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Commentary: Season to be grateful begins

November 26th, 2015 Posted in Opinion Tags: , ,

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This is the thanks-saying, thanks-doing, thanksgiving season. It begins in late November and runs through Christmas. In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is a secular feast, although many religious congregations mark it with special services and prayers.

We would be a better, stronger, happier nation if we lived gratefully with one another every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving Day. Organized religion can help to make that happen. Read more »

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Commentary: Charting our course in this life

November 15th, 2015 Posted in Opinion, Vocations Tags: , ,

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My father used to say he wanted to be a sailor when he grew up. The thing is, he was already a grown up when he announced that ambition. He wasn’t talking about the Navy; he was talking about taking the helm of his own boat someday and catching a good wind.

What kept Dad from heading to a dock to cast off every weekend or summer was his family. A wife and seven children come with some responsibilities and those duties were Dad’s priorities in life. Family always came first for my father and mother.

Dad’s jobs were mostly in sales. I marvel that he was able to raise us on a salesman’s salary, and in retrospect, I understand the pressures my parents faced in having a big family. But I know raising seven made them happy because they rarely showed any signs of the strain of the task. Read more »

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Viewpoint: The communion of saints

November 1st, 2015 Posted in Death & Resurrection, Opinion Tags: , ,

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November is an appropriate time for remembering in prayer those who have gone before us

 

In November we celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday when we gather as a family to thank God for all that he has given to us in our lives.

It is also the time of year that our church urges us to remember and pray for those departed loved ones who have been a part of our lives and to especially remember those faithful who may have no one on earth left to pray for them. Far from being a sad practice, the tradition of praying for the dead reminds us of the greatest mystery of the church, the communion of saints.

As Catholics we believe that the primary purpose of our life on earth is to know, love and serve God in this life so we can be happy with him in heaven. In other words, we are all called to be saints. God’s plan of salvation is for everyone to be reunited and happy together forever. Read more »

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Commentary: How I spent my summer vacation

August 23rd, 2015 Posted in Opinion Tags: , , ,

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We spent a lot of our vacation in cemeteries: a couple of church plots in England and a week’s worth of well-maintained and also abandoned graveyards in Ireland.

We were fortunate to afford a summer trip overseas. Also, I’m lucky to be married to a family historian, who used every website and archive online to plan an itinerary that avoided wild-goose chases and reference-room delays to find the churches and pathways of our ancestors.

After spending time in more cemeteries than I had previously visited in my life, it became obvious to me we were on a ghost hunt, of sorts. Read more »

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Guest column: Parishes can call ‘Uber-priests’ when they need a celebrant

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Call me Uber-Priest. Lately, I feel a bit like the part-time car service that is in competition with taxi drivers who work regular shifts. You see, I don’t have a full time parish assignment since I am officially “retired from active ministry” but, like most retired priests in our diocese, I help out whenever and wherever there is a need.

Unlike the Uber drivers who might get sneers from licensed taxi drivers, we are not in competition with clergy who are assigned to parishes. Pastors love us. We are there to help them. When parish priests need to take a day off, or go on vacation, or attend a retreat, or workshop, all those things necessary for a sane, healthy, holy and renewed priesthood, we retirees get called to celebrate Masses. The phone also rings when priests get ill, hospitalized or even when they go on extended sick leaves. If we do not cause any problems for the local priests, we get invited back. Read more »

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Viewpoint: Oscar Romero: A blessed martyr

May 17th, 2015 Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized Tags:

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March 24, 1980: The news hit like a bomb. An archbishop had been shot dead at Mass: Oscar Romero of San Salvador in Central America. I was thunderstruck.

By 1980, this no longer happened even in Communist countries. They just imprisoned you.

I was a new pastor in a small parish, ordained 15 years, with time to read and think, especially about the direction of our Vatican II Church. Read more »

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Viewpoint: Catholic funeral rites are corporal and spiritual works of mercy

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In recent years, the church leaders have wisely expressed deep concern over the growing lack of respect surrounding funerals and the proper care for the earthly remains of the faithful departed.

Our religion has always been countercultural and will remain so. At the core of Roman Catholic practices surrounding the departed is the reality that prayer for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy and burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy.

It’s good to remember that the glory of Christ’s resurrection was first revealed to those on a mission of mercy to the tomb to wash and anoint Jesus’ body in accordance with Jewish burial customs. Read more »

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Viewpoint: God v. Cain in Old Testament court

March 22nd, 2015 Posted in Opinion

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In his letter this week to Delaware legislators urging them to support the repeal of the state’s death penalty, Bishop Malooly wrote, “There is a growing consciousness in our modern society that there is something wrong in using the death penalty to discourage crime and violence.”

That’s close to the heart of the capital punishment issue for me: How is it that governments kill people who have murdered to demonstrate it’s wrong to commit murder? Read more »

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Viewpoint: Food for thought during Lent

February 21st, 2015 Posted in Opinion Tags: ,

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When I was a child I overheard news reports stating a certain number of children went to bed hungry every night in America.

I was too little to understand the statistic meant something other than a craving for dessert or a cookie at bedtime. I was too young and well off to understand the difference between being ready for dinner and actual hunger from being too poor to have food on the table. Read more »

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Viewpoint: Someone to watch over us

January 25th, 2015 Posted in Opinion Tags:

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January 24 is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, who is the patron saint of both the Diocese of Wilmington and journalists.

As a Catholic journalist in the diocese, I’m especially grateful this year for the patronage of Francis.

If a patron saint is someone who is believed to protect a particular place or person, St. Francis de Sales has had his work cut out for him in the diocese during the last few years. Read more »

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