Growing number of clergy vow not to perform any civil marriages

From RNS:  What’s the surest way conservative pastors can avoid any government mandate to perform same-sex marriages? According to one prominent religious journal and a growing number of ministers, the answer is not to perform any civil marriages at all. First Things, a conservative religious publication, has launched a movement encouraging pastors to refuse to [Read More...]

Boom: Arizona town expands Catholic church, Masses filled to capacity

A reminder that there are places in the country where the faith is booming:  Gilbert is growing, and so is St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The town’s second-largest Catholic church recently completed a 7,000-square-foot building with a 90-seat adoration chapel and a permanent office at a cost of $1.5 million. Father Will Schmid said that [Read More...]

Thanksgiving Mass in Maryland

We dropped by a nearby parish in Rockville, Maryland for Mass this morning: St. Mary’s. Twenty eight years ago, we were married in the tiny chapel next door. Today, we worshipped in the more modern parish church. The newer church—often known by locals as “the spaceship”— was dedicated in 1967. The interior has a decidedly post-Vatican [Read More...]

Where did the phrase “Black Friday” originate? You might be surprised

Incredibly, you can spend hours watching TV or reading online, hearing endlessly about “Black Friday” deals and sales and specials, but with barely a word that mentions Thanksgiving. Like so many other occasions, you might never know the reason for the season. The origin of the phrase “Black Friday” is itself clouded in obscurity. I asked [Read More...]

“Do not give way to depression: Hope!”

“When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history, let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads. Do not give way to depression: Hope! Reality is ugly: there are many, many people, cities and people, so many [Read More...]

Behold, one store’s secret weapon for Black Friday: the $5 toaster

This caught my eye this morning in The Wall Street Journal, an intriguing glimpse at how one major retailer spent a year developing a deceptively simple “door buster” for tomorrow’s Black Friday sale:  Before the lights had dimmed on Black Friday last year, executives at Kohl’s Corp. were already at work on the deal they [Read More...]

Rick Warren on Catholics: “If you love Jesus, we’re on the same team”

The popular Protestant preacher talks with CNS about faith, Mary, the saints and more in the video below—and shares his vision for how we can work together in common cause. [Read more...]

“By the goodness of God, we are so far from want”: A Thanksgiving homily

I’ll be traveling today, but before I head out the door I wanted to leave you with this: my Thanksgiving homily from 2009.  My heart is full of gratitude for all who find their way to these pages. Know that when I count my blessings, you are all among them. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all! ++ [Read More...]

Clergy on the scene in Ferguson

From Huffington Post:  Following the grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, thousands took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country to protest. As alternating scenes of peaceful demonstrations and those of violence, fire and looting were broadcast, Ferguson faith leaders repeatedly urged that the [Read More...]

Have you ever seen a diaconate ordination like this?

A reader sent this my way, with this explanation: Deacon Greg, Knowing your interest in all things deacon-ish, I thought I’d pass along a video showing scenes from the ordination of a new deacon in Christ the Savior Cathedral according to the rites of the Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Kirill. Take a look. It’s [Read More...]

Catch of the day: what one fisherman found in the bottom of a Maryland lake is miraculous

From The Catholic Review in Baltimore: A man fishing at the Loch Raven Reservoir in north Baltimore County some two decades ago was convinced he had snagged a big fish after his line hooked something substantial. After reeling in his haul, the angler had no fish. He had, however, caught something even more remarkable: a [Read More...]

A Catholic mother and autism: “What families seek from the church is security and support”

A friend of mine, Shana Buck, offers a personal perspective on this important issue over at The Font:  When I read about the Holy Father addressing the needs of individuals with autism, I was elated. My husband and I have three children “in the spectrum” — a 23 year old daughter, Luci, with moderate Asperger’s; an 18 [Read More...]

Gobble, gobble: an early Thanksgiving Day gift, the first glimpse at “Jurassic World”

Color me thrilled.  N.B: this does not look like it’s going to be a turkey. And, continuing the holiday theme, you’ll see quite a few “Easter eggs” here, including a haunting interpretation of the iconic John Williams’ theme near the end. What’s not to love? Get your geek on and enjoy. [Read more...]

Church of England says Sunday mornings are “inconvenient”, midweek services more popular

All this religion stuff is just so gosh-darn hard. It is worth noting: no one is saying—at least, not yet— that the C of E is doing away with Sunday services. But the leadership is noting a trend—and, let’s face it, the C of E is nothing if not adaptable.  We’ll see where this goes. Unfortunately, it [Read More...]

Archbishop in Ferguson: “I implore each of you, choose peace!”

Last night, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson was in Ferguson, to lead a prayer service at St. Teresa of Calcutta parish and pray with the people as the grand jury decision was announced. From The St. Louis Review:  “I implore each of you: Choose peace!” said Archbishop Carlson, who prayed at the memorial site for [Read More...]

Archbishop bars son of Italian crime boss from confirmation ceremony

Details:  It’s long been accused of adopting an at best ambiguous role in the fight against organised crime in Sicily, but the Catholic Church has now taken a symbolic stand against the Mafia in its Palermo heartland by refusing to give sacrament to the son of a notorious Cosa Nostra crime lord. Despite protests from [Read More...]

Ordination update: 6 new deacons for San Bernardino

This arrived in my in-box this morning, from Rich Herbst, Episcopal Master of Ceremonies in San Bernardino: Six new permanent deacons ordained for the Diocese of San Bernardino this past Saturday, November 22.  Pictured with Bishop Gerald Barnes are (left to right) Deacons Andrew Orosco, Brooke Wagner, Mark Padilla, Manuel Rivas, Porfirio Diaz, and Mark [Read More...]

The value of giving thanks

It’s all about grace. This essay is not particularly religious—the author admits she was raised Catholic but now numbers herself among those who are “spiritual but not religious”—but it strikes me as having the seeds of a compelling Thanksgiving Day homily. Take a look:  Most nights of my childhood, my parents and my siblings and [Read More...]