Patti Murphy Dohn retired in 2014 after 33 years of service as Campus Minister and Religion teacher at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, MD. Committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, she has served the school community since 1981. Presently, she is working on archiving the school's history and doing bereavement outreach.  

Patti was awarded the Medal of Honor in Youth and Young Adult Ministry by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2012. She continues her service to the Archdiocese on the Screening Board for the Office of Vocations. She was previously a board member for the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, MD. and St. Margaret School in Bel Air.

Along with writing for "The Catholic Review," Patti is a member of the Catholic Press Association, as well as the Catholic Writers Guild and the Associated Church Press. She is available for speaking engagements, consulting, and retreat work.

Patti and her husband George split their time between their homes in Bel Air, Maryland and Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida.

Email: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com

Twitter: @JCSMinistry

Facebook: Patti Murphy Dohn

God is good!! All the time!!

 

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I was so happy to find a book that I borrowed from my neighbor. I searched high and low for 2 hrs. and then right before I was to go and visit her, in desperation, I prayed out to St. Anthony and then I found the book about 20 minutes later. Thank you, St. Anthony.

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Such a nice post about Father Carr, Patti!

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God is in the clouds

On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Calling on Saint Medard: Prayer to the patron saint of bad storms



Once again, our family and friends along the east coast are in the calm before the storm... a huge snowstorm which meteorologists are calling Jonas. 

With blizzard warnings and school closings pinging alerts to my cell phone, my husband and I share the worry with our family back in Maryland as the hours tick down to the arrival of this huge storm. 


Praying to Saint Medard:

It's time once again to call upon the intercession of Saint Medard, the sixth-century bishop, preacher, and missionary, whose feast is observed on June 8. He is the patron saint for protection from bad storms. 

According to legend, as a child, Medard was once sheltered from the driving rain by an eagle hovering over him.  





The last time I wrote about praying to Saint Medard was two years ago in February of 2014 as Winter Storm Pax was making its way to the east coast. It dumped more than a foot of snow on the Baltimore area.

As we get closer to the start of winter storm Jonas, let us again call upon the intercession of Saint Medard to keep our loved ones safe and to protect all those who are in need of shelter and warmth.


Prayer to Saint Medard:


Saint Medard, patron saint for protection against bad storms,
we ask you to intercede for us during the storms of our lives as well as the storms in nature.

Protect our families and our homes.

We pray for assistance for the victims of snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, especially for the upcoming snowstorm that is headed our way this weekend.

Loving God, send in more helpers, and multiply resources and supplies for the aid of those in need.

You calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee; deliver us from the storms that are raging around us now.

Saint Medard, pray for us.

Amen.


January 22, 2016 12:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Another tribute to the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony: Patron saint of lost items



Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)


My Facebook memories “On this day” reminded me that it was two years ago when I first called for shared stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding lost and stolen items.

Many Catholics recall the familiar jingle used to call upon his assistance:

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around:
Something is lost and needs to be found!”


When I published my first tribute to his intercession in January of 2014, I had no idea that it would bring about so much interest. I included a number of stories about items found through Saint Anthony’s intercession, as well as the prayer so often used by those who seek his aid, “Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony.”

My first tribute has had thousands of readers over the past 24 months. And I have received more than three thousand emails from people all over the world both calling for prayers for items they have lost or had stolen, as well as testimonies and words of thanks for Saint Anthony's intercession for items found. 

The most common requests come from those seeking prayers for things lost, usually of great value, both sentimental and monetary. This includes lost jewelry, purses, laptops, keys, wallets, and passports. 

The stories of items found and credited to Saint Anthony’s intercession have been fascinating. I had received so many stories of gratitude that I published a follow-up on his feast day of June 13


A new testimony to Saint Anthony: A wintery lost and found story:

Just last week I received an email from Stacey Sheets of Stevens Point, Wisconsin with a shout-out to Saint Anthony:

“I have an amazing Saint Anthony story for you!  

I lost my wedding and engagements rings this past Monday. I was pretty sure I had left them at the gym that I belong to. As soon as I realized it, I went back to the gym and searched everywhere for my rings, including the parking lot.  

To explain, I usually take off my rings and put them in my coat pocket there.  
No luck, I couldn't find them.  We live in Wisconsin and that afternoon we were hit by a big snowstorm, about eight inches of snow.  

I looked everywhere, I even went back to the store I had gone to on Sunday thinking maybe I had lost my rings there.  

After a while, I just could not remember when I last had my rings on. So I just started looking everywhere imaginable, even my ice box in the freezer.

I told the ladies at the gym yesterday what had happened, and one of them said to me "Say a prayer to Saint Anthony"  and I said "No, isn't it Saint Jude?"  

I had been praying to Saint Jude, but I decided to google Saint Anthony and I found your website. I started praying to Saint Anthony yesterday evening, into the night and first thing this morning.  

And can you believe what happened?  I got a call at 12:45 today that a Good Samaritan had found my rings buried in the ice outside in the parking lot, even after snow plows went through!!  

I sincerely believe that it was Saint Anthony who made it possible for my rings to be found.  My little boy was with me when I got the phone call that my rings had been found. I have explained to him that miracles do really happen and that there are good people in the world.  

I am so glad that I found your website.  I just can't believe that in less than 24 hours after looking on your website, I am writing you a letter with my rings back on my hand!

Sincerely,

Stacey Sheets


(Photo courtesy of Stacey Sheets)


Gratitude:

I was so thrilled for Stacey and her family when I read this email. What an amazing story of her rings being found in the ice after that big snowstorm!

