A Season of Traditions

Christmas traditions vary depending on what part of the world you’re in. Some are endearing. Christians in China call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, meaning “Holy Birth Festival”; they celebrate amid bright, vibrant colors, lights, and evergreens. Others are bizarre. In Slovakia, the senior man of the home takes a spoonful...

Shimmering Gold

Fr. Ken Sedlak, CSsR Welcome into the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It is the place that Jesus called the reign of God. He told us that this reign is not a physical place but makes its physical dwelling in our hearts. As discussed in previous columns, an...

A Catholic Focus on Meeting Needs

St. Benedict Institute Editor Elizabeth Herzing interviews Jared Ortiz, assistant professor of religion at Hope College in Holland, MI, about St. Benedict Institute, which is dedicated to addressing the needs of the whole person—mind, heart, body, soul, intellect, and will—all from a God-focused foundation designed to draw people to Christ....

A Life Wonderfully Lived

Joe Haack As he lays dying, Thomas’ doubts about god face a stranger. I sit alone on a hospital bed with only my thoughts to keep me company—company that leaves much to be desired. I had just received the news I had dreadfully been expecting for the past six months…my...

The Evangelical Life of Mary

Br. Daniel Korn,CSsR / Fr. Ken Sedlak, CSsR The icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help continues to be an instrument of evangelization. Pope Francis speaks of Mary as the “Star of Evangelization.” He presents Mary as the pilgrim of proclamation because of what is said of her in the...

Pushing Through the Fog

Elizabeth A. Herzing In this edition, I come before you with a foggy mind as I struggle to traverse the rocky path set before me. I have writer’s block. I’d like to attribute it to lack of sleep, the chaos of planning for the upcoming holidays, or a decline in...

“Don’t Sit on the Torpedo!”

Richard C. Lukas Recalling a courageous priest and the dogs of war that washed onto an American shore during WWII Mike sat with his wife, Marita, on the balcony of their condominium overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and reminisced about their childhood. Marita reminded him with a touch of envy, “You...

Heifer International

Heifer International Group helps families overcome poverty and hunger by “teaching them to fish” Editor Elizabeth Herzing interviews Jen Girten, manager of education program development at Heifer International, about the organization’s mission to combat world hunger and poverty. They believe gifts of training and livestock can help families turn hunger...

Purity of Heart

In a time of national danger, the prophet Joel called the people of Israel to have a conversion of heart and confidence in the Lord. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1430) refers to these words of the prophet in a section that speaks about interior penance. The Catechism...

Toward a More Perfect Union

A Letter by Robert E. Lee From my lofty perch atop many pedestals, I have become a lightning rod. Some governing bodies are now enacting legislation to keep me standing. Others have spent millions of dollars for masked men to remove my compatriots and me—mostly in darkness and secrecy. Paraphrasing...

Banning the Guilt Game

For countless individuals and families with children, September marks the end of one kind of chaos and the beginning of another. In the summer, parents are taxed with the challenge to fill the stretch of long days with activity. Dotting many June-August schedules are the hottest (no pun intended) summer...

Holy Gazing

Visio Divina, a term used in the practice of contemplative prayer, means “holy gazing.” This refers to the practice of looking into something with intention and purpose, focusing on a certain object. In our case, the “something” is the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. You may be familiar...

A Traveling Confessional

Fr. Michael Champagne, CJC, is recognized as the priest behind the traveling confessional—an old ambulance revamped to literally meet the faith-filled wherever they gather. Editor Elizabeth Herzing interviews Fr. Champagne about how he and his community strive to live a life of contemplata aliis tradere, like Mary, a handing on...

Stealth Witnesses

My paternal grandmother used to pray the rosary every morning before Mass. On Sundays, when my sisters and I would file into the pew, she would greet us with hugs and kisses, her beads swaying, and then return to her prayer. In adulthood, I learned that she began this practice...

Our “Glorious Prince” and Defender

Saint Michael’s Church was a Redemptorist stronghold in Baltimore, MD for more than 150 years. It welcomed immigrants and set them on a course toward God and the fulfillment of their American dream. As sadly happens in some city churches, the parish closed seven years ago, and the property was...

Jean Vanier and Carol St. Laurent

Jean Vanier: Forging Arks of Amity

C.S. As we face the war on terror, the terror of war, and hatred among religions and races, now more than ever we must heed God’s call to peace. But how do we accomplish such a monumental feat? For answers, I turned to Jean Vanier, a hero of faith, humanitarian...

Beside Every Good Congregation is a Good Order

Ever since the 1732 founding of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorist missionaries have been able to rely on a dedicated order of contemplative nuns. In 1731, Blessed Maria Celeste Crostarosa founded the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptoristines). Maria Celeste’s inspired revelations then guided...

Breathing the Divine Breath With Mary

Prayer is the intimacy of being honestly human and letting God be God. In this intimacy, we gently learn to trust and open our hearts to God. The Creator and the Spirit’s love are the courage, generosity, and compassion that inspired Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. “Not what I will...

The Holy Center of the Icon

A Portal Into Mystery The common and best-known definition of icons is, “They are windows into mystery.” In short, the result of reading and praying icons is a spiritual experience. In the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the “window” is plentiful redemption. Where is the entrance point for us...

A Time to Honor

Recently, I jaunted down memory lane. It started when I tore apart my home office in preparation for a new printer. If you’re like me, every project leads to a larger and more complicated undertaking. And I take after my father, which means that cleaning always involves pitching, so in...