Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Playing this Saturday, March 27th at TCC NE

Well, I thought I would let you know that I am playing this Saturday, March 27, at Tulsa Community College’s Northeast Campus for EcoFest. My friend, Dan Butchee, and I will be doing an acoustic set from noon to 1:00. Free admittance!!!! Come on out if you can – NE corner of Apache and Harvard.  Should be a fun time.

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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!

Update from St. Meinrad!

It has been awhile so an update is in order.

Two of my diocesan brothers were ordained as transitional Deacons (which means they are preparing for ordination into priesthood in the near future) on the 28th of October – Brian O’Brien and Gary Kastl. It was a wonderful ceremony and the whole weekend was a blessing to them and the other 11 men who were ordained. One of the events of the weekend was a social gathering at the Unstable on Saturday night. The new house band, Abbey Mode, played and it was the first and only stop of the “Official 2006 Reunion Tour of Anathema Sit”. It was good to play some music with Mark, Jeff, Steve and John.

Here is a picture of our newest deacons and the priests from the Diocese of Tulsa that were in attendance.

Standing from left to right are: Deacon Gary Kastl, Fr. Charles (Chuck) Swett, Fr. Jack Gleason, Fr. Michael Knipe, Msgr. Dennis Dorney, Fr. Matt Gerlach, Deacon Brian O’Brien. Kneeling in front is Fr. Valentine Ndebilie.

Here is a picture of the 13 men lying prostrate as the Litany of the Saints was sung, and just before the Archbishop laid hands on them in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

I made a quick trip to Tulsa last weekend to play at Catholic Charities’ Walk for Adoption on Sunday, November 5th. This is my third year to participate in this worthy fund raiser. It was raining so we held it inside the Bishop Kelley gym and field house. I think a good time was had by all. This photo is from a story in the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic where I am pictured with the Bishop and Newswoman Yvonne Harris from KTUL Channel 8 in Tulsa. I didn’t see it, but I heard that they showed us on the local Tulsa evening news Sunday night in a story about the walk.

Also, here is a copy of this year’s Walk for Adoption logo. I really like it.

This evening, November 12th, the Extreme Makeover – St. Meinrad Edition was broadcast on ABC. They opened the Unstable just so we seminarians could gather and watch the show together. It was a very good show as it focused on the family and the support of people with cancer through the Relay for Life. In the furniture moving section it showed quite a few seminarians and it included a clip of me (from behind) as I helped carry a mattress into the house. On TV two Sundays in a row – what a country!!! Anyway, the Farina family was very deserving and the show really gave a lot of good publicity to cancer awareness. Here is a nice wrap-up statement from Fr. Jeremy King of the Archabbey. He was the liaison with ABC and the Extreme Makeover crew:

“I [Fr. Jeremy] was present at the St. Meinrad Community Center on Sunday evening just prior to the broadcast we all were waiting for! Shawna Farina thanked everyone for all the wonderful contributions that made her family’s dream come true. She also received a check for $1000.00 from SMART to be donated to Relay For Life. These funds were the proceeds from the sale of tee shirts during and following the building project. Amanda Harper was also present. She is the young cancer victim who is to be the recipient of the proceeds from the evening. I was asked to speak and lead the community in prayer before the broadcast. I assured Shawna and family that they had no obligation to “pay it back” to anyone but to “pay it forward”on to all they meet from here on. That has already begun with the Relay for Life and Amanda Harper. Some of you may also know that the Farinas gave all their old furniture to a woman in Huntingburg who lost her home to a fire recently. Shawna and I also spoke privately and she asked me to convey her gratitude to all of the Archabbey community.”

“Even though there was no mention of the Archabbey or any images of us as individuals (other than some students and coworkers) the Archabbey Church towers and our soccer field were recognizable to us and many others who know we were part of making a wonderful thing happen. Having spoken to the producers and finding out that the program was going to be only an hour instead of the two hour special they had hoped for on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I had serious doubts that they would work us in. To have shown much more than they did would have taken at least 10-15 minutes of explanation. The Farina family and the Relay were the center pieces and rightfully so. We are proud that we could be a part and that is all that matters in the long run.”

‘Extreme Makeover’ finishes filming show in St. Meinrad

From an Archabbey news release:

On Monday (October 2), more than 3,000 spectators gathered in St. Meinrad, IN, to watch “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” TV show host Ty Pennington shout, “Driver, move that bus!”

When the bus pulled away, local residents Shawna and Steve Farina and family got the first look at their brand-new home – built in 96 hours and with hundreds of volunteers. Work began right after the Farinas were surprised with a visit from the “Extreme Makeover” crew and then whisked away to Disney World.

During construction, a five-day Relay For Life was held at Saint Meinrad Archabbey to raise funds for the American Cancer Society – a charity close to the heart of Shawna, who is battling cancer.

The show airs on Sunday nights on ABC, and the St. Meinrad episode is expected to be aired on November 12, 2006. This is a confirmed date from one of the producers as of October 10, 2006.


Photo: As the bus drives away, Ty Pennington, far right, points to the new home built for the Farina family.

Click here to view another slide show of pictures.

Click here to view slides on the construction company’s website.

Extreme Makeover – Seminarian Division!

This afternoon I, along with about 18 other seminarians and about 10 monks, helped load furniture and various items into the Farina Home. It is a beautiful place and should serve as a wonderful home for this family. I would describe it as rustic and country style. It is 2 stories with about 3,200 sq. feet.


In this picture – left to right – are seminarians Eric Schild, Diocese of Toledo, Ohio; Brent Lingle, Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa; Mauricio Carrasco, Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas; Dominic Petan, Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana; and John O’Neill (me), Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Behind us is the Farina home.

Here is a picture of a few of the monks who helped out.

We first loaded a small truck in the staging area. Then we made our way to the house for the unloading of the big furniture items. As the design team ran out of the house to the truck we followed and in about 45 minutes all of the major furniture items were unloaded from 4 large trucks. There was furniture made from logs, nice leather and cloth chairs, desks, tables, pillows, and pillows, and more pillows. As I carried in a large bag of pillows Tanya, from the design team, was punching it like a punching bag. The design team seemed very friendly and upbeat the whole time. Ty was not there at the time. We carried stuff to all parts of the house, over and past cameras, and basically unloaded 4 semi-trailer trucks in less than 45 minutes. Don’t call me for your next move though – unless you can supply about 45 other people.

Before we started unloading I visited with Paul (they called him Pauly) and asked how often they built one of these homes. He said they did about 3 every month!!!! They finish here tomorrow (Monday) and on Wednesday they will be in a new location with another family starting all over again. That is pretty amazing. It was good to be just a very small part of a very big project. To learn more about the show click on the link “Extreme Makeover – Home Division” and you will be sent to their web page.

Rumor has it this particular episode of the show will air the Sunday before Thanksgiving – just a rumor at this point. I will post the exact date and time as it becomes available to me.

Be blessed!