I had initially thought that her email was from a young woman with the same name who went to school with my children in the 1980’s at Saint Margaret’s in Bel Air.

Stacey and I emailed back and forth several times. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is a parishioner at Saint Bronislava Catholic Church in Plover, Wisconsin. She was happy to have her story shared in one of my "God is in the Clouds" follow-ups about the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony.

Stacey told me, “I am still in awe of what happened, I just can't stop smiling!”

I cannot stop smiling either! 


Thanks, Saint Anthony, for coming around.
Something was lost and now it has been found!

God is good… All the time.
Amen.

——-

Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony:

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints"
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.
 Amen.

——-



Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?

Email your stories to me at: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


Read more on St. Anthony's intercession: 





January 19, 2016 01:07
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Remembering Father Brendan T. Carr and the three most important rules of life



I just posted this 2011 memory-photo on Facebook on November 29, 2015:

Four years ago today at Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House: 
"Junior Retreat closing Mass today with the fantastic Father Brendan Carr!!"
(Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)


I was overcome with sadness when I learned Monday afternoon of the death of Father Brendan Carr, a good and holy retired Baltimore priest. Holy Trinity Church’s Youth Ministry had announced Father Carr's death on Facebook. 

He was a beloved priest who impacted the hearts and lives of people of all ages.
Father Carr could have been the “poster priest’ for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“They poured out their hearts to him”

Father Carr had joined me and my John Carroll students on our junior retreats in 2011-2012, celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation and their class Mass at the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, Maryland. 

He was one of the most effective priests that I ever worked with in my 30+ years of retreat work. Youth were drawn to him. They poured out their hearts to him. They waited hours to have him hear their confessions. 

Father Carr's true kindness and grandfatherly approach with my students, along with the twinkle in his kind Irish eyes, led to four hours of confessions and a joyful celebration of the liturgy each and every retreat. 

Taking a personal interest in each student:

I remember the first time that Father Carr joined us. My morning retreat session included a two-hour slot for confessions and Mass, the scheduled timing based on past experiences. After I led a prayerful examination of conscience, Father Carr spoke a few words of gentle encouragement to my students and went back to the the small Reconciliation room. 

When the first student came back into the Chapel after her confession, she was smiling ear to ear with joy. The other students looked at her with open mouths. She exclaimed, "He is so cool. And he asked me about my dog!” 

That sealed the deal... Students went to confession one by one for four hours. I had never had such a strong response for the sacrament. Father Carr took such a personal interest in my students. They, in turn, responded and God worked with His amazing grace, as He always does.

We were late for the 12:15 lunch that day, and the ladies in the dining room were concerned about what was going on. And we had not even had Mass yet! 

This required some quick reworking of the schedule and the need to start our lunch without the full group present.

His calling within a calling:

Father Carr joined us in the dining room about 50 minutes later after hearing the confessions of all those waiting in the Chapel. He reminisced with me about his days as a Christian brother in both Pittsburgh and at Calvert Hall, where we had several mutual brother-friends over the years, now departed. 

He spoke also of the joy of having his “calling within a calling,” serving God as a religious brother before heeding the call in 1972 to be ordained a diocesan priest. Father Carr’s impact on young people began in the schools and continued in parishes and during youth retreats. Father explained that he always enjoyed helping his close friend Father Tom Ryan who served as chaplain at Towson Newman Center and at Archbishop Spalding.  

The three most important rules of life:

The most powerful message that Father Carr left with my students, one that I'll never forget, was included in his homily. He gently challenged my students, imploring them to never forget the three most important rules of life:

Holding up his index finger, he said "Be kind." 

Then holding up his second finger, he said “Be kind." 

Immediately followed by three fingers held up, he said, "And... Be kind.”
 
Indeed, that simple and powerful message always made an impression on everyone who was present in that Chapel. 

Our first Mass with the new Roman Missal:

By the way, Father Carr was the priest who first celebrated Mass with us using the new Roman Missal in 2011. It was Monday of the First Week in Advent and the new Missal had just been implemented that weekend. 

Father kept apologizing to my students for not making more eye contact with them, since he had to read the new Eucharistic Prayers and turn the unfamiliar ribbon-lined pages. My students were quick to smile and put at ease the priest who had captured their hearts.

Memorial candle in the Retreat House Chapel:

When I learned of Father Carr’s death on Monday, I immediately texted my dear friend and retreat colleague Kellie Reynolds of St Stephen Church, Bradshaw. 

And where was she? 
At the Msgr. O’Dwyer Retreat House! God’s timing is impeccable.

Kellie lit a candle for me and my now-alumni students in the O’Dwyer Chapel, in memory of Father Carr and in honor of the huge impact he had on my students during their retreats. He was a wonderful priest and touched the hearts of so many youth on retreats from parishes and schools around the Archdiocese.



In loving memory of Father Carr:
Photo by Kellie Reynolds at the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House Chapel


Remembering Father Carr:

"Father Carr was so sweet. He made every single person on retreat feel important and really wanted to know about us."

—Courtney Wilson, John Carroll Class of 2013

---

“I’m so sad to hear of Father Carr’s death. He was awesome! I was the one who went to confession first that day, and he was so cool and down to earth. I remember how he took his time and was very interested in each of us. He was so nice, making my confession time feel very comfortable and relaxed. He will be missed.”

—Sierra Fica, John Carroll Class of 2013

---

"I remember Father Carr also came to the rescue for us during an APYM (Association of Professional Youth Ministers/ Archdiocese of Baltimore) meeting day. I think our scheduled priest got sick. Father Carr was always so easy going and would go with the flow! He always had a smile on his face."

