George P. Matysek Jr. has been a member of the Catholic Review staff since 1997, serving as a staff writer, senior staff writer, assistant managing editor and now web editor.

A graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Essex, George holds a bachelor's degree in history and writing from what is now Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and a master's degree in history from UMBC.

A winner of more than 50 regional, national and international journalism awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C Press Association, the Catholic Press Association, Associated Church Press and National Right to Life, George has reported from Guyana, Guatemala, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Happily married and living in Rodgers Forge, George is the proud father of two daughters. 

Reach George at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org and follow him on Twitter @ReviewMatysek

 

 

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I have know Sister Anthony and her family all of my life. Like Sr. Anthony, the whole family is truly God loving people. Happy 100 Sr. Anthony and may God continue to bless you. Love you. Pearl

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Happy birthday Sister Anthony from your great niece Lauren. The undated photo is Sr. Anthony with her mother and 9 of her siblings.

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The Narthex

VIDEO REPORT: Laughing with St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius of Loyola at prayer in Rome. (Father William Hart McNichols)

In honor of today's Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola - founder of the Jesuits - here's a video clip of Father James Martin, S.J. sharing some of his favorite Jesuit jokes. It's taken from the priest-author's July 29 talk at St. Ignatius in Baltimore. I know you'll enjoy it!

Also, the image of St. Ignatius shown on this blog is one of Father Martin's favorites. It shows the great saint at prayer in Rome - perfectly capturing his humanity. Father William Hart McNichols was the iconographer and you can learn more about his work here.

For more funny and insightful clips from Father Martin's lecture on humor and spirituality, click here.

Happy Feast Day to all my Jesuit friends from a proud graduate of Loyola University Maryland!  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJv03ocdM9c]

 

July 31, 2011 07:26
By George Matysek


Gervais goes 'nearest the knuckle' on faith

When Ricky Gervais signed off from his caustic performance at the recent Golden Globe Awards, God was among those he thanked.  

" Thank you to God for making me an atheist," the comedian quipped. 

On his new CNN show, Piers Morgan challenged his fellow Brit on the comment - arguing that the joke was "nearest the knuckle" for Americans who hold faith dear. 

Check out the conversation that followed between Morgan (a self-professed Catholic) and Gervais (a self-professed atheist).

Two cuts of the interview:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpsR1FEInK8]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wGVLf_x4LE&feature=watch_response]

January 21, 2011 05:12
By George Matysek


A glimpse of heaven?

Helen Nale, right, enjoys conversation with her daughter, Helen Valley. Nale believes she caught a glimpse of heaven after a near-death experience. (CR Staff/Owen Sweeney III)

Everyone has seen stories on television about people who believe they died and went to heaven.  They often speak of "seeing light at the end of a tunnel," being reunited with deceased relatives and returning to earth for unfinished business.

A few days before Christmas, I met one of them.

Helen Nale, a 94-year-old parishioner of St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis, suffered a stroke in early December. At the hospital, doctors told her family she was dying.  She even began a "death rattle."

But, for some unknown reason, Nale's health made a sudden and dramatic turnaround. She awoke from a coma, said some prayers and was eventually released.

Nale doesn't remember much of what happened in the hospital that day because she believes she was in a better place. She says she caught a glimpse of heaven and returned to earth with a mission to help some family members return to church.

Nale didn't see any bright lights in the next world, but she told me a lot about winged angels with curly hair, happy reunions with family members, magnificent buildings and an overwhelming feeling of happiness.

"It was all a beautiful thing to be with God and the angels," she said.

Helen Valley, Nale's daughter and a fellow St. Andrew parishioner, said her mother has a "new lease on life" and that her experience has inspired the entire family.

Skeptics might say there's a neurochemical explanation for Nale's experience - that her brain was under stress and released chemicals that caused hallucinations.  Maybe.  Talk to Nale, however, and you will meet a woman who has no doubt about experiencing God's profound love in a deeply personal way.

You can read the story here at The Catholic Review

What do you think?

December 31, 2010 06:58
By George Matysek