Understanding the Washing of the Feet

(Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

One of the most striking traditions of Holy Week is the washing of the feet at Holy Thursday mass. Once again, we are reenacting something Christ himself commanded us to do, and the somewhat awkward and uncomfortable way the tradition is performed at many modern masses does nothing to undercut the potent symbolism of the [Read More...]

The Judas Tree, And Other Legends of the Betrayer

This is cercis siliquastrum, the Judas Tree: It is, according to legend, the type of tree from which Judas hanged himself, and its once-white blossoms blushed with shame to be part of such a terrible history. Or perhaps it’s called the Judas Tree because the clusters of blossoms sometimes hang from the branches, suggesting a hanging [Read More...]

Bishop O’Connell On His Recovery, the Synod, and More

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I had a chance to interview the Most Reverend David O’Connell, Bishop of Trenton, about his recovery from an emergency amputation, his Lent, the synod, and his diocese. An excerpt: Has [your recovery] given this Lent any added meaning? It’s something that has been part of my own movement into Lent. I’m conscious of this [Read More...]

The Three Pillars of Lent

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We meet again, Lent, my old foe. This time I will have you! I joke. I love Lent, at least since I’ve learned to meet it not as my Everest to be conquered, but as 40 days in the desert with Christ. That’s a pretty tall order to fill, and our forebears in the faith [Read More...]

The Ashes! They Burnses!

So this story flitted across my feed today: Ashes Burned and Blistered Parishioner’s Foreheads On Ash Wednesday, parishioners of Saint Joseph’s church in Newtownshandrum, Co Cork received their cross ashes on their forehead as many Catholics around the world did, but something different happened at St. Joseph’s. The parishioner’s foreheads began to burn and blistered [Read More...]

The Daily Capybara, And a Bit of Legend

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The capybara is my favorite animal, and not merely because they’re the only red meat you can eat on days of Lenten fast. Well, that’s the legend at least. Supposedly, when the missionaries encountered the capybara in South America, they weren’t sure if it qualified as a mammal or a fish. It has webbed feet [Read More...]

Electronic Resources for Lent

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I’m rediscovering today just how incredible a single piece of wheat toast can taste when you’re fasting. This effect is not incidental to the practice.  In the meantime, I just want to point you to a few electronic resources for making your Lent more holy: Verbum Bible Software is offering a free copy of Lenten Grace: [Read More...]

CRS Rice Bowl [App o the Mornin']

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Remember getting your little cardstock rice bowls each year at CCD class, folding them into shape, and dropping in change to support Operation Rice Bowl? You can still do that (and you should) but you can also bring the practice into the 21st century with Catholic Relief Service’s Rice Bowl app (iPhone/Android: free). CRS has [Read More...]


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