How Make-A-Wish and a bishop gave boy a chance to be “Priest for a Day”

This will be hard to top for uplift and sheer wonderfulness. From the St. Louis Review:  Make-A-Wish requests often involve meeting athletes, attending sporting events or traveling to amusement parks or beaches. When it came time for 11-year-old Brett Haubrich of south St. Louis County to make his wish, he not only listed none of [Read More...]

Bible that replaced God with Kanye West pulled from website

Was it a hoax? Or just a tasteless publicity stunt? The Christian Post reports: A novelty Bible honoring rap artist, Kanye West, has been removed from a popular website in the wake of growing complaints. It is unclear whether or not the book is a hoax. The Book of Yeezus, which is a nod to West’s [Read More...]

Has the world “looked the other way” while Christians are killed?

View image | From The Washington Post:  The atmosphere in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square turned from celebratory to somber as Pope Francis devoted his address Monday to the bleak subject that has occupied most of his recent remarks. “Our brothers and our sisters … are persecuted, exiled, slain, beheaded, solely for being Christian,” [Read More...]

Oh boy, do I know the feeling…

This is for all the priests, deacons, altar servers, choir members, musicians, organists, music directors, lectors, EMHCs, ushers, florists and assorted volunteers who went above and beyond. (And special props, by the way, to the spouses, who put up with it all…) Wake me on Tuesday. [Read more...]

Three observations from Easter 2015

Well, as I sit here at home in my pajamas at 10 a.m. on Monday morning, still in an incense-induced stupor after four days of chanting, kneeling, prostrating, processing, hoisting, carrying, lighting, extinguishing, rehearsing, proclaiming, preaching, communion-giving and “Happy Easter-ing” to people at the church doors, I’m struck by three small but perhaps significant developments. Make [Read More...]

A lapsed Catholic encounters a shepherd: “Bishop Vann practices what he preaches”

Here’s something you don’t see every day. A self-professed “lapsed Catholic” visits the campus of the new cathedral on Orange County to chat with Bishop Kevin Vann, and comes away impressed and, just maybe, changed: I ask about tolerance, and about illegal immigration in particular. The bishop immediately dismisses the term “tolerance,” which he says [Read More...]

Man accidentally fires gun during Easter Vigil at Pennsylvania cathedral

From The New York Daily News: A male attendee of the Easter Vigil mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona brought a loaded handgun to the service and accidentally set it off just before the closing hymn, The Altoona Mirror reported. The firearm’s safety lock was apparently not on and the unidentified man’s [Read More...]

Donations pour in to support florist who refused to provide flowers for gay wedding

From The Seattle Times:  The Richland florist who refused to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding has netted more than $80,000 from an online crowdfunding page dedicated to “protect her and her livelihood.” A GoFundMe page set up for Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, had raised $80,225 from 1,884 donors [Read More...]

Lumen Christi! Scenes from our Easter Vigil

Photographs by Maria Ribar, Rosalind Chan-Ghanzi, Niranjan Fernando and me at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY at the Easter Vigil 2015.  Bishop Paul Sanchez, Pastor With my friend, ordination classmate, and the DRE at my parish, Deacon Bill McNamara. Team Triduum: While virtually every one of the 140 or so servers at [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone…”

“To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our [Read More...]

If I had to pick my favorite hymn, this might be it

This was sung throughout the Triduum at my parish, and most triumphantly last night, for the Vigil, with the Easter verses. I love it. I selected this for the entrance hymn at my Mass of Thanksgiving, too. Our choir always does a spectacular job with it. Here, a thrilling version from the choir at Notre [Read More...]

Portrait of a vocation: “It was this kind of awakening”

In a rarity for a secular newspaper, The Day in Connecticut has a profile of a young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood: Michael Bovino never thought his family was overly religious. They said grace before dinner and he participated in religious education classes at their parish, St. Michael the Archangel in Pawcatuck, but “I was just [Read More...]

What most people don’t see at the Easter Vigil…

…is the rehearsal that goes into it. Just got back from this year’s rehearsal with our DRE, Deacon Bill McNamara, and our pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez. The church was being decorated. Cassocks were being mended. Catechumens were being pushed around. Robes were being measured. Tonight, of course, it will all look effortless. (Unless the deacon screws [Read More...]

For Good Friday…

Some resources: The Way of the Cross with Pope Francis for this year The Way of the Cross with Pope Francis from 2014 Forgiveness and Mercy: A reflection on The Seven Last Words Homily for April 3, 2015: Good Friday [Read more...]

Holy Thursday

A few scenes from my parish tonight, from before and after our stunning Mass of the Lord’s Supper. [Read more...]

Homily for April 3, 2015: Good Friday

When I was a child, I’d hear this account of Christ’s Passion and I’d keep hoping it would have another ending. I hoped that the soldiers would turn back…or Pilate would change his mind…or the people would cry out for Jesus to be the one freed instead of Barabbas. What happens is so heart-wrenching and [Read More...]

On Christ’s Seven Last Words: “They offer one final sermon on a mount, a lasting message of forgiveness and mercy”

Friday night, my parish will have a performance of Thomas Dubois’ oratorio, “The Seven Last Words.” I’m preaching a reflection on it, below.  +++ Without question, it is the most infamous public execution of all time. No death has been more depicted in art, in drama, in literature and, as we’ve just heard, in music. On [Read More...]

Must-see TV: Pope washes feet of inmates—and a toddler

From CNS:  In a moving ceremony that recalled how Jesus loved the world so deeply that he lowered himself to serve and died for everyone’s sins, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 prison inmates, plus a small toddler who lives with his incarcerated mother.“Jesus loved us, Jesus loves us, but without any limits, always, [Read More...]