Patti Murphy Dohn recently retired after more than three decades of service as Campus Minister and Religion teacher at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, MD. Committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, she served the school community since 1981.  

Patti continues her service to the Archdiocese on the Screening Board for the Office of Vocations. She was previously a board member for the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, MD.

Along with writing for "The Catholic Review," Patti is a member of the Catholic Press Association, as well as the Catholic Writers Guild. 

She can be reached at:

God is good!! All the time!!


August 2014
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Now that you bring it up, I do remember that, Janet. It was a much-criticized part of that WYD and brought about lots of ramifications for both Mother Angelica and EWTN, as well as those who were vocal in opposition to her views. Father Z's Blog included a link to Mother's reaction: You can read and listen here: Thanks for reading, Patti Murphy Dohn


How come there was no mention of the controversial Stations of the Cross with a Woman Mime playing the role of Jesus? It got Mother Angelica so upset she decided to change her habit and call out all the liberals and progressives for what they were doing at that time in 1993 Thankfully things have slowly changed for the better for WYD thinks to Benedict

God is in the clouds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trusting in God's Providence:

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

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

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

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

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

Until now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for the work that I loved and leave behind:

Change is good for everyone involved.

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

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

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

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


Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer:

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

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

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

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

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

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

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

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

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

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

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

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

We are prophets of a future not our own.

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

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

August 25, 2014 09:15
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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

Catholic Throwback Thursday: Remembering the 41st International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia

(Photo: Richard Taylor)

Do you remember where you were during this first week in August in 1976?

Thirty-eight years ago I was among the throngs of Catholics from around the world present in Philadelphia for one of the largest spiritual gatherings in the history of our nation. And the 41st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), coincidentally, took place from August 1-8, 1976 during our nation's bicentennial year in the historic city of Brotherly Love.

What is an International Eucharistic Congress (IEC)?

1. First held in 1881 in the French city of Lille, these Eucharistic Congresses are gatherings of clergy, religious, and the faithful in order to promote devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

2. The first IEC to take place in the United States was the 28th International Eucharistic Congress which was held in Chicago from June 20–24, 1926. Hosted by Cardinal George Mundelein, the Archbishop of Chicago, the closing Mass was held on the campus of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

3. Usually held every four years, the most recent IEC took place in Dublin, Ireland from June 10–17, 2012. It coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The congress theme was taken from “Lumen Gentium:” The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another."
The official IEC website from Dublin includes enough great resources to make you feel as if you attended firsthand. Check it out.

4. Watch Pope Benedict XVI speak via satellite to those gathered in Dublin to announce the location of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in 2016 in Cebu, Philippines.

Enjoy hearing the cheers from the Filipino community and watching their ethnic Alleluia dance in response to the Holy Father's announcement.

5. This 2016 Cebu, Philippines Eucharistic Congress, with the theme "Christ in You: Our Hope of Glory,” has opened an official website which is updated regularly for those who plan to attend as well as those of us who are interested in keeping up to date on the developments.

6. Fun fact: Did you ever hear of the Aboriginal Mass at the 1973 IEC?

"Love one another as I have loved you." Cardinal Lawrence J. Shehan served as the papal legate, representing His Holiness Pope Paul VI there in Melbourne in his last official act before retiring as Archbishop of Baltimore.

Notably, he presided over the Australian Aboriginal Liturgy on the afternoon of February 24 which was attended by almost 30,000 people. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Australia recall that this was "one of the most memorable occasions of the Congress... Aboriginal singers and dancers from north and west of Australia took an active part in a celebration which broke new ground in the Church's liturgical renewal.”

Cardinal Shehan wore vestments made at the Bathurst Island Mission off the northern Australian coast for this Mass which featured 100 aborigines in full war paint and native dress performing an interpretative dance of the Last Supper in lieu of the first scripture reading.

Cardinal Shehan presiding at the Aboriginal Mass on February 24, 1973:
(Photo: MDHC Archdiocese of Melbourne)


Remembering the 41st International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia:

Cardinal John Krol, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, hosted over a million pilgrims in 1976 to this international celebration of the Blessed Sacrament. The central overarching theme was "Jesus, the Bread of Life" with "The Eucharist and the Hungers of the Human Family" providing the eight daily sub-themes which were the focus of the talks, workshops, exhibits, concerts, daily Masses with top-notch homilies, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Seminars addressed a huge variety of topics and audiences, including family life, world hunger, social justice, women, the charismatic renewal, youth, the experience of Black Catholics, religious life, and an ecumenical symposium.

