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Reconnecting With Mary… Reflecting On St. Joseph At Christmastide

December 30, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Reconnecting With Mary… Reflecting On St. Joseph At Christmastide

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The main focus during the season of Christmastide is naturally on the newborn Christ, whose birth we are celebrating, and then in a secondary way on His Blessed Mother, our Lady, whose great faithfulness made the Incarnation possible. St. Joseph, though, tends to remain in the background. He is there certainly in the Christmas story, but he is overshadowed by the Child Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. Yet, the Holy Family was in Bethlehem because Joseph, who was of the House of David, had to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David, along with Mary, in order to register for the census called by the Emperor Caesar Augustus. Without this pressing necessity, Jesus would have been…Continue Reading

Bilingual In Canada

December 29, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Bilingual In Canada

By DONALD DeMARCO Canada is bilingual in the sense that it has two official languages, English and French. It is also bilingual in the sense that it endorses “Doublespeak,” a derivative of “Doublethink.” In his classic diatribe against dystopias, 1984, George Orwell defines doublethink as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” The three basic examples to which the novel gives primary place are: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.” Doublespeak, therefore, is the ability to enunciate contradictory positions about the same reality and believe that both are correct. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, Subsection 223(1), “A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this…Continue Reading

A Christmas Light To The Secular World

December 28, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on A Christmas Light To The Secular World

By DEACON MIKE MANNO A deacon’s ministry can be as varied as the parish and the diocese he serves. During the past year I have presided over numerous marriages, ministered to felons suffering from addiction, whispered the commendation of the dying into the ear of a high school friend as he lay comatose, and assisted at the funeral of a law school classmate. I have hosted our bishop on his radio program, preached routinely, and served as director of a crisis pregnancy center. But of all the things that I do, baptizing children always has a special meaning at Christmas. There is something about the excitement of a new set of parents, especially those who are becoming parents for the…Continue Reading

Contemporary Modernism . . . And The Perpetual Virginity Of The Mother Of God

December 27, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Contemporary Modernism . . . And The Perpetual Virginity Of The Mother Of God

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In some Catholic parishes will be found Give Us This Day: Daily Prayers for Today’s Catholics published by Liturgical Press of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. With such editorial advisers as James Martin, SJ, Timothy Radcliffe, OP, and Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, Give Us This Day may be regarded the liberal counterpart to Magnificat, a far more impressive monthly presentation of liturgical prayer for the laity. In its issue for December, James Martin, SJ, assures readers that the Holy Family “faced some of the same struggles that families do today — worrying about money, to begin with. The Greek word the Gospels use for Joseph’s profession (teknon) means not only carpenter but, more properly, craftsman. That meant working…Continue Reading

The Magical Journey

December 26, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on The Magical Journey

By DEREK BECHER So many years have passed so quickly, quietly, somehow without notice. And though I’ve never returned to the wonderful, still countryside I called home throughout my youth, like yesterday, I remember being there, breathing, living there. And while my mind constantly strays to many of those marvelous memories, and my heart coincidentally feels the warmth of each, the fondest recollections I cherish now are of my childhood Christmases. Of these, the one I remember so vividly and right was our trip home every year from the Christmas Eve service. Small though it was, our church was always full, particularly on Christmas Eve. Friends and relations from miles around would gather to warm the church with their presence;…Continue Reading

Tanner’s Annunciation

December 25, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Tanner’s Annunciation

By JOANNE SADLER BUTLER This Christmas, I am meditating on what it was really like to be in Nazareth and Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The images we are familiar with are from the Renaissance era or later — and while they were reverently done, they also were done with an eye to pleasing the man or woman who was paying for the work. Thus, we typically see a nicely dressed Virgin, an ethereal Gabriel, a well-appointed room, with (sometimes) cherubs in the background prefiguring a Disney World display. These images are soothing, but the reality was quite different. If you want a glimpse of what life was really like back then, I suggest studying Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1896 painting…Continue Reading

I Wanted That!

December 24, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on I Wanted That!

By DEREK BECHER There’s no denying the innocence, the wonder, and the magic of Christmas that’s seen through a child’s eyes. With all of the decorations, the gatherings of family and friends, the baking, the music, the aromas, the laughter, and the anticipation stuffed into just a few days, one of the greater rewards of Christmas is the genuine, spontaneous reactions of children as they reach their Christmas climax and tear into presents on Christmas morning. I was at my parents’ home on Christmas morning in 2003, along with two of my brothers. The other five of our siblings and their families would not be arriving for another day or two, so we agreed to open gifts addressed to those…Continue Reading

Journeying To Christmas

December 23, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Journeying To Christmas

By DONALD DeMARCO Christmas is a joyful time. Indeed, “‘tis the season to be jolly.” It is the time, as Charles Dickens, has rightly remarked, for “many merry Christmases, friendships, great accumulation of cheerful recollections, affection on earth, and Heaven at last for all of us.” Surely, without Christmas, December would be the bleakest and most colorless month of the year, and the year itself would be deprived of an essential Light. No one in his right mind wants to diminish the joy that goes with the merriment of Christmas. But there is another side to Christmas that can easily escape notice. Christmas is about a birth, and births are difficult and are preceded by considerable travail. The first Christmas…Continue Reading

Christmas And Frailty

December 22, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on Christmas And Frailty

By JEFF MINICK (Below is a Christmas letter from the ever-feisty Uncle Samuel to his beloved — and often clueless — nephew Hobson.) +    +    + Dear Hobson, It pleases me to no end that you will attend the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Basilica with Abigail. These last four months since you met my young friend have certainly brought about some remarkable changes in you. By placing Abigail’s happiness ahead of your own selfish concerns, you are discovering the true meaning of affection, friendship, and love. When I first introduced the two of you by mail, it was my fervent hope that you would see in the lovely Abigail those advantages faith and grace have bestowed on her. Your…Continue Reading

The Beginning Of Human Life

December 21, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off on The Beginning Of Human Life

By DONALD DeMARCO The year 1938, like all years, had its problems: Hitler seized control of the German army and placed Nazis in key posts. The Civil War in Spain continued unabated on its path of destruction. Benito Mussolini published an anti-Jewish/African manifesto. Winston Churchill condemned Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia. The League of Nations declared Japan to be an aggressor against China. It was a year in which certain factions did not agree that Jews, Africans, Spaniards, Czechs, and Chinese were fully human. Yet, like all years, there were areas that remained unaffected by a climate of turbulence. The beginning of human life was not an issue that was caught up in a maelstrom of cultural confusion. There was no…Continue Reading