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  • Reflections from the road
    Beaverton Catholic attorney Allen Reel was a columnist for the Catholic Sentinel for a decade, writing on estate planning and other matters. Few knew the man was a poet.
  • The worth of outsiders
    In “Sacred Strangers,” author Nancy Haught leads readers through six biblical accounts of outsiders, some of them well known, some unfamiliar. In each, Haught considers how the outsider teaches. Her graceful writing helps us reflect on those lessons and want to talk over the points with others.
  • Must-read book details genocide in birthplace of Christianity
    This remarkable book should be read by all Catholics, indeed all Christians who care about the fate of Christianity in the lands of its origin, the Middle East and North Africa. Christianity predates Islam in these places by some seven centuries and the Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament form the basis of Islam's most holy book, the Quran.
  • Ring Christmas Bells!
    Part of the Grotto’s Festival of Lights is its unique calendar of choirs from churches and schools and other musical groups from across the Northwest, including some locally famous choruses and ensembles.
  • Cappella Romana celebrates Christmas at St. Mary’s Cathedral
    Cappella Romana, Portland’s vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music, will give audiences at taste of Orthodox Christmas at St. Mary’s Cathedral the weekend of Dec. 16–17. The show, directed by the group’s associate music director, John Michael Boyer, consists of Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. The show features Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.
  • Sermon on the screen
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Part of a voice-over in the trailer for "Lady Bird" — playing over scenes from the movie and in between dialogue — comes from a homily delivered to Catholic high school students attending a school Mass in the beginning of the movie.
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Its rather ill-chosen title notwithstanding, "The Man Who Invented Christmas" (Bleecker Street) involves no denial of the Nativity.
  • Coco
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Will "Coco" (Disney) be your cup of tea? That largely depends on how well equipped you are to interpret this visually rich animated fantasy's presentation of the afterlife, one which owes little to Christianity and much to the pre-Columbian beliefs associated with Mexico's Day of the Dead.
  • Books highlight papal advice on ministry, diaconate as 'vocation of joy'
    During his first chrism Mass as pope, March 28, 2013, Pope Francis used the phrase "with the smell of the sheep" for the first time in his pontificate.
  • Organ recital at Mount Angel
    Christopher Wicks will play his 8th annual Advent Organ Recital Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. in the Mount Angel Abbey Church in St. Benedict.
  • Catholics have fared worse than Protestants in China

    In "The Souls of China," author Ian Johnson shows how China does, indeed, have more than one soul. The religious landscape is dynamic yet chaotic, as the Chinese people carry not only a 5,000-year history behind them, but also the excesses of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the year of Mao's death.

  • Children's books show Christmas' true joy with beautiful stories, art
    The following books are suitable for Christmas giving: "The Watcher" by Nikki Grimes; "Be Yourself: A Journal for Catholic Girls" by Amy Brooks; "Look! A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" by Laura Alary; "Anointed: Gifts of the Holy Spirit" by Pope Francis; "That Baby in the Manger" by Anne E. Neuberger; "Angel Stories from the Bible" by Charlotte Grossetete; "The Secret of the Santa Box" by Christopher Fenoglio; "Contemplating Scripture in Color" by Sybil MacBeth; "Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper" by Jean Schoonover-Egolf.
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Writer-director Dan Gilroy's drama "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Columbia) is a generally intriguing character study pitting idealism against the hard realities of contemporary life and the allure of wealth and comfort.
  • Justice League
    NEW YORK (CNS) — When it comes to repetitiously threatening the world with annihilation, Hollywood is almost as persistent as North Korean state media.
  • Lady Bird
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Lady Bird" (A24) is writer-director Greta Gerwig's sensitive autobiographical account of growing up in Sacramento, California. Her recounting of the way she tested her boundaries with both her family and her parochial school is pleasing in some respects but teeth-grating in a couple of others.
  • Writer posthumously honored by Holy Cross
    Brian Doyle, the late author and long-time editor of the University of Portland’s magazine, has posthumously received a 2017 Spirit of Holy Cross Award, given annually to lay collaborators of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States.
  • Stranger Things 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Close to 16 million viewers streamed the first episode of "Stranger Things 2" when it debuted on Netflix Oct. 27, and 326,000 binge-watched all nine new installments of the supernatural thriller.
  • Mater Dei Radio has purchased property in Southwest Portland and soon will begin construction of a new headquarters in the Sylvan Hill area.

  • Books offer valuable guidance on growing in our prayer lives
    In a recent study, parents were asked what help they needed from the church. The most common responses were, "Teach us how to pray, and then teach us how to pray with our children."
