Bishop-elect Robert Barron visits Virginia




The Diocese of Richmond is very privileged to have a new lecture series that is bringing the best Catholic speakers and theologians to Virginia.  The Bishop Keane Institute is a ministry of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church which takes its name and animating spirit from the fifth bishop of Richmond and the founding rector of Catholic University, John J. Keane (1839 – 1918).  Immaculate Conception Catholic Church use to offer a similar speaking series and is proud to sponsor this new series with the help of generous private donations.

I was very honored to attend the lecture from Bishop-elect Robert Barron in Hampton Virginia at Bethel Church.  Bishop-elect Barron has been offering some of the best Catholic media through his YouTube videos, DVDs, blog, and books.   The only Catholic getting more traffic on the internet currently is Pope Francis, as Fr. Barron has built one of the finest media groups producing materials for catechesis and evangelization that are now used by Catholic parishes, schools, and universities across the globe.  1,800 people came to this sell-out event and one lady sitting next to me commented that all the excitement from the crowd felt like a rock concert, and it was nice to see so many people assembled who are on fire for the faith.  Bishop-elect gave an inspiring lecture on the 7 Qualities of Evangelization.


Fr. Barron’s 7 Qualities of Evangelization

  1. Lead with the Beautiful  (Beautiful leads to the Good, which leads to the Truth)
  2. Don’t Dumb Down the Message
  3. Preach with Ardor
  4. Tell the Great Story
  5. St. Irenaeus and the Doctrine of God
  6. Stress the Augustinian Anthropology
  7. Use New Media


Fr. Barron gave a very similar speech about the 7 Qualities of Evangelization to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in 2014:

If you live in Virginia, you should take advantage of attending this inspiring new lecture series.  Here is a graphic of the remaining two lectures in 2015, and the Bishop Keane Institute is already planning for speakers in 2016 and 2017.


I wish Bishop-elect Robert Barron well on his new assignment with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who will be serving 1 million Catholics in his assigned area of the largest diocese in America.  I am also very pleased to report that Bishop-elect Barron will continue to work with Word On Fire and look forward to two upcoming DVD series that you should check out!


Word On Fire

The Bishop Keane Institute


Bethel Church — location of the Bishop Keane Lecture Series in Hampton, Virginia

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Footprints for Peace


This past weekend, my parish–Church of the Incarnation, hosted a group called Footprints for Peace.  They are marching, running, and cycling from the nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to the UN Building in New York City, and stopped in Charlottesville overnight for refreshment and fellowship.  Footprints for Peace states on their website:

We are a global community of friends who are dedicated to creating change through peaceful action. We organize events throughout the world that bring together in solidarity a moving community to deepen our understanding of spiritual, cultural, and environmental issues. Our aim is to educate, inspire, and empower individuals and communities in building a sustainable future.


Every five years, Footprints for Peace have walked as a group from Oak Ridge, TN, where the Hiroshima bomb was manufactured and where weapons of mass destruction are still being developed, to the UN Building in New York City, in time for the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review.   Our parish hosted a bountiful potluck dinner and breakfast for the group, and they shared stories in their lives of why they were making this pilgrimage:

  • One marcher was a Buddhist Monk for 40 years who was living only 100 miles from the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan.  He was very disturbed by the devastating long-term environmental and human impacts of the nuclear pollution in his home country and is hoping he will be heard in New York.  It was moving to hear his story and see his heartfelt devotion to march to the United Nations.
  • One speaker was from the aboriginal peoples of Australia.  She was very concerned about uranium mining in her homeland and the horrible impacts that have displaced communities.  She loves Australia, and wants to protect the people and environment, and you could really identify with the plight of so many people being displaced without regard for human life as she told her story.



There was also a meaningful discussion about local environmental issues facing the local area:

  • Fracking of gas in West Virginia and to bring pipeline across Virginia by Dominion Power.
  • Additional nuclear reactor proposed at Lake Anna Nuclear Power Plant by Dominion Power.  The current reactors needed to shut down and repaired after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake in August 2011, and realization that reactors sit on the fault-line.
  • Mountain-top removal in nearby coal mining areas of Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Fracking approved in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Encouragement was mutual with all in attendance to continue to lobby for issues to protect the environment.  It was amazing to see this ecumenical group from many nations and faiths united in a noble cause to end use of nuclear power and weapons for future generations.  I am really looking forward to the upcoming encyclical from Pope Francis, who will likely touch on the issues of protecting the environment and finding new ways to get power with renewable resources such as solar, geo-thermal, and bio-energy.  Please keep this group in your prayers as they will be marching to Three-Mile Island Nuclear facility for a prayer vigil, and then onto New York City at the United Nations building by April 25, 2015.




