Worth Revisiting: Contemplating St. Michael

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

Currently : Contemplating St. Michael

St. Michael (Boston College- Gasson Hall)

Currently,  I am thinking today about the feast of St. Michael the Archangel also known as Michaelmas. This feast is shared with the angels Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is first mentioned  in the Old Testament book of Daniel in strengthening and promising to help Daniel after he has a vision of things to come for the people of Israel. (10:13-21) Then again in Daniel 12 ,when Michael is noted as a “great prince” and protector of God’s people. In the New Testament, in the book of Jude, Michael first “argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses” (Jude 1:9). Then in Revelation, Michael is shown triumphantly leading the forces of heaven to defeating the fallen angels following Lucifer. (Rev 12:7-9) Michael is considered the patron saint of the Church on earth, for a holy death, police, soldiers, paramedics, travelers by sea, and sickness.

While science has been so helpful in explaining so many things in our world, there remain these beautiful reminders that God is always seeking to communicate (Gabriel), to guide (Rafael), and to protect (Michael) his faithful[1].  How grateful I am to know that we have this heavenly assistance in battling the evil in this world.

Prayer of St. Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thankful for//  the gift of the “Tiny Saint” Michael necklace by my friend for my son Thomas. For any of you that are unfamiliar with this company they carry a large product line of these tiny saints on charms, bracelets, rosaries and necklaces. Each features either a biblical reference or description for the saint with the item. Thomas has been sleeping with it under his pillow since he received it last Friday.

Enjoying// God’s gift of beautiful weather this weekend! In New England, we have to cherish these gifts of warm, almost summer like weather, in the fall because we know the cooler weather is on the horizon. So, Saturday we headed out with beach towels, snacks, drinks and a football to Long Beach on the Plymouth, MA coastline. How amazing it was for this mom to close her eyes, soak up the sun, and simply listen to the ocean and the laughter in the background. I couldn’t help being inspired though, and snapping a few photos!





Loving// my new Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies t-shirt! As some of you might know, I am a graduate student of Loyola Chicago’s Pastoral Studies Program. How can I do this living in Massachusetts?  Well, as you may have guessed, the majority of my work is through their phenomenal and engaging online program. Utilizing interactive programs like Sakai, Adobe Connect, and Voice Thread, students are challenged to read, reflect, collaborate, write and engage one another through virtual classrooms. It leaves nothing absent from the traditional classroom, except for maybe the commuting, parking and study sessions in the college library. If you have ever considered going back to college, and wonder if you could fit in, Loyola Chicago might be for you! It has been such a positive experience that I am now serving on the Student Engagement Committee as a liaison between faculty and students.

Speaking of which, I am… Excited about// my upcoming trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks for the Alpha Sigma Nu Induction ceremony at the Lakeshore Campus in Chicago. How awesome that my roomie from Rome, also a Loyola student, has so graciously offered to be my roommate again! What an honor to be considered among  those committed to  the Jesuit mission and ideals of scholarship, loyalty and service.  What began with my own passion for learning and faith development has evolved into a yearning to share and awaken the faith in others. Through my experience at Loyola, I have gained both knowledge, and the tools to critically explore and embrace the faith, as well as, endless creative ways to engage and connect.  Ignited within is a faithfulness to continued collaboration and spiritual formation and a life of service.

Today, may you too feel strengthened and encouraged, on this feast of St. Michael , to learn, grow and boldly serve in your own community  knowing God is with you.   Signature

[1] http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1153

An Engaging Faith: 10/5-10/9

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of A Friendship Like No Other  by William Barry, SJ(Loyola Press) or Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena by Marge Fenlon
Drawing runs 10/4-10/11 Click to enter..

Discover a well rounded spirituality of contemplation and action-

William Barry, SJ joins us with A Friendship Like No Other, also Michael Seagriff of Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation, Mary Amore of Mayslake Ministries 

And The Ignatian Solidarity Network to speak on the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice on November 7-9th.

Update:Fr. Barry will be joining us on 10/19-Encore w/ Fr. Kevin O’Brien
: William Barry, SJ.
, is a veteran spiritual director and author who is currently serving as tertian director for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus at the Campion Center in Weston, MA. A native of Worcester, MA, Fr. Barry entered the Society in 1950 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. After earning a  Ph.D. in clinical psychology, he taught at the University of Michigan, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and Boston College.  Fr. Barry served the New England Province in a variety of leadership roles including provincial.  Fr. Barry is the author and co-author 15 books. He currently resides at Campion Center where he continues to write and direct retreats. His many works include Letting God Come Close, A Friendship Like No Other, Here’s My Heart, Here’s My Hand, Seek My Face, and God’s Passionate Desire (Loyola Press), and God and You.

