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Rejoice: America’s newest parish will be launched tomorrow

Some wonderful news about my friend Father Gregory West and his growing flock in South Carolina: In a modest two-room office tucked away in a Daniel Island shopping plaza lie the makings of something tremendous. No ornate decorations or grandeur, just the buzz and bang of construction work in harmony with the ring of the phone echoing through the office. While it may be hard to tell, years of prayer and hopes are just days from coming to life. A longtime dream of a Catholic parish on Daniel … [Read More...]

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Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil rehearsal

My Holy Saturday always begins with coffee and bagels with the RCIA folks in the rectory basement, followed by a two-hour rehearsal in the church of the Vigil, led by Deacon Bill McNamara (my ordination classmate and my parish's DRE) and Father Frank Passenant, our administrator.  Also on hand is David James the head of our amazing altar server society.   They have their own rehearsal before and after the regular Vigil practice. Our pastor Bishop Paul Sanchez dropped by, too: seen below … [Read More...]

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” rewritten for Easter

This has been making the round again this season: the ubiquitous "Hallelujah" (lately made famous, once again, by Fr. Ray Kelly), reworked around an Easter theme. Give a listen. … [Read More...]

Good Friday homily: “Who can say what transpired in Judas’s soul during his final moments?”

From the Good Friday homily this year, here's Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, preaching in St. Peter's today on idols, money, mercy, Judas—and the simple (but often forgotten) church teaching that we cannot say for certain that there is any particular person is in … [Read More...]

Repose

A stunning image by Rosalind Chan-Ghazi, ace photographer for our parish bulletin. She was in the vestibule of our church, shooting through glass to capture people in prayer around the Repository, and noticed that an icon of Mary from the rear wall was reflected in the glass.  This was the result. … [Read More...]

Calvary

  After reading my Good Friday homily, describing a visit to Calvary, a deacon reader sent the above picture, showing the chapel containing the spot where Christ was crucified. Below, a shot of pilgrims lining up to touch the site. … [Read More...]

Deacon Francis

The must-see video from Holy Thursday. Beautiful. Once again, he teaches by doing. Are we taking notes?     … [Read More...]

“I have to admit, seeing the pope go to confession was a pretty powerful thing”

That singular and historic moment—no pope had ever been seen going to confession before—may be having an impact this Lent. We offer the sacrament every day at my parish, and people report longer lines. Tonight, we're bringing in extra priests to help handle the expected crowds after our 7:30 … [Read More...]

Zero tolerance: New York students expelled from Catholic school for wearing blackface, Confederate flag

Details: Four Long Island teenagers have been expelled from their Catholic high school, two for wearing a Confederate flag at a sporting event and two for posting a photo of themselves in blackface on a social media site. The incidents took place last week and involved students at St. … [Read More...]

Atlanta deacon to proclaim Exsultet in Rome

From the Atlanta Vocations Facebook page: Atlanta seminarian Rev. Mr. Brian Baker will be serving at the Easter Vigil Mass with the Holy Father this coming Saturday! He will be chanting the Exsultet (the Proclamation which is sung at the beginning of the Vigil). Please say a prayer for him as he … [Read More...]

Homily for April 18, 2014: Good Friday

About 15 years ago, my wife and I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There, in the Old City of Jerusalem, we walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, passing shops and souvenir vendors selling cards and olive wood crosses.  We prayed at the stations, and we encountered many of the sites … [Read More...]

Our servant pope: wearing a deacon stole to wash feet

An alert reader sent these my way: snapshots from Pope Francis this afternoon. A report from Associated Press:  Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 elderly and disabled people Thursday - women and non-Catholics among them - in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to … [Read More...]

She’s back! Sister Christina performs again on “The Voice”

This time, a duet: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Check out the video below. CNS provides a translation of the conversation after, where one of the judges notes: Great stuff! It’s fabulous because it reminded me of the movie Sister Act where there’s this renewal, this move toward people … [Read More...]

Report: Jews ordered to register in Ukraine

From USA TODAY:  Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to "register" with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media. Jews emerging from a synagogue … [Read More...]

Just in time for Easter: “Muppet Christ Superstar”

Really. Details:  Canadian singer Christo Graham has turned the water of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beloved musicals into the wine of glorious, everlasting parody, recasting Webber’s musical life of Christ with an all-felt cast with Muppet Christ Superstar. Casting Kermit as the … [Read More...]

Papal preacher: “The Church must never look like a complicated and cluttered castle…”

I stumbled on this homily today, and it seems both appropriate and prophetic. It comes from the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa. It's part of his Good Friday homily from last year:  We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like … [Read More...]

Whose feet will the pope wash? This year’s list includes a Muslim and an Ethiopian woman

From Vatican Radio:  For the second year in a row Pope Francis has chosen to celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper among people often pushed to the margins of society. He will once again visit the Don Gnocchi centre in Rome’s Casal del Marmo area, close to the Youth Detention Center where … [Read More...]

Can Pope Francis help keep Latin America Catholic?

From Reuters:  Despite a high-profile first year as the head of the Vatican, Pope Francis has not been able to stem the tide of fellow Latin Americans turning away from Catholicism and toward Evangelicalism, or secularism in more prosperous countries. The number of Roman Catholics in Latin … [Read More...]