Why I’m celebrating Easter a second time

An explanation:  Catholics in Jordan will celebrate Easter on April 12, in accordance with a new agreement that unites the day of the Easter celebration for Orthodox and Catholic believers in the Holy Land. In 2012, the Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land made a commitment to celebrate Easter at the same time as the [Read More...]

Hello from Jordan!

So I arrived in Amman around 4 p.m. My memory is hazy, but I think the flight was about 10 hours.  I slept fitfully, but at least I slept. (Royal Jordanian Airlines, by the way, is incredible. We had two really good meals and the nicest flight attendants.) After making our way off the plane, [Read More...]

A Blessing for Travelers

View image | gettyimages.com From my friend, Deacon Bill McNamara: All-Powerful and Merciful God, You led the children of Israel on dry land, parting the waters of the sea; You guided the Magi to your son by a star. Help our brother Greg and give him a safe journey. Under Your protection let him reach [Read More...]

Boom: Catholic schools growing in South, Southwest U.S.

From The Orlando Sentinel:  Catholic schools in Central Florida have been growing, bucking the national trend of declining Catholic school enrollment. That news has won the Orlando diocese praise during the National Catholic Education Association convention in Orlando this week. The diocese also got a boost from the announcement that the University of Notre Dame will work [Read More...]

Boom: number of priestly ordinations in 2015 climbs 25%

From the USCCB: The 2015 class of men ordained to the priesthood report that they were, on average, about 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood and encouraged to consider a vocation by an average of four people. Seven in 10 (71 percent) say they were encouraged by a parish priest, as [Read More...]

Study: Christianity will continue to move from Europe to Africa

Some intriguing projections and analysis from Pew:  The global Christian population has been shifting southward for at least a century and is expected to continue to do so over the next four decades, according to new demographic projections from the Pew Research Center. Overall, the share of Christians in the world is expected to remain flat. But [Read More...]

“Children are never a mistake”

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we continue our reflection on children, the greatest blessing which God has bestowed on man and woman. I wish to focus our attention on the suffering which many children are experiencing. From the first moments of their lives, some are rejected, abandoned, and robbed of their infancy and future. There [Read More...]

Easter Vigil in Seattle, 2010

Someone posted this on Facebook. It’s something to see. Here’s how they did the Easter Vigil at St. Patrick’s in Seattle five years ago. For further viewing: Pentecost 2014 The Story of Lazarus, Lent 2014 Footnote: someone who saw this commented on the curious arrangement of the altar and the ambo: both essentially equal, neither one [Read More...]

Hang on: The Deacon’s Bench is hitting the road

No sooner have I survived Easter—say, is that candle wax in my hair?—and here I am, packing my bags and making a little trip. Actually, it’s more of a trek. I’m headed to the Middle East. Jordan, to be exact. When my boss asked me to go, I thought for a moment. “Will I get to [Read More...]

Was your sprinkling like this on Sunday?

If not, why not? Ladies and gentlemen: this is how it’s done. Spare no one. Leave no drop behind. Attack the faithful with holiness! Douse the world with grace until it is shivering and saturated and sneezing. Then you are truly blessed. [Read more...]