As I have for several newsletters now. I find it hard to focus my attention on one topic. I want to rant about the Penn State scandal; I want to rant about the encroachment of popular culture on our Advent Season; I want to tell you of the wonderful opportunity you have with Ten Thousand Villages; and finally I want to tell you about my renewed desire to return to Kajo Keji. Let me see if I can briefly talk about them all.
I am appalled by how much the Penn State scandal has lost its focus. The issue is not that Coach Joe Paterno was fired, but that he, and all the others, did not call the attention of the authorities to the fact that a child had been molested. As one who is not an avid sports fan, I can't understand hero worship in this sense (Even Gore Vidal doesn't deserve such deference(He said tongue in cheek.).) As a priest I find it even harder to understand. I am under an obligation to report such abuse if I even hear a notion or it, which by the way, makes hearing Confessions even harder for both me and the penitent. We need to keep the "main thing the main thing." I do not apologize for offending anyone. "JoePa" is not a victim, but he did facilitate the activities of a potential predator. Now that this is out of the way, let me move on.
The Advent Season approaches. W will hold my usual rant against the commercialization of Christmas, as most you you know already. I will remind you that this is the season to prepare our hearts to receive Christ again. I especially emphasize that it is the time to receive Christ, not the baby Jesus. Jesus could only come once: Christ can come to us again, and again. Think about that.
The next reminder that I want to give you is that this year we are again hosting Ten Thousand Villages. This is a unique opportunity to purchase fairly traded merchandise from around the world. Since we know that most people purchase Christmas gifts, we thought that Advent would be the obvious time to host the fair. You can shop with us knowing that at least 90% of your money will go directly to the person who made your item. The other 10% will go to a local charity. You can't say that with any commercial store.
Finally, I want you to know that i have a desire to return to our brothers and sisters in Kajo Keji. I have talked with Bishop Paul about this and he encouraged me to contact Bishop Anthony. Bishop Anthony said that he could use me in the College and elsewhere. I will continue to pray about this, and I ask you to join me. Short-term missionary work can be useless or productive depending on it's focus. When I was 15 years old I helped clear a mountain-side which began as a playground and became the foundation for a school in Ecuador. But I have known other instances where short-term mission work was little more than sightseeing. If I return, I want to make something worthwhile out of it.
In these thoughts may we find truth. Amen