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

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God is in the clouds

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




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

Happy New Year:

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

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

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


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

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




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

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


Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn


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



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


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


Our newest grandson was born on December 22



My top ten blogs for 2015:


 





 



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

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



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



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



Looking ahead to 2016:

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

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

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

 

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



Count your blessings with me:


December 31, 2015 12:19
By Patti Murphy Dohn


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


Counting our blessings: Prayers to enhance your family’s Thanksgiving feast



"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."  
~Meister Eckhart


Happy Thanksgiving!

It is that special time for counting our blessings and having an attitude of gratitude!

Each year, I like to share some prayers for enhancing your family’s celebration
Perhaps one of these blessings will be the right one for your family feast.



Loving God,
We gather in prayer on this Thanksgiving Day to acknowledge with grateful hearts our many gifts and blessings.
Thank You for the overflowing goodness of Your love for us as seen both on and around this table.
Bless all who made it possible for us to share this meal, especially those who cooked and baked and all those who work the land, farmers and harvesters of this bounty.
Bless us as we share from their labors.
Bless each of us gathered at this table. Help us to grow in love for one another.
Bless all those who are in need and help us care for them as generously as You care for us.
As we gather we remember too those who have gone before us who rejoice in Your glorious presence with the angels and the saints.
May we always remember them and honor their memories with love.
With gratitude in our hearts for all blessings big and small, we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

——


Light a Candle as You Offer Up This Prayer:

Dear Father who art in Heaven,
Please join our family on this Thanksgiving day,
And bless each one as we sit down to pray.
As we remember those who have joined You above
So dearly missed and deeply loved.

Please provide us strength on this Thanksgiving Day:
Bless us with memories of those faraway.
Please grant patience to family and friends as we grieve
And help us reach out to others who are bereaved.

We give thanks to You on this Thanksgiving day:
For Your presence in our lives each and everyday,
For Your comfort, guidance, and never ending love,
And for taking care of our loved ones in Heaven above.

As we light this candle on this Thanksgiving day,
And it glows in memory of those in Heaven today:
May their lights always shine down on us and give us light,
And may we feel their presence along with Yours tonight.
 
May the peace and tranquility of this Thanksgiving day
Be an everlasting light within each of us along the way.
Let’s bow our heads and give our Thanks to God above
For our blessings, whether on earth or in Heaven above.
Amen.

——


Bless this food we have before us, O God.
Let it provide the nourishment we need.
Bless this family and our friends gathered around this table.
Let us be nourished by our love and care for one another.
Bless those who have less than we have. 
Let our eyes be open to their needs.
Bless us as we bless Your Holy Name on this day of thanksgiving.
Let us praise and thank you always in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

——


Prayers Before Travel:

Lord Jesus Christ my God, be my Companion, guide and protector during my journey. Keep me from all danger, misfortune and temptation. By Your divine power grant me a peaceful and successful journey and safe arrival. In You I place my hope and trust and You I praise, honor and glorify, together with Your Father and Holy Spirit now and forever and ever.

Amen.

——


Loving and Compassionate One, 
We gather on this Thanksgiving Day to share our love and friendship and the overflowing goodness of your love seen on and around this table. 
Bless those whose livelihood comes from toiling the earth: the farmers, growers, and pickers of this bounty. Bless us as we share from their labors. 
Bless all who have less than we have and help us to care for them as generously as you care for us. 
Bless each of us gathered at this table. 
Help us to grow in love for one another. 
As we gather we remember those who have gone before us gathered in your loving embrace. 
May we always remember them in love. 
We ask this in Jesus’ name. 
Amen.

——


O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

——


Litany-prayer or families with young children and persons with disabilities:

For the gift of life: We thank you.     
For the gift of family: We thank you.
For the gift of this food: We thank you.
For our friends: We thank you.
For laughter: We thank you.
For our safety: We thank you.
For our shelter: We thank you.
For the gift of love: We thank you.
For the abundance of your love, O God: We thank you.
Amen.

——



Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino! 

~Hilaire Belloc

Wishing you and your families a blessed Thanksgiving!



