PONTIFEXCELLENT: Patti Smith’s Punk Rock Reconciliation

Pope Francis greets Patti Smith in St. Peter's Square in April 2014. Photo via L'Osservatore Romano.

UPDATE: With thanks to my Patheos pal, Deacon Greg Kandra, who points out that Patti sang at the Vatican Christmas concert LAST YEAR as well. See her beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night" below, and click here for more details.The Holy See announced this week that The Godmother of Punk Rock — the inimitable Patti Smith — will perform at the Concerto di Natale, the official Vatican Christmas Concert, on December 13 in Rome's Auditorium Conciliazione not far from St. Peter's Basili … [Read more...]

@PONTIFEXCELLENT: ‘Nolle timere’

on May 18, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.

To my memory, I have never been brought to tears listening to a Pope's Christmas Eve homily. Until tonight.Weeping as I type this, wrapping a few last gifts, listening to the replay of the Midnight Mass from St. Peter's Basilica, I am so grateful for this man. "Sometimes there's a man ... he's the man for his place and time."I am so grateful for this man, for our beloved Papa Frank.Here's the part of his homily that turned on the waterworks. It's just so poetic, beautiful, clear, and … [Read more...]

Cry of a Tiny Baby: Merry Christmas, Everyone!

"The idea that there’s a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it,” he told me in his raspy brogue, sipping black coffee out of a Styrofoam cup. “But the idea that the same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius. And it brings me to my knees, literally. To me, as a poet, I’m just in awe of that. It makes some sort of poetic sense. It’s the thing that makes me a believer, although it … [Read more...]

Give a Gift with Purpose from the ONE Shop

There is still time to order #GiftsthatGive for Christmas and Hannukah from the ONE Campaign's Shop -- including the gorgeous scarves made by fashionABLE in Ethiopia exclusively for the ONE Campaign pictured above.Read about the women weavers from fashionABLE who make them HERE.Happily, fashionABLE is completely sold out of their inventory for the year (which means, among other things, the organization/company has been able to hire three more women since I visited their factory in Addis … [Read more...]

‘At the Sound of Mary’s Greeting, Elizabeth’s Child Leapt Within Her’

A child at Little Church by the Sea portrayed St. Elizabeth in the Christmas pageant Sunday.Can you see the living God in this girl's face? I can.Photo by Cathleen Falsani  … [Read more...]

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Trish Ryan is a writer you should know if you don't already.She's the author two really fine memoirs: A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances and He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: A Memoir of Finding Faith, Hope, and Happily Ever After. And she blogs regularly at Trish's Dishes.Today on her blog, Trish tells a story that so many of us parents will resonate with about driving her daughter, whom she calls "Princess Peach," to school this morning awash in lingering fears that have descended … [Read more...]

Get Wonderstruck This Christmas

My dear friend Margaret Feinberg has a new book out (i.e. the perfect Christmas gift for the word lovers on your list) called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God.Today Margaret writes about being left "wonderstruck" by a simple act of kindness by one New York City police officer to a homeless man.Shoes as grace.She says in part:Less than a month ago, a New York Times police officer Lawrence DiPrimo left us wonderstruck by an act of kindness when Jennifer Foster, a tourist … [Read more...]

Christmas Is Happening

Check out this clever and creative interactive Advent calendar-ish thingie courtesy of a couple of artists in the UK.Click on the image below to experience the multimedia sights and sounds of Advent. With thanks to B-Rand at Sojo. … [Read more...]

Getting Ready for Christmas Day

http://youtu.be/saAkVT_n2MoMy sweet friend talks about his song from his latest album, So Beautiful or So What.Dunno about you, but after this Thanksgiving, I'm ready for Christmas day.Lest we wander into maudlin territory, here is a little gem from memory lane:What Mr. Simon was doing on Thanksgiving, 36 years ago. Still crazy wonderful after all these years...[hulu id=idhb4mi6268aefzgzph-mg width=512]  … [Read more...]

GODSTUFF: Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful or So What,” So Christian?

For me, summertime evokes many happy memories from childhood in New England.The full-throttle joy of spending the first week of school break at the shore. Farm stands brimming with sweet corn, snap peas, dark red cherries and heirloom tomatoes. Nights sleeping on the back porch and reading books for pleasure while fireflies blink in the distance.These so-called lazy days, filled with more sunshine and ease than the rest of the year, also bring to mind  musical memories. Foremost among … [Read more...]