Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Why Advent?

“Advent” is simply the Latin word for “coming.”  If we can manage to meditate on any “coming” in December besides the comings and goings of Christmas shopping, it would be Christ’s coming to Mary in a stable. But the liturgy of the first three weeks of Advent speaks of another coming, the second and final coming of Jesus at the […]

A Family Saying Grace Before MealA Family Saying Grace Before Meal

Family prayer, one meal at a time

“Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment…” Growing up, visitors to our dinner table never quite knew when to make the Sign of the Cross at the end of grace. In addition to the usual “Bless us, O Lord,” we always added the invocation “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us” after grace. During Advent, we added an […]

"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 […]


Desires are not Rights

“May you live in interesting times.” There is some debate about whether this quote is an ancient Chinese curse or something more recent, yet the fact of the matter is: we live in interesting times. Around the world we hear of the recent violent events in Paris and Mali, combined with the greatest mass migration of a group of people […]

"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 […]


Armed with My Rosary

According to my confessor and spiritual director, we all have habitual sins. Each of us has an area of weakness, and that’s where our personal tempters and/or the devil attack first. In fact, when we’ve talked about my habitual sin, he used the word “addiction.” I don’t know about you, but thinking of sin as an addiction took some getting […]

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

King of the Universe—Cause of My Hope

“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King—King of the Universe. Not only is Jesus Christ the Messiah and our Savior, not only is he our brother and our friend, Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. To […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The King of Kings—Unlike any other

From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever.  Some have come close to conquering much of the known world—Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, and Adolf Hitler, to name a few.  And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such as Rome whose Eastern half […]

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 […]

"Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man" by Nicolas Poussin (1655)"Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man" by Nicolas Poussin (1655)

How do I offer something up?

Someone once pointed out to me that Jesus didn’t cure all the sick in Israel.  We were discussing the mystery of suffering, so it sounded like a nice thought at the time, and I accepted it without much thought.  But it bothered me later. How do we know?  In Matthew 13 we hear that Jesus did not perform many miracles in […]