Good-Bye Shin Splints—An Unholy Interloper—Confession

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/November 15, 2017/Belize City

Fr. Matt and Fr. Quang with their favorite “idol,” the Sacred Heart.

Fr. Matt and Fr. Quang with their favorite “idol,” the Sacred Heart.

Swift Hall now has a sports floor made of sturdy plastic rather than the shin splint-inducing cement floor. It is lovely. There will be no end of persons and programs wanting to use this facility, a facility for which I am still receiving thanks and gratitude from all kinds of people. Parking spaces of cement are being created on the south side of the building. The last thing that we will do is landscape, and a local family dear to my heart has already stepped forward to say they will take career of this.

When my brother Jesuit Quang Tran went into the church on Monday morning in order to preside at our daily 6:30am Mass, somebody was already in the pulpit preaching! The fellow was railing against Catholic blasphemy. The congregation that had been waiting for Mass were taken back by this morning intrusion. Quang went to the fellow and said he would have to leave. The man persisted. Quang said you are now trespassing so leave or we’re calling the police. Some of the men in the congregation stood to defend Quang. The ‘preacher’ began to leave with his partner but turned and pointed at our November display honoring our Faithful Departed and yelled, “That is adultery.” Quang responded, “I think you mean ‘idolatry’ now please go.” The man and his friend left in a righteous huff, but not before…and get this…dipping their hands in the holy water font and blessing themselves.

Let us continue our examination of Biblical things said and done in Christian culture but are not necessarily found in the Catholic Faith, and can even be antagonistic to our Church.

The Bible says, “Confess your sins to no man.” This is another one of those ugly stones thrown at Catholics and our sacraments, and it is nothing short of foolish bigotry. The Bible says quite plainly that sins are in fact confessed to one another. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 3, verse 6, the people flock to John the Baptist, confessing their sins and getting baptized. In James 5:16 the author encourages his church to confess their sins to one another. Confession is, in fact, not only Scriptural, but quite humane and commonsensical. (You do not have to be Catholic to know confession is good for the soul.) And finally, nowhere, absolutely nowhere in Scripture does it say “Confess your sins to no man.” If you believe only in Scripture, it helps to know Scripture. Lamentably, that is very often not the case with those using Scripture to criticize Catholics. Which brings us to a major stumbling block between Catholics and certain other denominations. This issue we shall tackle next week.

VICTORY—A Happy Homecoming—I Love Our Saints and Make No Apology

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/November 8, 2017/Belize City, Belize

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By a score of 43-12, our St. Martin’s Primary School boys defeated San Francisco Primary School of Orange Walk Town in the Primary School National Basketball Championship. Our boys played like a team, no hotdogging, no ball hogging, just lots and lots of hustle, great defense, and some fine shooting. We are very proud of them.

How good it was to return to the St. Martin’s pulpit. Seeing all the warm faces, getting all the “welcome homes,” hearing the singing, and enjoying that great St. Martin’s spirit, I tell you this place is good for my soul.

OK.  Let us resume our survey of things found in the Christian culture that are not found in the Catholic culture and can even be antagonistic to our Faith.

“Catholics worship saints, especially Mary” is a common refrain amongst some denominations. It is a hateful little allegation, as hateful as it is ignorant of what Catholics truly believe. Let me set the record straight.

The official teaching of the Church: God alone is worthy of our worship and adoration (latria); saints are given respect and honor (dulia); Mary, the Mother of God, is given a higher respect and honor (hyperdulia) but well short of worship and adoration that belongs to God alone.

“Catholics are idolaters because they worship statues,” is yet another hateful thing some people will say about Catholics. This is simply not true. Our statues, stained glass, and our art remind us of those Saints that we respect and honor. It is like hanging a portrait of a dearly departed family member in a home. We further believe that the saints pray for us as we get busy with our day.  “We don’t need the saints. We go straight to Jesus” is yet another self-righteous proclamation I hear. The saints are looking at the face of Jesus when they carry our prayers to him. The Scriptures are chock-full of holy persons like Abraham, Moses, and Job whose prayers God hears specifically because they are holy persons. In fact, God tells persons to go have these people pray for them because he hears their prayers. Well, if I can get someone as holy as St. Martin de Porres to pray for my children, I am going to do it, and Holy Scripture confirms this attitude.

All Saints—Home Sweet Home—God’s Own—Personal Lord and Savior?