Footprints for Peace Website

Follow Footprints for Peace on Facebook

United Nations Non Proliferation Treaty Review April 27 – May 22

Environmental issues in Virginia from Sierra Club


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Terra Patris – A New Pilgrimage Site

Terra Patris – A new pilgrimage site in Virginia

Pilgrims first learn about the walk

Pilgrims first learn about the walk

A young pilgrim participates in walk by reading out loud the meditation for the station to the group while the rest silently read from their books.

A young pilgrim participates in walk by reading out loud the meditation for the station to the group while the rest silently read from their books.

I was very honored to be invited to attend the inauguration of a new prayer path and holy site in Virginia.  On August 3, 2014 a group of Catholics walked and prayed the first Stations of Creation with the launch of a new book to accompany this new contemplative path.  Because these are the first such stations, this marks a historical event in the Church.  The stations are located in the mountains in Goshen, Virginia, near Lexington.  The attendees were mostly from Virginia and some from other parts of the country.  The group gathered for a proposed new Feast Day to honor God the Father, and used the occasion to pray the newly established stations. The Stations of Creation consist of prayer stops dedicated to God the Creator along a path overlooking beautiful scenes of His creation.  The path starts upon a large hill, travels past a field, a river, through a park and passes several unique landscapes, until it returns to where it started.  Twenty-one Stations of Creation line this contemplative prayer path. Similar to the way Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross, worshipers stand in front of each Station of Creation and recite meditations.  However, the prayers honor God the Father through His wondrous creation and are recited out in God’s great outdoors. I was incredibly moved by the wonderful prayers that accompany the path that are very Franciscan in their attention to Care for Creation and the Gospel way of life. The whole goal is to reflect and meditate upon some of the more common creations of our God in a natural, contemplative way, as did the Church through many centuries, until the rise of large cities took people out of the countryside. This is an ancient and very traditional way of praying and is described by saints in many spiritual books, but has been all but forgotten by most in more modern times. To pray in a natural contemplative way, a person spends time viewing, thinking and reflecting upon or contemplating about what one sees, just like one reflects upon each Station of the Cross.  However, the reflections note the depth of God the Father’s creations that most people overlook, or fail to see, because of the distractions of modern living.  This method of praying imitates some of the saints, like St. Francis or some of the better known Carmelite saints. Meditations reflect on such gifts from God as trees, flowers, grass, farm fields, water, a cedar forest and other specific creations of our God that are found along the path at each Station. As worshipers enjoy the walk, they stop at each station and read one of the meditations.  The result is, hopefully, a spiritual experience and a greater appreciation of God’s gifts to each of us. The end result is a growth in a person’s basic belief of faith that there is a God and that he loves us.  The whole concept or approach was inspired last year as the Church celebrated the Year of Faith. The experience helps those who pray the path to grow in appreciation of God the Father and his creations or gifts to us.

A NEW Proposed Feast Day — God the Father Feast Day

The first pilgrims to walk the path with the new meditations read together.

The first pilgrims to walk the path with the new meditations read together.

Over forty people prayed the path on August 3. They came to the site of the Stations as part of an annual gathering held to celebrate a proposed feast day being nourished in the Church by some Catholics around the world. It is a feast day that is proposed for God the Father on the first Sunday in August.  It was originally proposed by Sister Eugene Elisabetta Ravasio, an Italian nun.  Some of the group in attendance at this year’s proposed God the Father feast day have known each other for over 20 years and at least a few of them have been meeting annually on the first Sunday in August for the last 14 years.  More about this proposed feast day at: The beautiful property where the first Stations of Creation have been built is owned by a Dr. Paul Faucher and is called Terra Patris (Land of the Father).  Dr. Faucher attends St. Patrick’s Church in Lexington Virginia, and is a physician at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.  Fr. Joe D’Aurora, the pastor of St. Patrick’s, came to lead a prayer service for the proposed God the Father Feast Day, and gives his enthusiastic endorsement of Stations of Creation and the proposed new feast day.  It is interesting to point out in reflecting on the Holy Trinity, that there are feast days for both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but not God the Father.

