Monday, December 28, 2009

Lessons from Mother Teresa

Lessons from Mother Teresa
Taking One’s Faith ‘Out in the Streets’

By Alice Tessier

In this season of extending one’s hand in an expression of good will and sharing
with those we hold most dear, a New Milford author brings the message that this
is, at heart, what we have to offer anyone and what the impoverished of life’s circumstances, or of spirit, most need. Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, in her new book, “Mother Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle in her new book, “Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship,” shares lessons of personal action as well as spiritual growth she learned from a stellar guide, the Roman Catholic nun who forced the world to recognize its neglect of the poor and to do something about it. Mother Teresa, who was born in Macedonia of Albanian descent and entered the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish religious order that had missions in India, became a catalyst for change through the immediacy of her ministrations to the most
wretched populations in the slums of Calcutta and then beyond. The results the
author cites in her book are staggering: “…this humble but feisty and persistent
woman established 610 foundations in 123 countries on every continent with nearly
4,000 sisters by the time of her death (in 1997, at age 87].

“She also established the Missionaries of Charity brothers, fathers, coworkers,
coworkers of the sick and suffering, and the lay Missionaries of Charity,” Ms.
Cooper O’Boyle stated, noting that she herself is a lay member. “One woman’s ‘yes’ was the catalyst for change,” the author said. “She made a profound impact in the world, but she said of herself, ‘I’m just a stubby little pencil in His [God’s] hand.” Although the suburban mother, who is dedicated to living her faith through her everyday life, has not traveled the world to minister to the needs of the impoverished, she said she understands the greater lesson to be learned from the example of Blessed Mother Teresa, who has been beatified by the Catholic Church. “Calcutta is all over the world for those who are willing to see it,” she said in an interview last week. “We are to love people in our midst—our homes, workplaces, communities—the need is there.” Ms. Cooper O’Boyle strives to help those within her reach—which is now a broad reach indeed—through her books, columns, blog and other writings; speaking engagements at retreats and other venues; and her television appearances, on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). And even more directly, welcoming personal exchanges. The author, in her new book, tells of how...(Continued here.)

(The online and print version of this article had a mistake about my website address, stating that it was when it is really . I mention this so that people doing a search or using the wrong address will be redirected here and then eventually find my website.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas yesterday. I was so busy yesterday that I didn't get a chance to post a message. My Christmas day began with a beautiful Mass on Christmas Eve and my Christmas day was filled with prayers, laughter, fun, conversation, sharing, cooking, baking, visiting with family and friends (over the phone too), hard work to get everything done, and collapsing at the end of the day in the living room, finally, to then top off the wonderful day playing a fun game with the family.

I hope that your Christmas was holy, beautiful and memorable - creating memories for future generations! Imagine that!

God bless and hugs!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Our radio chat this morning

Here's the segment of Teresa Tomeo and I chatting this morning on "Catholic Connection." Pull up your chair and "join us." Just click here.

If you get your orders to me asap meaning TODAY, I will send them out Priority mail to you today to receive in time for Christmas, God willing!

God bless you!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Mother Teresa and the Poor in Our Midst

"What struck me the most about Mother Teresa when I saw her for the first time was her diminutive size. There stood the world renowned peacemaker, lover of the world’s poor and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient — a giant — but in the body of someone not much taller than my young daughter!

I first caught sight of Blessed Teresa in the flesh a little more than twenty years ago in the Missionary of Charity convent chapel as she came in for daily Mass. I had been visiting..." (Continued at Catholic Exchange today)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Radio in the morning: join us!

Join me tomorrow (Friday) on Sacred Heart Radio with Brian Patrick. I'll be chatting with him at 8:50 AM Eastern time. You can tune in here. Just click on the "listen online" button at the top of the page.

We'll be talking about my new book: Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship.

Talk to you soon!

God bless!


You can win my new book!

Go on over to Faith & Family Live to see how you can win a copy of my newest book: Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship by clicking here.

Also, very soon the podcast will be posted of Lisa Hendey interviewing me today about the book. Stay tuned or keep checking the Faith & Family website (link above) for the podcast.

I hope you win a book! Go over and take a look to see how you can win. It's very easy but the deadline is fast approaching.

Autographed copies of my new book are still available from my website: and I will be including a Miraculous medal blessed by Pope Benedict while I was in Rome recently while supplies last. I am doing my very best to fill all orders and get them right out so you may have them in time for Christmas, God willing!

God bless and hugs!


LIVE radio this morning!

This morning (on Thursday, December 17th), I will be a guest on Gus Lloyd's show: Seize the Day!. We'll be chatting about my new book. This show will be LIVE. You can tune in at 9:35 AM Eastern time. I won't have a link to give you to listen in until the end of December in case you can't tune to this morning.

Also today, at I will be doing a chat with a dear friend, Lisa Hendey who will be interviewing me for a Faith & Family podcast. I will let you know when it will air or you can check later on today on the Faith & Family Live website.

Talk to you later!

God bless and hugs!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fr. James's Sunday Homily: Third Sunday of Advent: REJOICE!

Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. His life teaches us that true joy is not to be found in material wealth and power. One night he wept in his tent and said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."

With the lighting of the pink candle of the Advent Wreath, we are reminded that we are called to live with joy. Today's liturgy underlines the message of elation with the words of St. Paul: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18).

Christianity is a joyful religion. The birth of the Savior brings joy to the world. He is the only source of true joy. “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels”. (Isaiah 61: 10).

Who else but the Messiah can cause the entire world to celebrate the feast of Christmas year after year? Who else but the Messiah can cause so many people to sing joyful Christmas carols, decorate homes with cheerful lights, and erect beautifully decorated trees in living rooms? Who else but the Messiah can cause so many people to exchange gifts and cards with such kindness and affection? Who else but the Messiah can cause such a yearly outpouring of joy?

Even though the Messiah brings us such joy by saving us from sin, adversity is still with us. However, just think what life's difficulties would be like without Jesus. The weight of daily challenges would crush us. He gives us the power to be joyful and to persevere. “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God”. (Isaiah 61: 1-2).

In this Sunday’s gospel narrative, we are reminded that we can only experience true joy when we are converted to the Lord. Belief in the Lord implies conversion. “I baptize with water; but there is one among you who you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie” (John 1: 26-27).

As a third-century man was anticipating death, he wrote these last words to a friend: "It's a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians - and I am one of them."

This Sunday’s liturgy reminds us that Christianity is a joyful experience. We know that only the Lord will give us true joy and that he will give us the strength to overcome the challenges and difficulties of life. Patience is essential if we are to be joyful and never allow ourselves to be crushed by the difficulties of life. Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18).

The challenges of life will always be with us, but each day we have a choice: the choice to be happy or the choice to be miserable. Each day we can make the choice to conqueror life and soar despite the difficulties that come to us, or we can make the choice to wallow in self-pity. When we make the choice to live joyful lives, our soul opens up to the action of the Holy Spirit and he fills our whole being with his power.

(Visit Fr. James's blog here.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Interview with Author, Patti Maguire Armstrong

Dear God, I Don’t Get It

By Patti Maguire Armstrong

Published by Bezalel Books
ISBN # 978-0-9821222-3-5

I recently enjoyed the pleasure of an interview with author, speaker and "Mother Extra-Ordinare," Patti Maguire Armstrong about her newest book: Dear God, I Don't Get It."

First, here's a little background on Patti and her husband, Mark:

Patti and Mark Armstrong live in North Dakota and are the parents of ten children, eight boys and two girls, including two adopted AIDS orphans from Kenya. Patti worked in the field of social work and public administration before staying home full-time to raise her children. As a freelance writer, Patti has published more than 400 articles for both secular and religious publications and eight books. Her latest book, "Dear God, I don't get it!" is her first children's book. She has authored the book "Catholic Truths for Our Children" from Scepter Publishers as a guide to help parents pass on their Catholic faith, and serves as the managing editor and co-author of the Catholic best-selling Amazing Grace book series available at Ascension Press. Patti has been a guest on EWTN Television's "Live" program with Father Mitch Pacwa and Doug Keck's "Bookmark" program and other Catholic Radio programs around the country. Patti has also written many articles on the Catholic Exchange website and for Today's Catholic Women.

