That blizzard? “It’s a bust”

That was the three-word assessment from our doorman this morning when I went outside to take a look. While places further east and north got more, we were lucky in Queens; we didn’t get as much as they predicted. I’ve seen worse. We may end up with a foot or so, but not much more. (It’s [Read More...]

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In praise of Pio

We just completed the annual novena at my parish in honor of St. Pio—more popularly known as Padre Pio. Our church includes a life-sized statue of the saint, which is an object of great devotion and affection. So as we prayed for Pio’s intervention over the last few days, I was reminded of this piece [Read More...]

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Let there be Christmas lights!

While visiting family in Maryland for the holidays, we decided to stop by a place that’s gotten a lot of attention in the local media: the Kentlands Christmas Lights in Gaithersburg. From Patch.com:  If you happen to be out for a drive in Gaithersburg, be sure to stop at this home where Mike Draghici has programmed [Read More...]

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This year’s best Christmas gift

Back in the early days of the last century, my wife’s great-grandmother Agnes Meyer and her husband set out to raise a large family in a far-flung corner of Iowa. They had eight children; she was pregnant with her ninth when her husband went out to work in the fields one morning and collapsed from [Read More...]

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Christmas in Forest Hills

Shortly before Midnight Mass—which actually took place at midnight!— from my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY. The liturgy was breathtaking: 40 altar servers, five priests, one deacon, full choir, a trumpet, and an eloquent homiletic meditation on “O Holy Night” by our pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez—who reflected on the phrase [Read More...]

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Ladies and gentlemen: Baby Jesus

Scenes from our parish Christmas pageant, held during tonight’s 5 p.m. Mass. Kudos to little Madison James, who portrayed the Baby Jesus with subtlety, nuance, humility and panache—and no crying. [Read more...]

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Hitting the road: The Bench and CNEWA visit Long Island

The past couple of days I found myself on a rare weekend away from my home parish, giving talks at Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, New York.  I was there with two of my colleagues from CNEWA, Norma Intriago and Chris Kennedy, to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians and enlist support [Read More...]

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Hello, Long Island

If you’re in the neighborhood this weekend: I’ll be visiting Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, Long Island and preaching at all the Masses. The topic: persecuted Christians. Four months after ISIS began its purge, so many Iraqis are still homeless and in need of basic necessities. I’ll be there on behalf of CNEWA, along with [Read More...]

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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...]

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Holy Toledo

I spent part of last week in Ohio, and in four days visited three dioceses: Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo. A highlight was having a chance to meet some of the deacons of Toledo, where I gave a talk to them and their wives about my own vocation and my career in the media. We all [Read More...]

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