parish

A Courageous Example and a Loving Parish

I recently reflected on a Sunday Mass in 2016 when I had an opportunity to witness a very special moment at my parish. An eighteen-year-old young man with high-functioning autism was taking his first turn as a lector at Mass. The lector role is an important one with serious responsibility, but this young man showed confidence and little fear as […]

Extraordinary Faith from Ordinary Catholics

“In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to Heaven, to love and to cheerful sacrifice.” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God) Feeling let down by politicians and public figures who say they are Catholic, but whose words and actions are often contrary to the teachings of the Church? Do we seek good examples […]

Want To Save The World? Start With The People You See Everyday

"Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary" (detail) by Edmund Blair Leighton

In June, I started a mother’s ministry at my 10,000 person parish and the response has been overwhelming. Though we began meeting over five weeks ago, every week I receive more requests from women who have heard about us and want to join the group. Here’s the thing I already knew, but my experience has confirmed: women are hungry for […]

What We Can Learn from Clergy Assignments

Last Sunday, the choir at my parish took me by surprise by singing “Totus Tuus” by Marco Frisina for the meditation after communion. Though I’ve only heard the song a few times, it never fails to take me back to the emotional weeks surrounding Pope John Paul II’s death and funeral. I was given the grace of being in Rome […]

A Special and Courageous Young Man

This past Sunday I had an opportunity to witness a very special moment at my parish. A 17-year-old young man with high-functioning autism was taking his first turn as a lector at the 7:30 am Mass. The lector role is an important one with serious responsibility, but this young man showed confidence and little fear as he read what was a […]

The Mystery of Holy Day Mass Times

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

Dear Parishes of My Area (and, from what I gather, around the country), I hear you complaining about Holy Days of Obligation and how low attendance is. In fact, as a parish employee myself, I’ve taken this to heart. And I think maybe I’ve found the reason for part of your problem. A couple of years ago, when I was […]

Five Little Words at Mass

I remember quite clearly the first time I heard bells being rung during the consecration.  I got chills. I thought it was beautiful: It sounds dramatic, but it was as if I woke up and realized that God was in front of me – a goosebump-worthy experience, for sure. Shouldn’t we get chills every time we witness this miracle at […]

Admitting and Addressing Catholics’ Ignorance of the Faith

The September 28 publication of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life lent itself to various surprising titles, many of which focused on how atheists and agnostics proved they had a greater comparative religious knowledge than Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Mormons. The survey polled 3,412 Americans 18 and older and asked 32 questions […]

The Importance of Priestly Stability

Toward the end of St. John Vianney’s life, as pilgrims flocked to Ars from all over France, they would leave marveling not only about having witnessed “God in a man,” as one contemporary described Vianney, but “God in a parish.” They were amazed at the warm hospitality, radiant faith and ardent charity of the people of the village, who would […]