September 1, 2014 |
Frederick Van Fleteren is ending a long-term relationship, one that's been by turns exhausting and exhilarating. Not with a person. With a text. For nearly 25 years, he has painstakingly translated a 300-year-old religious biography, turning antique, 17th-century French into readable 21st-century English. Yes, he's a former priest and friar. But that hardly explains his singular act of intellect and endurance, which has consumed a third of his life. How has he done it?
July 25, 2014
YESTERDAY was my feast day, or, as the Italians call it, my onomastico . Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. Had I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That's because about 75 percent of the paesani are named after saints, and the other 25 percent are named "Sal," which is short for "Salvatore," which means savior. I think you can see why Italian obstetricians also need theological degrees before they're admitted to practice medicine.
March 16, 2013
U.N. envoy sees drone violation ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - CIA drone strikes on targets in Pakistan violate its national sovereignty and have resulted in far more civilian casualties than the U.S. government has recognized, a special U.N. human-rights envoy reported after a secret investigation in Pakistan this week. Ben Emmerson, the United Nations' special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, met with Pakistani officials for three days and came away supporting their long-stated view that they do not consent to the remote-fired missile campaign that is the centerpiece of U.S. strategy to eliminate Islamic militants.
March 16, 2013 |
Just after Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, I received a text from my son: "I guess I took the right Confirmation name. " Last year, at age 33, Nick was confirmed in the Catholic faith, and he adopted the name of Francis in honor of Francis of Assisi. I remember asking him why. "The guy was crazy, Dad. " Not an auspicious start, but I listened on. "You know, he was from a pretty well-to-do family. He rejected everything, wouldn't even wear shoes. " "You're not thinking of going shoeless.
May 21, 2012 |
So many parents and alumni of St. Denis Catholic School in Havertown supported merging with friendly CYO rival Annunciation B.V.M., the marriage should have gone off without a hitch. Instead, parishioners hoping to embrace the past and future in a name were told the regional school would honor the late Cardinal John Foley. The decision was, in their pastor's words, "nonnegotiable. " Children voted on a mascot, only to have their choices (Cardinals, Falcons, or Phoenixes)
March 5, 2012 |
DUBLIN - Somewhere in Ireland, a burglar has the heart of a saint. Officials at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin said yesterday that they're distraught and perplexed over the theft of the church's most precious relic: the preserved heart of St. Laurence O'Toole, patron saint of Dublin. O'Toole's heart had been displayed in the cathedral since the 13th century. It was stored in a heart-shaped wooden box and secured in a small, square iron cage on the wall of a chapel dedicated to his memory.
October 3, 2011 |
MAHANOY CITY - In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, residents gathered their pets Saturday morning to be blessed. While pets blessed may include cats, fish and birds, only man's best friend was seen at the service in the parking lot across from the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Education Center, South Catawissa. Although the breeds present varied from beagle to Shih Tzu, all dogs and their owners were welcome.
July 11, 2011 |
Carmella Romanelli may have missed a few of the processions in her 84 years, but she can't remember when. In tiny Bridgeport on Sunday, she sat on her rolling walker outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church - where she was baptized and where she and her parents had their wedding ceremonies - and her tears welled in anticipation. Mass was over, and men were carrying the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel down the steps to a crowd in the street, where the 87th annual procession would be held on the last day of the church's Italian festival.
September 24, 2010
BEER, ACCORDING to the adage that has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, "is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. " If that's true, it was the product of an extensive lobbying effort. No other pastime has more saints advocating on its behalf than beer drinking. A definitive list compiled by my beer-drinking associate Jay Brooks of the San Jose Mercury News lists 29 saints who've been employed to represent our interests. They range from St. Arnold of Metz, whose casket spewed suds during his funeral procession, to Gambrinus, who falsely claimed to have invented beer.
August 23, 2010
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has two elections on his mind these days. The first is his race to serve a ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives - which he seems certain to win on Election Day in November. The second is far less predictable. Fattah, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is waging a campaign among his Democratic colleagues to win the post of committee chairman. His rival is Washington Rep. Norman Dicks, who has far more seniority on the panel.