Journey to Jordan: where Elijah was born and where Mary wept tears of blood

Monday took us to two remarkable sites: a hilltop adjoining the village where Elijah was born, and a parish church that has become a popular shrine devoted to Mary. Atop a hill, overlooking Elijah’s birthplace, we visited the ruins of a 6th century church. Below, you can see the nave and the center aisle, where [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...]

Study: Christianity will continue to move from Europe to Africa

Some intriguing projections and analysis from Pew:  The global Christian population has been shifting southward for at least a century and is expected to continue to do so over the next four decades, according to new demographic projections from the Pew Research Center. Overall, the share of Christians in the world is expected to remain flat. But [Read More...]

On Christ’s Seven Last Words: “They offer one final sermon on a mount, a lasting message of forgiveness and mercy”

Friday night, my parish will have a performance of Thomas Dubois’ oratorio, “The Seven Last Words.” I’m preaching a reflection on it, below.  +++ Without question, it is the most infamous public execution of all time. No death has been more depicted in art, in drama, in literature and, as we’ve just heard, in music. On [Read More...]

“God, I’m a dancer! A dancer dances!”

Is he auditioning for “A Chorus Line”? The YouTube description says: “French Provincial Minister Michel Laloux expressed himself in dance during our morning Mass for the Annunciation.” Because, of course, that’s more important than, like, listening to the wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI, who said: It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy [Read More...]

Number of priests, permanent deacons worldwide continues to grow

From CNS: The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests and permanent deacons rose slightly in 2013, while the number of men and women in religious orders declined, according to Vatican statistics. For the second year in a row, the number of candidates for the priesthood also decreased. The numbers come [Read More...]

Catholic high school requires girls to submit photos of their prom dresses for approval

View image | From Huffington Post: A controversy over prom dresses has erupted at a Pennsylvania high school following the announcement of a new policy requiring girls to submit photographs of their dresses for pre-approval before the big event. According to the York Daily Record, Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown announced the new [Read More...]

Pope Francis: Who are you to shut the door of mercy?

From his homily this morning:  Pope Francis has again forcefully emphasized the Catholic church’s need to be merciful, pointedly asking who Christians that do not allow someone to renter the church community think they are. Speaking Tuesday during his daily homily at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Francis asked bluntly: “Who are you who shuts the door of your [Read More...]

Ladies and gentlemen, “clergy on the catwalk”

View image | From a fashion show a couple years back. Seriously?  Yes. Read about it here. The very latest Parish fashions were modelled today by men and women of God who paraded down a clergy catwalk. Five vicars showed off the new designs in ecclesiastical wear, which are made in the different colours [Read More...]

Must-read: The preacher as “servant to dialogue”

Some rich and compelling ideas on preaching, from Fr. Michael Cummins over at Word on Fire:  For preaching to be effective, the preacher must be in dialogue with Christ and in dialogue with the community of the Church.  The preacher must know Christ and allow himself to be known by Christ fully.  The preacher must [Read More...]