Fr. Kenneth J Nelan, osfc

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20 Years – A Reflection

I am no stranger to reflecting on the past – I’ve done it often enough throughout my now many years on this big blue marble. In the past few days, between clients and conferences, my mind has wandered through the past 20 to 30 years of celebration and turmoil. You see, in two days I celebrate 20 years as a priest in the Independent Catholic Movement (ICM); a movement filled with saints and sinners, servants and sharks. Before the ICM, I worked for 10 years at my local parish in the Roman Catholic diocese where I lived – including the …

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Because G*d Is. Yep, Just Is…

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13, New International Version There is no greater truth than God, the Divine being we claim is responsible for all of Creation, is most assuredly incomprehensible. Some of us have spend our entire lives seeking the Creator in everything we say and do; ever watching for that moment the Creator connects with our own being. The reality, of course, is that we awake enough to realize we have always had that special connection; we simple were never aware of it prior to that moment. In …

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16th Sunday in the Ordinary Life and Ministry – 23rd Psalm and Self-Care

It’s easy to get stuck in the muck… It’s even easier to give up and begin lashing out at the world – blaming everyone for everything happening in my own reality. The truth is, no one else is to blame for anything we experience except ourselves – no matter what is imposed on us. Do bad things happen to people? Yes they do, but there are those who can rise above and succeed regardless of the garbage being hurled at us. For the longest time, I collected the garbage because it was delivered in the guise of love, and I …

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15th Sunday – The New Delivery Service

(As is usually the case, this is my intended homily for the 15th Sunday; however, I usually go out on tangents and this may or may not be the final version. That version will be posted in our newest section – “Sermons” shortly after it is recorded.) Okay – everyone breathe a sigh of relief – today’s homily is a bit shorter than many of my previous homilies. But before we get to the meat and potatoes, I want to take a moment to thank all those out there who have continued to love and support the Pastoral Center through …

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And When You Pray; Use Your Heart

We know the words so well that whenever we recite them we race through them as if we are in some imaginary competition to finish first. Each time the race begins, I am bothered deep within my soul. You see, for me as the Mass is deeply personal. It is an opportunity to commune wholly and completely with our Christ in a spiritual moment of Creation – a time when we can finally still our hearts, minds, and soul so that we are refreshed and renewed through the “Holy and Living sacrifice.” The prayers we recite become mantras that help …

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Tag; +You’re It!

My reading list is, at the very least, eclectic. I often find inspiration in theological dissertations, scientific journals, science fiction (and fact), and even the occasional build-it magazine. There are a few, though, that transport me back to my own sacred wandering – to those times I looked away from the Divine and into the world around me to find comfort and some sort of path to the Creator – fool that I was. But I would change nothing. Those moments of running away from the very thing I sought helped me to understand the intricacies of life and to …

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I Am, In and Through You, Restored

Thursday, June 24, 2021 – Last Day of SynodReflection from our Celebration Mass Responsorial Psalm:I praise +You, for I am wonderfully made. Ps 139: 1b-3, 13-14a, 14b-15 “+You know me, my God. +You know me, and I am just beginning my journey of knowing +You+You know my heart and soul, my pain and Joy, my heartache and wonderment.My wandering brings me closer to +You and yet I feel the farthest I ever have been, but I know +You are there! +You hold me and I am restored.” Those were the first words I wrote for that day – words inspired …

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Doing Isn’t Enough

For me, it’s very real. I don’t care what others think anymore, because for me, the presence is my daily call. It is what moves my entire being into service. But experiencing a thing is so much different than doing a thing – and trust me, it is such with the Eucharist. Each time I celebrate there is a moment – no matter how brief – where… Sorry. My mind must have wandered off. I have experienced the two forms of “doing” mass and “celebrating” mass at various times in my ordained life. In “doing”, I get up to the …

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Prone to Wander No Longer – Healing

I’ve struggled with the concept of hostels versus homes for many years – 27 long years to be precise but I think that has finally changed because I will no longer let others determine my path. Only the Creator has that ability and even then self-determination is a big part of the package. One small morning celebration where pen met paper and paper was placed into the capable hands of one of my Sisters or Brothers, and it’s gone. Written on the paper – “False Prophets”. There was a lot of meaning chosen in those two words. Throughout my time …

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Exclusive Inclusionism: Inclusive Exclusionism

A movement has been underfoot in the Independent Catholic Movement for as long as I can remember, but in more recent years it has become an anathema – exclusion in the name of inclusion. This phenomenon was born from individuals who were excluded from other religious groups for what ever reason, and were either removed or denied the ability to become part of the normative group. These excluded individuals banded together to form what is now a much more inclusive umbrella of faith expression, but is itself still severely limiting in that it, too, excludes individuals who think or act …

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Imposing Views: A More Subtle Form of Racism

“All they want is good jobs and a better way of life…” “They come here because their country is…” “Brown people don’t know how to talk about mental health…” I’ve seen and heard statements like this strewn all over the internet and in coffee shop conversations. Some are well intentioned while others are rife with discrimination and ill-intent. But no matter the reason or intent, these statements are impositions of other people’s views – educated or not – onto a people barely understood even by those who claim to have researched for years. During the years I was studying for …

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Change Something, Yes, But It Better Be Me I Change.

