Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



Homily 296 – Moving Forward with Pope Francis – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 27th, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Pope Addresses CongressThis has been an amazing week having the Holy Father here in the historic cities of our country. There are so many unforgettable memories that I will have of this visit. Today’s homily ties some of my experiences together with the message in our readings today.

I have heard so many people excited this week and emotionally moved by the Holy Father. The real question is, “Now what?” It is not enough to “like” the Pope or to feel happy thoughts about him. We have to act. If the Pope’s visit doesn’t result in our living more faithfully as disciples of Jesus then it will have no lasting value. Pope Francis himself gave us our marching orders at the Mass in Washington: “Go out… announce the Gospel… always moving forward”

Now that the Holy Father has given us such a beautiful example of a missionary going out, it’s our turn. We too must go out. If we want this visit to really make a difference, then we’ve to to go out and announce the Gospel, always moving forward.

The Pope Goes to Washington

Posted: September 24th, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

It’s been an amazing couple of days here in Washington as Pope Francis has just completed his visit. Despite attempts to overly politicize this visit, Pope Francis showed us once again that the Church is neither liberal, nor conservative, but Catholic. I will never forget the images today of the Pope in the House of Representatives with two Catholics sitting behind him as the heads of our government. It was a proud day for American Catholics.

Now that the Holy Father is safely in New York, things are starting to quiet down here. As such, I took some time to reflect on these past days and share some thoughts of what it was like to be here.

My EWTN Radio Interview On Pope Francis and Vocations

Posted: September 22nd, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Pope Francis Arrives in DCAll of Washington is excited now that we have one additional, famous resident. Pope Francis arrived this afternoon and is staying down the road from me tonight. I’m looking forward to celebrating Mass with him tomorrow. All this focus on the Holy Father reminded me of an interview I did for EWTN’s “Vocation Boom” show shortly after Francis became Pope. I never actually posted the audio before, so what better time could there be?

The original air date was 10/5/2013, but it’s amazing how not much has changed from my thoughts at that time. So, here is my tribute to Pope Francis and a little bit about my own vocation.

Abortion, Confession, and Excommunication

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

In preparation for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis released a letter expressing his desire to give priests some special abilities to minister to those seeking forgiveness for having participated in an abortion. He also had some special instructions for those who would go to a priest of the Society of St. Pius X for confession. Because these issues involve some complexities of canon law, there has been some confusion. Hopefully this video can clear a few things up.

AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 5

Posted: June 23rd, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink
Piazza of St. Francis

Piazza of St. Francis and Valley Below

Today we went to visit the swamp mentioned in yesterday’s homily. It’s not a swamp anymore, but actually a small town in it’s own right. This is where St. Francis was given his first church by the Benedictines. That little church, called the Portiuncula or “Little Portion,” is today preserved inside the much larger church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, St. Mary of the Angels.

The Portiuncula Church

The Portiuncula Church

Just behind the Portiuncula church is a little chapel that makes the spot where St. Francis died. Inside are a piece of the cloth from his religious habit, symbol of poverty, and also the cincture that he wore about his waist to symbolize chastity.

Part of the Habit of St. Francis

Part of the Habit of St. Francis

The Cincture of St. Francis

The Cincture of St. Francis

After spending the morning at St. Mary of the Angels we came back up into the city and visited the Basilica of St. Francis. The heart of this church is the crypt that contains the body of St. Francis and his early Franciscan brothers. At the time St. Francis died, this area was outside the city and really a sort of dump. This is where St. Francis personally chose to be buried. Today it is a beautiful pilgrim site for the thousands who come each year to venerate the relics of the “little poor man” of Assisi.

Basilica of St. Francis

Basilica of St. Francis

In the afternoon we took a special trip up the large hill behind the town of Assisi to the hermitage built by St. Francis. He and the brothers would often come up here and stay alone in complete silence for months at a time. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place that you could see why he wouldn’t want to come down.

The Hermitage of St. Francis

The Hermitage of St. Francis

After a long day of tracing the footsteps of St. Francis, I had some time to spend praying back at the Basilica. The church is very famous for its frescoes. One of them is considered by those who knew Francis to be the one that most looks like the saint appeared in life. A great way to end to the day.

Fresco of St. Francis

Fresco of St. Francis

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Homily 295 – A Log in the Eye of St. Francis – AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 4

Posted: June 22nd, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The City of AssisiUpon arriving in Assisi we were blessed to be able to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis, right near the tomb of the saint. The readings of the day speak of the need for us to remove a “log” from our own eyes before we can see to remove a “splinter” from someone else’s eye. I use this image to illustrate how St. Francis found that the comfort of Assisi and his worldly possessions seemed to block his vision of God. The life Francis was living was not bad, but he famously left his comfortable life in search of something more.

Although he left Assisi, he didn’t go far. In fact, he went right down the hill the town was built on and settled in the swamp below where the Benedictines had given him a little run-down church. Here an amazing thing happened. People saw Francis down in the swamp. Some of course made fun of him, but others started to wonder why he was so happy and they weren’t. People began to go down to the swamp and follow Francis, most famously St. Clare. From this beginning, the Franciscan order has reached the entire world.

