Fr. Michael Seavey is parochial vicar of St. Anne Parish, Gorham; St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Westbrook; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Windham.
In addition to his diocesan responsibilities, Fr Mike also makes time for issues related to Catholic social teaching, particularly issues of workplace justice and immigration, as he advocates for low-income workers and secures rights for workers here as refugees, immigrants, and those seeking asylum.
Fr. Seavey's blog begins below. To view his seven-part series explaining the Catholic Church's teachings on immigration, click here.
Fr. Seavey co-wrote two articles for the Maine Sunday Telegram addressing the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than a thousand people and injured more than 2,500. Many of those killed and injured were migrant girls who were employed in a garment factory in the building. To view the articles: Maine Sunday Telegram, April 27, 2014 / Maine Sunday Telegram, June 9, 2013
Sermon on the Mount
A few months ago, I saw the movie Hacksaw Ridge. This movie is based on the true story of the first and only soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor who was also a conscientious objector. Desmond Ross enlisted in the United States Army during World War II knowing he would never agree to use a weapon or hold one in his hands, even during his time in basic training. Serving as a medic, he was the only soldier in World War II to never carry a firearm on the battlefield. In spite of hostility from his fellow soldiers and officers, including beatings and actions of vandalism, he held to his convictions. Eventually, he won the day, even if not at first winning their respect. Read Full Entry
Habits of the Heart
There was a television show a few years ago featuring a veteran police detective taking on the task of mentoring a young detective known for being rash and impulsive but with the potential for brilliance. The veteran detective at one point sits his younger colleague down and says words similar to these, “Inside of you and inside of all of us are two hungry wolves desperate to be fed. One is integrity and the other is ambition. The one you feed the most is the one that will run your life.” Read Full Entry
Light of Truth
Speech and communication ultimately must assist in the search for truth. They are God’s gifts for humanity’s task of building relationships with trust, dignity, respect, and mutual care. When we use speech to tear down, humiliate, abuse, harass someone, or slander someone’s good reputation, we are guilty of violating God’s intent for the gifts given to us. We have gravely sinned. Sometimes the sin is not what is said, but rather what has not been said. For the last several years, the United Nations has sponsored a worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day. Every year, the president has issued a statement commemorating the event and committing this country to never allowing it to happen again. Presidential statements by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama took pains to mention the particular targeting of Jewish people throughout Europe by Hitler’s regime. Their statements also referred to new anti-Semitic movements in the world today. This year was different. Read Full Entry
Beatitudes and Bruce
Lately when asked, “What are you reading for spirituality these days?”, I respond, “Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run.” Taking a cue from the writings of the late Father Andrew Greeley, searches for “grace” and a “Catholic imagination” are to be sought in places not usually considered to be spiritual. Read Full Entry
Ultimately it is love the purifies, cleanses, transforms, renews and sets free. Ultimately it is divine love pouring through the human heart of the Lord Jesus Christ that becomes the ultimate source of holiness. And love cannot be earned or bought or stolen or borrowed. Love is only received as free gift and responded to with love in kind. The Sacraments are really all about the privileged rituals of love celebrated by those baptized. This is the relationship the Church is called to manifest to the world around us. Read Full Entry
Make Christ Known
Our mission to identify Christ’s presence and make Christ known to others needs to begin with an inventory of our life. Where is Christ present within us? How do we know Christ from our own life, our personal history, our present daily life? Logic may dictate we begin by naming our blessings, our successes, our moral virtues, and our spiritual strengths. Perhaps the inventory should begin with our weaknesses, our moral failures, or our moments of tragedy, disappointments or trauma. We should be ready to re-examine our darkest times and our most troubled moments from the past. No matter how dark and isolating, we are asked to look again and see if God was indeed present when God seemed most absent, most distant from us. We do this not to remain chained by shame, guilt, or a sense of personal failure. On the contrary, we go back to those moments to be touched by grace and to know the Lord Jesus Christ and his merciful love. Read Full Entry
In our spiritual search, I assure you that God will lead us to places where we would not ordinarily go. But led by an inner voice and wisdom, we will go where we are called, and where we are led. We may not travel far geographically, perhaps only a few blocks or a few houses away. But we will travel in the dark of human suffering, and we will witness both humanity’s ability to visit evil upon one another and the indomitable human spirit persevering with fidelity in the face of that evil. Read Full Entry
New Year's Day
New Year’s Day is one of the few times I recycle a homily. The basic structure of this homily has been utilized on New Year’s Day for probably at least fifteen to twenty years of preaching on this solemnity. It has been well received. So I have chosen not to make too many changes to the basic message. Read Full Entry
Several years ago, National Public Radio once had a series of personal stories entitled “What I Believe.” This series welcomed people to submit their experiences of faith or other religious experiences. Around Christmas time that year, one installment was a particularly moving story that helps unfold the great mystery of the holy season. Read Full Entry
Fourth Sunday of Advent
There is little said about the great person of St. Joseph in the New Testament. St. Joseph himself is not recorded as saying anything at all. Yet, his life speaks loud and clear in the decisions he makes on behalf of his wife Mary and the child Jesus. Read Full Entry
Third Sunday of Advent
The Third Sunday of Advent in Latin is referred to as “Gaudete Sunday,” or “Sunday of Joy.” Joy comes from hope, and all who look forward to the coming Kingdom in glory have great reason to hope. Our awareness of the Kingdom in our midst comes from the reality of God’s grace in every moment of everyday life. This awareness requires a constant conversion and giving over to God all that we are. This is a lifelong process, requiring discipline, generosity, an open heart and a deep trust in God’s merciful love for each of us. The foundation of our faith is “love.” Love God, neighbor and our self is universal standard for judgment. That this standard sounds simple does not translate to being easy. Read Full Entry
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
As Church, each of us and all of us are called by God to respond to the horrors of our time. Our response involves the very kindness, mercy, and compassion of Christ alive in us and working through us. We may never stop “feeling afraid,” but we can begin today to stop allowing fear to govern us or paralyze our communities. Read Full Entry
Second Sunday of Advent
Advent’s penitential focus, the preaching of John the Baptist, calls for the need to humanize our communities again. Each one of us and each community: parish, neighborhood, workplace, town, nation, and community of nations needs constant transformation to what is truly human. The more human we become, the more divine we become. The more we become the person God created us to be, the more we are filled with the very life of God. Read Full Entry
The Season of Advent
The Advent season is one of the best kept secrets of the Catholic Church. It is rich in imagery and spiritual renewal and not simply a countdown to Christmas. Advent offers its own spirituality attention related to Christmas but also distinct. Read Full Entry
Jubilee Year of Mercy
Jesus was a man totally void of self-interest. Every miracle he performed was always and only a service to those in need. He never performed a miracle to provide proof of his real identity, and he would certainly not begin now as his life slipped away in the agonizing and cruel horror of crucifixion. Those voices “save yourself if you are the King of the Jews,” spoken as much in mockery as opportunity of proof passed through him with no attraction or interest. For Jesus, his only interest was fulfilling the will of his Heavenly Father by proclaiming and revealing the Kingdom of God. Read Full Entry
Through the Eyes of the Risen Lord
Opening our hearts and minds through prayer, education, and open discussions with heartfelt listening can lead us to new and creative possibilities. Developing communities based on human dignity, justice, and mutual respect creates true freedom and true peace. Governments cannot build community, only people can, and Christian communities have the best tools for building communities where everyone is welcomed, everyone is cared for, everyone’s gifts are called to flourish, and everyone is safe. As our national election mercifully comes to a close, we can use these truths to begin the healing our nation so desperately needs. Read Full Entry
"Salvation has visited this house."
