Samuel’s Season

This is Samuel’s season. On January 13, Monday of the second week of the year, the church began reading First Samuel at its daily liturgies. With the exception of the Sundays and the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul all the first readings at weekday Masses until the end of January are taken from First...

Christmases Past

We’ve almost made it to Christmas. Just being so close to the solemn celebration of the birth of Jesus brings memories of Christmases in my family’s parish church. Singing in the parish choir was a delightful challenge every Christmas. Learning the words for English, German, and Latin carols was fun...

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...

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