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. and St. Margaret School in Bel Air.

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

She can be reached at:

God is good!! All the time!!


September 2014
August 2014

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Prayer request for my sister who will be doing her thesis defence today. Lord please help her, enlighten her with your wisdom, and give her the fighting will and a stronger heart. I know she's emotionally frail and easily gets down so I am praying for your divine intervention be showered upon her.


Please pray for my dear friend who is taking his final exam today. This will definitely change his life for the better and will bring him stability and peace of mind. I ask in Jesus name, amen.

God is in the clouds

Catholic Throwback Thursday: Celebrating the golden anniversary year at The John Carroll School

Celebrating fifty golden years:

This past Tuesday marked fifty years since the doors opened to admit the first students at Harford County's first and only Catholic secondary school. Known then as John Carroll High School, this new Archdiocesan school, along with Bishop Walsh in Cumberland, were built with funds left over from the $7 million bequest to the Archdiocese from businessman Thomas O'Neill (1849-1919).

His generosity was in thanksgiving for prayers answered which he believed saved his business, O'Neill and Co. Department Store, from the Baltimore Fire of 1904. His bequeath doubled by the 1950s and funded building projects including the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, which was dedicated in 1959 by Archbishop Keough, as well as school and hospital endeavors.

Today we look back at a few of the special events held during this anniversary year:

The year kicked off on September 9, 2013 with a full day of festivities to kick off the anniversary year. Take a look at the great photos from that special day here.


The 2013-2014 school year opened under the theme “Let Your Light Shine!!”


A full school day of Eucharistic Adoration, started with Mass in the early morning, was held on September 6 in the Chapel. Students were invited to share their prayer intentions in baskets placed before the altar.


A beautiful new addition to our campus was the large ornate crucifix on the hill which was installed just in time for our 50th anniversary kick-off celebration. This is thanks to the generosity and stewardship of an alumni family and the Knights of Columbus. 


St. Joseph Hall is the new name of the former convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, whose community served our school for 45 years and which was dedicated for use as a dormitory for male international students on the afternoon of the September 9, 2013 festivities.


The central courtyard with the grotto area devoted to the Blessed Mother is particularly beautiful each fall with the changing color of the leaves. The 50th anniversary logo was proudly displayed last year.


A festive reunion of alumni who were part of our theatre productions was held before the November 16 performance of “Godspell”  in the Brown Room. Delighted to share some quality time were: Debbie Larney-Ruane (left) and Judy Wallace Fritz ’80 (right) with Sister Roseann Treston, SSJ, longtime director of John Carroll theatre productions in the late 1970s and throughout the 80s.


Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz spoke to our JC seniors on February 25 at our annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, sadly marking his last public appearance before his death on March 8.

A delegation of seniors and faculty represented John Carroll at Leo’s funeral at Sol Levinson Chapel on March 11.


Our annual full class Senior Retreat changed locations to Cecil County and was held in March at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland. Seen here, the closing prayer session was held in their chapel to our standing room only crowd.


During our Spring Break, a group of JC students and faculty travelled on pilgrimage to Italy and the Eternal City:

Here the group gathers by the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi.


Three JC students are smiling widely as they pose by the portico at the Basilica of Saint Francis with two Indonesian nuns they met while in Assisi.


A Century of Service:

The three senior women on staff celebrated 100 years of service to the John Carroll community during the 50th anniversary year: From left: Campus Minister Patti Murphy Dohn (33 years), Spanish teacher Jane Michael (33 years), and Math teacher Claudia Reyerson (34 years).


A Golden Gala was held on April 26 in a festively-transformed gym:

Founding principal Dr. Raymond Wanner reminisced on the founding of John Carroll as he spoke on the importance of maintaining the “tradition, pride, and excellence” of our first fifty years as we journey “into the New” (Archbishop John Carroll) with future generation of JC families.  


Founding fathers at the Golden Gala:

Original 1964 faculty members Paul Cashour (Left) with his wife Mary, Bob Templeton (Center) and his wife, gather with Art teacher Frank Kelly (Right) with his wife Susan.


Enjoy this three-minute video with highlights from the Golden Gala produced by Henry Basta, JC Class of 2007. 


Longtime Russian language teacher Ed Miller (left) with his wife Billie raise their thumbs up in approval for a wonderful evening at the Golden Gala with good friend and alum Lieutenant General Mark F. Ramsay, JC Class of 1977, and his wife Patty.


