The beach by the Singer Island, Florida pump house (Photo: From the webcam at the Palm Beach Lake Worth Inlet)
Sharks... Just the mention of the word elicits emotions ranging from fear to excitement to trepidation to intrigue...
They have been in the news many times over the past few weeks. There was a huge buzz surrounding the 40th anniversary of the classic blockbuster movie JAWS, followed by close sightings near the shore line in a number of beach towns, including last weekend in Ocean City, Maryland. Newscasts have also included reports of some serious injuries, with a few beaches even closing down temporarily as sharks came close to the shore as they follow the fish migrations north.
South Florida sightings:
An hour north of our home in Palm Beach County, reef sharks swam so close to shore two weeks ago
that all the beaches in St. Lucie County were closed for the day. It was a huge fright to many vacationing families as this species of shark can grow to ten feet in length.
Check out what all the fuss was about in this 13-second video which shows two reef sharks snuggling close to the water's edge at St. Lucie's Waveland Beach. This video shows just one example of why experts advocate for swimming only at lifeguarded beaches and never going into the surf alone. Watch here on YouTube
An underwater paradise near the Blue Heron Bridge:
Phil Foster Park
is a stone’s throw from our home on Singer Island, located just north of West Palm Beach on the Lake Worth Lagoon of the Intracoastal Waterway. The park's beach, under the famous Blue Heron Bridge, offers easy access to an artificial reef and snorkel trail. The trail, perched just 200 feet offshore in 6 to 12 feet of water, depending on the tides, attracts divers and snorkelers from all over the world. Since Singer Island has the closest proximity to the Gulf Stream, the result is warm turquoise waters, with great visibility, perfect for divers and snorkelers of all ages.
The local scuba community takes pride that the Blue Heron Bridge was named the best dive site in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine in 2013
. The vast array of marine life contributed to that designation. You can dive or snorkel amid stingrays, seahorses, octopus, manatees, sea turtles, lobsters, and countless species of fish, just to name a few.
Shark sculptures ready to be submerged off Phil Foster Park (Photo: Palm Beach Post)
Shark sculptures submerged off Phil Foster Park:
One man is trying to take the fear factor away from sharks with his artistic donation to the snorkel trail. Part-time Palm Beach County resident Thomas McDonald, also of Roanoke, Virginia, is an artist, diver, and underwater photographer. He created three concrete hammerhead sharks, each weighing 1500 pounds, and donated them as the first phase of a underwater sculpture park at the snorkeling trail off Phil Foster Park.
I first heard of McDonald's work when I saw a notice about the shark submersion in the Palm Beach Post (photo above). His plan was to incorporate his love of art and the ocean by creating and donating these concrete replica hammerheads.
Intrigued by the generosity of the artist, as well as the good fortune of local divers and vacationing snorkelers, I headed over to Phil Foster Park with my camera last Friday morning to see the shark sculptures being lowered into the water.
Divers, boaters, swimmers, and paddleboarders were out bright and early near the beach at Phil Foster Park to be among the first to see the hammerhead shark sculptures after they were lowered into place on the snorkel trail. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
Glad that I arrived early, I was able to speak to a number of the people who have vested interests in the future of this area as a lure to the diving community, as well as a new cultural oasis.
On hand to watching the launch of the new sharks were:
(From left:) Victoria Van Dam of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Wendy Puz, Environmental Analyst for the county's Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and Daniel Bates, ERM deputy director; (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
The sculptures, affectionately called the McSharks for artist Thomas McDonald, are five feet long and about thirty inches tall. They were lowered into the water by a crane on a barge during high tide on June 19, and placed into position by Pura Vida Divers, a PADI 5-star dive center located nearby on Singer Island.
(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
Start of an underwater sculpture park:
Daniel Bates, deputy director of the county's Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), watched the process with me from the shoreline, along with his colleague Wendy Puz, and camera crews from all the local West Palm Beach TV stations.
Bates shared with me and the television news crews that the sharks are the first pieces in an underwater sculpture garden along that 800-foot snorkel trail. Citing that there are other underwater sculpture reefs throughout the world, Bates explained that algae and coral will start to grow on these pieces within a few months, then attracting even more marine life. He likened it to an aquarium.
(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
And in turn, more divers will also be attracted to the area, as evidenced by the number who waited to see these sculptures once they were in place. Some families with young children were among the spectators, ready to snorkel over and get their first glimpse of the hammerheads.
(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
Bates noted that the Blue Heron Bridge is a world-renowned location and the Department of Environmental Resources Management wants to keep enhancing it. He praised the vision and generosity of artist Thomas McDonald whose donation was at no cost to the county and local tax payers. As McDonald’s plan came to fruition, there was a growing excitement from both the arts community and from local divers.
