Scranton prepares to welcome 7 new deacons

They’ll be making a little bit of history in Scranton, Pennsylvania this weekend (my father’s home diocese, btw), and it’s attracted the attention of the local press: It hasn’t happened locally in six years, didn’t happen at all around here before 1993, and likely won’t happen again until 2016. So what, exactly, is almost as [Read More...]

Less than half of children growing up in home with married parents — UPDATED

At a time when a lot of us are gathering with our families, a new study indicates that a majority of those families are fractured: Only 46 percent of children in the United States will reach age 17 having grown up in a home with biological parents who are married — a figure that has [Read More...]

Great Scott: a visit to Fitzgerald’s grave

With some time to kill this weekend, my wife and I decided to pay a nostalgic visit to St. Mary’s in Rockville, Maryland, the chapel where we were married 25 years ago. Afterward, we dropped by the graveyard next door to pay our respects to its most famous residents, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. This is [Read More...]

The story behind “Now Thank We All Our God”

From the vault, one of my favorites: I suspect most Catholics don’t know the name Martin Rinkart. But this Lutheran deacon and composer left us a beautiful testament to faith and thanksgiving: he composed the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God.” Some details about his life and times shed new light on this familiar [Read More...]

“By the goodness of God, we are so far from want”

A lot of us know the story. It was the autumn of 1621. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a rich harvest, the men, women and children who had survived the first year in the New World gathered for a feast to offer thanks. One of the pilgrims wrote at the time: “By the goodness of God, [Read More...]

Merton, his “Mountain,” and me

It started with a pocket watch. In 1994, after my mother’s funeral, my sister, an aunt and I spent a few days in my mother’s apartment sorting through her things and dividing up what would go where.  We came across a jewelry box, buried in a dresser drawer. I popped it open and inside was [Read More...]

An act of Providence: Catholics share chapel with Baptists

See how these Christians in Rhode Island love one another: Twenty years ago, a Catholic diocese would have never made room for the First Baptist Church congregation in a place where Catholics came to worship, says the Rev. Dorian Parker. But one generous gesture on behalf of the Diocese of Providence has allowed the 30-or-so members [Read More...]

Happy Thanksgiving: a blessing for travelers

All-powerful and ever-living God, when Abraham left his own land and departed from his own people, you kept him safe all through his journey. Protect us, who also are your servants: walk by our side to help us; be our companion and our strength on the road and our refuge in every adversity. Lead us, [Read More...]

O’Malley’s message to lapsed Catholics: “We miss you, we love you”

“My dear brothers and sisters: please know that we miss you, we love you, and we hope you will rejoin our Catholic family for our Sunday Mass. Some of you have drifted away from the Church and have been waiting for a good time to return. I pray that you will consider this the time [Read More...]

Update: German bishops to sell company that publishes porn

This caused  a sensation when it hit the news a couple weeks ago.  Now, something is being done about it: The Catholic Church in Germany says it will act “without delay” to sell its stake in a publishing company that offers pornography among its products. “We cannot earn money during the week with what we preach against on [Read More...]

Thousands of Russians line up to see “Holy Belt of the Virgin” — UPDATED

From our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church, some news out of Moscow: The Holy Belt of Virgin, one of the most venerated relics of the Orthodox Christian world, has arrived in the Russian capital after a tour of the country which began Oct. 24 from St. Petersburg. Over 50 thousand faithful went to [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words

One way to cut costs this Christmas season: [Read more...]

Deacon poor and deacon rich: a look at the vocation in different dioceses

A reader sent this my way: a long and comprehensive look at where deacons are thriving, where they aren’t, and why: In 1967, Pope Paul VI issued general norms for the restoration of the permanent diaconate where requested by episcopal conferences. More than four decades later, 46 percent of the Church’s 37,203 permanent deacons serve [Read More...]

“This conscience thing”

“I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but [Catholic health care providers] have this conscience thing…’’ – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Read here for context. [Read more...]

Los Angeles legend, “Father Dollar Bill,” dies

One of the angels of the City of Angels is gone. Details: Funeral services were pending Monday for the Rev. Maurice Chase, a Catholic priest known as “Father Dollar Bill” for his holiday giveaways of $1 bills to the homeless on Skid Row. Chase, 92, died Sunday night at his home in Los Angeles after [Read More...]

Who is the most influential Christian? You might be surprised

The findings of a new poll show a split, with several prominent people in the running, including the pope and the president.  Take a look: A new Barna Group study illustrates that no single Christian leader captures the attention of the nation’s population. When asked to identify the single most influential Christian leader in the [Read More...]

Cardinal O’Malley on controversial editor: “He has done an extraordinary job…”

The editor who pilots The Pilot — the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Boston — was profiled this weekend in the Boston Globe: He published a column two weeks ago suggesting that homosexuality is caused by the devil. The uproar had barely faded when, a week later, The Pilot enraged priest abuse victims with a [Read More...]

Me and my Kindle Fire

A couple weeks ago, after much hemming and hawing, I took the plunge and pre-ordered the much-ballyhooed Kindle Fire. Last week, it arrived.  Lots of people have been asking me what I think of it.   Here goes. This is my first foray into the world of tablets (aside from the paper kind that I [Read More...]


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