“You’re not the boss of me!”

As a kid growing up (with two older sisters and one younger sister), I found myself often having to declare my own independence from my older sister who was regularly the de facto person in charge at home as both of my parents worked full time.  It was not uncommon for me to declare “You’re not the boss of me!”  In fact, she was, but I preferred to believe otherwise.  In more recent years I find myself saying those same words to my youngest sister whom, whenever we are together, takes over as the de facto person in charge.  Similarly,… Read More

Be it resolved…

What does a new year really mean?  After all, it is a somewhat arbitrary designation that marks the beginning of a calendar year, and the rest of its significance is something that we attribute to it.  We determine that it is time to start fresh, we decide that it allows us to put the past behind us, we resolve to do all kinds of things that are good for us and others – all with the click of one second.  As 2015 passes into 2016, maybe the greatest resolution should be to see our lives anew.  Without the hoopla (and… Read More

More than a Media Moment…

So many people have asked me recently if I was going to see the Pope.  As excited as I am that he is here, I am not able to get to one of his public events.  Given the logistical challenges of getting tickets and getting to one of the locations, it just seems easier to watch on television.  I sort of feel like I am a “lazy priest” that I have not done everything I could to go and see the Pope!  As he arrives and spends a few days with us, I realize that his presence can make a… Read More

“The Good Life”?

As the new year has begun here at Duke, I continue to wonder what is the key for most students to engage their faith.  I see our staff and our student leadership running from A to Z trying to put invitations out there that will be compelling enough to get a student to consider Christ in his or her life.  And while a good number of our initiatives bear fruit for which we are grateful, the majority of Catholic students remain outside our reach.  It is hard to undo in a short span of time what has taken years to… Read More

What is on the inside?

I hate wearing sunscreen.  With it on I feel like an oily mess.  I put it on (most of the time) when I play golf, but if I go to the beach, I prefer instead to sit under an umbrella.  I’m sure I will get myriad of emails outlining the pathetic way I am treating the largest organ in my body – my skin – but I don’t see myself changing.  Unless of course, I could see what is happening on the inside. A million years ago I smoked cigarettes for a few years until I saw pictures of what… Read More

I’d Rather Be…

As a kid there was a young guy who lived on my block who had a car I really liked.  More intriguing, was a bumper sticker on the car that said: “I’d rather be sailing”.  As I would think about him, I remember being so jealous – he had this really cool car, and even then, he’d rather be sailing – how great must his life be!!!!  My life was dull in comparison – I rode a bike and the closest I got to a sailboat was paint by number!  It was tough to rather be him, even as he… Read More


One of my favorite liturgical moments is a reading that is read on Holy Saturday morning.  It is an ancient homily from an unknown Church Father and it begins like this:  “Something strange is happening!”  It goes on to comment upon the uniqueness of the day after the crucifixion and the day before the resurrection.  These days just before the students arrive on campus are similar for me – these in between times.  It’s not summer anymore and the students aren’t here yet.  Something strange is happening! It is strange that Duke Chapel is closed for the year for construction… Read More

Commentary on the Commentary

I knew it would happen.  It was as predictable as sunup.  With the publication of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Laudato si, the commentary began and swiftly ran to extreme places:  some of which I imagine was offered without even the benefit of reading the entire encyclical (it was a bit lengthy!).  There were those who rejoiced that finally the Church got some science right, and those who claimed that the Church should just shut up about science and politics.  There were those who called him a Marxist and encouraged Catholics to carefully pick and choose what they took from the… Read More

How high do you want to go?

How many cranes can one campus support?  If you haven’t been on Duke’s campus recently, the number of cranes that have sprouted up is startling.  Not knowledgeable of things engineering, I am not certain what constitutes the need for a fixed crane, and what type of building can be built with a more mobile one.  As in most things at Duke, if you are going to go . . . Go Big!  And cranes can obviously help buildings go really big! Being on a campus that dreams big can inspire that kind of imagination in other areas of life.  I… Read More

Big Picture Questions

As much as I love when all of the students are on campus, I so enjoy these months when the campus slows down a bit.  Sure, there are students on campus:  grad students; student researchers, student athletes; students taking summer courses.  But the pace is certainly different and I look forward to it in part for the opportunity to take a breath, but also to get some time to get into some deeper reflection on our ministry here at the Duke Catholic Center. It’s not as if I don’t think deep thoughts all year long – in fact some of… Read More