The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Altar

There is something remarkably universal about most Catholic parishes in the U.S: our parishioners come from everywhere. The Catholic Church is two thousand years old, is a presence in every country, speaks every language, and summons every soul. The very word “catholic” means universal, and that quality is manifest. Some parishes in the Washington D.C. area look like the United Nations! So many countries and cultures are represented; dozens of languages are spoken by parishioners.

While some like to emphasize the diversity, which is indeed a great gift, I think it is more important to emphasize the unity that unlocks its power. There is a tendency today to speak of diversity in a detached way, as if it were an end in itself. Pursuit of diversity for its own sake can be a bludgeon with its demands for recognition and resources.

The various and diverse parts of the human body are only able to work together through the head. Without the head, the diverse parts cease to function and fall into decay. Each of the many spokes of a wagon wheel is only able to do its part when connected to the others through the hub at the center; otherwise they become detached and even dangerous. So, diversity needs a context; there must be something in common that unites the other diverse parts.

Scripture says,

The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ (1 Cor 12:12).

You were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4-5).

In our best moments, our Catholic parishes manifest a rich diversity but one that is rooted in fundamental unity and equal status before God. We come before God like blind beggars, whatever our wealth, status, or origin. We are all poor; we are wayward and needy. We are like little children whom God must watch at every moment lest we do something dangerous or foolish. Bishops shed their miters and become “me, your unworthy servant.” The clergy and the laity are before God the Father, in need of immense mercy and every good grace.

Anthony Esolen writes eloquently of God’s people kneeling before the altar:

Consider, where else [outside the Church] do the rich and the poor meet as brothers? Where does the professor break bread with the janitor? … Where does the manager of millions confess his utter poverty? Where is the mayor a minor? Where is the president a beggar? Where else does anyone hear, “Unless you become as these little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (cf Matt 18:3)? (Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching pp. 33-34)

Yes, at her best, the Church shows forth the truth that, whatever our race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, the ground is level at the foot of the altar. God is not impressed with human titles and honorifics. I can assure you, dear reader, that the Lord does not call me “Monsignor.” No indeed, He calls me “Carlito” (little Charlie).

Unfortunately, the emphasis in recent years on diversity without reference to unity has influenced the Church’s thinking and liturgy. Too often we have focused on ourselves rather than God, becoming concerned with human distinctions such as language, ethnicity, race, and socio-economic status. I’d like to think that if a large number of my parishioners were Spanish-speaking, I could learn to enjoy celebrating Mass in Spanish, but I’d also like to think that we could all learn more Latin so that we have that in common whatever our native tongue. Ethnic music has its place but so does chant, which is the common heritage of every Catholic. Knowing the story of different races and ethnicities is good, but so is knowing the Scriptures and seeing them as our common story. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.

It is hard to get diversity right if the central unifying force is neglected. Only when we all focus on the Lord and see our common status as blind beggars and needy children can our diversity bless us; without that it is too easy to use diversity to bludgeon.

Consider well, then, the great Catholic truth that the ground is level at the foot of the altar. Meditate on the beautiful picture painted by Anthony Esolen in the excerpt above: All of us facing God, kneeling before Him in need of immense grace and mercy. Rich or poor, we are all destitute before God and in need of His grace for every beat of our heart.

The song in the video below says,

God and God alone, created all these things we call our own, from the mighty to the small, the Glory in them all is God’s and God’s alone.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Altar

Where Are You from? A Reflection on Recent Tensions over Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity

A priest friend of mine who immigrated to this country from Jordan back in the 1970s is often asked, “Where are you from?” He humorously answers, “I am from my mother’s womb.”

True enough! There is an even more fundamental answer, rooted in Scripture, which speaks to the origin of every human person: You are from the loving will and heart of God. Before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you and thought about you (see Jeremiah 1:5). He set into motion everything necessary to create you. He didn’t just get your parents to meet, but your grandparents and great-grandparents, going all the way back. All of this so that you could exist just as you are. Having thought of you and conceived you in greatest love, He knit you together in your mother’s womb. You were skillfully wrought in that secret place of the womb and you are wonderfully, fearfully made. Every one of your days was written in God’s book before one of them ever came to be (See Psalm 139).