My years of seminary formation included serving time as hospital chaplain. One hospital had a residential alcohol and drug treatment program. For those trying to remain sober, their days included 12 step meetings, individual and group counselling and spiritual help. For some in early stages of sobriety, the idea of spirituality and even “God” is a new one. Often these people were raised in homes so consumed by everyone’s drinking and drugging, there was little care or attention given to children. Therefore, there was no exposure to spirituality or to any notion of God. One day as I was walking through the hospital to visit patients, a 12 step meeting was just ending. As the folks passed me in the hallway, one man noticed my chaplain’s badge and asked for a moment of time. Read Full Entry
In this conversation, we can speak honestly to God about our fears, doubts, concerns and challenges. We can express our gratitude for many blessings, our need for conversion and mercy, our joy regarding our faith and our burdens regarding our struggles. We know from faith, that God’s response will always be merciful, loving, consoling and challenging. But this conversation is also communal as God speaks to us with the same message shared within the privilege of the church’s faith. Our personal prayer joins the church throughout the world and the saints in heaven in a constant prayer worship and rejoicing. Prayer draws us deeper into the heart of the Church and there we encounter the heart of Christ. Praying with the Church bonds us together and lifts our hearts to God as one Body of Christ. Read Full Entry
The Healing of Ten Lepers
“Fall guys” and scapegoats have been prominent targets on both sides of the presidential election this year. Such tactics serve to generate more fear and less community. Many unfounded or discredited accusations have taken American politics to new lows, and lowered the bar of decency and acceptable standards of political discourse. This is a profound moral issue needing to be addressed as such. We need to listen to the many voices of our political life and discern what is good even if we are in disagreement and reject what is divisive even if in agreement with goals that are worthy. But before we decide who to welcome and who to reject, we should first remember our own history as Catholics in the United States and the fear generated among many convinced of our malicious motives. We must avoid at all costs the attitude of the nine lepers who can’t see new opportunities to discard old prejudices and divisions. Read Full Entry
A Small Seed Waiting to Be Harvested
Generous and compassionate service can heal wounds and quiet rage in human hearts. I often wonder if so much anger in our nation comes from a feeling of detachment, a sense of abandonment, a simple lack of care and being cared about. The ultimate face of evil is the death of compassion; something we all have the ability to respond to. Most of the time, it will be simply continuing to do what we are already doing. Read Full Entry
Two Rich Men and Lazarus
An old and wise proverb can assist us to open the mysteries of this parable, “Wealth is a loyal servant but a demanding master.” This parable is often referred to as “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” But that is the wrong name for this parable. It is not about “one rich man” and Lazarus. Rather it is about “two rich men” and Lazarus. Abraham mentioned in heaven with Lazarus in his bosom was also a rich man. Of the two rich men, Abraham is in heaven and the other, unnamed, is in a place for the damned. The poor man Lazarus is also in heaven but we know nothing of his life to appreciate why he ended up there. But we do know of Abraham and the other rich man. Read Full Entry
Reality of Sin
Throughout the gospels, Jesus uses parables to reveal the Kingdom of God in daily life. He only uses those events of daily life people would be familiar with. His parables are about a fisherman casting a net, a woman baking bread, a shepherd looking for the lost sheep, the woman looking for a lost coin, the farmer casting seed on to the soil, invitations extended to a royal wedding banquet, or a grower hiring workers for his fields. Read Full Entry
Works of Mercy
In the history of the Catholic Church, especially in times of either great oppression from outside the church or great corruption within the church’s life, the works of mercy served to cleanse the church, renew her and revive her life in the wider world. The simple and gentle works of care and consolation became powerful experiences for healing and restoration for entire countries. Read Full Entry
Are there people in our life we often ignore their full humanity? They might be people we see but dismiss, people we take advantage of, people we can take for granted. Seeing them again in a completely new way enables us to see their complete humanity. This new way is seeing others and the whole world through the eyes of the glorified humanity of the Risen Christ. How is this possible? Read Full Entry
Pursuit of "Perfection"
Every religious movement has its own recipe and paths for perfection, and often many secular cultures and societies adopt their own standard for becoming perfect. For American culture and society, perfection is often summed up in one word “winning.” If we are winning or sometimes “winning’s” first cousin “succeeding,” we are moving to perfection. This path of perfection brings with it a lot positives to our society and nation. We have the world’s strongest economy and the most powerful military. At the same time, this path also brings considerable negatives including great stress and pressure young people often experience to succeed and win beyond their own capacities. Read Full Entry
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate..."
