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  • Embracing Laudato Si'



    Following is the text of the statement on climate change and the environment issued by the bishops of the four dioceses of Massachusetts, Sept. 16, 2019. "St. Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness." In June 2015, Pope Francis made this observation in his powerful encyclical, Laudato Si' -- On Care for Our Common Home.

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  • Don Rodman's legacy of generosity



    At the end of August, we lost a long-time member of our family at Catholic Charities. Don Rodman -- auto-dealer extraordinaire, generous philanthropist, and first ever Catholic Charities Board Member Emeritus -- passed away at the age of 88.

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  • The founding of Emmanuel College



    This month, Emmanuel College in Boston celebrates its 100th anniversary. It was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur -- whose history this column has discussed previously -- but warrant our attention once more to mark this special occasion.

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  • What is to be learned when going to college?



    College, like history, is a most humbling and humanizing of events. Those who attend to both will never be the same. At best, we can leave ourselves behind and study someone or someplace else. As grand as this objective is, it can never be achieved without wearing a new cloak. How brilliant the idea of having students in the past adopt a gown or uniform for lectures, exams and other special occasions. Oxford may be one of the few universities left to require a uniform. It's called "subfusc," and consists of a black suit for men or a black skirt and cardigan for women, and a huge billowing black robe with funny ties.

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  • Prudent Stewards



    The steward in today's Gospel confronts the reality that he can't go on living the way he has been. He is under judgment. He must give account for what he has done. The exploiters of the poor in today's First Reading are also about to be pulled down, to be thrust from their stations (see Isaiah 22:19). Servants of mammon or money, they're so in love with wealth that they reduce the poor to objects; they despise the new moons and Sabbaths -- the observances and holy days of God (see Leviticus 23:24; Exodus 20:8).

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  • The demise of Dave Dombrowksi



    When Dave Dombrowski was brought on to head up baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox, he was hired to win "now" -- and he did. His problem was that "now" doesn't have a very long shelf-life; it soon becomes "then."

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  • Hooray for our side



    We began our football season Sept. 7 with a loss in double overtime to Kenyon College, the alma mater of President Rutherford B. Hayes. It was a beautiful day for football. It would have been perfect, but for the score. It left me down in the dumps for about six hours afterward.

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  • Voting for pro-abortion candidate



    Q. My family have all been cradle Catholics, but currently we are at odds. How can any Catholic vote for a Democrat who professes to be pro-abortion? How can Catholics look forward to someday meeting their Maker when they have voted into office those who will kill innocent human beings? (Pleasantville, Iowa)

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  • The sin of anti-Semitism resurfaces



    The world reacted with horror and outrage earlier this year when a town in Poland marked Good Friday with a ritual beating of a Judas effigy. The effigy was crafted to resemble a stereotype of an Orthodox Jew. Adults dragged the effigy through the town while children beat it with sticks. It was later hanged and then burned.

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  • Ironies in the fire



    The eminent sociologist Peter Rossi was a world-class punster whose scholarly accomplishments fed a sometimes-whimsical view of the human condition -- in which, Rossi memorably observed, "there are many ironies in the fire."

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  • Go further with faith



    Management guru Peter Drucker urged companies to reflect upon a simple but profound question: "What business are we in?" This question is a good one for our Catholic schools as well. Simply put, I believe we are in the business of drawing children closer to God and saving souls.

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  • Culture of belonging



    It seems strange now, but when I was growing up in Cleveland, one of the first questions we asked and answered when we met someone new was, "What nationality are you?" No one was offended. And because we knew that all our families had come to America as immigrants, it wasn't a big deal to tell someone that you were Slovenian, Polish, Bohemian, Irish, Italian, German, Croatian, Jewish or anything else. I remember some of those whose families had been in the country for more than a few generations saying they were "Americans."

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  • Monuments to good teaching



    If you have been to Edinburgh, Scotland, or seen photographs, you are probably familiar with the view from Calton Hill on the east end of Princes Street, looking past the North British Hotel to the castle across the city. In the foreground of this famous view one sees a colonnaded monument, based self-consciously on a similar structure near the Acropolis in Athens. Few tourists, enjoying that splendid view, will study the inscription on the monument, "DUGALD STEWART/BORN NOVEMBER 22 1753/DIED JUNE 11 1828." And even if they did, the words would mean nothing to them.

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  • At least they haven't quit



    I'll say this for the 2019 Red Sox: they haven't quit. Things have not gone well this season, not by a long shot. But the team has hung in through all the disappointments and kept plugging away. There is something to be said for that. The Sox stumbled coming out of the gate and it was apparent early on that this was not going to be a replay of the magic carpet ride of 2018.

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  • Pascasie's Catholic garden



    "My garden was the pride of neighbors and visitors; people called it the Catholic garden," shared Pascasie Musabyemungu, who works for Catholic Relief Services in Rwanda. She tended to her outdoor garden as an offering to God.

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  • Australian justice in the dock



    Consider this sequence of events, familiar to some but evidently not to others: March 2013: Prior to any credible reports of misbehavior being made against Cardinal George Pell, police in Australia's state of Victoria launch "Operation Tethering," a sting aimed at the former archbishop of Melbourne (who by this time is prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the economy. "Tethering" includes newspaper ads seeking information on previously unreported, untoward goings-on at the Melbourne cathedral in the past.

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  • New Hesburgh Biography



    Two words are central to the story told in an important new biography of Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. The words are complexity and assimilation. Complexity marked his long, distinguished career that included not only the presidency of Notre Dame but notable public service. Assimilation--integration into the mainstream secular culture--was a fundamental principle of both.

