The Congo’s killing fields
Families separated. Millions left for dead. Do we share some of the blame?
Patrick Mwnyamahord knows where his father is buried because a neighbor showed him that small place. What he doesn't know is how his father got there, and there was no one he could safely ask, not then. Twelve years ago he and his family made one of a series of sudden escapes from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into nearby Burundi. On this particular exodus his father was too ill to travel and the family had to leave him.
In ‘Mother!’ the side of motherhood Catholics don’t talk about
Invasion and destruction aren’t the experiences new mothers expect.
Religious horror is a film genre in its own right, and Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist are among my all-time favorites. But even horror movies that aren’t explicitly religious stoke my religious imagination, exploring questions of who suffers and why and to what end. The best aren’t the goriest but rather those that articulate or give shape to our deepest unseen fears.
A nativity collection shows how different cultures imagine Christmas
Claretian Father Richard Todd’s nativity collection invites us to see the God who is with us, among us, and for us.
The first biography of St. Francis of Assisi, written by fellow friar Thomas of Celano, recounts an event in the Italian town of Greccio in 1223 that continues to influence the material culture of our Christmas festivities. According to Thomas, Francis wished to “enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem: to see as much as possible with my own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, and how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he rested on hay.” Francis described his idea to a friend, a nobleman named John.
The morality lessons in NBC’s ‘The Good Place’
We’re all doing the best we can, but is it enough to get us to the ‘good place’?
“Who was right?”
It’s one of the first questions Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) asks after arriving in the afterlife, curious about how her new surroundings work. Her guide, an immortal being named Michael (Ted Danson), explains, “Every religion got it about 5 percent right. It’s not the heaven or hell idea you were raised on, but generally speaking, in the afterlife there’s a good place and a bad place.”
Pixar finds success in a kid-friendly movie about death
‘Coco’ celebrates the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Pixar Animation Studios’ new release Coco tells the story of young musical hopeful, Miguel, whose family bars music from the house after a grandfather abandons the family to follow a musical career generations earlier. The plucky Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) has no choice but to sing and strum his guitar quietly in the attic of one of the rooms where his family lives in the bustling town of Santa Cecilia, Mexico. There, alone with his guitar and street dog Dante, Miguel plays along to VCR recordings of mid-century heartthrob Ernesto de la Cruz.
5 books to talk about at your Thanksgiving table
This holiday season, let books bring people together.
My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing—I love making it, eating it, and talking about making and eating it. It isn’t visually appealing, but once you take a bite, it’s easy to understand why this should-be-gross food is a staple at American Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s a mixture of odd flavors and textures coming together, and somehow, it just works.
In ‘The Florida Project,’ a glimpse of a troubled—and magical—childhood
An impoverished childhood spent near Magic Kingdom shows that reality and mystery are both important.
Kids are seen and heard a lot in The Florida Project, set during one hot, sticky summer in a $35-a-night motel near that true Orlando resort Walt Disney World.
Converted into homes, former churches find a new way to speak
What to do with sparsely populated church buildings is a great challenge to parishes and dioceses, and there are no easy answers.
Walk down a city street in New York City or take a short drive through Chicago and you are likely to see numerous churches. Take a closer look at one of these buildings, however, and you might be startled to realize you are actually looking at an apartment building or condominium.
In ‘Still Pilgrim,’ a reminder of why prayer works so well
The title of Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s new volume is both a paradox and an invitation.
by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell (Paraclete Press, 2017)
The title Still Pilgrim is both a paradox and an invitation. As Christians we are called to be pilgrims—to move and journey both within and outside ourselves—and yet we are also called to contemplate. Angela Alaimo O’Donnell quotes both T. S. Eliot and Psalm 46 to show that stillness is a deliberate action in an endlessly moving world. In O’Donnell’s poems, stillness means devotion.