Fr. Joe D'Aurora & Dr. Paul Faucher

Fr. Joe D’Aurora & Dr. Paul Faucher

Peter Christopher Gruters is a friend of Dr. Paul Faucher, who devoted six months to clearing and constructing this inspiring new contemplative prayer path with a wonderful written guide to accompany the pilgrims who come to experience this slice of heaven in Western Virginia. Mr. Gruters is proposing that Stations of Creation be built-in each diocese around the world, within driving distance of schools and churches, so Catholics can visit God’s great outdoors and pray in God’s creation by reading similar meditations and contemplating God’s infinite gifts to each of us.  In this way Catholics can reconnect to an ancient tradition in the Church.

Author and Stations of Creation path builder Peter Christopher Gruters

Author and Stations of Creation path builder Peter Christopher Gruters

Although the path was used August 3, it still needs lots of work.  New concrete benches with a different station name placed on each of them have been ordered and will soon be installed.  This is causing Dr. Faucher to not reopen the path until at least mid-October, 2014.  At that time the hope is that other devoted Catholics will visit to pray the path and experience what those who visited on August 3, did. Dr. Faucher’s email address is for those interested in visiting Terra Patris to get directions and suggestions to enjoy your pilgrimage. On this 200 acre farm there is a park on the property offering a beautiful picnic and swimming area along the Calfpasture River.  This is healthy stream that is accesible for the whole family and offers fishing, swimming, canoeing, rock skipping, and nature watching.

NEW Book for those visiting Terra Patris

The new path guidebook

The new path guidebook

A new book is about to be released called How To Pray In A Natural Contemplative Way:  A Guide for Young and Old , and I was able to read an advanced copy given to all the people who visited on August 3rd.  This is a MUST read before and during your pilgrimage to Terra Patris.  The first two chapters are about contemplative prayer in a “natural” way, and help detail this beautiful form of prayer in quoting examples from the saints and The Bible.  The book emphasizes a great devotion to God the Father.  The book has the meditations for the path at Terra Patris and also makes clear to the reader why living a proposed lifestyle in a natural and loving way is essential to Christians.  The book is not preaching that one should move to the country because it is safer there, or more secure, but because it is what is best from a healthy spiritual standpoint.   It is a truth that has been hidden or forgotten by many in recent times. The Bible is full of stories of how God’s children were called out of the cities, but few realize why God wills people to live out in the country.  It is so they can have a healthy spiritual life as well as good health, physically and mentally.  This book also reveals how parents can teach small children who can’t even read yet about God. Most parents don’t take advantage of using God’s creation to explain about God and that He made everything for our care, provision and enjoyment and because he loves us. The third chapter is about the 21 Stations of Creation and offer reflections and prayers to be read at each station with an accompanying photograph.  This book can be used on its own with the photographs, but is much more meaningful in a natural setting and integrates perfectly with the Stations of Creation contemplative path.  After hiking this entire path, and listening to the readings with a group-prayer experience, I truly believe that author Peter Christopher Gruters was guided by the Holy Spirit in writing this incredible book. This book is truly a treasure for all visitors to Terra Patris and the meditations can also be read anywhere in God’s creation where appropriate or even while viewing pictures or films of God’s creation..  I highly recommend individuals and church groups to come experience Terra Patris and Mr. Gruters book for an inspiration of a lifetime.   Note:  Details about where you can get the book will be available soon, and also a supporting website for Terra Patris, the Stations of Creation, and How To Pray In A Natural Contemplative Way:  A Guide for Young and Old to be online soon.  I will be updating this blog with details, and you are also welcome to e-mail me and I will let you know more as soon as it is available at



A New Way to Pray a Traditional Way (by John Clem in The Catholic Virginian September 1st, 2014)  weblink to article

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Archbishop Charles Chaput visits UVA


Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap., D.D.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap., D.D.

We were very honored to have a visit in Charlottesville from Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., on February 18th, as a speaker at the St. Anshelm Institute for Catholic Thought at the University of Virginia.  Archbishop Chaput gave a very good talk entitled City Upon a Hill:  Augustine, John Winthrop and the soul of the American Experiment Today.  Archbishop Chaput has been a great advocate for American Catholics to know their role in being faithful citizens, and it is part of everyone’s call to holiness to be involved in making a free and just society.

