The Christmas Plains: A Sentimental Classic from Joseph Bottum

Joseph Bottum is the kind of storyteller who captures your attention with a straightforward phrase, a wordsmith who tickles the imagination with his own brand of plainspeak, elucidating what you knew all the time but couldn't quite put your finger on. He writes as Everyman describing the human condition, and as a prophet with an eye toward eternity.That the Black Hills of South Dakota should have won him back, home from a successful career in Washington DC and New York, is a major coup for th … [Read more...]

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Under the Christmas Tree: Books for Children of All Ages

Each year during Advent, I've tried to  offer a list of great books for children: silly stories to make kids laugh, picture books that will fill them with wide-eyed wonder, fact books to help them learn, all kinds of titles to tuck under the Christmas tree. This year my mailbox has filled with colorful new story books that are sure to become favorites. I thought I'd share some of them with you--and busy parents can click on the links and have them delivered direct to your mailbox. BOOKS FOR C … [Read more...]

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Disgraced Priest Fr. Edward Belczak Sentenced to Prison

It's a story of sin and deception, forgiveness and remorse. On December 1, Father Edward Belczak, former pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Troy, Michigan, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for stealing more than half a million dollars from the parish.But despite Fr. Belczak's admission of guilt in the case, parishioners and friends have been generous in their support. When the priest was removed from the pastorate in January 2013 as the investigation began, his former … [Read more...]

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The Miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Anna

We've had an interesting visitor in my hometown of Detroit this week.  An icon of St. Anna, the mother of the Holy Virgin Mary, was displayed on Saturday at historic Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Detroit. The Icon, which is considered to have miraculous properties, is currently on a tour of religious centers in the region.On Saturday, the Very Rev. Lev Kopistiansky, rector at Holy Trinity, and  Archimandrite Athanasy, rector of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in Pennsylvania, conducted a pr … [Read more...]

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New Book Tells the Story of Mike Huckabee: A Man of the People

When I heard that the Patheos Book Club was featuring Scott Lamb's new authorized biography of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, I got in line for the chance to review it. During this campaign season, I intend to talk about the candidates, individually and together; and I want to be well informed.I'm so glad to have read this book--but perhaps not for the reasons I expected. Mike Huckabee is so likeable, and I found his life story to be an encouragement to Americans of ordinary means, … [Read more...]

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SHOCKING: Consecrated Hosts Desecrated in Spanish Art Exhibit

A new low for performance art: In the city of Pamplona, Spain, artist Abel Azcona used consecrated hosts to spell out the word "Pederasty" in Spanish on the sidewalk; the display was photographed, and featured in an exhibit in a city-operated public art gallery.Azcona is a controversial artist whose video performance project "Intimacy" features the artist engaged in raw sexual activity with other males. In the first stage of the project, Azcona explains, he attempts to show the "intimate em … [Read more...]

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Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter Just Got Its First Bishop

Just announced: Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Steven J. Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.The Ordinariate is a structure equivalent to a diocese, but serves Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.  The Ordinariate provides a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church. At present the … [Read more...]

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Football Family’s Faith Inspires, As 5-Year-Old Chad Carr Loses Battle With Cancer

Chad Carr, the five-year-old son of former University of Michigan quarterback Jason Carr and the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, died at 1:21 this afternoon.It had been fifteen months since Chad had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The Detroit News reported: Just days before his fourth birthday, Chad was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG), a tumor located in a small area of the brain stem. The median survival rate is nine months from … [Read more...]

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A Pencil in God’s Hand: Mother Teresa’s Story Comes to the Big Screen

Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was only twelve years old when she first felt the call to become a missionary to India. At the age of 18 she joined the Sisters of Loreto, with the hope of serving in missionary work. For fifteen years, she lived in a convent in Darjeeling and Calcutta, teaching school to local girls.Then, while traveling by train from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, she experienced what she called her "call within a call." Later repeating the message she heard fr … [Read more...]

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