Lay Witness Magazine

A Dynamic Moment for the Catholic Church

In order to carry out the New Evangelization, lay men and women must “blow the dynamite” of the Catholic Church. This Year of Faith finds the lay faithful devising new ways to carry the explosive, powerful message of Jesus Christ into the very heart of the secular world. Peter Maurin (1877-1949), a Catholic thinker and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, captured the idea of the laity unleashing the transformative power of the Gospel on society in one of his Easy Essays: If the Catholic Church is not today the dominant social, dynamic force, it is because Catholic scholars have … Continue reading

A Taste of Pranzo di Ferragusto

Some people like movies about puppies. Or horses. Or cars. Me? I like movies about food. Which is why I went poste-haste to Pranzo Di Ferragosto (literally “Mid-August Lunch”) when it came to Pittsburgh a few years back. A charming little movie about what makes a feast, the film tells the tale of Gianni, a middle-aged man stuck in Rome with his mother and three elderly women, while the rest of the city flees to the countryside to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. Broke and unemployed, Gianni has two things going for him: limitless stores of patience and a … Continue reading

An Apostle of the Paschal Mystery: Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago

This July, the Church marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Bl. Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez de Santiago. A layman and apostle of liturgical renewal who was beatified by Bl. John Paul II in 2001, he is a model of dedicated service and untiring commitment to prayer. Bl. Carlos is most especially honored as a man whose entire life was a celebration of the Paschal Mystery. His Story Carlos was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on November 22, 1918. The second of five children, two of his sisters married, while another became a Carmelite nun. His brother became a … Continue reading


My daughter disagrees with Church teaching on homosexuality. She argues that natural law is not just biological, but includes the whole human being. Can you give me some help in defending the Church’s teaching? Your daughter has a basic misunderstanding about the natural law and who we are as human persons. The Church distinguishes between the “eternal law” and “natural law.” The eternal law is God’s plan for all of creation. The natural law is man’s participation in the eternal law, whereby God directs him to his perfection, ultimately, in heaven (cf. Catechism, nos. 1954-60). Consequently, the Church does not … Continue reading

Deacon Jim

He was the holiest man I’ve ever known,” a young priest, weeping, told me at my father’s funeral in 1997. I’ve pondered his words in my heart ever since. Holiness. My father strove for it with his whole being, but I, at 23, hadn’t given the word much thought. Not yet. Not until my world turned upside-down, when my father went to work one day and never came home again. Then I started thinking about holiness. My dad, Jim Roan, married my mother, Nancy, in 1962, and they had eight children together. I came sixth, and was in third grade … Continue reading

How Many for Dinner?: Facing the Difficult Questions Surrounding Same-Sex Attraction

Frankly, I don’t know how my mother did it. While I led an active homosexual life, she made it clear that she loved me unconditionally. Yet she never condoned my behavior. We often debated whether I could bring someone I was dating to a family holiday dinner. She never gave in, but never rejected me as her son, either. The Church is clear in her teachings on the acts of homosexuality: “Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC, 2357). At the same time, the Catechism states that those struggling with homosexuality “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. … Continue reading

Looking at a Masterpiece: The Supper at Emmaus

The great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was a visionary painter, able to see into the deep recesses of mystery, as is the case in this The Supper at Emmaus (1648), which is now in the Louvre in Paris. He is able to convey so much more than a beautiful surface. In quite a unique way, he is able to conjure up an inner world. Analogously he does this, for instance, in his numerous self-portraits, leading us into a rich interiority of the person, delineating the many facets of his humanity at various stages of his life, the truth … Continue reading

Master Catechist: Devotion to the Precious Blood

The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus, a feast instituted in 1849 by Bl. Pius IX reflecting the devotion of the early Fathers of the Church. This is an excerpt from Fr. Hardon’s article, “The Precious Blood of Christ,” which focuses this devotion on the elements of our veneration, invocation, and imitation. —Michael Mohr Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is veneration, invocation, and imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, … Continue reading

Open Mike: The Dialogue of Life

I recently talked with a fellow Catholic businessman at a lunch meeting for a Catholic outreach. We began talking about our families and I mentioned that my wife and I are expecting our tenth child. His reaction was not at all what I expected. I figured he, as a Catholic gentleman, involved with a Catholic apostolate, would have at least a slightly positive reaction to a large Catholic family. But alas, his remarks were offensive and insulting. He thought his jokes about the size of my family were funny, but they revealed a dark selfishness. Now, I’m the first to … Continue reading


(Image, 2013) If you walked into a first-century church and asked to see a copy of the New Testament, you’d get a bunch of confused looks. What do you mean a copy? The Bible didn’t exist yet. For the early Christians, “New Testament” was a sacramental phrase. It wasn’t a book; it was the Eucharist. In Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church, renowned scholar Dr. Scott Hahn explains that for the biblical writers, the words “testament” and “covenant” were interchangeable. Both the Greek word for “testament” and the Hebrew equivalent are most accurately … Continue reading

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