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  • 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
    Below the billows of smoke is God’s creation being destroyed.
  • Old science
    If, via the Big Bang (posited by a Catholic priest) God could usher a universe into being, and via evolution allow us as creatures to advance and improve continually, and via molecular structure allow matter to exist even though particles are impossible to pinpoint — then is it really hard to believe that the substance of bread and wine can be replaced by the substance of the divine force that makes everything happen in the first place?
  • Living the real life
    Whenever I recite Verse 10 of Psalm 90, the Italian word "pazzo" comes to mind. The verse reads, "Seventy is the sum of our years, or 80, if we are strong; most of them are toil and sorrow; they pass quickly, and we are gone."
  • Do we really believe in the Real Presence?
    When Pope Francis recently said that every time we receive Communion, it should be like our first time, it reminded me of a friend’s story.
  • Sowing love, not hatred
    We’ve all lost something over the past couple of months. The tragic losses in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shook the entire nation. Then, we lost nearly 300 family members in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement work raids in Mississippi.
  • Who is ignoring women's health?
    "You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." This observation, attributed to Democratic politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan, comes to mind as I see warring opinions about the Trump administration's latest conflict with Planned Parenthood.
  • The irony involves the moral outrage that surfaced regarding Michelle’s text messages. Similar indignation about encouraging someone to commit suicide is, paradoxically, almost entirely absent when it comes to “physician-assisted” suicide.
  • For millions of working children worldwide, the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or write. They will not acquire computer skills. They will not experience singing in chorus, going on field trips or playing at recess. Their classrooms will be sweatshops, farm fields, and battlefields. 
  • Heaven, not college, is the goal
    MILWAUKIE — When a parent in a blog comment began to suspect that catechesis in Catholic schools is nowhere near as robust as it needs to be, and worried that this lack might endanger the salvation of his three teens in Catholic school, he asked for resources. 
  • God’s grace is everywhere­
    This summer we entered earth’s paradise. Formed by five volcanoes over the span of much time, Hawaii’s big island was our home for nearly three weeks. The island reminded me that God’s footprints are everywhere.
  • In the words of Pope Francis we need to create a “culture of encounter” with all people – even our enemies.

  • An August evening’s encounter
    It was a scorching late summer afternoon in Chicago, back in the second half of August 1947. My Aunt Toots was always much more frivolous than my mother. She talked my mom into going to the Chicago Theater, in the Loop, to listen to the music of the latest heartthrob for many young women across the country in those years immediately following World War II. 
  • Millennials, help us
    While previous generations got caught up in careers and making themselves comfortable and happy, millennials might be just right for the mission ahead.  
  • Against hate
    “The anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic sentiments that have been publicly proclaimed in our society in recent years have incited hatred in our communities.” The authors were three bishops who are chairmen of committees at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • PHILADELPHIA — Those of us who have grown up within the womb of a democratic society may not always recognize how radical the idea behind such a society actually is, nor how fragile its structure can be in the face of strident claims regarding individual freedoms. Legalization of abortion, to focus on one of the most strident claims, corrodes the very pillars of our democratic society.
  • The battle cries sound like this: “You co-sleep? That’s horrible!” “You co-sleep? That’s wonderful!” “You use a stroller? What a disgrace.” “You carry your baby in a pouch? How odd.” “You fed your baby what?”
  • From the archives
    Pat Wehrli of Fossil, a freshman at the University of Portland, has been named a princess in the 1962 Pendleton Round-Up court. 
  • The ancient urge
    Those in the gap — who believe but do not worship — might feel they are being admirably independent. But given human history, the “I’m spiritual but not religious” crowd is in a perilous position.
  • ‘Yes, Lord. I Love you’
    The gospels can seem like long ago stories in a faraway land, sometimes difficult to apply to our modern lives, but what I found on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is that Jesus is alive with us today.
  • A sleepover with grandma
    My grandmother’s eyes bulged as she watched every open space of her cozy apartment fill up with my clothes, toiletries, and snacks in the fridge. Lamenting to my mother she said, “It’s amazing how much stuff one petite person can bring.” But she grinned from ear to ear as we had a few days together. 
  • How far is too far for Mass?
    In the future, however, driving long distances for Mass may not be optional when the number of priests available are not enough to staff all the parishes and all the Masses to which people are accustomed.
  • A threat to civil rights
    The Equality Act has been hailed as a measure to prevent discrimination. But for four reasons, it may pose the most serious threat to civil rights ever passed by a chamber of Congress.
  • Many of us are not fond of seeing animals in cages. But when desperate human beings – especially children – who have trekked the grueling, dangerous journey mainly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras fleeing gang drug violence, forced gang recruitment, extortion and crushing poverty finally arrive at the U.S. border pleading for safe asylum find themselves instead crammed into cages, it’s time for people of faith to take a stand and demand an end to this heartless cruelty.
  • Children require extensive support and protection to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. They are uniquely dependent on their parents because they are particularly vulnerable. Often they are unable to speak on their own behalf or effectively defend themselves from various forms of exploitation.
  • Curiosity may help us
    On the night of July 20, 1969, I was a 4-year-old standing in my back yard staring at the moon. I tried for an hour to spy the astronauts who had landed that day.
  • From the Archives
     In 1816 he entered the Superior Seminary of Quebec and after a distinguished theological course was ordained to the priesthood on July 19, 1819, and celebrated his first Mass on the following day.
  • Vacation tip
    A Gallup poll a few years ago indicated 55% of American adults had summer vacation plans, with July the most popular month to hit the beach or the snooze button.
  • From the Archives
    His Grace became inured to this inconvenience during his Alaskan tour.
  • TV: The ruin of a disciplined people

    We can trace virtually our whole situation to the mollycoddling of our bodies that goes along with sitting, watching, snacking, watching, snacking, watching, but also to the powerful preaching of demons that has poured into our homes for decades and decades as we let down our guard ever further.

  • Turning the other cheek

    Those taking Deacon José to task appear to be of the mindset that to be a Christian is to be effete, “nice,” and never offer defense or make anyone feel uncomfortable about what they are doing. Apparently real action, appropriate to the situation, is somehow forbidden to the Christian.

  • If you were at least 10-years-old on July 20, 1969, you will surely remember that your eyes were glued to a black and white television set watching what no eyes had ever seen before.
  • It is beyond wrong; it’s evil. To excuse it is to acquiesce to the “culture of death” that St. John Paul II warned against in Evangelium VitaeAnd the Bible isn’t silent about immigrants.

  • Remember nonviolence
    Meeting hate with love and violence with a defenseless cheek may not win elections, but it will add a little more divine will to the world. 
     I hope that we bring back the good — an appreciation of the transcendence of God through meaningful worship; remember the bad — the legalism of the past with a firm determination not to return to it; and correct and rectify the ugly — through vigilance, processes of accountability and greater transparency.