Tuesday: Michael Seagriff a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and Administrative Law Judge for 30 years, Michael now retired is able to more fully pursue his vocation as a Lay Dominican. This vocation created an insatiable desire to learn, study, live and share his Faith. For more ten years he led a Prison Ministry program and has spent the last decade promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, serving as coordinator of that devotion in his former parish. Michael blogs at Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation and is also the author of several books Pondering Tidbits of Truth (Volume 1&2), I Thirst For Your Love, and Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! Words to Challenge, Inspire and Instruct.

Wednesday: Dr. Mary Amore,Executive Director holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Liturgy and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union. Dr. Amore is the author of Primary Symbols of Worship and the Call to Participation, as well as the creator of the DVD Series: Eucharist: Pathway of Transformation, Healing and Discipleship published by Pauline Media.  A Cardinal Bernardin Scholar and distinguished member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Mary has been a presenter at the RE Congress, University of Dallas Ministry Conference, Diocese of New Hampshire Ministry Conference, as well as conducting parish missions, retreats, and adult faith formation programs.  A monthly blogger for CatholicMom.com, and a columnist for Ministry and Liturgy magazine, Dr. Amore  serves as the Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries. 

Thursday: Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, blogger, speaker, and longtime contributor to a variety of Catholic and secular publications and websites, including Our Sunday Visitor, National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, and Catholic News Service. Her column, The Whirl, appears in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, and her blog, Catholic to the Core, is on Patheos. Fenelon is the author of a number of books related to Marian devotion and Catholic family life, includingImitating Mary.Fenelon is a regular guest on Catholic radio, including Relevant Radio’s Morning Air and EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show. Marge will be joining us to discuss her latest book Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena . 

Friday: The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN): a national social justice education and advocacy network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola will be discussing the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice to be held November 7-9 in Washington D.C. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners. Executive Director, Chris Kerr and intern Grace Donnelly will be joining us to share their passion for social justice at work in our communities today.

Touching Hearts and Lives: Contemporary Christian Music

For many years, I have followed the Contemporary Christian music scene.  Going beyond the artists themselves the message of the music gives true praise to the one true Artist, our heavenly Father- while speaking quite profoundly to God at work within each one of us. Not a faith removed from the world, it is a faith that finds us in our brokenness, enables us to meet the struggles,and celebrates the victory won in Christ. Thursday’s concert with Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets and Dan Bremnes at Plymouth Memorial Hall would not disappoint!

Image result for holy ground tour 2015

Arriving early with press pass in hand, so to speak, I made my way onto the floor and delightfully bumped into Dan Bremnes! Completely humble and unassuming, Dan who was opening that night, called out “Hey there, how are you?” I have to admit I was just a bit caught off guard at first as to why he was not backstage, but oh so thankful for this opportunity to speak with him. So easy was the conversation, that we fell into an faith-filled back and forth exchange of inspiration for songs, our own faith journeys and the importance of events like the Holy Ground Tour.

(Paraphrasing here)

ER: Where do you find inspiration when writing songs- through events in your own life or through those you encounter?

DB: “Really, it is a well that I draw from.. Important to be filled and then the writing overflows”

ER: What is important for you to keep in mind in your relationship with our Heavenly Father when touring?

DM: ‘To be grounded in the word of God. Spending time with scripture, and in prayer allows for that needed time to connect.’

ER: I’ve found that sometimes I run across a particular passage, and wonder why that scripture was intended to be read that day and then God reveals it it’s importance..

DB: ‘So true, for we know that “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known..” ‘ (Luke 8:17)

Later at the VIP “Meet and Greet” with Tenth Avenue North, I posed a similar question to lead singer Mike Donehey..

ER: We are all so busy in our lives today.. how do you connect with God in midst of the busyness of touring?

MD: “Oh that’s easy! See there is silence and solitude when touring..it’s when I come home to my three kids that it is more difficult!”      (Truth!)

The concert itself was from beginning to end a whole sharing of self to all those who had gathered. With humor, sincerity and witness there was purpose in conveying a passion for the faith and a beautiful responsibility to live that faith out loud in the world around us today.


An Engaging Faith: 9/28-10/2

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of Intimate Graces  by Teresa Tomeo and Dominick Pastore (Ave Maria Press) 
Drawing runs 9/27-10/4 Click to enter..

