After a beautiful celebration of Baccalaureate Mass and the Graduation Exercises for the John Carroll Class of 2013
this Saturday, we gathered back at school today with the underclassmen for their final exams.
Today they are taking Religion and Science finals.
It is almost completely silent in the building, except for the scratching of the pencils on the scantron sheets and the turning of the exam pages…
Mrs. Murphy Dohn’s Jesus Mission and Ministry students are working hard
I try to start each school day by sharing some mini-words of wisdom, update on the current feast day, or a quick word about what’s happening in the Church at our 8 a.m. intercom Opening Prayer and Pledge to the Flag.
Today it was all about exams!!
I took the classic old prayer that our grandparents might have said before their exams and updated it for use with my 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? He was my go-to saint throughout my college years.
This Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., our students will wrap up their last exam and head out the school doors to their summer break. All good things come to those who work hard.
May our good Lord keep all students and teachers safe over the coming months ahead. Blessed be God!!
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 may, like you, 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.
God is good!! All the time!!
Archbishop John Carroll, pray for us.
June 03, 2013 11:41
By Patti Murphy Dohn
The John Carroll
Class of 2013 is graduating tomorrow. Where does the time go? It seems as if they were just freshmen....
Believe me, there has been excitement in the air all week:
Fourteen of our seniors returned from Roatan, Honduras on Saturday after serving there for a week at the Sandy Bay Children’s Home
. These seniors bonded with the over twenty orphans who live there, served at the area school and a local clinic, and and learned more life lessons
than they thought possible. Read the blog they kept during their mission trip here
On Wednesday we had our Senior Awards Assembly, followed by a class breakfast, graduation practice, and music rehearsal for Baccalaureate. Yesterday the seniors set up their capstone senior projects, along with reader run-throughs for Baccalaureate, practices by the Salutatorian and Valedictorian, and the evening Senior Showcase.
I asked my Facebook network of JC grads to share advice with our newest group of alumni and this is what they had to say:
Dear Class of 2013:
As you begin the next stage of your journey, please know that the education you received at John Carroll will take you where ever your dreams will go!
I wish you all the best!!
Class of 1971
Towson State, BA in Music Education
For new graduates: whatever you do in college, make sure you take enough practical classes to get a job after school. Art degrees are a lot of fun, but there are few jobs in the field. Take higher-level computer classes, or work on an accounting minor...do something practical with your time.
Class of 1999
I hope that the JC class of 2013 always holds tight to the values and life lessons they learned while at JC because they helped make them into who they are today. I also hope that they never forget the memories they had at JC, there's nothing better then coming home from school and meeting up with your JC friends and reminiscing about all the good times we had! Although they are all jumping to get out of JC now, in a year from now they will look back, smile, and say they'd go back and do it all over again! Best of luck class of 2013 you guys did it!
Class of 2012
Penn State University student
Chemical Engineering major
Keep the relationships that you made at JC strong. Whether that is with teachers or just other peers. The teachers at JC care so much and will always be there to help you, and the friends you make will be some of the best friends you will ever have.
Class of 2011
Campbell University student, Pharmaceutical Studies
For our graduating seniors: Your parents love you so much. They sacrificed so that you would have the best foundation for your life - the John Carroll experience. Carry on what you have been blessed with.
You are now forever a Patriot!
Class of 1980
Live your life with humility and gratitude--these are the keys to a positive attitude which will take you further than any grade or award. Accept all opportunities, obstacles, people, and situations with an open mind and an open heart and remember: "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) These few things have led me on a path that has been greater than what I had ever dreamed for myself.
Best wishes, Class of 2013!
Class of 2008
PhD candidate, UDel, Inorganic Chem
I have learned to take a nap after my 8 am class and that plenty of sleep is essential to learning.
Finding friends in college? Quite easy; students can easily find friends in their classes and orientation.
Class of 2012
Bellarmine University student
Set the bar high and go after your goals. The opportunity is out there, you just have to envision what it is you want to achieve. Don't ever say, "I can't", because that's not true. Everything is there for the taking if you set your mind to it, and don't ever let anyone else tell you that you can't either. Keep strong, determined, and focused because all of us can do whatever we choose.
What path will you take? What legacy will you leave?
How will you help to create a stronger tomorrow for all?
Class of 2006
BS Business and Communications,
Volunteer somewhere- you will receive more then you give.
