Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lake Koocanusa--Carolan's Home for the Week

My daughter Carolan and some of her colleagues in the Montana Conservation Corps are working in campgrounds along the banks of Lake Koocanusa this week (see the image below). This lake/reservoir straddles the US-Canadian border and is very close to the Montana-Idaho border. The name of the lake comes form KOOtenai +CANada+USA. Pretty clever!

I'm sure Carolan and her friends are thinking about their former colleague Mark Slovich, who died a week ago in a hiking accident in Utah. Mark's funeral mass is tomorrow at St. Bede the Venerable Church in Holland, PA, just outside of Philadelphia. We light a candle for Mark and his family.

Top image is Lake Koocanusa; bottom image is Libby Dam, with Lake Koocanusa (from Wikipedia).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wonderful Irish Music Session at Hiram College

Today around 25 musicians from all around Northeast Ohio met at Frohring Hall at Hiram College and played Irish tunes. Tina Dreisbach, music prof at Hiram, organizes this session, which meets three or four times a year.

Hiram is about 25 miles from where I live in Chardon and perhaps 40 miles from Cleveland. It's a beautiful place, a very small college with a long and important history. Here is what Wikipedia says of Hiram: "a private liberal arts college located in Hiram, Ohio. Founded by Amos Sutton Hayden of the Disciples of Christ Church in 1850, the institution has, since its first days, been nonsectarian and coeducational, and throughout its existence Hiram College has sustained this egalitarian tradition of educating men and women from diverse backgrounds. U.S. President James A. Garfield was a student, instructor, and principal of the institution while it was still the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute."

Of course the musicians weren't thinking too much of the college's distinguished history--we were thinking about making music! I wish I knew the names of all the musicians, but I know only a few: John Sharp, Robin (the piano player), Ellen (harpist), Tina's husband (uillean pipes, whistle) . . . .

There were 2 harpists there today, a piano player, 2 concertina players, 1 mandolin player, several classical flutists, several players of the Irish flute, maybe 5 whistle players, a player of the low D whistle, a few fiddle players, a few guitarists. Our regular bodhran player, Sheldon Firem, was unable to make it today (he was at the open house Chardon High School had for the community).

I will list many of the tunes played at the session: [coming]

One of World's Most Beautiful Places: Lake McDonald

This image comes from the webcam looking out from Apgar Village toward Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park (photo taken around 11 AM  Montana time on April 22, 2012). My daughter Carolan and her colleagues work in and around this park--one of the world's most beautiful places.

Friday, April 20, 2012

An Accident Takes the Life of Carolan's Friend Mark Slovich

Carolan received word of the the death of her friend Mark Andrew Slovich, a young fellow who worked with her 2 years ago in the Montana Conservation Corps. Mark died a couple days ago in a fall in Utah. After he fell, one friend, Jeremy I believe, stayed with him giving him first aid while another friend ran 20 miles to get help for Mark--but, alas, to no avail.

Mark was from Holland, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and was a genuine mountain guy--beloved by his fellow mountain and wilderness workers in the US Forest Service and the Conservation Corps.

This was a terrible blow for Carolan and all Mark's former colleagues. They become a tight family in their work in the wilderness--it's like losing your brother.

Our prayers are with Mark, his family, and his many friends and co-workers.

Here is an obituary:

Mark Andrew Slovich of Holland, PA died suddenly in a hiking accident on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Utah. He was 22.

Born in Langhorne, PA, he was the beloved son of Richard M. and Marie T. Scanlin Slovich.

