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  • Social capital, intentionality can help ensure schools’ success
    Research in the 1980s identified what is called the “Catholic School Effect,” the reason that Catholic schools have been so successful in educating young people regardless of economic or ethnic background.
  • Jo Jo Wagner and the Christmas clown
    Unbeknown to the members, Jo Jo had already got on the blower and hired another clown for the children's bash. It was another Eagle acquaintance of Jo Jo's, a man who was also a clown.
  • Miracles do happen
    My husband’s recurrence of cancer came as a surprise. Nine years after his diagnosis of leukemia, we thought we had left the disease behind.

  • A Franciscan Christmas
    For me, this Christmas was a time of miracles and joy. When I returned to Oregon in October, I came with a mixed bag of emotions, everything from excitement to anxiety.
  • More women die of pregnancy-related complications in the United States than in any other developed nation. An overlooked and overlapping tragedy influences this alarming trend: Black mothers die at three to four times the rate of white mothers.
  • Beyond politics
    Some of us Catholics lean right, others lean left. Many of us track a moderate course. But all of us are disciples of Jesus, and that is what matters. We are brothers and sisters, not election foes.
  • The homeless person sitting on the corner near our church never moved off his bench despite freezing temperatures. No matter the time of day, there he sat bundled up in clothes people had donated.

  • In late December, as I returned home after an enthusiastic excursion to gather my last Christmas presents, the clicker to my parking garage door died. It looked like it was working; the little red light blinked just as it should when I pressed the "open" button.

  • Discernment begins in the everyday
    At the heart of the vocational question, "What am I to do?" is an existential one, "What am I here for and who am I?"
  • I long to be back in the pew, but the baby spits up again. The contrast cuts sharp in my mind's eye: the priest's hands holding shining gold vessels, mine swabbing stains with a damp burp cloth.
  • Now "gene editing" may soon allow parents to tailor the genetic makeup of their offspring, producing the "perfect" child (whatever that means when we adults have imperfect ideas about children).

  • From the Archives

    Portland’s quota in the Knights of Columbus war fund drive which begins next Monday has been fixed at $50,000 and the men in charge of the local campaign are making energetic preparations to secure that amount in the time allotted.

  • A teachable moment

    Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become some sort of de facto member of the Altar Society—but there I was on a Friday evening, YouTubeing videos of how to wash, fold, crimp, crease and prepare altar linens for Mass.

  • I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I loathe New Year’s resolutions in my thoughts and in my words because of what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do.
  • Send us puppy photos
    We heard from some of you who filed competing declarations on behalf of your own dachshunds, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus. By Jan. 31 at 11:59 p.m., we will accept photos of your dogs at sentinel@catholicsentinel.org.
  •  A CHRISTMAS ENCOUNTER IN SOUTHEAST PORTLAND

    What to my wondering eyes should appear

    But Santa, his sleigh and his eight faithful reindeer.

    I was dressed as a hiker, and with snow shovel in hand,

    Santa thought I was the maintenance man.

  • Misplaced priorities

    Congress did pass legislation late last year, funding CHIP for three more months, hardly reassuring. The half-hearted, short-term funding still tortures families worrying that their children’s health care might end.

     
  • Preparing for advent

    Let us take these short weeks before the celebration of his birth to give thought to his coming, to ponder how the Lord has transformed our lives, to consider what more change he will bring and to think about how we are serving him as we might serve anyone we love.



  • ‘Where are you going?’
    God wants you to let him lead, but he will never force you to follow. So grab Christ’s reaching hand and surround yourself with others doing the same.
  • It is important to foster and strengthen the faith throughout our lives. During certain periods, that faith seems particularly vulnerable. One of these is the late-teenage or college years.
  • One church, one rosary, 100 years
    While this was indeed a celebration of community, each person who walked away from the scene felt personally touched by God.
  • The pen is mightier

    Dante Alighieri wrote, “He listens well who takes notes.” It turns out he wasn’t referring to laptops.