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  • Knowing What We Are Doing



    September 6, I had the privilege to offer Mass for the 10,000th time as a priest. It's a great source of thanksgiving for me. Sometimes people are surprised when other priests or I mention exactly how many Masses we have celebrated, as if, on the positive side, we might have the world's greatest memory, or, on the negative side, we might be neurotically obsessed about details.

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  • Healthier priests, stronger communities



    When Christ called Peter out of the boat in the Gospel of Matthew, he never explained how he would walk on water. He just said, "Come." Every day, men answer this call to be priests across the Archdiocese of Boston. Their daily commitment is so much more than a job -- it's a lifelong vocation of sacrifice for not only the needs of the faithful, but the broader community. The life of a priest does not necessarily accommodate free nights and weekends. It's a 24/7 calling that priests selflessly answer with joy and compassion for all.

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  • A life-changing journey



    I'm a cradle Catholic, and through the years I've felt drawn to do a bit of light spiritual reading. When I retired, I took on part-time construction jobs around town, with a friend. One day, my wife said, "So...what are your plans for the future?" I said that God would steer me into something, to which she replied me, "Well, you 've got to get moving first if he's going to steer you!" She then slid The Pilot's ad for the Master of Arts in Ministry and the Master of Theological Studies programs at St. John Seminary across the table. Well, the third time she slid an ad across the table, I thought to myself, "Maybe I ought to find out about this!" What a brilliant idea -- of my wife's! Studying, discussing, writing, learning -- from wonderful, faith-filled teachers, with likeminded Catholic students -- has been a great, life-affirming adventure, for me and for my wife.

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  • Beautiful Park, ugly uniforms



    I spent the last weekend of August in San Diego where the weather was, as always, idyllic. I had several good reasons for being there: 1) My daughter Meredith and her family live there; 2) I participated in a memorial service on Saturday, the 24th of August, for my dear pal, the late George Mitrovich, who was the founder and keeper of the flame of the Great Fenway Park Writers' Series, the only literary series in the country sponsored by a baseball team, the Boston Red Sox (of course); and 3) The Sox were out there for a series against the San Diego Padres.

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  • Contradictory suicide messaging



    In July 2014, police found the body of 18-year-old Conrad Roy inside his truck in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, having died from carbon monoxide poisoning. As the case unfolded, it became apparent that a friend of his, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, had encouraged him toward suicide. In a series of texts, she repeatedly pressured him to go through with it by sending messages like, "You keep pushing it off and say you'll do it but u never do. It's always gonna be that way if u don't take action."

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  • Best laid plans



    Working remotely from home is great in many ways, but it's accompanied by a serious case of cabin fever. Technology can do a lot to bridge the distance. Still, there's just no substitute for human interaction. That's why I look forward to traveling for work -- especially when I'm headed to Ave Maria Press headquarters in South Bend, Indiana.

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  • The new millennial sisterhood



    Other than the revolutionary "Good News" of the Gospels, there is not a great deal of good news about the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost one-third of its members in recent years. The figure for New England is even greater -- 50 percent of Catholic high schoolers claim to have joined the ranks of the "nones." The secular media continues to gleefully seize on every "priest abuse," even though the offenders are typically long gone. Nevertheless, there is interesting and, frankly, exciting news about the growth of vocations among religious sisters.

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  • Nothing to see here



    "Nothing to see here. Please disburse." Those words were famously spoken by Leslie Neilsen as Lieutenant Frank Drebin of Police Squad, while standing in front of an exploding fireworks factory in the movie, "The Naked Gun." Or were they said by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred when he was asked about baseballs being juiced?

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  • Come Holy Spirit



    As a student at Boston College High School and then again at Fairfield University, like many Catholic schools, the school year began with the Mass of the Holy Spirit -- a tangible reminder that the Spirit is at work in our lives and a reminder to keep our hearts and minds open to the work of the Spirit. In the upcoming weeks, tens of thousands of students in Catholic schools across the archdiocese will start their year in the same way, thinking and praying about what the year will hold and calling to mind the presence of the Spirit in their lives and school.

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  • St. Damien of Molokai



    On Aug. 21, 1959, Hawaii, a United States territory since 1898, became the 50th state of the Union. With this in mind, let us turn our attention to a brief account of the life of St. Damien of Molokai.

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  • Miracle at Lanciano



    I was 12 years old when my family took our first trip to Italy. We spent a good portion of time visiting my father's cousins in Abruzzo. On a walk one afternoon through the town of Lanciano, a group of us were casually making our way down some old narrow streets. One of the cousins said something quickly while gesturing toward the fašade of a church.

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  • Gateway to life



    Jesus doesn't answer the question put to Him in this Sunday's Gospel. It profits us nothing to speculate on how many will be saved. What we need to know is what He tells us today -- how to enter into salvation and how urgent it is to strive now, before the Master closes the door.

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  • A not-so-good year for the Sox



    Question: What's the difference between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Red Sox earned run average? Answer: The Dow Jones is going down. It is true that the Dow Jones is somewhere around 26,000 and the Sox' ERA is hovering at about 4.75, but doesn't it seem on some days like they should be reversed? This is a trend that was briefly interrupted the other night, when Chris Sale's evil twin failed to show up for a game against the Los Angeles Angels, causing Sale himself to make an emergency start. The result: eight innings pitched; 13 strike outs; and zero runs allowed.

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