Pardon my infrequent appearances here but I’m still on home rest, having doctor’s visits and simply waiting for my insurance company to approve the MRI. Most every movement is painful and sitting for long periods is not that easy but I do my best to stay informed, write essential emails, watch Mass online, etc. And this afternoon I participated via streaming in an EWTN employee Lenten retreat with Birmingham’s Bishop Steven Raica, a friend from his many years in Rome.

Today, I saw something on Facebook that I felt compelled to share with you. I found it so incredible I had to check it out myself. I did and the link is below.


I am guessing that many, maybe most of you, know Marian Father Chris Alar, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers. If you don’t know him, there are plenty of Youtube videos out there to meet him.

The one that will truly surprise you for what he says in his Ash Wednesday homily.

He starts the homily by first noting that he had just returned from Rome where the General Chapter of the Marian Fathers (MIC, Marians of the Immaculate Conception). The priests had a meeting during their time in Rome a meeting with Pope Francis. As Fr. Alar tells us of his encounter with Francis, “perhaps my reputation precedes me,” adding that a member of the Roman Curia came up to him and told him not to bring up any topics of conversation that are controversial.

Father Chris joked with the official, “well, I have a list….,” and the official said “no, you are not to bring up those topics,” and Fr. Chris said, “not even synodality?”

I was flabbergasted when I read the FB post and more so when I watched the video. What on earth are we to think? I had no idea of such restrictions – have never heard of such restrictions – but then I’ve never asked every priest I know who has ever met the Pope if they were restricted.

Maybe I’m making a big thing of this but it does seem extraordinary, a priest being limited in what he can say to or ask of the Holy Father.

When we read the papal interviews with the media, it certainly seems that no holds are barred.

P.S. The great news is that I learned from Fr. Chris’ homily that a very dear friend in Rome, Fr. Joe Roesch, is the new superior general of the Marians! You also know him from EWTN and specials relating to Divine Mercy

(31) Fr Chris Alar MIC – Homily Ash Wednesday Feb 22, 2023 – Preparation for Mercy Sunday Begins Now! – YouTube