The eight daily sub-themes were:

August 1: The Hunger for God;

August 2: The Hunger for Bread;

August 3: The Hunger for Freedom and Justice;

August 4: The Hunger for the Spirit;

August 5: The Hunger for Truth;

August 6: The Hunger for Understanding;

August 7: The Hunger for Peace;

August 8: The Hunger for Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Princess Grace of Monaco and her family attended the Opening Mass for the International Eucharistic Congress at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul on the morning of August 1. This Mass was concelebrated by almost 200 bishops from around the world.


That first evening included a candle-lit procession down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Mother Teresa joined the procession on August 1. Hers was not yet a household name, as this small nun from Calcutta had just started to receive acclaim for her work with the poorest of the poor. 

(Photo: Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center/Robert and Theresa Halvey Collection)


The entire event was a whirlwind of uplifting spiritual festivities attended by Catholics from all over the world, along with a "who's who" of Catholic celebrities. I was thrilled and exhilarated to be in the same room as Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Cardinal Leo Suenens, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, and Jesuit Father-General Pedro Arrupe, SJ.

Looking back, there was no special security. I walked past Mother Teresa a number of times that week, once as she made her way through the crowd to get to the restroom. World-famous cardinals and archbishops were surrounded in conversation by lay Catholics everywhere.

Princess Grace of Monaco, the former Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, chats with Cardinal Krol before the start of the Family Life Symposium on August 2. 

(Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS)

“To share the same basic feelings and beliefs, to have had a similar Christian background and training is of great importance in family life... In my situation, marrying a man from a different country, different language and different cultures... it would have been extremely difficult without the strong basic bond of our religion."

-- Princess Grace of Monaco


Dom Hélder Câmara was a featured speaker on the panel for "The Hunger for Freedom and Justice," sharing the stage with Mother Teresa and Vatican secretary of state, Archbishop Giovanni Benelli. He spoke of "the great scandal of the century . . . We are trying to reach other planets, leaving our own planet with over two-thirds of humanity in misery and hunger."

"Like my dear brother, Martin Luther King, I have a dream… When one person dreams alone, it is only a dream. When we dream together, it is the beginning of reality."

-- Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil


Fun fact: 

Catholic Relief Services launched the first "Operation Rice Bowl" just before the 1976 IEC and it netted $5 million that first year.


“God picked a woman to be able to show his love and compassion for the world.”

-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Listen to Mother Teresa speak from this session here (5 minutes)

(Photo: John Murello)

Another highlight among the panel discussions was hearing Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day share the stage and speak on “Women and the Eucharist.” Read Mother Teresa’s full speech here.

Reunited at the "Catholic Worker" newspaper office at Maryhouse, New York City in 1979, Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day are here with Eileen Egan who shared the stage with them back in 1976.

(Photo: Bill Barrett/Marquette University Archives)


One of the most riveting homilies I heard that week was delivered by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen who spoke on “Mary, Tabernacle of the Lord.” Read his inspiring homily here.

"Everyone, make the Holy Hour, and you will discover as you leave the divine Presence that if you move among people in the world, they will say of you as the maid said of Peter, “You have been with Christ.” And then at the end of a lifetime spent in adoration of the Lord, and in love of the Blessed Mother, of the Blessed Sacrament, when you come before the Lord do you know what He will say to you? He will say, “I heard my Mother speak of you.”

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on Eucharistic Adoration


Future pope and saint:

Also in attendance was the relatively-unknown Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who attended the Congress along with 21 other Polish bishops and archbishops, before continuing a tour of Polish parishes and communities throughout the country. Stops included Baltimore, Buffalo, and Chicago.

Cardinal Wojtyla (center) and the entourage of bishops from Poland visited the Polish Museum of America in Chicago on August 21, two weeks after the IEC concluded.

(Photo: Polish Museum of America)

Fun fact:

Pope Saint John Paul II attended every International Eucharistic Congress from the 1973 event in Melbourne (40th) when he was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla until his death in 2005.


Mother Teresa overlooking the large exhibit hall from the upper level: Exhibits included displays and handouts from religious, ethnic, and educational groups, religious communities and Catholic colleges, as well as a huge display of liturgical art.

