Holy reading, holy families

One of the favorite activities for young children is a book at bedtime. When parents, grandparents, or big brothers and sisters curl up with a young child to read a good book, relationships are strengthened, bonds are built, and both heads…

Who were the three Wise Men?

Every Christmas the Nativity set is unpacked. The shepherds find their place, and the three Wise Men and their camels join them. It’s likely that one of the Wise Men is Asian, one African, and one Caucasian. The best-informed children will…

The Mass: The Living Word

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part of Fr. Longenecker’s series in which he explains the deeper significance of the elements of the Catholic Mass. Click here to read part one.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is one of the most easily…

The Mass: Praising & Processing

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles in which Fr. Longenecker explains the deeper significance of elements of the Catholic Mass. We’re lined up at the back of church. The high school student who is thurifer holds the…

Everlasting fire Purifier

Why is it that, when we take the youth group to camp on retreat, we always make sure there is a campfire on the schedule? Why do we put up with the dirt, soot, and smoke of a fireplace in our home when we no longer need it for heat? Why do…

Waters of New Life

All it takes is a few years or even months of dry weather before we realize how dependent all of us are on fresh water for life. When California was hit by drought conditions, the whole nation was affected. Because California grows a huge…

Behold the Lamb of God

At the very heart of the Catholic Mass, the priest turns to the people and lifts up the chalice and consecrated bread that has become the body and blood of Christ. He repeats the words of St. John the Baptist when he saw Jesus coming to him…

Earth to Earth, Dust to Dust

When I was a minister in the Church of England, one of my tasks was to lead funeral services. The words of the ancient Book of Common Prayer were beautiful and infused with the words of Scripture. One of the most famous lines which many…