Before Notre-Dame burned into flames

On this date last year, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was ablaze in a serious fire.

Three months prior to the fire, my friend Jacqueline and I were visiting the church. Here are my reflections from then: Continue reading “Before Notre-Dame burned into flames”

Simply brothers

On this date, 34 years ago, John Paul II made a historic visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome where he greeted Chief Rabbi, Prof. Elio Toaff.

And so tonight I re-read John Paul II’s address that he gave on the occasion, which contributed to a turning point in Jewish-Catholic relations. Continue reading “Simply brothers”

The day John Paul II died

On this date, fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II died. I remember this time well because I was 14 at the time and the news of his death was, paradoxically, also the biggest news to me of his life. Before his death, I’d heard his name my whole life but I hadn’t really gotten to know much about him or his remarkable biography. But then, in 2005, every magazine cover had his face on it and it seemed that there was unending coverage of this Catholic leader whose life had made a profound difference not only in the Church but throughout the whole world in the drama of the twentieth century. Continue reading “The day John Paul II died”

The longest line I’ve seen during Covid-19

Tonight I went to St. Maurice Church in Ottawa, which has been holding drive-in Eucharistic Adoration as well as drive-through confessions on Friday evenings. 

As the sun began to set, cars lined up around the church in an orderly fashion as parish volunteers wearing high visibility vests conducted traffic as they waved a hockey stick in one hand and dangled a rosary in the other. Yes, passers by caught sight of the peculiar witness. Continue reading “The longest line I’ve seen during Covid-19”

On the anniversary the Virgin Mary Appeared to a Jewish Atheist who became a Catholic priest

Today marks the anniversary of the fascinating conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne that occurred on Thursday, January 20, 1842. I have been learning his story gradually, throughout my travels to Rome and Jerusalem. Continue reading “On the anniversary the Virgin Mary Appeared to a Jewish Atheist who became a Catholic priest”

A Protestant and a Catholic discuss 465-year-old relic of St. Francis Xavier’s Arm

I arrived to Toronto to visit my Protestant friend for the week. She greeted me wishing me a happy new year and asking how I’d spent it.

“Well,” I explained, “At the conference from which I just came, we venerated a relic of St. Francis Xavier’s right arm, the arm with which he baptized 100,000 people.” Her first question was not “Why do Catholics venerate relics?” but rather “So, how did his arm come off?”

Continue reading “A Protestant and a Catholic discuss 465-year-old relic of St. Francis Xavier’s Arm”

Shabbat for Christians

Last Christmas, I was searching for a book to take with me on Christmas holidays. I asked God, the Divine Librarian, to help me choose one. Since I was going to France, a book that had been on my shelf but that I had not yet read caught my eye when I read the back cover. That book was, From the Kippah to the Cross, the conversion story of Jean-Marie Élie Setbon. Continue reading “Shabbat for Christians”