(Photo: Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center)


On display in the lobby of the Philadelphia Civic Center was the bronze statue “Jesus Breaking Bread.” Commissioned for this IEC, the six foot tall sculpture was made by Walter Erlebacher (1933–1991). After the conclusion of the eight day event, it was moved near the sidewalk outside the Cathedral (now Basilica) of Saints Peter and Paul at Logan Square, 18th and Race Streets.

(Photo: Museum without Walls)


“It is fitting that you gather here in the City of Brotherly Love, where 200 years ago my country declared its national independence with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence.”

– President Gerald R. Ford addressing the congregation prior to the Closing Mass at JFK Stadium on August 8, 1976

“Statio Orbis” (“Assembly of the World”)

(Photo: Religion News Service/ John Lei)

The Statio Orbis (closing Mass) was held at JFK Stadium and attended by President Gerald R. Ford who addressed the capacity crowd. The main celebrant was Cardinal James Robert Knox, papal legate and former Archbishop of Melbourne (1967–1974), who was serving at that time as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (1974–1983).

President Ford addressed those gathered before the liturgy began. You can read the complete text of his remarks here.

Pope Paul VI also addressed the congregation, speaking via satellite from Rome to conclude the 41st International Eucharistic Congress. Read his short reflection here.  


Photography Note:

It was difficult and even disappointing to attempt to capture the right moments to share this incredible spiritual event with you. The technology of photography has changed so drastically in the past four decades. The best IEC photographs from both the religious press and the White House look old, dark, and grainy by today's standards.

Our grandchildren will be surely be able to look back with clarity on anything that has happened in their lifetimes due to the advances made over the years. May they preserve their digital storage well!!


The official hymn of the 41st International Eucharistic Congress:

"Gift of Finest Wheat" with music by Robert Kreutz (tune name: Bicentennial) and lyrics by Omer Westendorf.

Enjoy this version conducted by Richard Proulx with the Cathedral Singers:

August 07, 2014 09:52
By Patti Murphy Dohn

St. Alphonsus Liguori: Quick facts and prayers to the patron saint of arthritis sufferers

"He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts God can do all things."

--St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori (1696-1787)

It's August 1:

Today is the feast day of St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori, bishop, patron saint of priest-confessors and moral theologians, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation of priests, brothers, and sisters. He is also known as the patron saint for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as he himself suffered from severe arthritis for the last forty years of his life.

Quick Facts on St. Alphonsus:

1. Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori was the oldest of seven children, born near Naples on September 27,1696.

2. He received a doctorate in both civil and canon law from the University of Naples at the early age of 16.

3. Alphonsus gave up law after almost ten years of great success in the courtroom, and soon after had a vision while visiting a local hospital which told him to consecrate his life solely to God: "Leave the world and give yourself to me."

4. Ordained in 1726, Alphonsus travelled throughout Naples giving spiritual missions--parish retreats--as he had a burning desire to bring people to our Lord: 

"I Love Jesus Christ and that is why I am on fire with the desire to give Him souls, first of all my own, and then an incalculable number of others."

5. Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists, on November 9, 1732. The order had a very rocky start, but the men's branch was approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749 and the women's branch the following year.

6. He dedicated himself to the work of preaching missions, hearing confessions, writing spiritual books, and local pastoral work. He always emphasized God's loving mercy and the ever-ready help of the Blessed Mother. He taught his priests to show great kindness and compassion to all, especially in the confessional, and insisted that all sermons be kept simple so as to be understood by all the faithful.

7. Though he turned down the bishopric of Palermo, as he was determined to minister as a priest, Alphonsus was later named bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples in 1762 and dedicated himself to caring for the faithful, both physically and spiritually.

8. Alphonsus suffered from great infirmity due to the effects of arthritis and rheumatism, with intense daily pain and deformity which forced him to drink from a straw because his head was so bent forward. A long bout with rheumatic fever left him paralyzed.

9. Best known for his "Moral Theology," Alphonsus wrote over 100 books. Among the most popular are  "The Glories of Mary," "The Way of the Cross," and "Visits to the Blessed Sacrament."

"Realize that you may gain more in a quarter of an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament than in all other practices of the day."

10. Alphonsus suffered great anguish in his later years with regard to royal intrusion on the oversight of the congregation, and his eventual exclusion at age 83. He prayed fervently to overcome the dark days and depression that ensued.

Note: More can be read about this difficult era for Alphonsus and his congregation in “Alphonsus de Liguori: Saint of Bourbon Naples, 1696-1787, Founder of the Redemptorists” by Frederick Jones, C.Ss.R. 

