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Pope Francis: All are invited to a ‘life-changing encounter’ with Christ

I was thinking about blogging about the disciples on the Road to Emmaus when I sat down to breakfast today, and then I read Pope Francis’ homily on this very subject and realized that, once again, he says it better than I ever could. Not that this is surprising news, but, still. And, as always, he gets me thinking, especially when he gives us the three examples of what a life-changing encounter with Christ looks like.

So, here, courtesy of Rome Reports, is the text of the pope’s message today.

A thought to ponder as you read: Have you missed Jesus on your own Road to Emmaus? I’m pretty sure I have, at least a dozen times. Read more

A not-so-hidden gem in Albany: City Beer Hall

For the past few years, whenever we would go to Sunday Mass at Historic St. Mary’s in downtown Albany  (The church is a destination in itself, if you’ve never been there.), we’d drive past The City Beer Hall on the way home and say, “We have to try that some day.” Something about the 1903 building with the “Beer Hall” in lights on the roof spoke to us. It looked like it just had to be good. But, as with many things we say we’d like to do, we never got around to it. Until yesterday. Dennis and I spent Easter Monday downtown — first with a walk along the Hudson in the Corning Preserve and later with a walk over the highway, into Albany and onward to the Beer Hall.  Read more

He is risen! Alleluia!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”  - Luke 24:6

Alleluia! Happy Easter!

 

 

Holy Saturday: waiting in the shadows

Peter never really used to be one of my favorites from Scripture, but the older I get, the more beloved he becomes. He gives me comfort because I identify with him, especially lately. At this point in our faith story, Peter is locked away — afraid, ashamed, alone. He doubted, he denied, he ran away. Even before the crucifixion, he often seemed to get it wrong. Imagine for a moment that Jesus says to you, “Get behind me, Satan.” Yeah, that’s pretty bad. And yet Jesus saw fit to call him the “rock,” the one who would go on to lead his church, or, at that point, his band of disciples. Maybe, just maybe then, Jesus sees some shred of worth beneath my many failings, behind my own doubts and fears. Read more

Seven Last Words: a Good Friday reflection

Father forgive them, they know not what they do…

We see Jesus on the cross today and hear him forgiving his persecutors, forgiving us. It is a powerful scene, but it is more than just a scene out of our faith history. Jesus’ way is supposed to be our way. Forgive, forgive, forgive, even in the face of the most unreasonable suffering and injustice. Are we willing to forgive as Jesus did? Read more

Grace finds beauty in everything

“She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings

“Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

“Grace finds beauty
In everything

“Grace finds goodness
In everything.”  - U2, Grace

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Missing mom, 26 years later

Today is the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death from colon cancer. What I find most unusual this year is that the grief seems a little stronger — perhaps because of where I am in my life personally and spiritually — and yet I don’t feel compelled to write anything about her. I feel like I’ve said it all, which is saying something coming from me. I miss her. But I always miss her. And I find it unbelievable that it’s been 26 years since I heard her laugh, saw her smile, smelled the scent of her. Sigh. That’s enough. Here are some photos of my beautiful mother, who was my very best friend when she died. (I wrote about her recently HERE, if you’re interested.) Read more

Albany’s new bishop sets a warm, welcoming tone

Just a few words on yesterday’s ordination and installation of Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany. It was a spectacular Mass, even from the distant and somewhat obstructed view of the spiritual equivalent of the cheap seats. We were in the farthest reaches of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but that didn’t dampen the joyful spirit. The folks around us were a fun and chatty bunch, and we got to know them a bit seeing as we arrived 90 minutes early with our coveted tickets in order to get even one of those cheap seats. This was the place to be in Albany yesterday afternoon, and for good reason. The beautiful two and a half hour Mass was so filled with ancient ritual and uplifting words, song, and ceremony that it was impossible even for this sometimes-jaded 30-year veteran of the Catholic press not to be moved to tears.  Read more

Finding God amid the scaffolding and noise

I realized yesterday that I’m a bit like a homing pigeon when it comes to visiting New York. No matter where I am in Manhattan, I always end up back at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is like home base for me. Back when I was a reporter for Catholic New York, I used to cover Cardinal John O’Connor’s Sunday Masses there with regularity, along with lots of other events, from the unusual (Andy Warhol’s memorial Mass complete with Liza Minelli and Grace Jones) to the the sublime (meeting Mother Teresa after a Mass marking the anniversary of Cardinal Terence Cooke’s death.) Read more

Italy 2014: Food-faith pilgrimage is filling up fast. Sign up today!

It’s hard to believe that in just about six months we’ll be departing for Rome on our 13-day food-faith pilgrimage, Italy: A Feast for Body and Soul. Since I last updated you, we’ve had an exciting development. In addition to a great group of people from throughout the New York-New Jersey region, with a few from more far-flung places, we will also have a priest traveling with us. My good friend Msgr. William Benwell, vicar general of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., has signed up as a pilgrimage participant but has agreed to say Mass every day for those who would like to attend. In addition, his knowledge of Siena, Assisi, and Rome is like getting an added spiritual bonus. We are blessed to have him coming along with us.  Read more