Mass times in Watsonville

I’ll be visiting my family in Watsonville for Thanksgiving and just wanted to share when I’ll be saying Mass (this visit, all at Our Lady, Help of Christians):

  • November 20-22, 24: 9 am Mass (as main celebrant)
  • Thanksgiving Day: 9 am (concelebrating)
  • Friday, November 24: 9 am Mass (as main celebrant)
  • Saturday, November 25: 4:14 pm (concelebrating)
  • Sunday, November 26: 8 am (celebrating, Solemnity of Christ the King)
  • Monday, November 27: 9 am (concelebrating)
  • November 28-29: 9 am (as main celebrant)

I hope to see you if you’re in town.

A New Assignment…and a move

Since last summer I have been helping remotely in a department of the Legion of Christ’s Territorial Directorate (administrative offices) for North America called the secretariat. I’ve been an assistant to the Territorial Secretary. The secretariat handles all the records, correspondence, petitions, etc. of the governance of the Legion of Christ in North America. The Territorial Secretary takes the minutes for all the meetings of the Territorial Director and his Council, helps schedule meetings, etc. He’s sort of an administrative assistant for the territory.

On April 17th I’ll become the new Territorial Secretary. So I’ll be moving back to Cumming, GA in late April to be part of the Territorial Directorate community. The good news is I’ll be back in Cumming and I look forward to seeing old friends and parishioners from St. Brendan’s. The news that may disappoint some is that I won’t be part of the community of Legionaries that serve St. Brendan’s, so I wont be serving St. Brendan’s as I did from 2017-2020.

My time and ministry in Raleigh from 2020-2023 has been a great grace. I’m grateful to so many friends I’ve made in Raleigh. Please keep me in your prayers and count on mine as I start my new mission.


It’s been a busy year, and as I begin this blog post I am grateful for being home with my family for Thanksgiving for the first time in 26 years. I wished everyone a blessed 2022 in my last post, and it has been a year full of blessings. In January I did another virtual visit to DMU (Divine Mercy University) because of bad weather to sit in on a few sessions of their spiritual direction certificate course. I also gave a talk on communion to the NC members of Regnum Christi. In February the priests serving the diocese of Raleigh gathered at Wrightsville beach to discuss topics of pastoral planning for the diocese: allocation of clergy, where to build new parishes, how to best serve rural parishes, etc. The diocese is blessed with a great fraternity among its priests. It was the first priestly assembly I attended, but I was welcomed at every table and had already known many from my deanery.

I also helped with a Regnum Christi three-day renewal retreat at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC. Regnum Christi members do an annual retreat and renew their spiritual commitment to the Movement. In the main hallway of the rooms there are a series of striking portraits of the life of St. Francis.

Lent began on March 1st, and with it penance services across the diocese, so I helped out at various parishes with hearing Confessions. I spent Holy Week at Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joseph’s in Raleigh.

After about thirteenth months and over twenty-five applications for teaching positions in the United States, I took the hint that the Lord had something else planned. The major superiors were about to start personnel meetings, so I told them my academic job hunt was concluded and they could put me back on the potential personnel list. This was a moment of closure for me. I’d never expected to stay in Raleigh for long. It was just where I resided while seeing where the Lord would take me. Now I was putting the ball back in his court.

Within a few weeks I was sounded out about becoming the new superior for my Legionary community in the summer, since the current superior was concluding a three-year term. I was also asked to start helping the Territorial Secretary as an assistant, working remotely from Raleigh. I said I would be open to both, and waited for the assignment letters to come closer to the summer.

After the liturgies of Holy Week, on Easter Sunday the community left for SC for a few days of vacation.  Around this time we also received some news: we would be taking over the pastoral care of the Duke University Catholic Center in Durham and Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. Our community of five priests would grow to seven by the end of the summer.

It also meant our community couldn’t all fit on the property of St. Joseph’s anymore. A house in Durham, near Duke, was made available for us to rent, managed by Duke Catholic Center. So we had to start planning a summer move for some of the priests of the community (including yours truly).

In May I helped with a Regnum Christi  discernment course via video conference, and took a weekend trip to Cleveland to represent the community at the funeral for the father of one of our priests. The following weekend, our superior travelled to New Zealand to be with his dying mother. It was planned that I be named acting superior in his absence, but to take the weight off his shoulders I made the transition to community superior on the eve of Ascension Sunday (May 28th) when his mother passed.

In June we’d arranged some coordination meetings for the coming year, but now I would be running them as superior. We’d now have seven priests with one parish, three chaplaincies, and two residences. So we talked about how we could support each other in ministry, when the community would gather for daily prayer, weekly activities, etc., and how we could work together with local members of Regnum Christi.

I concluded June with a trip to Philadelphia on the way to an academic seminar held at St. Vincent’s College, Latrobe, PA. I’d intended to visit Philadelphia and St. Vincent’s in 2020 and 2021, but COVID shut that idea down. The seminar had been postponed twice, so we were all looking forward to reuniting.