November 24, 2015 12:02
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 4: Hearing the Holy Father’s message



Artwork by Joe Heller for The Compass, the Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay


I wanted to spend some time in this series talking about how we can best prepare to hear the message of the Holy Father. 

I attended a webinar last week for journalists in the Catholic Press Association with Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, the English language Media Attaché for the Holy See Press Office, as well as CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Television Network. The purpose of the webinar was to provide CPA members with a preview to the papal visit, answer questions, and provide suggestions on how best to prepare for coverage.

As I listened to Fr. Rosica and asked a few questions of my own, I realized how important it is for American Catholics to prepare themselves to hear the Holy Father’s message both through a prayerful opening of our hearts and minds, as well as background reading of the Holy Father’s writings.

Father shared a lot of background context, especially in preparation for the these first four days in Cuba, as well as “the bookends” of the upcoming World Synod of Bishops on the Family (October 4-25) and the upcoming Jubilee Year/Holy Year of Mercy against the backdrop of the papal visit. He urged all of us to let the bigger message speak… the message of Gospel. Pope Francis’ masterful use of scripture and its application to our everyday life are immense helps to all of us in living the Gospel message.

With all of this in mind, I wanted to share resources that my readers could use to prepare to listen to the message of the Holy Father this week. And then… I discovered that my friends at the U.S. Catholics Bishops Office had done just that. Great minds think alike!

No need to reinvent the wheel, as they say. I would like to share with you "Ten ways to participate in Pope Francis’ U.S. visit" from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whether in person or from your homes on TV or online coverage. 


1. Take part in a "Virtual Pilgrimage" with these prayers as the Holy Father makes his way to more than a dozen different locations in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.

2. Learn more about the places Pope Francis will visit by following his journey on this interactive map.

3. Become "Pope Francis-literate” by reading his two encyclical letters: Lumen Fidei and Laudato Si.


Read the rest of this insightful list of suggestions here.

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Do you have other ideas on how to best participate in this week’s papal visit?

Please share your thoughts with me:
Twitter: @JCSMinistry


Read more from my series on the 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:

Part 3 is all about papal memorabilia, including where to purchase keepsakes from authorized distributors, as well as a look at part of my collection from past papal visits to the United States: 


September 20, 2015 03:05
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Shark alert: Hammerhead sculptures beneath South Florida’s Blue Heron Bridge turn fear into fun 


The beach by the Singer Island, Florida pump house (Photo: From the webcam at the Palm Beach Lake Worth Inlet)



Sharks... Just the mention of the word elicits emotions ranging from fear to excitement to trepidation to intrigue... 

They have been in the news many times over the past few weeks. There was a huge buzz surrounding the 40th anniversary of the classic blockbuster movie JAWS, followed by close sightings near the shore line in a number of beach towns, including last weekend in Ocean City, Maryland. Newscasts have also included reports of some serious injuries, with a few beaches even closing down temporarily as sharks came close to the shore as they follow the fish migrations north. 

South Florida sightings:

An hour north of our home in Palm Beach County, reef sharks swam so close to shore two weeks ago that all the beaches in St. Lucie County were closed for the day. It was a huge fright to many vacationing families as this species of shark can grow to ten feet in length. 

Check out what all the fuss was about in this 13-second video which shows two reef sharks snuggling close to the water's edge at St. Lucie's Waveland Beach. This video shows just one example of why experts advocate for swimming only at lifeguarded beaches and never going into the surf alone. Watch here on YouTube.


An underwater paradise near the Blue Heron Bridge:

Phil Foster Park is a stone’s throw from our home on Singer Island, located just north of West Palm Beach on the Lake Worth Lagoon of the Intracoastal Waterway. The park's beach, under the famous Blue Heron Bridge, offers easy access to an artificial reef and snorkel trail. The trail, perched just 200 feet offshore in 6 to 12 feet of water, depending on the tides, attracts divers and snorkelers from all over the world. Since Singer Island has the closest proximity to the Gulf Stream, the result is warm turquoise waters, with great visibility, perfect for divers and snorkelers of all ages.