-Liz Callahan Markline, Class of 77
In less than 24 hours our Baccalaureate Mass will have ended and the band will strike up the graduation processional while the John Carroll Class of 2013 moves on to their future.
May He hold them in the palm of His hand!!
God is good!! All the time!!
May 31, 2013 10:46
By Patti Murphy Dohn
“Hands across America, hands across this land I love….”
My Mom sent me a text message Saturday morning asking if I remembered what we did 27 years ago: Now I cannot remember what I had for dinner two nights ago, so you know the answer. Mom reminded me: On May 25 in 1986 we were part of a historic event known as "Hands Across America."
Many of our youth and young adults have never heard of this event. It all started with the 1985 celebrity-collaboration of USA For Africa’s “We are the World” written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, which raised $50 million for those suffering famine in Ethiopia. Hollywood promoter-organizer Ken Kragen was asked repeatedly about a follow-up charity event to raise money and awareness for those suffering from hunger and homelessness in our own nation. The result was “Hands Across America.”
Their dream was to form a chain of people linked hand in hand, arm in arm for fifteen minutes across a 4,152-mile stretch through seventeen states of our great country from Long Beach, California to Battery Park, New York City at 3 p.m. Eastern time on May 25. A donation of ten dollars bought your official spot in this this historic line-up with the funds going to local charities to fight homelessness and poverty.
Celebrity spokespersons for “Hands Across America” were Bill Cosby, Kenny Rogers, Lily Tomlin, and Pete Rose. They kicked off promotional advertising by running a commercial during Super Bowl XX which featured the theme song by the same name. Following the success of “We are the World,” they made use of numerous celebrities and the 80s band Toto in the song and the commercial.
After months of promotion on TV, in newspapers, and through community organizers, “Hands Across America” became a reality that May 25. Looking back, I recall rushing home from John Carroll’s Baccalaureate and Graduation Exercises for our Class of 1986 to pick up my eighteen-month old daughter Meighan and my Mom. I was expecting Joseph at the time. We braved the heat and humid air of the day as we gathered with thousands of Harford Countians on Route 40 near the McDonald’s at Route 24 in Edgewood. Local representatives worked to get the crowd organized and in position for the 3 p.m. kick-off. At that time radio stations around the nation played the “Hands Across America” theme song with participants singing along, followed by “America the Beautiful” and “We are the World.”
Later news coverage showed that we were joined across the country by people in all walks of life. Notables included:
- President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were joined by Rev. Billy Graham, Coretta Scott King, and staffers linking hands across the White House lawn;
- Our good Sisters in Pittsburgh held hands with members of the Hell's Angels;
- In Pittsburgh's Three River Stadium, hundreds of Little Leaguers joined Pete Rose and his Cincinnati Red teammates who were in town for a game that afternoon, holding hands with the major league players as the line crossed their grandstand;
- Up in Havre de Grace past Route 40 from where we stood, scuba divers forded a line across the Susquehanna River;
- There were stories of ranchers in New Mexico who positioned their cattle to fill in gaps in the line;
- Migrant workers in Texas lined a 51-mile stretch;
- And in New Mexico, Hopi and Navajo tribesmen joined in the line.
( http://www.usaforafrica.org/Hands_Across_America/kenkragen.html )
This huge extravaganza raised at least $20 million for local soup kitchens and shelters throughout our nation. Some detractors at the time criticized their efforts and the high expenses of promotion and staffing. They pointed out that there were gaps in the line in some towns across the country. Looking back, I imagine that an event like this would have benefitted highly from our current use of the Internet and social media for promotions and increasing involvement. But they did what they could at the time to make their elaborate plan come to fruition. And they raised millions of dollars in the process.
The public consciousness to the plight of the homeless and hungry was invaluable. Efforts to help those in need are always in order. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has asked us since his election to not forget the poor. Through the efforts of USA for Africa 27 years ago, “Hands Across America” did important work in promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. May we always be inspired to support the work of Catholic Charities and other service organizations with our time, talent, and treasure.
“Whatsoever you do to least of My people that you do unto Me…”
Check out the video for “Hands Across America” which first aired during Super Bowl XX.
The song might sound cheesy, but the efforts resulted in raising funds and awareness for those in need. You just might want to sing along….
LYRICS: “Hands Across America”
Hands Across America,
Hands Across the land I love.
United we fall,
United we stand,
Hands Across America.
Mother and Father,
Daughter and Son,
Learn to live as one.
