Reflections by Patti Murphy Dohn on the Church, family, grief, saints, and hope amidst the storms in our lives... May you always find that God is in the clouds! 

Patti Murphy Dohn retired in 2014 after 33 years of service as Campus Minister, retreat director, and Religion teacher at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland. Committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, she has served the school community since 1981. Presently, she continues her ministry through bereavement outreach, coordinating the school's alumni prayer chain, while archiving the school's history.  

Patti was awarded the Medal of Honor in Youth and Young Adult Ministry by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2012. She served the Archdiocese on the Screening Board for the Office of Vocations under Cardinal Keeler, Cardinal O'Brien, and Archbishop Lori. She is also a past-board member for the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, MD. and Saint 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

Instagram: @PattiMurphyDohn

 God is good!! All the time!!

 

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God is in the clouds

A World Youth Day Prayer for parents, parishes, and friends




By Patti Murphy Dohn

Their bags are packed, boarding passes are printed, and all those passports are ready to be stamped as our young pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and other dioceses around our nation head to the airport.

The occasion?
World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland, the homeland of Pope Saint John Paul II.

Praying for our WYD pilgrims:

Let us join together each day and offer up this prayer for all those attending this year’s WYD celebration with Pope Francis.

Fashioned on the official prayer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this version can be used each day by the parishes and families of our pilgrims. 


A World Youth Day Prayer for parents, parishes, and friends: 
(Based on the World Youth Day Prayer for the United States from USCCB)

God our Father,
Be with our young people on their pilgrim journey of faith.
Give them the grace and courage to step forward
in faith and hope on the road ahead. 

Lord Jesus,
Open their eyes to see Your face in all those they encounter. 
Open their ears to hear Your voice in those who are often ignored. 
Open their hearts that they might be faithful disciples of mercy and truth. 

Holy Spirit,
Transform them. Empower them to give of themselves to the poor;
to welcome the lost; to forgive those who hurt them; 
to comfort those who suffer and are marginalized. 
Bless all those who travel on mission from the United States of America
to Krakow in Poland, Land of Divine Mercy, 
to join the universal Church for World Youth Day.
Bless, too, those who celebrate stateside, united in faith and joy. 
Like the disciples who journeyed up the mountain
to witness the Transfiguration, 
May this experience be an encounter
that strengthens them for their work in the world. 
Through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception,
patroness of our nation,
May they be worthy witnesses of their faith,
humble representatives of our country,
and inspired missionaries
bringing peace, hope, and mercy into our communities. Amen.

Saint James the Apostle, 
patron of pilgrim travelers, 
pray for them.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, 
young faithful witness from our native land, 
pray for them. 

Saint Therese of Lisieux, 
patroness of missionaries and advocate for youth, 
pray for them. 

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, 
man of the beatitudes and patron of young adults, 
pray for them. 

Saint John Paul II, 
son of Poland and patron of World Youth Day, 
pray for them.  

Amen!

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Read more of my reminiscences on World Youth Day:




For more information on World Youth Day: 

1. Visit the World Youth Day page on the website of the U.S. Catholic Bishops;

2. The Catholic Review will provide daily coverage about their experiences in “Pilgrims in Krakow” 


 

July 21, 2016 09:18
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Catholic Throwback Thursday: A brief history of World Youth Day


The logo for the 2016 WYD in Kraków was designed by Monika Rybczyńska: Read about the symbolism in her design here.

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"You are the future of the world, you are the hope of the Church, you are my hope.”
—The greeting of Pope John Paul II to youth during his papal inauguration Mass on October 22, 1978

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In less than two weeks, hundreds of thousands of young people and youth ministers from all over the world will descend upon Kraków, Poland for World Youth Day 2016

The Archdiocese of Baltimore will be represented among the huge crowds. A delegation of 40 young adults, led by Father Matt Buening, Catholic chaplain at Towson University, as well as seminarians Matt Himes and Tyler Kline, will be in attendance. Local teen groups from Mount de Sales Academy and St. Mary’s Church, Annapolis are traveling to Poland as well. 

The Catholic Review will have up-to-date coverage each day from Maureen Cromer, who will blog about her experiences in “Pilgrims in Krakow.”  

Why Kraków?

The homeland of Pope Saint John Paul II is the perfect location for a celebration for World Youth Day (WYD) during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. This year’s theme, which was one of three Beatitude-inspired WYD themes announced by Pope Francis in 2013, is “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." (Mt 5:7) 


During the 1983-1984 Holy Year of the Redemption (which marked 1950 years after Jesus’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection), as well as the 1985 United Nation’s International Youth Year, Pope John Paul II invited young people to come to Rome to pray with him each year on Palm (Passion) Sunday. Though organizers initially expected about 60,000 to attend, crowds ranged from 250,000 in 1984 to 300,000 in 1985. These youth from many nations, who gathered with the Holy Father at the Vatican, affirmed their desire to be actively connected to Christ and their Catholic faith.  

