RIDING THE RAILS: What I Learned Aboard Amtrak Wolverine #351

Good morning, America, how are you? Don’t you know me—I’m your native son…. --train lyrics by Steve Goodman, “City of New Orleans” I consider myself an experienced traveler.  Over the past twenty years I’ve explored seven or eight countries, and all but a couple of the contiguous American states.  I’ve traveled at least twice by train:  once as a small child, when my grandmother took me to Toledo aboard the last steam train to provide service in Michigan; and once with my own children to Ann Arbo … [Read more...]

LIKING BIKERS: Catholic Cross-Bearers Take the Gospel to the Streets


June 9-17 was Bike Week in Laconia, New Hampshire.  Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country descended on New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, home to “America’s Original Riding Rally.”  Bikers traveled winding roads through picturesque mountain forests, alongside stunning lake vistas; and they rode on historic roads like the Kangamangus Trail. Oh, and they preached the Gospel. *     *     *     *     * Visiting the Granite State for a family wedding, I couldn’t help but notice … [Read more...]

To Rise From Ashes: The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

One hundred eighty-nine years ago next week—on July 15, 1832—a careless workman started a fire on the roof of one of Rome’s great papal basilicas, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the  Walls.  The workman had been completing repairs on the lead tiles when a great fire erupted, causing near total destruction of the historic chapel.Repairs on the basilica took more than 30 years, with many countries contributing toward its construction.  Pillars of alabaster were offered by the Viceroy of Egypt … [Read more...]