11. Alphonsus died peacefully on August 1, 1787 at the 12 noon Angelus, after having spent the night in prayer to Our Lady. He was 91 years old.

12. He was beatified in 1816, canonized in 1839, and named a Doctor of the Church in 1871 by Pope Pius IX.

The start of a National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers:

The Redemptorists in the United States advertised in 2010 that they would conduct the first National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers at their parishes and retreat centers across the country on the August 1 feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, their founder and patron saint of those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They noted that St. Alphonsus himself suffered from severe arthritis for the last forty years of his life. The disease left him permanently bent forward and confined to a wheelchair.

"This is the first blessing of its kind, as far as we know, on a national scale, for people who suffer the chronic and debilitating agonies of arthritis, fibromyalgia and other serious physical conditions. We hope this is the beginning of an annual tradition that brings people to our churches to ask for the blessing and intercession of our great saint on his feast day and to beseech Our Father in Heaven to grant these suffering souls deliverance from their pains." --Very Reverend Thomas D. Picton, C.Ss.R., provincial superior of the Denver Province of the Redemptorists, in 2010

The Fifth Annual National Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers this weekend:

The Redemptorists will conduct their annual blessing this weekend in conjunction with their patron's feast day.

Our local shrine, Saint Alphonsus Church, located at 114 W. Saratoga Street, is observing the feast day with a three-day celebration this weekend:

Schedule for the Triduum for the Feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri:

Masses are as follows:
Friday, August 1, 2014
7:00 am  - English
8:00 am – Tridentine Latin Rite
12:10 pm – English
7:00 pm – Tridentine Latin Rite
Saturday, August 2, 2014
7:00 am – English
12:10 pm – Tridentine Latin Rite
Followed by Holy Hour
 Sunday, August 3, 2014
 8:30 am – Lithuanian
10:00 am – English
11:30 am – Tridentine Latin Rite – High Mass Followed by Benediction, Veneration of Relic

Blessing with St. Alphonsus Relic after all Masses


“There are millions of souls who suffer daily from the agonizing effects of this debilitating affliction. We beseech Our Father in Heaven, through the intercession of St. Alphonsus, to grant these suffering souls deliverance from their pains.” - Father Harry Grile, provincial superior of the Denver Province


Prayers to St. Alphonsus Liguori for Arthritis Sufferers:

An Arthritic's Prayer to St. Alphonsus:
St. Alphonsus, you are the special patron of all who suffer from arthritis and the pains of many years. When our fingers twist with pain, keep us focused on the hands of Christ pierced with nails. When our knees throb with endless aches, allow us to see the knees of Jesus smashing to the street under the heavy cross. When our backs stiffen with soreness, let us remember the back of Christ thrown across the rough wood of the cross. When our hips, elbows, knuckles, and other joints hurt so much that tears well up in our eyes, help us to recall the tears, the sweat, and the blood that flowed from our crucified Jesus, who suffered so much more for each of us.
St. Alphonsus, you were afflicted with curvature of the spine and confined to a wheelchair in your final years. Teach us to unite all our pains with the sufferings of Jesus. By your intercession, may our pain be eased — but even more, may we be one with Jesus in his death and resurrection for the redemption of the world. Amen.

Prayer to St. Alphonsus for People with Painful Arthritis:
Saint Alphonsus, loving Father of the poor and sick, all your life you devoted yourself with charity towards those who suffer sickness. I invoke you as the patron of those who suffer with arthritis since you were afflicted with this disease in your lifetime.
Look with compassion on me in my suffering.

Full of confidence in your intercession I come to you for help in my present need (mention need).


Video Blessing for Arthritis Sufferers:

Fr. Bob Halter, C.Ss.R., provincial vicar for the Denver province of the Redemptorists, delivers a video blessing of arthritics: This is especially helpful for those who cannot attend the special blessing this week-end. 


A Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori:

One Thing Necessary:

O my God, help me to remember that time is short, eternity long.
What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?
To love you, my God, and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without you, there is no peace of mind or soul.
My God, I need fear only sin and nothing else in this life, for to lose you, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember that I came into this world with nothing, and shall take nothing from it when I die.
To gain you, I must leave all.
But in loving you, I already have all good things — the infinite riches of Christ and His Church in life,
Mary's motherly protection and perpetual help, and the eternal dwelling place Jesus has prepared for me.
Eternal Father, Jesus has promised that whatever we ask in His Name will be granted us.
In His Name, I pray: give me a burning faith, a joyful hope, a holy love for you.
Grant me perseverance in doing your will and never let me be separated from you.
My God and my All, make me a saint.


