Monday, June 30, 2008

Defining Quadraparroquial

After yesterday's blog entry,
several asked me what Quadraparroquial means.

Parroquial means "Parish."
Like, Parroquial School means a school run by the parish.

So, if I invent a word like Quadraparroquial,
what I am saying is that I feel at home
in four different parishes.

But it's slowly growing to five.

My first home is
St. Elizabeth Parish in Wyandotte, MI
I'm the music director there
and have been at this parish for 3 years now.
St. Elizabeth - My Primary Parroquial Home.

My second home is
St. Alfred Parish in Taylor, MI.
I lead the music for the afternoon Spanish mass
twice a month.
I've been here for about 3 years now as well.
Bi-Parroquial Defined.

My third parish home is
St. Gabriel Parish in Detroit, MI.
(turn your speakers up if you click the link.
Fr. Jaime is a professional musician!)
I subbed for a musician about 2 years ago
while he was out of town.
This was for the 7:00p.m. Spanish Mass.
Then I stepped in when their parish organist died,
but only for a mass or two.
And then I got called back during Lent
to lead for the Spanish mass again.
Tri-Parroquial Defined.

During the school year on weekdays
I can sometimes be found,
not at the organ bench
or piano bench,
but in the pew at
St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, MI.
My son attends high school there,
and well,
I just sometimes worship there because I'm there!
I started attending daily mass when my son
was in middle school.
He would read or be an altar server
and I was just the mom showing some love and support.
Quadra-Parroquial Defined.

Lately, however, it would seem I need to add a 5th parish to the list:
St. Hedwig; Detroit, MI.
I'm still not quite as comfortable here as in the above parishes.
But I've certainly been called to serve as a musician
for special masses (Weddings and 15eras).
I'll be at St. Hedwig twice in July.
. . .and becoming Quinte-Parroquial!

You know,
I have to admit that it really feels good
knowing that I can feel at home
in a number of different places.
Would that all parishes could be as welcoming
as the ones mentioned above.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Electronic Evangelization

I received a call from my pastor last week..
. . .well, o.k. . .
one of my pastors.
The truth is,
I've been practicing tri-parrobics.. . .
. . . sometimes, during the school year, even quadra-parrobics. .
but that's another blog entry.

my pastor called me because the new parish website was finally up.
It took a really long time to move that project
and I could just hear the pride in his voice.
I didn't want to pop his bubble,
but it really was only a homepage.
The project took a long time,
for a variety of reasons.
And I could tell he was just so happy.

He called because he was asking me how to use Youtube.
How do you upload?
How do get the code?
Do you need an account?

I remember discussing using youtube
for Electronic Evangelization with this particular website committee
quite some time ago.
The response from one of the members
was that we should use Godtube instead.
I remember saying we should use them all:
Youtube, Godtube. Google video. . .
The thing is,
I don't think everyone understood why I said that.
As usual,
I was thinking way outside the box.
Way, way outside the box.

So, I've decided that I will use this blog
to give a step by step for using Youtube.
And I'm going to that for a variety of reasons.
First, because my pastor asked me how to do this.

But mostly,
I'm going to do this
because I think most parishes still don't quite get
the idea of using the internet
for viral marketing.
Let alone, for Electronic Evangelization.

I think many
don't have a clue as to just why places
like MySpace are reaping success.
But more,
many don't know how to use web 2.0
for Electronic Evangelization.
I dare to say
that many pastors and parish lay leaders
don't even know what web 2.0 is!

And another thing,
Blogs are VERY important in this online age we live in.
Parishes need to blog everything.
Blog religious ed news.
Blog the pastors column.
Blog social ministry updates.
A blog will give you more "space"
than a traditional printed bulletin.
I mean,
the content is already created every week.
Just click it into a blog.

Blogs will get traffic faster than a traditional website.
Mostly because they are updated often.
Google likes to see frequent updates.
The more updates, the better.

