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.


Twitter: @JCSMinistry

Facebook: Patti Murphy Dohn

Instagram: @PattiMurphyDohn

 God is good!! All the time!!



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Beautiful story! thank you for continuing to inspire us Patti.


And your BFF didn't know this story? Great article to read. I,can envision it! What an amazing intuition you followed. Someday soon we will talk more!

God is in the clouds

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

The Blessed Mother is in the window: Praying for fine weather for my daughter's wedding day

My youngest daughter is getting married in eleven days: 

How time flies. It seems like she was just a little girl running around the playground at St. Margaret School... 

But no... In what seems like a blink of an eye, she is now all grown up with a career as a dental hygienist, a house of her own, and a man to whom she will vow to spend the rest of her life next Saturday.

Joy abounds when there's a wedding in the family:

We are so excited for Katie and Karl and their new life together as husband and wife.
The plans and preparations are almost final...

The wedding shower was a huge success:

Delicious cupcakes for dessert and colorful African violets as favors.


And the bachelorette evening was great fun: 

Katie even invited her proud Mom and her Grandma to attend the dinner at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion near the Inner Harbor.

After-dinner fun with the wedding party: Katie with sisters Tracy (left), Meighan, and brother Joseph. 


What's left now?

Just a few more tasks are left on our to-do list:
Finalize the number for the caterers, pick up the wedding gown from being steamed, attend the rehearsal and dinner next Thursday, and order the food for the girls in the wedding party to enjoy the night before the Big Day.

And worry... Worry?
What's there to worry about?

Every mother of the bride can relate to the worry that everything will go perfectly for her little girl-turned-bride.

Some things we can't control, of course... Like the weather.

And tomorrow will be the first day that Katie's wedding date is included in the ten-day weather forecast. 

Our fingers are crossed for good luck:

The statue of the Blessed Mother has been in my bedroom window facing outside for the past two weeks. She was there for the month before the 2011 wedding of my older daughter Meighan too. 

Have you not heard about this old Italian Catholic tradition?
Asking for the Blessed Mother to intercede for us for beautiful weather for our special occasion?

I just recently read about the Irish doing the similar practice of placing the Infant of Prague statue in their windows to hold off the frequent showers in their native land. The BBC wrote about this practice back in 2013 in an article entitled "Religious statue believed to guarantee good weather."

And what about rain on the wedding day? 

Blogger Cissy Romano, wrote one year ago today that "rain on your wedding day can bring so many blessings to you and your significant other. It is raining, once again, on my 7th wedding anniversary. I feel just as blessed today as I did 7 years ago. Our knot is strong because it started off drenched with rain."

Photo: Don't rain on my parade

"Most religions believe that rain is symbolic for a new beginning. I am Roman Catholic. I baptized all three of my munchkins shortly after birth. The Holy Water was used to cleanse my little ones at baptism for their fresh start in the Catholic Faith. Also, if you have ever lived in a place where blooming trees and bushes paint the sides of streets and fronts of houses every spring, you also know how welcome rain is to wash away all of the pollen that is making you and the rest of your house ill from allergies. Rain washes away the impurities and allows for the air you breathe to be fresh.
God bless you rain."

Katie's wedding day will be perfect: 

Whether the sun shines brightly or it rains on April 25, we know that the day will be perfect because of the two wonderful persons who will be united as husband and wife that day. 
Our joy will know no bounds.

But the Blessed Mother will stay in our bedroom window and we will continue to pray for fine weather: 

All powerful and ever living God, we find security in Your forgiveness. 
Give us fine weather we pray,
so that we may rejoice in Your gifts of kindness
and use them always for Your glory and our good. 


Checking out the blossoms at the venue: 
Katie and Karl on a recent visit to the Liriodendron in Bel Air 

April 14, 2015 03:19
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Our Lady of the Rosary: Praying for peace in the world and in our families

October has always been the month of the Rosary, with the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary celebrated annually on October 7.

Formerly known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory, the day honors the Virgin Mary for her intercession which led to the victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and crew members from more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary to prepare for the battle, and were joined in prayer in churches throughout Europe by the faithful.

Pope St. Pius V established this feast two years later in 1573 to give thanks to God for this victory, with Pope Clement XI extending the feast in 1716 to the universal Church.