Mark was a resident of Holland for 20 years. He graduated from Council Rock South High School, Class of 2008. An avid outdoorsman, Mark joyfully hiked the Appalachian Trail. He joined the Conservation Corps, a division of AmeriCorps, and served for two years in Minnesota and Montana. Presently he was employed as a forest technician with the U.S. Forestry Service. He was an experienced hiker who sought out beautiful and serene spaces to play musical prayer from his Indian flute. He will be sadly missed as a loving son, brother, grandson and friend to all who knew him.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his brother, Michael J. Slovich and his wife, Jessica, of Mohnton, PA, his two sisters, Katharine G. Slovich of Philadelphia, PA, Anna E. Slovich of Holland, PA, and his cherished girlfriend Emily Hayes of Duluth, MN. He was the maternal grandson of Helen Scanlin of Buckingham and John J. Scanlin of Tioga County, PA and paternal grandson of Rose R. Slovich of Erie, PA and the late Frank Slovich. He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Relatives and friends are invited to call on Thursday, April 26, 2012, from 10:00 AM until his Funeral Mass 11:00 AM at St. Bede the Venerable Church, 1071 Holland Road, Holland, PA 18966. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Churchville Nature Center, Churchville, PA.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reopening of Closed Catholic Churches: A Reason for Celebration

Yesterday it became official: 12 Catholic churches that appealed their closing by Bishop Richard Lennon will reopen. This is an astonishing turn around, totally unexpected when you think of the power of a bishop in the Catholic Church. Three parishes that I cared most about, St. Peter in Cleveland (right near Cleveland State--about 18th and Superior), St. James in Lakewood, and St. Patrick in the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland, will all reopen before the end of the year. This is the result of hard work and considerable prayer. Some smart people must have understood Vatican procedures and Canon Law to get these closings overturned.

This is good for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, for the City of Cleveland, and for the Greater Cleveland area. It is also good for the Catholic church in America and around the world.

We can hope that there is reconciliation, understanding, and forgiveness for Bishop Lennon's actions of past years. Many will be quick to forgive and forget; but for me it's going to take a while!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lakeland's Poetry Contest--Looking Back Over 25 Years

Lakeland Community College's poetry contest has a deadline for submissions this Friday, April 20th (see the following blog post for contest rules, categories, and other information). Whenever the contest rolls around I think of the many extraordinary poet-judges and contest winners from the past.

One of the early judges was a poet from Hiram College by the name of Hale Chatfield. There are many Hiram alums and professors who fondly remember Professor Chatfield and his excellent poetry. Another of my favorite judges from the past is Kat Snider Blackbird from Burton, Ohio. Kat is an absolutely wonderful poet, and I believe she is teaching these days at Kent State University. Other judges have come from the Burton area, including Gayle and Jim Wohlken. Besides being a terrific poet, Gayle is a fine artist specializing in woodcuts. She has published several small chapbooks that feature her woodcuts and her poetry along with the poetry of many of her friends. At times this group of poets puts on performances that feature music and percussion accompanying the poems (they call themselves the "Drumming Poets").

Other fine local poets who have judged our contest over the years include Ellen McHugh of Painesville, Mary Roulette of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Tom Hyland of Rocky River, Michael Billings of Lakewood, Larry Aufderheide of Mentor, and George Bilgere, professor at John Carroll University. George Bilgere has a close connection with former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

The awards reception, which takes place this year on Tuesday, May 8th (7:30 PM in Lakeland's Library), will be a great time for celebrating poetry in Northeast Ohio. The featured poet this year is Suzanne Ondrus of Chagrin Falls. Several Lakeland faculty poets will also read, including contest co-founder Bill French, Lakeland professor of respiratory therapy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lakeland Poetry Contest Deadline Approaching--April 20, 2012

This year's poetry contest at Lakeland Community College is being judged by Suzanne Ondrus. Suzanne will do a reading of her work at the May 8th poetry awards reception (7:30 PM in the Lakeland Library). Also invited to read will be several Lakeland faculty members and the contest winners. This year is the 25th annual contest, and I have been here for about 23 of them. The contest and reading were started by Larry Aufderheide, former Arts and Humanities Dean, and Professor Bill French; I believe Professor Carlos Tackett was also involved. We have had many distinguished judges over the years. The contest winners read like a roster of the best poets in Northern Ohio (and often beyond the region!).

I am going to cut and paste below the text of the official announcement, with entrance procedures and criteria:

Lakeland Community College Announces . . .

