Bevilacqua talks

But it’s unclear how much he was able to say.  Details: A retired Roman Catholic cardinal testified behind closed doors for about three hours Monday as lawyers prepare for a groundbreaking priest-abuse trial in Philadelphia. Prosecutors deposed Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua in case he cannot appear for the March trial of three accused priests, an ex-teacher [Read More...]

And now, the first funeral with the new missal…

A lifetime parishioner — baptized in our church, in fact — and longtime trustee of the parish died just before Thanksgiving.  This morning, we had his funeral, the first with the new Roman Missal. There was a substantial turnout, and a sizable crowd in the sanctuary, too: four priests, two deacons, six altar servers, and [Read More...]

An important point people keep getting wrong about the new Mass

Over the last couple days, as reaction has trickled in to the new translation of the Mass, there seems to be a common theme: we the people haven’t been affected as much, because it’s the priest who has all the newfangled words and prayers to worry about.  “Our parts,” people in the pews seem to [Read More...]

E-mail of the day

Sent to me on FB, from a former boss at CBS News (now retired) who also happens to be Protestant: Hi, For what it’s worth…three guys in the locker room at the gym this morning were talking about the new translation. They seemed to like it. It was better than hearing their usual talk about [Read More...]

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...]

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...]


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