by Father John J. O’Connor, VF, SLL
Annually, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Church celebrates the World Day of the Sick. It is a day first instituted by John St. Paul II in 1993 to raise awareness for those who are sick among us and to offer them the healing grace of Christ’s redemptive work.
Immediately after news broke on January 12 that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah had written a book on the crisis of the priesthood in the 21st-century Church, online hysteria erupted — which rather underscored the prudence of a New Year’s resolution I had recommended to concerned Catholics in a January 1 column: “Resolve to limit your exposure to the Catholic blogosphere.”
by Father Charles P. Keeney
Those who donate to the Propagation of the Faith may be familiar with the Mass intention forms that accompany the thank you letters sent from our office. Have you ever wondered who says those Masses, or where they are said?
by John L. Allen Jr. When I was growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, I was something of a baseball nerd, which is how I fell hard in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bear in mind, this was a full two decades after “Dem Bums” had pulled up stakes and left for the West […]
by Father Ronan Murphy
The life of Jesus began with Mary. Therefore, it was appropriate to begin the New Year with a feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Since Mary is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of joy. “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people, for today in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you who is Christ the Lord,” (Lk 2:11). So, the traditional greeting on the first day of the Year is one of joy: Happy New Year!
Americans not obsessed with politics — that is, most Americans — will start paying serious attention to the 2020 presidential race after the February 3 Iowa caucuses and the February 11 New Hampshire primary — or perhaps after the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries winnow the Democratic field. So before the partisan din rises to ear-shattering volume, there’s some time left for those who aren’t entombed in ideological silos to ponder the qualities they would like to see in a president. I recently came across a description of such qualities.
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.