Back to School!

And so, it’s that time of year again—time to go back to school. Late August is marked by the return to the classroom, and with it comes all the emotions of young people leaving the freedom of summer behind, back-to-school … Continue reading

The Work of God

Time is passing into eternity, and it’s happening every day. The Church marks the passing of time with the liturgical year, which makes each day bear more significance than simply another cycle of 24 hours. With the proclamation of the … Continue reading

Liturgical Retreat

2019 Summer Reading Recommendations:The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger It would be easier if she had four arms, but alas, she has but two! Her towheaded boys were squirming and flailing all about the pew, not to … Continue reading

“And You My Brothers and Sisters”

Have you ever had that experience where words that you have said thousands of times suddenly hit you in a new way? It could be saying “I love you” to a family member, or the words to a song that … Continue reading

Under the Altar

People realize that something strange is going on with Catholic altars when they visit a church that has the full body of a saint in a glass case beneath the stone slab. Saint John Neumann’s shrine in Philadelphia (pictured above) … Continue reading

Sharing More Than Germs

Even as a kid, if I wanted to drink from my brother’s water bottle, he asked me to “waterfall” it. When I was in college, it was alright to share a pint of ice cream with friends, even if there … Continue reading

Mass on a Roadtrip

Restless night in a hotel. Bad coffee. Unknown parish. Architecture from the 60s—white walls, strange angles, ambiguous stained glass. Pews of cheap wood stretch forward to the sanctuary. A candle burns before the tabernacle. An empty pew stands out, halfway … Continue reading

Every Crumb

This year, I am assigned to work in the sacristy, wherein we look after everything that is used in the liturgy. We do everything from setting up for Mass, to cleaning objects that I never knew the name of before … Continue reading

An Open Ear

There is more to the Mass than the ear can hear. When the faithful settle back into their pews after the Gospel proclamation, for example, the priest or deacon, having reverenced the Book of the Gospels with a kiss, recites … Continue reading

Childlike Reverence

This final week of Advent is an exciting time as we approach the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Liturgically, there are two unique aspects to this week. First, there are the beautiful “O Antiphons” that are sung during Vespers … Continue reading

Recognizing the Lord

As the first season of the new liturgical year, Advent possesses a twofold character. Having just ended the liturgical year celebrating the solemnity of Jesus Christ reigning over the universe in glory, we begin the cycle again with a dynamic … Continue reading

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on November 29, 2012. Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk was ordained to the priesthood in May 2017 and now serves as the Vocations Director for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph. This Sunday, the … Continue reading

Strengthen Me With Raisin Cakes

Some people say that the Bible is like a “love letter” from God. That’s hard to take when you’re sitting in the pew, listening to a lector mumble a reading filled with ancient names and places, and you suddenly realize … Continue reading

The Voice of Thanks

Today is a day to remember your deepest identity—one made in the image and likeness of God. To be made in his image is to be given the command from God in the Garden of Eden: fill the earth (Gen … Continue reading

Self-Enclosures and Jammed Locks

I once spent a frigid night awake at a Florentine McDonald’s after getting stuck at the train station Firenze Santa Maria Novella. That part of the night wasn’t horrible. I conversed with a native Florentine who, among other things, boasted … Continue reading

Fruits of Redemption

“I’m starved…cheeseburgers…. …What was that idea I had for my ethics paper?… …Man, my knees really hurt right now…” During the final minutes of a Holy Hour, it’s pretty normal to find the mind wandering a bit. The act itself … Continue reading

In Defence of “Thoughts and Prayers”

After a tragedy, politicians take to Twitter and TV and offer their “thoughts and prayers” to victims and families. For some it seems to be an automatic response to terrible suffering. In the last two months there has been a … Continue reading

The A-Word

Here we are, deep into the season of Easter: 50 days of Sunday, a whole week of weeks to live and rejoice in the Resurrection. There are a great number of ways you might observe Easter (especially as you move … Continue reading

The Liturgy as Formation

Oftentimes friends and family ask me, “Well, how long until you become a priest?” I usually respond with a condensed version of our lengthy and seemingly complicated formation program. More questions ensue, and I continue to explain to them the … Continue reading

Empty-Handed

No one shall appear before me empty-handed.  –Ex 34:20 That photo on your desk at work. Or on your nightstand. Or on your lockscreen. It obviously means a lot to you, but how often does it actually make an impression on … Continue reading

Laetare, Jersualem

An old tradition still permits priests to wear rose-colored (not pink) vestments on two Sundays each year: Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (yesterday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent). Both are named for the first word of … Continue reading

Where Are the Poor?

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linenand dined sumptuously each day.And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scrapsthat fell … Continue reading

Beauty That Makes You Want to Believe

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on April 24, 2013. At the reception of a Catholic wedding I lately attended, a groomsman made his way over to the table where a priest and I were sitting. After enthusiastically shaking … Continue reading

O Crux Ave

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012. Fr. Leo Checkai was ordained a priest in May 2014 and now teaches at Providence College. Today is Ash Wednesday. Lent is upon us once more, and … Continue reading