Increasing numbers of engaged couples do not have a parish in which to host their wedding or they get told by a church official that they don’t qualify for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony for various reasons, e.g., they’re not registered members, they’re cohabitating, one of them is divorced…  Many such couples grew up in […]

Think Soup-r Bowl

As the NFL’s regular season is completed, our attention, perhaps even obsession, for the next month will be dedicated to the play-offs and championship games.  Looking back on this and recent years, the National Football League has been a strong leader in helping our nation sort out what is important.  They also inspire us to […]

To Days Gone By

At the end 1877, the young Scottish poet, Rabbie Burns, found himself with mates and muckers at a pub where he embellished ancestral ballads passed down by older muckers who recalled times that evaporated into history.  Whether sober recollections of old and spirited souls or from the drunk tank of their harking back, he penned […]


Returning to racially integrated communities in Kansas City’s urban core this year, I also attempt to return to cultural rituals and inspiring traditions different from those around which I grew up.  One that gets hidden amidst Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, New Year’s, and other festivities of the winter solstice is the African American festival of Kwanzaa.  […]

Be Not Afraid

In late September of 1978 when the Archbishop of Krakow was chosen as the first non-Italian pope in nearly 500 years, the future Saint John Paul II stepped onto the world stage with the words: “Be not afraid.”  His prophetic message echoed that of sacred scripture as the young bishop reigned over the universal Catholic […]


In Bethlehem, pilgrims enter the Church of the Nativity through the Door of Humility.  It is structured so that only children and short people can enter standing up.  Adults must become diminutive by crouching down or bowing so they can pass through to the site where Jesus was born.  The door of humility reminds us […]

Conversion Conversation

The etymology of “conversion” and “conversation” are similar.  From Latin roots, “con” means with or together; “ver” or “vertere” is a reference to turning or changing; “sion” or “sation” implies an action.  Converting or conversing, then, is an act of turning in a different direction because of engagement with another or others.  “Ver” or “verit” […]

One Foot There

Father Tom Curran, SJ, former president of Rockhurst University, often spoke to students about having one foot on campus and one foot out in the community.  He wanted them to realize that the main purpose of their education is not just to secure a livelihood but to also enhance the livelihood of their surroundings.  He […]


“Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus which means The Coming.  Liturgical, societal, and religious themes of the Advent season warn us to stay awake, be alert, get ready, and prepare a way.  The societal impact is probably most influential upon us: only twenty-three shopping days till Christmas!  We’ve got to stay awake for Black […]

Food for the Journey

One of the many terms for Holy Eucharist is the Latin “viaticum.”   It means food or provision for the journey and gets used primarily to refer to our final communion that gives sustenance for the road to paradise and path to glory where there awaits a heavenly banquet feast for God’s children who are welcomed […]