Archive for April, 2011

Warren Tanghe was ordained a transitional deacon in February by Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien. Photo courtesy Kitt O'Brien.

According to an April 25 news release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the average age of men ordained to the priesthood in 2011 is trending younger, with the average age being 34.
That has been the case during the last two years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien will ordain one man to the priesthood, Deacon Warren Tanghe, June 25. He was 62 when he was ordained a transitional deacon back in February. He was formerly an Anglican priest.
Archbishop O’Brian ordained one man, Father Gregory Rapisarda, also in his 60s, last year.
The archbishop has continually asked the people of the Archdiocese of Baltimore to pray for young men to consider the religious calling. During the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Maryland Conference April 2, the archbishop pointed out both Father Rapisarda’s and Deacon Tanghe’s ages and referred to other dioceses that have younger men ordained.
He asked attendees “What’s happening in your parishes about vocations, the priesthood especially?”
The archbishop challenged attendees to work for vocations and evangelization.
“The future of our diocese depends on it,” he said. “The future of the faith of your sons and daughters certainly depends on it.”
The USSCB release said most of the men being ordained this year are lifelong Catholics. One in ten, like Deacon Tanghe, became Catholic later in life. Four out of five of those ordained had parents who were both Catholic and a third have a relative in the religious life.
The numbers were compiled for “The Class of 2011: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood,” an annual national survey of this year’s class of priests.
So, what is happening in your parish on the vocation front?

Name My Blog!

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

I was lucky enough to win the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association Award for Best Blog last week. It’s the second time in three years I’ve received the honor, but the first since I re-booted the blog last November.
The judges said, “This is everything you want in a blog – concise writing; catchy nontraditional subject matter; teasers to inside content; links and embedded videos that make you want check back for updates. Love the reference to the Babe and the congressional religion data. All you need is a catchy name.”
Let’s face it. Matt Palmer’s Blog is a wickedly lame name, right? So, let’s change that.
So, here’s the challenge to you: name my blog. This blog is supposed to be youthful, funny and sometimes edgy. The name sounds about as exciting as reading tweets from a mortician. Give me a name that matches what I’m aiming for here.
Post your new name for the blog in the comments section of this blog with your e-mail attached. The winner with the best suggestion will win two tickets to an Orioles game on me.

I turn 33 May 17. Deadline will be May 10 and we’ll announce the winner on my birthday. Click on the bubble and name this blog!

A couple of weeks ago my three-year-old niece, Molly, told my mother and me that she had a bad dream. She wouldn’t elaborate, simply because she told me I was in the nightmare.
Once she got through the sheepishness, she shared that she figured out who was responsible giving her those night terrors.
She raised her index finger with conviction, as she does so often, and said, “God definitely did it.”
Suddenly, she had turned into Nancy Drew and was getting to the bottom of life’s mysteries.
Quick, kid, tell me the meaning of life.
My mother and I shared a quick glance at one another and tried, quite unsuccessfully, to stifle laughter. How could you not chuckle at something so blunt?
My mother and I reassured Molly that God loved her too much and he wouldn’t do that to her. God, we said, didn’t want to scare her.
“No, uncle Matt,” Molly insisted with a stern finger, “God did it.”
My sister and brother-in-law have done a tremendous job teaching Molly about God and introducing her to the Catholic Church. She leads the family in the Sign of the Cross before meals.
The concept of God is mind-blowing on any level, but particularly for a young child. Think about the fact that there’s an omnipotent being that has created every single thing in the universe and provides for all of us via unfathomable power.
God can do anything.
The tremendous thing about children is that they believe with unshakable conviction. When mommy says it, it’s true times two.
I didn’t have an answer for my niece to change her mind. My mom, too, struggled to find the right words. She had three children of her own but couldn’t provide an answer that made Molly reconsider. I felt like a kid.
“Mom, figure this out!”
Since that day, I laugh when I think of Molly’s explanation. She’s so determined and well-spoken that it feels like I’m talking with a philosophy major.
How do you tell a child that God isn’t responsible for everything that happens in the world? Who or what do you shift the blame to?
I think about the day when I’ll have my own children and I’m faced with that question. Then, I thank God it’s my sister’s challenge for the time being.

How far would you go for your faith?
That was the question facing Archdiocese of Baltimore young people April 16, as they embarked on the 18th annual pilgrimage. They walked several miles through Baltimore City streets through storms and the threat of a tornado, carrying a cross.
The Catholic youth and young adults showed that nothing will stop them.
Check out this video that I put together of the event.

In the next few days you’ll see a story on CatholicReview.org, site of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s newspaper, about Maryvale Preparatory School implementing a new Apple iPad program in which students will be getting an iPad 2 in the fall. For now, check out this video of the presentation that took place April 13. Pretty cool, huh?

Father Brian Nolan

As some of you know, I’m working on a series of articles for The Catholic Review (The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s newspaper) on the Millennial Generation. The first story served as an introduction to the Millennials, an often misunderstood group once called Generation Y.
The next part in the series is slated to debut April 28 and will tackle their lifestyle, thoughts on marriage, politics, religion and social justice. The big themes will be how they express themselves and how the world is watching it happen in real time via Facebook, Twitter and Skype and everywhere else.
But, there’s a downside to being so connected: distracted living. Parents, no matter the generation, are trying to crack the code of communicating with their child. Now, iPods, computers, tablets and smart phones are making it even harder. Still, Millennials are multi-tasking at alarming rates.
It’s something that Father Brian Nolan has thought about a lot. A child of the Reagan 80’s, Father Nolan is working with young people at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. He sees a generation trying to manage many duties, but struggling to be present.
I thought you’d be interested to watch a two-minute video with him that tackles this topic. Be sure to check our Millennials page for more videos and audio.

Michael Reuling is easily one of the most inspiring men I’ve ever interviewed here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He’s also had one of the darkest pasts, with drugs and thefts defining his younger years.
A dramatic moment changed that. Faith lifted him up, as did several women in his life. Below is a video I put together of Michael’s story. I hope you enjoy it.