Last month the members of our national Lutheran/Catholic Dia-logue spent two days in intense conversation regarding the teaching of our respective churches about the existence of purgatory. As I have explained before, this was part of our current Round XI established five years ago to study the theme “Hope of Eternal Life.” We gathered, all […]
One of the great jewels of American church history is the Congregation of Saint Paul, founded in New York in 1858 by the Servant of God, Isaac Hecker. For more than 150 years the Paulists, as they have come to be called by members and fans alike, have been an active force as “missionaries to […]
On three occasions last month I was confronted by some very moving accounts of the needs of our elder relatives, friends and neighbors.
First, there was a special blessing for a new garden designed for elderly immigrants, many of them Asian, who still struggle with English after their children have grown and moved out on their own.
The recurring grief over the loss of their native land at a time of national turmoil and war, and the distance from their original Vietnamese culture and language has often increased a sense of isolation. They no longer have the respect and reverence given to elders in the country of their birth, and so they live in sadness. A garden was planned and planted especially for them by our Catholic Charities at the Elder Respite Care site at 60th and Lloyd streets in Milwaukee, and several of us were invited to be part of its blessing.
A few weeks ago I happened to be caught in afternoon Milwaukee expressway traffic. It was one of those beautiful late summer afternoons in Wisconsin, and I was completely surrounded by folks on their way to an afternoon Brewers’ game at Miller Park. Traffic was stalled in every direction as cars attempted to maneuver into […]
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit one of the smaller, rural parishes for Sunday Mass. It was the lovely late summer Sunday at which the Scripture readings happened to include the prickly reading from Ephesians in which wives are encouraged to be submissive to their husbands and husbands told to love […]
A recurring theme in the Gospel passages read during Easter Season, and especially at celebrations of the sacrament of confirmation, is Christ’s promise of the Paraclete. On four different occasions (John 14:16.26; 15:26; 16:7) within the Last Supper discourse of Jesus as reported in the Gospel of John, we find a reference to this unique gift. The word is unusual enough to evoke some playful references to a “parakeet” on one’s shoulder, as if that were the point of reference when speaking of the Holy Spirit!
Periodically I am in a conversation about a contemporary neuralgic issue of one type or another, and someone suggests returning to the Gospel for direction. Obviously that is an important point and compelling as well, but not quite as simple as it may initially sound. The Gospel is framed as reflection of and witness to […]
Earlier this month I had the good fortune to attend the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America. The chosen location this year was Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a tip of the hat to the Canadian members of the group, and the chief planner for this year’s meeting was our own Fr. Bryan Massingale, priest of the archdiocese and a professor at Marquette University.
The theme chosen for the gathering was “Impasse … and Beyond,” a recognition of the many theological conundrums over the centuries and again today … which seem to go so far and then be stymied. As a matter of fact, the actual wording of the conference’s theme was originally provided by Sr. Constance Fitzgerald, a remarkable contemplative Carmelite nun from Baltimore whose poetry and prayer offered possibilities for opening new paths to solve ancient theological dilemmas. Her mature voice, quiet and confident, was electrifying. Like many others in attendance, I almost felt the need for silence rather than a theological response from a different voice!
It seems as if the calendar pages flip over more quickly than ever and suddenly the prospect of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent rise over the horizon once more. The catch word for the season, of course, is “Repent/metanoeite” (Mark 1:15)! It is very easy for us to automatically assume that the conversion […]