NCR Today

From the mouths of babes


The few weeks before Christmas generate more dinners with good friends than any of the prior months.

On Friday evening, my wife and I dined with two other couples for our annual holiday dinner. We had a wonderful time. I asked our friend Carol if her 6-year-old daughter, Fiona, has generated any hysterical one-liners, which she regularly does.

Carol shared this story:

So Fiona and I are walking on the street in our neighborhood when a car comes flying around the corner.

In a panic, I grab Fiona's hand and pull her back and away from the oncoming car and blurt out, "Jesus!"

"MOM!" Fiona immediately responds.

I brace for the inevitable child-correcting-the-parent moment when Fiona says, "How did you know it was Him?"

Chicago priest dedicated to the poor beaten and robbed


Fr. Daniel Mallette was awakened early Tuesday by two men who entered his Southside rectory, beat him and stole about $600.

Mallette, 80, is well known in the archdiocese as a man who has devoted many decades of his ministry to fighting violence, drugs and gangs.

He said the men, dressed as ninjas, administered the beating hoping to get more money. Mallette suffered cuts, bruises and two broken ribs but is expected to survive. One of the men asked him to pray for him before he left, Mallette said.

Read full story here.

Cardinal writes on nuclear disarmament, questions raised about nuke facility


Those interested in nuclear disarmament issues may be glad to hear that Cardinal Roger Mahony, Los Angeles' retired archbishop, yesterday wrote that disarmament should be the "long term basis for security" across the world.

The cardinal's comments came the same day that new questions were raised about a planned new nuclear weapons facility in Los Alamos, Nevada.

The United States, Mahony wrote, "has an especially heavy moral burden to bear" in terms of the pursuit of total nuclear disarmament.

Our county, he writes, "has a responsibility to take the lead in nuclear disarmament and to develop the institutions and practices of cooperative security that will make that more likely and more sustainable."

Titled "The Ethical Imperative of Disarmament," Mahony's piece appeared yesterday for Peace Policy, a web publication of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Two other articles focused on disarmament issues were also featured yesterday for the publication.

Evolution Weekend isn't really about evolution


The seventh annual Evolution Weekend, sponsored by Reverend Michael Zimmerman, is scheduled for Feb. 12-14, 2012.

I had not paid much attention to these monthly mailings because I don't have a congregation and because the name of the weekend led me to believe it was an argument with those who read the Bible literally.

And I think that was how the weekend began. But the content has shifted. The focus is now looking at our human role in creating a sustainable environment.

So far, more than 300 congregations from 10 countries have signed up to participate.

"Some clergy deliver a sermon and others invite host speakers," Zimmerman's newsletter says. "Some congregations focus a youth class on the relationship between religion and science while others make mention of the weekend in their congregational bulletin. Whatever helps congregants think productively about this issue is fully appropriate."

It's a good program. Take a look.

When family is more than just family


My Uncle Lou turned 93 years old this week. He's pretty amazing: Lou still gets around, still drives and lives on his own quite well. A few days ago, I discovered his secret.

I knew family was a large part of what kept him going -- but I didn't really know what "family" meant. My uncle has a son who lives nearby and visits every night on his way home from work. His grandchildren come by often, too, and bring their children along.

But my understanding of family opened up when I met Lou for lunch.

Morning Briefing


Invitation to NYC NCR readers


Chris Herlinger and Paul Jeffrey, whose words and photos have appeared in NCR countless times, are launching their newest book, Rubble Nation: Haiti’s Pain, Haiti’s Promise, Thursday Dec. 8. The press release says:

Chris Herlinger and Paul Jeffrey have again teamed up to take us inside the political and spiritual dynamics of a nation under siege. Two years after their landmark Where Mercy Fails introduced us to the international response to mass murder in the Darfur region of Sudan, with Rubble Nation the two veteran journalists provide a new perspective on vulnerability and hope in Haiti. Anchoring their work in the devastating 2010 earthquake, they guide us through the Caribbean nations’ complicated landscape of pain and promise.

The book launch will be in the 3rd Floor Conference Room, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y. 10115 at 4 p.m. Thursday Dec. 8.

'Arab winter' chills Christians


The Wall Street Journal reports on the plight of Christians in the Middle East:

At least 54 Iraqi churches have been bombed and at least 905 Christians killed in various acts of violence since the U.S. invasion toppled Hussein in 2003, according to Archbishop Louis Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the northern provinces of Kirkuk and Sulimaniya. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled. A report on Iraq released Tuesday by Minority Rights Group International said that about 500,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million in 2003.

"It's a hemorrhage," Archbishop Sako says. "Iraq could be emptied of Christians."

A Homeboy holiday


This time of year, my mailbox is stuffed with catalogs -- page after page of gadgets and gift suggestions, items that no one really seems to need. But then, a couple of days ago, something quite different hit my front steps.

It was a small, colorful brochure from Homeboy Industries, the nonprofit business founded by Jesuit Fr. Greg Boyle to create jobs for often-unemployable ex-gangsters and gang-girls in Los Angeles. This little mailing was just the latest sign of how Fr. Boyle and his donors have turned around an establishment that looked to be in a death spiral just one year ago.

As the economy plunged, so did donations to Homeboy -- Fr. Boyle took to the airwaves and implored people to step up donations and keep the place afloat. He promised he had a plan to build a Homeboy group that could stand on its own financial feet. People in Los Angeles came through, and so did Fr. Greg (G-Dog to his gangster clients.)


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April 21-May 4, 2017