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What goes around comes around… I’m the new editor at Catechist magazine!

What goes around comes around… I’m the new editor at Catechist magazine!

I’ve had many years working as a freelance writer in the Catholic space. I’ve had many wonderful hours working for editors. Be it blogs, websites, magazines, pamphlets, broadcast, and books, I’ve been ever grateful for this meaningful work.

In a world that glorifies bylines—despite the amazing growth of self-publishing—it is still, largely, editors behind the scenes who bring writers’ voices to the public. I have enormous respect for the editors that have worked with me over the years. I owe my career to the ones who took a chance on me in the early days, and the publishers, large and small, who stood with them.

In the end, nobody publishes alone. It’s team effort.

Despite my inherent respect for editorial work, and the many hours I have mentored fellow writers in my off-hours, it is still a role I would not have chosen for myself… until now.

Bayard Inc., and a certain persistent publisher, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and here I am.

I accepted the job as editor of Catechist, for that is what I am… beside wife and mother, I’m a catechist to my core. It’s a happy coincidence that I also happen to know how to write. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I also have a theology degree and I’m not afraid to use it.

When you get right down to it, all its ever been has been trying to share the Catholic faith… to invite people into a better relationship with Jesus, and his Church. This editor role is another way to do that.

I love catechists. They are indispensable in the work of the Church and the great commission that our Lord gave to us.

If it wasn’t for another person handing on the faith to me, I would not be here.

To the those who wonder… what about all the Books? The Speaking? The Podcast? The spiritual direction training?

Sure, they’ll be there… they all contribute to my experience. They make me better at this work… but yes, I am scaling back. It’s the right thing for this time of my life.

Given my current pace of writing one manuscript every 4 years, I’m not worried. I’d rather be out there teaching the stuff I’m writing about anyway. I wrote one book in 2012 and spent the next three+ years teaching about it. I still am. So yes, I’ll continue to give talks and retreats, on as many weekends as feasible. And I’ll leave podcasting to my days off too.

So here I am. I’ve just finished my second full week on the job. IMG_2188

The best part about it? The people. The worst? The commute is pretty far in crummy traffic. So I work both at an office and remotely from my home office as often as feasible. But enough about me.

Let’s talk about you.

If you are a catechist, a DRE, CRE, youth minister, a Catholic school religion teacher, or a trusted church volunteer teaching pre-K thru college, look us up and write to me at pat.gohn@bayard-inc.com. I’m looking for your stories of success, your best practices, and your real world experience in this adventure we call the new evangelization and the thrill of catechesis. Writers guidelines for Catechist are found here.

Write on.

California here I come! Ladies: Join me on retreat May 13-15 near San Diego at Whispering Winds!

California here I come! Ladies: Join me on retreat May 13-15 near San Diego at Whispering Winds!

I’m packing my bags and flying to the hills of scenic Southern California May 13-15 for a three-day get-away to share the love of faith, fun, and the feminine genius with the women of greater San Diego.

Join us for Whispering Winds’ 2015 women’s retreat! I’m honored to be the guest speaker for this retreat, and looking forward to talking, walking, eating, laughing, and praying together!

A PDF flyer of the event is found here. Other important details on the schedule and rates are here.

Whispering Winds Catholic Camp & Conference Center is located on 161 acres in the scenic mountains of the Cleveland National Forest, five miles south of the historic gold-mining town of Julian, about an hour’s drive from San Diego.

Check out their video of the beautiful grounds and facilities, below! I’m sooooo looking forward to this!

Whispering Winds – Meeting Spaces from Whispering Winds on Vimeo.

 

A Prayer to the Holy Family, from Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, (plus links) #AmorisLaetitia

A Prayer to the Holy Family, from Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, (plus links) #AmorisLaetitia

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A photo from my trip the Carmel Mission, Carmel CA

Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love;
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience
violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer.

Amen.

 

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The English translation of Pope Francis’ latest apostolic exhortation on the family is out today. You can read a PDF of Amoris Laetitia here. It’s over 200 pages long and there is much to read.

Vatican Radio offers a shorter summary of what the document contains here.

Perhaps beginning with the prayer offered within the document (found on the last page of the document, that I’ve capture above) might be a good place to start.

 

Thank you, Mother Angelica, for teaching us the art of networking for Jesus…

Thank you, Mother Angelica, for teaching us the art of networking for Jesus…

Jesus was her spouse and Eucharistic Adoration was the center of her television ministry. That’s what stands out for me as the Catholic world mourns the passing of Mother Angelica, foundress of two religious orders of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Franciscan Missionaries, and the Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN. 

