My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at and I have a Facebook page.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Upcoming Documentary: 'The Red Danube'

Dear Blog Visitors:

I thought I would share with you a preview of my documentary-in-progress, entitled 'The Red Danube.'

If you have followed my recent blog posts, you are aware that I have been tracing the footsteps of my ancestors. Concerning my father's side of the family, there is a long lineage of Eastern European Jews, most notably from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which would separate into separate countries following World War I.

My research tells me that prior to World War II, there were approximately 700,000 Jews living in Hungary. The Nazis managed to exterminate approximately 600,000 of them, and many who remained moved elsewhere, reducing the Jewish population to a mere few hundred.

As I continue to work on my documentary, I hope to heighten the awareness of what occurred along the banks of the Danube in 1944.

Peace to all,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kodak Retirement Article on Henry Grosswirth (1944)

Dear Blog Visitors:

In 1944, my late paternal grandfather, Henry Grosswirth (1879-1975), retired after 34 years with Eastman Kodak. (He worked for the company from 1910-1944.) His career and life were so fascinating that Kodak’s newspaper, ‘The Kodakery,’ decided to publish a feature story on Henry upon his retirement.

I have already written a lengthy family history of my grandfather and his extended family in Europe and the United States. This history can be accessed on-line at the following link:

For members of his family who stayed in Hungary, the fates of most of them were tragic. A cruel series of events placed family members under three brutal regimes: first, the Austro-Hungarian Empire; second, Nazi-occupied Hungary; third, Hungary under Communist rule and Soviet occupation. (82 persons with the Grosswirth name perished during World War II; some died in concentration camps, and a few others were killed along the banks of the Danube River in the final year of World War II.)

My grandfather rarely talked about his European relatives, probably because information he had was too painful to relate to his descendants. What I learned following his death in 1975 was a result of many years of research.

Following the authorship of my family history, it was a pleasant surprise for me to find a copy of the 1944 article from ‘The Kodakery.’ It provided information I did not have access to previously. So, I will now be able to include pieces of it in a screenplay I intend to write, tentatively called, ‘The Red Danube.’

The above photo is of my paternal grandparents, Henry and Sallie Grosswirth (photo taken in 1954).

The 1944 article is rather faded, so I had to re-type it. The article mentions my father’s two brothers, but it did not mention my father, Sidney Grosswirth. (My father also worked at Kodak for 35 years.) One of my father’s brothers (Edward) moved to the west coast after working at Kodak for a few years; his other brother (Louis) also moved to the west coast after working at Kodak for a while and serving in the military. Here is the word-for-word article on my grandfather in its entirety:


Henry Grosswirth went home last week. But his many Camera Works friends, who know that the retired 65-year-old plant veteran has earned a well-deserved rest, entertain some doubts as to his intentions to pursue it.

There are good grounds for their suspicions. Henry Grosswirth, you see, is a rather unusual individual.

Henry, for example, spoke six languages when he was only 13 years old. When he was all of 14 he left home in Austria and traveled to America. So did many others – but Henry came all by himself, worked in this country for a while, and then went back home. He worked at so many trades before he came to Camera Works in 1910 that plant officials felt obligated to inquire as to how long he planned to stay in our midst. Henry said he thought he would stay quite a while. He did. Thirty-four years, to be exact.

Henry’s parents were financially well off. They wanted him to continue his schooling and go to a university. But he was as restless at 14 as the average boy of 20, so his mother sewed $200 in his shirt, and, equipped with railway and steamship tickets to take him as far as New York City, Henry departed, accompanied by his parents’ avowed blessings and unexpected misgivings.

Even before Henry left the continent he demonstrated his ability to take care of himself. Waiting for an American-bound ship at a German port, he sat down to write a last letter home. Fellow travelers, many of whom were unable to write, begged him to pen their final letters before embarking for the New World. Henry obliged, for a consideration, and before the evening was concluded he had a stack of letters by his one hand and a stack of folding money by his other.

His first job in the United States was that of an apprentice in a cigar-making shop. That was in 1892, and Henry dragged down the munificent sum of 25 cents a week, plus board. He did better on his next job and was on his way to even more responsible positions when a serious hand injury threatened the loss of all of his fingers. Henry returned to Austria to recover.

A Vienna specialist restored to Henry the use of his fingers, and, free of this worry, he again started forth – this time within the confines of the European continent.