Here's my endorsement for Patti's book which is inside the book:

"Dear God, I Don't Get It is simply delightful! Intended for a second to fifth grade reader, the story entertains and engages as the main character, fifth-grader Aaron Ajax, grapples with everyday life in a family and his faith in God. The story is very relatable, taking us through Aaron’s upheaval when his family is transferred to another state and his journey to eventual acceptance of God’s will in his life. Throughout it all, you will come to love Aaron and his family. The world needs more books like this one!"

Now, for our interview:

DONNA-MARIE: Patti, thanks for taking the time out for this interview. Your book looks lovely and as I said in my endorsement, it is “simply delightful!” I loved reading the manuscript and felt that even though it is written for third to sixth-graders it is engaging and also relatable to parents as well. Hopefully, it will be a book shared and discussed between them. I have a feeling you know something about growing boys! After all, you have 8 of them, right? You have ten children, don’t you? Do you think you could tell us why you wrote this book in the first place?

PATTI: “Why” is a funny question for a writer, as I’m sure you know. It’s all about inspiration. When I started writing, I never could have told you where the story was going or how it was going to end. It seemed to unfold as I wrote. That being said, there was also a personal desire on my part to explore the questions and confusion related to prayer. People that lose their faith, often do so either because they stopped praying or because they felt their prayers went unanswered. Parents tell their children that God hears our prayers, but it is a much tougher lesson to teach that we don’t always get what we want when we pray.

DONNA-MARIE: I’m glad that you wove your exploration of prayer within your book to help the young understand the power of prayer as well as to demystify it for them. I’m sure that you have experienced both joys and challenges in raising a large family. Would you like to share any of your experiences with us? Perhaps something that may have inspired you to write this book in the first place?

PATTI: Yes, raising a large family does affect your view of the world. Life is busy, full of activities and full of questions as you try to explain life to your kids and model it in a Godly way to them. Even though the story is fiction, it was also very much a slice of my life.

DONNA-MARIE: I thought so. Do you see big differences in your boys growing up versus your girls?

PATTI: Oh, yes. My boys seem to never stop moving. They are always up to something to, which makes parenting a challenge. When I just had four boys, a complete stranger once came up to me and said with a chuckle: “Don’t worry, when they are teenagers, boys are much easier than girls.” My girls are 16 and 13 now. They actually are pretty good kids although once in a while we will butt heads. After I had 4 boys, I felt so blessed to also have the experience of dresses and dolls. But then getting 2 more boys has once again infused our home with a second chapter of fun and activity (and broken things!)

DONNA-MARIE: God has certainly blessed you! I know you have other books too. But, did you enjoy the writing process of this book, Patti? You said this book is very much “a slice of your life.” Did it perhaps come naturally from any real life experiences within your own family when you were growing up or from your family now that you may want to talk about?

PATTI: I wrote the first draft of this book 15 years ago. My three oldest boys served as the model for the characters. I always knew how my characters would act because I pinned their personalities on my own kids. They absolutely loved reading it back then as it came along because they felt it was a story about them. Now, my oldest are 26, 24, and 22. They loved reading it again when I pulled it out and brushed it up. My son, Luke who co-authored the Amazing Grace for Survivors with me, went over it and offered suggestions. I had to laugh when he wrote about one line: “Put in an exclamation point there. I would have said that with an exclamation point.”

DONNA-MARIE: What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

PATTI: I hope they will live the story. It’s an example of praying even when you don’t understand where God is taking you. It’s also an example of living the Christian life with prayer and trust, or at least trying to trust when it’s hard. Amid disappointments, confusion, the challenge of wanting to belong and wanting to feel important, bad choices, hard choices, and coming to grips with what is really important--these are all issues that are explored and I hope the reader will find guidance through the story.

DONNA-MARIE: How about the parents? Do you hope to reach them too in some way?

PATTI: This is a fun read-out-loud book with your kids. I often read to my kids at bedtime long after they are old enough to read themselves. Sharing a book together always lends itself to a shared experience and encourages conversations about these topics. Even if the parents don’t also read it with their children, they can trust that it’s a book that reflect their own values and be one more tool to reinforce the lessons they are trying to pass on.

DONNA-MARIE: Is there something else you’d like to share with readers that I haven’t touched upon?

PATTI: Yes, although the book can just be an enjoyable read, I’ve also put vocabulary and discussion questions for each chapter at the back of the book so it can be used in classrooms and homeschools.

DONNA-MARIE: Could you please tell us a bit more about that?

PATTI: I put vocabulary and discussion questions for each chapter in the back of the book. My thinking was that this gives the book the additional quality of being well-suited for school use either in the classroom or at home. Even if it's just a parent reading it with a child or a child reading it alone, the questions can be used to open up dialogue with kids on aspects of life and faith. As for the vocabulary, most of the words are frequently used among adults but teachers usually discover that kids don't often have a grasp on words that we take for granted as being understood.

DONNA-MARIE: Finally, Patti, how can we get your book?

PATTI: The book sells for $9.99. You can ask your local bookstore to order it or you can go to the Bezalel Website at . Bulk orders for classroom use are also available by emailing the publisher Cheryl Dickow

DONNA-MARIE: Thank you very much for your thoughts, Patti. I pray that your book does well and helps to inspire countless families!

PATTI: Thanks Donna for doing this interview. We once both shared with each other what a blessing it is to be writing Catholic books. It’s part work, part mission and very rewarding and fun as well.

DONNA-MARIE: Yes, it is such a blessing, very rewarding and fun too! Patti, it’s been enjoyable hearing about your writing process and learning more about your book. Thanks again. God bless you!

To learn more about the author you may visit her website here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Interview with "The Night's Dark Shade" author

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Elena Maria Vidal and chatted about her newest book: Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars.

First, a bit of background on the author, Elena Maria:

Elena Maria Vidal was born on August 15, 1962, the feast of the Assumption, Elena grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, “fair as the garden of the Lord” as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels. She graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, Elena joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. While exploring a religious vocation, Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. She also traveled a great deal in Europe, gathering ideas for stories. In 1996, she married Michael Russell and in 1997 her first historical novel Trianon was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel Madame Royale was published, as well as the second edition of Trianon, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day.

In November 2009, The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family and is working on a historical novel about her Irish ancestors. Elena blogs at

From the back cover:

"Set amid the turmoil of the Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE tells of heresy versus orthodoxy, and of forbidden love versus fidelity. Heiress of her father's estates in Auvergne, the orphaned Lady Raphaëlle leaves her home to marry a nobleman in a remote castle in the Pyrenees. There she encounters the mysterious Cathar sect who challenge all of her most deeply held beliefs. As she seeks the path of her true calling, she discovers hatred and betrayal, as well as abiding friendship and unexpected love.

"From the first page, Vidal draws the reader into a vibrant world of action and emotion. Raphaëlle de Miramande is an engaging young heroine, bravely facing physical and moral dangers and dilemmas in search of truth and love. Vidal’s novel captures the spirit of the Middle Ages." ~ Stephanie A. Mann, author of SUPREMACY AND SURVIVAL

"In a country torn by religious strife, a spirited heroine struggles to reconcile faith, love, duty and family. A harrowing and engrossing journey." ~ Catherine Delors, author of MISTRESS OF THE REVOLUTION and FOR THE KING."

Now, our interview:

Donna-Marie: Elena, thank you for taking the time out to do this interview with me. Your book looks great! I can’t wait to find some time to sit down and read it. I’m sure it will be fascinating, based on the reviews I’ve seen and the pages I’ve scanned through already. Elena, you received a Master’s Degree in European History. When did you begin to become interested in the subject?

