Thursday, April 27, 2006

The General at prayer.

As I noted in this November post, Jesuit superior general Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach is a priest of the Armenian Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Christian churches in communion with the See of Rome. For your edification, here's a photo of Father General celebrating the Armenian Divine Liturgy in a chapel at the Jesuit Curia in Rome. This picture is part of a 1988 photo essay by Father Don Doll, a Jesuit photographer based at Creighton University. Father Doll's photos of the General offer a rare inside glimpse of life at the Society's Roman headquarters, and I'm happy to commend them to your attention. AMDG.

World's oldest priest confesses secrets of longevity.

Ah, the wonders of Google. The other day I was curious to discover the identity of the world's oldest Catholic priest, and after a few clicks I had discovered the answer: Father Nicholas Kao Se Tseien, a 109-year-old Trappist monk who resides at the Abbey of Our Lady of Joy on Lantao Island near Hong Kong. Father Kao explains the reasons for his longevity in an October 2005 profile from The Standard, an English-language Hong Kong newspaper:

Kao's gospel for a long life combines common sense and religious devotion. Eschew tobacco, intoxication, gluttony, anger and rudeness in favor of exercise, humility, charity, goodness, prayer, patience and piety.

"My life has been marked by two words: patience and death," he said through a translator. "Patience in the struggle for excellence of conduct, in learning from Jesus' patience on the cross. Death in learning to die without fear and to die in innocence."

Born into a Buddhist family, Father Kao converted to Catholicism as a teenager during the reign of the last Pope Benedict (Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922). In common with the present Pope Benedict, Kao has a great fondness for cats - an affinity he credits with lengthening his life. The Standard quotes the centenarian monk as saying: "Cats are my favorite animal. We have eight here and caring for them gives me determination to carry on. Some people play mahjong. Cats are like my mahjong."

I haven't found any news items on Father Kao written since last October, so I can only presume that he remains alive and well on Lantao Island. Some have posited that the disciplined rhythms of religious life and the sense of tranquility fostered by a healthy prayer life help account for the longevity of many priests. Kao's comments - which resonate with the views and experience of elderly religious I've known - suggest that there's something to these theories. I've often noticed that having a sense of purpose helps older people stay active and alert - many priests do this by continuing to work as long as they can, and Father Kao does it by taking care of his beloved cats. Though the factors determining a person's longevity are many and complex, following Father Kao's straightforward advice can't help but improve one's chances of living a long and healthy life. May Father Kao enjoy many happy years to come, and may we draw benefit from his example. AMDG.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Belated notes on "God or the Girl."

Over the past couple weeks, various sectors of the media and the blogosphere have buzzed with discussion of the A&E reality show God or the Girl, a five-part series following four men through the process of discerning vocations to the Roman Catholic priesthood. As a Jesuit novice, I watched God or the Girl with more-than-average interest (it helped, I suppose, that one of the men profiled on the show was a novice at Loyola House when I was a candidate for the Society). I liked the series overall, but I hope that serious viewers take its portrayal of vocational discernment with a grain of salt.

The flaws of God or the Girl begin with the series' unfortunate title, which was apparently pushed not by the producers but by A&E's marketing department. Presenting the premise of the series in simplistic black-and-white, either/or terms, the title "God or the Girl" does a disservice to the serious task of discernment facing the program's subjects. The title misrepresents the facts, as only one of the series' four potential priests faces a serious choice between pursuing a religious vocation or a particular romantic relationship - and he opts for the latter option halfway through the series, narrowing the field to three men for whom "the Girl" is a largely abstract possibility. More generally, the title "God or the Girl" falsely implies that married life and service in the Church are mutually exclusive options. All of the men profiled by the series are revealed as dedicated individuals ministering to others in important ways, but the program's title sends the deceptive message that one can either serve the Church as a celibate priest or not at all.

