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Father Rodney

By Richard Pierce Poetry

In the ancient Greek, “liturgy” means “work done for the people.” Someone calls around 9:30, as he’s brushing his teeth for bed. An Orthodox in a nursing home has passed in McKeesport, and the priest is out of town. Up since five, he drives the hour north, prays for the soul, anoints the body. Earlier,…

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Authorized Versions

By Gregory Wolfe

AT the height of the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, a writer friend of mine told me that the whole sorry situation had her in a “white rage.” I knew exactly what she meant: like most people who have lived through these interminable revelations, I have found myself speechless with fury against…

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Current Event

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

HE SAID he never intended to found anything, and I believe him. But he had a gift for friendship. When his funeral mass was celebrated in Milan last month, thirty thousand of his companions were there. The principal celebrant, Cardinal Ratzinger, delivered a message from another friend, Karol Wojtyla. It may be a truism to…

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The Wedding Season

By Maureen McGranaghan Short Story

FATHER BOB MORTON had always enjoyed the wedding season, until this year. Of course, the proper mood came upon him when he felt the adrenaline of bride, groom, and family, and he delivered his homilies, presided over the vows and rings, consecrated the Eucharist, and attended the receptions per protocol. But he did not eat much…

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Four Short-Short Stories

By Erin McGraw Short Story

Breaking Glass NOT THINKING, I MENTION the Year of Breaking Glass in front of Ben. His face tightens, but he doesn’t pretend he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, or doesn’t hear the faint yearning in my voice. The year was more like two years, on and off. Glass exploded and covered my couch or kitchen…

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Ex Cathedra

By John Biguenet Short Story

Je me suis aperçu alors qu’il n’était pas si facile qu’on le croyait d’être pape…. —Albert Camus I found then that it was not so easy as one might imagine to be pope…. BOB BERGERON had been looking for the Pantheon when, having somehow wandered off the Via del Gesù, which he had been assured…

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Deus Ex Machina

By Win Bassett Poetry

The first afternoon in the monastery brings a brother to tell us to live into our gifts. Study that does not lead to prayer is dishonesty, he tells us. Too much studying is why we’re here. The dying monks chant Vespers, and two oxygen machines fill the silence of full breaths between psalm lines. One…

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The Vermilion Saint

By A. Muia Short Story

Santa Rosalía de Mulegé Baja California 1820 THE COCHIMÍ SAY THE VIRGIN guards her pearls, and for that reason the church is never locked. The stone mission of Mulegé, perched upon red hills above the reach of estuarial floodwaters, had no doors to lock. The Indian workmen had not finished the carving. The church doorway…

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