The 25th Annual Poetry Competition for Students and Community Members

Categories and prizes:

Category 1 - High School Students

1st prize - $50
2nd prize - $30
3rd prize - $20

Category 2 - Lakeland Students

1st prize - $50
2nd prize - $30
3rd prize - $20

Category 3 - General Public

1st prize - $50
2nd prize - $30
3rd prize - $20

There will be a $3.00 (maximum) entry fee payable to Lakeland Community College for all three categories.

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, April 20, 2012.

Awards will be announced at a reception at the Lakeland Library, C-3051, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Winners will be invited to read at the reception.


Dr. Robert Coughlin
Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, Ohio 44094-5198

Each entrant may submit up to three poems. No single
poem should be more than two typed pages. Entrants
should include a separate sheet with name, address,
category, and title of submitted poems. No personal
identification should appear on the poems themselves.
Titles of poems should appear on each page (upper
right corner on second page). Manuscripts will be
returned if entrants supply a self-addressed stamped
envelope. The competition is not open to employees of
Lakeland Community College.

The deadline is next Friday--April 20th! So get your submissions in soon--and follow all the guidelines.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cleveland's Memorial to the Great Irish Famine

The Irish Famine of the late 1840's ended up killing about a million people and forcing another million to leave the country. Many ancestors of Clevelanders left directly or indirectly because of this cataclysm. There is a beautiful memorial to "An Gorta Mor," the Great Hunger, on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland's Flats, right under the Detroit Superior Bridge and across from the Flat Iron Cafe. My Lakeland colleague Paula Blackman did the bronze figure of a mother and her children on the river-facing side of this monument.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Remembering a Death and The Resurrection

Today we attended mass at St. Mary's in Painesville. The service was beautiful and the music was glorious with the flute and Irish whistle playing of Mary Ann Ratchko-Gamez and the piano playing of Francesco.

On the way home we drove through the most beautiful areas of Lake County, in Painesville, Leroy, and Concord Townships, along Big Creek (down beautiful Cascade Road). This was early spring in Northern Ohio--at its most beautiful. At some point it dawned on me that today was the anniversary of my Dad's death--15 years ago, April 8, 1997. We prayed for him at church as we do every Sunday. And then I went to All Souls Cemetery and laid some daffodils on his and Mom's grave and said some prayers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Perfect Holy Thursday: Karpos Food Ministry in Painesville, Ohio

I didn't spend Holy Thursday in church. I spent it just outside the church, in a parking lot at St. Mary's in Painesville, Ohio, where about 10 folks from Karpos Ministry cooked and served meals to the hungry and homeless. Linda and I have been doing this for a little over a month, every Thursday evening. The Karpos Ministry crew also serves a meal on Wednesday evening. A nearby church, St. James Episcopal, also serves two meals per week. Kathy Philipps is in charge of Karpos, but is helped by many other people. I'm just getting to know the names, so I will leave some key people out: there's Dan Philipps, Rose, Josey and her two grandsons (high school students). There's Mrs. Pulling, former Burton restaurateur, who brings homemade pies every week (this past week featured delicious blackberry pies--there could be none better). There's Chuck Hillier, dishwasher extraordinaire (in my mind, the toughest job). There's Ken-the-Canadian (Kennedy Fitzsimmons). There are dishwashers, floor sweepers and washers, those who cook the food, those who serve it--so many people involved. And of course there's St. Mary's Parish itself and the pastor Fr. Steve Vellenga and associate pastor Fr. Mark Riley. They allow use of the kitchen, the building, and provide all the utility support.

Some Thursdays as many as 100 people gather for the dinner. They receive a homemade, nutritious dinner, one that doesn't have the feel of institutional food. And it is shared in a spirit of community.

Jesus told us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, we in Karpos Ministry do that at St. Mary's Church in Painesville, Ohio. This was our church, our Eucharist this past Holy Thursday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday: "Parce Domine!"

Today we went to the Lourdes Shrine in Euclid, Ohio--one of the holiest and most beautiful places in Euclid and Greater Cleveland.The shrine features a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France. It was built from Euclid Bluestone, quarried by early Euclidians, Irish, Slovenian, Czech, Hungarians, and others at the Euclid Creek quarry a mile or so away.

