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

We Cannot Excuse Ourselves

As Catholics, we have a wonderful opportunity over the next week as we patiently await the arrival of Jesus to show our co-workers, friends, family, community and the world the beauty of our faith and the great capacity for love in our hearts.  As we prepare ourselves, what are we doing to help others?  How do we keep our focus […]

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Mary and Ecumenism: Our Mother Wants Her Family United

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, God the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity; one God. Holy Mary, pray for us. The Litany of Loreto, also known as the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a litany of praises to Mary approved by the Catholic Church in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V. The […]

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

What are the “O Antiphons” and why should I care?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. Introduction On the evening […]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

When My Martha Tendencies Highjack My Desire To Be Like Mary During Advent

I woke up one morning recently and panicked about my failure to “plan” Advent.  After a few hours of agonizing about an approach, I concocted a plan of attack. “If we get an Advent wreath, make a calendar, prepare an empty manger with sacrifice straw and pull out all fifty of the Christmas books, I think we’ll be in good […]

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Joyful Witness — Everyday Heroes and More

I am 99% sure I’ve read all of Randy Hain’s books. And I’ve enjoyed them all. But his latest, Joyful Witness: How to Be an Extraordinary Catholic (Servant Books, 2014), is something different than the rest, and I can’t help but call it his best writing. Though it’s unmistakably Hain’s voice, it’s also something more, like he let go and […]

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The Lord Draws Near… Don’t Let Him Pass By

All across the parish I am encountering people who give witness to the nearness of the Lord. The consolations received, the passion expressed, the apostolic zeal displayed, all give evidence to the Lord’s grace in the life of the parish family. This is not unusual for our parish, but this Advent and the weeks that led up to the season […]

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Why We Need Joyful Witnesses

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I found myself in multiple conversations with people who were distressed about the evils of the world today: the lack of faith, poverty, injustice, and pornography, ISIS, abortion, euthanasia, and materialism, to name a few.  While all the concerns expressed were valid, I walked away from the discussions feeling depressed and hopeless about the state of […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight the way of the Lord”, […]

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Our Merciful Mother — Our Lady of Guadalupe

by Sister Ines, O.C.D. In every approved Marian apparition, Our Lady has a specific mission. Each one reveals a determined and specific message—a unique and necessary goal. In the Anáhuac Valley of Mexico, on a barren hill called Tepeyac, Our Lady of Guadalupe came as a “merciful Mother,” a healer and restorer of all who are broken in body and […]

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These Children are a Blessing

Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.  —CCC 2276 One of the few issues my wife and I were concerned about when we decided to join the Catholic Church in 2005 was how to include our oldest son, Alex, who has high-functioning autism. […]