Redefine Christmas: a unique flash mob with a message

No “Hallelujah” chorus here, but a surprisingly moving message, designed to remind shoppers what Christmas is really about. Check out what happened last month at a mall in Connecticut, courtesy RedefineChristmas.com. [Read more...]

Have yourself a merry iPad Christmas

And marvel at what technology can do.  Check out the video below which shows what the Christmas concert has become in the 21st century. [Read more...]

Buffalo bishop emeritus marks 75 years as a priest

Imagine the changes he’s witnessed during his priesthood. Details, from the Buffalo News: The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s oldest priest is celebrating the 75th anniversary of his ordination today. Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Bernard J. McLaughlin, 98, will commemorate the occasion with a family dinner in his Town of Tonawanda home and a visit from Bishop [Read More...]

BREAKING: Phoenix hospital stripped of Catholic status – UPDATED

Details, from the wires: A Phoenix hospital has been stripped of its ability to call itself Catholic because of a surgery that ended a woman’s pregnancy to save her life. Bishop Thomas Olmsted announced the decision to remove St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Catholic status at a news conference Tuesday. Olmsted says “the equal [Read More...]

Another Annunciation…

Earlier, I posted an item about one artist’s unique take on Mary’s visit from Gabriel. Below is another interpretation, from the same artist, John Collier, commissioned for a church (now co-cathedral) in West Virginia. As the artist describes it: “In my Annunciation the angel Gabriel stands on a rotting stump which has a living branch [Read More...]

Report: executions drop in the U.S.

Those who oppose capital punishment got some encouraging news this week. Details, from the Associated Press: The number of executions in the United States dropped 12 percent in 2010, and the number of people sentenced to die is nearing historic lows, a report from an anti-capital punishment group says. The Death Penalty Information Center attributed [Read More...]

Michael Bolton, on singing in Assisi

“There is something special about this place. I have performed in churches and cathedrals and holy sites but there is something about being in the presence of everything that has been inspired by St Francis…When you’re doing Christian songs, there is a very different focus that you have to deliver. As a singer it is [Read More...]

"I have traveled many moonless nights…"

Another favorite song of the season: Amy Grant’s haunting Marian hymn, “Breath of Heaven.” [Read more...]

2010: The year that Christmas surrendered to mob rule

Flash mob, that is. Go ahead. Search YouTube for “Messiah” and “Flash mob,” and you’ll find how many shopping centers, food courts and malls, from Cleveland to Seattle, have staged these wonderful “spontaneous” performances of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The fad has been studied by news outlets as varied as NPR and the Kansas City Star. [Read More...]

"Hail, full of grace…"

Is this what the Annunciation would look like if it happened today? The above picture is John Collier’s provocative, decidedly modern take on the singular event which we heard recounted in today’s gospel.   Collier has done some captivating work around religious themes, including the Catholic memorial at Ground Zero. Check out this website for more. [Read More...]

Let there be lights: an incredible Christmas display

Whoever devised this is a mad genius.  Enjoy. [Read more...]

Muslim enrollment climbing at Catholic colleges

Seems the prayerful, disciplined culture agrees with them. Details, from the Washington Post: On a quick break between classes last week, Reef Al-Shabnan slipped into an empty room at Catholic University to start her daily prayers to Allah. In one corner was a life-size painting of Jesus carrying the cross. In another, the portrait of [Read More...]

A Presbyterian sings the praises of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Is she the new Santa Claus? Check this out, from Presbyterian minister Ben Daniel in Huffington Post: The feast of Guadalupe is a distinctly Mexican holiday, and it may be worth asking why my family celebrates the holiday when none of us were born in Mexico or have Mexican ancestors. The answer is this: we [Read More...]

A joyful noise, from America's only Catholic choir school

The only choir school of its kind in America is embarking on a new era, with a new musical director — and he brings his own unique musical tradition to the job. Details in the Boston Globe: Early on a cold December morning, in a classroom near Harvard Square, four dozen boys in black cassocks [Read More...]

"God is not dead, nor does He sleep…"

In the run-up to Christmas, I’ll be posting a few of my favorite songs of the season.  One that gets a lot of play on my iPod is this one, from Casting Crowns: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Enjoy. [Read more...]

Mmmmmm…fruitcake?

It may not be a staple in your diet, but it’s kept countless monasteries afloat over the years.   And it may rescue another one in California. Details, from The Los Angeles Times: The peal of the church bell splits the predawn darkness like a summons from God himself. The hermits of Big Sur rise from [Read More...]

Congregations growing in the UK

It seems that reports of Christianity’s demise in Great Britain may be exaggerated. From The Telegraph: New congregations are being formed to take over old redundant church buildings or to provide more youth-friendly services, helping church membership numbers to rise. Church leaders said the study – the first of its kind for three years – [Read More...]

A Raven Catholic

A couple years ago, I posted this interview with the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh, who talked candidly and passionately about his Catholic faith. Now the reporter who did that interview, George Matysek of the Catholic Review, has posted excerpts as a video online.  Check it out below. [Read more...]


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