A Monsignor Moment

David Oatney Pope Francis, Priesthood

Pope Francis recently made some big waves in the proverbial finger lake of the Catholic blogosphere and social media community when it was announced earlier this month that the Vatican will now limit the awarding of the title “Monsignor” outside of the Roman Curia to those diocesan priests who may be nominated by their bishops who are over the age …

A Blessed Year for a Blessed Diocese

David Oatney Catholic Blogs, Diocese of Knoxville, Priesthood, Year of Faith

Today is the last day of 2013, the seventh day in the Octave of Christmas, and the Vigil of the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Today is as good a time as any to take stock of the previous year. For the Diocese of Knoxville, 2013 has been a historic year in which our 25th anniversary has been …

The Importance of Retreat

David Oatney Diocese of Knoxville, Prayer, Priesthood, Vocations

The priests of the Diocese of Knoxville are on retreat as I write these lines at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. The Church asks all of her clergy who are physically able to do so to make a retreat at least once a year, something that their diocese or religious order will often facilitate (here you see Bishop Stika celebrating …

Reflection On the Passing of a Priest

David Oatney Diocese of Knoxville, Priesthood

On Thursday I had the opportunity (thanks to my Spiritual Director who was concelebrating and was more than willing to give me a lift) to attend the Funeral Mass for Father Jay Flaherty, a priest of the Diocese of Knoxville who was known as a very powerful preacher indeed. When Nicole and I were married, Father Flaherty celebrated our Nuptial …

Our Lady of the Rosary

David Oatney Diocese of Knoxville, New Evangelization, Prayer, Priesthood, Vocations

Today, October 7th, is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. On this day in 1571, a small and heavily-outnumbered allied Catholic naval force under the command of Don John of Austria defeated a Turk Muhammedian fleet of over 300 ships. This naval battle kept the Western Mediterranean from falling into Muslim hands and preserved the place of Christianity …

The Eucharist Saves From Spiritual Starvation

David Oatney Catechism, New Evangelization, Priesthood

One of the most important things that Father Robert Barron said in his talk at the Diocese of Knoxville’s 25th Anniversary Eucharistic Congress on Saturday was that “without the Eucharist, we would starve spiritually.” Father Barron recounted the story of the first time that he ever participated in a Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Square. He said that when he …

Pontiff Emeritus Says Holy Spirit Led Him Out (updated)

David Oatney Prayer, Priesthood

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reportedly told a visitor to his residence at Mater Ecclesiae Monastery last week that his abdication from the Chair of St. Peter came about not because he was unwilling to stay on the job, but because he had a mystical experience in prayer wherein the Holy Spirit planted a strong desire to remain alone with the …

Clericalism and Laicism

David Oatney Priesthood, Vocations

Since the beginning of his pontificate, we have seen and heard Pope Francis denounce the evils of clericalism, or the idea that because clergy are part of the clerical state that they ought to be entitled to an exaggerated deference to which their flocks, as fellow Christians, would not be entitled. At its worst, clericalism can lead to a separation …

Reflection On Orders and the Church Over Pizza

David Oatney Priesthood, Vocations

Regulars here at Life At 25 may recall that I wrote a post on pastoral humility which featured Father Erik Richtsteig as part of a post on “Two Lessons in Humility” with regard to the way that Father Erik handled himself and cared for his shell-shocked flock after a shooting which took place at his parish, St. James the Just, …

Heralds of the Good News

David Oatney New Evangelization, Priesthood, Vocations, Year of Faith

World Youth Day festivities came to an end in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, but not before millions of young people had the experience of a lifetime, and Pope Francis made his mark on the “Marvelous City” forever. So critical may this World Youth Day of 2013 prove in defining Francis’ pontificate in Church history that even those closest to the …

Word On Fire At the Congress and In the Blogosphere

David Oatney Catholic Blogs, New Evangelization, Priesthood

A big part of the reason that Bishop Richard Stika authorized the creation of Life at 25 was to spread the message of the Diocese of Knoxville’s 25th Anniversary and of the growth of East Tennessee’s Catholic community through the means of the internet and new media. While I am not certain how often His Excellency reads this blog, I …

Servant of the Servants of God

David Oatney New Evangelization, Priesthood, Year of Faith

As youth from around the world gather in Rio de Janeiro for next week’s World Youth Day festivities, some in the secular press seem keen to play a highly misleading and greatly erroneous game of “compare the popes” between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The latest to play this game seems to be the religion section …

Fostering An Attitude of Simplicity

David Oatney New Evangelization, Priesthood, Vocations, Year of Faith

Pope Francis made some very interesting remarks in recent days to a group of seminarians and consecrated religious novices who were visiting the Vatican as part of their Year of Faith observances, and his words have produced varied reaction from priests and religious around the world. The Holy Father told the assembled seminarians and novices that they should maintain humility …

Two Lessons In Humility

David Oatney Catholic Blogs, New Evangelization, Priesthood, Vocations, Year of Faith

This priest is Father Erik Richtsteig, a priest of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. I’ve not had the pleasure of a personal meeting with Father Erik, though I’d love to meet him someday. He is pastor at a parish called St. James the Just in Ogden. I was introduced to him and to his exceptional Catholic blogging work by …