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  • Where do you stand?



    It is an ancient story Jews and Christians have repeated through the ages. It goes to the heart of the Judeo-Christian understanding of the mercy of God as our protector, savior and our hope, and it began centuries ago in Egypt with the birth of a little boy. The boy was born into a Jewish family at a time when The Pharaoh was oppressing the Jewish slaves. He decided to kill all newborn boys. The mother, rather than face the death of her baby, placed the innocent child in a basket among the reeds of a river bank. The child was rescued and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh and named Moses.

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  • Market Basketeers



    Full disclosure: seven members of my family have worked -- or are currently working -- for Market Basket. In fact, we've often joked that our family was going to take over the company one associate and one store at a time.

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  • Wisdom from the doorstep of death



    Father John Barrett, my friend and mentor, died July 16. When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he told the doctor that he was choosing quality time over quantity time and wanted no extraordinary means to prolong his life. He said he found comfort in imagining that he'd be looking down at his funeral.

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  • In residence, still serving



    The bumper sticker speaks volumes: "God Bless the Whole World. No Exceptions." After just a few minutes with Father Frank Cloherty it is obvious that this is not just a slogan, it is his prayer. Time with Father Cloherty is time well spent.

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  • Centennial thoughts



    Calendar journalism is huge this year. Haunting as well as exhaustive are the endless reflections on the centennial of World War One's dramatic beginning, about to explode with the booming of the Guns of August soon to be recalled. All of it highly merited, of course, the so-called "Great War" having been the pivotal event of the entirety of modern times.

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  • Ronald Reagan: cold warrior and nuclear abolitionist



    In recent years, as scholars have explored Ronald Reagan's foreign policy with greater access to primary-source documents, something utterly baffling to the conventional wisdom of his time (and ours) has come into focus: Reagan, determined to win the Cold War, was also eager to rid the world of nuclear weapons. And while many, in his time and ours, imagine those to have been incompatible goals, the 40th president of the United States was capable of holding both ideas in his head at once, and acting toward both ends.

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  • A midsummer night's dream: Jericho will fall



    What is your midsummer night's dream? Time slows, sweet doldrums take us, a blessed silence of the soul steals in. Do you have a fairytale dream? Shakespeare reminds us, "The course of true love never did run smooth." Do you dream that all the loves in your life will bear fruit? Do you have a dream for our great nation, as a renewed venture in freedom and virtue under God?

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  • Divided we stand



    America seems to be in the summer of our discontent. This is certainly the case in the political realm. Adversarial politics is traditionally considered both the life blood and the glory of a vibrant democracy. However, the U.S. is taking "adversarial" to new and dangerous heights.

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  • The case for nostalgia



    Katie Blanchard loves to reminisce about the past with the senior residents at Youville Assisted Living. As one might expect, the residents have a large fund of collective memories, but Katie, an activities director in her 30s, likes to get the conversation started by sharing her own memories of summers spent with her grandparents on Little Sebago Lake. It was here that she learned how to swim, fish, skip rocks, play cards, identify plants, and water ski. Most importantly, the lake house is the one place on earth that she associates most strongly with the memory of her grandparents. Today it remains a conduit to past memories and an enduring place of solace. "The camp is a big part of who I am today," she tells residents. "I feel lucky to be able to go back there every year with family."

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  • Cooperstown follies



    We're about to arrive at the sweetest moment on the baseball calendar and nothing in all of sport quite matches it. We speak of Hall of Fame Day at Cooperstown on the banks of that shimmering pond Fenimore Cooper glorified where at the high point of every summer the grand old game is again, indisputably and profoundly, "The American Pastime". If only for a day!

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  • Catholic Leadership Institute -- partners in ministry



    In a March, 2013 article in The Boston Globe, Father Paul Soper, Director of the Office of Pastoral Planning spoke about the work facing the 12 pastors who were about to begin Phase I of the pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission. Acknowledging the ground-breaking, exciting, but difficult work ahead, Father Soper said, "We're putting a lot on their (the pastors) shoulders; therefore it only makes sense to give them the best support we can," Now in Phase II of the plan, that practical assistance continues.

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  • Where Do You Stand?



    It is an ancient story Jews and Christians have repeated through the ages. It goes to the heart of the Judeo-Christian understanding of the mercy of God as our protector, savior and our hope, and it began centuries ago in Egypt with the birth of a little boy. The boy was born into a Jewish family at a time when The Pharaoh was oppressing the Jewish slaves. He decided to kill all newborn boys. The mother, rather than face the death of her baby, placed the innocent child in a basket among the reeds of a river bank. The child was rescued and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh and named Moses.

