February 11, 2024

Catholics are already arguing about a new movie set to hit theaters in March. Cabrini, produced by Angel Studios, which also gave us the television series The Chosen, tells the story of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first American saint. Mother Cabrini, who immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in 1889, spent her life building hospitals and orphanages, teaching children their catechism, and assisting her fellow immigrants in a largely Protestant country that was hostile to Catholics. She became a... Read more

December 17, 2023

When I became Catholic in 1996, it was Testimony Time in the Church in the United States. Conversion stories were everywhere—audio and video presentations, magazine articles, books. There was even a television show on a Catholic television network dedicated to interviewing prominent converts. As a convert myself, I read and listened to as many conversion stories as I could find, eager to find out what brought other people into the Catholic Church. One thing started to puzzle me though. By... Read more

July 30, 2023

… or, The Gentle Art of Keeping Your Prayers to Yourself Jesus’ best known advice on prayer is to keep it to yourself. He told his disciples, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven…. Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will... Read more

July 4, 2023

My patient content manager here at Patheos gently reminded me recently that it has been a while since I last dropped in some content. I’d been experiencing some life events over the last six months that severely impacted my creative output, which was why I hadn’t been working. When I got to thinking about it though, I realized that not “working” isn’t the same thing as not “writing.” I write all the time, to be honest (with myself). I write... Read more

December 29, 2022

Years ago, at Advent, I wrote an essay for Catholic Answers on St. Matthew’s account of St. Joseph’s choice: what to do about finding his betrothed pregnant with a child he knew couldn’t be his own. For the most part, the essay was well-received and remains a favorite of mine. I’d share a link with you, but it’s *cough* no longer available online. *cough* In any event, most people who commented on the essay had either compliments or constructive criticism... Read more

October 6, 2022

In the decade or so I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve made it a point to avoid building for myself a self-affirming social media bubble. Scrolling through my newsfeed on any given day is likely to yield all kinds of reactions to current events, and all kinds of perspectives on matters of faith and life. I credit listening to people outside the conservative worldview I largely still held in 2009 (when I joined Facebook) as one very large reason why I... Read more

October 1, 2022

In a recent Dark Devotional for Sick Pilgrim, I commented on how Catholic Answers, where I worked for two decades as a staff apologist, seems to be busying itself with re-creating all of the content I’d contributed over the years I worked there and that they have since chosen to scrub from their site. After that devotional was published, I wondered if I had perhaps overreacted. Perhaps I was reading too much into an innocent string of entirely isolated coincidences,... Read more

June 28, 2022

I really don’t have the mental energy right now to dive deep into the cluster—, um, “mess,” that is the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that was released last Friday, June 24. For a snapshot of my mental space right now in the wake of this decision, I’ll share with you a brief post I wrote on my personal Facebook page on the day of the decision. Against a blue background and flying snow, I wrote, “For most... Read more

May 22, 2022

A friend, I’ll call him Chad,* once told me how his sister, Kayla, finally made the decision to become Catholic. Chad and his family had all chosen to convert to Catholicism over the course of a decade, starting with Chad. Kayla was a tough nut though, not willing to dive into the Tiber to swim over to Rome. Chad was frustrated. He’d been so successful in helping the rest of his family convert, but his dream of seeing his entire... Read more

April 20, 2022

Perhaps the most poignant conversion story I’ve read was that of Rabbi Israel Zolli (1881–1956), the Chief Rabbi of Rome during World War II. In his book, Before the Dawn, Rabbi Zolli (who took the name Eugenio as his baptismal name in honor of Pius XII) told of his lifelong fascination with Christianity. One of his earliest memories was of sitting beneath a crucifix with a Christian school friend as they studied together. In the mid-1930s, a full decade before... Read more

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