August feasts

A Motley Crew: the Saints (and why I love them)

I love saint stories.   I know I’m not alone—even the saints loved saint stories. St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion was spurred by reading the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. Edith Stein stayed up all night reading the life of St. Teresa of Avila. There is an attraction in the radical witness of holiness that the lives […]


What I learned from a 161-year-old barbecue

The last weekend of July is usually one of the hottest of the summer in Tennessee. In a little town fifty-five miles west of Nashville, that weekend boasts an annual festival that was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest outdoor barbecue. Pork shoulders are nursed all throughout the night so that they’re done […]


Turning Around the Crisis of Spiritual Leadership in Families

I’m sure you were as dismayed as I was at the recent, sobering findings of the CARA study on the spiritual health of Catholic families. Dr. Gregory Popcak wrote an important article about it here and will continue to explicate the findings of the study, which all Catholics should take interest in. Basically, in Dr. Popcak’s words, “Catholic homes are […]


My Number One Parenting Tip

A friend of mine came to visit last week with her small army of young children. We chatted while I slathered peanut butter and jelly on slices of wheat bread and threw them at the masses. Every five minutes, we filled requests for cups of water and changed diapers and broke up scuffles over broken toys. In between the commotion […]

"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail)  by Juan Urruchi"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail) by Juan Urruchi

Special Children, Blessed Fathers and The Profound Witness They Offer

She sat in the first pew, directly in front of our parish’s beautiful gold tabernacle.  She was dressed for the occasion, donning a simple white dress and she had a small lace veil clipped into her hair.   Her excitement over the upcoming event left her wiggly and every few minutes, she’d look over at her teacher and flash a grin […]

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

Redirecting my Gratitude

“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 last Tuesday not feeling very grateful.  I am not sure why, but I started my day in a “mood.”  Maybe it was the stress of having too much on […]

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

Tithing: Making Time, Talent, and Treasure Servants to Your Spiritual Leadership

“The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

Seven Essential Lessons Dads Need to Teach their Children

Who Introduced You to the Lord? The first question I would like to pose, is simply this: “How did you come by your faith, whether it be weak or strong, new or old? Where and when did you first come to encounter Jesus and his glorious Gospel?” For many of us, the answer would be, “I first came to know […]