Journey to Jordan: Happy Easter!

We spent the afternoon visiting a souk (open air marketplace) in downtown Amman. Amid the blocks and blocks of winding streets, meandering alleys and open storefronts, you can buy anything and everything. The shopkeepers were uniformly friendly and helpful (and, it should be noted, willing to barter). It gave us a chance to sample a [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Easter with the Melkites

After spending a half hour or so at the local Roman Catholic church, we hopped into our van and drove a few minutes away to join the liturgy at the St. Peter and St. Paul Melkite Catholic Church in Amman. This tiny parish of about 400 families is presided over by Fr. Nabil Haddad, a [Read More...]

We pause here for a word about food during our trip

The word is: incredible. You have to read Max’s account of loaves and fishes from yesterday. But back at the hotel? Like I said: incredible. Especially the desserts. But wait, there’s more to whet your appetite, with some tasty food for thought from other Patheos bloggers. Diana von Glahn has the first account of our visit [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: The most amazing Easter of my life

On a cold and drizzly Saturday night, I found myself standing in a small, crowded Catholic church 6,000 miles away from my home parish in Queens, and I couldn’t help but weep. Dozens of people were holding candles. Incense filled the air. And a deacon climbed into the pulpit and began the familiar chant that [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Waking up to the Muslim call to prayer—and walking ancient streets

After yesterday’s long plane ride, I slept fitfully but somewhere around 5 a.m. found myself hearing the not-too-distant call to Muslim prayer—a sound both mournful and humbling. I figured it was a good time to get up and pray, anyway, so climbed out of bed and did Morning Prayer.  “All you heavens, bless the Lord,” I [Read More...]

Why I’m celebrating Easter a second time

An explanation:  Catholics in Jordan will celebrate Easter on April 12, in accordance with a new agreement that unites the day of the Easter celebration for Orthodox and Catholic believers in the Holy Land. In 2012, the Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land made a commitment to celebrate Easter at the same time as the [Read More...]

Hello from Jordan!

So I arrived in Amman around 4 p.m. My memory is hazy, but I think the flight was about 10 hours.  I slept fitfully, but at least I slept. (Royal Jordanian Airlines, by the way, is incredible. We had two really good meals and the nicest flight attendants.) After making our way off the plane, [Read More...]

A Blessing for Travelers

View image | From my friend, Deacon Bill McNamara: All-Powerful and Merciful God, You led the children of Israel on dry land, parting the waters of the sea; You guided the Magi to your son by a star. Help our brother Greg and give him a safe journey. Under Your protection let him reach [Read More...]

Hang on: The Deacon’s Bench is hitting the road

No sooner have I survived Easter—say, is that candle wax in my hair?—and here I am, packing my bags and making a little trip. Actually, it’s more of a trek. I’m headed to the Middle East. Jordan, to be exact. When my boss asked me to go, I thought for a moment. “Will I get to [Read More...]

Oh boy, do I know the feeling…

This is for all the priests, deacons, altar servers, choir members, musicians, organists, music directors, lectors, EMHCs, ushers, florists and assorted volunteers who went above and beyond. (And special props, by the way, to the spouses, who put up with it all…) Wake me on Tuesday. [Read more...]