|My current and previous assignments...|
Since November, 2020, I have been a priest living in retirement. My duties include daily Mass, hearing confessions, responding to sick calls (anointings, hearing confessions and general pastoral care) and presiding at baptisms, weddings and funerals. As previously, I remain a "circuit rider" in the sense that I may be called upon to substitute for a priest on vacation or some other form of leave.
Prior to my serving as parochial vicar for the Springfield Deanery (beginning in July of 2017), I was the pastor of the four small Catholic parishes in Champaign County, Ohio: St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg (since July 1, 2006) and, more recently (since July 1, 2013), St. Mary Parish in Urbana and Sacred Heart Parish in St. Paris. St. Mary's is small by U.S. Catholic standards, and each of the other three parishes are small enough to be considered "small faith communities" by biblical standards. Accordingly, they have been able to live something close to the ideal of small faith communities. Everyone knows everyone else and feels comfortable engaging in serious conversation.
I happen to be what's called a "revert." Although I'm a cradle Catholic, I became an agnostic at the age of 18. I had a conversion experience at the age of 38, 20 years later. I returned to the Church five years later, at the age of 43. I entered the seminary at Mt. St. Mary's in Cincinnati in 1997 and I was ordained as a priest in 2003.
In the process of my reversion, I did a lot of soul searching and of studying what the Church actually teaches. I try not to get impatient with people who don't care to know the why's and wherefore's of Church teaching and the Gospel of Christ. We're all different.
I believe we live in increasingly confusing times. Most people are losing their spiritual roots, while a few are getting in touch with the depth and meaning of what has come before them. The richness of the Catholic faith tradition, in particular, seems to elude even the vast majority of faithful church goers, not to mention the more tenuously connected cafeteria Catholics among us.
To me, the difference is as striking as that between the typical native English speaker and someone who is intimately familiar with the depths of English arts, liturature, science and philosophy.
I hope to contribute to bridging the gap.
I happen to be a retread. My previous career was in avionics systems. I'm a computer geek, thus my experiments with blogging (and all sorts of other) software.
No one can summarize their life in a few short paragraphs, of course, but it may help get a clearer picture if I add the following.
I have a highly technical background, of course, but I should mention I have a Ph.D. in mathematics (I'm the author of what has come to be known as "Gearhart's Spectral Mapping Theorem." For a modern citation, see "A new proof and generalizations of Gearhart's theorem." The theorem, in its general form established independently by Ira Herbst, Jan Prüss, James Holland and Günther Greiner is generalized to C0 semigroups on Hilbert Space.). Add to that several years of employment in advanced computing applications.
I have had an abiding interest in physics, psychology, philosophy, major literature and history ever since high school. Later in life, I developed a practical interest in biology, especially as it relates to human welfare, both physical and moral.
I love music and singing, movies, and puzzles. I'm somewhat adept at crosswords, Sudoku and cryptoquips.
I love puns. Shakespeare is my favorite author. Dostoevsky is a close second, though I recognize the genius of many others, and I've tried to sample them (if you call reading War and Peace and The Lord of the Rings "sampling"). At my advanced age, I've become less patient with reality, and I tend to drift quickly over a range of activities. As a result, I don't finish long tomes very often anymore. Worse, I have a few books in me somewhere, but I'm having trouble marshaling the energy to get them out. All this, of course, is part of "growing up." It's all a matter of self-discipline, the real "final frontier."
I don't have a special affinity for plants, but I love animals. I once had a dog and a cat. Surprisingly, they got along well together.
Speaking of LAMP software, I'm reminded of Mark 4:21-23:
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
This web log is being added as a place to conduct a conversation on the elusive nature or features of listening to and following God's will. That is, it is concerned with the "how and why" of seeing with Eyes of Faith... (See further details.)