August 01, 2014 02:48
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer for Generosity (St. Ignatius of Loyola):

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


July 31, 2014 03:01
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Happy Birthday: Celebrating 75 years with the Archdiocese of Washington (1939-2014)

Happy 75th Birthday to the Archdiocese of Washington!!

This week marks a very special chapter in American Church History:

Seventy-five years ago, Pope Pius XII established the Archdiocese of Washington in a papal bull dated July 22, 1939. He decreed that the city of Washington be "adorned with the splendor of an archiepiscopal throne," thus separating Washington, D.C. from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The Papal Bull establishing the Archdiocese of Washington (Photo: Cardinal Wuerl's Blog)

Fun Fact:

The Archdiocese of Washington is comprised of the District of Columbia and the following Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and Saint Mary's.

At first, these two archdioceses were under the spiritual leadership of one archbishop. When Michael J. Curley (1879–1947) was named the first Archbishop of Washington (1939), he had been serving as the tenth Archbishop of Baltimore since 1921. Highly popular, Archbishop Curley was much loved by the people of Baltimore.  The November 30, 1921 edition of "The Washington Post"  reported about the joy which met him from the very first day as an Archbishop:

"Archbishop Michael J. Curley arrived in Baltimore today for his installation in the cathedral tomorrow. He was given one of the greatest welcomes ever tendered a new citizen of Baltimore, the greeting being marked by the largest gathering of Catholics in this city since the funeral of Cardinal Gibbons, just eight months ago today."

Fun Fact:

Archbishop Curley had been the youngest American bishop when he was first raised to the episcopate in 1914 at the age of 34. He spent seven years as the fourth Bishop of St. Augustine (1914-1921) before moving north to Baltimore.

Bishop Curley in his Florida days (Photo: Archdiocese of Baltimore Archives)

His episcopal motto: "Quis ut Deus?" (Who is like unto God?)

Eighteen years later when the Archdiocese of Washington was created, Archbishop Curley served as both the Archbishop of Baltimore and the Archbishop of Washington from 1939 until his death. He was the only U.S. bishop to lead two Archdioceses at one time.

Archbishop Michael J. Curley: Photo: Archdiocese of Baltimore

Sadly, Archbishop Curley's last years were filled with the challenges of extended illness, as well as failing eyesight and subsequent blindness. He died at age 66 in 1947 and was laid to rest in the crypt under the main altar of Baltimore's Basilica of the Assumption.

Separate archbishops for Baltimore and Washington in 1947:

The separation of the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington was final in 1947 when two separate archbishops were appointed after the death of Archbishop Curley: Francis Patrick Keough † (1889-1961; Archbishop of Baltimore from 1947-1961) and Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle † (1896-1987; Archbishop of Washington from 1947-1973).

Assembly 386 of the Knights of Columbus was instituted in December of 1962, and organized as the "Archbishop Patrick A. O'Boyle General Assembly." Archbishop O'Boyle was given honorary membership.
Knights of Columbus Assembly 386

The other shepherds of Archdiocese of Washington:

Four other archbishops followed after the spiritual leadership of Archbishop O'Boyle:

1. Cardinal William Wakefield Baum (born William Wakefield White in 1926; later adopted and renamed Baum in early childhood by his widowed mother and Jewish step-father; Archbishop from 1973-1980).

After finishing his service to the Archdiocese of Washington in 1980, Cardinal Baum moved to Rome to serve as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (1980–1990), followed by eleven years at the Major Penitentiary (1990–2001). Elevated in 1976 to the College of Cardinals, he continues to be the longest-serving American cardinal in history (38 years).

