“Hungry” gets a little buzz

A few weeks back, I posted on the collection of homilies to which I contributed, “Hungry and You Fed Me.”  Now, The Times of Trenton has written about it, plugging an upcoming book signing (I’ll be there, so if you’re in New Jersey, come on by and say hello!): Fifteen homilists of various Christian denominations [Read More…]

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What we have come to: figuring out what to call people who are “unmarried spouses”

Can any of us remember a time, not so very long ago, when this wasn’t even worth serious discussion? But the New York Times goes there: Now that we’ve come to some consensus on same-sex marriage, let’s move on to the next puzzle: what to call two people who act as if they are married but [Read More…]

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One of YouTube’s most famous babies turns 5

A lot of you may remember this video, which has been making the rounds for a few years. It shows eight-month-old Jonathan Breaux responding to his mother’s voice for the first time, after getting a cochlear implant. That was five years ago.  What’s happened since?  The good people at TODAY decided to find out: Posted [Read More…]

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Meet the deacon who is a fire department chaplain

From California comes this brief Q&A with Deacon Larry Modugno, lead chaplain for the Ventura County Fire Department: Q: How do you handle your work? A: We know we’re there to help people. It’s really a ministry of presence. It’s just being there. We help people through it. We see terrible things, but we help people [Read More…]

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Bishops as modern magi: from Pope Benedict’s homily for Epiphany

From the Holy See’s website today: Following a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord also as the day when episcopal ordination will be conferred on four priests who will now cooperate in different ways in the ministry of the Pope for the unity of [Read More…]

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How can you save Catholic schools?

Bob Faw looks at that question in this incisive story for PBS’s “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” and focuses on two experiments underway in New York and Philadelphia. Check out the story below. Watch Saving Catholic Schools on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. [Read more…]

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Behold: the three kings of Juana Diaz

A friend in Florida sent me the picture above just before Christmas, with this explanation: Juana Diaz is a little town on the south coast of the island of Puerto Rico, next to my home city of Ponce. In 1884 an Spanish priest started something like a Medieval Epiphany play. The entire town (literally) participated [Read More…]

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How do you forgive your daughter’s killer?

This Sunday’s New York Times looks at that question through the eyes of Kate and Andy Grosmaire, whose daughter Ann was shot by her fiance Conor McBride (the two are shown here in this snapshot from 2010).  The article is a deeply affecting view of the redemptive power of forgiveness, especially from a Catholic point [Read More…]

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“Every age, we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong…”

If you have some things you’d like to change in the new year, you might take comfort from a new report which notes that change, one way or another, is inevitable. From the New York Times:  When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have [Read More…]

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Homily for January 6, 2013: Epiphany

This time of year, a lot of us are sending and receiving Christmas letters – those detailed accounts of how we’ve spent the last year. As interesting as they sometimes are, they are basically intended to tell the reader three things: 1. Our kids are smarter 2. Our dog is cuter 3. Our vacation was [Read More…]

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In rare move, American ordained permanent deacon in Muslim Abu Dhabi

A deacon from Richmond wrote me this morning: Our classmate Don Fox was ordained a Permanent Deacon in Abu Dhabi yesterday. He was a part of the (huge) Diocese of Richmond 2012 formation program (began in 2007) and took the academic portion of formation via internet link to our classroom. Earlier this year, in the [Read More…]

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Bring him home: Hugh Jackman talks about modeling Jean Valjean on his own father’s conversion

And, perhaps fittingly, the star is literally a son of Grace. Details:  His performance is both a tribute and a thank you to his father Chris, who brought him up after his mother walked out of the family home in Australia when Hugh was just eight years old. Both parents are English-born, but settled in [Read More…]

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SSPX head: Jews are “enemies of the church”

Details:  The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said he has been receiving mixed messages from the Vatican for years over if and how the group might be brought back into full communion with the church. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, claimed that top Vatican officials told him not [Read More…]

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Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” re-imagined for Christmas

We’ve all heard Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung in a variety of styles — from the sweetly simple to the epic and grandiose.  But you’ve probably never heard it quite like this, beautifully re-imagined for the Christmas season by the band Cloverton.   Purists will blanche.  But I loved it.  See for yourself and decide. Consider [Read More…]

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The remarkable journey of Atlanta’s new auxiliary bishop—UPDATED

He’s got quite an unusual background—and was influenced by the writings of Thomas Merton : Msgr. David Talley, a former Southern Baptist who became a Catholic at the age of 24 and has served at various archdiocesan parishes, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. At [Read More…]

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“He felt led by God to the diaconate”

From Philadelphia comes this remembrance of a deacon who died just after Christmas: Paul Michael Parchinski was a chemical engineer who over a 34-year career worked his way up the echelons of the petroleum industry, retiring from Citgo in 2001 as senior environmental adviser. It was then that he decided to take a job with an [Read More…]

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Meet the man who plays “Taps” for his neighbors every night

From my former colleague Steve Hartman at CBS News, a lovely slice of American life: Every evening, for two years now, Don Brittain walks out onto his porch with his trusty trumpet and plays the famous 24 notes for Taps. Now, it has become a nightly ritual for his entire neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington to [Read More…]

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What will religion in America look like in 2060?

The conservative American Family Association offers its prediction: A conservative religious group is warning that 2060 will be a grim time, when Christians are treated “like African Americans were prior to civil rights,” the family unit is dissolved and America has a Muslim president. Christian organization the American Family Association issued the warning to members on [Read More…]

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