What’s the #1 reason teens keep their faith as adults?

It's the family, stupid.Details:  The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: parents.Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion … [Read More...]


Blessing the hands of hospice workers

Photo: Eric Kayne / Houston Chronicle A beautiful idea, from The Houston Chronicle: At first glance, there was nothing extraordinary about the hands at the Houston Hospice blessing service. They were hands, calloused perhaps, with five fingers each. But these, those gathered at the center's Cockrell Chapel insisted, were very special. They were hands in service to God, helping the terminally ill ease into a peaceful death. The Interfaith Blessing of Hands - the second year of the event - … [Read More...]

Not PC: Universities ban “offensive” Halloween costumes

Details: Several universities have recently admonished their students not to wear a variety of costumes for Halloween that could potentially offend people, frighten people, or reinforce stereotypes. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for example, some students were warned against donning a … [Read More...]

Quinn Bradlee’s beautiful eulogy for his father, Ben

The Washington Post has just printed (and posted the video) of Quinn Bradlee, speaking at his father Ben Bradlee's funeral yesterday at the National Cathedral.Quinn, 32, has learning disabilities and also has velo-cardial-facial syndrome. But the words he spoke at the funeral are deeply felt, … [Read More...]

Things to say to a homeless person—and my own conversation on a corner in Queens

It happened a few weeks ago.For several days, I'd been walking by a morbidly obese homeless guy who was sitting on a crate by the subway entrance just a couple blocks from our apartment in Queens.  One afternoon, I decided to strike up a conversation with him."What can I do for you?," I a … [Read More...]

Cardinal Dolan prepares flock for a “real sense of grief” that will come with parish closings; 14% will merge

His column in this week's Catholic New York, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of New York, sets the tone, without getting into specifics:Let me be candid: there will soon be a real sense of grief at some of our parishes as we get set to announce publicly what we’ve been preparing for the last fi … [Read More...]

Backlash: “A schism isn’t out of the question”

That's the assessment of religion writer Andrew Brown in The Guardian:  Until this weekend, I had largely believed in the liberal narrative which holds that Pope Francis’s reforms of the Catholic church are unstoppable. But the conservative backlash has been so fierce and so far-reaching that for th … [Read More...]

“There are three kinds of Christians that outsiders to the faith respect…”

The Christian writer Philip Yancey has a very good rumination on "preaching without words" over at Huffington Post, with examples of some who do it best.Take a look:    Writing for the Internet, I've learned, is a bit like taking on the hecklers at the Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park. T … [Read More...]

The Talking Dead: “Cemeteries have a huge opportunity to evangelize”

Priests and deacons understand that key moments in life—baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings and funerals—are often ripe opportunities for evangelization.With two important feasts approaching, All Saints and All Souls, CNS looks at the role cemeteries can play: Beyond their tradi … [Read More...]

Looking for the perfect gift for the deacon in your life? Look no further

Give a subscription to Deacon Digest!Deacon Digest is the only publication written especially for Catholic permanent deacons, deacon candidates, and their families.  It's a rich trove of information on the life and ministry of the deacon, with helpful and interesting articles on preaching, m … [Read More...]

Great moments in journalism: Daniel Berger, doing his part to bolster MSNBC’s credibility

David Mills noted yesterday: “Pope Francis made a significant rhetorical break with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real,” announced MSBNC reporter Daniel Berger. He is, to excuse him a little, a “policy wonk” who covers politics and whose f … [Read More...]

Holy penguin, Batman: priest blesses bird in Manila

Take a look:The story:  Kaya the Humboldt penguin is just four months old -- so young its gender is still unknown. But Wednesday marked the big day that Kaya, whose name means competence or ability in Tagalog, separated from its parents and took its first swim at the Manila Ocean Park in … [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “We are all the Church!’

From today's audience: Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This w … [Read More...]

A deacon’s ministry behind bars

Deacon Richard Tolcher, left, and Deacon Gregory Pecore pray with inmates at Clayton County Prison in Lovejoy, Ga. (photo: Clayton County Prison/Michael Alexander) Sister Camille D'Arienzo has a regular column in NCR, and this week she speaks with Deacon Richard Tolcher, 71, Director of the Prison … [Read More...]

Cuba to build first Catholic church in over 50 years

Wow: Cuba’s government has sanctioned the construction of the first Catholic church to be built in the country in 55 years, the latest development in a continued trend of growing acceptance of religion on the island. The church, to be funded by members of the U.S.-based exile community in Tamp … [Read More...]

Pope: “Our shared baptism is more important than our differences”

From Vatican Radio: In a private meeting with leaders of the inter-denominational Ark Community, Pope Francis said Christians should not wait for theologians to reach agreement, but should walk, pray and work together now. His words came during an October 10th encounter at the Casa Santa Marta … [Read More...]

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned: I texted during Mass

A 21st century problem gets a closer look this morning from CNS:  Entire families navigate their smartphones while sharing meals at restaurants. Students text in class. Parents take phone calls at their children's sporting events and plays.It's no surprise that cellphones affect even church.It has … [Read More...]

Pope Francis on evolution: “God is not a magician”—UPDATED

Details:  Pope Francis on Monday (Oct. 27) waded into the controversial debate over the origins of human life, saying the big bang theory did not contradict the role of a divine creator, but even required it.The pope was addressing the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, … [Read More...]