The joy of snow-shoveling

This essay originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on January 3, 2014. I sing the joy of snow-shoveling. I rejoice in the movement of arms and back, legs and shoulders. I exult in the wonder of the cold white beauty. Okay, okay, I know...

When the world starts afresh

This essay originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on December 30, 2013. The coming of the new year brings lots of parties. And it’s a time when many people sit down and resolve to turn over a new leaf — be kinder, drink less, stop smoking...

Poem: “….ad altare Dei”

I offer the purple sash and the white surplice. I offer the cold mornings when snow crunched and the church was dark and silent and an old man came down the aisle. I offer the cruets, and the words at the foot of the altar, and the priest, heavy...

Saint Lincoln

It’s too bad, really, that Abraham Lincoln has been accorded sainthood. Not that we call him Saint Abe or put a halo around his image, but Americans do just about everything else to turn our 16th President into a plaster statue up on a pedestal...

My ministry is…..basketball?

The other day, I got an email from my parish which began: “Dear Ministry Leaders…” I laughed. In the past, I’d chaired the adult education committee and the parish council. But, in recent years, the only thing I’ve been in charge of has been...