I cannot stop thinking again and again
How the heart of a stranger
Beats the same as a friend.
Learn to love each other:
See these people over there?
They are my brother and sister.
When they laugh, I laugh;
When they cry, I cry.
When they need I'll be there by their side.
We are the river of hope
That runs through the valley of fear.
And there is a lady whose smile shines upon us
Saying all is welcome here.
Learn to love each other:
See the man over there?
He's my brother.
When he laughs, I laugh;
When he cries, I cry.
When he needs me,
I'll be right there, right by his side.
The kiss never felt so sincere,
Full of countless dreams,
This earth, it never smelt so sweet,
Cradles a song in its great heartbeat.
Learn to love each other:
See the man over there?
He's my brother.
When he laughs, I laugh;
When he cries, I cry.
When he needs me,
I'll be right there by his side.
May 27, 2013 12:23
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Not an optimist, Murphy said, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
We often laugh ironically in my family that whenever Murphy's Law strikes, it hits Murphys tenfold. But the reality is not so funny.
My daughter Katie was hospitalized last November for eight days with stomach ulcers. She's only 24. We were shocked to find out her diagnosis. She seems way too young for anything remotely close to ulcers.... But after her discharge, followed by rest, more doctor visits, medication adjustments, and even more tests, it seemed as if things were under control.
Until two weeks ago....
Katie woke up that Monday with the terrible, yet familiar ulcer-related pain. A visit to her GI doctor was followed by two days of not being able to keep anything down, and a trip to the Emergency Room at Upper Chesapeake
. Tests and more tests, tubes, IVs, and blood samples were followed three days later by a late-night transfer to University of MD Medical Center
. The doctors wanted to get a better grasp on what was causing the pain and what could be done about it. The worry was palpable. One's imagination can work overtime when you are frightened for the well-being of your family.
What have we learned?
1. Make new priorities:
Your priorities change immediately when a serious illness strikes.
Katie returned to school full time last year to study dental hygiene after working for two family practices. "School comes first" quickly changed to "health comes first." Finals and semester-end clinicals can be taken or finished up all in good time. This is exactly why "Incomplete" is part of academic grading options.
2. Hurry up and wait:
From the Emergency Room to the final release papers, patience is the necessary virtue as you aren't going anywhere fast. Though it might be frustrating to not hear a more definitive time for the return of test results or the next visit of the doctor to the hospital room, waiting becomes a necessary part of the process. Napping for the patient and reading or online-working for the family makes the time pass.
3. No one gets any rest in a hospital:
Nurses and techs come in around the clock to check vitals, take blood, and administer meds. Katie was placed in a room at the first hospital with an elderly woman with impaired hearing. This meant that her visiting family members had to speak loudly while Katie was feeling so poorly. Sleep was elusive until we got to a private room three days later at University of Maryland Medical Center. And even then it was a challenge as we were two floors below the Shock Trauma helipad. One could never complain though as these amazing men and women at University were saving lives around the clock.
I took this photo out the fifth floor window in Weinberg as the Shock Trauma transport hovered for landing.
4. Nurses are saints:
The fine women and men who serve the injured and infirm at our hospitals are on the fast track to heaven, I am sure. The nurses who took care of Katie were smart, efficient, kind, and had a sweet sense of humor. I admire them so much as I could never do what they do every day. They even brought me pillows, blankets, and towels each evening and coffee every morning.
God bless them.
5. So Much Information...
If you have something more complicated than a simple broken bone you could be overwhelmed by the amount of information that is given by the all the folks who stop by for a consultation or procedure. Having assisted with hospitalizations for family and friends over past years, I have found it most important to do the following:
a. Keep a notebook or pad and pen at hand to record all input at a moment's notice.
b. Record the date, time, and names of all those to whom you speak. It helps later when the names and who-said-what become a blur.
c. Take careful notes. Doctors might say eight things in three minutes. If you don't write it down before they leave the room, you might only remember three of those things an hour later.
d. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to request that something be repeated or clarified. If a diagnosis or symptom has a technical name, don't be shy about asking for its spelling so you can look it up later. Get doctor and staff names and contact information, if needed for follow-up. (Some people keep their own medical binder and ask for copies of all lab reports, signed release forms, and hospital records. My husband started doing this for us a few years back and it is very helpful to have paperwork for future reference.)
e. Express gratitude to those staffers who are helpful and kind. The long hours and demands of the medical field make for frequent stress and easy burnout. We can help by expressing our heartfelt thanks.
