Now playing: holy medals at the movies

From the In My Backyard Desk — and this really is in my backyard, just four blocks from my apartment and three blocks from my church — comes this story about a local movie theater mixing holiness with Hollywood: Among the Pikachu and Spider-Man charms that roll out of vending machines at the Midway Theater [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words

This one is making the Twitter rounds: Berlin’s new Cardinal Rainier Maria Woelki takes a moment during last week’s festivities in Rome to check soccer scores on his iPhone. [Read more...]

Following Mary to Calvary

Every year, my wife and I have the privilege of leading our parish’s Stations of the Cross during Lent, using a version that drives home the humanity of the experience in a profoundly moving way. It’s called “Mary’s Way of the Cross,” by Richard Furey (you can read it all here) and it’s become an [Read More...]

“Seize the night”: hate crime attack on California Catholic church

Details: A Catholic church in Union City was defaced on Ash Wednesday with spray-painted pentagrams and messages about Satan, vandalism that is being investigated as a hate crime, police said. Vandals knocked down a wooden cross outside St. Anne’s Church at Cabello and Dyer streets and used black spray paint to deface a statue and [Read More...]

When pigs fly: the New York Times publishes an essay by the CEO of EWTN

This appeared on Ash Wednesday on the Op Ed page of the New York Times, written by Michael P. Warsaw, President and CEO of EWTN: EWTN cannot comply with the recent mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services requiring the insurance plans of all employers, with the exception of some houses of worship, [Read More...]

RIP Deacon Elliott Casalegno

A friend noted on her FB page this morning that for the first time a permanent deacon — Deacon Elliott Casalegno — has died in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.  The diaconate there is still very new, and very small.  The archdiocese ordained its first deacon in 1997, and added just four more in 2000. [Read More...]

Confirmed: priest fired over new translation

Remember Fr. William Rowe?  Now, there’s a followup: An Illinois bishop has confirmed that a Roman Catholic priest was fired because he “simply would not and could not pray the prayers of the Mass” under a new translation that went into effect last year. In a rare letter of explanation about an internal personnel dispute, [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (and, ahem, a deacon), during a Mass he celebrated this afternoon for Archdiocesan employees at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. The cardinal’s mother Shirley was also there. [Read more...]

So what religion IS Marco Rubio anyway?

A friend on FB was recently speculating about a Santorum/Rubio ticket — in theory, the first to be all-Catholic — but Marco Rubio’s religion remains murky and contradictory. Now, according to at least one report, he has Mormon roots. Details: In the compelling personal narrative that has helped propel Florida Senator Marco Rubio to national [Read More...]

Have deacons, will travel

From yesterday: Pope Benedict XVI — preceded by two deacons — arrives to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome. (photo by AP/Gregorio Borgia) [Read more...]

Welcome home!

A banner spotted this morning in the lobby of the New York Catholic Center, which houses the offices for the Archdiocese of New York: [Read more...]

Virginia scraps ultrasound bill

It engendered a lot of controversy – and late yesterday it failed after the governor changed is mind and decided not to support it. Details: A Virginia bill that would have required women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before having an abortion failed Wednesday after Gov. Bob McDonnell withdrew his support. McDonnell, a Republican who opposes [Read More...]

“Pizzas de Cuaresma”: Texas chain offers special pizzas for Lent

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about Wendy’s suddenly ubiquitous fish sandwich comes this story about a Dallas pizza chain offering vegetarian pizzas as a way to battle what has become an annual Lenten slump in sales: The folks at Pizzeria Patron have nothing against Catholicism, really, but every year, starting after Ash Wednesday [Read More...]

Ohio church offers drive-thru ashes

And now for something completely different: An Ohio church is offering a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing for parishioners pressed for time or reluctant to come inside the church for the Lenten observance. The Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in Mount Healthy offered the ashes Wednesday evening for people of all [Read More...]

More Protestants observing Ash Wednesday

Have we started a trend? Details: Don’t assume every ash-marked forehead you see today belongs to a Catholic. Ash Wednesday, long associated with Catholicism, is increasingly observed in Protestant churches. The Rev. Joe DeRoulhac became senior minister of Redlands’ First Baptist Church in 1989 but didn’t preside over Ash Wednesday services there until 2003. The [Read More...]

Remember, you are smudged

This year’s ashy portrait, courtesy Fr. Antonin: [Read more...]

“Long have I waited for your coming home to me…”

I’m sure I’ll hear this Ash Wednesday staple sung multiple times at our parish’s Masses today. Here, a beautiful rendition of a beautiful hymn (written by Gregory Norbet), performed by John Michael Talbot. [Read more...]

A sure sign that it’s Lent

You start to see commercials like this… [Read more...]


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