This biblical answer is true of every one of us. Whatever our nationality, ethnicity, or race, our truest origin is from God, from His heart and His loving “yes” to our existence. This means that I am your brother and you are my brother or sister. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:

Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that “everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.” … [F]ears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness … will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a “neighbor,” a brother.

The duty of making oneself a neighbor to others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (CCC # 1931-1932).

This is Catholic and biblical teaching. One day we shall have to account for how we recognized and treated the Lord in others. God is our Father; you are my brother or sister. Christ the Lord is our brother, too, for He joined our human family; He is not ashamed to call us His brethren (Hebrews 2:11). Wherever you’re from in this world, this origin from God is deeper and older than any earthly origin.

Here on this earth, human movement is constant. We emigrate and immigrate, as individuals, families, and groups. Wars, famines, persecution, economic conditions, the desire for freedom, and educational opportunity all play a role in this movement. Although the phrase seems clichéd, we really are a nation of immigrants. Most of us are from somewhere else, often only a couple of generations back.

Catholics bring a significant experience and witness to immigration to the United States. Many came here during a huge wave of immigration that lasted from about 1880 to 1950. When we came in those years, we were often coming from troubled lands and were extremely poor. There was famine in Ireland; economic and political turmoil in Poland, Lithuania, Italy, and parts of Germany. Many came here not knowing English and at first lived in tenements in large cities. With that poverty went many of social problems: crime, drinking, and so forth. The work of those first generations was anything but easy: laboring in coal mines, laying railroad tracks, working in steel mills, tedious work in textile factories mills. The jobs paid poorly and required long hours; they were jobs that no one really wanted. Additional scorn was heaped upon Catholics due to our faith. The Protestant majority of the time was troubled to see the country suddenly teeming with Catholics, whose religion they often scorned and whose loyalty to the United States they doubted. Slowly, that first wave of Catholics took its place and moved up into better paying jobs. They moved into more slowly into positions of political leadership. Yes, Catholics have endured great scorn in this land, both on account of their religious as well as their status as European peasants.

Prior to 1865, most African-Americans in this country had been brought here against their will. They then suffered great disdain and racism at the hands of the very country that brought them here in chains. The many Black Catholics I have known over the years, especially the older ones, remember well the double scorn they felt for being Black and Catholic.

The most recent wave of immigration into our country is largely from the south. Similarly, poverty and/or persecution are often part of what draws them here. Most of them are Catholic, and like so many immigrants before them, they perform essential services and often take jobs that no one else wants. As was the case during the 19th and 20th centuries, there is crime. And yes, some immigrants are successful, and others remain trapped in poverty.

It is alleged that recently our President, in a moment of anger, said some unacceptable, hurtful things. He spoke not only of nations, but implied that certain nations bring us better immigrants than others. I am not so sure that we have the scales to say who is “better.” Man sees the appearance, but God looks into the heart. It is true that people with technical, scientific, or academic knowledge contribute a lot to our country, but it is also true that we need immigrants at every level of the economy. We need those willing to do all sorts of work, and those with all different kinds of practical know-how.

Personally, I am quite happy with the immigrants who have come to the United States in recent decades. I think that they have added a lot to the economy and to the Church. They are hardworking and want to share in the American experience. By the second generation, most of them speak English well. While I cannot countenance those who enter the country illegally, I am perhaps more willing than many to view their illegal entry as stemming from desperation rather than flippant disregard for our laws.

I recognize that immigration reform is needed. It is a complex issue and concerns for border security are legitimate. We cannot take the whole of the world’s poor or be overrun with every refugee crisis, but we also cannot ever forget that these are our brothers and sisters. Whatever dysfunctional countries or economies they come from, remember that many of us came from similar ones. People don’t typically leave an idyllic environment.

I do not know all the possible legal and social solutions, but something of a picture emerges in Catholic parishes of what things could look like. Cardinal Wuerl paints this picture:

The sight from the sanctuary of many a church in our archdiocese offers a glimpse of the face of the world. On almost any Sunday, we can join neighbors and newcomers from varied backgrounds. We take great pride in the coming together for Mass of women and men, young and old, from so many lands, ethnic heritages, and cultural traditions. Often we can point to this unity as a sign of the power of grace to bring people together (The Challenge of Racism).