6. Prayers Work: Amen.
Katie and I both posted requests for prayers on Facebook and in return received so much love, support, and the assurance of prayers for Katie's quick recovery. Father Bill Spacek, Catholic chaplain at UMMC
, stopped in and anointed Katie on Monday. This was very comforting to all of us. Praise God.
5. A Hospital Robot!
The advances in medical technology and efficiency are mind-boggling.
Last Monday my husband and I left a visitors lounge and were almost run down by a large robotic utility cart on wheels. It was actually a secure pharmacy container delivering medications
to all the wings of the hospital. It buzzed down the hall past us, turned the corner, and stopped in front of the nursing station. We then heard the robot say, "Your chain of custody has arrived." We were amazed.
We learned that this "TUG" is programmed to go to each hospital wing unassisted, to ride the elevator, trigger doors to open and close, and to leave if the medication is not removed within a specific amount of minutes. It speaks to alert nurses of the delivery and for walkers to move out of the way. Access is provided by authorized personnel with PIN numbers and sometimes by fingerprint scans. How cool is that?
I later spoke to Bill Seiler, the Asst. Director of Media Relations at UMMC, who shared several interesting articles and some follow-up info. University of Maryland Medical Center was the first hospital in the world
to use a Aethon TUG for medication deliveries to Shock Trauma back in 2002.
This first robot was named "Mr. Gower" for the pharmacist in the film "It's a Wonderful Life." Shock Trauma later added another TUG named "Florence" for Florence Nightingale. Other TUGs in use include "Edgar" for Edgar Allen Poe, "Clara" for Clara Barton, and "Tony" in memory of a longtime UMMC pharmacist.
Today there are eight high-tech TUGs moving through the hallways and elevators at University ensuring greater efficiency and secure delivery. Saving lives thus remains the number one priority through these time-saving technologies.
For more information click here.
Here's a front (gray) and back (white) view of a TUG at University of MD Medical Center.
In conclusion, all parents worry about their children no matter what their ages. Only the issues differ over time, not the concern. For me, it is always critical that I keep in mind that God is indeed in the clouds, guiding and caring for us when life throws us another curveball. With His grace and mercy, we can stay optimistic, disregarding Murphy's Law since anything that can go wrong can be handled with faith and prayer.
God is good: All the time!!
May 20, 2013 10:37
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Pope Francis with the Swiss Guards before today's
Swearing-In Ceremony at the Vatican (Vatican Radio)
I have always been intrigued by the Pontifical Swiss Guards. I think their
unusual uniform was what first got my attention when I was a teenager. This
costume-like design from the Renaissance is said to have been created by
Michelangelo. Standing guard at the Vatican, keeping watch near the Holy
Father, these guards definitely fascinate me. One day I will see them in
person. I have never been to Europe, but you can be sure that the Vatican is on
my bucket list.
Back in February when
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stepped down, the final act marking the onset of
the Sede Vacante was the departure of the Swiss Guards from Castel
Gandolfo. We wept with people around the world as they left their posts. It was
a very emotional moment for me.
In recent weeks our hearts were warmed by a widely-circulating account of Pope
Francis insisting that the Swiss Guard who was keeping watch outside his room
at the Casa Santa Marta sit down and have a snack to eat. Though I never read a
confirmation of its authenticity, it sounds exactly like the Holy Father that
we have come to know and love over the past seven weeks. Read one account of
the story here.
Over the years I have
read a lot of fascinating articles about the Swiss Guards and their complete
dedication to the safety and protection of the Holy Father. Their complete commitment
to the Church and the Pope resonate in my heart. For more than three decades of
teaching Religion to John Carroll students,
one of my passions is sharing my love of the Holy Father and everything
The National Geographic DVD "Inside the Vatican" (based on the book
of the same name) includes an insightful look into the training, commitment,
and service of the Swiss Guards. Now considered the world’s smallest standing
army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II to serve
as bodyguards to the pope.
Requirements to be a Swiss Guard today include: Must be a single man at time of admission, Swiss,
Roman Catholic, between 19 and 30 years of age, at least 5'8'' in height, have
completed required Swiss military service, and have a good moral background.
Today (May 6) marks the annual Swearing-In Ceremony at the Vatican where this year 35 new Swiss
recruits will promise before God to defend the Holy Father. The significance of this date recalls the sack of Rome by the army of Charles
V on May 6, 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards were killed in action. They saved the
life of Pope Clement VII who was brought to safety through the Passetto
(secret passage) to Castel Sant’Angelo.
