Try this in the pulpit. Let me know what happens.

From the review of new books about St. Francis of Assisi: “Why you?” a man asked Francesco di Bernardone, known to us now as St. Francis of Assisi. Francis (1181/2-1226) was scrawny and plain-looking. He wore a filthy tunic, with a piece of rope as a belt, and no shoes. While preaching, he often would [Read More...]

Love among the ruins: life in Aleppo

A glimpse at life in one corner of war-ravaged Aleppo, Syria, from AFP: The aging Christians holed up inside a retirement home in the devastated northern Syrian city of Aleppo have no light, no telephone lines, and little idea of what is happening in the outside world. But fellow Christians and rebel fighters still ensure [Read More...]

“Hungry” gets a little buzz

A few weeks back, I posted on the collection of homilies to which I contributed, “Hungry and You Fed Me.”  Now, The Times of Trenton has written about it, plugging an upcoming book signing (I’ll be there, so if you’re in New Jersey, come on by and say hello!): Fifteen homilists of various Christian denominations [Read More...]

What we have come to: figuring out what to call people who are “unmarried spouses”

Can any of us remember a time, not so very long ago, when this wasn’t even worth serious discussion? But the New York Times goes there: Now that we’ve come to some consensus on same-sex marriage, let’s move on to the next puzzle: what to call two people who act as if they are married but [Read More...]

One of YouTube’s most famous babies turns 5

A lot of you may remember this video, which has been making the rounds for a few years. It shows eight-month-old Jonathan Breaux responding to his mother’s voice for the first time, after getting a cochlear implant. That was five years ago.  What’s happened since?  The good people at TODAY decided to find out: Posted [Read More...]

Meet the deacon who is a fire department chaplain

From California comes this brief Q&A with Deacon Larry Modugno, lead chaplain for the Ventura County Fire Department: Q: How do you handle your work? A: We know we’re there to help people. It’s really a ministry of presence. It’s just being there. We help people through it. We see terrible things, but we help people [Read More...]

Bishops as modern magi: from Pope Benedict’s homily for Epiphany

From the Holy See’s website today: Following a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord also as the day when episcopal ordination will be conferred on four priests who will now cooperate in different ways in the ministry of the Pope for the unity of [Read More...]

How can you save Catholic schools?

Bob Faw looks at that question in this incisive story for PBS’s “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” and focuses on two experiments underway in New York and Philadelphia. Check out the story below. Watch Saving Catholic Schools on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. [Read more...]

Behold: the three kings of Juana Diaz

A friend in Florida sent me the picture above just before Christmas, with this explanation: Juana Diaz is a little town on the south coast of the island of Puerto Rico, next to my home city of Ponce. In 1884 an Spanish priest started something like a Medieval Epiphany play. The entire town (literally) participated [Read More...]

How do you forgive your daughter’s killer?

This Sunday’s New York Times looks at that question through the eyes of Kate and Andy Grosmaire, whose daughter Ann was shot by her fiance Conor McBride (the two are shown here in this snapshot from 2010).  The article is a deeply affecting view of the redemptive power of forgiveness, especially from a Catholic point [Read More...]