It’s that time again: First Communion

Some shots from the big event at my parish this morning. The atmosphere seemed less chaotic than usual—and the parents were well-behaved. (I credit our administrator—who read them the riot act, nicely, before the Mass began.) Tomorrow, they get a chance to wear their communion outfits one more time, for their first Sunday Mass. I hope [Read More...]

5 travel essentials that made a big difference in my Jordan trip

A few people have asked me questions about my just-completed jaunt to Jordan, so I thought I’d post a few answers. If you’re planning an overseas trip or pilgrimage, you might find these ideas useful. Or not. (Your mileage may vary.) They worked for me. So here goes: 1. Shoes. You don’t need a graduate degree [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: the wrapup

A great young videographer named Connor Eberhart accompanied us on the trip. He was tireless and he was everywhere—photographing everything we did, every place we saw. (Did he ever sleep?  I’m not so sure…) Here, in roughly chronological order, are some of the videos he posted on his Vimeo site, which give a great sense [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Departure—UPDATED with more photos

Up bright and early for breakfast, and then a final goodbye to our incredible hotel, as we board the bus for the airport in Amman. Yes, Max Lindenman was sleeping again, in the lobby, with an open book on his lap. The Amman airport is beautiful, bright and manageable. Even our exit through security went [Read More...]

Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our family…

Our group gathered for a final farewell dinner at our resort last night. We were joined by Fr. Nabil Haddad, whom we first met last Saturday, at his Melkite parish’s Easter Vigil. Fr. Nabil gave each of us a little remembrance of our visit: those red and white keffiyehs, or scarves. Some background: A traditional [Read More...]

Thank God for pants with elastic waists

Here are just a few reasons why my Journey to Jordan will be followed by a sequel called Trek to the Treadmill. Food here is insanely good. And plentiful. Want seconds? How about thirds? [Read more...]

Journey to Jordan: deacon at work!

Saturday, we spent a few hours at the Italian Hospital in Amman; I’ll post more on our extraordinary visit to this wonderful facility later. But at the end of our time there, I found myself unexpectedly—and happily—pressed into diaconal service. Several people on our tour were dismayed to learn that we would not be able [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: the deacon in the desert

Yesterday, we found ourselves in a vast sandy wasteland called Wadi Rum, also known as “The Valley of the Moon.” Here’s how Wikipedia describes it: Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. In the West, Wadi [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: and now, incredibly adorable pictures that will make you go “Aawww”

Is there anything more adorable than a baby camel? Yes. A baby bedouin! With Frank Weathers! I made new friends yesterday at Wadi Rum.  Camels just crack me up. [Read more...]

Journey to Jordan: I’d walk a mile for a camel

Well, here we are in scenic Petra, Jordan. We arrived last night at the Mövenpick Resort, just a short walk from the historic site. The hotel would never be mistaken for a Holiday Inn or a Motel 6. We are in Jordan. And every detail enforces the rich heritage surrounding us. How about donuts dusted [Read More...]