Patti Murphy Dohn retired in 2014 after 33 years 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 has served the school community since 1981. Presently, she is working on archiving the school's history and doing bereavement outreach.  

Patti was awarded the Medal of Honor in Youth and Young Adult Ministry by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2012. She 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 and the Associated Church Press. She is available for speaking engagements, consulting, and retreat work.

Patti and her husband George split their time between their homes in Bel Air, Maryland and Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida.

Email: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com

Twitter: @JCSMinistry

Facebook: Patti Murphy Dohn

God is good!! All the time!!

 

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I was so happy to find a book that I borrowed from my neighbor. I searched high and low for 2 hrs. and then right before I was to go and visit her, in desperation, I prayed out to St. Anthony and then I found the book about 20 minutes later. Thank you, St. Anthony.

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Such a nice post about Father Carr, Patti!

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God is in the clouds

Think outside the box: Creative suggestions for a more spiritual Lent




As always, time is flying by. The circle of the liturgical calendar, like the circle of life, keeps moving forward. No sooner than the Christmas decorations have been put away, the green of Ordinary Time made a brief appearance, only to be replaced tomorrow by purple. 

Yes, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the start to the Lenten season of prayer and repentance. We are called anew to put our faith first and focus on making right all that holds us back from a life of God’s grace. And this Jubilee Year of Mercy is the perfect time to consider taking a deeper look at our spiritual lives.

Make a personal plan for Lent:

Three years ago, before I retired as the Campus Minister at John Carroll, I challenged my students and faculty to think outside the box in planning for a more spiritual Lent. You too can have a more spiritual 40-day journey if you observe this sacred season with a heart committed to renewal.

Today I’m offering another look at the 25 suggestions I gave the John Carroll community for a more spiritual Lent.

Some of my suggestions come from Lifeteen, while others are traditional or from my own reflections. Maybe you will find something in this list of ideas to adopt to make your observance of Lent richer this year. Many involve some level of sacrifice from comfort or luxury to an experience of solidarity with those who have far less than we have. 


25 Suggestions for a more spiritual Lent: 
 
Part I: Give it up!

1. For generations, Catholics and other Christians have given up desserts, snacks, and soft drinks for the 40-days of Lent. If you do this, donate the money you save from abstaining from these items and from avoiding snack-stops at places like Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks to the poor box at your parish or send a donation to Catholic Relief Services.  

2. Give up all drinks, except for water, in solidarity with those who cannot afford coffee and specialty drinks. There are many people in the world who do not have clean water. Catholic Relief Services teaches how we can make a difference. Click on this link to learn more.  

3. The Church teaches us that fasting should be as a big part of our Lenten practice, especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Perhaps you might consider fasting more often. Limiting the number of meals, eating only basic food items, and staying away from alcohol might be part of your considerations. 

Coupled with prayer, fasting is an amazing spiritual experience. Saint Francis De Sales taught, "If you are able to fast, you will do well to observe some days beyond what are ordered by the Church."

And Saint Alphonsus Liguori said,  "God has given us the goods of the earth, not only that we may enjoy them, but also that we may have the means of ... showing Him our love by the voluntary renunciation of His gifts, and by the oblation of them to His glory. To abandon, for God’s sake, all worldly enjoyments, has always been the practice of holy souls."

4. We know that the Church also teaches us to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent and on Ash Wednesday. Many of us remember when all Fridays were meatless days before 1966. One of my daughters gave up meat for the entire 40 days of Lent when she was in college and found that it not only made her more health-conscious, since she is not a vegetarian, but it also gave her a better understanding of what the poor go through when there is not enough money to spend on burgers, chicken breasts, and steaks for their families. Meal planning is a constant reminder of what you are doing for Lent and why. 

Do you think you could you give up meat for all the days of Lent? 

5. Don't wear shoes, except for work and school, in honor of those who have no shoes from poor countries.  A John Carroll grad from the Class of 2011 did her Senior Project on the Toms program "One Day Without Shoes." It made such an impact that Ellen took her efforts with her to college and sponsored this program at High Point University. 

6. Give up Facebook and other social media in order to nurture relationships through more personal face-to-face communications. Some young people agree that they waste a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram that could be better spent on their studies. Their teachers and parents would support this effort, I am confident.

7. Give up listening to music in the car in order to be more in tune with God's presence in the silence and to appreciate His creation while driving. (See number 22.) 

8. Though not for everyone, consider giving up the use of hot water in the shower to live in solidarity with those who have little to no water and have not ever had the luxury of a relaxing hot shower.

9. Again not for everyone, could you give up the use of your bed? I have read about some who have chosen to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags, while others close to sleep on the sofa each night instead. 

I also read about a young person from wintery Canada who not only gave up his bed for the 40 days of Lent, but he slept outside in a tent in solidarity with the homeless and wrote about it in his daily blog.

10. Can’t give up your bed? Maybe you might consider giving up your pillow for Lent to experience discomfort in solidarity with those who have no pillows in so many places in our world.

11. Could you give up the complete use of your cell phone and its apps and text-messaging? Just use your cell in case of emergency? No checking email, Facebook, playing games, taking photos, and so on? This would definitely be a challenge for those of us with smart phones.

12. How about giving up video games? Our young people especially might find this challenging. Replace the time spent on games in other productive ways: studying, quality family time, working on a project around the house, and so on.

