The New Evangelization of FOCUS

Fr. John Lager, O.F.M. Cap. (FOCUS)

If you haven't heard of FOCUS yet, now might be a good time to find out.The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, in which recent college graduates commit to live and work on (mostly) secular college campuses for a few years, is now among the fastest-growing ministries of the New Evangelization among young people in U.S. Catholicism.Founded in 1998 by Catholic evangelist Curtis Martin and his wife, FOCUS partners with Newman Centers and Catholic campus ministries to share the … [Read more...]

The Harder Task: Talking About Abortion

What penance are these marchers doing? Photo: by Sam Sawyer, SJ

This evening, at our parish’s regular 5:30 pm Mass, I put on purple vestments, and we prayed for the defense of unborn life and in reparation for the sin of abortion.The occasion, of course, is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which the U.S. Catholic bishops have designated as a day of prayer and penance.Praying for an end to abortion – and an end to the situations which make abortion appear to be the best or only option – seems obvious enough. But the “penance” part is less clear … [Read more...]

America: Leah Libresco’s journey from atheist to Catholic

Leah Libresco (Used With Permission)

For those who don't know her, Patheos blogger Leah Libresco is a former atheist blogger and Huffington Post writer who converted to Catholicism in 2012. At that time, she also switched from the Patheos atheist portal to the Patheos Catholic portal, where her blog Unequally Yoked is now very popular among Catholic readers. Leah's first book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer, is now due from Ave Maria Press in May.A Washington D.C.-based school systems analyst and … [Read more...]

Why Christmas Matters for Your Pets, or What Pope Francis Didn’t Say About Dogs

Nativity Scene

Every Christmas growing up, my family would go caroling at the dairy farms that were about two miles upwind from us.  In deference to the local Holstein inhabitants, we would always change the words of “The Friendly Beasts”  appropriately:  From "I," said the cow, all white and red "I gave Him my manger for His bed I gave Him my hay to pillow His head" "I," said the cow, all white and red to "I," said the cow, all black and white "I gave Him my manger for the night I gave Him my hay to sn … [Read more...]

A Facebook Advent: On Waiting and God

Sometimes, the waiting is the best part

I belong to that dying breed that is still (relatively) young and had remained untouched by Facebook until very recently. During the first few days of my Facebook existence, I was astounded by the almost immediate responses to my “add friend” request, with some of them coming within seconds. I find that the rapid-response nature of Facebook has somewhat conditioned my behaviour, as well.I feel an unspoken pressure to “like” or respond to Facebook activities as soon as possible, and within … [Read more...]

Collapsing the Faith/non-Faith Dichotomy in Teaching

teacher owl flickr creative commons

The best teaching involves the whole person: their beliefs and views, their reasoning and arguments, their hopes and fears. For this reason, I propose that we re-frame our debate about teaching from a faith-based context. It is not a fundamental feature of faith that it must posit itself as the only point of view. Faith, as St. Anselm so pointedly reminds us, seeks understanding. I often encounter the misconception that a church's main role is to separate the world into the sacred and the … [Read more...]