Gravity, schmavity

Here’s a mind-bending, gravity-defying twist on Rube Goldberg, done with magnets. Behold and be amazed. [Read more…]

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Rhode Island church recasts the Nativity with Jose, Maura…and a girl named Hope?

Photo by Bob Plain Kathy Schiffer found this curiosity: The babe in the manger is a girl named Hope.  Joseph (er, “Jose”) is an illegal immigrant looking for a job in the U.S.  Mary (“Maura”) is a teenage runaway who fled her Connecticut home after her parents became upset upon discovering her pregnancy.  The Angel [Read More…]

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Arizona gets first Anglican Ordinariate priest—and 30 of his parishioners join the Catholic Church, too

Just in time for Christmas, members of Holy Nativity parish are joining the church. Details, from the press release: Former Anglican priest Lowell Andrews, of Payson, Arizona, will be ordained a Catholic priest on Sunday, Dec. 16, and 30 of his parishioners will be received into the Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate of [Read More…]

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From the land that gave us Shakespeare…

…comes this: EL James’s best seller Fifty Shades of Grey has been named popular fiction book of the year at the Specsavers National Book Awards in London. [Read more…]

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One of the most commonly asked questions about communion…

I hear this a lot. “I’ve already received communion.  Can I receive again?” No less than two people asked me this question on Saturday, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  They’d been to Mass for the feast day, and were then attending Mass in the evening for their Sunday obligation. The short answer is: yes. [Read More…]

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Ordination update: 16 new deacons for Phoenix

A reader dropped me an e-mail about this.  Evidently, it happened on November 10.  But I had to really hunt to find news about it on the diocesan website.  There was nothing on the Diocese of Phoenix Facebook page, either.  I finally found a link to the Catholic Sun, and was able to search its [Read More…]

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A creche course: the Nativity as seen around the world

Over at HuffPo, Jesuit Mark Bosco looks at the lively and often creative tradition of the Christmas creche, and illustrates it with examples from the James and Emilia Govan Creche Collection at the Loyola Museum of Art.   (Shown above: the Lincoln Memorial as a Nativity setting, featuring an eagle as angel, and an elephant and [Read More…]

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Florida bishops release statement opposing planned execution on Tuesday

Details: The bishops of Florida’s seven Catholic dioceses have released a statement opposing the upcoming Tuesday execution of Manuel Pardo, Jr., a former decorated Florida highway patrolman and police officer who killed nine people over a 92-day serial murder vigilante spree. “While the Catholic Church recognizes that the state has the right to carry out the death penalty [Read More…]

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Canada ordains first deaf priest

I posted on his impending ordination a couple weeks back. Now, it’s happened:  When Muskegon native Matthew Anthony Hysell was ordained last week at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Basilica in Edmonton, he became Canada’s first deaf priest. “The distinction of being the first deaf priest in Canada was certainly not an honor I was looking for” [Read More…]

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“Landfill Harmonic”: making music from what others throw away

This video is beginning to make the rounds: a glimpse at how some are making beautiful music in Paraguay from, literally, garbage. It’s a teaser for a documentary called “Landfill Harmonic:” Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often [Read More…]

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A deacon’s dazzling Christmas light display

A California deacon is making a splash, and spreading a lot of light: More than 30,000 people are expected to visit Deacon Dave’s “Casa del Pomba” Christmas lights display in Livermore. This year’s theme is “Elfland,” and features 345,300 Christmas lights, making it one of the largest displays in the Bay Area. Casa del Pomba [Read More…]

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Irish deacon ordination: first of its kind in 1,500 years

Details: A post-primary teacher, a bakery manager and a tool designer were among six men ordained as permanent deacons in Sligo on Saturday, a Catholic ministry which permits them to preside at funerals, celebrate Baptism and officiate at marriages. The new deacons, all married and in permanent employment, were ordained at Sligo cathedral by the [Read More…]

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End of an era: Sony ceases production of cassette recorders

A moment of silence, please, for the plastic box that redefined recorded sound:  In early 2013, Sony will stop producing its three remaining models of handheld cassette recorders, meaning first the Walkman and now its cousins are on their final march to death. The models that are soon to be antiquated are the TCM-400, TCM-410 [Read More…]

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Here’s something they probably don’t include in your church’s nativity scene…

A friend mentioned this in a Facebook post, and it turns out to be true: A Caganer (Catalan pronunciation: [kəɣəˈne], Western Catalan: [kaɣaˈne]) is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia, Northern Catalonia (in southern France) and the Balearic Islands. [Read More…]

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Man + tomato + tin cup + tea pot = genius

The fiendishly clever, and relentlessly inventive illusionist Yann Frisch is seen here doing some wondrous slight of hand.  Enjoy. Feel free to oooh, aaah and cheer. Clapping optional. [Read more…]

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If they become the New Orleans Pelicans, this basketball team will be the first named for a Eucharistic symbol

I suspect most fans won’t be aware of this—and it’s probably not the sort of thing franchise owners would publicize—but the folks changing the name of the New Orleans Hornets to the New Orleans Pelicans are giving the team a profoundly Catholic, even Eucharistic, name. I first posted on this over the summer, referring to [Read More…]

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Homily for December 9, 2012: 2nd Sunday of Advent

[Click here for readings.] Last week, the music world lost a giant: jazz legend Dave Brubeck.  He died Wednesday, the day before his 92nd birthday.  He was the first jazz artist to sell a million records; he was only the second one, after Louis Armstrong, to make the cover of TIME magazine. He was also [Read More…]

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Something cool: an app for Catholic baby names

It’s just been released from OSV: Most expectant parents spend many hours discussing possible names for their newest family member. Trying to hone in on a name that is both personal and unique can exacerbate the process. Now Our Sunday Visitor has an app for this. Saint Names for Your Baby is a handy iPhone [Read More…]

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