Running With the Storm

Storm chaser

By Charlie Johnston

I hit the road on Monday to begin the visits in the East. I left Colorado by a parallel route to that with which I entered it on my pilgrimage seven years ago. It is always strange to me when I drive a long stretch of what I walked at the beginning of the decade. I always think, “Man, that was a loooong way.” While it just takes me a good portion of a day to cover what took me weeks to cover on foot, it somehow seems longer when I drive it. I suppose it is because of expectations. When you are walking, you put in your 10-15 miles, find cover, and make camp for the night. The places you come to are always ancillary to the work you do each day – and you never know what delightful people and events you will encounter with the day. You truly savor the moments without much in the way of expectations. Yet if you do it every day, you cover a ton of ground – a whole country’s worth, in time.

A wild storm chased me all the way out of Colorado and into Nebraska. It seemed to be 20 miles behind me all day long. About a half hour after I passed through Ft. Morgan, I got the emergency broadcast that folks there should take immediate cover to protect themselves from ping-pong sized hail, flying debris from the high winds and killer lightning. Same as I passed through Brush, Sterling, and Julesburg. I stopped in Big Springs, Nebraska (on the border of Colorado) to get a sandwich and look at the great, hidden spot where I had taken cover and made camp seven years ago. Although I hang around for a good half hour, when I left, the storm was STILL a half hour behind me. I drove until I got to Kearney, Nebraska and got a room for the night. I watched the storm finally catch up with me from my room around 11 p.m. By then it was just a shadow of itself. I only got three minutes of hail – and it was the size of new peas, not golf balls. There were a couple of forlorn bolts of lightning, but it was just for show: its killing days were clearly over. That vicious wind that was sending debris flying everywhere else apparently had an asthma attack: it was so weak as to almost be apologetic.

Tuesday I got some gentle rain as I drove into Iowa. I kept getting the emergency broadcast telling me of the destructive potency of storms as I headed east…but it stuck to gentle rain wherever I actually was. That was nice – I hope if the storm shadows me throughout this journey, it remains at bay.

I’ll get something substantial up this weekend. Meantime, I will speak at the Frida Kahlo Restaurant in Solon, Iowa at 6:30 this Thursday, May 30. Contact Patty at for information or to secure a spot there. On Sunday, June 2, I will speak in Wadena, Iowa at 2 p.m. Contact Gary at for information and to secure an invitation.

122 thoughts on “Running With the Storm

  1. Love this kind of check-in, Charlie. Recently, I took some time to look at your pilgrimage days’ posts that are up on FB. Such great lessons for the heights of the Storm. I tasted the same hopeful, heartening flavor with which you have seasoned your first paragraph here, such as this: “You truly savor the moments without much in the way of expectations. Yet if you do it every day, you cover a ton of ground – a whole country’s worth, in time.”

    Grateful you missed the brunt of the Storm. Up north of your travel, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, there was 4 inches of golf ball-sized hail on the roads.

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  2. On another note, yesterday, I bumped into a comment posted by Fr. John Corrigan. He wrote after returning from a conference in Rome on exorcism and I LOVE what he said because Father calls a spade a spade, no sugar coating for what we face in where we are. But he doesn’t stop there. He also uplifts with great fervor and hope.

    The piece “Bad spirits in Rome; encouragement and hope in Assisi” can be found on Fr. John’s blog:

    “And yet there’s an oppressive spirit about Rome which I hate. That spirit was typified in two unfortunate incidents which marred an otherwise excellent conference:…”

    “So what’s my problem? In the first instance, we have important churchmen — the pope’s own collaborators — who laugh at the suggestion that demons exist. I imagine they’re sceptical of miracles too, and the communion of saints. They don’t believe anymore. They’ve lost their faith — or at least, they’ve lost their supernatural outlook. Often, too, they’ve lost their moral integrity. But they hide all that under an outward gloss of Catholicism — the rituals and the clothes and what Romans call “bella figura!” As long as it’s beautiful on the outside, it’s all good. In a scriptural context, we know this by a different name. It’s the Pharisaical Spirit — a religious hypocrisy which made Jesus’ blood boil. It still afflicts God’s People today.

    In the second instance, we have the best the world has to offer — advances in medical science, and models of best practice, and collaboration between faith and reason — but so often it’s ignored or minimalised because it comes from outside. I call this the Levitical Spirit — a closed-mindedness which hardened the hearts of the priests of our Lord’s day, who should not only have recognised Jesus, but also become his greatest disciples.

