Into the Deep

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

Do Catholics Really Pray To Mary and the Saints in Heaven?

I overheard a conversation after a morning bible study at my parish about praying to Mary and the Saints.  It went something like this (names changed)… “Thanks so much for inviting me, Beth. You have a wonderful group here. I have a question, though. I hope it doesn’t offend you, but being non-Catholic, I just don’t understand this praying to [...]

Praying the Rosary

Lepanto and Our Lady of the Rosary

The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary Have you ever experienced the peace and grace that is gained from a fervent praying of the Rosary? For many Catholics, the prayers of the Rosary are like an old friend whose company never grows old. With Jesus as our brother, we cherish the time we are able to spend with His Blessed [...]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Prophetic Voice of the Catholic Church — Dignity of the Human Person and the Right to Life

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) We live in an age that is filled with signs and wonders, many of which are ominous and terrifying – our economies continue in turmoil, wars and the fears of terrorism rage, our environment [...]

Surrender & Strength

Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)

Six Practical Steps to Catholic Joy

I recently had coffee with a fellow Catholic who gloomily shared his ongoing struggles with overtly living out his faith in the real world and reluctance to discuss his faith with others. He made it clear that going to Mass on Sunday was all he could or should be doing. Unfortunately, this is a very common tale. The conversation became [...]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy Coan

Let it Go

I grew up in a home where both my parents worked to make ends meet. There were years that my dad worked two jobs to help support our family. We had few extras, but we had what we needed. If I wanted spending money I worked a number of jobs to earn it. What our family did have in abundance [...]

Regular Feature

School Album 2012 Fall 112

Should a Woman Pursue a Ph.D. in Science if She Hopes to Raise a Family?

Recently a university science major asked me some questions. “Do you recommend a young woman pursue a Ph.D. in science if she hopes to raise a family? Can she do both?” I had just finished speaking about my decision to leave my career and stay home with my “most important inorganic-organic composite material productions” (i.e. children). I have five daughters, so I’ve thought about these questions already. I [...]

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Reading St. John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio—Like a Mother

Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio was given in 1998 to address the relationship between faith and reason. The purpose of reading an encyclical is, in my opinion, to work it into your life, and at this point, everything goes through my mommy-lens. If you struggle with philosophical language, as I do, try first reading the work straight through and writing a short summary of what struck you most after [...]

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You Owe It to Yourself to Read The American Catholic Almanac

I was cruising through my new favorite book, The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People Who Changed the United States, when I came upon the April 7 entry, entitled “The Duke.” It began, “When asked about his religion, John Wayne usually gave one of two responses. Either he claimed to be a ‘presbygod____nterian’ or a [...]

St. Peter's Basilica at Night (and Ponte Sant Angelo over the Tiber)

I am struggling with resentment towards the Church, what should I do?

Dear Dan, I have been Catholic for three years now, and am very grateful for the gift of faith. However, I have recently been struggling with resentment towards the Church—feeling that there are too many demands, hardships, that too much is being asked of me. How does one combat resentment? Dear Friend, Welcome home! I am sorry to hear about [...]

In the Spotlight

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Men, Women, and Tenderness

Holding hands, sharing an embrace or a kiss—these can be innocent expressions of love. But without great vigilance and virtue, these outward expressions can easily become a form of utilitarianism that actually ends up driving two people farther apart from each other and preventing love from fully developing. John Paul II—then Karol Wojtyla—makes this point when he addresses the topic [...]

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To Inspire Love: A Return to Modesty

In our post-sexual-revolution world, skimpy dresses, mini-skirts, tiny bikinis, low -rise pants, and low-cut shirts have become part of the mainstream attire for women today. And anyone who might raise questions about the appropriateness of such dress is viewed as “rigid,” “old fashioned,” or “out of touch” with modern style. Modesty is no longer a part of our culture’s vocabulary. [...]

Daily Extras

Pope St. John Paul II

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II

“We need a new apologetic, geared to the needs of today, which keeps in mind that our task is not to win arguments but to win souls, to engage not in ideological bickering but a kind of spiritual warfare, concerned not to vindicate or promote ourselves but to vindicate and promote the Gospel.” (Pope St. John Paul II, May 7, [...]

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Encountering the Word — Luke 12:35-40

“Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and [...]

Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy Coan

Render to Caesar

Despite their flattering words, they were trying to trap him, to force him into a no win situation. Consider the circumstances. They are living under the iron boot of a brutal empire which filled the earth with its idolatry. Patriotic Jews longed to throw off the tyrants’ yoke. They prayed for an anointed king who would free them from the [...]

Photography © by Andy Coan

True Peace and Security

A few years ago, I toured northern England. There, stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall. Constructed of stone, it was built to last, since it marked the northernmost boundary of the greatest empire the world had ever known. Soldiers from every corner of the world were garrisoned there, and excavations tell [...]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Keeping Promises

There will never be a shortage of words. Words are plentiful because talk is cheap. It’s easy to make a promise. Keeping a promise is an entirely different matter, as this Sunday’s gospel makes abundantly clear. There are over a billion people on the planet who have solemnly promised to live a life of loving service to God. For that [...]