Good habits: sisters and the silent witness of what we wear

The always-interesting Msgr. Charles Pope found the video below, and posted it yesterday, along with some intriguing information about the importance of sisters wearing the habit. First, the video: As Msgr. Pope explains: It is clear that the orders that preserve the wearing of the habit along with common life, common prayer, and a focused [Read More...]

Sin and deliverance: Gingrich’s appeal to religious conservatives

He’s climbing in the polls and growing in popularity among evangelicals, which is catching a few observers by surprise: Like many evangelicals in Iowa, Steve Deace, an influential conservative radio host, is wrestling with the possibility that Newt Gingrich may be the most viable standard bearer for family-values voters in the next election. It’s a [Read More...]

A deacon “shows the presence of Jesus on the streets”

A deacon in Toronto is reaching out to prostitutes and addicts — and getting results: It’s a cool autumn night, and Robert Kinghorn begins his downtown ministry as night falls on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. Amid the hustle and bustle of night life near a local hamburger joint, Kinghorn stands out sporting a white [Read More...]

“You get used to it”

That’s how one Washington, DC Catholic reacted to the new translation of the Missal here: Prayers learned and memorized in school, such as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Penitential Act, the Gloria, are now different enough to cause the congregation to stumble, hesitate and stutter, as some parishioners did through the 10 a.m. Mass [Read More...]

The last word

Lest we forget: Go forth, the mass is ended. or Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. or Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life. Those are the biggest changes in the Missal involving the deacon: the three new dismissals.  (I’m partial to the last one myself.) The most important word, of [Read More...]

A moveable feast: a friar puts his soup kitchen on wheels

This is a small stroke of genius: Brother Al Mascia has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and so does his flock. After losing the brick-and-mortar headquarters for his Detroit-based charitable operations earlier this month, the brown-robed Franciscan friar has kept serving the homeless, the elderly and others in Detroit. Mascia anticipated the closing [Read More...]

The changing face of America’s sisters

A paper in St. Louis looks at how sisters have changed over the last couple decades — and what that may mean.  Details: Sister Sarah Heger [shown above] cut through a tray of raw chicken with a knife and let her fifth-grade class of girls squirm for only a second. A science exam loomed, and [Read More...]

Giving of himself: the remarkable gift of Fr. Val

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more moving story of generosity and gratitude than this amazing story, sent from a deacon reader: By the time parishioners, parents, students and staff at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception got Father Val’s e-mail that Tuesday morning, Nov. 8, he was already in surgery. “Peace in the Lord!” read [Read More...]

Homily for November 27, 2011: 1st Sunday of Advent

[Click here for the readings.] If I had to name the most inspiring hour of television I’ve seen this past year, it would be no contest: it was Diane Sawyer’s interview earlier this month with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. To see and hear Gabby Giffords, to see how alive she was after so many had literally [Read More...]

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...]


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