The local scuba community takes pride that the Blue Heron Bridge was named the best dive site in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine in 2013. The vast array of marine life contributed to that designation. You can dive or snorkel amid stingrays, seahorses, octopus, manatees, sea turtles, lobsters, and countless species of fish, just to name a few. 



Shark sculptures ready to be submerged off Phil Foster Park (Photo: Palm Beach Post) 


Shark sculptures submerged off Phil Foster Park: 

One man is trying to take the fear factor away from sharks with his artistic donation to the snorkel trail. Part-time Palm Beach County resident Thomas McDonald, also of Roanoke, Virginia, is an artist, diver, and underwater photographer. He created three concrete hammerhead sharks, each weighing 1500 pounds, and donated them as the first phase of a underwater sculpture park at the snorkeling trail off Phil Foster Park.  

I first heard of McDonald's work when I saw a notice about the shark submersion in the Palm Beach Post (photo above). His plan was to incorporate his love of art and the ocean by creating and donating these concrete replica hammerheads. 

Intrigued by the generosity of the artist, as well as the good fortune of local divers and vacationing snorkelers, I headed over to Phil Foster Park with my camera last Friday morning to see the shark sculptures being lowered into the water.


Divers, boaters, swimmers, and paddleboarders were out bright and early near the beach at Phil Foster Park to be among the first to see the hammerhead shark sculptures after they were lowered into place on the snorkel trail. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)


Glad that I arrived early, I was able to speak to a number of the people who have vested interests in the future of this area as a lure to the diving community, as well as a new cultural oasis.



On hand to watching the launch of the new sharks were:
(From left:) Victoria Van Dam of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Wendy Puz, Environmental Analyst for the county's Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and Daniel Bates, ERM deputy director; (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)

The sculptures, affectionately called the McSharks for artist Thomas McDonald, are five feet long and about thirty inches tall. They were lowered into the water by a crane on a barge during high tide on June 19, and placed into position by Pura Vida Divers, a PADI 5-star dive center located nearby on Singer Island. 


(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)


Start of an underwater sculpture park: 

Daniel Bates, deputy director of the county's Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), watched the process with me from the shoreline, along with his colleague Wendy Puz, and camera crews from all the local West Palm Beach TV stations. 

Bates shared with me and the television news crews that the sharks are the first pieces in an underwater sculpture garden along that 800-foot snorkel trail. Citing that there are other underwater sculpture reefs throughout the world, Bates explained that algae and coral will start to grow on these pieces within a few months, then attracting even more marine life. He likened it to an aquarium.



(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)

And in turn, more divers will also be attracted to the area, as evidenced by the number who waited to see these sculptures once they were in place. Some families with young children were among the spectators, ready to snorkel over and get their first glimpse of the hammerheads.

(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)

Bates noted that the Blue Heron Bridge is a world-renowned location and the Department of Environmental Resources Management wants to keep enhancing it. He praised the vision and generosity of artist Thomas McDonald whose donation was at no cost to the county and local tax payers. As McDonald’s plan came to fruition, there was a growing excitement from both the arts community and from local divers.


Always ready to cover the news on the waterfront is South Florida's own James Wieland, @SurfnWeatherman of WPTV.
After conducting interviews, James dove in and hit the snorkeling trail with his underwater camera to take photos and video footage of the three sharks for the evening broadcast. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)

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It was so nice to be able to catch up with Baltimore's good friend, Sandra Shaw, formerly of WBAL-TV,
who has been part of WPBF's First Alert Weather Team in West Palm Beach for the past five years.
Sandra did special features on a number of our Catholic schools when she worked for WBAL. 
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As the sharks were submerged, sculptor Thomas McDonald was underwater in full diving gear watching the placement. Afterwards, he swam to shore and spoke to the news crews and spent a few minutes with me.


Thomas McDonald, sculptor of the three hammerheads and inspiration for the underwater sculpture reef (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)

Artist Thomas McDonald laughed as he told me that sharks “bring out a reaction in people… some are afraid of them and many people love that fear a little bit.” He was excited to share his hammerheads, which took four months to make, with those who visit the trail at Phil Foster Park. He donated his time and artistry to Palm Beach County in memory of his father who died in May and who inspired his work. Tom explained that seeing his plan finalized at the start of the Fathers Day weekend meant a great deal to him as he remembered his Dad’s legacy.

A diver for the past thirty years, Tom was intrigued by his first visit to the Blue Heron Bridge and fell in love with the marine life there. He told me that is why he chose this location for the donation of his sculptures as it “is a world class dive site." He added that "the County has been so helpful. I'm grateful for what they have done to make this project a reality today.” 

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Michael DeLuca, a rising junior at Boca High School, was also happy to be on hand for the submersion of the shark sculptures. He completed his Eagle Scout project there last November, placing two artificial reefs by the snorkel trail. 
Michael told me that it "couldn't be a better location" because of the number of divers and tourists in the area. "The hammerheads bring a cool addition... It's great that they have been placed along the trail."

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Enjoy these videos of the hammerhead sculptures:

1. Watch this 1-minute video from the ERM Facebook page to see the hammerhead statues in their new environment by the snorkel trail;

2. This 2-minute video shows local snorkelers with the three shark sculptures, as well as some of the nearby marine life. 



Come snorkel with the hammerheads:

Plan a getaway to the West Palm Beach area of South Florida and come snorkel along the trail with the new shark sculptures:

Phil Foster Park is located on the east end of the Blue Heron Bridge (900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, Florida 33404). 
The snorkel trail can be accessed by walking under the bridge to the south side of the park, overlooking Peanut Island. The three sharks are straight out, toward the beginning of the trail.

Be sure to email me if you make plans to come for a visit: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


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For a few other stories on my adventures in Palm Beach County, Florida:


Check out:




June 30, 2015 03:29
By Patti Murphy Dohn


School’s out: Summer prayers and blessings for families and educators




Area schools started dismissing for summer break last week. By next Friday, school children and teens from all parts of Maryland and the Archdiocese of Baltimore should be finished the school year and ready for some rest and relaxation... 
And swimming and outdoor play...  
And summer camps and trips to the beach…
I can almost taste the snowballs and boardwalk fries, can’t you?

No doubt, the smiles of teachers everywhere are getting bigger and brighter. They are wrapping up report cards and exam grades, covering bulletin boards, and unplugging their classroom electronics.

The start of summer is truly the happiest time of the year for students and teachers. Prayers of gratitude are going up each minute of the day.

Summer prayers and blessings:

Let's put ourselves in the hands of our loving God and pray together
that He will bless all of us and our families
during the wonderful months of summer.


May we make our homes places of relaxation,
joy, love, peace and safety.
May we be generous and considerate,
not thinking only about ourselves,
but helping others enjoy the blessings of the summertime.
Lord God, Creator of all things,
guide our steps and strengthen our hearts
during these months of summer and vacation days.
Grant us refreshment of mind and body. 
May we constantly strive to make a meaningful difference
in the lives of our loved ones and in the world around us
as we enjoy the warm days of summertime.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

---

 
Christ, Teacher and Lord,
Bless all in this school as we seek to end our year
with the grace You so generously provide.
We give thanks for the students and the faculty, the administrators, 
and all who have contributed to this year of nurturing and growth.
We affirm all the positive moments: 
Of insight, of the excitement of learning,
Of accomplishment, of creativity,
Of laughter, of a sense of community.
We recognize the times of struggle, of difficult work,
of misunderstanding,
Even of failure…
We give these to You for transformation,
So they can become seeds that will find fertile soil.
As we leave for the summer,
May we take with us the knowledge
that You will keep us all in Your embrace
so we may rest and be restored,
And so we can continue in the ongoing discovery of Your Love.
Amen.

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Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn
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O God of all beginnings and endings,
We praise and thank You for the gift of this school year.
It has been a time filled with grace and blessings,
With challenges and opportunities,
joys and sorrows.
The days have passed quickly, O Lord.
The weeks, the months, the seasons,
the holidays and holy days,
The exams, vacations, breaks, and assemblies,
All have come forth from Your hand.
While we trust that Your purposes
have always been at work each day,
Sometimes it has seemed difficult to understand and appreciate
Just what You have been up to in our school.
Give us the rest and refreshment we need this summer.
Let our efforts of this past year bear fruit.
Bring all of our plans to a joyful conclusion,
And bless us, according to Your will,
With the fulfillment of our summer hopes and dreams.
Watch over us in the weeks of rest ahead,
And guide each day as You have done this past year.
Help us return to school with a new spirit and a new energy.
May we continue to grow
In age, wisdom, knowledge and grace
All the days of our lives.
Amen.

