Category Archives: Family Friends and Life

Wow – life must be moving fast!

I can’t believe it has been since July 2009 that I posted on my blog.  I guess my Facebook has been getting the little online time I have spent.

Well, I have been at Catholic Charities for a little over 2 years – life has been good.  We have moved into our new facilities at 2450 North Harvard – what a nice campus to offer to those we serve.  Since moving in November we continue to see an increase in people seeking assistance and in volunteers to help us serve.

I have been doing lots of playing – both in the church and outside.  I also have given a couple of retreats (one more coming up next weekend) and doing lots of different ministry work.  God has truly blessed me beyond what I can think or ask.

I hope it won’t be that long again before I post.  you can always visit my Facebook to see some short blurbs from time to time http://www.facebook.com/johntheblessed.

Pray for unity in the church and in our world.  We need to be more focused on our relationships (with God and others) than on our differences and quarrels.

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Some Pictures from India!

I finally got some of the 1,100 pictures online.  I have not added captions – will do that over the next week or so.

Here is the site – http://www.flickr.com/photos/johntheblessed/sets/72157621734162023/

In India!

Well, I have arrived in India. I traveled to the southern tip of India to the state of Tamil Nadu. Two of my friends from seminary, Jegan and Anto are going to be ordained priests and I am going to join them for the celebration and then a couple of weeks of vacation. Their home city is Palayamkottai (pronounced Polly-ohm-co-tie).

I am really excited about the trip and adventure! I will post some pictures when I return.

Say a prayer or two for me as well as for Jegan and Anto. It will be a glorious celebration I’m sure.

I now have a blessed house!!!!

I invited Fr. Tam Nguyen and Fr. Brian O’Brien to my home last evening to bless it and have dinner. Fr. O’Brien actually performed the blessing and we had a nice dinner at Oklahoma Style BBQ which is not too far from where I live.

So now… John the Blessed has a blessed home to live in – YEA!!!!!!!

I am pretty much settled in, have been working on the thesis for my MTS (Master of Theological Studies) which is due in a couple of months, and been very busy at work.  As I have been compiling the numbers for last years volunteers at Catholic Charities, it is amazing how many we have helping us.  I am just over 1,250 volunteers for the 2008 year – WOW!!!  1,250 have given time, energy, talents and shared themselves with the people we serve.  That is AWESOME!

Well I must get ready for another day.  I am manning a booth at the TCC (Tulsa Community College) International Festival today. Should be a good day!

Advent, Christmas and New Years Greetings!

I pray this finds you blessed and in joyful expectation of the celebration of Christ’s birth.  

What a year 2008 has been.  I am now beginning my 10th month with Catholic Charities and it has been quite an experience.  With an annual pool of nearly 1,000 volunteers, there is so much to do and seemingly too little time in a day.  I have been so blessed in my work interacting with staff, volunteers, the people of God we serve, and the community at large.  Developing a new position from the ground up is exciting, demanding, invigorating and draining.  There are so many people who give of their time, energy, talents and treasure to the ministry of Catholic Charities that I am in awe every day.  We serve around 60,000 people a year – many times those who are marginalized or on the fringes of society.  God is using me in a role that is much bigger than I am, so I must continually rely on Him for strength and guidance.

God has also blessed me with a home.  In early fall I felt led to look for a home to purchase and subsequently found a nice 3-bedroom, one-bath very near the location of our new facility.  I will be able to walk to work when the new campus is complete.  My home was completely updated throughout with new paint, tile, carpet, countertops, appliances, even electrical switches and plates.  It is basically a new home in many aspects.  I have also been blessed with a lot of furniture from different sources.  Each time I wondered how God would provide, He surprised me through the people of God.  I am so humbled to have been the recipient of such kindness and goodness from so many people.

New mailing address:
    P.O. Box 581961
    Tulsa, OK 74158

I have traveled some this year – to Houston and around Oklahoma for my job, to Kansas for the weddings of a niece and a nephew, and to St. Meinrad to graduate with the first of two masters degrees. I am currently writing the thesis for my second degree and, God willing, will graduate this May.  I also was able to witness the deaconate ordination of many of my former classmates at St. Meinrad.  The time of seminary formation has given me vital tools and experiences that have helped prepare me for my current ministry work.  I still play lots of music, both sacred and secular, and get many opportunities to
engage in dialogue/ministry with people.  I continue to pray, “God, open a door and I will walk through it.”  Doors continue to open and I try my best to walk through each of them in God’s will.

