A working class hero for the lilies of the alley

It all started with a phone call. When the Daughters of St. Paul arrived in downtown Chicago in 1979, we were in need of a garbage pickup company. Why not continue with the company that had already been servicing our building? When the Sisters called Flood Brothers Disposal, little did they know the lifelong friendship it would kick off. Mike and Joe Flood were fervent Irish Catholics and…practical jokers. They first pretended to be atheists, but eventually came clean (pun intended) and began picking up our trash gratis, along with financially supporting our media mission.

Sifting clutter to discover grace

Saturday morning in early June. Sunshine streaming through lilac bushes. Birds singing from underneath leaves that seem to have grown overnight. And tables full of things we hope other people will like well enough to take home. There are stories attached to the stuff. The kids keep changing their minds and sneaking things back in the house. The seeing and the sifting happen simultaneously.

Laity loses when Catholic journalism is shuttered

The decision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to close the domestic operations of Catholic News Service strikes at the heart of the notion of synodality which Pope Francis is encouraging through the Catholic Church. The current reflections on synodality call the members of Christ’s Body to consider the proper way for authority in the Church to be shared.

Gun freeze reduces threat to common good

The federal government’s May 30 tabling of legislation that stops handguns from being purchased, sold, imported and traded in Canada is a very welcome move.

The complex calculus of negating racism

We hear and read a lot about critical race theory (CRT). Most of it is raises serious concerns. The idea of CRT, as I understand it, is to teach young children that white people have always had a privileged place in society and that people of colour have paid the price for that supposed racial supremacy.

A kiss on the cheek to share grief

It was 15 years to the day that I started the ministry of the Church on the Street, walking late each Thursday night in an area of the city described by a local newspaper as “a patch of inner-city Toronto plagued by crack addicts, drug-dealers and low-rent sex trade workers.”

Sick and tired becomes sick then saved

“Healing” is a hot topic today. Humanity seems to feel a keen need of healing today, but are we getting to the root cause of our maladies? Are we utilizing the proper remedies? Since human beings are a composite of body and soul, we can’t talk about healing one without healing the other.

Surrendering to the eternal Pentecost

We care. Human beings care about an enormous range of things. We are swept up with love for our families, both the families that nurtured us through our younger years and the families to whom we have given life and in whom we have invested our hopes for the future. We care about our nation, a much larger clan from which we have drawn our thought patterns, our culture with its hints of the eternal.

Open ears, close lips, to truly listen

Listening is often referred to as an art. Reams of books have been dedicated to defining “how” to listen, and even define “types” — deep listening, full listening, critical listening, therapeutic listening etc.

Pro-lifers rowing against the waves

The apparent defeat of Roe v. Wade in the United States Supreme Court has unleashed a wave of optimism for pro-life activists. It is a battle that’s been waged for nearly half a century in the U.S. and so for its opponents this is a sparkling moment.

Trust ‘what is’ to take us where we need to go

Trust wasn’t the lesson I was expecting when my partner planned a surprise anniversary weekend away. Seventeen years later, we returned to the Cypress Hills where we stayed as newlyweds. The lodgepole pines appear not to have changed as much as we have.