  • Amandio and the Christmas trees
    To me as a boy, back in the 1960s, the kind and honest Amandio became synonymous with Christmas.
  • The future of science and faith: A glorious and happy union
    There seems to be a misplaced belief of a conflict between science and faith. This is a false conception built on a foundation of a deficiency and scarcity of truth: an ignorance of history and a lack of understanding of the nature and origin of science, on top of an illiteracy of how God creates and his relationship to creatures.
  • The dignity of women

    That hordes of influential men have been harassing, assaulting, violating and raping women is more than a social or moral problem. There are theological implications. Men who use women as objects of pleasure are striking at the very heart of God’s plan, which was to save us from such debauchery through a selfless woman.

  • My conversion story
    Mine is a story of love. It is a testament to the unconditional, immense, constantly seeking love of God. It pays tribute to how God will wait, ever so patiently, for us to come to him, even if it takes years or a lifetime.
  • We must wonder how many will truly celebrate Christmas this year, making it the best ever? What is meant by a "true celebration"?

  • Richard Wilbur died in October. He was, Dana Gioia said, the finest poet of his generation and the greatest American Christian poet since Eliot.

  • Are we distracted receivers?

    As we prepare for Christmas, I am sure many readers have had the experience of thoughtfully selecting a gift for a child and laboriously tracking down the item. The present, upon being opened, brings moments of squealing, then disappears into a pile of shredded colorful wrap, forgotten within the hour.

  • From the Archives

    The site of the University could not be more charming, situated, as it is, on a high eminence overlooking the picturesque Willamette River, within the city limits, and in full view of Portland, whence it is easily reached by electric cars.

  • This Advent, imagine that you and your family lose everything. Home, neighbors, livelihood. This Advent, imagine that you have only one choice: Leave everything you know, you possess, you count on. Or die.

  • Not just for evangelicals
    Our free will means we can form ourselves by the mundane, by escapist entertainment, by political ideologies, by hatreds, fears, outrage and hubris.
  • We’re all after the truth
    Readers are hungry to see how faith and science coexist. It’s one of the great questions of the 21st century.
  • Problems with packaging

    I have just opened a fresh box containing an over-the-counter pain reliever and now need a double dose because of the discomfort caused by the act of prying the lid off the bottle.

  • Holding the pope's hand in gratitude for being Catholic
    Every now and then, I find in the offices of pastoral leaders and theologians, as well as in the homes of some families I know, a picture of them shaking hands with one of the recent popes.
  • Blessed Solanus Casey's witness to my family

    Pope Francis has said in the preparatory document for the upcoming synod on "young people, faith and vocational discernment" that we need to see credible witnesses in order to be inspired to be holy.

  • The ones who won't be home for the holidays

    This season sparkles with joy. We open our homes to family and friends, greeting each other at wreath-decked doors under twinkling lights.

  • What is sex for?
    The root problem here is a self-centered notion of freedom that "frees" individuals from respecting others, if such respect would get in the way of their own pleasure.
  • Searches beyond Google's capabilities

    A recent article in The Wall Street Journal noted the upswing in the work of reference librarians who are receiving more calls from curious seekers who either can't find what they are searching for on Google or just prefer to search for information with the help of another human being.

  • From the Archives
    No later than last week some gospel gosling with more feathers than brains tells the readers of the Churchman magazine that “it is no wonder the church of Rome desires to prevent the study of the Bible by her people.”
  • A spiritual solution

    The world is full of murder, sexual assault, slavery, war and other evil. Sometimes nationalism is to blame. Often there’s religious persecution or racism. And then there’s simply anger.

  • Promoting dignity
    This time of year, Catholics get a chance to show how the celebration of Mass explodes into the world. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection, being held in churches Nov. 18-19, is not just about social service.
  • Faith-inspired tips for being Christ’s love in the world
    I have recently thought about how my faith exhorts, encourages, and calls me to be Christ’s love in the world. What a beautiful phrase.
  • Take action against gun violence

    As both the nation and the U.S. church attempts to address this crisis, Pope Francis is also encouraging that conversation -- and also action.

