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Sister Pamela Smith

Voting your conscience across party lines and write-ins

The farther we get into this presi­dential race, the better I under­stand my father and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. My father was a World War II veteran and one of those sons of an immigrant who took his citizenship very seriously. He voted in every election: primary, local, state, and national. He considered it a […]


Sharing the cross by caring for the caregiver

Respite is one of those lovely words which sometimes evokes images of leisurely vacations or well-funded sabbaticals. These days it has also come to mean something in the two-way dynamic between those who are cared for and their caregivers. Some skilled nursing and personal care facilities offer respite care. This means they will house, feed, […]


The greatest pain relief is selflessness

Unless we’ve given up television for Lent — or for life — we’ve all seen the opioid ads and have heard the plaintive cries, “Give me my Aleve.” There are two certain things about pain: 1) We don’t like it; 2) We want to get rid of it as quickly as possible, preferably by popping […]


What possible good is there in suffering?

“Offer it up!” For more seasoned Catholics, this recommenda­tion conjures up images of a stern old nun denying children recess, candy, or a homework-free weekend. For all of us, though, the idea of offering any deprivation or suffering for the benefit of our own or others’ souls is a time-honored tradition. We give things up […]


Consider the contributions of all our immigrants, including Jesus

Bishop Gerald Kicanas, when he was still an auxiliary in Chicago, told the story of an encounter he had with a ragged woman who was pushing a shopping cart. When she hailed him, he admitted that his initial response was to wish he had been walking on the other side of the street. Moments later […]


A pro-life virtue, a family value

Docility sounds like the title of a character study of wimps. As a personal habit, docility has gotten a bad rap. Sorry to say, some believers seem to think that being docile means that they should decline making common-sensed decisions and taking responsibility for them. As students they may have been clobbered for independent thought […]


Waiting and working for peace on Earth

There is something about the physics of the universe that doesn’t tolerate chaos indefinitely. Scientific research shows that chaotic systems eventually tend to break into some sort of order and pattern. These days we have to hope that chaos theory has it right and that we will see the chaos brought on by terrorism, mass […]


One saint’s Christmas letter

There are a number of saints who can be ranked among the world’s collection of geniuses. St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Avila would definitely be among them. In our own time, Pope St. John Paul II no doubt also qualifies. As they often say of geniuses, they […]


Here’s to a quiet Advent

One late afternoon some 20 years ago, I was walking behind a couple headed for a weekday Mass at the University of Scranton campus ministry center. The girl was reminding the boy that we don’t sing or say “alleluia!” during Lent. “You’re kidding!” he exclaimed. “No, you don’t have alleluias again till Easter,” she explained. […]


Choosing to be grateful amid physical challenges

Mary Jane and Craig were college students who left a decades-long impression on me. As a young teen, she had thought herself indestructible and fell from the far-too-tall tree she had climbed on a dare. She navigated the campus in a wheelchair, as did he. His was the result of having been born with no […]


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  • Diocesan Events Calendar
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    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate