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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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!

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God is in the clouds

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



Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

“I have an amazing Saint Anthony story for you!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Stacey Sheets


(Photo courtesy of Stacey Sheets)


Gratitude:

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

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

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

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

I cannot stop smiling either! 


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

God is good… All the time.
Amen.

——-

Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony:

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

——-



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

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


Read more on St. Anthony's intercession: 





January 19, 2016 01:07
By Patti Murphy Dohn


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


St. Anthony of Padua: More testimonies and prayers to the patron saint of lost items



“Happy the man whose words come from the Holy Spirit and not from himself.”
—Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Feast day: June 13


The feast of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of Italy, is celebrated each year on June 13.
Anthony is widely regarded for his intercession in the search for lost or stolen items. The popular "St. Anthony of Padua" children's book, published by Catholic Book Publishing Company in 1984, is subtitled, "The world's best loved saint."

According to oral tradition, Anthony, who was a Franciscan friar, had a book of psalms, one of his most treasured belongings, which contained his notes for teaching young novices. This psalter was stolen by a young man who had left the religious community. Story has it that after Anthony's prayed for its recovery, not only was the psalter returned, but the young man also returned and was accepted back by the Order.

After Anthony's death, people began praying to him to find their lost or stolen items:

“The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
While treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.”
- From the "Responsory of St. Anthony"


Last year, I wrote about personal stories of those who sought St. Anthony's intercession in their own quest to find lost items. It is one of the two most widely-read blog posts in my three years of writing "God is in the Clouds."

Since it was published 17 months ago, it has not only had thousands of hits from online readers, but it has also elicited dozens of comments and emails from all over the world with requests for prayers, as well as tributes of gratitude to St. Anthony for his successful intercession.

Some stories about St. Anthony's intercession:

Read that blog post here for stories about the finding of:

~the treasured necklace belonging to one of my former's student's beloved deceased sister;

~the camera and memory card with hundreds of photographs of my friend's newborn grandson;

~a bride's purse filled with all the wedding cards (and money gifts) lost before the newly-married couple departed for their honeymoon and not found for four weeks until the bride's grandmother invoked prayers to St. Anthony;

~a daughter-in-law's lost engagement diamond and a friend's lost honeymoon airline tickets by an old friend who prays to St. Anthony all the time, claiming that "once you say the prayer, you have to stop looking for whatever it is you lost. Turn it over to St. Anthony and let him lead you. He always does!"

~and the story of a former student who has called on Anthony's intercession so often that she considered naming her son after the saint.

Praying for St. Anthony's intercession for lost items:

Over the past year and a half, I have received numerous emails with prayers to St. Anthony to intercede in finding lost or stolen items. Some of the most common request are to locate purses, laptops, keys, wallets, passports, and jewelry, especially wedding rings or heirloom family pieces. Some have surprised me by writing about their love being lost or found!!

"I'm not the type to pray for myself because I sometimes feel like others prayers are of greater priority than mine. So I have take to praying for others. Two weeks ago I lost my wedding band and engagement ring. My husband and I dated for 10 years before getting married and to lose them now, when we just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, breaks my heart. I have turned my house upside down and inside out looking for them. I have also been praying every night since the day I lost them. I hope that someone out there can say a little prayer for me so that I may find them."
~Denise wrote to me on May 27:
Please pray with her to St. Anthony.


Testimonies and gratitude for St. Anthony's intercession:


"I tore apart my office looking for an case file. I couldn't find it anywhere and this could mean my license to practice law if I lost original documents. I prayed and prayed to St. Anthony as I touched every file in the office...nothing. I finally gave up and thought I'd try again tomorrow and see if I could find a different prayer for St. Anthony. As I sat here about to write a prayer on this website, with my foot I gently pushed a small metal box back into its place on the lower shelf of the computer desk. I noticed that underneath my computer desk a brown file folder was peaking out. I asked could this be it? I gently pulled it out and there was the missing file.So my prayer for petition turned into a prayer of gratitude. THANK YOU SO MUCH ST. ANTHONY! You are so good to me."
~From Rose who emailed on June 2


"Just wanted to let you know that after almost a week of praying to St. Anthony for my son’s missing laptop computer, he found it last week on Thursday at school. It turned out a teacher had found it and put it in his desk for safe keeping. We are so grateful to St. Anthony who always helps us when we need him and we can’t thank him enough!"
~From Anna who wrote to me on June 3


"My son had attended a local Catholic elementary school where I volunteered to watch the children during lunch in the cafeteria. One day, I went to put on my disposable food preparation gloves and noticed the diamond in my engagement ring was missing. I was looking everywhere on the floor, and the school receptionist came over to ask me what I was looking for. I told her, and she and the secretary held hands and prayed.
Afterwards, I went home to look and decided to use my vacuum with a piece of old stocking on the head to see if I may have lost it in my bedroom. As I vacuumed I prayed to St. Anthony. I sat on my bed to look through the dust that accumulated on the stocking.
All of a sudden a feeling came over me; I stopped, got up and walked over to a bath towel that was in front of my bedroom sliding door for my dogs’ wet feet. I turned over one corner of the towel and underneath was my diamond. I felt a prickle up my neck.
I immediately called the school and was told that our principal, Sister Anne, over the loud speaker, had just had all the children say a prayer for the lunch mom who lost her diamond. I know deep in my heart that our prayers were heard and answered."
~From Kathy who wrote on May 26


"I want to thank you Saint Anthony for helping me find my car key. I lost my car key, and after hours of looking for it and calling places that would charge me almost $400 for a new one, I finally thought about how there was a prayer to help you find lost items. And so I found this prayer, and after I prayed over and over again, I then took a nap due to the stress of looking for my key all day. Then when I woke up I found my key on the floor in the middle of my step on the stairs inside my house as if he had placed it there!! I am sooo grateful, I even cried because I was so thankful!"
~From Malerie who emailed on May 25


Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?
Email your stories to me at: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com


Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony:

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints"

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

 
Have you lost anything and want us to pray with you for St. Anthony's intercession?
Email your prayer requests to me at: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com

June 13, 2015 09:59
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.

---

Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn
---


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.

---

 

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


Thank a Sister: Share your stories of the good Sisters' influence on your life and family




This upcoming Sunday begins the second annual National Catholic Sisters Week. Started in 2013 in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, this weeklong celebration started last March 2014. 

The website for National Catholic Sisters Week explains that the week is “intended to shine a national spotlight on the good works and good will of Catholic sisters. It recognizes past and present sisters, from the movers and shakers pressing the frontline of social change to the faithful praying in cloistered chapels."



Calling for your stories:

In an effort to promote the good work of our local Sisters, I would like to hear your stories about the Sisters and the religious communities who influenced you and your families. Your special memories and tributes will be featured next week in “God is in the Clouds.”


My personal gratitude to the Sisters:

I am so incredibly grateful for the influence of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia and the School Sisters of Notre Dame which was fundamental in molding me into the woman of faith that I am today. These women are the spiritual heroes in my life. 


Thank a Sister:

Let's honor the faithful women religious who guided you, challenged you, prayed for you, influenced you, and were your mentors and friends.

Deadline Sunday, March 8 by 12 noon:

Email your memories and tributes to me: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com
Attach a photo if you have one.

Let’s thank the women of faith who shaped and formed us: the good Sisters!! 



Thank a Sister:

Enjoy this video that was made to kick off the 2014 celebration:




The Year for Consecrated Life:

Pope Francis has designated the Year for Consecrated Life, started on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014, and ending on World Day of Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016. 

Check out the resources, videos, and prayers from the U.S. Bishops website here.

March 03, 2015 12:09
By Patti Murphy Dohn


The power of a smile: Words of wisdom to keep you smiling all day



"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken."

―Proverbs 15:13


Praying for peace with the boating community:

When my husband George retired last March, he bought his first boat from one of our neighbors in Florida. And when we returned to our home on Singer Island in early June, after I retired from my ministry at John Carroll, George and I went through the steps necessary to become official Florida boaters. We took the local course through the U.S. Power Squadron, passed the test, and got our Florida boating licenses.

