Pope gives sleeping bags to Rome’s homeless

I've never heard of something like this before.From Vatican Insider:  "This is a gift for you from the Pope on the occasion of his birthday," volunteers and Swiss Guards were quoted as saying to hundreds of homeless people, as they handed out batches of sleeping bags to them yesterday. The sleeping bags were distributed on a minibus, which left the Vatican at 6 pm and went around Rome looking for homeless people who needed them. The quality bags had a hood and carried the papal e … [Read More...]

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Homily for December 21, 2014: 4th Sunday of Advent

We hear it again and again this time of year:“I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas.”It actually started before Thanksgiving. You’d hear staff here in the rectory saying, “I can’t believe it’s almost Advent.” And here we are, four weeks later. Where did the time go?It seems like it gets shorter every year. We see it coming for months, but we’re never prepared for it. And there is never enough time for planning, shopping, mailing, decorating, baking—it may be that we are too busy and t … [Read More...]

Ladies and gentlemen, from Brazil, the Elvis Priest

Just when you think you've seen it all...Elvis Priestly. … [Read More...]

A Christmas Rhapsody: “Give me the vulgarity of inflated reindeer…”

A delicious piece of prose from Joseph Bottum: I love the elegant Christmas-dining pictures in Bon Appétit. The holiday dishes and cutlery in the pricey Williams-Sonoma catalogue. The winter ornaments and widgets arranged so beautifully by Restoration Hardware. The season’s advertisements in the  … [Read More...]

Shock: Franciscans at “grave risk” over “questionable financial activities”

From The National Catholic Reporter: The leader of the main group of the world's Franciscans has written members of his order around the world informing them that their financial stability is at "grave risk" because of "questionable financial activities" undertaken by staffers of the order's … [Read More...]

The secret to surviving holiday stress

It's actually tied to the very sentiment that began this festive season back in late November: giving thanks.From PBS comes this wisdom from a family caregiver specialist:   The other day I was talking with Mark, a brain tumor survivor and former archaeologist. Once a world traveler and r … [Read More...]

Lest we forget: journalists in jail around the world

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:  The Committee to Protect Journalists identified 220 journalists in jail around the world in 2014, an increase of nine from 2013. The tally marks the second-highest number of journalists in jail since CPJ began taking an annual census of imprisoned j … [Read More...]

The story behind the world’s most bizarre Christmas tradition

That would be this fellow, who is perched on my desk at work — a gift from a priest colleague with a wicked sense of humor. I won't show you the backside, but he's doing just what you might imagine.The good people at TIME magazine wrote about this little Christmas treat a few years b … [Read More...]

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Try this.

A priest friend send me this image this morning:I was curious to learn more about Steve Maraboli, and found this 2011 story about him from Long Island Catholic: “Pretend God is deaf” and more interested in actions than words, motivational speaker Steve Maraboli advised parishioners at St. Pe … [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “Sports are at home in the Church”

He spoke of sports and the Olympics today, according to Vatican Radio: “Sports are at home in the Church” – that’s what Pope Francis told managers and athletes of Italy’s National Olympic Committee Friday.  In a meeting in the Vatican, the Pope congratulated them on Rome’s candidacy as a possible … [Read More...]

The disappearing Midnight Mass — UPDATED

My pastor, Bishop Paul Sanchez, at Midnight Mass at our parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills, NY in 2013. (photo: Rosalind Chan) It's happening in the United States—I know of more and more places that are offering "Midnight Mass" a few hours earlier—and it's a phenomenon that has taken … [Read More...]

NY Times: “Bolder vision” of Vatican diplomacy under Francis

From Friday's paper:Perhaps the timing was purely coincidental. But a day after he was credited with helping to broker thehistoric diplomatic breakthrough betweenCuba and the United States, Pope Francisbegan his Thursday morning by greeting a new crop of envoys to the Vatican, and offering some a … [Read More...]

Stephen Colbert’s Top Catholic Moments — UPDATED

As MCPF (My Close Personal Friend) Stephen bids farewell to his show at Comedy Central tonight, Busted Halo has a nifty roundup of top Colbert Catholic moments.This one below, however, remains, my all time favorite. The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full … [Read More...]

Cancer patient gets her wish granted, meets Pope Francis

From CBS News: Since birth, they've called her "one tough cookie." Now, Gracie West is living up to that nickname as she fights cancer. She's had nine rounds of chemotherapy, and when asked if she could have one wish, she said she wanted to meet the pope, CBS News' Allen Pizzey reports. "My … [Read More...]

Resurrection: After tornado, parish rebuilds, consecrates new church

Some good news, just in time for Christmas, from The Joplin Globe in Missouri: It wasn't wrapped in red and green paper, and it certainly wasn't sitting underneath a tree, but the new St. Mary's Catholic Church was the best holiday gift that parishioners said they could have received this time of … [Read More...]

How Pope Francis helped make history with Cuba

From The Boston Globe: The restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as a prisoner exchange that secured the release of American Alan Gross, was brokered, in part, by the Holy See.A high-ranking Vatican official confirmed Wednesday that the Obama … [Read More...]

Serving at table: the deacon who used to be the chef for Cèline Dion

I love this story, from The Catholic Review in Baltimore: If you’re looking for a unique, Maryland-related gift for Christmas, perhaps the place to start is at a parish gift shop, such as the one nestled into the Sexton’s Lodge at America’s first cathedral.Next to the Basilica of the National Sh … [Read More...]

Do Catholics support torture?

Is the pope Argentinian?From The Washington Post:  According to a new poll released Tuesday by The Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that torture of suspected terrorists can be justified — even in the wake of graphic revelations by a Senate Intelligence Committee repo … [Read More...]


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