13. Not a morning person? Try giving up the snooze button on your alarm clock to be better-disciplined. Practice makes perfect.

14.  Ladies, could you give up using make-up? Let your natural beauty, both internal and external, shine out!

15. How about giving up watching television and movies for this sacred season? Replace that viewing with activities that are more meaningful.

16. Music is such a big part of the culture in which we live, consider giving up your favorite playlists on your iPod and listen only to Christian music. There are lots of varieties available, including Christian rock. 

When we allow spiritual music to become an “earworm,” running continually through your mind, it becomes a time of prayer.


Part II: Go for it!

Most of my suggestions above have involved some level of sacrifice. 
Below, I will give some ideas for proactive ways to spend Lent:

17. Improve your spirit of giving by doing random acts of kindness. I noticed this trend after the tragic deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary.  

People did random acts of kindness in honor of those who were killed. (Some of the ideas listed on this blog brought tears to my eyes.)

If you have ever had someone pay your toll at a bridge or pick up your lunch tab at a restaurant, you know that it was unexpected and made you smile. Pass on the goodness with which you have been blessed by doing spontaneous random acts of kindness.  

18. In the same manner, schedule some volunteer hours at your local soup kitchen, food pantry, and other hands-on charitable organizations. Consider serving the daily hot meal at Catholic Charities' Our Daily Bread

19. Give thanks: 
Make a list of 40 persons who have touched your life in a meaningful way and write a note of thanks to one of them each day of Lent. Let them know the impact they have made on your life. 

People of all ages could do this and enjoy this reflection on good memories and gratitude for all the people on their list. The recipients will be overjoyed with the results. Just ask any teacher who has ever had a grateful note from a former student. Priceless.

20. Do you talk a lot? Maybe for Lent, you will try to be a better listener and tune into the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of those around you instead. 
 
Can't stop talking? Make a few visits to elderly at the local assisted living facility or nursing home. So many of our elderly yearn for companionship.

21. Examine your gifts and talents… Then pass it on. 
I often challenged my students in this manner: If you do well in Math, help tutor someone who is having a tough time. Play a musical instrument? Then encourage another person who is interested in learning and give them lessons. Talented in your sport? Show another person how to better their athletic skills. Are you super-organized? Help another person straighten out their locker and binder, and get them on a better path for academic success. 

There are a multitude of ways to pass on your God-given gifts and talents to those around you.

Prayer, Mass, and Reconciliation:

22. Saint Louis De Monfort said, "The Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God." Pray the rosary for the special intentions of a different friend or family member each day of Lent. Some say that it takes thirty days to form a habit. What better habit to form than praying the rosary? Think you don't have enough time? Try praying the rosary while you drive. (See number 7.)
 
Think of the wisdom of Pope Saint Pius X: "Of all prayers, the rosary is the most beautiful and the richest in graces.... Therefore, love the Rosary and recite it every day with devotion: This is the testament which I leave unto you so that you may remember me by it." 

Print out this rosary guide to help you with the mysteries and prayers, if needed.  

23. Consider going to Mass more often during Lent. Our parishes see a greater number of people attending daily morning (or lunch hour, where available) Masses during both Advent and Lent. 

The Mass aids that are available are a wonderful way to enter more deeply into the liturgical celebration during all seasons of the Church Year. Many of us carried our personal missals or breviaries with us to Mass. Now there are many other options available to enhance your experience of worship. 

I have subscribed to "Magnificat" since it first came out almost fifteen years ago. It not only includes the readings and prayers for daily Mass, but also has morning and evening prayer, writings of the saints, and information on each holy day or patron saint. 

Five years ago, another similar Mass aid, "Give Us This Day," was offered by Liturgical Press. My husband gave me a two-year subscription for Christmas a few years ago. I used both prayer books  for personal and school use. Each softbound volume is filled with excellent helps to assist us during both prayer time and Mass. 

And both companies offer a free sample, as well as online options and apps for your smart phones and iPads. 

24.  Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this sacred season. The Archdiocese of Baltimore started a wonderful program in 2011 called “The Light is on for You” to encourage Catholics to reconnect with the sacrament during Lent. 

This link from the U.S. Catholic Bishops has some great resources and guides for preparing to celebrate this wonderful sacrament of spiritual healing and renewal. 


25. Let’s leave this last idea open-ended and unspoken:
You know yourself better than anyone else. You know what you need to do to put God first and to honor and help those around you. You know what you could do to better the condition of those who are less-fortunate. And only you know best if you need to re-prioritize your life.

Take some time to think and make an age-appropriate personal plan and put that plan into action on Ash Wednesday. 

In the end:

You will be a better person for making the time and effort to get closer to God through your sacrifices and works of mercy.

Always remember, if you don’t succeed in sticking to your plan each day, don’t give up as one might abandon a New Year’s resolution. Just put your best foot forward the next day and try again. 

I have had some students and colleagues tell me over the years that they forgot about no-meat on Friday. I tell them not to panic, rather try to stay away from meat on Saturday that week and try to remember the following Friday.

The Church advocates all Fridays as special days of sacrifice in union with our Lord's ultimate sacrifice for us on Good Friday. We are taught that all Fridays should be days of prayer and sacrifice year-round. The U.S. Bishops Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence is a great read. 

