Westside Paulist’s Funeral

Since someone asked about services for Westside Paulist…I regret to inform you that they were already held on Friday at the Paulist Motherhouse–St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan where Fr. Hunt lived.

The services were a wonderful celebration of his life. Moving eulogies, bagpipes, good preaching by the Paulist President, John Duffy, and a big crowd of admirers.

I was particularly moved that two of the older Paulists who often even have trouble getting out of bed came to not only the wake and funeral but also made the trek out to Oak Ridge, NJ where Fr. Michael is buried at Mt. Paul Retreat Center (and the site of the old novitiate where his Paulist brothers are buried and where many if not all of them started their Paulist careers).

One Paulist quipped: “Wow! You could tell how much he was respected and loved…even the guys in their 90s came out for this one.”

Since some of you asked, mass cards and condolences can be sent to the Paulists. They can forward to his family to keep their privacy in tact.

Paulist Fathers
415 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Thanks for all your prayers

Westside Paulist RIP

Westside Paulist, one of our blogger friends, went home to God yesterday…after battling a long illness. Fr. Michael Hunt, CSP–an outstanding man and Paulist Priest–was a wonderful man. Because of him, I have a book about to go to press next fall…he edited the first manuscript along with a strongly worded letter to the President at Paulist Press to publish it.

Fr. Michael appreciated all the prayers people sent his way. He lived with a grace that few could ever capture. Please keep his family in your prayers–especially his sister, Ann and his brother, David –as well as his Paulist family at 59th Street…where his voice rang through the common room always with strong wit and intelligence.

I am a better man for having known him.


Sorry for the lack of posting the last few…we’ve been busy, as a friend is dying and we’ve been picking up slack for each other and visiting the hospital as well.

Today’s readings:http://www.usccb.org/nab/102606.shtml

St. Paul goes Oprah today…speaking of inner peace in a way.

But yet this passage from St. Paul gives me pause…I truly think this is what the crux of our faith life really ought to be.

I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Read that carefully…

He points out the need for kneeling in awe of God.

He asks for God to send us strength and that we may feel that presence of Christ in the “inner self”–a self- aware realization of the spirit.

And he states the need that for us to be rooted (note that word) in love is not merely enough. But that this rootedness needs to be linked to the actions of God’s self-commuinication through Christ. And that this self-communicating love goes beyond our comprehnesion–but that the knowledge of Christ’s love is indeed what brings us fulfillment.

Wonderful words…and words that I think really encapsulate the faith.

The gospel today also points out that this self-communication requires much of us–and even that God requires much of Jesus (or God demands much from Himself while on His earthly mission). God has come to be a divider and not a unifier. So some of us will not catch that self-communication…and indeed miss the message of love that God gives us and the message that we too are requried to love even those we have come to hate. A hard message indeed. Our own families may not accept that message and where does that leave us?

Jesus indeed seems sad…but yet he’s forceful and almost resigned to the fact that not all of us “get it.” So while divisions are inevitable..they don’t have the last word. God does seek unity and want to save us all. And still, despite that knowledge, we do a good job of pushing God away.


Today’s readings can be found at:

Ephesians is considered to have actually been written by a colleague or follower of Paul’s because it lacks the personal or familiar quality one would expect him to have with the people he knew in Ephesus. Although referred to as the letter to the Ephesians, you’ll notice that it lacks things you would normally find in a letter–news, personal message, intimacy.

A second note with regards to the Gospel: Divine Retribution was a key idea amongst the people of Jesus’ time. Meaning…the rich have been blessed by God and their fortune is a sign for us to heed their holiness. Jesus turned this idea upside down.

These two aspects come into play in today’s Gospel. The notion of grace is center-stage in Paul’s (or whoever wrote it) letter to the Ephesians. It is not through works alone that we are saved (another central idea of the time), but rather because God chose to love us…a free gift of God dwelling amongst us, being part of us, dying for us, and then rising to new life so that we might one day do the same.

Jesus couples this idea by berating the farmer who saves up his harvest. The message seems to be “seize the day” for who knows what tomorrow may bring? But deeper is the meaning of this text.

God’s love cannot be harvested or saved up. It is simply always being used and given and will never run out. The bountiful harvest is a symbol for the love that God has for His people–a love that is overflowing and never runs out.

How does that knowledge of God’s overflowing love change us–or does it?

Do we feel the love of God and horde it for ourselves, patting ourselves on the back because we believe and often feel the love of God in our lives tangibly? Or does this love empower us to love in return…to love without limit, without stopping to make sure that we have enough love to give. Yes, the harvest is generous indeed…but are we generous enough to stop counting the cost of our own love? Or do we choose who to love and who to hate?

All the parables are inevitably about God’s kingdom. Here the kingdom of God is indeed the plentiful harvest. The resources that never run out–so indeed there is no reason for hording but rather we are encouraged to share that harvest with each other, knowing that in that sharing we are becoming more and more like the God who has led us to till the fields of our own heart in hopes that our harvest will be shared in full.

Nicaragua Trip

On Saturday, I head to Nicaragua for our mission trip to the orphanage Hogar Belen in Managua (also known as the land that cool breezes have forgotten).

Please offer prayers for our group of 19 from St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan and for the children and staff of the orphanage.

I’m a bit worried about travelling with the recent liquid bombing attempt in Britian and I’m not easily spooked when it comes to travel. The government has done a good job out of scaring the pants off of us. So also pray for safe travel.

In other news regarding our trip, Marion and I have been recommended to look at other orphanages in the area as they have more children ready to be adopted (abandonment issues are taken care of, no parents, within the right age). Since we’re “older parents”– I’m 36 and Marion is, (WHACK!) ahem, a bit more experienced than I–we need to adopt a child who is around 2-5 years old. So hopefully we will be able to see who our child will be on this trip with God’s help. It’s been a trying summer for us, between moving, Marion changing jobs, and the strangeness of not knowing where our adoption plans really lie, so pray for us and for our continued committment to one another. We could use some support.

Oh yeah…and if any of you could spare a dime…

We’re still taking donations for the trip (we’re about $400 short of our $3000 goal).

Send donations to:

Mike and Marion Hayes
Mustard Seed Trip
c/o BustedHalo.com
415 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019


Googling God the Book

I just sent an updated manuscript to Paulist Press. Fr. Mike Kerrigan, my editor just returned from a much needed vacation, so he should get back to me next week on how good or not so good it is.

The book generally is in three parts:

1) Who are young adults? Especially on the differences between milennials and Gen X Young Adults. And what is working well in ministry?

2) Interviews with young adults I have worked with in my ministry nationwide on what are their religious longings and experiences in ministry.

3) A how-to section on young adult ministry complete with some resources.

Hopefully it will be out this fall or winter 2007.