The meaning of World Youth Day

World Youth Day has come and gone, but I'm still glued to the pictures of Brazil and Pope Francis' messages of love and tolerance.

Getting a pet merits a moment of reflection

I stood in line at my local pet shop to buy some fish tank supplies. A young girl and her mother were ahead of me, buying bags of purple shavings, probably for the family guinea pig or hamster. Suddenly the girl fixed her eyes on a fawn-colored, short-haired dog. And then she uttered that question that children throughout time have asked. "Mom, can we get a dog? Please?"

On the battle lines for conscience protection

For 50 years, the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) has defended conscience rights for individuals and Catholic health care institutions. Among PCHA’s achievements are its contribution to the passage of the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act and prevention of legislation that would have required all hospitals to administer potentially abortion-causing emergency contraception to sexual assault victims.

Where did shame and contrition go?

Another luminary from the rich and famous crowd has entered the Hall of Shame. After a rash of behaviorally challenged politicians, the Hall welcomed a major league baseball player.

Patient privacy, electronic medical records and us

This year, I've had many experiences with the evolving rules and regulations regarding patient privacy and electronic medical records. Although some have been positive -- streamlining doctor-to-doctor communication, for example -- some have been frustrating and cautionary.

Gone never means forgotten

I was in fifth or sixth grade when my grandmother died. It wasn't the first time I'd lost a family member. My grandfather had died several years before, but it was the first time I was old enough to be aware and involved. I remember wanting to buy yellow roses for her funeral because I had just read a book that said yellow roses mean goodbye. I remember my grandmother's love of Stouffer's Swedish Meatballs, a love that I immediately shared with my first bite. I remember her bookshelf with hundreds of issues of National Geographic magazines dating back decades.

What would Jesus say?

The saying, "you can't make everyone happy," is especially true of the remarks made about Pope Francis' recent visit to Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day.

How a couple can help their wayward son put on the big-boy pants

Marriage Matters columnists Deacon Paul and Helen McBlaine write about a couple's son 22-year-old son, Jimmy, is showing little incentive to finish college or get a job. Calling Jimmy to a more responsible life is probably going to require a “semi-tough love” approach on the part of Louis and Stephanie, with both parents being on the same page. They need to be firm in their approach to addressing this problem.

Your opinion isn’t my fact

Over the past few weeks and months a lot has been said about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. If you've followed the news at all, you have an opinion. You know what you think happened.

Finding peace and strength when stresses pile up

I've just been through one of the most challenging periods of my life. In the span of one month, I was diagnosed with a very painful, rare and chronic form of arthritis, was injured when a car ran a red light and hit my car, my father died more than 2,000 miles away and I could not travel because of my injured arm.