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

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

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

Along with writing for "The Catholic Review," Patti is a member of the Catholic Press Association, as well as the Catholic Writers Guild and the Associated Church Press. She is available for speaking engagements, consulting, and retreat work.

Patti and her husband George split their time between their homes in Bel Air, Maryland and Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida.


Twitter: @JCSMinistry

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 God is good!! All the time!!



September 2016
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Beautiful story! thank you for continuing to inspire us Patti.


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

God is in the clouds

Catholic Throwback Thursday: A brief history of World Youth Day

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


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


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

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

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

Why Kraków?

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

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

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

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

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

International celebrations: 

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

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

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


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

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

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


Pope Benedict and Pope Francis continue the legacy of WYD:

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

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


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

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

WYD 2016 in Kraków:

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

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

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

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


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

July 14, 2016 01:59
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Praying for Paris: Our pilgrimage to the City of Light

The glow of sunset from the top of the Eiffel Tower (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)

After facing some medical challenges this past summer, my husband and I decided that we should cross one of the items off our bucket list. The time was right for a much-anticipated trip to Paris.

Having been there twice before, George was excited to show me the beauty of the City of Light, along with its cathedrals, museums, food, and unparalleled ambience. We enjoyed a wonderful week soaking up the Parisian culture. It was magical. 

The news of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris hit us hard. Like the rest of the world, we were in shock. Good heavens, we were just there! Lord, have mercy! 

We had been near some of the sites that were hit... 
But last month, by contrast, it was peaceful.

"Mona Lisa" at the Louvre (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)

It was a city of charm and grace, a thriving metropolis filled with culture and purpose. 

We saw the signs advertising soccer games at the stadium, as well as Fashion Week events down the street. 
We watched the sites pass as we cruised down the river. 
We gazed at the paintings in the Louvre.
We prayed and lit candles at Notre Dame Cathedral. 
We sipped champagne as the sun set over the City of Light from the top of the Eiffel Tower. 
We ate at their sidewalk cafes and bistros. 
We went to Sunday Mass at Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre.  

The Eiffel Tower from the river cruise on the Seine (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)

This past Friday, all that we experienced was shattered for the people of Paris as terror darkened the City of Light. 

As George and I watched the events unfold on all the news channels, we were overcome with worry for the good people of Paris who open their hearts and their city each day, year in and year out, for millions of tourists like us...Those who smiled as we fumbled with French expressions and those who were proud to share their heritage with us and with thousands of tourists from around the world each day.

The beauty of Notre Dame Cathedral (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)

Prayers for Paris:

Our prayers have been united since Friday with the local Parisians who worship each week at all the churches we visited... Including Notre Dame Cathedral, the neighborhood church of St. Thomas Aquinas near our hotel, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Sainte-Chappelle, and the Church of Saint-Sulpice.

After Sunday Mass at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre

Proclaiming the Light of the World:

Perhaps the most profound of our experiences was at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre ("the mountain of martyrs"), the highest point of the City of Paris. The name Montmartre is derived from the martyrdom of the patron saint of France, St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who was beheaded on this hill around the year AD 250. 

It was truly a pilgrimage to the holy land of the City of Light. The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (the Sacred Heart) has held uninterrupted, perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament since the year 1885. The Holy Eucharist is exposed in a huge monstrance high above the main altar. The imposing mosaic of Christ in Majesty rises above the monstrance, one of the largest mosaics in the world. 

The mosaic of Christ in Majesty towering over the Blessed Sacrament at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur 
(Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)

Where there is darkness, light: 

According to the biography (written in AD 475) of St. Geneviève, the protectress of Paris, we learn that she persuaded local Catholics to build a chapel on the site of Denis' martyrdom. 

There today, under the watchful eye of the Benedictine Sisters of the Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre who lead the throngs of pilgrims with their sung prayers and liturgical hymns, the spiritual life of the basilica and its surrounding City of Light goes on day in and day out. 
This massive white basilica set high on the hill, a place of prayer, renewal, and peace, sends a message to all who witness its light: 
Jesus, the Light of the World, has come to turn the darkness into light. 
Good will conquer evil. 
And that for which the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi implores, "where there is darkness, light."

