Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Lenten message

Lent is fast approaching...

Lenten Strategies;
Listening, Not Looking

We are constantly searching for signs and wonders, never satisfied, always looking, seldom quiet or still enough to listen. Pope Benedict once said, “As long as we live in the world, our relationship with God consists more in listening than in seeing; and even contemplation comes about, so to say, with eyes closed and thanks to the inner light lit within us by the Word of God.”

He said, “Human life is, in fact, a journey of faith and as such, progresses more in the shadows than in full light, and is not without moments of obscurity or even complete blackness.”

Each day we get up to face a new day. We may feel we have our lives figured out to a certain extent, but in actuality, we are always venturing into the unknown, walking in faith. Our Holy Father also told us that the Blessed Virgin “advanced in her own pilgrimage of faith day after day.” We should remember that although she was the mother of Jesus, she was human like us and needed to be steadfast in prayer to walk in faith.

Humbly listening to the voice of the Lord, Mary meditated on the Word of God through Scripture and through events in the life of her Son in which she knew and accepted as the voice of God.

By remaining close to our Lady, we can progress in our faith through the shadows of this Lent and the uncertain days ahead in our lives. We can seek the Blessed Mother’s help in our journey, asking her to teach us to be quiet so that we will be able to listen.

Our Lord is always present even when He seems obscure or absent. He is always waiting for us to communicate with Him and listen to His loving words to us. We have to learn how to be still to hear Him. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament help us to quiet our thoughts and move aside the clutter of our minds that gets in the way of a real communication with our Lord. Resting in our Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament will refresh our souls. Seeking out more time for prayer in the stillness of our hearts wherever we are in our walks of life will help us come closer to our Lord and His holy will for us.

Our Holy Father specifically told the faithful to “listen to Him in His Word, conserved in Holy Scripture…listen to it in the events of our own lives, seeking to read therein the messages of Providence,” and finally, “to listen to it in our brothers and sisters, especially in the smallest and the poorest, towards whom Jesus Himself calls for a concrete display of our love.”

Jesus gives us this message through His Vicar on earth asking us to begin to truly listen for Him. We can take some time out each day to pick up the Bible, the Divine Office or the Readings of the day and after reading, pause to listen. We can be more attentive to the nitty-gritty of our lives and the events that fill our days. Nothing is a coincidence in our lives. Is our Lord speaking to us? How are we responding?

We need to look outside ourselves and find the “smallest” and the “poorest” in our families and in our neighbors and coworkers and respond with a “concrete display of our love.”

Pope Benedict tells us that our Lord “always speaks to us, and expects us to pay the greatest attention, especially in this period of Lent."

Our Lord is speaking to us. Are we listening to Him?

© 2008 Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pope Benedict's Lenten message

Vatican City, Jan 29, 2008 / 11:38 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict’s Lenten Message for 2008 was presented today in the Holy See Press Office. The theme for this years’ message, “Christ made Himself poor for you”, reflects on the importance and meaning of almsgiving.

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council, “Cor Unum”, began by affirming that the Pope’s message presents “reflections on alms and fundraising.” He also noted that, alongside Christmas, “the period leading up to Easter is also traditionally dedicated in many countries to special fundraising campaigns.”

The Holy Father "wishes to highlight, on the basis of the faith, the implications giving has for the spirit of the donor.” Using the words and stories of the Gospel, Benedict XVI “places the gift of the donor in the light of revelation,” Cardinal Cordes said.

“The Pope shows - above all to practicing Christians - the indissoluble bond between piety and caring for the needy.” The Holy Father also “speaks of the intentions of the donor. At a time in which such great honor is paid to benefactors it is certainly appropriate to call attention to the spirit of a benefactor's gesture, which is not to look to the glorification of self but to the glorification of the Father who is in heaven. The love of God is at the root of all good actions accomplished by man.” (Continued here.)

article in "WOMAN" magazine of Rebublican American newspaper

New Milford woman heads to Rome: Author is 1 of 250 select guests attending upcoming conference held by the Vatican


Photo caption: Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, of New Milford, has written a Catholic prayer book. She has been invited by the Vatican to attend a conference in Rome next month. (photo by Steven Valenti Republican-American)

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's newest publication, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book" has landed her an invitation to Rome.