Linda and I lit candles for our family, then did the Stations of the Cross. Many people, ranging from little kids to old codgers, were on the beautiful wooded hillside path of the stations.

I thought of the old Latin chant we would sing over and over during Lent: "Parce, Domine! Parce Populo Tuo: Ne in Aeternum Irascaris Nobis." --"Spare, O lord! Spare your people! Be not forever angry with your people!" I can hear the tune in my head. I chanted it a thousand times as a child at St, William's Church in Euclid. I still chant it.

Top: the replica grotto, built of Euclid Bluestone. Middle: one of the stations on the wooded hillside. Bottom: Station XII, the Crucifixion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day of the Baseball Season--Happy Memories

Today the Cleveland Indians open their season against the Toronto Blue Jays. It's a fairly typical Cleveland early spring day (except for the incredible sunshine): the temperature is in the low 40's, and a chill wind blows in from cold Lake Erie. My son-in-law, Ed Kleppel, will be at the game rooting the Tribe on. There's a possibility that 45-year-old Omar Vizquel will make an appearance at shortstop for the Blue Jays--the oldest shortstop (and the best!) in baseball history. We fondly remember Omar's 11 years with the Indians.

Today I especially remember some opening games, both in Cleveland and Cincinnati. I remember the 1966 home opener when my friend Terry Laurie and I skipped out of St. Joe's High School and sold hotdogs at Cleveland Stadium. Our plan was to watch the game for free. It turned out that 80,000 people showed up and we didn't have a free minute to watch the game. We were gone from early morning until evening, took 2 CTS buses to the game and 2 buses home--and we made $8.00 for our day's work (subtract from that the bus fare). But it was a great day, and worth the 5 demerits Brother Boekermann dished out!

I also fondly remember an opening day in Cincinnati (1977) when about 6 inches of snow fell. A snowball fight broke out, of course, and amazingly the game proceeded as tons of snow melted in Riverfront Stadium. Cincinnati is one of the greatest towns for opening day, with the Findley Market parade and all the wonderful events of the day.

On April 4, 1974, opening day, I watched the Cincinnati Reds play the Atlanta Braves. Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run in the first inning, tying Babe Ruth's all-time record--one of the great moments in baseball history, and I was there.

In the late 1990's Linda and I worked the concession stand opening day at Jacobs Field, where the Tribe opened their season. The soccer parents worked the stand and a good amount of money was earned for my daughters' soccer teams and the Euclid Youth Soccer Organization. What I remember is working non-stop, and freezing my rear end off! Opening Day is normally very very cold in Cleveland.

Cold or not, sun or snow, opening day is a wonderful big deal in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Go Tribe!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Ich bin ein Kentuckian"

Wasn't it John F. Kennedy who stood on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington and said, "Ich bin ein Kentuckian," or something to that effect?

Anyway, bin ich auch--I am one too--for today. After all I lived 7 years in Kentucky, Linda 8 years, my daughters were all born at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington. We have the birth certificates to prove it, President Obama!

So we will bask in the great victory of the University of Kentucky over the University of Kansas--at least until the Browns get into the Super Bowl and the Indians get back to the World Series. And hell freezes over!

Yes, Ich bin ein Kentuckian!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Way of the Cross in the Lake County Jail

Last evening about 15 or so of us from the St. Mary's Jail Ministry participated in a Way of the Cross service in the Lake County Jail. It was one of the most noteworthy things I've ever done, and I will tell about it soon . . .

Here’s To The Hat – My Last Conversation With Mike Celizic « CBS New York

Here’s To The Hat – My Last Conversation With Mike Celizic « CBS New York

I was thinking about my old Notre Dame friend Mike Celizic today and I located an interesting article on him (ckick the above link). I too received an ominous farewell email from Mike. And to tell the truth, I didn't fully believe it--I didn't think Mike was in the last days or weeks of his life. Then I delayed too long in trying to call him.

Mike was quite a character, what we might have called in German "einmalig!"--Mike and I and 34 other Notre Dame boys studied together in Innsbruck, Austria during academic year 1967-68. Mike was one of a kind, and I miss him!