Our next-door neighbor is the commander of the local Palm Beach Sail and Power Squadron and the instructor of the boating course. He encouraged us to become members, and to serve the squadron actively during our "rookie year."

The commander invited me to serve as chaplain, a role for which I have much experience as longtime John Carroll Campus Minister. And this past Saturday night was the annual Commanders' Ball for which I was asked to give the invocation.

Gathering for this festive occasion just two days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, I made note to those attending the formal gala that we would be remiss to not pray for peace in the world. I shared with those in attendance that Blessed Mother Teresa said, "Peace begins with a smile."

The cost of a smile:

There is so much truth in that short statement, isn't there? When a smile is given forth, a barrier is broken, so to speak, and both parties are put at ease. Smiling costs us nothing and usually regenerates itself over and over.



The wisdom of smiling: 


"A smile cures the wounding of a frown."

―William Shakespeare

~~~

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

―Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

~~~

"A smile is the shortest distance between two people."

―Victor Borge (1909-2000)

~~~

"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness."

―William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

~~~

"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight."

―Phyllis Diller (1917-2012)

~~~

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

―Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

~~~

"Here's wishing you the smiles o' life and not a single grumble."

―Irish Blessing

~~~

"If you see a friend without a smile, give him one of yours."

―Proverb

~~~

"The world always looks brighter from behind a smile." 

―Proverb

~~~

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.”

―Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

~~~

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."

―Mark Twain (1835-1910)

~~~

"A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever."

―Author Unknown

~~~

"If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it." 

―Andy Rooney (1919-2011)

~~~

"I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful."

―Author Unknown

~~~

"All people smile in the same language."

