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St. Francis of Assisi’s ‘Canticle of the Creatures’

June 25th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:



The following is a translated version of St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures,” also known as “Canticle of the Sun,” a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi that Pope Francis alludes to in the title of his new encyclical “Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home.” The Vatican text of the encyclical does not include the translation Pope Francis quotes.

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Tintinnabulation in church

April 19th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags: ,


Why the bells are ringing (if it’s customary) during Mass at your parish


In 1979, disco singer Anita Ward made all of America aware that she told the man she loved, “You can ring my bell.” This gruesome little bit of 1970s disco gruel should be a forgettable number-one hit. But that song still occasionally haunts my brain, as I can hear the chorus sung with the clanging of bells in the backdrop.

Those bells are memorable. Likewise Paul McCartney opened one of his most successful songs “Let ’Em In” with a memorable invocation of bells. I guess you could say both songs, “Ring My Bell” and “Let ’Em In,” had some a-peal. (ouch)

Bells announce things. They let us know what time it is; they tell us our three-minute egg is ready; they announce a phone call; they announce that you have reached your floor on the elevator; they announce a person is at your door to visit with you. Bells do a lot – and they have a special place in the heart of the church in terms of announcements and other purposes. Read more »

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Lent is a season for conversion

February 22nd, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags: ,


It’s time to decide to ‘turn your heart around’ in imitation of the saints


Lent is here and it is during this season that, in addition to praying and fasting, we are called to turn ourselves back to God. It is a time of conversion.


Take me to your liter

There are lots of conversions we experience in life, like when we convert measurements from imperial measure (inches, feet) to that of the metric system (centimeters, meters). In the format wars of the early video era, there were people who converted from BetaMax to VHS. In the cell phone carrier battle, conversion from AT&T to Verizon to Sprint to Nextel happens all the time. There are other conversions, too: Moving from caffeinated to decaf, from PCs to Macs, and even betraying the logic of the universe and moving from McDonalds to Burger King.

However, having a conversion or change of heart in the realm of faith is a little tougher than going from a Big Mac to Whopper. (Although for me, it might be a comparable challenge.) But, tough though it may be, we are called to conversion. Read more »

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Our Lenten Journey: Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner, Featured Tags:


Our Lenten Journey | February 19, 2015


“Be who you are and be that well.”

— St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life


Although St. Francis’ advice may seem simple, being ourselves can present a challenge as we take up Christ’s cross in our lives.

From today’s readings: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”









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Our Lenten Journey: Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:


Our Lenten Journey | February 18, 2015


“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a special time of reflection and sacrifice as we prepare to celebrate Easter.

For most Christians, it is the time to make sacrifices by “giving up” something, and also a time to practice corporal and spiritual works of Mercy as part of the observance of the season — and begin the journey back to God if they have been away.


Today’s first reading says:

“Even now, says the LORD,

return to me with your whole heart,

with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;

Rend your hearts, not your garments,

and return to the LORD, your God.”










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Viewpoint: Christ’s baptism reminds us of our mission

January 10th, 2015 Posted in Catechetical Corner



The Jews were absolutely unique in the ancient world. Not only did their religion forbid them to worship any gods other than the Lord, but their prophets actually taught that the gods of other nations were mere figments of the imagination. They did not exist at all.

For Jews in the time of Jesus, monotheism, the belief or doctrine that there is only one God, was their distinctive hallmark and was ingrained in them from cradle to grave. They recited several times a day the verses of Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” Read more »

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Why Christmas is Dec. 25 this year

December 14th, 2014 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags: , ,




The early church didn’t pick the date to replace a Roman pagan holiday


By promulgation of an urban legend, many people in the 1980s believed that “Mikey,” the little kid from the Life cereal commercials, died from eating and mixing Pop-Rocks candy with a Pepsi, causing his stomach to explode. Many people, even today, believe that Elvis Presley is still alive and that Paul McCartney is really dead (replaced by a look-alike).

None of these claims are true (except maybe the Elvis one). And just like these nagging urban legends, there is a tale told about the origin of Christmas being on December 25, which is repeated so often that it has come to be taken as, dare I say, the Gospel truth. But it isn’t. Read more »

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A whole lotta Luke: Evangelist was not only a Gospel author, but patron saint, friend of St. Paul

October 19th, 2014 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags:


In the 1970s, Luke Skywalker came onto the screen for the first time in the epic science fiction film, “Star Wars.” Battling bad guys in the Star Wars franchise, we ultimately find out that Luke’s foe Darth Vader was actually his father, and his “objet d’amour,” Princess Leia, was actually his sister. This Luke had quite a family.

Then, in the 1980s, the world was captivated – for a brief but mind-numbing period – by two characters on the TV soap opera “General Hospital.” They were Luke and Laura, an unlikely pair who were at the heart of a saga that involved betrayal, a fake drowning death and a plan to send the world into a second ice-age. This, of course, ended in a wedding episode watched by millions. This Luke became a soap opera legend. Read more »

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The church sings ‘Along comes Mary’



“And then along comes Mary, and does she want to set them free, and let them see reality.” In 1966, these words were sung by the groovy band The Association, in its huge chart hit, “Along Comes Mary.”

Each Sept. 8, the church, in universal praise, sings its version of “Along Comes Mary” as it celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Read more »

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Get me to the nave on time!



By Father James Lentini


My favorite game show of all time was the long-running “Pyramid.” When I was a kid the show started out as the “$10,000 Pyramid” in the early 1970s, but by the late 1980s and early 1990s it had become the “$100,000 Pyramid.” Ah, the ravages of inflation.

As a kid growing up in New York City, I had the benefit of being able to see many episodes of the “Pyramid” filmed live at the ABC Theatre on 58th Street. It was a great experience; you got to see the behind the scenes preparations, watch an exciting big money game and meet celebrities.

Now, all the excitement on the Pyramid came in its end game when a victorious celebrity and contestant would enter “The Winner’s Circle” and face the big pyramid. On that big pyramid “categories” would appear successively, and with a 60-second clock tick-tick-ticking away, one player would have to give a list of things that fit into that category to have the other person guess the category. If you got all six categories in 60-seconds you won the big money.

Categories were items like “Names of state capitals,” “Things that bounce,” “Parts of a car,” “Things you reconsider,” etc. It was much harder than it sounds. Well, in honor of my favorite game show, I will spend this column listing “Parts of a church.” Now, as to whether a contestant would have won the prize with words like “narthex,” “nave,” “sacristy,” “ambry,” and “clerestory,” we will never know. But just in case you wind up in “The Winner’s Circle” and these clues are given … I want you to have a chance at the $100,000 (you can split the money with me. I mean, with my parish). Read more »

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