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Sister Pamela Smith

Can any war these days be just?

They used to call it saber rattling. Now we hear threats to blast and contaminate Guam or to un­leash “fire and fury.” Talk abounds about the importance of finding dip­lomatic solutions to international conflicts. Meanwhile, we live with nuclear warheads, missiles ready to launch, guerilla warfare, terror­ism, and threats of germ warfare and chemical warfare […]


Why retreats matter

As another school year rolls in, calendars for the next nine to 10 months grow populated with events. There are activities galore, as every parent and grandparent knows. Folks not entirely acquainted with Catholic customs may be surprised to find retreats for students, teachers, school staff, and principals highlighted on these agendas. For some, retreats […]


Racism IS a sin

In the aftermath of the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virgin­ia, our bishop issued a statement which declares: “Racism is a sin and the idea that one race is supe­rior to another is sinful.” The statement is born of core American principles and Catholic teaching. When Thomas Jefferson penned “All men are created equal,” there were […]


What Mom, Dad, and Abuela sow

Sometimes data collection proves what we already know. We often hear grim (and true) statistics about the loss of youth and young adults to the practice of the faith. Often a rant follows about how the culture corrupts and corrodes. It’s easier to deal with the statistics if we can pin blame on something external. […]


Striving to remain ‘saved’

A 13-year-old who lived across the street from our convent announced, after a weekend with a friend, “I got saved.” She had gone to church and participated in an altar call. Her parents would likely agree with my observation that she didn’t don a halo forever after. “Getting saved” is language Catholics don’t typically use. […]


Aged to perfection

If commercials provide our cultural information, we may be tempted to conclude that aging is a national tragedy. Hair loss ruins men, wrinkles wreak havoc on women, and life isn’t survivable without the latest medications, including opioids, which, of course, also require other medications to deal with constipation. People of faith might do well to […]


What’s new about the New Evangelization?

Father Oscar Borda recently posted photos and videos from an event on the New Evangelization among the Hispanic community in the Ridgeland area. In a matter of days, a delegation from our diocese will gather in Orlando with delegations from across the U.S. Their theme will have to do with the kingdom — God’s, not […]


Can tattoos be sacramentals?

When Ray Bradbury published “The Illustrated Man” in 1951, tattoos covering virtually whole bodies were not as commonplace as they are today. Bradbury’s science fiction collection used as its starter a character whose body had been tattooed by a mysterious Minnesota crone. He became an object of wonder and terror as the tattoos came to […]


A saint’s legacy and lives that matter

“Was  it about educating them for a better life, or was it more about saving their lives?” asked a woman at the lunch table set up in the lobby of the church on the corner of Hampton and Oak. “I think it was about both,” replied another. This conversation took place during the springtime Black […]


The diocese has its titans

Anyone who has toured or lived in New York City will recall its bulky bronze sculpture of Atlas holding up the world. It occupies the gateway to Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, on the other side of the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. New York has its monument to mythology, but we in the Diocese […]


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