Christ the Healer

I’ve been getting therapy.

Physical Therapy that is, for the knee injury I had last spring.

Of course the knee didn’t bother me at all during my epic walk through Spain on the Camino de Santiago. The physician instructed me in the finer points of … well, the fact that I need to stretch more often and strengthen my back, because my knee is just fine.

To that end I’ve been going to Renew Physical Therapy, where everyone is great, extremely nice and kind, and extremely professional. We’re doing all the things I worried that I should be doing last spring.

My PT, Chris, was also telling me that he ended up being a Basketball Coach over at St. Joseph Abbey Seminary College. And today, he showed me this great video via Mundelein Seminary, which shows their basketball team, and a part of the tournament.

St. Joseph Seminary College is about 8 miles north of our Parish, over at the Benedictine Abbey. This Parish used to be administered by Priests from the Abbey, until about 10 years ago, and many of our Parishioners still volunteer there, baking bread, selling gifts, building coffins.

But the tournament as evidently somewhat grueling, as our team had to play soon after getting off the bus, etc. The game went into sudden overtime with a three point shot as the buzzer rang…

The video is beautifully produced, and a profound reflection upon the Priesthood.

But the kicker… we kicked their butts in overtime.

Go Ravens!

The Novena to St. Jane – August 4-12

Saint Jane de Chantal

O Glorious saint, blessed Jane Frances, who by the fervent prayer, attention to the Divine Presence, and purity of intention in they actions attainedst on earth an intimate union with God, be now our advocate, our mother, our guide in the path of virtue and perfection. Plead our cause near Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, to whom thou wast so tenderly devoted, and whose holy virtues thou didst so closely imitate. Obtain for us, O amiable and compassionate saint, the virtues thou seest most necessary for us; an ardent love of Jesus in the most holy Sacrament, a tender and filial confidence in His Blessed Mother, and, like thee, a constant remembrance of His sacred Passion and death. Obtain also, we pray thee, that our particular intention in this Novena may be fulfilled.

V. Pray for us, O holy St. Jane Frances.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O almighty and Merciful God, Who didst grant blessed St. Jane Frances, so inflamed with the love of Thee, a wonderful degree of fortitude through all the paths of life, and wast pleased through her to adorn Thy Church with a new religious Order, grant, by her merits and prayers, that we, who sensible of our weakness confide in Thy Strength, may overcome all adversities with the help of Thy heavenly Grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Why Fitness?

To tidy up this ‘fitness’ thing, which is not a New Year’s Resolution at all, I’m currently working through, here are a few more thoughts to ponder.

  • Most of my life has included rigorous excercise.
  • Priesthood can be one of the most sedentary professions on earth, for many reasons: schedules get busy, emergency calls come in all the time, people need appointments for various things, reading is a constant.
  • At various assignments it’s been difficult to truly maintain a program, for various reasons.

So, while walking and cycling have been able to remain more or less constants, what’s gone out the window is strength training. I was doing a lot of swimming, and just getting to the point of building a garage gym of sorts when I was transferred yet again, though this time as Pastor, which provides more stability of life.

One of the most successful “programs” I’ve ever worked out and followed is a Targeted Ketogenic Diet, from the Book by Lyle McDonald, which I made time for my first year in seminary, after years of being in the memorable Low Carb and Exercise List back in the day of UseNet. It’s nothing I can keep up with on a long term basis (obviously, or I would not be typing up this post.)

starting strength

But as the old saying goes, to lose weight you need to

  • eat less
  • move more
  • and lift heavy things
  • It doesn’t get more simple than that. I’ve been doing pretty good with the first two, it’s the third one, the “lifting heavy things part,” where I’ve been truly a slacker. And to go beyond that, if it’s possible to avoid loss of strength through some simple habit changes, it’s well worth the time and effort.

    Which leads to this book I’ve been reading again: Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe; which is great to simply focus on form.

    The picture of Mr. Rippetoe pretty much sums up the point of strength training: relaxing on the veranda with a whiskey. Strength helps you to enjoy life. I hope to be hiking and biking well into my later years, God willing.

    A few years ago I joined the Adventure Cycling Association, when I realized that I needed to re-prioritize for a more active lifestyle, and bought a touring bike. I’ve been doing a lot of cycling… but there’s something missing.

    But to that point, after several years of being away from free weights, I’m back in the weight room like a toddler, making sure my form is correct and my programs are lined up so that I don’t end up with any easily avoided injuries. And as ever, I go to the gym when I figure no one will be there. There were times I’ve felt like I was king of the hill, and walked around the gym doing whatever I wanted (well, that’s another story and not necessarily for this blog.) But a simple, sober routine for building strength is great for having a solid basis to work with.

    I’m not out to impress anyone, or to relive any past “glories” (mostly since I’m a late bloomer and the glories are all about us throughout life.) I’m just out to grow in strength, to better plan for future health so I that can fulfill my Priestly duties better, and to age with enjoyable habits.

    Other things in the mix…. hopefully we’ll get around to that in the not too distant future.

Priestly Fitness

A large part of my life has been devoted to exercise, trying to eat right, and fitness in general. I’ve been striving to get that balance back, and have been doing well for the most part in that I went backpacking 84 miles a few months ago, my cycling mileage is getting better (“better” being a relative term of course. Better than what? You may well ask. Better than nothing! Heh… But I’m doing 20-30 mile rides with some regularity, and even a 50 miler right before Christmas.) 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution

But what’s been missing is an intelligent strength training routine, to round this all out. I’ve been playing around with various weights and machines at the gym to sort of build a base from which to work (i.e unintelligent routine,) and have been reading and sorting through some things to build strength.

First up is something in my shelf for years, the “Seven Minute Rotator Cuff Solution”, which is actually now available for free PDF download.

But the plan is to build strength in my shoulders to better handle workout stressors. It’s a start… And we’re off.



I was thinking the other day, that I have major trust issues on some fronts.




“Just trust me.”

People, friends old, friends new, are wonderful.

3sisters copy

And it’s always an invitation to trust more as we go through life.


It can bring laughter…


or stark experiences…


Beautiful times…


Beautiful friends.


Longtime buddies…


Amazing families….


And amazing shrimp creole.

So, as I continue to grow in my understanding of trust, I have to remember…

big guy2

It’s all good.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

The Rev. Kenneth Allen