Always ready to cover the news on the waterfront is South Florida's own James Wieland, @SurfnWeatherman of WPTV.
After conducting interviews, James dove in and hit the snorkeling trail with his underwater camera to take photos and video footage of the three sharks for the evening broadcast. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
It was so nice to be able to catch up with Baltimore's good friend, Sandra Shaw, formerly of WBAL-TV,
who has been part of WPBF's First Alert Weather Team in West Palm Beach for the past five years.
Sandra did special features on a number of our Catholic schools when she worked for WBAL.
As the sharks were submerged, sculptor Thomas McDonald was underwater in full diving gear watching the placement. Afterwards, he swam to shore and spoke to the news crews and spent a few minutes with me.
Thomas McDonald, sculptor of the three hammerheads and inspiration for the underwater sculpture reef (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
Artist Thomas McDonald laughed as he told me that sharks “bring out a reaction in people… some are afraid of them and many people love that fear a little bit.” He was excited to share his hammerheads, which took four months to make, with those who visit the trail at Phil Foster Park. He donated his time and artistry to Palm Beach County in memory of his father who died in May and who inspired his work. Tom explained that seeing his plan finalized at the start of the Fathers Day weekend meant a great deal to him as he remembered his Dad’s legacy.
A diver for the past thirty years, Tom was intrigued by his first visit to the Blue Heron Bridge and fell in love with the marine life there. He told me that is why he chose this location for the donation of his sculptures as it “is a world class dive site." He added that "the County has been so helpful. I'm grateful for what they have done to make this project a reality today.”
Michael DeLuca, a rising junior at Boca High School, was also happy to be on hand for the submersion of the shark sculptures. He completed his Eagle Scout project there last November, placing two artificial reefs by the snorkel trail.
Michael told me that it "couldn't be a better location" because of the number of divers and tourists in the area. "The hammerheads bring a cool addition... It's great that they have been placed along the trail."
Enjoy these videos of the hammerhead sculptures:
2. This 2-minute video shows local snorkelers with the three shark sculptures, as well as some of the nearby marine life.
Come snorkel with the hammerheads:
Plan a getaway to the West Palm Beach area of South Florida and come snorkel along the trail with the new shark sculptures:
Phil Foster Park is located on the east end of the Blue Heron Bridge (900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, Florida 33404).
The snorkel trail can be accessed by walking under the bridge to the south side of the park, overlooking Peanut Island. The three sharks are straight out, toward the beginning of the trail.
For a few other stories on my adventures in Palm Beach County, Florida:
June 30, 2015 03:29
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Archbishop Lori kicked off the fourth annual Fortnight for Freedom
on Sunday (June 21) at the Baltimore's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the theme "Freedom to Bear Witness" to the truth of the Gospel, the fortnight runs until the Fourth of July with the concluding Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Archbishop Lori, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, has been a leading spokesman for religious freedom. On the day of his installation as Archbishop of Baltimore on May 16, 2012, he advocated for this continuing legacy which is traced back to Archbishop John Carroll:
“We defend religious liberty because we are lovers of every human person, seeing in the face of every man and woman also the face of Christ, who loved us to the very end of his earthly life and who still calls on us to love and serve our neighbor with the same love he has bestowed on us.
“We do this because Archbishop John Carroll’s generation of believers and patriots bequeathed to us a precious legacy that has enabled the Church to worship in freedom, to bear witness to Christ publicly, and to do massive and amazing works of pastoral love, education, and charity in ways that are true to the faith that inspired them in the first place.”
May 16, 2012
July 4th tribute:
Last year, I featured a flashback look with photographs from the first three years of the Fortnight for Freedom on the Fourth of July.
The Fortnight for Freedom started in 2012 and is a two-week period of prayer, education, and action each year from June 21 to July 4. Sponsored by the U.S. Catholic Bishops
, this timeframe was chosen specifically as "the liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power--St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome."
(CNS photo/Leslie E. Kossoff)
O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
June 23, 2015 10:44
By Patti Murphy Dohn
“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.”
School’s out for summer:
The schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area are almost all closed now for the summer break.
The laughter of children is in the air.
Today is the last day for my daughter who teaches third grade at Gunpowder Elementary in Nottingham. Tonight, she and her husband and my adorable 18-month old granddaughter are headed to the beach to start celebrating the joys of summer for a long weekend.
Singer Island, Florida: Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn
Family vacations away:
Family vacations are much-anticipated, with both children and adults alike counting down the days until they are ready to go. Beach, mountains, camping, out-of-state family reunions, plane rides, train rides… The destinations may be different, but the excitement is always tangible.