Unable to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philly last week? Join in with several experts and speakers from this event as we discuss the pastoral challenges of the today’s families.

Teresa Tomeo joins us with her soon-to-be released book Intimate Graces, also Karee Santos of Can We Cana?, Sue Muldoon co-author of Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality for the Home 

And Mark Hart with Ask the Bible Geek Fascinating Answers to Intriguing Questions

Monday: Teresa TomeoBestselling author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and speaker with more than thirty years of experience in print and broadcast media. In 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company, Teresa Tomeo Communications, LLC. Her weekday morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan and now heard on over 200 Catholic stations nationwide through the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network and is also carried on Sirius Satellite Radio. She and her husband, Dominick Pastore, are the authors of the soon-to-be released Intimate Graces, which encourages couples to enrich their marriages by practicing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. 

Tuesday: Karee Santos, will be joining  us again this time to talk about the papal Mass in NYC on the 25th and Festival of Families and papal Mass in Philly on the 26th and 27th.   Karee and husband, Manuel P. Santos, M.D., a psychiatrist, began teaching marriage preparation and enrichment classes in New York City in 2003. Their Catholic marriage advice book The Four Keys to Everlasting Love will be published by Ave Maria Press in 2016. She also blogs at Can We Cana? a community to support Catholic Marriages.

Sue and Tim Muldoon
 – Sue is a graduate of Boston College with degrees in Theology and Psychology, and has a Master’s degree in Counseling with a focus in Christian Counseling from Franciscan University. Her experience includes serving as the Director of Counseling Services at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and as a therapist at Center for Family Connections in Cambridge.  She has also co-authored, with husband Tim,  Six Sacred Rules for Families  Asked to be a presenter at the WMOF, Sue spoke on healing damaged relationships.

Tim Muldoon is a professor and has authored and edited several books. He served as chair of the department of religious studies, philosophy, and theology at Mount Aloysius College for many years before being named the inaugural director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College. He currently serves in the division of university mission and ministry at Boston College, and teaches in the university’s college of arts and sciences. He and his wife Sue are the parents of three children.

Thursday: Mark Hart serves as Executive Vice President for Life Teen International. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a twenty-year veteran of youth ministry, Mark Hart is one of the most sought-after speakers serving in the Catholic Church, today. The author (or co-author) of over a dozen books, including best-sellers “Blessed are the Bored in Spirit”, “Behold the Mystery”, “Ask the Bible Geek”, “100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know” and “The “R” Father”, Mark’s writing style is humorous yet deep, accessible to and enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic

Worth Revisiting: Music that Moves the Soul

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

Music is such an indelible part of my everyday, encompassing many of my earliest memories and connections with God. From children’s to adult choir, concert and jazz band, acapella in college..I have been singing, making or playing music for as long as I can remember. This Thursday, 10th Avenue North and Sidewalk Prophets are coming to town and this girl has a press pass! Stay tuned for my outtakes and maybe even a bit of Q and A with the bands!

Music that Moves the Soul!

Music (2)An essential part of a fulfilling community worship experience, its importance cannot be understated. Whether raised in praise, thanksgiving or lamentation, the ability of song to stir our soul and buoy our spirit is ageless and eternal.

In spiritual life formation and liturgy, music can be a tool not simply to engage the listener but to move an entire community to participation through “beauty expressive of prayer”, while preserving the “solemn character of the celebration”. [3] This tension is important to consider because not all songs are appropriate to the occasion or the solemnity of the moment no matter how beautiful or inspiring.

One age group or ministry that is making significant strides with in Youth Ministrydoing this well is the area of youth ministry. Incorporating visuals with songs, and quite often using live music, youth ministry is recognizing the importance of music as a means for evangelization and enrichment. Given the array of contemporary Christian artists, quite a few of them even specifically Catholic; there is no shortage of music styles, or diversity of gifts. While it might surprise you, in Christian music today there is not only room for outstanding gospel and praise artists, but blues, pop, metal, and rap as well.

So much more than just the confession of our sins… reconciliation is the reparation and renewal of the relationship between the believer, God, and the community of the faithful.

Having said this, I would love your help with my latest project! Within the format of the retreat setting, and sacramental preparation, I am interested in amassing an ongoing list of artists and songs to deeper engage the whole believer to participation. Then, with these songs, parishes could use them in coordination with guided sacramental programs and retreats, even garnering the assistance of local musicians if possible.

The following are an initial top 15 for Reconciliation, in no particular order, with some more obviously applying to different age groups. Please comment, or inbox me through FB or Twitter if you have suggestions for this list.

