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  • Where are the children, youth and young adults?
    Our church needs help learning how to create disciples.
  • Winter mornings in Bavaria and the postcard
    He wandered the snowy back streets of Offingen, tired, cold, emaciated and very hungry.
  • What we don’t say
    My husband first noticed Jonah while taking out the compost one bitterly cold night. What first appeared to be a pile of threadbare clothes turned out to be an elderly homeless man sleeping next to our garage.
  • “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Just think how much better each one of us and the world would be, if we held fast to this morally correct common sense proverb. But unfortunately, common sense and morality are often not considered when we feel we have been wronged.
  • We are glad to witness the cooling of fight talk between the White House and Iranian leaders. We support Pope Francis, who wisely has appealed to both nations for self-control and dialogue. “War,” the pope said, “brings only death and destruction.” The downing of a passenger jet during the Jan. 8 skirmish outside Tehran proves this sad point.
  • A plan for my tundoku
    I’m highly amused that there’s a term for this phenomenon, because it means there were enough individuals afflicted by this particular condition that a whole new word had to be created to describe it.
  • Catholic schools promote a hope-filled future
    Catholic schools see every student as a unique gift made in God’s image and deserving of love and respect. Catholic schools honor the student, striving to bring out the best in each one. Catholic schools educate the whole child in a faith-filled environment, assisting each child to live the life God intended for him or her.
  • Probably the biggest bioethics story of 2019 involved Dr. Jankui He (known to his associates as “JK”), a Chinese scientist who employed a new technology called CRISPR/Cas9 to produce the world’s first gene-edited babies.
  • From the Archives
    He is a highly unselfish player.
  • Over the last decade the world has awakened to the terrible reality of climate change. For me personally, it’s an existential assault on my faith in God’s protection: “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.”

  • Hail, defenders
    We don’t hold forth with such style now, but we still admire good defense, an underappreciated art. In sports, defenders get little glory. As Christians, those selfless players appeal to us because ours is a religion of the humble and dutiful, not the superstars. 
  • This new year, this new decade, begins much like the past year, the past decade: wars between countries, wars within countries, nations around the globe preparing for future wars and astronomical military budgets cemented in place to ensure all this unholy madness continues.

  • From the Archives
    A real love of our fellows which the law of Christ insists upon would lead us not merely to open-handed giving at Christmas but to a real interest in the alleviation of suffering throughout the year.
  • A special trip home for Christmas
    Sixty-seven years have gone by, but the voice of Bing Crosby, "I’ll be home for Christmas ..." still tugs on the heart. This season in 1952 found me in Milwaukee, working two part-time jobs and going to Marquette University full time. There I had met four students from the Denver area who, like me, had never been that far away from home.
  • Giving like Santa
    In his newest book, “Rediscover the Saints,” author Matthew Kelly looks at St. Nicholas of Myrna in terms of holding Christmas in your heart year-round. Mark Larson, aka Santa Mark, knows about that. While the Christmas season is his busiest as a Santa (including the honor of lighting the Portland Christmas tree in Pioneer Square), he’s never far from St. Nick. “We Santas are keepers of a secret,” he says. “We’re working to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year. It resides in the heart of every person, it just needs to be let out.”
  • Kathy’s gift
    I had what Pope Francis calls an encounter experience one Advent that captures the longing of this season. It was with a woman named Kathy, who had turned to Catholic Charities when she lived on the streets, when her season of darkness had lasted for years.
  • The angel chimes at Christmas time
    Each Christmas, when I was a boy, my mom always brought out the box of angel chimes and had me set them up atop the library table in the reception hall. There was nothing as peaceful and enchanting as sitting in the warm glow of candlelight, watching the angels delicately chime the carillon. My mom told me to think of the magical chiming of the bells as the song of angels among us. 
  • Take a close look at your Nativity scene

    The most recent apostolic letter of Pope Francis, “Admirabile Signum”) was signed in Greccio, Italy. Some may know the significance of Greccio, the mountain village where St. Francis created the first nativity scene in 1223.

  • This Christmastide we’ll have five children, my parents, and two dogs (puppies, really) under our roof to celebrate the arrival of the Prince of Peace. 
  • Mom shares journey of her son's mental illness, suicide
    HERMITAGE, Pa. — Betty Koscinski of Notre Dame Parish in Hermitage, in the Diocese of Erie, spends much of every year shedding light on mental illness and suicide.
  • Regardless of whether your mother is on this, or the other side of eternity, you can still give her the most wonderful gift of all: your love.

  • A Christmas parable
    “All your answers are true, but incorrect,” Clarence retorted.
  • Our unpredictable God

    Ancient Greece and Rome perceived gods and heroes aplenty, all with big egos struggling with one another cataclysmically. Judaism revealed the truth of a single all-powerful God in constant relationship with his people.