May your Advent and Christmas season be a delight, and may 2009 bring you closer to the love of God in all you do.  If you are ever in my neighborhood – give me a call; I would love to host you in my new digs.

In the service of Christ,

John

A picture of my home!

All my stuff is inside, but it looks kind of like a tornado inside.  This is my new place!

Wow… it is time for an update!!!!

I didn’t realize my last post was all the way back in May.   SORRY!!!!! A lot has been happening in my life for these last months and I have basically had my head down running full speed.

I have been very busy at my job as Coordinator of Volunteers at Catholic Charities.  More and more volunteers are stepping up and our programs continue to expand and evolve.  I have traveled to Oklahoma City and Houston to meet with my counterparts in each of those cities to learn as much as I can.  I have also participated in some conferences and meetings with the local volunteer support group.  There is a lot to learn and a lot to do.  Also, the construction has begun on our new facility – YEA.  I think they are to start pouring concrete very soon.  Sounds like we will be in the new digs by next fall at the latest.

Musically I played at a coffee house in south Tulsa/Jenks every Thursday evening from June through August with my friend Bryan Smith.  We had a good time and made a few bucks along the way.  I have also played in a few different churches and diocesan events.  God’s blessing of musical talent has been a gift I have tried to use to serve also.  I recently played for a Mass celebrated by the Bishop for the Single Catholics of Tulsa and for the kickoff event for 40 Days for Life – a prayer vigil being held 24 hours a day for 40 days across from the abortion facility (learn more at www.40DaysForLife.com/Tulsa).  I have also spent time there in prayer for all those affected by abortion and for an end to it.  There are so many important things we can do that are so much bigger than us, and God has a way of letting us know what they are and when to take action – if we just listen and follow.

I will also be sitting in with the St. Anne’s Band – the band I was an original member of at my old parish – for their annual talent show/dance.  I am just going to play on a few songs, which will be fun, but I am also going to do a talent piece of some kind.  In the past I have done songs with a little humor like “I’m My Own Grandpa”, or “In the Jail House Now”.  I am not sure what I will do, but God will give me an idea.

Now for some big news.  I have purchased a home (well almost purchased – I close next week).  God again blessed me with a place ready for me to move in, low cost, very good condition, and near work – all good things.  New appliances, paint, tile, carpet, fixtures, etc., as well as a house that is in good structural shape.  And I also got very good financing through my credit union so my out of pocket expenses will be minimal, as well as my house payment will only be a few dollars higher than the rent I am now paying.  God is soooooooo good!!

I ask for your prayers for a few specific items.  First, for Catholic Charities.  It is time for our annual appeal and with all of the financial challenges in the economy, we need people to look past any fear and look to God’s work that needs to be done for the poor and needy.  We are also going through transitions from our current location and organizational chart into the new facility and new organizational structure.  God is in control but we all need to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and make wise choices.

Next, pray for the Diocese of Tulsa led by Bishop Edward Slattery.  As we continue to evangelize and serve the people of eastern Oklahoma, the bishop, priests, deacons, religious and laity need strength, grace and wisdom in living the good news of Jesus Christ our Savior.  In a time of rampant individualism and narcissistic tendencies living in love and community does not seem like the norm.  As Catholics/Christians we must stick closely to our faith and the lessons we learn about the dignity of life, the care we must offer those in need, and how we are the Body of Christ, so we must treat ourselves and each other with respect and honor.  This seems abnormal in today’s world when, in fact, this is what the norm should be.

Lastly, I ask you to pray for our government leaders – and for those who will elect many to office in just over 6 weeks.  God has His hand in all that is done in the world, but He also gave us free will to make our own decisions.  We must pray for wisdom and discernment in our decisions and for our leaders to have that same discernment and wisdom in their governing.  Though Washington, DC is very far away from some of us, what is done there affects us all, and especially affects those who are vulnerable and in need like the poor, the elderly, and those with physical and mental challenges.  May we pray for strength to live out our baptismal call to serve those in need, whether the government is a part of that process or not.

Until next time, be blessed in all you do!