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Sister Pamela Smith

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 […]


Promises, promises: Some reflections during the Year of Consecrated Life

One of the prayers in the liturgy for Ordinary Time asks this: “Send us as witnesses of gospel joy into a world of fragile peace and broken promises.” We don’t have to study statistics to see that not only promises but also hearts get broken. All we have to do is go to family reunions […]


Laudato Si’: Ecospirituality is not New Age thinking

It was 1979 when St. John Paul II named Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology. But it was not until his January 1990 World Day of Peace message that people of faith took closer notice. In that message, he spoke of the call to prayer which we receive when we reflect on creation. […]


Celebrating 2,640 years of consecrated life

The Trappists at Mepkin Abbey are known to some as the state’s ace mushroom growers. Catholics also know them as one of the cloistered, contemplative powerhouses of our diocese, a role which they share with the Poor Clares in the upstate. Some of us also are aware that the monks repeatedly offer the gift of […]


‘Laudato Si’: What’s the controversy?

Poor Pope Francis. An awful lot of what he says gets misconstrued. With ‘Laudato Si’, the environmental encyclical, his comments on global warming and air conditioning opened the floodgates. On the first topic, one online source charged him with being a Communist, implying that he advocates totalitarian regulation of fossil fuel use. On the second, […]


‘Laudato Si’ is not a total novelty

Among the summer’s newsmaking stories were wildfires in western states, an outflow of wastewater from an abandoned gold mine rushing downriver in Colorado, and searing temperatures worldwide. Just before summer, on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis sparked his own kind of wildfire by issuing the encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home”. Almost immediately […]


Contemplate the key ideas of ‘Laudato Si’

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment would be hard to reduce, in mathematical fashion, to lowest terms. But, for the sake of those who may never have a chance to read it, it may prove helpful to highlight some of its key ideas. From the outset, the Holy Father wields a double-edged sword. He […]


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    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate