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

Countdown to Christmas: Three days left: Fourth Sunday of Advent, focus on Saint Joseph, Mishael Miller’s last National Anthem for the Baltimore Ravens, today’s O Antiphon and prayer, and more Christmas music

 

 

The Vigil Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent at Saint Francis de Sales Church, Abingdon (PHOTO by Patti Murphy Dohn)


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"Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.”

Morning Prayer Antiphon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

 

Introduction:

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

 

JOSEPH OF NAZARETH from St. Joseph's Chapel, Suffern, New York

 

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent:


We attended the Vigil Mass yesterday since we are having our family Christmas dinner this afternoon and wanted to have extra time in the morning for the final touches. Deacon Richard Stine gave a wonderful homily at St. Francis de Sales, Abingdon, concentrating on the plight faced by Saint Joseph when he found out that Mary, his betrothed, was with child. He also related this conundrum with that which is faced by many families today who do their best to give support to family members who face difficult or unplanned pregnancies.

Speaking of Saint Joseph…. He doesn’t get a lot of press in the Scriptures. There is no record of any of his spoken words. But the accounts of the key moments of his life with the Blessed Virgin Mary, both before and after the birth of Jesus, are powerful lessons in his trust in God.  Today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:18-24) recounts the dream where Joseph is told to take Mary as his wife as the child she is carrying was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Joseph continues to be a quiet role model to so many of us who seek to trust in God’s providence each day.

 

 Saint Joseph and the Christ Child, 1670-75, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), Ringling Museum, 17th Spain & England

 

More reflections on Saint Joseph:

Another excellent homily for today’s Fourth Sunday of Advent by popular blogger Deacon Greg Kandra can be read here

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Reverend Mishael Miller of Baltimore's Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church will sing the Baltimore Raven's kickoff National Anthem for the last time at M&T Bank Stadium today (December 22, 2013).  Baltimore Sun photo

 

Mishael Miller’s last National Anthem for the Baltimore Ravens:

After 18 years of providing patriotic pride for our hometown Ravens fans at M&T Bank Stadium, amazing baritone Mishael Miller will sing the National Anthem for the last time before this today’s last home game of the season kick-off. This assistant pastor at the Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church is following God’s call to serve as the new pastor of the St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church in Birmingham, Alabama next month.

Reverend Miller told the Baltimore Sun: "I have always been involved in the church. I was playing church in my living room as a kid. I would make a pulpit and an altar. Ministry is at the root of all that I do. It seems like I don't know anything else. And I've been preaching since I was 18. I was involved in youth ministry for my church in Philadelphia."

Invited to sing the National Anthem for the very first Ravens game on August 3, 1996 at Memorial Stadium since the Morgan State University marching band was playing, this 1995 Morgan music grad so impressed Art Modell that he was invited to sing for all future games.

Enjoy this 5-minute video interview where Mishael Miller tells how his love of singing and music developed in church, how he was invited to sing for that first game in 1996 with Art Modell asking him to stay on permanently, and how Ravens fans “help” him by shouting “O” near the end of the National Anthem.

Those lucky enough to attend today’s game will enjoy Mishael Miller singing Christmas music during halftime. How wonderful!!

 


 
 Singing for baseball too: "The Star Spangled Banner" by Mishael E. Miller, June 12, 2010, at the Baltimore Orioles-New York Mets game with the support of Ravens cheerleaders in the background.

 

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Today’s “O Antiphon”

“O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
 come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!”

—Today’s Antiphon for December 22

 

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Music for your Enjoyment:

"Joseph's Hands"

  Honoring Saint Joseph: There is so little music about Saint Joseph, so I was delighted when I found this beautiful tribute called “Joseph’s Hands.” Composer Michael Mikulin spent two years working on this song dedicated to Saint Joseph which “reminds us all of his incredible service. He is a model father to all of us. The song details the birth of Jesus, Joseph's dream, and the flight to Egypt.”

 

 

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"Silent Night" 

Enjoy this classic version of “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby, another golden oldie.

 

 

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“Joy to the World”

Arranged by Mack Wilberg and produced by and broadcast on PBS, "Joy to the World" was the opening song their program "Sing We Now of Christmas: A Festival of Carols", featuring the choirs of First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa under the direction of Steven R. Jobman. Arranged by Mack Wilberg.

  

 

 

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Prayer for December 22:

Oh, Jesus who descended from Jesse,
you are a sign of God's love.
I feel hopeful and expectant,
filled with a rebirth of joy and love.

I depend on you so much.
You are a rock for my belief
and a sign of God's love.

Fill me with your praise!
I want to sing your glory,
filled with joy
for the message of hope you send.

I don't always understand
when you are acting on my behalf.
Thank you for the message of hope you send me.
Give me true faith and love
as I celebrate the mystery
of how you came to be with us.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Amen.

Graphic by Look and Learn Catholic Visuals

 


December 22, 2013 11:46
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to Christmas: Six days left: Last day of exams, Christmas Eve Mass at John Carroll, family fun, dogs react to holiday hurries, today’s O Antiphon, and more classic Christmas hymns

 

 

Seniors Travis and Lindsey strike a fun pose with Pope Francis by the John Carroll Campus Ministry Office after their exams.

 

Introduction:

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

 

Excitement in the air:

The level of excitement is building here at John Carroll as our students are finishing their last two exams this morning: Christmas Break begins at 11:30 a.m. Our students have been through a lot in recent weeks with the sad loss of one of our beloved juniors. Time off for rest and renewal with family and friends is definitely in order!!

I spent some quiet time this morning during the first exam period getting everything ready for our annual Christmas Eve Mass here in the gym. Candles, ciboria, hosts to be consecrated, vestments… I even remembered all the necessaries for incensing!! (Can you tell that I have sometimes forgotten to unpack those items in the past?)

Christmas Eve Mass at John Carroll:

My John Carroll Campus Ministry Office started hosting the 4:30 Christmas Eve Mass about fourteen years ago as the overflow for the 4 p.m. Masses at nearby St. Margaret and St. Ignatius Churches. (My colleague Father Steve Sutton, who also serves as Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius, Hickory, celebrates this Mass each year.)

The first year we set up our Auditorium which seats almost 700 people. It was completely full with standing room only by 3:45. We had to turn people away at the door!! We made a decision to start at 4 p.m. since everyone was there and in their seats. Why wait until 4:30?

It was clear as more and more people showed up at the front doors to be turned away that day— since we were at full capacity—that we needed to move our liturgy to the gym for the next year. This has worked out so well and we now have plenty of parking and seating for over 1200.

Each year we have a full house. Going to Mass in a gym is definitely not the same as being in a church with all the liturgical adornments of the season. But it is the people there that matter: What has transpired is that most families now come to my school as their Christmas Eve Mass location-of-choice, not as an overflow from a neighboring parish.

We are always delighted to see so many multi-generational John Carroll families here, including lots of our graduates. It has become a bit of a reunion Mass, if you will, for our school community. It is a particular special blessing for me each year to celebrate this first Mass of the Nativity with so many people who have touched my life and my heart over the years.

What are your Christmas Eve plans?

 

 

Pope Francis got into the holiday spirit when I wasn't looking.... How festive is this?

 

Family fun in the days to come:

Everyone in my family is looking forward to all the festivities during this week leading up to Christmas. We are having our annual family dinner this Sunday with all our children, their spouses and significant others, and my parents. We will relax and enjoy each other’s company with what promises to be a great dinner.

Our almost-seven year old grandson Tyler is so excited for Christmas and Santa. Watching the holidays through the eyes of children is what warms our hearts the most.

We are particularly blessed this year as we anticipate the birth of Meighan and Jeff’s baby girl, due on January 15. Baby McKenna is a loved and cherished member of our family already. I know there are a few gifts under the tree with her name on them too!!

Daisy gets crazy:

How is your dog holding up with all the holiday preparations? I have heard some crazy stories over the years about dogs tearing into the wrapped presents and diving into the holiday cookies and candies when no one is looking.

When Daisy, our seven-year old pug, was a puppy she loved to crawl under the Christmas tree and nap on the tree skirt. It was so adorable. She outgrew the space under the tree and she doesn’t bother the gifts. But what Daisy definitely does not like is the commotion outside caused by the frequent stops on our cul-de-sac by the mailman, and the UPS and Fed-Ex trucks. It makes her crazy!!

Daisy likes the quiet, usually snoring nearby while my husband works from his home office. But when those trucks make their way down our court, watch out: Daisy is up and staring out the window, barking and letting us know that someone is disturbing her tranquility. What happened to the peace and quiet?

