Dear Lord, Baby Jesus: Black Friday and the New Evangelization

 Could Black Friday become a feast day of the New Evangelization? In this post from December 2010, I may have been on to something._____Tis the season when Christians collectively bemoan the commercialization of the holy day, reminding ourselves of the importance of turning away from the retail rat race and putting Christ back into Christmas. Yesterday, though, while tuning one ear to the Christmas muzak playing in one of my favorite coffee establishments (as it has been playing … [Read more...]

‘VAGINAS WIN! VAGINAS WIN!’: Reductio ad Lady Parts

My lady parts, what's left of 'em, are feeling mighty marginalized this morning, after waking up to the news that they did not get invited to the Grrrrrl Power party that reelected President Obama. Being respectable card-carrying feminist lady parts, activated in the 1960s, they are astonished to learn how far the mighty have fallen. "WTF?" they are asking. "Didn't we already fight this battle? Didn't they hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore that women are more than the sum of their lady … [Read more...]

I’m That Guy: The Gunpowder of Being Catholic in Public

On the eve of a contentious election, pondering the explosive nexus of faith and politics.Please to remember The Fifth of November Gunpowder, Treason, and Strife . . .Back when I was in my Anglican interim, I loved commemorating Guy Fawkes Day. A haunting little historical nursery rhyme, bonfires, the burning of effigies, and children in raggedy clothes with ash-blackened faces accosting householders, begging A penny for the Guy!---what's not to love? I had a vague notion of the … [Read more...]

A Journal of My Council: A Book Review

My Journal of the Council by Yves Congar, OP Liturgical Press, 2012Even as my arteries and my religious views harden with age, I remain a daughter of Vatican II. The first session of the council was officially convened on my 12th birthday in 1962, and the fruits of the council were the single most important influence on my faith formation. As I've written here before, I still consider myself a Catholic of the John XXIIIrd Generation, and proud of it. I carried a well-thumbed copy of the … [Read more...]

After Us, the Deluge: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

 A month ago, we were in Lourdes under a blazing sun, cooling ourselves with glimpses of the River Gave de Pau as it ran alongside the Sanctuaries. This past weekend, we watched the news and the Shrine's own YouTube channel dumbfounded as the rain-swollen river overflowed its banks, driven by storms in the Pyrenees. About 500 pilgrims, including malades seeking healing, had to be evacuated from riverside hotels like the one where we stayed. Water rose more than four feet in the Grotto … [Read more...]

A Conversation of Pilgrims

Last week I had the great joy of talking with writer, speaker, and broadcaster---and my neighbor at the Patheos Catholic Channel---Pat Gohn about my recent pilgrimage experience, and about pilgrimage as a spiritual discipline and a metaphor for the journey of faith. Pat is a devoted pilgrim herself, and has a particular love for Fatima, the place that most moved and surprised me last month.Pat recorded our conversation for her Among Women podcast (#148: Coming Home on Pilgrimage), and it's … [Read more...]

Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

Everybody else in Paris was lined up to see Lady Gaga. But we were gaga for another Lady.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 10: Lourdes to ParisWe left Lourdes early on a Sunday morning, bidding our bus drivers farewell and gathering at the Gare de Lourdes to catch the high-speed train to Paris. We were clustered in little groups throughout several train cars---our guides Guida and Francoise later confessed to putting some time into choosing who would be compatible with whom on the 5-hour … [Read more...]

Let My Prayers Rise Like Incense

We burned prayer cards last night at my friend Michael's house, on a truly cold evening under a last-quarter moon.It's an annual ritual, one that Michael---Director of the Stewardship Office of the Cincinnati Archdiocese---started a few years ago. As part of our annual archdiocesan appeal, we send donors a prayer card with their thank you letter from the Archbishop. We invite them to list their intentions on the cards and return them, to be prayed for at the three regional Appeal … [Read more...]