A Blessing for Travelers

View image | gettyimages.com 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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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Three observations from Easter 2015

Well, as I sit here at home in my pajamas at 10 a.m. on Monday morning, still in an incense-induced stupor after four days of chanting, kneeling, prostrating, processing, hoisting, carrying, lighting, extinguishing, rehearsing, proclaiming, preaching, communion-giving and “Happy Easter-ing” to people at the church doors, I’m struck by three small but perhaps significant developments. Make [Read More...]

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Lumen Christi! Scenes from our Easter Vigil

Photographs by Maria Ribar, Rosalind Chan-Ghanzi, Niranjan Fernando and me at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY at the Easter Vigil 2015.  Bishop Paul Sanchez, Pastor With my friend, ordination classmate, and the DRE at my parish, Deacon Bill McNamara. Team Triduum: While virtually every one of the 140 or so servers at [Read More...]

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What most people don’t see at the Easter Vigil…

…is the rehearsal that goes into it. Just got back from this year’s rehearsal with our DRE, Deacon Bill McNamara, and our pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez. The church was being decorated. Cassocks were being mended. Catechumens were being pushed around. Robes were being measured. Tonight, of course, it will all look effortless. (Unless the deacon screws [Read More...]

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Holy Thursday

A few scenes from my parish tonight, from before and after our stunning Mass of the Lord’s Supper. [Read more...]

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Palm Sunday: the view from my parish in Queens

Weather: chilly. Liturgies: beautiful. Music: “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” “The Palms,” “Ride On! Ride On!,” “O Sacred Head Surrounded,” “Lift High the Cross.” Church: packed. [Read more...]

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O happy fault: living with a deacon at Easter time

It can’t be easy living with a deacon, especially now. Every year, for a few weeks before Easter, the deacon pulls out sheet music and starts practicing that Everest of liturgical song, the Exsultet:  a nine-minute a capella chant sung in near-darkness at the start of the Easter Vigil. Around our home, the Exsultet is [Read More...]

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Walking the way of the cross with Mary

Some images from Friday’s night’s Stations of the Cross, courtesy parishioner and friend Regina Faighes. My parish does “The Way of the Cross with Mary“ by Richard Furey—a stirring and deeply human interpretation, which follows the traditional stations, but seen through the eyes of the Blessed Mother. (You can order copies here.) Every stop includes a first [Read More...]

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