"What does "Priesthood Sunday" mean to you?

By Paul Dion, STL

You are reading this a day or two before Sunday, so you are being told now that this Sunday, October 26, has been designated "Priesthood Sunday" by the universal Catholic Church. And the "Burning Question" feature of your favorite Catholic magazine is jumping into the fray early.

Rest assured that you are going to hear at least one of the following from the pulpit when you sit back and turn your ears on:

a) It is important that we honor our priests and render homage to them.
b) There are few priests in the active ministry and this is a grave problem for the entire world. c) There will be pleas for prayers and sacrifices for more priests.

All three of these concepts are valid and true. As you read these lines you were nodding your head, "yes." There is more, but the priests themselves will refrain from saying them. Since we are a little removed from them, maybe we can bring up the subject to help one another through the concept of "Priesthood Sunday."

In the form of a question then, let's join together and put some thoughts on the table that reflect our attitude toward our priests.

What is a good priest?
How can we help the Church to maintain good priests?
How can we help the Church to develop more good priests?

Let's work at it together. By answering these questions with our opinions, we will be contributing to the forming of good attitudes in the priests and in the laity with and for whom they work. Let's do it.

We will forward the answers/suggestions to the bishop that you name at the end of your comment.

BIBLE SERIES: What are your Personal Bible Habits?

By Paul Dion, STL

Editor's Note: This is Part 1 of our series on the Bible. It is an offshoot of the Bishop's Synod being held at the Vatican from October 5-26. Please follow this blog series and be enlightened on why the Bible needs to be part of our ongoing Christian life and experience.

The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church

"But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy, 14 - 17)

The Bishops of the world are going to Rome to discuss the topic as it appears above. Click here to read about the Bishop's Synod on the Word of God.

As you know, the Word of God is none other than Jesus. He is the one who brings God to us through His humanity. It is Jesus Christ who brings the life and the mission of God to us. It is Jesus who brings the fullness of the meaning of the Old Testament to us.

Jesus assured the continuation of His presence among us through the Church. The Holy Spirit the continuation of Christ's presence among us through the inspired written Word of the New Testament which is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scripture. The Sacred Scripture serves as a source of enlightenment (revelation) concerning what we understand about God through Jesus and His Church. is offering its readers the opportunity to state their opinions about their personal Bible reading habits. It is our goal to give you all some insight into the importance of the Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church and in our personal lives as well.

The first topic of importance is:

Do you own a Bible? If not, why not?
If you do own a Bible, do you read a part of the Bible on a daily basis? If not, why not?
If you do own a Bible, do you read a part of the Bible on a weekly basis? If not, why not?
Are you familiar with the parts of the Bible that you may hear on a weekly basis? Which are they?

We will stand by and react to your answers as they arrive.

Please post your comments and aanswers below. God bless.



It is not very often that we have the opportunity to receive communion more than once in the same day. Sometimes though, we find ourselves in a situation that looks somewhat like this. We participate at the usual 8:00 AM Mass on Wednesday and then participate at the funeral Mass of a friend at 10:30 AM on he same day.

In this discussion we will give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and say that we are free from mortal sin and that we have fasted for an hour before the time of communion in both Masses and are therefore eligible to receive communion both at the 8:00 AM Mass and the 10:30 AM funeral.

Is it permitted to take communion at both Masses?

Let us know what you think. Post a comment below.

Click here to view the answer to this Burning Question,


"Would you attend an Ordination Ceremony? Why?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Ordinations to the priesthood are in the news lately. Most of it good. Greater numbers of priests are coming into the community. Greater numbers than before are of the "older" variety, some are in their early 60's and many are in the mid 30's and 40's. Some are widowers, some not. Many have imposing educational backgrounds and carry a solid portfolio of "secular" management experience with them.

It is a happy era for the church and it takes away a lilttle bit of the sting of the misconduct attributed to our clergy that has made the headlines for the greater part of the last decade.

Last Saturday the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the diocese of San Bernardino celebrated the ordinations of record numbers of priests. Both celebrations were marked by the presence of men who came from different corners of the world, all of whom had experience and talent. The hopes of both communities are high for what the future holds for them.

With the talk of human accomplishments pervading the first paragraph of this presentation, I have to say that as important as all of that is, the grace of God and the strength to answer His call are essential elements of the sacerdotal state.

The spirituality of the priest is what attracts us to him, not the fact that he has a law degree, an engineering degree or that he is a master computer technician. The attraction of the priest is his behavior in his relationship with God. The success of the priest is not in his engineering degree, it is in his personal sanctity and how it affects the community of the faithful.

The man who gets to the foot of the altar to present his "I am present" to the community of the faithful presents a complex set of gifts, strength, perserverance, love, faith and hope, to say nothing of kindness, mercy and generosity. Taking all of these things into consideration, would you go out of your way to attend an ordination ceremony? Why?
CLICK HERE to view the answers to this burning question.

Peace and joy.

Paul Dion, STL
ParishWorld Theology Editor


"Are Converts Happier than Cradle Catholics?"

By Paul Dion, STL

There is a question that has been presented on a couple of serious Catholic blogs that the editors of fits into the spirit of this week's readings, Acts, chapter 2, verses 14 to 41 and the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verses 1 to 10.

The question addresses the state of mind of people who come to the Catholic Faith from other religions or from no religion at all. It is also related to the saying that we have all heard often, "There's nothing like a convert!"

It is rather true in many ways. It seems that converts are better catechized than cradle Catholics, they appear to know more of the details of our Catholicism than we do and they seem to be better "adjusted" to the ways and dictates of the Church than we are.

So the question is, "Are Converts Happier than Cradle Catholics?" Since there is no "right" answer to this, only conjecture, leaves it up to the readers to share and learn from the answers that you may have developed over the years about this question.

