Back when churches were churches: some stunning examples in Pennsylvania

In the days before someone decided that the interior of every church needed to resemble a rec room, with a façade that paid tribute to the Kwik-E-Mart, folks built sacred houses of worship that actually looked sacred. Take, for example, these beautiful places in Pennsylvania, including the Catholic church pictured here, St. Joseph’s, in Erie. [Read more...]

Lumen Christi! Scenes from our Easter Vigil

Photographs by Maria Ribar, Rosalind Chan-Ghanzi, Niranjan Fernando and me at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY at the Easter Vigil 2015.  Bishop Paul Sanchez, Pastor With my friend, ordination classmate, and the DRE at my parish, Deacon Bill McNamara. Team Triduum: While virtually every one of the 140 or so servers at [Read More...]

Awesome video: see a church transformed from Good Friday to Easter Sunday in 30 seconds

Check out how they did it at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago. Doesn’t every parish wish it were this easy and fast? Photo from St. John Cantius website [Read more...]

Reconciliation Monday at St. Francis of Assisi

I dropped by one of my favorite churches in Manhattan, St. Francis of Assisi, for confession today, “Reconciliation Monday.”  The church is open for confessions every day, at all hours, but there was a line today anyway—about 20 people when I arrived at 5 p.m.  Four confessionals were open, so things moved quickly. I was [Read More...]

Crime wave? Chalices stolen from churches in Tucson

Details:  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson is asking the public for help regarding the theft of chalices from three churches this month. The chalices were taken from Our Mother of Sorrows, 1800 S. Kolb Road, on March 14; St. Ambrose, 300 S. Tucson Boulevard, on March 21; and St. Pius X, 1800 N. Pio [Read More...]

What does the priest see during Mass?

A couple of photographers decided to find out: Have you ever wondered what the priest standing at the altar sees during mass? It’s an unusual point of view, not one just anyone gets a chance to appreciate. But now, thanks to a remote-controlled camera set up behind church altars in Italy, everyone has a chance [Read More...]

SF cathedral dousing homeless with water to keep them from sleeping in doorways —UPDATED

That sound you hear is my mind, boggling. From KCBS:  KCBS has learned that Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways. The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There [Read More...]

Altar-ed states: liturgical decoration for Lent

A priest friend posted the following image on Facebook this morning, describing it as “artsy church decor for Lent.” “This is a bit much,” I commented. “Lent is about stripping away, not adding on. It’s distracting, too. You don’t know where to look.” I was curious about what guidelines, if any, the General Instruction of [Read More...]

“God has not forgotten about this community”: One of California’s poorest parishes finally gets a new church

I love this story. Way back in 2008, I preached a homily about Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Mecca, California: It ‘s the poorest parish in southern California – in fact, one of the poorest in the entire state. Two years ago, the average income in Mecca was just $6,000. 60% of the people live [Read More...]

Thank you, St. Petersburg!

I just got back from a wonderful visit to Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I gave a parish mission for Lent. The pastor, Fr. Wayne Genereux, and his friendly staff treated me like royalty, and the two deacons, Bill Lovelace and Lionel Roberts, could not have been more welcoming. From the [Read More...]