Memorial Day and the Mass

Red poppies growing among the ruins in Ancient Ephesus

We cherish too, the poppy red, that grows on fields where valor led.It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies.But lends a luster to the red of the flow that blooms above the dead. From We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael, 1918 Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day (stemming from the practice of decorating grave sites), is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. It originated in the years following the Civil War and became … [Read more...]

What’s the Deal with the Sign of Peace

Sign of peace at Mass

There is probably no part of the Mass that causes more consternation than the sign of peace. From the glad-handers to the germophobes, there is no shortage in diversity of opinions on what to do during this time in the Mass. Traditionally, this ritual is ascribed to Matthew 5: 23 – 24. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first and be reconciled to your brother, and then … [Read more...]

Reflections from the 2012 March for Life


For 39 years, thousands of people have made a pilgrimage to Washington, DC to bear witness to the sanctity of human life.  This year was no different. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down a decision (Roe v. Wade) that changed the United States of America in a way no other decision has done in the past. It ushered in the culture of death and a society and nation with little regard to the dignity of each human being. The March for Life is a time of mourning; a time of prayer, … [Read more...]

Invite Them Back — Invite Them In


Christmas is a great time to invite friends & family back to Mass On November 27, the first Sunday of Advent and the start of a new liturgical year in the Church, Roman Catholics across the English-speaking world began using a new translation of the Roman Missal. The revisions provide a more literal English translation from the original Latin text of the prayers used during the celebration of the Mass. Many of us have family members and friends who are not active Mass or … [Read more...]

Animated Mass in 3D — Angels Included

The Greatest  Miracle opens December 9

The Greatest Miracle opens in theaters December 9 At Mass, we pray in the midst of thousands of angels. St. John Chrysostom states that “When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar. Beside the guardian angels of the faithful who are present, thousands of heavenly spirits assist at Mass, reverently worshipping their Lord and God.” How powerful and what a gift we have in the sacred Mass! Hard to imagine it … [Read more...]

Less Turkey, More Thanksgiving

The first Catholic Mass held in St. Augustine on Sept. 8, 1565

Did the first Thanksgiving feast in America include a Mass? Last week I attended preschool with my three-year-old for a “bring your mom to school” day. At one point, the students were instructed to grab a book from the classroom library and take it to their moms and read together as a pair. Upon selecting her book, Lucy was quite excited to show me the book she selected, “If You Were at the First Thanksgiving,” a typical children’s book about the historic harvest festival celebrated at … [Read more...]

Clip Out, Photocopy & Pass-On Advent Guides


The National Catholic Register's 2011 Advent Guides I enjoy receiving our printed copy of the National Catholic Register this time of the year for the clip out, photocopy, and pass-on Advent guides. Previous years' clip-outs still remain in my prayer journal, and I refer to them often (e.g., the How (and Why) of Daily Prayer and Praying the Rosary). This Advent the National Catholic Register challenges each reader to invite someone back to Mass, and they have provided a helpful guide titled … [Read more...]

First Communion and Counting


This past Sunday, my son celebrated his fifth communion. I know because he told me. He’s been counting and says he plans to keep counting until he is an old man hobbling down the aisle. I hope he does. Personally, I love to envision him bent over a walker, shuffling down the aisle, murmuring, “three thousand nine hundred ninety-two.” His first trip down the aisle was marked with youthful vigor and enthusiasm.  He shot out the side of the pew, clapped his hands together, marched with surgical … [Read more...]

What Kind of Theology is THAT?!

Kneeling and Praying

After moving to our current city, we visited several parishes before settling in at one. We quickly became aware of a local tradition at one of these parishes: clapping after Mass — and not just the kind of clapping reserved for special occasions such as First Communion or Confirmation Masses — the parish clapped after nearly every Mass.  The practice surprised me at first: This is a little odd. But like a sheep, I fell in with the rest of the flock and began clapping. And it didn't feel wrong. … [Read more...]

Happily Ever After

Our Lady of Salvation, Baghdad

November 7, 2010: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time The “afterlife” is an interesting topic. Bring it up with enough people and you will get responses ranging from reincarnation to rapture and everything in between, including nothing at all. What do you believe? This was the subject of the past Sunday’s readings. Maccabee Martyrs. In the first reading, seven brothers and their mother were brutally tortured and executed for refusing to renounce … [Read more...]