    As always, the longer I was in Rome the more discouraged I became. When I visit Rome, I’m reminded that we must pray for the pope and his collaborators constantly, because they’re under spiritual attack constantly. This Church we love is very badly afflicted…”

    We ARE a very badly afflicted Church AND our leaders reflect the very laity they are called to serve. Brings me back to your comment about your day of travel yesterday, Charlie (slightly adapted):
    “When looking upon the disarray and disorder in our Church today, you press on in praying and living the faith, with joy and vigor, right where you are. You truly savor the moments without much in the way of expectations. Yet if you do it every day, taking every next right step you are prompted to take, you cover a ton of ground, for such holiness redounds to holiness throughout the entire world.”

    God bless and keep you safe on the way and at your visits, Charlie. Have fun in my state of birth, so close to your own old stomping grounds. Please, bless the heartland as you travel, for our food supplies are at risk because of what too many farmers are experiencing and, I read the other day, suicide rates are the highest they’ve ever been among our country’s farmers. God rest each of their souls.

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          1. That Doug would probably be me BD.  I go there to help other folks in the same situation as my son.  The site is run by a rad feminist.  Interestingly enough, the rad fems are typically against the transgender contagion.  When a man wants to be a woman, this is man invading woman’s territory.   So there is an unlikely ally.  I am not there to challenge their beliefs, although I disagree, but I try to give accurate information and references to parents who have children caught up in the transgender contagion.  Often times, when desperate parents are searching the web for info, they find too many sites giving the wrong information that leads them to support their child’s transition.  It is a horrible evil.  Anyway, I saw a BD comment over there and was wondering if that was you.  Blessings! 

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            1. A PMT for you, Doug, as you witness to Truth at that site. Sending you St. Maximilian Kolbe who gave his life for a family. May all families feel the ripple of the Truth to which you witness. I love it when Charlie writes that Aslan is on the move because He IS and He’s moving through those of us willing to live TNRS. Thank you so much, Jesus!

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              1. You are very kind Becks. It is an up hill battle and I do not know what I would do without my beautiful Catholic faith and good friends.

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            2. Pretty crazy blog Doug. I searched that site after your comment and found a BD, clicked on the avatar and a different name showed up (not BD and definitely not suitable for posting it here). I think it’s a woman. Judging by some of the posts, there are many rad fems there. Anyways, thank God I’m just a plain old fashioned (toxic masculine) male. 😉

              PS Glad you’re setting them straight. God Bless…

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              1. I think I will stick with good ole fashioned toxic masculinity yoo 😎 seriously though, 16 year old girls are cutting off there breasts and having hysterectomies. What boggles my mind is parents are actually letting there kids do this.

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  3. Traveling graces to you in abundance ! Will you be traveling west this summer ? Southern Ca ? Remember our pitiful state in prayer as you travel about . We are far from Golden .. tarnished is an understatement … ….that confessional Bill is creeping it’s way into CA law .. ..😭😭😭🙏. It past the first hurdle the other day.

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    1. Been watching this development, Vanessa. In response to the bill in CA and the bill passed in the US Congress, the “Equality Act,” six days ago Msgr. Charles Pope published this piece on the Stages of Persecution. Praying for you, California and every one of us as developments continue.

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    2. Hi Vanessa!!!

      Charlie WILL be traveling out west starting in October through November! I have one request for Sacramento, but no other requests to host Charlie on the West Coast or Southwest.

      God Bless you and all you do to save those babies!

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  4. I’m sure every reader is analogizing your physical presence ahead of that storm (chasing you out of Colorado) with your spiritual presence staying just out of the reach of the storm you have been telling us about. I believe you are well protected in both realms as many are praying for you.

    I live in California and am anxiously awaiting posts of your visits to the west. Oh, how I would love to be in Solon or Wadena this week! I lived in Cedar Rapids as a preschooler and visited relatives in western Iowa throughout the many years since. My most recent visit was with my aunt (a nun at Mt. St. Francis in Dubuque). I hope to see her again later this year.

    One of my joys in life is traveling the highways and byways of this magnificent land. My travels this summer will be vicariously through you. I’m with you in spirit (as I’m sure every reader is).

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    1. Hi Patrick FGH!

      Charlie WILL be traveling out west starting in October through November! I have one request for Sacramento, but no other requests to host Charlie on the West Coast or Southwest.