—Kellie Reynolds of St. Stephen Church, Bradshaw, recalling Father Carr's ongoing kindness



Funeral arrangements:

Father Carr will lie in state at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Glen Burnie, on Monday, January 18 from 3:00 pm until 6:30 pm, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 7:00 pm. 

Contributions can be made in Father Carr's memory to Archbishop Spalding High School, 8080 New Cut Road, Severn, MD. 21144;

OR:

Friends of Animals, 777 Post Road, Suite 205, Darien, CT. 06820.

God rest him!
May the angels and saints lead Father Brendan Carr into Paradise.
Amen.

January 14, 2016 12:46
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Remembering Joe Hughes: A man for others, for family, and for Harford County 


After a long battle with illness, Joseph John Hughes of Bel Air went Home to Our Lord on Christmas Eve.

It was the day before his wife Germaine’s Christmas birthday.


And as I think of Joe coming into the Nearer Presence of the Lord, an image comes to my mind, from Luke’s Gospel account of the Infancy Narratives: Joe singing and praising God as he did here on earth: 


“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)



Who was Joe Hughes?


If you did a Google search, you would find tens of thousands of men named Joseph Hughes in the United States. But if you are from old-time Bel Air, Maryland, you know there is only one Joe Hughes... (Except for his oldest son, of course!)


Joe was a husband, father, and grandfather, a friend and confidante to many, and an Irishman. He was a good and holy man, with a great sense of humor…  And he was an incredible model of faith and hope to all who had the pleasure of meeting him.



Germaine Hughes, a gifted artist, painted this portrait of her husband a few years ago.


Their son Joe Hughes, a 1994 graduate of The John Carroll School, reflects:


“Our Mom painted it a few years ago after one of Dad’s recoveries from a stroke. 

It hangs in the Family Room on the fireplace mantle where we all gather when we visit. 


“Their dog’s name was "Buddy" and they were pals.  Buddy would love to sit with Dad as he watched the ball games. A great companion.


“I love how Mom used her gift of art to honor her husband. She was so devoted to her marriage and her vows to love and honor him in many different roles over her life.” 

 


He impacted thousands of lives: 


Joe was a gift to anyone who was touched by his work as teacher and counselor in the Harford County Public Schools, at Harford Community College, in the religious education programs at St. Margaret’s, through the local Habitat for Humanity, and as a coach for Harford County Parks and Recreation.


Over and over, we have heard and read stories from people who were touched by Joe. The common theme was that he always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world when you spoke to him. And, indeed, to him, you were.


A former priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Joe lived out the grace of his Holy Orders for the last four decades by doing the corporal works of mercy. He touched people’s lives in a quiet manner, without drawing attention to himself, humble through and through. And he never brought attention to the health challenges that he endured for many years.


Joe was the face of Mercy to many as he prayed with those who were on the last leg of their journey Home to God in his hospital ministry at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. He led prayer services at Bright View Assisted Living in Bel Air. And he sang joyfully with the men of "The Irishman's Chorale," the group that honored him back by singing at his funeral.



Joe’s influence on my life:


Active in my faith as a teen, I met Joe and Germaine back in the early ‘70s when they moved to Bel Air and became parishioners at St. Margaret Church. I saw them regularly at Mass, retreats, and special parish events. Joe’s sense of humor and the warmth of his greeting made me feel important as part of the parish community as a young person. 


When it was time for me to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation as a junior, Joe was my group’s teacher. Always affirming and uplifting, he told me that I could have taught the class. Of course, those words led to my increased involvement in the sharing and discussions with those in my small group, many of whom were not thrilled about having to attend a church class on a school night.


Over the years, Joe became a dear friend and Germaine was always the face of kindness. Their children attended St. Margaret School and John Carroll where I taught and served as Campus Minister. The Hughes Family was always a joy to encounter. They made you smile. That was part of the grace of the vocation of marriage that was shared by Joe and Germaine over their 42 years together.



Reflections from the Funeral Mass:


During the eulogy last Tuesday, Jack Hughes from Philadelphia spoke of his older brother:


“My brother was a true man for others. Joe had our mother’s compassion and empathy. She taught us to never judge a person because you never know what they are going through. And he had our Dad’s sense of humor…


“The greatest tribute we can give Joe now is to live our lives well. He was my brother, father, friend, confessor, and now he's my saint.”


Living the Beatitudes:


Principal celebrant Msgr. G. Michael Schleupner called on the refrain from the Broadway song “Seasons of Love” to ask “How do you measure a life?” He spoke of four of the Beatitudes from the Gospel reading and how they were embodied by the way Joe lived his life. 


“Joe found his peace and joy by caring for those who were in need, especially those who were seriously ill in the hospital. He was one with others in the journey of life.


“Today our loss and grief is offset by love, faith, and the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ. We take comfort in the hope that one day we shall see Joe again and enjoy his friendship. Amen.”



The legacy of Joe Hughes:


“There is no part of the community that was not touched by Joe. That was the essence of his location.”


—Bernie Mullin, former Guidance Chairperson who retired in 2012 from The John Carroll School

——


“Joe Hughes was my dearest mentor in high school and beyond. He was my high school guidance counselor at Joppatowne High School in the late ‘70s. He wrote my college letter of recommendation for the University of Maryland. I still have it and look at it from time to time because it was so inspirational.  