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/November 1, 2017/Belize City, Belize

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. And what is a saint? A saint is a man or woman who labors in hope. Far from viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, far from being a pietistic bore, the wide-eyed saint sees all the evil and all the destruction the world has to offer, but believes, despite all the ugliness and all the obstacles, that good and beauty shall prevail. Again, a saint is a man or woman who labors in hope. So my friends, labor on!

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As I deplaned yesterday afternoon, the feel and smell of Belizean air enveloped me and I knew I was home. How good it felt. A Belize ease crept into my mind and bones and I just felt good, happy to be home. As much as I wanted to stay up and watch Game Six of the World Series, that Belize ease got the best of me. I heard my own bed calling to me during the fourth inning. Having awakened at 2:30 a.m. that morning to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight, I was only too eager to heed that call.

This morning I visited the classrooms. Oh my goodness. These children. How I love them. Had I nothing to do in Belize but serve these children, it would be enough to warrant my return. I firmly believe I can do nothing better with my life than spend it on these students of ours. How deserving they are of every good thing we can do for them. They are God’s own.

Speaking of our students. Our boys’ basketball team has won the District Championship. They now play for the National Championship on Friday.

Now . . . We continue our review of some of the impulses we find in the Christian culture but not in the Catholic Faith. A thoughtful Catholic would never declare, “Jesus Christ is my personal Lord And Savior.” And why would we Catholics never say that? For three reasons. First of all, it is unspeakably arrogant. There are roughly 4,000 years of Salvation History, a history that includes the Patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Queens, Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles. To say “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior” is to intimate that all of that happened for your own personal salvation. Sorry. I don’t think so.

Second of all, it is a gross error to say that. Nowhere in the Bible, nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus hope to save a bunch of individuals. The entire Bible is about how God desires to save the community of believers. Never does Jesus save an individual and then say, “OK, whew, I got you saved. Now let me move on to the next individual.” Even when Jesus does heal individuals, it is foremost a sign that salvation has come to the entire world, it is a sign that Jesus is God and that the Kingdom of God has broken into our lives, our history.

Third, it is very bad theology. The great commandment requires us to “love our neighbor as ourself.”  To say “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior” is tantamount to saying, “I got mine; now you get yours.” What about one’s mother? Father? Friends? Spouse? When you say “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior,” you have left them out.  You are saying as long as I have Jesus, nobody else really matters. It is a very selfish declaration. There should be greater concern for the other, the neighbor. So what do Catholics say?

The first order of Catholic business is to always make sure our neighbor is not in some physical, spiritual, or emotional need. When a person’s needs have been attended to, if there were needs, and if the person is open to hearing about Jesus, the second order of business for the Catholic is not to pietistically declare, “Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior,” but “Jesus Christ came to save all of humankind, isn’t that great news?!”

Events Raise Awareness for Belize 2020 Effort

More than 100 interested people turned out for two Belize 2020 events in St. Louis in late October. Attendees had the opportunity to hear Fr. Matt Ruhl, SJ, speak about the tremendous need in Belize, as well as learn about the Belize 2020-sponsored programs and activities helping at-risk children and families. Many thanks to all attendees and to event hosts Schlafly Tap Room and Saint Louis University. 

God Laughs–Back to Work–the Terrible Tide–A Jesuit Effort–Born Again and Again

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/October 25, 2017/St. Louis, Missouri

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There is a Jewish saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Certainly the plans made for my time in the States were upended with my brother’s passing and my own little health issue. But the two weeks I had planned to work for St. Martin’s and Belize 2020 while up north have not been interrupted. Last night, Belize 2020 hosted an informational evening at a Brew Pub for the young and the intelligent who have some interest in Belize 2020. I have been to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners; I have been speaking in classrooms and halls, all in an effort to spread the word. Tonight a fundraiser will be held at St. Louis University. In all this talking I have formulated an understanding of what a major part of Belize 2020 is about — the children of St. Martin’s.

During Hurricane Earl last year, I noticed the effects of the tidal surge as I cycled about the city. While knocking down many fences and walls, the tide dumped all kinds of smelly muck and refuse in Belize City. It did not take much imagination to see how a large tidal surge could really wreck a city. So this has become an image I use. Our children must navigate a terrible tide. So many of our children suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress; so many of our children in this English-speaking country are effectively illiterate; so many of our children come from homes that are socially and economically distressed. Our children must fight a terrible tide, and many are overwhelmed. We see the evidence of being overwhelmed by the number of funerals for the young we perform at Martin’s, and by the scores of our PSE examinations, and by gang involvement, and by teenage pregnancy. A major impulse of Belize 2020 is to help our children fight the terrible tide.

