Monday, March 31, 2008

A Time of Hopeful Rebirth!

(Check out my article at Catholic Exchange here.)

What is it about the hope of warm breezes and sunshine right around the corner promising to warm our winter-chilled bones and to pop up an array of colorful delicate spring flowers from the once-frozen earth that motivates us to delve into cleaning and organizing projects? It's a feeling akin to the "nesting" instinct that surfaces for an expectant mother before the birth of her baby. One senses the urgency of doing and then experiences the satisfaction that a cleaned out pantry, an organized closet, or a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen walls brings along with it. It's just the right time for it — spring brings it forth from us. It's no wonder that I am in that organizing and cleaning frame of mind. I think I've been bit by a spring cleaning bug!

Spring is similarly a time for fresh new hope that warms our souls because of the Easter Resurrection. We've trodden the path of our penitential Lenten journeys and now we have been blessed with our Savior's promise of new life for us after He selflessly and lovingly shed His Blood. "Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within" (Pope Benedict, XVI, Spe Salvi).

Along with the miracle of the Resurrection and the gift of new hope, we experience the bright rays of.. (Continued here.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Wounds Of The Risen Lord

Did you ever stop to think why Jesus rose from the dead with wounds? Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body. The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him. The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness. He continually demonstrates his physical reality. The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him. Thomas is told to touch his wounds. The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical. He has truly risen.

The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ. Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt. We are accustomed to an annual celebration of Easter. However, for the first disciples of Jesus, resurrection was totally new. Let us remember, that the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus' daughter, and Lazarus were all brought back to life by Jesus, but not one of them continued their lives with a glorified body. Although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary, his physical reality is now different than before. The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body. Each of us will have a glorified body also at the resurrection of the dead if we persevere and are faithful.

Over and over again the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred. The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed. His life is different from what it once was. His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space. For this reason he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires. At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space...( Continued here)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

History of some world religions...

The Lutheran Church was founded in the year 1517 by Martin Luther, a former priest of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church of England (Anglicanism) was founded by King Henry VIII in 1534 when he threw off the authority of the Pope and proclaimed himself the head of the Church in England, because the Pope refused to declare invalid his marriage with Queen Catherine.

The Presbyterian denomination was begun in 1560 by John Knox who was dissatisfied with Anglicanism.

The Episcopalian denomination was begun in 1784 by Samuel Seabury who was dissatisfied with Presbyterianism.

The Baptist church was launched by John Smyth in Amsterdam, Holland in the year 1606.

The Methodist church was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

The Unitarians were founded by Theophilus Lindley in London, in 1774.

The Jehovah's Witness Church was developed in 1872 by Charles Russell.

The founder of The Salvation Army is William Booth, who quit the Anglicans, and then the Methodists, and set up his own version of Christianity in 1787. His own son, Ballinger, quit The Salvation Army and did the same for himself in 1896.

Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy began the Christian Scientist religion in 1879, basing it upon an outright denial of Original Sin and its effects.

The Mormon church, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ, The Church of the Nazarene, or any of the various Pentecostal Churches, etc. are also among the hundreds of new churches founded by men within the past 150 years or so.

The Roman Catholic Church was founded by God-made-man, Jesus Christ, in the year 33 A.D. He said: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it... Feed my lambs; feed My sheep" (Matt. 16:18,19; John 21:15,17). He also said: "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who gathers not with me scatters" (Matt.12:30).

Check out Our Catholic Faith.Org here

Hat tip: Heather, A Catholic Mom in Sweden

The Lord has Risen! Alleluia! (Fr. James's homily)

He has Risen, ALLELUIA!

The resurrection of Jesus is a reality beyond doubt. The liturgical season of Easter fills us with immense joy and profound hope. However, each time we contemplate the gospel passages detailing the resurrection of Jesus we are faced with a sense of strangeness. The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him. The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness. He continually demonstrates his physical reality. The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him. Thomas is told to touch his wounds. The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical. He has truly risen.

The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ. Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt. Their response shows us that although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary, his physical reality is now different than before. The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

Repeatedly the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred. The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed. His life is different from what it once was. His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space. For this reason, he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires. At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.

The clarity of the physical reality of the risen Jesus provides us with the certainty of the existence of the Lord and the veracity of everything that he has taught us. The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well... (Continued here)

Friday, March 21, 2008

A reflection on Holy Thursday from Fr.Tom

Go on over and read Fr. Tom's reflection on last night's Holy Thursday. I heard it in real life because he is a beloved priest at my parish!

"Jesus said, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” We gather on this Holy Night and celebrate the beginning of the Three Great Days – the Sacred Triduum, which really serves as one singular feast. Tonight’s feast recalls many things – the Eucharist, service, the priesthood – but ultimately I think it focuses on God’s bounty; God’s goodness to us. On this holy night, God spoils us.

Now, typically we think of Christmas as the gift-giving holiday, but actually today’s celebration is the one that is truly about gifts – in fact, it is about the greatest gifts ever given. We celebrate tonight God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ, His Son; and His three-fold gift of Christ’s presence among us in the priesthood, in the Eucharist, and in service."
Just click here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Discussing Holy Week with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection"

Earlier this week I discussed Holy Week and a few other Catholic things with my friend and radio host, Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio (EWTN). Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and pull your chair up to the computer because if you didn't get a chance to tune in, here's another opportunity by clicking here!

Holy Thursday

"Every year, the Church celebrates the great mysteries of the redemption of mankind in the "most sacred triduum of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection". The Sacred Triduum extends from the Mass of the Lord's Supper to Vespers on Easter Sunday and is celebrated "in intimate communion with Christ her Spouse". — Directory on Popular Piety

Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos:
"I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)
These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet. We should imitate Christ's humility in the washing of the feet.

By meditating on the Gospels (cf. Matt 26:1 ff.; Mark 14:1 ff.; Luke 22:1 ff.; John 13:1 ff.), we can recall to mind Jesus' actions of that day. Father Bernard Strasser summarizes all the events of that first Holy Thursday:

...They included: (1) The eating of the Easter lamb or the paschal meal; (2) The washing of the disciple's feet; (3) The institution of the Most Holy Eucharist (the first Mass at which Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, is the celebrant; the first Communion of the apostles; the first conferring of Holy Orders); (4) The foretelling of Judas' betrayal and Peter's denials; (5) The farewell discourse and priestly prayer of Jesus; (6) The agony and capture of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. — ©1947, With Christ Through the Year
In all the German speaking countries, Slavic nations and in Hungary this day is also known as "Green Thursday." The word is a corruption of the German word grunen (to mourn) to the German word for green (grün). Many people believe they must eat green at today's meal, which probably derives from from the Jewish Passover meal that included bitter herbs." (Catholic Culture)

How can we imitate Jesus' humility and love and wash others' feet? Who do we have in our lives that we can minister to today?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Mom's Corner" Monday morning on Ave Maria Radio!

Hi, Everyone,

Tomorrow morning (Monday) as we begin Holy Week, please take a few moments to tune in to my "Mom's Corner" segment with Teresa Tomeo. At about 9:10 AM Eastern Standard Time, Teresa Tomeo, host of "Catholic Connection" and I will be discussing Holy Week, Lent, as well as our recent Vatican trip to the International Women's Congress in celebration of twenty years after Pope John Paul II penned Mulieris Dignitatem.

I hope you can tune in at Ave Maria Radio. Just go here and then click the "listen live" button and be ready about 9:00 AM. Of course, you may also tune in earlier at 8:00 to hear Teresa during other segments. Our segment will be hopefully informative and sprinkled with some good humor! :) Feel free to call in to the show if you have an opportunity. The phone number will be announced on the show.

I hope you'll join Teresa Tomeo and me tomorrow morning to learn more about this celebration and perhaps how you may fit in to it all by tuning in to "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio and perhaps call in to the show or comment here to this post with any questions or comments.

"Talk" to you tomorrow morning!

Have a BLESSED Palm Sunday!

Fr. James's Palm Sunday Homily

The Humility of Jesus

When we encounter Jesus and the Gospel, we immediately sense that we are dealing with something that is not of this world. To be a Christian is not the same as being a member of an organization. When we join an organization, we make a commitment to the goals and objectives of the organization, but we still have our own private lives that we live outside of the meetings and activities of the organization.

Christianity is essentially different. When we embrace Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, we are faced with the reality that Jesus encompasses our entire being. Christianity is a way of life. Jesus wants to send his Spirit through every door and window of our soul.

Pope John Paul II once wrote: “It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out. A word, in any event, is not truly received until it is put into practice. Faith is a decision involving one’s whole existence. It is an encounter, a dialogue, a communion of love and of life between the believer and Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. It entails an act of trusting abandonment to Christ, which enables us to live as he lived, in profound love of God and of our brothers and sisters” (Veritatis Splendor, 88).

On Palm Sunday, we come face to face with Jesus. Thus, we come face to face with the reality of how we are to live our lives each day.

Jesus, the Savior of the world and the king of the universe was born in the humility of Bethlehem. All throughout the Gospels he taught his apostles and disciples the importance of humility.

His followers had already heard his piercing words:... (Continued here.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Behold Your Mother!

Interview with Heidi Hess Saxton
Behold Your Mother:
Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert

(Bezalel Books)

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Heidi Hess Saxton about her newest book, Behold Your Mother. Many of you may know Heidi through her many blogs and as Editor of Canticle magazine. I am delighted to have a copy of Heidi’s book, hot off the press! It’s a beautiful book, colored in Blessed Mother Mary blue and even bears an endorsement from me on the back cover. My endorsement reads, “In Behold Your Mother, Heidi Hess Saxton invites us to tug on Mother Mary’s apron strings to get her attention. Through personal and scripturally based reflections, Heidi offers us a glimpse of our Blessed Mother’s eminence but also her humanness to alleviate our fears of approaching her.”

I think Heidi has crafted a beautiful reflective book about our Blessed Mother that is suitable for both those who may be just getting acquainted with Mother Mary and those who may already feel close to her heart.

Before our interview, here are the words from the inside back cover of Heidi’s book:

"Heidi Hess Saxton converted to the Catholic faith in 1994, after spending thirty years actively participating in a variety of Christian traditions. Having pursued graduate studies (MA.Theo.) at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, Heidi lives with her husband and family in southern Michigan. She is editor of Canticle magazine, and adoptive parent columnist at and

Would you like to read more of Heidi’s work, or invite her to speak at your parish or women’s retreat? Contact her via e-mail at, or go to

"Behold Your Mother" for more Mary stories, quotes, images, and reflections from all over cyberspace.

“Mommy Monsters Inc” for “perpetually challenged” parents, especially adoptive and foster parents.

“Silent Canticle” for Catholic writers, especially those who want an inside look at “Canticle” magazine.

“Streams of Mercy” for converts and those who want to know more about God and the Catholic Church."

Heidi begins her Introduction with words from Pope John Paul the Great: “It is certain that just as Mary, the first among the redeemed, was especially close to the Cross of her Son, so she also had a privileged experience of the Risen One.” (Pope John Paul II, A Year With Mary)

Now for our interview:

Donna: Heidi, it’s very exciting that you are releasing your second book, titled, Behold Your Mother just in time for Easter! Would you please tell us a little bit about your book?