“After high school, I stayed in touch with Joe from time to time. He is one of the major reasons that I changed careers and became an English teacher. I could call him when I had questions in my early teaching career and he always had the perfect solution.  


“Joe was candid, funny, and so kind, and he always made you feel good about life and what you were doing. We will all miss his smile and humor.”


—Christine Siegel Zurkowski, English Dept. Chair at The John Carroll School


——


“I had the pleasure of working with Joe in his home for several months this past year. During that time I was treated like I was part of his family. Joe persevered despite the obstacles that he faced. He was always very pleasant and had a smile on his face. I am truly blessed to have known both Joe and Germaine.”


—Kim Hill, speech pathologist with Amedisys Home Care

——


Our Lady of Knock, pray for us:


The Irishman’s Chorale honored their friend and fellow member’s life by paying homage to “Our Lady of Knock” during the Communion meditation at his Funeral Mass on December 29, 2015:


Watch here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aCjPu7LoR0


——


"The great and sad mistake of many people is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us. They do not leave us. They remain! Where are they? In darkness? Oh, no! It is we who are in darkness. We do not see them, but they see us. Their eyes, radiant with glory, are fixed upon our eyes. Though invisible to us, our dead are not absent. They are living near us, transfigured ... into light, into power, into love." 


—Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, S.J.

January 05, 2016 12:01
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Looking back with gratitude and forward with hope: My top ten blogs for 2015 and a prayer for the new year 2016




"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” 
—Edith L. Pierce

Happy New Year:

It is a mystery as old as life itself when we realize how quickly the years go by…
The older we get, the quicker time flies.

2015 has held lots of memories for my family… including good times spent between our homes in Bel Air and on Singer Island in South Florida, retirement adventures with my husband George, visits from family and friends, and a deeper understanding of the circle of life.

As for me, I have kept busy in many ways. Bereavement and prayer outreach with many families extends my ministry beyond retirement. My days are also packed with writing this “God is in the Clouds” blog for The Catholic Review, doing social media promotion for the Singer Island community, and writing and preserving the archival history of John Carroll, the school where I served as campus minister before my retirement in 2014. I am often laugh and wonder how I ever found time to work.


Some of the highlights of 2015 for my husband George and me include:

1. The joy were shared when our daughter Katie was married on April 25:




2. Overcoming with God’s grace a major medical challenge this past summer;

3. Seeing Pope Francis this September in Washington, DC with my friend Rita Buettner from Open Window;


Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn


4. Our trip to Paris in October, which was my first time visiting the City of Lights:
See our photos and read more in "Praying for Paris: Our pilgrimage to the City of Light



George and I at the Montmartre Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris


5. The arrival of our newest grandson, Peyton Thomas, last Tuesday, just in time for a visit from Santa Claus!


Our newest grandson was born on December 22



My top ten blogs for 2015:


 





 



Three posts from my "oldies but goodies" that still attract lots of readers:

1. One of the top Google searches for prayers said when something is lost, this post attracts readers from all over the world, many of whom send me emails about how St. Anthony has interevened for them in times of need with lost and stolen items:



2. Another post which is high up on the Google search, this time for those seeking the patron saint for those taking exams:
I get emails from thousands of students and their families requesting prayers for success in exams of all kinds in:



3. My favorite quote inspired me to write this popular post: "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." 



Looking ahead to 2016:

What does the new year have in store for you and your families?

I am extending my warmest wishes to all of you and your families!
May the Jubilee Year of Mercy brings rich blessings of faith and hope to each of you.

Let’s start 2016 by praying for the grace to enter more deeply into our faith journey this year:

 

Loving God, thank You for this new year.
May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate.
We know that You are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.
As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what You want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with You now, one day at a time.
Amen.



Count your blessings with me:


December 31, 2015 12:19
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Holiday grief: Remembering the children we loved and lost too soon



The holiday season is particularly tough for those who are in mourning. With an emphasis on families and togetherness, while being bright and merry, this time of year is often dreaded by those who suffer from grief, sickness, loneliness, and heartache. 

Last week I shared reflections and advice for the holiday season from a few families who have lost adult loved ones.



Today, in Part 2, I share about one of my former students who died at age 15, as well as the sad stories of two other families who mourn the loss of children. They offer insights on how they cope and find hope, while they honor these young lives taken too soon.


Remembering Xavia: 

My Facebook memories this week reminded me that just four years ago we were praying for a bone marrow match to be found for sweet Xavia Pirozzi, my then-John Carroll sophomore student. St. Joseph Church in Fullerton had sponsored a marrow registry drive and over 900 persons showed up to be screened, hoping to give the gift of life to this young girl who was battling lymphoma.

Sometimes our best laid efforts to help during times of need just don't work out according to our plan.

Xavia passed on to Eternal Life three months later on March 21, 2012 at the age of 15. Her death saddened the hearts of the entire John Carroll community. As their campus minister, I helped our students come together to find ways to honor her memory and keep her legacy alive in the heart of our school. 


When children die:

As we know, it is unnatural for parents to bury their children. The process of mourning and grief is much more intense since we place a lot of hope in our children and the yet-unfolding lives that they might enjoy in the years to come.

And when the holidays roll around, especially Christmas with so much focus on children and Santa and the Holy Infant who changed the world forever, the process of bereavement often intensifies, even if years have passed since a child has gone Home to Heaven ahead of us.

Two families’ stories:


Delivery into Eternal Life:

My friend Abigail and her husband lost two sons during late miscarriages, Francisco in 2006 and Leo in 2013. Already parents, they were taken completely off-guard by these unexpected losses.

