Advice to seminarians: “About that sermon, keep it short…”

This is some sage advice from a Lutheran minister in First Things: First: Sheep have teeth and some of them bite. Try not to internalize it or take it personally. Some of them will bite any shepherd and you are merely the latest target of convenience. Treat them respectfully but cautiously, remembering what you share with [Read More…]

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A priest writes: “This is why I wear a collar…”

A couple years ago, when he was a mere seminarian, my blog neighbor Fr. Michael Duffy wrote passionately about how the collar is “yoke and witness” to his life and his vocation. Now another priest,  Father Chris Pietraszko, has sounded a similar chord, and I think it’s something people need to be reminded of: This is [Read More…]

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Making a big stink: man sues his bishop for failing to exorcise flatulent demons

Details:  A Romanian lawyer is suing his local Orthodox bishop and four priests claiming they failed to properly exorcise flatulent demons that were forcing him out of his home. Madalin Ciculescu, 34, accused the five of fraud after they turned up several times to exercise the demons which were responsible for the bad smells that were ruining [Read More…]

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The movie producer in a collar

Who knew? Details:  No sooner had Eric Andrews arrived on the set of “The Lost Valentine,” a 2011 Hallmark Channel movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Betty White, when his neckwear attracted attention. “People are looking at me, and trying to figure out who I was,” he said. “One of the actors came up and [Read More…]

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Priests and deacons and blessings (oh my!)

With ordination season rapidly approaching, some helpful information from canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters:  1. The practice of receiving a priest’s “first blessing” after his ordination Mass is a praiseworthy custom, but there is no specific indulgence attached to receiving such a blessing or, for that matter, to attending a cleric’s ordination Mass. 2. There [Read More…]

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The journalist who became an evangelist

I spotted his obit in the New York Times this morning, and wanted to post something.  But now Terry Mattingly has gone a step further, and nicely woven together the threads of this exceptional life. Take it away, Terry: If you wanted to know who John McCandlish Phillips was, as a New York Times journalist, all you [Read More…]

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Adorable video: pope as pacifier

A reader in Italy sent this my way, from the audience this morning. The man knows how to handle crybabies. (Insert own joke here…)  Read more about it here.  [Read more…]

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Network may add church-based dating show

Attention television executives: yes, there is an audience for this kind of programming. Take note. Details:  Spurred by the success of an original game show that rewards knowledge of the Bible rather than, say, how much grocery items cost at the supermarket checkout, the GSN cable channel is considering a dating show with a religious [Read More…]

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Just another Wednesday at the Vatican

Gathering for daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta with, among others, employees of the Fabric of St. Peter, which deals with the maintenance and running of the Basilica. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano. [Read more…]

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The Francis Effect: lapsed Catholics lured back by new pope

It’s a phenomenon I know a lot of clergy have reported at their parishes: a dramatic uptick in Mass attendance over the last few weeks, and not just because of Easter. Is it the “Francis Effect”? NBC News takes a look: Twenty million Americans consider themselves lapsed Catholics, but Pope Francis is convincing many to [Read More…]

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Pope makes personal call to refugee center to plan visit

More and more, it seems, you never know if the next call you get might be from the pope. Details:   A priest in Rome says Pope Francis personally called him to say he will visit the Astalli Center, a local facility run by the Jesuits, that helps thousands of undocumented refugees – many with tragic [Read More…]

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Want beautiful sacred music? Don’t go to church. Head to the train station.

Proof, from the New York Times:  On a recent Sunday afternoon, 17 people with sheet music gathered in a semicircle in the Graybar Passage at Grand Central Terminal. People streamed by. After a brief warm-up, the group’s conductor, John Hetland, dressed in dark jeans and a green plaid shirt, lifted his hands and the chorus began its [Read More…]

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Pope Francis on the temptation to gossip: “These everyday things happen to everyone, including me…”

It’s rare to hear this kind of candor from the pulpit—let alone, from a pope. This comes from his daily homily this morning. Details:  In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel passage that recounts the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, who did not immediately grasp how a man can be “born again”. Through [Read More…]

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Planned Parenthood lobbyist who favors infanticide served on board of Catholic Charities

Creative Minority Report got the scoop:  Alisa Lapolt Snow, the Planned Parenthood lobbyist, who shocked the nation with her defense of live birth abortions in front of a Florida House committee, served on the board of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. Here’s what her bio on her website said: Alisa is a graduate of the University of [Read More…]

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Want to attend a papal audience?

If so, just take a couple minutes and watch this video from the good folks at CNS. It captures the atmosphere and spirit of these events.  (This one is from last week.) When I attended one about 10 years ago, a young Jewish woman from Germany was next to me and exclaimed, with wonder and [Read More…]

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Chicago’s Fr. Michael Pfleger gives final blessing at Roger Ebert’s funeral

Details:  As a standing ovation finally quieted inside Holy Name Cathedral, Chaz Ebert paid the last words of tribute to her husband, famed movie critic Roger Ebert. “He had a heart big enough to accept and love all,” Chaz Ebert said, telling the crowd of fans and friends under the vaulted ceilings of the church [Read More…]

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RIP: Annette Funicello, Catholic

Sad news, with word that the most famous Mouseketeer of all died today after a long battle with MS. The photo here shows her with first husband Jack Gilardi, leaving St. Cyril’s Roman Catholic Church in Encino, Calif., on Jan. 9, 1965, following their wedding ceremony. Annette spoke of her faith some years back, and how [Read More…]

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Pope Francis on the “way of humility”

As has become his custom, the pope celebrated daily Mass for a small group of people at his residence this morning, and Vatican Radio has highlights:  For the Christian, “making progress” means “lowering oneself” on the road of humility in order allow God’s love to emerge and be clearly seen. This was the central focus [Read More…]

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