Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pope Francis' Words About our Blessed Mother

Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis (Franciscan Media 2017) features excerpts from our Holy Father’s writings, homilies, prayers, talks, and tweets. Edited by Alicia von Stamwitz, the quotes are divided into various general groupings: Handmaid of the Lord, Model of Faith, Mother of Mercy, Our Refuge and Our Hope, Star of the New Evangelization, and Queen of Peace. 

Pope Francis’ words always provide much food for thought and this collection is no exception. While it can be read cover to cover, the quotes are probably best taken in small doses, perhaps even a page a day so that they can be reflected and meditated upon.

 Our Pope has a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother and frequently offers her as the perfect model of the Christian life. We have so much we can learn from his words and her example brought together in this collection.

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The Catholic Press Association Honors CatholicMom.com, Prayer Companion

I've been honored to be writing for CatholicMom.com for many years. Founder Lisa Hendey was the first person ever willing to share my writing with a larger audience and for that I am forever grateful. I am also a contributor to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She sent out the following press release today:

The Catholic Press Association (CPA) collectively honored CatholicMom.com contributing authors at the annual Catholic Press Association Awards ceremony, held this year in Quebec, Canada. CatholicMom.com won a second place award for the Best Group or Association Blog. Evaluators observed,
This blog covered a wide range of subjects including: baby name suggestions, holiday specials, service trip information, book reviews, grief, technology, etc. There was an abundance of content, which made evaluating each article nearly impossible, but demonstrates a commitment to the blog and to providing the readers with interesting and diverse content.
CatholicMom.com has received this award each year since 2014, and each and every one of CatholicMom.com's over 125 volunteer authors deserve congratulations for their generosity in sharing their encouraging, helpful, entertaining and thoughtful work. We encourage our readers to show appreciation for our wonderful authors by leaving comments on articles that touch your heart, or by sharing them on social media or via email.

The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion, edited by Lisa M. Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, won first place in the Prayer Books: Collections of Prayers category. According to the judges,
The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion contains daily reflections for parents written by a variety of talented authors. Each day begins with a quote from Scripture, Saints or notable persons. The reflection which follows is short, personal and meaningful. A short personal prayer and a thought to ponder follow the reflection. The book is a treasure for all seeking wisdom, hope and interior peace.
The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion (Ave Maria Press, 2016) is an inspiring collection of daily reflections written by over eighty Catholic moms, dads, and friends. Some of our CatholicMom.com authors won awards in other categories for their books; check out the complete list of Catholic Press Association Book Award winners. You can also see the winners of Catholic Press Association Awards in print media, art and new media.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A 10-Day Retreat with St. Francis de Sales

Lift up Your Heart: A10-Day Retreat with St. Francis de Sales by Rev. John Burns (Ave Maria Press, 2017) is an updated version of St. Francis de Sales’ meditations, originally published in 1609. Fr. Burns discovered these meditations during a time of his own spiritual searching and seeks to share them with a new generation. 

According to Doctor of the Church de Sales, devotion “is simply true love of God.” But that love does not always come easy. For most of us, it requires “a radical reordering of priorities and relationships.” These ten meditations “represent, in their totality, a journey of the soul with the highest of hoped-for outcomes: right relationship with God and right understanding of one’s purpose.”

The ten meditations are: On our Creation, On the End for Which We Were Created, On God’s Benefactions, On Sin, On Death, On Judgment, On Hell, On Paradise, The Election and Choice of Heaven, and The Election and Choice the Soul Makes of a Devout Life.

As the list reveals, there are some weighty topic included in these meditations. People today don’t tend to spend much time contemplating the evil of sin or the pains of hell. But the meditations speak to questions that every individual wrestles with in life. Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? What happens to me after I die?

