Homily for January 1, 2011: Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

This is traditionally the day when we make resolutions and size up the year to come. This is when we decide… To quit smoking…again. To lose weight…again. To stop drinking…again. To spend less money…again. I typically spend this day going through all the junk piled up on my desk and sorting through old papers in [Read More...]

Another Annunciation…

Earlier, I posted an item about one artist’s unique take on Mary’s visit from Gabriel. Below is another interpretation, from the same artist, John Collier, commissioned for a church (now co-cathedral) in West Virginia. As the artist describes it: “In my Annunciation the angel Gabriel stands on a rotting stump which has a living branch [Read More...]

"I have traveled many moonless nights…"

Another favorite song of the season: Amy Grant’s haunting Marian hymn, “Breath of Heaven.” [Read more...]

"Hail, full of grace…"

Is this what the Annunciation would look like if it happened today? The above picture is John Collier’s provocative, decidedly modern take on the singular event which we heard recounted in today’s gospel.   Collier has done some captivating work around religious themes, including the Catholic memorial at Ground Zero. Check out this website for more. [Read More...]

A Presbyterian sings the praises of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Is she the new Santa Claus? Check this out, from Presbyterian minister Ben Daniel in Huffington Post: The feast of Guadalupe is a distinctly Mexican holiday, and it may be worth asking why my family celebrates the holiday when none of us were born in Mexico or have Mexican ancestors. The answer is this: we [Read More...]

Stocking stuffer: the latest in Catholic kitsch …

…just might be this curious rendition of the rosary. Details: An Italian company is offering an electronic rosary with the voice of Pope John Paul II leading the prayers. The Prex Co., based in Loreto, Italy, said in a press release that the device, complete with headphones, “was conceived to promote greater use of prayers [Read More...]

Lourdes, Fatima…and Champion?

A shrine in Champion, Wisconsin last week became the first approved Marian apparition site in the United States. Well, someone who knows a thing or two about Mary’s visits to our world is Fr. James Martin, who’s written extensively about his own devotion to Lourdes. (You can read an excerpt from his writings about Lourdes [Read More...]