Archbishop Chaput speaking at The University of Virginia's St. Anshelm Insitute of Catholic Thiught

Archbishop Chaput speaking at The University of Virginia’s St. Anshelm Insitute of Catholic Thought

Archbishop Chaput is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, and was the second Native American to be ordained bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop. He chose as his episcopal motto: “As Christ Loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25)  Archbishop Chaput has served as a bishop of South Dakota and worked in the church for Native American issues, and spoke about Indian Spirtuality and its good and bad points, and why many Native American’s are drawn to the love of Jesus Christ.  Archbishop Chaput has also served as bishop of Denver, and presently in Philadelphia.  I find it most interesting that he as a Franciscan Capuchin, and his fellow bishop (Cardinal Sean O’Malley) were both called to “rebuild the church” in two of the most challenging dioceses in America (Philadelphia & Boston) that were affected by scandal and corruption.  I am extememly proud of my fellow Franciscan bishops, and that Pope Francis, in choosing his name, to take on this task of renewing our beautiful Catholic Faith in the spirit of St. Francis “to rebuild God’s house.”

Archbishop Chaput was just two weeks earlier called by Pope Francis to join the new Pontifical Council on the Laity.  Archbishop Chaput spoke in his talk of the great importance of the laity to help with the church in evangelization, prayer, support, and active participation amongst everyone, including those in the secular world.  Archbishop Chaput said he does not know yet what he will be doing on this new council, but looks forward to the challenges ahead.  I was pleased to meet him after his talk, and wished him well and said that he will be in my prayers.

I encourage you to view his entire talk, because I can’t do it justice in my writing, and the Q&A afterward in link below.


Video of Archbishop Chaput’s Talk

St. Anshelm Institute for Catholic Thought at UVA

Archbishop Chaput’s website at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican)

Previous Blog about Archbishop Chaput at the Fortnight for Freedom Mass in DC

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Greater Good Technology – NEW ministry

Greater Good TechnologyGreater Good Technology is a new ministry developed by Catholic Web Services to help give disadvantaged people access & training in technology.  We have developed a successful pilot program here in our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.  Greater Good Technology’s program aims to help homeless people, by giving them a fair seat at the table to search for a job.

 Empowering those transitioning from homelessness

Today’s society requires modern communications to be on a level field for employment.  We train a Lead Training Mentor that targets 12 other men and women transitioning from homelessness to train.  The lead trainer receives a Google Chromebook with which to train his trainees and receives payment for each trainee they graduate that is verified by our online training system at Catholic Web Services.   Each trainee receives a Google gmail account, Google Voice number for email, begins to create a resume, and receives training on how to make calls online.

Successful Pilot

Catholic Web Services is successfully working with Howard, our first Lead Training Mentor, in the Charlottesville pilot program.  Our Director of Technology, Carl Stacy became friends with Howard through a local mentoring program. Howard wanted a way to give back to the community, the same community that had provided him assistance in his time of need, and was very enthusiastic about sharing his new technology skills with others to help them find employment.

We were thankful for an initial grant from the Lions Club, but need your help to grow this deserving ministry.  Please contact us if you are interested in bringing Greater Good Technology to your community.


Charlottesville’s Support Network for Homelessness

One of the reason’s this program works well is because it adds to a great support system of people and agencies who provide a network of services helping the homeless gain independence, housing, and employment.   Charlottesville’s system of supports has grown over the years and is getting better through the cooperation of our great provider groups: PACEM, The Haven, Lion’s Club, The Salvation Army, and county and city social services.


PACEM is a grassroots organization that coordinates space and volunteers to provide shelter for individuals in our community who are homeless.  Charlottesville currently has no permanent shelter for the homeless, so the religious community united to help in the cause of sheltering the homeless during the cold months of the season.

More than sixty congregations in the Charlottesville area take turns opening their doors – setting up cots, serving warm evening meals, and providing companionship. Through PACEM, congregations of many faiths and community groups come together to address the need for shelter in our community.  The name, PACEM, is an acronym for (People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry). Pacem is also a Latin word meaning peace.


