My brother-in-law, my hero

From The Department of Diaconal Nepotism: a great story about a great guy doing a great thing. The guy in question just happens to be the brother of the woman I’m married to. From the University of Notre Dame: At 6 a.m. on May 3, Michael Meyer will start off on a 30-mile trek that [Read More...]

Back when churches were churches: some stunning examples in Pennsylvania

In the days before someone decided that the interior of every church needed to resemble a rec room, with a façade that paid tribute to the Kwik-E-Mart, folks built sacred houses of worship that actually looked sacred. Take, for example, these beautiful places in Pennsylvania, including the Catholic church pictured here, St. Joseph’s, in Erie. [Read more...]

“Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

That’s the catchphrase of a new abortion clinic opening outisde Washington, DC, and they even have a TV ad they’ve produced. See below. I’m trying to think of other catchy catchphrases… “Killing your parents. Yeah, we do that.” “Murdering babies with Down Syndrome. Yeah, we do that.”  “Slaughtering the innocent so you don’t have to. Yeah, we do [Read More...]

We’ve all been there…

…but not all of us are armed. Headline of the week: Colorado man ticketed for shooting his computer; says it was worth it [Read more...]

Lay minister wearing a deacon stole?

A deacon reader passed this along. This question popped up at Zenit and is answered by Fr. Edward McNamara: Q: In Vietnam, the Eucharistic minister wears a deacon’s stole, as you can see in the attached picture. Is this right? — N.T., Vietnam A: Our reader accompanied the question with a photo of a gentleman [Read More...]

Confirmed: Pope to visit Cuba on way to U.S.

From AP:  Pope Francis will visit Cuba before arriving in the United States in the last week of September, the Vatican said Wednesday. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the Cuba leg to reporters but didn’t provide details or dates. Francis has been credited with helping the United States and Cuba reach their historic [Read More...]

Dominican nuns in SF walk out of high school to protest gay rights group

From The San Francisco Chronicle:  The divisions within the Bay Area’s Catholic community over gay rights hit Marin Catholic High School full force the other day, when a group of nuns walked out of their classes to protest the sponsors of a program intended to protect gay and lesbian teens from bullying. The five members [Read More...]

5 travel essentials that made a big difference in my Jordan trip

A few people have asked me questions about my just-completed jaunt to Jordan, so I thought I’d post a few answers. If you’re planning an overseas trip or pilgrimage, you might find these ideas useful. Or not. (Your mileage may vary.) They worked for me. So here goes: 1. Shoes. You don’t need a graduate degree [Read More...]

UPDATE: Michigan priest, obeying bishop, discontinues gun classes

A followup on yesterday’s posting, from MichiganLive:  Christ the King Church in Ann Arbor will no longer offer concealed pistol license (CPL) classes, the church’s priest announced on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. Edward Fride had sent out a letter defending his decision to offer the book-based portion of the course—not the live fire instruction—at the church after some parishioners [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: the wrapup

A great young videographer named Connor Eberhart accompanied us on the trip. He was tireless and he was everywhere—photographing everything we did, every place we saw. (Did he ever sleep?  I’m not so sure…) Here, in roughly chronological order, are some of the videos he posted on his Vimeo site, which give a great sense [Read More...]

Bishop Finn resigns

From Associated Press:  Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles. The Vatican said Tuesday [Read More...]

Boom: Allentown to ordain 47 deacons this weekend, believed to be 2015′s largest class

I received the email announcement about this wonderful news Monday afternoon:      47 men, called from each of the five counties of the Diocese of Allentown, will be ordained permanent deacons by Bishop John Barres at the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena in Allentown on Saturday, April 25 at 10:30 AM. According to the [Read More...]

“Banns for the diaconate”?

While reading the bulletin for Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor (see here for more on that story), I spotted this item: Peter James Lawrence from this parish is scheduled to be ordained as a transitional Deacon on May 16, 2015, for service to the Diocese of Lansing. Anyone knowing a serious reason [Read More...]

Michigan priest urges parishioners to arm themselves: “We’re not in Mayberry anymore, Toto”

From The Detroit Free Press:  An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL). In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get [Read More...]

“Catholics appalled by what is happening in the Middle East do not have to feel powerless”

From John Allen in Crux comes this excellent glimpse into the work of Catholic Near East Welfare Agency (CNEWA), where I work: Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican sustained primarily by the Church in the United States and Canada. Its first president was a legendary American Jesuit [Read More...]

“Honey, I’d like to be a deacon…”

From comes this profile of one local couple—and a conversation that will be familiar to many deacons and their wives: I was stunned when my husband, Donald, mentioned he was considering becoming a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. This really took me by surprise. Donald was raised in the South as a Baptist! [Read More...]

What a small town obituary writer learned about living

This is something to read and share—and, I suspect, there is abundant material here for a good homily. From Huffington Post: In the healthiest sense possible, Heather Lende has an intimate relationship with death. She is the longtime obituary writer in her small Alaska hometown of Haines, having memorialized some 400 departed locals, neighbors, friends. She volunteers [Read More...]

Dignity in death: Chicago buries unclaimed fetuses in Catholic cemetery

From The Chicago Tribune:  Grey skies and muddy grounds didn’t keep Yolanda Gamboa from quietly praying at a service for 63 of Cook County’s unclaimed miscarried or stillborn fetuses at Chicago’s Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery Thursday. “I heard about it on the radio this morning, and it just touched my heart,” said Gamboa, an Oak [Read More...]