Heidi: Behold Your Mother is a kind of love song to Mary, our spiritual mother by adoption. The first section tells the story of I came to know Mary, first as a convert to the Catholic faith, and again as an adoptive mother. The second part consists of forty-eight reflections based on the titles of Mary and the images of her we find in the Scriptures. It’s just a little book – only about 70 pages. But it’s just the thing for someone who wants to understand why Catholics are “wild about Mary.”

Donna: I agree, I think it’s a perfect book to learn more about our Blessed Mother through a nice balance of Scripture, personal stories, reflection and prayer. Would you please tell us about your experience and journey writing this book and why you decided to write about the Blessed Mother?

Heidi: Many Christians – including new Catholic converts – have difficulty understanding or accepting why Catholics honor Mary. They think of her as a woman who “just happened” to be the one God used to bring His Son into the world. She turns up every year in the Christmas crèche, and gets put away with the wise men and shepherds. I was like that, even in the years immediately following my entrance into the Church. But over time, as I took a closer look at what the Church teaches about Mary, I found myself being drawn to her. And when I turned to her, even a little bit, she responded as only a mother can. This book is the result of those years of studying and pondering.

Donna: I like your description about how some people; even Christians view Mary and your analogy with the Christmas crèche. Do you plan to speak or write about the Blessed Mother after the publication of your book?

Heidi: Lord willing, I’d like that. One of my favorite talks to give is the “Seven Words of Mary in Scripture,” and how those seven “words” can lead us to cultivate a deeper prayer life. The reason for this is simple: true devotion to Mary always leads us closer to Jesus and His Father. She never keeps it for herself.

Cheryl Dickow and I are talking about putting together an online study group based on this book. Anyone who would be interested in participating in such a study can contact me at hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.

Donna: That is so true that Mary only leads us closer to Jesus and His Father and never holds our honor of her to herself. I know you touched on this a bit already, however I wonder if you think that there are Catholics who may not feel inclined or may even be leery about getting close to the Blessed Mother? If so, why might that be?

Heidi: I’ve met Christians who don’t feel Mary is a necessary part of their spiritual walk simply because they’ve always gone directly to God with their requests (although they see no harm in asking for a friend’s prayer support from time to time). Many such Christians confuse prayer with worship, when the essential character of worship involves sacrifice. (Perhaps consequently, those with the greatest difficulty with Mary tend to be those who struggle to believe in the Real Presence.)

Another group that resists Mary’s maternal efforts is those who are so enamored with the “Queen of Heaven” that they forget she was also Jesus’ human mother. She is not divine by nature (though she is full of the divine life because of Jesus). For that reason, I’ve tried to capture some of the more maternal, human moments in Mary’s life, to remind people of the ordinary life of this extraordinary woman.

Donna: Yes, and I think you do that well in this book and that is why I wrote what I did in my endorsement about Mary’s apron strings and her human side. Do you feel that your book, Behold Your Mother will help the average Catholic to learn more about Mary, possibly even help them to feel more inclined to beseech her?

Heidi: I’ve met people who have told me that the first edition of this book, in which I tell the story about Mary sending someone to sit with me in church three weeks in a row, inspired them to try it (with amazing results!). I hope this will be true for many people.

God loves all His children equally, and knows what each of us need to reach the next step in our spiritual journey. For many of us, that involves a bit of nurturing, something that comes to women naturally. And so, it is no wonder that Jesus gave His mother to us, to help us along. Fortunately, the fact of Mary’s maternity has nothing to do with our response. Whether or not we are ready to receive her ministrations, she stands ready and full of love, just waiting for that first moment of turning toward her.

Donna: That’s a beautiful explanation, Heidi. Was there any point in writing the book when you had to be especially careful that the creative process did not cause you to contradict Marian dogma?

Heidi: I can think of one time, when someone questioned whether it is proper to suggest that Mary had a natural labor and delivery. While we must absolutely assent to those aspects of Marian dogma that have been declared by the Church, including her Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity, there remain some issues connected with the Holy Family that have were debated by the Church Fathers, but have not been declared dogmatically.

One example would be whether Joseph was a widow or a virgin; while many apologists today explain the Scriptural references to Jesus' brothers and sisters by asserting that Joseph had children from a previous marriage, St. Jerome believed that Joseph, too, was a virgin all his life. St. Jerome wrote: "...I claim still more, that Joseph himself on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born. For if as a holy man he does not come under the imputation of fornication, and it is nowhere written that he had another wife, but was the guardian of Mary whom he was supposed to have to wife rather than her husband, the conclusion is that he who was thought worthy to be called father of the Lord, remained a virgin" (Jerome, The Perpetual Virginity of Mary Against Helvedius, 21 (A.D. 383).

I believe the question of how Jesus was brought into the world without violating Mary's perpetual virginity falls in the same category. That she remained a virgin cannot be questioned; how God accomplished this is a mystery. Some of the early Church Fathers believed she could not have experienced these things because she was without original sin, and so they concluded that she would not have fallen under Eve's curse ("In pain will you bring forth children...").

However, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was like us in every way except sin. God, who planted the Word in Mary’s womb miraculously, could have delivered the Infant Christ into the world just as miraculously, without damaging His mother’s hymen. Mary could have endured the natural bodily processes of labor and still remained virginal for the simple reason that God willed it so.

To me, Mary’s virginity and her suffering are really flip sides of the same “coin” of obedience. She was not spared other pain in connection with her motherhood – including having to watch her own son die a criminal’s death. A few hours of labor seem like a trifling thing by comparison … and a natural delivery would have been one more way that the Incarnate Christ was truly “one of us.”

Donna: That is really interesting. Thank you for that detailed explanation. Would you also please tell us a little bit about the process of writing this book?