Singer Island, Florida: Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn
Summer in Florida:
My husband and I had our own adventure last Sunday evening when we headed south on I-95 to spend the summer at our home on Singer Island, near West Palm Beach. Eighteen hours in the car is taxing, and we were glad that the only a chorus of “Are we there yet?” was from Daisy our pug who was ready to stretch her legs outside every five or six hours.
We arrived safely at 2:30 on Monday afternoon, happy and exhausted. By the time we opened up the storm shutters and unpacked the car, we were grateful to be there in time for dinner and the beautiful Florida sunset.
Vacation reality check:
Though summer vacations away from home are highly anticipated, many families are disappointed when the time away does not meet their expectations. A lot of money from the family budget goes into the vacation fund, and if things don't go as planned, it can be a real let-down.
It is our prayer that your summer travels with your families are filled with:
~a disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life,
~peace and harmony among the children and adults alike, and
~the restraint that is necessary to not overspend the budgeted funds.
May your travels result in great memories for all to cherish in the years ahead.
Prayer for travelers:
Before you hit the road or the skyways, take a moment to pray for God’s blessing.
How we’ve waited for this vacation, and now it’s finally here.
Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity to take a break from our daily routines and
to replenish our minds, bodies and souls so that we may better serve You.
Sometimes our expectations for vacations are unrealistic, and we find ourselves disappointed when things don’t go our way.
Help us not to worry about having the ‘perfect’ vacation, but to relax and enjoy every moment, whatever it may bring.
We are grateful for the joys that await us, whether they be the beauty of your creation, recreation with family or friends, or peace and solitude.
Watch over us and protect us as we travel, and brings us safely home again, refreshed and renewed.
June 18, 2015 09:25
By Patti Murphy Dohn
“Happy the man whose words come from the Holy Spirit and not from himself.”
—Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Feast day: June 13
The feast of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of Italy, is celebrated each year on June 13.
Anthony is widely regarded for his intercession in the search for lost or stolen items. The popular "St. Anthony of Padua" children's book, published by Catholic Book Publishing Company in 1984, is subtitled, "The world's best loved saint."
According to oral tradition, Anthony, who was a Franciscan friar, had a book of psalms, one of his most treasured belongings, which contained his notes for teaching young novices. This psalter was stolen by a young man who had left the religious community. Story has it that after Anthony's prayed for its recovery, not only was the psalter returned, but the young man also returned and was accepted back by the Order.
After Anthony's death, people began praying to him to find their lost or stolen items:
“The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
While treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.”
- From the "Responsory of St. Anthony"
Since it was published 17 months ago
, it has not only had thousands of hits from online readers, but it has also elicited dozens of comments and emails from all over the world with requests for prayers, as well as tributes of gratitude to St. Anthony for his successful intercession.
Some stories about St. Anthony's intercession:
~the treasured necklace belonging to one of my former's student's beloved deceased sister;
~the camera and memory card with hundreds of photographs of my friend's newborn grandson;
~a bride's purse filled with all the wedding cards (and money gifts) lost before the newly-married couple departed for their honeymoon and not found for four weeks until the bride's grandmother invoked prayers to St. Anthony;
~a daughter-in-law's lost engagement diamond and a friend's lost honeymoon airline tickets by an old friend who prays to St. Anthony all the time, claiming that "once you say the prayer, you have to stop looking for whatever it is you lost. Turn it over to St. Anthony and let him lead you. He always does!"
~and the story of a former student who has called on Anthony's intercession so often that she considered naming her son after the saint.
Praying for St. Anthony's intercession for lost items:
Over the past year and a half, I have received numerous emails with prayers to St. Anthony to intercede in finding lost or stolen items. Some of the most common request are to locate purses, laptops, keys, wallets, passports, and jewelry, especially wedding rings or heirloom family pieces. Some have surprised me by writing about their love being lost or found!!
"I'm not the type to pray for myself because I sometimes feel like others prayers are of greater priority than mine. So I have take to praying for others. Two weeks ago I lost my wedding band and engagement ring. My husband and I dated for 10 years before getting married and to lose them now, when we just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, breaks my heart. I have turned my house upside down and inside out looking for them. I have also been praying every night since the day I lost them. I hope that someone out there can say a little prayer for me so that I may find them."
~Denise wrote to me on May 27:
Please pray with her to St. Anthony.