Father Stephen R. Sutton celebrated Mass in our Chapel with a number of our international students on April 23 as we prayed for the victims of the Korean ferry tragedy.


Marking the end of 44 years of Russian language studies at John Carroll, instructor Ed Miller gathers with his final group of senior Russian students on their final day of class before senior final exams.


After our pre-summer closing school Mass, JC juniors who were classmates of Annie McGann Cumpston gather with her family (Top center) to honor the memory of their friend who died in a tragic accident while they were in Kindergarten at St. Margaret School.

The Cumpston Family, who were inspired to build Annie's Playground in Fallston in her memory, also honor Annie each year with the presentation of the scholarship fund established in her name at John Carroll and St. Margaret's. 


Annie on Video:

This heartwarming thirty-minute video on the life of Annie McGann Cumpston was made by her sister Susie as her senior project in June of 2013. Be sure to watch with tissues:


Fun-loving international youth retreat leader, musician, song writer, and speaker Chris Padgett joined us once again for the annual underclass retreat day at John Carroll: Here Chris is joined by a group of freshmen and sophomores. 


Senior Iris Jin was unexpectedly called home to China the week before her high school graduation, so we held an impromptu mini-graduation ceremony just for her. Attended by friends and teachers, Iris was showered with love and prayers as she took leave of John Carroll after receiving the first diploma for the Class of 2014.


The second diploma for the Class of 2014 was presented at the Senior Awards Ceremony on May 28 to the family of Xavia Kieran Borys Pirozzi who passed on to Eternal Life with Christ on March 21, 2012 during her sophomore year. Xavia’s youngest sister Alita is seen at center with their parents, Ralph and Nicolle, and grandmother Joanna Borys, along with five of Xavia’s closest friends on the far left and right. Xavia’s triplet siblings, Adria, Darius, and Ianna, continue family tradition as members of the JC Class of 2017.

Turning sorrow into hope, the Pirozzi Family have established a fund in Xavia's name for the annual photography award at John Carroll. Photography was one of Xavia's passions while a JC student.

Read more about Xavia’s legacy here


The Black and Gold Award is the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior.

Travis Nelson and Kirsten Kyburz were honored to be selected as the recipients for the Class of 2014 during this anniversary year.


The Class of 2014 graduated on Saturday, May 31 after celebrating their Baccalaureate Mass that same morning. They dedicated an anniversary time capsule which will be opened during the school's centennial celebration in 2064. 

The sign at the entrance to the school reminds the graduates of our ongoing love and prayers and the challenge to always let their light shine.

Once a Patriot, always a Patriot!!


The school community gathered on Tuesday to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary with a special Mass, the opening of the 1989 time capsule, and a picnic on the grounds for all students and faculty.

Read more about this special day here.


Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to The John Carroll School!!

Let Your Light Shine!!

September 11, 2014 11:24
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Happy Birthday: The John Carroll School is 50 years old today

The logo for the 50th anniversary year was designed by A Bright Idea 

Today marks the 50th birthday of The John Carroll School in Bel Air. On Sept. 9, 1964, the doors opened to the newly-constructed academic wing to welcome 202 ninth graders to the first (and still only) Catholic high school in Harford County.

 The roots of Catholic secondary education in Bel Air:

This endeavor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore fulfilled the vision of Archbishop Francis Patrick Keough to expand quality Catholic education beyond the environs of Baltimore City. His vision was put into action by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Lawrence Shehan who hired the architectural firm of Thomas L. Gaudreau to design John Carroll High School in Bel Air, as well as Bishop Walsh High School in Cumberland. The archbishop said in his memoir that "it was thought that simultaneous planning and erection of the two would make possible notable economies." John Carroll though opened on schedule in 1964, whereas the construction of Bishop Walsh hit delays, not opening until 1966, due to "the rocky nature of the soil on top of the so-called "Haystack Mountain." (“A Blessing of Years: The Memoirs of Lawrence Cardinal Shehan”)

Marker indicating construction year 1963 at John Carroll  

Cardinal Shehan dedicated the John Carroll High School at the end of its second academic year on Sunday, May 22, 1966. The school had students in grades 9 and 10 at that time, adding an additional grade for each of its first four years.

Starting the 50th anniversary festivities:

Last year the John Carroll school community kicked off the start of the 50th year on Sept. 9, 2013 (the actual 49th birthday) with a huge celebration. The day included an anniversary Mass presided over by Bishop William Newman, with seven priests, a deacon and a seminarian on the altar. 