And Abigail had to go through the heart-wrenching process of labor and delivery with Leo in October of 2013. She shares that the support and compassion of the nurses at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring helped them get through two very long days.

The labor and delivery unit at Holy Cross, a Catholic hospital, has the practice of placing a black butterfly on the doors of mothers whose baby has died. This symbol alerts everyone who enters the room that the mother and family are in mourning. Abigail told me that she had “one of the best conversations about grief with a housekeeper who came to take out my trash.”

The timing of Leo’s delivery into Eternal Life meant that the family buried him the weekend before All Souls Day. Abigail recalls that Halloween and All Souls Day were traumatic for them that year, much more than that upcoming Christmas.

One of Abigail’s pregnancy traditions has been to make her unborn children a needlepoint Christmas stocking during the months before their births. Since she had not yet fashioned stockings for Francisco and Leo before her miscarriages, she sewed them after their deaths. 

Abigail shares, “It was sad work and healing at the same time. When I put up the stockings with the boys’ names on them, it is a good time to answer questions for the really little kids (her youngest children), "Who is this?" I know that it does my heart good to see everyone's names all together. It's like they counted (Francisco and Leo) as children too."


When tragedy takes children:

Allison, my former student from the John Carroll Class of 2012, now a student at the University of Delaware, is no stranger to mourning the loss of children. Tragically, her two step-brothers, Mikey and Eric, along with their mother, perished in a house fire in 2005. The boys were 10 and 8 years old. Allison was just 11 at the time of their deaths and shares, “My family is always affected by the loss of my brothers. Their death came as a complete surprise.” 

Allison has shared her wisdom on grief many times over the years, including with her John Carroll classmates on their senior retreat. In some ways, she reflects, time heals and helps.  

“You never learn to truly get over the loss. You can only learn to get through it with the help of God and the support of the people He provides in your time of need. For my family, it has always been each other.

"During the holidays, the grief we feel all year long is intensified. Holidays have such a huge emphasis on family, and unfortunately, because of our loss, it's easy to focus on what, or more importantly who our family doesn't have, rather than being grateful for all those we do have. We grieve for the moments we will never have with the people we always thought we would.”

Getting through the holidays:

Allison shares that in years past her family had always travelled during the holidays, visiting relatives and friends. Since the boys’ deaths, her family usually sticks closer to home, cherishing their time with the immediate family. They always hang stockings on the mantle with stuffed animals and photos of Mikey and Eric.

“The hardest holiday for us—although they are all hard—is Christmas. The grief can be so crippling and comes in unexpected waves.” 

“My stepfather usually visits the boys' gravesite—which our family calls the chapel—on special holidays like Christmas, as well on as their birthdays and the day they passed away. Every year, with the small amount of pictures that we have, we try to make a gift for my stepfather acknowledging Mikey and Eric in some way. In the past, we have made canvases of pictures, written poems, and other kind gestures to keep their memory alive.” 

“Writing poems and creating the canvases are definitely tools that I have used to cope with the loss of my brothers. It helps to confront your feelings in a way that is constructive. 

“Also, it helps us as a family to reflect on the funny memories we had with them. There are so many priceless stories and memories that we will always hold onto. Talking about the boys keeps their memory alive. 

“Sometimes, personally, what doesn’t help for me is pondering who they would be today. For some reason, only known to God, their book was complete in His eyes when we thought they’d still be writing new chapters. Thinking about what could have been and what my life might be like now (with them) invites pain and confusion.” 


Where to turn when your heart hurts:

Abigail shares: 

“The best grief group I went to was Compassionate Friends. They told me that grief is work and to be flexible.
 
“It felt very hard to lose a baby before I knew him. Like I wasn't even sure who I lost… I just knew that we would have been so linked at the heart. I hung out in a room where people had lost adult children in car accidents and children to suicide and heroin. A few Moms told me my grief was harder, because it was invisible to the world and there was no one to say "I remember Leo..." 

“That felt so generous to me. Taking my grief seriously helped me to heal. And talking about my grief with strangers helped me to heal, especially because my husband and I were processing the miscarriage in different ways. 


Advice for those mourning during the holidays (and anytime):

Abigail reflects:

“Grief is work. Don't worry about impressing other people. 

“Do the work that God has given you this season so that you can be truly free and authentic. The complicated, 'stuffed' grief comes from not wanting to work through your feelings.” 

Let God show you how to swim:

Allison shares:

“The round of firsts are the hardest parts of grief’s endless cycle that you will have to endure.  Let God be your comfort in these times. 

“There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Do not set your grief to a timetable. Your love for the one you lost has no deadline, and neither does your grief. Grief will always come in waves, but let God show you how to swim.”


Compassionate Friends:

"Time has proven that in caring and sharing comes healing."

Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help support organization that offers friendship and understanding to bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. Founded in 1969, they have more than 650 local chapters across the country where regular meetings provide a caring environment for parents and families to work through their grief with the help of others who have "been there.” 

To contact them, call: 877-969-0010 or visit their web site.


Do you have a story of grief and hope that you would like to share?

Please write to me: 

-------

Read more about how Xavia Pirozzi’s classmates of the John Carroll Class of 2014 honored her memory:


3. On the second anniversary of her death: Senior year for the Class of 2014:
    




December 23, 2015 04:32
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Grief and mourning during the holidays: How to cope when you aren't feeling jolly


"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

~From a headstone in Ireland

Experiencing the unexpected: 


One of my husband's oldest friends died suddenly ten days ago. There was no warning. He suffered a massive stroke and was gone two days later.