God loves our efforts to be better and holier people. I am certain that He will give us the grace we need to be more faithful to Him in all areas of our lives during Lent and all the sacred seasons of the Church Year.
 
Never forget: God is good… All the Time!

February 09, 2016 11:16
By Patti Murphy Dohn


On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Calling on Saint Medard: Prayer to the patron saint of bad storms



Once again, our family and friends along the east coast are in the calm before the storm... a huge snowstorm which meteorologists are calling Jonas. 

With blizzard warnings and school closings pinging alerts to my cell phone, my husband and I share the worry with our family back in Maryland as the hours tick down to the arrival of this huge storm. 


Praying to Saint Medard:

It's time once again to call upon the intercession of Saint Medard, the sixth-century bishop, preacher, and missionary, whose feast is observed on June 8. He is the patron saint for protection from bad storms. 

According to legend, as a child, Medard was once sheltered from the driving rain by an eagle hovering over him.  





The last time I wrote about praying to Saint Medard was two years ago in February of 2014 as Winter Storm Pax was making its way to the east coast. It dumped more than a foot of snow on the Baltimore area.

As we get closer to the start of winter storm Jonas, let us again call upon the intercession of Saint Medard to keep our loved ones safe and to protect all those who are in need of shelter and warmth.


Prayer to Saint Medard:


Saint Medard, patron saint for protection against bad storms,
we ask you to intercede for us during the storms of our lives as well as the storms in nature.

Protect our families and our homes.

We pray for assistance for the victims of snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, especially for the upcoming snowstorm that is headed our way this weekend.

Loving God, send in more helpers, and multiply resources and supplies for the aid of those in need.

You calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee; deliver us from the storms that are raging around us now.

Saint Medard, pray for us.

Amen.


January 22, 2016 12:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Another tribute to the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony: Patron saint of lost items



Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)


My Facebook memories “On this day” reminded me that it was two years ago when I first called for shared stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding lost and stolen items.

Many Catholics recall the familiar jingle used to call upon his assistance:

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around:
Something is lost and needs to be found!”


When I published my first tribute to his intercession in January of 2014, I had no idea that it would bring about so much interest. I included a number of stories about items found through Saint Anthony’s intercession, as well as the prayer so often used by those who seek his aid, “Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony.”

My first tribute has had thousands of readers over the past 24 months. And I have received more than three thousand emails from people all over the world both calling for prayers for items they have lost or had stolen, as well as testimonies and words of thanks for Saint Anthony's intercession for items found. 

The most common requests come from those seeking prayers for things lost, usually of great value, both sentimental and monetary. This includes lost jewelry, purses, laptops, keys, wallets, and passports. 

The stories of items found and credited to Saint Anthony’s intercession have been fascinating. I had received so many stories of gratitude that I published a follow-up on his feast day of June 13


A new testimony to Saint Anthony: A wintery lost and found story:

Just last week I received an email from Stacey Sheets of Stevens Point, Wisconsin with a shout-out to Saint Anthony:

“I have an amazing Saint Anthony story for you!  

I lost my wedding and engagements rings this past Monday. I was pretty sure I had left them at the gym that I belong to. As soon as I realized it, I went back to the gym and searched everywhere for my rings, including the parking lot.  

To explain, I usually take off my rings and put them in my coat pocket there.  
No luck, I couldn't find them.  We live in Wisconsin and that afternoon we were hit by a big snowstorm, about eight inches of snow.  

I looked everywhere, I even went back to the store I had gone to on Sunday thinking maybe I had lost my rings there.  

After a while, I just could not remember when I last had my rings on. So I just started looking everywhere imaginable, even my ice box in the freezer.

I told the ladies at the gym yesterday what had happened, and one of them said to me "Say a prayer to Saint Anthony"  and I said "No, isn't it Saint Jude?"  

I had been praying to Saint Jude, but I decided to google Saint Anthony and I found your website. I started praying to Saint Anthony yesterday evening, into the night and first thing this morning.  

And can you believe what happened?  I got a call at 12:45 today that a Good Samaritan had found my rings buried in the ice outside in the parking lot, even after snow plows went through!!  

I sincerely believe that it was Saint Anthony who made it possible for my rings to be found.  My little boy was with me when I got the phone call that my rings had been found. I have explained to him that miracles do really happen and that there are good people in the world.  

I am so glad that I found your website.  I just can't believe that in less than 24 hours after looking on your website, I am writing you a letter with my rings back on my hand!

Sincerely,

Stacey Sheets


(Photo courtesy of Stacey Sheets)


Gratitude:

I was so thrilled for Stacey and her family when I read this email. What an amazing story of her rings being found in the ice after that big snowstorm!

I had initially thought that her email was from a young woman with the same name who went to school with my children in the 1980’s at Saint Margaret’s in Bel Air.

Stacey and I emailed back and forth several times. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is a parishioner at Saint Bronislava Catholic Church in Plover, Wisconsin. She was happy to have her story shared in one of my "God is in the Clouds" follow-ups about the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony.

Stacey told me, “I am still in awe of what happened, I just can't stop smiling!”

I cannot stop smiling either! 


Thanks, Saint Anthony, for coming around.
Something was lost and now it has been found!

God is good… All the time.
Amen.

——-

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 (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.
 Amen.

——-



Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?

