From the Pulpit to the Pew

Signs of a Slowing Pandemic?

  Just ask the wastewater. That was my dad’s recent suggestion. More or less. How’s life? How’s work? How’s the pandemic? I get my daily update on all things Omicron through Jeff Asher’s Twitter feed (@Crimeanalytics: where national crime data…

The Season of Serendipity

  “Once upon a time, in the land of Serendip…” This opening from a sixteenth century Italian folktale, Peregrinaggio di tre giovani figliuoli del re di Serendippo, has provided a uniquely English word: serendipity. There’s no Latin origin, no Greek…

The Other Gifts: Christmas Self-Care

  My untraditional gift-giving is not for everyone – and that’s even before discussing my wrapping techniques (let’s just say Clarion Herald print and New Yorker cartoons are not just for Jefferson Parish recycling bins and Orleans trash cans). In…

Get a Gift, Save the Stamp

  Front doors, office furniture, Christmas trees. ’Tis the season for supply chain woes. I refuse to call myself a “supply chain denier” (I don’t watch cable news, thank you very much). But I will cop to “supply chain skeptic”…

A Spiritual Playlist

  As our calendar squares march closer to Christmas, my mind moves to church — and to a thousand other places. You see, when I’m in church, my mind can tend to wander. I’m not alone. If 10 years of…

Turkey Trotting

  While others will be fixated on the turkey this week, another animal always grabs my Thanksgiving-tide attention. The horse. No, the Finneys do not sit down to a literal equine family feast. Step off, FDA! After four years in…

Democracy by Little Ol’ Us

  Open wide the doors to democracy. That’s what I thought, in amazement, when our parish school was asked to be a substitute polling precinct. Who knew asbestos-remediating construction workers eating lunch with 3rd Graders could shut down another school…

Unremarkable? I can’t hear you over the screaming!

  Unremarkable. That would be a good summation of my soccer career. Like any child of the '80s, soccer was my gateway sport, the first offering of parks and schools for uncompetitive competition. Follow the ball, don’t use your hands,…

Time To Talk Spooky Stuff

  The pumpkins are out. The costumes are picked. The parade’s even rolling! It’s time to talk about some spooky stuff. Do you have a will? That, dear reader, is as spooky as it gets, slightly besting for fright, “Does…

Objects Are Closer — And Hairier— Than They Appear

  I cut my own hair. Certain openings are immune from happy endings, right? My getting and giving a haircut started with COVID-19. Though barbershops closed, it turns out YouTube stayed open. Start with your largest guard. Advice for quarterback…

Communion of Desire

  As the “Make America Construct Again” bill has ground to a halt, it’s easy to imagine one of our 535 Congressional representatives showing up to observe the jobsite. Reporting for another shift, they’d take everyone’s favorite construction job: the…

Nick Underhill: A Billet-Doux from Me to You

  Who dat?! I am warming up my windpipe for “Domecoming: 2021 Edition,” but, after three weeks of the Saints season, I quite literally mean it. Who dat? If you, too, have been fighting flights of disassociation on Sunday afternoons,…

New Orleans: A movable, in-between feast

  New Orleans is an in-between place. Life holds hands with death. Round the way reminds of ain’t dere no more. Soul-rattling laughter encircles soul-crushing despair. Always with us, always together, always separate. Is it any wonder that Homer Plessy…

There’s no replacement for Church

  When did you feel your Freon kiss? This is no idle question in our neck of the swamps, especially after an idle post-Ida week. Jen and I rode out the storm with my now tried and thankfully true Costco…

Waiting for Bergoglio

  All summer I’ve been thinking about the most notable performance of Wendell Pierce’s career. The selection from the proud Pontchartrain Park-er might not be obvious. Not his four seasons as Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire. Not his four…

Ringing Relief: From the Pulpit to the Altar

  Experience is the best teacher. Amen to that. Also: Learn Chinese. Children, Hai-zi 孩子 I’ll take the first half of the fortune cookie, at least. Google says the translation is faulty, and Google knows all. (The search engine of…

God or the Girl, and Other False Distinctions

  During my two years in college seminary, one reality show proved must-see TV. As Mr. Nielsen would report, “God or the Girl” performed exceptionally well in seminary television rooms. The provocatively titled, five-episode A&E series followed four twenty-somethings in…

Steppin’ Out: A Billet-Doux from Me to You

  As the funeral procession of Fair Grounds personality Allen “Black Cat” Lacombe turned for a final dirt track lap, his mourners awaited the inevitable late fade. Ronnie Virgets placed a bet that the hearse would throw a wheel at…

Public Broadcasting, Personal Joy

  August is the worst month of the year. The broiling heat, the return to schools, the threat of storms. No matter the year, blue tarp has become the sad, soggy anniversary gift. Of course, the Delta variant chose August…

'Tis Better to Give a Defense Than Receive One

  But what about the poor guy offering the bribe? This was the question that bounced through my head as Errol Laborde began his recent tribute to Edwin Edwards with a classic parry from the state’s charmer-in-chief. Illegal campaign contributions…

Surviving the Summer with Legal Aid

  Thank God we’re below sea-level. I’m sure we’ve all had this thought. If we work for a shoring company. Or if we dream of a boating commute. Or if we move back home with our parents in our mid-to-(admittedly)-late…

You Did Think About All This, Right?

  If awkward conversations were a sport, I could be in medal contention. Unless, of course, the IOC also has a rule against trace amounts of espresso beans in the bloodstream. “I’m sure you did think about all this, right?”…

I Could Do Priest, But I Couldn’t Be Priest.

  I thought about a billboard, but there’s little wiggle in an unemployed budget. About a postcard, but that would be a bit brief. A homily, but an ellipsis is not an endpoint. So I waited. I waited for a…

From the Pulpit to the Pew

Solemnly processing – and spontaneously parading – through life’s transitions

about

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Peter Finney III is a passable law student and a frustrated homilist. After a decade as a Catholic priest in New Orleans, Finney is making the transition from pulpit to pew, with all the space between. His mail lady may be a better writer, his father is a better writer, his grandfather was a better writer – but they’re delivering packages, writing in print, or currently deceased. Join him in pursuit of the city he loves and on a journey he least expected. There’s help in the transition.

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