      I LOVE Iowa — I have never lived there (used to live in Nebraska), but have traveled through Iowa many times and it is BEAUTIFUL! — Truly God’s country. (I also purchase my chickens/geese/turkeys from a heirloom breed hatchery near Cedar Rapids). 😀🐓

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      1. So, you get your birds from MacMurray? We used to; but once we moved to Michigan, we discovered that the local grain elevator/feed store puts together an order for birds from a hatchery about 80 miles away. So farmers from all over our “neighborhood” get a steep discount because of the huge order, and we simply pick up the chicks at the elevator.

        What does your “German shepherd” think of chickens/geese/turkeys? 🙂

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          1. Farm Girl, I LOVE Sandhill! I order multitudinous garden seeds from them every year; they have some varieties that I can’t find anywhere else. Do you know how Linda is doing? The last I heard, she was very sick.

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      2. Hi FARMGIRL.

        Thank you for your bit of info about Charlie’s west coast swing. I am anxious to know details because I am not sure where I will be at any given time. I might be in the Santa Barbara area again or still in the Napa area. Either way, I’m hoping the timing is convenient. All according to God’s will.

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  5. It’s interesting I was traveling to and from Sacramento Airport and to a wedding near Redding on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights of this holiday weekend. Each night the lightning show in the distance was dramatic. Two of the nights we were wakened when the thunder as well as the lightning caught up with us at home. If those storms are headed east, there is more to come.

    God’s graces and blessings for safe travels and good weather, Charlie.

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  6. Thanks for the balanced (no sugar-coating but hope filled) travel update, Charlie. I still have many old friends across the Midwest, so read the various worried social media posts coming from them. I suppose the big difference being that most were hunkering down in place, rather than being on the move out front.

    “Running With the Storm” really gave me an unexpected surprise because I finally found your mustang. I had previously mentioned that I often run across mustangs that remind me of various folks, mainly in temperament, but other features such as markings, herd role and whatnot. Once I make the pairing, it’s always a prompt to pray for that person when I encounter ‘their’ horse.

    So I came across a mature stallion this weekend that immediately reminded me (in size, markings and bearings) of the famous warhorse, “Sergeant Reckless.” ‘Course that name wouldn’t do since Sgt. Reckless was a mare, so I pondered a more appropriate moniker. Since I first saw the mustang in full stride during some unusually stiff winds as of late, I thought of “Storm Runner.” That led to some other potential names including “Tom Fury,” but I chuckled at that and threw it off as quickly as it came.

    The following day I encountered that ole’ mustang again working his way upriver at the head of a herd that was out in force at my fishing hole. A little over 70 head including Red’s band, Gold’s band and a few other bands with some foals. Worked my way up to within about 10 feet of him, at which point he paused to get a good whiff, gave a gentle nicker, then resumed his trek upriver. Watching him go, I finally settled on a name. “Duty Bound.”

    Here’s the way I remember him:

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      1. He’s a real beaut, ain’t he!?

        After pondering some of your recent comments, here’s something that made me laugh at myself. Lately I’ve been heading out to a favorite destination in the sticks where there’s a certain shade tree to park under. Last few trips out a rare bird (vermillon flycatcher) met me there. First time it was a nice surprise. Second time I took it as a good sign. Third time I wasn’t even out of the truck and that bird was flapping wildly against the passenger side window. Wha? A moment later I figured out the situation. Seems the tree I was parking under was also home to her nest. Whistled gently to her on the way out, and started parking a good distance away after that, in the open next to some desert scrub. Last trip out I encountered the male sitting peacefully on a barbed wire fence. I gave him a little whistle, but was thinking how I’m just as apt to misread the situation in any encounter as I am to get it right. Not sure what he was thinking, but birds strike me as being extremely nimble –– physically at least. We humans… to the degree our thinking is healthy and whole.

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        1. I forgot that I snapped a quick one on my mobile phone of the little gift (btw – there’s also wood that needs chopping just on the other side of that barbed wire).

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            1. On Friday, MP posted an update in the prayer request section of the site, Linda:
              And please remember Bro. Gideon today on this last day of Mary’s month. He’s undergoing round two of major surgeries starting around 8:00am PT, about 11.5 hours worth. Also, please remember our Ma. She’s a faith-filled woman, but a mother too. Mom’s always seem to feel the brunt of it.

