Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St Joseph and the Sea

I have been going to St Joseph Parish in the morning to celebrate mass. Fr Bob is great. He has literally opened the doors to me. It’s true. There is a combination lock on the front door he showed me how to open. The church is mine when I want to pray or celebrate Mass. I have been concelebrating with him in the morning.

Today we went to the beach. I had not been there for over twenty-five years. I used to hang out there with my friends. Needless to say, everything seemed so small. It’s that retro look that expects to see everything the way it was before, but it all seems so compressed. I walked the beach in just ten minutes where it used to take hours.

I kept expecting to meet friends. I would imagine what they would look like now, twenty-five years plus down the road.

Sand in my toes and a little bit sunburned, we headed home. I can’t help to praise God in the beauty of his creation: the waves crashing on rocky shores, salt air in your face, sea gulls and the smell of fresh cut grass. I’m loving it.


  1. Wilmette, IL looks like a very nice place.... You are in a good area. Good luck!

  2. I think someday you will sit on the beach and look out at the ocean and realize how insignificant we all are. It's a humbling and beautiful place to be :-)

  3. Once again, through your posts, I'm reminded of just how much the LC removes from the lives of her priests. I pray the Delegate sees this clearly and opens wide the gates of those who remain so they can feel freedom again. Then, once free, they will have the ability to truely discern whether God is calling them to stay in LC.

    Enjoy your freedom and all that it represents!

    ATL Granny

  4. During the 20 years I was in the Legion, I spent a sum total of 20 days with my family. So I understand what it's like to be finally able to catch up and I rejoice with you. You have also left another family, albeit somewhat dysfunctional. That is a loss you will also have to deal with. The last thing you need is advice from me - however, I'd like to respectfully suggest that from now on you choose to (realistically) focus on whatever was good and positive in your LC life. Don't "throw the baby out with the bathwater." Look at your time in the LC as a learning experience and try not to become bitter. Once you are well into your transition, you will need to have all your emotional resources intact. I've been somewhat pleasantly surprised to hear that LC superiors are recommending my book to their priests - and so are some RC people. Jason Berry said "This is a sad yet, in the final measure, uplifting memoir." I think you might enjoy it and find it useful beach reading - you'll realize that you are not alone. It's called "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines." Paul Lennon, fellow Irishman, also wrote a book about his experience "Our Father (Maciel) who art in bed.' If you read mine, I'd love to hear your opinion - tell me what has changed. Meanwhile, I wish you the very best.

  5. Dear Fr Jack. I feel so happy to know that you're ok and on the way. Last time we spoke I sensed that this journey of yours was on the right way, because I share (on a different level, of course) some of your concerns. Now I see that I wasn't mistaken. I just hope yo continue to let the Holly Spirit guides you in this re-discovery that can only be a great thing.
    You have my friendship and prayers.

  6. Father Jack,

    I'd like to offer different advice from Jack Keogh. I do think it helped me after my years as a 3gf to allow myself to experience bitterness. There is good in LC/RC, but there is bad too. We need to remember both, and learn from both. The bitterness helped me to learn about myself and why I turned a blind eye to things that didn't feel right. If you don't face the past, you will be condemned to repeat it. And as a pastor of souls, you need to be wise from your experience, and not simply bury it deep down and ignore the reality as you lived it.

    Just some thoughts to ponder on the beach!

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  8. Fr. J:

    You must go over to Life-After-RC and read the newest thread. It seems the Delegate's responsibilities have been enumerated and they are quite extensive.

    Help is on the way!


    ATL Granny

    PS -- Hope you are having a blast!

  9. freefromrcandhealingJuly 23, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Fr. Jack,

    I sure am glad to read your last few posts. They are heart warming. :D I think what Anonymous said about allowing yourself to experience the good and the bad is advice that speaks the truth. I think it will help you to put everything in perspective....to grow....and to be a true shepherd of souls.

    I often think how horrible this whole mess is....but at the same time God did permit us to be a part of it. I guess we should remember too that sometimes things like this have to happen, then God's children rise up and stomp it out. Sometimes it's hard to understand evil....but we experienced it. You even more so - but praise be to God it wasn't permitted to continue forever either.

    By the way, it's nice to just kick back and enjoy God's creation, isn't it?! You deserve it and you are well on your way. May the Holy Spirit always guide you in truth and keep you. God bless you Father!


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