 

 

Today’s “O Antiphon”

“O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!”

—Today’s Antiphon for December 19

 

 

Music for your Enjoyment:

“Angels We Have Heard on High” (w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) Performed by the Piano Guys: Paul Anderson, Jon Schmidt, Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson, with numerous appearances by their Elf-on-the-Shelf Simone.

With almost 6 million hits on Youtube, this classic hymn is delightfully arranged and set in a beautifully decorated set complete with gift-wrapped grand piano and train garden with mini-cams.   

 

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“What Child is This?” by violinist, composer, and dancer Lindsey Stirling.

Highlighting another classic performance with almost 5 million hits on Youtube, this talented young woman plays and dances to this favorite hymn outdoors in the snow.



 

Prayer for December 19:

Oh, Jesus who descended from Jesse,
you are a sign of God's love.
I feel hopeful and expectant,
filled with a rebirth of joy and love.

I depend you so much.
You are a rock for my belief
and a sign of God's love.

Fill me with your praise!
I want to sing your glory,
filled with joy
for the message of hope you send.

I don't always understand
when you are acting on my behalf.
Thank you for the message of hope you send me.
Give me true faith and love
as I celebrate the mystery
of how you came to be with us.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Amen.

 

 

 

December 19, 2013 11:15
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to Christmas: December 18: A prayer for those taking exams, Santa comes to John Carroll, today’s O Antiphon, and some classic holiday music

 

Introduction:

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

Santa spreads cheer at John Carroll:

Fine Arts Chair Bruno Baran donned his full-length Father Christmas outfit this morning and made his way through the halls of John Carroll distributing candy canes and giving cheerful encouragement to all our students on their way to their Religion and Science semester finals.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino:

Did you know that Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of all those taking exams?

I took the classic old prayer that our grandparents might have said before their exams and updated it for use with my John Carroll students this morning. Did you ever pray to Saint Joseph of Cupertino when you took your high school or college exams? How about Saint Thomas of Aquinas, patron saint of students? All good things come to those who work hard.

Prayer to Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Patron Saint of Those Taking Exams:

O Saint Joseph of Cupertino,

who by your prayer, obtained from God the blessing to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew:

Grant that we, like you, may succeed in the exams we take here at John Carroll today.

In return, we promise to make you known and to encourage others to pray to  you for their scholastic needs as well.

Saint Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of students, pray for us.

O Holy Spirit, enlighten us.

Our Lady of Good Studies, pray for us.

Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of Divine Wisdom, enlighten us.

Amen.

God is good!! All the time!!


Due to reports of his supernatural levitations during prayer and Mass, St. Joseph of Cupertino is also known as the saint patron of pilots and airline passengers.

Today’s “O Antiphon”

“O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!”

—Today’s Antiphon for December 18

 

Classic Holiday Music for your Enjoyment:

“The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) sung by Nat King Cole

This favorite holiday classic always reminds me of my college days in the 1970s at Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. The seniors would stay up all night on the eve of the Immaculate Conception and adorn the massive main lobby of Fournier Hall with a towering festive live tree and fully-themed decorations throughout the nearby hallways. When finished, they would ring the bells and wake everyone up to come see their special-theme holiday masterpiece. My freshman year found the seniors gathered around the Christmas tree arm in arm singing “The Christmas Song” when my friends and I arrived. I will never forget the poignancy of that special moment.

 

“White Christmas"

 I hear that warmer air is making its way to the mid-Atlantic region, so before all the snow melts, enjoy this heart-warming Christmas classic. I found this nostalgic clip from the December 20, 1957 Frank Sinatra ABC Christmas special where Frank joins Bing Crosby in his dreams for a “White Christmas.”

 

 

Prayer for December 18:

Oh, Adonai, dearest Lord,
Compassionate God of justice,
so many areas of my life seem imprisoned
but you promise me real freedom
and peace in my life.

Renew my spirit and free my soul.
Please, open my heart
which you have bathed in the longing of Advent.

I am awe-struck as your glory fills the earth
and I want to follow you in caring for others.
Grant me the grace to see
how you shine your light on the poor
who have such a special place in your heart.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Amen.


December 18, 2013 10:45
By Patti Murphy Dohn