Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Decision on "Same-Sex Marriage" and the Catholic Church's Response

WEB LINKS:  (just click the text)

USCCB (Bishop Kurtz) Press Release

Bishop Rhoades' Statement

Marriage: Unique for a Reason (A USCCB Initiative)

More USCCB resources on the decision

It is important to remember our roots, which is one thing we do on Independence Day.  Our nation would be quite different if it weren't for the boldness and sacrifice of the many who in this country stood up for the dignity of the individual.  As we celebrate the gift of our freedom, we do so in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on "same-sex marriage." As Catholics, we have the advantage of being guided by the Bishops, who form the Magisterium (or teaching office) of the Church. Please take the time to study the responses of our Bishops on this topic. In particular, please read the statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ( written by their President, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY. Also, be sure to read the response of our own Bishop, Bishop Kevin Rhoades (  On my blog ( are direct links to these two writings.  If you do not use internet at all, I will print copies of them and place them in the vestibule of the church.  Of important note is that the Church's position is particularly wrapped up in the good of the next generation: marriage protects children, and they deserve the stability of permanent relationship with their father and a mother, as much as the law can make it possible.

Another resource from the USCCB is an initiative titled Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The FAQ tab is especially helpful in forming an adequate response to the questions people have in regards to the many issues surrounding the topics of same sex attraction and marriage. The link is: The core human freedom is indeed religious: freedom to remain faithful to what we believe to be ordained by God.  Hand in hand, though, is the need for us to be gracious, charitable, and patient with those who disagree with us. In a sound-byte culture, these qualities become even more necessary.  If there is only name-calling and social bullying, instead of debate and honest disagreement, then there is no real freedom of speech and not chance for a truly pluralistic society where love of neighbor keeps us united.

Another important document is Pope Francis' recent Encyclical, Laudato Si.  This cannot be overlooked and needs to be read by all Catholics.  Follow that link to the actual text of the Pope’s Encyclical, as well as comments from our Bishops. An Encyclical is the highest form of Papal teaching, and it deserves our attention. Both of these topics will provide plenty of opportunities for reflection, discussion.  Stay tuned also to our local catholic radio station, Redeemer Radio, at 95.7FM to listen to further updates on these issues and hear Catholics try to engage in these social debates.

God bless us, and Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist pray for us!
~ Fr. Terry

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Next Generation (First Mass at John the Baptist)

Audio link:

Our society today seems less stable than ever in a lot of ways, with many of the changes appearing as a backwards slide.  However, in the man Jairus from today's Gospel I see an important call for us to have hope. Jairus is a sort of example for us all of not despairing on the next generation.  His daughter was sick and eventually dead, but he didn't lose faith in what God could do.
Perhaps he knew more than the rest of those around him that God did not make death, as we heard from our first reading.
The importance of the next generation.  If they are dead, perhaps it is not their fault.
The cure: Bringing them to Christ Jesus! This happens in a lot of practical ways too! (Spending time with them. Praying with them and giving them blessings. Giving them advice.)
That is exactly what John the Baptist did: hopeful but realistic about need for growth and conversion, he pointed out our Lord and called us to follow after Him no matter what changes we need to make.
This New priest and what he brought (show and tell!)

Saturday, June 20, 2015



Well, here it finally comes to the point of it all.  My time at Saint Pius is closing.  In many ways I don't want to leave the comfort of the shoreline, where it is nice and safe, but know I have to.  If Jesus is telling me to go across the sea of South Bend to the other side of town, so why do I fear? If He is in the boat with us along this journey, what are we worried about?

On this Father's Day weekend, I can't help but think about the Priest as spiritual father.  In the homily, the priest gets to speak to his spiritual children.  You all have been such a blessing to me.

Yet so many men don't know the joys that fatherhood can give, they only focus on the crosses. There's a lot of guys in our society who stay along the shoreline, in the shallow water, afraid to go out to the deep of being a parent.  The devil has worked overtime on the male heart in our society to drive them from fatherhood. So many men, for different reasons, forfeit their role to be an earthly image of God, our Heavenly Father.
So many men are afraid of the many unknowns of the future that they allow themselves to be totally overwhelmed and forget that Jesus is calling them to this, that He is in the boat with them, and He will take care of them.  God will never leave us out to dry in our vocation; He will always give us the tools we need, whether it's as a pastor or as a parent.  Besides, life isn't meant to be safe and comfortable and sanitized. It's an adventure with an eternal reward for those who never give up.  Fathers, we cannot fail if we stay close to Christ and never give up.  Young men, don't be afraid of the vocation of fatherhood.

