NYC Church With Major Artwork Merges

11/06/2014 Comments (1)
Joseph Pronechen

The Crucifixion scene by Brumidi fills the apse in St. Stephen/Our Lady of the Scapular Church in Manhattan

– Joseph Pronechen

The Church of St. Stephen/Our Lady of the Scapular is one of the nine Manhattan parishes that the Archdiocese of New York announced on Nov. 2 are among those to merge with other parishes and then, by Aug. 1, 2015, be used only for special occasions.

The decision is quite understandable yet sad, because this church is adorned with very significant artwork by painter Constantino Brumidi.

In fact, it has the largest number of Brumidi religious paintings done in a single church in the United States — 45 in all.

The major mural is the Crucifixion scene. It’s one of two he painted in Manhattan churches. Both Crucifixion scenes are more than 20 feet wide and 44 feet tall and among the biggest...READ MORE

Filed under archdiocese of new york, religious art

UPDATE: The Boy With the Front-Door Key to Heaven Loved St. John Paul II

10/22/2014 Comments (12)
Frank & Maura Kelly

Two saints meet in person

– Frank & Maura Kelly

UPDATE: Originally posted Oct. 16, this update contains results of the race that had an “extra” or two that made a most fitting addition.


When Austin Ruse was going to rename his Down syndrome fundraising team, he had no doubt who to honor and why. It was Brendan Kelly.

Ruse, the president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), shared in writing one story among many about young Brendan, the son of Frank and Maura Kelly.

It happened on Nov. 26, 2008. That day, at a major hotel in Mumbai, India, Islamic terrorists set off bombs, trapping hundreds of tourists and businessmen. Outside, the terrorists with machine guns began an assault intent on killing everyone inside.


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Father Benedict Groeschel's Funeral Arrangements & UPDATE

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Share Schedule

10/07/2014 Comments (16)

– EWTN/YouTube

UPDATE: EWTN will air domestically a special Sunday Night Prime program — A Tribute to Father Benedict Joseph Groeschel, CFR —  on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 8:00 pm Eastern, repeated on Monday, Oct. 13, at 2:00 am and 9:00 am Eastern.

Sitting down with host Father Andrew Apostoli to honor the holy life and charitable ministry lived out by the beloved Father Groeschel with be members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Father Glenn Sudano and Brother Shawn Conrad O’Conner, and Sister Lucille Cutrone, community servant of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal.

Specific details for Father Benedict Groeschel’s two-day wake and funeral Mass are now in place.

The Franciscan Friars of the...READ MORE

Filed under father benedict groeschel

A Book That Really Impressed St. Therese

This book was nearly lost, but it was rediscovered recently.

10/01/2014 Comments (2)

In 1887, when she was 14, St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, came upon a book that really impressed her.

In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, she recounts how her father was loaned this particular book. When she asked if she could read it, he allowed her request.

“This reading was one of the greatest graces in my life,” she later recounted. "I read it by the window of my study, and the impressions I received are too deep to express in human words.”

The book was The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life. It was by Father Charles Arminjon — a collection of nine conferences he had given in 1881 at the Chambery cathedral about the subjects the title captures...READ MORE

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A Treasure Trove of Gems

Priceless insights about our Blessed Mother appear in a new book.

09/19/2014 Comment
courtesy Marians of the Immaculate Conception

– courtesy Marians of the Immaculate Conception

The September feasts of our Blessed Mother — the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Name of Mary and Our Lady of Sorrows — are Marian gems of the liturgical kind.

They reminded me of other kinds of Marian gems, specifically those in a recent book called Marian Gems.

The book’s subtitle — Daily Wisdom on Our Lady — sets the opening scene and reason for this great gem by Father Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It shines and sparkles with beauty and wisdom.

Father Calloway has written several books on Mary, including the exceptionally inspiring Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts From a 21st-Century Priest.

In that book, he included what he called...READ MORE

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Don’t Forget Our Lady of Sorrows Until Next Year

Mary's help is more important than ever today.

09/15/2014 Comments (1)
Taylor Marshall

Seven swords pierce the heart of Our Lady of Sorrows symbolizing her seven sorrows

– Taylor Marshall

Every Sept. 15, we honor our Blessed Mother on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Honoring our Blessed Mother in this devotion began in the 13th century.

In some following centuries, it was celebrated twice a year, under different titles. But in 1913, Pope St. Pius X permanently set the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Roman calendar on Sept. 15.

It is a most fitting day, because it immediately follows the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Surely, under the cross, Our Lady’s heart was bonded with her Son Jesus’ heart. Her heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri wrote: “Thus also did Mary suffer all those torments, scourges, thorns, nails and the...READ MORE

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From 'Sea to Shining Sea' in 33,000 Miles

July 4th Marks Historic Moment for Monumental Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Czestochowa Icon

07/04/2014 Comments (4)
Courtesy of Human Life International

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, in front of the statue of Lewis and Clark, with the Pacific beach in the background. Father West stands with the icon.

– Courtesy of Human Life International

There is yet another reason today to celebrate a milestone on July 4.

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was been leading the "From Ocean to Ocean Campaign in Defense of Life" that began on Aug. 24, 2013, on America’s Atlantic shores reached its goal on the Pacific shores this Independence Day.

Starting at St. Clement’s Island, Md., the exact site of the first landing of Catholic pilgrims in the 17th-century American British colonies, the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, arrived in Astoria, Ore., on July 4, beginning with morning Mass at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Parish to commemorate traveling “from ocean to ocean” across North America.


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Urgent: PRAY4USA

Divine Mercy Shrine and Army Chaplain Recruit Faithful for Short Novena for Our Country

06/23/2014 Comments (18)
Marian Helpers Association, National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

– Marian Helpers Association, National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

This is a very critical time for our country and our world.

And prayer can do more than we can ever imagine.

That’s why the Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy have launched the Pray4USA campaign.
Their goal is “to unite the country with prayer and through prayer.”

They are asking everyone to join in the Pray4USA novena that begins on Wednesday, June 25, and consists in  praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the nine days leading up to July 4.

The intention is to specifically implore God's mercy on our country.

The Pray4USA page features a heartfelt invitation for the faithful to join this simple novena campaign from Father Donald Van Alystyne. A Marian priest, he...READ MORE

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About Joseph Pronechen

Joseph Pronechen
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Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.