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Fitting farewell for a giant in Church communications

I was honored to be able to attend the funeral of Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh this morning in the chapel at her motherhouse in Albany, where family, friends, and quite a few Catholic media colleagues gathered to pay their respects and say farewell to a woman who has set the standard for Catholic communications for decades. Although I had the chance to work with Sister Mary Ann only minimally here and there over my own 30 years in the Catholic press, she was present at every turn, whether it was a story she wrote for Catholic News Service, a press release she sent from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or, in later years, her blog posts and, finally, her America columns.  Read more

A perfectly timed novena. St. Catherine, pray for us.

I woke up this morning and noticed a link to a Novena to St. Catherine of Siena in my Facebook feed. I will admit that I am not one to pray novenas often. Okay, almost never. But this one caught my attention. St. Catherine of Siena has a special place in my heart. I consider her one of my patron saints since my middle name is Kathleen. To top it off, her feast day, April 29, is my wedding anniversary. So there’s that, but there’s oh so much more than the name and date connections. Read more

Twisted Tuesday: Alleluias with a view

Thanks to a perfect storm of vacation, childcare, and Marriott reward points, Dennis and I turned this Easter weekend into an early 20th anniversary celebration. (Our real anniversary is April 29, but we didn’t see the possibility for a big celebration at that point.) With Noah in Italy for 10 days, we had only to find a place for the girls to land, which we did — at their grandmother’s apartment in Manhattan. It turned into quite the excursion for them as well. As Dennis and I wandered around midtown and Greenwich Village, the girls experienced the Radio City Spring Spectacular after a dinner out. Big doings for them. They loved it. Here are some of the highlights from our weekend, Twisted Tuesday done in Manic Monday style. Read more

Start talking: Real communication in a virtual world

Put your hands up and step away from the screen. That’s the Cliff Notes version of Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day. Okay, I may be taking some liberties, but that’s definitely the general idea, and I couldn’t agree more, even if I am terribly addicted to all of my various screens.

The pope’s message and related comments from Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, are spot on, and I’m not just saying that because they affirm what I wrote in my book Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship or in numerous columns and articles on parenting, marriage, and life in general. Read more

Collage as prayer: cutting and pasting my way to God

Sometimes losing our serious adult demeanor for a bit and doing childlike things can take us deeper into our spiritual center than any book on prayer ever could. Case in point: I spent Saturday armed with scissors and a glue stick, cutting and pasting — and praying. Although I’d done collages before on my own, back when I was working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I had never used the art form as a way to deepen my spiritual life. Until this past weekend when I headed back to the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, my new favorite spiritual place, for a six-hour workshop called “Collage as Prayer.” I convinced one friend to join me and then met up by chance with another once I got there. We had a great group of women, probably about a dozen of us or so, led by Sister Ethel. The result? Two collages and a whole lot of insights into myself and my spiritual journey.  Read more

Advent: A new twist on holiday treats

Excerpted from Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God

‘Tis the season to pack on a few pounds.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, most of us are faced with plates of cookies and homemade candies, special fat-laden side dishes at holiday meals, and office or neighborhood parties where almost everything is on the “naughty” list. Read more

After the feast, before the frenzy: Restoring serenity to your plate as the holiday season sets in

I don’t know about you, but I’m still full from yesterday’s Thanksgiving eat-a-thon. I can’t even think about food. Except for those pies on the counter. And the stuffing. Cold stuffing eaten right from the fridge. Oh, and wait, didn’t we have some leftover brie? Yeah, it’s going to a be a long and fattening weekend if I don’t rein in the cravings before they set me on a course to eat my way through the holiday season. Read more

Italy: Five weeks and counting…

Five weeks from today, our Italy: A Feast for Body and Soul pilgrimage will depart from JFK airport bound for Rome. The 40 of us will spend 13 days making our way from the beautiful spa town of Montecatini to Florence, Siena, Assisi, Rome, Naples, Salerno, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Massa Lubrense (the small town where my grandfather was born), and finally to the Isle of Capri. I know how fast these next few weeks will go with start-of-school events and work deadlines to meet before leaving. It’s going to be here before I know it.  Read more

You make beautiful things…

I’m sitting in my sunporch, sipping coffee and writing a prayer for a client on this gray day, with twinkling lights in my windows and an electric “fire” in my stove. I looked around at my “office” and at the lush green yard beyond the windows and thought, “How lucky am I?” Answer: Very lucky and incredibly blessed. Then I started humming this song… Read more

He is risen! Alleluia!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”  – Luke 24:6

Alleluia! Happy Easter!