Email your stories to me at: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


Read more on St. Anthony's intercession: 





January 19, 2016 01:07
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Remembering Father Brendan T. Carr and the three most important rules of life



I just posted this 2011 memory-photo on Facebook on November 29, 2015:

Four years ago today at Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House: 
"Junior Retreat closing Mass today with the fantastic Father Brendan Carr!!"
(Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)


I was overcome with sadness when I learned Monday afternoon of the death of Father Brendan Carr, a good and holy retired Baltimore priest. Holy Trinity Church’s Youth Ministry had announced Father Carr's death on Facebook. 

He was a beloved priest who impacted the hearts and lives of people of all ages.
Father Carr could have been the “poster priest’ for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“They poured out their hearts to him”

Father Carr had joined me and my John Carroll students on our junior retreats in 2011-2012, celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation and their class Mass at the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, Maryland. 

He was one of the most effective priests that I ever worked with in my 30+ years of retreat work. Youth were drawn to him. They poured out their hearts to him. They waited hours to have him hear their confessions. 

Father Carr's true kindness and grandfatherly approach with my students, along with the twinkle in his kind Irish eyes, led to four hours of confessions and a joyful celebration of the liturgy each and every retreat. 

Taking a personal interest in each student:

I remember the first time that Father Carr joined us. My morning retreat session included a two-hour slot for confessions and Mass, the scheduled timing based on past experiences. After I led a prayerful examination of conscience, Father Carr spoke a few words of gentle encouragement to my students and went back to the the small Reconciliation room. 

When the first student came back into the Chapel after her confession, she was smiling ear to ear with joy. The other students looked at her with open mouths. She exclaimed, "He is so cool. And he asked me about my dog!” 

That sealed the deal... Students went to confession one by one for four hours. I had never had such a strong response for the sacrament. Father Carr took such a personal interest in my students. They, in turn, responded and God worked with His amazing grace, as He always does.

We were late for the 12:15 lunch that day, and the ladies in the dining room were concerned about what was going on. And we had not even had Mass yet! 

This required some quick reworking of the schedule and the need to start our lunch without the full group present.

His calling within a calling:

Father Carr joined us in the dining room about 50 minutes later after hearing the confessions of all those waiting in the Chapel. He reminisced with me about his days as a Christian brother in both Pittsburgh and at Calvert Hall, where we had several mutual brother-friends over the years, now departed. 

He spoke also of the joy of having his “calling within a calling,” serving God as a religious brother before heeding the call in 1972 to be ordained a diocesan priest. Father Carr’s impact on young people began in the schools and continued in parishes and during youth retreats. Father explained that he always enjoyed helping his close friend Father Tom Ryan who served as chaplain at Towson Newman Center and at Archbishop Spalding.  

The three most important rules of life:

The most powerful message that Father Carr left with my students, one that I'll never forget, was included in his homily. He gently challenged my students, imploring them to never forget the three most important rules of life:

Holding up his index finger, he said "Be kind." 

Then holding up his second finger, he said “Be kind." 

Immediately followed by three fingers held up, he said, "And... Be kind.”
 
Indeed, that simple and powerful message always made an impression on everyone who was present in that Chapel. 

Our first Mass with the new Roman Missal:

By the way, Father Carr was the priest who first celebrated Mass with us using the new Roman Missal in 2011. It was Monday of the First Week in Advent and the new Missal had just been implemented that weekend. 

Father kept apologizing to my students for not making more eye contact with them, since he had to read the new Eucharistic Prayers and turn the unfamiliar ribbon-lined pages. My students were quick to smile and put at ease the priest who had captured their hearts.

Memorial candle in the Retreat House Chapel:

When I learned of Father Carr’s death on Monday, I immediately texted my dear friend and retreat colleague Kellie Reynolds of St Stephen Church, Bradshaw. 

And where was she? 
At the Msgr. O’Dwyer Retreat House! God’s timing is impeccable.

Kellie lit a candle for me and my now-alumni students in the O’Dwyer Chapel, in memory of Father Carr and in honor of the huge impact he had on my students during their retreats. He was a wonderful priest and touched the hearts of so many youth on retreats from parishes and schools around the Archdiocese.



In loving memory of Father Carr:
Photo by Kellie Reynolds at the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House Chapel


Remembering Father Carr:

"Father Carr was so sweet. He made every single person on retreat feel important and really wanted to know about us."

—Courtney Wilson, John Carroll Class of 2013

---

“I’m so sad to hear of Father Carr’s death. He was awesome! I was the one who went to confession first that day, and he was so cool and down to earth. I remember how he took his time and was very interested in each of us. He was so nice, making my confession time feel very comfortable and relaxed. He will be missed.”

—Sierra Fica, John Carroll Class of 2013

---

"I remember Father Carr also came to the rescue for us during an APYM (Association of Professional Youth Ministers/ Archdiocese of Baltimore) meeting day. I think our scheduled priest got sick. Father Carr was always so easy going and would go with the flow! He always had a smile on his face."

—Kellie Reynolds of St. Stephen Church, Bradshaw, recalling Father Carr's ongoing kindness



Funeral arrangements:

Father Carr will lie in state at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Glen Burnie, on Monday, January 18 from 3:00 pm until 6:30 pm, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 7:00 pm. 