Wes' death hit us very hard. It was so unexpected. He and his wife had just visited us last month in Florida. We had had such a wonderful time together… The shock of his stroke and death hit us so hard. 

Not only was it a reality check, confirming that we truly never know the day or time, but it also was a sober reminder that we are not getting any younger. 


That pressure to be in the holiday spirit:

Julius Caesar once mused, “Which death is preferably to every other? The unexpected.” 

That being said, the families of those lost without any warning suffer greatly as they try to cope without their loved ones.

And the holiday season is particularly tough for those who are in mourning. With an emphasis on families and togetherness, while being bright and merry, this time of year is often dreaded by those who suffer from grief, sickness, loneliness, and heartache. 


Today I will share some reflections and advice for the holiday season from a few families who have lost adult loved ones.

Next week, I will share the sad stories of families mourning the loss of children and how they cope and honor these young lives taken too soon.


How to cope and put on a happy face when your spirits feel low?

My friend Ann understands the challenge of grief. She remembers how difficult it was years back to lose her first husband (“the biggest loss of my life”) when she was just 32 with two young daughters. She just recently lost her mother, who died peacefully at age 93. Ann told me how much she misses talking to her about the grandchildren and all the family traditions they shared. 


Nicole, one of my former John Carroll students, lost her dear grandmother in 2011, just three days after Christmas. Nicole shares that the holidays have been difficult ever since. Though her “Granny” was 89 at the time of her death, the fast decline in her health due to Alzheimer’s and her subsequent sudden death found Nicole unprepared. “I was not ready for that. After her passing, I spent that New Year's Eve alone because I didn't want to be around anyone and pretty much cried all the time… Ever since her passing I feel like the holidays are not the same… Now I go to visit her at the cemetery and decorate there a little.” 


The timing of death evokes memories and new traditions:
 
Another one of my other former JC students, Amber, shares that her family has been greatly impacted in many ways by the deaths of loved ones. 

Memories of losing her paternal grandfather during the week of Halloween while she was in the sixth grade evoke memories of “trying to do normal Halloween and kid stuff even though we were going through such a rough time. I can't help to be reminded of him every year and what the weather was like on that Halloween.”

Just four years ago, Amber’s aunt (her godmother) died suddenly on Christmas Eve. “We suffered one of our greatest losses. Her death rocked our world.” 
Amber shares that the timing was especially poignant. “She always loved Christmas and expected the entire family to be together on Christmas Eve. I believe her death falling on Christmas Eve is her way of reminding us how special family is and that we need to be together. Every year, we make sure we visit her grave site to be with her on Christmas.”

This year, sadly, Amber’s family lost her 56-year old uncle two days before Thanksgiving after a battle with cancer. She reflects, “His death reminds us to be thankful for all that we have. It also brought special meaning to me because he died in the veterans’ hospital. The care, support and respect that was shown while he was there will always be in my mind. It really helps me to be more thankful for all of our veterans.”  

Life is never the same:

The mother of another of my JC girls, Denise, still feels that “big hole” in her heart thirty years after her father’s death. “I lost the most important person in my life. I don't think you ever get used to that big hole in your heart. I just learned how to cope. 

Denise, who was just 23 when her Dad died, shares that even the smell of Christmas trees during the holiday season is tough for her. “The feeling of that loss never goes away.”

She remembers the recurring smell of the incense after his funeral service, even in his truck. In retrospect now, Denise believes it was a like sign of comfort from her Dad.


The evolution of mourning:

Nicole shares, “Thinking about the good memories helps a lot. It took me a few years honestly to be “okay” with Granny’s passing. I used to focus on how much I missed her and how sad I was. Now I think about all the fun we had and how lucky I was to have her in my life for so long.” 

Ann shared about how her family honors the memories of those who have gone on to Eternal Life, “We have a special star ornament now on our trees for each loved one that has passed.”


Tips for getting through the holidays:

“What helps most is laughter while remembering and sharing stories. Dwelling on the sadness does not help, because it slows you down and upsets those who are around you."
For those newly-grieving: 
“Keep busy, surround yourself with people who understand your loss. Don't be alone!”
—Ann


“Try to focus on the good. It's easier said than done, but it really helps. However, it is important to allow yourself to be upset and cry too, because it's part of the grieving process.”
—Nicole


“While death is often hard to understand, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With each of our family members’ deaths, we come to realize how important family and life is. We will always be aware of the empty chair around the table during each holiday, but at the same time, we will always have our most special memories with those loved ones carrying us forward. Time really does heal all wounds. Our loved ones are always with us during the holidays even when they are no longer with us on Earth.”
—Amber


For those who are newly-grieving:
“Take your time, as everyone grieves differently. 
Never put a time on your grief. It takes a long time… sometimes, as in my case, it never really goes away. 
It helps to talk to someone who has been there too. 
Visit the grave with flowers, but most importantly, be true to you:
Grieve when you need, and cry out loud when you must.” 
—Denise 


Your thoughts on grief and mourning?

-How do you get through the holidays when grief is overwhelming?

-How do you honor the memories of your loved ones?

Write and let me know your thoughts and suggestions.



December 17, 2015 02:55
By Patti Murphy Dohn


The legacy of Archbishop John Carroll: The Baltimore Basilica homily on the 200th anniversary of the death of America’s first bishop



Archbishop John Carroll is reposed in the crypt of the Baltimore Basilica (Photos by Patti Murphy Dohn)


This past Sunday—December 6, 2015—the Archdiocese of Baltimore honored the legacy of Archbishop John Carroll, America’s first bishop, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the bicentennial of his death on December 3, 1815.