Belizeans from all walks are instrumental in the Belize 2020 effort. St. Martin’s parishioners have made significant contributions of time and dollars, St. John’s offering of scholarships to all our graduating boys is priceless; Cisco Construction’s waiving of management fees; the government’s waiving of import taxes for the floor at Swift Hall, the cooperation and encouragement from the Ministry of Education, the cooperation of our Lake Independence representative, the contributions of the local business community, the unbelievable support we have gotten from Catholic School Management, Belize NGO’s have committed to Martin’s programs, Rotary clubs from Belize joined Rotaries from the U.S. to make terrific donations to our school facilities and programs, and last but not least the Martin’s neighborhood itself has been entirely supportive and cooperative. A monetary value of all this support: priceless! All laboring to help our children fight the terrible tide. Ultimately, St. Martin de Porres is a Jesuit parish and Belize 2020 is a Jesuit program of colleagues from Belize and the U.S. coming together in service to the young and vulnerable.

As we slowly move into an investigation of Scripture, it is important to address some of the Scripturally-based expressions of faith that one finds in our Christian culture but not in the Catholic Faith, expressions that are at times even antagonistic to our Catholic Faith.

We hear the phrase “Born Again” somewhat regularly in Christian circles. There are even those who identify themselves as “Born Again Christians.” This phrase, of course, comes from the Gospel of John 3:3 wherein Jesus explains to Nicodemus that “. . . no one can see the kingdom unless they are born again.” The understanding of those who proclaim to be “born again” is the belief that a person has had a single, definitive, life-changing experience of Christ wherein that person knows they are saved; they are, “born again.” That is all fine, but Catholics see things decidedly differently.

In John 3:5 Jesus explains that being born again means being born of “water and Spirit;” in short, baptism. In baptism we are born into a lifelong relationship with Christ. When Catholics are baptized we embrace the belief that in our relationship with Christ we are constantly being born again and again and again and again and again and again. Every sunrise of our lives is a born again experience. Every insight that creates in us a deeper understanding of ourselves, creation, and God is a born again experience.

Every word, poem, art piece that inspires is a born again experience. Each moment in nature that causes awe is a born again experience. Every suffering is a birth pang, for we are constantly being renewed even in our suffering. Every Advent, Lent, Christmas, and Easter season is a born again experience. Every act of reconciliation or forgiveness is a born again moment. As Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan once sang, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” The notion that we are born again only once is absurd to Catholics.

So in sum, Catholics are never “Born Again.” We are joyously born again and again and again and again and again and again and again . . . .

My Brother Mike—The Bible—Creativity

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/October 18, 2017/Kansas City, Missouri

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My brother Mike has gone to God. He was blessed to have all his siblings, all his children and his wife Jean and many good old friends present during the last month of his life. Prostate cancer is no pleasant way to go, but he died in his own bed surrounded by loved ones. I must also say that in my 25 years of priesthood and attending to the dying, enough praise cannot be given to the absolutely wonderful nurses of Hospice. Their strong, loving hands are God’s own.

Let’s talk about the Bible. The Catholic Bible is made up of two major sections: Hebrew Scripture (the Old Testament) and the New Testament. The Hebrew Scripture has 46 books and the New Testament has 26 books. The Hebrew Scripture covers a time frame from the Bronze Age, 2300-1300 years before Christ up to about 100 years before the birth of Christ. The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus around the Year 4 and goes to about the Year 100. The New Testament was put into a final compilation, canonized, by the late Fifth Century. The Old Testament canon was determined in the 16th Century. The chapter and verse numbers were added in the 16th Century.

There are of course innumerable themes to be found in the Bible, but the overarching theme is God active in human history, always creating out of love for us. There are two stories of primeval creation, the story of Creation in Seven Days, and the Creation Story of Adam and Eve. Noah and the Flood is also a creation story. Of course there is the creation of the nation of Israel and the creation of Temple Judaism. Then there is the creation of the Church at Pentecost. The life of Christ is the center of all creation in human history.

The point to be made here is that God is always creative. Creativity is a divine expression of love. Unfortunately, too many people who claim to love the Bible do not appreciate this.

