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.