IMG_1975With prayer and holy chutzpah Mother Angelica, together with others, launched what would become a global Catholic network in 1981 to bring Jesus to the world. Donations from faithful Catholics around the world continue to sustain the mission today.

Mother Angelica taught us a lot about the beauty of the Catholic faith, as well as the feminine genius, in the way she lived.

Mother is definitely not a stereotypical nun. She appears stereotypical, but beneath the habit is this gutsy, determined woman who wields an incredible faith.

Her feminine genius resides just there I think: in her radical faith, in her abandonment to God’s will in the present moment. Additionally, she had an intuition that allowed her to see events as they were and to follow her heart and God, always.

We need that feminine aspect in the Church today. Mother used to say that the faith had become too “heady,” too theoretical. And I think she is right…

…she says, “Most people today are seeking master’s degrees, then they forget the Master.” She never forgot her Master.

Isn’t it curious that some of the same people who were the most outspoken advocates of “women’s power” in the Church, were the first ones trying to shove Mother Angelica back into the cloister once she appeared on the scene?

The idea of an orthodox, faithful woman leading people to Christ was a threat somehow. It shouldn’t have been. Time has shown that it was actually a blessing. – 2007 Zenit interview with Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo from The World Over at EWTN announces Mother Angelica’s passing and offers a few notes on her legacy…

Thank you, Mother Angelica for your wit and wisdom as a catechist, intercessor, and a spiritual mother to millions.

Oil painting of Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, outside the chapel area.

Oil painting of Mother Angelica, outside the chapel area at EWTN

Thank you for loving Jesus and teaching us not to keep that love to ourselves, but to spread it to others… and that sometimes we are asked to do that with a microphone or camera in hand. You built a network for Jesus both in the relationships you grew in religious life and in your expression of the faith person to person.

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In 2013, I visited EWTN as a guest to record a few programs with “Women of Grace” host, Johnette Benkovic, I took time to pray in the Adoration Chapel and attend Mass. (The banner photo above is the monstrance above the chapel altar at EWTN in Irondale, AL. I took the picture during a period when Mass or adoration was not taking place, so there is no Host in the photo.)

Find more of my photos from that visit here, and here.

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No doubt you can search the internet for hundreds of tribute to Mother Angelica, but I’m happy to recommend a few.

 

 

Just call me the Titanium Hipster…

Just call me the Titanium Hipster…

Other than a few podcasts, things have been a little quiet around here on the writing front.

I’m just past a month post-op. On Jan 29 I had surgery for my second total hip-joint replacement. This time it was on my left side. In 2008, about a month after I graduated with my Masters, I had the first one done. (So if you see that photo above, imagine two shiny glowing titanium implants instead of one. And no, that is not my X-ray.) Now I’ve got a matched set, thanks to the same surgeon who has followed my case for over 10 years. (If you’re in the greater Boston area needing a hip repair, I can recommend this doctor.)

Up until now, I’ve suffered with bi-lateral hip dysplasia.* Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, it would seem I’m living the cure with a large implant made mostly from an element from the periodic table. I’m working hard at doing my physical therapy. And not really working full days back at the desk yet. But I’m doing some things. I was on heavy pain-killers the first two weeks and I’m happy to be back down to ice and Advil or Tylenol. So I’m about two weeks into having my brain mostly back, but I fatigue easy.

My concentration is on moving, but nothing that requires heavy thinking or lifting. I chuckled when a dear friend asked me what I’ve been reading in all my free time…? Very little. I read. I fall asleep.

My days are fairly uncomplicated. Pray. Move. Do exercise. Rest. Do some work. Watch birds. Walk the dog.** Pray. Move. Do exercise. Rest.  Repeat.

The physical therapy is a blessing, I know, but I groan a lot doing my leg lifts and shed daily tears doing some motions that my leg has not done in over two years. Overcoming atrophy is the name of the game. Its a very slow game, but I’m in it to win it. I do a lot of walking indoor “laps” around my house and the dog thinks I’m nuts.

I walk with a cane, but in a couple weeks that should disappear, too. I’m about to enter the out-patient physical therapy phase. (I have to admit its been nice to have the PT team come to the house during these cold winter days.) But now we’ve had a few spring-like afternoons and I’m starting to get the bug to get back outdoors. And I’m making plans for future hikes with Bob and my binoculars. (For pessimistic New Englanders, that means it is probably getting ready to snow again. Hard. But I hope not.)

I’m here to say thank you for your prayers. Many folks knew of my medical lay-off and I’m thankful for your kindnesses. I’m most appreciative to my family, and especially Bob, for all the help I’ve been given and continue to receive. Many kind neighbors and church folks brought over meals and kept us going. Again, thank you. It’s great to be part of a loving church family.

