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Category Archives: Father Dan Begin

Suffering

One time, I asked Father Dan to explain suffering. I wanted him to tell me why it exists. Why is there such profound pain and fear, even for animals? In response, Father Dan launched into a story. He had recently been in his car on a beautiful sunny day, and there was an animal, a […]

Because He Lives

I have some tapes from Masses at St. Cecilia’s, my old church. Tonight I felt like hearing a random sermon from Father Dan. I guess you can’t say picking out an Easter Mass qualifies as random, exactly, but let’s say the choice was relatively unpremeditated. Wow. The words not only reverberate all around Father Dan and […]

Father Dan’s Funeral Sermon

When I mention that Father Dan wrote the sermon for his own funeral Mass, people are sometimes taken aback–people, that is, who didn’t know him. “Wouldn’t somebody else have liked to say something?” one of them asked me, implying that Father Dan was presumptuous or egotistical. Well, someone else did speak: his friend Father Paul […]

Moving Mountains

Because Father Dan wasn’t the formal celebrant on St. Cecilia’s last day, he couldn’t deliver the homily. That’s a rule. According to canon law, the Bishop says the last Mass and gives the homily. Father Dan was leaving his neighborhood, his life, and his job of over 30 years. He, like us, was losing his community. […]

If Nothing Ever Changed . . .

Google proved a goldmine of information for Father Dan’s homilies. On Epiphany, he would explain the Star of Bethlehem this way: the astronomical conjunction of planets in about 6 BCE lined up in Pisces, a constellation special to the Hebrews, sparking the Magi’s trip to the manger. Discussing the Good Samaritan, he’d provide a lengthy historical […]

A Funeral

I posted this essay about seven years ago, when the Diocese of Cleveland was in the process of closing St. Cecilia and Epiphany churches in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. I don’t know why I didn’t name Father Dan Begin back then, but I still like it this way.    Today I attended a funeral mass […]

Love the One You’re With

Whenever I asked Father Dan for advice, I’d feel some sympathy for Jesus’s disciples, because I usually had no idea what he was talking about until much later. Once, many years ago, I sought his advice about my high-school-aged daughter, who was doing something I thought dangerous. I wanted to know how to stop her. […]

Welcoming the Stranger

One of the most noteworthy things about Father Dan Begin was that his words and his actions were almost perfectly in sync. This quality made his sermons especially powerful; if you knew him, you could hear his advice and immediately think of in-the-flesh-examples from the speaker himself. You would think, “Oh, yes. I see. That’s […]

Father Dan on Grieving

Father Dan delivered this homily on Palm Sunday, March 23, 2009, the week after Bishop Richard Lennon announced the closing of his churches, St. Cecilia and Epiphany.   I think as we watch Jesus struggle, it affirms in us that grieving is natural and grieving is necessary in order to move forward. The whole process […]

Exuberance Is Beauty

Father Dan Begin and I never talked about William Blake, the English Romantic poet, which may sound pretentious, but we were two old English majors who enjoyed hauling out our tattered copies of the Norton Anthology of English Literature on occasion. T.S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” would make an appearance in Father Dan’s Epiphany […]