  1. Lord, I need You-Matt Maher

  2. Breaking You- Audrey Assad
  3. Forgiveness-Matthew West
  4. Come to Me-Jamie Grace

  5. Redeemed-Big Daddy Weave
  6. Turn Around-Matt Maher
  7. Infinite Grace-Sarah Hart
  8. Be Forgiven- Jackie François-Angel
  9. Empty and Beautiful-Matt Maher 

  10. In the Silence-Sarah Kroger
  11. Suitcases-Dara McClean
  12. Find You on My Knees-Kari Jobe
  13. Your love is like a River-Third Day
  14. Like a Bridge over Troubled Water-Audrey Assad 

  15. I Need You Now-Plumb


[1] Rudolph Steiner

[2] Plato

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1157

[4] http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/sacrament-of-penance-question-and-answer.cfm

When Words Fail: Comforting the Grieving

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” Thomas Merton

In sitting down this morning to write about this, I hesitated. Such a difficult topic, and yet so needed. On more occasions than I could have thought possible, I have encountered grief. Not only though my own experience but through those expressing abandonment in their grief, and confusion on the part of those who love them. While not professing to have a perfect answer, I humbly offer the following as spiritual guidelines in beginning the journey.

  1. Speak-but speak less. Do not underestimate the gift and consolation of listening. Your presence is still needed amidst the changes in the life of the one who mourns, though perhaps in a different way. Before speaking, pause, and allow the other the space to lead the conversation. In your listening, inwardly invite the Holy Spirit into the moment to guide the direction and breadth of discussion.

“Speak only if it improves the silence” Mahatma Gandhi

There are times when silence can speak volumes, and others where we are called to do more than talk but are called into the do-ing of life. When my brother, having committed suicide, left this world my own mother was left initially in a world of silence. The suddenness of his passing left her,for a short time, unable to cope with the everyday essentials of sleeping, eating and caring for herself. This I realized was something that I was being asked right then and there to take to doing. The roles had in one swift moment been reversed. For the many countless nights she had taken care of me, I felt privileged to return in kind, albeit in some small way. With a toddler in tow, I cleaned, cooked and took care of everything I could put my hands and feet to. Then I would sit beside her and let my son do his magic. Reaching up, smiling and looking into the eyes of his grandma he connected, drawing her out of herself and into the beauty of the life before her. Though slowly she came out of shell shock, it would really be months before she could truly speak to any of the pain that she had felt. This time of silence to the experience of grief was her a much needed time of healing and reflection, one that could not be rushed or anticipated.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving

  2.  There is no perfect response- Perhaps the most common question that continually comes forward from those seeking to offer consolation is simply, “What do I say?” There is an honest seeking to meet the pain and loss that our loved ones are facing with some sage advice or uplifting heartfelt message to ease their suffering. And yet, our words often fall short of touching the profound pain in grief of the situation. The moment we release ourselves from the responsibility of saying just the right thing, we can embrace the other with authenticity. That is not to say, however, we should speak every word that comes to the forefront of our thoughts. Strive to avoid platitudes and clichés like, “Time heals all wounds”, “Your loved one is in a better place”, “God wanted him/her with him” or “I know how you feel”. To this day, three simple words seem to be a much needed balm when spoken truly from the heart..

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty – how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.                                                Mother Teresa

3. Love –but love more. The picture of someone that is deeply immersed in the grieving process isn’t a pretty one. It is messy, challenging, and calls forth from those that love them a willingness to get dirty in the process. It requires patience and understanding holding each death and each one who grieves in the uniqueness of the moment. Comparisons or preconceived notions of recovery fail to take this into consideration. So, for all those times when our desire to console is not well received or our small act of kindness feels unappreciated…love. When they reach for support from others, or seem to have no need for support from anyone…love. When we cannot understand what is holding them back , hold on to hope and…love.

Walking with someone in their brokenness is to recognize our own brokenness too. And in helping them to find their way, we discover both community and communion in the One who brings wholeness, love, peace, and joy in the journey.



An Engaging Faith: 9/21-9/25

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of Love Will Steer Me True  by
Jane and Ellen Knuth (Courtesy Of Loyola Press) , and Conversations with a Guardian Angel by Bob Wicks (Franciscan Media) 
Drawing runs 9/20-9/27 Click to enter..

