Pope Benedict XVI on St. Bonaventure

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today I would like to talk about St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. I confide to you that in broaching this subject I feel a certain nostalgia, for I am thinking back to my research as a young scholar on this author who was particularly dear to me. My knowledge of him had quite an impact on my formation. A few months ago, with great joy, I made a pilgrimage to the place of his birth, Bagnoregio, an Italian town in Lazio that venerates his memory. Continue reading


parable_SowerWhat is a “Parable”? Definition: “At its simplest a parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.” (C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961, p. 5) Less accurate, but perhaps more to the point – when heard, a parable should give you pause and turn your world upside down. Continue reading

The Work of the Church

My Franciscan brother, Fr. Dan Horan OFM, had a nice insight this morning over at his blog DatingGod. In short, while the world has focused on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the gathering of cardinals, the pomp and circumstance of the electoral process, and all thing papabili, the work of the Church continues.

While the spectacle of papal elections, with the pomp and circumstance of crimson cassocks and Latin chant captures the imagination of many the world over, the work of the church doesn’t end (nor begin, for that matter) with these attention-grabbing events.

The work of the church is in the parish, the ministry center, the homeless shelter, the Catholic Charities office, the Franciscan missions in Peru, the classrooms of Jesuit schools, the hospices of the Sisters of Charity, and so on. The life of the church is found not in the grand processions of cardinal electors or the daily routines of the Roman dicasteries, but in the experience of the Body of Christ, which is the People of God, living a life of faith, striving to follow the Gospel, and caring about how to be a good and holy person — every day, here and now.

Journalists, columnists, pundits, and the like will get their fair share of news and “exciting events” over the next few days, but when the TV cameras and reporters vacate St. Peter’s Square, the nuns who care for Rome’s homeless population and the doctors who work in the Catholic hospitals of that city will continue the mission of the evangelica vita.

When the pope resigns…. did you know?

This is the current insignia/logo of the Vatican during the papacy of Benedict XVI. The symbolism shows the “keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:18) and the papal tiara indicating that there is a pope in office. But what happens at the sede vacante on Feb 28th when Pope Benedict resigns and the chair of Peter is vacant?

Continue reading

We are only instruments in the Lord’s hand…

“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength….”

–Pope Benedict XVI
Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (35)
25 December 2006

Resigning Popes – who was the last one?

My friar brother, Fr. Dan Horan OFM, has an interesting article over at America Magazine.  It asks the question “Who was the last pope to resign? Was it Celestine V or Gregory XII? | America Magazine.  Hopefully it makes you curious about church history