Saints on praying the Rosary:

"The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary." --St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)


"Pray the Rosary everyday to obtain peace for the world." --Our Lady to the children at Fatima

The Blessed Mother appeared with a rosary in her hand when she gave her first message to the three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. She prayed the rosary with them monthly on the 13th from May through October.

"There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary." --Sister Lucia of Fatima


"The Rosary is a school for learning true Christian perfection." --Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)


"The Rosary is the 'weapon' for these times." --Saint Padre Pio

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap (1887-1968), Franciscan stigmatic and popular Italian confessor, who almost unfailingly ;had the rosary in his hands:

Sitting in his famous rattan chair, he prayed to the Blessed Mother every waking hour of the day.


"The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order."  

--Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) 


"The Family that prays together, stays together." --Father Patrick Peyton, The Rosary Priest (1909-1992)

"If families give Our Lady fifteen minutes a day by reciting the Rosary, I assure them that their homes will become, by God's grace, peaceful places." 

Father Peyton's cause for sainthood began on June 1, 2001: Go to his website for canonization to submit your prayer petitions and testimonials of miracles through the intercession of Father Patrick Peyton.


Read about the miracles attributed to Mother Teresa's (1910-1997) rosary here.


"The Rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth. In the prayer we repeat many times the words that the Virgin Mary heard from the Archangel, and from her kinswoman Elizabeth."

--Pope Saint John Paul II (1920-2005)


"With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ, and day after day we are helped to assimilate the Gospel, so that it shapes all our lives,” --Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


Pope Francis praying the rosary (Photo: Getty Images)

During the November 20, 2013 Angelus, Pope Francis prescribed praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily as volunteers gave away about 20,000 boxes containing a rosary, a Divine Mercy holy card and a medical-style instruction sheet:

"I would like, now, for all of you to consider a medicine. But some may think, ‘The Pope is being a pharmacist now?’ It is a special medicine to make the fruit of the Year of Faith that is coming to a close more concrete.  This little box contains the medicine, and some volunteers will distribute it to you as you leave the square. Take it! It’s a rosary with which one can pray also the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, spiritual help for our souls and for spreading love, forgiveness and brotherhood everywhere. Don’t forget to take it. Because it does good, eh?  It does good for the heart, for the soul, for all of life.”

October 07, 2014 08:40
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Remembering Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to Denver for World Youth Day 1993

“I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.” –John 10: 10
Theme for World Youth Day, Denver 1993


Photo: Helen H. Richardson/ Denver Post

“Imagine Woodstock with all of the good and none of the bad… It was an event of more than 100,000 young people that changed society, but there was no marijuana; no beer bottles on the ground.” –Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, communications director for World Youth Day Denver


Looking back to 1993:

The third visit of Pope Saint John Paul II to the United States (not counting two flight layovers in Alaska) was held in Denver for the 1993 World Youth Day (August 10-15, 1993). The Archdiocese of Denver, under the leadership of then Archbishop J. Francis Stafford, hosted this historic event.

This marked the eighth WYD, which was started by Pope John Paul II in 1986 in Rome. Denver’s event was the first World Youth Day to be held in North America, as well as in an English-speaking nation. Pope John Paul II initiated plans for World Youth Day in 1984, with the first celebration in 1986. The Denver event was the eighth celebration and the first to become an international media sensation.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register

The Holy Father arrived in the Mile High City on August 12 following the first-ever papal visit to the island nation of Jamaica (August 9-11), and a brief stop in Mexico. He arrived by helicopter. The photos taken on board showed him, rosary in hand, as the young people gathered at Mile High Stadium gave thunderous applause, pointing to a rainbow that lit up the southern sky.

“Young people were pointing to it [the rainbow] in wonder…The Pope wept openly before the thunderous ovations of the universal Church.”  --Cardinal Stafford reminisced last year during the 20th anniversary of the event 

President Bill Clinton met with the Holy Father at the Welcome Ceremony on August 12, just eight months after his inauguration as the 42nd President of the United States. This was the first of four meetings of President Clinton with this Holy Father.


Photo: James Baca/ Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register


"Jesus has called each one of you to Denver for a purpose! You must live these days in such a way that, when the time comes to return home, each one of you will have a clearer idea of what Christ expects of you."

