Dark Devotional: Faith and Doubt in the Labyrinth

I am easily led to anxiety in unfamiliar situations. I don’t like to do things with other people, and though I recognize the necessity in community, I’d almost always prefer to go about my day on my own, for comfort's sake. Like most of us, I like certainty. Like most of us, I realize life isn’t very certain.While walking a labyrinth with a group of friends last week, I was brought to a place of holding this uncertainty in a new way. In our preparation to walk, we reminded one another that th … [Read more...]

St. Joseph’s Altar: The Lenten Feast?

Every year in my school, the classes would take a bus to a nearby banquet hall in our town of Opelousas, where we’d be able to eat some of the great food prepared for the St. Joseph’s Altar, a practice especially popular in Catholic southern Louisiana. That “altar” was really just a few tables adorned with flowers, breads, desserts, and meatless meals to commemorate the Solemnity of St. Joseph.Since the Solemnity falls during Lent most years and is not technically a Feast Day, the rules of th … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: To Die for an Ungodly Neighbor

For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.In the aftermath of the presidential election, I've seen many Catholic bloggers and Facebook-ers address the question of "martyrdom." The discussion is focused on the housing and … [Read more...]

Introducing Brian Jocks, Sick Pilgrim’s Illustrator

Louisiana artist Brian Jocks will be contributing original illustrations to the Dark Devotional, Sick Pilgrim's weekly meditations on the Mass readings.Sick Pilgrim ("a decidedly dark and offbeat, yet stubbornly hopeful blog founded by misfit Catholic writers") is meant to be a platform for artists. As a blog, most of the artists we've gathered are writers, and we’ve been excited to feature so many (with more than 60 guest posts in our first year online), each with a unique voi … [Read more...]

That Old Catholic Magic: Jacob Popcak Explains St. Patrick’s Day to Sick Pilgrim

We invited some Sick Pilgrims over to talk about one of our favorite saints, St Patrick, in honor of his feast day this Friday, March 17. And then Jacob Popcak took us all to school.First things first. St. Patrick wasn't Irish.Jacob Popcak: Patrick was a slave of the Irish, who escaped, became a priest, and came back to convert his captors. He loved them. Which is ... insane, from a modern perspective.David Russell Mosley: He wasn't "Celtic," or at least not Irish.Jonathan Ryan: H … [Read more...]

That viral video of the interrupted professor? I don’t think it’s funny.

It crowded my newsfeed on Friday, accompanied by many “LOLs” and my favorite “laughing to the point of tears” emoji.Robert E. Kelly, a political science professor based in South Korea, was being interviewed live on BBC from his home office when his toddler opened the door and bounded in, followed by a baby sibling in a walker.The professor reaches back with one arm and attempts to push the toddler away, while continuing to look into the camera and attempts to answer the questio … [Read more...]

Dark Devotional: A Hazy Christ Unveiled

He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim. 1.8b-10)And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. (Mt. 17.2) I have always been interested in … [Read more...]

Road Trip Homilies: Wounded Knee and the Snake Givers

As I walked along a sandy path in Badlands National Park, I noticed a sign warning me to "Beware of Rattlesnakes." The wind stinging my cheeks reminded that even if the snakes decided to brave the cold, they'd be sluggish and unlikely to bite.  Still, as I walked, I listened for the tell tale "rattttttttttetattatt" and prepared myself to leap out of the way.For some reason, I couldn't get snakes out of my mind as I drove to the Pine Ridge Reservation located south of Badlands. I'd taken this … [Read more...]

Blog of the Year

When I told my fellow pilgrims that we'd received an award for faith-based blog of the year, our associate editor Matt Lafleur responded, "Does this mean we're....winners?" Good question.Jonathan Ryan and I created this blog for the margins, the narrow audience not being served (or published) by Christian presses and magazines -- those of us who've never felt at home anywhere but are tired of traveling alone. That audience has turned out to be a lot bigger than we anticipated.The Wilbur … [Read more...]

It Didn’t Count: Sexual Assault and Virginity

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” 1 Timothy 3:2“Deacons must be husbands of only one wife.” 1 Timothy 3:12When I was 17 years old, I was sexually assaulted by a classmate. It was my first sexual experience, and it changed the course of my life. In addition to the psychological damage, I had to reckon with what my status as an assault victim meant in the context of a Christian campus ministry … [Read more...]