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During my recent illness and hospitalization I had a couple of brand new experiences. more
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer Had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it You would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer Used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph Join in any reindeer games. Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say: “Rudolph with your nose so bright Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Then all the reindeer loved him And they shouted out with glee: “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer You’ll go down in history!” more
It is said that every man has a natural desire to do three things: plant a tree, write a book and father a child. The particulars of the proverb aside, the point is that every person yearns to leave behind something of permanent value when he departs the earth. Bishop Thomas Francis Hendricken, first Bishop of Providence, certainly accomplished that goal - in a glorious Cathedral and in a spiritual heritage that lives on even now, 120 years after his death. more
During the Season of Advent, soon upon us, our thoughts and prayers focus on the Second Coming of Christ when, at the end of time, He will return in glory. Advent, then, is an opportunity to recall what the Church teaches us about the end times – Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment. more
Give thanks frequently to God for all the benefits He has conferred on you, that you may be worthy to receive more. (St. Louis of France) Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to … more
By now you’ve probably noticed that the stores are stocked with Christmas items – cards, decorations, trees and gifts – a sure sign that Halloween is just around the corner! Of course the Halloween stuff has been on the counters since Labor Day so we should be well-prepared for our annual foray into the nether world. more
You’ve probably heard the story of the little boy who, with his family, was greeting the parish priest after Sunday Mass. “Father,” said the lad, “when I grow up I’m going to give you all the money I have!” “Well that’s very nice,” said the priest, “but why would you do a thing like that?” The boy responded, “Because my dad just said that you’re the poorest preacher we’ve ever had!” more
We often speak about a “vocation crisis” in the Church today, referring to the fact that we need more young men and women to enter the priesthood and religious life. And indeed it is one of the great pastoral needs of the contemporary Church. The fostering of religious vocations is the responsibility of the entire Church and we all have to work and pray harder for an increase of vocations in service to the Church. more
Last time I shared with you some of the details of our recent CRS trip to Egypt. Now I'd like to offer a few personal reflections from my time there. more
I'd like to tell you a little about my recent journey to Egypt, a trip taken in my role as a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services. CRS, as you probably know, is the agency of the U.S. Bishops that provides charitable assistance and human development to poor and disadvantaged people around the world. On a regular basis Board members are asked to travel to countries where CRS is involved to visit the programs, promote accountability and offer encouragement to those who work there. more
Having had several opportunities to travel this summer, I've witnessed a growing and irritating trend - the increasing amount of "stuff" that passengers take with them onto the planes. more
In reviewing my files I see that it's been almost ten years since I've written about gambling. In light of the fierce debate now taking place in Rhode Island about a new casino, it's time to revisit the question. more
Dear College Student: Whether you are about to begin college for the first time or are returning to continue your studies, this is an important and challenging time in your life. On this occasion I'd like to share a few thoughts with you. I wish I could meet you personally, but that's not really possible. Nonetheless, I hope you will accept my reflections in the spirit they're given, a spirit of sincerity and love. more
A few years ago I visited a Hindu Temple to participate in an annual Interfaith Unity Day observance. Upon entering the building, all the participants were asked to remove their shoes. We remained shoeless throughout the day. Our Hindu guests explained to us their belief that the Temple is sacred space and the removal of shoes is to prevent any contamination from the outside world from entering into the realm of the sacred. more
Without a doubt it's difficult to be a faithful Christian, a faithful Catholic in the world today. It's even more difficult to be a young Christian, a young Catholic. There are so many pressures and temptations; so many alternate voices that lead young people away from Christ and His Church. We need to pray for our youth, encourage them and support them in the practice of their faith. more
This is a story about Peter, Paul and Mary. No, not the great Apostles and beloved Mother of Jesus, but the other Peter, Paul and Mary - you know, the singing trio, the folk group. If you're under a certain age, let's say about thirty, you probably don't know much about Peter, Paul and Mary - known to their groupies as PP&M. But if I mention songs like Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowin in the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, Leaving on a Jet Plane and This Land is Your Land, perhaps you'll feel a little more comfortable! more
A long period of years must past before the liturgical edifice, which the mystical Spouse of Christ has formed in her zeal and understanding to proclaim her piety and faith, will again appear splendid with dignity and harmony, cleansed of the accumulations of age. more
No doubt you've heard or seen the initials, WWJD, representing the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" The phrase is so common now it's become somewhat of a cliché. It appears on clothing, jewelry and trinkets. Some aberrations have developed. I've heard that for irreverent high school students the initials mean, "We want Jack Daniels." The phrase has been used as an advertising slogan to pitch a particular beverage, "What would Jesus drink?" and as an environmental challenge to drivers of oversized, gas-guzzling SUVs, "What would Jesus drive?" more
Why is the Church so adamantly opposed to "gay marriages" and civil unions? Doesn't the Church's stance discriminate against homosexuals? What harm is done if homosexual activity is between consenting adults? How does it affect my marriage and family? Why does the Church care if in fact the Church won't be required to witness such unions? more
It's funny how various seasons of the year invoke such vivid memories. It's certainly true for Holy Week, at least for me. My memories of Holy Week are associated especially with places I've lived and worked as a priest. more
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