Testimonies and gratitude for St. Anthony's intercession:
"I tore apart my office looking for an case file. I couldn't find it anywhere and this could mean my license to practice law if I lost original documents. I prayed and prayed to St. Anthony as I touched every file in the office...nothing. I finally gave up and thought I'd try again tomorrow and see if I could find a different prayer for St. Anthony. As I sat here about to write a prayer on this website, with my foot I gently pushed a small metal box back into its place on the lower shelf of the computer desk. I noticed that underneath my computer desk a brown file folder was peaking out. I asked could this be it? I gently pulled it out and there was the missing file.So my prayer for petition turned into a prayer of gratitude. THANK YOU SO MUCH ST. ANTHONY! You are so good to me."
~From Rose who emailed on June 2
"Just wanted to let you know that after almost a week of praying to St. Anthony for my son’s missing laptop computer, he found it last week on Thursday at school. It turned out a teacher had found it and put it in his desk for safe keeping. We are so grateful to St. Anthony who always helps us when we need him and we can’t thank him enough!"
~From Anna who wrote to me on June 3
"My son had attended a local Catholic elementary school where I volunteered to watch the children during lunch in the cafeteria. One day, I went to put on my disposable food preparation gloves and noticed the diamond in my engagement ring was missing. I was looking everywhere on the floor, and the school receptionist came over to ask me what I was looking for. I told her, and she and the secretary held hands and prayed.
Afterwards, I went home to look and decided to use my vacuum with a piece of old stocking on the head to see if I may have lost it in my bedroom. As I vacuumed I prayed to St. Anthony. I sat on my bed to look through the dust that accumulated on the stocking.
All of a sudden a feeling came over me; I stopped, got up and walked over to a bath towel that was in front of my bedroom sliding door for my dogs’ wet feet. I turned over one corner of the towel and underneath was my diamond. I felt a prickle up my neck.
I immediately called the school and was told that our principal, Sister Anne, over the loud speaker, had just had all the children say a prayer for the lunch mom who lost her diamond. I know deep in my heart that our prayers were heard and answered."
~From Kathy who wrote on May 26
"I want to thank you Saint Anthony for helping me find my car key. I lost my car key, and after hours of looking for it and calling places that would charge me almost $400 for a new one, I finally thought about how there was a prayer to help you find lost items. And so I found this prayer, and after I prayed over and over again, I then took a nap due to the stress of looking for my key all day. Then when I woke up I found my key on the floor in the middle of my step on the stairs inside my house as if he had placed it there!! I am sooo grateful, I even cried because I was so thankful!"
~From Malerie who emailed on May 25
Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?
Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony:
"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints"
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints,
your love for God and Charity for His creatures,
made you worthy, when on earth,
to possess miraculous powers.
Encouraged by this thought,
I implore you to obtain for me (name your request).
O gentle and loving St. Anthony,
whose heart was ever full of human sympathy,
whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus,
who loved to be folded in your arms;
and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.
Have you lost anything and want us to pray with you for St. Anthony's intercession?
June 13, 2015 09:59
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Area schools started dismissing for summer break last week. By next Friday, school children and teens from all parts of Maryland and the Archdiocese of Baltimore should be finished the school year and ready for some rest and relaxation...
And swimming and outdoor play...
And summer camps and trips to the beach…
I can almost taste the snowballs and boardwalk fries, can’t you?
No doubt, the smiles of teachers everywhere are getting bigger and brighter. They are wrapping up report cards and exam grades, covering bulletin boards, and unplugging their classroom electronics.
The start of summer is truly the happiest time of the year for students and teachers. Prayers of gratitude are going up each minute of the day.
Summer prayers and blessings:
Let's put ourselves in the hands of our loving God and pray together
that He will bless all of us and our families
during the wonderful months of summer.
May we make our homes places of relaxation,
joy, love, peace and safety.
May we be generous and considerate,
not thinking only about ourselves,
but helping others enjoy the blessings of the summertime.
Lord God, Creator of all things,
guide our steps and strengthen our hearts
during these months of summer and vacation days.
Grant us refreshment of mind and body.
May we constantly strive to make a meaningful difference
in the lives of our loved ones and in the world around us
as we enjoy the warm days of summertime.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Christ, Teacher and Lord,
Bless all in this school as we seek to end our year
with the grace You so generously provide.
We give thanks for the students and the faculty, the administrators,
and all who have contributed to this year of nurturing and growth.
We affirm all the positive moments:
Of insight, of the excitement of learning,
Of accomplishment, of creativity,
Of laughter, of a sense of community.
We recognize the times of struggle, of difficult work,
Even of failure…
We give these to You for transformation,
So they can become seeds that will find fertile soil.
As we leave for the summer,
May we take with us the knowledge
that You will keep us all in Your embrace
so we may rest and be restored,
And so we can continue in the ongoing discovery of Your Love.
Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn
O God of all beginnings and endings,
We praise and thank You for the gift of this school year.
It has been a time filled with grace and blessings,
With challenges and opportunities,
joys and sorrows.
The days have passed quickly, O Lord.
The weeks, the months, the seasons,
the holidays and holy days,
The exams, vacations, breaks, and assemblies,
All have come forth from Your hand.
While we trust that Your purposes
have always been at work each day,
Sometimes it has seemed difficult to understand and appreciate
Just what You have been up to in our school.
Give us the rest and refreshment we need this summer.
Let our efforts of this past year bear fruit.
Bring all of our plans to a joyful conclusion,
And bless us, according to Your will,
With the fulfillment of our summer hopes and dreams.
Watch over us in the weeks of rest ahead,
And guide each day as You have done this past year.
Help us return to school with a new spirit and a new energy.
May we continue to grow
In age, wisdom, knowledge and grace
All the days of our lives.
Wishing all of you a wonderful summer filled with blessings and God’s grace…
Be safe and enjoy the days ahead of rest and relaxation!!
God is good: All the time!!
June 11, 2015 12:57
By Patti Murphy Dohn
The Stone Chapel at St. Francis de Sales Church, Abingdon (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)
The Church in the United States observed the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi, this past Sunday.
During his homily, Deacon Sullivan encouraged the congregation to honor the gift of the Holy Eucharist by "serving the needs of others in our church ministries, our community, and in the workplace... To espouse a cause that helps the poor and those who are in need of food, clothing, or shelter.” One specific suggestion made by Deacon Sullivan was to consider joining the Knights of Columbus or the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights.
Himself a third degree Knight since 1980 and a fourth degree member for the past ten years, Deacon Sullivan now serves as the associate chaplain for the local council
. He cited the old proverb that "many hands make light work" and noted that when working together, things are accomplished on a much greater scale than if done alone.
The Father Maurice J. Wolfe Council:
Headquartered at Knights Hall there on the grounds of St. Francis de Sales, the Father Maurice J. Wolfe Council #11372
of the Knights of Columbus is involved in many activities in the parish and in the local Abingdon area, including outreach programs, holiday meals and Christmas gifts for local children, Special Olympics events, and providing support for the parish as opportunities arise.
One particular example of their parish support is the upcoming spaghetti dinner that the Knights and Ladies are sponsoring on June 20. All proceeds will go toward alleviating the deficit created this past winter in the snow removal fund.
After Holy Communion, Deacon Sullivan introduced Grand Knight Greg Ward who spoke about the influence of the Knights of Columbus on his early life. He spoke about the presence of the honor guard of the fourth degree Knights at his grandfather's funeral and how much it meant to his grandmother to have their support. He knew that one day he would join their ranks.
More recently, Ward was particularly touched by the Special Olympics ice skaters who were hosted by the Knights for lunch after their competition at nearby Ice World. Their smiles and enthusiasm, as well as the hug of one of the athletes, touched his heart in a powerful way.
Opportunities for continued religious education
and serving those in need were also part of Grand Knight Ward's journey. He shared what he considered the "bottom line" for the Father Wolfe Council: "We raise money to give it away." He spoke of the council's support for the activities of the parish and the local community, as well as on the state level.
Grand Knight Ward proudly shared that their Ladies Auxiliary was voted best in the State of Maryland last year. Women do not need to be married to a knight to join this group.
Fourth degree Knights of the Father Maurice J. Wolfe Council #11372 gather in Ocean City in May for the annual Knights of Columbus convention.
Seen from left: Grand Knight Greg Ward, District Warden Michael Georgulas, Faithful Navigator Keith Arndt, Chancellor Larry Shannahan, and District Deputy Lee Eder. (Photo: Father Maurice J. Wolfe Council #11372)
As I left Mass yesterday, I was flooded with childhood memories of my grandfather and great uncle (his brother) who were active in the Knights in Baltimore City. My family went to so many Knights-sponsored events as I grew up.
Great memories of spiritual, service-oriented, and social occasions are at the heart of the mission of the Knights of Columbus.
Fr. Maurice J. Wolfe (Photo: St. Francis de Sales Church)
Father Maurice J. Wolfe:
The Knights of Columbus Council #11372 was chartered on May 4, 1994, and is named for former pastor Father Maurice J. Wolfe (1918-1984).
Father Wolfe was appointed as the first official pastor of St. Francis de Sales by then-Archbishop Shehan on June 6, 1964 when this former missionary church was raised to parish status by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He oversaw the planning for the 100th anniversary of the original church, now known as the Stone Chapel, which was celebrated on September 25, 1966. Fr. Wolfe served the parishioners for over 20 years until his death on December 11, 1984.