The other major flaw I identified in watching God or the Girl comes in the way the program presents vocational discernment. The show endows each man's choice with a false sense of finality, giving viewers the impression that men considering the priesthood are under the gun to make a quick and unalterable decision. Many who rule out priesthood at one point in life find themselves considering the possibility again in later years, and many who seem firm in their determination to become priests later waver. Hemmed in by the conventions of its genre, God or the Girl generally treats the decisions announced on the show as permanent and binding, which they may not be. God or the Girl also fails to give viewers a sense of the 'nuts and bolts' elements of discernment. Though at least three of the four men on the program are shown with priest-mentors, it isn't made clear whether any of them are in regular spiritual direction - something I found to be an essential element of my vocational discernment. Though we see each of the men engaging in activities that could plausibly assist them in their discernment, we don't see them checking out the seminaries or novitiates they may attend if they choose to pursue a priestly vocation. Again, I can only compare the experience of the men on the show with my own. One of most valuable pieces of advice I received during my discernment came early in the process. coming from one of my Jesuit mentors at Georgetown - "look before you leap." Service experiences like those depicted in God or the Girl are important, but it's also important to see the places you'll live as a seminarian and get as good an idea you can of who you'll be living with. On a related note, I wish that God or the Girl had been a bit more explicit about what specific options the men on the show were considering - I got the impression they were all thinking of becoming diocesan priests, but this wasn't made very clear. It would have been helpful, I think, had the show given viewers some sense of the differences between the diocesan priesthood and life in religious orders. This is a fairly important question - I get it all the time - and one that could have been answered very easily had the show's producers and writers taken the time to do so.

In spite of its limitations, I was pleased with God or the Girl. To the extent that it raises awareness and puts a human face on the discernment issue, I would consider the program a success. Though some have argued that God or the Girl trivializes discernment, the series carries endorsements from the USCCB's communications director and from a number of diocesan vocation directors (two of whom were actually appeared on the program). There's a welcome element of pragmatism in these endorsements, for it isn't often that the secular media casts such an approving or positive glance at men thinking of becoming priests in trying times. Though it can be tempting to look a gift horse in the mouth, we should appreciate God or the Girl for what it is: a gift. AMDG.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Six random facts about me.

While I was in Washington this past week, both Karen and Lisa tagged me for the "six random facts" meme. After five wonderful days at Georgetown, I'm back in Chicago and am ready to post my reply to the meme. Hopefully Karen, Lisa and other interested readers will find the following facts worth their wait:

1. I'm left-handed.

2. I can recite from memory the first twenty lines of the Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English.

3. Like the characters in Chaucer's Tales, I have made a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.

4. I have also made a pilgrimage to the Santuario de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre in Cuba.

5. I once shook hands with the Dalai Lama.

6. I've seen The Cardigans live.

Hopefully readers will find the above list sufficiently random. If you want more, bring on another meme. AMDG.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ad ripas Potomaci in Marylandia.

SICP is on spring break this week. Risking the ire of some readers who may feel that I travel too much, I'm going to spend the next few days at Georgetown. This will be my first time back on the Hilltop since I entered the novitiate, and I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends - both former classmates and Jesuit mentors who played a pivotal role in the birth of my vocation. I'll be back in Chicago on Friday; regular posting should resume shortly thereafter. Hoya Saxa, AMDG.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

By death He trampled Death.

Christ is risen from the dead!
By death He trampled Death,
And to those in the tombs
He granted life.

