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.

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...

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...

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...

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...

Check the Sources

Not all Catholic videos are worth viewing. I was buying a new suit. I wanted to make sure it was black and not navy blue, so I asked another shopper about the color. I’m color blind. I often have to ask someone about colors. Blue, pink, purple, and black can...

New Life for Sacramentals

Saint Blaise day arrives February 3, close to the beginning of Lent, when Catholics set aside meat and take up eating fish on Fridays. You may recall he saved a boy from choking on a fish bone, making the day easy to remember. The use of candles for the blessing...

“I Do Solemnly Swear…”

Prescribed by the US Constitution, the oath of office of the president is a key part of the inauguration ceremony. It symbolizes the peaceful transition of power. The National Constitution Center, located in the cradle of US liberty—Philadelphia—offers a list detailing the use of the Bible at presidential inaugural ceremonies....

Shut-eye’s Rewards

I received a peculiar gift at a recent parish visit. It’s a statue of St. Joseph, asleep. Joseph is curled up with his head on his traveling bag. His eyes are closed. He’s peaceful and still. I was told the image depicts Joseph dreaming. That could be. Angels appeared to...

Grieve with the Grieving

COVID-19 has upended our grieving and mourning rituals, but as parishes begin to reopen, there are actions Catholics can take to enable those who have lost loved ones to mourn in a safe place.

Our Sacred Duty

After Mass, a parishioner approached me. Her words reached me well before she did. “Father, this time around the question isn’t which candidate to vote for, it’s, ‘Should I vote or not?’” I wondered how many people are mulling over the same thought. This presidential election year, it’s no surprise...

Auditing Racism

The company that manages our electrical service called our parish one day. The agent said the company would do a free energy audit. The audit would produce a report detailing the ways we could save energy and lower our bill. The company also offered us energy-saving light bulbs, free. We’ve...

Popular Devotions: Problem and Promise

The parish I live and serve in provides a rich, culturally catholic environment. I am daily surrounded by all that it means to be Catholic, especially popular devotions. Very popular in Latin America, devotions abound celebrating Jesus, Mary, and the saints. In our parish, we have eight different celebrations that...

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...

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...