Herman Goodden

Herman Goodden

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

A mere 35 years after my Catholic conversion, I suppose I should be a little embarrassed that it is only now that I am finally getting the hang of the rosary and finding it a very powerful devotional instrument in the way that it commands and directs and focuses my prayer. What took me so long? 

Though my legs and lower vertebrae sympathetically throbbed at the prospect of spending another 16 out of 24 sleep-deprived hours sandwiched into a chartered bus barreling back and forth between London and Ottawa for the National March for Life, I thought it was important to support the largest annual protest in our nation’s capital each year. 

LONDON, Ont., – In the week before Christmas, a 58-year-old pharmacist, Egyptian immigrant and devout Roman Catholic named Michael Haddad had his quarter-million-dollar bid accepted to purchase a recently shuttered United Church in Hensall, Ont. Haddad’s sole reason for making this purchase is so that this town of 1,200 situated about an hour’s drive north of London will not lose its last remaining Christian church.

OTTAWA – Prodded by an increasing intolerance for those who profess pro-life convictions — most pointedly and menacingly by no one less than our prime minister — my wife and I decided it was time to walk the walk and made our way up to Ottawa for the 21st annual National March for Life. I had attended one of the very earliest of these marches back around the turn of the century and had a pretty good idea what we were in for.

Canadian Catholics and Christians generally are not paranoid if they harbour suspicions that their governmental overlords are unsubtly trying to control their rights of free speech, religion and assembly. 

I’ve never had much enthusiasm for New Year’s celebrations. Partly this is because of the utterly perverse timing of the holiday.
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.

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