Is God maybe calling you to leave comfort behind and follow him in a new way? Whatever fears you might have, it’s time to remove whatever the log might be in your eye so that, like St. Francis, you too can see clearly the joy to which God is calling you.

AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 4

Posted: June 22nd, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Today was a travel day from San Giovanni Rotondo to our home the next few nights, Assisi. On the way we stopped in the town of Lanciano to visit what is probably the most famous Eucharistic miracle in the history of the Church. As Catholics know, when a validly ordained priest says the words of institution (This is my body; this is my blood) over ordinary bread and wine, they become truly the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This of course is the greatest miracle we can experience on earth. By God’s design, normally only the substance, the reality, of the bread and wine change, while the outward appearances and properties remain unchanged.

Monstrance Containing the Miracle

Monstrance Containing the Miracle

As I said, it is “normally” the case that the Eucharist continues to look like bread and wine. However, there have been a number of times in history when God has allowed not only the substance of the bread and wine to change at the Mass, but also the outward appearances. This is what we mean by a Eucharistic Miracle. Such a miracle took place in the 8th century in Lanciano when a priest celebrating Mass began to have doubts about whether the Eucharist was truly the body and blood of Jesus. As a gift to help his faith, God allowed the appearances of the bread and wine to change at the moment in the Mass when the priest consecrated them.

The Host Become Heart Tissue

The Host Become Heart Tissue

To the amazement of the priest and all those present, the host in his hand turned into a piece of living flesh, later found to be human heart tissue. The wine in the chalice became living human blood. The elements from that Mass have remained without preservatives of any kind to the present day. Modern scientific tests revealed the following facts:

  • The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
The Wine Become Blood

The Wine Become Blood

I first learned about the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano when I was in college. A teacher gave me a picture of it. When I went to work after graduating, I kept this picture on my desk. It was sort of what you might call a “Eucharist trap,” knowing that people would often come by my desk, see the picture, and inevitably ask, “So, what’s in the picture?” Thus opened a nice opportunity to talk about the Eucharist and why everyone should be Catholic!

My Desk at Sprint

My Desk at Sprint

We were blessed in that we got to spend our holy hour today in the church where the Eucharistic miracle is kept. With Jesus on the altar sacramentally present in the Eucharist, and the miracle reserved behind the altar, we were in a pretty special place. Although, both times that I’ve been here, I have to say that it also made me very much aware that Jesus is always present in the Eucharist. It’s nice to see that God allows miracles every now and then, but I came away again with the peaceful reassurance that I get to see Jesus every day in the Eucharist and that, in itself, is an amazing miracle. Lanciano is nice, but it really just reminded me that I guess I don’t really doubt the truth of what happens at Mass.



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Homily 294 – St. Pio and the Immanence of God – AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 3

Posted: June 21st, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Mass on Monte Sant'AngeloAfter spending the morning at the home of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, we had Mass on Monte Sant’Angelo where the Archangel Michael appeared in the year 490. This homily speaks about our human desire to be in physical contact with God, to know that he is immanently present and not merely a distant spiritual reality.

We encounter the presence of God in many ways, but especially in the saints. We come on pilgrimage to be close to the saints, by visiting their homes and even venerating their earthly remains. God appeals not only through the mystery of the spirit, but also through the physical things of this world, like the saints and, most especially, the Eucharist.

AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 3

Posted: June 21st, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

San Giovanni Rotondo used to be a small town in the middle of nowhere, but today it is one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Italy. This is all thanks to one miracle-working Franciscan friar known to all as “Padre Pio.” Since his canonization in 2002 he is also now known to the Church as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.¬†St. Pio spent almost his entire life as a priest in this little friary in San Giovani Rotondo. We could almost say that he never left, except he was known to have the gift of bilocation whereby he was physically present in some other place while still having never left the friary. I could certainly use this gift!

Old and New ChurchesThe Original Church with the New Church Next to It

While not bilocating, St. Pio spent his day celebrating Mass and hearing confessions. These two simple tasks seem so simple and yet are at the heart of what the priesthood is all about. He began his Mass each day at 5am and it would often take 3 hours for him to finish. He was so moved by the passion of our Lord made present in the holy Mass that he would go into ecstasy at the consecration of the Eucharist. One might think that a 3 hour morning Mass at 5am would not be very popular with the laity, yet St. Pio’s Masses were filled to overflowing. Everyone wanted to be near this holy priest, as if to see more clearly the reality of the Mass as St. Pio saw it.

St. Pio's AltarThe Altar in the Old Church Where Padre Pio Celebrated Mass

After celebrating Mass, St. Pio spent most of the rest of his day hearing the confessions of the hundreds of faithful who would come to receive sacramental absolution from him. In those days when spiritual direction for the laity was rare, people flocked to the saint for his advice. One of the main reasons for his popularity as a confessor is that he had the miraculous ability the “read souls,” often reminding people of the sins they were hiding and failing to confess. He was known to tell people to leave the confessional and come back later when they were truly sorry. I don’t think it would go so well if I tried to imitate him in this respect. There would more likely be a line at the archbishop’s office than outside my confessional. Yet, St. Pio had this amazing gift to know if a soul was not yet sincere in confession and to help them to confess well.

