Have an ice Christmas

Once again, they’ve erected a stunning nativity scene in Graz, Austria, sculpted from ice: The life-size sculptures of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three kings have been handmade by Gert J. Hoedl and his international team, using 54 tons of ice. The scene shows the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus, while Joseph looks on. The [Read More...]

Tweet, tweet: cardinals making themselves heard in digital media

A few of them are savvy about digital media and aren’t shy about using it. From AFP: As the Vatican’s top culture man, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi breaks off from his rounds at least once a day to shoot off a tweet to his followers, either snappy quotes from the Bible, famous philosophers and dons, or [Read More...]

Acts of contrition: why some are more prone to apologize

It seems some of us are just hard-wired to be more contrite, according to one study: A new study suggests that specific personality traits offer clues about whether a person is likely to offer a mea culpa. Psychologist Andrew Howell and his colleagues at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton devised a questionnaire to measure a [Read More...]

Another reason to get the Kindle Fire: the Divine Office app

Well, here’s an answered prayer. After weeks of waiting and wondering, I’m delighted to report that the folks behind the excellent Liturgy of the Hours app, Divine Office, have just released a version for the Kindle Fire. It’s been available for iPad and Android phones for a while; I have it on my EVO smartphone, [Read More...]

And now, a nativity scene for the Jetsons

It will be on display at the cathedral in Los Angeles this week, according to The Tidings: The U.S. debut of “Haute Sphere,” a contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene conceived by architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, will take place Dec. 7 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the [Read More...]

How to welcome Catholics home at Christmas

From OSV and Eric Sammons comes this insightful primer on how to keep people in the pews who return over the holidays: As practicing Catholics, what can we and our parishes do to reach out to those who are estranged from or perhaps just uninterested in the Catholic Church? While this question has many possible [Read More...]

What’s so funny??

Turns out, YouTube is good for more than just cat videos.  Someone has discovered it also contains a lot of clips of people yucking it up. Below, compiled entirely from bits on YouTube, is a whimsical little tribute to one of the great characteristics that helps define our humanity: laughter. [Read more...]

Extreme Makeover: homily edition

[After cobbling together this week's homily -- which is much shorter than usual, because the Mass will include the 15-minute-long Rite of Welcome in my parish -- I realized that I also need to preach at another Mass Sunday morning.  D'oh.  I decided to revisit my original homily, revising and expanding it.  The results are [Read More...]

Author of book on deacons: “Each of us is called to a vocation…”

Over at the National Catholic Register, Kathryn Jean Lopez caught up with Elizabeth Fiococelli, author a book for children that I mentioned some weeks back, “Where Do Deacons Come From?” Part of her interview: Can adults learn as much as children from this book? As with all my books for children, Where Do Deacons Come [Read More...]

Homily for December 4, 2011: 2nd Sunday of Advent/Rite of Welcome

[Click here for the readings] “Prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” That passage from Isaiah is one of the most gripping pieces of scripture that we hear during Advent – a call to get busy and start building.    It foretells what sounds like a massive [Read More...]

My first Mass with an iPad

Last year, a priest in Italy (pictured below) made headlines when he celebrated Mass using the iPad instead of a book. Now I know what it’s like. We did that today. At CNEWA, we have monthly Mass in the office boardroom, with about two dozen people, a couple of priests and (ahem) one deacon. Today, [Read More...]

Fr. Ken

A deacon friend sent this my way. It belongs to a priest, who explains: A long time ago, this friend, Mary Ryan (RIP) made me a Ken doll with a full set of liturgical colored vestments – here he is in purple for Advent, and stands in my office as a reminder that Advent is [Read More...]

Keep smiling

Call me crazy, but I thought this was sweet and unexpectedly uplifting. [Read more...]

Feel the joy!

I saw this last night on a friend’s Facebook page and spent part of the morning trying, without success, to find the artist.  It may be the most striking, moving, uplifting and utterly human depiction of The Visitation I’ve ever seen.  As we prepare for Christ’s coming, shouldn’t we all be feeling this way?  This [Read More...]

Dancing for Mary

It’s almost time for one of the biggest Marian feasts on the calendar, and in parts of Texas that will bring people into the streets for a colorful celebration: Wearing an emblem of the Virgin Mary on the front of their elaborate costumes and a guardian angel on the back, young dancers kick, march, stomp [Read More...]

“Bethlehemian Rhapsody”

How’s this for a cute riff on the Christmas story: a nod to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but with an evangelical twist. Enjoy. [Read more...]

The next battleground in modesty: yoga pants

It’s happening at a Catholic school in Canada: First it was playground balls, and then it was kilts. Now another Ontario school has joined the bandwagon of proposed bans by saying no to tight-fitting Lululemon yoga pants. Some students at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ottawa have kept wearing the yoga pants, even after [Read More...]

Answering the call: meet a seminarian…and his wife

Here’s something we don’t encounter very often: a story about seminarians preparing to get married.  They are Greek Catholic, in Ukraine, and the story comes from the pages of the current issue of ONE magazine: In the Greek Catholic tradition, seminarians are permitted to marry prior to ordination. But some still choose a life of [Read More...]


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