Having moved to Harford County in 1969, I was lucky to know Father Wolfe. He was a kind and caring priest who showed interest in the lives of his parishioners and of those living in the local community. Everyone loved him. He was the heart of Abingdon in so many ways.
(Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)
Father Wolfe is buried in the parish cemetery, closest to the Stone Chapel. On Sunday mornings, I intentionally park up the hill by front of the Stone Chapel so that I walk past his grave on my way to Mass. It is my way of keeping Father's memory alive in my heart.
Mark your calendar:
Meet the Knights and Ladies and see their service in action:
Make plans to attend the spaghetti dinner fundraiser sponsored by Council #11372 on Saturday, June 20 from 4 to 8 pm in the St. Francis de Sales parish center. Take out will be available.
Join the Knights of Columbus:
Membership to the Ladies Auxiliary is open to Catholic women, whether or not one’s spouse is a Knight.
Director Hengemihle can direct inquiries to councils outside of Harford County for those living in other regions.
June 08, 2015 04:48
By Patti Murphy Dohn
"Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference."
--U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
World Environment Day
, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, has been observed annually since 1972 on June 5. It was established to "raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth."
Focusing this year on sustainable consumption and production, the 2015 slogan is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." Dozens of nations across the globe are sponsoring programs and events in their schools and other organizations to promote action plans for taking care of the environment, since embracing more sustainable lifestyles is imperative to our grandchildren's futures.
“By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our way of life. Living well within planetary boundaries is the most promising strategy for ensuring a healthy future.”
--The U.N. Environment Programme
Pope Francis and ecology:
This year's global call to action comes at a perfect time as people around the world await the June 18 release of "Laudato Sii"
(Praised Be You), Pope Francis' encyclical on ecology and the environment. The title was revealed last weekend by the director of the Vatican Publishing House, Fr. Giuseppe Costa, and refers to St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun
Citizens across the globe will be reading this encyclical as they await the Holy Father's September 25th visit to the United Nations to address the Special Summit on Sustainable Development.
“Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: The ‘garden’ in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but to be cultivated and tended with respect.”
--Pope Francis, May 24 homily on the Solemnity of Pentecost
The Green Pope:
Pope Benedict XVI spoke out frequently on our responsibility to care for God's creation, earning him the label the "Green Pope.”
Ave Maria Radio
, an affiliate of EWTN, has published Koenig-Bricker’s “ten commandments" from Pope Benedict XVI.
1. Use, Don’t Abuse
2. Little Less Than A God
3. One For All, All For One
4. It’s Not A Brave New World
5. Gaia Isn’t God
6. What Price Progress?
7. Flowing Like A River
8. We’re All In The Same Boat
9. Discipline Is Not A Four-Letter Word
10. It’s All Gift
How will you observe World Environment Day?
Go, make a difference!!
June 04, 2015 01:30
By Patti Murphy Dohn
June 1 marks the 34th anniversary of the hot meal program at Our Daily Bread. This caring service of Catholic Charities
has been committed since Day 1 to treating the city’s poor with dignity and respect with an eye to a brighter future. The hot meal program opened its doors in 1981 and has never missed a single day. More than 7 million meals later, served over more 12 thousand consecutive days, ODB is a shining star among the programs to assist the poor and hungry in the City of Baltimore.
I led service retreats for a number of years with my John Carroll
sophomores to serve the mid-day meal at Our Daily Bread and learn about the ways their programs are effecting change in the lives of their guests. It was the first time many of the young people had personal contact and conversations with men and women who were in need of food and shelter. Emphasizing the importance of treating all with dignity and compassion, my young students learned to address the guests as ma'am and sir even if they do not address their own parents and grandparents in this manner.
After serving the meal each week, my students were able to hear the witness stories of ODB employees whose lives were transformed when they themselves were guests and how they wanted to give back in gratitude as staff members. A special bond was especially forged with longtime staffer "Mr. John."
Kim of the Class of 2009, then a sophomore, worked with the adult volunteers in the kitchen preparing the plates for distribution in the dining room. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
Kristin, MK, and David of the Class of 2009 worked with Mrs. Evelyn and Mr. John distributing food and assisting the guests with beverages and good cheer in the dining room on April 20, 2007. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
One Bread-One Body-One Baltimore:
To paraphrase the postal service motto, neither sleet, nor blizzard, nor hurricane; Neither riots and unrest in the city, nor a nearby crowded papal gathering can keep the volunteers and staff of Our Daily Bread from serving those who need to be fed.... since 1981!!