Heidi: I was asked to write this little book by Jim Manney, now editorial director at Loyola Press. He knew that as a Catholic convert I would handle the subject differently than a cradle Catholic. First, I mined the Scriptures for anything about Mary, and then I scouted around for honorific titles that have been bestowed upon her over the centuries. Finally, I began to meditate on each of the Scripture passages, trying to place myself in the scene. From there the book practically wrote itself.

When the book went out of print, I was disappointed. But then I became a mother myself, and suddenly gained new insight into what it means to be a part of God’s “adopted family” (or, as we call it, his “forever family”). My early experiences of motherhood provided a new dimension to my own relationship with Mary. And as I began to journal about it, I realize that this was the other half of the book … the half that didn’t make it into the original edition. The most important part!

So, when I discovered that Cheryl and I would be speaking at the same women’s conference in April, we sat down and decided that this would be a good time to bring out the book, with the new material and title. I see it as God’s hand orchestrating the circumstances … It’s exciting to see the little book take off.

Donna: That’s really wonderful that when the first door closed (after your book went out of print) the next door opened wide in perhaps an even more perfect manner, because you could then include that whole new dimension and all of the elements that became so alive for you after you became a mother. Heidi, would you mind telling us a little bit about your background and your family life?

Heidi: I was raised in a Christian home, by two parents who believed God answers prayers. I was taught to talk to God every day, and expect that He would both hear me and answer me. Early on, I understood that God loves me and wants me to love Him, too.

Unfortunately, I also became extremely proud of my “relationship with God,” which led me to conclude that I didn’t need anyone else to help me grow. Because He is the best Father, God does not allow His children to remain for long in this condition. Instead, He orchestrated circumstances to bring me off my spiritual high horse. I had to become a child again, ready to receive from God anything He wanted to give me. One of the most important ways He did this was by leading me into the Church.

As I went through RCIA and learned about the “communion of the saints,” I found it an interesting piece of information, but not personally relevant. After all, I felt that I had an “inside track” with God. I had no need for rosaries or for Mary. Or so I thought. Finally, God brought me to a place when I was absolutely alone – across the country from all my friends and family – to make me see that I needed my spiritual family as well. As I allowed myself to get close to Mary, I realized what a gift I had been given. This realization hit me in a new and fresh way after I became a mother, by adoption, to two beautiful children. It was then that Mary’s motherhood to me “clicked.”

Donna: Our Lord, the Divine Physician knows exactly what we need and when we need it, doesn’t He? These really profound experiences oftentimes occur when we are a bit vulnerable and in a position where we must depend only on Him and not our friends or family, I find. Heidi, are there any experiences that you may want to share that may have been responsible in nudging you to write this book?

Heidi: Yes … I write about it at length in Behold Your Mother. My initial tentative efforts to get to know Mary were amply rewarded. A series of events, culminating in the experiences I had with my own children, helped me to understand the adopted love that God has for us, and how that love was demonstrated in a special way when Jesus gave us His loving mother to intercede for us.

The relationship that we build with Mary does not detract from our relationship with God, any more than the relationship my children build with me detracts from their relationship with God. God knows we are not strong creatures, and that we need a lot of help to get us where He wants us to go. So He provides for us these human relationships so that we have the support we need to stay “on track” all the way to heaven.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches,” Our Lord told us. “If you remain in me, and I remain in you, then you shall bear much fruit.” In this life and the next one, we are all one family in Christ … the communion of the saints connects all three branches of the Church (militant, suffering, and triumphant). If we remain close to Jesus, we will continue to bear spiritual fruit in our own lives … and stay connected to our brothers and sisters in faith in this life as well as the next. God is pleased when we stay close to our spiritual family, for in this way we reflect the divine nature, which is a communion of love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Donna: That is indeed a very meaningful Scripture passage. Could you share with us your favorite Scripture passage if you have one?

Heidi: My favorite Scripture passage is Psalms 107:23-30

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works of the deep.
For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men,
and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.

I love this passage for many reasons, but especially because I think it's such a beautiful metaphor for the human condition. Only when circumstances
are such that we reach the end of ourselves, stumbling and staggering in utter futility, do we think to cry out to God, who hears and delivers us.

Maybe I love it so much simply because it paints a fairly accurate picture of my own life. (If you read my article in the Lent issue of canticle magazine, you know what I mean.)

For this reason, "Mary, Star of the Sea" resonates with me. She takes pity on her staggering, swaggering, whiney children, and tugs on the sleeve of her Son
saying, "There! Can't you see? DO something!"

And he does. He always does. He draws us to the haven our hearts crave ... he drives us to himself.

Donna: I love your explanation and description of Mother Mary prodding her Son on to help us whiny children! On a personal note, may I ask how your family feels about the fact that you are an author?

Heidi: My children are still young enough that they are happy to see their names in print, and don’t get embarrassed if I talk about them. They like to hear the stories I wrote about over and over, because it is part of their family history. My husband Craig, the world’s most supportive husband, is happy to see me using my gift.

With extended family, the reaction can be a little more complex. No one else in our families are practicing Catholics, and it is difficult to share with them as freely as I can with those who are genuinely eager to hear what I have to say. But I was tickled when my Baptist sister told me that she stayed up all night to read it! “I think I’m beginning to understand why you love Mary so much,” she said to me. “I’m not there yet, but I get it why you are.” That was the greatest compliment I’ve received to date.

Donna: Wow! That’s great! I’m sure that Mother Mary will accomplish the rest in time. Heidi, is there something you’d like to add that I have forgotten to ask you?