–Pope John Paul II to the youth at Mile High Stadium



Photo: Denver Catholic Register


Gifts for the Holy Father--Photo: Denver Catholic Register


The August 15 Closing Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption had to be moved to Cherry Creek State Park because the massive crowds could not be accommodated at Mile High Stadium. Estimates mark upwards of 750,000 in attendance.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register

“It was predicted that the papal initiative would attract no more than 20,000 young people. Mile High Stadium would be more than adequate, they said, for the activities culminating with the vigil and papal Mass.” --Cardinal Stafford recalled.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


The History of World Youth Day:

Enjoy this ten-minute video which traces the history of World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II.

August 14, 2014 03:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Quick facts and prayers to the patron saint of arthritis sufferers

"He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts God can do all things."

--St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori (1696-1787)

It's August 1:

Today is the feast day of St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori, bishop, patron saint of priest-confessors and moral theologians, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation of priests, brothers, and sisters. He is also known as the patron saint for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as he himself suffered from severe arthritis for the last forty years of his life.

Quick Facts on St. Alphonsus:

1. Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori was the oldest of seven children, born near Naples on September 27,1696.

2. He received a doctorate in both civil and canon law from the University of Naples at the early age of 16.

3. Alphonsus gave up law after almost ten years of great success in the courtroom, and soon after had a vision while visiting a local hospital which told him to consecrate his life solely to God: "Leave the world and give yourself to me."

4. Ordained in 1726, Alphonsus travelled throughout Naples giving spiritual missions--parish retreats--as he had a burning desire to bring people to our Lord: 

"I Love Jesus Christ and that is why I am on fire with the desire to give Him souls, first of all my own, and then an incalculable number of others."

5. Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists, on November 9, 1732. The order had a very rocky start, but the men's branch was approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749 and the women's branch the following year.

6. He dedicated himself to the work of preaching missions, hearing confessions, writing spiritual books, and local pastoral work. He always emphasized God's loving mercy and the ever-ready help of the Blessed Mother. He taught his priests to show great kindness and compassion to all, especially in the confessional, and insisted that all sermons be kept simple so as to be understood by all the faithful.

7. Though he turned down the bishopric of Palermo, as he was determined to minister as a priest, Alphonsus was later named bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples in 1762 and dedicated himself to caring for the faithful, both physically and spiritually.

8. Alphonsus suffered from great infirmity due to the effects of arthritis and rheumatism, with intense daily pain and deformity which forced him to drink from a straw because his head was so bent forward. A long bout with rheumatic fever left him paralyzed.

9. Best known for his "Moral Theology," Alphonsus wrote over 100 books. Among the most popular are  "The Glories of Mary," "The Way of the Cross," and "Visits to the Blessed Sacrament."

"Realize that you may gain more in a quarter of an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament than in all other practices of the day."

10. Alphonsus suffered great anguish in his later years with regard to royal intrusion on the oversight of the congregation, and his eventual exclusion at age 83. He prayed fervently to overcome the dark days and depression that ensued.

Note: More can be read about this difficult era for Alphonsus and his congregation in “Alphonsus de Liguori: Saint of Bourbon Naples, 1696-1787, Founder of the Redemptorists” by Frederick Jones, C.Ss.R. 

11. Alphonsus died peacefully on August 1, 1787 at the 12 noon Angelus, after having spent the night in prayer to Our Lady. He was 91 years old.

12. He was beatified in 1816, canonized in 1839, and named a Doctor of the Church in 1871 by Pope Pius IX.

The start of a National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers:

The Redemptorists in the United States advertised in 2010 that they would conduct the first National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers at their parishes and retreat centers across the country on the August 1 feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, their founder and patron saint of those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They noted that St. Alphonsus himself suffered from severe arthritis for the last forty years of his life. The disease left him permanently bent forward and confined to a wheelchair.

"This is the first blessing of its kind, as far as we know, on a national scale, for people who suffer the chronic and debilitating agonies of arthritis, fibromyalgia and other serious physical conditions. We hope this is the beginning of an annual tradition that brings people to our churches to ask for the blessing and intercession of our great saint on his feast day and to beseech Our Father in Heaven to grant these suffering souls deliverance from their pains." --Very Reverend Thomas D. Picton, C.Ss.R., provincial superior of the Denver Province of the Redemptorists, in 2010

The Fifth Annual National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers this weekend:

The Redemptorists will conduct their annual blessing this weekend in conjunction with their patron's feast day.

