“Here is a happy priest”: homily for a priest’s 25th anniversary

Today Fr. Antonin Kocurek, a priest in our parish who ministers to the Czech apostolate in the Diocese of Brooklyn, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He asked me to serve and preach at the Czech Mass marking this occasion in Astoria, Queens. Here’s what I had to say. +++ The last [Read More...]

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Homily for May 14, 2015: Ascension Thursday

Some of you probably saw the report that came out Tuesday from the Pew Research Center. They tracked religious affiliation between 2007 and 2014. According to the study, the number of people who are Christian is declining. Sharply. An overwhelming majority, about 70% of Americans, still call themselves Christian. But that number has dropped eight [Read More...]

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Homily for May 3, 2015: 5th Sunday of Easter

The scriptures this week introduce us to someone we don’t hear about very much—but he is critically important to Christianity and, I think, to the times in which we live. I’m speaking of St. Barnabas. The reading from Acts describes how he, in effect, took Paul under his wing—in part to protect him from frightened [Read More...]

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Homily for April 26, 2015: 4th Sunday of Easter

What does it take to be a good shepherd? I just got back from a 10-day trip to Jordan, and you see shepherds everywhere. They are part of the life in that corner of the world. The Bedouins who tend the sheep slumber on hillsides under tents; they stand watch in large empty fields while [Read More...]

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Movement begins to have priest who died on the Titanic declared a saint

Some may remember the homily I preached three years ago, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, relating the story of the priest who was on board, Fr. Thomas Byles: Exactly 100 years ago, Sunday, April 14th, 1912, Fr. Byles celebrated Mass.  It was “Low Sunday” for the first Sunday after Easter.  [Read More...]

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Pope Francis: “To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone…”

“To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our [Read More...]

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Homily for April 3, 2015: Good Friday

When I was a child, I’d hear this account of Christ’s Passion and I’d keep hoping it would have another ending. I hoped that the soldiers would turn back…or Pilate would change his mind…or the people would cry out for Jesus to be the one freed instead of Barabbas. What happens is so heart-wrenching and [Read More...]

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On Christ’s Seven Last Words: “They offer one final sermon on a mount, a lasting message of forgiveness and mercy”

Friday night, my parish will have a performance of Thomas Dubois’ oratorio, “The Seven Last Words.” I’m preaching a reflection on it, below.  +++ Without question, it is the most infamous public execution of all time. No death has been more depicted in art, in drama, in literature and, as we’ve just heard, in music. On [Read More...]

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Do this in remembrance of me: Homily for Holy Thursday

When I was growing up, like a lot of families, mine had one of those small, cheap Kodak Instamatic cameras. You used those flash bulbs that looked like ice cubes…and got these little square pictures back from the drug store when you had them developed. My dad must have taken hundreds, if not thousands of [Read More...]

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“We need these palms as a reminder—and a challenge”

We need these palms as a reminder – and a challenge. They remind us that we are called to be heralds of Christ – to celebrate him the way they did that day in Jerusalem. And these palms challenge us to keep crying “Hosanna,” to keep proclaiming the Good News – even when the world [Read More...]

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