  • Waiting well during Advent
    While I can rattle off a long list of positive things about being raised in the Northeast (the quality of bagels, access to cultural events in big cities and proximity to the ocean top the list), an honest assessment would include some downsides. The most glaringly obvious one is that for most of my life I’ve been conditioned to be completely and totally impatient.
  • Finding reason to hope amid the pessimism
    My father-in-law, Joseph, was a wonderful guy. An immigrant who passionately loved America, he was hardworking, honest and thrifty. He had a laborer’s hands but a poet’s mind. Joseph had seen enough of life, however, to make him a bit jaundiced about human nature.
  • When it comes to giving, less is more
    Every year my sister and I make the same promise to each other. "One year, we’re not going to do presents at all," we declare over the phone. "And it will be the best Christmas ever."
  • Vatican finances: How did the IOR work?
    VATICAN CITY — How did the Institute for Works of Religion work in real estate investments? The question is pertinent to two major issues: the recent so-called Vatican financial scandal, which led to an institutional crisis; and, for some of the lawsuits initiated by the IOR to protect its integrity. 
  • Advent and waiting
    My wife and I are expecting our fifth child in February. It’s been six years since we had a newborn in the house, so there are some things we need to relearn about life with a baby. Most pressing perhaps is the role that technology will play in our family life when the new baby arrives.
  • Happy holy days
    See Christmas day as the beginning (not the end) of festivity and gift-giving. On or near the 12th day of Christmas, hold an Epiphany party (you can tell your secular friends it's an "after Christmas" party).
  • As clergy, we touch upon very holy realities when we baptize, consecrate the Eucharist, give absolution to sinners, or anoint the sick. These special moments engage divine grace in deep and important ways in the lives of those to whom we minister. 
  • Might Holy Cross have come to Oregon sooner?

    As archivist for the Archdiocese of Portland, I recently encountered a collection of letters written by our first archbishop, Francis Norbert Blanchet. The missives covered his career from 1821 to 1883. The letters, mostly written in French, include correspondence with Father Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

  • Two years ago, speaking before a Vatican sponsored international symposium titled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament,” Pope Francis said we cannot fail to be “genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices.
  • Bite your tongue

    It’s one of the most underrated sins, and one that sneaks into office Christmas parties and family gatherings as readily as that extra glass of eggnog.

  • A hopeful time

    Three signs of hope stood out at last month’s Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly in Salem: clarity, unity and zeal.

  • Inviting angels to dinner

    In his inaugural address of 1861, President Abraham Lincoln begged the American people to turn away from enmity. “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection,” he said, asking listeners to be open to “the better angels of our nature.”

  • When we pray Christianity’s most important single prayer – The Our Father – do we really attempt to understand and meditate upon the challenge of its words – especially “thy kingdom come”?
  • The forgotten commemoration
    When rain falls and winds blow leaves in spinning circles that dance like whirling dervishes across the sidewalks, I once again realize that I am one of a very few who remembers a long forgotten observance on the last day of November. 
  • How you can help
    The story “Everyone belongs at the table” (Nov. 1, Page 19) described Catholic Charities’ plans to develop Germaine’s Café as a job-training site for young men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Due to reader interest, I want to provide some additional background and explain how you can help us bring this project to fruition. 
  • From the Archives
    Catholics, however, have the unspeakable pleasure of pointing back to the history of the past and from thence producing the evidence which annihilates the fraudulent fabrications brought against us.
  • Freddy the Freeloader
    Few know this, but when I was a boy, Thanksgiving was also the feast day of the stray dogs.
  • You are called by God to be a saint! And that all important calling from the Lord is not just to be seriously considered on All Saints Day – but every day!

  • During a recent speech in Texas, I mentioned that “Drag Queen Story Hours” are being sponsored by local public libraries across the country. Toddlers and kids are brought in and placed in front of cross-dressing men who read children’s stories to them, stories that encourage them to reject fundamental gender differences between males and females. The LGBTQ agenda, I also noted, is being energetically promoted to upend and rewrite public school curricula even for kindergarten and pre-school-aged children.
  • Thriving via teamwork
    Scientists now are learning that survival is enhanced not just by strength but by the proclivity to cooperate. The very mechanisms of biological growth and progress really do reflect what we know of God from Scripture: self-dealing leads to failure while other-centeredness builds success.
  • In stark contrast to today’s Congress, 70 years ago Congress passed “The Housing Act of 1949” with the objective to provide “a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family” (see: https://bit.ly/33Ib22l).
  • From the archives
    Some Christians would consider abortion as ethically permissible where I would maintain the inviolability of human life. But it is clear that our differences are within the context of a general affirmation that abortion is sinful and that life is sacred.
  • The feast of the Holy Rosary

    No memories of my mother Dorothy are as powerful as watching her saying the rosary at the kitchen table every morning. Whatever was going on with our family, her day would start with coffee and one of the mysteries. 


    It’s time to order your 2020 Oregon Catholic Directory, available in print or as a searchable PDF.

  • Seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance in law
    The Annual Red Mass requesting guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice took place on Saturday, Sept. 29 at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception followed by a reception. The Mass offers the local legal community an opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession. This year’s speaker was the Honorable Mary H. Murguia, the first Latina appointed to serve as a federal district court judge in Arizona.
  • Greek poetry’s truths
    Our opportunities to forgive, to speak truthfully, to resist gossip and pride, to care for creation, and to praise our Lord are as limited as they were for the humans in Homer’s “Iliad.”
  • The most vulnerable
    How can we teach our young people with integrity to stand up for our sick, our poor, prisoners, immigrants or the planet if we allow hundreds of thousands of unborn humans to be killed? Our children would understandably deride us as phonies.
  • From the Archives
    Columbus Day was a big deal a century ago. 
  • October vignettes

    “We were instantly ordered to stop playing this riot creating music and we instantly switched to “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus” and other beer drinking songs.  We completed our evening playing Schunkelmusik, but were never hired to play at Mount Angel again.”  

  • St. Pope John Paul II, in his powerful encyclical letter “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”), challengingly said “How can we fail to consider the violence against life done to millions of human beings, especially children, who are forced into poverty, malnutrition and hunger because of an unjust distribution of resources between peoples and between social classes?
  • Navigating life’s seasons with Mary
    I believe that when we accept each season as it comes and offer that season to the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can know real peace. Regardless of what is going on, I have found that when I place my trust in God and my seasons to his mother, I am filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding. 
  • A stunning Catholic business
    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Across the country in New Haven, Connecticut, there is a remarkable Fortune 1000 company offering business experience to Catholic students from all over America. It is well known for its large-scale global service projects, pro-life and religious freedom initiatives, and its highly rated and profitable insurance policies. This unique business is called the Knights of Columbus.
  • Called to stewardship
    Whether or not you agree with 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, her speech at the U.N. has once again prompted us to look at what we can do as Catholic Christians to care for our common home.
  • Ordinary yet miraculous

    Sometimes, we stop noticing stupendous incidents right before our eyes. It’s usually because they are so steady, so dependable. How often do we feel a thrill of gratitude that drinkable water spurts from our kitchen taps? Do we throw our hands up in spontaneous praise when we inhale and just the right life-sustaining gases flow into our lungs? Such may be the case for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

  • Because suffering almost always imposes itself on us during life, and especially at the end of life, it can be helpful to reflect on the need to accept some personal suffering as we die, even as we recognize the importance of palliative steps and other comfort measures.

  • Walking alongside St. Francis: Caring for humanity as a social response to climate change
    BEAVERTON — During this Season of Creation, some of us pray for our environment, get involved in active projects, or advocate for policy change. However, we can all agree that in current times, many climate issues affect our most vulnerable, poor, and marginalized brothers and sisters in Christ. The impacts of climate change touch the lives of all humans, but they also disproportionately affect populations of lower economic privilege or social status with limited access to resources.
  • Remember the writing assignments teachers would spring on unsuspecting students their first week of school? Bleary-eyed kids waxed eloquent on such profound themes as: “What I did over summer break,” or “How going back to school is ruining my life.” It’s been many moons since I’ve considered these critical questions, mostly because — for numerous years as a busy wife, mother, and worker bee — the words “break”’ and “summer” didn’t compute.

  • It’s good, it’s wise and it sounds so nice: “Season of Creation” – a time for us to stop taking the wonderful God-given gift of creation for granted. A time to wake up and smell the flowers!
  • The sin of anti-Semitism resurfaces

    Almost 75 years after the last of the Nazi death camps were liberated, the world is watching a new generation succumb to the poison that many had assumed had been eliminated when the world was shown those horrors.

  • 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.
  • If you had met me when I was 22, you would have met a young woman who loved stuff. By that I mean, I could fill suitcases and suitcases with my high heels and handbags. The funny thing is I rarely used most of them.
  • They serve us
    You’d think there were dozens. Even scores. But the Sisters of Reparation have been a duo for some time. Their spiritual influence in Portland far outweighs their number.
  • 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 facade of a church.
  • Honoring the Real Presence
    Could deepening our respect for humanity help deepen our faith in divinity?
  • Don't miss the best thing
    We don’t necessarily need a cheap T-shirt from Target to remind us of that reality, but it sure does help.
  • In secret you will be repaid
    Is it possible that speech and rhetoric, the gift of human communication, can be an obstacle to the life of faith? St. Augustine’s conversion appears to be one from rhetoric to Christianity. What’s behind this shift?
  • The emigrant's brave farewell
    We talk a great deal in this country about immigration, too often in language that is hostile or fearful. What we don’t talk about is emigration, the act of leaving one’s home.
  • From the Archives

    The new edifice is beautifully located at the Eastern extremity of the city and is built in the Gothic style, the main edifice being sufficiently large to accommodate the congregation of East Portland for many years to come. 

  • 9 takeaways for parenting in a pornified culture
    Remember, it’s not a matter of if your child will encounter pornography, but when. So make sure each conversation includes, “when you encounter pornography, please come talk to me.”
  • Spiritual urgency