My uncle took me out squirrel hunting at 5 in the morning. Sitting with my back to the tree, we munched on sausage and biscuits as we waited. Not knowing what to do with the napkin in my hand, I just threw it on the ground in front of me. My uncle turned to me and said in a Southern Indiana drawl, “Pick that shit up. God’s creation is not your trash can.” Surprised, I picked it up and stuffed… Read more

(Spoilers ahead, so don’t whine.) Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, but I didn’t really like any of the movies. I thought Daniel Radcliffe’s acting got worse as the series went along. Every time I hear that someone saw the movies but has not read the books, I cringe. So, it’s with a deep skepticism that I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But, I’m glad to say that I absolutely… Read more

I hobbled into church yesterday for the Rite of the Anointing of the Sick, holding the railing to relieve the pain in my left leg as I climbed the steps to the choir loft. I tore my meniscus on Election Day, when, distracted and anxious, I tripped over myself in my kitchen. People smiled at me sympathetically, but this isn’t why I’m here. I didn’t come to get anointed. I’m in the choir, and I volunteered to sing. The organist begins the opening… Read more

The Solemnity of Christ, the King of the Universe I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122: 1-2) “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord,” the Book says. Imagine walking up the steps to a door so large you cannot see its top. Heavy clouds, and a broadcast studio for the likes of a refurbished Fulton J. Sheen, existing like a bat up there, sending his Bela… Read more

We’re celebrating community here at Sick Pilgrim this month, based on the fact that we kick off the month of November by remembering the saints and the souls that make up the great cloud of witnesses who surround us from behind the veil. As a human person living on this side of heaven, I admit that I have a uniquely–okay, maybe you could even say oddly–Catholic sentiment about keeping saints as friends. I mean, quite honestly, I find them easier… Read more

The most powerful sermon on Purgatory I ever heard came from the pulpit of a Southern Baptist church. Of course, Southern Baptists would vehemently deny this. “Purgatory” seems a made-up barrier Catholics teach to lessen our reliance on divine Love. The young speaker took to the podium like Augustus Gloop to chocolate. Any hint of anxiety when speaking to the flock of over 100 believers was either nonexistent or ironed and starched away like his pleated pants and crisp collared… Read more

In October we clean graves.  We gather in the early morning or late afternoon (because it’s still hot in south Louisiana) with our scrubbers and soapy water, rakes and trimmers, a picnic basket and maybe some beer.  We go to the cemetery to clean the graves of our ancestors and to offer some prayers for them or to them, the distinction never mattered much.  This tradition has been handed down through the generations, finding its roots in our Catholic French… Read more

“That’s one kind of localism, I guess, and one kind of politics – doing your utmost to keep that chain connected, unbroken. Our arms are linked – we try to be neighbors of His, and to speak up for his principles. That’s a lifetime’s job.” –Dorothy Day Growing up in a conservative Christian family, I found my role models as I could: usually missionary biographies depicting strong, intense, driven women who went out into the world and changed it, despite… Read more

My receding hairline gets slightly more pronounced as I look in the mirror day after day. And gray hairs annoyingly spring up haphazardly in my blackish brown mop, ghostly symbols reminding me that time passes. Even in spite of my vanity, I was willing and eager to shave my head with you. Worrying how and if it could grow back suddenly didn’t matter anymore, not because I am noble; because reality knocks us on our asses and demands our attention…. Read more

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo laments to Gandalf about having to carry the ring of power. He tells the grey wizard: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Fear and unrest have been growing… Read more

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