Category: Plain Talk

Through a lens of simplicity, BRUCE LEWANDOWSKI, CSsR reflects on topics that affect our faith, pique our interest and pose questions essential to faith progression.

Children and Politics

It’s for our children.” “No child left behind.” “Latch-key kids.” “Anchor babies.” “It’s not a choice; it’s a child.” That short list of slogans and terms demonstrates that for decades politicians and political campaigns have focused on a lot more than kissing babies. At times, children are front and center...

Taking Immigration Personally

The challenges posed today by migrants and refugees will be the focus of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2016, according to Pope Francis. On September 12, the Holy Father wrote from the Vatican, “In our time, migration is growing worldwide. Refugees and people fleeing from their homes...

Prearrange My Heart

My mother asked me to go with her to help prearrange her funeral. A little time has passed since she first asked. We haven’t gone yet, so I’ve had some time to think about it. Slogans like, “Save now, rest in peace later,” and, “We put them in the ground,...

The Power of “I Don’t Know”

Iwould like to know how a text message gets from one cell phone to another. And how does it get there without getting mixed up with other text messages? Where do text messages go after they are deleted? Is there a “text message landfill” somewhere with old texts, emoticons, and...

One World, Two Views

I remember watching an elementary-school principal deal with a child who was sent to the office for bad behavior. She asked the youngster, “Do you know what you did?” Tearfully, without hesitation, the child answered, “Yes, I’m bad.” The principal countered saying, “No, you’re not bad. You just did a bad...

Not Just Another Meeting

In business, having the skill and ability to prepare and execute a good meeting is essential. Meetings can be deadly if great care isn’t taken to look after every detail. And every detail is important, from the participants and the room to the agenda and the coffee. Never forget the...

Tune in to What Kids Watch

Do your children listen to you? Are they obedient? Are they respectful? Do they understand the role and meaning of authority? Do they know their place in the family? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you might want to review what your children watch on TV. It...

Nature’s Reminders

Lilies are the perfect flowers for Easter. Since the 1920s, when they were first introduced in the United States, they have become a symbol of Easter. For many, their strong fragrance and striking appearance are synonymous with the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. But did you know that...

The Globalization of Kindness

September 2014 More and more, we are aware of the vast migrations of people from one country to another, from one continent to another. We take for granted the minute-by-minute exchanges between financial markets across great distances. Technology and rapid, split-second sharing of information on the communication superhighway, imports and...

Turn Up the Volume!

July-August 2014 Throughout its history, the Church has paid attention to the female voice. GPS, cell phones, and many commercials have something in common—more often than not, a feminine tone communicates the information. Have you noticed that computerized announcements, such as those made at public facilities like the airport, the...

Not Right or Wrong— Just More

 May/June 2014 "Most, if not all, Catholics at some point find themselves worrying about the future of the Church." When I was in the college seminary, a venerable old Redemptorist came for a visit and said, “I met the seminarians, and I am not impressed.” I heard other comments about...

When Is It Time to Forgive?

April 2014 The first time it happened, I was speechless. A mother had come to the rectory. She didn’t like the answer she’d gotten from the parish school’s principal about the importance of timely tuition payments. When I gave her the same answer, she screamed at me. She called me...

Learning to Walk Again

 March 2014 "The willingness to fall and the ability to fall ‘just right’ are invaluable".    You probably don’t remember your first steps. It’s part of the collage of “firsts” that moms and dads want to record and remember forever. We struggle to stand, wobble, tumble, and then start again—and...

Catechesis of the Heart

February 2014 "Knowledge of Jesus is not the same as belief in him or love of him." While we lament the closure or consolidation of many parochial schools over the past twenty-five years, we can also celebrate that another area of Catholic education, faith formation, has come into its own....

The Precious Present

 January 2014 "Despite the diversity within the Church, are we culturally insensitive?"  The church custodian calls 911 because two men are lingering in the church after lighting candles at our Lady’s shrine. The church has experienced a few robberies at the poor box, and the custodian says the two dark-skinned...

New and Improved

November 2013 "Has technology made us disengaged?" Years ago I stopped wearing a watch; a watch hanging on my wrist annoys me. As a result, I often ask people for the time. I stop someone, ask the question, look them in the eye, and listen carefully to their response. I...

More Than Just a Good Idea

September 2013 "Most of us have never lived in or experienced a “missionary” Church." Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have something in common other than the papacy: a focus on the new evangelization. Paul VI popularized the term in his 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. John Paul II explained...

Beyond Gun Control

July-August 2013 Michael couldn’t wait to tell his second-grade friend what had happened to him. “A policeman pointed a gun at my head this morning!” Michael’s friend was scared, so he told the teacher, who told the principal, who called Michael’s parents. His parents explained that their home had been...

Rights vs. Entitlements

May-June 2013 A faded sign in the window of a small storefront church near my home declares, “We offer a hand-up, not a hand-out!” A Salvation Army social-service center offers food vouchers; a stone’s throw away, the Catholic Worker offers a free clinic. Churches and church organizations have been in the...

An Out at the Ball Game

April 2013 "Good morale, economic stability, and the American dream have a hefty price tag." Opening Day is April 1!      In Cincinnati, a hot dog at the ballpark is $1, while in Tampa Bay it’s more than $5. A ballpark beer Arizona is $4; at a Phillies game, it’s a...