  • A brief history of Thanksgiving

    Contrary to popular opinion, the first Thanksgiving was not observed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.

  • The ones who won't be home for the holidays

    This season sparkles with joy. We open our homes to family and friends, greeting each other at wreath-decked doors under twinkling lights.

  • Giving to God what belongs to God

    The idea that religious freedom is only or primarily for individuals may suit some versions of Protestantism; but in Catholicism and Judaism, among other religions, it is the believing community that is in covenant with God and confirms the faith of its members. Catholics pray that God will "look not on our sins, but on the faith of our church."

  • If you submitted anything on our online forms during August and September, we urge you to send it again.

  • From the Archives
    “Please, Holy Father, find my hus­band.” This is all. No name, no ad­dress, not another word.
  • Honor the 'Laudato Si' encyclical
    Let’s follow the guidance of Pope Francis’ encyclical to preserve a healthy climate for our us, our kids, and theirs. My heart tells me this is the right thing to do; my mind tells me that we must -- before it’s too late.
  • Puppy Love

    With five children in three schools, plus activities, appointments, and work, my husband and I didn’t think our lives were crazy enough. So, we bought a dog.

  • If you submitted anything on our online forms during August and September, we urge you to send it again.

  • A bug's life
    We live in a web of life, and when God’s creation is diminished we all are. Bugs are pollinators. They create fertile soil and feed birds.
  • The teaching is clear
    Here is the gist: With modern means of incarceration — secure life sentences without parole — executions are practically no longer needed to protect society; our focus now must be on the dignity life, even for killers.
  • Harvey Weinstein's not alone

    Harvey Weinstein is a pig. It's not language I would normally use in a column, but the cascade of revelations about his treatment of women and men, most particularly his twisted and apparently constant sexual advances, demands a blunt assessment.

  • New media environments change our sensibilities, even our religious ones
    A recent headline proclaimed, "Potential Senate candidate Kid Rock fires back at Eminem for his anti-President Trump rap." For someone who grew up in the 1990s, when unsavory rock/rap "artists" like Kid Rock and Eminem dominated the airwaves and Donald Trump was running casinos, this was terrifying to read.
  • From the Archives
    The issuance of this pastoral has caused great rejoicing throughout Portugal and it is predicted that the shrine of Fatima will soon become the “Lourdes of the Iberian Peninsula.”
  • The power to forgive
    If there is one skill humankind has mastered, it’s inflicting pain. We inflict pain on our adversaries. We inflict pain on our friends and families. We inflict pain on ourselves.
  • Fear begets murder
    At its roots, murder is so wrong because it thwarts God’s creative power. By snuffing out a piece of divine creation, the murderer takes the place of God. In every religious tradition, this is the transgression of all transgressions. 
  • Modern day Catholic hymn giants
    VICTORIA, Texas — I wonder if anyone else experiences the same distraction at Mass as I do. Whenever a hymn is announced, I go to the page, find the hymn, and begin to sing when everyone else does. But then, I glance over to see who wrote the lyrics and the music; then I look below to see when they lived, when they died, and maybe from what country the song came.
  • An American priest in Mozarabic Spain
    I discovered that among the many rites of the Catholic Church there is an ancient rite of Spain now called the Hispanic-Mozarabic Rite. I was thrilled. I already had a love for liturgy and the different rites of the church and to discover that my beloved Spain had her own rite — I couldn’t wait to learn more.
  • What savagery lies in the breast of man?

    A man untethered from family or God, a man whose value was the sum of what he bought and what he spent, is the most frightening being of all: a hollow man. And evil entered in.

