Exodus: vouchers prompt thousands to move to Catholic schools in Indiana

The news being reported this morning is pretty remarkable: Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were recently on the brink of closing. It is a scenario public school advocates have long [Read More...]

Beware of sharp notes from the choir

What does a priest do if he wants to build a church, but no one will let him?  In Russia, one priest found a unique answer: an inflatable chapel. Details: It is the idea of the Catholic parish priest of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk, Father Krzysztof Kowal, who having failed to obtain permits and funding to build a [Read More...]

Another voice: on deacons doing weddings

A blogger took issue with this post, and offered her thoughts: Deacons have their place but they are not an alter Christus. They are not intended to be a substitute for the priesthood. Yes, yes, yes, I know that the Church allows permanent deacons to preside at weddings, baptisms and funeral home services but most people look [Read More...]

"Galileo was wrong; the Church was right" — UPDATED

That seems to be the argument put forth by some members of the Church, who are evidently affiliated with SSPX, and it gained some attention this weekend in the Chicago Tribune: Some people believe the world revolves around them — and their belief is born not of selfishness but of faith. A few conservative Roman [Read More...]

Ordination update: the Maine event, as eight are ordained in Portland

It’s late in the season for ordinations, but it’s never too late to welcome new men to Holy Orders. From the Bangor Daily News: Their mission is threefold — service to the Gospel, liturgy and charity. It sounds like a tall order for men who are working full-time jobs and have wives and families. Yet [Read More...]

The mystery and magic of words

Perspective is everything, and words can rock the world, as this lovely short film illustrates.  H/T Frank. [Read more...]

Sign of the times

Which turns out to be no sign at all. Bracing for Irene, and expected high winds, a movie theater near our apartment removed the letters from its marquee. Not only that: for the first time in memory, the multiplex was completely shut down Saturday night. It was still closed Sunday afternoon. Things here are more [Read More...]

Irene's devastation: no Starbucks!

Let the rioting in the streets begin. Irene was less than we expected, or feared, and that’s very good news. To those who have sent e-mails and tweets, wondering how I’m doing here, I’m pleased to report: just fine. Thank you all for your many prayers! We still have power, flooding in my neighborhood appears [Read More...]

NYC mayor will not reconsider ban on clergy at 9/11 ceremony

His spokesman said so on Friday: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not reconsider his decision to exclude clergy from the ceremony marking 10 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, a spokesman said Friday. The statement comes despite increased pressure from religious and conservative leaders who say that even though the mayor has not [Read More...]

A Prayer for Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control. The sea, like a provoked [Read More...]

Looking for a joke for this Sunday's homily?

A reader from the U.K. left this comment on another post: Anglican priest to his wife who’d just spent a fortune on a dress – ”Why did you spend so much, I’ve told you that whenever you feel tempted you should say “Get behind me Satan” “I did” said his wife. “What happened then?” said [Read More...]

Will it play in Peoria? Parish begins webcasts of its Masses

This is something altogether different and, I think, rare: a parish (not a cathedral or a diocesan entity) offering web streaming of its Masses. Details: St. Joseph Catholic Church member Dave Fisher explains how the church’s new webcasting feature is helping a friend who has trouble hearing. “I have a friend who is hard of [Read More...]

"Soon, it's gonna rain…"

As we get ready for Irene, here’s a favorite song from a favorite show, “The Fantasticks.”  This is a clip from the seldom-seen movie version, from 1995.  It features Jean Louisa Kelly, who is probably better known as the chipper wife, Kim, on the long-running sitcom “Yes, Dear.” Who knew she could sing? [Read more...]

Homily for August 28, 2011: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

You may have heard: we’re about to get a little rain. I’ve been following the stories in the paper and on TV.  They’re encouraging people to be prepared.  I made the mistake of going to Walgreens last night.  It was packed with people.   Stores around the area report that they have run out of batteries, [Read More...]

Do you still have to attend Mass during a hurricane? — UPDATE

A friend from my parish called, wondering if there was any policy about Mass and bad weather, or if any of the three dioceses in our region had issued a statement on Hurricane Irene. Here’s what I found. All three have  statements on their websites from their respective bishops. From Nicholas DiMarzio in Brooklyn: “In [Read More...]

Earth, your hurricane is showing

In space, no one can hear you scream. The pictures below, from our friends at NASA.  You can see more shots of Irene here. I stopped by Walgreens to get some odds and ends this afternoon, which turned out to be a terrible idea. (You can never have too much dental floss or deodorant!) My [Read More...]

Hurricane? What hurricane?

Clouds are scuttling across a beautiful blue sky here in New York City. But batten down the hatches.  Stay tuned.  Things could get interesting in the next day or so. Meantime, take it away, Lena. [Read more...]

Census shows divorce rate higher in the south

Why is that?  Some details: While the Bible Belt is known for its devotion to traditional values, Southerners don’t do so well on one key family value: They are more likely to get divorced than people living in the Northeast. Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in [Read More...]


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