For those who would like to read the original meditations, they are included in an appendix, however Fr. Burns has achieved his goal of updating St. Francis de Sales’ meditations for today. He writes in an accessible style appropriate for teens and adults. Reading about and meditating on the subjects of Lift up Your Heart has the power to transform your life if you are willing to make the choice to live for God.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Prayer to St. Rita, Patron Saint of the Impossible

St. Rita - Feast Day - May 22
Patron Saint of:
Impossible Causes, Victims of Abuse, Sickness, Loneliness, Parenthood, Widows

St. Rita, Advocate of the Impossible, pray for us.
St. Rita, Advocate of the Impossible, pray for us.
Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father, three (3) times.
Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercy and God of all consolation, who through the intercession of St. Rita, comforts us in all our tribulations. Amen.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Book Review: On My Way Home

In the foreword to On My Way Home by Joyce Hutchinson (Ave Maria Press, 2017), Joyce Rupp writes, “No matter how much we know about dying, or how often we have accompanied others in their final stage of life, we do not really know what it is like until we face our own mortality.”
Hutchison was an oncology nurse who had treated many people with terminal cancer. She lived by the precept she was taught in nursing school that when she was taking care of patients, she was taking care of Jesus. She walked with many as they faced death, and then she had to face her own battle with terminal lung cancer. She hoped that in sharing her own experience in facing death she could help others who care for the dying.
She shares her own story with painful honesty.

While she believes death is a natural part of life, she nevertheless finds herself scared of the end. She feels great pain at having to share the bad news with her children, and suffers through the exhaustion of chemo, and has to face the strain on her marriage and the loss of personal dignity. Yet through it all she trusts in God and acknowledges that the painful process has brought her closer to God because there are many days when all she could do was be still with God. 

We tend not to think about death until we have to face either our own mortality or that of someone close to us. On My Way Home invites us to think about the process of dying and offers suggestions of how to better accompany someone on that journey. Hutchinson’s unique perspective as one who cared for the dying and how facing her own diagnosis changed how she would have cared for patients is extremely valuable, especially for those in the medical field or who work in hospice care. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Free Today's Catholic Homeschooling Resource Guide is Now Available

This post could as easily be titled "What I've Been Doing the Past Two Months." Ever since I started TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com a few years ago, I've wanted to put together a print resource guide. There hasn't really been much out there for Catholic homeschoolers other than publications put out by particular curriculum providers. I wanted something that could benefit all Catholic homeschoolers, regardless of their educational philosophy.

I finally committed to the project at the end of March, set a crazy deadline of the end of May, hired a friend to sell advertising, recruited the writers (there are 40 articles), and then formatted the whole thing all in two months! Since my workday starts after my daughter goes to bed (around 8:00 pm), this has meant a lot of late nights.

I'm pleased with the finished project and hope people find it of benefit.

You can find out more and download a free pdf version (or order a print copy) at

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What Do You Want From Your Doctor?

What do you want from your doctor? In this age of managed care and exorbitant health costs, it can seem like an almost futile question. I know I’ve often had to pick a doctor at random from the list that our insurance company provides and hope for the best, or a sick visit means going to the local walk-in clinic and getting whoever happens to be on duty. In both instances, I’ve had both good and bad experiences.

Dr. Jean Golden-Tevald, D.O. invites us to consider that initial question in her new book, Hopeand Healing: Ultimately What You Need From Your Doctor. She is the older sister of one of my close friends, has been a family physician for twenty-five years, and has special training in women’s health and NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model Fertility Care System. While she is in New Jersey and I am in Massachusetts I had the occasion to seek her services due to some reproductive health issues I was having last year and due to my religious beliefs, I felt extremely frustrated with my local doctor. She was willing to see me via a video-call and coordinated my care long-distance. Truly, it was some of the best care I have ever received. I felt heard and understood. It is from that vantage point that I review her book. I can vouch for the fact that Dr. Golden-Tevald practices what she preaches.

In sharing this book, Dr. Golden-Tevald writes, “I hope that you will be encouraged to strive for optimal health and to pursue a relationship with a doctor who will help you feel the best you can.” She works from a perspective of trying to understand the whole body and to “find and fix the underlying program.”

She acknowledges that healing may not always involve a cure. She works with many couples experiencing infertility. While some couples do ultimately conceive a child, others do not. She offers examples of cases where there was an emotional healing while not a physical one.
She also emphasizes the need for patients to be honest and for women to value ourselves enough to feel that the cost is worth it to care for ourselves. We so often care for everyone else to our own physical and emotional detriment.

Hope and Healing is a book worth reading. I wish that there were more doctors who shared Dr. Golden-Tevald’s philosophy in the world.  I would recommend it especially to those in the medical profession because it offers a different example of what health care can look like.  

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