              I spoke with Bro. Gideon yesterday and he says he feels the love and joy from the prayers on his behalf. Thx.

              Praying he is recovering well from surgery. If you can, MP, it’s be great to get a post-surgery update.

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          1. When I was a much younger fella out on a run, a bolt of lightning flashed right above my head at a critical juncture, erupting into a bone-rattling explosion of thunder almost simultaneously. To this day I’m not sure if that was God slapping me to, or the evil one bellowing in anger at the turn. Can’t remember the exact timing of that moment. At any rate, I did a complete 180 and beat tracks for home.

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            1. Just a closer walk….or run, with Him!

              On my first visit to my parents new home in Marana in August 2000, my first day in Arizona, I was sitting in dad’s Lazy Boy looking amazed at a torrential downpour out the living room window. It was evening. The street instantly became a flowing river. Then a bolt struck the ground in a lot across the street, blinding me. Flash-boom! The house lights flickered and the smoke detectors went off, and I could taste metal in my mouth. Puts the Fear of God in ya!

              Marana has a nice vantage of Tucson. On one Fourth of July, the fireworks around the city looked puny next to the spectacular orange/pink lightning show going on in mountains surrounding the city.

              God is great!

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              1. Hm. Typo or pun? Pikachu… or punny reference to Picacho Peak which stands just a stone’s throw north of Tucson? Picacho is Spanish for peak. So I guess that’s Peak Peak… Pikachu. Yea, it’s late. Let’s just give it a “Bing.”

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                1. It was a typo.  So it is a bing.  However, maybe not quite a typo so much as I was too lazy to look up the word.  I was unsure of its spelling and did not bother to look it up.  So is it really worthy of a bing if I was lazy?  But then, if I write a follow-up long winded rambling post, does that make up for my laziness?  That can stimulate contemplation.  Maybe this post will stimulate someone to overcome idleness?  Lambzie and I saw the Pokémon movie last night and that is what stimulated me to comment.  It was a so so movie.  However, if one was from the Pokémon generation, one may have really liked it.  There was good and evil and I think this was put in its proper light.  Pikachu, one of the main characters, has powers to electify himself like lightening.  So there is a connection to your post.  Where is this all going?  I don’t know as I am rambling.  So I will stop and get to work doing chores around the house.  I have to get ready for some visitors coming in two weeks.

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                  1. Then please don’t forget the sour cream and onion chips as well as the cold cherry cokes! Oh, and coffee… lots and lots of morning coffee. For the lanky dude, I highly recommend organic keto. (You’re welcome. 🤩🥰🤪)

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                    1. Haaa! That has not been lost in me Becks. We will be setting up a tent with 80 chairs at our friends farm in Goffstown. This is for Charlie’s talk. If anyone here is interested to participate, check out the link for Charlie’s travels. The date is June 15. If more than 80 show up, we plan to have some extra lawn chairs on hand. Our star ASOH techie person and his 90 plus year old golfing mom is planning to be there. Heck, I would attend just to meet him and his mom!

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                    2. Ha! We are actually 8 miles from the Manchester airport and South West has many flights in and out of there. So come on by if you are so imclined!

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            2. I was giving a course to the employees of the USGS in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. For my part, I teach them boots on the ground techniques on how to look out for and avoid potential harm from wildlife such as gators, bears, snakes, invertebrates, etc. One of the clients asked about avoiding lightning upon which I mentioned that lightning isn’t wildlife! But we discussed the great potential as our area of Florida has been called the lightning capital of the world. As an aside to the discussion I mentioned that it is often said that the chances of someone being bitten my a venomous snake was greater than the once in a lifetime chance of being struck by lightning. To this I countered that I must have lived four lifetimes as I had been bitten three times by venomous snakes (two copperheads and a coral snake) and struck by lightning once!

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              1. Hey Phillip, if you’ve been bitten 3-times by venomous snakes and struck by lightening once, I think you need to take a refresher course… 😉

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                1. Well BD, the course covers wilderness safety. Dumb me was neither in the wilderness nore practicing safety when the four incidents occurred!🕵
                  As far as turtles Doug, I’ve always had a turtle pond (now I have 11).
                  It just evolved from a fancy into a buisness same as lecturing to USGS employees looking to get schooled on how a dumb guy like me made it out alive long enough to teach them!
                  One thing’s for sure- you can’t learn what I know from a book. Most people are too embarrassed (or dead) to admit in writing the things I’ve done! I’m a good sign of hope to those around me for sure.
                  That there is truly a God who watches over His people is the only explanation as to why I’m still alive!

