All Commentaries Posts
I’m not surprised that this summer is bringing back many memories of times when our three children were younger. This is the first one since their mom, my wife Monica, died last winter.
What surprises me, but shouldn’t, was how wise she was about making family memories. She was the one who realized how precious and fleeting these moments become, and how important it is to spend time together and take advantage of each summer.
The president, in a May 23 speech to the National Defense University, said the new policy will restrict how and when the U.S. will launch targeted drone strikes as part of counterterrorism activities to target only imminent threats and limit civilian casualties.
The news these days is anything but praiseworthy of Washington, D.C. Congressional investigations of corruption and mismanagement, Republicans and Democrats at each other, financial bickering, gridlock and career-ending scandals are a routine diet on which our nation imbibes. To make matters worse, dedicated staffers to the Congress have mournfully confided, “The last few years have been a total waste.”
This year, FOCUS chose Philadelphia to be one of four cities to host REACH. The goal was to “reach” out further into the Catholic community to offer those in attendance an opportunity for encountering Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, for gathering in prayer, for hearing from inspiring speakers — including Archbishop Charles Chaput — and for being equipped to take part in the New Evangelization.
When I was a teenager, my mother worked as the youth minister at my parish, so I ended up going to every service project and every prayer service we hosted. We weren’t a big group. There were four of us on the core committee, with others coming in and out when they needed service hours for confirmation or graduation. I remember having a lot of fun.
While we ran service projects, such as collecting coats for the homeless in the fall and painting Habitat for Humanity houses in the spring, a lot of other groups in the parish requested our help, too.
Like most of Oliver’s poetry, its starting place was nature, and this was about an encounter with deer. I read it over and over. I loved the ending lines, “I live in the house near the corner, which I have named Gratitude.”
It spoke to me of the gratitude growing within me toward my new home.
The flight attendant was giving the usual safety instructions, the language as unchanging and familiar as if reading from a prayer card. She concluded with directions on using an oxygen mask for those traveling with small children. The attendant went off script and ended by saying “if you are traveling with more than one child, determine which has the most potential and apply the mask to him or her first.”
As we happily bid goodbye to a command-and-control, top-down way of doing things in many organizations, including in some instances church organizations, we have to come up with a culture of communication to make sure things work well in the future.
At the Catholic University of America, where I serve as president, we have been working on some revisions to our code of student conduct. We’re finding that it’s challenging because we need to send students two different messages about sex that can at times clash awkwardly.
To say the least, the news is anything but comforting. Take, for example, news about the Boston bombing, the kidnapping of three girls who were enslaved for a decade, thousands killed in Syria and hundreds of thousands more now refugees, horrendous forest fires, first-time snows in May and a multitude of services being cut because of the sequester. If we listed all of our present woes, they would fill a voluminous book