Christmas Novena Begins

Christmas customs are strikingly varied around the world. One custom is the Christmas Novena—the nine days before Christmas. Today, December 16, is the first day of the Christmas Novena celebration  in Philippines. One of the cultural shocks I had when I first went to the rural Philippines in 1979 was...

Why such a catastrophe?

Super-typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8. It made its first landfall on a tiny island just off the coast of Samar. The storm then slammed Leyte and the islands of Biliran, Cebu, Negros, and Panay.  After the storm hit the Philippines, TV news and photos showed that this typhoon was a...

Mary in the Church

“Mary our Mother, Mary our Redeemer.” I was teaching in Manila about fifteen years ago when banners appeared around the city with that phrase. When I first saw one of the banners, I thought: “Oh no! Evangelical preachers will use those banners as proof that Catholics teach idolatry.” Sure enough, it...

In Praise of Healers

“You are a lucky man.” I will never forget these words from the retina surgeon who had just proclaimed the wonderful news that the surgery he performed on my left eye had saved my sight. He further explained that a retina detachment that includes the macular region rarely works so well as to restore full...

A Mother’s Love

Today, August 27, the church celebrates St. Monica, on the day before the feast of St. Augustine, her son. Augustine’s parents had different values when it came to raising their son. Those differences are described in Augustine’s Confessions. Monica, his mother, was deeply committed to Christianity and...

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