Seven of the 10 clergy gathering outside the Gym before the Sept. 9, 2013 Mass: (from left: Seminarian (now Deacon) Josh Laws, Deacon Victor Petrosino, Father Alphonse G. Rose (homilist), Bishop William C. Newman, Very Rev. G. Gregory Gay, CM, (JC Class of '71 who is serving his second term as Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, the worldwide Vincentian Order); Monsignor William F. Burke, and Father Stephen R. Sutton (principal celebrant). 

Other concelebrating clergy included: Father Jerry Francik (front left) and Father Doug Kenney (front right). (JC Patriot)

Bishop William C. Newman worked in the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools when John Carroll first opened. During the Anniversary Mass, he used a special blessing that would be repeated on three more special occasions throughout the year.
(JC Patriot)

Among the many special guests were founding principal Dr. Raymond Wanner, several original faculty members, including Father Alphonse G. Rose who gave the homily, and seven Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill whose community served the school for 45 years. Their former convent, now known as St. Joseph's Hall, was dedicated after a festive luncheon that afternoon for use as a dormitory for international students. 

Monsignor G. Michael Schleupner, pastor of St. Margaret Church, blesses St. Joseph Hall for use as an international dormitory. Among those gathered were members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, including Sister Judith Ridley, center, who served on the original faculty and returned years later as vice-principal. (Matt Button | The Aegis)

Several members of the first graduating Class of 1968 attended the Mass and luncheon:

Classmates from the first days of John Carroll: (from left) Kathy Morley Grapski, Lois Townsend Dieter, Charlene Muth Wallbillick and Kathy Crocken Barnes (Photo: Matt Button | The Aegis) 

See more photos:

Read about this historic start of the 50th anniversary year and view the photographs here.

 Coming this Thursday:

Watch for this week's edition of Catholic Throwback Thursday where we will be taking a look back at some of the events of this past 50th anniversary year at John Carroll. 


September 09, 2014 10:20
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Remembering an advocate for peace and nonviolence: Bishop P. Francis Murphy (1933-1999)

Bishop Philip Francis Murphy:

His motto: “To listen to God speaking in human words.” 

Fifteen years ago, the Church of Baltimore lost another native-Maryland shepherd with the death of Bishop Philip Francis Murphy on September 2, 1999. Bishop Frank, as he was known, served our Archdiocese as auxiliary bishop from 1976 until his death, and was widely known a tireless advocate for peace and justice.

The importance of your name:

I remember well this down-to-earth, friendly bishop who spoke on peace and justice issues to my Religion classes at John Carroll. With the same last name, he playfully told everyone that he was my “Uncle Frank.” And I actually did have an Uncle Frank, so we had a lot of laughs.  Names were important to him, and he went out of his way to learn names and to use them often in conversation. It created a connection.

The early years leading to priesthood:

Born on March 25, 1933 in Cumberland to Philip and Kathleen (Huth) Murphy, the future Bishop Murphy was educated at:

  • St. Mary’s School in Cumberland,
  • St. Charles College (high school seminary) in Catonsville,
  • St. Mary’s Seminary Class of 1955 in Roland Park,
  • Followed by studies for his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome (1959). 

While in Rome, Frank Murphy was ordained to the priesthood in the Chapel of the NAC on December 20, 1958 by Bishop Martin J. O’Connor (1900-1986), the American NAC rector (1946-1964) who also served as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (1948-1971).


Fun Fact: Consecrating Bishop Martin J. O’Connor was the associate editor from 1929-1932 for the “Catholic Light,” the newspaper for the Diocese of Scranton.


Home to Baltimore and another stint in Rome:

After his NAC graduation in 1959, Father Murphy came home to be newly-appointed associate at Baltimore’s St. Bernardine Church, as well as Vocation Director at Mount St. Joseph High School in Irvington. When he was reassigned back to Rome three years later, he became the Assistant Vice-Rector at the NAC. There he received the title of Monsignor in 1965, returning afterwards to Baltimore to serve as the new Priest-Secretary to newly-elevated Cardinal Lawrence Shehan, the twelfth Archbishop of Baltimore

Msgr. Murphy went on to become Vice-Chancellor for the Archdiocese (1968), followed by Chancellor of Pastoral Concerns and Vicar for Personnel (1971). He assisted Cardinal Shehan with the implementation of the changes and teachings of Vatican II, including particularly involvement with racial equality for all and with interfaith relations. He was later called “a first generation bishop of Vatican II.”  

