Is Your Parish Your Community? Or Not So Much?

The topic of loneliness and exclusion from parish life came up recently, and I threw down the gauntlet: I don't think most of us have a real community at our parishes.  Even those who seem so busy or involved or catered to don't necessarily have much going on in terms of genuine social and spiritual relationships.To which I propose the following quiz, to see if your parish really is your community.  Not counting close family members:Do the people you sit near regularly at Mass know your … [Read more...]

What ISIS Can Teach Us About the HHS Contraceptive Mandate

The courts are back and forth on whether the current HHS rules violate the religious freedom of non-church religious employers. (You, for example, have some kind of religion or philosophical system.  If you were an employer, wouldn't you want to follow your principles, even if it was just a public car wash or a daycare you were running? You are the kind of people these cases are talking about.) Kathy Schiffer writes on the latest in the ping-pong:A federal appeals court ruled August 21 that n … [Read more...]

Dear Every Priest I’ve Ever Known,

Thank you for keeping your clothes on.  One can only take the St. Francis thing so far.Sincerely,Everyone You've Ever Known.St. Francis Facepalm by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (known as Guercino or Il Guercino),  [Public Domain] courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. … [Read more...]

Why Kolbe Academy for My Boy, In One Picture

The boy is headed out to spend the weekend with some family friends (adults, not teenagers).  His dad, not much of a reader so if he says a book is entertaining it probably is, hands him a recent work of adventure-sci-fi to fill the downtime.What the boy digs out of the new school books box instead:The boy does not have perfect grades.  He is a normal teenager with the usual spread of strengths and weaknesses.  But if he's going to pass notes in class and scrape together papers at th … [Read more...]

Heroism and the Fight for Every Human Person

Here are some recent stories about young men who've saved people from being kidnapped:Teen Named a Hero after Saving Woman from Kidnapping Hero Teens Save 5-Year-Old by Chasing Kidnapper on their BikesThe way these young men acted was heroic.  We don't need to know what their grades are, or what kind of job they have, or whether they remember to put the trash out every week without being reminded.  We can be certain that whatever else is going on in their lives, perhaps saintly or p … [Read more...]

Easy, Effective, No-Cost and Low-Cost Catechist Training

It's the time of year when desperate directors of religious education drag parishioners out of the pews and shove them into classrooms.  Someone has to teach these kids, and those someones usually come in three categories:Experienced teachers who don't know much about the faith; Knowledgeable Christians who don't know much about teaching; Really nice people who are willing to give it their best.Turnover can be high, and the last few volunteers tend to arrive about three weeks into … [Read more...]

Call for Writers: Catholic Mom’s Annual Gospel Reflection Collection

A reader reminded me I wrote something half-decent that ran this past week at  Following some thoughts on the Bread of Life discourse: When I enter a Catholic church, am I aware that I’ve just stepped into the court of the King of the Universe? Do I treat my time in His presence with the solemnity, majesty, and awe that such a visit deserves? Maybe you, too, like to pray over the scriptures and reflect on them.  If so, that can be your name in print for 2016. h … [Read more...]