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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.

Among Women Podcast 208 – Traveling in God’s Providence (with Diana von Glahn)

Among Women Podcast 208 – Traveling in God’s Providence (with Diana von Glahn)

This newest episode of Among Women looks at the Providence of God from a few different angles…  in my life, the life of St Mary of the Cross, and the life of The Faithful Traveler, Diana von Glahn.

I’ll be sharing tips I’m trying to master from St Francis de Sales as I try to be more mindful of God’s Providence in the details of every day. Plus this show will offer a look at the life of Jeanne Jugan who became Mary of the Cross, and providentially, her life and work led to the formation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the same Little Sisters you’ve been reading about in the news.

Finally, in this podcast, we hear some behind-the-scenes stories of the life of Catholic filmmaker Diana von Glahn as she shares Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 8.38.57 AMdetails about a new film series for television on Francis’ 2014 pilgrimage in the Holy Land. This series came to be despite the heartbreak of Diana’s husband and producer/director staying home — and missing the pilgrimage — as he recovered from a heart attack. Plus Diana shares how this series profiles Francis’ pilgrimage and works, providentially, on promoting unity between Western and Eastern Christians. You’ll want to also hear the many interesting historical and spiritual details that Diana details about sacred sites in the Holy Lands.

Listen or download the latest Among Women podcast here, or listen to Episode 208 via iTunes.

You might enjoy this short video preview of the this new series from The Faithful Traveler…

Among Women 205: The Testimony of the Woman at the Well

Among Women 205: The Testimony of the Woman at the Well

This episode of Among Women calls us to share our experiences of faith with others.

In our “Blessed are They” segment, I explore Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well. This is the longest recorded conversation of Jesus in Scripture. In it we find a woman whose life is changed by meeting Jesus, the Christ. We also observe how this woman could not keep the good news of the Messiah a secret. Her convincing testimony leads others to belief in Jesus, persuading them to hear his word and accept him for themselves.

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Today, evangelization takes place both in person and virtually. Online Catholic resources often function as a modern well, where people gather to read and hear inspiring conversations about faith and life. Stories and articles can be shared and discussed — so that others might become curious about a life of faith, and ultimately find Jesus too. The Catholic website, Aleteia, now offers a lifestyle magazine “For Her” — hoping to capture the varied interests of Christian women who seek engaging content that resonates with their values. Join me for a discussion about this new venture with Cynthia Darmody, the editor-in-chief of “For Her”.

Listen to this latest AW podcast!

Among Women 204: Lenten Almsgiving and CRS Rice Bowl #4Lent4Life

Among Women 204: Lenten Almsgiving and CRS Rice Bowl #4Lent4Life

Welcome to Lent 2016! This episode of Among Women introduces a simplified and practical way to accomplish Lenten almsgiving — with CRS Rice Bowl.

In this program we look at the art of giving — specifically, alms-giving this Lent. Together with my guests, Sherry Brownrigg and Lisa Hendey, we talk about the work of almsgiving this Lent through the mission of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its Lenten apostolate called “Rice Bowl”. Both Brownrigg and Hendey recently toured CRS’s mission in Colombia’s coffee country and share their pilgrimage stories and their passion for Rice Bowl as a powerful means of almsgiving and personal transformation.

Don’t miss how you can enhance your personal or family almsgiving through the Rice Bowl.

Listen to this latest episode of Among Women!

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Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

Can’t Make the #MarchForLife? Three Powerful Things To Do Instead

There are many of us, for very good reasons, who cannot attend the March for Life in Washington DC on January 22, or the ones scheduled in other cities. Yet we yearn to attend. Let us channel that yearning beyond wishful thinking and DO SOMETHING.

Discern on what front God wants you. Catholics have a consistent life ethic. Preventing abortion is a very important aspect of that ethic, but so is caring for those women. men, and families needing support in their daily needs, and those facing the end-of-life. The USCCB’s Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities has four emphases that you should consider. I’m here just to say we all can DO SOMETHING.

Here are three suggestions:

1. Pray and fast. Offer your intentions for the March and the marchers’ witness to life, for families in need, and for women contemplating abortion. Also discern where God is nudging you to act.

Pray as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Go to Mass
  • Pray a Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  • Spend an hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Fast as you are able. Pick one or more:

  • Fast from lunch, or choose a bread and water fast for the day.
  • Fast from coffee, or whatever your go-to beverage is.
  • Fast from television, or better yet, your internet connection, for a period of several hours or days.