―Proverb

~~~

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

―Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)


January 13, 2015 11:39
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Celebrating the heroic ministry of Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien in Baltimore and beyond



The inspiring ministry of Cardinal O'Brien:

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.

For today's edition of Catholic Throwback Thursday, we honor the ministry and continued legacy of Cardinal O'Brien.



At the July 12, 2007 press conference announcing the appointment of Edwin Frederick O'Brien, Archbishop for the Military Services, as the fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore:

This is one of my favorite photos of Cardinal O'Brien who looks so happy as he and Cardinal Keeler share the news of his appointment with our local Church. (Photo: Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

"He has leapt from military airplanes, served in jungles during the Vietnam War and travelled extensively to current battle zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. From his working-class roots...to the upper echelons of Catholic power—carrying a Christian message of peace and love to some of the world's worst war-torn terrain." --The Baltimore Sun on the military service of Archbishop O'Brien

-------

Archbishop O'Brien greeting the auxiliary bishops before his installation as Archbishop of Baltimore on October 1, 2007  (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Lloyd Fox)

-------


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Elevating the chalice during his Mass of Installation at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Archbishop O'Brien is joined on left by Archbishop William D. Borders, the thirteenth Archbishop of Baltimore  (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Algerina Perna)

-------

Receiving his pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2008 (Photo: CNS/ L'Osservatore Romano)

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"If Joseph Martin is not in heaven, I don't think any of us has a chance."

Cardinal O'Brien presided at the March 13, 2009 funeral Mass at the Baltimore Basilica for Sulpician Father Joseph C. Martin, the co-founder of Father Martin’s Ashley addiction treatment center in Havre de Grace, who died on March 9 at age 84. The Baltimore Sun called Father Martin "the 'wounded healer' who overcame alcoholism and, through his 'chalk talk' and the home he co-founded, helped some 40,000 others to do the same."  (Photo: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

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Archbishop O'Brien leads the procession to the crypt at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen following the funeral for Archbishop William D. Borders, the thirteenth Archbishop of Baltimore who served from 1974 to 1989. He passed away on April 19, 2010 of colon cancer at Stella Maris at age 96. At the time of his death, Archbishop Borders was the fourth-oldest living Catholic bishop in United States history, and the longest-surviving bishop of both Orlando and Baltimore. (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Lloyd Fox)

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Archbishop O'Brien announced the reorganization of Catholic schools in March of 2010 in a program called "Preserving the Tradition, Transforming the Future: The Rebirth of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore." (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Algerina Perna)

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Archbishop O'Brien joined the Sisters for Life for the John Cardinal O’Connor Conference at Georgetown University on the day prior to the 2011 March for Life. Entitled “Building a Culture of Life Today: Learning from the Life and Legacy of Cardinal O’Connor,” the panel of presenters included from left: Bishop William Lori, Professor Helen Alvare, Fr. Joseph Koterski, SJ (moderator), Mother Agnes Mary, SV, and Archbishop O'Brien. (Photo: Sisters of Life)

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Archbishop O'Brien presided over a Divine Mercy Sunday Mass on May 1, 2011 at the Basilica of the Assumption marking the beatification of Pope John Paul II earlier that day in Rome. After Mass, the archbishop led a procession around the block to the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / May 1, 2011)

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Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, the assessor of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Greensburg, welcomes Archbishop O'Brien to the Rome headquarters on September 16, 2011 after the August 29 announcement of his appointment as Grand Master.

As Archbishop De Andrea placed the medallion around his neck, he said that this new role "is like a chain that ties him to the Holy Land" and to the knightly order of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)

"I am grateful to the Holy Father for his trust in me and hope in the years ahead I will be a help to the Holy See and to the wonderful land where Christ walked." --Archbishop O'Brien

Archbishop O'Brien follows the leadership of U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley who stepped down due to health concerns in February. He passed away on December 11, 2011 at age 76 in Darby, Pennsylvania.


"We look to forward the cause of peace in the Holy Land — that’s the Holy Father’s burning desire — and to stopping the exodus of Christians, to make more available the holy places to more people and to encourage pilgrimage to the Holy Land."  --Archbishop O'Brien in an interview with CNS.

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Celebrating Mass at Saint Peter's Tomb on Jan. 16, 2012:

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl (center) with Cardinal-designate Edwin O'Brien and Archbishop Timothy Broglio to his left. (Photo: CNS)

This marked the beginning of the ad limina visit to the Holy See for the bishops of Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services.

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New member of the College of Cardinals Edwin Frederick O'Brien receives the red biretta from Pope Benedict XVI in Saint Peter's Basilica on February 18, 2012. (Photo: Franco Origlia, Getty Images Europe)