Contributions can be made in Father Carr's memory to Archbishop Spalding High School, 8080 New Cut Road, Severn, MD. 21144;

OR:

Friends of Animals, 777 Post Road, Suite 205, Darien, CT. 06820.

God rest him!
May the angels and saints lead Father Brendan Carr into Paradise.
Amen.

January 14, 2016 12:46
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Remembering Joe Hughes: A man for others, for family, and for Harford County 


After a long battle with illness, Joseph John Hughes of Bel Air went Home to Our Lord on Christmas Eve.

It was the day before his wife Germaine’s Christmas birthday.


And as I think of Joe coming into the Nearer Presence of the Lord, an image comes to my mind, from Luke’s Gospel account of the Infancy Narratives: Joe singing and praising God as he did here on earth: 


“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)



Who was Joe Hughes?


If you did a Google search, you would find tens of thousands of men named Joseph Hughes in the United States. But if you are from old-time Bel Air, Maryland, you know there is only one Joe Hughes... (Except for his oldest son, of course!)


Joe was a husband, father, and grandfather, a friend and confidante to many, and an Irishman. He was a good and holy man, with a great sense of humor…  And he was an incredible model of faith and hope to all who had the pleasure of meeting him.



Germaine Hughes, a gifted artist, painted this portrait of her husband a few years ago.


Their son Joe Hughes, a 1994 graduate of The John Carroll School, reflects:


“Our Mom painted it a few years ago after one of Dad’s recoveries from a stroke. 

It hangs in the Family Room on the fireplace mantle where we all gather when we visit. 


“Their dog’s name was "Buddy" and they were pals.  Buddy would love to sit with Dad as he watched the ball games. A great companion.


“I love how Mom used her gift of art to honor her husband. She was so devoted to her marriage and her vows to love and honor him in many different roles over her life.” 

 


He impacted thousands of lives: 


Joe was a gift to anyone who was touched by his work as teacher and counselor in the Harford County Public Schools, at Harford Community College, in the religious education programs at St. Margaret’s, through the local Habitat for Humanity, and as a coach for Harford County Parks and Recreation.


Over and over, we have heard and read stories from people who were touched by Joe. The common theme was that he always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world when you spoke to him. And, indeed, to him, you were.


A former priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Joe lived out the grace of his Holy Orders for the last four decades by doing the corporal works of mercy. He touched people’s lives in a quiet manner, without drawing attention to himself, humble through and through. And he never brought attention to the health challenges that he endured for many years.


Joe was the face of Mercy to many as he prayed with those who were on the last leg of their journey Home to God in his hospital ministry at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. He led prayer services at Bright View Assisted Living in Bel Air. And he sang joyfully with the men of "The Irishman's Chorale," the group that honored him back by singing at his funeral.



Joe’s influence on my life:


Active in my faith as a teen, I met Joe and Germaine back in the early ‘70s when they moved to Bel Air and became parishioners at St. Margaret Church. I saw them regularly at Mass, retreats, and special parish events. Joe’s sense of humor and the warmth of his greeting made me feel important as part of the parish community as a young person. 


When it was time for me to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation as a junior, Joe was my group’s teacher. Always affirming and uplifting, he told me that I could have taught the class. Of course, those words led to my increased involvement in the sharing and discussions with those in my small group, many of whom were not thrilled about having to attend a church class on a school night.


Over the years, Joe became a dear friend and Germaine was always the face of kindness. Their children attended St. Margaret School and John Carroll where I taught and served as Campus Minister. The Hughes Family was always a joy to encounter. They made you smile. That was part of the grace of the vocation of marriage that was shared by Joe and Germaine over their 42 years together.



Reflections from the Funeral Mass:


During the eulogy last Tuesday, Jack Hughes from Philadelphia spoke of his older brother:


“My brother was a true man for others. Joe had our mother’s compassion and empathy. She taught us to never judge a person because you never know what they are going through. And he had our Dad’s sense of humor…


“The greatest tribute we can give Joe now is to live our lives well. He was my brother, father, friend, confessor, and now he's my saint.”


Living the Beatitudes:


Principal celebrant Msgr. G. Michael Schleupner called on the refrain from the Broadway song “Seasons of Love” to ask “How do you measure a life?” He spoke of four of the Beatitudes from the Gospel reading and how they were embodied by the way Joe lived his life. 


“Joe found his peace and joy by caring for those who were in need, especially those who were seriously ill in the hospital. He was one with others in the journey of life.


“Today our loss and grief is offset by love, faith, and the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ. We take comfort in the hope that one day we shall see Joe again and enjoy his friendship. Amen.”



The legacy of Joe Hughes:


“There is no part of the community that was not touched by Joe. That was the essence of his location.”


—Bernie Mullin, former Guidance Chairperson who retired in 2012 from The John Carroll School

——


“Joe Hughes was my dearest mentor in high school and beyond. He was my high school guidance counselor at Joppatowne High School in the late ‘70s. He wrote my college letter of recommendation for the University of Maryland. I still have it and look at it from time to time because it was so inspirational.  


“After high school, I stayed in touch with Joe from time to time. He is one of the major reasons that I changed careers and became an English teacher. I could call him when I had questions in my early teaching career and he always had the perfect solution.  


“Joe was candid, funny, and so kind, and he always made you feel good about life and what you were doing. We will all miss his smile and humor.”