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            3. Hey MP, check this one out. Holy smokes! This’ll give those who’ve never seen the desert a sense of how monsoons whip up from nowhere and dump incredible amounts of rain. They are intense and violent.

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      1. Here’s a cloud spinning like a top and it’s not happenin’ in Tornado Alley. This photo was taken in California last week… A towering “LP supercell,” or low-precipitation supercell

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    1. Ooo…I like my mustang. During my pilgrimage, when I was out in the middle of nowhere, cows would often stare at me, as if to say, “What in heck are you doing out here?” Horses, though, were fascinating. They, too, would stare – but about every third horse, after staring at me for a minute, would give me a nod…and then go back to his business. I really liked that…it was kind of like they were saying, “We’re all good.”

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      1. Glad you liked him. That little nod could very mean what you think. I find them fascinating as well, particularly since we humans have had a special, mutually beneficial relationship with them for millenia. I’ve also observed horses nod to another horse like that, apparently as an indication that they want to play. Careful though, they play a little rough sometimes. Cows on the other hand seem to be mainly for dairy and eating. Normally they beat tracks when they see me coming. “Moo. Look, Bob, here comes that meat and potatoes guy again. Run!”

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    1. Thanks for this link to another great piece by Fr. Longenecker, Mellen. Research shows that a person who chooses a chronic hypercritical way of thinking and speaking is rewiring the brain to become susceptible to depression and anxiety. There are two thoughts that arose as I read this article.

      One: “However, the more bitter criticism I hear of Pope Francis the more it puts me on his side.” If we react to hyper-criticism by getting sick of it and just “get on someone’s side” because we’re repulsed by OTT criticism, we haven’t judged with righteous judgement. That said, Fr. Dwight named truth when he struck this chord: “But if this is done with a sour attitude, a pessimistic spirit and a disgruntled, hyper critical mentality, it’s not of God. If the criticism is indulged in with a negative, suspicious and angry tone it is simply full of pride. If one is nit picking over fine points of liturgy, appearance at Mass, moral behavior or doctrines with a snooty, self righteous legalism then it’s not the Holy Spirit. It’s another Spirit.” The state of our hearts when we name problems and offer criticism matters to God.

      The other thought is the omission of mentioning the changes coming to the Church and whole world via purification in this Storm as Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart is in the process of reaching her full Triumph. Christ’s Light IS shining in the darkness.

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  7. God’s gift to us of a horse, running wild and free along the edge of the tide … my hearts desire ! A bit of heaven on earth. Beautiful picture. Thank you also for the informative article with the powers of mother nature vividly written. Are you driving all the way to the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean? Wow!

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  8. Thanks for these beautiful posts/comments/links. Just starting to emerge from some health challenges that have been with me since February. Have come to see that God is God and in control and I am not. Starting to recognize some truths about me [as God sees]. Pained but grateful.
    Suspect that more is to be revealed with health issues but for now walking with Mary, praying to live in The Divine Will. Boy, this dying to self is tough.
    I keep thinking how the Polish people responded during the era as communism was losing it’s grip in Poland when the great Saint Pope John Paul II returned to visit his people. The shouted: “We want God! We want God!” I’m calling out the same for our people and the world. Times are evil, Holy Spirit is moving!

    Charlie, hope to see you when you visit Queensbury, NY, if I’m up to it. Praying for your safe and fruitful travels.

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  9. This year MP in addition to the usual suspects I have goldfinches and Baltimore Orioles nesting nearby. I cannot say how beautiful they are. The wonder of God’s creation is overwhelming. I work with animals so love the wild horses you send to us! Thank you. Prayers for all my family here.

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  10. “But to surrender what you are, and live without belief – that’s more terrible than dying – more terrible than dying young.” – “So Lord, if I am not in the state of Your Grace, please get me there; if I am in the state of Your Grace, please keep me there!” (St.Joan of Arc optional memorial)

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    1. Hear Hear, Maggie! A PMT for Charlie this day while sending St. Joan of Arc, a patron of this site, to ever remain by Charlie’s side in these current travels and visits.

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  11. More on the disturbing Rise of The Nones.

    “Some have drifted away; others have stormed away. Some have had very little religious instruction; others are objecting to specific doctrines and practices,” he said. “Some are in their teens; others are in their 60s and 70s.”

