Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available now!
Mary’s Touch has a new host: Alexis Walkenstein! Tune in today!

Mary’s Touch has a new host: Alexis Walkenstein! Tune in today!

Alexis Walkenstein has a new radio gig at Mary’s Touch, besides her day job! She writes about it on her blog. And you can read more at MT’s Facebook page.

The show starts today! List of Stations where you can listen.

More in this press release from Mary’s Touch:

AUSTIN, TX (March 29, 2017) – An Austin based national Catholic non-profit organization committed to advancing the Blessed Mother’s “YES,” announces the hiring of Alexis Walkenstein as the new host of the Mary’s Touch Radio Show. In this capacity, Alexis will lead the new evangelization of the award-winning, inspirational radio program designed to bring a greater understanding of Mary, to remind everyone of the Blessed Mothers loving presence in the lives of humanity, and to help people everywhere recognize the healing grace she still brings to this world.

“For ten years, Mary’s Touch Radio Show has featured countless stories of Catholic Marian devotion, and that foundation has paved the way for a new generation to be introduced to the teaching, devotion and reality of Mary’s presence in today’s world,” said Susana Garza, executive director of Mary’s Touch. “We are so grateful to our founder Cheri Lomonte for the apostolate she has built over the past decade and we are excited about the start of our second decade with Alexis leading our radio evangelization.”

With the 100 year anniversary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal celebrated this year, Mary’s Touch is poised to draw on the grace of this special Marian year to feature compelling stories from today’s contemporary Marian apostles whose lives bear witness to the Gospel.

“To be a part of a communications endeavor that helps to evangelize and renew the Church as well as call seekers and the fallen away in today’s culture to a life of faith is an honor and an exciting adventure that I will entrust to Our Lady,” said Alexis Walkenstein, Mary’s Touch Radio Show host. “As baptized Catholics we have a missionary call to go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News, and I am so eager to feature contemporary lay men and women as well as priests and religious who give testimony to the power of Jesus and the love of Mary in their lives. I pray these stories of faith will bring Mary’s touch and the grace of God to as many souls as possible through the airwaves.”

Tune in April 1st for a very special program featuring outgoing host and founder of Mary’s Touch, Inc. Cheri Lomonte and Fr. Jim Evans as they reflect on a decade of Mary’s Touch and introduce Alexis Walkenstein on her first Mary’s Touch Radio Show.

Mary’s Touch Radio Show is a weekly half-hour program that is broadcast on over 100 Catholic radio stations in the U.S. and around the world. Mary’s Touch Radio Shows are produced in Austin, Texas and are provided to radio networks at no cost. Visit MarysTouch.org for the program schedule and to learn more about the apostolate.

 Way to go, Lexi! Mary’s got this!
ALL IN is available! (Hint: today is a great day to order it!)

ALL IN is available! (Hint: today is a great day to order it!)

 

The word has been out for a few days as advanced orders were received, but I’m happy to announce that the release of my new book, ALL IN: Why belonging to the Catholic Church matters, is out and available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, Catholic bookstores, and, of course, at my publisher’s website, Ave Maria Press.

I’ve been blessed to be a Catholic and I share some of my faith story here, as well as my confidence in the Catholic Church, and how you can firmly place your trust firmly both in Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church. Now, I know for some of you, your trust in the Catholic Church might be a bit wobbly, given all the strife and heartache and disappointment many church members have caused both within and without the Church. I totally get that. And that’s why I wrote about how I can still be confidently Catholic, and an active member in the Catholic Church, with its warts and all. Without whitewashing our struggles, I offer the reasons I stay.

Information about the book is here, and in an earlier post here.

And so I offer this loving appeal: Even if you have a stack of books to read ahead of this one, if you order it today, it will really help the book’s launch. Does that sound self-serving? Yes, I agree it does. But the reality is that the Catholic book market has all the same pressures that other book markets have, as we exist in a competitive economy. So if there’s ever a new Catholic book that you are interested in reading, try to buy it when it first comes out. The hardworking people in Catholic publishing will appreciate your business.

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I’ve been out speaking about the book in a few media places already…

On Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo (listen at 39:00 on the hour) and the Spirit Mornings crew at Spirit Radio Network…

Find articles on the web at Aleteia, and Amazing Catechists.

Next week on March 9 I’ll be on Radio Maria and the following week on Catholic TV’s “This is the Day” on March 17. 

And there’s more to come.

Very soon I’ll be offering a few excerpts read by me on the Among Women podcast.

I’m booking future ALL IN retreats for Catholic parishes and dioceses. Or single talks for your church event. Find my contact information at the bottom of this page.

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FYI: I’m out in California today getting ready to give a women’s retreat at St Catherine of Alexandria parish in Morgan Hill (near San Jose), so if you are in the area, join us! If not, we’d appreciate your prayers!

I’m on the road in 2017! Join me for retreat days in California and Massachusetts…

I’m on the road in 2017! Join me for retreat days in California and Massachusetts…

Good things to come!
Find two upcoming dates in California, and one in Massachusetts on my events page!

I’m thrilled that more and more women are interested in the feminine genius! Come join us for retreats based on the themes of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. 

Looking to book something for your church or diocese? Contact me via this link, or see the “contact me” at the bottom of this page!

 

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.

 

 

 

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*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!