For sale: Europe’s empty churches

Arnhem Skate Hall, formerly the Church of St. Joseph (photo: Facebook) From the Wall Street Journal:  Two dozen scruffy skateboarders launched perilous jumps in a soaring old church building here on a recent night, watched over by a mosaic likeness of Jesus and a solemn array of stone saints. This is the Arnhem Skate Hall, [Read More...]

Homecoming: visiting my childhood parish

Over the Christmas break, I was able to attend Mass at my childhood parish, St. Patrick’s in Rockville, Maryland. My parents helped build the place back in the mid-1960s, and it was there that I first donned a cassock and surplice and served as an altar boy some 45 years ago.  The church was, and [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...]

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...]

Window pains: stained glass industry disappearing

From The Wall Street Journal: After a couple of millennia of sustained popularity, the stained-glass industry is showing serious cracks. Declining church attendance is playing a role, as is the growth of nondenominational congregations like Wave that pine for a more modern aesthetic. Even churches that want stained glass are increasingly evaluating whether it fits [Read More...]

Building a never-ending church: a new film about Sagrada Familia

A new documentary has just been released that tells the story of this remarkable undertaking in Barcelona.  At the church’s dedication in 2010, Pope Benedict noted:  The joy which I feel at presiding at this ceremony became all the greater when I learned that this shrine, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship with [Read More...]

Resurrection: After tornado, parish rebuilds, consecrates new church

Some good news, just in time for Christmas, from The Joplin Globe in Missouri: It wasn’t wrapped in red and green paper, and it certainly wasn’t sitting underneath a tree, but the new St. Mary’s Catholic Church was the best holiday gift that parishioners said they could have received this time of year. “It’s like [Read More...]

Hitting the road: The Bench and CNEWA visit Long Island

The past couple of days I found myself on a rare weekend away from my home parish, giving talks at Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, New York.  I was there with two of my colleagues from CNEWA, Norma Intriago and Chris Kennedy, to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians and enlist support [Read More...]

“Busting at the seams,” Phoenix adds another church to serve growing Catholic population

This speaks to the vibrant faith of the American southwest—and the burgeoning immigrant population. Details:  A longstanding Catholic parish in Chandler is moving forward with plans to build a second church at the southern end of the city. The new church, called St. Juan Diego…will be part of the existing parish at St. Mary’s Catholic [Read More...]

Windfall: Christ Cathedral in Orange gets $20 million anonymous gift

Wow:  A donor who asked not to be named has donated $20 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to help fund its multimillion-dollar renovation and transformation of the 34-acre campus that was once home to Robert A. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. The donation, which will be paid off within seven years, is the largest gift [Read More...]


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