Life and faith after college, retiring faculty and teachers, seniors talk about their education and the next chapter in their lives, and more.
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Video: The Restless

Between commuting to their full time jobs and making sure their kids get to school on time, the band members of The Restless pursue their mission of evangelization through music.

Read more about The Restless and the inspiration behind the name:

Songs for the restless   More

Video: Mini-Pilgrimage

When it comes to World Youth Day, pilgrims never know what kind of weather they might get. In an effort to prepare the Arlington pilgrims for the demands that might await them in Kraków, Poland, the Office of Youth Ministry hosted a mini-pilgrimage May 21. Many World Youth Day first-timers expected the event to be canceled when the forecast called for heavy rains, but others who lived through the epic rain and wind storm during the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid knew better.

Read the full story: World Youth Day mini-pilgrimage — rain or shine   More

Request for prayers for Bishop Loverde

Father Tom Ferguson, Vicar General, shared the following update on June 1: “Please continue to keep Bishop Loverde in your prayers as he recovers from back surgery. Let us pray for his speedy and full recovery, uniting our prayers with him at this time.”


Video: Jordan Willard

Read the story about the New transitional deacons featured in the Arlington Catholic Herald.   More

Homecoming, 84 years after graduation

At the end of this school year, the last Holy Cross sisters teaching in Virginia will retire.

It’s difficult to quantify how many thousands of lives the sisters have touched since they began teaching in Alexandria a few years after the Civil War ended. They founded a girls’ school, St. Mary’s Academy, which closed in 1990; a parish school at St. Mary Church in Alexandria; and taught catechism at the parish’s missions.

For a powerful tribute to the work of the Holy Cross sisters, you need look no further than Marion (Roland) Conrad, 102, a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy class of 1932.

Conrad, a lifelong Alexandria resident until she moved to Virginia Beach at age 95, recently made the long trip back to Alexandria to attend a St. Mary’s Academy reunion. The night was filled with the fond reminiscing expected at a reunion. Conrad, whose three sisters and daughter also graduated from St. Mary’s Academy, told stories including how she couldn’t attend her own graduation ceremony in 1932. The night before the graduation, at the baccaulareate dinner, Conrad became ill. The doctor paid a house call and diagnosed rheumatic fever, so Sister Osmana Kane accepted the diploma on her behalf.

Eighty-four years after graduation, and 26 years after her alma mater closed, Conrad still felt it was important to honor the Holy Cross sisters and the school. That’s the power of a Catholic education.


The ‘rite’ way

As a lifelong Roman Catholic, I have no problem doing what the Romans do. But I felt like a fish out of water when I recently covered the Melkite-Greek Catholic ordination of Father Sabatino Carnazzo.

Everything was just a little different from what I’m used to. The artwork at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean was all icons. Almost every word in the liturgy was chanted, by both the clergy and laypeople. I had no idea when to stand or sit. Even the incense smelled different — more sweet and soapy.

Through writing the article, I learned a lot of fascinating things about the Eastern rite, and it got me thinking about the “right” way of doing things. While some aspects of our religion — like morality — are black and white, the church in her wisdom allows for variances in terms of liturgy and custom.

Here are a few of the differences between the Roman and Melkite-Greek Catholic traditions:

•The first thing that struck me when I walked into the church was the particular liturgical furnishings and decorations. Anson Groves, a parishioner of Holy Transfiguration, helped fill me in on a few of them. The large, circular golden objects that were carried around the church at certain times are called ripidion or fans. “The kings and popes of old would be fanned while in procession, so we fan Christ the King in the procession,” said Groves. “On the fans are images of the angels who surround the throne in heaven. The movement of the fans is symbolic of the movement of the Holy Spirit: felt but not seen.”

•The priests and deacons often held aloft tall, thin candles — three bound together in one hand, and two in the other. The three together represent the Trinity, while the other two represent the duality of Christ’s nature: fully man and fully God.

•At the words of consecration, the congregants touched the ground and then blessed themselves. “Just as Roman Catholics genuflect, which is a partial kneeling, we have a similar …   More

Video: Seminarians balance prayer, study and fellowship

Three Arlington seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio describe their lives as a balance of prayer, study, fun and fellowship.

Read the story: A day in the life of a seminarian.


When two or more are gathered in His name

This morning, 15 of us gathered in His name to remember longtime Catholic Herald administrative professional Soledad (Maria) Ibar, who passed away a year ago April 29.

