Occasionally something that begins with a purely practical purpose will, over time, take on a spiritual significance and become part of the Church’s tradition.  One good example of this is the church bell.  Bells are so much a part of our tradition that the most basic iconic representation of a Church is a square building with a steeple or bell tower. It is thought by … Continue reading Bells


On November 30th, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published his second encyclical letter, “Spe Salvi,” or “Saved by Hope.”  His first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” was a reflection on the nature of love.  But you may be wondering, what exactly is an encyclical letter anyway? In the ancient Christian Church, a encyclical letter was one sent to the bishops of a particular area. The name comes … Continue reading Encyclicals

Economic Justice

Several months ago, one of my parishioners challenged me when I spoke about the Church’s support for a new minimum wage law.  She was arguing that Catholic social teaching should simply follow and reinforce economic market forces. But the principle of Economic Justice that underlies much of the Church’s social teaching begins at a different point.  We presume that economic systems should serve people, and … Continue reading Economic Justice


On September 29th of each year, the Church celebrates the feast of the Archangels.  Although angels have been theologically out of fashion in recent years, they continue to play in important part in popular piety and spirituality.   So what is an angel?  There is so much misinformation and fanciful speculation about angels that a look at the Catholic understanding of these creatures might be … Continue reading Angels

Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek!

Like many people, today I’m celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the premier of Star Trek.  I’ve been reflecting lately on why this particular cultural phenomenon has had such a grip on me for so long.  I started watching when I was about 11 years old— only two years after Star Trek ended its three-year run on NBC, and long before its many movies and subsequent … Continue reading Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek!

Why You Should Come & See

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:45-46 There’s something about seeing– experiencing– a thing first-hand that is more compelling than having someone tell you … Continue reading Why You Should Come & See