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The Wizard's Boy

From First Thoughts

Another great thing about being an altar boy was getting to the church early, before everyone except the ostentatiously devotional railbirds who actually competed to see who could be there first kneeling at the rail fingering their rosaries and pretending to be lost in meditative reverence but . . . . Continue Reading »

Missing Mass

From the March 2015 Print Edition

In our family, we went to Mass every blessed Sunday of the year, and here and there you would have to go to Mass during the week because of funerals or weddings or Days of Obligation or Masses to Open the School Year or Masses in Memory of the Faithful Departed. So by the time I was fourteen years . . . . Continue Reading »

October 27

From the January 2015 Print Edition

You know what I remember first about my daughter being born? Weirdly, not the miracle of it, or the bruised tender extraordinary Courage of my wife, or the eerie alien glare of the birthing room, Or the cheerful doctor chatting amiably as she hauled out our girl, But my daughter staring at me, from . . . . Continue Reading »

The Father Cals

From the June/July 2014 Print Edition

Or here’s a story. One time when I was an altar boy A missionary priest arrived at our parish to conduct A retreat. He was sort of famous and even us cynics Among the altar corps were interested. Competition Arose as to who would be his go-to server; we drew Straws for it and someone joked . . . . Continue Reading »

Te Absolvo

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Of course we remember everything that ever happened to us.Sure we do. We can easily make a concerted effort to forget,And successfully forget from Levels One through Eight, butYou remember, somehow—at the cellular or molecular levelPerhaps, where shame and embarrassment are in cold . . . . Continue Reading »


From the February 2014 Print Edition

Here is my dad in Manila. He is twenty-three years old.He is a master sergeant. His task is to read photographsAnd maps and charts and interviews with local plantersAnd residents in areas which the armies of the AllianceWish to liberate from the armies of the empire of . . . . Continue Reading »