Category: Columns

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...

Challenges Left and Right

At an art museum, three patrons gathered in front of a painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, executed by an anonymous artist. The first said, “Notice the great attention to detail in the vegetation. The artist must have been a botanist.” The second countered, “Observe how...

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...

Where Are the Better Angels?

There once was a poor, elderly man who lost his only horse shortly before harvest. His friends commiserated with him about his misfortune, but the old man quietly countered, “How do you know this is misfortune?” Later, the old man’s steed came home, accompanied by a pack of wild horses,...

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....

A Pro-vaccine Parable

“Having seen this up close and personal, I’d encourage ALL of you to put politics and other concerns aside and get it,” posted Mark Valentine on Facebook about the COVID-19 vaccine. He added that his brother Phil’s fight for his life “has persuaded me to go get vaccinated when I...

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...

Driven by Vengeance

“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” is one of the oldest laws in the world, appearing three times in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:23–25, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21). It was originally intended to limit a proportional punishment to the individual who committed the injury, rather...

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...

Eroding Reality

Father, my car broke down on the highway and my wife and children are waiting on the side of the road. Can you give me money to fix the car?” Based on the frequency of this request, priests could be most helpful in ministry if we operated a car-towing service....

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...