Elena: I was interested in European History, especially the Medieval Era, from the time I was a small child. I have loved St. Joan of Arc from as long as I can remember. Knights, ladies, castles, and chivalry always captivated me as well. I read everything about the Middle Ages I could get my hands on.
I first heard about the Cathars in a high school religion class. In college I studied them a bit more. Their strangeness captivated me in that I could see many of the same aberrations which characterized the Cathar lifestyle happening around me. It was the early eighties, and the radical feminist movement was in full swing....In school and even at home, I often felt like my heroine Raphaëlle does in the story, the only practicing Catholic surrounded by Cathars, and Cathar sympathizers. In graduate school, I decided to pursue the topic further, and did a paper on the Albigensian Crusade. Providentially, I saved the paper, with my notes and bibliography, which helped me get a good start into the novel.

Donna:Marie: Ah, good thing you saved the paper! Elena, your first two novels were about the French Revolution. Why have you now written about Medieval France and the Albigensian Crusade?

Elena: Although The Night’s Dark Shade takes place several centuries before Trianon and Madame Royale, all three books deal with the theme of revolution and its destructive effects. Heresy, which figures prominently in the new book, is a form of revolution, of spiritual revolution. The Cathar heresy was a form of the gnostic, Manichean belief system, which has surfaced again and again throughout history, often mixing with Christian beliefs and causing no end of mischief.

Donna-Marie: Who exactly were the Cathars and what did they believe in?

Elena: The Cathars were essentially a gnostic sect, who insisted upon calling themselves the “Good Christians,” adopting a lot of Christian terminology. They believed that there were two gods, one good and one bad. They believed that the evil god had created the entire material world, and therefore to them all matter was evil. The Good God, Whom they did not hold to be omnipotent, created only the spiritual world. The Cathars denied most of the major tenets of the Creed, including the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. They shunned the sign of the cross, and rejected the Old Testament. They rejected baptism by water and only believed in a “baptism of light.” They denied the Eucharist, the Real Presence, and all the sacraments, holding matrimony to be an abomination because it regularized the sexual act, leading to the procreation of children. Cohabitation as well as homosexuality were considered preferable to marriage. They practiced suicide in a ritual known as the endura, in which they would starve themselves to death. They also thought that there was nothing wrong with abortion and contraception.

Donna-Marie: It sounds like the Cathars had a great deal in common with many of our contemporaries.

Elena: Yes, their times are a distant reflection of our own.

Donna-Marie: Elena, it says on the back cover of your new novel that you were inspired to write the book after a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Elena: Yes, in the summer of 1994 I made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, seeking guidance from the Blessed Mother. As I have written on my blog, I was intrigued by the castle there. I took a tour of the castle and then went to the town library and read about it. I discovered that it had been a Cathar stronghold during the Middle Ages. A story began to take shape in my mind. However, I did not begin writing it down until the winter of 2000-20001, after the publication of Trianon and Madame Royale. After eight more years of writing, research, and rewriting, it all came together at last. I am pleased that the novel is finally published and being read and enjoyed.

Donna-Marie: Yes, I noticed The Night’s Dark Shade has been getting some very positive reviews.

Elena: Well, the book has something for everybody— romance, history, war, and theological discussion. It is suitable for teenagers to read and yet has an underlying complexity so that adults will be able to sink their teeth into it. There are many issues which the characters must face which we must deal with today. It is a book for now.

Donna-Marie: Thank you, Elena, for sharing your literary journey with us. May God bless your work so that many hearts will be moved even as they are caught up in your fine story-telling. One last question - where can your book be purchased?

Elena: The book will be on Amazon soon, but in the meantime it can be purchased from here. And through my blog, on the sidebar: here.

Donna-Marie: Thanks again, Elena! I’m looking forward to reading your book!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy feast of the Immaculate Conception!

I just read this wonderful post on the feast day today. I think you'll like it too. This woman speaks up and I am proud of her. I broach these topics myself.

She begins: "I love this feast day. I love the fact that the Immaculate Conception has become a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. I love the thought that throughout the entire world Mary's Catholic children are celebrating her astounding purity. I love going to holy Mass and listening to the readings and thinking about the great gifts the heavenly Father has given to us in our Blessed Mother. I love the fact that we have this model of purity that we can at once have all to ourselves and share as Marian children. In the Fenelon Clan abode, I usually put some symbol on our home shrine to remind us of the importance of this day and to draw more and more into the heart of the Immaculata.

"In contemplating this year's feast, I found it ironic that so very many people today honor Mary's purity while at the same time ignoring their own. I think of what we're up against as our culture pushes harder and harder on us to let go of our ideals and morals.

"Just look at the media. It used to be that primetime television offered true family programming. Well, it still offers "family programming", but that programming is laced with raw jokes and sexual innuendos. Scan the radio stations in your area and you'll find that every few seconds your ears are insulted by some of the most vulgar lyrics imaginable. The advertisements in newspapers and magazines and on billboards are becoming more and more seductive. Check out the eerily realistic video games with their sex and violence. I'm sure none of this is new to you, and Christian watchdog groups have been warning us about these things for years.

"What concerns me most is that our young people absorb all of these impure subliminal suggestions without even realizing it. They're completely unaware of the danger that threatens them. Satan and his cunning has worked it out so that they are constantly and unwittingly bombarded with this garbage. It's intertwined in everything they live and breathe to the point that they no longer recognize it as an intrusion upon their purity, but as a normal part of life.

"Next time you go to the mall, and I'm sure you'll go soon as it's the..." ( Continued here at Marge's blog)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Man To Man author discusses married life...

Man to Man author, Fr. James discusses married life at Catholic Exchange:

“What does he know about married life?” is an often frequently voiced criticism of priests when they speak about the intricacies of married life. These same critics do not realize that a celibate priest is married… but in a different way.

Why do our people call us “Father ?” We are married to the Church. The Church is our bride. The priest is another Christ (alter Christus) , who gives his life as a gift to the bride.

Celibacy is a special gift from the Holy Spirit, a charism. It is a beautiful gift for the Church. When he is faithful to his calling, the celibate priest, in and through his body; i.e., through his very physical reality, is a sign or a witness not only of his total gift of himself to his bride, the Church, but he is also physically, through his body, pointing the way to the eschatological reality of eternal life. “For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven” (Mark 12: 25).

Eternity is not only perfect communion with God it is also perfect communion with all men and women in the communion of saints. The charism of celibacy is a sign or an anticipation of this eschatological reality. Through the gift of celibacy, the human person is able to immerse himself in a fulfilling communion with God and with humanity here on earth... (Continued here at Catholic Exchange)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Man to Man now released!

I am very happy to announce that my friend, Fr. James Farfaglia has just released his first book: Man to Man. It's only been out about a week and it is already selling off the shelves. What does this tell us? That men want to know how to act like and actually how to BE a man - a real man! Don't you think? I hope that Catholic wives and engaged women will get a copy of this book for their husbands and their betrothed.

I spoke with Fr. James on the phone today and wanted to know first off, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, what is going on behind the scenes with this new book. I asked Fr. James a couple of questions for now and he gave me his gracious responses...

Donna-Marie: Fr. James, can you kindly tell us why you decided to write this book?

Fr. James: There is a deep crisis within manhood that needs to be addressed in a very practical and straightforward manner. Men need to be encouraged to be faithful and heroic. Also, many women are frustrated in their married life because their husbands do not always understand a number of things, such as, the emotional needs of their wives; their leadership role within the family or how to be manly but at the same time how to be tender and kind. Within the intimate life of husband and wife, many men simply do not understand the emotional world of women and how to enter into that world. At the same time, many wives do not understand the emotional world of their husbands and how to enter into that world. Many married couples do not understand that their intimate sexual life is a vehicle by which they experience the God of unconditional love. Through the teachings of John Paul II's Theology of the Body, the Church needs to address these issues in a very practical, straightforward, and direct manner.

Donna-Marie: What are your hopes for your elementary school?

