THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | Easter glory in a Roman jewel box

George Weigel

One of the many reasons to follow the Lenten station church pilgrimage through Rome is that, along that unique itinerary of sanctity, one discovers otherwise-hidden jewels of church architecture and design, created in honor of the early Roman martyrs. Perhaps the most stunning of these is St. Praxedes on the Esquiline Hill, hidden behind the vastness of St. Mary Major. As my co-author Elizabeth Lev puts it in "Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches," "the little Basilica of St. Praxedes is a surprising treasure chest, its dingy portal opening into an interior of dazzling mosaics."

TWENTY SOMETHING | The big reveal: looking back at God's plan

Blue or pink? That was the secret contained in the cake.

My younger brother and his wife are always looking for an excuse to throw a themed-party – a World Series game for the Cardinals, an end-of-the-world prediction, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. They couldn't resist the opportunity to kick-start the celebration of their firstborn by hosting a gender-reveal party, so we gathered on a chilly Sunday afternoon to learn about the baby due in July.

CATHOLIC BY GRACE | Our lives can be a prism in the hand of God

Denise Bossert

I remember the day I discovered the joy of playing with a prism and the power generated by a magnifying glass. I was sitting on the windowsill of our fifth-grade classroom and chatting with friends. We were looking at Mrs. Grace's plants and goofing around with the magnifying glasses and prisms. I was fascinated by the rainbows appearing on our notebook paper when we held a prism just so between our fingers and thumb. What an amazing thing, this ray of sunlight! I studied the spectrum, trying to figure out just where one color ended and another began.

THE GOOD STEWARD | Lent challenges us to experience the joy of God's love and forgiveness

Dan Conway

In his first year as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis repeatedly stressed the boundless mercy of God. None of us is perfect, including the pope who says simply, "I am a sinner."

We Christians are not perfect, by a long shot, but we are forgiven. That's a reason to rejoice and be glad -- especially as we prepare for the great feast of Easter.

VIEWPOINT | Separation of Church and State -- what it really means

Christopher Stefanick

The Declaration of Independence states we all have God-given rights -- not government-given rights, nor king-given rights -- and that the whole purpose of a government is to defend the rights that a government certainly has no right to take away. Among the most important of our God-given rights is the freedom of religion.

For the first time in U.S. history, we have a presidential administration that has chosen to use the words "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion" -- a dangerous shift of phraseology.

THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | Lent: The annual catechumenate

George Weigel

Historians of the Roman liturgy generally reckon the restorations of the Easter Vigil (by Pius XII) and the adult catechumenate (by Vatican II) as two of the signal accomplishments of the 20th-century liturgical movement. I wouldn't contest that claim, but I'd add something else to the highlights reel: the recovery of the baptismal character of Lent for every Catholic.

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