And let me just say, if you or someone you love is preparing for surgery, be sure to call your local parish and arrange for the Sacrament of Anointing, and to make a confession before you go. It put me in a good frame of mind, and brought a lot of peace to the process.

The grace is real.

 

 

 

:::

*Apparently I was born with this problem, and it plagued me growing up in that I always blew out one sneaker when I played sports, and I had lots of sciatica-like pain later during my pregnancies. Other than that, I was oblivious to it. But things got interesting in my 40s when the pain became an chronic issue. Nobody, not me, not even my doctors, had any strong indicators of this until I was 42. One astute physical therapist working with me in 1998, following a car accident, noticed that I had one leg longer than another, but I never followed up with a doc about it. Like, whatchagonnado?

 

**And by walk the dog, I mean hitch the little guy up to long lead and send him out the front door to walk himself! No tripping over leashes for me!

I’m just one of the many presenters supporting “The Catholic Conference 4 Moms” on February 20, 2016!

I’m just one of the many presenters supporting “The Catholic Conference 4 Moms” on February 20, 2016!

I’ll be presenting at the Catholic Conference 4 Moms, Feb 20, 2016. I’m just one of many guest speakers featured!

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Who? This is for Moms — all moms need support in their faith and their mission! Watch the video trailer here. 

What? An online conference that you can stream or download as an individual, or by hosting this event in your parish. Hey — get a group and hang out with other moms together!

When? February 20 – Smack dab in Lent 2016!

Why? Cuz you deserve it — and its the Year of Mercy!

How? It’s online. All presenters donated our time for the videos in this project. That keeps the cost down for you! Sign up today! Share this far and wide – we are the marketing team! We need your help!

Why now? Sometimes planning one’s calendar takes time! We especially want you to host a group in your parish, if you can. You can make the event as formal or informal as you wish. Get all the details and make your plans! 

 

 

A Summer Leadership Conference in DC for Catholic Women ages 20-30 — The Given Forum. Apply now!

A Summer Leadership Conference in DC for Catholic Women ages 20-30 — The Given Forum. Apply now!

I’m happy to share this information about an exciting opportunity for faithful Catholic women between the ages of 20 and 30….

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What’s it all about? From the event website…

Why the theme, GIVEN?

There are three pillars upholding this Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum.

First: You are a gift!

Second: God has given you gifts of nature – particular talents and charisms, and gifts of grace – the family of the Church, the Sacraments, and a relationship with Him.

Third: We’re created to respond to these gifts by giving the gift of ourselves – a gift the world needs and awaits, and a gift that will bring us the fulfillment for which we long.

Receive the gift you are. Realize the gifts you’ve been given. Respond with the gift only you can give.

What will I gain?

The GIVEN Forum presents you with an opportunity of a lifetime. You will be surrounded by the witnesses of prominent Catholic lay women and Religious Sisters who desire to share with you from their store of knowledge and lived experience of the feminine genius in leadership. Simultaneously, you will be equipped to share your unique gifts with the Church, while getting to know 300 other rising leaders.

Participants will have the opportunity to experience the community of the Church upholding and investing in them, allowing for dedicated time to encounter the Lord at Mass, Holy Hour, and the in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – which will bear long-term and abundant fruit in your life, in the Church and in the world.

For more details go the the GIVEN Forum website.

Apply here before February 2. 

Schedule for Ave Maria Press Book Signings at #WMF2015. Meet me & others at Booth 742!

Schedule for Ave Maria Press Book Signings at #WMF2015. Meet me & others at Booth 742!

Awesome book resources from many of Ave Maria Press’ authors can be found at booth #742 at the World Meeting of Families! Hope to see you this Wednesday at 2pm!

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015
4 p.m.–Live broadcast with Greg and Lisa Popcak

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015
9:45 a.m–live broadcast with Grace Urbanski
10 a.m.–Grace Urbanski and Susie Lloyd book signing
11 a.m.–live broadcast with Sr. Terry Rickard
12:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Teresa Tomeo1-59471-370-7_
1 p.m.–Teresa Tomeo book signing
2 p.m.–book signing with Pat Gohn and Lisa Hendey
3:15 p.m.–live broadcast with Lisa Hendey and Pat Gohn

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
9:45 a.m.–live broadcast with Marge Fenelon
10 a.m.–book signing with Marge Fenelon
12:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Lisa Duffy
1:30 p.m.–book signing with Lisa Duffy
1 p.m.–book signing with Fr. Michael White
3 p.m.–live broadcast with Fr. Michael White
5:15 p.m.–book signing with Carmen Santamaria and Angelique Ruhi-Lopez
5:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Carmen and Angelique
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