Did you get a Christmas card from the pope?

Mine must have gotten lost in the mail.But if you're wondering what a card from Pope Francis looks like, the good people at Rome Reports have the scoop: … [Read More...]


Life support ends for pregnant Irish woman declared clinically dead…

The case has polarized Ireland, where abortion is still illegal.Details, from the Associated Press: A clinically dead pregnant Irishwoman was removed from life support Friday after a Dublin court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus also was doomed to die. The case highlighted fear and confusion among doctors over how to observe Ireland's ban on abortion, the strictest such law in Europe, in an age of medical innovation. The three-judge Dublin High Court ruled that all artificial support fo … [Read More...]

“Hate crime”: Baby Jesus stolen from church nativity scene, replaced with pig’s head—UPDATED

From Boston.com: A baby Jesus statue at a Haverhill church’s nativity scene was taken and replaced with a “freshly decapitated” pig’s head on Christmas morning, police said. John Delaney, the pastor of Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church, said he had a mix of “shock” and “horror” upon seeing the … [Read More...]

Waves of destruction: remembering the tsunami, 10 years later

Photo: Peter Lemieux / CNEWA Hard to believe it, but today marks the 10-year anniversary of the devastating tsunami that swept over Indonesia—one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history.CNEWA's blog features a poignant remembrance of that awful day from someone who was there. C … [Read More...]

Where St. Stephen was stoned

Today marks the feast of the church's first martyr and the patron saint of deacons, St. Stephen. St. Stephen, pray for us!From Wikipedia: Stephen or Stephan (Greek: Στέφανος, Stephanos), traditionally regarded as the Protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity, was, according to the Acts of the … [Read More...]

This year’s best Christmas gift

Back in the early days of the last century, my wife's great-grandmother Agnes Meyer and her husband set out to raise a large family in a far-flung corner of Iowa.They had eight children; she was pregnant with her ninth when her husband went out to work in the fields one morning and collapsed … [Read More...]

Pittsburgh hospital sends Christmas babies home in stockings

Photo: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Adorable.From The Daily Mail: Babies born at a Pittsburgh hospital are heading home with their parents in tiny stockings. The Magee-Women's Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center snapped photos of the tots lined up in the … [Read More...]

Christmas in Forest Hills

Shortly before Midnight Mass—which actually took place at midnight!— from my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY.The liturgy was breathtaking: 40 altar servers, five priests, one deacon, full choir, a trumpet, and an eloquent homiletic meditation on "O Holy Night" by our pas … [Read More...]

Ladies and gentlemen: Baby Jesus

Scenes from our parish Christmas pageant, held during tonight's 5 p.m. Mass.Kudos to little Madison James, who portrayed the Baby Jesus with subtlety, nuance, humility and panache—and no crying. … [Read More...]

Lest we forget: Christmas in the “Caliphate” of Iraq—UPDATED

From Al Arabiya News: After a year of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria purging Christian minorities from its self-declared caliphate, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are facing muted celebrations this Christmas. “Talk of Christmas and Christian occasions is forbidden under ISIS,” said Sulaiman Yo … [Read More...]

Window pains: stained glass industry disappearing

From The Wall Street Journal: After a couple of millennia of sustained popularity, the stained-glass industry is showing serious cracks. Declining church attendance is playing a role, as is the growth of nondenominational congregations like Wave that pine for a more modern aesthetic.Even … [Read More...]

The benefits of believing in Santa Claus

The headline in The Washington Post: Believing in Santa Claus could help your kids develop a cure for cancer.To wit: Tonight, Santa Claus will consume the minds of many children across the world. Many parents’ thoughts also drift there, but for different reasons. Parents of young children w … [Read More...]

The clergy parent’s guide to surviving Christmas

The nativity scene is up and ready at my parish. But what about everyone who works at the parish? Speaking for myself, I could use another week.Which is why I appreciated these wry but insightful thoughts from a married member of clergy who is used to burning the Advent candle at both ends.I … [Read More...]

Kentucky priest gets an anonymous gift — and pays it forward for Christmas

From the NBC affiliate in Lexington, KY:LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather … [Read More...]

Must-see video: watch what a homeless man does with $100

You might be surprised.Check out this remarkable vignette. … [Read More...]

Are womb transplants immoral?

This story got some attention a couple weeks back:Two women have given birth using wombs donated by their own mothers. The pair become the first ever to have children using the very womb that brought them into the world a generation earlier. The breakthrough brings hope to the 15,000 British … [Read More...]

Pope writes Christmas letter to persecuted Christians of the Middle East

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis has written a pre-Christmas letter to the Christians of the Middle East  to express his closeness to them at a time of “afflictions and tribulations” due to “the continuing hostilities in the region, but especially because of the work of a newer and disturbing terro … [Read More...]

A typical Christmas dinner at the Kandras

My family.God love 'em. … [Read More...]