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Wishing all of you a wonderful summer filled with blessings and God’s grace…
Be safe and enjoy the days ahead of rest and relaxation!!

God is good: All the time!!

June 11, 2015 12:57
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Prayers and good wishes: God bless the Class of 2015



Photos by Patti Murphy Dohn


It seems as though every year goes by faster and faster…
My first year of retirement from Campus Ministry has gone by in the blink of an eye.

Now that the John Carroll Class of 2015, as well as all their senior high school peers across this nation, have finished their studies and are ready to graduate, it is fitting that I share a prayer for them and for all the graduates of the Class of 2015.




Praying for God’s grace and blessings on the Class of 2015:

High School Graduation Prayer: 

Dear Heavenly Father,
We come to you with thankful hearts for all those near and dear to us who are graduating from high school.   
We thank you for giving each graduate the talents, abilities and self discipline required for this wonderful accomplishment.  
We are grateful to You for providing the teachers, mentors, coaches and youth counselors who have taught them, nurtured them and challenged them along the way. 
Now that their minds have been well equipped with the basic knowledge of many different subjects, we pray that their hearts and spirits will also be well equipped for successful living.  
Add heavenly wisdom and discernment to their knowledge.  
Infuse their ambitions and dreams with Your love.  
Help them to desire Your good way for their future.  
Remind them that you are only a prayer away when they meet obstacles, heartbreaks and challenges.  
May they always be courageous enough to ask for help, advice and support when they need it.  
May they never needlessly suffer alone without reaching out to You and to others who care. 
As they become independent adults, help them learn the secret of dependence on You.  
Give them a desire to know more about You.  
May they find you in the Scriptures, in the joy of new love, in the gathering of Your people, in the beauty of Your creation and in the strength of their youth. 
And now may Your blessings be theirs as they begin a new life full of joy and promise.  
Amen.





When I was Campus Minister, I invited the members of the junior class during their ring ceremony to place their new high school rings on their fingers with the open end of the embossed design facing toward them. This signified that the student still had more than a year left to learn and take to heart all the traditions of the JC school community and to be ready to represent that legacy as graduates at the end of the following year.

So today, on the graduation day for the Class of 2015, I invite the newest alumni, after receiving their diplomas, to take off their JC ring, turn it around, and place it back on their fingers with the embossed opening facing outward. 

This commissions the Class of 2015 to go forward and share with all those they meet along their life-journey the lessons they learned from their John Carroll experience. 

Lessons such as: 

~Go, make a difference; 

~Let your light shine; 

~To be “compelling, considerate, and uncompromising,” characteristics which were attributed to our patron, Archbishop John Carroll; 

And to always remember: 
~In good times and in bad, that God is good... All the time!!


May our loving God richly bless the Class of 2015!!


May 29, 2015 11:09
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Fifty years of faithful service: Celebrating the golden anniversary to the priesthood of Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien



His Eminence Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien


Fifty years of blessings:

Today marks a joyous celebration as we honor the anniversary of our much-loved Archbishop Emeritus, who was ordained to the priesthood on this date (May 29) in 1965. 


Father Edwin Frederick O’Brien was just 26 years old when he was ordained by the late Cardinal Francis Spellman (1889-1967), who served as the sixth Archbishop of New York from 1939 until his death in 1967.
 

Last October, I dedicated a pictorial tribute to Cardinal O’Brien’s service to our archdiocese as we recalled his installation as fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore seven years before on October 1, 2007.

As we mark today’s anniversary with our prayers of gratitude and well wishes, take a few minutes to enjoy the thirty photographs that call to mind many of the highlights during His Eminence’s four years as our shepherd here in Baltimore, his elevation to the College of Cardinals in 2012, and his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI as the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.