Heidi: It’s important to remember that asking the saints – even Mary – to pray for a particular situation isn’t like sticking a quarter in the gumball machine. It isn’t magic, manipulating cosmic forces to do our own bidding. When we ask the saints to pray for us, we are asking them to walk with us as we follow the path God has chosen for us. Sometimes that means you get your miracle. Other times you simply get the strength to endure.

Having said that, God is incredibly generous with His children. He can handle our honest questions, and responds to the heart that is open to receiving from His hand anything He wishes to give. When we ask Mary to pray for us, we must be willing to trust that the answer that comes – even if the answer is “no” or “not yet” – is the answer that best fulfills God’s will for us here and now. Our human experience is one long lesson in trust and faith, and of letting go of things that are keeping us from the perfection God wants to work in us. That means we must continually be ready to offer our “Yes” to God … just as Mary did when the angel appeared to her two thousand years ago.

Donna: Heidi, thank you very much for doing this interview with me at a time when I am sure you are so very busy! I pray that Behold Your Mother may help inspire countless people to come closer to the Blessed Mother who will in turn bring them closer to her Son, Jesus!

You may purchase an autographed copy of “Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert” through Heidi’s website: Heidi's website. Heidi tells us that all copies ordered prior to 3/15 will receive free shipping (if ordered in the continental U.S.). For non-US customers, she asks to please order through

Friday, March 14, 2008

Only two more days to vote!

I will bring to your attention once again that it is time to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs and you only have a couple of days to do it! There are many categories and blogs to choose from. I hope that you'll take the time to vote for some blogs that you have been enjoying.

I will repeat my recent information.

I was pleasantly very surprised to find out that two of my blogs were nominated in three categories.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, I am not expecting to win anything. There are many fabulous Catholic blogs out there deserving awards. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


Pope Benedict's third encyclical, "Love In Truth"

Vatican City, Mar 14, 2008 / 01:10 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical will discuss Catholic social teaching, touching on issues as varied as poverty, peace, wars, international cooperation, energy sources, and globalization.

The encyclical will be titled “Caritas in Veritate,” “Love In Truth,” La Repubblica reports.

“Caritas in Veritate” will be Pope Benedict’s third encyclical. His first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” examined the virtue of love while the second, “Spe Salvi,” focused upon the virtue of hope.

The four-chapter encyclical will no longer be published on May 1 as previously planned, but will be delayed so that translations, especially the Chinese translation, may be completed.

The decision to offer a Chinese version of the encyclical comes at a time when Pope Benedict is seeking to improve relations with the Chinese government.

Last June, he sent a letter offering dialogue with Chinese authorities. In September, Chinese priest Father Joseph Li Shan was installed as Bishop of Beijing with the approval of the Pope, an event that has not happened in fifty years...
(Continued here.)

Burying Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho...

Kremlis, Mar 14, 2008 / 10:23 am (CNA).- Thousands of mourners gathered in the Christian village of Kremlis, Iraq today to bury Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, whose body was discovered yesterday.

The funeral procession included a throng of thousands who cried and wailed as the archbishop’s coffin was carried on the shoulders of about ten men. Security was very tight with a large number of soldiers as well as armored vehicles patrolling the village center.

Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, who is the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, wept as he led the funeral Mass for the archbishop and called on Christians not to seek revenge for their shepherd’s death... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Please keep Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in your prayers

Baghdad, Mar 11, 2008 / 12:43 pm (CNA).- The Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikat, expressed his concern over the state of health of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who was violently kidnapped on February 29. He also pleaded for his quick release.

“While we are comforted by the solidarity of the authorities, we are very concerned. We haven’t had any news for the last two or three days. We would like to at least hear his voice. We also fear that he was wounded during the bloody kidnapping,” Bishop Chullikat said, according to a report in L’Osservatore Romano.

The nuncio also noted that Archbishop Faraj Rahho “is ill. Last year... (Continued here.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

My interview with Chris Cash on Catholic Spotlight today!

You can hear my interview with Chris Cash today at Catholic Spotlight. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and pull your chair up to the computer. Chris and I talk about my visit to the Vatican, Mulieris Dignitatem, and Pope John Paul II, as well as my books and my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book coming out in about a week! When you're ready click here!

Interview on Catholic Exchange with Teresa Tomeo

Check out this article at Catholic Exchange today. Cheryl Dickow interviews Teresa Tomeo about the International women's congress that we recently attended in Rome. Here's the article.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Lazarus Come Out
Holy week is only one week away. It is important that we not only persevere in the Lenten proposals that we made on Ash Wednesday, we should also begin to intensify our spiritual practices so that the change that we are seeking will really take place. This Sunday’s liturgy provides profound spirituality and motivation that will help us deepen our efforts.

Because of the climate of the Holy Land, burial followed death as quickly as possible. By the time Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish funeral rite had become corrupted. The funeral had become exceedingly costly. The finest spices and ointments were used to anoint the body. The body was clothed in the most magnificent robes and all kinds of valuables were buried in the tomb along with the body. Naturally, no one wished to be outdone by his neighbor. A funeral had become an intolerable burden that no one wanted to change, until the famous Rabbi Gamaliel, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, ordered that he was to be buried in the simplest possible linen robe and thus broke the extravagance of funeral customs... (Continued here.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gus Lloyd and his show, "Seize the Day!"

This morning I had the pleasure of being a guest on Gus Lloyd's show, "Seize the Day" on Sirius Radio. Gus seems like a "wild and crazy" kind of guy, in a good sense - totally. He's full of life and humor and very serious about his faith. Gus was very gracious to me and I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him. There was only one problem with it and that is that it went by far too fast. I wish I could sit down with him and over a cup of tea or cappuccino (my Rome beverage), just talk about our faith! That would be awesome. For now, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to have our little chat. As soon as I receive the CD from Gus's very kind and accommodating producer, I will convert it and post it here at my blog (and my other blogs) for your listening pleasure. :)

You can hear Gus hosting "Seize the Day," weekday mornings from 6-10 A.M. Eastern Standard Time on "The Catholic Channel" on Sirius 159. from his website you can click on "Radio Guests" to see recent guests and links to their websites. You can visit The Catholic Channel web site at

You should go and check out Gus's website. There's a lot of interesting things going on there. He even does a daily sixty second reflection on the day's Gospel message that you can then ponder yourself.