God bless the City of Paris as they strive to break the bonds of fear and turn their faces back toward the Light.

November 17, 2015 09:51
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)


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. 

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.” 


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."


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:


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

Check out:

June 30, 2015 03:29
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Focusing on courtesy and safety on the roads: Ten Commandments for drivers

"Roads are simply no longer communication routes; they have become places where we spend a great part of our lives." --Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road

Have you ever been the victim of road rage? Have you caused road rage? 

Does heavy traffic become an occasion of bad language?

Do you shake your head when witnessing the bad driving habits of motorists who share the road with you?

"We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads... That's a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church."

--Cardinal Renato Martino, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Car accidents have long been the leading cause of death among young people. Every time we turn on the news we hear of yet another person who lost their life in a car accident. Even Pope Francis's family has been in mourning due to tragedy on the road. The wife and two young children of his nephew were killed in a crash this August in Argentina.

Did you know that the Vatican published "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" in 2007?

Issued by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the 59-page document urges prayer for safe traveling, including the recitation of the rosary, and provides a section modeled off the biblical Ten Commandments.

The “Drivers’ Ten Commandments:"

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the freedom of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect those who are more vulnerable.

10. Behave responsibly in relation to others.

Safety first:

Perhaps reading over this set of "Ten Commandments" with our families will provide opportunities for good discussion, as well as reflection on personal practices and attitudes. May these opportunities lead to better habits on the road and peace of mind while traveling.

October 23, 2014 09:26
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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

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


Photo: Helen H. Richardson/ Denver Post

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


Looking back to 1993:

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

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

Photo: Denver Catholic Register

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

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

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


Photo: James Baca/ Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register


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

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



Photo: Denver Catholic Register


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


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

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register

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

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


The History of World Youth Day:

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

August 14, 2014 03:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Soccer's World Cup and the Handshake for Peace

“This partnership will join two of the world strongest brands... This handshake for peace in football is a great initiative, but it should actually be an example not only in football but throughout our entire society.”

--Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President at the 2012 FIFA Congress in Budapest

In a troubling era where war and political conflict have been rampant in many parts of the world, FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center in Norway initiated the Handshake for Peace at all soccer matches during the World Cup as a symbol of friendship and respect, giving players and game officials the opportunity to be role models for peace and good sportsmanship to their fans and the worldwide audience . 

At the conclusion of each match during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ From June 12-July 13, opposing team captains and match referees will exchange the symbolic Handshake for Peace. 

The two organizations rolled out this initiative at their 2012 FIFA Congress in Budapest, and then launched it at the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013, accentuating FIFA's quest to build a better future through football. 

Nobel Peace Center CEO Bente Erichsen said: “Working with FIFA enables us to reach even further with this message of peace. Millions of people meet through football – across borders, cultures and languages. Football grounds are among the world‘s most important venues for promoting respect, equality and friendship, ideals which have been fundamental to the work of many Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Alfred Nobel intended his legacy to help strengthen the brotherhood of nations. Now the international football community has a unique opportunity to do the same – with a simple action, a handshake for peace.”

“A crucial pillar of FIFA’s mission is to build a better future for all through the power and popularity of football... We believe that, by adopting the Handshake for Peace as part of the match protocol at the 2014 World Cup, FIFA and the global football community can send a strong message of solidarity and peace to the world. We are proud to have joined the Nobel Peace Center on this exciting and powerful campaign.”

--Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President 

“A Journey of Hope," a documentary on the Handshake for Peace initiative, produced by FIFA and directed by the award-winning British film-maker Stewart Binns, is being broadcast again around the world this week before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Watch some highlights of the initiative in this four-minute video:

June 13, 2014 10:15
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Music Monday: Children’s choir sings “Hallelujah” as Pope Francis prays for peace in the Holy Land

“Inside every Christian, there is a Jew.” --Pope Francis

This weekend’s pilgrimage of Pope Francis to the Holy Land to pray for peace comes fifty years after the historic visit to Jerusalem of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople in 1964.


Historic meeting on Jan. 8, 1964, on the Mount of Olives: Marking the first meeting between leaders of Eastern and Western churches since the Schism of 1054.

