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home : commentary : columns July 21, 2017

The nature of simplicity
Torrential rains have reversed the over-dry conditions plaguing California. But on one particular mountainside a drought of a different kind persists: Visits from the outside world have dried up at New Camaldoli Benedictine Hermitage in Big Sur, California. More ...
Thursday, July 20, 2017

A closer look at death row
The day that Matt Puckett was executed by the state of Mississippi, I was caught in an emotional conundrum. More ...
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Is touching believing?
As I write this, on the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, I am reminded of the Caravaggio painting in which Doubting Thomas places his hand in the wounded side of Our Lord.  More ...
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Three questions for vocational discernment
It was a hot, sunny day in early September and the lawn around me was a sea of colorful banners and signs advertising debate clubs and Ultimate Frisbee teams. More ...
Saturday, July 8, 2017
The challenge of being the Body of Christ
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) challenges us to this day with a poem titled "Christ Has No Body," quoted recently by Lynn Campbell, executive director of the Office of Social Justice Ministry of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut: More ...
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Healing together in Christ
Dr. Chuck Dietzen was the winner of two awards at our recent Christopher Awards ceremony More ...
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Being good-hearted is not enough
Charity is about being good-hearted, but justice is about something more. Individual sympathy is good and virtuous, but it doesn’t necessarily change the social, economic, and political structures that unfairly victimize some people and unduly privilege others. More ...
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Reflecting on the convocation: Catholic Church in America has many opportunities to evangelize

What a good time it is to be Catholic in the United States. That’s one of the prominent messages that I have heard over the past few days at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, Fla. 

Sure, after hearing some of the statistics in discussing the current landscape of the Church in America – such as in the past 15 years, the number of people with no religious affiliation has grown from 3 percent to 25 percent, or the startling statistic that one-third of those who call themselves Catholic don’t attend Mass – I was asking, “Wait, why is a good time to be Catholic?”

The answer (one of many, I would argue): opportunity.

 More ...
Monday, July 3, 2017
Reflecting on the convocation: Experiencing joy the key to Christ

I’m a fan of muscle cars. I hope to one day take a mechanics class so I can learn how to work on engines because I couldn’t imagine owning something as sweet as a Dodge Charger without knowing how to work on one.

So when I ran into Father Mike Schmitz, director of youth ministry for the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., and he started comparing enthusiasm for faith to a car engine, I knew he was going to say something I could relate to.

“There’s fun, there’s happiness and there’s joy,” Father Schmitz said, the genuine smile he’s well-known for in his YouTube videos quite contagious. “Fun and happiness fade, but what is Christ’s promise? Joy.”

 More ...
Monday, July 3, 2017
What would you share with Pope Francis?
Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes of last year's World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, was Pope Francis sharing a meal with a dozen young people. More ...
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Dealing with summer boredom and the workplace grind
My mother-in-law used to point out that, as a young girl, she never told her mother, "There's nothing to do." More ...
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
More than a prayer, Hail Mary is a relationship
Not all relationships get off to a good start. More ...
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The 2018 synod and the imperative of really listening to Hispanic youth
The wheels have been in motion for more than a year in preparation for the October 2018 synod.  More ...
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Being good-hearted is not enough
Charity is about being good-hearted, but justice is about something more. Individual sympathy is good and virtuous, but it doesn’t necessarily change the social, economic, and political structures that unfairly victimize some people and unduly privilege others. More ...
Thursday, June 22, 2017
You are my favorite customer
I was barely through the door of my neighborhood bank the other day when I heard "Ana," (not her real name), one of the tellers, call "Hi, Effie." More ...
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Are we (really) listening?
I always hope to have a real-world example to go along with the subject I write about in this column. As I type this, I am alternating between the need to laugh and the temptation to cry (or, at least, furl my brow and shake my head). More ...
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Coming full circle - From storybooks to spirituality
My first love was literature, novels and poetry. As a child, I loved storybooks, mysteries and adventures.   More ...
Sunday, June 11, 2017
How are your technological 'practices' affecting your memory and imagination?
As a father of four, I am familiar with practice. There's hockey practice, piano practice and lots of practicing patience. My kids are learning what a C-sharp sounds like and how to track the puck when they are playing defense. These practices form our family by training perception. More ...
Thursday, June 8, 2017
A budget to serve the common good
As we drive through rural Nebraska to a memorial service for an old family friend, an orange sunset bathes tiny new corn in soft light. More ...
Monday, June 5, 2017



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