Over centuries and millennia, saints, mystics and spiritual writers have reflected on this image of the “narrow door” that Jesus speaks of in this passage from St. Luke’s Gospel. Synthesizing their meditations could come in these words, “The wider we live our lives, the narrower our heart will be. But the narrower we live our lives, the wider our heart.” Read Full Entry
The Peace of Christ
When Jesus says in the gospel, “I have come not for peace but for division,” the peace Jesus rejects is the attitude of burying deep wounds, tolerating abusive behavior, living with exploitation and hateful racism. That is a false peace that has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. Read Full Entry
Encountering the Living God
Mark Twain once said, “There are two important days in your life. The first is the day you were born and the second is the day you found out why.” Read Full Entry
Farewell to Portland
On August 1, Fr. Seavey began his appointment as parochial vicar of St. Anne Parish, Gorham; St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Westbrook; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Windham.
Prior to his departure, he wrote a farewell column to parishioners and community members in Greater Portland.
First Anniversary of Laudato Si'
This month marks the first anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on global warming and environmental responsibility. The encyclical placed papal authority squarely on the issue of global warming and humanity’s irresponsible behavior fostering the conditions allowing it to develop. Pope Francis did an exhaustive study on the issue before writing the encyclical and as a former science teacher in Jesuit schools, he had a background to do so. Read Full Entry
Joyful Call to Mercy
We are told constantly that the church is considered irrelevant, and we need to make the church relevant again. We all too often look for some elaborate plan or social media solutions to make this happen. But French Catholics discovered in the late 1800’s that simple works of mercy, touching the many wounds of our world, are far more effective and far more worthwhile. Read Full Entry
Response of Mercy
Human suffering needs to open our eyes to the common ground that we all share one humanity, the only humanity there is. A response of compassionate mercy then creates more common ground where wounds can be healed and community can grow strong. Read Full Entry
In the life of the Church, Christ delivers his identity over to us. In his identity, we do not dissolve into a mass of mob. Rather, in the Risen Lord, our identity is brought to its fulfillment and completion. While darkness hovers over mob mentality, the identity with Christ casts a light of discovery, and a path to justice, forgiveness and ultimately reconciliation. If conscience formation disappears in mob mentality, conscience formation develops in most difficult circumstances in the life of the church. The lives of the saints, particularly the lives of the martyrs are witnesses to this conscience development and become examples for us to imitate. Read Full Entry
What Do We Do Now?
In the gospel, Jesus is gathered with the disciples at The Last Supper. The Lord prepares them for the transition of his dying and passing from this world to the Father in heaven. His disciples cannot comprehend the Son of God experiencing death, let alone being tortured and sentenced to death for crimes he was not capable of committing. Yet, such would be the case, leaving the disciples scattered in grief and hiding in fear. Read Full Entry
Children can teach us a lot about what “holy families” are. Read Full Entry
Jubilee Year of Mercy
Pope Francis has emphasized God’s mercy since his election and this Jubilee Year is a wonderful way of both celebrating God’s mercy in our own lives and becoming sources of mercy for the world around us.