Director Tom Shadyac visiting his friends at The Haven

Director Tom Shadyac visiting his friends at The Haven

The Haven is a safe and welcoming place for the homeless and very poor of Central Virginia to be during the day. Opened for business on January 18, 2010, The Haven provides this community with a central place to receive vital services and get connected to social service providers.  The Haven came into being through the generosity of UVA alumni & Movie Director Tom Shadyack.  Tom came back to Charlottesville in 2006 to film the movie Evan Almighty, a hit comedy retelling of the Noah’s Ark story, and he gave proceeds of the film to buy an old city church to make it a “haven” for the poor and homeless.

The Haven provides meals, short-term storage, showers, laundry facilities, computer access, living room, community garden and referrals to on-site service providers offering substance abuse assessment, mental health peer support, financial literacy and counseling, legal assistance, public housing applications, resume development and job search coaching, health advocacy and navigation, social services such as food stamp screening.  It has been a wonderful asset to bring all the services under one roof, and Greater Good Technology is working to help with technology training to give these men and women an opportunity at a better life.


We would like to continue this program and grow it to other communities, but we need your support.  Your help with financial support, and through prayers are very much appreciated.   We are seeing a great need to help the homeless and your support in any way helps us to keep our ministry going.  We are looking for people who could donate any size donations which are very much appreciated.  We are fundraising now through Christmas with an indiegogo crowd-source funding campaign.  You can contact Catholic Web Services Director, John Clem, if you have any questions:

John Clem, Director of Catholic Web Services

Office (434) 202-4297


Please click here for secure donation to Catholic Web Services using Indiegogo Campaign & PayPal to support Greater Good Technology ministry

indiegogo for Greater Good Technology


Greater Good Technology (Catholic Web Services)

PACEM (People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry)

The Haven

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Laura Ingraham at UVA Law

Laura Ingraham speaking at UVA Law School

Laura Ingraham speaking at UVA Law School

Laura Ingraham came to the University of Virginia Law School as an alumnus to speak about her work and experience in law and politics from a very personal perspective.   Laura was invited by The Federalist Society for Law Public Policy Studies to speak about politics and the public perception of the Supreme Court.  Maybe I was expecting to hear the same brash personality from FOX News, or from her conservative radio show, but really she offered a very honest and rational view of the state of America.  Laura was critical of Democrats, but even more so of her own Republican Party.

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham


Laura shared with us that she is friends with both of the candidates for the Virginia Governors race,  Terry McAuliffe & Ken Cuccinelli.    She said that she goes to the same church as Terry McAuliffe, and often has friendly debates with him, even though they do not agree ideologically.  She said Ken Cuccinelli is a “good man,” but does not have a vibrant personality needed to win with voters.  Laura made clear that she thinks many of the people in Washington are well-intentioned politicians, but we need someone who can lead our nation and “wright the ship” from a $17-trillion deficit or disaster will come soon. She said she does not care what party a politician follows, she just wants to see America get leadership in place that will address the biggest issues of jobs, the economy, and liberty.

Laura is true patriot and wants to see a better future for her children, and very worried about the state of our nation.  Laura commented that the current problems with the Affordable Health Care website are representative of of the problems of the Obama administration, showing his lack of experience in running a business.  Laura said that our next president should have experience in leadership running a business, as a vital requirement of the Chief Executive.  Laura said she is not critical of Barrack Obama as a person, but rather about his lack of leadership skills needed for the office.  Laura did comment that the US Courts also need good leadership, and questioned the ruling by Supreme Court Justice Roberts on the Affordable Care Act.


The most important thing in Laura’s life is her family.  Laura is a wonderful mother who adopted three children, and is a strong advocate for domestic and foreign adoptions.  Two of Laura’s children were adopted from Russia, where she had to use her legal skills and ability to speak the Russian language in their courts to save these children. Laura was recently outraged at the ban on foreign adoptions made by Vladamir Putin in Russia.  In response, she has started a charity to help promote a culture of supporting adoptions called Burning Both Ends.   Laura shows us bi-partisan leadership in partnering with Democrat Mary Landrieu for this wonderful cause. Great video below worth your time to view:

A Charitable Heart

Laura helps many charities, and shows a love of people with the many works of mercy and financial supports in her work.  Laura has been a supporter of the military with the Wounded Warrior Project, and a number of worthy causes for our troops.  Laura is a breast cancer survivor who helps others afflicted, and in finding a cure.  She is also a staunch supporter of life–from conception to natural death.  Following is a list of her worthy charities:

Laura Ingraham’s Favorite Charities


Convert to Catholicism

Laura is a recent convert to Catholicism.  Laura has a very strong faith, and it is wonderful that she shares her faith with her listeners on her radio show.  Laura is friend’s with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, and they both share time with their families and appear on each other’s shows.