    Disaffiliation typically starts at an early age. Gray said the “None” is not typically an adult who was sitting in the pew and became angry about a homily. A St. Mary’s Press study found the median age for deciding to leave the Catholic faith was approximately 13 years old.

    13 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!

    Gray said the trends show the Church cannot count on them, or their children, coming back for cultural or social reasons, like baptisms, first Holy Communions or weddings.

    “Within the last decade, we’re seeing the kids of the unaffiliated remain unaffiliated,” he said.

    This is a crisis for the souls of the Nones. Frightening in its cancerous spread. Is there any Christian family not effected by this trend among its young? Is there any Catholic family that has not witnessed this in their own experience?

    This is also a growing political crisis for our country. Nones are becoming a decisive part of the electorate. They are a growing influence on the politicians (votes) in shaping legislation and policy.

    This ought to concern everybody because Christians are losing ground in the political and social arena.

    We are living in a post-Christian society and the Church has hardly reacted at all.

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    1. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Romans 5:20) Truly, when it’s the worst of times, God pours forth graces in abundance so that it becomes the best of times.

      To partner with God and His Abundant graces, some practical next right steps can be considered:
      *Ask for those graces as Our Lady instructed us to do when she taught us through St. Catherine Labouré on the Rue du Bac in Paris in 1830
      *Seek a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, for with Him we have everything, including His Power to make a difference as we evangelize on a local level in this post-Christian world… and this is not only true for people drawn to the Charismatic spirituality… we ALL need the Holy Spirit… He is, after all, God and His Power which brought Jesus back to life at His Resurrection is Infinite Power, available to everyone who would ask. (A story: I’m also discovering His Power is available to the non-baptized. I pray each morning with my young granddaughters and the youngest, who is yet to be baptized, has considered Fr. Wang her best friend since she can remember in her wee life. In the early days of Father’s long recovery from his latest health adventure, when he was lying in bed resting so much, his weak shoulder – afflicted with end stage arthritis with its bone on bone contact – began aching miserably and unceasingly; there was hardly a position he could find to bring some relief… until this youngest grandchild laid her hands on Father’s shoulder and prayed for relief from pain… she knows to pray in Jesus’ Name AND she knows to thank Him immediately for hearing her prayer and Voila! Shoulder pain instantly gone. Praised be Jesus.)
      *While the Church in her Passion Time is being disciplined by the Lord, it seems the hierarchy is paralyzed in many ways, but the hierarchy is not the whole Church. This is the time for the Ballad of the Ordinary Man. Apostolates for educating oneself on foundational theology and practical techniques and strategies with additional ideas for discussion regarding lay evangelization is a major manifestation of God’s Abundant graces abounding. We can research possibilities and seek Holy Spirit’s discernment concerning the best next right step for us in this realm. Here are but three ideas. There are more:
      *Encounter Ministries I cannot say enough good things about this apostolate… Among their good works to equip God’s people to evangelize, they have great online resources; they are doing outreach by offering conferences around the country; they are setting an example of Christian unity by planning a Columbus Citywide Healing Service in August and I expect more good works to flow through their various ministries
      *St. Paul Street Evangelization Another wonderful apostolate doing the work and offering training for interested folks
      *Unbound – Heart of the Father Ministry also filled with training opportunities via events sponsored around the country as well as a networking through their website where people can search for local teams trained in this ministry to serve God’s people

      This is our Time to co-create with God in rebuilding the Church. Only each one of us can know the next right step to which we are called to become equipped to better serve God and His people. A rich harvest is ripe and, from the witnessing with real life stories which I have read and heard, God is saturating our nets with graces as we take the risk to step out and cast them anew.

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      1. Thank you, Ed, for posting the article about the rise of the “Nones.” Thinking about ways to be an instrument of bringing them to Christ has been part of my contemplating for a long while. I found this piece, an interview with Bishop Barron, by the same author you quoted in your comment. This excerpt especially caught my attention:

        When engaging the Nones, what approaches have you found to be effective?

        I have found good success with videos that include an interactive element. I do a commentary on some aspect of the faith or the contemporary culture, and then people have a chance to respond, question, vent their spleen, etc. Even those who comment only to upbraid me or tell me how stupid I am at least give me a way in, some traction. Usually, by responding positively, I can start a conversation. I have also found that the use of the beautiful (rather than the good and the true) tends to be more efficacious with the unaffiliated. I just show them some beautiful expression of the Catholic tradition and tell them why it’s beautiful. That usually provides a way in.”

