Should we go to Mass on the 4th of July?

As we observe Independence Day, let us pray that our country, so rich in God’s material blessings, will contribute generously to the wholeness, the all-embracing peace, of the whole world Q. July 4 is our most important civil holiday, but I think we would do well to mark our Independence Day by going to Mass…

What is the best way to receive Communion?

After Vatican II, standing in the aisle to receive holy Communion became widespread and customary Q. I’ve seen some traffic on the Internet again about the best way to receive Communion: whether it’s OK to kneel if no one else in the Communion line is; if it’s OK for your parish priest to put back…

Pray with us during the Year of Consecrated Life

In the diverse work that monks may do, the liturgy is the one work common to all of them Q. I know that you are a member of St. John’s Abbey. During this Year of Consecrated Life, I was wondering how you see the role of liturgy in your own life and in your religious…

Leaving our Lenten ark, we come to shore of God’s love, mercy

Maybe we had to work hard this Lent, but for an excellent purpose: Through our prayer, fasting and works of charity, we tried to learn to be God’s people once more Sadly, the Lenten season did not bring me a question in my inbox or mailbox for my column during the Easter Octave. Perhaps would-be…

Should we experience Lent as a joyful season?

Whatever penance we do during Lent, it should be a joyful accompaniment to savoring our baptism as the most important event in our spiritual lives Q. When I was a child, Lent was focused on the suffering and death of Jesus — not very joyful. Now we hear that Lent is meant to be a…

African-American worship adds life, joy to the church

The biblical stories of deliverance and redemption have shaped the faith and songs of African-Americans and have given them hope and strength in every generation Q. In your January column you wrote about being open to different kinds of Christian worship, and you mentioned some Latino customs. Can you say something about the worship of…

Week of Prayer offers chance to share gifts, overcome prejudices

Jesus and the woman at the well respected each other’s differences Q: The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is: “Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ ” This choice seems a bit baffling to me. What do you think? A: This theme drawn from John 4:7 seemed somewhat puzzling…

Why three different Masses for Christmas?

The different readings and prayers of the Masses of Christmas invite us to contemplate the Christmas mystery from different perspectives, so that we might savor the richness and beauty of the Word made flesh Q. Why are there three different Masses for Christmas? A. The three Masses provided for the Nativity of the Lord date…

God invites us to turn Thanksgiving Day into a way of life

Every liturgical celebration of the church springs from thankfulness for the paschal mystery Q. It seems to me that of all the kinds of prayer we do at Mass — praise, thanksgiving, petition and contrition — thanksgiving has first place. Am I correct? A. Yes! Thank you for your observation. It invites me to reflect…

Are all saints Catholic — or even Christian?

Saints come from every nation, race, people and tongue. They are who we are — children of God Q. It seems to me that some of the “All Saints” whom we celebrate on Nov. 1 are not necessarily Catholics or even Christians. Am I correct?  A. When I was a child, way back in the…