A native of Chile, she had a gentle soul, a clever sense of humor and a deep faith that she was eager to speak about and act on. She made field trips to the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., and to Birmingham, Ala., the home of Mother Angelica and EWTN studios.

She spoke of her time in Rome, many years ago, where she studied and relished the environment of the Eternal City. She talked of waiting in long chaotic lines to get into St. Peter’s Basilica and watching scrappy nuns dash to the front once inside to throw sweaters over chairs to stake out their spot. She took it all in stride as she seemed to take everything, even her illnesses that became too numerous toward the end of her life.

She had a phenomenal commitment to her family, including her daughter and son, and their young children, but never forgetting her family back in Chile, including her elderly mother. On her last visit home, she fell as she was boarding the flight back to the states and broke both her wrists. She had to remain in Chile where her mother and her caretaker took Maria under their wing until she healed enough to return here.

She never stopped studying, whether it was faith-related, or new words, or her fascination with astronomy. We shared many a story about the latest reports from the Hubble Space Telescope, or the latest solar system discovery.

When you asked Maria for prayers, you knew she would make it and you a priority.

Today, on the eve of the anniversary of her death, as the Herald and other chancery staff gathered in the fifth-floor chapel, Father Paul de Ladurantaye offered Mass in her name. He tied the readings to our faith, her faith, and reminded us all that the Mass itself is a preparation for the next life.

Looking around at the 15 gathered for this intimate Mass, I realized …   More

A high-five for the frontline

I remember well my first job interview. Senior year at George Washington University and I stepped into the office of a local community newspaper.

The first woman I saw was the receptionist. With a big smile, she nearly shouted, “I don’t know what you are here for, but with that suit, you should get the job.” My nervousness faded as I patted the sides of my lavender suit, yes lavender, and took a seat to await my interview. This woman not only put me at ease, she presented a friendly face — a first impression — for the entire company.

My first impression of the Arlington Catholic Herald was two older women — the receptionist and bookkeeper — sitting in the very quiet sixth-floor office. I recall a thin blue veil of cigarette smoke and the not so subtle scent of Giorgio perfume. Those days, smoking in the office was allowed. These ladies were professional and pleasant, and they showed me how to navigate the climate of the office run by Editor Charlie Carruth, a Southern gentleman with an intimidating personality.

Over my years at the Catholic Herald, we’ve had many secretaries, receptionists, administrative assistants and administrative professionals. Yes, the titles and job descriptions have changed.

Each one brought something different to the job and to the atmosphere of the office.

One was a young woman who desperately wanted to have children, but could not. The day she found out there was a baby awaiting adoption by her and her husband, she squealed with delight and put in her notice.

Another had an illustrious career working closely with a notable cardinal in Chicago.

One grandmotherly woman ran the office with the precision and efficiency of a Marine Corps general, obviously from a lifetime of being a general’s wife with decades of experience making things run more than smoothly.

A young woman from Costa Rica, who had left her parents behind, found a needed fatherly figure in Editor Mike Flach, even bringing in her …   More

A reader informs — without getting my goat

I love receiving snail (or rather, real) mail, but when you work at a newspaper a letter can cause both delight and anxiety. Is it from a reader upset about a story? Did someone catch a typo?

Turning over a recent letter on my desk, a happy-face sticker on the back of the envelope put my mind mostly at ease. Inside I found a note about a story I’d done on the training of altar servers.

Robert McLaughlin Sr. of Springfield wrote:

That was a fine article about altar servers that you published in the Catholic Herald. You may not know that when I was altar boy age (I’m 97 today), servers also had to learn Latin in addition to all the functions you described in your article and give the appropriate responses in Latin during the Mass.

I would like to mention one other thing: The page 6 headline, “A dedicated bunch of kids,” gave me cause to inform you that in those days, boys and girls were called boys, girls or children. The only creature referred to as kids were young goats usually found in some backyards.

What a gem of a letter. I love that this nearly century-old gentleman took the time to share his experience as a server at Mass; I love that the writing builds to its primary point at the very end — and mixes it with good humor; and I love that its subject is linguistic evolution.

After sharing the note with a few co-workers, it inspired me to look up when, exactly, “kid” was first used to describe a child.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary (and backed by Merriam-Webster), the origin of the word as a term for “young goat” has roots in Scandinavia, circa 1200. It first was recorded as slang for “child,” according to the online dictionary, in the 1590s and was established in informal usage by the 1840s.

Although “kid” as “young goat” got a nearly 400-year head start on “kid” as an informal version of “child,” I couldn’t quickly determine when …   More

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