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On a lighter note…

This week our diocese held its fourth annual Concert for Vocations, which has become a favorite among the faithful. More than 600 people turned out at St. Pius X Church in Loudonville for performances by Bishop Scharfenberger, clergy, religious, seminarians, and lay people. Yours truly was among them. I brought the honky tonk. What a great night. I have so many talented co-workers! Here’s my performance of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

Miscarriage: Love and loss 20 years later

My annual tribute to the baby I lost 20 years ago today, the baby I call Grace:

For the past few days I’ve been looking at the numbers on the calendar, growing more and more introspective as we inched closer to August 6. It was 20 years ago today that I learned the baby I was carrying, my second baby, had died 11 weeks into my pregnancy. Read more

McCarrick scandal proves to be a tipping point #timesup #reformthechurch #whoknew

Typically, I post my monthly Life Lines columns here without comment, but there is nothing typical about this column. I wrote it in the wake of the McCarrick abuse revelations. Running up against my deadline — as usual — I knew this one probably needed to be seen by a few extra eyes before it appeared in Catholic New York, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York. I am grateful for the encouragement I received to say what I needed to say, even if it is uncomfortable for some. Here it is:

“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord…You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.” (Jer 23:1-2) Read more

Shoes tell a story. A love story.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, I think feet may be the doorway to all understanding. That revelation came to me recently when I was in the front pew of my parish church in upstate New York. I was kneeling after Communion and didn’t want to look toward the altar as I prayed because doing so would have felt intrusive to those receiving Communion just a few feet away. So, I looked down at the floor in front of me. Read more

Appreciating the masterpiece that is your life

When we returned from a weeklong family trip to Rome, several friends asked me to name the one monumental moment from the trip, the standout thing that made the visit.

Was it seeing our son, Noah, for the first time since he had left months before to study abroad?

Was it bringing our entire family to the pope’s Easter Mass?

Was it taking Olivia and Chiara to view Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel? Read more

Cowering in the brambles

Right about this time in the Easter season, I begin to slip into complacency. The enormity of the resurrection starts to seem “ordinary,” one more thing I take for granted. Yesterday’s readings provide the spiritual equivalent of cold water thrown in my face, which is exactly what I need. Read more

What kind of cage have you built for yourself?

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter, Olivia, to see a production of “Les Miserables” in a beautiful old theater not far from our home. The show had been a favorite of mine back in the 1980s, when I worked in Manhattan and had the chance to see it twice on Broadway, so I was excited to share the experience with Olivia, who has a bit of the Broadway bug. Read more

Have you hugged your colon today?

It’s mid-March, and that can mean only one thing on this blog: It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. That means it’s also time for me to parade out a photo of my fine-looking colon to get your attention. Yes, that is my actual colon on the left, as photographed by my kick-butt (pun intended) gastroenterologist. (Be thankful I limit my coverage to still photos.) Read more

The end is the beginning; the mistakes are the lesson

This week we delve into our final chapter of Cravings, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with this topic or this journey. In fact, this is just the beginning. At least I hope it is. By this point, I hope you’ve made some peace with food and perhaps have learned to weave in some quiet time to eat mindfully, journal, pray, or just sit in silence now and then. Whatever you’ve started during this eight-week process, keep it up. Continue journaling, if that worked for you. Stay in touch with our community here or build community where you are so you don’t have to go it alone. But, more than anything else, take at least a few minutes every day to be with God. Even if the food habits slip or the mindfulness goes out the window now and then, just keep coming back to the God, to the beginning, and start again. There is no failing here. There is no wrong way to do this. We find lessons everywhere, even in the “mistakes,” even when we beat ourselves up because we didn’t measure up to our own expectations. It all takes us to the next place on the path. Read more

Seeking Easter hope amid Lenten sorrow

I stood in the upstairs hallway of our home recently, hugging my 12-year-old daughter, who was finally expressing outwardly the fears that must have been churning inside her for a day or so in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. I held her and told her that it was okay to feel sad and scared. I wished I could tell her this was something she didn’t need to fear, but I knew that would be a lie, so I told her, “You’re safe here with us tonight.” Because the truth is I cannot promise her that she will be safe in her school or at the mall or at a concert. Those days are gone, and it stuns me to admit that horrifying fact. Read more