12 Reasons to Love the Irish!

Image copyright Jane McIlroy, via Shutterstock.com

1) We gave you the Irish Soda Bread Recipe.2) We gave you we gave you Joyce, Yeats and Oscar Wilde.3) We gave you U2. Sorry that Bono can be such a blowhard sometimes, but you know...he's Irish.4) We gave you Errol Flynn.5) And Tom Selleck.6) And John Wayne and Maureen O' Hara.7) And Gene Kelly.8) And the foundation upon which bluegrass and old-timey music were founded.9) We gave you Daniel Day Lewis (hey, he carries an Irish passport). The only Mohegan who can … [Read more...]

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Candlemas Illuminated: Feast of the Presentation

candlemas

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined to be the rise and the fall of many in Israel, and a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2It is odd that this feastday -The Feast of the Presentation of Christ- (which as Deacon Greg explains, is also called … [Read more...]

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Belying Emily Letts’ “good abortion” Words: Her Face UPDATE

Emily Letts

Kathy Schiffer calls a video of Emily Letts getting an abortion "weird", and if all you take into account is this young woman's words, they are weird; they make almost no sense.“I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I’d grab.”If you let yourself become distracted by what is coming from her mouth, you miss all that is … [Read more...]

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You Balance Out the Keening Pain of Newtown – UPDATED

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from PrisonMy goodness, you guys, I'm not easily moved to tears but the response to this request for toy donations on behalf of an outreach that had none to give -- and the kindness and generosity that is so e … [Read more...]

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LCWR, the SSPX and the Vatican; Fun Times in Catholicland UPDATED

Busy days here at Patheos and I am only now getting to a bunch of emails from people asking me what I think about "this misogynist outrage from the Vatican" concerning the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Others, possibly recalling a piece I wrote three years ago sound like they're rubbing their hands together in anticipation; "I can't wait to see what you have to say about this!" wrote one woman.I wrote back, "what I think may surprise you."The possibility of the … [Read more...]

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St. Scholastica; Irritating Sister

My Icon of Benedict and Scholastica from the still brilliant fresco at Subiaco.

When I made my first inquiries about becoming a Benedictine Oblate, I received this icon with the monastery's response. It sits on my desk, still.Today is the feast of St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. Very little is known about her, historically, and there is some debate about where her relics may be. While in Rome, we were able to take a tour of the monastery and cave at Subiaco, where Benedict founded the order, and our helpful guide communicated that the bones … [Read more...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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