From his website: "Spend one minute with Gus each day with his :60 Reflections. Each day Gus shares a brief synopsis of the Holy Scriptures in that day's liturgy, as well as a brief, thought-provoking reflection. Start your day with God's word on your mind, on your heart and on your lips. Just click on ":60 Reflections" and join others in prayer!"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Vote for your favorite Catholic blogs!

Now that I have my nifty little Catholic Blog Awards image, I will bring to your attention once again that it is time to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs and there are many categories and blogs to choose from. I am not here asking you for your votes - seriously. Well, actually I am asking for votes - for somebody - anybody - whomever you want to vote for. Just vote!

I will repeat my information from the other day.

I was pleasantly very surprised to find out that two of my blogs were nominated in three categories.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, it doesn't matter if I win anything. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


"For All Humanity," my article in Lay Witness magazine

For All of Humanity
A Report from the International Congress on Mulieris Dignitatem
held in Rome, February 7–9, 2008

by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Pilgrimaging to the Eternal City were 260 delegates comprising mostly women and a few men from all corners of the world. They represented 46 countries and five continents called together by the Pontifical Council for the Laity to partake in the International Congress marking the twentieth anniversary of the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem.

Mulieris Dignitatem (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”), presented by Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1988, is the first apostolic letter totally dedicated to women. The Pontifical Council for the Laity saw a need to... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Friday on "Seize the Day" with Gus Lloyd on Sirius Radio 159

On Friday at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time I will be chatting with Gus Lloyd on his show "Seize the Day" on Sirius Radio 159. I understand you can resister for a free three day trial of Sirius Radio and can find out the details by going to the website. If you sign up now, you'll be able to tune in to our conversation! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

a "Quiet" Catholic carnival

Sarah from Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering said, "In this collection of posts, you're going to find quiet, one way or another. You'll find it in a rather ironic way, through the words of a Catholic blogger. Those words, though, aren't so much a part of shattering your quiet as they are a part of pointing you to the quiet. Isn't it funny how God works?" Go on over to the "Quiet" Catholic carnival that Sarah hosted this week (and many other weeks!)

Catholic Blog Awards - time to vote!

Goodness gracious! I am pleasantly surprised to find out today that two of my blogs have been nominated in three categories for the Catholic Blog Awards! Thank you whomever nominated me. :) I happened to go over to Sarah's place at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" earlier today to check on the Catholic Carnival and I found her post about the Catholic Blog Awards. I am new to all of this blogging, (I started last year) however, I've seen all of the hubbub about the awards last year.

I thought that I would get around to nominate some amazing Catholic blogs this year but I didn't realize that it was that time because I have been so busy lately. I just returned from Rome - the International Congress at the Vatican, I am recovering from a car accident, AND my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book is being released in a couple of weeks! There have been so many media interviews to do and articles to write...Needless to say, there just are not enough hours in the day and I missed the nominating part. I'll be sure to do that next year, God willing. :) For this year, I will indeed be voting. It will be tough since there are incredible Catholic blogs out there.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, it doesn't matter if I win anything. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mary DeTurris Poust's new book!

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Mary DeTurris Poust about her new book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Catholic Catechism to be released in only a couple of days!

Interview with author, Mary DeTurris Poust
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism


First, from the inside back cover of Mary’s book:

"Mary DeTurris Poust is an award-winning columnist, journalist, and author whose work has appeared in both Catholic and secular magazines and newspapers across the country for more than two decades. She is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic news weekly, and the author of Parenting a Grieving Child: Helping Children Find Faith, Hope, and Healing After the Loss of a Loved One (Loyola Press, 2002). Her column Life Lines, which focuses on parenting and family life from a faith perspective, appears monthly in Catholic New York and other regional and national newspapers and frequently in the Times Union of Albany, N.Y.
Mary is the former managing editor of Manhattan-based Catholic New York and the former associate editor of The Catholic Spirit in Austin, Texas. She has also worked for the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., and the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. In addition, she writes behind the scenes for a number of religious communities and organizations.
A graduate of Pace University, Mary has been honored by the Catholic Press Association numerous times for her news writing, feature writing, investigative reporting, and for her column.
Mary, her husband, Dennis, and their three children live in upstate New York."

Donna: Mary, it’s very exciting that you are releasing your second book, titled, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism in just two days! Would you please tell us a little bit about the book

Mary: I guess the first thing people need to know is that this book is completely faithful to the full Catechism of the Catholic Church and, in fact, can and should be used as a study guide. It certainly can be read on its own as a stand-alone book, but it would be especially effective to have the full catechism on hand when you read my book. Except for an introductory section that explains the history of catechisms and how they should be used, my book shadows the structure of the full catechism so that people can use the two side-by-side. Where the catechism is almost 1,000 pages and is written in theological language, mine clocks in at 336 pages and is written in popular language with lots of definitions and explanations along the way.

Donna: To write about the Catechism of the Catholic Church seems like it would be an overwhelming experience to say the very least. Would you please tell us about your experience and journey writing this book and perhaps even why you decided to write about the Catechism?