Fr. James: I am a firm believer in well-run Catholics schools that are faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. I went to St. Mary's elementary school in Ridgefield, CT. and I am part of the founding class of Magdalen College of Warner, NH. I know, first hand, the impact that a serious Catholic education can have on a child or a young person. I am the pastor of the newest Catholic parish in the city of Corpus Christi, TX. Our parish is a little more than 5 years old. 90% of the baptized Catholics within my parish boundaries do not go to church anywhere. Moreover, they are not remotely interested. I know this, because we are visiting our homes like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. A school will get the parents re-involved in the Catholic Church. A well-run Catholic school is the best means of evangelization that the Catholic Church has to offer. A parish is essential, but it needs the school. The school is the heart of the parish. It provides the blood. Close the school and the parish dies.

Donna-Marie: I think it's great that you are using the proceeds of this book to help build your school. Thank you very much for this short interview, Fr. James. I am looking forward to a more in depth interview with you very soon.

A little bit about Fr. James:

"Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Originally from Ridgefield, CT., Father has founded and developed apostolates for the Catholic Church in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. Father James is known for his orthodoxy, his unconditional obedience to the Pope, his delicate fidelity to all liturgical norms, his love for real sacred music, his well prepared homilies, and his unwavering pro-life stand."

Now a little bit about his book: Man to Man. Check out the website here.

I have personally read the manuscript and have endorsed this book. My words on the back cover are: "Man to Man couldn't have come at a better time for today's men who are
confronted with a myriad of mixed messages regarding their manhood or
lack thereof. With eyes wide open to the dangers lurking in today's culture, Fr. James Farfaglia takes a brutally honest approach to discussions of love, marriage, sexuality and family life sure to capture a mans attention. The author urgently invites all men: husbands and fathers to accept the loving heroic role that God has created them for. Man to Man should be on every book shelf. Better yet, in every mans hands. "

There are other endorsements as well, for instance:

"Father Farfaglia has taken a subject that is much maligned in today's sexually saturated culture, that of being a man's man, and has turned it back toward the Lord and His design in a way that is both captivating and challenging not only for
men but for every Catholic. Understanding God's design for a union with Him through marriage is fundamental for a couple considering matrimony, but particularly for the male in this age of feminized masculinity. That is perhaps the most important aspect of this book for it dignifies man because he is masculine, he is strong and he is Godly. It is my hope that every young Catholic considering marriage will read this with an open mind and a heart for truth." – Judie Brown, President American Life League

Here's a review by Jennifer Hartline.

From Fr. James about his book: "Heroic men have always inspired me. Saints, military generals, and famous presidents have always provided light and direction during my life. Men like Paul, Athanasius, Thomas Moore, John Fisher, Edmond Campion, John Vianney, Miguel Pro, Oscar Romero, John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Washington, Lincoln, Reagan, Patton, MacArthur and Eisenhower are all men that I admire very much. They are all lighthouses: men, who within their own historical circumstances, stood up to the plate and lived their lives with heroism.

Today, as men, we are constantly being challenged.

If the house is burning, get a hose and put out the fire. If someone is trapped inside, we need to go in for the rescue. Only the cowards would watch from the sidewalk and do nothing.

I love heroes. I loathe cowards.

I know that as married men you are challenged every day. I am writing to you in order to encourage you to remain faithful and to be a hero. I am writing this book for you, man to man, with deep love and concern so that you will be happy in this life and eternally happy in the life to come.

One Sunday night in December 2006, I awoke at 3:00 AM and quickly wrote out the titles of the chapters of this book. I have never experienced this kind of inspiration before. The desire to write the book was something that kept bothering me for the next couple of weeks.

So, I decided that God was telling me something and perhaps using me. I quickly decided to take some time off and write the book. I knew that I had to get away from the parish and I also knew that I needed a quiet, peaceful place that would help inspire my reflections. I have never used vacation time to write, but I thought, why not?

So, here I am, on a small island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, writing to you, the heroes of the modern world. The book that you are about to read is very practical and down to earth."

I hope you'll visit the Man to Man website and think about what man or men in your life could use some encouragement and perhaps some friendly advice from a man who will not steer you wrong. My husband picked up my copy and started reading and was very impressed. He also said to me, "Sweetie, I need to start treating you better." And that was after about an hour of reading Man to Man! It's worth every penny ladies! Go out and get this book and you'll also be helping St. Helena's in Corpus Christi to build their elementary school.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our Blessed Mother

"During Advent we contemplate the mysteries surrounding the Birth of the Savior. We await His coming with the Virgin Mary, whose journey to Bethlehem becomes our own. We will never fully comprehend the mystery of the Incarnation and yet through faith we may grasp the unfathomable. So much of what the Church teaches has been distorted in our times. The teaching on Our Lady's perpetual virginity is often misunderstood, as Fr. Mark explains..." Continued here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

So excited!

I have been wanting to report this but haven't had a moment because of my Rome trip and coming back to birthdays and Thanksgiving and a heap of work too. I'll let Joan Lewis tell you...


"During the funeral of Pope John Paul II on April 8, 2005, tens of thousands among the hundreds of thousands present in St. Peter Square began to spontaneously chant “Santo Subito,” meaning “make him a saint immediately.” When Benedict XVI waived the five-year waiting period, the cause for the canonization of John Paul opened in May 2008 and, after an initial period of work by the postulator on the diocesan phase of the cause in Poland, the case moved to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in November 2008 for an initial review by theologians.

Reports are now circulating that the late Pope John Paul II is expected to be named venerable very soon and that his beatification is “imminent” and expected sometime in 2010. Citing Italy’s La Stampa daily paper, Warsaw Business News is even reporting that john Paul II, is set to be beatified on October 17, 2010, one day after what would have been the 32nd anniversary of his election in 1978. Other media are quoting Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican watcher who writes for Il Giornale, who on Monday reported the meeting of cardinals and bishops who are members of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints and have been called to vote on the process of the beatification of John Paul II. Reports say the vote was unanimous to recommend that Pope Benedict XVI formally recognize that Pope John Paul II heroically lived the Christian virtues.

No word from the Vatican on these news reports, some of which point to an April 2010 beatifucation, others suggest May and yet several more mention October. The Pope signs decrees for beatifications and canonzations three times a year in a consistory - April, June or July – most often July - and again in December. Once signed the wheels go into motion to prepare the beatification ceremony.

Stay tuned for more on this story…"
(Story above from Joan's Rome)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pope Benedict on Feast of Christ the King

Vatican City, Nov 22, 2009 / 11:05 am (CNA).- In his message on the Feast of Christ the King to the tens of thousands of people gathered on St Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI explained that the "power" of Christ is different from that of "the great of this world." Choosing Christ the King, he said, does not guarantee success, but peace and joy.

"Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the criteria of today’s world, but ensures that peace and joy that only He can give,” Pope Benedict added. “This is shown, in every age, by the experience of many men and women who, in Christ's name, in the name of truth and justice, have been able to resist the lure of earthly powers, with their different forms, until their fidelity was sealed with martyrdom.”

The Feast of Christ the King, he continued, is "a celebration of relatively recent introduction, but it has deep biblical and theological roots."

"It begins with the expression ‘King of the Jews' arriving then to that of ‘universal King,’ Lord of the cosmos and of history, so far beyond the expectation of the same Jewish people."

Benedict XVI expounded on the regal power of Jesus: “It is not that of the kings and great of this world, it is the divine power to give eternal life to free us from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of love, which knows how to derive good from evil, soften a hardened heart, bring peace to the bitterest conflict, turn the thickest darkness into hope.” (Continued here)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feast of Blessed Father Pro

I visited Fr. Pro's shrine once years ago and was very moved. My birthday happens to be on his feast day. Here's a bit about him...

"¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Father Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.
Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, he entered the Jesuits in 1911 but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.

He immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988."

(From "A Saint a Day")

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My recent trip to the Eternal City


I just returned home from a trip to Rome - actually a pilgrimage for me. I am blogging about it at my blog: View From the Domestic Church. Go on over each day and check it out. I'll be posting photos and news from the trip. I have been spreading myself thin lately so I may not be able to post much here for a while. But come back and check - you never know. So go on over to View From the Domestic Church and be sure to check the posts each day, not just the one from this link because I will be updating regularly.

God bless!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mother Teresa news story

Pristina, Kosovo, Nov 18, 2009 / 12:50 am (CNA).- "On Nov. 11 the National Council of Kosovo met for the first time to organize the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Blessed Mother Teresa’s birth.

