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.”

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Dorothy Pilarski: Coincidence, 35 tons of sardines and a blessing and grace

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A bishop once told me there are no coincidences and what people call coincidence is really just God’s providence unfolding before our eyes. So what happened to me on a recent family vacation to Los Angeles can only be described as providence.

We were scheduled to depart just days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. So I was nervous. The Internet was little comfort. If California’s tsunami warnings weren’t enough, the eight-foot waves that caused millions of dollars in damage to Crescent City Harbour and the 35 tons of sardines that washed up on California’s Redondo Beach seemed to affirm a fear that the West Coast was no place for a mother to take her two children.

I turned to my husband. “So, what do you think we should do?”

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