This week invites us to delve into our own spiritual journeys-

With Jane and Ellen Knuth of Love will Steer Me True,  Robert J. Wicks of Conversations with a Guardian Angel, an Encore of Colette Lafia’s Seeking Surrender, an engaging discussion of theologian Karl Rahner with Paula Kowalkowski

And good friend Tony Agnesi, who is Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life.

: Jane and Ellen Knuth,
will be joining us to discuss Love will Steer Me True. Jane has been volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for the last 15 years. She is also an eighth-grade math teacher. Jane and her husband, Dean, live in Portage, Michigan. Ellen recently returned to the USA after 5 years in Japan. Having already been an English teacher, a singer in a rock band, a dairy princess, a MC, and a newspaper columnist, Ellen now works as a university relations manager for a study and intern abroad company. Settled (for now) in Clinton Twp, MI, she travels extensively, writes occasionally, and sings constantly.


Tuesday: Robert J. Wicks has published more than 50 books for professionals and the general public, including Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm and the novel Conversations with a Guardian Angel which we will be discussing on the show. Bob has his doctorate in psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital and is on the faculty of Loyola University, Maryland. He has received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Counseling Association’s Division on Spirituality, Ethics, and Values and in 2006 was recipient of the first annual Alumni Award for Excellence in Professional Psychology from Widener University.


Wednesday: Tony Agnesi, who is Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life is the Senior Vice President of Rubber City Radio Group, WQMX, WONE, and WAKR in Akron and WNWV in Cleveland and member of Radio and Television Hall of Fame. A relentless storyteller, his Sunday blog and Wednesday podcast have an International audience in over 70 counties and has been translated in over 40 languages. Tony and his wife Diane have two adult sons and are members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Wadsworth, Ohio.

 Thursday: Loyola classmate, Paula Kowalkowski joins us again to help answer the questions , Who was Karl Rahner (1904-1984)and what does his life’s work mean for us today? Considered one of the most important theologians of the 20th century, Karl Rahner was greatly influential in the workings of the Vatican II Council. Appointed by Pope John XXIII as an advisor to the Council he worked with then Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Koenig on topics of scripture, tradition, and a number of pastoral concerns facing the church in the modern world.

Friday: Colette Lafia, is a San Francisco–based blogger, spiritual director, workshop and retreat facilitator, and part-time school librarian. She is an adjunct faculty member at Mercy Center Burlingame, where she also earned two certificates in spiritual direction. Lafia has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English from San Francisco State University and a master of library information science from San Jose State University. She is the author of Comfort and Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others and Seeking Surrender.

Worth Revisiting: A Spirit Led Day In Rome

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

I could not help but think of the irony, as countless pilgrims gather in Philly to greet Pope Francis, that I once again would be missing the opportunity to see our beloved pontiff. Yet, now as then, the Holy Spirit has a purpose for where I am and intended to be. As I keep the home fires burning, I will be following the events with baited anticipation! God bless Papa Francesco and all those who are traveling to attend the World Meeting of Families this week.

A Spirit Led Day in Rome

A year ago July, as a graduate student with Loyola Chicago, I was in Rome. Given a free day to (pardon the pun) roam around, I hadn’t made any definitive plans. A couple of friends had invited me to take two early morning trains out to Castel Gandolfo on the uncertainty that Pope Francis was to appear there that day. Alas, he was there..I was not. Sunburned and needing more sleep, I decided to climb back into bed forgoing this graced opportunity.

Yet the Spirit, as it so often is known to do, would not disappoint! Heading down to breakfast, I was greeted with my cocoa toasted cappuccino and my other friends who had yet to finalize their day.  After expressing my interest to see the Divine Mercy Shrine at The Church of Santo Spirito, we all agreed that would be a good starting place! Upon arrival, we were greeted by… wedding guests and the beautiful tones of Ave Maria as the bride walked down the aisle. This would be one of four weddings we were to glimpse that day!






From there to San Teodoro and into one of the most beloved bakeries in Rome, Cristalli di Zucchero.





To an incredible farmer’s market






Expectant Mary awaiting the birth of Christ

then a few minutes of Adoration at the Church of San Teodoro al Palentino. Earlier at the bakery, we had spoken with a Religious Art student from Paris who had told us of a beautiful fresco of Mary in Santo Sabina’s. This was coincidentally was up Aventine Hill, where my friend MaryEllen had wanted to go. Considered one of the most spectacular views of Rome, it left us all breathless.

Aventine Hill

Wit & Wisdom: Joy


Joy is such a desired virtue and yet so often we settle for poor substitutes or temporary glimpses of happiness. Where is joy to be found and what is required of us? Let’s take a walk with the saints and soon-to-be saints today..