Read Full Entry
Experiences During Papal Visit: Part II
In addition to sitting in the House gallery to witness Pope Francis’ speech to Congress, I was also able to read an advance copy earlier that morning. The written words themselves brought tears to my eyes as I read the beauty and poetry of his thoughts. I have selected five significant quotes from that speech and offer my own commentary. Read Full Entry
The Right Number
During my two days in Washington D.C., Senator King also invited me to sit in on his staff meetings with various discussions on both domestic and foreign policy. I must admit that sitting in on those meetings stirred the juices of earlier desires to enter that career and again realized how much I would have loved that type of work. I share this story because I relate to the man who approaches Jesus and kneels before him. Following graduate school in Minnesota and receiving a Masters’ Degree in Public Policy, I began to wrestle with the felt call to priesthood. After completing six years of study and hoping to return to Maine, and eventually hoping to marry and raise a family, I was convinced that God had dialed the wrong number. Read Full Entry
Realities of Divorce
When divorced people are able to move forward in their life, they manifest the healing power of the cross and the mercy of God. In an ironic sense, divorced people testify to marriage’s great sacramental beauty as they grieve its loss much like widowed people grieve. Read Full Entry
Pope Francis' Visit to the United States
On September 23, I was the guest of Senator Angus King at a White House reception welcoming Pope Francis. The following day, he arranged for me to sit in the gallery of the US House of Representatives while the Holy Father addressed The Joint Session of Congress. Having known Angus since I was 18 years old, this gift was an opportunity of a lifetime and beyond my ability to imagine. Read Full Entry
Compassion and Commitment
The photo of the body of three year Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish beach in the refugee crisis captured and broke the heart of almost the entire world. Although over 140,000 have died in Syria since the civil war began, including seven thousand children, the photo of one child brought home the evil of war and the massive humanitarian crisis. We can see and hear the numbers of those fleeing so many war torn areas of our world. But the photo of one child’s body suddenly gives the story “a human face” the numbers all too often simply can’t convey. Read Full Entry
Deeds First, Then Words
If we say “Jesus is the Christ,” those words of faith need to be translated into action of daily life. The words of faith without the action in St. James words, become “dead.” By the same token, “the actions without words” can become self-serving and vainglory instead of “God serving and giving glory to God.” Read Full Entry
Curt Schilling is a retired major league baseball pitcher completing his career brilliantly with the Boston Red Sox. Last spring, his daughter Gabby was admitted into Salve Regina College in Rhode Island, and like a proud dad, he posted the good news on his social media account along with a picture of his beautiful daughter. Read Full Entry
The Real Presence
Our mission is not to bring Christ into the world. Christ is already present there. Rather, our mission is to witness the Lord’s divine presence to others unable or unwilling to acknowledge Him in their daily lives. Uncovering this truth brings the light of God’s merciful love as liberating truth. Read Full Entry
Solidarity requires us to see ourselves and see the world around us through the vision of the Risen Lord. We are to re-evaluate our own values and society’s values through the lens of morality flowing from the glorified humanity of Christ. We are to seek the healing and renewal of the human community empowered by the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Read Full Entry
Joy is Discovered in the Eucharist
When we join our life to the Risen Lord’s and when we imitate his offering of life as a sacrifice of gratitude and sacrifice of praise, we discover joy. We discover “joy” because we come to realize the value God places on our life. Read Full Entry
What is Our Vocation?
We are sent out to tear down walls of hostility throughout our society, communities and throughout the world. There are many walls and barriers in our world and society today. Some walls are physical and visible. Other walls are less visible but as divisive. Walls between the haves and have nots keep many from realizing their full potential as humans in the human community. Read Full Entry
Why Do We Need the Church?
This reality helps us respond to the question confounding our society and culture. “Why do we need The Church?” Why Church at all? “I can be with God in the beauty of nature and in the warmth of my own home.” That is true as well and need not be denied or minimized. We are indeed called to relationship with God in a personal way and we are called to find God everywhere. But that is not the full realization of God. Read Full Entry
God's Mustard Seeds
Throughout the two plus millennia of Catholicism, it is often one man or one woman in a challenging set of circumstances called by God to take a stand against a prevailing social catastrophe or to change a prevailing attitude within the Church itself. Read Full Entry
The Most Holy Trinity
The truth of The Most Holy Trinity is one of the greatest and most important truths we profess. Read Full Entry
Asking the Right Questions
One of the most dangerous questions we can ask is, “What’s in it for me?” This question contains the five most dangerous words in the English language. Read Full Entry
Among the Saints
The greatest of saints are those who love, and love with the very love of the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints never stopped loving and never stopped growing in love. They grew in the Lord’s love for them and grew in loving others with God’s own love. The saints loved regardless of social status, ethnicity, family of origin, personal background, or past sins. They loved and grew loving those most marginalized, most excluded, and most convinced they simply do not measure up or belong. Read Full Entry
Time to Sing His Tune
St. Barnabas provides a wonderful model for a ministry so desperately needed in our church, society and world today. Recognizing the terrible and hostile divisions separating us, ministries of breaking down barriers separating and building bridges uniting are essential. Transforming hostility into hospitality might be one of the greatest ministries in the church today. Read Full Entry
A full archive of Fr. Seavey's blog entries can be found along the right side of this page.