Bishop Robert W. Finn, of Cardinal Baum’s home diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, greets the Cardinal after the Jubilee Mass in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2011 (Photo: Mark Zimmermann, editor, The Catholic Standard)

2. Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey † (1920-2004; Archbishop from 1980-2000)

Cardinal Hickey greeting the children at the new Cardinal Hickey Academy in Owings, named in his honor. At the school, he was affectionately known as the "grandfather of the academy." (1997 Photo: Catholic Standard

3. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (born 1930; Archbishop 2000-2006)

Before the 2005 conclave which elected Pope Benedict XVI:

 Washington's Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (far right) gathers with the U.S. Cardinals: From left: Cardinals Justin Francis Rigali (Philadelphia), Adam Joseph Maida (Detroit), Roger Michael Mahony (Los Angeles, who was keeping track of their schedule), Francis Eugene George (Chicago), and Baltimore's William Henry Keeler at the North American College in Rome, Sunday, April 17, 2005. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


President George W. Bush and his wife Laura hosted a dinner at the White House in honor of outgoing Archbishop of Washington McCarrick (left), the incoming Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl, (right), and Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi on July 8, 2006.
 (White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt

4. Cardinal Donald William Wuerl (born 1940; Archbishop 2006 to present)

Enjoy Cardinal Wuerl's May 16, 2014 blog here where he reflects on the richness of the gifts of the previous archbishops of Washington.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, talking with Chief Justice John Roberts in 2010
(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fr. David Beabien, pastor of St. Aloysius Church of Leonardtown, welcomes Cardinal Wuerl and the crowd of pilgrims who marked this special anniversary together. (Facebook photo: St. Aloysius Church)

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl celebrated Mass on June 29, 2014 on St. Clement's Island, the location of the first Catholic Mass in the New World. That historic Mass was celebrated by Jesuit Father Andrew White on March 25, 1634, when the Ark and the Dove landed in Maryland.

"The first Mass on St. Clement's Island in 1634 marked the beginning in this land of an unbroken line of continuity in faith, celebration and service that goes back 2,000 years. Today, this legacy is manifest in so many ways today in the Archdiocese of Washington through its parishes, missions, schools and social service agencies. This diamond jubilee presents an occasion to acknowledge and thank those who have generously given their time, talent and treasure to our family of faith, as well as to our sisters and brothers whom we are called to serve in the greater community."

--Cardinal Wuerl on June 29, 2014 at St. Clement's Island

Coming soon: Pilgrimage sites in the Archdiocese of Washington:

Summer is the perfect time for travel and sight-seeing. There are many great places of Catholic interest in the Archdiocese of Washington. Next week I will be sharing travel tips on a number of those churches and shrines.

Watch for this special pilgrim travel blog in "God is in the Clouds."

Three Cardinal-Archbishops who served the Church of Washington:
 From left: Cardinal James A. Hickey †, Cardinal William W. Baum, and Cardinal Patrick A. O’Boyle †
(Photo: Circa 1980)


Happy Anniversary and many blessings to Cardinal Wuerl and the people of the Archdiocese of Washington:
Ad multos annos!!

July 24, 2014 04:35
By Patti Murphy Dohn

A Prayer for the City of Baltimore: Honoring the community service of Father Luigi Esposito

“I love to see people coming out together and having fun." -- Father Lou Esposito, pastor of Our Lady of Pompei, on the positive impact of events such as the Highlandtown Wine Festival this past April.
(Photo: Erik Zygmont/The Baltimore Guide)

 Double golden jubilee celebration:

Yesterday's Catholic Throwback Thursday looked back over the last 50 years of priestly and parish ministry of Father Lou Esposito of Our Lady of Pompei Church.

This Saturday marks his golden jubilee of priesthood, as well as celebrates his 50 years of service to his parish community at 3600 Claremont Street in Highlandtown.

The parish is having a special Mass of Thanksgiving on Saturday, June 19 at 4 p.m., followed by an invitation-only dinner. Members of the parish and the local community are invited to join Father Lou on Sunday for the 10 a.m. Mass. A lunch reception will follow for those who attend in the parish hall at 201 S. Conkling Street.

Serving the people of Baltimore:

Father Lou has been an integral part of the community life in Highlandtown and the surrounding regions over the years. He has served on boards for civic service groups, and as chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and other religious organizations.

In January of 2011, Father Lou was invited to give the invocation at the start of the Baltimore City Council meeting. The prayer was so poignant that Councilmember Nicholas C. D'Adamo, Jr. made a motion to "journalize the invocation." It was so ordered, and thus preserved for use by future generations. 

The prayer is particularly meaningful as it calls for all citizens to use their gifts and talents for the good of others, while recognizing the diversity which enriches us as a society. 

 Prayer for the City of Baltimore by Rev. Luigi Esposito: 

Father in Heaven, we come to You this evening from the Council Chamber of our
beautiful Charm City and we ask You to bless our City Council members. 
Father, guide their minds with Your wisdom, that they might create laws and programs
which will make a positive difference in the lives of our citizens.

