The Silent Call of Our Lady

Spectacular apparitions of Mary that occurred nearly a century apart had strikingly similar characteristics—primarily silence and light. They conveyed messages of great import for people at the time and for humanity today. Some readers may recall learning about the second appearances when they took place. They happened a little more...

Memories Old, Memories New

I’ve told my oldest daughter, Katelyn, many times, “your sister coming along so soon after you (eleven months) is the best thing that ever happened to you.” I say that because I was so enamored with my first bundle of joy that I dressed her up—even when we were staying...

Duty Calls

The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers, wounded or killed, who have defended the United States against threats and attacks by an enemy in wartime. Originally known as the Badge of Military Merit, George Washington presented the first badges during the Revolutionary War. While never abolished, the awards didn’t officially...

Navigating Women’s Health Care

I wrote in September about Maria, a pregnant woman whose fetus was developing abnormally and whose doctors advised she get an abortion. After talking with me at the parish church and a mother I knew whose child had had complications, Maria put her life and that of her unborn baby...

Don’t Offend, Amend

Sometimes I think of our Blessed Mother’s plea to people to amend their lives. Then I think about the miracle of the sun that occurred in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917. Could the miracle have been greater? Yet, “a lack of faith can diminish God’s miraculous power,” warns Fr....

Committing to Integrity

At the end of my September column, I said I was “stepping down” from the soapbox from which I opposed vaccine incentives and people who shirk individual responsibility. But I’m back on that soapbox because of news that some states are offering COVID-19 vaccination incentives to help settle court fines....

Exercising Responsibility

All of us climb on our soapbox to express a viewpoint we feel passionate about. “Responsibility” in all forms—personal, moral, and social—to name a few—gets me on my soapbox. It’s a trait sorely lacking in society today, in my opinion. Case in point, COVID-19 vaccine incentives. I’m not talking about...

Miraculous Medals

The story of a necklace many Catholics wear begins with an apparition of our Blessed Mother to a young nun. Nearly 200 years ago, a young nun named Catherine Labouré experienced an apparition from our Blessed Mother resulting in the casting of medals that have enriched and benefited Catholics worldwide....

The Only Choice

Maria sat in the parish office, in tears and inconsolable. A third doctor had just told her that her best option was to abort her baby. Second and third opinions didn’t give her the answer she hoped for and desperately needed to hear. She wanted God’s help. She came to...

Sr. Joan Ridley, OSB

Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will...

Time to Follow

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 The changes we have experienced over these many months have been mind-boggling. The coronavirus, the ...

God’s Reflection

Doña Alba is a longtime parishioner of Visitation Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) Church in Philadelphia. A native of Puerto Rico, she makes the best arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) you’ve ever tasted. For six years, I enjoyed plate after plate of delicious Puerto Rican food from Doña Alba’s kitchen—just...

Sword Thrusts or Healing?

A popular adage attributed to John Lydgate, a fifteenth-century monk and a prolific English poet, could be a helpful life lesson: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the...

Invisible Man

The newspaper appears on your doorstep early Saturday morning. A bag of food is passed through a narrow window into your waiting hands. Miraculously, your sidewalk is shoveled and the driveway is cleared after a monster snowstorm. You open the closet door to find a crisp, pressed shirt ready to...

Unimaginable Holy Light

Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, beautiful as the white moon, pure as the blazing sun, fearsome as celestial visions? Song of Songs 6:10 These words surely can be said about the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In her image to St. Juan Diego, she is...

Grandma’s Chair

My paternal grandmother was very dear to me. Many things contributed to our bond: I was named after her, she was the closest woman I had to a mother as I grew up, and she introduced me to the Catholic faith. She didn’t drive, and my grandfather—who did drive—passed away...

Sr. Bridget Haase, OSU

Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 Q. Sister, how did you discover your vocation? A. In 1959, in order to graduate from...

Sr. Joan Schaefer, SSND

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—[says] the Lord— plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11–12 Q. Sister,...

A Real Wonder Woman: Mary Magdalene

A Real Wonder Woman

Mary of Magdala Blazes the Trail to Easter Mary Magdalene was one of the named women in the group who traveled with Jesus from Galilee. Many modern scholars believe her ministry during Jesus’ life on earth was as significant as Peter’s, albeit in different ways. Jesus said to her, “Mary!”...

New-look, Hybrid Parishes

Through the years, countless employees were coached to ask the faithful inquiring at the parish office, “Are you a registered parishioner?” Historically, church membership has been complicated. When ethnic parishes thrived, people were assigned membership by country of origin, culture, and language. Sadly, race was sometimes a factor. Parish membership...