I'll be presiding at the GBCI Prison [Sunday] Mass on on Thursday, the Mass of the Assumption at Old Saint Joe's and at Lambeau Field on Saturday, and the weekend Mass at Old Saint Joe's and Lambeau Field on Sunday. If you should be on hand and it sounds as though I'm sporting my Antigo homeland accent as I speak, guess what: it just might be a Canadian accent! I just returned to the Priory after having been away with family and friends to preside at my nephew/Godson's wedding in International Falls, Minnesota. ....You know the place! It's often mentioned in the news as the daily "Coldest place in the US," day-after-day-after-day! Nathan was married to Kristin Marantis this past Saturday. At some point, I'll tell you more. It's suffice to say at this point, a nephew/Godson is the closest resemblance to a "son" a priest will ever have. It was a beautiful and emotional experience for me -- to be sure!
Having been away for a while, I have not had the opportunity to mention the new look you are currently discovering at this sight! I owe it all to Zach Parmeter! Remember earlier this summer when I mentioned that his new sight, "Exactlyzach" would smoke mine? Well guess what, he totally reworked the look of this blog. Beyond my consideration of what a stand up guy he is, he's got great eyes -- that is evident in what he presents here as my home page.
How does one best represent a priest's blog? I think Zach did extraordinarily well! The blog you see unrolls as a parchment atop a map of the Holy Land which offers the header similar to the former look: "JAMES THOMAS BARANIAK: A Canon Regular of Premontre." To the left of my name you will see the Coat of Arms of the Norbertine Canonry of Saint Norbert Abbey, my Religious family, which is adorned throughout the abbey and college and high school campuses -- my office and car specifically! To the right of my name you will notice northern Wisconsin, which I have been travelling extensively recently en route to and from the wedding this weekend.
Below the top roll of the scroll, you'll see all sorts of things that make up my life -- those things I cherish most in life which enable me to serve "the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the imprisoned and the free" on a daily basis as a Norbertine Priest. From the left you will see a silhouette of "JB" which is replicated throughout each posting of the blog -- it's what is posted above my SNC office doors in JMS Hall in stainless steel: "JB." Moving right you notice the tip of DePere's skyline on the west side, Old Saint Joe's. Moving beyond my image used by Saint Norbert College, you will see a street sign which identifies the center of the bulk of these postings -- experiences I encounter at SNC, OSJ, SNA/SJP, Lambeau Field, and GBCI. In the background, you will notice the cloister walks at the Vatican coupled with the Papal Coat of Arms. Moving further right, you will notice the Packer "G" which is embroidered on much of my secular clothing and a prison cell block representing my 11-year ministry to the inmates at the Green Bay Correctional Institute. "jb, o.praem.," which is my consistent signature to all people I contact via email, is the bottom line of the header.
Heading south, at the footer of the page you will notice an open New Testament which flops open to the Epistle of Saint James -- a rather "Catholic" book, which opens to one of my favorite passages, "Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:16)!" Between the header, you will notice the Cross of Christ which identifies the date of each posting to the left, and a clipboard of information about the author and the posts to the right.
All of this is the brainchild and creative imagination of Zach Parmeter. Earlier this summer, you may have read that he underwent that eye procedure that so many people have been undergoing to correct their vision. Obviously, Zach's vision was pretty remarkable from the beginning -- as you see here. He did it all with zero prompting!
You see a campaign button that introduces today's blog. In a heartbeat, I'd vote for Zach for anything -- not just for his creativity which you see here, but for his good spirit and strong Catholic values that were a gift to him from his extraordinarily kind parents.
I'll have many things in mind as I preside at the various Masses of the Assumption on Thursday (prison) and Saturday (OSJ & Lambeau Field). One of the thoughts in mind will be the great caliber of students Assumption High School of Wisconsin Rapids has sent to our college over the years -- Zach Parmeter included!