Keeping it simple: App changes help Pa. businesses offer more scholarships

The words “simplified,” “tax” and “form” are not often found in the same sentence; but a revision to the application for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program puts them together. After persistent feedback by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and others about the cumbersome application process, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) simplified the tax credit form making it easier than ever for companies to receive a financial benefit in return for their support of education.

Welcome, stranger

According to the Gospels, when witnesses to the resurrection encountered the risen Christ, he was not always immediately recognized. This was the evangelists' way of answering that basic question posed in the early church: Where is Jesus? If he still lives, how can we find him? Luke's response is in the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus approaches them "in another form," explains the Scriptures and finally reveals his identity during a meal when "they recognized him in the breaking of the bread." Luke's point is clear: We discover Jesus in the stranger on the road.

Neither church nor state may redefine reality of marriage

“If you call a tail a leg, then how many legs does a cow have? Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.” So said Abraham Lincoln thus showing a greater grasp of the reality of things than many in our culture today including not a few Harvard law school graduates and possibly even a majority of the Supreme Court should they decide to overturn DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 and thus effectively impose “same sex marriage” on the nation.

A powerful examination of America’s health care costs

A recent Time magazine report is much less about who should pay for health care (as the current political debate tends to frame the question) and asks instead: Why are we paying so much? The annual tab amounts to nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product, far more than other industrial nations pay for equally good or even better health care. Those who take time to think about the issue find themselves concluding that this situation is simply outrageous.

First rule of retreat planning: The theme sets the scheme

If there’s no theme to a retreat, then a number of things have to be put on hold: a design; advertising since there’s no design; which means candidates get put on hold because they can’t find out about it; and the team is put on hold because we can’t have a team unless we have most of the ideas either optional or set in stone. So as we can see, the theme sets the scheme.

Rules to live by in the social media world

Many people see a photos posted on a social media site as creative ways to express personal beliefs. But what about those who disagree? One person's cute photo can be another's hateful attack. If you take exception, never forget to disagree without being disagreeable.

When will the media’s honeymoon with Pope Francis end?

We can be grateful for the coverage of the new pope in newspapers, television and on websites. But the media is as likely to fall out of love as quickly as they were to fall in love with Pope Francis. This will come when he does something seen as conservative or heavy-handed, perhaps reaffirming a doctrine of the faith.

Easter is more than one day – celebrate for 50

Easter is a time of celebration. The day that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rises from the dead and conquers death is a day that we should always remember not just on Easter Sunday. In fact, the Easter season is 50 days long. We should be wishing people a “Happy Easter” for a while! Everyone seems to celebrate Easter, but not so much the Easter Season. My family in particular has a family reunion. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family gets together and brings a dish that their mother was known for. The gathering is so big we rent out a hall every year … yes we are very Italian.

50 Years of Advocacy for Catholic Health Care in Pennsylvania

Much has changed in healthcare over the past half century, from rising costs to incredible advancements in technology and treatments. Throughout these changes, the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) has never wavered in its mission to continue Jesus’s healing ministry and advocate for the sanctity of life, access to health care for all and the common good. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the PCHA has 60 members, including hospitals, long-term care and other related health care facilities, and individuals involved in Catholic healthcare in Pennsylvania. A guiding force for much of PCHA’s 50 years has been the association’s president of 30 years, Sister Clare Christi Schiefer, O.S.F.

With different pro-life views, can our country be called united?

Perhaps you, too, enjoy travel books about places and people. Books such as John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charlie" and "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon are classics of this genre. These essays about off-road places provide a flavor of the unique character that distinguishes a place. With this in mind, one wonders how to understand the United States (with the emphasis on the adjective "united").