Homily for the Vigil of the Assumption

[From the vault: here's my 2010 homily for the vigil of tomorrow's feast.] Years ago, a friend gave me a holy card with an unusual depiction of the Blessed Mother. She is visibly pregnant, and reading from a book – praying from scripture. As my friend explained to me: it’s a great image for a [Read More...]

The Assumption and the “Wedding of the Sea”

Thursday marks the Solemnity of the Assumption—n.b., a holy day of obligation—and an occasion for some memorable traditions, most notably the blessing of sea water. This is a custom we started at my parish several years ago (even though we are a long subway ride from the Atlantic Ocean). One of the priests collects some [Read More...]

Homily for December 8, 2012: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

[Click here for readings.] In his new book about the infancy of Jesus, Pope Benedict mentions one powerful detail in the gospel we just heard—and it’s something that I have to agree is striking. It is Mary’s aloneness. The pope wrote: “I consider it important to focus on the final sentence of Luke’s Annunciation narrative: [Read More...]

Homily for September 16, 2012: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

[This weekend, we mark the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which serves as the feast day for my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. We are in the middle of a centennial celebration for the parish, so we're marking that feast in a special way at all the weekend Masses. Below is my homily [Read More...]

Homily for August 15, 2012: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Click here for readings] Last weekend, I was talking with someone in the sacristy and said that that, in my opinion, this is the best time of year to be in New York. The last two weeks of August may be hot, humid, mobbed with tourists. But: during rush hour, you can always get a [Read More...]

Mary’s journey: a homily for The Visitation

For the Feast of the Visitation, here’s a portion of my homily from 2007 from the Solemnity of the Assumption, which used the same gospel reading. +++ The gospel today begins with a journey. “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste…” This time of year, I think, a lot of us [Read More...]

Her glorious Assumption: "To look at Mary is to see God's original plan for humanity"

“Henri Nouwen, I think, felt a profound connection to Mary’s simplicity and humanity. In one of his journals, he describes meeting a priest who summed up Mary’s meaning to the world so beautifully. ‘To look at Mary,’ this priest said, ‘is to see God’s original plan for humanity.’ As Nouwen explained, ‘In her, we see [Read More...]

Homily for January 1, 2011: Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

This is traditionally the day when we make resolutions and size up the year to come. This is when we decide… To quit smoking…again. To lose weight…again. To stop drinking…again. To spend less money…again. I typically spend this day going through all the junk piled up on my desk and sorting through old papers in [Read More...]

Another Annunciation…

Earlier, I posted an item about one artist’s unique take on Mary’s visit from Gabriel. Below is another interpretation, from the same artist, John Collier, commissioned for a church (now co-cathedral) in West Virginia. As the artist describes it: “In my Annunciation the angel Gabriel stands on a rotting stump which has a living branch [Read More...]


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