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 [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 bloody head on Thursday morning just [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. Check it out.  And the BBC offers an overview [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 Apostles, a deacon in the early church at [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 from [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 stockings, each with a green or red hat atop their [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 pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez—who reflected on the phrase [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 Youssef, a Syrian researcher on minorities. “The group has destroyed, torched [Read More...]