The liturgy, on the Second Sunday of Advent, was presided over by Archbishop of Baltimore William E. Lori, the fifteenth successor to Archbishop Carroll. 

The homilist was Fr. Michael J. Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew in Manchester, who is an eminent Church historian, scholar, and recipient of the Mount St. Mary University’s 37th annual John Cardinal McCloskey Award

Concelebrating was Rev. Michael E. Heine, OFM Conv., director of the Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City. 
Assisting, Deacon Robert M. Shephard of the Basilica staff. 

In attendance were representatives of The John Carroll School, Bel Air. 


(Homily Note: I transcribed Fr. Roach’s homily based on his notes and the video that I took of the homily.)



Homily by Fr. Michael Roach:

I am an unabashed Irish minimalist never preaching more than seven minutes. Not so today, may it please Your Grace!

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. This man came as testimony, to bear witness concerning the light, that “all might come to believe.” He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

Sixty-one Autumns ago, a wonderful fourth grade teacher, Sister John Theresa La Voie of St. William of York School, introduced me to the person of our first bishop through a landmark book called John Carroll, Bishop and Patriot. Though the Guilday and Melville biographies are more scholarly and elegant, I still have a great place in my heart for this children’s book on our founding ordinary. There was much in it about Jacky Carroll’s childhood down in Charles County that lent an ease of identification for a fourth grader.

Much in the tradition of that son of Zachary and Elizabeth the Gospel speaks of today, John Carroll was himself something of a prophetic figure in the fledgling decades of our Church in this nation. He was a man “wrapped in the cloak of justice” as Baruch says. I can, in truth, say that his was the most fortuitous appointment that this Archdiocese would ever know (saving Your Grace!).

Born “down the counties’ between Piscataway ad Upper Marlboro in Epiphany-Tide of 1735, we have a grand word picture of the event from the pen of Dr. Annabelle Melville, late of Catholic University, who wrote somewhat floridly, “A January child comes close upon the heels of Christmas and heralds wintry weather. John Carroll was one of those, entering the world, as he did, on January 8, 1735 in the middle of the Octave of the Epiphany. A later generation of American mothers might look with loving scrutiny at the face of each newborn son and wonder if he might become, one day, the president of his country. But Eleanor Darnell Carroll, if she wondered at all as she tenderly examined the wrinkled red face of her fourth child, might have asked the older question, ‘Is this the one, is this the one to be the priest?”

We don’t know much about John’s early days in the agricultural and mercantile life of the Chesapeake gentry until he is thirteen. His parents take the costly step of sending him to Europe for a Catholic education. There was a fine involved in doing this, so many hogsheads of tobacco. This was just one of the dozens of annoying penal laws that Roman Catholics had to labor under in the colony they founded as “a land of sanctuary.” There were dozens more at varying times in the colonial period: 

-Catholics could not hold firearms; 
-They could not read the law; 
-They could not worship publicly; 
-Any child who conformed to the Church of England would become the sole heir of a parent’s estate.


It had all become so harassing that at one time the Carrolls had considered moving to the French territories along the Mississippi where they could practice their ancient faith freely. This explains their family motto “Ubicumquae Liberate” (“Anywhere so long as there be freedom”).    

After a stint at the clandestine school at Old Bohemia, adjacent to the swamps of Cecil County where he learned his Latin, young John Carroll heads off to French Flanders in the company of his double cousin, Charles Carroll, to attend the venerable College of St. Omar’s, founded almost two centuries earlier for the education of the sons of English colonials. He thrived there and his cousin Charlie writes back to Maryland that “Jacky Carroll is often first of all the students here.”

It would seem that here developed John’s vocation to the Society of Jesus. Like so many of these early Anglo-Irish families, the Carrolls would know a number of religious vocations with secular priests, Carmelites, and Visitandines down to the early twentieth century. Young John had entered the Jesuit novitiate at Watten to continue his formation later at Liege and Bruges.

Unfortunately, as Father Carroll is ordained, the fortunes of the Society of Jesus are floundering. They are expelled from country after country, beginning with Portugal. The handwriting is on the wall for a universal suppression, and the Franciscan pope, Clement XIV, takes that final step of dis-establishing the Jesuit order in the Summer of 1773. It was quite a blow to Father Carroll, who really doubted his own resilience. But he adapted, and worked as a tutor to an English Catholic family. One lasting legacy from this period was an innate distrust of Roman politics.

He then returned to his mother’s house over on Rock Creek in 1774, to embrace his mother Eleanor whom he had not seen in some two decades. With real filial affection, he confessed that to see his mother once again was better than having the finest position in the English Church!

Father Carroll was not to fall into any kind of domestic semi-retirement at Rock Creek, but immediately set out riding circuit to visit his scattered co-religionists as far west as Fifteen-Mile Creek, now Hancock, and even to Cumberland, also down to what is now West Virginia.

Our responsorial psalm reflects some of Carroll's elation over his newly independent land: “When from our exile God brings us home again, we’ll think we are dreaming.”

He was even called on to accompany a diplomatic mission to Canada in 1776. Even John Adams, no friend to Catholics, stated, “We have empowered the committee to take with them another gentleman of Maryland, Mr. John Carroll, a Roman Catholic priest and a gentleman of learning and ability.” 

The mission had hoped to seal an alliance with the Catholic Quebequios against the English. The hierarchy, then in negotiations with the British for some religious concessions, was furious about this American priest accompanying the mission and forbade his clergy to receive Father Carroll. One old school friend did invite the American priest to dinner; Bishop Briand suspended him for this. 