Or, maybe it's the other three books she's written that got the attention of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Or maybe it's the two books that are scheduled to come out later this year.

Actually, it's probably all of the above.

Either way, in February the New Milford author will head to Rome to attend the international conference, "Woman and man, the humanum in its entirety."

She will be one of 250 guests from five continents attending the meeting. The letter from the Pontifical Council states that the objective is to "review the progress made over the past 20 years in the field of the advancement of women and the recognition of their dignity." (Continued here.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

All you writers and writer wannabees out there...

Check out this post at Catholic

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Disciple

Jesus begins his public ministry by gathering his first disciples. His method differs from those of the other religious leaders of his day. He does not outwardly challenge the conscience of the people as John the Baptist did. He does not retreat from the world, as did the members of the Qumran community. He is completely different from the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Jesus is unique. He is not distant, strange, or unapproachable as were most ancient philosophers and religious leaders. The Lord adopts a way of life unknown at that time. He has no set plan or organization other than the fulfillment of the will of his heavenly Father. As he encounters each individual personally, he calls each one to a unique relationship with himself. “You did not choose me, no, I choose you” (John 15: 16).

What then, are the characteristics of a disciple of Jesus?

Since a disciple is a student and a follower, each disciple must be a good listener. Listeners are open and attentive. Like Mary, the sister of Martha, the true disciple will be eager to listen, to discover, and to understand. The message will never be subject to critical analysis. Instead, true disciples approach the wellspring of truth seeking to satiate a profound desire for happiness, transcendence, and peace. For true disciples know that only then will they find freedom in the truth.

True discipleship requires perseverance. The journey is long and obstacles abound... (Continued here)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lord have mercy!

Please read this story over at Embracing Motherhood regarding a blessing of an abortion clinic in New York.

Happy feast of St. Francis de Sales!

Happy feast of St. Francis de Sales!

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My trip to the Vatican and my new book

This is the story in today's paper:

NEW MILFORD -- Devout Catholic author Donna Cooper O'Boyle believes motherhood is one of life's highest callings. She finds it disturbing when that dignity is in any way diminished or demeaned.

O'Boyle has written three Catholic-oriented books in the past three years aimed at empowering mothers to see the solemnity of their duty. Her fourth book, titled "Catholic Saints Prayer Book," will be in bookstores at the end of March.

The author is also delighted to be one of 250 people on five continents whom the Vatican invited to attend a three-day international congress in Rome early next month, which will focus on the dignity of women in today's world... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Call for Support for Pope Benedict

ROME, Jan 16, 2008 / 11:24 am (CNA).- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, has called on the faithful to gather this Sunday in St. Peter’s Square during the recitation of the Angelus to show their support for Pope Benedict XVI after his visit to La Sapienza University in Rome was cancelled amid protests from students and faculty.

The Pontiff had planned to inaugurate the new academic year at La Sapienza, but threats of violent protests by a group of students and professors led the Vatican to cancel the visit.

During the Wednesday General Audience today, hundreds of students from La Sapienza expressed their solidarity with the Pope.

The intolerance against the Holy Father has cause a wave of protests across Italy. Cardinal Ruini said in a press release that the issue “has been a painful blow to the entire city of Rome” and he called on the faithful to gather this Sunday at St. Peter’s Square “as a gesture of affection and solidarity” towards the Holy Father.

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano sent a letter to the Pontiff expressing his “sincere and genuine bitterness” over the matter... (Continued here.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Discussing the International Women's Congress at the Vatican - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, January 15th at 9:15 to 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio, Teresa Tomeo and I will be discussing our upcoming trip to the Vatican! We will let you in on our roles in the International Women's congress to be held in Rome very soon.

Here's an article that I wrote about the twentieth year celebration of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.


The Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of Mulieris Dignitatem
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

This is an exciting time for women in our world. Twenty years ago, our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, wrote the extraordinary letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.” The Pontifical Council for the Laity is now encouraging the lay faithful worldwide to observe a celebration of this Apostolic Letter in the coming year of the twentieth anniversary by reflecting on the meaning of the document. Each continent has its own specific theme regarding the Apostolic Letter.

Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter (given on August 15, 1988) was written to encourage women in their vocations, to highlight the essential feminine genius that they provide to their families and the world, and to restore spiritual and physical motherhood to a culture that was quickly losing sight of the dignity of women and mothers.

Living in an era where the unborn baby may not be safe within his own mother’s womb, with debates raging over the nature of marriage, and confusing messages directed at women about where she should find her place in society - all point to the timeliness of this observance.

The Pontifical Council of the Laity has asked the Catholics of North America to consider the document specifically in light of one overarching theme: The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society.
Interestingly, Pope Benedict spoke recently about “the materialist ideologies that say: It is absurd to think about God. It is absurd to observe God’s Commandments. It is something from a bygone era…. Only consumerism, selfishness, and fun are worth something. That’s life.” He said, “Again it seems absurd, impossible to oppose this dominant mentality with all its media and propaganda power. It seems impossible to think about a God who created man, who became a child, the real would-be ruler of the world.”

The poignant words to women at the closing of the Second Vatican Council should compel us to do something to help better our understanding of a woman’s role and dignity. “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.”

We know that all of salvation history depended on the faithfulness of one young woman in Nazareth and her courageous “yes” to the Lord. Our Church has held women throughout history with the deepest respect, despite what our world might have us believe. Women of the third millennium have an amazing opportunity to reap the benefit of the graces poured out on them now for a clearer understanding of their dignity and vocation as they reflect upon Pope John Paul II’s affirming and beautiful words for them. Women of our time “can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” It’s time to open our hearts to God’s message to women and act upon it imbued with the spirit of the Gospel, spreading love, understanding, and peace with our own “yes” to a world in desperate need.

A website has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those interested in ways to reflect on this timely anniversary. will point to the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, relevant books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while continually integrating suggestions, additions, as well as a bulletin board of events to access over the coming year. The website suggests ways in which to get involved with this Vatican initiative including: procuring a study guide and taking time to discuss the document, compiling book lists related to the document and discuss different aspects or topics relating to the reflection of these authors, planning a day of reflection in the parish or larger community whereby talks and prayers can bring to light the beauty of the Pope John Paul II’s understanding of authentic femininity, and a larger project might be the creation of a congress or conference, in which the ordinary is invited to participate. This would reflect the collaborative nature of the Church: joining the hierarchy, or Petrine dimension, with the women, who image Marian dimension, and bear spiritual fruit by means of the spousal reality.

“Through prayer and discussion, women everywhere will reveal their feminine genius in the way they celebrate this anniversary - ultimately giving glory to God, Who delighted in creating women in His image” (from the Dignity of Women website).
You may send your suggestions or submissions of resources to the link provided at the website or to Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle at Please join with us in prayer so that this will be a very fruitful observance. May our Blessed Mother watch over this worldwide celebration for the dignity and vocation of women and bless us with her graces in all of our efforts to understand the richness of the feminine vocation.


I hope you'll join Teresa Tomeo and me tomorrow morning to learn more about this celebration. Feel free to tune into "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio and perhaps call in to the show or comment here to this post with any questions or comments.

God bless you!

Entering the New Year with Hope, Grace, and Prayer

You can check out my New Year article at Catholic Exchange today.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pope Benedict's words manipulated!

Vatican City, Jan 11, 2008 / 11:53 am (CNA).- The Holy See’s Press Office has expressed amazement at how Pope Benedict XVI’s meeting with the mayor of Rome and other regional government officials yesterday is being used for political gain.

As he does every year, the Pontiff offered his insights on how the lives of Romans and those living in the Italian region of Lazio can be improved. However, these remarks were reported in the press as a “thorough dressing down” of the governing officials.

Political rivals of those currently in office seized on the Pope’s comments as an opportunity to gain political capital.

The Pope's warning is "right, though poverty and degradation don't only affect Rome, but all Italian cities" said Minister of Social Solidarity, Paolo Ferrero, who appreciates the fact that every now and then "people make the invisible visible". Ferrero sees only one solution: "Increase social expenses for housing and a minimum starting income", according to AGI News.

