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3 steps to a more grateful life

My story on gratitude and how it can change your life, running in the Nov. 24 issue of OSV Newsweekly

German mystic Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

Gratitude has that kind of power, not just in prayer, but in the most ordinary moments of our lives. When we are thankful, grateful and appreciative of what we have — even the things that don’t necessarily warrant a special thank-you prayer — we tend to be more generous, loving, patient and kind toward others.  Read more

Desert island books: What would you want with you?

Either they saved the best for last or buried me. You decide. Seriously, I’m honored to be among the 20 Catholic writers sharing Desert Island Books in this piece by Elizabeth Scalia on Aleteia:

There are times in life when the world presents so many hard headlines, and so many complex issues, that it feels good to ask an easy question, and get an easy answer. Sometimes, though, even the easy questions become a little knotty, because multi-faceted human beings like to play with simple things. We asked an age-old question of a number of Catholic writers (and one monastic “jack-of-all-trades” who sometimes writes): Read more here.

I look at my students and see our future ex-Catholics

My post over at Aleteia today:

When it comes to teenagers, you expect a certain amount of eye rolling and apathy, but put those same kids in a faith formation class for an hour and fifteen minutes at the end of a long school day and right at the dinner hour and you’ll see a level of teenage disinterest that could make you wither on the spot. That’s what my husband and I faced when we stood before the 21 high school sophomores we teach at our upstate New York parish. Read more

What are you planning for the Year of Mercy? Pope Francis suggests a pilgrimage. I’ve got just the ticket

My October Life Lines column running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

Before Pope Francis ever announced the Holy Year of Mercy, before he set foot on American soil and spoke to us directly about this very topic, mercy seemed to be the hallmark of his papacy. From the first Holy Thursday foot-washing in the juvenile detention center to the embrace of the disfigured man in St. Peter’s Square to the movement —if not in dogma at least in tone—toward a more compassionate approach to everything controversial and complicated, from abortion to annulment to refugees, mercy was at the heart of it. Read more

Seething Anger or Boundless Love

My reflection in today’s Give Us This Day:

Jonah’s anger and attitude sound all too familiar. He is beside himself with frustration over what God has not done for him, his rage so intense he says he’d be better off dead. Even if we’ve never said it out loud, there’s a good chance we’ve felt that kind of desperation at some point in our lives. Read more

Holding my breath and letting go

My latest Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

Fourteen years ago this month, I wrote my very first Life Lines column. It focused on my then-4-year-old son, Noah, and a summer nature program we had attended together and how in his own little way Noah was forcing me out of my comfort zone and teaching me new things about myself and the world around me.

This is what I wrote back then: Read more

9/11: Remembering like it was yesterday

Here’s the Life Lines column I wrote 14 years ago, in the days following 9/11. So much has changed since that time. Our world has changed. My family has changed. And yet, for me, this column still resonates with things that feel very much in tune with our world right now. Here’s wishing all of you, all of us a future of peace — peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace on our planet. Read more

Beauty of Mass transforms the most unlikely places

My August Life Lines column, inspired by the renovations at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Delmar:

My parish church in upstate New York is undergoing major renovations and reconstruction this summer. And so last weekend we filed into the school gymnasium for Sunday Mass, where metal folding chairs and raised basketball hoops brought back fond memories of my childhood Mass experiences at St. Aedan’s parish in Pearl River. Read more

A Moveable Feast: Holy Year of Mercy pilgrimage UPDATED

Buongiorno a tutti! That greeting can mean only one thing: I am heading back to Italy on a Holy Year of Mercy pilgrimage for another fantastic combination of great food, beautiful scenery, and spiritual inspiration, and this time our chaplain will be my good friend and vicar general for the Diocese of Albany, Father David Berberian. Bonus: Our beloved tour guide from last October, Isabella, has signed on for this pilgrimage, so we will be in the very best hands.

We’ll be hitting some of the highlights from my last pilgrimage, with the addition of some must-see cities we missed the first time around. Here’s the brief run-down of where our Holy Year of Mercy Food & Faith in Italy tour will take us between May 15-26, 2016: Rome, Castel Gandolfo, Orvieto, Assisi, Siena, Bologna, the Emilia Romagna region, Padua, and Venice. Read more

New job, new office, new chapter

Big news on the work front for me. On Friday, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany appointed me Director of Communications for the Diocese of Albany. I am so honored — and so thrilled. It’s funny how things come to us when we are ready for them, when we need them or want them but don’t necessarily expect them. If you had told me last year at this time that I would be here today, I would have looked at you funny, and yet here I am and it all seems to make perfect sense. It’s as though my entire career was training for this particular job. I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Over the 30 past years I have served in diocesan communications offices, as a reporter and editor at diocesan and national Catholic newspapers, as a guest and host on Catholic radio and TV shows. I have immersed myself in writing books about spirituality, Church teaching and all things Catholic. And now it all comes together in one job. Read more