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Note to my younger self: Don’t pack the Dante books

A former editor, current friend, and perpetually great writer posted an essay — What Fresh Hell Is This? — about the advice he’d give to his 22-year-old self knowing what he knows now. It’s a wonderful weaving of Dante, disappointment, and discovery that will make you think and probably make you nod your head in recognition at least once or twice, regardless of what you and your 22-year-old self have experienced over the course of a lifetime. Read more

Monks, music and musings on monastic life

I came across this video clip via the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio and clicked on it mainly because I love Gregorian Chant, but it is so much more than an album promotion. It gives you a brief glimpse into monastic life in general and Benedictine spirituality specifically, along with some beautiful views of Italy and hauntingly beautiful music. It’s like a micro-version of the monastic feature film Into Great SilenceIf you have a few minutes, this is sure to bring a little serenity to your day. The album, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia by the Monks of Norcia, is available June 2.

Preach it, Denzel Washington

This is so worth 11 minutes of your time. Denzel Washington gives a commencement address that doubles as spiritual direction. “Put God first,” he told the graduates, and then went on to remind them to “fail big,” serve others, and get down on their knees every morning to thank God in advance for what is already theirs. Powerful talk. Check it out.

On retreat: Finding beauty in our brokenness

I was so blessed to give a retreat day at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., this weekend. A beautiful location with wonderful people. And great food. With seashells scattered around the room and prayer intentions overflowing our sea-themed bowl, we dove into the topic of brokenness and discovered a wholeness there. At least that’s what we were aiming for. And we did “collage as prayer,” one of my favorite things to do these days. It seemed to be a hit among the retreat participants as well. There’s something about cutting and gluing in silence that is soothing and centering. And it always seems to lead to at least a smidgen of self-discovery. Read more

Fitting farewell for a giant in Church communications

I was honored to be able to attend the funeral of Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh this morning in the chapel at her motherhouse in Albany, where family, friends, and quite a few Catholic media colleagues gathered to pay their respects and say farewell to a woman who has set the standard for Catholic communications for decades. Although I had the chance to work with Sister Mary Ann only minimally here and there over my own 30 years in the Catholic press, she was present at every turn, whether it was a story she wrote for Catholic News Service, a press release she sent from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or, in later years, her blog posts and, finally, her America columns.  Read more

‘Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved’ retreat day May 9

It’s not too late to register! I’ll be offering a one-day retreat at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., on Saturday, May 9, on my favorite topic: “Broken Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to see ourselves through God’s eyes.”

The day will include a talk, lunch, some quiet time, a chance to journal and/or try out collage as a form of prayer and contemplation, and group discussion. Here are the details from the website:  Read more

A perfectly timed novena. St. Catherine, pray for us.

I woke up this morning and noticed a link to a Novena to St. Catherine of Siena in my Facebook feed. I will admit that I am not one to pray novenas often. Okay, almost never. But this one caught my attention. St. Catherine of Siena has a special place in my heart. I consider her one of my patron saints since my middle name is Kathleen. To top it off, her feast day, April 29, is my wedding anniversary. So there’s that, but there’s oh so much more than the name and date connections. Read more

Where I’ve been, where you’ll find me

I know things have been relatively quiet here for the past week or so. That’s because I’m renegotiating my work/life schedule these days, and it’s taking some adjustment. Last week I started working half-time as the digital/social media consultant and coordinator for the Diocese of Albany. Hence the i.d. tag you see here. I am loving my new work so far, even as I continue to do all of my other freelance work. I really should be writing a spiritual reflection right now, so I’ll keep this brief.  Read more

Bishop Scharfenberger reflects on a year in Albany

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany marks his first anniversary as spiritual leader of our Capital Region diocese tomorrow, April 10. By clicking on the photo below, you can watch a wide-ranging interview with Geoff Redick of Time Warner Cable News Capital Region on the bishop’s first 12 months at the helm of this 10,000-square-mile diocese serving 330,0o0 Catholics — from pizza and prayer, to challenges and changes. Read more

Finding time for prayer when you have no time at all

Despite our best intentions, finding a block of time to get down to the practice of prayer can be difficult — that is if we think of prayer only as a formal task that requires us to be on our knees, preferably in a church, reciting specific words. But prayer is a conversation with God, no matter what words we use or if we use any words at all.

Listen in at the link below for a conversation — and some tips — about prayer based on my book Everyday Divine, from my April 8 appearance on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. I’m the first one up, so you don’t need to fast forward to find me. Just hit play.