  • Top Artists from O'Hara
    Elizabeth Johnston and Eli Brown, fifth graders at O’Hara School in Eugene, were selected as first- and third-place winners in the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s poster contest. The theme of this year’s contest was emergency preparedness. More than 400 entries were submitted. Courtesy O'Hara School
  • Authors guide readers toward healing of hurts caused by churches
    In the opening paragraph of “Hurting in the Church,” Father Thomas Berg writes, “I am writing for Catholics who, somewhere along life’s journey, have had a painful experience in the church.”
  • In September, students from All Saints School celebrated International Day of Peace along with thousands of schools across the world. Creating art and celebrating the day gave students an opportunity to express their feelings, find positive ways to resolve conflict, and bring peace to their lives through art.
  • No Greater Love
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 13:15).
  • Murder on the Orient Express
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A formidable list of actors, including Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet, have taken on the role of Agatha Christie's famed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
  • Wonder
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Wonder" (Lionsgate) is a beautiful film about ugliness. Its protagonist is August "Auggie" Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a 10-year-old boy born with facial deformities whose misshapen visage becomes a moral Rorschach test for the people around him.
  • Daddy's Home 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Silly slapstick predominates in "Daddy's Home 2" (Paramount). Though this follow-up to the 2015 comedy about the blending pains of a post-divorce family is mostly harmless, late scenes mix lame holiday-themed sentimentality with weirdly uncomfortable humor concerning a preteen boy's emerging sexuality.
  • Let There Be Light
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Let There Be Light" (Atlas) is an evangelical Christian drama with a familiar plot: A wayward sinner, in this case a famous atheist, experiences a change of heart.
  • The Star
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A holiday treat suitable for all but the tiniest, "The Star" (Sony) is a delightful animated version of the Christmas story told from the perspective of some of the animals present in the manger.
  • Sistine Chapel Choir releases music for Advent, Christmas
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a new release of music for Advent and Christmas, multiple Grammy award-winning mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli sings with the pope's Sistine Chapel Choir.
  • Novitiate
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Writer-director Margaret Betts takes a stab at a genre that always seems to fascinate people, even those with no religious affiliation: nun movies.
  •  Author’s take on why church matters seems like time travel to 1950s
    “All In” begins with author Pat Gohn describing how her commitment to the Catholic Church is like her gradual appreciation of her husband’s enthusiasm for tinkering with old MGBs. Her husband’s passion for cars became hers because she learned to love what he loves.
  • Catholic screenwriter doesn't pooh-pooh a teddy bear's importance
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The story is the thing for Catholic screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce.
  • A Bad Moms Christmas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Aggressive vulgarity is the incongruous hallmark of the holiday-themed sequel "A Bad Moms Christmas" (STX).
  • Portland Choir & Orchestra performs ‘Christmas Bells are Ringing’
    The 150-member Portland Choir and Orchestra features two guest performers at this year’s Christmas show, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The venue is the Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway in downtown Portland.
  • Six musicians from past VSO Young Artists competitions take the stage
    Vancouver, Wash. — The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series welcomes back local young artists from past seasons for its inaugural Legacy Series concert on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m. at Vancouver’s historic Kiggins Theatre (1011 Main St., Vancouver, Washington). Tickets are $25, $10 for students with ID.
  • Beautifully written memoir recounts lives of Syrians, nation in peril
    “The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria” is as much an account of Syria as it is a beautifully crafted narrative of a Syrian family and an independent first-generation Syrian-American woman.
  • Docudrama about St. Francis screens in SW Portland
    There was a time when two men, a Muslim and a Christian, who might have been enemies, opened their hearts to each other in pursuit of peace. A new film tells the true story of St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt, Muhammad al-Kamil, who defied their cultures and met in 1219, during the height of the Crusades.
  • NEW YORK (CNS) — Autumn is the time when most young people are back at college. But what about the ones who bounce back home? That question provides the premise for the captivating video game "Night in the Woods" (Infinite Fall).
  • Welcome to winter in Oregon
    As more trees are nothing but bare branches, as daylight saving time ends and it suddenly feels like winter, we’ve decided to dispense with the folly of that thinking winter begins four days or so before Christmas.
  • Choirs compete in downtown Portland
    “Rally on the Risers,” a friendly competition between several local choirs, takes stage at the Dolores Winningstad Theatre Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The show benefits Marathon Scholars, a local Portland non-profit that mentors under-resourced children to succeed in middle school, high school and college.
  • NEW YORK (CNS) — Judi Dench is no stranger to playing royalty, and she shines once again as the titular queen in "Victoria and Abdul" (Focus).
  • Suburbicon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Corruption lurking under the placid surface of life in the suburbs is hardly a new theme. But the image of universal middle-class depravity presented in the failed black comedy "Suburbicon" (Paramount) is so lurid as to render the movie fundamentally unbelievable. While the filmmakers' artistic intent is clear, moreover, this nihilistic outlook may make the picture offensive to many viewers of faith.