Indeed, our parishes are ethnically and racially diverse. The rich beauty of diversity in the unity of our faith is manifest everywhere. “Catholic” means “universal” and it could not be more obvious in Washington, D.C (as in many other regions) that Catholics come from everywhere! This diversity is from God Himself, who has not only created the rich tapestry of humankind but also delights to unite us all in His Church.

“Babylon and Egypt I will count among those who know me; Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia, these will be her children and Zion shall be called ‘Mother’ for all shall be her children.” It is he, the Lord Most High, who gives each his place. In his register of peoples, he writes: “These are her children,” and while they dance they will sing: “In you all find their home” (Psalm 87:1-7).

Dr. Martin Luther King remarked on the role of the Church back in the days of the civil rights movement:

There is a more excellent way, of love and nonviolent protest. I’m grateful to God that, through the Negro church, the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, I am convinced that by now many streets of the South would be flowing with floods of blood (Letter from Birmingham jail).

We are currently locked in many fierce debates. Our discourse grows ever more contentious, our language ever coarser. Anger (some of it quite understandable) reaches new levels. In the midst of the ugliness, consider this reminder:

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another. … Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen. … Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you (Eph 4:26-32).

We who are Christians should lead the way in helping to lower the temperature. We are past the boiling point now and we are getting scalded more and more.

Maybe the answer begins in asking this simple question: “Where are you from?” Know the answer to this question theologically and religiously rather than nationally. The truest answer is this: “You are from God and so am I.”

If what I have written angers you, I am sorry. If you think me naïve, I ask you to remember something else about me: I am Charles, your brother.


When Cultural Radicals speak of”diversity,”They mean no such thing.

You may have read in the news that a faculty member of the Gallaudet University in Washington DC has been placed on “administrative leave,” due to the fact that she signed a petition requesting referendum on the issue of gay marriage in Maryland.

Angela McCaskill is “Chief Diversity Officer” at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. She was at church one Sunday, and requested to sign the petition that would permit the voters of Maryland to vote on the issue of gay “marriage.” She signed the petition and says she did so because she favors democracy and allowing citizens to vote on such controversial issues, as opposed to having legislatures and courts force so-called “gay marriage” on the populace. (More HERE)

But the administrators at Gallaudet University consider her signing of the petition to be unacceptable. Apparently, as “Chief Diversity Officer,” they don’t consider her kind of diversity the right kind of diversity.

To be sure, it is refreshing and surprising to hear that a “diversity officer” would have signed a petition opposing Gay “marriage” and insist that gay marriage be brought to a vote, instead of merely being imposed. As most social conservatives know, and have experienced, the usual “diversity office” at a campus is anything but diverse in its views.  And, that a diversity officer might actually understand that there more than one side to the issue of Gay “marriage”  surprises not only social conservatives, but also (apparently) social leftists. In effect, the leadership at Gallaudet University sees Ms. McCaskill’s actions as incompatible with their notion of diversity, and are saying, in effect, “How could you!”

But merely expressing surprise is not usually enough for radicals on the left. Thus, they have placed her on “administrative leave.” Never mind all the usual calls for tolerance from the radicals, never mind the “free exchange of ideas” that they so often extol on college campuses. Never mind all that, according to them, Ms. McCaskill has to go.

The reaction well demonstrates that when leftist cultural radicals speak of “diversity,” they don’t mean it in any fair minded or straight forward definition of the word.

The word diversity comes from the Latin word diversus: di (two) + versa (turns or sides). Thus, the true meaning of the word “diversity” means “two sides.” Or by extension, “more than one side,” “more than one viewpoint” or just “different.”

But the cultural radicals mean no such thing. In their lexicon “diversity” means you have to accept anything they propose. But it does not that they should accept you, or that they should even consider the fact that you might be troubled that they propose anything, no matter how deviant the behavior has historically been seen to be. In their lexicon, being “open-minded” means that you agree with them. “Tolerance” is your obligation to agree with them, but not their obligation to accept you, or your deeply held Christian beliefs, no matter how ancient or how well attested.

And, in their form of diversity, tolerance and open-mindedness, if they can punish your non-compliance or even just your non-placet, they will do so with a sense of righteousness, and they will do so firmly and swiftly.

The central point is, when cultural radicals use these terms, they mean no such thing.

