A good part of our lives are taken up with daydreams, though few of us admit that and even fewer of us would own-up to the contents of those fantasies. We're ashamed to admit how much we escape into fantasy and we're even more ashamed to reveal the content of those fantasies. But, whether we admit it or not, we're all pathological daydreamers; except this isn't necessarily a pathology. Our hearts and minds, chronically frustrated by the limits of our lives, naturally seek solace in daydreaming. It's an almost irresistible temptation. Indeed the more sensitive you are, perhaps the stronger will be the propensity to escape into daydreams. Sensitivity triggers restlessness and restlessness doesn't easily find quiet inside ordinary life. Hence, the escape into daydreams.

And what about the contents of those daydreams?

We tend to have two kinds of daydreams: The first kind are triggered more by the immediate hurts and temptations within our lives; for example, a lingering hurt or anger has you fantasizing about revenge and you play out various scenes of retaliation over and over again in your mind. Or an emotional or sexual obsession has you fantasying about various kinds of consummation.

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How Long? Not Long: Our Need of Rest and Renewal

by Brendan Busse, SJ

Taken from An excellent website to visit!!

At the end of the 5-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Martin Luther King, Jr. noted that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Some days we may feel the curve of this arc but many days we sense only its length. And how long? they had asked. It was a dignified version of the question every tired child knows too well: Are we there yet?

We're not there yet. It appears to be, as Mandela would say, a long walk to freedom…and even longer still to justice and peace.

During our many years of Jesuit formation our Constitutions require us annually, in addition to an 8-day retreat, to take a few days of silence and prayer to renew our vows. It's a strange thing to do since our vows are perpetual and they don't, technically speaking, require renewal. But the wisdom of our founder Ignatius is evident in the fact that we — work-addicted Jesuits, like all mission-driven people — need the rest and the reminder that these retreats provide.

We need to remember, even and especially, the things we know to be permanent. We need to

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What Should I Do For Lent? Pope Francis' 10 Tips

by Kevin Cotter | February 9, 2015

Every year Catholics try to answer the age old question: What should I do for Lent? Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? He has some great ideas for you!

Here we selected 10 of his best tips:

1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil "[Lent] is a 'powerful' season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us." -- General Audience, March 5, 2014

2. Do something that hurts "Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt." -- Lenten Message, 2014

3. Don't remain indifferent "Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need

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Why Priests? Here is why

by Jay Hooks, SJ
April 30, 2013

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

I really wanted to believe that Benjamin Franklin said that. For years, I did believe it. But according to Bob Skilnik, a grand poobah of beer history, our revered kite-flier did not in fact say this. What Benny Franks did say, while more edifying, was much less titillating:

"Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."1

Thanks, Mr. Skilnik, for giving us the truth. Thanks, too, for the buzzkill.

So it turns out that Franklin was waxing lyrical about wine, not beer. To be honest, though, as much as I want my thirst for porters and stouts to be endorsed by historical giants, I do respect the truth-sleuths that look for the facts behind the fun.2 Heck, I enjoy looking for the real story almost as much as I like spreading those tales (true? not true?) about subliminal messages in Disney movies. I rush to when a story smells of legend.

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Public Humility, or Talking with One Another Again

by Nathaniel Romano, SJ
on November 15, 2014

This post is an excerpt from the new The Jesuit Post book, available on Kindle and in paperback.

The book features 20 new essays from writers for The Jesuit Post, as well as reprinting a few of the best essays from our first two years online. For more information, click here.

Do you see Jesus in me?! Do you?!! The shout echoed in the bare room, less a question than an accusation. His eyes opened wide, nostrils flared, the pane of bulletproof glass and the intercom telephone in my hand vibrating with his anger. He was nearly twice my age and had spent most of his life behind glass like that, or bars. I added up the time once he had spent more time in jail than I had been in school. I'd spent a lot of time in school.

Truth be told, we frustrated each other. When I spoke it was about the Law (with a capital letter). In his blunt, obscenity-filled language he spoke about Life. When he talked I would try to filter out the profanity to get to the relevant stuff. He, though, wanted me to see that it was his life that was

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Mistakes Were Made

Taken from
Eric Immel

My handwriting is terrible. It's like someone tied a pencil to the tail of a pomeranian and let it run wild across the page. A comical mess, a Jackson Pollock font. Essay exams and handwritten letters are the bane of my existence.

As I begin a new semester, I am re-noticing this - shall we say - A quality of my handwriting. And my spelling? It's of a similar, ahem, quality. Most noticeably, my consistent misspelling of two words: commitment (spelled with two ms after the c (committment) and judgment (spelled with an "e" after "m" ( judgement). As I just typed them, autocorrect fixed my errors. I watched it happen.

Commitment, the anti-hero of millennials everywhere. Judgment, that which many fear the most. Sloppily writing and spelling them are one thing, but there's no autocorrect for them in real life.


For eight years, I stumbled through a discernment process that eventually led me to the Society of Jesus. It was a good discernment. But, I'd be lying if I thought there wasn't a

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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.

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Last updated February 23, 2015