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...]

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...]

Dark Devotional: How Do I Get to the Desert?

I learned I had no discipline or willpower at age nine when my fourth grade religion teacher had us write down in our composition notebooks what we would be giving up for Lent. That was a real head-scratcher; any child would’ve had a hard time having a “vice” in my household. My brother and I had everything we needed, and most of what we wanted, but unlike many of my friends, we didn’t have video-game systems that we played into the wee hours. My mother didn’t keep candy in the house (well, I lea … [Read more...]

The Danger of a Clean Faith: Colleen Mitchell

I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember, how it's our job to carry our crosses. The subtext, that in doing so we imitate Christ, is a cornerstone of Christian faith.And I have believed it, but too often I have believed it wrongly, I think.I imagined that true Christians, the really holy ones, somehow pulled up under the weight of their crosses and kept themselves together.Perhaps the weight digs into their shoulders and splinters pierce their flesh. It could be that their legs sh … [Read more...]