“Summer breeze, makes me feel fine…”

“…blowing through the jasmine in my mind…”  Ah.  A twangy blast from the past, for these last days of the season.  Enjoy. [Read more...]

Homily for August 26, 2012: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for readings] Last month, the Wall Street Journal took note of something most people may not be aware of.  It reminded the world of the story of Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Nadarkhani was born in Iran 35 years ago.  His family was Muslim but, at a young age, he converted to Christianity.  He [Read More...]

Hilarious: The Parent Rap

If you’re counting the hours until they head back to school, Mom and Dad, this one’s for you: [Read more...]

The story behind Cardinal Dolan’s appearance at the GOP convention

The New York Times has some interesting details about Mitt Romney’s aggressive effort to woo Catholics: Mr. Romney had been courting Cardinal Dolan since April. That month, the two had a private meeting, previously undisclosed, at the chancery in New York, across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, said Peter G. Flaherty, a senior adviser to the [Read More...]

This is why God made shopping malls

For insane publicity stunts like this one. Something I never thought I’d see, let alone enjoy: the Polish cast of “Les Miserables” singing “One Day More,” in Polish, in a mall, as a flashmob. I don’t speak Polish, but I think they’re singing, “Come to our show, come to our show, come to our show” [Read More...]

Muppet puppeteer Jerry Nelson dies

The man who created and voiced one of my favorite Muppets — The Count — has gone to the great felt factory in the sky. Details: Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer who gave voice to dozens of characters on “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock” and “The Muppet Show,” died at home in Cape Cod, Mass., on Thursday [Read More...]

Jesuit “chaplain of the revolution” forced to leave Syria speaks out

Details:  Christians must do everything they can to avoid the destruction of Syria’s religious pluralism, a Catholic priest forced to leave after spending 30 years in a monastery north of Damascus said this week. Father Paolo Dall’Oglio speaks with emotion about a country that he says enshrines “the ideal of Arab ecumenism” and the lifetime [Read More...]

Kidnapped in Egypt: one pastor’s harrowing ordeal

A remarkable story of a minister leading a Middle East pilgrimage who refused to be separated from a member of his flock who was kidnapped. Details:  For the past several years, Pastor Michel Louis has been leading Boston area Haitian Christians on annual pilgrimages to the Middle East, tracing the footsteps that Jesus walked more [Read More...]

49-year-old Baltimore schoolteacher takes final vows as nun

Details, from the Catholic Review:  About 12 years ago, Hanna Mignogno was listening to a speaker at a conference when she felt compelled to get up and walk outside. She sat on a wall facing a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, listening to the call from God to enter religious life grow louder and [Read More...]

Vermont Catholic innkeepers settle discrimination suit brought by lesbian couple

You may remember this story from last year.  Now an update: A couple has settled a discrimination lawsuit it filed against a Vermont inn that refused to host a wedding reception for the two women. The couple claimed the inn operators discriminated based on sexual orientation. The settlement calls for the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville [Read More...]

The deck of cards: must-see video

A friend who is a veteran sent this to me, describing it as “an oldie but a goodie.” It was new to me. I have to say: it got to me.  Enjoy. [Read more...]

Billboards promote something radical: loving your neighbor

Specifically, Muslims and Sikhs.  Details:  In early August, a mosque in Joplin, Mo., burned to the ground. It was the second fire that damaged the facility this summer — the first, determined to be arson. In light of this attack and others like it across the country — including the heinous shooting at a Sikh gurudwara [Read More...]

Traditional nuns say past is key to future

From David Gibson at Religion News Service:  The light, clear tones of young women’s voices filled the chapel, their chanted prayers drifting across the wooden altar screen that shielded the sisters from the full view of those sitting in the pews. It was five o’clock on a hot August afternoon, and vespers, the traditional evening [Read More...]

Wyoming’s booming diaconate

This year, the Diocese of Cheyenne ordained a record number of deacons — and, in a rare exception, one of the youngest in the country. From the Billings Gazette:  As the faithful in St. Mary’s Cathedral knelt in their pews, Michael Martinson was facedown before the altar. Martinson lay, and the faithful prayed, all through [Read More...]

Priest faces excommunication for starting own parish

An interesting—and rare— case, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:  A Milwaukee-area Catholic priest sanctioned this year for indirectly violating the seal of the confessional now faces excommunication after launching a new parish with a breakaway diocese a few miles away. Father David Verhasselt, once a popular priest at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Oconomowoc, was [Read More...]

Cardinal Dolan to give benediction at GOP convention

Details: Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan will give the benediction at the Republican National Convention on the night Mitt Romney accepts the presidential nomination. The cardinal’s spokesman said the appearance was not an endorsement. Dolan is the New York archbishop and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Romney announced Dolan’s appearance in an [Read More...]

Report: lower birth rate since 2008 hurting economy

It’s a vicious cycle, evidently.  People stop having children because they can’t afford them in a recession, and that just makes things worse. Details:  Debra Mollen, 41, a psychology professor in Denton, Texas, said she and her husband don’t plan to have children as they strive to pay down their mortgage and save for retirement. [Read More...]

Hollywood planning film about Pontius Pilate

A trend in biblical epics continues:  Deadline reports that Warner Brothers has purchased a script called Pontias Pilate  from Woman on Top writer Vera Blasi, a new take on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as told through the eyes of the man who ordered it to happen. The film will follow Pilate’s journey as a soldier who gains power under [Read More...]


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