To be sure, I am not hereby articulating a position that diversity is an absolute quality or virtue. There are certain diversities to be celebrated and/or tolerate. But there are certain behaviors, which ought not be tolerated, illicit sexual union and Gay “marriage” among them.

The intent in this post is merely call the cultural radicals on their bluff. When they talk about diversity, they don’t really mean it. When they try to parade around in clothes of openness, tolerance, and diversity, they are misrepresenting themselves. When they celebrate “diversity” they don’t mean you, especially if you are a traditional Christian. Their ‘diversity” doesn’t include the Scriptures or the ancient Judeo-Christian tradition, or Natural Law. And don’t even think about mentioning the Catholic Church to them, you’re certain to be shown the door out of their “diverse” world.

To them these things are not something to celebrate or tolerate. They are something to abhor, to legally block, and for some of them, even something to destroy.

Just remember, when they speak of diversity they don’t mean it. And if they mean it all, it is only for them and their favored groups. But they certainly don’t mean it for you, especially if you are a traditional, Bible believing Christian. No, you are not part of the rainbow, you are not part of their tapestry, or their mosaic. You have no place at their table, no place in their celebration.

The views of diversity officer Angela McCaskill regarding (so called) “gay marriage,” are not clear. But one thing is clear, she has (wittingly or unwittingly) called the bluff of the diversity motif of the cultural radicals, and has incurred special wrath because she has done so.

To them she is “off message.” She actually took the word diversity to me what it says. How wrong was that! And now she is cast out of the “hallowed halls” the radicals think they own. She is proof that when cultural radicals  speak of diversity they don’t mean you, they only mean themselves.

Disclaimer: I have chosen the words “cultural radicals” carefully. I am willing to admit that there are many who oppose the Church’s teaching on Biblical marriage who are far less radical, who are of good will, and may also be shocked at what happened to Angela McCaskill. There are some who are willing to allow the cultural debates of our time to be conducted in an open and honest way, and accept that varying groups, including Christians, have the rights of any citizens to engage in the political process, and to seek to influence the discussions in the on-going cultural shifts of the West.

But the radicals have no such room in their world for opposition or even discussion, and they want to silence any questioning of their agenda. They are growing in number, especially in university and government settings, and it is to them that I address the concerns of this blog.

Walking in the Wide Church and Staying Within the Guard Rails

One of the struggles we have in the Church today is that we are often divided within over liturgy and what to emphasize. As a priest I am called to pastor people with a wide variety of liturgical preferences, political views, and opinions on social and ecclesial issues. Liturgically, I celebrate a lively Gospel Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass, and also have pastoral duties related to the Maronite  Liturgy, and the Geez Rite and the  Neocatechumenal liturgies. This evening  I had a traditional Latin low Mass, at the altar, followed by Eucharistic Adoration. By Sunday, the same Church will echo with Gospel music.

Three weeks ago I led a march to an abortion clinic where we prayed for over an hour. Two  weeks ago I was at the pro-life march here in DC and witnessing to the Pro-Choice demonstrators, seeking their conversion. Earlier this week I was also meeting with our local organizer in the Washington Interfaith Network  (WIN) as we plan to engage our neighbors and City Council on matters of affordable housing, jobs, and improvements in our local public housing development.

As a priest I stand with the poor and the rich. I minster to Republicans and Democrats. I have done several bi-partisan and interfaith Bible studies on Capitol Hill and also conducted Bible Study for 5 years in the White House during the George (W)  Bush’s Administration.

I often laugh when people try to label me or figure me out. I am against abortion so they call me a Republican. I am troubled by the death penalty (along with the Pope and Bishops) and they call me a Democrat. I am against Gay “marriage” and they call me a Republican. I advocate for the poor, love immigrants  and work with the Interfaith Network and they call me a Democrat. I say the Latin Mass and they say I am a conservative. I rejoice at a Gospel Mass and they say I’m off the hook. And all this time I was just trying to be a Catholic and a disciple.

The Church is wide. I think of the Christian journey as a trip up the King’s Highway. Now on this road there are a good number of lanes. The Church permits us to drive in any or all the lanes, but sets up guard rails beyond which we must not go. Hence there is legitimate diversity on the King’s Highway. An old song  also says, King Jesus has a garden full of diverse flowers.