By Patti Murphy Dohn


“Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien became the fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore on Oct. 1, 2007.

In the five years that he served as the shepherd of our Premier See and the last two years as our Archbishop Emeritus, now-Cardinal O'Brien has shared some of the most poignant moments of local Church history with us, as well as the recent changes that have impacted the entire Church in our era.

Today... we honor the ministry and continued legacy of Cardinal O’Brien.”


Published in "God is in the Clouds" on October 1, 2014

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Blessed anniversary, Your Eminence!!



May 29, 2015 01:12
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Why the praying couple's pre-wedding photo captured our hearts



I know you have seen their photo… It was taken right before the wedding of  U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Caleb Earwood and his bride Maggie last Saturday. 

And it’s popped up everywhere on social media feeds and on many news programs since their photographer Dwayne Schmidt posted it on his Facebook page just after 10 p.m. that Saturday night.  




“U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Caleb Earwood and his bride Maggie had a heartwarming moment before their wedding ceremony last Saturday, May 23rd. With it being Memorial Day weekend, this touching exchange couldn’t have been more perfect. Caleb held Maggie’s hand while saying a prayer for their marriage and their lives together, careful not to see her around the doorway before she walked down the aisle.
I was lucky to witness such a moving moment let alone capture it. I have been fortunate enough to photograph several weddings, but this is a moment I will remember forever.”

~ Photographer Dwayne Schmidt on his website, Dwayne’s Images
 

It was Saturday of Memorial Day week-end. Cpl. Caleb Earwood, age 21, and his bride Maggie, 22, who have been friends since they were students at T. C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina, were getting married. They had been dating for the past two years.

Just minutes before the ceremony, the couple, with eyes closed, were brought together by family members who placed their hands together so they could not see each other before they engaged in prayer, with Caleb asking for God’s grace upon their marriage. 

Photographer Dwayne Schmidt captured the raw emotion of those minutes right before they walked down the aisle at an open pavilion at Camp Daniel Boone in Canton, North Carolina. 


“We were about to take our first steps in life together, and we didn't want to take a step without it being in God's will. I prayed to God for my beautiful and intelligent wife that he blessed me with and the amazing family I was marrying into… We're thankful that our picture is able to bless so many people and touch that many hearts.” 
~U.S. Marine Corporal Caleb Earwood told Kyle Michael Miller of TODAY.com


Why we are totally captivated by this photo:

Without a doubt, I shook my head and looked twice when this photo popped up in my Twitter and Facebook feeds. The raw emotion on the bride’s face was hard to dismiss. I initially wondered if something terrible had happened, so I was quick to read on and see that the bride was actually overcome with the beauty of the moment as her husband offered a prayer for their married life together.

You don’t often see couples praying together. You certainly don’t often see young couples praying together. This moment, caught on film forever, captures the open sincerity of this couple’s commitment to each other, so much so that they asked for God’s blessing in front of family and friends who were nearby. With eyes closed so that they did not yet see each other in wedding gown and full dress uniform, they allowed others into what most often is held completely private.
Prayer.
Complete trust in God.
Faith in His providence.
Hope in His will for their lives together.

In a day and age when many marriages end up in divorce and when some couples choose to not marry at all, this young couple shared publicly their trust that they are following God’s will for their lives... 

And through this precious photograph, we too were allowed to share in their moment. And thousands and thousands of people across our nation and across the world paused, touched by what they witnessed, and joined along in prayer for Caleb and Maggie.




My prayer for them today:
May their joy know no bounds.



For more information on praying with your spouse:

Visit the “For Your Marriage” website, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and learn more about “How To Pray With Your Spouse: Four Simple Steps.”

Sign up for their daily marriage tips here.

Sign up for their Marriage Monthly newsletter and learn more ways to help your marriage flourish.

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Another story behind a pre-wedding prayer:

Read the story of Josh (also a Marine) and Bre Curtas of Lynchburg, Virginia  who also prayed before their August 2012 wedding here in the Power of Prayer Tumblr

Photo: K.D. Burke Photography

May 28, 2015 02:00
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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