Father, fill their hearts with Your love, the love that is the only force capable of
conquering so many of our social, spiritual, and moral obstacles. And let their
example inspire us all to live a life filled with mutual understanding, with care
and concern for our neighbors, with the ability and the willingness to accept all
differences as cultural and social wealth, which enrich all of us and make our life
a beautiful experience.

Our city is not perfect. Our fellow citizens are conditioned by many human
limitations, but, Father, Your love and Your wisdom can guide us all, City
Councilmembers, civil and religious leaders, and all citizens, to look toward a
future made slightly less imperfect by our combined efforts, efforts which You
alone can bless with success. 

July 18, 2014 09:30
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Golden jubilee for a Baltimore treasure: Celebrating 50 years with Father Luigi Esposito of Our Lady of Pompei Church

Father Luigi "Lou" Esposito looks back over five decades of priesthood and of ministry at Our Lady of Pompei Church
( Erik Zygmont/The Baltimore Guide)

This Saturday marks the golden jubilee of priesthood for one of the unsung heroes of the Archdiocese of Baltimore: Rev. Luigi Esposito. "Father Lou" is also celebrating fifty years of service for the parish community of Our Lady of Pompei in Highlandtown at 3600 Claremont Street.

The parish is having a special Mass of Thanksgiving on July 19 at 4 p.m., followed by an invitation-only dinner.

Members of the parish and the local community are invited to join Father Lou on Sunday for the 10 a.m. Mass. A lunch reception will follow for those who attend in the parish hall at 201 S. Conkling Street.

This week's Catholic Throwback Thursday takes a look back over the years with Father Lou.

Luigi Esposito's First Communion back home in Italy. He hails from Casoria, a province of Naples.  
(Photo: Courtesy of Rev. Luigi Esposito/ The Baltimore Guide 

 Father Lou attended the Vincentian Minor Seminary in Naples, then completed his priestly studies at the Mary Immaculate Seminary and College in Northampton, Pennsylvania.  He was ordained on July 19, 1964.
(Photo: Courtesy of Our Lady of Pompei Church/Joseph DiSeta)


Father Lou celebrates his first Mass in his hometown of Casoria, a province of Naples
(Photo: Courtesy of Our Lady of Pompei Church/Joseph DiSeta)

 Father Lou with Archbishop William D. Borders at his Mass of Installation as pastor of Our Lady of Pompei Church in 1984.
(Photo: Courtesy of Our Lady of Pompei Church)

Father Lou has been an integral part of the sacramental life of the Sobus Family for many years: Seen here with Father Lou at his celebration as new pastor in 1984: (From left) Mary Sobus and her children: Christina, Theresa, and Andrea. 
(Photo: Courtesy of the Sobus Family)

Father Lou has always been involved in efforts for the local community: Seen here at a town meeting with Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro (1906-1994), the First District Baltimore City Councilman who was sometimes referred to as the "unofficial mayor of Highlandtown," and Maryland Senator Joseph S. Bonvegna (1922-1988), who hailed from Baltimore District 46 (House of Delegates 1967-1975, State Senate 1975-1989).  
(Photo: Our Lady of Pompei Church/Joseph DiSeta)

Father Lou welcomed Bishop Madden for his parish visitation to Our Lady of Pompei in August of 2013
(Photo: Our Lady of Pompei Church)

 Holy day festivals (Photos: Our Lady of Pompei Church/Joseph DiSeta)

Father Lou has inspired the people of Highlandtown for 50 years.  
(Photo: Our Lady of Pompei Church)

Father Lou has served as pastor at Our Lady of Pompei since 1984, 20 years after arriving at the parish. This weekend his parish celebrates five decades of great ministry.
(Photo: Courtesy of Rev. Luigi Esposito/ The Baltimore Guide

God bless Father Lou for his many years of service to the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the good people of Our Lady of Pompei Church!!

You are a true inspiration!!

July 17, 2014 12:08
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Music Monday: Inspiring selections from "Les Misérables" in honor of Bastille Day

Fireworks at the Eiffel Tower for July 14 Bastille Day celebrations
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Bastille Day, celebrated annually on July 14, is French National Day. On this date in 1789, troops stormed the Bastille marking the start of the French Revolution.

Bastille Day became a national holiday on July 14, 1880 and is celebrated throughout France, as well as in French communities and major cities all over the world with parades, festivities, and fireworks.