The Italian bishops new service (SIR) reports that the meeting took place in the Culture Ministry’s palace and was attended by Culture Minister Valton Beqiri, the president’s delegate Xhavit Beqiri, Ali Podrimjia of the Academy of Science and Art of Kosovo and Jusuf Bajraktari of the History Institute of Kosovo.

Fr. Lush Gjergji, a biographer of Mother Teresa, represented the Church in Kosovo at the meeting.

“This special year will open on December 10th 2009 on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of her Peace Nobel Prize,” Fr. Gjergji told SIR News.

Mother Teresa, whose birth name was Gonxha Bjoaxhiu, was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopjie in what was then the Ottoman Empire. Today, the city is capital of the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.

Her parents, of Albanian descent, were born in Kosovo and she often visited the land in her youth.

According to SIR News, she had a special bond with the Marian Sanctuary of Letnica on the Kosovo-Macedonia border.

Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 20, 2003. Approval of her canonization is still pending. Her Feast Day is September 5."

From article here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here it is!

Are you ready?

Here's the new front cover image of my Mother Teresa book due to be released shortly.

Something we must think about for sure!

"At the particular judgment the soul will be judged about every single thing - its thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions."
~Cardinal Gasparri

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nancy Carabio Belanger... A blog for readers of Olivia and the Little Way: Just Who Is Saint Olivia?

Nancy Carabio Belanger... A blog for readers of Olivia and the Little Way: Just Who Is Saint Olivia?

Stupak-Pitts Amendment Passes!

Stupak-Pitts Amendment Passes 240 to 194!

Letter from Susan B. Anthony list...

Dear Friends,

All of your letters and calls paid off!

Tonight the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to H.R. 3962, by a vote of 240 to 194, with 64 Democratic members voting in favor of the amendment to ban federal funding of abortion in the health care bill.

This is a great victory for the pro-life movement and for all SBA List members who so diligently contacted their Representatives leading up to the vote. With the adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, the House of Representatives made a principled and sound decision to continue our nation’s longstanding policy of protecting taxpayers’ conscience in the area of abortion funding.

In the coming weeks, we will remain vigilant and shift our efforts to the Senate to ensure that these same pro-life protections are included in the Senate bill. We fully expect that pro-abortion leaders will still try to find ways to sneak abortion funding into health care.

For now though, let's celebrate this great victory for unborn children and women. Thank you for all of your efforts in defense of Life. Together we can save countless unborn lives.

God bless,

Marjorie Dannenfelser
President, Susan B. Anthony List

Saturday, November 7, 2009


From: One Nation Under God. org...
Dear Friends,

Given the holdout of 40 pro-life Democrats, and intense pressure by pro-life groups and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) over the federal funding of abortion, last night Speaker Pelosi conceded that she did not have the votes to push a vote on the Rule. After hours of negotiations Congressman Bart Stupak was given permission by the House Rules Committee to offer his pro-life amendment. A vote will occur this afternoon.

Pro-abortion leaders left Speaker Pelosi's office last night upset with the news that the Stupak amendment will get a vote. Planned Parenthood of America president Cecile Richards isn't happy with the U.S. Bishops efforts, and holds them responsible for this new development. The following email was sent to Planned Parenthood supporters this morning:

Late yesterday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met with leaders in the House of Representatives in their bid to eliminate women's access to abortion care under health care reform.

We have just received news that their efforts are working, and Representative Bart Stupak has introduced an amendment to the health care reform bill that will result in women losing health care coverage for abortion.

We urgently need you, and your friends and family, to call your representative...and ask him or her to reject the Stupak amendment that will remove abortion coverage from health care reform.

If the bishops and their anti-choice partners in the House succeed, they'll permanently alter health care in America, even taking away benefits from women that they have today. The bishops want to effectively eliminate abortion coverage in both private plans and the public option. We simply cannot stand for such a discriminatory, mean-spirited attack on women.

Warning to Congress from Fr. Frank Pavone

This morning Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, warned the members of Congress that he would distribute the voting records of members of Congress on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to HR 3962 (and other abortion-related votes) to every Catholic parish in America, with instructions to each pastor on how to make clear to his congregation the implications of how that congregation's representative voted. "Whatever one's position on abortion itself," Fr. Pavone commented, "the vast majority of Americans have always opposed the idea that taxpayers should fund it. Our plan to inform pastors of these voting records is phase one of a year-long effort to activate Churches as never before regarding what they can legally do in preparation for next year's midterm elections. Publishing voting records in a non-partisan fashion is certainly one of those activities."

President Obama is making a rare Saturday appearance to Democrats on the hill to rally support. Democrats need 218 votes.

Ask your Representatives to Support the Stupak-Pitts amendment

What the Stupak-Pitts Amendment Would Do

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would remove the two major pro-abortion components from H.R. 3962: (1) The amendment would permanently prohibit the new federal government insurance program, the "public option," from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest; and (2) the amendment would permanently prohibit the use of the new federal premium subsidies ("affordability credits") to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest).

Note: The Stupak-Pitts Amendment explicitly allows private insurance companies to sell insurance policies that cover abortion (either abortion alone, or abortion coverage along with other coverage) to persons who pay for such policies entirely with their personal funds. Some pro-abortion groups have claimed that the Stupak-Pitts amendment would prohibit private companies from selling abortion coverage even to a person who receives no government subsidy, but this is false. - NRLC

1.) Contact your Representative and ask them to vote "YES" on the
Stupak Amendment. Contact your Members here.
or call the House switchboard at: (202) 224-3121

2.) Spread the word to 10 people.

3.) Continue to pray for our elected officials. Pray that our
nation -- founded on the inalienable right to life --
does not allow its government to fund the destruction
of human life at its most vulnerable stage.

That Congress will act to ensure that needed health care reform will truly protect the life, dignity and health care of all and that we will raise our voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience.
We pray to the Lord.


Lisa Correnti
Founder and Director

Check this link for more information.

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Perhaps Jesus was tired, maybe even disturbed after his confrontation with the Pharisees, so he sat down to rest, reflect, or simply just to get away from a tense situation. As he was sitting down he watched the people putting money into the treasury of the Temple. This Sunday’s Gospel narrative teaches us a beautiful lesson about generosity. “A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents” (Mark 12: 42)

Generosity is a beautiful virtue. Not only are we to be generous with our financial resources, but we need to be generous in everything that we do.

Not too long ago my parents were telling me about a dear friend of theirs that passed away. The wake and the funeral were packed with people from all over the city. For many years their friend used to help out the elderly homebound people of his neighborhood by cutting their lawns, shoveling their snow and doing their food shopping at no cost to the people that he was helping.

Locally, here in Corpus Christi, many stories are told about how the Fuedo brothers used to help the poor. For many years Ron and Joe ran a few very successful grocery stores. They were always helping people who could not afford to buy the necessary groceries that they needed for their homes.

People still remember how the telephone would ring just as Ron was finally able to sit down with his wife and children for Thanksgiving dinner after so many long hours dedicated to the grocery store. Without a complaint, he would excuse himself from the table, answer the call and then inform his wife that he would return shortly. The call was from a person who did not have food for their Thanksgiving Day meal.

Ron would drive down to his grocery store which was located close to his home, open the door and go into the backroom with large paper bags which he generously filled with enough food for a hearty Thanksgiving dinner... (Continued here)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious in the US

Vatican City, Nov 3, 2009 / 12:12 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Franc Rode issued a statement on Tuesday in response to questions about the motivation for the ongoing apostolic visitation of the women's religious communities in the United States. He said that his dicastery had been considering a visitation for years and that a report on the objective findings will be made public.

As prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life—which is heading up the visitation—Cardinal Rode said that he hopes it will “encourage vocations and assure a better future for women religious.”

The prefect also shared information about the decision-making process that led to the launch of the visitation. “For many years this dicastery had been listening to concerns expressed by American Catholics – religious, laity, clergy and hierarchy – about the welfare of religious women and consecrated life in general, and had been considering an Apostolic Visitation as a means to assess and constructively address these concerns,” Cardinal Rode said.