Our local shrine, Saint Alphonsus Church, located at 114 W. Saratoga Street, is observing the feast day with a three-day celebration this weekend:

Schedule for the Triduum for the Feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri:

Masses are as follows:
Friday, August 1, 2014
7:00 am  - English
8:00 am – Tridentine Latin Rite
12:10 pm – English
7:00 pm – Tridentine Latin Rite
Saturday, August 2, 2014
7:00 am – English
12:10 pm – Tridentine Latin Rite
Followed by Holy Hour
 Sunday, August 3, 2014
 8:30 am – Lithuanian
10:00 am – English
11:30 am – Tridentine Latin Rite – High Mass Followed by Benediction, Veneration of Relic

Blessing with St. Alphonsus Relic after all Masses


“There are millions of souls who suffer daily from the agonizing effects of this debilitating affliction. We beseech Our Father in Heaven, through the intercession of St. Alphonsus, to grant these suffering souls deliverance from their pains.” - Father Harry Grile, provincial superior of the Denver Province


Prayers to St. Alphonsus Liguori for Arthritis Sufferers:

An Arthritic's Prayer to St. Alphonsus:
St. Alphonsus, you are the special patron of all who suffer from arthritis and the pains of many years. When our fingers twist with pain, keep us focused on the hands of Christ pierced with nails. When our knees throb with endless aches, allow us to see the knees of Jesus smashing to the street under the heavy cross. When our backs stiffen with soreness, let us remember the back of Christ thrown across the rough wood of the cross. When our hips, elbows, knuckles, and other joints hurt so much that tears well up in our eyes, help us to recall the tears, the sweat, and the blood that flowed from our crucified Jesus, who suffered so much more for each of us.
St. Alphonsus, you were afflicted with curvature of the spine and confined to a wheelchair in your final years. Teach us to unite all our pains with the sufferings of Jesus. By your intercession, may our pain be eased — but even more, may we be one with Jesus in his death and resurrection for the redemption of the world. Amen.

Prayer to St. Alphonsus for People with Painful Arthritis:
Saint Alphonsus, loving Father of the poor and sick, all your life you devoted yourself with charity towards those who suffer sickness. I invoke you as the patron of those who suffer with arthritis since you were afflicted with this disease in your lifetime.
Look with compassion on me in my suffering.

Full of confidence in your intercession I come to you for help in my present need (mention need).


Video Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers:

Fr. Bob Halter, C.Ss.R., provincial vicar for the Denver province of the Redemptorists, delivers a video blessing of arthritics: This is especially helpful for those who cannot attend the special blessing this week-end. 


A Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori:

One Thing Necessary:

O my God, help me to remember that time is short, eternity long.
What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?
To love you, my God, and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without you, there is no peace of mind or soul.
My God, I need fear only sin and nothing else in this life, for to lose you, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember that I came into this world with nothing, and shall take nothing from it when I die.
To gain you, I must leave all.
But in loving you, I already have all good things — the infinite riches of Christ and His Church in life,
Mary's motherly protection and perpetual help, and the eternal dwelling place Jesus has prepared for me.
Eternal Father, Jesus has promised that whatever we ask in His Name will be granted us.
In His Name, I pray: give me a burning faith, a joyful hope, a holy love for you.
Grant me perseverance in doing your will and never let me be separated from you.
My God and my All, make me a saint.


August 01, 2014 02:48
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Music Monday: Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Ave Maria” by Luciano Pavarotti

Honoring our Blessed Mother:

The month of May is the perfect month for honoring all the Moms as it is the month when the Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of us all.

Music Monday:

Today I’m sharing Schubert’s beautiful “Ave Maria” sung by Luciano Pavarotti during the Three Tenors concert on July 16, 1994.

Held in Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium on the eve of the Soccer World Cup and featuring the vocals of the world famous dynamic trio, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, this 1994 concert was described as the biggest single musical event in history.  Conducted by Zubin Mehta, the tenors were joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Chorus.

