I was walking down the street after Mass this morning when I passed one of the Protestant churches in town. On the signboard outside, beneath the four names of the female minister, the church announced: “No Services until after Labor Day.” I’m not sure this post couldn’t end here, but let me share a few thoughts that occurred to me by the time I reached my office, a couple of blocks away.If I didn’t go to church for the next… Read more

In honor of Frank, who started this weekly feature but is temporarily ashore, and while thinking of several friends from our parish who are in Ireland for the next couple of weeks, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Irish tunes and groups—though the last song here is technically neither. No religious uplift is intended or expected; and the post will probably draw some loud boos. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.I’ll start with a… Read more

For those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the full four-volume text published after Vatican II, today is change day, from Volume III (Ordinary Time, Weeks 1–17) to Volume IV (Weeks 18–34). Putting away one volume, which has curled comfortably to conform to the shape of my hand over the past four months, and bringing out the next is like a change of season. It reminds me—because it’s early Sunday morning, and I’m free-associating here—of St. Patrick’s Day… Read more

In Congregational Sunday School as a child, I used to sing, “Jesus loves me, yes I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Today, I have a dear friend who signs his e-mails, “If the Catholic Church teaches it, it must be true.” This moves the argument from Protestant to Catholic terms: I know what I know, not because the Bible tells me but because the Church does.But there’s really only one thing that can convince me of the Truth,… Read more

I had “Catholic” daughters long before I was a Catholic. By some inspiration, I pushed to name our first child Martha. (Katie preferred Alicia.) Martha virtually forced the name of our second child by skipping around the living room endlessly singing the song “Marian the Librarian” from “The Music Man” in the weeks before Marian was born. So (Marian being a form of Mary) my daughters were named for sisters who waited on Our Lord after he had raised their… Read more

I’ll probably die when I least expect it. That is my sense, anyway. Death for me will come “as a thief in the night.” It almost happened that way for me once already. Then again, I really have no idea.I do know several people who are close to me who are looking death in the eyes from an illness. The dreaded cancer takes one down this road slowly and tortuously. That path may await me as well. It’s the “thief… Read more

Yesterday was my 59th birthday, and the party was impromptu. At two in the morning Wednesday, the inspiration had hit me: I would send e-mails to people I would like to see; tell them I planned to be home on Sunday from 4 to 9; and propose that they drop in, or not. There were only two rules: no gifts and leave when I tell you. I sent about 40 messages, then helped Katie get the house ready for the… Read more

Over the week just past, we were plying deep waters. You see, we can’t just stay in the shallows and expect to get anywhere. You have to plot a course with confidence, prayer, faith, and with the courage that you can leave the sight of land behind and still live to tell the tale.There was Scripture 1A, then rough weather,  a hunting obsessed saint, and Scripture 1B. Then we had an obituary and a calling and scary parenting posts. And… Read more

While my husband participated in a conference at the University of Toronto, I spent a glorious Thursday exploring as much as I could of the Art Gallery of Ontario (pictured at left), one of the largest art museums in North America.I spent time viewing Drama and Desire, a special exhibit on visual artists who depict the performing arts. I strolled through Playing with Pictures, The Art of Victorian Photocollage. I was intrigued by a video about factory life by 32-year-old… Read more

I found this photograph on a blog with the following caption: So Funny, So True. Maybe it’s just me but I would argue that the caption should have been So Sad, So Tragic.As a parent of three school-age children, there is plenty for me to worry about in the world. Teen “Self-Help” is not one of them. As the title for this post states, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” a quote attributed to the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza did not believe… Read more

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