Raymond Arroyo & Laura Ingraham

Raymond Arroyo & Laura Ingraham (photo Huffington Post)

Laura said she was very grateful of her experiences from living in Charlottesville, and attending the University of Virginia.  She said it gave her the skills and knowledge that has guided her well in life. It was an honor to listen to her talk tonight, and I join her in praying that we find leadership in America to help us all out of this mess.


Laura Ingraham’s Website

The Federalist  Society

Burning Both Ends (adoption charity)


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Youth Apostles Institute, a growing ministry

Youth Apostles Institute




The Youth Apostles Institute is a vibrant and growing ministry serving the Diocese of Arlington and Richmond in Virginia.  Youth Apostles is a non-profit organization officially approved by the Catholic Church as a mixed Public Association of Christ’s Faithful.  Youth Apostles are priests and laymen who work with other volunteers to inspire young people to live a Christ-centered life.  They are currently serving in many parishes and college campuses across Virginia.

Youth Apostles Mission Statement:

The Youth Apostles Institute is committed to evangelize, teach, advise, challenge, console, and love the young with the ultimate purpose of inspiring them to live a Christ-like life centered on prayer and the Sacraments in the Catholic Church.

Youth Apostles Institute was founded by Dr. Eduardo Azcarate in 1979 after working with young people for many years at his parish, St. Anthony of Padua in Falls Church, Virginia.  Dr. Azcarate started a new program at the parish based on his own Jesuit approach to teen formation, called Catholic Life Community (CLC), which developed into Youth Apostles.

I recently joined the Youth Apostles on their annual retreat in Duck, North Carolina on the Outer Banks.  It is a wonderful experience to have daily Mass and prayer with this inspiring community of priests, young people, and their families.  I was very proud that my godson, Matthew Clem, became a candidate of YA during this retreat.  I had the opportunity to talk with their current director, Fr. Jack Peterson, YA, who joined as a young man and inspired by the same retreats–answered the call to become a Youth Apostle priest.

Youth Apostles: Dr. Eduardo Azcarate (Founder), Matthew Clem, Joseph Clem, Fr. Jack Peterson (Director)

Youth Apostles: Dr. Eduardo Azcarate (Founder), Matthew Clem, Dr. Joseph Clem, Fr. Jack Peterson (Director)

Three SaintsFr. Jack explained the inspiration for Youth Apostles comes from the three patron saints who were chosen by the early community:  St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. John Bosco.  As men who aspire both to cultivate their own interior life and to put the fruits of this prayer into action, the community’s founders looked to examples who could help us form our heads, hearts, and hands for the work.  St. Ignatius was very scholarly and represents the HEAD of Youth Apostles in its work for teaching the faith.  St. Francis was chosen for his love of the Eucharist and community, and represent the HEART through his work for the poor and rebuilding the church community.  St. John Bosco represents the HANDS of the community through his inspiring work with youth.  Fr. Jack sees a great need for serving young people and offering ministry drawing youth to a life centered on a loving community in Christ.

Fr. Jack is currently very concerned about the issue of the widespread use of pornography and negative effects on youth.  He has taken this concern to help in ministering at Youth Apostles in education, catechesis, and the sacrament of reconciliation.  I have included some useful links below on this subject.

The Youth Apostles Institute is a 501c3 Non-Profit ministry now serving in many parishes in youth ministry and campus communities.  Fr. Jack hopes that Youth Apostles will grow to more diocese in the near future and asks for your support.  Please help Youth Apostles with your prayers, time, and treasure.  Youth Apostles are now serving the following college communities:

Christopher Newport University

George Mason University

Marymount University

Old Dominion University

Virginia Tech

Video: Youth Apostles: Dedicated to Serving Young People



Youth Apostles

Youth Apostles Prayer

Resources on pornography (Catholics Come Home)

Video: Overcoming Pornography Addiction (Catholic Answers)

Youth Apotles

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Habitat for Humanity — Charlottesville