Bringing Vatican II to the parishes of the Archdiocese:

After the close of Vatican II, Cardinal Shehan collaborated with Msgr. Murphy (right, seen next to a helicopter at Martin State Airport) and liturgist Fr. Charles K. Riepe (in center, the future principal/president of The John Carroll School), along with Bishop T. Austin Murphy, Msgr. Thomas Mardaga (who later became Bishop of Wilmington) and Msgr. Joseph Gossman (future Bishop of Raleigh), in planning a visitation to all 129 parishes of the archdiocese to celebrate “the new Mass,” followed by a meeting where parishioners could discuss and ask questions about Council decrees and implementations. (Photo: Patti Murphy Dohn Collection)


Fun Fact: One of his Father Frank Murphy’s fondest memories was being among the huge crowds in St. Peter’s Square for the historic opening of the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1963.


Becoming bishop: 

Msgr. Murphy was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore by Pope Paul VI on January 11, 1976 and was ordained to the episcopate on February 29 (Leap Day) by Archbishop William D. Borders, along with co-consecrators Cardinal Shehan and Bishop T. Austin Murphy. He was named Vicar General, as well as Western Vicar, serving Catholics in Howard, Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegheny, and Garrett Counties.

Bishop Murphy is remembered for his passion:

  • Being a strong leader for social justice for all God’s people;
  • Working toward improved relations between Catholics and Jews, and serving on the board for The Interfaith Alliance, a national organization of Christian and Jewish leaders;
  • Co-founding Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland in 1989, which was dedicated to safe housing for the poor of rural Western Maryland;
  • Speaking out against war and the arms race, his proposal that our nation’s bishops look more deeply at the morality of nuclear war led to “The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response,'' the famous pastoral letter (1983); 
  • Serving the National Conference of Catholic Bishops as a member of the Doctrine Committee (1976-1979), Priestly Life & Ministry Committee (1976-1982), Pastoral Research & Practices Committee (1976-1980), Vocations Committee (1977-1980), and became a strong advocate for women while on the Committee on Women in Society and in the Church (1978-1990);
  • Raising controversy: Just as the U.S. bishops were writing a pastoral letter on women in 1992, Bishop Murphy penned an article in Commonweal magazine, condemning the “sin of sexism” and urging for the ordination of women: “because justice demands it.

Other ministries and involvement:  

You will surely recognize Bishop Murphy’s passion for peace and justice, and his commitment to service as you read over the vast array of ministries in which he was involved:

  • Liaison for the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (1976-1980);
  • Advisor to the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (1978-1981);
  • Chaired the Special Task Force on Priest Support Systems (1979);
  • Member of the National Advisory Committee of the Campaign for Human Development (1979-1982);
  • Chaired the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission (1980-1985);
  • Member of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Liaison Committee with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (1983-1988);
  • Member of Pax Christi USA (1981-1999);
  • Member of Bread for the World (1985-1999);
  • Board Member for the Directors of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (1985-1992);
  • Board Member for the Baltimore Institute for Christian/Jewish Studies (1987-1999);
  • Chairperson for Beyond the Boundaries: New Challenges of Faith in Metropolitan Baltimore (1997-1999);
  • Liaison to the Archdiocesan Advisory Committee on AIDS Ministry;
  • Liaison to the Archdiocesan Advisory Committee on Deaf Ministry;
  • Liaison to the Coordinator for Charismatic Renewal;
  • Member of the Maryland Catholic Conference.


Fun Fact: Bishop Murphy became a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in 1996.


Without exaggeration, a masterful tribute to his mentor:

When Cardinal Shehan was undergoing cancer treatment in 1967, fearing that death was imminent, he told Msgr. Murphy, still his priest-secretary: “I wish a simple funeral without any fuss, and I want you to give the homily, but don’t exaggerate!” True to his word, now-Bishop Murphy recalled this request seventeen years later at the Cardinal’s funeral on August 31, 1984, as he recalled their association of almost twenty years without exaggeration:

“He was a man of inexhaustible energy and perennial youth, marvelously typified by his spritely gait. He had the capacity to transcend societal bias and distinctions by accepting the dignity of each person regardless of position or station in life. He was a man of intelligence and wit, reflecting a scholarly bent; a quiet and contemplative man, at home with solitude and reflection but also happy in the company of others; a man who was fully human, about to acknowledge doubts about his adequacy as bishop yet of no uncertain convictions and strength of character; caring for the needs of others; never vindictive, always ready to forgive; a true pontifex—bridge builder—between one person and another, between different groups, between people and God.”  ("The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1994" By: Thomas W. Spalding)

Death comes to the bishop: 

Bishop P. Francis Murphy passed on to Eternal Life at age 66 on September 2, 1999 at Mercy Medical Center after eight months of cancer treatments. His Funeral Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated six days later at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen where he is interred in the crypt.