He tried cabinetmaking, made an error one day and was beaten with a piece of the lumber with which he worked. So, he decided to try tinsmithing. That was terminated by the discovery that he suffered from acrophobia, which is no phobia for those working on roofs and high chimneys. Then came a job in a leather plant. Frankly, it stank, and Henry switched his allegiance to a bakery. That smelled and tasted better, so he finished his four-year apprenticeship in two years and became foreman.

Then Henry bethought himself of his original purpose in life, and the bakery sought a new foreman. His further European travels, during which he taught languages in various schools, were brought to a halt when he married Sallie Wicks. So Henry brought his wife to America.

It took Henry a few years to find Rochester, and then to find Camera Works – and that did it for Henry’s traveling, up until this point. But now that he is retired…..!

Henry began work at Kodak as a drillpress hand. Throughout the years that followed he held many supervisory jobs in the milling, drillpress, lathe, punchpress, brass, and rivet departments. His work, in recent years, has been alongside Edward Grosswirth, one of his boys, and expert tool and die maker now on special duty for the company outside Rochester. Henry has another boy who is doing the traveling for his father. He’s an Army lieutenant.

But Henry has ideas. South America is separated from him by nothing more than a war and a few miles of ocean. He’d travel now, if it weren’t for the military demands upon rail transportation, to see his two boys, and his daughter who is in New York. He prefers to wait a bit.

Yet South America makes pretty good reading, thinks Henry Grosswirth. Then, not so many years from now, he guesses, he’ll drop down there for a look around. A man in his late sixties has more business traveling anyway than a boy of 14, Henry will tell you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reminiscing About Eastman Kodak

Dear Blog Visitors:

Yesterday was sad for anyone tied in any way, past or present, to Eastman Kodak. Although not unexpected, the shock factor was still felt around the world when Kodak announced it had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers.

For my family, Eastman Kodak played a very large role. My late paternal grandfather, Henry Grosswirth, settled in Rochester after arriving in America from Hungary. He then spent most of his working life at Kodak. My late father, Sidney Grosswirth, spent 35 years of his working life at Kodak. I had a summer job there during my college years, whereby my father had hoped I would continue in the family tradition by finding a career at Kodak. However, my life ambitions took me in other directions.

It is difficult to say at this point whether or not reorganization of Kodak, as part of the Chapter 11 arrangement, will be successful. I am hoping for a positive outcome, whether it be via the sale of multiple patents, or a primary focus on Kodak's motion picture business, which is still integral to he lives of Hollywood filmmakers.

I have posted four related photos above. The first photo is of George Eastman's house, which continues to operate as an international museum of photography. The second photo is yours truly with a vintage 1934 Kodak camera tested by my grandfather in its pre-patent stage. The third photo is my father's Kodak baseball team from the 1950s (my father is holding the plaque). The fourth photo is my baseball team from 1964. I am pictured in the first row, second from the left. (Sons and daughters of Kodak workers were invited to participate in baseball and bowling teams, via its KPAA (Kodak Park Athletic Association).

I share the sadness of many over what is occuring with Eastman Kodak. However, my hope is that the company will find ways to survive.

Peace to all,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Top-Five Reasons Pope Benedict XVI Should Resign

Dear Blog Visitors:

Pope Benedict XVI managed to create headlines yesterday by verbally attacking the gay community. This is not the first time he has done so, which amounts to a throwback to Nazi Germany, when gays were singled out for discrimination and arrest. In yesterday's worldwide speech, Benedict equated gay marriage with a downfall of humanity itself.

The pontiff would like for us to believe that there are no gay priests, despite the fact that it is well known that approximately 30% of priests are gay, and the vast majority of them are true ministers of the Gospel. So, for Benedict to attack the gay community is nothing more than a smokescreen.

I truly believe it is time for Benedict XVI to resign, and this has nothing to do with his age. My top-five reasons he should consider a resignation are as follows: 1.) He refuses to see the wisdom of an inclusive priesthood (celibate, married, women); 2.) He continues to discriminate against the gay community; 3.) He blocked reporting of sexual abuse cases when he was in his previous Vatican post; 4.) He refused full access to the Vatican's Holocaust archives, when Pius XII was nominated for sainthood; 5.) He won't consider the convening of Vatican III, a council that could conceivably bring about much-needed reform to the Roman Catholic Church.

Peace to all,