The next year, in December of 1985, Pope John Paul II announced the institution of local events, which he called “World Youth Days,” to be held on the diocesan level every Palm Sunday, commencing in 1986. The Holy Father would also attend international gatherings for WYD, to be held every two or three years in different countries which he would select. 

Pope John Paul II reflected on these early youth events in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (1994):

“No one invented the World Youth Days. It was the young people themselves who created them.  Those days, those encounters, then became something desired by young people throughout the world. Most of the time these Days were something of a surprise for priests, and even bishops, in that they surpassed all their expectations."

International celebrations: 

The first international World Youth Day was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987. Pope John Paul II also presided over seven more before his death in 2005. They were held in the following locations: 

  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1989;
  • Częstochowa, Poland, 1991;
  • Denver, Colorado, 1993;  
  • Manila, Philippines, 1995;
  • Paris, France, 1997;
  • Rome, 2000 for the Jubilee Year;
  • Toronto, Canada, 2002;



Above: Then-Archbishop of Baltimore William H. Keeler took this photo in the helicopter with Pope John Paul II, who was praying his rosary when he sees the enormous crowd gathered in Cherry Creek State Park for the WYD-Denver closing Mass on Aug. 15, 1993.
He later told the youth there:
“Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion and your fortitude at the service of life.”
(Photo by Archbishop W. H. Keeler)

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To the 800,000 youth gathered at the closing vigil in Toronto in 2002, which would be the last international WYD for Pope John Paul II:

“When, back in 1985, I wanted to start the World Youth Days… I imagined a powerful moment in which the young people of the world could meet Christ, who is eternally young, and could learn from him how to be bearers of the Gospel to other young people. This evening, together with you, I praise God and give thanks to him for the gift bestowed on the Church through the World Youth Days. Millions of young people have taken part, and as a result have become better and more committed Christian witnesses.” 

—Pope John Paul II, July 28, 2002, Toronto

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Pope Benedict and Pope Francis continue the legacy of WYD:

Four months after the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI presided over World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany (August, 2005), followed by Sydney, Australia (2008), and Madrid, Spain (2011).



Pope Benedict greets the crowds after arriving at WYD in Madrid (AP photo).

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Pope Francis, who was elected in March of 2013 after the resignation of Pope Benedict, traveled to Rio de Janeiro just four months later for WYD (July, 2013). At the closing Mass at Copacabana beach, he joyfully announced that he would meet again with youth from all over the world for WYD 2016 in Kraków, Poland, the homeland of now-Saint John Paul II. 




Three million people gathered on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for the closing Mass of WYD 2013 with Pope Francis.
(Photo: AP/ Felipe Dana)


WYD 2016 in Kraków:

According to Rome Reports, registrations for this upcoming WYD have been received from thousands of youth representing 107 countries, along with more than 10,000 priests, over 800 bishops and almost 50 cardinals. Poland, Italy, France, Spain, and the United States are the five countries with the most registrations. 

As Pope Francis prepares to join our young people in Kraków, organizers are expecting as many as 2 million to attend the overnight vigil and closing Mass on July 31.

These young people who gather in Kraków next week are in for one of the most exhilarating spiritual experiences of their lifetime. Not only will they meet people from around the world, attend catechetical sessions and Mass each day, but they will have countless opportunities to open their hearts to hear God’s call to live a life of mercy as they experience His love in new and profound ways. 

Let’s keep all the youth in our prayers.
God is good!





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Read more of my reminisces on World Youth Day here in:


July 14, 2016 01:59
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

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“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

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"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 Archbishop John Carroll and his devotion to the Blessed Mother on the bicentennial of his death




December 3 has been an important day in my calendar for years now.
It was on this date in 1815 that the first bishop in our United States went Home to our Lord. 

John Carroll, a native Marylander and Jesuit priest, was born on January 8, 1736 in Upper Marlboro, less than 40 miles south of the site where he would later have the first Catholic cathedral built.

Father Carroll was appointed the first bishop of Baltimore to serve our newly-formed nation by Pope Pius VI in 1789. He was 53 years old.

Considered to be the patriarch of American Catholicism, John Carroll later became the nation’s first archbishop in 1808 when Pope Pius VII elevated Baltimore to the status of archdiocese when he created the Dioceses of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky.
 
Archbishop Carroll’s final resting place is now located in the crypt of the Baltimore Basilica, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, America’s first Catholic cathedral. He had commissioned the building of this cathedral in 1806 with the design of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Though he never lived to see its completion, Archbishop Carroll's body was transferred there from the seminary crypt upon its completion. 

