The Way of Beauty
June 26, 2013
The Church’s two pillars
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

They could not have been more different – Peter and Paul. One was a simple, uneducated Jew, a fisherman of limited horizon; the other, a complex combination of orthodox Jewry and Roman citizenry emerging from a Hellenic culture.

One was called to discipleship while fishing; the other, on his way with intent to persecute disciples. One betrayed Jesus, and for this act, repented his whole life. The other persecuted him in others before his own repentance. 

One led like a conciliator; the...

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June 19, 2013
The Hours: A Feast for the Soul
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

“What is more pleasing than a psalm,” asks St. Ambrose, the fourth-century Archbishop of Milan (“Explanations of the Psalms,” Liturgy of the Hours, III: 347-8)?

We live in a disengaged world of our own making. Buried in digital gadgets, surrounded by noise, we are restless, easily bored, easily distracted—but free.  We seek respite and escape from a gripping ennui.  Is this all there is? Teilhard de Chardin reflects: “It is a terrifying thing to have been born; I mean, to...

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June 12, 2013
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Like mothers, fathers come in all different shapes, sizes, and personalities. The most basic and universal understanding of father is one of begetting children. A father is much more than a begetter. Father is not a name but a relation and a presence. Steve is a person before becoming Paul’s father. Fatherhood is added on to his personhood.


Recall some father-roles in movies and in television. Take for example the role of Stanley Banks (“Pops”) in “Father of the...

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June 05, 2013
The Psalms: Honey for the Soul
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

If there is one biblical book that expresses the hues and tints of human emotion, it is the Psalms, the hymn book of Jews and Christians. Composed over a period of some 700 years beginning with the reign of King David (1000-970 BC), the psalms reflect Israel’s deepening and continuous relationship with God.

The basic theme, total trust in and reliance on Providence, is imbedded in all the psalms. Metaphors too like ‘God is my rock, my fortress, my refuge and place of safety, my...

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May 29, 2013
The Chant Vineyard and the Organ King
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Last week, Father Jordi Piqué, O.S.B., dean of Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Anselmo, announced that the Benedictine-run University has launched an M.A. degree in Gregorian chant and organ.  Endorsing the two-year program is Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.  Saint Anselmo’s is the seat of the world’s confederation of the Benedictine Order and is known as a center for liturgical activity.  At the parish church...

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May 22, 2013
The Catholic Church advances science: part five
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

“The Church is opposed to science; look at the Galileo debacle.” Haven’t most of us heard this criticism of the Church? In fact, one of the best-kept secrets about modern science is the Church’s role in its development. As with the arts, the Church gladly supports scientific pursuits that defer to the moral order.

The Church and Cloning

On May 16 came the news from scientists in Oregon that they could clone human embryos in order to treat human diseases like Parkinson’s,...

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May 15, 2013
The American Catholic Church and Education: Part Four
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Catholic education begins with Christ the Teacher. As early as the third-century, he is portrayed in Alexandrian frescoes and wall paintings holding the book of Scripture. At least two parables point to the essence of good education. The Good Shepherd, in his undying love for every creature, leaves the ninety-nine sheep for the lost one. In the parable of the talents, the three servants are entrusted with talents to develop (Mt 25:14ff).   

Our Lord tells the Twelve that the Holy Spirit,...

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May 08, 2013
Alma Redemptoris Mater
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Gustave Reese, the pre-eminent Medieval and Renaissance musicologist of his day (d 1977), was also famous for striking fear in his students if they came to class unprepared. A simple composition demanded historical and textual analysis with biographical information about its composer. An even closer probe was required into its musical setting and its variants in regional manuscripts. Reese’s students would master the art of interdisciplinary scholarship, or withdraw from his...

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May 02, 2013
How the Church built western sacred music: part three
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The music of Western civilization was born in the Catholic Church. Adapted from mid-eastern chants, it began with Pope St. Sylvester I (4th century), who founded a school of choristers. It was then supervised by Pope St. Damasus (d 384) and Leo the Great (d 461). Pope St. Gregory (d 604), after whom plainchant was named, collected, adapted, and codified the many chants for liturgy. Benedictine monks and nuns taught the laity to sing plainchant. Today, hundreds of chant manuscripts are...

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April 24, 2013
Unemployment and St. Joseph the Worker
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In 1955, Pope Pius XII designated May 1st as the feast of St. Joseph the Worker to counter two other celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere: the pagan and neo-pagan festivities ushering in spring and International Workers’ Day for unions, workers, and socialists. In most of these countries, May Day is an official holiday, and preparations are already underway for its festivities.

While Labor Day focuses on the value of both work and leisure, loss of employment and financial crisis can...

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Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

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Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


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