December 3, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

The great “O Antiphons” are still sung in plainchant and are attached to the “Magnificat” at Vespers (Evening Prayer) during Dec. 17-24. Their author is unknown, but since the 8th century, they have formed the lyrics of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” — the English version of “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” most often sung by Catholics and translated by John Mason Neal, an Anglican cleric.

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November 19, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

SMW: What biblical themes are in film noir? For instance, I see Edmund O’Brien’s character in “DOA” as inspired by Job, but a Job without God, who seeks his murderer without expecting any salvation in an afterlife.

EM: Tough one; I haven’t studied the Bible in a few years. The relationship between Joe Morse (John Garfield) and his brother Leo (Thomas Gomez) in Abraham Polonsky’s “Force of Evil” certainly has a Cain and Abel aspect to it, in that Joe’s surrender to the dark side (he’s a fixer for racketeers) leads directly to his brother’s death, and an inspired ending suggesting a quest for spiritual redemption.

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November 5, 2021  |  By SEAN M. WRIGHT

Editor’s Note: With current television programs and movies containing increasing levels of objectionable content, many people are turning to films of the 1940s and 1950s for entertainment. Among these classic films are those categorized as “film noir” — movies that explore the darker side of human nature. Herald columnist Sean M. Wright recently interviewed Eddie Muller, host of “Noir Alley” on Turner Classic Movie network and author of “Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir,” published by Running Press, to discuss why these movies are worth revisiting.


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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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