Pope Francis prayed yesterday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Stone of Unction at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Calling for peace at Mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem on the West Bank (Photo: Melanie Lidman)

Calling on the Prince of Peace:

Praying and calling for peace and understanding at every opportunity, the Holy Father, during his homily at Sunday Mass in Bethlehem, invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to meet June 6 at the Vatican.

“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

 “All of us -- especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples -- have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers… Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment.”


A children’s choir sang a most beautiful “Hallelujah” cover earlier this morning to welcome the Holy Father. May their sung prayers for peace blend with those of all of us who pray with them around the world.


Video from Rome Reports

Memorial Day:

As we here in the United States remember all those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom as a nation, may we live each day with a focus on the words attributed to the saint for whom the Holy Father took his name: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”


May 26, 2014 09:47
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Music Monday: Tap dancing deacons from the Pontifical North American College

If you need a smile on your face to start the new week, check out this footage posted from the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Two deacons who are studying there did a tap dancing duel after a small chorus sang "Give My Regards to Broadway" at the April 30 Annual  Rector's Dinner. An appreciative audience of seminarians, priests, bishops, cardinals, and laity tapped their own feet and pulled out their phones to record the merriment.

When in Rome... 

Enjoy and have a great week!!

May 04, 2014 10:18
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Buon giorno, Italia Day 5: Visiting Pompeii and on the road to Sorrento

After a wonderful experience of faith and tranquility in the Franciscan holy city, we headed out on Monday morning for a drive from Assisi in the region of Umbria (whose capital is Perugia), across the Appanine Mountains, passing through the region of Lazio, toward the Bay of Naples and Campania (capital Napoli/Naples) for an afternoon in Pompeii. 

Naples is known for the world's best and freshest mozzarella: "mozzarella bufala Campania." 
Good cheeses, wines, and bread are basic staples to accompany fine dining throughout Italia.

The scavi at Pompeii:

We have learned that meals are meant to be eaten leisurely with much conversation and interaction with family and friends. So our first stop was lunch before our scavi tour of Pompeii. 

Eleanor, Micaela, Amanda 

Annalise, Emily, Lily 

It was an insightful experience to hear in-person about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the many thousands who perished from the effects of the gases released, as well as the stone, ash, and debris released by the explosion of this volcano in 79 AD. So much of the remains of Pompeii were well-preserved as uncovered by the excavations.

The John Carroll group at the ruins in Pompeii.

Our tour director suggested that we read the novel "Pompeii" by Robert Harris to learn even more about the volcano that buried Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum before the lava went into the Gulf of Naples. The people didn't know what a volcano was and didn't understand the warning sulfuric odor as it smelled like rotten eggs. 

Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background

Toward the Sorrento coast:


On the road to Sorrento

Afterward we headed through the Appanine Mountains toward Sorrento. 

It was an incredibly beautiful drive with umbrella pines (pini marini), olive tree groves, and flowering wisteria everywhere. The area is known for their lemons, oranges, and olives. Some of the lemons were as big as soccer balls. 

We rode past the ancient Appian Way where the umbrella pines on both sides lined the road from Rome to Pompeii. As we approached the peninsula with Sorrento on one side and Amalfi on the other, we were delighted with the breathtaking views of the coastline, the lush flowers and landscape, and the beautiful beaches along the way.

Sunset in a perfect location:

As we checked into the Hotel Mary in Vico Equense, located on a cliff overlooking the beach, boats, and sea on this perfect sunny day, we had some free time before dinner where we would watch the sun set in front of us over the water.

Sunset from the dining room of the Hotel Mary in the Sorrento town of Vico Equense

After dinner we explored the town of Sorrento for shopping, dessert and cappuccino in small cafés, and taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful place. I found a little formerly-used chapel on one of the small side streets that was holding a sacred art exhibit for Holy Week. Coming upon it fifteen minutes before closing, I was delighted to be able to walk around and take photos. 

Tuesday is going to be a busy day with a trip to the isle of Capri. We enjoyed our hotel balcony overlooking the water below before getting a good night sleep. Everyone is tired and happy. The pace has been busy to fit in as much as possible during the week tour. All of us can sleep when we get home.

God is good!!

April 16, 2014 05:50
By Patti Murphy Dohn