December 9, 2019

I read a thoughtful article today, by my friend Kristy Burmeister. I do recommend that my readers give it a look. The article, entitled “Giving Thoughtfully: Not all Charity is Charity,” is about what it’s like to be poor at Christmas and what kind of gifts for a poor person might be the most useful. Burmeister relates the story of a well-meaning group of richer teenagers who thought it would be more fun to buy nine dollar-tree gifts for a… Read more

December 8, 2019

  Today, we’re all digesting the sad news that Sesame Street’s legendary Caroll Spinney, the genius behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has passed away. In one sense it’s hard to be sad. He was eighty-five years old, after all; he lived a full life making people happy.  On another– it’s awfully sad and unsettling to think that, in a sense, Big Bird and Oscar are dead. When I was at the age to be fascinated by Sesame Street,… Read more

December 7, 2019

On Friday, I suggested that we all need to be converted, and start living in the Kingdom of God instead of in the kingdom of the world this Advent. I warned you that I was coming up with a list of suggestions of things you can do to begin. Then I too Saint Nicholas Day off, except for squabbles on Twitter. Now I’m back with my list. I like having a list like this, not because it takes the place… Read more

December 5, 2019

Yesterday, I delivered the last of the presents from the First Annual Parish Giving Tree Raid. Yes, first annual. I’m going to make this a tradition– hopefully next year with a car, possibly next year not in Steubenville. For those of you just joining us, what happened was this: my friends and I conspired at the spur of the moment to grab all the remaining tags on the Giving Tree at church and buy a pile of presents and snacks… Read more

December 4, 2019

As I write this, there has still been absolutely no confirmed, official story of why Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification was indefinitely postponed yesterday.  Catholic News Agency released a story that, according to several unnamed sources, the Bishop of Rochester requested the delay in case Sheen’s name was mentioned in any way in connection with the New York attorney general’s investigations into clerical sexual abuse going back decades. They also released a story, again based on unnamed sources close to the… Read more

December 3, 2019

    I have no opinion  about Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Well, that’s not true. I have many opinions about Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I thought his television show was very comforting to me when I lived alone and watched vintage episodes on EWTN more than a decade ago. Now I’m inclined to think him fishy because I’ve grown cynical and automatically assume Catholic TV personalities are trying to sell me some beachfront property in Arizona. I think he looks a little… Read more

December 2, 2019

As I’ve already mentioned, I went to Mass yesterday for the first Sunday of Advent, and had my heart broken. We got there late so we were in the back, by the foyer Christmas Giving Tree, with some tags still on it– each tag was a request for a Christmas present from a poor person of the community. The tree had been full of tags which parishioners had taken home; now there were presents they’d bought under the nearly bare… Read more

December 1, 2019

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but please check on your parish Giving Trees. Most of the Catholic churches I’ve been to have had a “giving tree” in the foyer for Christmas, and I can’t imagine that that’s some kind of exclusively Catholic tradition. If you’re Christian, celebrate Christmas, and go to church, you probably have seen something like this in your community. It works  like this: the poorer members of the parish write down their requests for… Read more

November 30, 2019

When I was a very little girl I used the word “real” to mean ordinary, commonplace; not numinous, fanciful. or even surprising. Things that surprised me or didn’t look the way I’d expected were “not real.” Real clowns at the circus wore cone-shaped hats and had red noses; clowns whose aesthetic deviated from this design were not real. The ponies at the petting zoo were real, but Clydesdale horses were not real. Cereal and waffles were real breakfasts; eating leftovers… Read more

November 26, 2019

As my regular readers know, I’ve been following the news on the situation in the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston, a stone’s throw away from me in West Virginia. I’ve been commenting with my usual bluster about the retired Bishop Bransfield, whose abusive and decadent behavior are so horrific as to almost defy description– though the Washington Post has been giving it the old college try for months now. Today, the current bishop of Wheeling-Charleston has announced some consequences for Bransfield’s… Read more

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