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  • Equal opportunity education



    The celebration of Martin Luther King Day this past week is an opportunity to think about our impact on the world around us. It is an opportunity to reflect on our actions and attitude toward our brothers and sisters. As we enter 2021 amidst the political, health, and economic turmoil facing our country and world, there has never been a better time for such reflection.

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  • Unifying voices



    As we delicately transfer power from one presidential administration to another, a few things about the state of our nation become clear. The rancor and derision we've seen over the past year isn't the product of the coronavirus, and it didn't engulf our country overnight. While the unique challenges brought to us by the global pandemic may have intensified the tides, divisive and even violent currents have been eroding the shores of our civil society for decades. People on all sides of every issue offer an impressive range of explanations for why we are where we are and how we got here. But nobody really seems to have a compelling answer for what we can -- and should -- do about it.

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  • Our Mission is Not Cancelled!



    A good friend and partner in mission, Father Michael Montoya, MJ, recently recorded a beautiful reflection about the state of our faith mission during the pandemic. Originally from the Philippines, Father Michael has been on mission for twenty-five years. His last assignment was serving as pastor to the poorest parish in the poorest diocese in the United States, accompanying Hispanic immigrants on their faith journey on the border between Texas and Mexico.

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  • Following him



    The calling of the brothers in today's Gospel evokes Elisha's commissioning by the prophet Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:19-21). As Elijah comes upon Elisha working on his family's farm, so Jesus sees the brothers working by the seaside. And as Elisha left his mother and father to follow Elijah, so the brothers leave their father to come after Jesus.

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  • Bill Belichick and Sheldon Adelson



    Bill Belichick deserves a medal for turning down that medal. It could not have been easy to say, "Thanks, but no thanks," to the highest civilian honor the nation has to offer. He would have been just the second football coach in history to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first being Earl "Red" Blaik, the legendary coach of the United States Military Academy, who was a recipient in 1986. The award would have had extra meaning because, when Belichick was a young boy, Blaik coached on the opposite sideline from his father, Steve, at the annual Army-Navy games.

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  • Repairers of a house divided



    It is a providential occurrence that the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States is taking place during the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. Jesus was clear in the Gospel that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mt 12:25). Against the devil's work of isolation, alienation, and separation, Jesus came to gather and unite. On the vigil of his crucifixion, when he could have easily been distracted by the details of his imminent fulfillment of gruesome Biblical prophecies, he rather prayed four times that his disciples "may be one," just as the persons of the Blessed Trinity are one (Jn 17:11, 21-23). The fulfillment of his mission, he suggested, hinged on Christian unity: otherwise, he said, the world would not be able to believe in the incarnation or in the Father's love (17:23).

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  • Holy Family: Egypt or Nazareth?



    Q. We have just read several accounts of the birth of Christ during Masses after Christmas. In reading Luke 2:39-40 and Matthew 2:13-15, it appears that there is a difference as to what happened after Jesus was born. My question is this: Did the Holy Family flee to Egypt or did they return to Nazareth? (Indianapolis)

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  • Vox populi: The voice of the people



    Francis Galton was a Victorian scientist with an interest in social Darwinism. It may have been his views on breeding that moved him to attend the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition in 1906. The show featured a weight-judging competition: People were asked to guess what a particular ox would weigh after it had been slaughtered and dressed.

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  • Vaccines and other entanglements with abortion



    As the new COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, several people have told me, "I don't want a vaccine with any connection to abortion." This is a valid sentiment that most of us would likely echo. At a minimum, it should serve as an important "call to action" for each of us during the course of this pandemic. Even if we decide to get inoculated with a vaccine that was produced using abortion-derived human cell lines -- which for a serious reason and in the absence of alternatives would not be unethical -- we still face a real duty to push back and make known our disagreement with the continued use of these cells by researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

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  • Archive offers new Parish Boundary Map Tool



    The Archive Department is pleased to announce a new Parish Boundary Map Tool. It is a digital map of the Archdiocese of Boston, which features parish churches and boundaries. Each territorial parish church is represented by a dot whose corresponding boundary is shaded in a matching color, while the personal, or national, parish churches are represented by black dots. It is a depiction of the archdiocese ca. 1955, when a concerted effort was made to compile parish boundary information, and a reflection of the archdiocese at its approximate height in terms of number of parishes.

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  • A World Mission Rosary that begs for an end to violence



    Fresh on the heels of the New Year's news that Auxiliary Bishop Moses Chikwe, of the Archdiocese of Owerri, Nigeria and his driver Robert Ndubuisi had been released by their kidnappers unharmed, came another report through Fides, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies at the Vatican. On January 8th, armed bandits seized Sister Dachoune Severe, of the Little Sisters of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Through the grace of God and prayers of many, Sister was released two days later and is back safely with her community.

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  • Hearing the call



    In the call of Samuel and of the first Apostles, today's readings shed light on our own calling to be followers of Christ. Notice in the Gospel today that John's disciples are prepared to hear God's call. They are already looking for the Messiah, so they trust in John's word and follow when he points out the Lamb of God walking by.

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  • To a departing dynasty



    They are dying off and there is nothing that you, I, or anyone else can do about it. The numbers of 11 Boston Celtics who played for the team during the greatest of all sports dynasties, 1957-1969, hang from the rafters of TD Garden. With the passing of K. C. Jones on Christmas Day, more than half of them, six in all, have now died. None of them died young and only one, John Havlicek, did not live to see the age of 80 -- and he came close. But time was up for the six who have died and the clock is ticking for the five who are still with us.