—Christine Siegel Zurkowski, English Dept. Chair at The John Carroll School


——


“I had the pleasure of working with Joe in his home for several months this past year. During that time I was treated like I was part of his family. Joe persevered despite the obstacles that he faced. He was always very pleasant and had a smile on his face. I am truly blessed to have known both Joe and Germaine.”


—Kim Hill, speech pathologist with Amedisys Home Care

——


Our Lady of Knock, pray for us:


The Irishman’s Chorale honored their friend and fellow member’s life by paying homage to “Our Lady of Knock” during the Communion meditation at his Funeral Mass on December 29, 2015:


Watch here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aCjPu7LoR0


——


"The great and sad mistake of many people is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us. They do not leave us. They remain! Where are they? In darkness? Oh, no! It is we who are in darkness. We do not see them, but they see us. Their eyes, radiant with glory, are fixed upon our eyes. Though invisible to us, our dead are not absent. They are living near us, transfigured ... into light, into power, into love." 


—Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, S.J.

January 05, 2016 12:01
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Looking back with gratitude and forward with hope: My top ten blogs for 2015 and a prayer for the new year 2016




"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” 
—Edith L. Pierce

Happy New Year:

It is a mystery as old as life itself when we realize how quickly the years go by…
The older we get, the quicker time flies.

2015 has held lots of memories for my family… including good times spent between our homes in Bel Air and on Singer Island in South Florida, retirement adventures with my husband George, visits from family and friends, and a deeper understanding of the circle of life.

As for me, I have kept busy in many ways. Bereavement and prayer outreach with many families extends my ministry beyond retirement. My days are also packed with writing this “God is in the Clouds” blog for The Catholic Review, doing social media promotion for the Singer Island community, and writing and preserving the archival history of John Carroll, the school where I served as campus minister before my retirement in 2014. I am often laugh and wonder how I ever found time to work.


Some of the highlights of 2015 for my husband George and me include:

1. The joy were shared when our daughter Katie was married on April 25:




2. Overcoming with God’s grace a major medical challenge this past summer;

3. Seeing Pope Francis this September in Washington, DC with my friend Rita Buettner from Open Window;


Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn


4. Our trip to Paris in October, which was my first time visiting the City of Lights:
See our photos and read more in "Praying for Paris: Our pilgrimage to the City of Light



George and I at the Montmartre Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris


5. The arrival of our newest grandson, Peyton Thomas, last Tuesday, just in time for a visit from Santa Claus!


Our newest grandson was born on December 22



My top ten blogs for 2015:


 





 



Three posts from my "oldies but goodies" that still attract lots of readers:

1. One of the top Google searches for prayers said when something is lost, this post attracts readers from all over the world, many of whom send me emails about how St. Anthony has interevened for them in times of need with lost and stolen items:



2. Another post which is high up on the Google search, this time for those seeking the patron saint for those taking exams:
I get emails from thousands of students and their families requesting prayers for success in exams of all kinds in:



3. My favorite quote inspired me to write this popular post: "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." 



Looking ahead to 2016:

What does the new year have in store for you and your families?

I am extending my warmest wishes to all of you and your families!
May the Jubilee Year of Mercy brings rich blessings of faith and hope to each of you.

Let’s start 2016 by praying for the grace to enter more deeply into our faith journey this year:

 

Loving God, thank You for this new year.
May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate.
We know that You are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.
As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what You want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with You now, one day at a time.
Amen.



Count your blessings with me:


December 31, 2015 12:19
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Holiday grief: Remembering the children we loved and lost too soon



The holiday season is particularly tough for those who are in mourning. With an emphasis on families and togetherness, while being bright and merry, this time of year is often dreaded by those who suffer from grief, sickness, loneliness, and heartache. 

Last week I shared reflections and advice for the holiday season from a few families who have lost adult loved ones.



Today, in Part 2, I share about one of my former students who died at age 15, as well as the sad stories of two other families who mourn the loss of children. They offer insights on how they cope and find hope, while they honor these young lives taken too soon.


Remembering Xavia: 

My Facebook memories this week reminded me that just four years ago we were praying for a bone marrow match to be found for sweet Xavia Pirozzi, my then-John Carroll sophomore student. St. Joseph Church in Fullerton had sponsored a marrow registry drive and over 900 persons showed up to be screened, hoping to give the gift of life to this young girl who was battling lymphoma.

Sometimes our best laid efforts to help during times of need just don't work out according to our plan.

Xavia passed on to Eternal Life three months later on March 21, 2012 at the age of 15. Her death saddened the hearts of the entire John Carroll community. As their campus minister, I helped our students come together to find ways to honor her memory and keep her legacy alive in the heart of our school. 


When children die:

As we know, it is unnatural for parents to bury their children. The process of mourning and grief is much more intense since we place a lot of hope in our children and the yet-unfolding lives that they might enjoy in the years to come.

And when the holidays roll around, especially Christmas with so much focus on children and Santa and the Holy Infant who changed the world forever, the process of bereavement often intensifies, even if years have passed since a child has gone Home to Heaven ahead of us.

Two families’ stories:


Delivery into Eternal Life:

My friend Abigail and her husband lost two sons during late miscarriages, Francisco in 2006 and Leo in 2013. Already parents, they were taken completely off-guard by these unexpected losses.