My life with John Carroll:

When I attended high school four decades ago at John Carroll in Bel Air, I did not yet realize that my life would be so richly influenced by the scholar and patriot for whom the school was named. Though other institutions of learning bear his name, this Harford County school is the only one located in the diocese where he served for so many years.

Returning in 1981 to teach Religion and later serve as Campus Minister at John Carroll (the school), I found John Carroll (the man) becoming part of the fabric of my life. 

As I taught about his life and influence on the American Church during the early years of our nation, I discovered more and more that John Carroll (the scholar) was both a pioneer and an early patriot. His zeal for the Faith and for our country was inspiring on so many levels.

But it was his deep devotion to our Blessed Mother that resonated most strongly with me. For years I shared with my John Carroll students that the best way to pay tribute to the man for whom our school was named was to imitate his devotion to Our Lady, reciting the rosary regularly, and visiting the cathedral that he named in honor of her Assumption. 

While on his deathbed, Archbishop John Carroll reflected,

“Of those things that give me most consolation at the present moment is, that I have always been attached to the practice of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that I have established it among the people under my care, and placed my Diocese under Her protection.” 
(From The Life and Times of John Carroll, by Peter Guilday, Encyclopedia Press, NY, 1922) 

Connecting at his cathedral:

For a number of years, I gave tours of the Baltimore Basilica to my sophomore students after we had served the lunchtime meal next door at Catholic Charities’ Our Daily Bread. The highpoint of our tour was always the visit to the crypt where Archbishop Carroll is buried. The marble cover to his burial spot is engraved in Latin with his name. It never ceased to amaze me how my students felt a kinship with our school’s namesake through this visit to his tomb.

Since my retirement in 2014, I have had the opportunity to read more from Archbishop Carroll’s writings and deepen my affection for the man whose name and initials have became engraved on my heart. 

As we remember Archbishop Carroll today on the 200th anniversary of his death, may we be inspired to rediscover our own connections to the Church in Baltimore and the roots of American Catholicism, and like him, deepen our devotion to Our Lady.


Read more:



December 03, 2015 02:08
By Patti Murphy Dohn


This week in Church History: Marking the 226th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore


Today is the 226th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

Baltimore was named the first diocese in the United States by Pope Pius VI on November 6, 1789 by the papal brief “Ex hac apostolicae.” The Holy Father also approved the election of John Carroll, SJ as the first bishop. In an unusual twist of circumstances, the local priests voted for their bishop with Carroll getting 24 of the 26 votes. This first American diocese was comprised of the 13 original states and the territories. 

Baltimore was elevated to the status of an Archdiocese on April 8, 1808 with the establishment of the Dioceses of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown (Kentucky).

Today, the Archdiocese has 145 parishes covering a territory of nine Maryland counties (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington), as well as Baltimore City.





Anniversary Mass:

The Archdiocese culminated its 225th anniversary last year with a Mass of Thanksgiving on November 2 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Principal celebrant Archbishop William Lori was joined by Archbishop-Emeritus Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, former bishops of Baltimore and bishops from neighboring dioceses.

Read more about that festive celebration:

2,000 pack cathedral to celebrate archdiocese’s 225th jubilee” by Catholic Review editor Christopher Gunty.


Enjoy more memories from the 225th anniversary:



“Former Catholic Review photographer Tom McCarthy Jr. spent the course of 40 hours, from sunrise Oct. 1 until after sunset Oct. 2, chronicling these daily happenings as he traveled 530 miles.” 

Click on this link to read more about the making of this 5-minute video-documentary:


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Special thanks to the Baltimore Sun for providing special coverage of this historic event:

Read more in "Baltimore Catholics celebrate 225th anniversary of nation's oldest archdiocese."  



November 06, 2015 04:09
By Patti Murphy Dohn


This Week in Church History: The 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and much more




Last week, I started a new feature in "God is in the Clouds":  “This Week in Church History.” 

Here is a look at events which occurred this upcoming week in years past, as well as a glimpse at next week’s highlights:

Historic events that took place over dates in the upcoming week:

October 26, 2011:

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut (the current Archbishop of Baltimore) called for the defense of “the American legacy of religious liberty” during a hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The bishop was addressing Congress in his new role as head of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Read an account of Bishop Lori’s day before Congress from the U.S. Bishops’ website:
 



The transcript of Bishop Lori’s full testimony before Congress can be read here.

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October 28 has great significance:


October 28, 1510:

The birth of St. Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572): 
Francis Borgia was the fourth Duke of Gandía (Spain), a Spanish Jesuit priest, and the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He expanded the Jesuit order into the Americas and Asia.



Borgia was canonized on June 20, 1670 by Pope Clement X and his feast is celebrated on October 10.
He is the patron saint of Portugal, as well for protection against earthquakes. 

