Saints

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”

Year of St. Joseph

A couple of weeks ago, on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis declared that 2021 would be a year dedicated to St. Joseph.  Since 1870, St. Joseph has been venerated as the Universal Patron of the Church, and the Holy Father decided that this is a fitting moment in history to “go to Joseph”Continue reading “Year of St. Joseph”

St. Nicholas

The Feast of St. Nicholas is tomorrow, December 6.  Because it falls on a Sunday this year, we will not be celebrating his feast day at Mass.  Nevertheless, since St. Nicholas is a fascinating character, so I thought it a good opportunity to share a few thoughts about him with you in this space.   St. Nicholas was born in a port cityContinue reading “St. Nicholas”

St. Francis Xavier

After St. Paul, the greatest of all Christian missionaries was St. Francis Xavier, whose feast day we celebrate today.  He was one of the original members of the Society of Jesus, and his passion for bringing the Gospel to the people of Asia was enflamed through the influence of his spiritual mentor, St. Ignatius ofContinue reading “St. Francis Xavier”

Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko

Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko was a priest who was active in the Solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980s.  He became well-known throughout Poland when his homilies, which were strongly critical of the communist state, were widely broadcast on the radio.  Because he encouraged people to resist the oppressive regime, and to actively protest against it, state officials tried to intimidate him to be silent, but were unsuccessful. Continue reading “Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko”

A Motherly Heart

I remember reading a biography of St. Maximilian Kolbe in which those who knew him during his life described him as having a “motherly heart.”  It sounded like a strange way to describe him, but, based on their accounts, to be in the presence of Kolbe was to be consoled, such that, whatever burdens you were carrying around within you were lifted away – even the terrible burdenContinue reading “A Motherly Heart”

St. John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was the Bishop of Rome for 27 dramatic years.  Elected to the Chair of St. Peter in 1978 at the age of 58, he served the Church as the Holy Pontiff until his death in 2005.  During a post-Conciliar period that coincided with dramatic cultural upheaval, Pope John Paul II was given the reins of a Church that was suffering through a crisis of confidenceContinue reading “St. John Paul II”

Consumed and Sustained

A friend of mine, some years ago, tried to solve what was a terrible mosquito problem in his backyard by purchasing one of those bug-zapping lights.  I’m sure you’re familiar with these things.  They glow with a light that bugs find irresistible, to the point that they get so close to it that they are consumed by its blazing heat. Continue reading “Consumed and Sustained”

North American Martyrs

There is a tradition among the various national seminaries in Rome to play in a soccer tournament each year called the “Clericus Cup.”  Almost every seminary fields a team, so you’ll have games in which the seminarians from the English College play the seminarians from the French College, or the seminarians who are studying atContinue reading “North American Martyrs”

Let Nothing Disturb You

Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus, who was a 16th century Carmelite nun from Avila, Spain.  She was, by all accounts, brilliant and charming, as well as physically beautiful.  She entered the Carmelite monastery at the age of 20.  At that time, the monastic life was very lax.  There were always people comingContinue reading “Let Nothing Disturb You”

Martha & Mary

Years ago, when I was going through my period of vocational discernment, there were times in which I felt overwhelmed by the question of what God wanted me to do with my life.  I knew there was the possibility that He was offering me the priesthood, but I struggled to accept that and to risk the possibility that the priesthoodContinue reading “Martha & Mary”

St. Therese

Today (10/1) is the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  St. Therese grew up in Normandy, France and entered the Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux at the age of 15, where she joined two of her older sisters who had entered the community before her (her younger sister would eventually join them there too).  St. Therese was canonizedContinue reading “St. Therese”

Archangel Michael

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels – St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.  In my last posting I wrote about St. Gabriel, whose name means: “God is my strength.”  Today, I’d like to consider briefly the Archangel Michael.  For the past several years, according to the express wishes of Bishop Caggiano, we pray theContinue reading “Archangel Michael”

Archangel Gabriel

This Tuesday is the feast day of the Archangels, among whom is our co-patron St. Gabriel.  Gabriel, whose name means “strength of God,” was the great and powerful spirit charged with bearing the message of God’s favor to the lowly Virgin Mary in the town of Nazareth, 2000 years ago.  After greeting her, Gabriel tells Mary ofContinue reading “Archangel Gabriel”

St Matthew

posted 9/19/20 This Monday, 9/21, is the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle.  St. Matthew is not just one of the 12 Apostles, he also the author of one of the Gospels, and he includes his own conversion story in his account of the life of Christ.  We know that before encountering Christ, St. Matthew worked as a tax collector for the Roman Empire.  Since it wasContinue reading “St Matthew”

Litany of Humility

posted 9/5/20 Rafael Merry del Val was a very influential figure in the Catholic Church in the beginning of the 20th Century. Born into a family of Spanish nobility in 1865, he spent much of his childhood in England before moving to Rome to study for the priesthood, to which he was ordained in 1888.  From there he began serving in theContinue reading “Litany of Humility”

