February 28, 2014 |
ACTRESS/producer Roma Downey decided to call her movie company Lightworkers for a reason. "We were tired of cursing the darkness," said Downey, the former "Touched by an Angel" star who produced last year's hit miniseries "The Bible" and this week opens a companion film, "Son of God. " "We're committed to stories that add light," she said. "We are people of faith. This is important to us. It's not just a job. " "We have jobs," chimed in husband Mark Burnett, with atypical understatement.
January 24, 2014 |
Capturing the voice of a saint might be impossible with anybody but Hildegard of Bingen. Though among the most chronologically remote composers in history, this 12th-century Rhineland nun (1098-1179) left a long trail of writings, hallucinatory paintings, and some 77 liturgical songs that the medieval music group Sequentia needed years to record. A cross section of them will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in yet another stage of her rediscovery.
January 20, 2014 |
WHEN THE CATHOLIC parishes of Saint Carthage and Transfiguration of Our Lord merged in 2000, word went out that the pastor at the new West Philly "mega-parish" was keen to welcome the neighborhood's recent African immigrants, along with parishioners from both churches. "I wanted to figure out how to incorporate them into this worship community," said Monsignor Federico Britto, the pastor. "I didn't want them to feel like outsiders. " Mission accomplished. On any given Sunday, the landmark 1924 building on Cobbs Creek Parkway welcomes some 500 parishioners to two English-language Masses, followed by a Mass in the Nigerian Igbo language, followed on most Sundays by yet another Mass, in French, for African immigrants from Francophone countries like the Ivory Coast.
December 30, 2013
C ONTINUING a tradition, the annual dialogue between God and Your Favorite Columnist. GOD: How you doing, sonny? YFC: Great, except for your habit of calling me sonny. I don't care for it. GOD: Remember when Explorer froze the other day when you were in the middle of writing (it never freezes when you're not) and you yelled, "God damn it"? How do you think I felt? YFC: Hmmm. I had no idea you were so thin-skinned. GOD: Give this a listen: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
December 22, 2013 |
REV. KEVIN R. Johnson, pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, was visiting Sierra Leone in 2009, looking at places where people worshipped in tents and community centers, when he came to a plot of vacant land and was overwhelmed by a vision. "I looked at the wilderness and the trees and, in my mind, I could see a church," Johnson says now. "I could see people coming into that church and hope coming into that community. "I thought, if we could lay the foundation, the people would get the sticks from somewhere to build the church.
December 6, 2013 |
DON'T KNOW IF you've heard, but things have been a little tense over here at 801 Market. Feuding owners, returning prodigal editors . . . and that's just the last couple of months. So when an editor stopped by my desk to talk about the voice of God, I figured the poor guy had finally lost it. Turns out he was talking about a SEPTA announcer who sounded like what I guess he imagines God would sound like if he were, say, announcing that "the scheduled local 3:28 to Fox Chase is next to arrive on track 3, section B. " Me, I've always imagined God sounded more like Rosie Perez, but I digress.
December 2, 2013 |
WITH ITS bronze doors, stained glass and iconic dome, the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul on Logan Circle is an ode to God's grandeur. Around the corner, a Mormon cathedral rising on a former parking lot promises to be similarly inspiring, with granite-clad walls to provide a solid base to soaring spires. In the shadow of such places, you'd think that the Rev. Violet Little's humble Welcome Church would feel inadequate. Yet here we are, dozens of us, gladly worshipping around a folding-table altar on the grass in front of Family Court on the Parkway.
November 28, 2013 |
The pastor's faith had taken a hit. The man entrusted with the spiritual life of hundreds had lost a teenage daughter to cancer. So Jim Laverty, 48, an associate pastor at Souderton Mennonite Church, leaned on the people he shared so much with - his football buddies. They sent him texts of support. They listened when Laverty shared his grief and disappointment. And it all started with football. On the eve of the biggest pigskin binge day of the year, the Men's Monday Night Football Fellowship at the 700-member Souderton Mennonite Church is about more than touchdowns and Eagles pride.
November 12, 2013
TO CHRISTINE Flowers: I've just read your piece on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed recently by the Senate. And although I agree with the assessment that most liberals try to paint conservatives as uneducated bigots, I cannot follow you as you affirm that offering the right to marriage matters less when it comes to fight discrimination. Changing people's minds to make them accept and not tolerate another often happens when they consider the other to be part of the same group (at least on some level)
October 14, 2013 |
Debra Johnson saw it coming. "Dear God. Not here, where everybody could hear," she thought. She was at a packed college basketball game, sitting alongside her great-niece, who had just learned to count. "And she was holding my hand, which we do all the time," Johnson, 54, recalled in a honeyed, Louisiana drawl. "I could see her counting her fingers, and then she would reach over and . . . count mine. " And then it came. "I have five fingers . . . . You have four?" "Yes, I do. " "Why?"