"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

Expanding Our Hearts

In these difficult times, it can be very challenging to think of others and not just ourselves. Our personal struggles often become obstacles to helping our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If these words resonate with you, I would like to provide some encouragement to break out of this inward focus and consider our Christian obligation to love and serve […]

"Adoration of the Lamb" (detail) by van Eyck"Adoration of the Lamb" (detail) by van Eyck

Thanksgiving and the Eucharist

For Americans, the term “Thanksgiving” conjures up images of turkey and cranberry sauce, parades and bowl games.  These “traditions” have come to mark an event made a perpetual institution of American life by President Abraham Lincoln. But why did Lincoln proclaim the last Thursday in November as a national holiday?  Because it was clear to him that the blessings of […]

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, San Francisco North Beach
Photography © by Andy CoanSts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, San Francisco North Beach Photography © by Andy Coan

Five Attitudes We Have Toward Football that We Should Have Toward Church

In my days as an evangelical Christian (and even occasionally in my decade as a Catholic), I have heard many a pastor suggest that we would get a lot more out of our attendance at Church if we treated it with the same enthusiasm we display toward sporting events. Some of these pastors, no doubt, would like to see the […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Being Grateful for…Our Challenges?

“If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” (St. Ignatius Loyola) I woke up on Tuesday of this week not feeling very grateful.  I am not sure why, but I started my day in a “mood.”  Maybe it was the stress of having […]

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

Whose Bible is it, anyway?

We needn’t be bitter in defending our beliefs. Even though many fundamentalists think the Catholic Church is under the control of Satan and all or most Catholics are headed for hell, not all think that—and we shouldn’t think the same of them. However narrow-minded their faith often is, it’s also usually genuine, both in personal sincerity and in basic Christian […]


The widow’s daily decision

When I used to work at the St. Paul Center, the staff would often toss around a question of the day – one of those open-ended, thought-provoking questions that spur conversation.  One of my favorites involved traveling in a spaceship with a fictional character.  One of the classic ones inquires about eating dinner with historical character.  My list is a pretty long one, […]


Raising Independent Catholic Kids in an Age of Conformity

Sexting, drugs, alcohol, cyber-bullying, teen suicide, rampant materialism, technology addiction, and me-first mindsets – the list of challenges to young people today can seem overwhelming.  As parents of two boys, ages 14 and 18, I feel like my wife and I are on the front lines of a never-ending war for the very souls of our children.  I would love to […]

"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino

Why We Need the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Six Keys to fully Surrender to Christ

At the center of Mark’s Gospel, the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:2-10) stands prominently as an encouragement along the walk from Baptism to Resurrection; a walk that must pass through the Cross. Place yourself in the position of the Apostles—they have journeyed with Jesus since he began his public ministry and I am sure that they could not have been […]