The Vivacious Cleaning Newsletter


I have nothing against jazz, but I am not a big fan of it popping up during my morning reflection time when I have set my Apple Play to “Peaceful Nature Songs.”  I am even less a fan when the song is called “Vivacious Cleaning.” I am not in the mood for cleaning, Apple.   Or at least I wasn’t until that song came on and now the Scrubby Deutsch inside of me wants to go straighten up a bunch of loose ends. 

Perhaps we can consider this newsletter a form of spring cleaning where I have the chance to lay out in an orderly manner any number of things that I have had on my mind of late:

  1. This week in the lectionary is all about the “Bread of Life Discourse” from John ch. 6. Looking at the Gospel readings through the lens of all the first communions that are going on at this time of year reminded me of a story that my friend Mary told me about a first communion experience in her parish.  It will warm your heart.  You can hear about it in my reflection for The Word on April 17, posted here.
  2. Last month, I mentioned to you that I’d been part of a very powerful “Conversation in the Spirit” related to lay preaching within Eucharist.  Many of us who were there are now working on articles for a book being compiled by the conference convener, Fr. Greg Heille, OP.  But the statement from this gathering that we submitted to the USCCB and the Vatican Synod office can now be found here.  We are hopeful that perhaps it will enter into the larger discernment of the Synod in October 2024 or perhaps become part of one of the study groups where some of the larger topics are now being considered.
  3. We are now coming to the end of Season One of the “Waking Up Goliath” podcast series. I have more episodes in the hopper but we are running on a shoestring here, so it might be a little bit.  I’d encourage you to check out the last two episodes of this season with Dr. Kevin Baxter and Dr. Jared Bryson.  Kevin is the former superintendent of the LA Catholic schools and now is the director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame—a program doing amazing things for Catholic school leaders.   Jared is the director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of St. Louis who also has a long background in Catholic health care.  Both men are great witnesses to what strong lay leadership in ministry can look like and I am so happy to end this season on a bang. 
  4. This month has me hopping travel wise.  Last week I was in Texas.  I got a mysterious glimpse of the eclipse in its totality, but also a brilliant lightning storm, lots of wildflowers, some new baby Corsican rams, and my friend Autumn in the peak of Spring.  She sends her greetings to all of you and wants you to know that I was very smart to fly hither and zither all over the country last December to maintain my platinum status on Delta because it allowed me to visit her again.  No…. she didn’t really say this aloud, but I know she was thinking it.   At the end of the week, I was also in DC with the great community of ESTEEM.  If you’ve not heard of this wonderful leadership development experience for young adults in the church, you should know about it... especially if you are a campus minister. Each time I am in DC I try to visit a site I’ve not seen before since there are just so darn many of them. This time I stopped by Planet Word—a fun museum on language recommended by my friend Ron—and also the Library of Congress.  It was a book-themed kind of day.   Next week I’ll be taking a trip across the northern Midwest, driving from Moline, IL to Dubuque, IA to Cedar Falls, IA  (not to be confused with Cedar Rapids… boy, did that get me into trouble trying to figure out flights) to Sinsinawa, WI to Nashotah, WI to Milwaukee, WI.   Along the way, I’ll be doing a workshops on Preaching with Children at both Wartburg Seminary and Nashotah House.  Catechists and pastors from the region, you would be most welcome to either of these events!    In the middle, I’ll be talking about Redeeming Conflict for the Pastoral Leadership Study Day of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.  Looking forward to meeting the parish teams from across the diocese for a wonderful day!  It’s not too late to register but do so quickly or the chicken salad sandwich option might be gone and you will be stuck with the black bean wrap.
  5. Ave Maria Press has a super sale going on only through April 19th only.  This is your last chance to get #Rules_of_Engagement at only $4 vs. the regular $14.  Perfect book discussion book for your parish or school community as election season re-heats.  How do we want to be with one another during this time? 

Okay, I think that is the end of my mental spring cleaning.  That was a whole lot of links!   It is probably time to now move on to the kitchen.