Historic meeting between pope and patriarch could be near

View image | gettyimages.com Let us pray:  An historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on Sunday. The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern [Read More...]

Patriarch Bartholomew on the encyclical: “We count it a true blessing”

Some smart person at TIME magazine sought an exclusive response to the new encyclical from the man dubbed “The Green Patriarch” — and the essay he’s written helps put this vital new work in an important context: It came as no surprise to us that our beloved brother Francis of Rome opens his encyclical, which [Read More...]

Just another typical Catholic wedding—complete with gunshots

My traveling companion and blog neighbor Marge Fenelon captured on video a particularly lively part of the Greek Catholic Melkite wedding in Jordan I wrote about last week: the entrance of the bride and groom. You have to see this. And listen for the gunshots. That moment almost gave me a coronary. A Melkite deacon reader, after [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: witnessing a Melkite wedding

After leaving Petra this morning, bound for The Dead Sea, we stopped at a Greek Melkite Catholic Church, St. George, and caught part of a traditional wedding ceremony. This was something to see. And it was, literally, a shotgun wedding: someone in the wedding party fired a pistol into the air as the bride and [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Easter with the Melkites

After spending a half hour or so at the local Roman Catholic church, we hopped into our van and drove a few minutes away to join the liturgy at the St. Peter and St. Paul Melkite Catholic Church in Amman. This tiny parish of about 400 families is presided over by Fr. Nabil Haddad, a [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: The most amazing Easter of my life

On a cold and drizzly Saturday night, I found myself standing in a small, crowded Catholic church 6,000 miles away from my home parish in Queens, and I couldn’t help but weep. Dozens of people were holding candles. Incense filled the air. And a deacon climbed into the pulpit and began the familiar chant that [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Waking up to the Muslim call to prayer—and walking ancient streets

After yesterday’s long plane ride, I slept fitfully but somewhere around 5 a.m. found myself hearing the not-too-distant call to Muslim prayer—a sound both mournful and humbling. I figured it was a good time to get up and pray, anyway, so climbed out of bed and did Morning Prayer.  “All you heavens, bless the Lord,” I [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

Illinois street renamed for miraculous icon

From our Orthodox siblings:  Orthodox Church officials joined Archpriest Nicholas Dahdal and officials from the Town of Cicero in commemorating the miracle of the Tearing Icon known as “The Miraculous Lady of Cicero, Illinois.” The Town of Cicero placed an Honorary Street Marker that reads “Our Lady of Cicero Court” on the corner of 60th Court and [Read More...]


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