“Truly a miracle”: Kidnapped Syrian priest describes his escape from ISIS

Miraculous, indeed, via Catholic News Agency:  A Syrian priest who was captured by Islamic State militants in May thought he would die for his faith. Now, he credits the Virgin Mary and the help of a Muslim friend for his escape. “This is the miracle the Good Lord gave me: while I was a prisoner [Read More…]

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“Earth-shaking”: Catholic high school in Maine to drop its religious affiliation

From The Bangor Daily News:  Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1969 as an all-girl Catholic secondary education institution, announced plans to sever ties with its religious sponsors starting next fiscal year, July 1, 2016. At that point, McAuley will continue on as an independent, non-sectarian [Read More…]

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Boom: Louisiana seminary reports record enrollment, 83% increase from five years ago

The Francis Effect?  Maybe.  From the web page of St. Joseph Seminary in Covington: Saint Joseph Seminary College, located near Covington, La., welcomed a record 137 students this year for the Fall 2015 semester, an 83 percent increase from just five years ago, when 75 seminarians enrolled. Saint Joseph Seminary College is a community of [Read More…]

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A “practicum year” for deacon candidates?

Someone posted this item on Facebook earlier today: The 16 members of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s permanent deacon formation class  have entered their Candidate Practicum period, for which they have been temporarily assigned to serve in parishes other than their own. The temporary assignments, which began this month, will last for about eight [Read More…]

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Must-see video: a groom’s priceless gift to his mother on his wedding day

When I was growing up, I always heard, “If you want to know how a man will treat his wife, watch how he treats his mother.” Based on that, the bride in this video is blessed. Truly. Break out the Kleenex and watch as this groom dances with his mother—suffering from ALS—at his wedding. Read [Read More…]

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Pope asks forgiveness for “recent scandals both in Rome and in the Vatican”

And John Thavis is wondering just what he’s talking about:  The problem in interpreting his remarks was that there are several scandals to choose from. The gay official of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation who recently came out with his partner, saying the climate at his workplace was homophobic? Accusations of sexual impropriety made by a [Read More…]

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“Attention, sinners: Confessions now being heard outside Cinnabon…”

From Catholic News Agency:  In the South American nation of Colombia – where an estimated 70 percent of the population identifies as Catholic – it is not unusual to encounter Catholic priests at a cathedral, or perhaps at a religious school or hospital. Seeing scores of priests at a shopping mall, on the other hand, [Read More…]

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Dominican Sisters returning to Oprah: “I think she was open to God’s grace”

The scoop, from Aleteia:  t was the last year of the Oprah show in Chicago and production staff were discussing what stories they hadn’t covered in their 25 year history. One woman spoke up. An “authentic” women’s religious community, she said. Oprah was hesitant. “Do you really think a community like that would be willing [Read More…]

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In memo to priests, NJ archbishop sets guidelines for “preserving and protecting the Catholic faith”

David Gibson at RNS has details: Even as Pope Francis and Catholic leaders from around the world debate ways to make the Catholic Church more inclusive, Newark Archbishop John Myers has given his priests strict guidelines on refusing Communion to Catholics who, for example, support gay marriage or whose own marriage is not valid in [Read More…]

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From the Synod: “Is there someone out here who knows how a perfect marriage takes place?”

View image | gettyimages.com Some interesting commentary last week, from an Indian couple discussing their interfaith marriage, via Vatican Radio:  The 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, currently taking place in the Vatican Oct. 4-25, heard from  of an Indian couple on Saturday how inter-faith marriage can be lived. [Read More…]

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Lombardi on the “Letter from 13 cardinals”

Vatican Information Service (VIS) reports: The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has given the following clarification regarding the publication yesterday of a “Letter to the Pope from thirteen cardinals”: As we are aware, at least four of the Synod Fathers who were included in the list of signatories have denied [Read More…]

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A letter from the Vatican…

Well, here’s something you don’t get every day. It arrived by email last week from Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization: I guess that phone call I got last summer wasn’t a mistake after all, and this makes it official. Excuse me while I pick myself [Read More…]

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Hell freezes over: Playboy to stop publishing photos of nude women

No, this news isn’t from The Onion. It turns out that very soon, men really will be buying the magazine for the articles. Via The New York Times:  Last month, Cory Jones, a top editor at Playboy, went to see its founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion. In a wood-paneled dining room, with Picasso and de [Read More…]

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From the Synod: Observers say media coverage “doesn’t reflect what we see in there”

From today’s press briefing, via CNS:  Two couples attending the Synod of Bishops on the family said what surprised them most about their first synod in Rome was reading inaccurate media coverage of the closed-door proceedings, the diversity of problems families face around the world and the synod fathers’ great concern and compassion for the [Read More…]

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This week’s ear worm: “Lead Me, Lord…”

This one is so deeply ingrained into my brain, I was even singing it this morning in the shower. This contemporary hymn by John Becker was the recessional at the three Masses I served and preached at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania this weekend. (You can hear a good rendition here). I [Read More…]

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Vatican opens pope’s dormitory for the homeless

From Aleteia:  The structure has been up and running for about a day or so and the official inauguration took place away from prying eyes last week: Pope Francis’ dormitory for the homeless can host up to 34 people. The news was announced in a communiqué from the Office of Papal Charities which covered the [Read More…]

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Ingenious Halloween costume: little pope in popemobile

This appears to be from a few years ago, but it’s timeless. From Costume-Works.com: Mom notes: Zachary, age 4, saw Mommy reading the news on the computer. He spotted a picture of the Pope and asked about him. Later, when Mommu was giving him ideas of what he could dress up as for Halloween, he [Read More…]

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Fox News’s Kirsten Powers announces: “I’m becoming Catholic!”

The news has been hurtling around the world tonight on Twitter: About Powers, from her Wikipedia page: Kirsten A. Powers (born 1969) is an American political pundit and analyst. She began her career as a Democratic Party staff assistant with the Clinton-Gore presidential transition team in 1992, followed by an appointment as Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for [Read More…]

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