Posted by Webster Later today I will be posting at some length about “New York Encounter 2010,” a series of cultural events sponsored by Communion & Liberation. This has been going on in New York City over the three-day weekend and concludes with one final event this morning at 10 a.m. Last night, as part of the Encounter, I witnessed a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” with a live musical accompaniment by… Read more

I promised St. Athanasius (297–373 AD) to our readers tomorrow, but it turns out that, although the Orthodox Church celebrates his feast on January 18, the Catholic Church doesn’t do so until May 2, in keeping with the tradition of using the date when a saint’s soul leaves this world for the next. So instead, I’ll leave these fully baked thoughts from chapter one of St. Athanasius’s book On the Incarnation, in which he begins his defense of Church teaching… Read more

Posted by Webster  An op-ed piece in this morning’s New York Times reminds me of my sainted father railing against the liberal media. Back then, as recently as five years ago, I thought Dad was off his rocker. Now that I’m a Catholic, it’s more like, Dad rocked. Witness today’s NYT. The article, Pope Quiz: Is Every Pontiff a Saint?, takes my Pope to task for pushing the canonization cause of not only Pope John Paul II but also the “controversial”… Read more

Posted by Webster I went to Mass this morning after a couple of days away and a mildly troubling personal experience last night, and I was greeted by a whole string of that’s-why-I-go-Mass moments:entering and finding fellow members of the Universal Church who had arrived ahead of me, yeskneeling gratefully before Mass, yesstanding to honor the priesthood as the celebrant entered, yesexamining my conscience privately, saying the Confiteor publicly, yesthe second reading from First Corinthians about the gifts of the… Read more

As I’ve written before, I’m a big fan of the Desert Fathers. Today, we celebrate St. Anthony the Great. Anthony is really the Godfather of all the Desert Fathers and the person responsible for starting the formation of Christian monastic orders. I love the following saying attributed to him, because it seems to hit home with how I often feel these days, despite the fact that this was said over 1600 years ago: Abba Anthony said: “A time is coming… Read more

Posted by Webster Given the week just ended—when the devastation in Haiti has been in all of our thoughts and the Haitian people in our prayers—a look at the Good News might seem to be a head-in-the-sand operation. But a big part of being a Catholic, for me anyway, is to pray even when—especially when—things are darkest. And a big part of prayer is praise and thanksgiving.Still, with respect for the tragedy still unfolding in Haiti, I’ll keep this short. I… Read more

When I was going through the RCIA program as a candidate, the need to choose a Confirmation name came up. The director of the program and my sponsor both gave me some suggestions (including St. Francis Xavier, as I recall). I liked what I read about him, but he didn’t seem right for me. I thought a lot about it. I realized that I was choosing a friend in heaven whom I could ask to pray for me. That is… Read more

Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen the word syllabus since I graduated from college. Unlike our previous selection (G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy which has 9 chapters for 9 weeks of reading), our next one isn’t as conveniently organized. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, is a bit more complicated in structure. But no worries! I think I’ve come up with a plan to read our new selection in as simple a way as possible over the course of the next 9 weeks…. Read more

As Webster puts the wrap on Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, I am reminded of GKC’s admonition that (and I paraphrase) we should seek the one to lead us who knows he isn’t worthy of doing so. Ahem—you found him, Skipper, and “Aye, aye sir.” But before I go wading into any details of our next read (Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis), let me post this little jewel of a poem written by a colleague of Jack’s, J. R. R. Tolkien of the… Read more

Guest post by Allison Salerno As a child, I went to Mass every Sunday with my mom and my dad and my brother and my two sisters. Our church, the converted gym of the closed brick parochial school, was always crowded. I grew up in a large suburban parish in the 1960s and 1970s, when families of four, six, or eight children were common. Our family—with four children and two parents at Mass—was unexceptional.I’d like to say I paid a lot… Read more

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