Luciano Pavarotti in the Three Tenors Concert:


Enjoy the full two-hour concert here:

May 12, 2014 09:53
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Free ticket giveaway for the "Son of God" movie

Still haven't seen the "Son of God" movie?

This film is a great opportunity to learn more about Jesus and celebrate your faith, just in time for Holy Week and Easter.
Enter our latest giveaway for a chance to win tickets.

Ticket giveaway details:
Enter now to win a set of tickets to see "Son of God" at your local theater: One lucky winner will get a set of 2 tickets.

To enter:
Email with the subject line "Son of God Giveaway" —This will earn you one entry.

For two entries:  Send the email as listed above AND do one of the following:

1. Tweet this blog post using the share buttons below and add the hashtag #SonofGodGiveaway.


2. Simply copy and paste the following on Twitter and tweet:

I want to win @SonofGodMovie tickets from @CatholicReview #SonofGodGiveaway


One Twitter and email entry per person.

The giveaway will end 11 p.m. Thursday, March 27.

The winners will be randomly selected and notified on Friday during business hours. Winners must supply address upon email request to receive prize. 

Good luck!!

Watch the Official Trailer of "Son of God" here:


March 25, 2014 08:21
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Go to Joseph: Honoring the patron saint of the Universal Church and the ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph, along with a song and prayer for his Solemnity


Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!!

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the gentle and humble man who was the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of our Lord and Savior. Devotion to good Saint Joseph is strong among Catholics the world over as witnessed by the multitudes of men, schools, and churches that bear his name and pray for his intercession.

My school, which is celebrating its golden anniversary this year, has had a special love for Saint Joseph since our opening in 1964. The first teachers to staff John Carroll were the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. These good women served our students and their families here in Bel Air for over 45 years.

Many of our students and teachers are wearing the small purple crosses which Sister Bernard Howe, SSJ cross-stitched for us to wear this Lent. “Sister B” made 1000 crosses each summer that she was on staff here at John Carroll for that upcoming year’s Lenten observance. We are blessed and honored that she repeated this generous act of kindness for our 50th anniversary year.

Guidance Counselor Larry Hensley with John Carroll junior and seniors who are sporting their purple Lenten crosses, lovingly stitched by Sister Bernard Howe, SSJ. (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

Ring tradition tied into Saint Joseph's Feast and the Sisters of Saint Joseph:

Our juniors celebrated the receiving of their school rings during last Thursday’s Ring Ceremony, Friday’s Ring Mass and breakfast, and Saturday night’s Ring Dance. A whirlwind of fun, photos, and memories for the Class of 2015. The timing of our Junior Ring festivities has always been placed close to St Joseph's Day to honor the Sisters. What a wonderful time-honored tradition!!

May God richly bless these fine religious women and their community for their selfless love for our students and devotion to our school and so many other schools and organizations over their years of ministry.


“Prayer of Saint Joseph” sung by Angelina

Gifted singer Angelina explains the Sicilian tradition of the “St. Joseph altar” (also known as the St. Joseph’s table), which is traced back to prayers for St. Joseph’s intercession during a medieval famine. Enjoy her presentation and her beautifully sung “Prayer to St. Joseph” from the gardens of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica.


Saint Joseph: A Hidden Life from "Who Cares About The Saints?”

Fr. James Martin, SJ reflects on the life and profound influence of Saint Joseph in his 7-minute video from his Loyola Productions DVD "Who Cares About The Saints?” based on his book by the same name. Be inspired.


 Through the intercession of Saint Joseph, may we daily discern the ways we can serve our neighbor and follow the vocation to which God calls us.

Prayer to Saint Joseph:

St. Joseph, patron of workers and carpenters, you were entrusted to be the foster-father of the Son of God.

In our work may we place our trust in your example.

May your spouse, the Virgin Mary, increase our gift of gratitude for the vocation that was given to us by the Father and Holy Spirit.


— Brother Ed Luther, C.S.C.

March 19, 2014 12:23
By Patti Murphy Dohn

World Day of the Sick: Prayers and reflections on illness, aging, tough decisions, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI



Today the Church observes the 22nd Annual World Day of the Sick, with the theme of "Faith and Charity: We Ought to Lay Down Our Lives for One Another." This annual observation was started by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1992 to pray for those suffering from illness and infirmity, and to offer support to their caregivers. This soon-to-be saint suffered greatly during the late years of his life. He wrote and spoke frequently of suffering and its connection to sanctification and redemption.



Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes:

The Day of the Sick also coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. People travel from every point of the earth seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary at her shrine in Lourdes, France, praying for healing miracles, both physical and spiritual. It is fitting that Blessed John Paul II placed the date for this annual prayer for the sick on a feast which honors the Blessed Virgin to whom he credited his miraculous recovery from the 1981 assassination attempt.


Another important connection to this date in history:

It was on this date last year (2013) that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing that he had made "a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.” He told those gathered at an ordinary consistory in the Apostolic Palace that he would step down from the papacy at the end of February:

"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

…. in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 (Full text here)



Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore Cardinal Edwin O'Brien and his priest-secretary Msgr. Adam Parker witnessed the historic announcement from Pope Benedict XVI: This photo was taken by Msgr. Parker immediately following the announcement and published by The Catholic Review.



Reflections on Aging: 

I cannot imagine the anguish that the Holy Father Emeritus went through before reaching this monumental decision. He faithfully served his predecessor and saw how he suffered during the last years of his life, witnessing the harsh and debilitating effects of the Parkinson’s disease. To have the courage to take a stand, unprecedented in recent history: To be able to say now is the time, enough is enough... In retrospect, this is inspiring and courageous. I applaud the Pope Emeritus for his decision. The Church has a ‘new normal’ which will allow future pontiffs to breathe more easily when their name is announced at conclaves.

One of the most prevalent fears of adulthood is the unknown health concerns which will affect each of us as the years go by. We all hope and pray to be able to enjoy our sunset years with the ability to get around without too much difficulty, to travel, to spend quality time with our grandchildren and family, and to enjoy the fruits of our years of labor.

This hope for the future is not the reality for so many of our seniors who find themselves stricken with illnesses, many with increasingly limited mobility, and, of course, those waning levels of energy. Aging is not easy. And aging gracefully is not enjoyed by everyone. One’s health dictates the possibilities for day to day living. Since we are not given a looking glass, many people wonder what that future will look like. Tough decisions are often part of the process. I feel certain that many of the aged in our families and communities understood  the concerns that the Holy Father Emeritus felt as he shared his decision to step aside last year and begin a life of prayer for the world and the Church. Picturing him playing the piano, reading, and offering prayer in the Mater Ecclesiae Chapel brings a smile to my face.


Pope Francis and the 2014 World Day of the Sick:

Pope Francis marked today's observation with his morning tweet:

I greet all those who are sick and suffering. Christ Crucified is with you; cling to him! @Pontifex


In his first message for this annual event the Holy Father commended this day to the intercession of the Blessed Mother so that “she will help sick people to live their own suffering in communion with Jesus Christ.” Read the full message from Pope Francis here.  


Prayers for the sick and for their caregivers:


Prayer for the Sick:

God of hope and healing,

Be with those whose bodies

burn with fever,

rage with pain,

struggle for breath,

cry out for limbs that used to be,

or crave addictive substances.

Be with those whose minds and emotions

face the wait of a diagnosis,

wrestle with the choices for treatment,

adapt to a life altered by chronic illness,

recover from abuse,

or push against the encroaching clouds of dementia.

Be with those whose spirits

are exhausted by the quest for health,

doubt the existence of love,

question the fairness of life,

or stare into the face of death.

Cool the fever,

bring balm to the pain,

ease the fight for air,

adapt the body for new ways to move,

and calm the cravings.

Ease anxiety and fear.

Build trust in your everlasting love and care.

God of all, hear our prayer.



Prayer for the Caregiver:

God of comfort and strength,

Be with those

whose backs ache with the weight of lifting,

whose hands are raw from the constant washing,

whose eyes close frequently from lack of sleep,

and whose bodies feel broken and weary.

Be with those

whose anxiety cannot face one more “what if,”

whose thoughts do not dare go beyond the next moment,

whose tears have flowed until there are no more,

whose patience has worn too thin,

and whose mind and emotions have become fragile.

Be with those whose spirits

are exhausted by the demands of caring for the sick,

doubt the existence of love,

question the fairness of life,

or stare into the reality of losing a loved one to death.

Sooth the body and ease the pain.