And blogs are interactive.
People can comment and react
to all things written.

But blogs also offer other benefits,
which I will also detail in future blog entries.
it's about Electonic Evangelization.
And using tools that are so readily available to us.

You're probably wondering what the heck I'm
rambling on about here.
I've decided that I'm going to do a series of blog entries,
a Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, if you will.
Not just to give a step-by-step of using Youtube.
But why we should be using these online places
for Electronic Evangelization.

These places:
Youtube, Myspace, Blogger. .
They're all FREE!
Why not use them?
it's a great way to get young people involved
in a parish ministry.
Most teens already have a Youtube and/or Myspace.
Most teens know some basic html.
I know my 14, soon to be 15,-year-old
knows way more html than I do!

So, use their teenage knowledge.
Invite them into an electronic ministry. . . .
. . .The creativity could be phenomenal. . .

. . .oops! . . .
I jumped out of the box again. . .

Oh. . .and somewhere along the way
I'll write about using the internet
for fundraisers.
I think many parishes may be missing
an opportunity in this arena as well.
But first,
we really need to learn other things.

Now, don't get me wrong.
I am in no way suggesting that we replace
good old fashioned parish life and ministry with the internet.
Far from it!

What I am suggesting
is that we use the internet
to our benefit.

Oh, still another thing,
If your parish has a very special group or ministry,
they really should have both their own blog and website.
For example,
one of the parishes I frequent has a dance troupe.
They, my friends, are quite deserving
of their own online home.
And this for a variety of reasons.
But, again, I'll detail why in the weeks to come.

Enough of Rubi's Ramblings for one morning.
I have mass at two parishes today.
So. . today I'm only practicing the art
of being bi-parroquial!

Be sure to check back for this
Electronic Evangelization series!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Mission

I don’t go to the movies much these days.
I only have basic cable
and I can tell you that I watch more
Little House on the Prairie,
Seventh Heaven, and Touched by an Angel
than anything else.

I do manage to watch Beverly Hillbillies
and I Love Lucy reruns.
(Ricky Ricardo was a Latino before his time,
but that’s another blog entry!)

When my sons were younger,
we’d be at the theater every other week.
My eldest sons are now in their twenties.
I can tell you
that when my sons were training to become altar servers
they were top notch,
remembering all of the special names of things liturgical.

I’ll never forget when Fr. Kelly
asked the group of young folks in front of him
what the name of the this was,
as he pointed to the ambo.
My boys were the only ones to raise their hands.
When called upon,
they answered correctly.
"How did you remember that,"
asked the priest.
My sons responded in the only way
a moving going youngster could,
"Because it’s like Rambo,
only without the ‘r.’"

Yes, the Rambo movies
were quite popular in the mid 80's.
But there was another movie
that went almost unnoticed
around the same time.
In fact,
I think it was more popular South of the Border
than in the United States.
It starred a very young Robert De Niro.
So young, in fact,
that when I watched the movie last night,
I barely recognized him.
It was his voice that gave him away. . .

Anyway, thinking of this film for a few days recently,
I went to my local video renting place
to see if I could find a copy.
Sadly, they didn’t carry it.
Couldn’t find it at the library either.
I did the only thing I could do:
I bought it online over at

It’s a true story about a Jesuit mission
and the wonderful gift of music
God has graced an indigenous community with.

It’s a story that begins
with a missionary
gaining the trust and confidence of the indigenous
through music.
It’s a story that ends
with music that survives
when not much else does.
(And this reminds of the woman
who works at the archdiocese
who told me music isn’t evangelization,
but that’s another blog entry as well!)

It’s a movie about brave and daring missionaries,
and dare I say,
very hard working men,
who brought Christ
to those the world said
where nothing more than animals without souls.

It’s a story about men
who trap other men and use them for slaves.
It’s also a story about men
who are slaves to wealth and power.

