missions

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

“Nature’s Own Reliquary” 

Have you ever imagined that a person could stand inside a martyr’s reliquary? This summer I did, and you can, too, at least as long as a courageous group of Catholic lay people are able to keep Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine at Auriesville, NY, open. This shrine, which is the location of the National [...]

Passages from Vatican II that Every Catholic Should Know

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). While all agree that the council was a milestone in the history of the Church, the meaning and application of Vatican II and its sixteen official documents has been a source of contention right down to the present day. Numerous [...]

Retrieving Apologetics

A number of Catholics, including theologians, think that the Church should not engage in apologetics. These critics claim that Vatican II made apologetics obsolete by calling for the Church to embrace, and no longer turn its back on, the modern world. They say theology is supposed to engage pressing contemporary issues that affect everyone, but [...]

Victim of Jihad: The Life and Death of Charles de Foucauld

Today, there is talk of war, of jihad, reports of hostage taking, unspeakable atrocities and, now, a hellish public slaying. Almost a century ago there was similar talk. The war in question, however, was the Great War, and, on that occasion, the public slaying was not that of a Western journalist but of a Frenchman [...]

St. Peter Claver: Slave of the Slaves Forever

Odd as it may seem, that great “Defender of the Indians,” Bartolomé de Las Casas, did not originally see the injustice of Negro slavery. To be fair, he bitterly regretted his position later, and he soundly denounced the African slave trade once he was better informed. Even so, early on, he was a vocal and [...]

Pope Francis in South Korea: Three Things to Know

Hours ago, Pope Francis began his first Apostolic visit to Asia. After an overnight flight from Rome, which took the Roman Pontiff through Chinese airspace—a first in the chronicles of the acts of the popes—the man from the “ends of the earth” landed at Seoul’s Incheon Airport and met and addressed (in English) South Korean [...]

The Apostle to “Upper” California: Bl. Junipero Serra

In his last moments on earth, Jesus commissioned His apostles, “Go … and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), and he promised that they would be witnesses “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In the latter half of the eighteenth century, few places were geographically farther from Judea than Alta, California, and [...]

Verbiest: The Priest Who Invented the Automobile

Even one who is as maladroit as I when it comes to the Internet, profits from “YouTube” with its cavalcade of some of the great people and events of more than a century. Would that it could go back farther, but there are many moving scenes to which we have access. One shows Father Georges [...]

Holiness in Photographic Negative: The Life of Blessed Junipero Serra

The 24th of November this year will afford a significant opportunity for North Americans to reflect upon their common past: the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of Bl. Junipero Serra. In commemoration of the founder of the California missions, the Huntington Library has assembled an exhibition devoted to his life and work, co-curated by [...]

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