  • Order from chaos: Learning from disasters' first responders

    How do they do it? I've asked that question countless times over the past several weeks as first responders and (extra)ordinary volunteers have jumped right in to help in the aftermath of recent, devastating hurricanes and earthquakes and fires in the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States.

  • Whole-life perspective: How one young activist thinks about social justice

    As a college student, I spend much of my time deliberating the great questions of our day, not least among them: the limp salad or the pizza? Shredded carrots and dressing could spruce up the former; the latter's grease I could dab off.

  • The Catholic Church and Halloween

    The medieval Catholic Church created the feast of All Saints on Nov. 1 to honor the blessed people who could not be included in the church's formal list of saints. In England, the word "hallow" was used to mean the sacred, and thus there the day was All Hallows' Day.

  • The Lord hears the cry of the newborn

    It's as loud as a fire alarm (except it goes off 20 times a day). It screeches like fingernails down a chalkboard. And rather than fleeing to escape it, we're supposed to run right toward it.

  • A response to suffering

    Many years ago, I attended a conference where physicians and others discussed care for dying patients. One speaker asked audience members how they would prefer to die: To pass away after long illness, with time to prepare for death and make peace with loved ones, or to have a heart attack and die instantly on the golf course.

  • Crimes of the few

    Most Catholics have experienced anti-Catholicism based on any number of wrong-headed societal assumptions. We are lumped in with the worst done by a minority of Catholics over the centuries. Anti-Catholicism gives not even a glance at the grace and objective good that the Catholic Church has done.

  • 'The cry of humanity: peace, peace

    That Halloween season Strategic Air Command bombers with bright orange markings started flying low over our schoolyard to land about four miles away at Philadelphia's airport. It's a memory confirmed by histories that report it was Oct. 26, 1962, when B-47s were deployed to civilian airports in a DEFCON 2 alert during the Cuban missile crisis.

  • Sharing the journey
    I answered the call because of my Catholic faith, and recent statements by Pope Francis, the U.S. Catholic bishops and Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample. In short, church leaders have said DACA youth are children of God and welcomed by the church; the church supports and will advocate for them.
  • A better way for Korea

    There is a model for calming tensions between North Korea and the United States. The solution is homegrown on the Korean peninsula. It involves grassroots energy and an embrace of all humans as equal in dignity before the Creator.

  • Speaking about race with Hispanic children

    My 6-year-old son came home after school and unexpectedly asked my wife and me: "What am I?" The question caught us off guard. "What do you mean," we replied. He said, "Am I Mexican? Are people who speak Spanish Mexican?"

  • Be thou my vision, but what do I see?

    We cuddle together in the dark after the last book has been read. His 5-year-old limbs squirm as I whisper that it's time for sleep.

  • Discerning the spirits

    Given a tough question, St. Thomas Aquinas sometimes declined to give a simple yes or no answer. Instead he began with: "distinguo." The question can be taken different ways; we must "distinguish" these to get a valid answer.

  • Young adult ministry accompanied me during addiction recovery

    The young adult ministry at St. Brigid Parish in San Diego saved my life. On a Wednesday evening in October 2011 -- having about 72 hours of sobriety from alcohol and drugs under my belt -- I was greeted with a firm handshake by a young man who ultimately led the sea of men and women surrounding us in a weekly Bible study.

  • The prerogative power

    Before hurricanes took over the news cycle, two other stories absorbed the country's attention -- President Donald Trump's chest-thumping exchange with Kim Jong Un, and his decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In an odd way, these issues are alike.

    Let us begin with the potential nuclear conflict. Asked by a reporter during a trip to church whether he would attack North Korea, the president replied, "We'll see." As though he just hadn't made up his mind yet.

  • Technology: An unknown pilgrimage

    This month marks a significant anniversary in the history of technology: It is the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone. Apple celebrated by unveiling yet another iPhone, this one called the iPhone X.

  • The purpose of the lectures is to explain the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church, and answer in a kindly manner the difficulties and objections of all earnest seekers after truth.