It’s a story about a bishop
who knew what was right, just and moral
but deciding to side
with those of earthly power and greed.

It’s a story about murder,
conversion and penance.
And a story about forgiveness.

It’s a story about one man’s
journey of faith
as he answers the call to priesthood.

It’s a story about the horrors experienced
by a community
and the Jesuits who risked their very lives,
indeed, risked excommunication
to protect and guard the sacred
when the church, herself, would not.

Buy it.
Rent it.
Just watch it.
The name of the movie is,
"The Mission."
It starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons.
It will tug and your heart strings.

And then make you all the more hungry and thirsty for justice.
What’s scary,
is that it also opens your eyes
to where many of the injustices lie.

. . . .The thing is,
justice cannot be lukewarm.
that’s a very scary thought. . . .

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fiddlin' Around

Last weekend I went to the Irish Festival
here in Wyandotte,
the city where I live.

Anyone who knows me very well,
knows that I just love ethnic festivals
and art fairs and what not.

I love all things creative and artistic,
even when not of the genre I prefer.

I mean,
I love a good Mariachi.
But still, I attended the Irish festival.

So, what’s my point?
At this Irish Festival
I had a most wonderful time.
A wonderful and talented group
of young musicians performed, and,
well, what can I say but that they were just awesome!

Being a musician,
I can appreciate the quality of their musicianship.. .
. . taking cues from each other,
acknowledging each other,
assisting each other.

And their preparedness and confidence. . .
. . what a gift!
And they just seemed to be having
one good time!
To top it all off,
they were all teenagers!

Now, why would I blog about this
in a liturgy blog?
As always,
I try to make the connection
between liturgy and life.
I mean,
sometimes we go to church
and listen and pray and sing,
but make no real connection
with what goes on
in the church building on Sunday
and what goes on in everyday life.

The point is,
we need to celebrate the gifts God has given to us.
And we need to expand them
and share them.
And we need to really appreciate
the gifts that others bring,
even when we prefer another genre of gift.
And quite often
that gift is not a part of the Liturgy of Sunday,
not even a part of the ecclesial structure at all,
but a part of the Liturgy of Life.

Laos Ergon - remember that?
The work of the people.
In the Liturgy of Life
we are constantly sharing the gift,
expanding the gift,
receiving the gift,
accepting the gift,
giving the gift.
unless it’s connected to the institutional church,
many just plain don’t recognize the giftedness of others.

These young people celebrate,
share, and are obviously
constantly expanding their gift.

Their parents recognized the gift,
and did what they could,
are doing what they can,
to bring out the gift.

Their teachers recognized the gift,
and did what they could to make the gift more.

And, together,
the community around these young people
are bringing this gift to others. . .
. . .which is how I came upon them
at the Irish festival.

The thing is,
when you celebrate the gifts
that our Good and Gracious God has given you,
that plain and simply is
a song of praise to the Master Designer.

Enough of Rubi’s Ramblings.
Here they are
in a video I took in Wyandotte, MI.
Don’t forget to visit them at their website:

Friday, June 20, 2008

You Reap What You Sow

Do you ever get the feeling that people just stop trying?
Or that people have just gotten plain lazy?

I have a couple of relatives in my family
who are immigrants,
both of which have attained permanent resident status legally.
One of them constantly reflects
on what is going on at work.
The average worker
will only do the minimum amount of work necessary
to receive the maximum amount of wages.
the employer will pay the minimum amount in wages,
just enough to keep his employees.

What ever happened to giving your all?
You know, a company is only as successful as her employees.
It would do us well to give a little more, especially nowadays.

If we work hard for our employer
then maybe our employer won’t go out of business.

And maybe you can’t pay your employees a whole lot,
with the economy being what is and all.
But you know,
giving out a Christmas ham
or turkey at Thanksgiving
might just be the edge
to keep your workers giving just a little more.
If you don’t normally have your staff work on weekends
but need them this Saturday for a special order that’s due,
buy their lunch.
Take care of your workers and maybe,
just maybe, they’ll take care of you.

many have just plain forgotten that we reap what we sow.

