He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

I am sitting in a hotel room over looking the Detroit River. On the other side is Canada, my home. I've been at a conference these past few days: an enormous Catholic leadership conference which drew together over 1,100 participants from roughly 200 different parishes all over North America. It's been, as so many of these sorts of events are, an incredibly formative time; an amazing opportunity. A time of deep fellowship, learning, and sharing. A time for our own parish to get some meaningful … [Read more...]

Why I Love The Sunday, 7PM Mass

We are an eccentric crew here at the 7PM Sunday night Mass.It's the proverbial last call in town for those hell-bent on fulfilling their Sunday Obligation and freshly home from a weekend of camping, our toddler in bed and my wife pulling babysitting duty, I am here too.Another passenger in the Ark.Or, another oarsmen to row this damn thing.When James Joyce coined the phrase "here comes everybody" to describe the Catholic Church he must've been thinking about this because here we a … [Read more...]

What Mother Teresa (And Her Critics) Can Teach Us About Saints

I'm not going to lie, I've been intentionally avoiding all the negative press swirling around Mother Teresa's canonization this past Sunday.I've read the headlines as they've popped up in my newsfeed. I'm aware of the allegations and criticisms of her work, her character, and her saintliness. I even had the pleasure of reading a hilarious exchange between two of my good friends and a marginally well-known religious commentator on Twitter.He hates Mother Teresa.But I've avoided the … [Read more...]

Congratulations Fr. Roderick (And Thank You!)

Dutch priest and podcaster Fr. Roderick Vonhogen is about to record his 1,000th episode of The Break and I'd like to offer my most sincere congratulations.Long-time readers of my blog will know my history with Fr. Roderick and his seminal podcast then called The Daily Breakfast.It was as a university student, in the earliest days of podcasting, that I stumbled upon a show called The Daily Breakfast. It was listed in a podcast directory, in the days before iTunes, under the "General Inte … [Read more...]

I Used To Be A Christian

This post is a part of the Patheos Catholic Channel series, "Catholicity: Identity and Its Discontents." Read more here.I used to be a Christian.As a fifteen year-old, my conversion to Christianity was something radical. Out of all the stories that we tell ourselves, about ourselves, this was one of the ones that defined me.I was a Christian.And I was the whole kit and caboodle: a sinner right down to the core but trying hard. I read my Bible and prayed; I went to youth group and … [Read more...]

Please Stop Planting Churches

A friend of mine is planting a church in Montreal, Canada. He doesn't know I'm writing this; he doesn't know how I feel about church planting.He was raised a Catholic and left; I converted.He might have some idea.As a young Evangelical, planting a church was the ultimate badge of courage, honour, and faith. Buoyed by that insatiable North American do-it-yourself spirit we saw church planters as the ultimate urban missionaries.As a concerned Catholic, I see them much differently … [Read more...]

The Audacity of Unmerited Grace

Picture the one person on earth that you like the least.There's gotta be somebody.(Even saints have their bad days.)For me it's easy. See, we used to have these neighbours.Now, picture what it would be like to completely forgive all the hurts and hang-ups you've long associated with that one god-awful person---or persons.Gone.Completely forgiven.What would that feel like?Probably pretty insane.First,  it would probably be incredibly difficult to let it all go. … [Read more...]

What If Catholics Are Right?

What if the claims of the Catholic Church are true?What if Catholics are right?What would you do?What if you were humming along in your faith journey---a happy Evangelical Christian---when a warm encounter with a nun, a friar, or a Catholic priest suddenly stopped you in your tracks?What if their genuine faith and humility was the sudden jolt your soul needed to stop and wonder about what made Catholics tick?And what if you dug a little deeper?What if something you read i … [Read more...]

Does Doctrine Really Matter Anymore?

Truth seems like such an amorphous thing these days.In the United States, the wife of a President who---for all intents and purposes---lied to the nation about his infidelity is up against a businessman cum politician who's changed his mind about his own politics and policies enough times that he's practically, at this point, running against himself.Yes, there's a video.But truth wasn't always such a difficult and flimsy thing to grasp hold of.At the beginning of the Christian … [Read more...]

St. Michael Novena for our Police Officers

Every day my friend Lindsay and her four children pray for the safety of Jason, her husband and their father, while he's at work. Jason is a police officer and, on a good day, that can be frightening enough.But these are strange and scary times.Over on her Facebook page, Lindsay decided to start up a novena to St. Michael, Patron Saint of Police Officers and an important intercessor for Lindsay, Jason, and their family.I asked Lindsay if I could post this novena up on here as well; I … [Read more...]