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Nostalgia for the Doughnut Shop

By Gerard Smyth Poetry

These days I write elegies and read the Metaphysicals. And when I turn the radio on prefer to hear a pennywhistle playing “Purple Heather.” In all weathers I wander back to parishes where I feel nostalgia for the doughnut shop and the junkyard where things were given a second chance.   It was there that…

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Camp Meeting

By Marilyn Nelson Poetry

Old Saybrook, Connecticut, April 1827 Wealthy Ann, Ruhama, Othelia, Harriet, Hipsey, and I took the ferry to the big camp meeting in Old Saybrook, where ten famous preachers took turns exhorting us to find Jesus and to serve him by serving each other. The crowd swarmed like ants taking breadcrumbs home. Wealthy Ann said smelling…

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Uncomfortable Things

By Marilyn Nelson Poetry

e.g. Abolition, Prudence Crandall, the Amistad, Nat Turner, Indian Removal, Female Complaints: First Congregational Church, Lyme, Connecticut, ca. 1816 Even the pulpit Bible was consumed in the fire that turned the meeting-house to ash. An architect planned the new meeting-house, a steeple equipped with a lightning-rod, a belfry, and a golden weathervane; Ionic columns supporting…

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Holding Away the Dark

By Pádraig J. Daly Poetry

Fiche bliain ag fás, Fiche bliain ag borradh ’sag at, Fiche bliain ag titim, Fiche bliain cuma tú ann nó as. ___________ —Traidisiúnta, Déisibh Mumhan 1. Dead leaves scrape across the paving of the derelict church. A small crowd is gathered with candles. A priest sits by a white-clothed table. How long more can we…

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Patron Saints

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ONCE heard a story about the late Walker Percy that seems to illustrate the plight of so many struggling artists down through the ages. Percy graduated from medical school in the 1940s but soon came down with tuberculosis and had to spend a couple years in a sanatorium. During that time he underwent a profound…

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Vanishing into the Work: The Franciscan Labors of James Munce

By Gordon Fuglie Essay

I think that I am primarily a storyteller. My function as a visual artist is to create a two-dimensional formal structure that will best contain the story being told. I am always trying to create a sense of space that has somehow been altered or transformed by an event. —James Munce THE LACONIC, SPARTAN PROSE above…

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A Conversation with Godfried Cardinal Danneels

By Timothy P. Schilling Interview

Godfried Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, has frequently been included on experts’ lists of the papabile (likely possibilities for selection as pope). An advocate for constructive engagement between the worlds of art and religion, Danneels has gained a hearing both inside and outside the Catholic Church. Christianity and human culture, he writes, have a shared…

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The Man in the Next Pew

By Kathleen A. Wakefield Poetry

lets go of his cane and holds with both hands the pew ahead of him. Now and then he dips down, shaking, pulls himself back up. Stands still as he can while the gospel’s read. Today the Parable of the Sower. Pastor says he thinks it’s less about what kind of soil we are— rocky,…

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New Year, Good Work

By John Terpstra Poetry

The tools of the trade lay scattered on the floor below the altar, migrating to its surface (protected under plywood and a cloth tarp) only after the first few days, when the fine mist of wood dust that settled over the pews and furnishings helped us to feel more at ease in this space now…

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Church Bells

By Richard Jones Poetry

London is a city of churches and my mother loved the church bells calling to one another over the rooftops. She said you could tell one church from another from the sound of the bells. The bells were that distinct, like human voices. The bells at Saint Paul’s overwhelmed her, just as the grandeur of…

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