I have heard the Bible quoted to put down women. I have heard the Bible quoted to put down homosexuals. I have heard the Bible quoted to put down people of different Christian denominations. I have heard the Bible quoted to put down Jewish people. I have heard the Bible quoted by husbands to put down wives. I have heard the Bible quoted with words that are not even in the Bible. I have heard the words of the Bible twisted and turned and abused in all manner of ways in order to put others down. This is very ugly business. To use God’s word in a destructive manner is evil. It is, in fact, a form of blasphemy. Today our first Bible lesson is very simple: If you cannot use the Word of God creatively, do not use it at all. If you cannot use God’s word to build people up, do not use it at all. The Bible was never, ever intended to be a club to beat other people. The Divine Word was certainly never intended for human ax-grinding. Remember, Gospel means “Good News.” Please, do not turn it into “Bad News.”

Our Church

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/October 4, 2017/Frisco, Colorado

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The Catholic Church is an institution of sinful persons. No question. We openly admit it. Yet we are also an institution born of and inspired by the Holy Spirit. The truth is if the Scales of Justice were ever applied to the Catholic Church, our historical goodness definitively and lopsidedly outweighs our historical sinfulness. But evil is noisier than good, ugly is louder than beauty, so there are many leaving the Church, or failing to embrace the Church, without a broad historical and spiritual appreciation of Jesus and this ancient institution of ours. For my part I confess to loving the Church. I find great joy and wisdom in the Church. Now I do not love the Church because I am a Jesuit and a priest. The truth is I am a Jesuit and a priest because I love the Church. It might, however, justifiably be asked, “What occasions this little tribute to our beloved Church? Why is your blog going in this direction?” Let me explain.

Look at these United States of ours: another mass shooting, this time of particularly horrific proportions; behold the opioid epidemic, a true national emergency; we have a President the vast majority of citizens disapprove of; a Congress incapable of working together; we are angrily divided on the issue of race; illegal drugs flood into our country as gangs in our cities grow more destructive; and let’s not forget this return to nuclear saber-rattling. The United States is struggling. Is it so inconceivable that our 2,000 year-old Catholic Church just might have some answers for our 231 year-old nation? If I thought not, trust me, I would no longer be a priest, Jesuit, or a Catholic.

In the next few blogs I hope to write about why I love the Church, why the Church is worthy of our love, our adherence, our vibrant participation. I will write to give encouragement to those looking for hope in these days that can be so discouraging to so many. I will begin to address some of the reasons why so many of my fellow citizens are unfairly dismissive of this Church.

A Big Day—The Doctor Reports—My Thoughts, My Teachers

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/September 27, 2017/Kansas City, Missouri 

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Last week Thursday was Belizean Independence Day. It was also the Feast Day of St. Matthew the Apostle. And it was also the day I went under the knife at KU Medical Center to have a tumor on my lower lip removed. The surgery itself lasted only 30 minutes or so. I came out with a very fat lip and 50 stitches. They asked that I return in a week to get the stitches out and to review the biopsy report. 

Having just returned from the Doctor’s Office where I learned the results of my biopsy report, I am happy to say that the surgery was entirely successful at removing the entire tumor. It was a 1.1 centimeter squamous cell carcinoma, stage 1. My lip will never be quite the same, but it does not look bad. I can’t whistle right now and spitting is a risky business, but all things being equal I am very happy with the result of the surgery, and you can’t beat being cancer-free!!! 

During my week of convalescence, my mind wandered regularly back to Belize, St. Martin’s and my teachers:  I was thinking of my dear friend Encalada who works so hard and yet always has a smile; Reneau is one of the hardest working women I know; and Mama Lino who will not let me pass her class without a hug, which I am only too happy to provide; there’s McKenzie who is the best cheerleader we have; of course Pitts, my Wednesday morning coffee-mate; Little Lino and Ben-Goosh are natural born teachers and I am so happy we have them; of course, there’s Rodriguez who is a wonderful anchor at Martin’s; Ayuso is so quiet but so very good in the classroom; Darcy keeps a happy face while keeping order…and so on and on. I love my teachers, all of them. I pray unceasingly for them and for a great year.

Belize 2020 Happy Hour - an Evening with Fr. Matt Ruhl, SJ: October 24, 2017

Join friends and Belize 2020, An Ignatian Partnership, volunteers on October 24 for a fun and informative evening with special guest Fr. Matthew Ruhl SJ, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Church in Belize City, Belize. Founded in 2015, Belize 2020 is a group of volunteers in the United States and Belize focused on supporting Jesuit ministries in Belize. Fr. Matt will speak about the mission of Belize 2020, accomplishments, opportunities, and ways to be involved. Young professionals are especially invited to attend.

Learn more about Belize 2020's work at St. Martin de Porres and St. John's College at www.Belize2020.org.

Where: Schlafly Tap Room, 2nd Floor, 2100 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
When: Tuesday, October 24, 2017
5:30 - 9:00 pm
Program at 6:30 - 7:00 pm sharp

Click here to share this event on Facebook.

Fr. Matt Ruhl

Fr. Matt Ruhl

A Break—The Turn of Events—A Lumpy Lip—A Trip to Truman—Good Hands

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/September 13, 2017/Kansas City, Missouri

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After 25 years of priestly service, my Superiors in the Society of Jesus allowed for a little break from pastoral duties to spend time with family and friends in the States. I had put together quite a lineup of activities, including a bike ride from Westhope, North Dakota, to Laredo, Texas. I was set to leave Belize when the course of things changed dramatically.

Our brother Mike, second eldest, has been fighting prostate cancer for some years. In the last few weeks it has spread quickly and widely into bone and organs. He is now in hospice care. For his 73rd birthday on September 5th, he gave himself the gift of no more treatment. For my part I was moved and honored to administer the Last Rites to my big brother, who took consolation in the sacraments. My other brother Peter, the family barber, gave Mike a haircut. My nieces, Mike’s daughters, Jamie, Rachel, and Emily, have all risen graciously to the occasion and have been very helpful to Mike and his wife Jean at this time. It should also be noted that my brother is dying very bravely. A Nurse Practitioner at KU grimaced when I told her about my brother and she said, “That is a tough way to go.” I see for myself it is a tough way to go. I see also my brother’s courage, and I am proud of his grit and grace.

So what was I doing at KU talking with a Nurse Practitioner? Lo and behold I have my own little health issue. For several weeks I have had a fingernail-sized growth front and center on my lower lip. I thought it would just go away, but no, it became a fixture on my lip landscape, so off to KU Med where the doctor said he did not know what it was. Since it could be cancerous it needs to come off. So on September 21st, Independence Day in Belize, I go under the knife. I will learn sometime after the surgery as to whether or not this thing was cancerous.

My brother Tim and I did take a day off to go fishing at Truman Lake. Truman is a favorite recreational area for the family. We did our one and only family reunion there in 2015. Anyway, Timbo and I caught our limit of white bass in under two hours, then caught a few crappie for good measure. These fish will be served at the Fish Fry honoring our brother, Mike.

In my absence St. Martin’s Parish has been left in the very capable and holy hands of both St. Martin’s church and school staffs. Fr. Brian Christopher, SJ, and Fr. Quang Tran, SJ will cover the Sacramental bases.

Read other entries in Fr. Matt's blog by clicking here.

A Corporal Work of Mercy—A New Day Has Dawned

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/September 6, 2017/Belize City

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Most Catholics cannot recite the traditional Corporal Works of Mercy; nonetheless, the corporal work in which we excel here at St. Martin’s is burying the dead. There are many, many unchurched persons living on the south side around St. Martin’s. So when an unchurched person dies, what does the family of the deceased do? They come to St. Martin’s. Instinctively, they come to St. Martin’s. We bury as many non-Catholics as Catholics. It is a corporal work of mercy and a genuine labor of love. It takes terrific patience to open up the church to so many who know nothing of the Faith. Bottles of alcohol come into the church, often there is little understanding for the sanctuary as a sacred place, “hymns” are frequently the favorite pop song of the deceased, weed is smoked and alcohol consumed outside during the service, there is most time lots and lots of chatter throughout the service, every now and again a drunken mourner makes a spectacle of himself in the middle of the service, and once in awhile an Evangelical feels compelled to interrupt the service to loudly testify. Services, frequently not Masses, can be a genuine trial. Now…you might say, if it is so disagreeable why don’t you stop it and bury only known Catholics? Continue reading by clicking here.

Read other entries in Fr. Matt's blog by clicking here.

 

Relief to Anguish—Big John—P.G.—Fr. Sam Gets a Fan

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/August 30, 2017/Punta Gorda

Holy Smokes. When Hurricane Harvey skipped right around Belize, we breathed a sigh of relief. But that relief has been replaced by anguish over Harvey’s devastating impact along the Texas coast. Well versed in hurricane horror, Belizeans have great empathy for Hurricane victims. Our prayers are with you, Texas.

On August 29th the Church celebrates the Passion of John the Baptist. The Baptist had heroic humility. This firebrand ceded the stage to Jesus, instructing his disciples that it was Jesus, not him, who was the one to come. John’s disciples resisted surrendering John’s authority and leadership to embrace Jesus. In the meantime, John himself had his own uncertainties about this man who was once his disciple. But the Baptist had terrific faith to go along with his humility. Continue reading by clicking here.