The ceremony will be
broadcast live at 11 a.m. EDT today (5 p.m. in Rome) by Vatican Radio and
The new Guards, in full
uniform, will pledge to serve and, if necessary, to sacrifice their lives to
defend the Holy Father. The ceremony takes place in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Each recruit recites the oath: “I, [name], swear I
will observe faithfully, loyally and honorably all that has now been read out
to me! May God and his saints assist me!”
For Further Information:
1. VIDEO: Watch the Swearing-In Ceremony for 26 new members of the Swiss Guards last May, 2012 from
the Vatican (2 minutes)
2. Vatican Stamps honor
the 500th Anniversary of the Swiss Guards in 2005:
Vatican" DVD by National Geographic:
a. Buy it here.
b. Watch it here.
4. Official Website
May 06, 2013 01:40
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, an incredible woman who challenges all of us with her famous quote “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Many of our John Carroll
students are already starting to set the world on fire through their growing faith and profound service to others.
Sadly, we learned of the death this past Friday of one of our school’s early women leaders, a matriarch of the community and religious sister who lived a life of deep faith and indeed set the world on fire:
Sister Ignatius Loyola, SSJ served as our vice-principal from 1972-1975. Many of our students’ parents and grandparents, and our veteran teachers will remember Sister fondly. She made an incredible mark on our school community before returning to Philadelphia to serve in leadership capacities for her beloved Sisters of Saint Joseph
. These good Sisters taught and served in many important roles here at John Carroll for over 45 years.
During her JC years, Sister Ignatius worked hard to uphold our school’s mission and the ideals of Catholic education. It was during that time when she returned to the use of her baptismal name, Sister Dorothea Newell. Sister Dorothea (“Dottie” to her friends) served in leadership roles for her congregation, ultimately serving as the tenth Superior General of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill. The Sisters have always lived by the words of Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick (1796-1863; third Bishop of Philadelphia, 1842-1851, and sixth Archbishop of Baltimore 1851-1863), as their motto states “Ready for any good work!”
We join our prayers today to those of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in remembering this amazing woman who indeed set the world on fire.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, PA. on Friday, May 10: Greeting of the family at 1 p.m., followed by the Mass at 3 p.m.
A Remembrance Service will be held the evening before the Funeral Mass: Thursday evening, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, PA.
Burial of Sister Dottie's cremains: The following Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m: Mount Saint Joseph Cemetery, Chestnut Hill: The ritual will begin in the SSJ Motherhouse Chapel, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, at 6:30 p.m.; Procession to the cemetery for the burial.
With gratitude we remember Dottie's living, dying and rising to new life.
—The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia
Prayer for the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena:
O God, You are beauty and wisdom, mystery and love.
Touch the hearts of your people to set the world on fire for You and for Your Church through the prayer and example of Saint Catherine of Siena.
We ask this grace through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Sister Dorothea Newell, SSJ (1928- 2013) from the 1975 edition of PACIFICUS, the yearbook of The John Carroll School
April 29, 2013 11:01
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Poet Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918) has delighted generations with his reflections on the beauty of our trees:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Today we celebrate everything about trees:
It's Arbor Day ("arbor" is Latin for tree), and I couldn't think of a better time of year to give attention to the glory of the trees in our region which are coming back to life after a winter's rest.
The trees in our garden on the hill have burst into bloom this week
Since the first celebration in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April. Many families and groups take the opportunity to plant new trees on this day. It is said that an estimated one million new trees were planted on the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872.
I did some reading on Arbor Day and discovered that it was started in Nebraska City, Nebraska by the father of the founder of the Morton Salt Company. Julius Sterling Morton (1832 - 1902) was a Nebraska newspaper editor who served as the Secretary of Agriculture for President Grover Cleveland. He loved trees of all varieties and planted many rare trees along with his beloved apple trees at his vast estate in Nebraska City which included a mansion he built to look like the White House. This estate is now Arbor Lodge State Historical Park
in Nebraska City, Nebraska.
On a personal note, my dear 94-year old mother-in-law Eleanor Dohn has resided at Beechwood Continuing Care in Getzville, New York, near Buffalo, for the past eight years. Last July (2012), Robert Meiss, the longtime-president and CEO of Beechwood retired after serving the community for 23 years. Residents and employees alike honored the work of this kind man in many ways, including a tree-planting ceremony in front of the main building.
