This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to China to teach English to a group of nursing students at the Jilin Medical University. The program was sponsored by the Maryknoll Fathers, an American religious order. These missionaries go to distant lands to preach the Gospel and to encourage others to live by its tenets. Maryknoll priests have been ministering in China for over 100 years. For the English language program, they assembled a group of teachers of various ages and backgrounds, including authors, pediatricians, youth ministers, a waitress, and a retired army sergeant.
I first met Pope Emeritus Benedict in June 1988; over the next three decades, I’ve enjoyed many lengthy conversations and interviews with him, including a bracing discussion covering many topics last Oct. 19. I first met Pope Francis in Buenos Aires in May 1982, and have had three private audiences with him since his election as Successor of Peter. Before, during, and after the conclaves of 2005 and 2013, I was deeply engaged in Rome, where my work included extensive discussions with cardinal-electors before each conclave was immured and after the white smoke went up. On both occasions, I correctly predicted to my NBC colleagues the man who would be elected and, in 2013, the day the election would occur.
During and after the grim martial law period in the early 1980s, many freedom-minded Poles would greet each other on Jan. 1 with a sardonic wish: “May the new year be better than you know it’s going to be!” As 2020 opens that salutation might well be adopted by Catholics concerned about the future of the church, for more hard news is coming. So let’s get some of that out of the way, preemptively, before considering some resolutions that might help us all deal with the year ahead in faith, hope, and charity.
by Father Charles P. Keeney
Having served as director of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Mission Office for a year now, I see that the office is a microcosm of the universal church. Both have far-reaching arms that assist missionaries all over the world.
On December 17, the day the first “O Antiphon” signaled the intensification of preparations for Christmas, the Church read the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel: writing for a predominantly Jewish-Christian audience, the evangelist stresses that the blessings promised to and through Abraham, and the dynastic promises made to King David, are about to be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
by Father Ronan Murphy
Mary is the true Star of Bethlehem or Christmas Star, because she is the one who leads us to Jesus. “Ad Jesus per Miriam’”(To Jesus through Mary).
The incorporation of Anglican hymnody into English-language Catholic worship is one of the great blessings of the past 50 years. And within that noble musical patrimony, Ralph Vaughan Williams surely holds pride of place among modern composers.
Resist the twitterization of thought — give books for Christmas! The following titles will delight, instruct, edify (or all of the above).
My late parents loved Cardinal George Pell, whom they knew for decades. So I found it a happy coincidence that, on Nov. 12 (which would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary), a two-judge panel of Australia’s High Court referred to the entire Court the cardinal’s request for “special leave” to appeal his incomprehensible conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse,” and the even-more-incomprehensible denial of his appeal against that manifestly unsafe verdict.
Fifty years ago, on Nov. 30, 1969, the Catholic Church marked the First Sunday of Advent with the universal implementation of the revised Roman Rite of the Mass, approved by Pope Paul VI in response to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.