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October 28, 1958: The election of Pope John XXIII:

On this date, Cardinal Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli (1881-1963), the Patriarch of Venice, was elected the 261st pope on the eleventh ballot of the 1958 conclave. The conclave that elected him took place from October 25 to 28, 1958, following the October 9 death of Pope Pius XII whose papacy lasted from 1939 to 1958.

On why he choose the name John:

"We choose John...a name sweet to Us because it is the name of Our father, dear to Us because it is the name of the humble parish church where We were baptized, the solemn name of numberless cathedrals scattered throughout the world, including Our own basilica...We love the name of John because it reminds Us of John the Baptist, precursor of our Lord...and the other John, the disciple and evangelist...Perhaps We can, taking the name of this first series of holy Popes, have something of his sanctity and strength of spirit, even—if God wills it—to the spilling of blood.”

--Excerpt from: Religion: “I Choose John…” from Time Magazine, November 10, 1958 edition.



Newly-elected Pope John XXIII extending his first papal blessing:
(Getty Image: Ullstein Bild)

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October 28, 1965:

2015 is the Golden Anniversary of "Nostra Aetate" (Latin for “In our time”):
This Vatican 2 document was promulgated on this date in 1965 by Pope Paul VI.
  
The document’s formal name is "DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS." It was passed by a vote of of 2,221 to 88 by the assembled bishops at the Second Vatican Council and was one of the most influential documents issued by the Council Fathers, paving the way for much-improved relations between Jews and Catholics.


50th Anniversary:

The Council of Centers for Jewish-Christian Relations has published “Resources for the 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate.” 



(Photo: Courtesy of American Jewish Committee)
March 31, 1963: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (Polish-born American rabbi (1907-1972) meeting in New York with Cardinal Augustin Bea, SJ (1881-1968), who shepherded the process of Catholic reflection that led to Nostra Aetate. A leading biblical scholar and ecumenist, Cardinal Bea was the first president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity from 1960 until his death in 1972. 

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October 29, 1950:

65 years ago: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Johannes Baptist Neuhäusler (1888-1973), the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. 

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November 1:


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November 1, 1946: 


Pope St. John Paul II was ordained to the priesthood by by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, the Archbishop of Kraków, just 12 days after becoming a deacon. 

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Looking ahead:

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November 6, 1789:

Baltimore was made the first diocese in the United States on this date in 1789 with Fr. John Carroll, SJ as the first bishop.


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Do you have a special date that you would like me to include?


Be sure to email me:  Pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


God is good! All the time!

October 25, 2015 10:52
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis: Part 3: Papal visit merchandise, memorabilia, souvenirs, and keepsakes



Counting down:

 Just six days until Pope Francis arrives in the USA! 


Papal memorabilia galore:

If you are traveling in the vicinity of the cities that Pope Francis will visit next week, you will likely see lots of displays of souvenirs related to this first apostolic visit to the United States.

Memorabilia vendors are as varied as their offerings. There are official vendors authorized by the various dioceses and the 2015 World Meeting of Families. There are also unofficial outlets, many of which offer cheap trinkets at a low cost to make a fast buck. 
Pope Francis bobble heads, anyone?  

Serious collectors and those who wish to purchase gifts for lasting memories should look toward the official merchandise for sale on the official papal visit websites. These authorized vendors have a vast array of items, including rosaries, medallions, prayer cards, books, artwork, mugs, and apparel with official logos. 

Shop in person:

If you want to take a road trip to Philly in the next week or if you plan to attend either if the papal gatherings on September 26-27, you can shop in person. 

Aramark is the official vendor for the World Meeting of Families and the visit of the Holy Father to Philadelphia. They had a grand opening last Wednesday for their official World Meeting of Families merchandise shop in the Aramark Tower at 1101 Market Street in downtown Philly. 

According to their website, other locations will be open next week during the Congress and papal visit at the convention center, on Independence Mall on September 26, and on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 26-27. 

Official vendors will also be on-sight at locations near the papal events in New York City and Washington, D.C. 

Online purchases: 

For online purchases, the official catalog with over 200 commemorative items is available here

Proceeds will benefit the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 and the visit of Pope Francis. 

For info on the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, visit their website here

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My collection of papal visit memorabilia:

Being an aficionado of anything related to Church history and the papacy, I have huge collection of papal memorabilia. I am also a Vatican philatelist with an enormous collection of stamp albums, first day covers, postcards, and Vatican yearbooks. 

So it shouldn't surprise you that I have lots of mementos from past papal visits to the United States. I gathered as many items from my collection as I could in 15 minutes and took photos to share. 


Above: From 1965:
Pope Paul VI was the first pontiff to visit our country. Though I didn't participate in this 14-hour visit, I have two books with lots of photographs and excellent coverage.

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Above: Pope St. John Paul II made seven trips to the United States during his 27-year pontificate.
Here are some of the many books that recap his visits.