In our celebration of Christ's Resurrection, we are invited to find joy in paradox. Rising from the dead, the Prince of Peace becomes the Pantocrator. The saving victim becomes a triumphant victor. The One who urged his followers to turn the other cheek becomes the One who, in the words of the Byzantine Troparion of the Resurrection, "trampled Death." Of course, to say that Christ "trampled Death" is simply another way of saying that he "overcame Death" or "conquered Death." Attending Matins and Divine Liturgy this morning at Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church near Chicago, I heard and sang this refrain innumerable times in the "conquered Death" version, which I suspect is the most common. Nonetheless, to my ears there's still something uniquely euphonious about the phrase "by death He trampled death." If nothing else, "trampled" stirs up more vivid and specific images than "conquered." That ought to count for something, especially in the realm of faith and theological mystery.
Very different but equally vivid images of trampling occur in the pages of Shusaku Endo's Silence, which I finished reading this afternoon. In Silence, Christ does not trample upon Death but is instead trampled upon by persecuted Japanese Christians forced to choose between apostasy and death. In the case of Sebastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit betrayed to the Japanese authorities by an apostate Christian, the choice is even more poignant. Rodrigues' captors tell him that they will spare the lives of imprisoned Japanese Christians if the priest agrees to trample on an image of Jesus. Already struggling to understand God's apparent silence in the face of human suffering, Rodrigues must grapple in an even greater way with the meaning of Jesus' life and example. Silence is a good book to read during Holy Week, though its message is not a very comforting one to receive on Easter.
On a more joyful note, on Saturday night I celebrated the Paschal Vigil at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. As I've mentioned before, I have a certain fascination with the phenomenon of urban monasticism, and these Benedictines monks who provide a contemplative presence in the heart of a major metropolis offer an excellent example. From the blessing of the new fire and the Exultet to the final blessing and the recessional, the monks at the Monastery of the Holy Cross executed the lengthy and complex Vigil liturgy in a spirit of prayerful dignity and reverence. After the Mass, the monks entertained guests at a reception in the church hall. I enjoyed the monks' warm hospitality and conversation as much as I did the beautiful liturgy they celebrated.
Defying a serious thunderstorm, I drove up to the North Shore this afternoon to enjoy Easter dinner with my brother novice Jim Shea and his family. Thanks are due once again to the Sheas for their generous and gracious company. Being far from my own home, I'm thankful that the Sheas welcomed me into theirs. I wish them and all my readers a blessed and happy Easter season. Christos Voskrese! AMDG.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Notes on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Before I write anything else, I'd like to thank my parents for the Easter care package I received today - I'm especially thankful for a loaf of Mom's homemade banana bread, which made it safely through the mail and now sits on the cutting board in the kitchen here. Even on days of fasting and abstinence, there's always time for banana bread.

For a long time, I assumed I would take in this year's Triduum at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii a few blocks from the Jesuit community in which I live. Our Lady of Pompeii has many virtues - a small but friendly community, good liturgy and preaching, and a general aura of neighborliness and familiarity. However, as Holy Thursday rolled around I felt a growing desire to do something new and different - to go to a church I hadn't been to before, perhaps one run by a religious community of which I had little or no experience. Accordingly, I attended the Mass of the Lord's Supper at St. Michael's, a Redemptorist parish in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. The Redemptorists are traditionally considered exemplary preachers, and the homily I heard last night suggests that they deserve this reputation. There are two elements of the Holy Thursday liturgy that I particularly look forward to - the washing of the feet and the singing of Pange Lingua as the Blessed Sacrament is borne in procession throughout the church - and to my satisfaction both were present at St. Michael's. After Mass, I did something I've never done before, taking part in the ancient tradition of visiting seven churches on the night of Holy Thursday. St. Michael's was the first of these, and from there I headed to several parishes in the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods of Chicago: St. Clement, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Josaphat and St. Alphonsus. I had checked ahead of time to make sure that each would be open, and in most cases I found numerous parishioners inside the darkened church praying before the reserved Sacrament. The sixth and seventh churches I visited, Our Lady of Mercy and St. Gertrude, were a bit further afield and were chosen for their connections to two of my brother novices: Our Lady of Mercy was once Jake Martin's home parish, and Jim Shea was an active parishioner at St. Gertrude's before entering the novitiate. Visiting and praying at the preceding seven churches was deeping moving for me, and I hope to keep up the custom of the Holy Thursday pilgrimage in coming years.