        Beauty… Pope Benedict XVI wrote with elegance about the theology of beauty here. I find this piece to be filled with profound meditation material. This, in turn, reminded me of an article I bumped into recently… incredible evangelization work was done via immersing students in the beauty of literature and culture in a humanities program offered at the University of Kansas. You can read about the dynamic results of that effort here.

        And all of this pondering with meditation brings me back to the question MP recently posed: “Seems like there’s bigger, better tools in our bag that we’re not even willing to consider.” Have we overlooked “beauty” as a bigger, better tool? The kind of beauty which Pope Emeritus Benedict calls us to consider.

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    2. STEd, Yes,we have friends who told their teens that after they received the sacrament of Confirmation, the kids could decide for themselves whether to continue going to Sunday mass; I refrained from asking the adults if they were also allowing the teens to decide whether to attend high school on days they didn’t feel like it-since they were of legal age to quit (16 in that state).

      Liked by 5 people

  12. I am asking for prayers for myself. I fell and twisted my ankle and either broke or sprained it badly last night. I will be getting an x-ray soon. My son is getting married in 3 weeks, so I have things to do. If you could also pray for him (Danny) and his fiancé, Jessica, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much!

    Liked by 8 people

      1. SteveBC I finished President Trump’s angels last week. This week I am sending angels for you. May God bless and continue to guide you.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. JAS, it’s rare for someone to leave me gaping and speechless, but you have just done that, truly. Such a generous and helpful act. I accept most gladly and gratefully!

          Might I ask them also to assist my mother, who lives with me? Is there anything I should do?

          Liked by 2 people

    1. SHERALYN80. Praying for you and the family. Just a tip from having sprained my ankle numerous times while playing B-ball over the years, get some athletic tape and tape your ankle. Use the figure 8 method. It should help.

      PS: Stay out of the rain.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Sheralyn, I have offered a prayer for your speedy healing and recovery so you are feeling better and ready to fully enjoy the wedding, and no one is supposed to upstage the bride. 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Sheralyn, been there and done that. In my case had to have surgery to fix it. Praying for you and Danny and Jessica. Keep calm and carry on. The Lord will make it all come together for you somehow. Peace and perseverance. Come what may enjoy the wedding!

      Liked by 3 people

    4. I’m praying for your needs, Sheralyn. 😌

      Let’s see, so many wonderful Catholic saints to choose from…
      I’ll pray for the intercession of St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Mother Teresa, St. Luke the Physician, and modern Saint Dr. Giuseppe Moscati.

      You know what it needs (if you can find the time): ice and elevate that puppy 🐶

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Fantastic, Charlie! I’m sure we’ve all been praying for you and worrying too! lol Keep ahead of those storms, but then again… God Himself is in charge of the weather as well and we all know he will protect you! Whatever you are going through, it’s gotta be a whole lot better than being swallowed by a whale! Can you imagine!!!! Poor Job… I think of that often! God bless you, Charlie! See ya in Michigan!!! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Timothy! I’d never heard of Domeneche but I see his mention of Michael Anton’s Flight 93 piece. More evidence of hope from the marginalized periphery to which Bp Athanasius Schneider–when he was allowed to go–found oases of Catholicism. He said so himself.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Queen of Peace, Medugorje Message for May 25, 2019
    “Dear children! God permitted me, out of His mercy, to be with you, to instruct and lead you towards the way of conversion. Little children, you are all called to pray with all your heart for the plan of salvation to be realized for you and through you. Be aware, little children, that life is short and eternal life waits for you according to your merit. Therefore, pray, pray, pray to be worthy instruments in God’s hands. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Beautiful! Wednesday night Kevin was at a neighboring parish, St. Joseph in Joliet. I was not able to make arrangements to attend his talk. I really wanted to support him in his infirmity and listen to his testimony. I grew up listening to him and many other DJ’s on WLUP the “Loop” during my teenage years. I was thrilled to find a YT video presentation he gave at another IL parish during Lent and have added the link. I’ve listened to it twice already. 😉

      The Broken Mary Project – Kevin Matthews Talk

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Wow, Jen! No wonder there were thousands of people in that procession. Kevin Matthews has an amazing evangelization ministry… all because he continues to listen (acknowledge God) and then acts on what He tells Kevin to do (NRS) and what a sign of hope. Thanks for scouting this out and sharing the link, Jen. Wonderful stories of faith here!