Bill McCarthy, the executive director, shared with me many of the ways Catholic Charities of Baltimore is addressing the current needs of city residents in light of the recent unrest and violence:
“We are going to continue what we are currently doing. (Our) services include employment, housing, emergency services, and Head Start. Additionally, we are present in 23 public schools in West Baltimore where we provide training, behavioral heath, and crisis intervention services.
“Second, we are looking to support services that are addressing immediate needs in the community. The pantry programs at St. Gregory the Great and St. Peter Claver are under great stress and the needs at St. Edward’s are great. We have been meeting with pastors and staff and are developing a plan to provide consistent food delivery for pantry and dining programs and a caseworker to help people access resources, including health care, housing, employment, benefits, etc. We are going to explore other ways to help with immediate needs, such as youth programming and summer employment, for example. We will also hope to have a role in the longer term and systemic changes needed in the areas of health care, workforce and economic development, education and housing.”
One by one, thousands were served:
Highlights of how Catholic Charities reduces poverty and improves lives, one program, one project... one person at a time.
By the numbers for the programs of Catholic Charities of Baltimore (FY 2014):
Meals served: 522,126
Transitional and permanent housing placements: 1,328
Employment placements: 577
Assisted with emergency, intake, and case management services: 11,948
Project SERVE hours: 8,848
Total hours served: 176,006
Read more personal stories about the services and those who were served last year here in the annual report.
"...part of the work of the Church in the Baltimore community”
~Msgr. Paul L. Love, who served as basilica rector (1970-1988)
Roots at the Baltimore Basilica:
The hot meal program is an outgrowth of the early days in 1970s when sandwiches were provided for the homeless out of the rectory kitchen at the Basilica of the Assumption. Msgr. Paul L. Love, who died in 1993, served as basilica rector from 1970 until 1988. He advocated for those in need and helped distribute these lunches with the sisters who cooked in the rectory.
By the late 1970s, the need for lunches grew from 20 sandwiches to nearly 200, according to his obituary in The Baltimore Sun
. When area merchants complained that the distribution of food was negatively affecting their businesses, Msgr. Love was quick to explain that feeding the hungry is "part of the work of the Church in the Baltimore community”
and the donation and distribution of sandwiches gave volunteers "a sense of fulfillment in responding to what they consider a worthy cause,"
while "for the passer-by on Charles Street, it is a reminder that there are many people in our community in need.”
“People simply will be fed.”
~Sister Josanna, SSND, founding director of Our Daily Bread
(Joann Margaret Abromaitis, 1944-2005)
Our Daily Bread:
The basilica-based sandwich program grew into the first “Our Daily Bread” which opened in a storefront location on West Franklin Street on June 1, 1981. The first director was Sister Josanna Abromaitis, SSND, a tireless advocate for the poor and homeless and the aunt of two of my former John Carroll students.
Though it has been called the the largest soup kitchen in Maryland, no soup is served during the daily midday meal. Instead, the hot lunch consists of a casserole, vegetable, dessert, and beverage. The casseroles are donated by parishes on a rotating basis.
"Everyone was happy with the homeless as long as they were invisible…
Our Daily Bread had the effect of comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable.”
~Rev. Richard Lawrence, former pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church
In 1991, as the need for food increased, the location moved to Cathedral Street, next to the Basilica. Other services were added over time, leading up to a major construction project and the opening of the new Our Daily Bread Employment Center at 725 Fallsway in 2007.
Our Daily Bread Employment Center, Catholic Charities of Baltimore
Catholic Charities proudly announced, “This new, comprehensive resource center would feed guests as well as help them gain self sufficiency through employment and housing services... For thirty years, Our Daily Bread has exemplified compassion and service to men, women, and children who literally hunger for more and our story will continue as long as there is a need."
“Now with where I’m at, the best thing I’m able to do with my team and my family is give back." ~Ray Rice
Then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice served the daily meal on November 20, 2012, the Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week. He met afterward with the 40 men who lived there on campus as part of the Christopher Place Employment Academy. Also run by Catholic Charities, this program helps formerly homeless men change their lives by building life and employment skills.
Read more about his visit to ODB here.
(Catholic Review photo; Tom McCarthy Jr.)
Archbishop William E. Lori launched a global prayer wave on December 10, 2013 to support the “One human family, food for all” campaign sponsored by Caritas International.
Read more here:
Archbishop Lori returned to serve another hot meal to the guests at Our Daily Bread on June 30 as part of the Fortnight for Freedom.
Read about his visit here.
(Photo: Archdiocese of Baltimore)
Cardinal William H. Keeler shows Pope St. John Paul II around the ODB location next to the basilica immediately following Mass at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It was the Holy Father’s first and only papal visit to Charm City on October 8, 1995. Seventeen guests and staff members were invited to share in the meal. It was noted by one of those guests that Pope John Paul II ate every bite of the creamed chicken casserole, vegetables, and dinner roll that is a favorite of the hot meals served there each day.