The Pilgrimage of St. James

posted 7/25/20 Going on pilgrimage is an ancient Christian practice.  There are old texts from Bishops encouraging the practice of pilgrimage among the faithful going back to the 4th century.  Pilgrimages are not vacations, but physical journeys that manifest the spiritual journeys of those who desire to encounter God in the places where He has made His presence known in a particular way.  The mostContinue reading “The Pilgrimage of St. James”

The Lily of the Mohawks

posted 7/14/20 Today is the feast day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized a saint.  St. Kateri was born in 1656, the daughter of a war chief of the Mohawk tribe and a Christian Algonquin mother, near present-day Auriesville, NY.  It was in that same area, 10 years earlier, where the French missionaries, St.Continue reading “The Lily of the Mohawks”

St. Benedict

posted 7/11/20 Today, July 11, we celebrate the feast day of St. Benedict, the patron saint of Europe.  Benedict was born in the Italian town of Norcia (Nursia) in the year 480.  This was a period of serious cultural decline in the waning years of the Roman Empire, and when Benedict was sent by his wealthy father to study in Rome he wasContinue reading “St. Benedict”

St. Junipero Serra

posted 6/30/20 Tomorrow, July 1, is the feast day of St. Junipero Serra.  In recent weeks, we’ve seen statues pulled down by activists decrying what they understand to be crimes committed by historical figures.  Even prior to his canonization by Pope Francis in September 2015, St. Junipero Serra had been the subject of harsh criticism and the defacement of his image, especially in California,Continue reading “St. Junipero Serra”

St. Peter & St. Paul

posted 6/27/20 This Monday, June 29, is the Solemnity of St. Peter & St. Paul.  These two saints are the patrons of the city of Rome, where they died as martyrs for the Faith.  It’s traditionally the day on which new archbishops go to Rome to receive something called the “pallium” from the pope.  The pallium is a white piece of woolenContinue reading “St. Peter & St. Paul”

St. John Paul II

posted 5/18/20 On this day in 1920, Karol Wojtyla was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, the youngest of the three children of his parents.  Today the world knows him as Pope St. John Paul II, who led the Church from 1978-2005.  His family life was marked by tragedy, his siblings and his mother all having died by the time Karol was an adolescent.  His father, withContinue reading “St. John Paul II”

Purgatory

posted 5/15/20 Since my posting about the apparitions at Fatima a couple of days ago, some have expressed concern about Our Lady’s revelation to the visionaries that one of their friends who had recently died would be in Purgatory until the end of the world.  It’s certainly a sobering message, and might be a very terrible one ifContinue reading “Purgatory”

Fatima

posted 5/13/20 On this day in 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared for the first time to three children in Fatima, Portugal.  The three visionaries were Lucia dos Santos (10) and two siblings, Francisco (9) and Jacinta (7) Marto.  While playing in a place called Cova da Iria, the children saw two flashes of light, after which they saw “a Lady dressed in white, more brilliantContinue reading “Fatima”

St. Damien

posted 5/11/20 On Oct 7, 1860, Damien de Veuster (1840-1889) lay prostrate on the floor as he was covered with a funeral pall as part of the traditional ritual for religious profession for the Belgian religious community, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  Thirteen years later, when he responded to the local bishop’s call for volunteers toContinue reading “St. Damien”

Consubstantial

posted 5/1/20 Athanasius Contra Mundum.  This is a famous Latin saying that means: “Athanasius Against the World.”  The man to whom this refers is St. Athanasius of Alexandria, a 4th century bishop from Egypt who found himself embroiled in the great Arian controversy of that period.  Now, it’s important to understand that 4th centry Arianism has absolutely nothing to do with the 20th century racist ideologyContinue reading “Consubstantial”

The Rosary

posted 4/30/20 I remember some years ago, to celebrate the beginning of Our Lady’s month of May, we were giving out rosary beads to people as they were leaving church.  One of the parishioners, a very good man in his 40s, who brought his family to Mass every Sunday, accepted a few sets of beads.  Thanking me,Continue reading “The Rosary”

Work

posted 4/22/20 For several years in my 20s I worked for the State of Connecticut. It was a great job, and its regular hours made it perfect for someone going to school at night.  I also learned a lot through my daily interactions with the public, which were often very challenging.  For the most part, I found my co-workers to be extremely dedicated and hard-workingContinue reading “Work”

Dealing with Anxiety

posted 3/31/20 This afternoon I was listening to a lecture by a priest named Fr. Dominic Legge, who is a member of the Order of Preachers (known also as the Dominicans) and lives in Washington, DC.  His topic was Grace and Anxiety, and it was about the spiritual and emotional struggles that people feel in times ofContinue reading “Dealing with Anxiety”

Fighting Boredom

posted 3/20/20 With everything being cancelled, people seem to have more time on their hands than they’re accustomed to. I think a lot of people are looking for ways to distract themselves from the stress that comes with the daily reports about the pandemic on cable news.  Web streaming services like Netflix are probably seeing their traffic increase significantly, with peopleContinue reading “Fighting Boredom”

St. Joseph

posted 3/19/20 Today, March 19, is the feast of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Mother and the Universal Patron of the Church.  It’s a day that I look forward to each year because it usually serves as a needed respite from the discipline of Lent.  The Feast of St. Joseph is what’s called a “solemnity”Continue reading “St. Joseph”

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