The Mysticism of St. Patrick

As saints go, St. Patrick is underrated.  I think that’s especially true at this time of year when we see him everywhere, advertising green beer and corned beef sandwiches, waving the tri-color while holding his shamrock-covered crozier.  The real St. Patrick, who was responsible for the fifth century spread of Christianity in Ireland, was one of the greatest missionariesContinue reading “The Mysticism of St. Patrick”

Who Are These People?

The Mass can sometimes feel like this: a few readings from the Bible, a sermon, a collection, the priest saying a bunch of stuff while we kneel down, the Our Father, Communion, announcements, dismissal. If this is our experience of Mass, it might surprise us that the most fascinating part of it actually takes place during the part where the priest saysContinue reading “Who Are These People?”

Expanding the Circle

In today’s gospel (Mk 10:1-9), Jesus sends out 72 of His followers to prepare the way for His visits to local towns, telling them to proclaim that “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  They are sent out “like lambs among wolves,” with no money or extra gear.  It almost seems irresponsible of Jesus to send them out that way,Continue reading “Expanding the Circle”

Conversion through Beauty

Elizabeth Lev is an art historian in Rome and a highly sought-after tour guide to the Eternal City.  In her book How Catholic Art Saved the Faith, she writes about the tumultuous period the 16th century.  The Protestant Reformation was in full swing and Gutenberg’s printing press made it possible to disseminate information on a scale previously unimaginable.  An overwhelming amount of polemical literature appeared, usually containing new and unfamiliarContinue reading “Conversion through Beauty”

Baptism into Ordinary Time

This weekend we celebrate the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  If you’ve been paying attention, you might be wondering what happened to the 1st Sunday.  In her wisdom, the Church makes the transition from the Season of Christmas into Ordinary Time with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, which we celebrated last Sunday.  This is certainly fitting, because baptism isContinue reading “Baptism into Ordinary Time”

The Creche

The tradition of setting up a Nativity scene dates back to 1223, when St. Francis of Assisi re-created the stable of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth.  As this was a novelty, Francis first sought the permission of the pope himself, and was allowed to make the arrangements in a hermitage outside the little town of Greccio, located in the Italian region of Lazio.  At midnight,Continue reading “The Creche”

The Immaculate Conception

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is the feast in which we celebrate the special grace given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was preserved from the stain of Original Sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.  The life of grace begins for you and me atContinue reading “The Immaculate Conception”