Book of Kells

In most Catholic Churches, on most Sundays, you’ll see a large book being carried in the entrance procession.  That’s the Book of the Gospels.  If you look at one up close, you’ll see that it’s a large, somewhat ornate book, containing the Gospel reading for each Sunday.  Although the Book of the Gospels has only recently started appearing in most Catholic parishes, the truth is, … Continue reading Book of Kells

Book of Blessings

It has to be said, right up front, that Catholics love blessings.  We will bless almost anything: Water, candles, meals, our children, new cars, animals, boats, wedding rings, palms, ashes, salt, eggs, houses, new cars, and all kinds of people:  sick people, old people, engaged couples, mothers, students, teachers…. We have a blessing for almost anything. But what is a “blessing,” exactly?  A blessing is … Continue reading Book of Blessings

Bishops’ Accoutrements

Recently the Catholic people of the diocese of Columbus received a new Bishop—Frederick Campbell—following the retirement of our previous bishop.  Bishop Campbell’s installation ceremony received extensive media coverage, and there was considerable interest in the accoutrements of a Bishop. The most well-known symbols of a bishop are the mitre and crosier.  The mitre is the two-pointed headdress that symbolizes the special dignity of their office. … Continue reading Bishops’ Accoutrements

Bingo

Occasionally, something ends up closely associated with the Church that has no connection to our beliefs, our theology, or our religious mission.  These things take on the characteristics of a tradition (with a small “t”), and start to seem like a Catholic thing, when they’re really just accidents of history. One primary example of this is the game of Bingo.  A form of legalized gambling, … Continue reading Bingo

Which Bible?

One of the questions I’m often asked as a priest is “Which Bible should I read?”  It’s a fair question.  If you wander into the Bible aisle of you local bookstore, you’ll find a dizzying array of choices, with different translations, different features, sizes, colors, and bindings.  The most important consideration is the issue of translations.  In order to gain the best understanding of the … Continue reading Which Bible?

Apophenia

Recently someone asked me– in all seriousness– what the Church thinks of all the claims in the news of people seeing images of Jesus and Mary in all sorts of unexpected places.  Well-publicized examples include the famous Mary-in-the-tortilla, Mary-in-the-grilled-cheese, and Jesus appearing in the salt stains of a Chicago highway underpass. None of these were what the Church would call an apparition: an actual appearance … Continue reading Apophenia