In keeping with the spirit of trying new things and encountering different religious orders, this evening I attended the Liturgy of the Passion at Immaculate Conception Church on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Immaculate Conception is staffed by the Passionist Fathers, who make daily meditation on Jesus' passion and death the center of their spiritual lives. The motto of the order says it all: "May the Passion of Jesus Christ be ever in our hearts." Supposing that the Passionists would have a particularly deep appreciation of Good Friday, I made the long trek to the Northwest Side to experience today's liturgy at Immaculate Conception. The front pews of the church were dense with Passionists from their residence next door, many wearing the distinctive logo of their order (pictured above) on the breast of their black cassocks or on red stoles. Following the traditional reading of the Joannine account of the Passion, the presiding priest gave a pretty decent homily focusing on the words "I thirst" in the context of Jesus' life and in our own. In general, the Passion as commemorated by the Passionists at Immaculate Conception was a strikingly sober affair, which was fine by me. Having attended a few overblown Good Friday services in the past, I was pleased to encounter a quietly dignified Passion liturgy at Immaculate Conception. I suppose it's natural that Good Friday would be a pretty understated affair for people who reflect on the Passion every day. That being said, I wonder how the Passionists celebrate Christ's Resurrection. I could easily find out tomorrow by returning to Immaculate Conception for the Easter Vigil, but I think I might just as well leave that experience for another year. AMDG.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Notes on Spy Wednesday.

Today the Church celebrates Holy Wednesday, sometimes called "Spy Wednesday" because this is believed to be the day on which Judas Iscariot made arrangements to betray Jesus in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. Spy Wednesday is also the last day in Lent; the Paschal Triduum begins tomorrow with the Church's commemoration of Holy Thursday. In anticipation of Christ's Passion, Spy Wednesday is often marked by the evening Office of Tenebrae, a musical setting of selections from the Psalms and the Book of Lamentations. Tenebrae means "darkness" in Latin, and over the course of the service the church grows darker and darker as all lights are gradually extinguished. At the climax of the service, a single candle - representing the light of Christ - remains lit. When this candle is carried out of the church, the nave is shaken by the strepitus - a loud noise, sometimes produced by banging on pews, that is meant to symbolize the earthquake that shook Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death on the cross. After a few moments, the strepitus ends as the light of Christ returns to the church. The service of Tenebrae presents the Paschal Triduum in miniature, proceeding through the Passion on the way to Christ's Resurrection.

I had my first experience of Tenebrae as a college student, and this distinctive Holy Week service has grown on me over time. Few Catholic parishes incorporate Tenebrae into their Holy Week schedule, and I'd never even heard of the service before I encountered it at Georgetown. After attending Notre Dame's excellent Tenebrae services during each of my three years in law school, I came to regard the experience as an integral part of Holy Week. This year I participated in the Office of Tenebrae at St. Mary of Perpetual Help, a beautiful old Polish church in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. St. Mary of Perpetual Help has a reputation for good liturgy, and tonight's service was all I had hoped for. It's too soon to tell where I'll attend Tenebrae services next year in the Bronx, but I look forward to continuing the tradition. AMDG.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Notes on Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

This past weekend saw a Loyola House mini-reunion as Drew Marquard, Mike Singhurse and Eric Styles were visiting from Detroit. The weekend gave us an opportunity to catch up and to compare notes on our Long Experiments; Drew and Mike are both teaching at U of D Jesuit High School and Eric is at Loyola High School in Detroit. Yesterday Mike, Eric and I celebrated Palm Sunday at St. Benedict the African (East) Church in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. A parishioner and employee of St. Benedict the African before he entered the novitiate, Eric was invited to preach at the Palm Sunday Mass and gave an excellent homily that integrated strong exegesis as well as elements of his own experience in the novitiate and the experiences of the parish community and the local church. After a lively morning liturgy in Englewood, I concluded my observance of Palm Sunday in the evening with fairly subdued Vespers at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, a small Benedictine priory in Bridgeport. At the moment, I'm still a little on the fence about where I'll celebrate the Paschal Triduum this year. I'll probably go to the old Italian parish around the corner from St. Ignatius, Our Lady of Pompeii, a church that combines a intimate and neighborly atmosphere with good liturgy and excellent preaching. However, there's still an outside chance I'll pass part of the Triduum with the Benedictines at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, with my brother Jesuits at St. Procopius in Pilsen or with any number of other communities. For spiritual reading during Holy Week, I have two books by Japanese Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo: A Life of Jesus and Silence, the latter about Portuguese Jesuits and persecuted underground Christians in 17th-century Japan. I've never read anything by Endo before, but a number of fellow Jesuits recommended him highly. I'll post some thoughts on the two books when I've finished them. AMDG.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My home on the web.

At long last, my hometown of Rochester, Massachusetts has an official town website. The new Town of Rochester site has a wealth of resources for town residents, including lists of appointed and elected officials, contact information for town departments, downloadable forms and documents like this year's town warrant. The site also offers plenty of helpful material for casual visitors, including a concise but thorough introduction to the town, a page on our proud history (first settled in 1638, Rochester was incorporated in 1686), a map page that graphically answers the oft-asked question "where the heck is Rochester?" and a photo gallery that provides some sense of the bucolic and pleasant character that has drawn many to the town. Not included in the gallery but present elsewhere on the town website is the evocative photo with which I started this post. The picture above offers an early morning glimpse of what old guidebooks describe as Rochester's "small but authentic New England town common," a common that includes the First Congregational Church (slightly right of center in the photo), the church vestry (left) and the Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library (at right, behind the church). If you want to get a better idea of the milieu from which I sprang, take a look at the Rochester town website.

For my own part, I'm pleased to report that Rochester was a fine place to grow up and remains a great place to return to when I'm able to go back to visit my family. Living away from home for a number of years has given me a greater appreciation for my New England roots. There's a lot to be said for the experience of growing up in a long-settled, close-knit community; in the modern United States, fewer and fewer people can claim such an experience as their own. I can, and for that I'm grateful. AMDG.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Building on the success of the Irish Jesuits' Sacred Space and Creighton University's Online Ministries, the British Province of the Society of Jesus recently launched a website called Pray-as-you-go featuring free downloadable daily reflections in MP3 format. Pray-as-you-go uses music, scripture and reflection questions to help busy people find time to deepen their prayer lives in the midst of their daily routine - on their way to work or school, at the gym, out for a run or wherever else they might use an MP3 player. Pray-as-you-go also offers a version of the Ignatian Examen of Consciousness in the form of an eight-minute 'Review of the Day' that provides an opportunity for structured reflection on one's daily activities. The Society of Jesus has always been on the cutting-edge of evangelization, and I'm proud to see Jesuits making creative use of new media to spread the Gospel and help people grow closer to God. I heartily encourage readers with MP3 players to give Pray-as-you-go a try. If you do, please let me know how it goes - and if it goes well, please share it with your friends. AMDG.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hoosiers greet historic time change.

Indiana East Time officially bit the dust today as the state that bills itself as the "Crossroads of America" joined its neighbors in observing Daylight Savings Time. Today's South Bend Tribune carries an AP story reporting on Hoosiers' diverse reactions to the time zone change. The Indianapolis Star has an interesting article discussing the impact the change will have on people of faith. Catholics face not only the challenge of getting up a little earlier for Sunday Mass today but also face a later Easter Vigil. Observant Jews will have to wait longer for the end of the Sabbath. Muslims seeking to fit Friday prayer services into their work schedules also face new difficulties. Anticipating the difficulties that many Hoosiers will have in adjusting to DST, the Star has another article (given the awful title "It's time to change hour ways") with tips on how to deal with disruption in sleep patterns and new time management issues. As one who grew up with DST, I find it a little hard to believe that people would be as thrown off by it as the Star would have us believe. Then again and even though I've lived in Indiana, I can't speak to the experience of people who've never known anything but Indiana East Time.

In previous posts, I've offered extensive commentary on the Indiana time zone debate. I bemoaned the looming demise of IET, discussed the national press coverage given to the controversy and noted the local impact of the debate on South Bend. I'm not going to repeat anything I've already written on the topic, but I will add an anecdote. When I was in South Bend last weekend, I had occasion to hear one pastor's unscripted comments on the looming time zone change at the close of the Sunday liturgy. The priest reminded his parishioners that they would have to turn back their clocks the coming Saturday if they didn't want to miss the bulk of the liturgy. He acknowledged that this might be hard to remember since many in the congregation hadn't had to deal with Daylight Savings in a long time, and he admitted his own weakness in the face of the change - given that he'd be preaching on one less hour's sleep, he warned, next week's homily might not be up to snuff. Whether this worst-case scenario played out, I can't say. However, in the long term I'm sure priest and people will be just fine. AMDG.

Notes on the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt.

In the Byzantine tradition, the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, celebrated today by most Byzantine Catholics and next Sunday by the Orthodox churches, is also known as the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt. A fifth-century ascetic and hermit, Mary of Egypt is commended to the faithful on this Lenten Sunday as a model of penitence and spiritual conversion. Mary's story is recounted in great detail in a classic account by St. Sophronius of Jerusalem and has often been retold elsewhere, including in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, a widely-read compilation of saints' lives that deeply influenced St. Ignatius of Loyola, among many others. The numerous retellings of Mary's life vary in some details, but all share the same basic outline. At twelve, Mary ran away from home for a dissolute life on the streets of Alexandria. After a number of years, Mary began to feel stirrings of repentance and resolved to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Lacking sufficient funds for the trip to Jerusalem, Mary paid her way through prostitution. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mary was so strengthened in her desire to repent for the sins of her past life that she vowed to spend her remaining years as a hermit in the Palestinian desert. For the next half-century, Mary lived in complete solitude and extreme privation, spending most of her time in prayer and contemplation. Discovered one day by Zosimas, a monk from a desert monastery, Mary recounted her life story and asked her visitor to bring her Holy Communion. Zosimas did so on Holy Thursday, giving rise to a scene often reproduced on icons like the one above. Returning to visit Mary the next year, Zosimas found that she had died. Zosimas told his fellow monks about Mary, and in time the story was written down and spread throughout the Christian world.

I'm not quite sure where I first learned about Mary of Egypt. I believe her story was referenced in a work of classical literature I read in high school, but I forget exactly the book was that mentioned her. Later, I discovered her anew in the pages of the Golden Legend. Many of the details of Mary's story may strike modern believers as merely fanciful, and some will likely question whether she existed at all. Though I'll admit that I was initially attracted to Mary of Egypt by the exotic elements of her story, over time I've developed a sincere devotion to the saint. Mary's life reminds us that conversion is a lifelong process. Mary's resolve to repent for her sins didn't change her life overnight. As the disreputable means by which she paid for her pilgrimage show, Mary continued to sin even after she had begun her conversion. At the Holy Sepulchre, Mary made a firm commitment to live in a radically new way - and yet, in the solitude of the desert, she struggled with spiritual demons as great as any physical temptations she had faced before. Few of us will ever undergo as radical a process of conversion as Mary did, but in the struggles of this great ascetic all Christians can find inspiration to persevere in our efforts to live in the light of the Gospel. St. Mary of Egypt, pray for us. AMDG.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gubernatorial candidate goes to the dogs.

Just in time for April Fool's Day, we have proof that Massachusetts' once-vibrant political culture hasn't completely lost its traditional sense of mirth. Mercurial millionaire and Republican-turned-Independent gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos has chosen family pet Reagan Mihos, a Yorkshire Terrier (pictured at right), as his campaign's Canine Coordinator. As far as I know, this move is without precedent in Bay State politics, but then again Mihos has a well-deserved reputation as a political maverick. A longtime GOP activist, Mihos was fired from an appointed slot on the Mass Pike board in 2001 by then-Acting Gov. Jane Swift for failing to toe the party line and then successfully sued to get his job back. Mihos decision to enter this year's race for the Corner Office as an Independent ruffled even more Republican feathers, with GOP leaders fearing the self-financing candidate with a flair for publicity as a potential spoiler. Time will tell whether Mihos' efforts to reach out to dog-lovers will boost his poll numbers, which media reports currently place in the 15-20% range. It will be interesting, too, to see how close Mihos gets to reaching his stated goal of signing up "351 good dogs [i.e., one from every town and city in the Commonwealth] to represent their pals in the best state in the U.S. - Massachusetts." The Koczera family pet, a Yorkie named Kiwi, had no comment at posting time on whether she would foresake her traditional Democratic allegiance to back Mihos. AMDG.