Inside Iraq: “I cry every day. I pray and I am fasting. I am simply hoping…”

The Autumn edition of ONE, the magazine of CNEWA, is now online, and the centerpiece is an astonishing and moving glimpse at life for Iraqi Christian refugees in Erbil. Journalist Don Duncan captures it in all its harrowing detail: On talking to many Christian families and individuals who have taken refuge in cities across Iraqi Kurdistan, the [Read More...]

Want to evangelize the young at your parish? Try this.

It’s these guys: the altar servers. Sunday, we installed 27 new servers—in the picture above, they’re lined up in the rectory, waiting for the processional—and that brings our number of servers to a grand total of 130. You read that right. 130. We are blessed beyond belief. Kids join in the 4th grade, and many stay [Read More...]

R.I.P., Mary Newman

Every parish has its familiar fixtures: the windows, the statues, the shrines, the candles.  At my parish in Queens for years we have also had a determined little woman with a delicate Irish brogue and a world-weary smile: Mary Newman. She was a force of nature. Mary was unquestionably the most determined and tireless fundraiser [Read More...]

Things to say to a homeless person—and my own conversation on a corner in Queens

It happened a few weeks ago. For several days, I’d been walking by a morbidly obese homeless guy who was sitting on a crate by the subway entrance just a couple blocks from our apartment in Queens.  One afternoon, I decided to strike up a conversation with him. “What can I do for you?,” I asked [Read More...]

“We cannot resign ourselves to thinking about the Middle East without Christians”

Pope Francis delivered that comment this morning. From Vatican Radio:   Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the [Read More...]

Hello, Lawn Guyland!

If anyone is interested, I’ll be visiting St. James Catholic Church in Setauket this Sunday on behalf of CNEWA. I’ll be preaching at the 11:30 am Mass about the work we’re undertaking in the Middle East—and, specifically, ways to support persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria.    Come by and say hello ! [Read more...]

Anyone know where you can get a cup of coffee in Seattle?

I’m headed there this morning, speaking at the diaconate convocation in Ocean Shore. The theme: “Preaching with the Heart of a Deacon.” (Anybody know where I can pick up a heart, along with a cup of coffee?) Looking forward to it! I’ve never been to Seattle. Do you think I’ll see the Cranes? I hope [Read More...]

St. Jerome and me

From the vault:  Today marks the feast of St. Jerome– a prolific writer, scholar, and friend of lions (he reputedly helped one by removing a thorn from its paw). He’s also someone close to my own heart. In his youth, my father was a Christian Brother, and was given the name of “Brother Jerome” — a [Read More...]

Together at last: Jimmy Fallon, Thomas Merton and me

I’m pleased to report that my blog neighbor (and fellow Queens resident) Pat McNamara has just published a new book, “New York Catholics,” with Orbis Books. It’s available today on Amazon.  Check it out.  From the publisher: The historical and spiritual legacy of New York City’s largest denomination comes alive in these biographies of 76 [Read More...]

A sister writes from Iraq: “The sisters and priests are a sign of hope among the people”

 Sister Maria Goretti Hanna, O.P., and Good Shepherd Sister Marie-Claude Naddaf meet with workers creating shelters for refugees in Erbil, Iraq. (photo: CNEWA) From CNEWA’s blog, One-to-One,  a letter from a nun in Iraq paints a picture of what they are confronting: St. Paul says in the first letter to the Corinthians, “And when I [Read More...]