U.S. Catholic

This magazine publishes news, opinions and reviews about issues concerning the everyday lives of Catholics.

Articles from Vol. 73, No. 12, December

A Reading from the Prophet Bonnie: God's Messengers Are Often Just as Surprising as the Words They Bear
Advent always opens me up. Just when I think I am in control of my life and ministry, I am confronted by the challenges of a new liturgical year. The prophets get under my skin. The gospels splash my soul to surprise and awaken me. Never has Advent...
Away from the Manger: As Pieces of Teresa's Nativity Set Traverse Afar, Her Niece Catches Unexpected Glimpses of the Incarnation
My aunt Teresa was a collector and creator of religious artwork. Like many women of her generation, religion defined life down to her taste in decorating. Jesus and Mary were very much part of family life; their pictures were displayed on bookshelves...
Birth Announcements: We Shouldn't Get Hung Up on the Details, Surrounding Jesus' Birth, Says This Bible Scholar. as with Any Scripture Story, There's More Here Than Meets the Eye
Learning scripture in the land of the Bible changes the way you read it, says Sister Laurie Brink, O.P., who leads study tours to places such as Bethlehem. "The land holds memory," she says. "It's made holy by everybody that went there before." ...
Can a Non-Catholic Receive Communion?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The smarty-pants answer is that it happens all the time. There's no security check at Communion stations. Ushers seldom rack up more than a couple of Communion-line tackles in a long career. So every Sunday just about everyptace,...
Come to Your Senses This Advent: Here Are Five Ways to Show Your Kids How Advent Is about More Than Waiting for Santa
I AM LIVING WITH THE VIRGIN MARY. Mary, in case you were wondering, is about three feet tall with tangled ringlets pulled back into a ponytail. While for centuries Mary has been known for her serene, patient smile, my experience is that she is alternately...
Feedback
The reason I sing at Mass is ... I come to Mass to pray and prepare myself for the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist. D. Allen Altenburg Rialto, Calif. I love the joy it brings my heart to sing God's praises. Kevin Burdick Kansas...
First Responder: Anthony Mary Claret Led His Church and His Order, the Claretians, Courageously, but It Is His Personal Struggles That Make Him a Role Model Today
I HADN'T HEARD OF THE CLARETIANS OR THEIR FOUNDER, St. Anthony Mary Claret, until a priest gave a talk about them to us eighth graders at St. Mel Grammar School. When I entered the Claretian junior seminary, though, I read all about Claret, born Dec....
Learning to Bend
LEARNING TO BEND Ben Sollee (R.E.D. Distribution, 2008) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Singer-song-writer-cellist Ben Sollee, 24, is at the beginning of what promises to be a very interesting American roots music career. Yes, you read that right--"cellist"...
Let My People Sing: It's Time for the Congregation to Share the Sunday Stage with the Choir, Argues a Priest Who Wants the Mass to Be Sung by All. Here Are a Number of Suggestions to Help Them Clear Their Throats
HERE IS SOMETHING a pastor will never hear in the back of the church after Mass: "I wish the people around me didn't sing so loud!" [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In my many years at many parishes in many places, standing at the altar and facing the...
Monster in the Mirror: Modern Twists on Classic Horror Stories Might Not Be the Right Tales for Our Times
THE CLASSICS ARE BACK ON TELEVISION, AND NOT ON Masterpiece Theatre. At least the classic monster stories are back, though in mutant modern forms. This fall, cable and network television have resurrected flesh versions of three 19th-century gothic...
Morality Check: The Global Fight against HIV and AIDS Requires All the Means at Our Disposal
THIRTY-THREE MILLION. TWENTY-FIVE MILLION. Eleven million. These numbers are worth contemplating as we commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1. The first is the World Health Organization's estimate of those infected with the Human Immunodeficiency...
Mother Mary Comes to Me: Seeing Is Believing, at Least for Those Who Have First-Hand Experience with Marian Apparitions
HAVE YOU SEEN MARY LATELY? IF NOT, you could be part of a shrinking minority. Reports of Marian apparitions have been nearly continuous throughout Christian history, with some 20,000 visitations on the books. According to the Web directory compiled...
Ox, Ass-And Giraffe
A giraffe is poking, its head into the manger at my family s house this year. No, I don't think there were any giraffes in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, but Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg's Practicing Catholic on putting figures from around the world in...
Standing Room Only: When Admittance to the Nativity Scene Is Free and Open to the Public, Bethlehem Can Get a Little Crowded-But the Creche Is Enriched Because of It
I DON'T HAVE PICTURES OF MYSELF SITTING TERRIFIED ON Santa's lap. Despite his slow but certain infiltration into the traditional Spanish Christmas, he has never been able to dethrone the Wise Men who, flanked by pages, still sit in department stores...
Then She Found Me
THEN SHE FOUND ME (THINKFilm, 2008) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Are we born into families, or do we fashion them by forging bonds with strangers? At the start of Helen Hunt's heart-wrenching and endearing comedy about abandonment and adoption,...
The Word Made Digital: 7 Steps to a Church Worth Connecting To
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The March 19 celebration of the feast of St. Joseph is in full swing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. An excited sophomore runs up to me. "Father Rick, Father Rick! I, like, never knew that, like, St. Joseph was,...
We Should Still Give Unto Others: After the Wall Street Wipeout, in a World Full of Hurt, We're Still Our Brothers' Keepers
WITH THE CARNAGE ON WALL STREET CONTINUING at a jaw-dropping pace in October and retirees--and folks who aspire one day to be retirees--wondering how devastated stock portfolios will ever recover, a fella could be forgiven for investing a few moments...
When Bad Things Happen to Good Parishes: Parishes Can't Always Anticipate Impending Disaster, but There's Plenty They Can Do to Prepare and Protect Themselves from the Worst
Imagine opening the morning newspaper to discover your pastor has just been arrested for embezzling more than a million dollars from parish funds. This happened a couple of years ago in one wealthy New England parish. It turns out said pastor skimmed...

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