“Humble Service Means There’s Nothing in It for You”

Here’s something for every deacon to ponder—and it comes from a woman helping her cousin through childbirth. Elizabeth Duffy expected to be like Mary rushing to the aid of Elizabeth. It didn’t work out that way:  As I drove home later that day, assessing the situation in hindsight, it became clear that what I went [Read More…]

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“I Am Not Getting Married in the Church. But I Want My Religion In Our Ceremony…”

This happens three or four times a year: someone I don’t know drops me an e-mail asking if I can perform a Catholic wedding in some place other than a church. Outdoors, maybe, or a catering hall. The presumption seems to be that if a priest can’t do it, maybe a deacon will. So it [Read More…]

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EWTN Prepares to Launch Its News Show with Stories “Through a Catholic Lens”

It will debut next month from studios in Washington, and the Washington Post has a preview: By planting a stake in Washington — in an office space near Capitol Hill — EWTN hopes to raise its profile on issues where religion converges with public affairs: abortion, contraception, stem cell research, immigration, the death penalty, terrorism [Read More…]

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Jesus In Queens

Some of the Corpus Christi procession from my parish in Forest Hills this afternoon. Photos by Rosalind Chan-Ganzhi. [Read more…]

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Vatican Official Slams Modern Churches as “Museums, Spaces That Do Not Suggest Prayer…”

Details: Opposition is mounting in the Holy See to a spate of recent, ultra-modern churches, in Italy and abroad, by high profile architects. “The lack of integration between the architect and the faith community has at times been negative,” said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican’s Pontificial Council for Culture. “Sometimes it goes wrong.” [Read More…]

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The Surprising and Beautiful Story Behind Headstones Holding Hands

A friend posted this on Facebook, and it’s too good not to share. Details:  In the 19th century, the Dutch lived with Pillarisation, a policy which seperated public establishments by religious and political affiliations. Yet Colonel Aeffderson was a Protestant, and Van Gorkum was a Catholic, were married for 40 years, a union that likely [Read More…]

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Ordination Update: 8 New Deacons for Gary

From the Sun-Times:  Eight men were ordained as deacons to the Roman Catholic Church at Holy Angels Cathedral on Saturday. Seven became traditional deacons in the church in the service conducted by Bishop Dale J. Melczek, while one was ordained as a transitional deacon and will become a priest in 2014. “Deacons are a constant [Read More…]

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Jean Stapleton and a “Simple Melody”

The comedy icon and treasure died today at the wondrous age of 90. There’s was more to her than what folks saw every week on “All in the Family.” Below, a delightful example from “The Muppet Show” that proves she really had a lovely singing voice (despite what we heard on “Those Were the Days”) [Read More…]

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Homily for June 2, 2013: Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

[Click here for readings] Last week, my wife and I traveled to California. One of the places we visited for Mass was the cathedral in Los Angeles: Our Lady of the Angels, now marking its ten-year anniversary.  It’s truly an amazing place: a fortress, really, designed to withstand the strongest California earthquake. As such, it [Read More…]

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What Should You Give a Newly Ordained Priest (or Deacon)?

Over on his Facebook page, Fr. James Martin has some ideas: The best gift of all is your love and prayers, but in case you want to supplement that, the most useful gifts (in my experience) are as follows, in order of cost. (By the way, none of the following companies put me up to [Read More…]

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Beauty and the Priest: Revisiting a 50-year-old Texas Murder Case

A fascinating case worthy of “Law and Order,” via CNN:   All evidence pointed police to one conclusion: A priest had killed a beautiful 25-year-old schoolteacher. Searchers had found the lifeless body of former Miss South Texas, Irene Garza, face down in a canal in her hometown of McAllen. She’d disappeared on the day before Easter [Read More…]

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My American Idol

It’s a weird thing to do, but I have to start this post on the evil of idols by talking about my idol. Her name is Elizabeth Scalia. She’ll hate that. She can’t stand it when people make a fuss over her. And she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a miserable, worthless, slobbering [Read More…]

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A Priest’s Advice to the Newly Ordained

There’s a lot of wisdom here—and a lot of it, I think, could apply to deacons, as well. Since we are smack in the middle of ordination season, here’s some fraternal advice from Rev. Damian J. Ference, a priest of the diocese of Cleveland: I just celebrated my 10th anniversary of ordination two weeks ago, and [Read More…]

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“I Refuse to Administer Communion to Any Boy Scout of America…”

Hard to believe, but on the same day, I encountered these two wildly disparate items. They almost gave me whiplash. First, via Mark Shea, a priest blogger draws a line in the sand: A Boy Scout has to swear, on one’s honor, before God and everyone, to uphold the revised Boy Scout Law of celebrating [Read More…]

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She’s Queer. She’s Here. And Now She’s Explaining Why.

“She” is the always-engaging and surprising Eve Tushnet:  When I became Catholic in 1998, as a college sophomore, I didn’t know any other gay Christians. I’d been raised in a kind of pointillist Reform Judaism, almost entirely protected from homophobia; when I realized I was gay it was, if anything, a relief. I thought I [Read More…]

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Venezuela’s Food Shortage Could Mean Running Out of Bread and Wine for Communion

Details:  When it comes to Venezuela’s growing scarcities, not even the Roman Catholic Church has received a dispensation. Church officials say food shortages and foreign exchange restrictions are causing a lack of ingredients needed to celebrate Mass: altar wine as well as wheat to produce communion wafers. They say the wheat flour used for the [Read More…]

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So, What’s a Deacon?

My friend Deacon Stephen Byers from the Diocese of Pittsburgh offers some excellent answers in this week’s edition of the diocesan newspaper: On Saturday, June 15, in a ritual dating back to the time of the apostles, Bishop David Zubik will ordain 25 men at St. Paul Cathedral to the order of deacon for service [Read More…]

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Think Mass Is Too Long? Pope Francis Has A Solution.

The answer is joy! From this morning’s homily:  The Holy Spirit is the “author” of Christian joy and to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God. There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim [Read More…]

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