In a recent conversation with some new dear friends and fellow priests, I was asked what I would do to change or fix the independent catholic movement. I immediately began salivating at the opportunity to – what… wait… I wasn’t so much ready to talk about change as I was ready to expound on my over 20 years of experience just within the Independent Catholic Movement. I was ready to engage in an all out blame-fest where I wanted to engage, once again, in the hell I’ve been through. You see, much of what I would change in the independent …

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The Desert Blooms

I had planned to write on another subject, one dealing with professionalism and ethics in the church, but maybe I’ll write on that another day. While thinking about the subject of ethics, I remembered something that happened at my internship site years ago – something few people in my industry allow themselves to embrace, let alone experience. My internship was at a site where I gave back to my community, as was once given to me in my own youth. I worked with kids who were thrown away by their parents for whatever reason or else sold into a very …

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Cafeteria-ism in Catholic Leadership: Saving only the Safe.

My Dearest Sisters and Brothers; It is through our Blessed+ Redeemer and Creator that I sing with joy in all that life offers each and everyone one of us, and it is through our most precious Christ that we are able to grow beyond our limitations into the graces offered through the Sacraments; for a movement started long ago continues to breathe new life and infuse inspiration. But is also with some sadness that we, as a Body faithful, seem to be headed down the same path as those who have long come before us. Let us, then, take heed …

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The +Man Called +Christ+

(This post will be a challenging read for some out there. I only ask you keep an open mind, and read all the way through before making and judgments. Be open to my style of presentation. No heresy exists, but I do challenge the age old ways of thinking, and I do toy with the possibility of heresy. Expand your mind and try to see beyond your initial knee jerk reaction.) Rarely has one man ever caused so much controversy as has the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. It does not matter by which name you refer to Him, …

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The Failure of Independence in the Sacramental Movement; A Journey of Hope

I consider it a blessing that every morning I can walk downstairs (into the far below) to check my email, update my websites, and commune with the Blessed Creator through prayer or the celebration of the most holy Eucharist. You see, I have a dedicated chapel in the rectory and immediately next to it is my office; the view from my office chair is the tabernacle in which our blessed Savior is reserved for those mornings I have only a few minutes to collect myself, my thoughts, and my spiritual center. For me, there is no greater joy than the …

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Optimism as a Way of Life

Relentless Optimism The original article was published August, 2016 in Convergent Streams – this is the heavily edited version for personal publication. Take a moment to sit back, sip on whatever beverage is beside you, and reflect on the major changes in your life – specifically how you reacted to those events. The events themselves are important, but for this moment I want you to focus on your reaction to the event. You see, most of us will react in extremes. We either knee-jerk react to what we hear without bothering to stop and think, or we do not react …

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Shake the Dust: A Renewed Understanding

This month is the one year anniversary of being released from one organization to find God in another. That isn’t to say God didn’t exist in the former. Many of the parishioners I met, and perhaps even one or two priests, were filled with a Great Spirit – one that enabled them to be happy and free. They, too, have moved on to bigger and brighter tomorrows. The following is my own writing and does not reflect the views or opinions of any other person, group, or entity. Some was written in 2014 – another time of great change where …

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I Still Cry at the Eucharist: Descending Into the Sacred

“The thorn in my side deepenswith every breathand has become a knife; deftly wielded by an invisible hand,it prods me on to continue my journey;it is my lover and my most hated friend.My mind is full of awe and wonder for things I can never understand.My soul cannot separate from mysteries better left to those who understand such matters whileI wander in anticipation of my beloved I am a fool returning to every celebration.Through the invisible pain, I celebrate;the pain deepens and I am satisfied,again my soul is filledwith awe and wonder for things I can never hope to understand.”~Fr. …

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…And the Greatest is Love

The following is my own reflection – it is not endorsed by any institution and is presented as fodder for critical thought. I am no stranger to stretching the boundaries of sound theological teaching. In fact, I rather relish the idea of expanding my own thoughts well beyond their limits. It is, after all, how we grow and learn. Sometimes I fall flat on my face, get up off the ground, brush myself off, and start again. Other times I soar through the sky with the birds where no one else dares fly. Many wanderings come from some place, some …

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