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Italy 2014: Order coffee like an Italian

So you’re going to Italy and you want to know how to order a coffee. Okay, well, first things first. If you ask for coffee, “un caffé,” you will get an espresso. It will be “short” and dark and may have a lovely golden rim around it. If you want something more akin to what you drink at home, you could ask or caffé americano or caffé lungo, and they’ll water down your espresso, but why would you want to do that? Caffé macchiato is an espresso “stained” with a little milk. Read more

Italy 2014: Quirky Italian ways

If you’re planning to join us in Italy this fall for the Feast for Body and Soul food-faith pilgrimage, start paging through books on Italian travel now. It will make the trip seem that much closer, and you’ll find lots of fun facts that will prove helpful when you’re actually wandering the streets of Florence or Rome or Sorrento (pictured here) or any of the other cities we’ll visit (Montecatini Terme, Siena, Assisi, Naples, Salerno, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Massa Lubrense, and the Isle of Capri). Read more

Leap of faith, passport required

My most recent Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York, will give you a glimpse into the surprising way my food-faith pilgrimage to Italy came to be and how you can get on board: 

One day a few months back, I opened my email inbox to find a message from a travel agent asking if I’d be “willing” to lead a food and faith pilgrimage through Italy in October 2014. After staring at the email open-mouthed for what must have been a good five minutes, I turned the laptop to Dennis and said, “Do you think this is for real?” I couldn’t imagine that my dream of going back to Italy— not just to Rome this time but for a cross-country trek—might be on the verge of coming true. Read more

Italy alert: We are now under the one-year countdown to the most amazing pilgrimage

One year from now we will be just back from the most amazing pilgrimage, a 13-day food and faith tour of Italy that will take us from Montecatini, Florence, Siena, and Assisi to Rome, Naples, Salerno, Sorrento, and the Isle of Capri. There’s still plenty of time to save up some money and vacation days and join us for a wonderful weaving of spirituality, sightseeing, and one fabulous meal and hotel after another. You can find the full itinerary HERE. Read more

Come with me to Italy and feed your body and soul

Dear Fellow Adventurer,

For most of my adult life, I dreamed of going to Italy. I wanted to pray in St. Peter’s Basilica. I wanted to know the country of my grandfather’s birth. I wanted to eat the delicious food that had inspired so many family meals when I was growing up. Three years ago, when I stepped onto the streets of Rome for the first time, I cried from the sheer joy of being there, and I knew right then that I’d have to return some day soon. Italy had captured my heart! Read more

Pitching a tent on sacred ground

I’m not much of a camper. I chalk it up to traumatic Girl Scout experiences as a kid — think rain, mud, latrine duty, French toast cooked over a coffee can. But as I write this column, I am simultaneously washing my winter sleeping bag in anticipation of a weekend camping retreat at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, N.Y., with Noah’s Boy Scout troop. And I’m actually looking forward to it. Read more

To Rome, With Love

Two years ago at this time I was in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome. Soon after, I wrote this travel story for the Albany Times Union. It is my love letter to Rome. (Be sure to click through my photos at the top of the TU link):

When in Rome… Read more

A little holy cleaning at Auriesville

We spent this beautiful August day doing a little cleaning at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville. Various youth groups are going to the shrine to do some minor maintenance work to help get ready for the canonization celebrations that will take place this fall when Blessed Kateri finally becomes a saint. Read more

We are all meant to walk ‘The Way’

I rarely go to the movies and almost never with Dennis, but last weekend I decided we were going to find the time — make the time — to see The Way with Martin Sheen. In recent years, pilgrimage has become an important part of my spiritual journey. And not just because I finally got the chance to go to Rome last year. Nope. In fact, my focus on pilgrimage began long before I’d ever renewed my passport, and that, as it turns out, is as it should be. We are all on a pilgrimage, whether we walk the 800 kilometers of the famed Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or never get past our neighborhood church. Read more