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Among the twenty-two new cardinals created that day were two from the United States, both sons of New York: Cardinal O'Brien and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. (AP Photo)

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New Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien is congratulated by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary of the Holy Father, during the courtesy visits at the Paul VI Hall on February 18, 2012 (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images Europe)

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Archbishop of Baltimore-designate William E. Lori, along with Cardinal O'Brien, prays at the crypt of Archbishop John Carroll in the Baltimore Basilica on May 15, 2012, the eve of his elevation as the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore, Afterwards a vespers service was held there at the Basilica. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun / May 15, 2012 )

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Twenty-year reunion for the Pontifical North American College Class of 1992. Cardinal O'Brien was their seminary rector at the NAC:

From left: Fr. Brian McGrath, Msgr. Jim Checchio (the current rector of PNAC), Fr. Don Henke, Bishop Paul D. Etienne, Fr. Brian Hayes, Bishop Liam Cary, Bishop William Waterscheid, Msgr. Charles Antonicelli; kneeling Fr. Joe Fonti, with Cardinal O'Brien. (Photo: Bishop Paul D. Etienne

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On the eve of his first trip to the Holy Land as Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, Cardinal O'Brien said he hoped to encourage the region’s Christian minority with a message of solidarity from Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholics in the West.

Shown here in his Rome residence on November 24, 2012, Cardinal O'Brien shows near a replica of the crosier of Pope John Paul II and other personal mementos. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

“The church in the Holy Land has been under unfriendly domination throughout the centuries, and the fact that we still exist there is almost a miracle... We have to do everything we can as a Catholic people to encourage them and to let them know that we are one with them in their struggle.” --Cardinal O’Brien told Catholic News Service

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Video:





Enjoy this two-minute video with Cardinal O'Brien previewing his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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Cardinal O’Brien is greeted by students at the Catholic seminary in the West Bank town of Beit Jalla on November 28, 2012.

His Eminence was making his first visit to the Holy Land as Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric order that supports church institutions and Christians in the Holy Land. (Photo: CNS/Heidi Levine

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Flashing back to 2009:

Ten Episcopal nuns, all members of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor convent in Cantonsville, Maryland, along with their chaplain, Father Warren Tanghe, became Catholics during Mass in their chapel back on September 3, 2009. Archbishop O'Brien blessed each of them as they renewed their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Four years later on the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2013:

The All Saints Sisters of the Poor look back to their feast day in 2011:

"For us Sisters, the Feast of All Saints has always been special since it is our Titular Feast, but since 2011, it has taken on even more importance. On that day, in the Basilica of the Assumption, in Baltimore, which is also the first Metropolitan Cathedral in the United States, we were erected as a new institute of Consecrated Life in the Roman Catholic Church, and our public vows."--All Saints Sisters of the Poor

Photo of the Sisters with then-Archbishop O’Brien following that November 1, 2011 Mass.

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Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien at the March 20, 2012 press conference announcing that Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport was named the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore at the Baltimore Basilica. (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Karl Merton Ferron)

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The Installation Mass for William E. Lori as the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore on May 16, 2012 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Archbishop Lori was shown wearing the pectoral cross that belonged to Archbishop John Carroll, the first United States bishop and first Archbishop of Baltimore.

With Cardinal O'Brien is retired Auxiliary Bishop William Newman (far left), and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States (second from left).

(Photo: Catholic Review)

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Cardinal O'Brien dedicated a new Latin Patriarchate school at Rameh (Northern Galilee) on November 29, 2012. He was joined by Patriarch Fouad Twal, as well as Bishop Marcuzzo, the Patriarchal Vicar for Israel who originated the project 18 years prior.

“I had prepared a written text, but when I saw the crowd, the followers of the different religions living together in joy and brotherhood, when I saw the enthusiasm of the parents and the students, I set aside my speech and my heart … spoke.”'--Cardinal O’Brien

The first stone for the building project had been blessed by Pope Benedict XVI at his Mass in Nazareth on May 14, 2009 during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For the village of Rameh, population 8,000, with 51% Christian, 29% Druze, and 20% Muslim, the school is central to the unity of its people. The Patriarch noted that “the school was not only a place of learning but also a place of dialogue between religions and culture, which must always be at the service of man and the construction of new bridges of friendship and love for all without distinction.”

(Photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

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King Abdullah of Jordan met with Cardinal O'Brien and the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Fouad Twal December 2, 2012 in Amman. They discussed the fragile situation in the Middle East and their quest for lasting peace. (Photo)

