Roman Collar as Yoke and Witness

There is a story--or a bit of blarney, I'm not sure which--about why Catholic priests wear the distinctive Roman Collar, all black with just a tab of white showing at the front, rather than the full white collar. I heard it a while ago, and don't remember details, but in this telling it seems that during wartime many priests were easy targets because their all-white collars were easy to see, particularly at night, and so the collar was changed to what we see today, and the rectangle of white … [Read more...]

Beatifying Newman, Neri & More

Chapel Shrine of Bl. John Henry Newman, Oratory Church of St. Boniface, Brooklyn. Image mine

One of the books I'll be trying to read while in Rome is John Henry Newman; Prayers, Verses and Devotions, from Ignatius Press.Just as it seems like St. Philip Neri, my Patron for this year, may have had a hand in making Rome a suddenly reality (when I discovered that our lodgings are very near his Oratory, I could almost hear him laughing), finding this book--in perfect condition--in the "used book" bin at church seemed like a gift, too. Since Pope Benedict will be beatifying Newman on … [Read more...]

When Jesus Comes to the Sickroom

Does anyone remember having a priest come to the house to make a sick call, either just to visit, or to hear confession and anoint? Or to bring Holy Communion to the sick?I do. We had one of those "sick call" crucifixes as you see above; they open up to reveal two small candles, and a little phial of Holy Water. We have one hanging on the wall of our family room, actually, an old one someone sold me for cheap on ebay! When my brother S was very ill, we had a home visit, and also when my … [Read more...]

Mary Anne Marks, Harvard ’10 -UPDATED

This is really charming, and comes our way thanks to reader Jenny, whose son graduated from Harvard University (motto: Veritas ) last month, with this young woman, Mary Anne Marks.Ms. Marks, a classics and English joint concentrator hailing from Queens, NY, chose to give her salutatory address in Latin; and manages to be engaging and lively with this "dead" language:You can read read the speech, here.Come the fall, this gifted, confident and serene young women will head to … [Read more...]

St. Philip Neri

From the Breviary: Saint Philip Neri was born at Florence in 1515. He went to Rome and began to work with young men among whom he fostered Christian life and formed an association for the poor and the sick. Ordained to the priesthood in 1551, he founded the Oratory where spiritual reading, singing, and works of charity were practiced. He excelled in his love of neighbor and in evangelical simplicity along with a joyous service to God. Saint Philip died in 1595.My Patron for 2010 has … [Read more...]

A Most small-c Catholic Drama

Over at Pajamas Media, I have a piece that you might call an addendum to my weekend article at First Things.In 2009 an Arizona woman, pregnant with her fifth child and suffering from pulmonary hypertension (an often, but not always fatal complication), consulted with her doctor and the ethics committee member on call — a Catholic Sister of Mercy — and obtained an abortion at the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.As the story has gone public, the reactions have been predictable across r … [Read more...]

Pentecost Warm & Active Mystery of Love

This Pentecost finds me thoroughly silenced, in both physical and virtual voice; I have a sore throat, swollen glands, plugged up ears, and every folk remedy of the family at my service, but still I can't talk above a whisper - plus the arthritis in my hands is also flaring, making it difficult to type.Hey, I can take a hint. I know when I'm being called to quietness; I know when I'm being to "shut up, just shut up, shhhh...just listen."All I feel this Pentecost - readings and songs and … [Read more...]

Dwelling in Possibilities of Life & Death – UPDATED

We have recently seen pro-life conservatives like Sarah Palin and Ed Morrissey admit that fear of the unknown, and the possibility of complicated outcomes, were brief temptations toward abortion, an option which they rejected, and rejections they pointedly do not regret.Their acknowledged temptations are something most of us would understand. People want to feel sure of themselves and what is going on in their lives; they want an illusion of control.An abortion performed at a Catholic … [Read more...]

To Cover or Not to Cover the head?

We explored the subject of women covering their heads at prayer and Mass a while back, and it was one of the hottest topics we've ever debated here.I am still covering, and increasingly comfortable doing so; I find that covering for mass has also made me more inclined to dress a bit more becomingly for mass. Nothing fancy (I am incapable of "fancy") but I am dressing with a "Sunday Best" mindset, now. I even bought a skirt!I'm also increasingly comfortable with the world's tiniest hair … [Read more...]

Immigration & the Storm Next Time

Last week, I was in Brooklyn taping a few episodes of In the Arena, and one of the drivers, taking a route that brought us past The Green-Wood Cemetery, reminisced about Park Slope, where he had lived all his life."We were working class, then. Our fathers were train conductors and shoe salesmen. No, we'd never be able to afford to live here. We'd cut through Prospect Park to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers. In the summer, they'd close off four city blocks to create a play area for us … [Read more...]


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