Mercy, Marriage and Dante Alighieri

Earlier this month, on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis issued a special decree announcing a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on December 8. Divine Mercy Sunday – the first Sunday after Easter each year — was instituted in 2000 by St. John Paul II, who expressed his own profound understanding of mercy in the encyclical Dives in Misericordia (“Rich in Mercy”).


World Meeting of Families: What You Can Do

This past weekend, March 21-22, many of our parishes included a letter from me that was read during Mass. It highlighted some of the needs we face in preparing for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) this September. We have exactly – and only – six months left before the event. The pace of getting ready to welcome visitors from around the globe and Pope Francis himself is speeding up quickly.


On the Threshold of Lent

The great Catholic writer Georges Bernanos once said that, “the world will be saved only by free men. We must make a world for free men.” He wrote those words nearly 70 years ago in the wake of a terrible world war. He understood from painful experience that man is made for God — and without faith, there can be no real freedom, only distractions and idolatries that eventually consume man himself.


Lent and the Road Less Traveled

What Francis of Assisi and every other great saint discovered in their time is that we become who we really are — we experience life most vividly — when we allow Jesus Christ to transform and work through us.  Each of us as disciples receives a call to share in God’s power to give life.  That’s the meaning of the prayer we all learned as children:


Three Simple Questions on the Threshold of Lent

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, falls on March 5 this year. Lived well, Lent can convert the heart and transform a person’s life. That’s the whole point of the season – to ready us for the miracle of Easter. But self-examination, repentance and reconciliation are rarely painless; they can sound a lot easier in theory than they are in practice.


Roe V. Wade and Christian Witness: 41 Years Later

January 22 marks the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wadedecision, legalizing abortion on demand. Thanks to Roe, abortion has killed more than 50 million unborn children over the past four decades – the equivalent of roughly one in six living Americans; an entire generation extinguished. But alongside the killing spree, and despite the contempt of abortion activists and unfriendly media, the prolife counter-witness of millions of Americans has alsocontinued.


The Gift of Thanksgiving and the Advent Season

Thanksgiving is a good time to step back from the pressures of work, reflect on the course of our lives and remember that gratitude is the beginning of joy.  It’s also an opportunity to remember whom we’re thanking, and why we’re thanking him.  The holiday has vividly Christian roots, and it makes little sense without its religious origins.  Americans certainly don’t need to be Christian to enter into the spirit of the day, but Thanksgiving reminds us of a fundamentally higher reality: our dependence on a loving Creator. 


Marriage, Family and Some Help For Pope Francis

In less than two years — exactly 22 months — the Church in Philadelphia will host the Eighth World Meeting of Families.  Aside from a press conference last year and the kind public support of Governor Tom Corbett and Mayor Michael Nutter, so far the event has seemed well over the horizon; something to pleasantly daydream about without too much anxious detail.


Remembering Those Who Suffer For the Love of Jesus Christ

November is a time to recall in a special way the souls of the faithful departed who’ve gone before us. Martyrs are among those we venerate, and they came from all walks of life. They were men and women, old and young, laypeople, priests and religious. Martyrdom means bearing witness to Jesus Christ by living, and when necessary dying, for our faith in Jesus Christ. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn15:13). He spoke these words before he gave his own life for us on the cross, showing us exactly what he meant.

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