He also mentioned the September 2008 Symposium on Religious Life which was held on the 200th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Boston at Stonehill College. The gathering, he said, made the “multitude and complexity of these issues” clear and helped him understand that “such an evaluation of the challenges facing individual religious and their congregations could benefit the Church at-large as well as the sisters and institutes involved.”

“My hope,” Cardinal Rode added, “is that the Apostolic Visitation will not only provide the Holy... (Continued here).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Catholic Life mentions new releases for caregivers

For all of you care givers out there - take a look at this podcast "Our Catholic Life" and then tune in by clicking on the direct download which is: OCL_25.mps
(Nov. 2, 2009 OCL25) and loated at the bottom of the post.

Favorite Catholic Speaker Nominee Fr. Phillip Chavez

Favorite Catholic Speaker Nominee Fr. Phillip Chavez

Fr. Phillip Chavez, SOLT, leader in Men' Ministry is a priest in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. We may be familiar with this Society because it is the same Society as Fr. John Corapi's.

Fr. Chavez is the director of the Amator Institute which is a men's ministry based in south-central PA. He has been encouraged by his superiors to establish an outreach to men so that they can be helped through the many challenges and struggles that they face in modern times. Fr. Chavez concentrates on Masculine Spirituality.

Fr. Chavez has said, "Men often find themselves isolated, profoundly dissatisfied, unfulfilled, and desperately seeking answers." Fr. Chavez encourages men to see and assume their supernatural calling to emulate Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King. He strives to awaken and strengthen the identity and mission of young men and fathers. He summons them to realize their natural longing to be a Leader, Protector, and Provider in their homes, churches, and community.

He strives to help men find the answers through seminars and parish missions that he offers. He often works with the Knights of Columbus who sponsor many of his appearances. Many of his recordings are published through St. Joseph's Communications.

Fr. Chavez stated, "I strive to call men toward their natural duty to mentor younger men and adolescents, inspire then to sacrificially honor their commitments, coach them to assemble and work in small teams, and summon them to defend their family, Church and society. All my work finds its basis upon sound theological and human principles, so that men may realize the secure promise of Christ: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). A few of Fr. Chavez's talk titles are: "Masculine Identity," "Faith Challenges and the Man," "Marriage, Parenting, and Family Life."

I am pleased to be a sponsor and promoter of Fr. Chavez to the nation’s top and favorite Catholic Speakers’ List for 2009.

Fr. Chavez's contact information is:
Rev. Phillip Chavez, Solt
The Amator Institute
Post Office Box 278
Glen Rock, PA 17327


Check out the entire list of Catholic speakers here.

All Souls day

"The Church has encouraged prayer for the dead from the earliest times as an act of Christian charity. "If we had no care for the dead," Augustine noted, "we would not be in the habit of praying for them." Yet pre-Christian rites for the deceased kept such a strong hold on the superstitious imagination that a liturgical commemoration was not observed until the early Middle Ages, when monastic communities began to mark an annual day of prayer for the departed members.

In the middle of the 11th century, St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny (France), decreed that all Cluniac monasteries offer special prayers and sing the Office for the Dead on November 2, the day after the feast of All Saints. The custom spread from Cluny and was finally adopted throughout the Roman Church.

The theological underpinning of the feast is the acknowledgment of human frailty. Since few people achieve perfection in this life but, rather, go to the grave still scarred with traces of sinfulness, some period of purification seems necessary before a soul comes face-to-face with God. The Council of Trent affirmed this purgatory state and insisted that the prayers of the living can speed the process of purification.

Superstition still clung to the observance. Medieval popular belief held that the souls in purgatory could appear on this day in the form of witches, toads or will-o’-the-wisps. Graveside food offerings supposedly eased the rest of the dead.

Observances of a more religious nature have survived. These include public processions or private visits to cemeteries and decorating graves with flowers and lights. This feast is observed with great fervor in Mexico."

(From A Saint A Day - American

Pope Benedict on All Saints Day...

Vatican City, Nov 1, 2009 / 09:58 am (CNA).- To the faithful gathered on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI presented the communion of saints, a “beautiful and comforting” reality that says “we are never alone.” In particular he held up the ancient cult of martyrs in the early Church, and in this Year for Priests, “the saintly priests, both those canonized…and those many more that are known to the Lord.”

Pope Benedict also spoke of Monday’s commemoration of the faithful departed, also known as All Souls Day. "I would ask,” he said, “that this liturgical memory be lived in a genuine Christian spirit, that is, in light of the Paschal Mystery.”

Benedict XVI explained that Christ died and rose again and opened the door to the house of the Father, the kingdom of life and peace: “Those who follow Jesus in this life are welcomed where He came before us. So as we visit cemeteries, let us remember that there, in the tombs, are only the mortal remains of our loved ones awaiting the final resurrection.”

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks by teaching that the most proper and effective way to honor and pray for the faithful departed is by offering acts of faith, hope and charity: “In union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we can intercede for their eternal salvation, and experience the deepest communion, as we wait to find ourselves together again, to enjoy forever the Love that created and redeemed us."

After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration between the World Lutheran Federation and the Catholic Church. "That document,” he said, “attests to an agreement between Lutherans and Catholics on the fundamental truth of the doctrine of justification, a truth that brings us to the very heart of the Gospel and the essential issues of our lives.”

The Holy Father expounded on the acceptance and redemption of man by God, saying, “Our existence is part of the horizon of grace. It is led by a merciful God who forgives our sin and calls us to a new life following in the footsteps of his Son. We live by the grace of God and are called to respond to his gift. This frees us from fear and gives us hope and courage in a world full of uncertainty, anxiety, suffering."

This anniversary, the Pontiff explained, is an occasion to remember the truth about the justification of man, witnessed together, to unite Catholics and Lutherans in ecumenical celebrations and to further investigate this issue and others that are the subject of ecumenical dialogue.

“I sincerely hope that this important anniversary will help bring forward the path towards the full visible unity of all the disciples of Christ.”

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Radio interviews about my Mother Teresa book: Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship

If you have a little time to listen in, here are two interviews about my Mother Teresa book coming out in November...

Here's a link to my interview on a "Morning Air" segment in which I spoke all about my new Mother Teresa book coming out very soon! Just click here to listen!

In case you didn't get a chance to tune in to my recent segment with my dear friend, Teresa Tomeo on our "Mom's Corner" segment, you can listen right now. Just grab a drink, pull up a chair and click here! Teresa and I were chatting about my friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa and my new book about her.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New York Times refuses to print Archbishop Dolan's oped piece

"New York City, N.Y., October 30 (CNA) .- The New York Times declined to publish an op-ed presented by the Archbishop of New York, Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, in which he made the point that the "Gray Lady" has been reporting stories with a strong anti-Catholic bias.

In his new blog on the archdiocese's website, Archbishop Dolan explains that his article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed, but the Times declined to publish it.

In the blog version, Archbishop Dolan says that next to baseball, "sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-Catholicism."

"If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church," writes the Archbishop, "look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks."

On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community.

"Yet," Archbishop Dolan observes, "the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency."

"Given the Catholic Church's own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so... but I can criticize this kind of 'selective outrage,'" he insists..." Continued here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Pitts Stupak Amendment

Please take a look at this

Basically it says:
"On September 16, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI, pictured on left), co-chair of the pro-life caucus, expressed concern that Chairwoman of the Committee on Rules Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would not give the House of Representatives a chance to vote on the Pitts-Stupak Amendment to ban the use of taxpayer dollars to fund health plans that pay for elective abortions. He is in the process of organizing a coalition that is committed to refusing to allow the House bill to be voted on unless the House is allowed the opportunity to vote on the Pitts-Stupak Amendment. Tell your Representative that it is unacceptable to allow any vote on health care reform that does not include a vote on the Pitts-Stupak Amendment. And demand that when they do vote they refuse to allow your hard-earned dollars to be poured into plans that pay for elective abortions!"

