“Banns for the diaconate”?

While reading the bulletin for Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor (see here for more on that story), I spotted this item: Peter James Lawrence from this parish is scheduled to be ordained as a transitional Deacon on May 16, 2015, for service to the Diocese of Lansing. Anyone knowing a serious reason which impedes his Ordination should make this known to Rev. John Linden, Director of Seminarians, Diocese of Lansing, 228 North Walnut, Lansing, MI 48933, no later than April 20, 2015. I … [Read More...]


Michigan priest urges parishioners to arm themselves: “We’re not in Mayberry anymore, Toto”

From The Detroit Free Press:  An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.When … [Read More...]

“Catholics appalled by what is happening in the Middle East do not have to feel powerless”

From John Allen in Crux comes this excellent glimpse into the work of Catholic Near East Welfare Agency (CNEWA), where I work: Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican sustained primarily by the Church in the United States and Canada. Its first president was a legendary … [Read More...]

“Honey, I’d like to be a deacon…”

From CatholicPhilly.com comes this profile of one local couple—and a conversation that will be familiar to many deacons and their wives:I was stunned when my husband, Donald, mentioned he was considering becoming a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. This really took me by surprise. Donald … [Read More...]

What a small town obituary writer learned about living

This is something to read and share—and, I suspect, there is abundant material here for a good homily.From Huffington Post: In the healthiest sense possible, Heather Lende has an intimate relationship with death.She is the longtime obituary writer in her small Alaska hometown of Haines, hav … [Read More...]

Dignity in death: Chicago buries unclaimed fetuses in Catholic cemetery

From The Chicago Tribune:  Grey skies and muddy grounds didn't keep Yolanda Gamboa from quietly praying at a service for 63 of Cook County's unclaimed miscarried or stillborn fetuses at Chicago's Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery Thursday."I heard about it on the radio this morning, and it just … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: Departure—UPDATED with more photos

Up bright and early for breakfast, and then a final goodbye to our incredible hotel, as we board the bus for the airport in Amman.Yes, Max Lindenman was sleeping again, in the lobby, with an open book on his lap.The Amman airport is beautiful, bright and manageable. Even our exit … [Read More...]

Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our family…

Our group gathered for a final farewell dinner at our resort last night. We were joined by Fr. Nabil Haddad, whom we first met last Saturday, at his Melkite parish's Easter Vigil.Fr. Nabil gave each of us a little remembrance of our visit: those red and white keffiyehs, or scarves. Some … [Read More...]

What’s the most popular song at funerals in the UK?

This little bit of news broke late last year, but it is finally finding its way onto my Facebook feed.From The Independent: People are choosing to make their final farewell an upbeat affair, as Monty Python’s "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" has been named the most popular song pl … [Read More...]

Thank God for pants with elastic waists

Here are just a few reasons why my Journey to Jordan will be followed by a sequel called Trek to the Treadmill. Food here is insanely good. And plentiful. Want seconds? How about thirds? … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: a refugee who fled ISIS tells me his story

Saturday morning brought an emotional encounter with a man who has fled evil, and whose face tells the story.His name is Agnan Adnidihad, a 62-year-old repairman from Mosul who barely escaped the horrors of ISIS last year. Now he is living in Amman—one of tens of thousands of refugees who are c … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: deacon at work!

Saturday, we spent a few hours at the Italian Hospital in Amman; I'll post more on our extraordinary visit to this wonderful facility later. But at the end of our time there, I found myself unexpectedly—and happily—pressed into diaconal service.Several people on our tour were dismayed to learn th … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: the deacon in the desert

Yesterday, we found ourselves in a vast sandy wasteland called Wadi Rum, also known as "The Valley of the Moon."Here's how Wikipedia describes it:Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the fo … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: meet the mayor of Amman, in the “land of the sunrise of faith”

If you were looking for a figure representing the diversity and religious harmony of Jordan, you couldn’t do much better than a man who was born in Gaza, was raised a Quaker, married a Muslim, and now serves as the mayor of the capital city of Amman. Meet Mayor Akel Biltaji. Read the rest over at C … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: and now, incredibly adorable pictures that will make you go “Aawww”

Is there anything more adorable than a baby camel?Yes. A baby bedouin! With Frank Weathers!I made new friends yesterday at Wadi Rum.  Camels just crack me up. … [Read More...]

Vatican announces end to overhaul of LCWR, after group agrees to enact changes

From AP:  The Vatican has unexpectedly ended its controversial overhaul of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, cementing a shift in tone and treatment of the U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis.The Vatican said Thursday it had accepted a final report on its investigation … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: witnessing a Melkite wedding

After leaving Petra this morning, bound for The Dead Sea, we stopped at a Greek Melkite Catholic Church, St. George, and caught part of a traditional wedding ceremony.This was something to see. And it was, literally, a shotgun wedding: someone in the wedding party fired a pistol into … [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: I’d walk a mile for a camel

Well, here we are in scenic Petra, Jordan. We arrived last night at the Mövenpick Resort, just a short walk from the historic site.The hotel would never be mistaken for a Holiday Inn or a Motel 6. We are in Jordan. And every detail enforces the rich heritage surrounding … [Read More...]