Read other entries in Fr. Matt's blog by clicking here.

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The Prodigal Returns—Sad Stats—What to Make of it All?

© 2017 Dribbble. By Hugh Griffith.

© 2017 Dribbble. By Hugh Griffith.

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/August 23, 2017/Belize City

The Prodigal has returned. My good friend, Fr. Brian Christopher, S.J., has returned to Belize after a three-year hiatus. I am glad he is back, as are many others, particularly around St. Martin’s. His assignment? Well, here’s the deal. It has been a lo-o-ong time since the Jesuits of Belize have had a roadmap governing our apostolic direction here in Belize. Our new Superior, Fr. Tom Greene, S.J., will arrive at the end of this month. That will signal the beginning of a discernment that will be a long and careful process to determine future labors with regard to manpower, current apostolates, facilities, needs, desires. Brian will be assigned in light of our discernment process. Until then he will be sacramentally helping out around the country. Continue reading by clicking here.

Read other entries in Fr. Matt's blog by clicking here.

Kansas City Gets a Patron Saint—St. Martin’s Gets a New Principal

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/August 16, 2017/Belize City

This past week the Church celebrated one of my favorite saints and the person I think should be declared, “Patron Saint of Kansas City.” August 10th is the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon of Rome and Martyr. According to tradition during the Valerian Persecution of 57 CE, Lawrence was asked by the Prefect of Rome to surrender all the wealth of the Church. So Lawrence gathered all the orphans, widows, crippled, the blind, those of unsound mind, the homeless; in short, all the people Lawrence and the Church had served in charity. All of these Lawrence marched into the hall of the Prefect. The Prefect asked Lawrence what this parade of shabby humanity was all about. Lawrence said, “You requested the wealth of the Church; well here they are.” The Prefect was unamused and so had Lawrence BBQ-ed to death. Read more.

Read the latest from Fr. Matt's blog here.

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Tragedy—Franklin—Looking for a New Principal—Open Windows

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/August 9, 2017/Belize City

On Sunday night I went to bed thinking about the imminent threat posed by Tropical Storm Franklin. Out of a deep sleep I was by roused by a voice calling up to my window. A representative from NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) needed to see me urgently. I thought it must be about opening up the school as a hurricane shelter due to Franklin, but no; rather, some neighbors of ours were victimized by a house fire and they needed the shelter of our classrooms, which we gave them along with some clothing. . . Read more.

Read the latest from Fr. Matt's blog here.

Two Lobster Tails—Ninety in The Shade—Back to Work—Church and State Cooperate

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/ August 2, 2017 /Belize City

July 31st was the Feast of St. Ignatius. It is a day when all the Jesuits around the world gather at local communities for Mass, preprandials, dinner, and postprandials. It is a day of celebrating our beloved Society. Yesterday at St. John’s College we had a lovely gathering. . .Read more.

Read the latest from Fr. Matt's blog here.

Summer's in Full Swing at the Newly Completed Swift Hall!

Swift Hall, the brand new multi-purpose facility at St. Martin’s is host to this year’s Sports in Education summer program. The program includes team sports, such as basketball and football, arts and crafts, board games, and other positive activities for the children. The program is funded through the support of the local business community. Program director Dion Flowers is a former Belize National Football Team player who has been working with youth on the south side of Belize City for the past 18 years.

Plans are to officially christen Swift Hall this fall. The vision is for the facility to become a place to engage the community’s youth and hold parish functions. Swift Hall was funded completely through generous cash and in-kind gifts from donors and businesses in Belize and the United States. Additional funds are needed to pay for youth enrichment programs, equipment, and ongoing maintenance and operation of the building. The fundraising target for these efforts is US$200,000.

Caye San Pedro—Mary Maligned—Two James’ and a Chris— Funerals—They Have Landed

Fr. Matt Ruhl, Pastor of St. Martin DePorres Parish in Belize City Belize

Fr. Matt Ruhl, Pastor of St. Martin DePorres Parish in Belize City Belize

By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/ July 26,2017 /Belize City

Everybody deserves a little break now and again. So, I took my little soul out to the island of San Pedro where I spent three nights in the third floor condo of a beachfront property, overlooking the sea and reef. I went fishing one day with my good friend Omar and we caught quite a few snappers and barracuda. And we came home and ate quite a few snappers and barracuda. Read more . . .

Read the latest from Fr. Matt's blog here.