The diplomatic mission was not a success, though it did forge a link between John Carroll and Benjamin Franklin, who was gouty and uncomfortable in the long trek. Dr. Franklin so appreciated Fr. Carroll’s kindness that several years later, when meeting the Holy See’s minister to Paris at the Bourbon Court, Archbishop Doria Pamphili, he wholeheartedly recommended John Carroll to head the Church in the new republic.

Another common sense reason to think of Fr. Carroll to captain the Church in the new land was that he was one of the youngest and most vigorous of the former Jesuit missionaries left in Maryland. The erstwhile Jesuits, meeting at White Marsh down near Bowie, has asked for a vicar early on, then for a bishop. Their clear choice would be John Carroll, and Rome agreed in 1789. 

America would have its first Catholic bishop. Now where to be consecrated, ordained a bishop?
After his Canadian experience, he wasn't heading north, so he went to England where the ceremony would take place on August 15 at the chapel at Lulworth Castle, ancestral home of his friends, the Welds.

While there, he received two additional gifts for his nascent diocese. Mother Ann Hill, his cousin (yet another cousin from the limited gene pool among Catholics in southern Maryland), a Carmelite in the lower countries, contacted him to say that she was sending four of her nuns to Maryland to establish the first convent in the new nation down in Charles County.

Even more fortuitous, the French Sulpicians sent word from Paris from the Sulpician Father General, Jacques-André Emery, that they would like to come to the bishop’s new diocese to start a seminary, and would even bring some seminarists with them… Offers one could never refuse!

The newly-minted bishop was anxious to get back to his See and, in February of 1790, he would take official possession of his pro-cathedral down the hill on Saratoga Street. There he said, in part, “In God alone, can I find my consolation. He knows by what steps I have been conducted to this important station and how much I have always dreaded it. He will not abandon me unless I first draw down His malediction by my unfaithfulness to my charge. Pray, dear brothers, pray incessantly that I may not incur so dreadful a punishment.”

So, for another two and a half decades, Bishop Carroll would lead this new and ever-expanding Church. He had more than enough pains. Ungovernable clerics and feisty trustees were a constant thorn in his side. He even wrote to Europe to tell certain prelates to keep their problem priests at home. He never was able to curb the interfering ways of his Church trustees, particularly in the south. 

But he had many joys. Given his classic Jesuit formation, he found great delight in the foundation of educational establishments for men and women at Georgetown, Baltimore, and Emmitsburg. He was nationally respected,and served on many boards for the public good. From Boston to Savannah, John Carroll was a man of great station.

His diocese was far too vast. He wasn't interested in power. He understood John the Baptist’s dictum, “Jesus Christ must increase, while I decrease.” So he petitioned Rome for more sees in the new land in Boston, Philadelphia, and Kentucky. I like to remind Cardinal (Edwin) O’Brien that he (Carroll) wasn't really in favor of New York as a diocese, but later agreed.

The War of 1812 was a great sorrow for him, particularly the attack on Baltimore. Complicating things was the fact that, like most of the Carrolls, he was an Anglophile. He had no use for the radical ideas that had gained hold in Europe. He thought that the Irish had been driven mad by their suffering, but the French had no excuse, this wanton eldest daughter of the Church.

As “Sister Death” approached, Bishop Carroll evinced no fear. Part of the reason, he had told his old friend, John Grassi, SJ, who headed the Academy at Georgetown, “One of those things which give me such consolation at the present moment is that I have been attached to the practice of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that I have established it among the people under my care, and placed my diocese under her protection.”

His unofficial coat of arms shows an image of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by a circlet of thirteen, not twelve, stars, a clear reference to the thirteen original colonies.

Dr. Melville paints another great word picture at Carroll’s reception of the Last Rites: “The archbishop’s rheumy eyes roved over the faces of the good men who stood about his bed, Moranville who so loved his music, Babade whose mysticism had inspired Mother Seton, Tessier whose theology had been his very staff, the solemn young faces of the seminarians who  had never seen a bishop die.” His was a sublime tranquility of spirit which faced mortality and death as though it had already been met and conquered. Dr. Melville concludes, “Making the Sign of the Cross over them all, he had turned his head aside and died. It was Sunday, December 3, 1815… The heart of the whole city was heavy with mourning.”

Great postmortems follow, of course. Let me, for the sake of time, mention just a few:   

The Patriarch of the West, Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, wrote, “This holy man has run a glorious career. He was gifted with a wisdom and a prudence which made everyone esteem and love him.”

A young friend, Robert Walsh, said of his mentor: “His patriotism was as decided as his piety.”

Bishop John Cheverus (Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus) of Boston described the late archbishop as “God’s charioteer.”

The Servant of God Simon Gabriel Bruté, hearing these accolades in the sanctuary of this cathedral, said he half expected John Carroll down below in the crypt, to raise himself up on one arm and smile at all the praises.

The very literate historian, Theodore Maynard, wrote of John Carroll, that the archbishop was rather a sober character, perhaps in reaction to the overly-convivial Gaels who made up much of his clergy and congregations, but he concluded, that Archbishop Carroll’s “ monument is not merely his cathedral—which he never thought of as such—It is rather the whole history of the Catholic Church in the United States… It was providential that through the first critical years, the hand upon the rudder was that of John Carroll.” 

May God be praised!


After Mass (from left): Deacon Shephard, Fr. Roach, Archbishop Lori, Patti Murphy Dohn

December 10, 2015 12:45
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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