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  • The urgent need for national unity



    With searing images of mob violence at the U.S. Capitol fresh in memory, Joe Biden comes to the presidency as a potential healer of divisions and binder up of wounds. Yet his own prior commitments could prevent him from succeeding in those roles.

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  • How are non-Catholics forgiven?



    Q. Catholics are blessed to have the sacrament of reconciliation. But what about other faiths? How do non-Catholics have their sins forgiven? (Honolulu) A. The Catholic Church has a long history of the confession of sins. In the earliest centuries, confession was actually done in public, the thinking being that when we sin, we damage not only our own friendship with God but our relationships within the community of faith; but, around the sixth century, Irish monks began hearing confessions one on one, and that practice spread to the Church universal.

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  • Stepping back from the brink



    Jan. 6, 2021 was an epiphany of sorts for Americans who watched in horror as a mob breached the U.S. Capitol, assaulted police, and vandalized offices. It was both shockingly unexpected and shockingly unsurprising given the growing extremism, a polarized electorate and the relentless marketing of allegations that a huge, if unproven, conspiracy had stolen the election.

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  • Father Maciej Zieba, OP (1954-2020)



    A wretched year came to a sorrowful end when Father Maciej Zieba, OP, died in his native Wroc?aw, Poland, on December 31. The birthplace of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wroclaw was also the home of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who grew up there as Edith Stein when the city was known as Breslau. Unlike those great Christian witnesses, Maciej Zieba was not a martyr; but he, too, gave his life for Christ and the Church, and he bore more than his share of suffering in doing so.

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  • Show and tell



    Whether you keep your tree up through Epiphany or Candlemas or take it down shortly after Christmas Day, the Church continues to celebrate the nativity of Christ in these early weeks of the year. I like to think of Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple as "show and tell" feasts.

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  • Implementation in a time of pandemic



    Each year since 2012, when Disciples in Mission was promulgated, parishes have been organized into collaboratives of one, two, or three parishes under a single pastor. The primary goal of Disciples in Mission is to strengthen our parishes for the work of evangelization. Since its beginning, we have successfully implemented 93 collaboratives, consisting of 154 parishes, all focused on this goal of evangelization and making disciples.

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  • A World Mission Rosary of New Year Blessings



    One of the privileges of this ministry is being a "companion on the journey" with many wonderful people. Over the holidays, we heard from every continent via text, email, or post. Although many of the senders live in difficult conditions, their messages had common themes -- hope for the future and gratitude for the work of our Mission Societies.

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  • The anointing



    The Liturgy last week revealed the mystery of God's plan -- that in Jesus all peoples, symbolized by the magi, have been made "co-heirs" to the blessings promised to Israel. This week, we're shown how we claim our inheritance.

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  • A football fable



    Once upon time, boys and girls, in the far-off football kingdom of Foxborough, there lived an all-powerful monarch. His name was King William the Grouch. King William ruled his subjects with an iron hand, and he was the master of all he surveyed. His success was due, in large part, to his army's field general, Prince Thomas the GOAT. For many years, they ruled the football world, with King William mapping out grand strategies to defeat all pretenders to the throne, and Prince Thomas implementing those plans to perfection on the field of battle.

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  • Remembering Reginaldus Magnus



    Shortly after midnight on Christmas, Father Reginald Foster, papal Latinist for 40 years and the world's foremost Latin teacher, died at the age of 81 at St. Anne's Home in Milwaukee. I had the privilege to be his student for four years in Rome, from 1995-99. While some of the great teachers I've had in life because of the subject matter -- like moral theology -- have had a more life-changing impact on me, Father Foster, or "Reggie" as he wanted to be called, was without a doubt my greatest classroom teacher. He took what in many places is an arid subject and made it absolutely enthralling -- and did so in the early afternoons, when the sleep-inducing insulin spikes of big Italian lunches were at their strongest. He was infectiously entertaining, funny, and eccentric, with a comedian's sense of timing and perspective coupled to 2,000 years of Latin humor.

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  • Why we need a distribution of power



    A crucially important feature of Catholic social teaching, but one frequently underemphasized or misunderstood, is a clear animus against the concentration of power within a society. This perilous agglomeration can happen economically, politically, or culturally. By a basic and healthy instinct, Catholic social teaching wants power, as much as possible, distributed widely throughout the community, so that one small segment does not tyrannize the majority or prevent large numbers of people from enjoying the benefits that are theirs by right.

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  • Suicide and the Catholic Church



    Q. A friend's sibling committed suicide about 20 years ago while in high school -- after struggling with depression for years, despite getting treatment, counseling and a lot of family support. The family was -- and still is -- devastated. At the time, the family's priest said something about suicide being a sin, which added to the family's hurt and turned them away from the Church.

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  • Catholic coherence, Catholic integrity



    In 2007, the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean completed their fifth general conference with a final report, known from the Brazilian city where they met as the "Aparecida Document." Its principal authors included Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Thanks to the efforts of the future pope and others, the Aparecida Document remains an exemplary description of what it means to be the Church of the New Evangelization -- and not only in Latin America. Paragraph 436 of the Aparecida Document is of particular interest in the United States today:

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