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Above: 1979: 
The first time I saw Pope John Paul II was in Philadelphia during his very first visit to the USA. The Mass he celebrated on there Wednesday, October 3 was held in the same location where Pope Francis will say Mass on September 27. 

The third trip of his papacy (the first was to the Dominican Republic and Mexico; and the second was to his native Poland), it occurred exactly one year after the conclave which elected this pope who would become a saint.

Though I have a number of keepsakes from that historic week, including items from my volunteer work that week at the on-site Catholic Press office, I have only included three items here:
Souvenir edition of Newsweek magazine, the famous Pope John Paul II collectors edition comic book, and a signed copy of Pope John Paul II: A Festive Profile written by my college professor, Rev. Ludvik Nemec, who was an old friend of the Holy Father. 

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Above: World Youth Day 1993 in Denver was the occasion of another visit of Pope John Paul II. Though I did not attend since I had three young children, one of my John Carroll students, Kristy Manning, JC Class of 1996, won a contest and represented our school. Kristy was especially excited since she was not Catholic and loved our Holy Father. She had a wonderful experience with the youth celebration from St. Margaret Church in Bel Air, and brought me a gift to show her gratitude for my support in encouraging her to apply for the contest. The framed First Day covers, which were hand-stamped daily from August 12-15, were proudly displayed in my classroom and in my Campus Ministry office until I retired from John Carroll last year. When I see them, I think of Kristy and her experiences at World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II!

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Above: The 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Baltimore was one of the highlights of my life.
And my collection of mementos show it... 
A Religion teacher at John Carroll at that time, I was part of the committee that coordinated the service of our youth as city ambassadors and parade honor guard. 
My service allowed me to participate in the youth concert at Pier Six the night before the papal visit. Performers included Boyz II Men, Michael W. Smith, and Kathy Troccoli. 
The highlight, the Holy Father speaking live to the youth via satellite on the big screen from NYC,
"But the loudest cheer of the evening was reserved for a 75-year-old from Rome who wasn't even there, a transplanted Pole who closed the concert not with a song, but simply by telling the crowd by satellite that he was looking forward to his visit to Baltimore."

Seen from left: The official commentaries book from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, along with the video and the bumper sticker, the next week's edition of The Catholic Review with special section of papal coverage, the Gospel of John which was distributed to those who attended the Mass at Camden Yards, the Mass program and booklet "A Faith-filled Celebration," and the 1996 commemorative calendar.

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Above: Here's the colorful hat that my then-11 year old daughter Meighan got at the youth concert,
along with our Mass tickets, my staff badge, and the tickets, parking pass, and program
for the Departure Ceremony that my then-9 year old son Joseph and I attended at BWI airport
before the Holy Father departed for his return trip to Rome. 
Memories to last a lifetime!

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Above: 2008:
I was proud to lead four buses from our Archdiocese with the Harford County pilgrims who attended the Mass of Pope Benedict XVI at Yankee Stadium on April 15, 2008. The congregation of almost 60,000 people from every state in our country gathered to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of "the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore."

Everyone who attended received a packet of materials which included the Gospel of Luke, the Catholic Digest, and a water bottle.

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Above: I collect Mass programs from historic occasions too:
Here's the Mass program from Holy Father Emeritus' Mass at Yankee Stadium and my family's tickets. 

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Above: People give me stuff... 

Over the years I have received a number of gifts of papal and church-related memorabilia from families who just don't know what to do with it anymore and don't want to discard it.

Here's an example of a framed certificate of authenticity from the Archdiocese of New York with a small section of carpet from formed a 1000-foot gold cross on the stage at the October 7, 1995 Mass of Pope John Paul on the Great Lawn of Central Park.

"A procession of 1600 church dignitaries filed over this monumental cross to offer communion to the more than 200,000 faithful who celebrated the historic Mass, the highlight of the Holy Father's 1995 World Tour."

Yes, I have this in my home office.
By all means, send your Church-related collectors' items my way!

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Do you have any interesting papal memorabilia?

I want to hear about it: 
Send me an email to: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.

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Read more from my series on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to the United States:


Part 1 includes all the basics that you should know: 

Part 2 includes lots of memories from those who attended or participated in past papal visits to our country:

September 16, 2015 12:32
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis to the United States: Part 2: Remembering past papal visits




Just nine days until Pope Francis arrives in the United States:

The excitement continues to build for this historic apostolic visit.

Part of the anticipation has sprung from the sharing of memories by those who have participated in papal visits of the past. Pope Francis is the fourth pontiff to visit our nation. His visit will mark the tenth papal visit.


