Praying for Fallen Away Loved Ones

On October 17, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that showed that 65 percent of American adults now say that they’re Christians, down 12 percentage points in just the last ten years. Those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particular” are now at 26 percent of the population, up from 17 percent in 2009. […]

Who do we say that the Eucharist is?

In Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked who people said he was, and his two polls showed that only one person said he believed Jesus was who he truly was, the Messiah and Son of God (Mt 16:13-20). This article originally appeared in The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass, on August 23, 2019 and appears here with […]

Appreciating Fatherhood

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day throughout the United States. It’s a relatively recent feast, made a permanent national holiday on the third Sunday of June only in 1972 when it was signed into law by President Nixon. President Lyndon Johnson had given the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers only six years prior. Mother’s Day, by contrast, was proclaimed by […]

Receiving the Food that Makes Martyrs

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

We are now at the time of year in which, in many parts of the country and globe, young people are receiving their first Holy Communion. As pastors and catechists are well aware, the spiritual significance of this event is sometimes obscured by an excessive focus on suits and dresses, parties and photos. This year, however, the world has received […]

Protecting Our Humanity and the Vulnerable

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

Because of the times we are living in, Pope Francis has spoken out repeatedly about the dangers of “gender ideology,” a modern form of gnosticism that not only undermines our basic understanding of anthropology but also of reality. He has made a distinction between the welcome, support, accompaniment, and loving pastoral care that we must offer to those who say […]

Building Upon, or Destroying, the Cornerstone of the Common Good

(Shutterstock / Editorial Use Only)

Last Saturday, Pope Francis welcomed to the Vatican leaders of the Italian pro-life movement the day before Italy’s annual pro-life day, held since 1978 on the first Sunday of February. He spoke powerfully about how “the defense of life is not carried out in only one way, or with one gesture, but it’s done in a multiplicity of actions, attentions, […]

Courage in the Christian and Priestly Life

Stained glass window at the Melkite Catholic Annunciation Cathedral in Roslindale depicting Christ the King with the regalia of a Byzantine emperor. (January 2009 photo by John Stephen Dwyer [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Two weeks ago I had the joy to preach the annual five-day retreat for Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where 25 years ago this year I began my formation for the priesthood. It was an opportunity to express my thanks to the 150 men preparing there for the priesthood there for their courageous witness in faithfully following God’s […]

The Church is the Inn

Christmas Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

On Tuesday we will mark one of the greatest scandals in history: there was no room in the inn. Not only did people turn their back on a woman about to give birth, but, without knowing, refused hospitality to the long-awaited Messiah. The Son of God made Man came to His own people, as St. John would write, but they […]

What are the “O Antiphons” of Vespers?

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Michelangelo

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 […]

The Situation After Baltimore

"Christ Walking on the Waters" (detail) By Julius Sergius Von Klever [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Questions about the state of the process of the reform of the Church in the United States during this second major phase of the clergy sexual abuse crisis have come like a downpour after the meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore November 12-15. This article originally appeared in The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass, […]