Vineyards of En-Gedi | About
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About Alan Hartway

Fr. Alan is an ordained Catholic priest for 43 years and a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood since 1974.

He has spent almost 20 years of his life in education and 20 some years in pastoral care. He was his provincial director of formation and director of publications for five years. Eventually he is looking forward to retirement and writing full time.


This blog plans to share homiletic explorations on the Sunday readings of the Roman Catholic Lectionary for those who preach and teach. The focus will be on communion, community, and evangelization. To some extent, there also will be reflections about reconciliation, but not in the context of the Sacrament of Penance.


In the Song of Songs 1, 14, “My beloved is to me like henna from the vineyards of En-gedi.” Henna was used for impermanent tattoos to decorate the body of the bride and groom, typically with elaborate floral and vegetal patterns, much like the interior of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, 1 Kings, 6. Henna dyes are still used today. Clusters of white henna flowers smell sweet. Ein-gedi is a fertile oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The area was famous for the quality of its wines, no doubt some of which for weddings. Hence the nuptial language of the Song of Songs, rich for reflections on communion and community. Indeed, the whole Bible ends with the wedding feast of heaven and earth, Christ, the Lamb of God, marrying the bride, the Church.  St. Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, significantly drew from the Song of Songs in his writings. Historically, this brief Biblical text of 117 verses has attracted the commentaries of the mystics throughout the centuries.


Reinhold Neibuhr, the American theologian and sociologist who gave us the Serenity Prayer, also once said, “The prophet is someone who comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”  He further said, “A preacher has the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.”


There are two main parts to this blog: one, a worksheet of the Sunday readings coordinated with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the other is ongoing weekly personal reflections on the readings by Fr. Alan Hartway, CPPS. These reflections are not meant at all to be a homily or to be read; they are merely preparatory, works in progress, and by no means the last word.


The Lectionary/Catechesis part brings the readings to the Catechism, and when the Catechism  uses a verse from the reading for that Sunday to support teachings, then the Catechism paragraph number will be cited. These pages can be printed and copied, and then used for discussion groups like RCIA, Bible Study Groups, or the like.


Included among the tool bar buttons are provocative and significant quotes that Fr. Alan has come across in his reading under “Florilegia”, or “flower book” which medieval monks kept for gathering their favorite quotes from the passages they were assigned to copy.


Under “Authors” Fr. Alan will share books he has read or is currently reading.


This blog does not in any way represent anything official from the Catholic Church or the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Fr. Alan is an unabashed liberal, grounded in the Christian Humanities. He is a Hellenophile, not a Latinist. Therefore, this site may not be for you.


All mean-spirited comments, rants, bullyings, racisms, and the like will get you blocked from this website. The kind of thing one finds so common on the rest of the internet will not be tolerated here. Fr. Alan is interested in your comments, reflections, and dialogue that contributed to the mission of this blog:  community, communion, and evangelization.


I am very grateful for the excellent web site building skills of Andy Katz who contracted this blog. He can be reached at if you wish to employ his services. He lives in Boulder, CO.