Synod: what about unmarried couples living together?

The working document on the upcoming Synod paints a stark picture: From every part of the world, the responses note an increasing number of couples who live together ad experimentum (“on an experimental basis”) in unions which have not been religiously or civilly recognized nor officially registered in any way. The terms “experiment” or “trial period” are [Read More...]

“The Lord is with me”: The trials of Deacon Francisco Hernández

From the In My Backyard Desk, a story of a vocation that has been tested, and tested, and tested. Meet Brooklyn’s newest permanent deacon. From The Brooklyn Tablet:  Fully aware that being a disciple of Christ means embracing the cross, Francisco Hernández stood before Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros and bound himself to Church service as [Read More...]

Boom: Brooklyn preparing to ordain 13, largest class of priests in the United States

From the In My Backyard Desk, some sensational news, via The Brooklyn Eagle:  The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, will ordain 13 men to the priesthood on Saturday, June 28. This group of men, who have served for the past year as transitional deacons, composes the [Read More...]

Mass in the Extraordinary Form at a Brooklyn church—UPDATED

Some may remember the pictures I posted last week, showcasing the newly renovated Holy Name of Jesus church in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Saturday, they put the beautiful James Renwick-designed altar to good use and celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The pastor, Fr. James Cunningham, reports close to 200 people showed up. Fathers Brandon O’Brien, [Read More...]

Bridgeport’s Bishop Caggiano: “He’s a breath of fresh air”

Twelve years ago, when I began formation, the director of the diaconate program was a short, wiry, affable Italian with piercing eyes and boundless energy known simply as Father Frank. He was a force of nature, and among the most gifted priests I’ve ever met—brilliant, generous, compassionate, prayerful. The men in my huge class—52 of [Read More...]

What was and what is: the dramatic difference a church renovation makes

Behold, some images from the restoration of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Brooklyn, just rededicated Sunday by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. This is what the church used to look like: And the finished product last week, after several months of work: Below, some images from the rededication on Sunday. [Read more...]

A great night in Brooklyn: dedicating the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph

A little history was made in the Diocese of Brooklyn last night, as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio dedicated the new Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph on Pacific Street, just a stone’s throw (or a long free shot) from the shiny new Barclay Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets. The 100-year-old parish church has been freshly renovated—stunningly so, [Read More...]

Albany’s new bishop: “Monsignor Ed is the real deal”

Photo:Lori Van Buren / Times Union I couldn’t have put it better myself. Those words from another Brooklyn deacon capture Albany’s bishop-elect Ed Scharfenberger perfectly.  He will be installed as Albany’s new bishop today—EWTN, among others, will be carrying the installation, starting at 2 pm. Last weekend, his new hometown paper, the Albany Times-Union, paid [Read More...]

First look: inside Brooklyn’s new co-cathedral

Renovation and restoration work has been continuing apace for many months, almost exactly one year after the big news broke.  Below, a first shot, with all the scaffolding removed. Dedication is slated for later this spring. The co-cathedral’s website, meantime, offers a video tour of the pre-restoration church, giving a hint of the rich architecture [Read More...]

“God forgive me, but I hope the ones responsible for that altar are still in purgatory”

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post on beauty in churches, here’s a living example of a renovation gone wrong—and an effort to make it right. Last year, I posted on the remarkable renovation being undertaken at one Brooklyn parish, whose sanctuary looked like this: Now that’s changing. Here’s an update from the New York [Read More...]


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