Powerful and provocative: a “letter to ISIS” from the People of the Cross

From an online media group called Mighty.LA: As the world responds to the Islamic State with hatred and vengeance, there is one group that is responding differently. They are not allies with ISIS but enemies. And they have been slain by the thousands in the hands of ISIS. ISIS calls them The Nation of the Cross - The ones they have killed are bringing a message of forgiveness and hope. Declaring a love that they do not know - A love that reconciles even the worst of us and can make enemies into … [Read More...]

Pope Francis, two newly ordained priests give blessing during 'Regina Coeli' at Vatican

I can think of two priests who will be including this image in their Christmas card this year…

From Paul Haring at Catholic News Service comes this wonderful picture from Sunday.Caption: Pope Francis and two newly ordained priests give a blessing during the "Regina Coeli" led from the window of the pope's studio at the Vatican April 26. The priests and 17 others were ordained by the pope during a liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica that morning. … [Read More...]

What happens if a priest can’t continue Mass?

The tragic story of a priest who died at the start of Mass last Sunday raises the question of what happens in such circumstances.The document De Defectibus, promulgated by Pope Pius V in the 16th century, offers this: If before the Consecration the priest becomes seriously ill, or faints, or d … [Read More...]

Shock: Massachusetts pastor dies at start of Sunday Mass

From The Boston Globe:  The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Canton died at the start of a Mass on Sunday morning. Father Michael McLellan, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, died at the 11:30 a.m. service. It is not clear if he was saying the Mass at the time. “We are saddened to ha … [Read More...]

Polish church calls for priests who died at Dachau to be honored

View image | From The Catholic Herald:  The Polish Catholic Church has called for a fitting tribute to hundreds of its priests who died during World War II at the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau.“Dachau was the main camp for priests from all over Europe, and over half came fr … [Read More...]

Pope to newly ordained priests: No more boring sermons

Details: On Sunday morning Pope Francis ordained 19 new priests, exhorting them to serve the flock rather than manage it, and to feed the people of God with heartfelt homilies rather than boring sermons. “Let this be the nourishment of the People of God,” Francis said during the ceremony in Saint P … [Read More...]

A prayer to Mary for vocations

Hail Mary, full of grace; all generations call you blessed. Hail Mother of God; when asked by the angel to bear the Son of the Most High, filled with faith, you responded: "Let it be done unto me." Holy Mother of Jesus, at the wedding feast at Cana, you prompted your Son to perform his first … [Read More...]

Homily for April 26, 2015: 4th Sunday of Easter

What does it take to be a good shepherd?I just got back from a 10-day trip to Jordan, and you see shepherds everywhere. They are part of the life in that corner of the world. The Bedouins who tend the sheep slumber on hillsides under tents; they stand watch in large empty fields while the sheep … [Read More...]

When non-Catholics receive communion—UPDATED

 View image | <At Cardinal Francis George's funeral Thursday, the governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, evidently received communion.There's just one problem: Rauner is not Catholic.That is notable. But so is this fact: non-Catholics are permitted to … [Read More...]

New Yorkers, take note: an upcoming event to raise awareness and support for persecuted Christians

Mark your calendar:Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) will be making a pastoral visit to Iraq and Egypt next month to see first-hand some of the challenges facing Christians fleeing persecution in that troubled part of the world. Just days after … [Read More...]

Officials say terror suspects may have targeted Vatican in 2010

From The New York Times: An investigation into a terrorist cell in Sardinia may have thwarted a possible attack on the Vatican in 2010, an Italian prosecutor and police officials said on Friday.Prosecutor Mauro Mura said at a news conference in Cagliari, Sardinia, that investigations into … [Read More...]

Just another typical Catholic wedding—complete with gunshots

My traveling companion and blog neighbor Marge Fenelon captured on video a particularly lively part of the Greek Catholic Melkite wedding in Jordan I wrote about last week: the entrance of the bride and groom.You have to see this. And listen for the gunshots. That moment almost gave me a c … [Read More...]

Archbishop Cupich’s homily at wake for Cardinal George

 View image |  This was delivered Tuesday, for priests and seminarians gathered at the wake of Cardinal George. It's beautiful. I think it may have particular resonance for clergy.It's been published multiple places online. Here it is from Zenit: “Stay wi … [Read More...]

Parish cancels pig wrestling competition after backlash

In Wisconsin: St. Patrick Parish in Stephensville has called off its decades-old annual pig wrestling event following animal cruelty accusations. It is instead planning a new competitive game, a "human foosball tournament in the mud," the Outagamie County Catholic parish said Tuesday. "After … [Read More...]

Bliss: 102-year-old woman watches film of herself as jazz dancer in the 1930s

This is working its way around social media. It's irresistible—and beautiful.People are amazing.You cannot not smile. Keep a Kleenex handy. … [Read More...]

Boom: number of women becoming nuns in UK reaches 25-year high

Details: The number of women becoming nuns in Britain has reached a 25-year high. Some 45 took holy vows last year – tripled from just 15 in 2009 and the most in one year since the 1980s. Just seven signed up in 2004 but that has now changed as more women are drawn to the spiritual li … [Read More...]

My brother-in-law, my hero

From The Department of Diaconal Nepotism: a great story about a great guy doing a great thing. The guy in question just happens to be the brother of the woman I'm married to.From the University of Notre Dame: At 6 a.m. on May 3, Michael Meyer will start off on a 30-mile trek that will take him … [Read More...]

Back when churches were churches: some stunning examples in Pennsylvania

In the days before someone decided that the interior of every church needed to resemble a rec room, with a façade that paid tribute to the Kwik-E-Mart, folks built sacred houses of worship that actually looked sacred.Take, for example, these beautiful places in Pennsylvania, including the … [Read More...]