Habitat for Humanity


Today marked the completion of six new Habitat for Humanity Homes in a wonderful rebuilt neighborhood called Sunrise Park.   This Habitat Humanity project is unique, as it is the first entire trailer park replaced in America with affordable housing for its residents.  My parish, Church of the Incarnation, helped contribute $60,000 and provided over 1,000 hours of labor toward construction of one new duplex home serving two families.  With the help of other faith communities and business partners, this neighborhood has been transformed into a lovely place to call home for many families who provided their own sweat-equity and investments in making this a reality.  This has been so successful Habitat for Humanity is now using this model to replace a larger 100 acre trailer park called Southwood.

Sunrise Trailer Court, Charlottesville Virginia (before Habitat for Humanity project)

Sunrise Trailer Court, Charlottesville Virginia (before Habitat for Humanity project)

Sunrise Trailer Court used to be a neighborhood of 16 trailers, and its residents agreed to work with Habitat for Humanity to offer them affordable housing in a co-housing neighborhood model offering apartments, duplex homes, community center and market rate homes.  Local architects offered plans that provided, affordable, durable, green, and beautiful buildings for the site.  The residents were not displaced during construction, but were offered the new apartments built on-site, while their homes were constructed.



The families who moved into new homes today gave heartfelt thanks to Habitat for Humanity and all the community members who make it happen.   Rachel Mayo is a new homeowner from the new house our parish built, and wrote for today’s dedication:

Rachel Mayo (new homeowner)

Rachel Mayo (new homeowner)

“I would like to thank the people from Habitat who made this dream possible for me and my family.  There are no words to express to you how grateful I am.  I always wanted to own my home and never thought it was possible until people at Habitat gave me hope.  Thank you all for everything that made this happen.”  Rachel Mayo

Mayo & Fuentes Families Homes (New duplex home built by Habitat for Humanity)

Mayo & Fuentes Families Homes (New duplex home built by Habitat for Humanity)


New community center, offering important gathering point for neighborhood residents.

New community center, offering important gathering point for neighborhood residents.


“Our Catholic tradition, eloquently expressed by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, insists that shelter is one of the basic rights of the human person. The Second Vatican Council has said with great directness: ‘There must be made available to all men everything necessary for leading a life truly human, such as food, clothing, and shelter…” [“The Right to a Decent Home,” USCCB, 1975]

Parishioners from Church of the Incarnation after workday this past April

Parishioners from Church of the Incarnation after workday this past April

Please consider volunteering or contributing to Habitat for Humanity to help in this worthy cause to bring affordable housing to those in need in your community.  There are more links at the bottom of this blog for contacts with Habitat for Humanity in your community.

Steel sculpture of Habitat for Humanity "Family" Logo, made from old trailer's I-Beams

Steel sculpture of Habitat for Humanity “Family” Logo, made from old trailer’s I-Beams at Sunrise Park


Another great community asset is the Habitat Store here in Charlottesville.  It offers new & used building supplies at 25-75% off retail prices.  Many local contractors recycle their building supplies here and assist others with affordable housing.  Volunteers help run this store which offers many great products to anyone interested.

The Habitat Store

The Habitat Store

SPONSORS for Sunrise Park with Habitat for Humanity

Habitat Sponsors


Video: NBC29 news coverage of the dedication featuring the home owner of the home built by my parish.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

Habitat for Humanity International

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Nuns on the Bus — Charlottesville


Nuns on the Bus in Charlottesville

Nuns on the Bus arriving in Charlottesville

The Nuns on the Bus stopped by Charlottesville in helping to promote the need for fair and just immigration reform in America.  Charlottesville Mayor Sandrana Huja, himself an immigrant from India, greeted the nuns and spoke of his support for their cause of needed immigration reform.  The nuns were greeted with a diverse and enthusiastic group of people from Central Virginia.