Mom wrote a story about this tree which was shared many times before being printed for inclusion in her family Christmas cards, as well as the upcoming edition of their publication "Beechwood Homes Chatter." I'd like to share it with you.
"A New Tree at Beechwood"
When I was walking down the path, I thought I heard voices, but no one was there. I laughed at myself and thought it must be the trees, but I knew that couldn't be true.
But when I turned at the bend in the path it was so!!
The tall trees were welcoming the very new tree. "Welcome, dear little tree," they said. "You will love it here; the folks love their trees. We will help you grow and remind you to shake off the last leaves in the Fall and watch for the new buds in the Spring. There are lovely birds and some wildlife too: gray squirrels and a chipmunk or two, and an occasional deer. Ooh, look. Here comes one now, a beautiful doe, I see."
"Well," said the doe addressing the tree, "you weren't here when I came through last year. You're a special Beech; it tells us on the plaque right there. Your true friends will help you in all seasons, I'm sure."
We talked awhile, and then the doe said she needed to leave, but would come again. As she left she raised her right hoof to say goodbye.
Later that day as I rested nearby, I asked myself, "Was this all a dream?"
I don't think so. Do you?
Written by Eleanor R. Dohn, July 2012
A Springtime sequel is in process at this time.
Getzville, New York
A 2013 Arbor Day look at the new beech tree at Beechwood, Getzville, New York.
April 26, 2013 06:29
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Yesterday afternoon we learned of the horrific explosions in Boston
near the marathon finish line. As the hours unfolded and we watched the images play repeatedly on TV, we learned of the massive amount of injuries and of the death overnight of the third victim. Many have paused and asked questions about the evil in our world today. And though we might be led to despair, rather may we look with hope to our Lord’s loving mercy and to the goodness of people in times of crisis: those who immediately turn to help without regard for their own safety, those who respond using their gifts and talents to assist those in need, and the millions who stop and turn to prayer asking our Lord to watch over all of us in these times of horrific tragedy.
My Twitter and Facebook feed was overrun last night with news and thoughts about Boston. I watched in awe as post after post on my Facebook newsfeed contained words of prayer and loving support. As always I tell my John Carroll students, in good times and in bad, God is good: All the time. His mercy and love are always with us, even when the events and challenges we face seem insurmountable. Yes, God is indeed in the clouds: In dark times we need the Light of Christ to guide our way.
The Archdiocese of Boston posted yesterday on their Facebook page
: “As reports of death and injuries are reported, we ask you to please turn to the Lord each time to pray for them and for those who love them that they would receive the consolation of the Holy Spirit, the mercy of God, and the loving maternal embrace of our Blessed Mother.”
May we indeed be a people of hope, not despair, as we turn to our merciful Lord in prayer for all those affected. And may we always embrace the spiritual focus of The John Carroll School
to “Go, Make a Difference.” As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Let us pray that we might always combat violence and hatred in our world, our communities, and in our hearts:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
For further reading:
1. Telegram sent by Pope Francis
, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., to Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, Archbishop of Boston:
“Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering, and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.”
4. Suggestions on how to talk to your children about the Boston tragedy here
5. How to field your children's questions when you as a parent don't have all the answers here
April 16, 2013 09:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
—Saint Augustine of Hippo
You know what they say about all work and no play, right? So when Easter Break started two weeks ago for John Carroll
, my husband and I packed our bags and headed south to our place on Singer Island, Florida for some rest and relaxation. Four days later, on Tuesday of Easter Week, we were heading south on the Overseas Highway, that fabulous 127.5-mile roadway carrying U.S. Route 1 through the Florida Keys. Our final destination in this "getaway within a getaway" was the Conch Republic, Key West.
Vacation for us usually involves warm weather, new or favorite restaurants, live music, local artwork, great views, and salty air. And I get to indulge in two of my favorite pastimes: giving my camera a good workout with a 4G memory card, along with checking out the local Catholic Church. I love exploring churches and learning about their history, patron, architecture, statues, artwork, and any special features or shrines. I usually read up ahead of my visit and go during a quiet time when I can walk around and tour on my own.