It often grieves me when I see the children of the Church squabble over what the Church allows. One may have preferences, and I respect that, but why seek to have everyone conform to my preferences when and where the Church allows diversity? Consider the social and moral issues of the Church. On one wing we have tend to have those who are concerned about abortion and the moral issues of our day: sexuality, stem cell research, euthanasia etc. On the other wing are those concerned with social issues like poverty, injustice, immigrants rights etc. But in the end, all these issues are important and the Church needs two wings to fly. It is fine that one may choose to work in one specific area. But hostility to those who work in other areas is strange. We ought to be glad that Jesus has ALL the bases covered.

I know that my little essay will not end the debates over priorities and emphases, tastes, and preferences. But  I am a priest called to serve all God’s people. I walk in the wide Church and and am willing to drive in every lane. Just don’t ask me to go beyond the guard rails set by the Church.

With that in mind, I’d like to share two videos of your truly as I walk the wide Church.

The first video is an interview of me conducted by the USCCB in regard to my organizing work. Now some of you may have concerns about Saul Alinski. But I can assure he never comes up in conversations and I have never been asked to read Rules for Radicals, nor have I read it. Most of our DC parishes are members of the Washington Interfaith Network and our Pastors work with organizers because WIN does effective job in bringing about creative change in line with Catholic Social teaching. We’re staying in the guard rails here!

The second video is a PBS interview featuring my work with the Traditional Latin Mass. Now some will say that I want to “impose” the old Mass and do all that Latin stuff! No, I only do what the Church permits and I choose to serve some of her children who love the older forms. No imposition here, just celebration in the ancient forms, just living  and letting live. Just walking the wide road and staying inside  the guard rails.

Two videos from very different lanes but all within the guard rails!

It’s a wide world and a wide Church.


MLK Day– A day for us to celebrate the ethnic diversity of our Church

I was born less than a year after Martin Luther King was assassinated. I have only the stories of my parents, aunts and uncles to feed my memory of Dr. King’s legacy. However, I am old enough to remember the effort to make his birthday a national holiday. I am old enough to remember how opponents argued that there is no way Dr. King should be honored in the same way we honor presidents or Columbus. I was even old enough to attend a rally or two. Between my parents generation, my generation and the generation of the students I teach now, America has come a long way. So, why should the Church celebrate MLK day?

We’ve come this far

Here is why the Church should celebrate this day. A few months ago, a very close friend, who happens to be a priest, was visiting my school in Baltimore. My school is a historically African-American Catholic institution. Just before lunch, I took him into the school’s chapel and pointed out that for many years, the Saint Frances Academy Chapel was one of the few places in Maryland that Black Catholics could attend Mass without sitting in the back or in the balcony. It was one of the only places where they could sit close to the Eucharist during the consecration. This priest is approximately my age and we thanked God that neither of us as African-American Catholics had to ever experience such an indignity.

Still a long way to go

Later, we went to lunch and though I was in a shirt and tie, my friend was wearing a very traditional black suit and roman collar. As we were finishing lunch, I asked him in front of the waitress, “Father, would you like some coffee?” The waitress interrupted and said, “Father? I thought only Catholic ministers were called ‘Father’.”

I have a dream!

I am blessed to serve at a very diverse parish. St. Mark the Evangelist in Hyattsville is truly an ethnic cross-section of Catholicism. It is place were the blending of cultures is a challenge. Many parishioners had to get use to me asking, “Can I get an amen?” during a homily. I had to get used to the fact that our masses are only an hour. Almost all of us have learned a little Spanish on Sunday morning. In any case, any Mass at St. Mark’s is a glimpse of Dr. King’s dream for a peaceful America. Let us pray that our Church as a whole can be a model for Dr. King’s dream.

Having a Diversity of Friendships

business_diversity_469779This is a second excerpt from Dr. Katherine Yohe’s lecture at the Office of Young Adult Ministry’s Relationship Speaker and Discussion Series. The first may be found here: What is Christian Friendship?

Occasionally I have read authors who have stressed similarity as part of their definitions of friendship (namely, Cicero and Aristotle). If two people are very similar, friendships can form quicker and are easier to maintain. The very ease of these friendships make them a great gift in our lives. But Christians can still be friends when such natural similarities are lacking.

