Students, parents and other nearby residents demonstrate in the March for Our Lives protest in Parkland, Fla., on March 24, 2018. A gunman killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo courtesy of R. Mackman)

By Gary Gately

Somehow, it seemed wrong, terribly wrong that the sun shined and the warm glow of crimson and golds colored Pennsylvania’s Amish Country in all its autumn glory that October morning in 2006. For a deranged man had lined girls against the blackboard in a one-room schoolhouse, bound their ankles with wire and plastic ties and opened fire. Five of the girls — ages 6 to 13 — died, as did the shooter, who turned one of his three guns on himself in the classroom, and five others suffered gunshot wounds. …


Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. (Wikimedia Commons/Bohemian Baltimore)

By Gary Gately/National Catholic Reporter

Under the brilliant sunshine on June 1 at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Northeast Baltimore, Mom’s five children, a handful of other loved ones and close family friends stand before her casket. We’re all masked. We practice social distancing.

A priest from St. Anthony of Padua, the childhood church my mother, Margaret Donohue Gately, returned to later in life, plays Amy Grant’s version of “How Great Thou Art” on his cellphone. Nobody sings along, for we can hardly hear the tinny music. The priest reads from Isaiah and the Gospel of John and speaks a…


Sculptor Casts the Gospel in Haunting, Life-Size Bronze Works

Pope Francis greets sculptor Timothy Schmalz at the unveiling of the monument to migrants and refugees, “Angels Unawares,” at St. Peter’s Square on World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Sept. 29, 2019. (Itravella/Wikimedia Commons)

By Gary Gately/National Catholic Observer

Timothy Schmalz sees Jesus in the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the prisoners, the desperate refugees and migrants. He views himself as an evangelist who preaches worldwide, not with his mouth, but with his hands, casting the least among us from Matthew 25:31–46 into exquisite — and haunting — life-size bronze sculptures.

The 50-year-old Canadian Catholic’s most famous sculpture, “Homeless Jesus,” depicts a gaunt man lying on a bench covered by a thin blanket, with enough space for someone to sit at his exposed feet, which…


Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. (Wikimedia Commons/Bohemian Baltimore)

By Gary Gately/National Catholic Observer

Under the brilliant sunshine on June 1 at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Northeast Baltimore, Mom’s five children, a handful of other loved ones and close family friends stand before her casket. We’re all masked. We practice social distancing.

A priest from St. Anthony of Padua, the childhood church my mother, Margaret Donohue Gately, returned to later in life, plays Amy Grant’s version of “How Great Thou Art” on his cellphone. Nobody sings along, for we can hardly hear the tinny music. The priest reads from Isaiah and the Gospel of John and speaks a…


Photo: Keith Richards Facebook page

BY GARY GATELY

On this day, Keith Richards’ 76th birthday, let us celebrate small miracles. For he endures as rock ’n’ roll excess personified, Human Riff, Prodigal, pirate, ex-junkie who knows what it is to be at the precipice of death, more than once.

Happy Birthday, Keef — and Happy 36th Anniversary to you and Patti Hansen, your wife and soulmate.

I know, I know it’s only rock ’n’ roll, but I’ve been obsessed with The Rolling Stones — and Keef, in particular — since my teen years, when I first saw the band live at the old JFK Stadium…


A young girl in Baltimore protests the Trump administration’s migrant family-separation policies during a rally in late June. (Photo: John Patterson, The Uncensored City)

Father Worries Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Sentiments Endanger His Children

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Sergio, 4, and his sister, Elizabeth Ann, 3, look every bit as giddy as I had been as a child, heading to the place where we spent the happiest week of the year — Ocean City, Md., better known in my hometown of Baltimore as “downy-oshin.”

On this sun-drenched Monday morning at the McDonald’s on West Street, I am reminded of that line of poetry from The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”: “Childhood living is easy to do.” For the children are headed “downy-oshin” for the first time in their…


No, don’t go back to where you came from. YOU make America great.

By Gary Gately

WASHINGTON — In the sticky heat of a gray dawn in the nation’s capital, I’m driving past The White House, trying to conceive of a heart so black inside, resorting to telling brown people like my son, Paulie Gately, adopted from Guatemala as a 9-month-old, to go back to where they came from. Suddenly, I’m feeling nauseous.

Yes, I watched with the rest of world the long night’s journey into day in November 2016, riveted, if full of foreboding for the future of the…


Newsweek, January 26, 1998

Oops, Here I Go Again

At thirtysomething, I haven’t outgrown my obsession with the Stones. I hope I never do.

AS THE YEARS GO BY, THE LOOKS GET STRANGER, MORE quizzical. Friends, family, my wife, they know. Even I know: I should have outgrown this Rolling Stones obsession by now. I know when I launch into my best Keith Richards, left foot stomping, arms flailing a Fender Strat guitar, in the basement or at open-stage night in a Baltimore bar. Or when I fly to Chicago before the Stones’ 1997–98 tour opener and head to an…


BY GARY GATELY

More than four decades after he left this Earth, I can still see my father best at Christmastime.

There he is hunched over the wires of the train garden in our living room, sparks flying while he hooks up the transformer so we can make the trains go fast and slow and belch steam while lumbering over and through the mountains and past the U.S. Post Office and the Texaco station and the church and the tiny houses and the felt green grass. Lights shine in the windows of the houses and along the trolley line and…

Gary Gately

Gary Gately has won 15 national, regional and local journalism awards and been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian.

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