Should the feast of St. Joseph be moved out of Lent?

Q: Some people think that celebrating saints’ days during Lent draws our attention away from the Great Forty Days of preparation for Easter. Do you think that the feast of St. Joseph should be moved out of Lent? A: No. It is true that where the solemnity of St. Joseph “is not observed as a…

What ingredients make for a good mealtime prayer?

Wisely, the Jewish tradition of prayer holds it unthinkable to ask anything of God without first offering praise and thanks Q: In my family, as I grew up, we prayed before and after meals. Before eating, without fail, we prayed, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from…

Have you made any liturgical resolutions for 2016?

Q: Have you made any liturgical resolutions for the new year? A: Yes! Here are some of my liturgical resolutions for the year of Our Lord 2016, and you are welcome to make them your own, if you like. n To appreciate more deeply, during the Jubilee of Mercy, how the mercy of God is…

Nativity scenes remind us why we celebrate Christmas

How sad it is if we add Jesus to the Nativity scene at Christmas and then fail to place him at the center of our lives all year long Note: This column originally appeared in the Dec. 20, 2013, issue of The Visitor. Q. One of your past columns on Advent got me thinking of…

Advent is God’s “prime time”

Q. How can families make Advent more meaningful? A. The liturgical season of Advent most powerfully focusses the church’s attention on time: the many centuries during which Israel, God’s chosen people, awaited the coming of the Messiah, and now, the time (how long?) between his first coming and his final coming. Advent reminds us that…

Pondering mystery of faith — Christ in the Eucharist

Our poor human gifts of bread and wine become the priceless gift of God’s beloved Son Q. I have heard dismal statistics about the percentage of Catholics who truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I see people falling away from the church, going either nowhere or to some other denomination,…

What gestures are appropriate during the sign of peace?

This sacred gesture is our God-inspired and God-empowered sign of unity Q. For the sign of peace at Mass I think many people would prefer a simple bow to a handshake (less germ transmission). What do you think? A. Someone has said that whenever we gather to meet our God in the Eucharist, we first…

Angels always point us to the One who is greater

Angels remind us that the entire universe is shot through with God’s presence and activity The topic for this month’s column came from my patron saint himself, Michael the Archangel, by way of a dream. I was at the Vatican, and Pope Francis was asking me to prepare an exhibit of art depicting my patron…

Parish festivals make all of the parishioners ‘liturgists’

Every parish bazaar and every liturgical celebration are wondrous illustrations of what happens when many people work together generously for the common good Sadly, I didn’t receive any questions for my August column. Perhaps would-be questioners were busy working on summer festivals in their parishes or going to others. If so, I dedicate to them…