Basilica restoration is completed

Sts. Peter and Paul lifts the curtain on six-month construction project that ushers in the 1890s

Story by Bill Brewer

Four years of praying, planning, working, and paying for much-needed improvements to the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul yielded dramatic results Dec. 23 when Bishop Richard F. Stika and Father David Carter unveiled the basilica’s restored worship space.

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Bishop Stika celebrated Mass at the basilica in Chattanooga, during which he presided at the Rite of Dedication of an Altar. It was one of the first Masses inside the restored basilica vestibule, nave, and sanctuary and offered parishioners the chance to see firsthand the results of their sacrifices. Read more…

  • Marching for Life

    Diocese of Knoxville parishioners of all ages take part in Washington, D.C., rally

    By Jim Wogan

    Each year since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Roe vs. Wade, effectively legalizing abortion, people who strongly oppose that decision have traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life — a mile-long journey of faith and unity that begins on the National Mall near the Washington Monument and continues along Constitution Avenue past the U.S. Capitol to the U.S. Supreme Court building. Read more…

    Fr. Jacques Philippe to lead diocesan retreat, conferences

    By Bill Brewer


    Father Jacques Philippe, an internationally renowned author and speaker who will lead a spiritual retreat and conferences for the Diocese of Knoxville Feb. 28-March 4 at All Saints Church and the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, sees that simple yet complex word as key to living in God’s love—especially during Lent. Read more…

    Capturing time in a capsule

    St. Mary-Oak Ridge ends 75th-anniversary year with a historical nod to parish’s next generation

    By Dan McWilliams

    Parishioners of St. Mary in Oak Ridge in 2043 will learn what life was like in 2018 when they open up a time capsule left by students and members of the parish Dec. 12.

    A time capsule ceremony concluded 75th-anniversary events for St. Mary Parish. Read more…

    St. Mary in Athens celebrates golden anniversary

    Bishop Stika calls the active parish in McMinn County ‘a bright star in the history of our diocese’

    By Dan McWilliams

    St. Mary Parish in Athens, which originally celebrated Mass in a funeral-home chapel, marked its 50th anniversary last fall in its modern building on Madison Avenue.

    Bishop Richard F. Stika joined Father John Orr and parishioners Nov. 18 for a golden-anniversary Mass in the church and a luncheon in the parish life center. Read more…

  • Chattanooga judge clears way for exhumation of Fr. Ryan remains

    Chancellor rules Diocese of Knoxville has authority to relocate priest’s body as part of sainthood cause

    By Bill Brewer

    A Hamilton County Chancery Court has given the Diocese of Knoxville permission to exhume the remains of Father Patrick J. Ryan from Chattanooga’s Mount Olivet Cemetery, which allows the priest’s cause for sainthood to move forward. Read more…

    Paulist Fathers mark bicentennial of founder Fr. Isaac Hecker

    Immaculate Conception, St. John XXIII schedule events to celebrate as cause for sainthood moves forward

    By Bill Brewer

    The Paulist Fathers at Immaculate Conception and St. John XXIII parishes are marking the bicentennial of founder Father Isaac Hecker’s birth with a number of events as the Paulist priest’s cause for sainthood advances. Read more…

    Hospital community recognizes Mercy Sisters

    Before St. Mary’s closes for good, staffers say goodbye to the community that founded the medical center

    By Dan McWilliams

    The St. Mary’s Hospital community bid a formal farewell to the Sisters of Mercy at an appreciation reception for them Dec. 16, only 12 days before the 88-year-old North Knoxville medical center closed its doors for good. Read more…

    Catholic Teens United guides youth to learn more about their faith

    By Emily Booker

    A new program in the Diocese of Knoxville is guiding teens to learn more about Catholicism, gain strength through eucharistic adoration, and grow in holiness through the sacrament of reconciliation. Catholic Teens United meets monthly at area host parishes for an afternoon of learning, prayer, and fellowship. Read more…


He dwells among us: Dignity of the journey

The Church offers beautiful teachings to assist us in making difficult medical decisions

By Bishop Richard F. Stika

How precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful. –Psalm 116:15

“The person in affliction is sacred.” This ancient proverb speaks to a beautiful truth that the sanctity and dignity of a person is most evident when we are weakest and suffering. Far from stripping us of our dignity, suffering actually reveals our sacredness even more.

Unfortunately, the sacred character of life at its very beginning and at the approach of its earthly end is no longer respected as such. Read more…

Praying for perspective: A heartfelt thanks—from Katy’s dad

A lifetime in Catholic schools ‘has rubbed off on our girls’

By George Valadie

We’ve just finished celebrating Catholic Schools Week, us and the rest of the nation. It was a much-needed idea born in the mid-’70s, the same time I stepped into my first classroom as a Catholic school teacher.

Though that first day wasn’t all that much to celebrate as I remember. I vividly recall standing there at the door, fumbling with my keys and a lock I couldn’t unlock. To my huge embarrassment, a senior girl walked past and offered to show me how it worked. While handing her my keys, I dropped everything else.

Imagining the laughter and all she was telling her friends about the new guy, my career was off and running. I’ve gotten better. Read more…

Marriage Enrichment: A Valentine’s Day gift that will help build intimacy

Write a letter to your spouse that mentions an instance that makes you feel grateful for him or her

By Marian Christiana

It is that time of year again when romance is in the air and the thought of love fills our hearts. It is almost Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day has me thinking about the importance of intimacy in a marriage.

Maybe you are dreaming of your walkway lined with rose petals, or you are planning a romantic dinner for two. Maybe you and your spouse are taking a romantic-getaway vacation in order to celebrate your love for each other. All of these romantic gestures are good and necessary to help build intimacy. Read more…

Thoughts and Prayers for the Faithful: Flannery O’Connor and the power of God

The drama of life is made tangible by the reality of death

By Bob Hunt

How precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful. –Psalm 116:15

Flannery O’Connor has long been my favorite author, with her bizarre characters and weird stories that shed light on the brokenness of the human condition and the potential for redemption. The light she shines is a blinding spotlight from which most attempt to shield their eyes.

O’Connor lost her father to lupus when she was only 15. She rarely spoke of her father’s death, keeping reticent about the things most important to her. She adored her father, and he adored her. Having never married, but loving her father deeply, the image of God that naturally appealed to her was that of God as Father and her as His child. Read more…