And Abigail had to go through the heart-wrenching process of labor and delivery with Leo in October of 2013. She shares that the support and compassion of the nurses at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring helped them get through two very long days.

The labor and delivery unit at Holy Cross, a Catholic hospital, has the practice of placing a black butterfly on the doors of mothers whose baby has died. This symbol alerts everyone who enters the room that the mother and family are in mourning. Abigail told me that she had “one of the best conversations about grief with a housekeeper who came to take out my trash.”

The timing of Leo’s delivery into Eternal Life meant that the family buried him the weekend before All Souls Day. Abigail recalls that Halloween and All Souls Day were traumatic for them that year, much more than that upcoming Christmas.

One of Abigail’s pregnancy traditions has been to make her unborn children a needlepoint Christmas stocking during the months before their births. Since she had not yet fashioned stockings for Francisco and Leo before her miscarriages, she sewed them after their deaths. 

Abigail shares, “It was sad work and healing at the same time. When I put up the stockings with the boys’ names on them, it is a good time to answer questions for the really little kids (her youngest children), "Who is this?" I know that it does my heart good to see everyone's names all together. It's like they counted (Francisco and Leo) as children too."


When tragedy takes children:

Allison, my former student from the John Carroll Class of 2012, now a student at the University of Delaware, is no stranger to mourning the loss of children. Tragically, her two step-brothers, Mikey and Eric, along with their mother, perished in a house fire in 2005. The boys were 10 and 8 years old. Allison was just 11 at the time of their deaths and shares, “My family is always affected by the loss of my brothers. Their death came as a complete surprise.” 

Allison has shared her wisdom on grief many times over the years, including with her John Carroll classmates on their senior retreat. In some ways, she reflects, time heals and helps.  

“You never learn to truly get over the loss. You can only learn to get through it with the help of God and the support of the people He provides in your time of need. For my family, it has always been each other.

"During the holidays, the grief we feel all year long is intensified. Holidays have such a huge emphasis on family, and unfortunately, because of our loss, it's easy to focus on what, or more importantly who our family doesn't have, rather than being grateful for all those we do have. We grieve for the moments we will never have with the people we always thought we would.”

Getting through the holidays:

Allison shares that in years past her family had always travelled during the holidays, visiting relatives and friends. Since the boys’ deaths, her family usually sticks closer to home, cherishing their time with the immediate family. They always hang stockings on the mantle with stuffed animals and photos of Mikey and Eric.

“The hardest holiday for us—although they are all hard—is Christmas. The grief can be so crippling and comes in unexpected waves.” 

“My stepfather usually visits the boys' gravesite—which our family calls the chapel—on special holidays like Christmas, as well on as their birthdays and the day they passed away. Every year, with the small amount of pictures that we have, we try to make a gift for my stepfather acknowledging Mikey and Eric in some way. In the past, we have made canvases of pictures, written poems, and other kind gestures to keep their memory alive.” 

“Writing poems and creating the canvases are definitely tools that I have used to cope with the loss of my brothers. It helps to confront your feelings in a way that is constructive. 

“Also, it helps us as a family to reflect on the funny memories we had with them. There are so many priceless stories and memories that we will always hold onto. Talking about the boys keeps their memory alive. 

“Sometimes, personally, what doesn’t help for me is pondering who they would be today. For some reason, only known to God, their book was complete in His eyes when we thought they’d still be writing new chapters. Thinking about what could have been and what my life might be like now (with them) invites pain and confusion.” 


Where to turn when your heart hurts:

Abigail shares: 

“The best grief group I went to was Compassionate Friends. They told me that grief is work and to be flexible.
 
“It felt very hard to lose a baby before I knew him. Like I wasn't even sure who I lost… I just knew that we would have been so linked at the heart. I hung out in a room where people had lost adult children in car accidents and children to suicide and heroin. A few Moms told me my grief was harder, because it was invisible to the world and there was no one to say "I remember Leo..." 

“That felt so generous to me. Taking my grief seriously helped me to heal. And talking about my grief with strangers helped me to heal, especially because my husband and I were processing the miscarriage in different ways. 


Advice for those mourning during the holidays (and anytime):

Abigail reflects:

“Grief is work. Don't worry about impressing other people. 

“Do the work that God has given you this season so that you can be truly free and authentic. The complicated, 'stuffed' grief comes from not wanting to work through your feelings.” 

Let God show you how to swim:

Allison shares:

“The round of firsts are the hardest parts of grief’s endless cycle that you will have to endure.  Let God be your comfort in these times. 

“There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Do not set your grief to a timetable. Your love for the one you lost has no deadline, and neither does your grief. Grief will always come in waves, but let God show you how to swim.”


Compassionate Friends:

"Time has proven that in caring and sharing comes healing."

Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help support organization that offers friendship and understanding to bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. Founded in 1969, they have more than 650 local chapters across the country where regular meetings provide a caring environment for parents and families to work through their grief with the help of others who have "been there.” 

To contact them, call: 877-969-0010 or visit their web site.


Do you have a story of grief and hope that you would like to share?

Please write to me: 

-------

Read more about how Xavia Pirozzi’s classmates of the John Carroll Class of 2014 honored her memory:


3. On the second anniversary of her death: Senior year for the Class of 2014:
    




December 23, 2015 04:32
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Grief and mourning during the holidays: How to cope when you aren't feeling jolly


"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

~From a headstone in Ireland

Experiencing the unexpected: 


One of my husband's oldest friends died suddenly ten days ago. There was no warning. He suffered a massive stroke and was gone two days later.