The Baltimore Sun article on the funeral notes that Bishop Murphy’s brother, Thomas Murphy thanked those gathered for the prayers and support for their family before the Mass began. He then chuckled and quipped that his late brother, who had worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and oppressed, had sent him a message the night before:

“He told me St. Peter appointed him to head up an advocacy group for human rights to help people suffering in hell.”

Bishop Murphy had selected his good friend, Father Robert F. Leavitt, rector of St. Mary’s Seminary and University, to give his eulogy. Citing that the bishop was dedicating to the vision of Vatican II where the Church would engage the real world:

"Not one or two, but many generations will be required to absorb and apply its vision and teaching… Frank Murphy, my friends, belongs to that first, courageous, bold and energetic generation."  (September 8, 1999 Funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen)

Archbishop of Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler called Bishop Murphy "a friend of many years, a priest whose heart brimmed with compassion, a bishop who gave so much of himself in service to God's people.'' 


Bishop Murphy's Funeral Mass was held on September 8, 1999 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

September 04, 2014 11:56
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Thirty years later: Remembering Lawrence Cardinal Shehan and his legacy to the Church and to Baltimore

Omnia in caritate "All things (be done) in charity." (I Cor. 16:14):

The motto of Lawrence Cardinal Shehan (Photo: Archdiocese of Baltimore)

Looking back thirty years:

The summer of 1984 was extremely hot. And I would know, as I was expecting my daughter Meighan. But the overwhelming heat did not keep me and several thousand other faithful Catholics from attending the August 30 Funeral Mass for our beloved shepherd: a role model of staunch faith and a pioneer in the fight for human rights, fair housing, racial equality, Catholic education, and a leader in ground-breaking ecumenical relations.

Cardinal Lawrence Joseph Shehan, the twelfth Archbishop of Baltimore, passed on to Eternal Life on August 26, 1984 at the age of 86. Born in 1898 on Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore City to Thomas P. and Anastasia Dames (Schofield) Shehan, Shehan went to school at St. Ann’s right down the street, before going on to study at St. Charles (high school) College Seminary, St. Mary’s Seminary, and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he was ordained on December 23, 1922 at St. John Lateran Basilica.

I had a particular love for Cardinal Shehan since he had confirmed me, as well as had founded John Carroll School (1964) where I spent 33 years of my career. It was an honor and a privilege to pray with people from every walk of life who honored his memory at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on that bright, sunny day, August 30, 1984.


"Without question, he was a man who was convinced of the mission of the church. His entire life, up to the end, was devoted to having people appreciate the civilizing influence of the church." —Archbishop William D. Borders, the 13th Archbishop of Baltimore

Funeral Mass booklet, alongside “A Blessing of Years: The Memoirs of Lawrence Cardinal Shehan”

Some of the highlights of the Cardinal’s more than six decades of ministry:

1. Parish ministry at St. Patrick Church, Washington, D.C.;

2. Catholic Charities in D.C.: Assistant Director from 1929-36, then Director from 1936-45;

3. Auxiliary Bishop to the archbishop of Baltimore and Washington in 1945;

4. Auxiliary Bishop to the Archbishop of Baltimore in 1947;

5. Named first Bishop of the newly-established Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut by Pope Pius XII (serving from 1953-1961);

6. Twelfth Archbishop of Baltimore (from 1961 until his 1974 retirement);

Archbishop Shehan throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game on Holy Name Night at Memorial Stadium in 1964; Seated to the immediate right is then-Msgr. (later Bishop) Frank Murphy, who served the Archbishop as priest-secretary; On the far right is Father Joseph L. Muth, Jr.; (Photo/ Joseph F. Siwak)

7. Served as a Council Father for all four sessions of Vatican II (1962-1965);

Seen here in St. Peter’s Basilica on November 18, 1965 during a public session of the Second Vatican Council (Photo: AP/Gianni Foggia)