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Who could ever forget the day that Pope Benedict XVI told the world that he was stepping down from the papacy?

On February 11, 2013, Cardinal 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.

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American cardinals gather at the Pontifical North American College before the March, 2013 conclave:

From Left: Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Francis George, Cardinal Seán, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Cardinal Edwin O’Brien (Photo: BostonCatholic-Flickr)

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Cardinal O'Brien greets newly-elected Pope Francis (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano)

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Cardinal O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem carries woven palm fronds in the procession for Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square on March 24, 2013. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

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Thank you, Your Eminence, for your outstanding service to our Archdiocese and your commitment to peace and understanding in our world.

We are grateful for your ministry and assure you of our prayers.

Ad multos annos!!

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The coat of arms of Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien:

Father Edwin Frederick O'Brien was ordained a bishop by New York Archbishop Cardinal John J. O'Connor at St. Patrick's Cathedral on March 25, 1996, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York by Pope John Paul II.

Bishop O'Brien chose as his episcopal motto: Pastores Dabo Vobis ("I will give you shepherds") from Jeremiah 3:15.




October 02, 2014 01:54
By Patti Murphy Dohn


I'm not going back to school: Musings on my retirement



"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

--Anatole France, French journalist, novelist, poet (1844-1924)


For the first time in my life, I am not getting ready to go back to school.

My friends in education have been entrenched for the past two weeks in faculty meetings, new student orientations, and classroom preparations. And I have not been caught up in this educators' season of "August, the month of Sundays."

My summer, on the other hand, has included travel (from South Florida to Northwestern New York), special family events, and projects around the house. Most mornings have found me drinking coffee on the deck, reading the morning newspapers, and planning my low stress to-do list. There were no meetings, retreat prep, liturgical planning, or the juggling of orientation schedules.


Trusting in God's Providence:

I made a huge move three months and announced my retirement after 33 years of ministry at The John Carroll School. My husband had just retired at the end of March after almost 48 years in the business world. We prayed and discerned when might be the right time for me to join him in this new stage of our life together.  

Our trip to Italy in April found me praying privately at each basilica, shrine, and chapel, as well as the tomb of St. Francis, and St. Peter's Basilica for an affirming sign from “Up High” and a sense of peace that this was the right thing to do.

My husband though was the one who sealed the deal when he told me, "I'm healthy and you're healthy. We deserve to have some fun while we are able after all our years of hard work." George’s words came from the heart, recalling the early death of his first wife fourteen years ago. As for me, I agreed, understanding exactly where he was coming from… I had spent many years working closely with families who were going through crisis... whether it was serious illness, death, or a multitude of tragedies which would strike at any time at any age. Yes, we needed to step back and enjoy the journey ahead.



So now, after over 80 combined years in our respective careers, George and I are retired.

Almost everyone I encountered this summer asked me how I was enjoying my new retirement. And I always replied that it felt like summer vacation. And it has.

Until now.

Our public schools are back in session today and most of the private and Catholic schools are holding orientations and gradual openings. So it is finally sinking in that I am indeed retired.

One of my other newly-retired friends emailed me this morning and asked, "Doesn’t it feel a bit strange - and strangely wonderful - to not be starting school today?"  

The answer is yes. It is exciting to officially start this new chapter in our lives. But it is a bittersweet time as well. My heart is heavy as I will dearly miss the kids at school. They were the ones who inspired me for more than three decades to be ready to meet each new day and new challenge. I hold all of them close in my heart this week…. as I do their cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and friends who also passed through the doorways of my John Carroll office and classroom over these many years.

And I will certainly miss my dear school friends. There are a handful of women and men who have been like family to me over the years. Our shared experiences and friendships have gotten me through the tough days and, though we will always be close, I will miss our daily interactions, morning coffee klatches, and lunch breaks.


“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream…” —C.S. Lewis

As for now, George and I are getting busy with our bucket list. We have lots of good things to tackle, many of which were previously set aside for when we had more time. Family, grandchildren, travel, hobbies, and good times with friends top our collective list. My personal list includes lots of long-term tasks, especially a number of archival projects that I started working on this summer.

As for the work that I loved and leave behind:

Change is good for everyone involved.

I wish all the best to the two people who were hired to take my place at school. I know that Gary and Michelle will bring new energy and new ideas to the school community. Their work is in my heart and prayers always. And many best wishes to all my friends, colleagues, and students who are starting a new school year: Godspeed!!