Mayor Satyendra Huja welcoming Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, and the Nuns on the Bus to the City of Charlottesville

Mayor Satyendra Huja welcoming Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, and the Nuns on the Bus to the City of Charlottesville

Crowd supporting and welcoming the Nuns on the Bus to Charlottesville

Crowd supporting and welcoming the Nuns on the Bus to Charlottesville

Sister Simone Campbell was joined by other nuns from around the country and various religious orders to join  Network: A National Catholic Justice Lobby, to lobby for fair and needed immigration reform.  She was excited to report that she had just met with President Obama who supports immigration reform and he said that it is a bi-partisan issue and this is the year to get a bill passed.  The reforms that Network lobby are supporting are immigration reform that include the following items:

  • ensures family unity
  • protects the rights of immigrant workers
  • speeds up process of already-approved immigrants
  • acknowledges our borders are already secure, with only minor changes needed
  • enhances the present diversity visa program
  • provides a clear, direct path to citizenship.
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of Network

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of Network


President Obama meeting with Sister Simone Campbell in the Oval Office.

President Obama meeting with Sister Simone Campbell in the Oval Office on May 30, 2013.

A fellow parishioner, Fanny, from Church of the Incarnation, came and gave powerful testimony at a meeting with representatives of Congressman Robert Hurt’s office in Albemarle County.  She said that she is heartbroken due to her son being deported this past February.  Fanny said her son is a law-abiding and hard-working person who contributed to the New Jersey community for over 20 years, but was deported to Ecuador and not given option for appeal.  She lobbied for fair immigration reform that does not separate families and offers a path to citizenship.

Fanny & Nuns on the Bus speaking to representative of Congressman Robert Hurt's office

Fanny & Nuns on the Bus speaking to representative of Congressman Robert Hurt’s office

Toan Nguyen (Cville Coffee owner) speaks in support for immigration reform and talks about his experience immigrating from Vietnam

Toan Nguyen (Cville Coffee owner) speaks in support for immigration reform and talks about his experience immigrating from Vietnam

Nuns on the Bus – The Movie

Melissa Regan is an award-winning documentary film maker, and she is following and recording the nuns on their journey.  She is currently working on fundraising through her website and about to release a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to help complete the support needed to make this movie.  You can follow the Nuns on the Bus on their website and though their social networks–check links below.

Filming for Nuns on the Bus

Filming for Nuns on the Bus — The Movie


NETWORK's Nuns on the Bus are back on the road driving for faith, family, and citizenship — traveling across the United States — 6,500 miles over 15 states — 53 events in 40 cities — standing with immigrants, faith-filled activists, and Catholic Sisters who serve immigrant communities.

NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus are back on the road driving for faith, family, and citizenship — traveling across the United States — 6,500 miles over 15 states — 53 events in 40 cities — standing with immigrants, faith-filled activists, and Catholic Sisters who serve immigrant communities.

Video from Catholic New Service:

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, marks 25 years of service to supporting immigrants, and are anticipating a lot of work ahead with reforms:



USCCB Immigration website

Nuns on the Bus website

Nuns on the Bus Movie website

More photos from Nuns on the Bus visit to Charlottesville May 30-31, 2013

Washington Post article of Nuns on the Bus (May 31, 2013)

Nuns on the Bus 2 — National Catholic Register (June 6, 2013)

Last Blog about 2012 Nuns on the Bus – The Faithful Budget 

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The Sycamore Tree: a new Christian Book & Gift Shop

Maria & Richard Nootbaar

Maria & Richard Nootbaar

The Sycamore Tree is a new Christian book and gift shop located in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The Sycamore Tree is a wonderful family-run business founded by Richard and Maria Nootbaar, who are friends from my parish at Church of the Incarnation.  They have started a store that stocks ecumenical Christian books and gifts, and Crane & Co. Stationery.

The Sycamore Tree merchandise

Richard and Maria saw the need to open a store in Central Virginia that offered a wide variety of Christian books and gifts.  The store offers both new and used books, and they can order any book on the market through their network suppliers.  Richard & Maria come from teaching backgrounds, and Maria is also a homeschooling mother, and they both saw the need for homeschooling supplies and resources.  If you are involved or thinking about homeschooling, they are a super resource for books, supplies, and know the supportive network of families and collaborative activities available in the area.

Fr. Gregory Kandt offering blessing to The Sycamore Tree

Fr. Gregory Kandt offering blessing to The Sycamore Tree

The Sycamore Tree is the exclusive distributor in the area for Crane & Co. stationery.  Crane offers the finest stationery, wedding and business invitations on the market, and they are known for providing the paper for our American currency.

Crane & Co. Stationary



The Sycamore Tree Website

The Sycamore Tree on Facebook

Richard & Maria Nootbaar

Richard & Maria Nootbaar

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