Mary: When I first accepted this project, I was a little intimidated. I had never read the catechism cover to cover; I had used it only as a reference tool. My publisher gave me only three months to write the entire manuscript, so that made it all the more challenging. Still, it turned out to be not only a wonderful professional experience but an amazing spiritual experience for me. I found myself hearing the prayers of the Mass as if for the first time. Everything sounded new because I was spending so much time reading and reflecting on these beliefs that I had been professing my whole life. It is my hope that my readers will experience some of that as well. I think we can get so used to our faith that we often take elements of it for granted. When you have to sit with these teachings and put them into context and really think about them in a different way, it can have a profound impact, at least it did for me.

Donna: That’s wonderful! Do you plan to speak or write about the Catechism and its implications on Catholics after the publication of your book?

Mary: Yes, I will be writing about the book for Our Sunday Visitor, and I will be posting daily doses of catechism on my own blog every day. Beyond that, I will speak and write on this subject as opportunities come up. I think it’s so important to remind people that the catechism is not something reserved for bishops or priests or those working for the Church. I’m hoping my book will make the beauty of the larger catechism more accessible to everyday Catholics as well as non-Catholics who simply want to better understand the Catholic faith.

Donna: I hope that you do post about it on at least a semi-regular basis. I think people will be interested and I agree that it’s important to help the average Catholic understand that the Catechism is not reserved for the clergy but is for all of us. What part or parts of the Catechism do you feel most Catholics may have trouble understanding? In reading your book, do you think they will be more able to understand?

Mary: I think a lot of people hear catechism and think of rules and regulations; they don’t realize that so much of the catechism focuses on spiritual teachings and prayers. For me the most beautiful part of the catechism is its focus on basic Catholic beliefs, specifically the things outlined in the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds. I wrote seven chapters on the creeds alone. Line by line, I go through these prayers and break down what we’re professing to believe. I hope that my book will do for others what writing this book did for me: Bring those professions of faith alive in new ways. I also hope people will come away with a much deeper understanding of where our teachings come from, that they don’t exist in a vacuum and weren’t created out of nothing. They all grow out of Scripture and Tradition, and it’s incredibly beautiful to watch that unfold.

Donna: That sounds incredible, I loved how you expressed the way this all came alive for you and your hopes for others who read your book. Do you feel that your book, The Complete Idiots Guide to the Catholic Catechism will help the average Catholic in their understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Church teachings?

Mary: I absolutely think this book can help Catholics, future Catholics, even non-Catholics who want to try to understand what Catholics believe. That’s not because I’ve come up with anything new and inventive. I simply took what the Church has taught for thousands of years and rewrote it in an easier-to-understand, popular style -- with some elements of humor thrown in when appropriate. In addition to following all the basics of the catechism, I’ve added in some extra “sidebars” to deal with definitions of difficult terms, explanations of especially confusing teachings, and myths that need to be debunked. It was actually really fun to write.

Donna: I personally can’t wait to get my hands on this book! The added sidebars sound interesting and a great way to enhance the book. Will your book bear a Nihil Obstat or an Imprimatur?

Mary: Yes, the book has both. The imprimatur was given by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. It was very important to me to get an imprimatur on this book because of the subject matter. I want people to know that they can trust that this popular translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is completely true to Church teaching.

That was also why it was so important to have a theological advisor on this book. Every page I wrote was sent to Msgr. David Fulton, a brilliant theologian and professor at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He would send back reams of notes, comments and suggestions, which I then incorporated into my manuscript.

Donna: That’s great that you had his help and support. Still, I imagine that taking on such a task as you have in explaining the Catholic Catechism must have been a bit daunting. Was this your experience? Please tell us a little bit about the process.

Mary: In one sense it was daunting, and in another it was easier than I expected because the full catechism is so well structured. Once I got into a groove, I was moving through sections pretty quickly. I took it in chunks: For example, I would read the section on the creeds and then write. Read the section on the sacraments and write, and so on with the sections on the commandments and prayer.

On top of that, the fact that I felt like I was moving deeper into my own faith experience with every page made it much more bearable than if I had been writing about something that didn’t mean that much to me. I feel I was meant to write this book. Not because I was the only writer who could do it – obviously that’s not the case – but because I needed to write this book. In the “Dear Reader” letter at the start of the book, I wrote that I needed to become “an eager explorer in the familiar territory of my own faith.” That made what could have been an overwhelming professional venture into a profound spiritual mission.

Donna: Thank you for explaining your process and experience of going deeper in your own faith experience. Mary, would you please tell us a little bit about your background and your family life?

Mary: I was raised a Catholic and was very active in the Church as a child and teen-ager. My mother had a tremendous influence on my faith. Through her I came to see Church and faith as something intricately intertwined with the rest of my life. When I graduated from college, I took an internship at Catholic New York, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York. From there I went to the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., and then back to Catholic New York as a reporter. After a brief stint in Austin, Texas, that included the beginnings of my free-lance career in the Catholic press, I returned to Catholic New York as managing editor. I’m still writing for Catholic New York; they publish my monthly column, Life Lines, which focuses on family life and how we live out our faith in the world.

My first book, Parenting a Grieving Child: Helping Children Find Faith, Hope and Healing After the Loss of a Loved One, was published by Loyola Press in 2002. Currently I am a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor and a contributor to various other Catholic and secular publications. In addition, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes writing for religious congregations. I also just recently jumped into the world of blogging, which is a daily adventure.

Donna:What actually inspired you to write this book?

Mary: Actually, I had no intention of writing this book. In fact, I didn’t really think I was going to write a second book at all. But, as I say now, this book found me. When the job came up, I sat with it and prayed on it and really tried to decide if this was something I wanted to write about. Having written one book before this, I’m of the mind that you’d better really believe in your subject if you’re going to spend that many days and nights wrapped up in it. I knew this was something I believed in on the most profound level, so I figured I’d step off the ledge and God would take care of the rest.