Click on the link. It helps you send the email or letter to your Federal representatives in no time at all.

From the Susan B. Anthony List team: "Thank you so much for taking action to protect unborn babies from government funded abortions.

The matter of the Pitts-Stupak Amendment is urgent and critical. If the measure comes down to a handful of critical votes like the D.C. Abortion Funding Amendment, every vote is critical and one or two letters or emails from their constituents to wavering representatives could make all the difference. If you have any friend or family member that you do not think has voiced their concern to their representative, please urge them to take action to protect the unborn.

Thank you for standing up for life

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Review for Catholic Saints Prayer Book

"The saints are here to inspire, guide, and pray for us. They started out as ordinary people, just like us. But they chose to be saintly. This choice was not an easy one for any of them and the temptations of this world were not always easy to overcome. Who then will better understand our plight as we strive toward holiness?

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle has put together a beautiful little book. Perfect for purse, pocket or backpack. Each saint entry includes an inspirational peak into the life of the saint, their feast day, a relevant quote, an illustration of that saint, and a brief meditational prayer. The only thing I would have liked to see in this book is an index listing the saints by their feast day.

Saints include: St. Anne, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Bernadette, St. Bridget of Ireland, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Faustine Kowalska, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John Chrysostom, St. John Neumann, St. Joseph, St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, St. Maria Goretti, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Monica, St. Padre Pio, St. Patrick, St. Peregrine, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Thomas More.

'Let us invoke the saints often, asking for their holy assistance, even praying along with them, striving to imitate their virtues while praying to become saints ourselves.'

This little book will help you do just that."

(This review can be found here.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Barack Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize...

This is from Rush Limbaugh:

"George Bush liberates 50 million Muslims. Ronald Reagan liberates hundreds of millions of Europeans, saves parts of Latin America. Any awards? No. Just derision. Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and he gets a prize for it. This actually makes total sense when you look at who these Nobel people are, these elite Norwegians, Europeans. They love what Obama is doing. And this fully exposes, folks, the illusion that is Obama. This is a greater embarrassment than losing the Olympics bid was, and Obama got it right. He knows exactly why he was given this award.

The elites of the world are urging him, a man of peace to not do the surge in Afghanistan, they are urging him not to take on Iran. If you want to get serious about this for a minute that is what this is really all about. How can he now send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan after that cotton candy speech he just gave this morning, of which we have sickening sound bites that I am going to make you listen to. Because I have to listen to them, you do, too. None of you will be allowed to turn off the radio. None of you will be allowed to change stations. I am going to play excerpts of it, and everybody is going to damn well listen to it right along with me. You didn't do anything, I'm just not doing this alone anymore.

We're in this together, we're in this together. But the Nobel Peace Prize just told Obama, "Look, we love what you're doing, you are destroying your country as a superpower. Keep it up, Bud. This is what we expected, and you're doing a damn good job." Those are accomplishments, folks, and in the eyes of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, these are the accomplishments they're looking for. He's basically emasculating this country and they applauded today with this award. They love a weakened, neutered United States. This is their way of promoting the concept and it's a slam dunk." - Rush Limbaugh, Friday October 9

Motherhood's Dignity

My article at Catholic Exchange today.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our friend, Joan Rome reporting from Joan's Rome...

"The last few days have been quite incredible. The group from Hawaii, as I mentioned, has been in Rome for Sunday’s canonization of Blessed Damien of Molokai, and they were at the Holy Father’s general audience yesterday. Audrey Toguchi, whose cure from lung cancer was credited to Damien’s intercession and was the miracle needed for his canonization, met Pope Benedict yesterday and was speechless at that privileged moment.

Another memorable moment yesterday was when I learned that a very dear friend of mine, Msgr. Bernie Hebda, was named the new bishop of Gaylord!! Bernie has been in Rome for 13 years and worked at the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the last few years as under-secretary. I am totally delighted for Gaylord but there many of us who are heartbroken at the thought of losing such a wonderful, dear friend, our soft-spoken, always-there-when-you-need-him friend, lots-fun-to-be-with Bernie. And did I mention he is a truly wonderful priest! I know that Bernie, who is from Pittsburgh, has enjoyed his years but I also know he was yearning for some time to go back and be a pastor, to be a parish priest and administer to the faithful. Well, now Pope Benedict has given him a more sizeable flock! May God sit on your shoulder, Bernie!

Last evening at the Lateran University in Rome, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, presented his latest book, “The Difference God Makes.” University officials and invited guests, including the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Miguel Diaz, were present. I will be interviewing the cardinal about the book on Saturday morning so you can stay tuned in future weeks to “Vatican Insider” and learn how God makes a difference! Cardinal George is in town for the annual meetings of the top officials of the USCCB – the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – with officials of the various congregations and councils of the Roman Curia. They also meet with Pope Benedict.

Today, Thursday, 30 wonderful young men from the North American College were ordained deacons, and 800 people came from the States – family members and friends - to attend the ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica. A huge reception followed in the courtyard at NAC which this year, by the by, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1859 by Pius IX.

My EWTN colleagues and I were there, not only to rejoice in the new deacons, but to film a “Joan’s Rome” spot for TV and to interview three men to talk about the priesthood for the EWTN spots, “The Call.” Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore spoke to us as did Fr. David Songy, O.F.M. Cap., director of counseling services at NAC, and one of the new deacons, Jacob Bertrand from San Diego. Jacob is very excited as he will be ordained a priest on June 11, 2010 – month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the end of the Year for Priests! I was privileged today to meet his truly beautiful family, starting with his amazing parents!

Finding a table in a restaurant these days has been a bit of a challenge, and anyone who came to Rome this past week without a hotel reservation was really out of luck! But there is so much joy visible on the faces of the pilgrims in town for the canonizations and the ordination that such happiness took your mind off the potentially long wait for a table!


Today we will start our visit to Kalaupapa, now a National Historical Park, but once a no man’s land, inhabited by lepers, banished here for the rest of their days, about whom Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “They were strangers to each other, collected (sic) by common calamity, disfigured, mortally sick, banished without sin from home and friends. Few would understand the principle on which they were thus forfeited in all that makes life dear; many must have conceived their ostracism to be grounded in malevolent caprice; all came with sorrow at heart, many with despair and rage. In the chronicle of man there is perhaps no more melancholy landing than this of the leper immigrants among the ruined houses and dead harvests of Moloka'i. But the spirit of our race is finely tempered and the business of life engrossing to the last. As a spider, when you have wrecked its web, begins immediately to spin fresh strands, so these exiles, widowed, orphaned, un-childed, legally dead and physically dying, struck root in their new place . . . fell to work with growing hope, repaired the houses, replanted the fields, and began to look about them with the pride of the proprietor. . . . And one thing is sure, the most disgraced of that unhappy crew may expect the consolations of love; love laughs at leprosy; and marriage is in use to the last stage of decay and the last gasp of life.”

As I traveled throughout the small peninsula, learning about Fr. Damien De Veuster, Mother Marianne Cope, OSF, who tended to the ill of Moloka’i for more than 30 years after Damien’s untimely death at the age of 40, “Brother” Joseph Dutton, and the 8,000 patients who lived and died here since 1866, I became aware of a great tragedy – the tragedy of people treated as the worst kind of outcasts and exiled to a small plot of land because of an illness they neither sought nor could cure (it seemed). Yet, far more than the tragedy, I became aware of a great love story, the love and charity and humanity of one man for his people, a man who saw “man’s inhumanity to man” on a small Pacific island which had become for the ill “a living tomb.” Damien sought not just to care for the health of the prisoners of Kalaupapa but to restore their innate human dignity.

I will tell just a brief story today in photos. In coming days we will visit Kalawao, the site of the very first settlement for victims of leprosy.

As you recall I flew from Honolulu to Moloka’i, then from Topside Moloka’i with Maria Sullivan to the peninsula of Kalaupapa. Maria and I were then driven by Gloria Marks to a clearing beyond the Settlement, where the patients live, along with workers from Hawaii’s Department of Health and the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Here we met the group that had come down the pali – the cliffs - on mules as you will see in these photos, including one man intent on filming every moment of his journey. A man after my own heart!

