Herman Goodden

Herman Goodden

Herman Goodden is a writer in London, Ont. His latest book is No Continuing City.

When I converted to Catholicism in 1984, my decision was at least partially influenced by the testimony and example of people I admired who happened to be Catholic — particularly writers as diverse as John Henry Newman, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Ronald Knox, Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day. 

One of the sweetest attractions of off-the-grid summertime breaks is the opportunity to push out the parameters of your usual reading routines. This summer I decided it was time to finally immerse myself in the writings of St. Augustine (354-430 AD) and read the two works for which he is best known, Confessions and The City of God.

My wife and I, in our 40th year of married life, are renewing our vows this month at a special Mass in the Marian chapel of our home parish at London’s St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica.

Heading into church last month for the noon-hour service on Ash Wednesday, I walked along the sidewalk behind two middle-aged couples decked out in office-type apparel. I overheard that one of the couples was heading out for a bite of lunch and the other was skipping lunch to attend the service that marks the beginning of Lenten fasting, penance and prayer that is now entering its final days before we reach the glory of Easter Sunday.

With the secularization of our culture galloping away on all fronts,  Advent and Christmas can be haunting and haunted times of year.

December 6, 2015

My encounter with Dante

When the 750th birthday of Dante Aligheri (1265-1321) was celebrated in Italy in May, Pope Francis invited Catholics all over the world to take up and read one of the cornerstone works of Western and Christian civilization, The Divine Comedy, as an act of preparation for the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy which launches Dec. 8.  Francis says Dante “is a prophet of hope, herald of the possibility of redemption, liberation and the profound transformation of every man and woman, of all humanity.”

Lent has a way of unsettling us, of shaking up our easy routines and making us question what more we should be doing as part of our Christian obedience.

Before I became convinced that William Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic, I was one of those conspiratorially minded chaps who believed Shakespeare was not the person who wrote the greatest single cache of plays in the English language. 

LONDON, ONT. - My friend Jane Loptson died in the hallway outside of her subsidized apartment in the early afternoon of Dec. 27.

The book I’m forcing on everyone this month is The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher.

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