1. Pope Paul VI was the first pope to visit the United States and the United Nations in 1965;

2. Pope St. John Paul II visited the U.S. seven times:

    a. 1979: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington and Des Moines, Iowa;

    b. 1981:  Anchorage, Alaska;

    c. 1984: For several hours in Fairbanks, Alaska where he met with President Reagan during a layover;

    d. 1987: Miami, Columbia, South Carolina, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit;

    e. 1993:  Denver for World Youth Day;

    f. 1995: Newark, New Jersey, New York, Baltimore;

    g. 1999: St. Louis; 

3. Pope Benedict XVI visited Washington, DC and New York in April of 2008.


Read more about these papal visits and the meetings with the U.S. president in my March 27, 2014 edition of:

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Looking back to the historic 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Baltimore:

The 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to our Premier See is among the highlights of the history of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.


My memories:

“The Vicar of Christ had come to us!” 

"There are moments that you know have become etched in your memory forever. That's how I feel every time I look back on the 1995 visit of Pope St. John Paul II to my hometown of Baltimore. 

A Religion teacher at John Carroll at that time, I was part of the committee that coordinated the service of our youth as city ambassadors and parade honor guard. After my early bird service that morning, I met up with my family at Camden Yards for the Mass. 

The excitement of the crowds to see the Holy Father was palpable. I will never forget the cries of joy throughout the stadium when it was announced on the JumboTron that his TWA Shepherd One plane was landing at BWI. We all watched the live video coverage as the plane landed, followed by greetings from a welcoming entourage, and the escorted motorcade procession driving north on I-95 toward us. All eyes were on the JumboTron screen.

When the popemobile entered the stadium and drove slowly along the warning track around the perimeter of the field, there were tears of joy amid the deafening applause. Chants of "John Paul Two, we love you!" filled the air. This was far bigger than any rock concert or public gathering that I have ever seen in person or on television. The Vicar of Christ had come to us! 

As the Holy Father celebrated Mass with Cardinal Keeler and the throngs of cardinals, bishops and priests, I was overcome with incredible gratitude at being able to witness our Church history in the making. 

Undoubtedly, Baltimore, the premier see of Catholic faith in our nation, would never be the same. And I will cherish these memories and those precious hours that I spent in the presence of a saint for all my days. 

Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!”


~Patti Murphy Dohn has participated in two visits of Pope St. John Paul II (Philadelphia, 1979 and Baltimore, 1995), the 2008 visit of Pope Benedict XVI to NYC, and also took part in Holy Week and Easter liturgies in 2014 with Pope Francis at the Vatican.  


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Fr. C. Doug Kenney greets the Pope John Paul II before Mass began. To the right is Msgr. James Barker, pastor of St. Ignatius Church, Hickory. 


Receiving Holy Communion from a future saint:

Fr. C. Doug Kenney, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Oakland, recalls the privilege of working backstage and on the sidelines at Oriole Park with Msgr. Jim Barker and Fr. Chuck Wible. They were responsible for the the sacred vessels, vestments, and other necessary supplies for the Holy Father, cardinals, and bishops. (Photo below.)




Fr. Doug chuckles now as he remembers them running short of the green vestments for Ordinary Time. They were two sets short. He shared that when they saw Cardinal John O’Connor, who had arrived in Baltimore on the plane with the Holy Father, they knew they were not going to have enough chasubles…  

So when you see photographs from Baltimore's Papal Mass with Cardinal Keeler and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then-Vatican Secretary of State, wearing white vestments, you know the back story!

Among Fr. Doug’s best memories was being able to greet the Holy Father and to receive Holy Communion from him. He will never forget that memory from the historic visit to Baltimore of Pope St. John Paul II.



His Eminence Cardinal Keeler greets the Holy Father while wearing a white chasuble

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More memories from Baltimore’s 1995 papal visit: 

“I was so excited to be in the company of our Pope when he was in Baltimore. I may have only been in the stadium seats, but the spiritual feeling was something I will never forget.”  
~ Bernadine Beatty of St. Margaret Parish

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Louise Doherty of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish shared an unforgettable moment when she and her husband Kevin also attended the Papal Mass at Camden Yards:

“During the sign of peace, we received a note from our dear friends asking us to be Godparents!”

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Brief encounters that made a lasting impact:

My friend Joan Larney recalls:

“Pope Paul was the very first pope to ever visit the United States. My four daughters and I waited nearly three hours to see Pope Paul VI drive by on his way into New York City. It was only a moment, but one I've never forgotten it. This was very special.”

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Deirdre Magner, a Spanish teacher at John Carroll, shared memories from the first visit of Pope St. John Paul II to New York City in 1979 when she was a graduate student there.

Not a fan of crowds, Deirdre avoided the areas of the city where the papal events were to take place. Leaving work and heading to the subway station for home, she was highly surprised to see the flashing lights of the papal motorcade with its police escort coming toward her down an empty street. 

And there was the The Holy Father, in an open-air black limo, and Deirdre was the only one there on the sidewalk!

