No one know who was the first to make this often-repeated wry comment on the Feast of the Epiphany: “What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men? They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.”

People often imagine that mystics have their heads in the clouds because they are so well-connected with God through prayer. The truth is mystics can be very practical. On this day in 1754, Russian Orthodox Saint Seraphim of Sarov was born.  He spent twenty-years as a hermit in the Forest near his monastery.

Here is some practical wisdom.

•   “One should not think about the doings of God when one’s stomach is full; on a full stomach there can be no vision of the Divine mysteries.”

•   “One should nourish the soul with the word of God: for the word of God, as St. Gregory the Theologian says, is angelic bread, by which are nourished souls who hunger for God. Most of all, one should occupy oneself with reading the New Testament and the Psalter, which one should do STANDING UP.”

•   “One should always endure any trial for the sake of God with gratitude. Our life is a single minute in comparison with eternity; and therefore, according to the Apostle, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).”



Governor Justice has delayed the start of all schools until September 8.  Both the Diocesan Office of Schools and our Principal Mary Grace Peck are working hard on protocols to make Saint Francis de Sales School as safe as possible while maintaining our academic and religious standards. The children will come to Masses not currently open to the public as an added precaution to current requirements in place for public worship.

The Boys Scouts of America have cancelled the National Jamboree scheduled for NEXT year.

We have not yet had to turn people away because we didn’t have space to seat them with the legally mandated social distancing requirements. Weekend Masses will continue at 5pm on Saturdays and 10am on Sundays, with doors opening  30 minutes prior.

Bishop Mark Brennan will be here to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for and with our youth at a special 11:00 am Sunday Mass on August 23.  Only the candidates, their parents, and sponsors will be able to be inside the church. It will, however, be live-streamed on Facebook.  We will have an 8:30 am Mass on that Sunday August 23 to allow others to come to Mass on that Sunday.



You are invited to join me at 7pm on Monday, July 20 for “Let Us Pray!”  live-streaming on my Facebook Page — “Paul Wharton in Beckley, WV”.  This will be the second episode of a bi-monthly series on prayer and spiritual growth. The topic will be “Types of Prayer.”

Episode 1 — What is Prayer? 
Links: video and notes



Always You!

Where I wander — You!
Where I ponder — You!
Only You everywhere, You, always You.
You, You, You.
When I am gladdened — You!
And when I am saddened — You!
Only You, everywhere You!
You, You, You.
Sky is You!
Earth is You!
You above! You below!
In every trend, at every end,
Only You, everywhere You!

— Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov


POEM of the DAY:

~ Happy birthday to my brother Jim.  I am truly blessed by our friendship and love with and for each other.  May God bless you today and everyday!  You have indeed taught me lessons for a lifetime.


People come into your life for

a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,

you  will know what to do for each person.


When someone is in your life for a REASON . . .

It is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,

to provide you with guidance and support,

to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend, and they are!

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part,

or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something

to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.

Sometimes they move.

Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that

our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered.

And now it is time to move on.


When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .

Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.


LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;

things you must build upon

in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,

and put what you have learned to use

in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Author Unknown



When you get old, your secrets are safe with your friends. They’ll never share them because they can’t remember them.


At my age, I don’t want to eat health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.


You can’t be young forever, but immaturity can last a life time.


I’m done with wild oats. Now I’m into prunes and All Bran.


Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.


Isn’t it nice that wrinkles don’t hurt?


I started out with nothing … I still have most of it.


I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart.


Funny, I don’t remember being absent minded.


I used to think I was wishy-washy.  Now I’m not so sure


It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.


Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.


I used to think I was wishy-washy.  Now I’m not so sure


Fidel Castro dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is a devil. “What’s it like in there?” asks Fidel. “Well,” the devil replies, “in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.” “That’s terrible!” he gasps. “I’m going to check out communist hell!”

Castro goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge line of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a devil who looks a bit like Karl Marx. “I’m still in the free world, Karl,” he says, “and before I come in, I want to know what it’s like in there.” “In communist hell,” says Marx impatiently, “they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.”

“But… but that’s the same as capitalist hell!“ protests Fidel, “Why such a long line?”

“Well,” sighs Marx, “Sometimes we’re out of oil, sometimes we don’t have knives, sometimes not even hot water…”



On this day in 1860,  Lizzie Borden was born.  “Axe” me no questions, and I will tell you no lies.


1963 – Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 meters (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention. The first human in space was Russian Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961.


On 19 October 2016, relics of Seraphim were launched into space aboard the Soyuz MS-02 and returned to Earth on Monday, April 10, 2017.  During its descent, the capsule was partially depressurized but no harm resulted.