National Catholic Reporter

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Jesus would laugh at a lot, says Colbert's 'chaplain'


WASHINGTON -- Three priests -- a Dominican, a Franciscan and a Jesuit -- walk into a bar.

According to the Rev. James Martin, it's not only the opening to a good joke, but quite possibly the saving grace of religion.

Martin's new book, "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life," says religious people would be a lot happier -- and holier -- if they lightened up and took themselves a little less seriously.

"Joy, as a number of spiritual writers have said, is the surest sign of the Holy Spirit," the Jesuit priest said at a recent gig at Georgetown University.

But, he continued, "there are certain Roman Catholics who seem to think that being religious means being deadly serious all the time."

Martin, culture editor of the Jesuit magazine America and the unofficial chaplain to Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," is, well, wickedly funny.

India provides perspective and grace


I spent most of August traveling through northern India with my youngest son, my brother and his family, the trip made possible by a donation from a generous friend who, like me, is an Indiaphile. My father, a cultural affairs officer with the United States Information Agency, was first assigned to India in 1962 and my family lived there for a total of seven years, in the absurdly privileged existence then available to American diplomats. I have returned three times since and remain addicted to the place of my early childhood.

New leader for men's orders sketches hopes and fears


Capuchin Fr. John Pavlik was appointed on June 7 as the new executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which brings together leaders of more than 200 men’s religious orders in the United States.

A native of Western Pennsylvania whose background is in formation and provincial leadership, Pavlik probably didn’t need convincing that his new gig is likely to be complicated -- but proof came anyway, in spades, just six days later.

Martin Hegarty, 'bishop' to resigned priests, dies at 83


"I left priesthood on the first Saturday morning in June, 1988, having just presided at my last Eucharist. I moved out of the rectory in a frantic headlong rage, dragging my belongings to a basement apartment on 35th and Seeley.

"I'll never forget grasping the doorknob of my underground residence and thinking, 'What have I done to myself?' I had either been training to be a priest or was a priest for 20 of my 34 years. I was jobless, damn near penniless, my Rolodex was wrecked (this being the time before Blackberry). I had one black suit that smelled like incense and not a clue about what to do with my life….

"So I did what everybody in my situation did. I went to see Marty Hegarty. He read me like the Sunday Trib. He knew all my sections: good priest, scared young adult, in love, consumed with guilt, rectory spoiled, clueless, but possessing a pulse.

Conference works to address LGBT issues in Catholic schools


NEW YORK – The invitations went out weeks ago to 45 parochial high schools in New York, inviting administrators, teachers and students to Union Theological Seminary, where, together with theologians, writers, activists and other attendees, they might have mapped out the challenges LGBT students face in Catholic schools, looked at alternatives and tried to find solutions.

The "Pro-Queer Life: Youth Suicide Crisis, Catholic Education, and the Souls of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) People," held Oct. 1, was the second of the "More Than a Monologue" series of four talks meant to broaden the conversation on LGBT issues within the Catholic church.

One of the goals of the conference was to have a frank discussion about teen suicide.

But by the afternoon of the conference, Kelby Harrison, head of the organizing committee, told about 150 people gathered in the seminary's upstairs dining hall that neither the administrators of the Catholic schools that were invited nor any students, the subjects of the daylong conversation, would be attending.

New Orleans bids adieu to legendary archbishop


NEW ORLEANS -- Thousands of mourners paid their final respects Thursday (Oct. 6) to legendary Archbishop Philip M. Hannan as his casket was slowly lowered beneath the sanctuary of St. Louis Cathedral to rest near eight predecessors.

“We thank God this day for Philip M. Hannan,” current Archbishop Gregory Aymond said after a two-hour, 15-minute funeral. “He whispered to God daily his hopes and his dreams. Then he spoke boldly for the respect of life of the unborn, the dying, the poor and those with disabilities.”

Hannan, 98, died Sept 29, 46 years to the day after his appointment to New Orleans, which he permanently embraced as his adopted city. The native Washingtonian also kept close ties as confidant to the extended Kennedy family.

At the end of the funeral Mass, an honor guard of paratroopers from Hannan’s old World War II outfit, the 82nd Airborne, marched to the head of the center aisle and tipped its regimental flags in tribute.

A trumpeter blew taps from the balcony for the former chaplain who ministered to GIs in the Belgian snow during the Battle of the Bulge.

Jobs knew value of communication, Jesuit says


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recognized the importance of expanding communication, a Jesuit told Vatican Radio.

Jobs, 56, died Oct. 5 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, told Vatican Radio that Jobs made technology part of the lives of millions and millions of people, not just technicians.

"Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit," the Jesuit told the radio Oct. 6.

Cardinal, laypeople honored for aid to Catholic education


ARLINGTON, Va. -- A cardinal and five laypeople will be honored for their significant contributions to Catholic education during the 21st annual Seton Awards ceremony Oct. 3 in Washington.

The National Catholic Educational Association's President's Award will go to John Convey, a professor of education and former provost at The Catholic University of America, while five others will receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, named for the first native-born American saint.

Convey, whose professional work focuses on research and strategic planning for Catholic schools, has conducted studies for 14 archdioceses or dioceses in the past 28 years and is currently assisting the Archdiocese of New Orleans with a study of its Catholic schools.

He has written, co-written or edited eight books and numerous articles on Catholic education.

The Seton Award recipients are:

-- Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, who established the Board of Catholic Schools to encourage greater support and leadership for the archdiocese's 215 elementary and 40 secondary schools and who earmarks more than one-third of the funds raised in his annual appeal for education.


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February 27- March 12, 2015


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