The Vatican’s press office responded to these and other remarks by... (Continued here).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Radiating Christ

Dear Jesus,
help me to spread Your fragrance
everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being
so utterly that my life may only be
a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let then look up,
and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I will begin
to shine as You shine,
so as to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, o Jesus, will be all from You;
none of it will be mine.
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You
in the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by example,
by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love
my heart bears for You. Amen.

Composed by John Henry Cardinal Newman
and one of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's favorite prayers.
She TRULY LIVED this prayer!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Book Review: The Pearl of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price: Gospel Wisdom for Christian Marriage

Published by Liturgical Press, 2007
Author: Julie McCarty
Review by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

Julie McCarty invites us to take a look at the gospels with “married” eyes to understand how married and engaged couples can pray and reflect on God’s words together. Along with the Liturgical Press Publishing Company, Mrs. McCarty has put together an excellent tool for Christian couples—truly a pearl of wisdom and inspiration for those couples willing to pause together in prayer with open hearts so that they may discover a deeper meaning and love in their commitment to one another. Through The Pearl of Great Price, the author bids couples to abandon their fears of discussing and sharing their deepest thoughts, hopes, fears, and failures and instead to embrace the intimacy of prayer united together as one.

The ancient prayer, lectio divina or “sacred reading” is utilized in this resourceful book. The couple is encouraged to “bite off a little chunk of Scripture and chew on it.” Mrs. McCarty alleviates the reader’s possible fears of discussing Scripture and praying together with a writing style that will ease away tension.

After explaining ways in which a couple can apply the full gospel to married life in her introduction, the author said, “You are not alone if at this point you feel a certain panic arising in you. Me? Take out a Bible and pray with my spouse? Are you kidding? Some couples can barely mumble a rote prayer together before meals, let alone hold hands and say something spontaneously aloud to God.”

By providing Scripture verses, reflections, simple discussion questions, and a closing prayer for each segment which should take twenty to thirty minutes of time, Mrs. McCarty supplies the tools necessary to get couples engaged in active and productive discussion with the goal of enriching their marriage or engagement.

This diminutive book will fit in one’s purse or pocket to be pulled out during quiet moments. However, don’t let the size of the book fool you! Plenty of wisdom and discussion starters for couples are packed between the pages. The Pearl of Great Price can be reflected upon individually. However, it is designed to be studied and shared as a couple.

Mrs. McCarty encourages couples to bare their souls to one another. She said, “What makes the strongest marriage is a total sharing of selves—bodies and minds, hearts and souls—and this comes about best in an atmosphere of listening, love, and respect for each other.”

Check out Liturgical Press and Amazon.Com for more information and to order.

To learn more about the author, go to her website.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My friend's funeral

I went to my friend, Joe's funeral today. He was 86 years young. He was a real gentleman and truly a saintly man. He had a sister who was a Dominican nun and a baby brother who died at only six weeks old. His brother, Francis, a Jesuit priest, did the homily today at the funeral Mass. I will miss my dear friend, Joe but I really am happy that he has gone to his deserved reward and rest. His brother, Fr. Francis chose the very beautiful (my favorite) Gospel of Matthew (25:31-45) for today's Gospel reading:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at this right hand, 'Come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or i prison and visited you? And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me...'"

Joe lived this Gospel message in my opinion. He humbly gave to so many in all of his apostolates and services to people. You really became a better person for having known Joe. One thing that will always stay with me about Joe is that anytime you talked to him and you asked him how he was doing, he would immediately ask, "How are YOU?" He always seemed to put himself last and let you know that he cared about you. What a great example to follow!

May he rest in peace. Amen

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My daughter's trip to India

Go on over to "Planes, Trains, and Elephants" for a reflection on my daughter's adventure.

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Journey

Every human person will find meaning in life by being open to God. The Three Kings, were not Jewish, they came from the Orient. Some scholars believe that they began their travels together from Persia, while others believe that they came from three different regions of the Orient, one of them maybe even being China.