Go on over to Joan's blog to see her story and photos here.

Is your donation going to Planned Parenthood?

Poll: 23 Percent to Donate to Breast Cancer Research, Funds Go to Abortion Biz

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- A new poll finds that 23 percent of Americans plan to donate money to go to support breast cancer research. But what these donors may not understand is a portion of what they give to the Komen for the Cure organization may wind up supporting the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

A new Rasmussen survey released today shows 23% of adults plan to donate money toward breast cancer research this month.

Another 60 percent have no plans to donate while 17 percent are unsure whether they will contribute.

The Rasmussen poll showed 39 percent of Americans plan to purchase pink products from groups like Komen and another 9 percent say they will participate in a charity walk such as the Race for the Cure.

When they support Komen, Americans may not be aware that Komen's own figures show it gave $711,485 from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 to Planned Parenthood abortion businesses and at least $726,445 for 2006-2007.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure spokeswoman Rebecca Gibson previously confirmed that at least 19 of the 122 Komen affiliates made grants totaling $374,253 to Planned Parenthood during the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

The amount of the grants from Komen affiliates to Planned Parenthood appears to be on the rise and 25 Komen affiliates now have a partnership with the abortion business.

Since then, the grants have continued.

In April, the Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded a $35,970 grant to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which runs multiple abortion businesses in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

In June, Komen for the Cure teamed up with Planned Parenthood of Idaho and provided the abortion facility with funding.

Komen officials have dismissed the grants saying they are for breast cancer screenings, but pro-life advocates say the money is fungible and that it frees up funds Planned Parenthood could use for breast screenings but instead uses on abortions.

Jim Sedlak, a representative of the watchdog group STOPP previously said the numbers are concerning given that millions of pro-life Americans will participate in Komen events and donate to the group.

"More and more people are speaking up about the fact that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer research foundation, supports Planned Parenthood," Sedlak told last year.

He pointed to studies showing abortion increases a woman's chances of contracting breast cancer and said that makes the donations extremely questionable.

"The fact that Komen Affiliates give money to Planned Parenthood contradicts Komen’s claim that it works to end breast cancer," Sedlak said. "This is ridiculous and must stop."

Sedlak urged pro-life advocates to disassociate themselves with any Komen events until the organization's affiliates stop giving money to the abortion business.

He also urged pro-life people to make Planned Parenthood's pro-abortion mission clear to Komen officials and event participants.

Donations during the 2006-2007 fiscal year from Komen affiliates to Planned Parenthood abortion businesses include:

PP of Texas Capital Region received $62,886 from the Austin Komen Affiliate.
PP of Idaho received $15,000 from the Boise Komen Affiliate.
PP Association of the Mercer Area received $20,000 from the Central and South Jersey Komen Affiliate.
PP of Albuquerque received $30,000 from the Central New Mexico Komen Affiliate.
PP of Sandoval received $15,000 from the Central New Mexico Komen Affiliate.
PP of New Mexico received $60,000 from the Central New Mexico Komen Affiliate.
PP of Northern New York received $2,000 from the Central New York Komen Affiliate.
PP of Central Texas received $45,000 from the Central Texas Komen Affiliate.
PP of the Rocky Mountains received $7,163 from the Denver Metropolitan Komen Affiliate.
PP in El Paso received $5,410 from the El Paso Komen Affiliate.
PP in Grand Rapids received $14,661 from the Grand Rapids Komen Affiliate.
PP in Greater Amarillo received $11,500 from the Greater Amarillo Komen Affiliate.
PP of Nassau County received $75,000 from the Greater New York City Komen Affiliate.
PP in Madison received $30,000 from the Madison Komen Affiliate.
PP of Wisconsin received $42,077 from the Milwaukee Komen Affiliate.
PP in Milwaukee received $13,143 from the Milwaukee Komen Affiliate.
PP in Triangle received -$317 from the North Carolina Triangle Komen Affiliate.
PP Health Systems received $21,000 from the North Carolina Triangle Komen Affiliate.
PP in North Texas received $32,400 from the North Texas Komen Affiliate.
PP of Orange and San Bernardino Counties received $90,805 from the Orange County Komen Affiliate.
PP of Delaware received $39,987 from the Philadelphia Komen Affiliate.
PP in Phoenix received $24,850 from the Phoenix Komen Affiliate.
PP of Western Washington received $750 from the Puget Sound Komen Affiliate.
PP of San Antonio received $31,496 from the San Antonio Komen Affiliate.
PP of West Palm Beach, Florida received $36,000 from the South Florida Komen Affiliate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An encouraging update on A. J. - the girl we have been praying for

This is from A. J.'s neighbor, the woman who has been keeping us updated.


"Well, you are all miracle workers.

About three weeks ago, we didn't know if we were about to say goodbye to this glorious child. Hearts were breaking everywhere. Neighbors could not speak without collapsing into tears. Her parents could not be consoled. (Her mom is a longtime ER nurse/dad is Oprah's technical director.)

A.J. came home from the hospital a week ago. Slowly, miraculously, she got better and better. Her heart suddenly began to work better, and then on its own. Her kidneys got strong enough so that she only has to come in for dialysis three times a week, but not remain hooked up to wires and tubes of panic at CMH 24 hours a day.

She is devastated that they will not allow her to return to school. She is being tutored at home until she receives the H1N1 vaccine later this month. I personally think that some of A.J.'s weeping (completely out of character for her) is due to the fact that she is on Cytoxan for the Wegener's Disease. It is a strong chemo drug (I've been on it) and it does a number on the hormones. So, we are all trying to be as comforting and patient as we can. The poor kid just wanted to start high school with all of her friends--but she has kept up so well from a hospital bed that she will stay in all of her honors classes. She is amazing, and so are all of you. Keep those prayers coming, and thank you for saving our girl. Still, she has a long road ahead."

Thank you everyone, for your prayers!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saint Faustina

"St. Mary Faustina's name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter), the divine mercy chaplet and the divine mercy prayer recited each day by many people at 3 p.m.
Born in what is now west-central Poland (part of Germany before World War I), Helena was the third of 10 children. After age 16 she worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses.

In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, she also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.

At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. “I do not want to punish aching mankind,” he once told St. Mary Faustina, “but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart” (Diary 1588). The two rays emanating from Christ's heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus' death (Gospel of John 19:34)

Because Sister Mary Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God” (Diary 1107).

Sister Mary Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993 and canonized her in 2000."
(From a Saint a Day at American

Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill recieve prestigious award

EWTN Foundress Mother Angelica and

Deacon Bill Steltemeier Receive Papal Honor

"Irondale, AL (EWTN) –Pope Benedict XVI has awarded EWTN foundress, Mother Mary Angelica, and Deacon Bill Steltemeier, Chairman of EWTN’s Board of Governors, the Cross of Honor for distinguished service to the Church. The medal, officially known as “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (literally “For the Church and the Pope”), is the highest honor that the Pope can bestow upon laity and religious.

Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham conferred the awards in a brief ceremony following Sunday benediction at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.

“The Holy Father’s recognition of Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier is a much-deserved honor. It acknowledges the tremendous faith, hard work and incredible sacrifices that each of them have made throughout the years in founding and building up the Network,” said EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. “Their recognition is also a great honor for EWTN and is a clear sign of the importance of the Network’s mission for the Church and the Pope. We are grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to Bishop Baker for this honor.”

Mother Mary Angelica, 86, is a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration. She came to Alabama in 1961 to found Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale. In 1981, she began Eternal Word Television Network in a garage on the monastery property. In 1999, Mother Angelica relocated the Monastery to the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. She continues to reside there with her community of Nuns.

Deacon R. William Steltemeier, 80, was a successful Nashville attorney who left his law practice to join Mother Angelica with her fledgling television network. He served as EWTN’s President for many years and continues to serve as Chairman of the Network’s Board of Governors.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 28th year, is available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website and publishing arm, EWTN, is the largest religious media network in the world."