It’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Yesterday would have been Fred Rogers (a.k.a. “Mr. Rogers”) 84th birthday. The Christian Post notes that one significant aspect of the celebrated TV star (who died in 2003) was his early life as a minister: He left behind a lasting imprint on children’s televisionwith his series “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” but many may not know that he [Read More...]

Looking for the new Exsultet? Look no further

Someone dropped me a Facebook message, asking if I’d found a version that you can download. You can find everything at this website. There’s a pdf of the music, as well. For your listening pleasure, here: If you need it, here’s the chant for the candle at the beginning of the Vigil: And last, but [Read More...]

Fr. Walter Ciszek begins the path to sainthood — UPDATED

Details: A Catholic priest buried at the Jesuit Center at Wernersville cleared the first hurdle on the road to sainthood Monday, the Allentown Diocese announced. The Rev. Walter J. Ciszek, a native of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, attended St. Casimir’s Roman Catholic Church and school in Shenandoah before becoming a celebrated Jesuit priest who was held [Read More...]

Washington Post: Santorum’s link to Opus Dei

An interesting look at an area of the candidate’s life that has gone largely unexplored: In January 2002, prominent Catholics from around the world gathered in Rome to celebrate the Spanish priest who founded one of the church’s most conservative and devout groups, Opus Dei. The event drew cardinals, bishops and other powerful Vatican officials. [Read More...]

When did the diaconate really begin?

Over at his blog, Gerard Nadal makes a compelling argument that it started at the Last Supper: As Holy Week looms large on the horizon, I’m thinking out loud a question I have thought to myself for years: Were the Apostles really the first Deacons in the Church? Did the Apostles institute the Diaconate, or [Read More...]

“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...]


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