Herman Goodden is a writer in London, Ont. His latest book is No Continuing City.
Heading into church last month for the noon-hour service on Ash Wednesday, I walked along the sidewalk behind two middle-aged couples decked out in office-type apparel. I overheard that one of the couples was heading out for a bite of lunch and the other was skipping lunch to attend the service that marks the beginning of Lenten fasting, penance and prayer that is now entering its final days before we reach the glory of Easter Sunday.
With the secularization of our culture galloping away on all fronts, Advent and Christmas can be haunting and haunted times of year.
When the 750th birthday of Dante Aligheri (1265-1321) was celebrated in Italy in May, Pope Francis invited Catholics all over the world to take up and read one of the cornerstone works of Western and Christian civilization, The Divine Comedy, as an act of preparation for the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy which launches Dec. 8. Francis says Dante “is a prophet of hope, herald of the possibility of redemption, liberation and the profound transformation of every man and woman, of all humanity.”
Lent has a way of unsettling us, of shaking up our easy routines and making us question what more we should be doing as part of our Christian obedience.
Before I became convinced that William Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic, I was one of those conspiratorially minded chaps who believed Shakespeare was not the person who wrote the greatest single cache of plays in the English language.
LONDON, ONT. - My friend Jane Loptson died in the hallway outside of her subsidized apartment in the early afternoon of Dec. 27.
The book I’m forcing on everyone this month is The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher.
LONDON, ONT. - The Sisters of the Precious Blood are a contemplative order of nuns that ordinarily goes about its work in as quiet and unobtrusive a way as possible. But on May 1 they were front and centre at a grand public commemoration to mark their 100th anniversary in London.
Easter will mark the 29th anniversary of my conversion, baptism and confirmation into full membership in the Roman Catholic Church.
I’m sometimes tempted to wish I’d converted earlier but it seems to me there’s something ungrateful about such musings, a kind of rejection of the family and situation I was born into...