Dear Fr. Phil,

I'm assuming you made it back to the Pacific Northwest. I hope the trip was fruitful.

While you were gone I received a few messages from a guy that was way out my league. I encouraged him to write to you for help. I can't think of his name right now, I'll have to dig it up. I think I upset him.

He's divorced and remarried and away from the church. He's thinking about returning but an anullment is too much trouble and too long a process. His second wife wants nothing to do with the RCC, so now he's thinking about divorcing her so he could be free to follow God's leading.

Does this sound familiar?

Rick Ricciardi


Dear Rick,

Thanks for the e-mail. Sorry I am so slow in responding. Yes, the trip was wonderful. The high point was being there for the birth of Denis and Liane's fifth child. I put a few pictures of him on my website. I did not hear from the guy in question. The internet apostolate does bring us into contact with a lot of interesting folks, does it not? Like in a parish we have to do what we can when we have the chance to make contact and leave the rest in the hands of God. I often hear years later that something I did or said touched someone. Did you watch any of the Bill Moyer's PBS program on Genesis? The few parts I saw underscored how God works in the complexities and even contradictions of peoples lives.

Have a great Thanksgiving. God bless,

Fr. Phil BloomI guess that's something you just have to learn. I want to help everybody and I see everything as a crisis. I wrote a few tough love letters back to him and I haven't heard anything since. I guess


I started second guessing myself. Was I out of line with the tough love. Would God ever have someone leave his second wife so he could participate in the Sacraments?

Yes I am sure that's true ("God works in the complexities and even contradictions of peoples lives") and no I didn't see the program on Genesis.

Did you ever follow-up on the LifeTeen program?

God Bless!

Rick Ricciardi


Dear Rick,

Tough question about divorcing the second wife. I know folks who have been hurt by the old advice to do so. It was based (among other things) on Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman: "the one you have now is not your own." (Jn 4:18) I would really have to know more about the guy's situation--and probably also seek advice from a wiser head than my own.

I did look up the LifeTeen information. Looks wonderful. Obviously would have to pray a lot before embarking on something new here, altho I am encourgaging the priest in neighboring parish to start a youth Mass. How's that for passing the buck?

God bless,

Fr. Phil