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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. […]

Celebrating the Assumption of Mary

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Keeping Love Loving and Open to God

Blessed Paul VI

On July 25, the Church marks the fiftieth anniversary of the most reviled and rejected magisterial document of all time. Many papal encyclicals remain unread, others are perused and ignored, but Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae was pervasively condemned and opposed. This antipathy came not only from predictable sources, like radical secularists, sexual revolutionaries and anti-Catholic Christians, but also from remarkably […]

Elijah and the Lord—Lessons for Living!

"The Prophet Elias" (detail) by Daniele da Volterra

Here’s a quick test for you!  You didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?  I thought one might be in order to celebrate the start of the coming school year. Yes?  No? Seriously!  Here’s the question… “Who was the famous prophet in today’s first reading?” The prophet is none other than Elijah!  In his ministry, he […]

Elijah’s Bread

Photography © by Andy Coan

Somehow, we can all relate to the discouragement and exhaustion of Elijah.  So we need to learn from the solution proposed by God to revitalize and energize him for the long journey he needed to make and the important work he was going to do.  The bread God provided is a figure of a more wondrous bread that is available […]

Our Family History

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

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 […]

Practicing Acceptance and Seeing Burdens as Blessings

Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance. Let […]

A Convert Struggles in Her Relationship with Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Dear Sister I just recently became Catholic and I’m still struggling with the Church’s teachings on Mary. I respect her, but I don’t feel the need to ask her for prayers if I can just ask God directly. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a relationship with Mary? Dear Friend, Yes, I do! Being a convert […]

Why Accompaniment Involves Apologetics

"Road to Emmaus" (detail) by Robert Zünd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I recently granted an interview to the National Catholic Reporter concerning the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to which I was elected a delegate. We discussed a number of topics, including the rise of the “nones,” the purpose of the Synod, and creative ways of listening to the concerns of young people. In the course […]

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

Photograph Copyright © by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]