I was recently reading Tom Rath’s book, Vital Friendships, where the author argued that we should never expect any one friend, including a spouse, to meet all our needs. Rather, we should look to build many friendships with people having different temperaments, perspectives, abilities, and talents. For example, some friends will be better at encouraging and motivating us, others at challenging us and opening our minds to see things differently, and others at working along side us. These friendships take longer to form, but can be very enriching as we explore new areas of study, have our assumptions challenged, gain new insights, and enjoy new types of music, art, movies, or food.

St. Paul’s description of the Body of Christ points in a similar direction. While friends in Christ need to have some things in common – such as their commitment to Christ and Christian morals and values – there is plenty of room for diversity. The Spirit unites people of different incomes, places in the social strata, cultures, nationalities, and ages. The Spirit gives different gifts to different members so that together they make up the full body of Christ (Rom. 12:1-8). St. Catherine of Sienna even thought that God gave different people different chief virtues so that we would we need to be in relationship with each other in order to develop all the virtues.

Because Christian friendships are soldered together in the Spirit, anything we do to draw closer to God will in turn strengthen our friendships. Pray for strength, wisdom, and patience. Study Scripture to learn the character of Christ and how he related to his friends. Make use of sacramental graces to unite with Christ and be transformed by Him. The more our friendships are formed by the Spirit, the more these friendships will help us unite even more deeply with God who is Love.

What virtue in one of your friends do you most want to develop? How can your friendship support this development?

What is Distinctive About the Biblical Revelation of God?

There is much talk today about how we, despite our theological differences are all really worshipping the same God. Is that true? We might like to think that under all this diversity is really a unity but the fact is that there are some pretty radical differences in the understanding of God. So radical that I do not think we can really affirm wishful slogans like the one above. There is only one true God but many have imagined other gods who are not God, surely not God as he reveals Himself in the Bible.

Another common problem today is to presume that the Biblical insights about God are not really unique but merely borrowed from other ancient cultures. Zeitgeist the movie makes this claim. But the truth is that the Biblical tradition, while having some similarities to other things ancient, departs radically from most ancient and modern philosophies. The Biblical Revelation really IS unique and transcends many Ancient and modern errors.

Here are two videos by Fr. Robert Barron that make these points well.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 31 – The Church is Catholic

Reason # 31 – The Church is Catholic– The word “catholic” means “universal.” One of the most remarkable things I experience about being a Catholic and a priest is this universality of the Church. I experience it in two ways.

First, the Catholic Church is everywhere. On every Continent, in every country, in most towns and even rather small communities. Mass is conducted in most of the languages that exist on this planet and displays an enormous cultural diversity as well. There are over 1 Billion Roman Catholics on this planet.

Secondly, the Catholic Church is not only every place it is in every Christian time. We go back officially 2000 years right to Jesus himself. There has never been a time since Christ when we did not exist. Every now and then you may hear complaints that the Catholic Church doesn’t change and update fast enough. Well, generally for this I am grateful. It is true, one might wish that we could learn to use certain technological things of modernity like the Internet more quickly. But, as a rule, we hold an ancient wisdom that “remembers long.” So, even as we gain strength from our cultural diversity, we also gain stability by our ancient roots.

So the Church is “catholic.” That is to say, we include every people, nation and time. Why does this mean you should come home? Well, in a word, “enrichment.” It is enriching to be part of something bigger than just me, my neighborhood, my country, or my time. I benefit from the rich experience of over one billion currently living and many more billions who have gone before. And the enrichment has more to it than just how we dress or speak. It has to do with wisdom, knowledge, experience, and prayers that are multiplied not just by people currently living but even of those who are now beyond the veil. (I’ll say more of that in a future post). Imagine the effects of these prayers and this collective wisdom.

Come home to a rich feast, spanning the globe, stretching across time. Even just here in the Archdiocese Mass is celebrated in almost a dozen languages and liturgies encorporate a rich diveristy of things ancient and new. Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Search a little more among the Catholic Parishes and communities. You’re bound to find what you’re looking for in the “universal” Catholic Church.

Here’s a little video sampling of the universality of the Church. Our gracious host, from Eastern Europe(?), quickly ushers us around the planet to ponder what the Church and Catholics are  experiencing in those locales.