The Kissable God

The feasts of the liturgical year intertwine.  At Christmas we adore the baby Jesus, cuddly, but it’s on Good Friday that the liturgy invites us to come forward and give that grown-up baby a kiss.  God become man, a man we can hold, and touch, and thank.  And then on Easter, Mary Magdalene, apostle to the Apostles, mistress of tenderness, embraces that Man and is told to let go: There is more still coming. There is still more coming.  From… Read more

Two Foolproof Ways to Improve Church Attendance

Dear Pope Francis, Other people have shared their ideas with you on how to bring more people back to the faith or into the fold. Their ideas vary from the predictable (evangelization) to the ludicrous (changing Church teaching).  Today my son and I would like to urge you to implement two reforms that are nearly guaranteed to work, and which hardly cost anything at all. 1. Add More Sacraments I understand that we’re or more less stuck with the seven… Read more

New Entries for Our French-Redneck Dictionary

So I’ve got four high school students sitting at my kitchen table, and we’re going over the passé composé today, that stalwart French tense that is the bane of first-year students.  I grab a random verb from the list in the textbook, renverser, to spill.  Because they have an evil instructor who gives difficult quizzes at the start of every class session (the better to learn from, my dear) I remind them that a phrase such as j’ai renversé . . .  [insert… Read more

Easter Season Internet Safety For Parents

The spouse sneaks back to the bedroom this afternoon and says in a low voice, “There are bunny things in my Amazon shopping cart.  Am I supposed to buy them?” “I didn’t put them there, if that’s what you mean,” I tell him.  A likely suspect comes to mind. “What kind of bunny things?” “Lego, Playmobil.  Things like that.” Ah yes.  I remember somebunny mentioning these things.  “You know that one-click feature?  We need to be careful about that or… Read more

Getting the Parent-Church Relationship Right

In private discussions of my post about the role of parents in catechesis, a number of variations on, “But parents like catechists!” came up.  I couldn’t agree more.  I’m a parent, and I actively seek out opportunities to put my children into the hands of other faithful Catholic adults. The answer to supporting parents in their role as primary educators of their children isn’t first kill all the catechists.  Absolutely not. Rather, it’s a question of priorities and focus. Are we… Read more

Case Study: Best Practices in Parish Logistics

This is a follow-on to yesterday’s post, in which I pointed out problems.  Big ones.  Today let’s talk solutions.  Before I get on to the case study I want to share, here are a couple  links to the Jesus is Lord adult-discipleship program: Martina Kreitzer shares the first semester’s experience at the parish-of-origin for Jesus is Lord. Marcel LeJeune has adapted it for campus ministry. This works.  If you want a parish full of adult disciples, click through and take… Read more

The Hero Complex that is Destroying the Catholic Faith

Ninth grade is when our parish does confirmation, and my son indicated last summer that yes, he’d like to be confirmed.  Would it be possible, I inquired with Father E., for the boy to prepare for the sacrament outside the bounds of the usual parish program?  For various reasons Father said no, he really needed the kid to go through the youth group just like everyone else. I happen to like our youth minister, and because her gifts are so… Read more

New from Margaret Rose Realy: A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac

  I just received Margaret Rose Realy’s latest book, A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac. I’ve had a chance to thumb through it, and want to go ahead and mention it now, since it has excellent Easter-basket potential. What it is:  A month-by-month tour of the Catholic garden.  For each month there are notes on the seasons, the feasts, a selection of saints, spiritual reflections, and practical gardening notes.  If you took the pure practicality of A Garden of Visible Prayer, the lived spirituality… Read more

May You Skip Your Penance on St. Patrick’s Day?

I have an irrational aversion to dressing matchy-matchy with the liturgical calendar, which backfired Sunday.   I started to grab the pink sweater — nope, that won’t do on Laetare Sunday.  Blue sweater.  What scarf? Purple scarves rejected, grabbed the green-print one, thought myself perfectly safe.  Not so. Apparently the Sunday before St. Patrick’s day is when the die hard enthusiasts sport their green suits.  But I was okay with that, because: St. Patrick. There’s just nothing wrong with accidentally… Read more

A Patron Saint for Rabble Rousers and their Bishops

When I answered Tom McDonald’s How I Pray series, one of the pile of question marks in the black hole that is my prayer life concerned spiritual reading.  Two answers of late: 1. The book I’m carrying around town and reading in snatches is Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, by Brant Pitre.  So far, it’s excellent. Recommended if you have a general understanding of the significance of the Mass and the… Read more