Robert Brehl is a writer in Port Credit, Ont.

The other day, I lost my so-called smartphone. It was kind of dumb of me. But the episode set off a range of emotions; from the pit-in-my-stomach initial feeling to panic and stress at figuring out what to do next, including a little prayer to St. Anthony, to contentment realizing life without that digital albatross around my neck actually feels pretty good.

Bringing the Church back to its core

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Reading through Pope Francis’ fascinating 12,000-word interview in the Jesuit journal America Magazine, many thoughts and sentences leapt out, especially this one.

Always a car crash waiting to happen in Ottawa

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Political scandals, whether on Parliament Hill, city hall or elsewhere, are like car accidents: you don’t like to see them happen but it’s difficult to look away.

Humility, humour and simple kindness in Francis

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Like most everyone, I’ve been fascinated and delighted with the election of Pope Francis. His simple, gracious acts during his first days on the job bode well for the Church.

A Lenten message from a mother

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March, always a special month, is set to be one to remember this year. Forever a part of Lent and leading up to the holiest days of the year, March can also be a tease for Canadians: warm spring sunshine on the face one day followed by snow and sleet the next.

Heroes, it seems, only fall from their perches

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We’re still deep in winter and already this young year has been bad for “heroes.”

First, there was Notre Dame’s star linebacker Mante T’eo admitting he lied about a girlfriend he never had who died of cancer, although she never existed so she didn’t really die. Conveniently, the truth was only revealed after the national championship football game in January.

Women’s time has come

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When Ontario Premier-elect Kathleen Wynne is sworn into office next week, half the country’s provincial premiers will be women (in addition to the premier of Nunavut) and they will govern 87 per cent of the population.

Gun control underlines neighbourly differences

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About a decade ago, I was in Scotland and one person after another whom I met kept referring to me as an American, presumably because of my accent.

A presidential holiday season

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This New Year opened with a distinctly presidential flavour. First, I saw the two hit movies about U.S. presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. (Both I highly recommend, especially Lincoln.) Second, I received two fascinating books: The Jefferson Bible by Thomas Jefferson and The Words Lincoln Lived By from Lincoln historian Gene Griessman.

There’s something about the name Mary

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Fewer baby girls are gifted with Our Lady’s name nowadays

Earlier this month, Today’s Parent published its annual list of most popular baby names in Canada and I scanned, as I usually do, to see where my two children’s names are located.

Can Christianity survive in its birthplace?

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It is very difficult to make sense of the latest violence in the Middle East. And as we embark on another Advent season, it makes one wonder about the long-term viability of Christian communities in the Church’s birthplace in the Middle East, whether Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere in the region.