Catholic Word of the Day: Kecharitomene

At this point, I’ve given a few talks on the subject of the Blessed Mother (e.g. Mary and the Early Church). However, I’ve never had a chance to speak about one of the more interesting aspects of the Annunciation, the words used in greeting by the Angel Gabriel.

Gabriel greets Mary with “Hail, full of grace!”. The Greek word used here is Kecharitomene (κεχαριτωμένη) and its significance should not be underestimated. Here’s Renee from RebornPure to explain…

Mary and the Early Church (MP3)



Yesterday, I visited St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Los Angeles. The St. Ignatius Women’s Group invited me to give a presentation on the Blessed Virgin and the Early Church. This was a a longer version of a talk I had previously given at St. Brigid’s here in San Diego.

Over the course of forty-five minutes, I told the story of my initial struggles concerning Mary and the Catholic Marian doctrines, explaining how I eventually came to see the truth and beauty in the Catholic Church’s teaching concerning the Blessed Virgin. The audio and the handout are both available for download.

Mary and the Early Church (Download)

I was invited to speak to the group at St. Ignatius by a long-time reader of this blog. If you’re also interested in having me speak to a group at your parish or at a Diocesan Theology On Tap, please see my Speaking page for examples of other recorded talks. Just send me an email and we can work out the details! 🙂

Hail our life, our sweetness and our New Hope*


* I couldn’t think of a Return of the Jedi pun

How I met your (Blessed) Mother (MP3)



Last night I led Bible study at a local parish and I was asked to give an informal talk beforehand on the Virgin Mary.

My talk was entitled “How I met your (Blessed) Mother” and in it I told a little bit of my story and explained how I overcame my deep-seated resistance concerning Mary and how I ultimately came to embrace the Catholic teaching concerning the Blessed Mother.

Some friends couldn’t make it last night and asked me to record the talk, so for anyone who would like to hear it, the audio is available below.

How I met your (Blessed) Mother (Download)

Qur’an Cover-to-Cover: Day 11 (“Mary”)



Today is a particularly special chapter of the Qur’an, the one dedicated to Mary (“Miriam”), the Mother of Jesus (“Isa”):

Surah 19 – “Mary” (Maryam)
We begin this chapter with the story of Zechariah. As in the Bible, we are told that he and his wife had failed to have children. He is told through an angel that he will have a son named John. However, we soon start seeing a departure from the Biblical narrative…. Zechariah asks Allah to “make for me a sign”. He is then told that the sign will be that he will not be able to speak for “three nights”. However, in the Bible Zechariah cannotspeak until John’s circumcision. An interesting side note is that Allah tells John to “take the Scripture [i.e. adhere to it] with determination”, which shows that, at least in this chapter, the Old Testament is assumed to be preserved without corruption (contrary to the claim of most Muslims with whom I’ve spoken).

We now come to the story of Mary. We’re told that she withdraws from her family, heads eastwards and takes seclusion behind a screen – it’s not clear to me why. At this point, Gabriel visits her to give her “[news of] a pure boy [i.e. son]”. As in Luke’s Gospel, she does not understand how this will happen. There is a conspicuous absence of St. Joseph in this story – he is not mentioned once.

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