Why Did Pope Francis Chose the Name "Francis"?

On Saturday morning, March 16, 2013, Pope Francis held his first major audience since his election. He received the 6,000 journalists who had covered the Conclave. Pope Benedict XVI had a similar meeting with the press following his 2005 election, at which he memorably compared his election to facing the "guillotine."  Pope Francis told the story of how he picked the name Francis. Amazingly, he picked the name at the very last minute--literally, as the votes were being counted. What an amazing commitment to the subtle movements of the Holy Spirit!  Here's an excerpt from the Vatican's English translation of the talk: Some people wanted to know why the Bishop of Rome wished to be called Francis. Some thought of Francis Xavier, Francis De Sales, and also Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Read More March 20, 2013

St. Joseph Novena, Day 1

St. Joseph and Child by Guido Reni Happy Feast of Saint Joseph! Today's a great day to start a novena to St. Joseph. Of course, it would have been much cooler for me to start this novena nine days a go, but ... I remember my first novena to St. Joseph -- I think it was the one from the EWTN website. When I ask St . Joseph to pray f or me, it's usually to help me take care of my family. On the 9th day of my first St. Joseph N ovena--on the ninth day! -- I received a call from my current emplo yer, calling me in for an interview . And you know what? I really love this employer. He has done all he can to help me and my family. I may just work for this law firm for the next 50 years :)   Note: It is said that t his prayer was originally found ca. 50 AD . Sometime during the 16th century, it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. It is said that whoever shall read this prayer or take it with them, shall neve Read More March 19, 2013

Pope Francis' First Homily as Pope

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS INAUGURATION OF THE PETRINE MINISTRY ST PETER'S SQUARE 19 MARCH 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude. I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Di Read More March 19, 2013

Deo Gratias! Habemus Papam!! Pope Francis I

Read More March 13, 2013

Backwash Jesus???

One of the sweetest ladies I know asked me a question the other day that had been bothering her for a very long time. It was one of those questions that you don't exactly know how to ask--much less, who to ask.  "I've been noticing something at daily Mass," she began very timidly, as sweet older ladies do. "And it only happens at daily Mass," she explained.  "I know Father doesn't mean to, and I don't blame him. I'm sure it's only an accident, you see." She took a while getting to her main point (as I doing right now, I'm afraid). "There's always a bit of--uh, uh. In the chalice, there's always a bit of--how do I say?" "Jesus?" I asked, saving her the trouble. "There's always a bit of the host in the chalice?" "Yes!" She said. "How did you know? Is it common for priests to backwash?" "Backwash?!" I said, and I couldn't help bu Read More March 08, 2013

BBC Sherlock, Reichenbach Falls Theory, & St. Bartholomew

Did anybody notice that the last agonizing cliff-hanger episode of BBC's Sherlock included a significant reference to a saint? The following is my, uniquely Catholic, contribution to the Reichenbach Falls theories. *SPOILER ALERT*  Sherlock jumps to his "death" from the rooftop of St. Bart's Hospital in London. Not just any hospital, Saint Bart's hospital. Why was St. Bart's chosen? So who is St. Bart? That is, who is St. Bartholomew? There's two--that I know of--culturally significant reasons for knowing about St. Bartholomew: (1) His martyrdom, as depicted by Michelangelo, and (2) the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Michelangelo's Depiction of St. Bart's Martyrdom: My guess is that the writers of Sherlock, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss , were most familiar with St. Bartholomew for this image: This is from Michelangelo's Last Judgment , which stands behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel--where, by the way, the Cardi Read More March 06, 2013