2. Support and celebrate motherhood. 

  • Do you know a single mother? Call her today and tell her you are ready to give her one day a month to serve her. She has the hardest job in the world. Make a plan and let this be your private march for life during the Year of Mercy. March on over to her house and get involved. Perform a chore, babysit, pay a bill if you are able, tutor a child, paint a room. You get the picture. And remember to invite her to church with you, and tell her you’ll help with the children.
  • This is a very unique idea: Offer to host the 2016 Catholic Conference 4 Moms, themed “Faces of Mercy”, at your church or in your living room during Lent. This is an online conference with videos and support materials — a complete “conference in a box”. Listen to this Among Women podcast for a conversation with the conference organizer, Tami Kiser.

3. Donate your time or your money to those who are assisting women with crisis pregnancies, or trying to find healing from “the after affects” of abortion.

These groups support women and babies:

These groups support women in recovery from abortion, with confidential retreats, counseling, etc.

May the “people of life” constantly grow in number and may a new culture of love

and solidarity develop for the true good of the whole of human society.

– Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, no. 101_

 

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 10.13.08 AMIn this latest episode of Among Women the subject is the virtue of chastity and my guest, Arleen Spenceley, is a writer for the Tampa Bay Times. A few years back, an essay she wrote on being a chaste single adult garnered much discussion in print and went viral online. All this led to her book release Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin. Join us for a discussion of the influence of St John Paul’s thoughts on love between the sexes, and how chastity is a virtue every person must cultivate.

Also in this episode, a look at a Welch saint who rivals St Valentine as a saint for lover, St Dwynden.

Listen and share this episode!

 

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Whoooooo!  Among Women reaches the milestone of 200 Episodes!

This episode features comments & feedback from Among Women listeners! What a blessing to hear from friends of the podcast!

The “Among Women” Guest: Kelly Wahlquist. We discuss her new book Created to Relate — describing that women are 9781616368760_24eb906a-2e06-4426-bfd6-a28629f8f31f_medium“radically” relational — and it helps us evangelize!

Winners of the AW 200 Drawing Prize Packs are announced! They are:

Jennifer Harned, Angie Wolfe, Debbie Quakkelaar, and Felicia Brown-Anderson.

Thank you to all who entered!

Listen to this new podcast!

Find all the archives of Among Women here.

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A recent video from Catholic Match about our podcast:

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

It’s First Saturday tomorrow — Make it a Morning with Mom! #5FirstSat4Mary

Tomorrow is a First Saturday. I hope you’ll join in beginning this 5-month devotion or continue along with me. This is my #5FirstSat4Mary4th of 5 first Saturdays. Earlier posts are here: the beginning, the second, and third. The first post outlines the “how-to’s” for the First Saturday devotion.

I’ve learned a few things as I’ve invited people to join me in this devotion.

Not all parishes have a Saturday morning or midday Mass. Of course, there’s a showstopper right there. However, if you can, check out surrounding parishes or shrines. I often go to a shrine church, several towns away, that is affiliated with a religious order. Their Mass schedule and confession schedule is different from my local parish, and often more in line with my work schedule. All I’m saying is that if you have the desire, ask Mary to give you a way to complete this devotion. I also know good friends and family who live in rural areas and this is simply not a viable option — having a Mass within an hour’s drive on Saturday. Might I suggest, then, the First Friday devotion?

Mentioning your desire to complete this devotion to a friend or two helps keep you accountable. It’s been years since I’ve made the First Saturdays when I was encouraged to make them again, (from a priest in confession, and no, it was not my penance, just a pious suggestion). I admit, it took me a while to actually commit based on my calendar, but once I did, the days opened up. Funny, right? It helps to join with a friend to do this together. But if you can’t you can always share it in person, try sharing it “long distance” like I did — with my Facebook and Twitter friends.

Monthly confession is truly a holy goal. The 5 First Saturdays require going to confession. It’s a good thing in terms of the practice and, of course, the graces. But what I’ve noticed is that when I’m committed to monthly confession (even if I’m not participating in the First Saturdays), I have a tendency to do an examen all month long. That is, I begin to make notes of what I want to bring to my next confession. And I do it in a relaxed way, as the Lord brings things to mind in the course of the month. It’s really made confession less stressful, or rather, the process of examining my conscience. I’m a journaling person, so I just keep notes there. And then when I get to go to confession, I’m able to summarize my sins and my needs. This is very helpful for the priest who hears my confession, too. I can be direct and succinct and really own up to sins without a lot of meandering or hemming and hawing. He can zone in on giving me good direction and a penance. Plus this is useful if there is a long line for confession before Mass and you want to be courteous to your neighbors waiting in line behind you.