Catholic Churches in the Keys:
The Florida Keys are part of the Archdiocese of Miami. According to my research there are five churches in the Keys:
• Two in the Upper Keys: St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church in Key Largo at Mile Marker (MM) 105.5, and San Pedro Catholic Church at MM 89.5 in Tavernier;
• One in the Middle Keys: San Pablo Catholic Church at MM 53.5 in Marathon;
• Two in the Lower Keys: St. Peter's Catholic Church, MM 31.3 in Big Pine Key, and St. Mary Star of the Sea, located less than one mile from MM 0 at the intersection of Windsor Lane and Truman Avenue in Key West.
Key West Parish:
We made plans to spend Wednesday morning of Easter Week checking out the local Catholic parish in Key West, St. Mary Star of the Sea (1010 Windsor Lane, Key West, FL 33040). The oldest parish in South Florida, this congregation traces its roots back to the sixteenth century when Florida was a Spanish territory, and Key West, known then as Cayo Hueso ("Island of Bones"), was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Havana, Cuba. Spanish Jesuits served the Catholics of Cuba and the Caribbean islands, and established missions in these areas.
The first Catholic church building in Key West was dedicated in 1852 and later destroyed by fire (suspected arson) in 1901. One of the few items found undamaged was a “crudely painted plaque depicting the Virgin Mary as Star of the Sea with the following inscription by Father Sylvanius Hunineq
“Since it first shed its light in Key West, it has like a star of the sea to the wandering mariner, been a star of hope and comfort in times of despair and sorrow, and a star of joy to those who have lived in its teachings.”
The current, non-wooden church was dedicated to Saint Mary Star of the Sea four years later by the Bishop of Saint Augustine (1905).
All About Basilicas:
While researching in preparation for our visit, I discovered that this oldest church in South Florida, established in 1846, had been elevated to the status of minor basilica by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI last year. This fascinated me since I thought that basilica status in this modern era was reserved for cathedrals and national shrines. This led me to much reading about basilicas
, churches of historical and spiritual importance that are granted this distinction by the Holy Father for unusual historical significance, or which are considered sacred due to the presence of relic(s). I discovered and read the fascinating document “Domus Ecclesiae
”, Norms for the Granting of the Title of Minor Basilica from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (1989).
The word “basilica” originally referred to a type of architecture from ancient Rome, and now refers more often to the canonical status of the church. The four major basilicas are located in Rome. There are more than 1500 minor basilicas around the world. Key West’s Saint Mary Star of the Sea became the fifth basilica in the state and the 73rd in the United States at the time of its elevation by the Holy Father Emeritus. The other Floridian basilicas are located in Orlando, Pensacola, St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach.
Our Adventure Begins: The Catholic School:
We started our morning by walking over to Duval Street from the Banyon Resort for breakfast at a French bakery, and then headed over to Truman Avenue toward the basilica property. First we came upon the beautiful campus of the Basilica School of Saint Mary Star of the Sea. With only two cars in the parking lot it was quickly apparent that they too were on Easter Break. Considered the first Catholic School in South Florida, operating from 1868, the lush tropical setting made this pre-3 through grade 8 school look like a postcard in my photos. A gentleman from the grounds crew later told me that there was formerly a secondary school on the premises named Mary Immaculate High School which closed in 1986. The children in the area now attend mostly the public high schools as there are no Catholic secondary schools in Monroe County.
Adoration Chapel of Divine Mercy:
Next we came to the Chapel of Divine Mercy, in the former convent chapel, where Perpetual Adoration has been held since 1995. The chapel was stunning with its Divine Mercy image of Jesus, colorful stained glass windows which were next to tall open windows looking onto the beautiful campus, and Easter lilies before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar. Two women smiled at me as I came in and genuflected. After offering my prayer intentions, I explored the displays, including three relics in the back of the chapel.
The Famous Grotto, Basilica Prayer Gardens, and the Good Sisters:
Continuing along the parish path we came through the gardens to the famous Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Island tour guides speak of this prayerful grotto built in 1922 and said to protect Key West from the impact of serious hurricanes. Three years earlier (1919), the most devastating hurricane in the history of the island hit Key West, taking the lives of over 400 people and damaging the entire area, including the church buildings. The grotto was dedicated on Ascension Thursday, May 25, 1922, to mark the Silver Jubilee of long-serving Sister Louis Gabriel of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She designed, raised funds, and oversaw the building of the grotto to seek protection from the Blessed Mother. The story goes that Sister remarked that “as long as the grotto stood, Key West would never experience the full brunt of a hurricane.” Tour guides and residents alike bear testimony to the fact that passing hurricanes have not devastated the island since that time. My husband and I were particularly fascinated by the stone chairs with accompanying stone kneelers that have faced the grotto’s entrance since 1922.
