An analysis from The Washington Post: There are endless reasons a big-box toy store would collapse during a retail apocalypse — and Toys R Us acknowledged a number of them in its most recent annual filing: the teetering tower of debt incurred by its private-equity owners, competition from Amazon, Walmart and Target. They even wrung their hands about app stores, labor costs and potential tariffs raising the costs of the imported goods they sell. But one risk stood out. Toys… Read more

From The Columbus Dispatch: In Columbus and across the Midwest, Hispanics are changing and, some say, saving Roman Catholicism. Their population has been flowing into Midwestern and Northeastern Catholic churches since the turn of the century, said Hosffman Ospino, director of Hispanic ministries at Boston College, and Hispanics’ presence there is reshaping Catholicism and revitalizing churches with otherwise dwindling memberships. At St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church on Columbus’ West Side, membership was down to about 30 parishioners nearly two… Read more

Department of Shameless Plugs: If you find yourself in the Boston area on Friday, April 6, come on by!  That day, I’ll be the keynote speaker at the annual Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord conference in Watertown, Massachusetts. My topic: “Living Our Faith in the Modern World.” I’ll be talking about my vocation journey, my work at CBS News, and how we can all fulfill our call to evangelize. This event, sponsored by the Theological Institute for the… Read more

Elizabeth Scalia—now writing and editing with Bishop Robert Barron’s team over at Word on Fire—offers this gorgeous tribute to the great unsung heroines of the Church, the religious sisters, to close National Catholic Sisters Week.  Check this out: Largely unregulated by governments, and often funded with the pennies and spare dollars of those they served, Catholic religious women addressed every social need they saw and were extraordinarily efficacious. As handmaids to the sons and daughters of their King, they enriched,… Read more

A deacon friend forwarded me this tweet, from Father Jeff Walker in the Diocese of Toledo. Like so many places around the country, his high school, Sandusky Central Catholic, honored the 17 students killed by a young gunman in Parkland, Florida, last month. They lit candles and gathered before the Blessed Sacrament to pray. But this observance was different from others I’ve read about: Read more

A great profile of an icon, from The New York Times:  Each prayer begins the same way, with “Good and gracious God.” Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt always makes sure of that. But it is in the words that follow that Sister Jean, the 98-year-old nun who serves as the team chaplain for Loyola University-Chicago’s N.C.A.A. tournament-bound basketball team, really finds her voice. She asks for God’s protection for the players. She asks for the referees to call fouls “justly.” She asks… Read more

Arlington’s Bishop Michael Burbidge had some warm words about deacons in The Catholic Herald, which is running a series this year on the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate: Fifty years ago, the Catholic Church reinstituted the permanent diaconate, and the men of the Diocese of Arlington have responded generously to the call. “We have a significant number of men stepping forward saying they want to be deacons. Recruitment, with God’s grace, is taking really good care… Read more

From The New York Times: President Trump is expected to name Larry Kudlow, a CNBC television commentator who has served as an informal adviser to him, as director of the National Economic Council, according to three people familiar with the decision. Mr. Kudlow would become Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, replacing Gary D. Cohn, who said he would resign after losing a battle over the president’s longstanding desire to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Mr. Kudlow, in… Read more

From AP: The Vatican admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards. The Vatican’s communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis’ five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological… Read more

The man who has been dominating the political headlines for the last 24 hours—and is close to winning the congressional seat in Pennsylvania—is Catholic:  A Catholic, Lamb attended St. Bernard School in Mt. Lebanon, graduated from Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh) in 2002. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a B.A. degree in political science, and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2009. But that’s not all: In 2013–14, Lamb… Read more

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