ConfessionalPadre Pio’s Confessional

While there are many miraculous stories attributed to St. Pio, the gift that drew the most attention was that he bore the five wounds of Christ, the stigmata, on his hands, feet, and side. He would lose almost two cups of blood each day from his wounds, inexplicable by modern medicine. He was actually quite embarrassed by this gift and wore gloves which he only removed to celebrate Mass. When a man is ordained a priest he is told to “imitate what you celebrate and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” I can think of no better example than St. Pio in living out this command, both in life and even physically in his body.

StigmataPadre Pio Celebrating Mass with Stigmata Visible

By the later years of his life, so many people were coming to see St. Pio that a new church had to be built next to the original friary church. Some thought it unwise to build such a large church, thinking that Padre Pio would soon be forgotten after his death. The future saint commented that the new church would not be big enough!

New ChurchThe “New” Church of Our Lady of Grace

St. Pio died in his cell on September 23, 1968 having just finished celebrating his final Mass a few hours before. He was buried in the crypt of the new church where millions, including myself, came to pray at his tomb, imploring his continued intercession from heaven.

St. Pio's CellPadre Pio’s Cell Including the Chair in Which He Died

Seeing the great devotion of the faithful, and after careful examination of several continuing miracles after his death, the Church proclaimed Padre Pio “blessed” in 1999 and canonized him a “St. Pio of Pietrelcina” in 2002. The saint’s prediction that the “new” church would not be large enough was proved true by the time of his canonization. The new shrine of St. Pio was completed in 2010 and is now able to seat over 6000 for Mass. With millions of pilgrims steaming to San Giovanni Rotondo each year, even this church can only hold a fraction of those who wish to come pray at the tomb of St. Pio.

New ShrineThe New Shrine of St. Pio

As a part of the canonization process, St. Pio’s body was exhumed from the tomb where his remains had rested since his death in 1968. When the tomb was opened, it was discovered that a lot off moisture had been trapped inside, potentially due to the cement not being completely dry before his burial. The moisture had caused St. Pio’s skin to become blackened, although his body was intact. Since there was a desire to display the saint’s body in a glass casket for venation of the faithful, a wax mask was created to accurately depicted his face at the time of death. One can still see the natural state of his body in his exposed hands.

St. Pio's BodySt. Pio’s Body

Twelve years ago I came to pray at the tomb of this great saint, asking for his intercession in discerning God’s call for my life. It was a great joy to return in thanksgiving today, this time asking for his continuing intercession in living out the priestly vocation which we now share. I pray that, following his example, I too may better each day conform my life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

CrossPadre Pio Received the Stigmata Praying in Front of this Cross

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AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 2

Posted: June 20th, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Buon giorno! We arrived safely in Roma this morning and met up with our local tour guides. We then headed out for our first stop, the town of Boville. I’m fairly certain that no other tour group, perhaps ever, has gone to the town of Boville. To understand why, I’ll take this moment to explain the main reason for this particular pilgrimage.

Our pilgrimage is being led by a group of consecrated women known as the Apostles of the Interior Life (AVI in the Italian abbreviation). They were founded in Rome 25 years ago and the pilgrimage is in celebration of this anniversary. It’s also a sort of anniversary for me as well. It was twelve years ago that I first met the sisters on a pilgrimage to Italy very similar to our present itinerary. It was on that pilgrimage that I decided to enter seminary, thanks in part to the counsel of a very holy woman, Sr. Susan, who has been my spiritual director ever since. More on that story later.

Back to Boville. This was the home of a little boy named Amerigo without whom the Apostles would likely have never come to the United States. Amerigo died when he was 6 years old in Rome. At the time, an American seminarian assigned to the hospital met one of the sisters who was also caring for the family. Eventually this seminarian would become a priest in Peoria, IL and would be instrumental in getting the Apostles to found their first house at the University of Illinois. The sisters say they wouldn’t be here in America with Amerigo and consider him a sort of spiritual intercessor for their movement. That’s a pretty providential name go along with role too!

In Boville we visited the grave of Amerigo and prayed there. We then had Mass with Amerigo’s parents. The parish church was filled to capacity with a large number of the townspeople wanting to meet us and pray with us.
We were then truly blessed to be treated to a wonderful Italian dinner complete with over 6 different courses. I remember this experience well when I first arrived in Italy 12 years ago. You have to pace yourself. Every time you think the last course has arrived, there’s more. It was such an amazing lunch that we actually canceled our dinner at our hotel tonight. Speaking of which, our final destination tonight is San Giovanni Rotondo, the home of St. Pio of Pietralcina, better known as “Padre Pio.” It’s late and we’re here for two days, so more about him tomorrow. Buona note for now.

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