Seen here in Rome after one of the Vatican II sessions, Cardinal Shehan, an unidentified monsignor, and Rev. James Laubacher, S.S., who served as "peritus" (expert) to Cardinal Shehan, meet with the Holy Father. (Photo: Society of Saint Sulpice)

8. Elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1965; Was the second cardinal in our Premier See following Cardinal James Gibbons;

Cardinal Shehan’s Cappa Magna (great cape) is on permanent display in the museum room on the lower level of the Baltimore Basilica (Photo: Cardinal Seán's Blog)

9. Became Archbishop-Emeritus in 1974, continuing to live at the Basilica and celebrating early morning Mass there every day until his illness in 1984;

Last official duty before retirement: While serving as papal legate for Pope Paul VI to the 40th Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne, Australia in 1973, Cardinal Shehan presided over an Aboriginal Mass attended by almost 30,000. This liturgy 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.” (Photo: MDHC Archdiocese of Melbourne)

10. The final resting spot for Cardinal Shehan is the crypt of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

Did you know?...

A. Cardinal Shehan ordered the desegregation of all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1962, and mandated that administrators at all Catholic hospitals and institutions abide by a strict practice of nondiscrimination.

B. A champion for equal rights and harmonious race relations, he issued a pastoral letter Racial Justice (italics) in March of 1963, stating that "discrimination has no place in the Church."

C. Five months later, Cardinal Shehan participated in the March on Washington (August 28, 1963) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"In his work with the Bishop’s Conference, Cardinal Shehan was instrumental in shaping the rules and the changes for the diaconate that enabled African Americans to become deacons." —Charles Tildon, appointed by Cardinal Shehan as the first chair of the Archdiocesan Urban Commission in 1966

D. Cardinal Shehan joined other bishops in appealing to the Supreme Court in 1967 to overturn bans on interracial marriages.

E. A leader in ecumenism from 1962, he was appointed by Pope Paul VI to the Vatican Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity, and was named to represent the Holy Father at meetings with the Orthodox Church, which resulted in the lifting of the mutual excommunication made between Rome and Constantinople in 1054. (Cardinal Shehan also established this country’s first Commission for Christian Unity.)

Cardinal Augustin Bea, SJ (1881-1968), the first president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, visited Baltimore in 1963. A noted biblical scholar and ecumenist, he worked with Cardinal Shehan on Jewish and Christian relations both during and after the Second Vatican Council. Seen here with Cardinal Shehan at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (Archives Photo)

F. He spoke out regularly against the Vietnam War, which he called ( "uncontrolled violence and senseless wholesale destruction of human life and moral values." He reiterated in 1971, ''It is a scandal the Christian conscience can no longer endure.''

G. He was unable to participate in the 1978 conclave due to the new changes implemented by Pope Paul VI that a cardinal over the age of 80 was ineligible to vote.

''I wish to assure you of my spiritual closeness at this time.'' —Part of a telegram sent by Pope John Paul II the week before Cardinal Shehan’s death; Seen here greeting the newly-elected Pope John Paul II after the 1978 conclave (Photo: Pontificia Fotografica Felici)


Celebrating St. Joseph’s Day at St. Martin Home for the Aged in 1974; The adorable little one, now grown up with a family of her own, is Megan Wheltle. (Photo: "A Blessing of Years," University of Notre Dame Press)


Short in stature, Cardinal Shehan often joked about his height. According to a New York Times article published upon his death:

“Once when asked about his success as a fund raiser, he quoted ''Shehan's Law'': ''The smaller the individual, the more likely he is to receive help from others.''


Senator Edward Kennedy visits Cardinal Shehan, retired Archbishop, on May 11, 1980 while in Baltimore on his presidential campaign trip. (Photo: AP/William Smith)


Cardinal Shehan School in Northwood celebrated their 25th anniversary last year with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lori on September 23, 2013: (Photo: Tom McCathy, Jr./ Catholic Review)

Archbishop Lori spoke of Cardinal Shehan during his homily: “He was a great friend of everyone... a great peacemaker in our community back in his day. We’ve gathered to celebrate a Mass to pray for peace and I know that all of you want a very peaceful, beautiful world.”


Celebrating our 225th Anniversary:

As the Archdiocese of Baltimore celebrates this special anniversary year, may we always remember the legacy of this faithful shepherd who loved the Lord and His Church. May his example inspire us to live our lives standing up for peace and justice for all God's people.


Lawrence Cardinal Shehan (1898-1984)

(Photo: Catholic Review Archives)

August 28, 2014 01:55
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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

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