Donna: I’m so glad you did decide to “step off the ledge” and let God take care of the rest and I am sure that the readers of your new book will feel the same way. On a personal note, may I ask how your family feels about the fact that you are an author?

Mary: My family is very supportive; my dad and step-mom and brother and aunts are coming from hours away for my book release party, which is beyond the call of duty, I think. My husband is a tremendous support because he’s the one who bears the burden when I decide to write a book, especially in a three-month time frame. There were lots of weekends and nights when I was completely absent and he was running the show. I couldn’t have done it without him.

My children think it’s cool that I write books and articles and columns, but not nearly as cool as if I was writing Magic Tree House books. It used to be that whenever they saw a column of mine in a paper with my photo on it, they’d say, “Mom’s famous.” Finally they realized that the columns weren’t exactly translating into fame. Now I think they’ve finally realize that this is not just my job, this is my life. I cannot separate the writer in me from the rest of my life, any more than I could separate out the Catholic part of me. The fact that I’ve managed to combine these two key elements of my personality is just a mind-boggling blessing to me.

Donna: Is there something you’d like to add that I have forgotten to ask you?

Mary: I think I’ve said more than enough. :)

Donna: Well, you certainly did not say “More than enough.” I have enjoyed every minute of our interview and I am sure that our visitors will, as well. I think you had better rest up your signing hand and get ready to autograph all of those books!

Thank you very much Mary for your time to answer so many questions when you are getting ready to launch your new book. May God bless you and everyone who reads your book and bring them ever deeper into the fullness of the faith!


You may purchase this book at Mary's website: or Amazon.Com by clicking on her book in my right column in "My Media Library"

Visit Mary's website at Mary DeTurris Poust.Com
Visit Mary's daily blog at Mary's blog

Coming up - interview with Mary DeTurris Poust!

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Blind Shall See

This Sunday’s gospel narrative allows us to examine closely the intense and ever increasing tension developing between the Pharisees who can see physically, but are spiritually blind, and a simple, humble man who is physically blind, but who eventually is able to see who Jesus really is.

The Pharisees deny that which is evident: Jesus healed the man born blind. They refuse to accept that which is obvious. Is not this the situation of our contemporary world?

For example, it is obvious and evident that life begins at the moment of conception, and yet in the face of scientific proof, many continue to promote abortion. If human life did not begin at the moment of conception, why would an abortion be necessary in the first place?

Furthermore, a blind humanity continues to advance destructive practices such as embryonic stem-cell research, homosexual marriages, euthanasia, and human cloning. Many refuse to see the consequences of godless behavior on human society. How much more destruction must take place before people begin to see the truth?

Unfortunately, our own country has become profoundly divided between two opposing forces. On the one hand, the radical left decries any appearance of traditional values in the name of individual rights. When Americans speak out in support of family values, they respond by questioning the substance of these values.

On the other hand, the radical right can be just as polarizing as their counterparts on the left. They decry the immorality of our times, but they are usually void of any Christian charity.

Similarly, this ideological battlefield has caused a profound division in the Catholic Church in America. During a past ad limina visit, Chicago’s Cardinal George addressed these words to Pope John Paul II:

“The Church's mission is threatened internally by divisions which paralyze her ability to act... (Continued here.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Article in FAITH section of the Republican American newspaper

Trip helps fuel O'Boyle's desire to help
(click title above to see actual article with photo)

Trip helps fuel O’Boyle’s desire to help

Donna Cooper O’Boyle’s recent trip to Rome charged her eager­ness to help foster Catholic women.

The New Milford author re­cently served as a delegate at The Pontifical Council for the Laity’s International Congress, “Women and man, the hu­manum in its entirety.” The meeting marked the 20th an­niversary of Mulieris Digni­tatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, which was written by Pope John Paul II. His publication can be found online at www.dignityof­

O’Boyle was one of 260 peo­ple from 46 countries and five continents invited to the con­gress.

“The amazing part for me was that people from all cor­ners of the Earth were there to discuss the apostolate letter written by Pope John Paul II 20 years ago. We (the U.S. del­egates) really bonded over there,” she said. “I had a good time. It was joy sprinkled in with intense workshops.”

O’Boyle got back from Rome on Feb. 12 and said she’s still digesting all that she learned while at the congress.

“So much was presented to us, I have three notebooks filled with notes,” she said.

The three-day congress ad­dressed the advancement of women, cultural trends, women’s responsibilities in church and society, women’s dignity, family, technology and several other related topics.

She said women have been exploited by United States con­sumerism and technology, not­ing that it’s not the exterior that matters, but, rather, a woman’s intellect, heart and spirit.

“I believe women have real­ly been sold out,” she said.

O’Boyle said women have al­ways been equal to men, but have been taught to feel inferi­or to men.

“We have complimentary roles... We are equal,” she said. “We just have our own unique gifts.”

She has studied Mulieris Dignitatem thoroughly and said the congress affirmed and motivated her to continue with what she’s been doing through the books and articles she’s published — to bring Pope John Paul II’s message of restoration and hope to women in homes and parishes around the world.

“There’s work to be done,” she said. “It’s going to be a busy 2008 and beyond.”

While at the Vatican, O’Boyle said she especially connected with Broadcast Journalist Teresa Tomeo of Michigan. She said they felt called to host retreats together for Catholic women. She said that Tomeo will focus on cul­ture issues and O’Boyle will fo­cus on family and motherhood.

O’Boyle also plans on speak­ing and writing about women’s issues.

Her most recent book, “The Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration from your Favorite Saints” will be released in March.

You can learn more about O’Boyle and read her blogs at