Bishop vows to remain in Tripoli with his flock

From Vatican Radio:  The leader of the Catholic church in Libya is calling for dialogue and understanding in his violence wrought country. Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, has vowed to stay in Libya with the few remaining Christians, witnesses of Jesus’s message of love. Speaking in Italian to Vatican radio as the [Read More...]

PETA discovers Lent: 7 reasons to go vegan this season

The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a few thoughts about what you should give up for the penitential season. I’m sure it will surprise no one that most of what they are encouraging us to give up involves animals. To wit: Go vegan for Lent! Lent is a time for [Read More...]

Homily for February 18, 2015: Ash Wednesday and the Coptic Martyrs

Every year, Ash Wednesday rolls around, and every year, this church swells with crowds of people, eager to be marked as we begin the observance of Lent. Receiving these ashes, of course, serves a number of purposes. First, it proclaims to the world that we are Catholic Christians. It tells others that we are preparing [Read More...]

VIDEO: Pope offers Mass for slain Copts

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis offered Mass Tuesday morning for the repose of the souls of the twenty-one Coptic Christians martyred for their faith in Christ. The Mass was attended by the Pope’s personal secretary, Abuna Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is Coptic Catholic. As he prepared to begin Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel, the [Read More...]

Questions surround fate of imprisoned Chinese bishop

From The New York Times:  For the better part of the last 60 years, Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang was imprisoned in Chinese jails and labor camps. For the last 14, he was held without charge in a secret location. His offense: refusing to renounce his loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church, which ordained him in 1947. [Read More...]

Homeless line up for haircuts, showers at Vatican: “It’s a beautiful thing he has done for us”

From AP:  Homeless people are lining up outside the public restrooms off St Peter’s Square to take advantage of Pope Francis’ new charitable initiative: a free shave and shower for the least fortunate. The Vatican’s barber shop for the homeless opened on Monday and 49-year-old Mauro Casubolo was one of the first clients. His chin [Read More...]

Obamacare’s bulletin announcements: “The body is a temple and it must be insured”—UPDATED

From The Weekly Standard:  In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as “talking [Read More...]

“For anyone who wants to go back to the way things were before Francis, it’s game over.”

  View image | NPR’s Indira Lakshmanan sat down with Rocco Palmo this weekend to talk about Pope Francis, two years into his papacy. Snip:  LAKSHMANAN: Can he compel priests and cardinals to follow his example, or is this just him expressing a personal opinion and hoping that they fall into line? PALMO: As for [Read More...]

Signs of faith: Mass with Pittsburgh’s Catholic deaf community

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a rare glimpse at an unusual way of worship: The 11:30 Sunday Mass at St. Mary of the Mount Catholic Church begins with the usual greetings and an unusual request — that parishioners remain seated during the hymns and other parts of the liturgy where they normally would stand. That’s so [Read More...]

Another pretty church: Our Holy Redeemer on Long Island

I spent the weekend giving pulpit talks on behalf of CNEWA at Our Holy Redeemer parish in Freeport, Long Island. I served and preached at three Masses; my colleague Norma Intriago, the director of development, spoke at the two Hispanic Masses. What a pretty, old-fashioned kind of church. As I joked to the pastor at the beginning [Read More...]

Anchored in faith: Lester Holt on religion and journalism

When Lester Holt took over for Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News last week, little was said about his personal life—or one aspect of it that plays a prominent role: his faith. I was curious about what his religious background might be, so did a little Googling and came upon this interview from a [Read More...]

Pope to new cardinals: it’s all about charity

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis presided over an ordinary Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals on Saturday morning, in St. Peter’s Basilica.20 new members of the Clergy of Rome were created, the Pope’s closest partners in mission. Addressing the membership of the College of Cardinals gathered for the occasion, Pope Francis spoke of the [Read More...]

David Carr on recovery—and the prayer that sustained him

The brilliant New York Times media columnist David Carr died suddenly yesterday—which jolted a lot of us who were still shell-shocked from the death of Bob Simon the day before and the perilous fall from grace of Brian Williams. It was not a good week for the news business. Carr was a recovering drug addict; he [Read More...]

After desecrations, bishop orders all tabernacles in his diocese to be emptied

Details:  In response to the desecration of ten parishes since October, including five on February 6-7, the bishop of Bellay-Ars has ordered the Blessed Sacrament removed from the tabernacles of all parish churches and chapels. The Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Pascal Roland decreed, must be kept in a more secure location, and tabernacle doors must be [Read More...]

Signs of the times: best street signs ever?

The City of Hayward, California is trying something different. This, from The New York Daily News: Speeding is no laughing matter, but slowing down can be. A California city introduced humorous street signs to catch the attention of speeding motorists and compel them to slow down on a major residential street. Hayward, Calif. installed seven [Read More...]

Ganswein: Benedict “is convinced that the decision he made was the right one”

From CNS:  Retired Pope Benedict XVI has never doubted or regretted his decision to resign, knowing it was the right thing to do for the good of the church, said Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to the retired pope.“The church needs a strong helmsman,” and Pope Benedict was keenly [Read More...]

Beautiful: son of a deacon is ordained a deacon

From Michael Alexander in the blog of The Georgia Bulletin:  Until last Saturday’s rite of ordination to the diaconate, the last time I saw John Timme it was the September 23, 2002 funeral for his father, Deacon Bill Timme. Bill was a well-respected deacon who served at Holy Cross Church in Atlanta for 15 years. [Read More...]

Guess who just had to change his name on Facebook?

View image | That would be me. As I do periodically, I decided today to change my password. I did. When I signed in again, a little box popped up saying that it looked like my name wasn’t authentic and I should change it. I tried to sign in again, again using my three-name ID—Deacon [Read More...]