Calm the anxiety and fear.

Build trust in your everlasting presence and love.

God of all, hear our prayer.



Today's prayers are taken from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

February 11, 2014 11:43
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Countdown to Christmas: It’s Christmas Eve: Waiting for baby, Christmas with two popes, Santa’s prayer poem, prayers for Christmas Eve, and more great Christmas music


“Today you will know the Lord is coming, and in the morning you will see his glory.”

— Invitatory to Morning Prayer, Christmas Eve



In the last Advent days leading up to Christmas, I will share some reflections, prayers, and music for you to enjoy during this very hectic holiday season.

Our baby countdown: 

Pope Francis compared the Church to an expectant mother in his homily on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. "Like the Virgin Mary, the Church this week is expecting a birth… Is there space for the Lord or is there space only for parties, shopping and making noise?"

My family is literally expecting a birth as my daughter Meighan is a little more than three weeks away from delivering her baby girl McKenna. I was delighted to again take her to for her routine check-up this afternoon at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. It was a thrill to hear my granddaughter’s heart beating strong in utero as the nurse-practitioner ran the doppler over Meighan’s “baby belly” and counted her heart rate. 

The last days are filled with joy and excitement for our family, but we know that Meighan is experiencing back aches, fatigue, and the normal first-time parent anticipation. This beloved baby is already part of our hearts. And as we wait, we know that next Christmas she will be delighted with the sounds and wonders of the season s only a nine-month old can experience. Bring it on, says this proud Grandma!!


"Santa’s Prayer on Christmas Eve:" By Warren D. Jennings

The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed,
But Santa still knelt by the side of the bed.

"Dear Father," he prayed "Be with me tonight.
There's much work to do and my schedule is tight.

I must jump in my sleigh and streak through the sky,
Knowing full well that a reindeer can't fly.

I will visit each household before the first light,
I'll cover the world and all in one night.

With sleigh bells a-ringing, I'll land on each roof,
Amid the soft clatter of each little hoof.

To get in the house is the difficult part,
So I'll slide down the chimney of each child's heart.

My sack will hold toys to grant all their wishes.
The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.

I will fill all the stockings and not leave a track.
I'll eat every cookie that is left for my snack.

I can do all these things Lord, only through You,
I just need your blessing, then it's easy to do.

All this is to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.

So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob,
Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job."


Christmas visit of Pope Francis to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

I just love the photos taken yesterday when the Holy Father joined Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for a pre-Christmas visit to his residence, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. As the four candles of the Advent wreath burned brightly on the coffee table, the two Holy Fathers enjoyed conversation after stopping for prayer in the small chapel. The Vatican statement said that Pope Francis came to "give his best wishes for the Christmas celebrations."

Osservatore Romano / Reuters


Music for your Enjoyment:

“Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah

Breathtaking: Sir Colin Davis conducts the Tenebrae Choir with the London Symphony Orchestra, December, 2006:

Traditional for the audience to stand for the “Hallelujah” chorus, it has long been held that this custom started when King George II was so moved that he stood at the London premier performance.


“O Holy Night” sung by Josh Groban

 Enjoy my all-time favorite Christmas hymn “O Holy Night,” sung by Josh Groban and set to scenes from film “The Nativity Story.”


 Prayers for Christmas Eve and Christmas:

Christmas Eve Prayer:

Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.



Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine:

Let the just rejoice, for their justifier is born.

 Let the sick and infirm rejoice, For their saviour is born.

 Let the captives rejoice, For their Redeemer is born.

 Let slaves rejoice, for their Master is born.

 Let free men rejoice, For their Liberator is born.

 Let All Christians rejoice, For Jesus Christ is born.



Prayer for Christmas Morning:

The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven,
and crowns another year with peace and good will.
Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds,
and the worship of the wise men.
Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world…
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
And the Christmas evening bring us to our bed
with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.



Christmas Prayer of Blessed (Soon-to-be-Saint) Pope John XXIII:

O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share with all our hearts
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women this peace
for which they sometimes seek so desperately
and which you alone can give to them.
Help them to know one another better,
and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness and purity.
Awaken in their hearts
love and gratitude for your infinite goodness.
Join them all together in your love.
And give us your heavenly peace.



December 24, 2013 12:12
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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