I only had a morning in Philadelphia, and I spent most of it in the National Constitution Center. It had a new wing on the Civil War and the years immediately following, and another on the woman’s suffrage movement. It ended up being a good preparation for the academic seminar at St. Vincent’s College (founded and still directed by the Benedictines), which was organized by the Fides et Ratio seminars.

It was the first of a four-year cycle of seminars on the American Regime and Catholic Social Thought. The first seminar spanned texts leading up to the Declaration of Independence and to just before Civil War. Reading the documents of the Founding Fathers and their thoughts, as well as the Catholics who witnessed the foundation of the United States was a great source of insight into what led to the Civil War and its repercussions even today.


Toward the end of my visit to the college we had our sessions in a building dedicated to Mr. Rogers, which included a museum in his honor. He was born in Latrobe. Seeing the puppets, sweaters, and trolley gave me a warm nostalgia for the days I barely remember when I would watch him on PBS and feel loved and cherished. I recently watched a documentary that included his philosophy and clips of his early shows (that I would have seen as as child), and it struck me how powerful his message was (that you are special and lovable just as you are), in contrast to so much media attention today that insists people pay to be perfect in a shallow and superficial way (glamor, popularity, etc,).

I returned from the seminar to NC on the Fourth of July weekend and spend a few days scrambling to get ready for the move to a new house on July 10th. In June we’d worked out who was moving, so now it was a matter of packing up and walking through the new house to see what was needed. The Franciscans who’d previously done the Duke chaplaincy left the house in great shape for us, and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed to our moving needs and expenses. I moved my belongings to the new Durham house the morning of 7/10, then headed to St. Gabriel’s in Charlotte to help cover the parish for a few weeks. While in Charlotte I finished most of the work for my new book (more on this below), and prepared for a retreat scheduled for the first weekend of August.

I returned to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC to preach open spiritual exercises for men organized by the North Carolina members of Regnum Christi.  It ended midday Sunday and I returned to Durham and spent my first night in my new room of the new community house.Two days later I started my vacation by driving to Patriots Point in Charleston, SC, on my way to Cumming, GA to visit friends and confreres for a few days, then to Mandeville, LA as my final vacation destination. The Mandeville LC community always gives me a warm welcome, and with a summer full of travelling I just stayed home, read (C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy), tried improving my pencil drawing with a course on Udemy, watched some videos, and played some video games.

I interrupted my vacation at the end of August for some meetings, and then headed back to Cumming, GA for an overnight, followed by my eight-day annual retreat at a cottage at the St. Francis Springs prayer center. It had been a busy and beautiful year, so I took stock of all the blessings received, contemplated the new duties I’d been assigned (and my 55th birthday), and prepared myself for the new year.

I wasn’t directly involved in a school year anymore, but the year seemed to start in September. Labor Day weekend I finished my vacation at home, then helped the community’s new administrator finalize our LC community budget proposal for 2023 and headed to the Legionary of Christ College in Cheshire, CT to visit the novices and humanists and participate in the college board meeting in person for the first time and lunch with the other board members as the Legion’s Territorial Prefect of Studies.

In the first week of October I went to St. Gabriel’s in Charlotte to cover the parish again, then returned on 10/7 to give a presentation on the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium as part of a series of formation talks on Vatican II at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, NC. That same afternoon (10/8) I flew to Rome for training for new superiors at our General Directorate. It was the first time I lodged there, since the LC International College (CILC, formerly called the CES) was where I resided while I studied and worked at Regina Apostolorum. I hadn’t expected to return to Italy for a while; I’d left on New Year’s Day, 2021 with no plan to return after four years if going back and forth annually, preceded by five years living there full time. In total I’d lived at the CILC about thirteen to fourteen years, so when the other fathers in town for the meeting invited them to go out in the city to shop and see the churches, I stayed home. I’d seen plenty of Italy. I took a few Rome fathers out to lunch, and also published the first volume of a series of homiletic reflections on Amazon (buy multiple copies, please), just in time for Advent. I’d worked on the book gradually since 2015, so I was excited to finally send it to print. I hope to have Volume II ready for Lent and Holy Week.

At the end of new superior training in Rome I was blessed to return to Croatia to visit with my family for a few days.

In 2021 I couldn’t visit them when departing Europe because if COVID restrictions, and I hadn’t seen any of them in person since 2015. It was wonderful to meet toddler cousins and one who was two weeks old. The weather was unseasonably warm and I did another walking tour of Diocletian’s palace, which contains the cathedral, in Split.

I then went by ferry to the island where my family was from (the island of Brač)  and arrived at the village of Pučišća. I visited the marble quarry and the the remains of a stone house my dad and family had hidden in in World War II, my cousin’s olive groves, and a museum on olive oil production with a marvelous tasting at the end.

He also showed me the best spot for a picture of Pučišća and a monastery closed in the eighties.

I went on a brief boat tour of the bay, and saw the completed marble model of St. Peter’s Basilica that I had helped by getting some photos in Rome.

I returned for one night to Rome and then back to the United States…for bi-annual superiors meetings at Our Lady Queen of Peace retreat center near Memphis, TN. With some strong coffee I was functional at the meetings, then returned to Durham and joined the community the next day in Kiawah Island, SC for a few days off. It was Providential, because I came down with a nasty cold and with the rest and extra sleep I had recuperated a lot before returning to NC.

