“Thanks for listening”: a Christmas homily

A few years ago, I caught an episode of the cable TV show “Inside The Actor’s Studio,” with James Lipton. If you’ve seen it, you know the basic idea: Lipton invites celebrities – famous actors, writers and directors – to talk about their careers and how they do what they do. And he always ends [Read More...]

From my bench to yours…

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A Christmas flash mob featuring…Jesus Christ?

‘Tis the season, so why not? The spirit here — and the unabashed proclamation of faith in the public square — is just wonderful.  Stay with it to the end.  You won’t be disappointed.  (H/T to the Concord Pastor and that merry God Googler, Mike Hayes).   [Read more...]

Havel’s deacons

A reader alerted me to the fact that two deacons served at Vaclav Havel’s funeral Mass this morning. Two things are striking: they seem older, and are probably permanent deacons, not seminarians. And: no dalmatics? For a state funeral? [Read more...]

What the world needs now: a little Hope for Christmas

A reader sent this my way, and it’s just terrific: some of the best moments from Bob Hope’s many Christmas shows that he performed for troops overseas. [Read more...]

“Michael Voris…not authorized to use the word ‘Catholic’” — UPDATED

A statement on the Archdiocese of Detroit website (h/t New Advent): The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority (see canon 216 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). [Read More...]

Churches closed for Christmas?

It would be unthinkable to Catholics, but some Protestant parishes are doing just that: Because Christmas falls on Sunday this year, some churches are opting to close that day so that families can spend the morning toegther at home. Life Research, based on Nashville, says its national survey of Protestant churches found that 91% would [Read More...]

The continent with only one priest

There may be others, but I haven’t heard of them — and if there’s a permanent parish or even a diocese, I imagine the weekly collection is small and the most loyal members of the flock are penguins.  I’m speaking, of course, of Antarctica. While most of us are turning our attention this weekend to [Read More...]

Silent night: midnight Mass canceled in Iraq over security concerns

The war may be over, but the violence and fear are continuing — and that’s prompted Church officials to call off midnight celebrations of Mass. From CNS: Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq told the agency Aid to the Church in Need that Christians will spend Christmas in “great fear” because of [Read More...]

Stuck for a last minute gift? Here’s a little something for the Christian who has everything…

Msgr. Pope discovered it a few days ago: Have breakfast with Jesus every morning! In the past you’ve had see him with eyes of faith. Now you can seem him right on the toast! It’s the Jesus Toaster! Just $31.95 plus shipping and handling. No Christmas is complete without this fine new toaster. Was not [Read More...]

“I have friends who are atheists who have called me and said, ‘I am going back to church’”

That’s the quote of the day from a mother whose son was about to be taken off life support — but then made an astonishing recovery. Details: Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off [Read More...]

Burst of light: did friars build churches to honor the solstice?

Though some people scoff, one researcher thinks it’s possible.  He contends that some California Catholic missions may have been designed as tools to help convert Native Americans: On the darkest day of the year, a hushed crowd in a dim church awaited a few minutes of sheer brilliance. It was just after dawn Wednesday, the [Read More...]

Three days and counting …

…so make Advent count.  There’s still time.  Below, the “Advent Conspiracy” video for this year. [Read more...]

How to wrap a baby in swaddling clothes

Have a newborn, and a manger, and you don’t know what to do?  Problem solved. [Read more...]

A toast to eggnog

Curious about where that peculiar holiday tonic originated?  Everything you need to know is here: Eggnog really makes you wonder: How did humans first think chugging a spiced and spiked egg-yolk-and-milk mixture was a good idea? It’s a bit like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast: “Now that I’m grown, I eat five dozen eggs, [Read More...]

Alert the Magi: frankincense may be disappearing

One of the most celebrated gifts in history — and a staple of the Christmas story — is endangered: The world may still have gold and myrrh, but it’s quite possible that frankincense could become a thing of the past, given ecological pressures on the arid lands where it grows in Ethiopia. The storied resin, [Read More...]

Quote of the day

“We’re all pilgrims, after all, and his journey is not over yet.” – Martin Sheen, on his son, Charlie. The elder Sheen reveals that his son helped save his religiously-themed movie “The Way.” Read more. [Read more...]

Are veils coming back?

When  I was growing up, my mother kept a small white circle of lace in a plastic bag in her pocketbook, in case she needed to pop into church for one reason or another.  And in the 1960s, it wasn’t uncommon  for a woman to improvise a veil with a bobby pin and a Kleenex. [Read More...]


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