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Showing posts from December, 2013

A Blessed Christmas to all--For Unto Us A Child Is Born

This past year has been filled with so many incredible blessings and great experiences. The list includes another trip to Honduras, the publication of my book, The Wandering Friar, as well as the great reception the book has received at parish missions and various book signings, the opportunity to appear on Catholic TV to celebrate Mass and to be interviewed about the book,  the great send-offs given to me by the parishes in northern Wisconsin that I have served over the past 18 years. As wonderful as all of these events were, the top moment of the year by far was the birth of my grandniece Madeline Elizabeth Donahue on May 11 to her proud parents Kevin and Michelle, that along with her Baptism in August.

    Although I have only been to Boston twice since Madeline's birth--her baptism in August and again on a family visit at Thanksgiving--I have delighted in the impact that she has had on her parents, grandparents, and everyone in our family, an impact that I became keenly awar…

Friar Alessandro--An Angelic Voice

I'm getting my Christmas blog message ready but in the meantime I just thought I'd share with you a beautiful rendition of the popular Italian Christmas carol by Friar Alessandro, a young friar who lives in Assisi and has hit the world stage with his beautiful singing voice.

Rejoice in the Lord always, Gaudete Sunday

The word joy has been in the Catholic mindset quite often in recent months mainly due to the influence of Pope Francis, especially after his recently published apostolic exhortation entitled Evangelii Guadium (The Joy of the Gospel) Today the Church officially brings "Joy" to the forefront with the Third Sunday of Advent being called "Gaudete" or "rejoice" Sunday.  Along with Laetare (which also means rejoice) Sunday which comes in the middle of Lent we have two days placed in the middle of penitential seasons that call us to have joy, to rejoice.  On both of these Sundays the priest is asked to wear rose colored vestments to indicate this call to rejoice.

   What, though, does it mean to have joy, to rejoice.  The fact that both of these Sundays are placed in the middle of penitential seasons ought to give us a clue.  The word joy has several shades of meaning. We could say that there was joy in my home city of Boston this year when the Red Sox won the…

O Come Emmanuel! It's Advent, A Time of Hope and Challenge

I imagine that most Catholics, if asked, "What is Advent?" would reply, "It is the time when we prepare for Christmas."  This answer, of course, is correct, but it is only half of the answer, half of the explanation of what Advent is about.

  Actually as we begin this season the Church focuses our attention not on Christmas, but on the Second Coming of Christ.  In other words, as we prepare to celebrate the First coming we get ready for the next.  How are we to go about that preparation?

   Unfortunately talk of the Second coming conjures up images of "the end of the world" and many of the recent movies showing the earth being destroyed in a myriad of ways.  Thinking in this way unfortunately evokes fear and leads us to shy away from this topic.  I close look at Scripture and the prayers of the liturgy offer us another way of looking at the end times.  After the Our Father at Mass we say a beautiful prayer that states that "We await the blessed h…