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 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


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

The Narthex

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Cynthia Bowers of CBS's 'Sunday Morning' has an inspiring piece on Roger Ebert, the famed film critic who lost his voice to cancer three years ago. 

A snip:

CBS Photo

He's been called America's movie critic. For more than four decades, Roger Ebert has guided our choices at the box office.

His syndicated newspaper column and trademark "thumbs up/thumbs down" routine with TV partner Gene Siskel were legendary.

But now that famous voice has been silenced.

"Do you remember what your last spoken words were?" asked Bowers.

"No, because I didn't know they would be my last words, or I would have written something great," Ebert replied.

For the past three years, Ebert has been talking via a computer voice that speaks what he types.

His lower jaw is gone, ravaged by cancer that nearly killed him.

"Are you able to talk in your dreams?" Bowers asked.

"Everything is fine in my dreams. I talk all I want. Life is normal," he said. "Sometimes in a dream I will remember that I can't speak, but then suddenly I can speak again."

Ebert could surely never have dreamed this storyline for his life when he began at the Chicago Sun-Times back in 1967. His elegant style and wit quickly made his movie reviews must-reads.

And what makes a movie great to Roger Ebert?

"I feel it," he replied. "It fills me with joy for its greatness. When I experience it, I sometimes even feel a tingle in my spine. Honestly, it's an almost spiritual feeling."


America's movie critic is back. He sees as many as ten films a week and debuts a new version of his TV show later this month. And instead of shying away from the public and the way he looks, Roger is embracing it.

"I said, 'The hell with it - this is how I look,'" he said. "People with problems like mine should get on with their lives and not hide because of it. I don't want to look this way, but I do, so please don't make it your problem."

Much more - including video clips - here.

January 02, 2011 04:50
By George Matysek

Cardinal Bernardin on the silver screen

A Jesuit priest is turning the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's bestselling "The Gift of Peace" into a movie. Chicago Catholic News has the story:

After sex abuse allegations were recanted against Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in the mid-1990s -- and before the cancer that would claim his life was detected -- he led a powerful retreat in Mundelein.

"He was emotionally very vulnerable, and somewhat euphoric," recalled the Rev. Michael Sparough, a Jesuit priest who attended the spiritual gathering.

"He just talked about the trauma and the nightmares he had, and how tremendously stressful this whole thing was, but how the truth was ultimately triumphant."

"That retreat had a tremendous impact on my life."

Now, Sparough is leading an effort to bring Bernardin's story to the silver screen. The 60-year-old priest, who helps run a Barrington retreat center and has written a number of books, is working with two Hollywood script writers to turn Bernardin's bestseller, The Gift of Peace, into a mainstream feature film.

It's certainly no done deal, but Sparough said Bernardin's successor at the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, has given him permission to turn the book into a screenplay. And Sparough believes the public is ready for a story like this.

"It's a classic hero's journey, and I think it's a story that needs to be told in our time -- and my hope is it's a healing story for those who have been wounded by the Church, and a story that will remind us of some of the best parts of our Catholic tradition," Sparough said.

In recent years, the Church has been mired in scandal over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the United States and around the globe. Pedophile priests were transferred rather than stripped of their duties, and allegations that children were molested often weren't taken seriously.

The irony, Sparough said, is that Bernardin was considered by many to be ahead of his time in developing policies for dealing with problem priests. And that was before he was accused of abusing a man named Steven Cook when Cook was a student years earlier in Cincinnati.

It's how Bernardin handled those accusations -- made in 1993 and later recanted -- that really define "the man, and his story and his life is really a parable of contemporary sanctity," Sparough said.

Read the rest here.

January 02, 2011 06:29
By George Matysek