The following are my top 15 quotes (in no particular order) on joy.

  1. Joy does not simply happen to us-we have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday. Henri J. M.Nouwen
  2. ” Let us aim for joy, rather than respectability. Let us make fools of ourselves from time to time, and thus see ourselves, for a moment, as the all-wise God sees us.” — St. Philip Neri
  3. Peace begins with a smile—smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at all—do it for peace. So let us radiate peace…and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men all hatred and love for power. — Blessed Mother Teresa
  4. “And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”― Pope FrancisThe Church of Mercy
  5. Be humble, be simple-bring joy to others.― St. Madeline Sophie Barat
  6. Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy..it is a net of love by which you can catch souls.. ― Blessed Mother Teresa
  7. The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he in his goodness sends to us day after day. ―  Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
  8. Jesus is happy to come with us, as truth is happy to be spoken, as life to be lived, as light to be lit, as love is to be loved, as joy to be given, as peace to be spread.
    Saint Francis of Assisi
  9. “People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answerto this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him.  Pope John Paul II (World Youth Day 2002)
  10. “Joy is the most infallible sign of
    the presence of God.”
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
  11. How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction! Yet I realize that no words of encouragement will be enough unless the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts. —Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel (261).
  12. Once, when I was praying, Jesus pervaded all my soul, darkness melted away, and I heard these words within me: You are My joy; you are My heart’s delight. From that moment I felt the Most Holy Trinity in my heart; that is to say, within myself. I felt that I was inundated with Divine light. Since then, my soul has been in intimate communion with God, like a child with its beloved Father. Saint Faustina
  13. “Laugh and grow strong” — St. Ignatius of Loyola
  14. “You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you. You will know. You will know when it’s right.”
    ― Dorothy Day
  15. “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us”-Saint Teresa of Avila



An Engaging Faith-9/14-9/18

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce by
Lisa Duffy (Courtesy Of Ave Maria Publishing), Good News about Sex and Marriage by Christopher West (Ascension Press)or An Ignatian Adventure by Fr Kevin O’Brian  (Loyola Press)
Drawing runs 8/29-9/6 Click to enter..

We are in the home stretch before the World Meeting of Families in Philly ! 

With Lisa Duffy of Catholic Match Institute,  Christopher West of Good News about Sex and Marriage, and Fr Kevin O’Brian with An Ignatian Adventure

And repeat guests Lisa Henley Jones and Shelly Henley Kelly at Sound Mind and Spirit and  Margaret Felice for Felice Fridays, our Catholic round table discussion.

Monday: Lisa Duffy is a Catholic author, speaker and blogger for the CatholicMatch Institute. A  Southern California native, she overcame a painful divorce and annulment, remarried in the Church, and turned to helping other divorced Catholics find hope and healing. She has more than twenty years of experience ministering to those who have been wounded by divorce. She also directed and produced the powerful Voices of Hope DVD. Duffy has contributed to several books appeared on Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, EWTN TV and radio, Salt and Light TV, and various podcasts. Her latest book The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce is available through Ave Maria Press.

Tuesday: Christopher West is a renowned educator, best-selling author, cultural commentator, and popular theologian who specializes in making the dense scholarship of the late John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” accessible to a wide audience. As Founder of the Cor Project, he leads a global outreach devoted to cultural renewal through a dynamic and fresh proclamation of the Gospel. The graduate courses he teaches at the Theology of the Body Institute attract students from around the world. His extensive lecturing, numerous books, articles, video programs, and media appearances – millions have seen him on Fox News, ABC News, MSNBC, EWTN, TBN, Sirius XM and CBN – have sparked an international groundswell of interest in the Theology of the Body across denominational lines.

 Wednesday: Lisa Henley Jones and Shelly Henley Kelly, sisters and co-bloggers at Sound Mind and Spirit. Lisa is a mom of three, catechist, Catholic speaker and contributor at Loyola Press. Shelly is a full-time working mom of three herself involved in IT and telecommunications. Both have been contributors over at CatholicMom.com.

Thursday: Kevin O’Brien, SJ, is a former lawyer who became a Jesuit nearly 15 years ago. He regularly conducts spiritual retreats for the young and old alike. An experienced high school and college teacher, he currently serves as the Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University. As a Jesuit he has worked and lived in India, Mexico, and Bolivia, and served as a chaplain in an immigration detention center on the Arizona-Mexico border. He joins us sharing his work An Ignatian Adventure. For an online version of the retreat..

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic