How far behind am I? I didn’t put the snow shovels away until last weekend. Even then I had my doubts as to whether or not that was a wise decision.

I hope I don’t have to spend additional time in purgatory for every time during the last 10 weeks, I’ve thought, “I should put that on my blog,” and then didn’t do it.

Pope Francis: There is a lot to be said for having a pope that smiles, isn’t there? I’m not sure that the cardinal electors listed smile among the qualities they sought in a Vicar of Christ, but having a “smiling pope” is working well.

This pope exudes genuine, Christian happiness; he’s a joy-filled believer. People can sense he is their loving father or brother. In a day when “branding” is so important, we, as Catholics, should be grateful we have a leader who didn’t audition for the lead in “Grumpy Old Men.”

Language we can understand: Pope Francis hasn’t dumbed down the faith, but he certainly speaks about it in a way we can understand. For example, less than a month into his pontificate, he spoke about the evilness of gossip three times. He called it a “dark joy” in which people engage.

He’s talked about the faithful not needing to be sourpusses or, in his term, having the “the face of a pickled pepper.” Or how ’bout this one: “We are all sinners. If someone feels he isn’t, he needs to make an appointment with a spiritual doctor because something’s wrong.”

With Francis as the international face of the church and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan as its national face, the Catholic image says, “Welcome!” 

Fr. Andrew Greeley: Speaking of giving the church some visibility, the late priest/author/researcher certainly did that. His ego appeared to be as big as his love for the church. I’ll take that trade off. I’m grateful for his research, though I did not always agree with his interpretation of it. I enjoyed several of his novels. Most of all, he appeared to be happy in his Catholicism and his priesthood.

A pro at new evangelization: With all the reports about what PEDs players might or might not have used, and the appearance of pro athletes’ names in the police report, it’s good to know that there are people like Mark Van Guilder. A member of the Milwaukee Admirals who recently signed a two-year contract with the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League, Van Guilder, 29, personifies the new evangelization. Read his story here

Nothing to celebrate: Given how little we have seen the sun during what is traditionally known as spring, should anyone really be observing National Sun Safety Week this week?

Someone to celebrate: That would be grandsonshine as the newest Banterite, Nathan, joined the family on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1. And all is well in my world.