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Spreading Good News with a small and capital “g”

I was featured as a Faces of Faith interview by Rob Brill in today’s Albany Times Union. I’m honored. Here’s the story:


Background: Born and raised in Pearl River in Rockland County. She graduated from Pace University. Her husband, Dennis, and their children, Noah, 19, a freshman at Le Moyne College, and daughters Olivia, 15, and Chiara, 10, who attend Bethlehem public schools, live in Delmar where they are parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. She’s director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

Your resume includes reporter, editor, columnist, author and blogger. You’ve switched hats in your new job.

It’s the culmination of everything I’ve done professionally over the past 32 years, not only as a writer but as a public speaker, retreat leader and commentator of Catholic issues. Dealing with the media is my favorite part of my job, because I’ll always be a journalist at heart. I love to find an interesting story in the diocese and get it out there in the secular press: Good news with a capital g and a lower case g. I do sometimes miss being a full-time writer.

Continue reading HERE.

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

Give Us This Day: Always Room at the Table

My Gospel reflection from today’s Give Us This Day:

I come from a big Irish-Italian family, one where the food was always delicious and plentiful. On any given night, an entire extra family could show up for dinner at our house unannounced, and no one would go hungry. There would be chicken cutlets or pasta in abundance, and probably a batch of freshly made chocolate chip cookies. My mother wanted everyone to feel welcomed and loved. It didn’t matter whether you had an invitation, whether you were a close relative or the high school boyfriend of the resident teenager, whether you wanted a cup of tea or a three-course meal, she would smile and put out another place setting. Or five. Read more

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

What’s in your gratitude journal?

I haven’t kept a gratitude journal with any long-term success over the years, despite knowing the benefits. In my latest Life Lines column (now running in the current issues of Catholic New York and the Catholic Spirit) I explore why and give you a peek inside: 

The Advent and Christmas seasons tend to make us more grateful and more giving. At this time of year, when we’re abundantly aware of children who want nothing more than a pair of mittens or a warm winter coat, we seem to recognize how lucky we are. We collect boxes of stuffing and bottles of gravy for our parish food pantry and take tags off the Giving Tree so that others will have for one day what we have every day. And in those moments we are humbled by our blessings and all too aware of the fact that we often remain blissfully unaware of those same blessings the other 11 months of the year. Read more

What are you chasing?

Time for a little honesty. I woke up this morning feeling beyond down in the dumps. Actually I’ve been waking up that way a lot lately, save for a few days on vacation when I was able to deny reality. But now, with summer winding down and reality breathing down my neck, it’s hard to plaster a smile on my face and pretend it’s all great, even if it sounds great on paper. I mean, we’ve got our health, we’ve got a big trip to Italy in the offing, I’ve got one book project halfway done and another ready to go as soon as the first is complete. What could possibly be dragging me down? All of it. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: ‘Go back to blue’

I’ve decided to continue our Lucinda Williams theme by choosing her song “Blue” as our Wednesday Wisdom. One of the few “poems” I’ve written in my life is titled “Blue,” so more Lucinda connection for me there.

Here are the lyrics and then a YouTube video of her performing the song live from a show in 2009. Enjoy.

Go find a jukebox and see what a quarter will do 
I don’t wanna talk I just wanna go back to blue 
Feed’s me when I’m hungry and quenches my thirst 
Loves me when I’m lonely and thinks of me first  Read more

My long love affair with Lucinda Williams

When I moved to Austin, Texas, the first time… (I actually moved there twice, first in 1988 and again in 1995. Almost moved there a third time. It’s that kind of city.) Anyway, when I moved to Austin, Texas, in 1988, I took only what could fit in my un-airconditioned Chevy Chevette, which wasn’t much. Some clothes, a typewriter (Yes, a typewriter, not a computer!), a rotary dial phone (goodness I’m old), my favorite books and some pots and pans. Left behind were both of my beloved guitars (the beat up $3 find my grandfather bought at a garage sale and the shiny 12-string I used to play in the folk group at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Aedan’s in Pearl River.) I simply couldn’t fit them in the car, and I guess on some level I figured I was starting a new life and maybe my guitar-playing wasn’t going to figure into it. Read more

Six years and counting here at Not Strictly Spiritual

Happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales and Happy Anniversary to Not Strictly Spiritual. It was six years ago today that I decided to launch this blog, choosing the feast of the patron saint of journalists and one of my personal favorites as the perfect day to jump into the wild and wacky world of blogging. Read more