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 www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Revisiting 1936 Accident




Dear Blog Visitors:

As a follow-up to Father's Day, I did something yesterday that I contemplated for many years. I visited the resting place of Charles Nawrocki (1917-1936) who died following a one-car crash on April 12, 1936 (Easter Sunday). My father was driving, but the accident was not his fault, as confirmed by police and newspaper accounts.
As I thought about the accident, I would not be here today if there hadn't been a dramatic turn in my father's condition. He was initially reported in very critical condition and not expected to survive. However, he did manage to pull through. When he returned home following the accident, he had to remain flat on a gurney for six months to heal his broken back. HIs siblings took turns rotating the gurney every six hours. He remained in back pain for most of his life, despite multiple medical interventions, and he often related feeling badly about the death of his friend.

As I went through police and newspaper accounts, I discovered that my father and four friends had traveled to Buffalo to receive awards for their many years of selling newspapers (Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle). It was on the way back home, in Batavia, that the accident occurred. According to reports, a bus operated by the Western New York Motor Lines had just passed my father's car, and apparently pulled in front of the car too soon, forcing my father off the road. In addition to the death of Charles Nawrocki, others in the car received severe injuries, including my father, Chester McGhan, Michael Lakota, and Milton Weinstein.
The bus company was subsequently sued, but the jury was unable to reach a decision. (Forensic evidence was obviously not as sophisticated in 1936 as it is today.)

It was interesting to see how much information was provided in newspapers in 1936, including typographical errors (spellings, punctuation, etc.). Concerning the information in this story, newspapers reported that George Skivington was the attorney for the plaintiff (my father) and Clayton Smith was the attorney for the bus company. Newspapers also reported that the names of jury members were Catherine Mayled, Mary Radona, Albert Reinholtz, Clayton Scoins, Henry Benthin, Mrs. George Bradway, Mrs. Walter Gartley, Burton Reddy, Garnet Hoe, Charles Seekins, Laura Lang, and Barbara Mayhew.

I like to think my father would have appreciated my taking the time to locate the gravesite of Charles Nawrocki.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Former Abuse of Irish Nuns


Dear Blog Visitors:
The Washington Post's revelation of the full extent of what occurred in Catholic work houses in Ireland run by nuns was shocking to say the least. What was portrayed in motion pictures PHILOMENA and THE MAGDALENE SISTERS was just the tip of the iceberg. As described in yesterday's Washington Post article, a mass grave was found at the former site of an Irish work house, with the bones of 800 discarded babies.

For many years, the public was led to believe that babies born out of wedlock were given up for adoption by nuns who ran various work houses in Ireland. Indeed, some babies were adopted. However, we now know the full extent of the story, whereby babies and young children were starved, tortured, allowed to suffer horrible diseases without treatment, and the list goes on.

Ever since I was ordained a married priest by a married archbishop in 2006, I have officiated at many weddings. In quite a few situations, brides have been unwed mothers. Whenever two people pledge their love to each other, it is a cause for celebration. In my independence from the institutional Roman Catholic Church, I make no judgments. I am happy to officiate at weddings for couples in all circumstances, whether they be heterosexual or gay, and if an unwed mother solicits my services, I am more than happy to be an officiant.

The Roman Catholic Church must reform itself at many levels. There is some hope with Pope Francis. However, he must do much more to bring forth the equality women in the church seek.

Peace to all,
Ray