As I conclude this retirement blog, I recall the poignant prayer that has long been attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero. It speaks so eloquently of how we who minister, by our work, do plant and water the seeds for a future that we will not see:

And such is life as I venture on to the start of retirement.  

May God be with each one of us on the road of life as we transition into a new normal. Amen. 

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Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

—Archbishop Oscar Romero*, martyred Archbishop of San Salvador (1917-1980)

*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in Nov., 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him. —USCCB Website



August 25, 2014 09:15
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Finding God in all things: Experiencing the joy of knowing God’s presence



Today (July 31) the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  

One of my favorite parts of Ignatian spirituality has always been the core Jesuit teaching about finding God in all things: To be deeply aware of His presence at all times--good and bad-- and in all places in our lives. Thus we can see in very personal ways how God is present to us and we are able to acknowledge how He walks the path of life with us each and every day.

  • Haven't you ever been to the beach or visited a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, and just marveled at God's grandeur?
  • Has someone ever come to comfort you at a time of great distress, and looking back later, you see the Lord's presence in their touch? 


How do you start to “find God in all things?”

One of the best guides I have ever read comes from Andy Otto, one of the dotMagis bloggers for Ignatian Spirituality website.

Andy offers us "Five Ways to Find God in All Things:"

1. Micro-Awareness—This is not just trying to be aware of the present moment, but rather letting each small action you take become your primary purpose in the moment. If you let something as simple as pushing the power button on your computer or walking up the stairs be done with intention and awareness (rather than letting routine get the best of you), you’ll find a new holiness in those mundane tasks.

2. Journal—Writing down the experiences of your day as well as your thoughts and feelings is a kind of Examen, but oftentimes the act of writing uncovers unseen moments of God’s presence you initially missed.

3. Do something the “old fashioned way”—Technology and fast expectations can often close the door on our awareness of God. For a change, walk to someone’s desk instead of calling, handwrite a letter instead of e-mailing, walk to the store instead of driving, or take the train instead of flying. The change of pace may give you a more meaningful interaction or experience. And slowing down lets you acknowledge God’s presence more easily.

4. Listen—When was the last time you really listened to someone without trying to think of what to say next? You’ll be surprised what you hear if you actually listen—to a friend, to the natural sounds around you (try turning off the radio when you drive), or to your own conscience. God speaks when we pause long enough to listen.

5. Say “God is here”—This idea comes from UCC pastor Jane E. Vennard. She says: Practice saying “God is here” the next time you are assaulted by your neighbors’ quarrelling, see someone carelessly toss trash from a car, get drenched in an unexpected rainstorm, or bite into a mealy and tasteless apple. From his own experience, Saint Francis of Assisi learned that the deeper lessons of God came when one embraced all things, even that which isn’t beautiful. Sometimes saying “God is here” is the best way to snap into an awareness that God dwells not just within you but alongside you in every moment, mundane or grand.


Ready to meditate more on God's presence in your life?

You can learn more about finding God and also about Ignatian spirituality in Andy’s “God in all things” blog here:

Sign up on his home page to receive his weekly email updates. 


Prayer for Generosity (St. Ignatius of Loyola):

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.



July 31, 2014 03:01
By Patti Murphy Dohn


"I will give you rest" - A meditation on hope and compassion from Matthew's Gospel for this Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time




"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
 and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
--Excerpt from the Gospel for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time:
 Matthew 11:25-30


The Gospel reading for this Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time offers a message of hope for all of us.

"Do Jesus' words strike a chord within us?", asked the pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church at the Saturday Vigil Mass. "Have we come here today burdened in any way? Is there something wearing heavy upon our mind, or our heart, or perhaps our body?"

 "What might Jesus be saying to us, as he looks upon us with gentleness and compassion?"

 And so this good priest meditated with all of us:


"COME!!
You with arthritis or cancer or paralysis, come....

You who are bent low with guilt over some past sin....

You who are fast-paced and project-oriented and task-driven and afraid to give yourself some rest....

You who are suffering from an intimate relationship that has grown cold and distant....

You who are uncertain about the future, about death, or about life after death....

You who think you always have to be in control and manage everyone else's affairs....

You who are so preoccupied with yourself: what you eat, the way you look, the way you dress....

You who cannot rest because of intense resentments and bitterness....

You who are addicted to alcohol or drugs or pornography or shopping or gambling or excessive computer use....

Come, no burden is too heavy for me to ease.
I have borne them in my passion and death.
I have overcome them in my resurrection.
I am with you.
I will breathe my Spirit within you, will calm your fears, and strengthen your spirit.
Come to my banquet, receive me in my Body and my Blood,
And I will refresh you and teach you to refresh one another.

Come, you are not a burden.
You are my beloved.
Come, forever you are mine."

Amen.

July 05, 2014 10:59
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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