        Liked by 4 people

          1. What I hope, is that people actually listen to the recorded talk in the video that Jen has shared. (I’d wager three minutes of viewing would hook anyone.) It’s filled with heart-piercing stories of faith. Many of the elements about making a return to the Lord which we’ve discussed at TNRS-ASOH are recounted. An ordinary guy, far from God and very much down on his luck, stumbles onto this statue, broken in half with missing hands, and it looks cold and abandoned, says he. He hears a stern voice saying: “Will you deny Me? Will you deny My Mother?” Ah! A day of visitation from the Lord! And the man responds by bringing home the statue, cleaning it up and repairing it as he can while connecting his own brokenness with the state of the statue. In the midst of this process the man’s conversion bloomed with vigor… He called a priest and after the statue was blessed the miracles began. This man, Kevin Matthews, then had the urge to recite to Rosary, however, he didn’t have any rosary beads and he didn’t know how to pray it. From this beginning, he is now proclaiming: When you recite and hold her Rosary, you are holding the hand of Mary and when you hold the hand of Mary, you are holding the Power of God and the Power of God can heal e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. who’s broken.

            I found the video to be captivating because Matthews has a way of expression which, I think, appeals well to the ordinary person… so down to earth and rock, solid in faith is he. I think this appeal not only has potency to draw in the “nones” but also the walking dead in our Christian churches, the ones who profess to be Catholic Christians or Christians affiliated with other denominations, yet, who do not profess or live the teachings of Christ. (I say this without disdain or personal judgement for individuals or the whole group. It’s simply a fact that’s oh so common.)

            After viewing the video I can see: No wonder so many people showed up for the pre-procession presentation! As it is reported: The pews overflowed with people. Thousands sat. Hundreds stood. I was in awe at this aspect of the procession which was reported: The crowd walked slowly and moved in silence. They only spoke to recite prayers. Can you imagine this? In Chicago?!

            And a most heartwarming insight has struck me with joy. As more and more “Kevin Matthews” receive a visitation from Our Lord and/or Our Lady and respond by taking the next right steps to which they’re prompted, they become sherpas – just as Kevin now is (look how God, through Kevin’s fiat, mobilized the crowd to honor His Mother) living TNRS without yet having the language to call it that. Aslan IS on the move and something within each of us is stirred when we look around to notice His Moves.

            Broken Mary, please bring your Son’s healing to each of us and our families at TNRS-ASOH. Then we will rise anew, stronger than ever in Him in Whom we live and move and have our being that we might better serve, raise up and encourage our brothers and sisters all around us.

            Liked by 5 people

    2. I attended Kevin Mathews Presentation of “Broken Mary” this evening at Holy Trinity Church in Westmont, IL and was delighted. The statue is truly beautiful. He told me that he’d be back in the area soon and planned another visit to St. John Cantius Church in Downtown Chicago. In October he has something special planned in his now home state of Michigan. He is still funny and now sincerely devoted to his faith, God and Our Blessed Mother too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Tell me true Charlie, are they ( Earthly powers that be) messing with our weather?

    Tonight, out of the blue a severe thunderstorm not noted in the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’d be curious to know if any here have ( a poll as it were) seen their Catholic Church or Diocese take part in this Day of Prayer (Today) for Prez Trump?

    ‘Because We Need God’s Help’: Franklin Graham Asks All Christians to Pray for President Trump Today

    Franklin Graham asserts that Trump could be toppled in a coup

    Ode to Joy


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Crew Dog, Our parish did not mention this, but I’m sure glad you did! We prayed together as a family for the president after our Sunday dinner. Thank you for mentioning it!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Today is the Feast of the Ascension.

    If you want a very different take on the Ascension take a look at Msg Pope’s lecture on the role of the Angels in the Ascension and in the Nativity. Fascinating. What you never knew about Angels.

    Be sure to listen to his explanation of how the Early Fathers interpreted the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.

    Angels Descending and Ascending with Christ. An AWESOME sight. Perhaps Thousands of them!

    Msg Pope’s notes:

    Click to access 20190122-Ministers-of-Fire-Angels-and-Ascension-.pdf

    Msg Pope’s lecture on the Angels and the Ascension

    Video One

    Liked by 2 people

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