“He looked me right in the eye and gave me a blessing. I was transfixed, unable to believe what I had just witnessed. It was almost like a private audience.  And it was all the more special because it was spontaneous and serendipitous. It was truly an amazing moment - one I'll never forget!”



Pope John Paul II greeted crowds in Boston (above) on Oct. 1, 1979, the first day of his six-day U.S. tour, from that same open-air black limo that Deidre Magner would encounter on the street in New York City the next evening. (Photo/ AP) 

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More papal memories:

Mara Pais of St. Ignatius Parish in Hickory recalls memories from 1979:

“I was a student at Trinity College in Washington, DC when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. I was within feet of him as he drove up to the Trinity Chapel, where he conducted an ecumenical service for religious leaders.  He also held a Mass on our campus for disabled children.  

My friends and I didn't initially plan to attend the Mass on the Mall, but we were so overtaken by excitement after seeing the Pope up close, that we headed down to join the throngs awaiting the Papal Mass.  It was raining as we exited the Metro, and a light rain continued until Pope John Paul stepped up to the altar. Not only did the rain stop, but the sun came out, and the Mass was incredibly beautiful.”

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Memories of Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, DC:

Elizabeth Krempa of the John Carroll Class of 2007 recalls the excitement:

“I had the opportunity to see Pope Benedict at my college, Catholic University, in 2008. He spoke in our student center and held Mass in the National Basilica. When he spoke at our student center, I was in the front row. He and the popemobile were right in front of me!! 

It was such a big deal on campus. We had snipers on our buildings, news media everywhere, boxed lunches, the whole nine yards!! What an amazing experience for all of us young people!! We kept chanting..."CUA LOVES THE POPE!!"


Photo: Elizabeth Krempa, RN

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“… showing our faith to the world.”

Carla Hazard Tomaszewski of St. Mary’s County attended Mass with Pope St. John Paul II in 1979 on the Mall in Washington, DC and in 1995 in Baltimore. She also attended Mass with Pope Benedict in 2008 at the Nationals Stadium in DC. 

She wrote an article on these experiences, as well as hiking as a pilgrim to Mass with Pope John II in the mountains of Nowy Targ, Poland in early 1979, for The Trumpeter, the newsletter of the Polish Heritage Association of Maryland. She so well described the feelings of Catholics who attend a Papal Mass:

“It was a wonderful experience. The feeling of togetherness and solidarity as Catholics was what made the biggest impression on me. We were all proud that we were showing our faith to the world.”

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ICYMI: (In case you missed it):

Learn about the basics of Pope Francis’ historic trip to the United States here:


Included: 

  • The Holy Father’s complete schedule of events for the three-city whirlwind tour;
  • Links and info on where you can watch these events live online and on television;
  • On-demand videos to watch at your convenience after each event has ended;
  • The historic significance of this papal trip;
  • Links to the US Catholic Bishops papal visit website, along with catechetical resources;
  • and a link to the The Baltimore Sun’s September 6 “A guide to seeing the pope in Philadelphia” from their Sunday “Life & Travel” section.

Watch for Part 3 in this series on "Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis to the United States." 

September 14, 2015 01:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to the first apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the United States: Part 1

The excitement is building:

Pope Francis arrives here in the U.S. in just 14 days! That’s just two weeks from today…

I have so many fond memories of the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI here in the United States, including three occasions where I took part. It is a thrilling experience to see the Holy Father in person, whether you are up close or far away in the crowds. For most people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

As the clock ticks down the days and hours, the news media sources are learning more and more about the specific logistics of Pope Francis’ visit. 

Many Catholics from the Archdiocese of Baltimore will join the bus trip sponsored by Catholic Review Media for the Holy Father’s Mass in Philadelphia. Read more about that pilgrimage here.

The basics that you should you know about this historic papal visit:

1. Before arriving in the United States, Pope Francis will visit the island nation of Cuba from September 19-22. This is the third papal visit for the people of Cuba. Pope John Paul II visited in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. 

2. Following his departure from Cuba, Pope Francis will visit the United States from September 22-27. This is his first apostolic visit to our country.

3. Due to his incredible popularity, millions of people are hoping to get a glimpse of him. He will be here for six days and will visit Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. 

4. Media coverage of the papal visit will be extensive. You will be able to watch Pope Francis’ public addresses and liturgies on lifestream from the U.S. Bishops’ website, as well as on EWTN Global Catholic Network.

5. The livestream from the U.S. Bishops can be accessed here.

6. Papal visit programming will be available on demand after each event has ended here.

7. The complete list of programming on EWTN Global Catholic Network can be found here.

8. During his visit, Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress. He will also preside over the canonization of Blessed Juniper Serra. This will be the first time in history that a saint has been canonized on American soil as these sacred ceremonies usually take place at the Vatican. 

9. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have a page on their website devoted entirely to the Holy Father’s visit. You can read updates as they happen, see any schedule changes, and get breaking news.

10. Catechetical resources for all ages are available for teachers, families, and individuals who want to learn more in preparation for the visit. Among the information provided are resources on Blessed Junipero Serra, whom the Holy Father will canonize in Washington, DC on September 23, as well as on the World Meeting of Families which he will attend in Philadelphia.

11. The Baltimore Sun included “A guide to seeing the pope in Philadelphia” in their Sunday “Life & Travel” section. It provides a lot of details what to expect.


 
Here is the schedule for Pope Francis' September 2015 Apostolic Journey to the United States of America as released by the Vatican on June 30, 2015.  
All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (WASHINGTON, DC)
▪ 4:00 p.m.    Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (WASHINGTON, DC)
▪ 9:15  a.m.  Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House
▪ 11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew's Cathedral
▪ 4:15  p.m.  Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK CITY)
▪ 9:20  a.m.  Address to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress 
▪ 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
▪ 4:00 p.m.   Depart from Joint Base Andrews
▪ 5:00 p.m.   Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
▪ 6:45 p.m.   Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick's Cathedral 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (NEW YORK CITY)
▪ 8:30  a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
▪ 11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center 
▪ 4:00  p.m.  Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
▪ 6:00  p.m.  Mass at Madison Square Garden

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (NEW YORK CITY, PHILADELPHIA)
▪ 8:40  a.m.  Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
▪ 9:30  a.m.  Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia 
▪ 10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia 
▪ 4:45  p.m.  Visit to Independence Mall
▪ 7:30  p.m.  Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (PHILADELPHIA)
▪ 9:15   a.m.  Meeting with bishops at St. Martin's Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary 
▪ 11:00  a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility 
▪ 4:00  p.m.   Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway 
▪ 7:00   p.m.  Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation 
▪ 8:00   p.m.  Departure for Rome


Share your memories:

If you have memories to share from the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to the United States, please email me at:

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


Look for Part 2 of this series on the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in the United States here on Thursday. 


September 08, 2015 01:28
By Patti Murphy Dohn


A new school year is here: Time to reflect and pray about the transitions




The photos are all over Facebook… 
Bright smiling faces (mostly), new book bags, shiny shoes, fresh haircuts, clean school buses, and some teary-eyed Moms (and Dads).

The new school year has started for most of the schools in our area. As a matter of fact, our grandson Tyler started third grade this morning at Piney Ridge Elementary School in Sykesville. Both Tracy and Stephen walked him to the bus stop with cameras in hand (from their smart phones). Even their sweet dog Stella was on hand to see all the children off to their first day of school.


Our grandson Tyler was back to school on Monday


I'm not going back to school...again:

For me, the start of the new school year, as always, brought the anticipation of new beginnings and challenges. 

And then I remembered… I’m not going back to school.  Again
This is the start of the second school year since my retirement from John Carroll in June of 2014. 

It was a new and strange experience last year to not be there for the first day of the new school year after 33 years on campus. My husband and I tried to fill up our newfound freedom. We even went to the beach.



Change, change, change:

But transitions can be tough. Not only for adults who may be experiencing change due to retirement or new jobs, but also for all the children who are experiencing new changes in their lives… Including those who are new to preschool or kindergarten, those starting elementary, middle or high school, and all those making transfers to new schools in new areas.

Hopefully, we pray, the parents and teachers of those most affected by change this school year will provide much comfort and will guide our children in their transitions with patience and compassion.

What’s the toughest part of back to school?

I have heard from quite a few parents and children who share that the challenges in starting a new school year include:
 
-reestablishing a weekday/school night routine after the freedom of summer vacation, 
-having earlier bedtimes,
-packing lunches again,
-waking up to the alarm clock’s early call, 
-getting back in the habit of doing homework,
-balancing school, sports, and other outside activities,  
-and much more.

Every household is different and thus faces different challenges.




A prayer from the patroness of Catholic education:

One of the principal patron saints of Catholic education is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She started the Catholic school system here in the United States under the direction of our first bishop, Archbishop John Carroll.

The following prayer from her writings is a wonderful way to start each day this year, especially for teachers and older students. 
    
Prayer of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton:

O Father, the first rule of our dear Savior's
life was to do Your Will.
Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule
of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for
its most full and complete accomplishment.
 
Help us to follow it faithfully, so that in doing what
You wish we will be pleasing to You.
 
Amen.
 
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Another great prayer for the new school year is from Sadlier Publishing Company:

It is excellent for teachers, parish catechists, and for families too:


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May your first weeks of this new school year be filled with new adventures and a smooth transition to a new routine.
May God richly bless our families and our teachers!
Amen. 

September 01, 2015 02:47
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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