And last week,
I got really flustered.. . .even angry.
Now, I manage my anger pretty well.
I’m usually even tempered enough
to really examine a person’s motives and thoughts
before I explode at something they said or did.
I think what made me angry at what happened
was that the person didn’t do anything. . .
. . .and what they said showed me
that they weren’t even listening.

I went to local grocery store
and while there it started to rain very hard
with wind blowing pretty mightily, too.
Understandably, many of the shopping carts
had blown all over the parking lot.
One of them was on the way out to the street
where it would surely cause a major accident.
And then there were several more
that were being pushed
in that same direction by the wind. . . .

. . . .I suppose I should have gotten out of my car
in the wind and rain and all,
blocked the cars behind me, etc. . .
. . .Hindsight is 20/20. . .
but I did what I thought was the next best thing. . .
I called the grocery store on my cell phone
(I wasn’t the one driving!).
I mean,
they have employees who gather the carts, don’t they?
Not that I wanted to see anyone get drenched.
But that would have been better that seeing an accident.

Well.. . .It took me forever to get an actual person.
Push 1 for this. Push 2 for that.. .
and then a sub audio index. ..
Push 1 for this. Push 2 for that. . .
When I finally got through to an actual living person
she said I had the wrong number.

I tried to explain to her that I had just left the store
and was in my car
and the carts were on their way to Eureka road.
She told me to hang up
and dial again and ask for customer service. . . .?. . . .
I suppose it was just too much for her to transfer me
or to just plain communicate this information to the appropriate person herself.
Sadly, this grocery store has at least one employee
who has just stopped trying.

I mean, she didn’t even try hard enough
to placate me with a lie,
"thank you, ma’am. I’ll take care of right away."
She told me to hang up and call again. . . .

Oh. . and then, there’s the cell phone company.
We recently renewed one of the contracts.
We don’t have a land line,
but between us we have 5 cell phones.

Time to renew one of the contracts.
Well, the bill comes in with all sorts of charges,
extras I didn’t ask for
and one thing that was a part of the last contract
that I asked not to add this time around. . . .

And to top it all off,
when we got the phone, we had a problem.
When you push to get your voice mail,
it didn’t go to voice mail at all.
It rang someone else’s cell.

So, we get a call from the company
to see how we like the service.
I was polite,
but I told them about all the things that went wrong.
They promised to clear up the excess charges
and offered apologies.

Just to be sure,
I went to the place where the contract was made
a couple of days later.
The fact is, all of those charges were still on the phone.

And then. . . .the one assisting me
accused me of setting the wrong phone
number for the voice mail,
when, in fact, the very person who was accusing me
was the one who set everything on the phone
the day the contact was renewed. . . .

I mean, have people just stopped trying or what???
What did this cell company reap?
Next time around, we won’t be using them.

So, what’s my point with all of this venting?
My point is that sometimes adults
need to go back and relearn some basic stuff.

Say, "I’m sorry," if you’ve made a mistake.

Say, "please," when you should.

If you promise to do something, then, just do it.
If something happens that you are unable to follow through,
offer an apology and see what you can do to make it right.

Don’t accuse someone
of your own error.

Say, "thank you, " often.
To God.
To your family and friends.
I have learned that the more you say, "thank you,"
the more blessings you’ll receive.

The more you say "thank you,"
the more reasons you will have
to say, "thank you."

Reciprocate, if possible,
when someone does something nice for you.
And again, a "thank you" goes a long way.

And remember,
always give a little bit more when you are able.
A little extra time,
a little extra effort.
Send out a little extra prayer.
You’ll appreciate this later,
when it’s your turn to reap.
And the thing is,
we never know when that is going to be.

You reap what you sow.
It’s really not that hard a lesson
to learn from the Gospel.