    Read more
  • Cremains in church? Funeral Mass for non-Catholic?



    Q. I have a question, and I know I'm not the only Catholic confused over this. Why is it that some priests allow cremains in church for a funeral Mass and others do not? The last wish of my dying sister was to be cremated and to have a Mass. The priest, however, would not allow her remains to be in church, and so we had a service for her instead in a funeral home.

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  • A notable name on a 'dirty' list



    The National Organization for Women has put the Little Sisters of the Poor on a list that it calls the "Dirty 100." These are organizations that have objected for religious reasons to the government's order that they provide their employees free coverage of contraceptives and early stage abortifacient drugs.

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  • Shipwreck and mission



    The post-Vatican II Lectionary for Mass has many fine features, one of which is the continuous reading of the Acts of the Apostles during weekday Masses in the Easter season. As the Church celebrates the Resurrection for 50 days, the Church also ponders the first evangelization: the primitive Christian community, in the power of the Spirit, brings the surrounding Mediterranean world the history-shattering news that Jesus of Nazareth, having been raised from the dead, has been constituted Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of sins. These serial readings from Acts end with Paul established in Rome (probably in today's Trastevere district), speaking with the Roman Jewish community about the fulfillment of their ancient, covenantal hopes in the Risen Christ.

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  • What the Supreme Court did (and didn't do) to religious freedom



    On July 1, Magna Carta, in one of its four surviving original copies, the one from Lincoln Cathedral, began a U.S. Tour with an exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. The legal document, dating from June 15, 1215 -- which means it's celebrating its eight-hundredth anniversary -- begins and ends with King John guaranteeing "that the English church shall be free," with its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired. It is one of the few provisions of Magna Carta that still remains on the English statute books.

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  • Unlocking potential through education



    At 16, Shaun never imagined that he would be where he is today academically -- the recipient of a National Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. It is with the benefit of hindsight that Shaun shared that making the decision to leave high school in his sophomore year so that he could make money was "a foolish decision" even further admitting that, "I knew it as I was making it, but at the time, I didn't care."

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  • Mother of exiles



    Over the course of the recent 4th of July weekend, the stories of two people -- one a young boy and the other a woman -- came together for me in a powerful way. The boy and the woman don't know each other; they have never met. In fact, the woman died over 100 years before the boy was born.

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  • Since we've been gone



    Actually it's only been a couple of weeks that we've been on the beach for this distinguished journal's annual summer breather, little more than a bloody fortnight. In terms of the furious sporting fare that's transpired in this brief interlude it seems more like a full semester. Such is the vast reach and rush of global sport in our times. There was a time when July was the exclusive domain of Baseball. No more! The games are too much with us.

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  • A parochial vicar's perspective



    Father Anthony Luongo, Father Tony, was ordained in 1987 and has served at parishes in West Roxbury, Norwood, and Stoneham. In 2013 he was assigned as Parochial Vicar in the Phase I Lynnfield Collaborative of St. Maria Goretti and Our Lady of the Assumption Parishes. Because of his prior assignments, he is comfortable serving in large, busy parishes and in parishes with schools. Lynnfield is a good fit. Father Tony is working with pastor Father Paul Ritt, Permanent Deacon Tom O'Shea, and a full pastoral staff. Together with faith-filled parishioners of both parishes he is living out the pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission. The Lynnfield Catholic Collaborative is now in the second year of implementation, which is a good time to reflect on being one of the 12 collaborative pioneers.

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  • Painting the picture



    I can do a number of things reasonably well. But like everyone else, I've dreamed about being able to do the things I'm not very good at. Painting has always been at the top of that list for me. "Good singing voices are a dime a dozen," I like to say, but how I wish I could draw and paint!

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  • An eminent distortion of history



    As the world marked the silver anniversary of the Polish elections of June 1989, which eventually brought to power the first non-communist Polish prime minister since the Second World War, a conference met at the Vatican to consider "The Church in the Moment of Change in 1980-1989 in East Central Europe." (The habit of devising succinct, punchy titles is not overly-developed in Rome.) There were moving testimonies, by former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and from Ukrainians who are living a similar drama today. And then there was an address by the former cardinal secretary of state (and current dean of the College of Cardinals), Angelo Sodano.

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  • Heaven and the oenophile



    Fathers face many challenges in raising their children. My latest, choosing the wine for our youngest daughter's wedding, was (to put it simply) befuddling. By disposition, I am pro-wine. Our children have often heard me recite Richard Wilbur's touching poem written for his son's wedding:

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  • Secularism



    Considered either as an ideology or as a program of action, secularism is deeply coercive. Reactions to the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate make that abundantly clear.

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