  • Cappella Romana offers up ‘Arctic Lights’ at St. Mary Cathedral
    Cappella Romana, Portland’s vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music, will sing a variety of Nordic and Eastern European music at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland and at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego. The Marylhurst program will also include a guest performance by the Marylhurst Chamber Choir, directed by Justin Smith.
  • Orthodox artists work to revive religious sensibility
    MOSCOW (CNS) — One hundred years after Russia’s communist revolution inaugurated an era of church persecution and state-sponsored atheism, an Eastern Orthodox novel recently won the country’s top literary prize, and a statue of the country’s first Christian emperor was erected outside the Kremlin walls.
  • 'The Long Road Home'
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2004, soldiers from the Army's First Calvary Division stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, were deployed on a "peacekeeping" mission to the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad.
  • Pope on interviews:
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Replying to questions and giving interviews are a “pastoral risk” Pope Francis said he is prepared to take, because it is the best way to know and respond to people’s real concerns.
  • La Salle Prep Theater’s “Almost, Maine” almost open
    Almost happy. Almost miserable. Almost in love. Through several vignettes, audiences meet the people of the almost town of Almost, Maine, during La Salle Prep’s fall play, “Almost, Maine,” written by John Cariani and directed by La Salle drama teacher Michael Shelton.
  • Jigsaw
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Butchery accompanied by siren-wail screaming, franchise shock value that has long since played out and a rapid descent into self-parody, this is "Jigsaw" (Lionsgate).
  • Same Kind of Different as Me
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Viewers committed to scriptural values will be inclined to cut the good-hearted but uneven drama "Same Kind of Different as Me" (Paramount) some slack.
  • Immigration on stage at UP
    (Portland, OR) – "Immigration and the American Dream,” a Lyric Theater Workshop Showcase directed by Nicole Hanig of the University of Portland department of music, features a repertoire of pieces from musical theater and opera that speak to some of the most pressing issues of our time, including immigration, displacement, and inequality.
  • Thor: Ragnarok
    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's plenty of combat but relatively little bloodletting in the sweeping Marvel Comics adaptation "Thor: Ragnarok" (Disney). So at least some parents may deem this second sequel to the 2011 original acceptable for older teens.
  • The Snowman
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Though it presents itself as a complex, thinking person's thriller, "The Snowman" (Universal), director Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of Jo Nesbo's best-selling crime novel, is not above dabbling in penny-dreadful sensationalism.
  • After Harvey, faith fuels Houston fans; World Series win is boost city needed
    HOUSTON (CNS) — Baseball bats and rosary beads were the only thing on Tonya Killian's mind as she walked toward Minute Maid Park for Game 3 of the 2017 World Series.
  • Geostorm
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Mostly murky with a strong chance of boredom is the forecast for "Geostorm" (Warner Bros.). Never, perhaps, has the potential wiping out of life on Earth seemed so ho-hum.
  •  'Acceptable Risk,' streaming, Acorn TV
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The six episodes of the outstanding, immersive suspense drama "Acceptable Risk" are available on the streaming service Acorn.
  • Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's a brief moment in "Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween" (Lionsgate) in which one desperately hopes that the plot has flickered to life.
  • The power of TV, the fear of consolidation:
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — You may recall the adage, “I never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Uttered by Charles Brownson, who served four terms in Congress 1951-59 as an Indiana Republican, he was advising against ruffling the feathers of newspaper types. And in our visual age? It could apply to TV station ownership.
  • British Benedictine, 82, creates mural to capture order’s charisms
    LONDON (CNS) — When Mother Joanna Jamieson went back to art school after more than 60 years in a Benedictine convent, she was likened by one British national newspaper to an “intergalactic time traveler” who hadn’t heard a record by the Beatles or seen a James Bond film.
  • 'Til Death Do Us Part
    NEW YORK (CNS) – “‘Til Death Do Us Part” (Novus) takes a deep dive into the shallow end of the melodrama pool with predictable results.
  • Irish folklife expert says Halloween traditions began in Ireland
    DUBLIN (CNS) — As the seasonal carving of pumpkins gets underway, an Irish folklife expert said there is evidence that the tradition, which is synonymous with Halloween jack-o-lanterns in the United States, actually began in Ireland.
  • Happy Death Day
    NEW YORK (CNS) — With a name like “Happy Death Day” (Universal), a sweet, wholesome story is unlikely to unfold.

    You can say that again.
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Fans of the comic book superheroine Wonder Woman (and of the recent blockbuster film) are advised to steer well clear of “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” (Annapurna).