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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 [...]

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

What are the Essential Qualities of Prayer?

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply [...]

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

Pope Francis (neneo / Shutterstock.com)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 [...]

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How Do I Evangelize My Atheist Friends?

A university student recently asked me, “How do I evangelize my atheist friends?” Here’s my angle based on experience. When I was a non-religious scientist working in lab, I sensed that science pointed to a greater truth. The order, symmetry, and predictability in this Book of Nature was not lost on me. I worked on artificial photosynthesis and nanotechnology and often stared [...]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

On Dragons

[From a letter penned by Brother Azarias to his godson, Luke Lester. The letter is dated September 2, 2014, the Feast of the Guardian Angels]   My Dear Godson, You have asked me in the past how I came to be acquainted with your father and with his father before him. Now that you and your brother, Charles, are older [...]

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima - October 13, 1917The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima - October 13, 1917

We need to Pray the Prayers of Fatima

Today, October 13, 2014, we celebrate the 97th anniversary of the final apparition of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal during 1917. It was on this day that the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by up to 100,000 people. The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age [...]

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Two Vatican Scientists, One Great New Book

I’ve been enamored with Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? since the blue galley copy showed up in my mailbox. I haven’t read it all, but I’ve nibbled enough to know it’s full of wit and wisdom. My science-loving self can’t walk away from the proposition that’s in all the marketing copy: “Witty and thought provoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light [...]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"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 [...]

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Are all sexual thoughts sinful?

Dear Dan, I am struggling with sexual thoughts and am wondering about the teachings of the Church. Are all sexual sins mortal and does thinking of sex without arousal a mortal sin? When does the thought become mortal; is it when we don’t control it or is it always mortal? What exactly is lust and what are the church’s teaching on [...]