The Catholic priest with 9 children

Last spring, I posted an item about an Anglican priest’s leap of faith — joining the Catholic Church and having no job prospects.  A UK paper this weekend has an update: Father Ian Hellyer is a Roman Catholic priest – but far from being celibate, he’s a father. Not just to a couple of children, [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words

In 2002, when I was beginning formation for the diaconate, a young teenager by the name of Sean Suckiel worked at night answering phones in the rectory of my spiritual director.  I used to see Sean a lot.  He told once me that the one thing he had wanted, his whole life, was to be [Read More...]

Little drummer priest

A priest reader sent this my way: a video from his ordination reception last June, featuring a priest friend whose talents obviously extend beyond pounding the pulpit.  Way to go, daddy-o!   [Read more...]

Any suggestions for a teenager thinking of the priesthood?

A woman in my parish dropped me a line today: I’d like your advice. The other day a young man, still a boy, told me he was thinking about becoming a priest.  I was very touched by the fact that he shared this with me. I’ll pray that God guides him until he reaches a [Read More...]

The end of an era

As is the custom in the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, they ordained transitional deacons today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at the 80-year-old facility shared by the two dioceses, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York.  The occasion was beautiful but bittersweet:  this will likely be the last ordination [Read More...]

Answering the call: meet a seminarian…and his wife

Here’s something we don’t encounter very often: a story about seminarians preparing to get married.  They are Greek Catholic, in Ukraine, and the story comes from the pages of the current issue of ONE magazine: In the Greek Catholic tradition, seminarians are permitted to marry prior to ordination. But some still choose a life of [Read More...]

Boom: seminary enrollment up around the country

And Catholic News Service has the numbers, and details: In his first months as rector of Theological College in Washington, Father Phillip J. Brown has been confronting a problem that the national diocesan seminary for the U.S. Catholic Church “has not had for a long time” — it is bursting at the seams. Enrollment is [Read More...]

A moveable feast: a friar puts his soup kitchen on wheels

This is a small stroke of genius: Brother Al Mascia has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and so does his flock. After losing the brick-and-mortar headquarters for his Detroit-based charitable operations earlier this month, the brown-robed Franciscan friar has kept serving the homeless, the elderly and others in Detroit. Mascia anticipated the closing [Read More...]

The changing face of America’s sisters

A paper in St. Louis looks at how sisters have changed over the last couple decades — and what that may mean.  Details: Sister Sarah Heger [shown above] cut through a tray of raw chicken with a knife and let her fifth-grade class of girls squirm for only a second. A science exam loomed, and [Read More...]

Deacon poor and deacon rich: a look at the vocation in different dioceses

A reader sent this my way: a long and comprehensive look at where deacons are thriving, where they aren’t, and why: In 1967, Pope Paul VI issued general norms for the restoration of the permanent diaconate where requested by episcopal conferences. More than four decades later, 46 percent of the Church’s 37,203 permanent deacons serve [Read More...]


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