One Catholic Life Blog

Notre Dame Burning

Presence, Peace, and Purpose: Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter

In my study at home where I do most of my homily preparation, there’s a bookshelf where I keep all my books for preaching. and on that same shelf there’s also a photograph, a 5×7 glossy of Fr. George Haspedis. Some of you have probably seen the picture. He’s on a golf green in his shorts and windbreaker, standing just behind the pin with a club in his right hand. A finger of his left hand is pointing up to the sky, and he’s looking directly at the...

Count of Monte Cristo detail

The Count of Monte Cristo Read-along Begins on May 9

Our reading of Don Quixote is coming to an end and it’s time to prepare for our next chapter-a-day book, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. We’ll be starting chapter 1 on Thursday, May 9, so if you don’t have your book yet, get it soon. I’ll be reading what I’ve heard is the best English translation, the Penguin Classics Kindle Edition translated by Robin Buss. Whichever version you read, be sure to get an unabridged version that has 117 chapters. The novel is also available...

Les Miserables BBC Miniseries

Les Misérables Miniseries on BBC: A Promising Beginning

If you missed the excellent first episode of the new Les Misérables miniseries, you can now watch it for free online. I was very impressed with the production, especially the scope of the opening scene at Waterloo. I have been telling my students for years that if I were ever put in charge of directing a Les Mis movie I would begin with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, then transition to Fantine giving birth to Cosette, then finally move to Jean Valjean’s release from prison. I think...

Google Maps Rome

Navigation Apps and Repentance: Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent – Year C

One of the most useful apps on a smart phone is the Maps app. You type in an address of the place you want to go and you’re instantly given not only written directions for how to get there, but you also get a map that shows a path for how to get to your destination. You don’t even have to know the name or even the address of a place you’re trying to get to. You can simply type in “food near me” or “shopping near me.”...

Pietro da Cortona - Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew

The Rhythm of the Spiritual Life – Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

All three readings today speak of the rhythm of the spiritual life. We see it at work in the lives of Isaiah, Paul, and Peter, each in a different context, but it’s the same rhythm. It’s a rhythm of dialogue, of back and forth, like a conversation. And it begins as all things spiritual begin, with God’s initiative. God is always seeking us out, God is always trying to engage us in his divine life, and God always meets us where we are. God comes to Isaiah as...

Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote Chapter-a-Day Read-along Day 1: Prologue and Poetry

Welcome to the Prologue to Don Quixote, the beginning of the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along! In order to read exactly 365 chapters this year, I am counting the prologue to Part 1 as a chapter (and will do so again at the beginning of Part 2), so we won’t start the actual story until tomorrow, January 2. Though the story hasn’t begun yet, you can already get a sense of Cervantes’ humor as he worries about how his book will be received and frets that it will not contain enough...

Library of Congress Reading Room

My Favorite Reads of 2018

After one of my most productive reading years ever in 2017, 2018 was a bit of a dip for me. I had to abandon most of my reading challenges because any free time I had was taken up by principal certification classes and getting used to my new role as an elementary school principal. Still, I was able to read quite a few books this year, and here are the details, with stats according to Goodreads: I read 38 books, consisting of 12,182 number of pages. Not a...

The Bishop and the Candlesticks

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Wrap-Up

Congratulations on reading one of the great works of world literature! Whether you finished Les Misérables early, on time, or not yet, thank you for participating. I hope the read-along was as enriching for you as it was for me. (If you liked the experience of reading classic literature in one chapter a day, please consider joining the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along.) You now know some of the most memorable characters in literature: Jean Valjean. Fantine. Cosette. Javert. The Thenardiers. Eponine. Gavroche. Marius. The Friends of the ABC. My hope...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Classics Club #21: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I finished Little Women five months ago, but am only now getting around to writing this review. I have to admit that my memory of reading the book has faded into a vague sense of enjoyment with few details about what I liked or disliked. That may have nothing to do with the book, since I have been quite busy since then. However, I remember thinking that while the book was pleasant, I enjoyed it less than The Secret Garden but more than She: A History of Adventure, which were the last two...

Don Quixote Doré Sepia

Preparing for the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along: Don Quixote

  Why read Don Quixote? It remains the best as well as the first of all the novels…There are parts of  yourself you will not know fully until you know, as well as you can, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. – Harold Bloom This is it, the grand novel of them all, the novel above all other novels: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Many of my friends think that my favorite novel is either Lord of the Rings or Les Misérables, and while I love Tolkien’s trilogy and Hugo’s magnum...

Announcing the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-Along

This is the official sign-up post for the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-along. The Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along was so much fun in 2018 that I’m happy to host another one for 2019. The thing is, there aren’t too many books that have exactly 365 chapters. In fact, I know of only two: Les Misérables and War and Peace. I took a poll among my readers, and the vast majority of responders were not interested in reading War and Peace next year. So, rather than focus on one book in 2019,...

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico

A Thrill of Hope: Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent – Year C

Once upon a time, in the early ages of the world, people believed that storms and droughts and sickness were sent by angry gods and goddesses. To the ancient people, the universe was a fearful place, a place of chaos, a place of danger, and the only way to stay safe was to offer sacrifices to try and please the gods. Ancient peoples would sacrifice a portion of the crops, they would sacrifice animals, and in some cases, they even sacrificed humans. But then came a people who...

Les Miserables Read-along Logo

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: The Final Countdown

Well, this is it, ten days left in the Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along! Are you still on track to finish? Have you already finished? I apologize again for not having many updates after I changed jobs and started back to school. Hopefully that didn’t derail your plans to read the book. For those of you in the Spokane area, I am hosting a Les Misérables Live Final Chapter Reading and Celebration at St. John Vianney Catholic School on December 31 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I’ll read the final...

Christ the King

Bumper Stickers and Masters: Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King – Year B

The other day I was driving home from work, coming up Freya hill, and I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. People put bumper stickers on their cars for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because they have something to say to the world. “Vote for this or that candidate.” “Work for world peace.” “Support my kid’s school.” Well, this particular driver had a different message. It was a big, red rectangular sticker, and in white letters it read, “No Gods. No Masters.”...