A man of God with a gun?

The Anchoress had a scare the other night—and it turns out, there are many out there who believe the best weapon against Satan may not be prayer, but a pistol. Check this out, from Huffington Post:  Every email Carl Chinn sends features the same signature: his name, followed by Chapter 4, Verse 9 from the [Read More…]

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A young widow writes about being a young widow

Here’s a topic rarely brought up in Catholic circles.  This comes from Tammy Ruiz, a nurse and bereavement coordinator: What has genuinely surprised me (and the main reason I wanted to write on this topic) is the overbearing sense of expectations I perceive coming from others and how it really hurt me and complicated my [Read More…]

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“As Deacons, we must be examples by carrying our cross with humility…”

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my memorable visit to Denver, where I got to meet a few luminaries in the local church.  Now Deacon Keith Fournier has reported on his visit there, and posted a speech delivered recently by Deacon Joseph Donohoe, the Director of Deacon Personnel for the Archdiocese of Denver, outlining developments in [Read More…]

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A prayer for Joe Funaro

Msgr. Funaro, seated, with the parish clergy, just before Midnight Mass 2012.  My pastor emeritus, Msgr. Joseph Funaro, is gravely ill.  Please whisper a prayer for him and all who love him. He mentored me through diaconate formation, and helped make me the deacon I am today. Across the years, he has been a gracious [Read More…]

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CNBC host: “Do you think this pope is against the capitalist system?”

CNBC host Lawrence Kudlow—a Catholic convert—wonders if Pope Francis is opposed to the free market. Take a look at the clip below. Source. [Read more…]

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Research sheds light on “near death” experiences, discovers surge in electrical activity in the brain

Details, from The Telegraph:  Near death experiences in which people report “seeing the light” could be explained by increases in electrical activity in the brain after the heart stops, scientists have found. The first study to examine the neurophysiological state of the dying brain in animals has identified surges in activity, which suggest a level [Read More…]

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The Assumption and the “Wedding of the Sea”

Thursday marks the Solemnity of the Assumption—n.b., a holy day of obligation—and an occasion for some memorable traditions, most notably the blessing of sea water. This is a custom we started at my parish several years ago (even though we are a long subway ride from the Atlantic Ocean). One of the priests collects some [Read More…]

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Are we walking to heaven backward?

That’s the provocative headline to this post by Msgr. Charles Pope, who raises some compelling points about the priest’s orientation during the celebration of Mass. Snip: There are many factors that have fed the crisis of the leadership among the clergy. But I propose that liturgical orientation is both emblematic of the crisis of leadership and [Read More…]

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How to fold a shirt in under two seconds

This will change my life forever … [Read more…]

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Judge: no, you can’t name your child “Messiah”

Details, from AP:  A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy’s name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.” Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week, according to WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1cDOeTY).The boy’s parents were in court because they could [Read More…]

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I’m hopelessly square

Yesterday, a legend from my youth, Eydie Gorme, died. Below, a stellar moment from the Steve Allen Show in 1958. You’ve seen this technique used countless times—Saturday Night Live likes to use it, usually hilariously and with a side order of snark—but this long tracking shot backstage with Eydie and Steve and Ann Sothern and [Read More…]

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Pope sends greetings to Muslims at close of Angelus

Details from Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square about how God’s love is our greatest treasure. He said today’s gospel reading from St Luke talks to us about our desire for a meeting with Christ, calling it a key aspect of human life. All of us, [Read More…]

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The last thing you’d expect to hear on “America’s Got Talent”

But it’s just great. Did the audience have any idea what they were hearing? Just watch. [Read more…]

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A groom on the morning of his wedding: “It will all be a gift”

This guy understands that finding the love of your life is an answer to a prayer:   So I’m getting married today. It’s about 1:00am and, as I imagine most soon-to-be grooms experience, I’m having trouble sleeping. In about thirteen hours, Jackie Francois will be walking down the aisle towards me—me, a bum from Florida. [Read More…]

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Bishop Lynch: “I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion”

Remarkable to read words like this coming from a Catholic bishop in the United States. Here’s Bishop Robert Lynch, from St. Petersburg: I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion. We heard nothing from the heavy hitters in the prolife movement in the last week when Florida last [Read More…]

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That “aha” moment: God, spirituality and the science of 12-step programs

An interesting glimpse inside the science of the recovery movement, and some insight into conversion, too, from National Geographic: Established treatment facilities like Sierra Tucson offer everything from traditional medicine to such alternative approaches as equine therapy and healing circles. According to Nia Sipp, staff psychiatrist with Sierra Tucson, the goal is not just removing the substance [Read More…]

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Homily for August 11, 2013: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for readings.] Years ago, a song asked the romantic question: “What are you doing the rest of your life?” Last week, an item in the New York Times put that into sharp focus.  It was a story about a website called “DeathClock.com.”  At the site, you enter your birth date, your general personality [Read More…]

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Prayer to St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr

Today marks the great saint’s feast, so once again (in what is becoming a Bench tradition) I’m pleased to post this icon of St. Lawrence, created by Deacon Lawrence Klimecki.  Prayer to St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr O Generous patron of the Church’s poor, St. Lawrence, pray to the One God, Father, Son and Holy [Read More…]

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