Then I had a few blessed weeks at home in Durham, at the new house, working on projects. Our major superior came for a canonical visit for five days. In our congregation he or a delegate comes annually to meet with the community together and individually, and then has meetings with the community administrator and the superior. From my concluding conversations with him the community is doing well. As religious we support each other as brothers, so having different assignments can silo us if we don’t work on it.

About a week later I came home to Watsonville for Thanksgiving with my family. It’s a great grace to be home for Thanksgiving for the first time in twenty-six years, by my reckoning, as I finish this blog post. Just one of many things for which I am grateful. Have a blessed Advent and Christmas.

Fall, Advent, and Christmas

My intention was to just write about my visit to Sacred Heart Apostolic school, our minor seminary in Indiana, sometime in mid-November. Two months happened. It was the first Fall since 2012 that I didn’t head to Italy to teach at Regina Apostolorum. The book project I completed in October was the last major commitment to the university, and I started applying for positions teaching theology in the United States (as of this writing, no offers yet). Over the summer I received the community responsibility for the finances (the community administrator), and with RC Spirituality and my work for the Legion as Territorial Prefect of Studies, I’ve been happily busy.

In late October and early November I covered a little more than usual at Our Lady of Lourdes in Raleigh while the pastor was on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. All Saints on 11/1 was a beautiful liturgy, and I celebrated All Souls at the parish and we processed to a columbarium at the parish and loved ones prayed for their dead buried there.

On 11/3 I visited, as Territorial Prefect of Studies, Sacred Heart Apostolic School, in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. I had not been at the school since 2008. I’d been making the rounds of our formation centers, presenting the new plan of studies, and at Sacred Heart I met with the formation team, the professors, and the students.

After catching up with a family I’d know in Florence (Italy) I visited the Legionary fathers studying at the University of Notre Dame and had my first tour of the university. When I was flying into South Bend one of the attendants at the gate kept talking about the “touch down Jesus.” I had no idea what it meant until I saw the huge image of Our Lord on the side of their huge library. Seeing two floors of the library dedicated to theology alone made we want to move in (I did apply for a position at UND in October; I didn’t get an interview). The basilica on campus was also breathtaking.


On campus there is also a beautiful Marian grotto inspired by the grotto at Lourdes.

I celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time in nine years in the U.S. In Rome they always made a turkey lunch for us, but the fixings were never exactly the same. It was a long forgotten experience for me to have to wind down around a Thanksgiving break, since it wasn’t celebrated in Italy. A parish family arranged a wonderful turkey lunch with all the trimmings, and I and the fathers of my community in town had a quiet day at home after morning Masses.

With the arrival of Advent I and the other fathers helped out with penance services at the local parishes, which had been on hold since COVID started. A meal with the other priests was offered at each penance service, so it was the first time I spent time with the clergy of my deanery. For my fifteenth anniversary of ordination (12/8) I took a cultural tour of a Cabela’s (I did get a couple of things, nothing too outdoor or lethal) and then was treated to a steak dinner.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was on a Sunday of Advent this year, which took priority, but that didn’t keep the parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes from constructing a beautiful shrine to Our Lady, right in front of the presider’s chair during Mass. At the start of Mass I quipped, since many of the faithful couldn’t see me as usual, due to the shrine, “for the record, I stand behind the Blessed Mother.” A large image of her is kept in the vesting sacristy of the parish, and I often speak to Our Lady in the few minutes before I process out for Mass.

On 12/16 the diocese had its first clergy Christmas gathering since 2019. I was not at the September convocation of priests, so it was my first opportunity to meet clergy from all over the diocese of Raleigh. Earlier the same day I visited Bishop Luis Rafael and gave him a copy of my new book. I also gave a talk on liturgical life to the young professionals group at St. Joseph’s parish.

On 12/21 I travelled to California to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in 25 years. When I knew my annual Rome teaching commitment would be concluded by 2021 I pitched the idea to my Mom, and we were both excited. It was also the first time reconnecting with some friends and family since COVID broke out in 2020. The afternoon of Christmas Eve I helped my Mom wrap presents for nine people: it was probably more presents than I’d wrapped in the previous 24 years combined.

Fr. Jason, the pastor of St. Patrick’s, invited me to celebrate the Midnight Christmas Mass at the parish where I was baptized. The day of Christmas was the best. My Mom had all my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my nieces over for dinner. I had not been around children excited about opening Christmas presents in years; my youngest two nieces, Petra and Rose, were excited, but patient. After dinner (which the girls ate in record time) we gathered in the living room and took turns opening presents. My niece Rose hugged her grandmother after opening each present from her.

For me the greatest gift was to be home with them for Christmas. A few days later I travelled up for a day in Chico to visit and say Mass for my aunts Lucy and Marie. My family gave me a chalice and I used it for the first time for Mass with my aunts. I returned to Raleigh on 12/30 for our customary end of year retreat on 12/31. I wish everyone a blessed 2022.