High school students volunteer to serve as pallbearers for those who die alone

Some may remember the story I posted last year about Jim Skerl, the teacher at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School. In 2002, he established a group called the St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Society, made up of young men who volunteer to serve as pallbearers at the funerals of people who had no one to bury them.  [Read More…]

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Synod, shmynod

Enough already. Put down that crockery. Count to 10. Breathe deeply. Then follow doctor’s orders: take this prescription from a Doctor of the Church, on her feast day… [Read more…]

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Must-see video: a groom’s priceless gift to his mother on his wedding day

When I was growing up, I always heard, “If you want to know how a man will treat his wife, watch how he treats his mother.” Based on that, the bride in this video is blessed. Truly. Break out the Kleenex and watch as this groom dances with his mother—suffering from ALS—at his wedding. Read [Read More…]

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Meet the deacon who’s been a foster parent 50 times

This is humbling and inspiring:  He never expected it, but Deacon Neil Tift realized he was making a difference when he came home from work on his birthday to find a card and a chocolate candy bar, a gift from JR, the adult foster son who has been living with him and his wife, Denise. [Read More…]

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A death row inmate’s conversion: “It was Catholics who had shown me so much love and kindness”

A remarkable odyssey, from Sister Camille D’Arienzo in NCR. She interviews David Hammer, 56, serving a life sentence without parole in Tucson, AZ: Sr. Camille: 15 years have gone by since you first contacted me. You were an inmate in Allenwood, Pa., anticipating a January 1999 execution. Your request was for someone to pray for [Read More…]

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A priest faces death with faith: “I became a Jesuit to save souls, including my own”

From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Since being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in late January, the Rev. John Schlegel has given away most of his books, artwork and clothes. He has visited friends in Dallas; Denver; Chicago; Omaha, Neb.; New York; London; Oxford, England; and Dubuque, Iowa; and met with Pope Francis in Rome. And he [Read More…]

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Meet the Philadelphia inmates making the pope’s chair

This is pretty great, via Philly.com: Evan Davis sanded the back of a large walnut throne, scrubbing in the direction of the grain, to smooth the seat Pope Francis will sit on when he visits next month. In a carpentry shop at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC), Davis and about a dozen other inmates [Read More…]

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“Our country is in desperate need of servant leaders, willing to kneel and embrace those who are not like them…”

After last night’s debate, I stumbled on this essay from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, in The New York Times. From the earliest days of Starbucks, I’ve been captivated by the art of leadership. I was mentored over three decades by Warren G. Bennis, the eminent professor and scholar on leadership. I’ve gathered insights from peers, [Read More…]

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Awesome: Turkish couple spends their wedding day feeding Syrian refugees

Details:  A Turkish couple who got married last week invited 4,000 Syrian refugees to celebrate with them. Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat tied the knot in Kilis province on the Syrian border, which is currently home to thousands of refugees fleeing conflict in the neighbouring country. It’s traditional for Turkish weddings to last between Tuesday [Read More…]

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Why does mercy matter?

View image | gettyimages.com A timely reminder from today’s Office of Readings. This comes from a sermon by Saint Caesarius of Arles: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. My brothers and sisters, sweet is the thought of mercy, but even more so is mercy itself. It is what all men hope for, but [Read More…]

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