Wes' death hit us very hard. It was so unexpected. He and his wife had just visited us last month in Florida. We had had such a wonderful time together… The shock of his stroke and death hit us so hard. 

Not only was it a reality check, confirming that we truly never know the day or time, but it also was a sober reminder that we are not getting any younger. 


That pressure to be in the holiday spirit:

Julius Caesar once mused, “Which death is preferably to every other? The unexpected.” 

That being said, the families of those lost without any warning suffer greatly as they try to cope without their loved ones.

And the holiday season is particularly tough for those who are in mourning. With an emphasis on families and togetherness, while being bright and merry, this time of year is often dreaded by those who suffer from grief, sickness, loneliness, and heartache. 


Today I will share some reflections and advice for the holiday season from a few families who have lost adult loved ones.

Next week, I will share the sad stories of families mourning the loss of children and how they cope and honor these young lives taken too soon.


How to cope and put on a happy face when your spirits feel low?

My friend Ann understands the challenge of grief. She remembers how difficult it was years back to lose her first husband (“the biggest loss of my life”) when she was just 32 with two young daughters. She just recently lost her mother, who died peacefully at age 93. Ann told me how much she misses talking to her about the grandchildren and all the family traditions they shared. 


Nicole, one of my former John Carroll students, lost her dear grandmother in 2011, just three days after Christmas. Nicole shares that the holidays have been difficult ever since. Though her “Granny” was 89 at the time of her death, the fast decline in her health due to Alzheimer’s and her subsequent sudden death found Nicole unprepared. “I was not ready for that. After her passing, I spent that New Year's Eve alone because I didn't want to be around anyone and pretty much cried all the time… Ever since her passing I feel like the holidays are not the same… Now I go to visit her at the cemetery and decorate there a little.” 


The timing of death evokes memories and new traditions:
 
Another one of my other former JC students, Amber, shares that her family has been greatly impacted in many ways by the deaths of loved ones. 

Memories of losing her paternal grandfather during the week of Halloween while she was in the sixth grade evoke memories of “trying to do normal Halloween and kid stuff even though we were going through such a rough time. I can't help to be reminded of him every year and what the weather was like on that Halloween.”

Just four years ago, Amber’s aunt (her godmother) died suddenly on Christmas Eve. “We suffered one of our greatest losses. Her death rocked our world.” 
Amber shares that the timing was especially poignant. “She always loved Christmas and expected the entire family to be together on Christmas Eve. I believe her death falling on Christmas Eve is her way of reminding us how special family is and that we need to be together. Every year, we make sure we visit her grave site to be with her on Christmas.”

This year, sadly, Amber’s family lost her 56-year old uncle two days before Thanksgiving after a battle with cancer. She reflects, “His death reminds us to be thankful for all that we have. It also brought special meaning to me because he died in the veterans’ hospital. The care, support and respect that was shown while he was there will always be in my mind. It really helps me to be more thankful for all of our veterans.”  

Life is never the same:

The mother of another of my JC girls, Denise, still feels that “big hole” in her heart thirty years after her father’s death. “I lost the most important person in my life. I don't think you ever get used to that big hole in your heart. I just learned how to cope. 

Denise, who was just 23 when her Dad died, shares that even the smell of Christmas trees during the holiday season is tough for her. “The feeling of that loss never goes away.”

She remembers the recurring smell of the incense after his funeral service, even in his truck. In retrospect now, Denise believes it was a like sign of comfort from her Dad.


The evolution of mourning:

Nicole shares, “Thinking about the good memories helps a lot. It took me a few years honestly to be “okay” with Granny’s passing. I used to focus on how much I missed her and how sad I was. Now I think about all the fun we had and how lucky I was to have her in my life for so long.” 

Ann shared about how her family honors the memories of those who have gone on to Eternal Life, “We have a special star ornament now on our trees for each loved one that has passed.”


Tips for getting through the holidays:

“What helps most is laughter while remembering and sharing stories. Dwelling on the sadness does not help, because it slows you down and upsets those who are around you."
For those newly-grieving: 
“Keep busy, surround yourself with people who understand your loss. Don't be alone!”
—Ann


“Try to focus on the good. It's easier said than done, but it really helps. However, it is important to allow yourself to be upset and cry too, because it's part of the grieving process.”
—Nicole


“While death is often hard to understand, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With each of our family members’ deaths, we come to realize how important family and life is. We will always be aware of the empty chair around the table during each holiday, but at the same time, we will always have our most special memories with those loved ones carrying us forward. Time really does heal all wounds. Our loved ones are always with us during the holidays even when they are no longer with us on Earth.”
—Amber


For those who are newly-grieving:
“Take your time, as everyone grieves differently. 
Never put a time on your grief. It takes a long time… sometimes, as in my case, it never really goes away. 
It helps to talk to someone who has been there too. 
Visit the grave with flowers, but most importantly, be true to you:
Grieve when you need, and cry out loud when you must.” 
—Denise 


Your thoughts on grief and mourning?

-How do you get through the holidays when grief is overwhelming?

-How do you honor the memories of your loved ones?

Write and let me know your thoughts and suggestions.



December 17, 2015 02:55
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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