September 17, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Known to contemporaries as Chiara Offreduccio, Clare was born in 1194 in Assisi, a small city in the Umbrian region of Italy, the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, a forceful but honest Catholic gentleman. Her lovely mother Ortolana, of the noble Fiumi family from Florence, was conspicuous for her piety and care for the poor.

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September 3, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

I’ve written before about my son, DeForeest. At the age of three, he chose John Adams as his favorite U.S. president. Adams, a brilliant statesman, respected for his intellect and political acumen, comes closest to being the one man responsible for inventing America. He was also a curmudgeon, whose blunt honesty made enemies with ease. People are troubled by honesty.

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June 4, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Do you know any extraordinary heroes? I’ve been graced to know two, actually, and know them pretty well.  

My mother was born on April 28, 1921. She and my father were married on May 3, 1942. But for the pandemic, my family would have celebrated her 100th birthday and their 79th wedding anniversary. We’ll celebrate those events, eventually. As for now, I’ve had cause to reflect on growing up under their supervision.

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May 21, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Socrates Scholasticus, a Catholic historian of the early 400s, tells how antiphonal singing was introduced into the Mass by St. Ignatius, a disciple of St. John who was consecrated the third bishop of Antioch by St. Peter. In a vision, the bishop saw and heard two choirs of angels alternately singing praises at the throne of God. Thus impressed, he introduced the same form of song into his liturgies.

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May 7, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Within two or three generations of the Church’s founding, Christians reflected on the meager biographical information given in the apostolic writings. They began setting down traditions passed down to them concerning characters mentioned in the Gospels, including St. Joseph and the role he played in the drama of salvation as the strong, silent protector of the Holy Family.

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April 16, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

My grandmother was born Leona Erma Van Dusen in upstate New York, at 10 minutes before the hour of midnight on December 31st 1880. She nonetheless celebrated her birth on Jan. 1 so she could claim to be a year younger.

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April 2, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Had Sejanus not lusted after Livilla, the wife of Drusus, Jesus would not have been crucified — a rather sweeping statement, I realize. It nonetheless explains much about the public career of Pontius Pilate, including his activities on Friday, April 3 of the year 33 A.D.

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March 19, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Beginning with Chapter 37, The Book of Genesis describes the adventures of Joseph, son of Jacob, sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.  By way of his dreams, he was appointed Egypt’s prime minister, allowing him to save his family and the peoples of the world he knew from a lengthy, widespread famine. When his subjects cried out in their need, Pharaoh told them, “Go to Joseph” (Gen 41:55).

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March 5, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

He is something of an enigma, this man of Nazareth, Yusuf ben Yacob or Joseph, son of Jacob as we would call him. Or, simply, Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ. Descended from David the great king of Israel, this humble artisan was destined for even greater glory within God’s plan of salvation.

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January 15, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

In 1966, Pope St. Paul VI named Father Harold Perry auxiliary bishop of New Orleans. President Lyndon Johnson, along with religious and civil leaders across the nation, lauded the appointment of a Black bishop, who Archbishop Philip Hannan hailed as the country’s first.

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November 6, 2020  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

In 1535, King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) pressured Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy, recognizing the British monarch as head of the Church in England. Most Catholics are familiar with Henry’s schismatic action. The same Catholics are equally unaware that every bishop in the kingdom acquiesced to the king’s pleasure — save one.

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July 3, 2020  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Defying the efforts of emperors, kings, popes and engineers to eliminate them, the fetid, malodorous Pontine Marshes — disease-ridden, brackish waters 10-16 miles wide — for 23 centuries lay southeast of Rome. Benito Mussolini not only made the trains run on time, in 1928 he finally succeeded in draining the Pontine Marshes. Reclaiming the land, “Il Duce” built low-cost housing and settled families there. The Lazio region is now a thriving community, producing crops in abundance.

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June 5, 2020  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Allow me to tell you a tale of two sons. It begins with a story told by my friend, Father Barnabas, a Franciscan friar in Connecticut. Online conversations with him over the past 10 years have often led to mutually genial exchanges of ideas — not to mention much hilarity and the joy of knowing someone totally at ease with himself as a man, as a Catholic, and as a priest.

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April 3, 2020  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

The Lord is risen!” “The Lord is risen, indeed!”

Christians around the world share this sign and countersign when greeting each other throughout Eastertide. For the Church, the Bride of Christ, the Resurrection is an event too glorious to observe on a single day.

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March 6, 2020  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

The late 1800s saw a steep rise in American banking, commerce and industry. A new, ultrawealthy class arose, personified by families named Astor, Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Collectively, historians have tagged the men who created this wealth “Robber Barons,” reflecting their often cut-throat business tactics. These men and their families also donated vast sums of money to establish charitable foundations, endow universities, and found lending libraries, eventually furthering education and spreading that wealth.

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