My Table Is Spread: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception probably began in the Eastern Church as a celebration of St. Anne, Mary's mother, a feast that is still kept in the East.
NCR Today: Native Americans understand the sacredness of our planet and the need to preserve it from nefarious uses. That consciousness is part of their gift to us.
"Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses," Golda Meir, Israel's prime minister from 1969 to 1974, famously complained. "He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil."
Back in the early 1960s, one of the games we North American College "old men" would play with new arrivals to the institution would be to take them to a couple of Rome's oldest churches and challenge them to find the original tabernacles. Usually, they didn't have any. If the church did, the tabernacles were located in a back pillar, or in a wall near the front door. As far as I can remember, in no church was it situated near the main altar, or in any place physically conducive to eucharistic adoration.
Look at your Advent calendar. Can you spot John the Baptist with his 100 percent organic outfit and odd, non-vegetarian diet? Although he hardly fits the cute calendar images, he's a key character of the Advent season. His warning that it's time to change our behavior may sound a bit like "You'd better watch out ... you'd better not pout ..." but the reward he promises for conversion is not at all like a tinseled tree surrounded by toys and electronics.
Spirituality Preview: As I supported people moving through their own pain and grief, God's presence in their journey often became obvious, and miracles occurred.
Orthodox iconography: "The Byzantine Orthodox iconography is not just an 'art,' it’s a sacred art," Theodoros Papadopoulos, Greek icon expert, explains.
What do men want?
Many, it is clear, don't want to spend Sundays at Catholic Mass. As dioceses and parishes confront empty pews, research indicates that members of Catholic congregations are growing older and fewer in number, a focus is emerging on that half of the population who are less likely to be in church.
An author himself, Brian Doyle says, "Without fail every time I slough toward despondence a story comes and thrums on my heart until I am bruised with joy."
Parish Diary: I've just come back from walking the Camino de Santiago, a challenging, transformative 500-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.