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The Word Is Life

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The liturgical tradition does not have a ceremony for every scenario of loss, but it does offer a rich ritual repertoire from which we can draw inspiration and hope. On this The Word is Life blog, I am exploring how the liturgical year can help us to ritually recognize, hold and welcome the grief of…

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Not much information about Mary’s birthday is known. The Church teaches that she was conceived without sin as the Immaculate Conception. We know that her parents were Anne and Joachim, whose feast we celebrate at the end of July. How did families celebrate birthdays before the common era? In the Jewish tradition, a child was…

Saint Monica: Letting go, letting God

St. Monica is the Patron Saint of Mothers. Her life, after her husband’s death, was no easy journey. On top of it all, she had a willful and rebellious child (Augustine) who put her to the test regularly. He grew to be a source of great pain to her as his self-confessed life of sin…

Sure Hope and Comfort

A few years ago, I asked my doctor about a spot on my skin and after examining the mark he said it was “chronological accumulation of environmental exposure.” He got away with saying this only because he has been exposed longer than I have. Some of the earliest signs of aging appear on our skin….

St. Clare and the Eucharist

For those working in pastoral ministry, keeping a healthy balance in the parish is a constant task. Communities, like the individual people that constitute them, have tendencies to lean towards their preferred models and predispositions. Without correctives, this leads to imbalance. One common area of tension is between action and contemplation. Some parishes focus so…