The basilica gardens also included a shrine to the unborn from the Knights of Columbus, the parish Renewal Center, and a special Stations of the Cross Garden where outdoor Mass and devotions are held. There is also a cemetery for eighteen of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, including a special memorial for Sister Louis Gabriel, whose community served the parish and its schools for many decades since 1868. (The sisters even offered their convent for use as a hospital during the Spanish-American War while they served the wounded and the sick.)
The basilica-parish also has vast outreach programs and serves those in need by providing clothing, furniture, financial assistance, and job referrals, while also operating a daily soup kitchen, and ministering to the spiritual needs of the military bases on the island. I was so inspired by all the incredible work they are doing for the good people of Key West.
At long last: The Basilica:
The actual basilica was the last place we visited, as we affectionately “saved the best for last.” What an amazing church!! Approaching from the gardens we could see all the tall shuttered doors open along the east and west walls to keep the air moving through the nave. I had first seen these Caribbean-style doors when we vacationed in Aruba in 2010. It almost makes you feel as though you are worshipping outside. It was refreshing too to have this sacred space fully-accessible during the day for pilgrims and tourists. For much of our visit, my husband and I were the only ones there. Some of the churches we have attempted to visit while on vacation in the past have been locked due to security concerns and vandalism.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent walking around the church, reading all the basilican documents on the walls, checking out the baptismal font, altars, statues, stained glass windows, and the insignia of the basilica: the Ombrellino (basilican red and gold umbrella) and the Tintinnabulum (basilican bell). The new basilica coat of arms (which includes a conch shell, the traditional symbol of the Florida Keys, over the motto “Spe Salvi”), as well as that of the Archdiocese of Miami (which has a palm tree in the center), were on display. Everything I saw was documented as I took over 250 pictures during my visit. It was a great morning and will always be a cherished memory. It is my hope that if my readers are down in the Keys they will take a little time to visit this beautiful basilica, whether for weekend or morning Mass, or for a pilgrimage prayer stop during the week. Visiting our Catholic Churches during vacation can add an extra dimension to your travels. The benefits are heavenly!!
Enjoy my slideshow: My photos include: Interior and exterior views of the basilica, including the cornerstone from 1904 (7 photos), coats of arms of both the Basilica and of the Archdiocese of Miami (2), Adoration Chapel (outside and inside views-2), outdoor shrines (2), Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (2), Basilica-School (1), Sisters' cemetery and convent info (3), Stations of the Cross garden (3), and War of 1898 info (1).
Basilica Dedication Mass:
The Solemn Mass marking the official dedication of minor basilica status and the conferral of the insignia of the basilica was held on May 31, 2012, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The principal celebrant was the fourth Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski, a Florida native, who joined the parish community and their pastor (now rector of the basilica) Father John C. Baker to share in the joy of this historic milestone.
Read Archbishop Wenski’s Homily from the Dedication Mass here
For More Information:
Check out this 86-second video from Catholic Miami of the Archdiocese of Miami which captures some of the beauty of this incredible basilica here
“Human life is a journey. Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route…
Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom!
Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”
—Pope Benedict XVI, “Spe Salvi”
(In Hope We are Saved, 2007)
April 14, 2013 02:32
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Today, March 21, marks the first anniversary of the death of John Carroll student Xavia Pirozzi
Her early death last March to lymphoma created a huge void in the student body and among her special friends.
Her classmates, now Juniors, gathered at 1 p.m. today in the Auditorium for reflection and prayer.
The entire school community is wearing purple accessories today to honor Xavia's memory through her favorite color.
Last week the Juniors received their John Carroll rings and honored Xavia's memory with a scrapbook of notes and prayers that were written on Junior Retreat. This was presented to her Mom and Grandma on Friday morning at their Ring Mass
JC singers and members of acapella group Bella Voce sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and "Seasons of Love" at the Memorial Prayer Service.
JC juniors and special friends wore purple today to honor their classmate Xavia Pirozzi of the John Carroll Class of 2014.
Xavia's closest friends--Christine, Carley, Ashley, Kayla, and Lauren-- shared reflections and favorite memories of Xavia with their class at today's prayer service.
March 21, 2013 03:20
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By Patti Murphy Dohn