Obviously, the Magi were not part of the chosen people. They were not Jews. They were part of the vast populace of people extended throughout the known world at that time who were called pagans, or gentiles.

The Three Kings of this Sunday’s gospel narrative are men who are left unsatisfied by their possessions of wealth, fame and power, and search for the only one who can satisfy the deepest aspirations of the human heart. They longed to find the very meaning of their existence.

After a long and difficult search, they discover the place where he lays, and they encounter the One who has come to redeem us and fulfill our intense longings. They know who he is because they bring him the most appropriate gifts: gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for a victim. They know that he is the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the only one through whom salvation can be found.

Because the Three Kings were open, they were given the gift of faith. Through this gift they searched, they found, and they believed.

Certainly today, one of the most blinding obstacles to the search for meaning and truth is secularism.

Secularism only concerns itself with the here and now. It has no use for matters regarding... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

He keeps me company...

Catholic Media Review - New Blog!

I am so excited that a faithful group of Catholic bloggers have taken up the task of forming a movie review group to help all of us! You can visit the blog, Catholic Media Review here. Go take a look, there are already a bunch of films reviewed which include: "National Treasure," "Juno," "I Am Legend," "Bella," "Enchanted," and "The Water House - Legend of the Deep."

This blog certainly promises to be an outstanding resource for Catholic and Christian families!

Jean Marie of Catholic Fire one of the co-founders of the Catholic Media Review group has this to say, "We will do our best to examine each film in the light of Catholic teaching and to warn parents about films that will present a danger to our youth. We also want to encourage people to see those films which we believe will have a positive impact on our society. Some of the outstanding films that I personally have seen include: The Passion of the Christ, Amazing Grace, Into Great Silence, and Bella. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we as Catholic Christians could make an major impact on the type of films that come out? We have this power simply by purchasing tickets to those films that are of excellent quality. You can count on us to keep you informed."

Check out the blog to meet the reviewers and read the reviews. Please pass on this valuable information to help keep families informed!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Solemnity of Mary

"Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, our Lady's greatest title. This feast is the octave of Christmas. In the modern Roman Calendar only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave. Before the Calendar was reformed this was the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord." (Catholic Culture)

"Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721


Like the Churches of the East, Rome wished to honor the Virgin Mother of God during the days after Christmas. As a result the ("Anniversary of St. Mary") made its appearance on January 1 in the seventh century; it has accurately been called "the first Marian feast of the Roman liturgy." — The Church at Prayer

On New Year's Day, the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event: for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and salvation because "through her we have received the Author of life" (127).

The solemnity of 1 January, an eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with that which says: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners."

In the West, 1 January is an inaugural day marking the beginning of the civil year. The faithful are also involved in the celebrations for the beginning of the new year and exchange "new year" greetings. However, they should try to lend a Christian understanding to this custom making of these greetings an expression of popular piety. The faithful, naturally, realize that the "new year" is placed under the patronage of the Lord, and in exchanging new year greetings they implicitly and explicitly place the New Year under the Lord's dominion, since to him belongs all time (cf. Ap 1, 8; 22,13)(128).

A connection between this consciousness and the popular custom of singing the Veni Creator Spiritus can easily be made so that on 1 January the faithful can pray that the Spirit may direct their thoughts and actions, and those of the community during the course of the year (129).

New Year greetings also include an expression of hope for a peaceful New Year. This has profound biblical, Christological and incarnational origins. The "quality of peace" has always been invoked throughout history by all men, and especially during violent and destructive times of war.

The Holy See shares the profound aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has been designated "world day for peace."

Popular piety has not been oblivious to this initiative of the Holy See. In the light of the new born Prince of Peace, it reserves this day for intense prayer for peace, education towards peace and those values inextricably linked with it, such as liberty, fraternal solidarity, the dignity of the human person, respect for nature, the right to work, the sacredness of human life, and the denunciation of injustices which trouble the conscience of man and threaten peace.

Excerpted from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.
(From Catholic Culture)


Here is a link to article that I wrote about the Blessed Mother Mary and Motherhood at Catholic Exchange.