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Send Us Forth

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Last Wednesday we took our signs and went out to protest Donald Trump and his policies during his visit to Erie. It was a powerful experience, and once I saw the lyrics to our closing hymn at Liturgy this past Sunday (Send Us Forth—Bob Hurd), our choice made even more sense.

We gather as holy church, proclaiming your holy word,
Challenged anew by your gospel. Empower us daily
To work for your glory, with all who hope in your promise.




Send us forth; may we be your compassion
And mercy to each person oppressed by injustice and need.
May our lives be a blessing and light to the nations,
A sign of the reign of God.



Our flesh, your dwelling place; our touch, your healing grace;
Our struggles, the work of your spirit. So may we be builders
Of the new creation, so may we be faithful disciples.




Let us vote on November 6th, and...

Let us walk in the holy presence.

The Praying Mantis

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Every morning I wake, dress in the dark, go downstairs.
I look out of every window.
I go out and stand on the lawn.
In the east, the slightest light begins
     flinging itself upward
and my heart beats (never an exception) with excitement.
(My gratitude to you, dear heart!)

Though it will all vanish utterly, and surely in
     a little while,
I know what is wonderful—
I know what to hoard in my heart more than the value
     of pearls and seeds.
There was the day you first spoke my name.
There was a white house at the edge of the harbor.
There was the swan, and the hummingbird.
There was music, and paper, and the tirelessly pursued work.
There were a thousand and again a thousand unforgettable days.

And still I’m looking at everything—
in the wide morning and the strike of noon
I’m humming, and clapping my hands
and I can’t stop 
not for any reason not even for the easiest thought.
And, anyway, what is thought
but elaborating, and organizing?
What is thought
but doubting, and crying out?


(In the dark, in the …

Into The Forest

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Taking a break from technological connectedness this past weekend, we enjoyed a different type of connectedness heading off to the Allegheny Forest for a weekend of camping. Specifically we were at the Minister Creek campground, and with a site right next to the water, we couldn’t have asked for more. The sound of the flowing creek accompanying us in each moment gave me a sense of comfort that I only find with water.


I had been craving solitude of a different sort, but this was a totally worthy substitute. The weekend surrounded by dear friends, a fire, songs, trees, and simplicity afforded me a necessary respite from the usual busyness. And because nature is my favorite teacher of humility, I gained that sense of peace that one encounters through creation. I think I captured it in this semi-accidental photo.


Of course, we had the “dailiness of life” there, too. Dishes, shananigans, etc.



The weekend also provided the answer, yet again, to that question we never stop asking...
What’s i…

Running Into Morning

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In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

—“Song For Autumn,” Mary Oliver
And just like that, autumn came. Yesterday we had to come in from playing outside because the temperature was too hot. Today, I wore a flannel.

It makes running much more pleasant. I went for an early morning run today, my favorite time to head out on the open road. Last weekend I did the same, but we were…

Cover Songs and Cover-ups

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What a treat! Last weekend we took a road trip to New Jersey. I went to celebrate the wedding of a dear, dear, dear friend who I met on the first day of college. My Erie friends joined. Who could pass up an opportunity to dive into the ocean in late summer? Especially when it’s your first time ever for one of them. So, we put on our cover-ups, got some sandwiches from Wawa, and headed out on the NJ turnpike. Below you see a true Jersey native, body packed with all things beach, getting ready for a day embracing sand.


Jumping waves for a few hours exhausted us, but we sang our gratitude to Mother Ocean.

One highlight of the road trip were two extended sing-a-long sessions. We cranked up an eclectic YouTube playlist and sang our hearts out. Here are three wonderful songs we belted, sung by someone other than the original musicians.

A Case of You — Passenger

Romeo and Juliet — Indigo Girls

America — First Aid Kit

This weekend, we are off to Villa Maria for a formation weekend with Nancy Sy…

To be of use, by Marge Piercy (aka An Ode to Labor Day)

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The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher …

The Big City, etc.

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We are back from a wonderful time in New York, where we struck a lovely balance between the city and the quieter outskirts. Here is a bit of a photo journey through our week.

First (and most importantly!) the completed chocolate tart. It worked! (And it was decadently delicious!)

We spent our first full day visiting the Met (and the Cloisters) to see the highly popular exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. The exhibit is on display in both locations and combines actual papal vestments with fashion inspired by the intricate and ornate designs. It was rather fascinating and over-the-top (in a few ways). These fashions were positioned between the usual art. Here is a statue of Mary and Jesus that I loved. It caught my eye because of Mary; the description spoke of the weariness of Mary that would cause her to lean forward.

Here is cardinal-inspired fashion, on a female (!).

The second day we visited Greenport, which is at the tip of the North Fork of Long Island.…