Read more about the 1995 Baltimore visit of St. John Paul II here.
Watch a slideshow of photos from The Catholic Review here.
You too can make a difference:
Service opportunities at ODB:
Call the Volunteer hotline at 443.986.9031 to set up a date to serve a hot meal.
Could you bake a casserole?
Contact volunteer manager Kim Kahl at 443-986-9031 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your parish’s casserole coordinator.
Read more about the casserole program here:
(Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn)
My sophomores and I were thrilled to be given a sneak preview tour of the new ODB Employment Center by staff member David after serving the hot meal at the Cathedral Street location on May 14, 2007, just ten days before the dedication ceremonies.
Read about the May 24, 2007 dedication of the Our Daily Bread Employment Center:
Learn about the planning involved in this $15 million project, and the services that were added at that new location:
Go, Make a Difference:
One bread... One body... One Baltimore!
June 02, 2015 12:45
By Patti Murphy Dohn
Photos by Patti Murphy Dohn
It seems as though every year goes by faster and faster…
Now that the John Carroll Class of 2015
, as well as all their senior high school peers across this nation, have finished their studies and are ready to graduate, it is fitting that I share a prayer for them and for all the graduates of the Class of 2015.
Praying for God’s grace and blessings on the Class of 2015:
High School Graduation Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come to you with thankful hearts for all those near and dear to us who are graduating from high school.
We thank you for giving each graduate the talents, abilities and self discipline required for this wonderful accomplishment.
We are grateful to You for providing the teachers, mentors, coaches and youth counselors who have taught them, nurtured them and challenged them along the way.
Now that their minds have been well equipped with the basic knowledge of many different subjects, we pray that their hearts and spirits will also be well equipped for successful living.
Add heavenly wisdom and discernment to their knowledge.
Infuse their ambitions and dreams with Your love.
Help them to desire Your good way for their future.
Remind them that you are only a prayer away when they meet obstacles, heartbreaks and challenges.
May they always be courageous enough to ask for help, advice and support when they need it.
May they never needlessly suffer alone without reaching out to You and to others who care.
As they become independent adults, help them learn the secret of dependence on You.
Give them a desire to know more about You.
May they find you in the Scriptures, in the joy of new love, in the gathering of Your people, in the beauty of Your creation and in the strength of their youth.
And now may Your blessings be theirs as they begin a new life full of joy and promise.
When I was Campus Minister, I invited the members of the junior class during their ring ceremony to place their new high school rings on their fingers with the open end of the embossed design facing toward them. This signified that the student still had more than a year left to learn and take to heart all the traditions of the JC school community and to be ready to represent that legacy as graduates at the end of the following year.
So today, on the graduation day for the Class of 2015, I invite the newest alumni, after receiving their diplomas, to take off their JC ring, turn it around, and place it back on their fingers with the embossed opening facing outward.
This commissions the Class of 2015 to go forward and share with all those they meet along their life-journey the lessons they learned from their John Carroll experience.
Lessons such as:
~Go, make a difference;
~Let your light shine;
~To be “compelling, considerate, and uncompromising,” characteristics which were attributed to our patron, Archbishop John Carroll;
And to always remember:
~In good times and in bad, that God is good... All the time!!
May our loving God richly bless the Class of 2015!!
May 29, 2015 11:09
By Patti Murphy Dohn
His Eminence Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien
Fifty years of blessings:
Today marks a joyous celebration as we honor the anniversary of our much-loved Archbishop Emeritus, who was ordained to the priesthood on this date (May 29) in 1965.
Father Edwin Frederick O’Brien was just 26 years old when he was ordained by the late Cardinal Francis Spellman (1889-1967), who served as the sixth Archbishop of New York from 1939 until his death in 1967.
Last October, I dedicated a pictorial tribute to Cardinal O’Brien’s service to our archdiocese as we recalled his installation as fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore seven years before on October 1, 2007.
By Patti Murphy Dohn
“Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien became the fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore on Oct. 1, 2007.
In the five years that he served as the shepherd of our Premier See and the last two years as our Archbishop Emeritus, now-Cardinal O'Brien has shared some of the most poignant moments of local Church history with us, as well as the recent changes that have impacted the entire Church in our era.
Today... we honor the ministry and continued legacy of Cardinal O’Brien.”
Published in "God is in the Clouds" on October 1, 2014
Blessed anniversary, Your Eminence!!
May 29, 2015 01:12
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By Patti Murphy Dohn