So, join me, won’t you? Give yourself the gift of a morning with Mom. (Mary is your spiritual mother!)

Do it for Mary. Do it for Jesus who loves when we honor his Mother. Do it for Advent.

Maybe ask a friend?

Share #5First Sat4Mary.

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Among Women 196: Finding God’s Peace

Among Women 196: Finding God’s Peace

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 9.33.26 PMIn this new episode, I happily welcome author Heidi Bratton to Among Women. Together, we discuss her new book, Finding God’s Peace in Everyday Challenges.

Heidi is an author I’ve long admired and I think you’ll be blessed by hearing this conversation. Also in this show, I’m reviewing what we mean when say, “rest in peace”. Plus, our saint profile is the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, St Madeleine Sophie Barat.

Listen to Among Women today!

The blog tour buzzing about Lisa Mladinich’s “True Radiance” is underway! Here’s where it will be!

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.33.17 PMThe TRUE RADIANCE BLOG TOUR starts today and many of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of Lisa Mladinich’s book! I’ll be interviewing Lisa for Among Women soon, and we’ll be doing our own giveaway at that time in a couple weeks. In the meantime, you could win a book at one of these fine blogs….or you can buy the book here.

 Today, Oct. 19 kicks off at Kathy Schiffer‘s Seasons of Grace! Kathy will be writing about Interior Beauty.

 Tuesday, Oct. 20, Mary Ellen Barrett will blog at Tales From the Bonnie Blue House  about the Sacred Mentality–the sacramentality of our bodies.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 features Leticia Velasquez at Cause of Our Joy, discussing the chapter on Brain Health.

Monday, Oct. 26 Sister Margaret Kerry Fsp will cover Women’s Spirituality at CatholicMom.com, from the chapter on Wisdom and Witness.

Tuesday, Oct. 27 Sarah Reinhard will talk about Women’s Friendships at Snoring Scholar!

Wednesday, Oct. 28, Jen Fitz will cover the Vocations chapter at Sticking the Corners.

Thursday, Oct. 29, Lisa will be interviewed at Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle‘s author blog, discussing one of the Common Pitfalls for Women in the second half of life: complaining!

Friday, Oct. 30, Lisa will again be interviewed at Maria Morera Johnson‘s personal blog about one of the Roadblocks to Peace (impurity)and what to do about it!

Read all about it at Lisa’s blog Water into Wine.

I was honored to write the Foreword to this book. Here’s a few of my thoughts.

True Radiance takes aim at some of the falsehoods that mar and malign our feminine genius. Besides her own encounters with the healing love of God, Lisa Mladinich’s personal research and discussions with other women in the second half of life offer perspective and encouragement from the front lines of post-menopausal living.

Mladinich’s anecdotes and her confident faith challenge us to lovingly reconsider the things that distract us from understanding true beauty. She writes, “like anything that isn’t God himself, the quest for physical beauty can consume too much of our time, money, and attention—when, in the second half of our lives, quite frankly, we’ve got better things to do.”

We do have better things to do! For me, I love reading books that tell honest stories. I appreciate that Lisa Mladinich writes in a way that honors my faith and my intellect. She’s an all-in Catholic. Her awe and zeal for the faith is refreshingly invigorating. Yet she manages to tickle my funny bone while offering a reverential look at this blessed and, at times, bewildering phase of life.

Is it possible to find God speaking to you through a hot flash? Or truth as you battle with a bout of brain fog? Can you sense a smile from heaven in your dog’s antics? Or find peace in a sentence from the Catechism? Lisa Mladinich’s book offers that and more.

Proverbs 31:30 reveals that a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Faith and true beauty go hand in hand. And often, we women learn that best from the examples of other women. From her touching reversion story describing the Blessed Mother leading her closer to Jesus, to her chapter on the need for friendships with saints and other women, Lisa Mladinich never forgets that it is grace that fuels a heart’s movement toward God and others. She, and the women she profiles in this book, offers authentic ways to uncover grace in our own experiences as we mature.

Go on and get your copy right here!