Between the Sundays

A Blog by Joannie Watson

Father Scanlan, Rest in Peace

Another pioneer in Catholic education has gone to his much-deserved reward. News came last Saturday morning that Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., President Emeritus of Franciscan University, has passed away. As an alumna of both Christendom College and Franciscan University, when I received the news, I thought back to the moment I found out that Christendom’s founder, Dr. Warren Carroll, had died […]

"The Adoration of the Magi" (detail) by Jan de Bray

The Courage of the Magi

January 6 is the traditional feast of the Epiphany, twelve days after Christmas.  I’ve always been intrigued by the Magi.  Their story forms the majority of Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet there remain so many questions about these mysterious figures. Where did they come from? How did they know to follow the star? What did […]

Good King Wenceslaus and Christmas’ Call to Holiness

Most Christmas carols are about that first Christmas night or the celebration of Christmas today.  But one stands out as something different. In a way, the carol “Good King Wenceslaus” isn’t as much about Christmas as it is about what Christmas requires of us. “Good King Wenceslaus” always gets stuck in my head on two days: September 28 and December […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Balestra

St. Januarius, Christmas, and our response

Last week, the Italian Catholic church was given a shock—not because something miraculous happened, but because it didn’t happen.  Three times a year, a reliquary holding the blood of San Gennaro, or Saint Januarius, is removed from the case where it is held, and in the hands of the abbot of the chapel, the dried blood in the vial turns […]

What Will I Give Him?

Have you marked everything off your Christmas to-do list?  You would think with the longest Advent possible, I would have all my Christmas shopping, baking, and card-writing almost finished.  You would be wrong. Regardless of whether Advent is an entire four weeks or only three weeks and a day (like next year), I will always feel like I’m running behind […]

Waiting Together

If the Jews are waiting for the Messiah, and the Christians are waiting for him to come again… we might as well wait together. I heard a local rabbi express this a few months ago—he was paraphrasing a well-known Jewish philosopher—and it came to mind while I was reflecting on the season of Advent.  A large number of my neighbors […]

Have Yourself a Counter-Cultural Advent

Here we are once again, beginning my favorite season of the year: Advent.  It’s the longest it can possibly be this year, too, so it’s a good thing I like it. I’ve decided that Advent is the most counter-cultural season we celebrate.  I’m not only referring to the fact that the world seems to celebrate Christmas as soon as it […]

The Week of “In-betweenness” and the Kingdom of God

There always seems to be a feeling of “in-betweenness” during the last week of Ordinary Time.  We have just celebrated the great feast of Christ the King, which also signals the end of the liturgical year.  After the great feast we have the Thirty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time, but we’re awaiting the first Sunday of Advent.  In some ways, it feels […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

The Message of Mercy: Will it just be a passing fad?

As the Year of Mercy comes to a close in Rome and throughout the world, there is a tendency to move onto the next thing.  Throughout this year, I’ve gotten the question numerous times: “What’s the theme next year?” First, this year has been an extraordinary Jubilee Year, during which unique graces have been made available to us in extraordinary […]

Travel Lessons for Life: Planning and Letting Go

Life should be approached the same way one approaches a trip to Rome. If you have been to Rome, you know that the only predictable thing about a trip to Rome is the unpredictability.  A store will close when you need it opened, a funeral will be happening in a church you wanted to visit, the Pope will decide to […]