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May 14, 2015
On Ascension Day the Whole Church Ascends to Heaven
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Preface of each Mass begins with the exchanges:  “The Lord  be with you,” “And with your spirit”; “Lift up your hearts,”  "We lift them up to the Lord.” The words, “We lift them up to the Lord," are central to what we celebrate on the Solemnity of Ascension.

On the first Ascension day, Christ was lifted up from the earth.  In remembering and celebrating this event, the Church on earth today joins Christ even now in being raised to heaven.  Ascension day is not something...

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May 13, 2015
Celebrating Our Lady of Chartres
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

While the story of Fatima is well-known, that of Chartres still needs to be told.

In the 1940s, a French monk and a star-gazer made a curious discovery. He observed that in certain cities, the churches dedicated to Our Lady were strategically located in such a way as to outline the constellation Virgo.

Now Virgo is the second largest cluster of stars that form the outline of a woman carrying two sheaves of wheat.  Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, is bluish-white, traditionally Our Lady’s...

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It’s rare to find a mainstream Hollywood movie where the heroine is a Christian who’s open and proud about her faith, and is never shown to be a hypocrite. Unfortunately, that’s one of the few  pleasant surprises of the new comedy “Hot Pursuit,” in which Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara of TV’s “Modern Family” improbably team up in the kind of storyline that makes you cringe even as you’re realizing you’ve seen something like it a thousand...

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May 07, 2015
Is the legal system ready for all the acrimony over matrimony?
By Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is my personal responsibility and civic duty to speak for the common good, which I believe is served by preserving natural marriage protection through state laws.

The question is whether the long-standing definition of marriage should be overturned. It is a far reaching question, but not merely because marriage is connected to more than a thousand laws or regulations, everything from the tax code to health benefits to...

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May 07, 2015
Baptism by immersion is an authentic post-Vatican II development
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City underwent a major renovation in the early 1990s. One of the more notable liturgical changes was the installation of an immersion baptismal font.

Since I was Cathedral rector during the renovation, I now give regular tours of the building. The thing that most puzzles visitors, especially Catholics, is the presence of the immersion font. What is the warrant for it? Why is it necessary? Does the Church approve of immersion fonts?

So, I find...

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May 05, 2015
Mothers of the Bible
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Mother’s Day has been celebrated throughout the world since the time of Ancient Greece.  Most countries designate the second Sunday in May to recognize mothers in a special way.   The Bible records the names of strong, courageous women—wives and mothers—who contributed mightily to the plan of salvation, and we call attention to those women in this essay.

Mothers of the Old Testament

Eve is the name we give to the mother of humankind.  She is followed by the saintly Sarah, Rebekah,...

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May 05, 2015
The courageous witness of Blessed Oscar Romero
By Tony Magliano

Who would have predicted it?

Who would have imagined on Feb. 23, 1977, the day of his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador, that the highly conservative Oscar Romero – who was suspicious of the Catholic Church’s involvement in political activism – would die a martyr’s death for courageously defending his people against the murderous assaults of the Salvadoran government, military and right-wing death squads?

Romero’s appointment was welcomed by the government, but many...

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The summer movie season is officially upon us this weekend, with the release of the new “Avengers: Age of Ultron” leading the annual flood of superheroes, action movies and broad comedies into theatres.  But while the new movie costs $250 million and features an array of star actors including Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johannsen and Jeremy Renner in its cast, there is a more intriguing science fiction film that’s also in theatres now, called “Ex Machina.”

The two movies...

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May 01, 2015
The Pope’s visit and same-sex marriage
By Russell Shaw

When Pope Francis comes to the United States in late September, chances are good that he will arrive in the middle of a bitter, highly politicized national debate on same-sex marriage and religious liberty.

That suggests several large questions for the papal visit. Should the Pope say anything about these high-voltage issues? Given the circumstances, how could he responsibly fail to do that? But if he does say something, what should it be?

Note that this trip will take place just three...

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April 30, 2015
Lectionary-based catechesis for converts is inadequate
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Recently, I received a letter from a woman in Portland, Oregon, with the question,

“What do you think of lectionary-based catechesis for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA]? I became a Catholic three years ago and I was amazed at how little I was taught using this approach. Surely there is a better way of preparing adults to become Catholics? What would you recommend that I might read to help deepen my knowledge of the faith?”

My answer to the woman’s letter was more...

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