The musical "Les Misérables," based on Victor Hugo novel, tells the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant seeking redemption after serving nineteen years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. In a grace-filled moment, Valjean was inspired by a kind and merciful local bishop to start living a virtuous life in the service of others. The revolutionary backdrop to Jean Valjean's story includes a group of courageous students who make their last stand for freedom at a street barricade. The song "Do You Hear the People Sing?" illustrates their hopes and dreams for the people of France.

The tenth anniversary concert for "Les Misérables" was filmed in October of 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Gavin Taylor, theatre superstar Colm Wilkinson performed the role of Jean Valjean.

"Do You Hear the People Sing/One Day More!"

Joining Wilkinson for the encore were seventeen former Jean Valjeans from seventeen different nations, each singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in native language. The entire anniversary cast joined in at the end with the last verse of "One Day More!"

This video will have you singing and humming all day:

July 14, 2014 11:09
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Catholic Throwback Thursday: A grateful salute to Bishop Mitchell Thomas Rozanski

Join Archbishop Lori this Sunday, July 13 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at 3pm for a Mass of Thanksgiving for the ministry of Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who will be installed next month as the new Bishop of Springfield Mass.

This week we take a look back at just a few of the events in the life of our own Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski in anticipation of the Mass this Sunday, July 13, to honor his years of service here in his home diocese. Pope Francis appointed Bishop Mitchell as the new head of the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts on June 19.

Bishop Mitch responded to this papal appointment with his usual grace and humility:

“It is with deep gratitude to almighty God, to His Holiness, Pope Francis, and to our papal nuncio, Archbishop Vigano, that I accept His Holiness’ appointment to be the bishop of Springfield, Mass... I will remain forever grateful for the privilege to have ministered as priest and bishop in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for nearly 30 years. The formation and guidance that I have received from the dedicated archbishops, bishops, priests, religious men and women and laity of this wonderful Church leave me humbled yet hope-filled in answering the call to be bishop of Springfield...

As we are united in our faith, let us be faithfully united in prayer for one another.”

Bishop Rozanski, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1984 and consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Baltimore in 2004, will follow newly-retired Bishop Timothy McDonnell, 76, as the ninth Bishop of Springfield.

(Photo Archdiocese of Baltimore)

A festive gathering of bishops from the Premier See: From left: Bishop Denis Madden, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, Archbishop William Borders, Cardinal William Keeler, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Bishop William Newman, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski.

(Photo George P. Matysek Jr./ CR Staff)

Bishop Rozanski celebrated Mass at the Church of Our Lady Victorious,  home of the famous "Infant of Prague" statue, during the June, 2011 pilgrimage to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. 

(Photo CNS/Paul Haring)

Bishop of Wilmington W. Francis Malooly (left) meets with former colleague, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, before the opening of January 18, 2012 meeting at the Vatican. Gathered in Rome for "ad limina" visits to report on the status of their dioceses were bishops from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services, and from the Virgin Islands.

Bishop Rozanski prays with the participants and staff members of the High School Leadership Institute at the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks on July 27, 2012.

Baltimore-area Sister-jubilarians are honored by Bishop Rozanski (far left), Cardinal O'Brien (center), and Bishop Madden (far right) after a celebratory Mass in the summer of 2012.
(Photo Baltimore Sun / Noah Scialom)

Bishop Rozanski, assisted by seminarian Josh Laws, blessed the new media center at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in September, 2013.

Bishop Rozanski blesses the new Science Lab at St. Mary's School, Hagerstown.

(Photo Baltimore Sun / Karl Merton Ferron)

Marking the start of the Lenten Season at the Ash Wednesday Vigil Mass on March 4, 2014 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

From left: Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, Deacon Charlie Hiebler, Archbishop William E. Lori (front), Fr. Joseph Marcello (at back), and Bishop Denis J. Madden.

(Photo CNS/Catholic Review/Tom McCarthy Jr.)

Gathering before the Mass to kick off this year's Fortnight for Freedom Mass on June 21 at the Baltimore Basilica.

From left: Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden; Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services; Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and bishop-elect of Springfield, Mass.; and Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley.

(Photo Johanna Coughlin)

Bishop Rozanski celebrates Mass at St. John the Evangelist on July 4 to close the Fortnight for Freedom here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.


Bishop Mitch, we send you off to Springfield with our love and grateful prayers.

You will always be in our hearts here in your hometown of Baltimore!!


Read more about Bishop Rozanski's new assignment as we wish him farewell: 

July 10, 2014 02:31
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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