If It Doesn’t Cost You Everything, You’re Not on the Little Way

I once made a mother cry by telling her it was the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.I thought I was doing her, and all the other 5th grade religious education parents, a favor.  We had failed to account for the feast in making our class schedule.  I knew that most of my students would not be able to slip out for a noon Mass on the day, and many had mandatory school activities in the evening.  But look! A vigil mass was scheduled during my class time, so please, parents, come gr … [Read more...]

The Mass is Not Your Evangelization Event

Over at Sherry Weddell's intentional disciples forum, Fr. Guarav Shroff (whose blog you should read) posted a link to an article from the Homiletic & Pastorial Review on The Liturgy and the New Evangelization.  It's worth reading the whole thing, which looks dense and intimidating but isn't actually that bad if you make yourself a cup of tea and relax while you read.  But here's the quote that is behind the story I'm about to tell you: Without an initial acceptance of the Gospel, and u … [Read more...]

If You Have to Ask, “Is that the Church?” It’s Time to Call an Architect

Last month I had the chance to visit Fr. Dwight Longenecker's parish, Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville, SC.   Google Maps was mostly-faithful, and I found the parish school without too much trouble.  I was a little early for Mass, but figured I'd park where the other people were parking, then wander around until I found the church.What was I looking for?  The school buildings were a classic collection done in the style of Low-Slung Mid-Century Frugal Southerner, complete with outdoor wal … [Read more...]

3 Things We Need From Our Priests Before We Can Evangelize

I don't go in for clergy-policing, to the point that I have to remind myself it's okay to give a guy a compliment when he does a good job. Likewise, as my husband pointed out one day when I was whining about some trivial shortcoming on the part of Fr. Excellent, most pastors are trying to do the job of five men, and if they manage to do the job of three men well, they're ahead of the game. I write now with both those perspectives firmly in mind.  Executive Summary: If you want your parishioners … [Read more...]

In the Face of Such Evil, the Only Thing Left is Hope

For those who know what such a thing is, the theme around my corner of the Catholic world over the past few weeks has been Spiritual Warfare 101.  I don't have any particular talent for that fight, so it ends up about as unlovely as any other battlefield.You may be finding yourself on similarly unlovely territory just now.Despairing.  What is the point? How to continue in the face of this latest news, that latest turn of events? *** Meanwhile, my monthly Gospel reflection ran earlier t … [Read more...]

Good Cause: Help Catholic Kids Stay in Catholic Schools

From my inbox:Hello! This is John McNicholYou may or may not remember me, but if you are receiving this email, you and I have had positive dealings in the past. Please help me raise money for Our Lady of Lourdes School Endowment Fund.  The fund is intended to provide financial stability for the students' education.  This page is intended for Susanna, Chris (red Shirt) and James (Hobbes costume) to help continue their excellent education at a wonderful school, Our Lady of Lourdes in … [Read more...]

Annulments, Divorce, Remarriage: We’ve Got it All Backwards

The Synod for the Family is coming up, and one of the vexing problems it hopes to address is the situation of Catholic bigamists and polygamists.Vocabulary review:Digamy is the act of marrying again after one's spouse has died, and is a topic that comes up among the early Church Fathers with respect to clergy marriage.  It's a non-issue for the laity (us normal people who aren't ordained), but it's fun to say out loud, so everyone should know what it means. Bigamy is the act of m … [Read more...]


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