I think the solution to our culture's father vocation crisis is simple: be men of prayer who know your Heavenly Father; and stay connected to the parish so you will have other good examples of earthly fathers.

Another lie the devil uses in that fear is that the burden will crush us, but truthfully fathers have years to grow into their role. Well at least you guys do. I myself became a spiritual father to thousands overnight. But for you guys, it's a process of growth that you are slowly eased into. But by the end of it, thanks be to God, we are more and more the person God always wanted us to be. Fatherhood transforms us for the better.

We priests are changed by the Lord Jesus through the people we minister to. No priest is the same when they go on to a new parish, especially from here. This place affects you to the core. Graduation from Pastor Training School - PTS for short.  Every vicar leaves here with a kind of degree: Fr. Daniel Scheidt, PTSD. Fr. Bob Lengerich, PTSD. And now, Fr. Terry Coonan, PTSD. We all have this pastor to thank for the wonderful mark he has left on our souls and in our priesthood! Fr. Bill, thanks for the PTSD you have given us!

I think thank you is the one thing we all can agree on.  I can thank God for four years at this parish.  Most of you will also thank God that I was here for years.  Some of us will probably thank God that it was only four years.  But all of us can agree on thanksgiving.  Indeed, when we try our best to give ourselves to God and use the gifts he's given us, He will not be outdone in generosity.  The goodness overflows into other hearts and we all share in the joy of His abundance.  So in this Eucharist, this Thanksgiving, we turn to you, O Lord, with loving hearts and ask You to continue the superabundant graces from Your victory over evil & death.  Jesus, guide us all across the stormy seas of this life to the shores of our eternal home.  Amen.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

What's a sacrifice?


Today's readings don't make much sense without an understanding of religious sacrifice, in both the Jewish and the Christian sense.
I think our culture has a difficult time with the meaning of sacrifice.  We don't get it.  We can't understand what it means, because we have been forced slowly over time to think of everything in this world in view of science and economics.  We have forgotten what is most human about us: free will and love.  And that's the only way to understand sacrifice: it comes down to freely choosing to love another person more than yourself.  Science can't explain love, because choice is beyond biology and psychology.  Economics would say love too often entails a waste of resources and therefore doesn't make sense.  But sacrifice is beautiful and is more human than almost anything that we do.  In fact, we do it more often than we think.

Athletes sacrifice all kinds of good foods, and go through often intense physical pain, in order to be in the best shape possible.  Musicians and Scholars sacrifice hours and hours of time, often losing sleep and certainly going through emotional turmoil at times, all in order to excel.  We sometimes sacrifice the wrong things, like when we choose being busy about many things instead resting on Sundays and going to church.  Sometimes we sacrifice the peace that comes from daily prayer for the false peace of a TV show.

Today I just witnessed a wonderful sacrifice.  Four men, out of love for Jesus and the rest of the Body of Christ (including you), freely chose to give up careers, personal ambitions, and the comfort of family life, so that they could love with the heart of Jesus.

But the only reason their sacrifice makes sense, is because of the Cross.

After they made solemn promises to the bishop and and were ordained, their hands were anointed and they were handed the chalice and paten.  Bishop then said to them:
Understand what you do; imitate what you celebrate; and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord's Cross.

The priest is called to make the Mass, which is a Sacrifice, the center of his life.  Not simply for himself, but for the people.  All of us are called to make the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the center of our lives, because if we want to be truly human, then we gotta know how to live sacrifice; and if we want to live sacrifice, then we have to be connected to the Cross; and if we want to be connected to the Cross, we have to be connected to the Mass.  So one question we can ask ourselves is, "how do I make the (Sunday) Mass the center of my life?"

A generation or two ago it would be common for catholics to hear the phrase, "offer it up," in reference to the difficulties that life brings.  That's what we were called to do with our sacrifices: to bind them to the cross of Jesus and offer them up to the Heavenly Father as He offered Himself up for us.  Then our sufferings become sacrifices.  Then our lives are truly Eucharistic, because we are living the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Lord Jesus, help us bring ourselves, with all our sufferings and pains, to Mass every Sunday so that we can love you more fully and be transformed by the gift you give us in your Body and Blood.