Catholic Commentary

May 28, 2020

Spiritual Crumbs

Many years ago, when I was only five or six, my father found a tourist attraction very close to where we lived in northeast New Jersey that he thought my brother and I would like. This attraction was called Fairy Tale Forest. Here, the fairy tales were brought to life. You could meet all the heroes and heroines as well as the villains in each of the stories. There was a tour guide who would introduce actors playing these characters. Needless to say, to meet the Wicked Witch was a bit frightening.

One of the keenest memories I have of that trip was walking through the forest of Hansel and Gretel. I do not know if it was actually a tunnel that was painted to appear to be a forest, but all I do remember was that it was SO, SO dark. I can remember holding on to my dad’s hand quite hard. I was happy to see the bread crumbs that the two children left for us. I can remember bending over to see if the white objects on the ground were indeed bread crumbs. To my dismay, I found out that they were rocks that were painted white and glued to the ground.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
May 20, 2020

The Colossus

No sport has a more rich history than baseball. Ever since the Civil War, Americans have been swatting balls and running bases, whether it be on city streets, empty sandlots or ballparks surrounded by 50,000 packed-in fans stuffing hot dogs into their mouths. It’s a sport that has always seemingly featured larger-than-life god-like figures who were actually more human than divine by mighty longshot.

George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. is one of those nostalgic ball players baseball fans hold dear in their hearts. Perhaps it is because he was a New York Yankee media epicenter for most of his career in the 1920s and 30s. Also maybe his uniquely rich American rags-to-riches story is the reason why so many people continue to hold dear his memory. The Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, New York, has several spacious floors of exhibits and mementos; every floor follows Ruth’s storied life and baseball career. After all, he belted 714 homeruns out of ballparks across the country. And the baseball a century ago was not highly compressed, as is today’s with a rocket rubber core meant to leap out of ballparks. It was the “dead ball era” Ruth played in, so belting 60 homeruns in a season was a superhuman feat.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
May 19, 2020


Last weekend I was on YouTube, hopping from one liturgy to another. I would fast forward to the homily just to get a thought on which I might ponder a bit deeper. My “video hopping” resulted in a spiritual stew rather than a main meal. Let me explain.

Just like a stew is made from broth, meat and vegetables, I began “chewing” on a few thoughts from several homilies I viewed and then how these thoughts would tie into where we find ourselves today.

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May 11, 2020

Weebles Wobble, But They Don’t Fall Down

Some time ago, I had a wonderful conversation with a Sister who was in her 90s. When I visited her, she patted on a seat, indicating that I should sit down. As I did, she looked out the window of her bedroom and began, “Sister Geralyn, do you want to know what came to me during my morning meditation?” I nodded. She continued, “I was thinking about heaven. What does one do when all eternity is spent in a love embrace with the Triune God? To spend all eternity worshipping Him? I wonder if one gets bored doing that. I know what I would want to do is to visit all my friends and family who have died. I would want to hug my mom and dad and my siblings. Better still, visit with Blessed Pauline and all the Sisters who traveled from Germany and worked here in the United States many years ago.”

I smiled and said, “Don’t you think that by worshipping the Lord you would also be connected to them and their stories?” She opened up her eyes with great excitement and said, “Really? I can’t wait!” I asked, “You are not afraid to die?” She responded, “Fear is something strange. One can naively say, ‘I am not afraid!’ until something terrifying comes your way. Fear death? Well, what I fear is not being ready, of suffering and letting go of the life here that I love so much. But once I feel that feeling, I dismiss it because the glory that waits for me is so much better!”

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
May 7, 2020

The Noblest Title in All the World

Give a look back at past issues of The Catholic Witness and what you will take away is a profound perspective on the journey that has been the publishing history of this Diocesan newspaper, which first appeared in print in January of 1966.

It was a broadsheet paper, huge in scale, measuring nearly two feet vertically. With tiny type, eight columns wide, and nearly 100 lines per column, an extraordinary word count of 6,000 words could litter just one page of The Witness. At 16 pages an issue, it was nearly 100,000 words per edition that started arriving that frigid winter into the homes of some 175,000 Catholic souls spread across 15 counties and 7,660 square miles of central Pennsylvania.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
May 3, 2020

God’s Grace in the Kindness of Strangers

Several weeks ago, I was asked by our local house treasurer to go to the bank for her since she is one of the individuals among us who could be seriously harmed if she caught COVID-19. So, I said, “Sure!” As I prepared to go out to the “outside” world, I went through a mental check list: “Banking stuff?” Check. “Car keys?” Check. “Hand sanitizer” Check. “Wipes?” Check. Then I got distracted.

Realizing that I was on my lunch hour, I ran out of the house with just the banking items, forgetting the rest of the items on my checklist. Upon arrival at the bank, I parked in the parking lot only to see that the lobby was closed. I thought, “O gee! I guess I will have to go to the drive-through window.”

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
April 23, 2020

Divine Mercy: A Journey from Fear to Trust

I cannot say exactly when I first came across the Divine Mercy message and devotion. My love for Divine Mercy was by no means love at first sight, but it has developed gradually over many years. But without a doubt, Divine Mercy has forever changed my life. It has given me a framework for how I try to live and is a foundation for my work in ministry.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
April 22, 2020

Liturgy of the Hours

Many, many years ago, when I was in college, a more “mature” student, who knew I was discerning religious life, suggested that I begin praying the Liturgy of the Hours because “all religious and priests” pray it. She bought me a book of Christian Prayer and then instructed me on how to pray it.

Quite honestly, in the beginning, I viewed it as a drudgery and a burden. She warned me about this. As I persevered in praying just Morning and Evening Prayer, I soon discovered its grace:  connection to the Mystical Body of Christ. Truthfully, I didn’t have those words in the beginning to describe the effect on my heart, but what I did sense was a “presence” to something greater than I was. I could feel this most keenly when, because of my crazy schedule, I skipped one of the times of prayer. I found myself always going back to it to reconnect to this powerhouse.

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
April 21, 2020

Is God Punishing Us?

Is God punishing us? I read a recent question from a journalist asking what many people of faith are asking now: “Do you think the pandemic is an act of God’s wrath upon humanity?”

To be fair, such a message is not hard to derive from the Scriptures, like the passage we read recently on the Fourth Thursday of Lent, from Exodus. These questions are to be expected. In the first reading, God comes at Moses like a frustrated and disgruntled parent. He says, “Go down once to YOUR people! … For they have become depraved.” It’s like when my mother would say to my father: “You’ll never guess what that son of yours did this time!” (Surely something about my brother, not me.)

Catholic Commentary, News\Events
April 6, 2020

Battling a Pandemic of Grief

Some time ago, when my last parent was called home to heaven, I found myself grieving not only the loss of my mom but also the loss of what “normal” had become.

You see, when a Sister goes on “vacation,” it usually means visiting family. “Home” in the “nun world” usually means the place of refreshment where you can catch up on some much needed rest. Because of my mom’s death, homelessness bit into my grief horribly. I felt lost, unattached to anyone. Loneliness wreaked havoc on my heart.

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