Boom: New Orleans gets largest seminary class in a quarter century

Details: After years of relative scarcity, the Archdiocese of New Orleans opens the academic year with a bumper crop of young men entering seminary studies for the priesthood — the largest group in 26 years. Thirty-six men have enrolled at either St. Joseph Seminary in Covington for undergraduate training, or Notre Dame Seminary in New [Read More...]

What does the SSPX think about permanent deacons? Not much

In the combox for another post, media maven and blogger Deacon Keith Fournier left the comment below.  I posted on this issue back at my old place, Beliefnet, two years ago, but it’s worth a reminder: Dear Deacon Greg: I pray for healing with the SSPX and welcome the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI, the [Read More...]

Atheist group holds first meeting at Christian school

SMU — Southern Methodist University, home to Perkins Chapel, shown above — now has its own campus group devoted to atheism, and the student paper dropped by the first meeting: Homosexuality, creationism and religious acceptance were all hot topics at the Secular Humanist club’s first meeting Wednesday night in Hughes-Trigg. Though the club functions mainly [Read More...]

For Labor Day: "Let the River Run"

From Mike Nichols’ “Working Girl.” Ah, a flashback to the ’80s, complete with big hair, big shoulder pads, big Nikes to walk to work.  A great song (thank you, Ms. Carly Simon) from a great romantic comedy (and when was the last time someone in Hollywood made one of those, anyway?). And, as an added [Read More...]

Jesus gets a Facebook page — and more than 8 million fans

The New York Times looks at the web’s newest sensation, the Son of God: A North Carolina diet doctor has come up with a formula to create the most highly engaged audience on Facebook in the world, far surpassing marketing efforts by celebrities and sports teams. He draws on the words of Jesus and posts [Read More...]

Did you know they've used the Stanley Cup as a baptismal font?

I didn’t, until blogger (and deacon’s wife!) Kathy Schiffer wrote about it a few days back: Seven-week-old Alva Felicia Sundstrom, niece of Detroit Red Wings’ right winger Tomas Holmstrom, was baptized in “Lord Stanley” on July 25, 2008, in a private ceremony outside Holmstrom’s hometown of Pitea, in northern Sweden. Robert Sundstrom, who is Holmstrom’s [Read More...]

For Labor Day: Want to succeed? Get happy!

Want to know the secret of greater productivity at work? Some researchers are happy to tell you: Over the past decade, we researched the micro-level causes behind this macro-level problem. To gain real-time perspective into everyday work lives, we collected  nearly 12,000 electronic diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies. Our study charted [Read More...]

What happens when a chimp sees sunlight for the first time?

You gotta see this. HuffPo notes: RTL, a German television station, provided this tearjerking footage of lab chimps taking their first steps of freedom outdoors and into the sun. It’s in German, but we can gather that this was the first time the animals had ever been let loose in natural daylight. Feel-good footage aside, [Read More...]

For Labor Day: "We see in work a sign of God's love…"

“We have reminded Christians of the wonderful words of Genesis which tell us that God created man so that he might work, and we have concentrated on the example of Christ, who spent most of His life on earth working as a craftsman in a village. We love human work which He chose as His [Read More...]

What are we? This video answers that question. Brilliantly.

I just love this.   Watch it and share it. UPDATE: For those who have asked, this link has the lyrics.  The song is “All We Are” by Sugarland. A snip: Fire like lightnin’ Burning up the night Smoke horizon Won’t give up the fight Where deep inside, you can hear that call Wakin’ your heart, [Read More...]

That OTHER Deacon Greg

Okay.  Besides being a deacon, St. Gregory the Great was also a pope and a saint.   In his spare time, he wrote the first biography of St. Benedict and, when he had nothing better to do, composed the chant that bears his name.  Overachiever?  Just a bit. Happy feast day, though, to all the [Read More...]

Australia moves to eliminate B.C. and A.D. from textbooks

Christians Down Under are outraged over changes in the national school curriculum that would remove the use of Before Christ (B.C.) and Anno Domini (A.D.) in school textbooks in favor of terms that are more politically correct.  Details, from the Christian Post: London-based Daily Telegraph reports that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) [Read More...]

Leaps of faith: Christians and Jews reaching out to Muslims after 9/11

It’s a phenomenon that cropped up shortly after the terror attacks, and the New York Times looks at how it has played out in some communities: When Betsy Wiggins opened her front door and saw the woman in a full black face veil coming up her flower-lined walkway, she wondered if she had done the [Read More...]

Ladies and gentlemen: the "Church Whisperer"

From the Baltimore Sun, a profile of longtime FOB (Friend of the Bench) Rocco Palmo, the shockingly young upstart behind “Whispers in the Loggia”: A 28-year-old guy living in his parents’ basement in South Philadelphia just might be one of the foremost experts on the American Catholic Church. Rocco Palmo facetiously calls himself “The Church [Read More...]

Homily for September 4, 2011: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for the readings] Not long ago, I read a short essay by a Protestant minister named Lillian Daniel.  She described an experience that a lot of us in the clergy have had at one time or another: being on an airplane, striking up a conversation with a stranger, and then hearing that person [Read More...]

Meet the priest who serves as umpire at the U.S. Open

The annual tennis match is unfolding just down the road from where I live, and it turns out one of those watching from above is a Catholic priest. From the New York Times: So a Catholic priest walks onto a tennis court. Seriously. It happens, for Father Paul Arinze, every day at the United States [Read More...]

Square peg in a round hole?

That’s how one priest I know described this new setting to the familiar (some would argue, overly familiar) “Mass of Creation” by Marty Haugan.  A lot of American parishes have used the older version, and will begin using this new setting this month, in anticipation of the new Roman Missal, which makes its debut on [Read More...]

"Taking care of the people who take care of the people of God"

Just in time for Labor Day, this week the Catholic Standard in Washington introduces readers to the deacon who directs human resources for the Archdiocese: The e-mails sent by Deacon Dan Finn, the director of human resources for the Archdiocese of Washington, include a simple phrase at the bottom: “Taking care of the people who [Read More...]