“Let us remember we’re in the presence of God, even though we’re 650 feet beneath the surface of the ocean”

How’s this for an unusual place to celebrate Mass: on a submarine. Details: As venues for religious services go, the Rev. Thomas Hoar says you could do worse than a submarine. Hoar, who presided over a Mass aboard the USS Missouri last Sunday, said there was a quiet calm to the sub as it surged [Read More...]

How Mexico is getting ready for the pope

What does it take to prepare for a papal visit?  More than you may think: One hundred fifty-thousand communion wafers? Check. Campsites for 350,000? Check. Three hand-embroidered papal souvenir sombreros? Check. Official song? Check. It takes a lot to prepare for the coming of the pope and the 3 million people the host Archdiocese of [Read More...]

Obama administration voices support for California cross

Details: The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow a 43-foot-tall cross that serves as a war memorial to remain atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, arguing that the cross has been there since 1954 and is not an endorsement of religion. The government should not be required “to tear down a cross [Read More...]

St. Joseph, a saint for an Age of Anxiety

A couple years ago, I preached on St. Joseph during Advent and reflected on the image above, by James Tissot, “The Anxiety of St. Joseph.” We tend to think of Joseph the way we see him in the manger scene outside our church, or on the cards we send, or the pageants that are staged.   He [Read More...]

Catholic chaplain delivers politically-charged prayer before Kansas legislature

Details: It was just supposed to be a normal non-political prayer delivered by a guest invited by Republican Rep. Mike Kiegerl, but it didn’t turn out that way at all. When Father James Gordon of St. John Vianney Catholic school stood in front of the Kansas House of Representatives, he gave a highly political prayer [Read More...]

Lent isn’t just for Catholics anymore

A Florida newspaper looks at how some Protestants are observing the season: At almost 7 feet tall, the Rev. Clifford Johnson admits he likes to eat — a lot. Except now. Now, Johnson and many members of his Northside Jacksonville church are in the thick of their 40-day Lenten sacrifice of things like TV, soda, [Read More...]

Homily for March 18, 2012: 4th Sunday of Lent

[Click here for readings.] About 20 years ago, the novelist William Styron took a courageous step, and described his battle with depression in a book called “Darkness Visible.”  Depression is one of those afflictions that millions of us suffer with, but few want to talk about.  The World Health Organization estimates over 120 million people [Read More...]

Ireland’s champion step-dancer: black son of a Baptist father and Jewish mother

Who knew? A remarkable and surprising story: For those feeling down about the United States and its place in the world, meet Drew Lovejoy, a 17-year-old from rural Ohio. His background could not be more American. His father is black and Baptist from Georgia and his mother is white and Jewish from Iowa. But his [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Spain launches vocation drive among the unemployed

Details: The Roman Catholic Church is hoping that they can tempt young men to join the priesthood to reverse a trend that has left many parishes across Spain without a priest. A new campaign launched this week by Spain’s Episcopal Conference promises a secure job with a modest salary that offers eternal rewards. “I do [Read More...]

Vatican issues ultimatum to SSPX

From Reuters: The Vatican on Friday told an ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic splinter group they must accept non-negotiable doctrinal principles within a month or risk a painful break with Rome that would have “incalculable” consequences. The ultimatum was issued after a two-hour meeting between Swiss-born Bishop Bernard Fellay, leader of the dissident Society of Saint Pius [Read More...]

Must-see video of the day: a tap-dancing seminarian

Really!  Behold, the terpsichorean skills of David Rider. From the good folks at CNS, here’s a description from Robert Duncan of how it came to be: I briefly met David Rider two years ago in New York City while on retreat at the archdiocesan seminary. I was surprised to run into him on the streets [Read More...]

Where we came from: a look at Old St. Patrick’s in New York

Here’s a fascinating and timely video, from America Magazine, about a time and place we shouldn’t forget — when Irish Catholics were a minority facing discrimination and outright persecution right here in the United States.  But the Church remained their rock and refuge. Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day: take a look at Old [Read More...]

Helping hands: translating the Mass for those who can’t hear

A diocesan paper in Arkansas looks at the particular challenges of deaf Catholics – and how the church is trying to help them: When Catholics who are deaf make a joyful noise to the Lord, they do it with a flourish of fingers. Every day they face isolation in a hearing world, even when it [Read More...]

Now for sale on eBay: a gold ring from Vatican II — UPDATED

Current bid: $1,440. It’s unclear just where this comes from, or who wore it  – but the description on eBay indicates it belonged to someone who took part in the Second Vatican Council: + This is a near impossible find these days + + A solid gold Vatican II “Miter ring” inside the old red [Read More...]

Married couple will write about family for this year’s Way of the Cross in Rome

The Vatican announced yesterday that Pope Benedict had selected, for the first time, a married couple to write the reflections for the Good Friday Way of the Cross — and Vatican Radio has a brief interview with the couple: Pope Benedict XVI’s choice of theme for the Way of the Cross this Good Friday – [Read More...]

Archbishop of Canterbury to step down

Details: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the head of the 85 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion, announced Friday he will step down from his post at the end of the year. Williams has been Archbishop of Canterbury, the top role in the Church of England, for 10 years. He has accepted the position of master of [Read More...]

Sign of the times: fish markets report lower sales during Lent

The story from New Jersey: Leigh Finley was acting like a kid in a candy store, or a traditional Catholic at a fish market during Lent. Scallops, monkfish, shrimp, salmon and other seafood items piled up on the counter here at the Lobster House Fish Market. Finley drove here from Cumberland County on Tuesday just [Read More...]


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