Skip to content

A prayer for bold and wild faith

Happy Easter Tuesday!

In today’s Gospel, we are reminded that Mary of Magdala was the first to witness the Risen Lord, and the first to preach the Good News of the Resurrection. In Mary Magdalene we see a woman who never ran, never wavered; who stood at the foot of the cross when all but one of the Apostles were nowhere to be found; who stood at the tomb when the Apostles thought there was no reason to hope; who stood before the Apostles and preached the impossible to a group of men who thought she was just an emotional woman having a hallucination.

Read more

Ten years later: Adele remains a powerful witness

I saw on Facebook two days ago that it was the tenth anniversary of the death of one very special parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar, N.Y.. I wrote a column about Adele after her death. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I was able to recapture the 2007 Word file. Here it is again, ten years later. (The photo to the left is one I snapped of Adele at the Peace Pole at St. Thomas after a parish school event on Oct. 2, 2004.)

Everyone at our parish knew Adele. Maybe they didn’t know her up close and personal, but they knew of her. She was a visible and ever-present fixture at St. Thomas. Her wheelchair with the “Got Jesus?” bumper sticker on the back was parked in front of the first row of pews at every Mass every weekend. When she wasn’t in church, she was praying in front of the Mary statue outside our school or in front of the tabernacle in our chapel or at any number of vigils around the peace pole. Read more

Lighting the Advent wreath: just hit pause

My reflection on the Advent wreath, from the current issue of Give Us This Day:

Lighting the Advent wreath each night for prayers before dinner has long been my family’s tradition. The flickering candlelight growing brighter with each passing week mirrors the interplay of darkness and light we see outside our kitchen window at this time of year. There is something both haunting and comforting about a single flickering candle or two dancing against the velvety darkness. Our brief pause as we light a candle and offer a prayer opens up just enough space in our jam-packed lives to let the beauty of Advent edge its way into our souls. Read more

Why I Stay

My Life Lines column running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued to me on Facebook a while back. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I pondered that question anew even though I had wrestled with it before in relation to various crises in the Church, particularly the sex abuse scandal. Why do I stay? I had originally thought the new answer to that old question would be easy. But, as I reflected on it more deeply, I realized that my truth is not that simple, because it would imply that the sex abuse scandal is the only thing that makes me wonder sometimes why I stay. And, quite frankly, abuse is just one thing among many that can make this faith a challenging matter. Read more

I look at my students and see our future ex-Catholics

My post over at Aleteia today:

When it comes to teenagers, you expect a certain amount of eye rolling and apathy, but put those same kids in a faith formation class for an hour and fifteen minutes at the end of a long school day and right at the dinner hour and you’ll see a level of teenage disinterest that could make you wither on the spot. That’s what my husband and I faced when we stood before the 21 high school sophomores we teach at our upstate New York parish. Read more

Why do I stay in this Church?

“Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued by Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) via Facebook this week, calling me (among many other Catholic writers) out by name. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I started to ponder that question as I headed out to meet Dennis for date night at The City Beer Hall in Albany. As we sat at the bar, sipping our Chatham Maple Amber, Dennis reminded me that I had already written my own blog post on this very topic more than a year ago. (I’m glad someone remembers what I write!) Sure enough. I went back and found my own take: “Why Am I Still Here? In this Church, that is.” Read more

‘May it be done to me according to your word’

AnnunciationAnd the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.  – Luke 1:35-38

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

(Annunciation window in Lady Chapel of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar.)

What is Church to you? My bishop’s thoughtful take

So often when Dennis and I are standing in front of our ninth-grade faith formation class, our goal is to not only teach our students the truths of our faith but to show them that the Church is more than its teachings, more than its buildings, more than what most of us imagine it to be.

For too many of us, Church becomes something belonging to someone else, a place we visit but don’t always choose to live. When we start to see Church not as a location but a state of heart and mind, that’s where transformation begins.

This past week Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany had a great column that tackled that very subject in such a beautiful way. Read more

Are we willing to be marked as Christians?

For weeks now I have been feeling helpless, hopeless, in a constant state of incredulity tinged with despair. So much so I have been completely unable to write about it. No words could express what I was feeling. How, I kept wondering, how was it possible that Christians in Mosul were being killed — their homes marked, their property stolen, their lives threatened, tortured, taken as they tried to flee the insane wrath of the Muslim extremists known as ISIS while the world looked away? Where were our leaders, where was the public outcry, or at the very least celebrities tweeting selfies as they held up signs with appropriate hashtags, perhaps #stopISIS or #savethechristians? Why was there silence in the face of genocide, religious cleansing, what was clearly — at least to those of us willing to watch — the earliest signs of a potential Christian holocaust? Read more

Grace finds beauty in everything

“She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings

“Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

“Grace finds beauty
In everything

“Grace finds goodness
In everything.”  – U2, Grace

Read more