The packed cathedral of St. Patrick’s in Manhattan was buzzing with quiet conversation as the audience waited for the Sistine Choir Chapel to enter the sanctuary for their first concert in America in over 30 years. Many came from out of state, and even from out of country to hear the powerful and angelic voices that would fill the cathedral.
As the Maestro raised his arms to signal the beginning of the first piece, the crowd hushed in anticipation of the powerful music.
Instead, what came was the quiet and pure intonation of Gregorian Chant, ‘Gaudete in Domino’. The 2000 people in attendance were overpowered, not by a burst of sound, but by a haunting, quiet polyphony that demanded they be silent to hear it.
In a city accustomed to flash and noise, once holy place was brought to silence. It was the silence of a love that unites, as the spiritual authors have written over the centuries. The quiet music seemed to come from within each person hearing it, evoking prayer and reflective attention, instead of overwhelming them from an exterior noise. Continue reading
The report of my death was an exaggeration. – Mark Twain
I hope never to read my own obituary. On the one hand, if it were accurate, I would be dead. On the other hand, if it were inaccurate I might not like it. On still another hand (oops, that’s three), it might be accurate and I like it even less.
From where I sit in Chicago, the death of the Church might not seem all that exaggerated. This isn’t to say there are not great things happening, people getting involved, souls saved and all sorts of great things. It is an obituary I do no enjoy. Continue reading
If you have been watching the news the past day, you know that Pope Francis bumped his head.
That’s right. It was the last day of his apostolic journey to Colombia. He was riding along in his Popemobile, smiling, waving and being the happy ad welcoming Pope we know him to be.
He turned to reach out to a child and “bop” – Papal face meets Popemobile. He got a little cut over his left eyebrow and cheekbone. The bruise looked a bit ugly, but after a little ice the Holy Father continued on his demanding schedule. Continue reading
“Parenthood, the scariest ‘hood’ you’ll ever go through.” -unknown
I am so grateful that Pinterest did not exist when I started having kids. Maybe we missed out on some amazing themed birthday crafts and incredible ways to cook paleo spiralized zuchinni, but the picture perfect, clean, peaceful #parentinggoals that litter the boards of many new 30 something mommies would have put me over the edge.
Nobody knows what they are doing when they have their first child, or how to navigate the changes each time said first-born enters a new developmental stage. Instinctively we grasp for advice, plans, results that will help us calm the insanity and ensure our eight years olds will get into Harvard. The internet is awash with companies making major money off of those fears and anxieties by advertising these ‘perfect plans’ for childrearing, and simple ways to ‘be the woman you are expected to be,’ a lovely, polished, successful career wife and mother who still finds time every day for Pilates and a 5 mile run before cooking an organic non-GMO meal for her adoring and grateful tribe. No pressure… Continue reading
I learned a new word last week: cephalophore. Actually, it is an old word, so it is more accurate to say I learned a word that other people learned long ago. An old word was new to me.
The word came up in a gathering of serious practicing Catholics. As a convert, I thought I had a good excuse not to know the word. Some of those present were cradle Catholics; they had less of an excuse.
But I’m straying from my point of discussing the word, cephalophore. It is an art form that depicts a saint carrying his (or her) own head. The idea is that a saint can be decapitated and still have the presence of mind (albeit at arm’s length) to hold the severed head and, perhaps, express some holy sentiment. Tradition has it that St. Paul spoke the name of Jesus after being decapitated. Continue reading
Only once in Evangelii Gaudium does Pope Francis exhort the church to ‘go out into the peripheries,’ but like many things the Pope says, that one phrase has ignited passion and missionary zeal, and a few deep questions.
“The word of God constantly shows us how God challenges those who believe in him “to go forth”. Abraham received the call to set out for a new land (cf. Gen 12:1-3). Moses heard God’s call: “Go, I send you” (Ex 3:10) and led the people towards the Promised Land (cf. Ex 3:17). To Jeremiah God says: “To all whom I send you, you shall go” (Jer 1:7). In our day Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization, and all of us are called to take part in this new missionary “going forth”. Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel.” (EG20)
Taking up the theme of Evangelii Gaudium in the USCCB’s Convocation of Catholic leaders, bishops, priests and lay evangelizers from around the country explored what it really means to “reach all the peripheries.” Continue reading
with my family shortly after professions
Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of my perpetual profession of vows. That’s when I made lifelong vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. It was also the sixteenth anniversary of my first profession.
Joy—that sunny September day in Connecticut—it was a day of pure joy. I had spent the last two years preparing for it.
“I, Kevin, promise and vow to Almighty God to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience…”
Joy, powerful joy. During the professions mass, I had spied my family out of the corner of my eye—all eight of my brothers and sisters, mom and dad too. I couldn’t help but smile and cry all at once. After the mass, we all just couldn’t stop hugging each other and laughing. I remember the bright blue sky and the puffy clouds… and this overwhelming, overpowering sense of joy. I don’t think I stopped smiling for a week. Continue reading
Dear Regnum Christi members of the North American Territory:
A few days ago Kerrie Rivard sent me a note, showing the concern many of you share about the situation of Regnum Christi members in Venezuela during this period of civil and political unrest we are living in.
As I told Kerrie before, and now all of you, dear friends, I thank you in the name of all RC members of Venezuela for your concern. As the big family we all are, it really moves our hearts when we receive a word of consolation and spiritual support amidst the darkness we are living in our country. Continue reading
Amidst the loss and suffering caused by Hurricane Harvey and the floods here in Houston, I have been repeatedly amazed and edified to see how this crisis situation has been able to bring the best out of people.
Countless firemen, police officers, and emergency rescue members have been working around the clock to evacuate people stuck in rising waters.
But it hasn’t been enough.
Yesterday the Houston Police began putting out calls on Twitter asking anyone with a boat or high trucks to help rescue people who are trapped in their homes. Already they had been.
Churches and schools have opened their doors to be refuge centers for evacuees. Efforts cross-religion have come together to provide food and basic supplies to those who have been rescued. Continue reading
SUNDAY: “When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, for I am yours, and you are mine”
The rain continued throughout all last night, and so this morning, it became even more evident that flood levels are rising. For a while, our electricity went out, but somehow, thankfully, it came back on again before too long.
Realizing that we will probably be homebound until at least the weekend, two of the consecrated women in my community made the effort to see whether they could make it to a store for a few more groceries.
They weren’t even gone 10 minutes. There’s no way to get around or past the water. Continue reading