If you wish to see what some other Catholics have said about this, you may click here for a few opinions from the Deacon's Blog.

So let us know what you think.

"What is the Church's position on the euthanizing of animals?"

By Paul Dion, STL


Just before Easter Sunday received a telephone call from the elder son of our Theology Editor. As it turns out it was a rather well crafted question about what Catholics believe regarding the life of animals.

This question surprised us somewhat because the questioner, Marc Dion (yes, that's a French "c" to match the "Dion") was not raised in a house where there were animal pets, except for the occasional Beta Blue. But Marc is a thinker and he is now married to a woman who has always been around pets.

What he wanted to know (I suppose that it was he) is what the position of the Catholic Church is regarding the euthanizing of animals. He said that his question was prompted by the readily observable fact that domestic pets have longer lives now because of contemporary technology.

He added that since animal life is a fairly high level of life, should we humans respect it as we do human life and not take it away to save an animal from a horrible "life style." What would be your answer to this question? Let me guide by saying that the Catholic Church, as well as other Christian churches and communities, have an official position in this matter.

So, give the world your response and compare it to the item that you can find by clicking here. Give us your opinion in writing. Then, if you like, you can click here for the answer.

So let us know what you think. Post a thought today.


I have a friend whose elder brother is a Lutheran Pastor. He has had large communities in Illinois and in the South. As far as I can tell, he is a holy person. I am quite friendly with his brother and I know that the family has its foundations set firmly on Christian morality. This story may or may not be about Pastor W..., but it could be.

This came to me from Woody, Pastor W...'s brother, my immediate friend. My personal witness appears below the story. You are all invited to share your comments with our community.

Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You'd better give the quarter back. It would bewrong to keep it.' Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.' When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, 'Here, you gave me too much change.'
The driver, with a smile, replied, 'Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church on Sunday. 'When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, 'Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter. 'Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians and will put us to the test! Always be on guard -- and remember -- You carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself 'Christian.'
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Thank you, George. I have seen this come true in my life. Marc and Jo-El (my sons) have remarked about how I am serious about equal exchanges at the cash register. I have also had more than one cashier tell me that I was an exception in her experience when I returned a very small amount. One time when I was a cashier at a taco place in the Bay Area of San Francisco, I short-changed a person (a regular customer) without knowing it and she did not notice it.
When I noticed it, I hoped that she would come back. When two weeks passed and she had not returned. I started to ask other regulars if anyone knew her. Finally, one person told me that she was her office mate. I asked her if she would tell the lady that I wanted to return her money. She did tell her and the customer came back. She told me how angry she was at the error because she was thinking that I had slipped one by her. Upon hearing her story, my emotions gathered in my throat. I gave her not only the change but the full amount of the
transaction. She told that it wasn't necessary, but I said that the necessity to make her totally whole came from my conscience, not from her graciousness. I told her that I thought that it was my duty to reward her for her agida.
She laughed at my choice of words (New York, Yiddish). We shook hands and parted on good terms. Whether the rewards are human, or human and spiritual, I believe that the balance of justice hangs from God's hands, so I try to maintain it good in His view, even for picayune amounts. If not for spiritual gain, sometimes those small amounts make for good stories.
When I recounted this little story to George ("Woody"), he told me this in response:
"That's a good story. My wife and I just left the Abelson's (Albertsons) Store a few minutes ago. The person in head of us forgot to take her change from the automatic change machine - it was about 46 cents. I noticed it and told the cashier and bag boy. The cashier told the bag
boy the lady had just left the store - meaning, there was time for the bag boy to run and catch her; but, the bag boy paused for a moment, took the change and put it in his pocket. ' So it is with most people. After we left the store, I told my wife, "The kid was too lazy to run after the customer and of course, he wanted the change for himself."
The three stories above are simple. They carry within them a serious challenge. is not just providing you these stories for your email "forwards".
When you get more change than is what is rightfully coming to you, do you give it back?
Do you think that it is a sin to keep it? What if you make the situation worse by doing it in front of your children; is that a worse sin?

Let's talk about this. Share your thoughts about this with your fellow readers. Believe it or not, this is a serious subject. It's not just a quarter or a half-dollar, it is about a way of life. Do you believe that?
Do YOU live as though your life is the "only Bible that some people will ever read?" Do you expect others to do the same for you?

"Is the peace hand shake at Mass a mandated ritual or just a pious devotion?"

By Paul Dion, STL
January 20, 2008

Last week we asked you if it was appropriate to hold hands during the recitation or the singing of the "Our Father", the "Lord's Prayer" during the Holy Mass. This question was brought to us by one of you and we appreciate it very much. We have to admit that it made us think of a related question that we decided to challenge you with this week.

Close upon the heels of the "Lord's Prayer" is the invitation to share with one another some sign of peace. Some of you more "experienced" Catholics will remember the kiss of peace that took place during a "Solemn High Mass" which had three priests in the sanctuary. The Celebrant, the Deacon and the Sub-Deacon. Remember that?

If you remember that then you remember that after the "Pater Noster" there was a moment when the three of them exchanged gentle hugs. Through the years, this "kiss of peace" migrated to the congregation of the faithful outside the sanctuary. It is expressed as it is these days and as we experience it at every single celebration of the Holy Mass.

Here in the United States there are many ways of expressing this wish for the Lord's Peace to one another. The most common seems to be the hand shake.

The Burning Question is: How do you feel about this ritual? Does this part of the Mass touch you in a special way? Is this a mandated ritual during the Mass or is it, like the hand-holding during the "Our Father" nothing but a pious devotion?

Post your comments below.

Or CLICK HERE to view the answer to this Burning Question.