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This makes me think… an ancient church prayer for political leaders…

“Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, concord, and stability, so that they may exercise without offense the sovereignty that you have given them. Master, heavenly King of the ages, you give glory, honor, and power over the things of earth to the sons of men. Direct, Lord, their counsel, following what is pleasing and acceptable in your sight, so that by exercising with devotion and in peace and gentleness the power that you have given to them, they may find favor with you.”

-Pope St. Clement of Rome-

(As found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 1900)

Tomorrow is First Saturday! Who’s with me for Saturday #3?  #5FirstSat4Mary

Tomorrow is First Saturday! Who’s with me for Saturday #3? #5FirstSat4Mary


Our backyard shrine, Our Lady of Grace. (Photo by Pat Gohn, 2015, all rights reserved.)

Since September I’ve been on a quest to make the Five First Saturdays devotion. So tomorrow is my third of, Lord-willing, five Saturdays. Today I’m going to confession in advance of the first Saturday because where I’ll be attending the First Saturday Mass in the morning, there will not be confessions available. So my First Saturdays have been a kind of two-step two-day thing. But going to confession is part of the devotion. So I’m off today to do that.

If you don’t know what First Saturday devotion is, read this post from September. It’s part of the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. 

And here’s another post in-between about Saturday #2.

I’ve been garnering some support on Facebook and Twitter from friends and peeps who are joining in this devotion with me. You can use the hashtag #5FirstSat4Mary to share the love. However, you can start any first Saturday. Why not tomorrow? Do it for Mary.

This makes me think… of the church suffering

“Holy Church, our good Mother, after having exalted with fitting praise all her children who now rejoice in heaven, strives also to help all those who still suffer in purgatory, and to this end intercedes with all her power before Christ, her Lord and Spouse, in order that as speedily as possible they may join the society of the elect in heaven.” These are the words of the Roman Martyrology.

Yesterday we contemplated the glory of the Church triumphant and implored her intercession. Today we consider the expiatory pains of the Church suffering and solicit for these souls the divine assistance: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.” This is the dogma of the Communion of Saints put into practice. The Church triumphant intercedes for us, the Church militant; and we, in our turn, hasten to the help of the Church suffering. Death has taken from us those we love; yet there can be no real separation from those who have died in the kiss of the Lord. The bond of charity continues to unite us, enfolding in one embrace earth, heaven and purgatory, so that there circulates from one region to another the fraternal assistance which springs from love, which has as its end the triumph of love in the common glory of Paradise.

The liturgy of the day is pervaded with sadness, but it is not the grief of those “who have no hope” (1 Thes 4,12), for it is resplendent with faith in a blessed resurrection, in the eternal felicity which awaits us. The passages chosen for the Gospels of the three Masses for the faithful departed speak to us explicitly of all these consoling truths, and in a most authoritative way, since they repeat to us the very words of Jesus: “This is the will of the Father who sent Me; that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again in the last day” (Gosp, 2nd Mass: Jn 6:37-40). Could there be a more consoling assurance?

Jesus presents Himself to us today as the Good Shepherd who does not want to lose even one of His sheep, nor does He spare any pains to lead them all to salvation. As if in response to the sweet promises of Jesus, Holy Mother Church, full of gratitude and enthusiasm, cries out: “For with regard to Thy faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away; and the abode of this earthly sojourn being dissolved, an eternal dwelling is prepared in heaven” (Preface). Rather than an inexorable end, death is, for the Christian, a door opening into eternity, a door which admits the soul into eternal life.

— Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy.


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!

This makes me think… Nothing makes sense unless God wants us in heaven to share his joy.

God created us only so that we could share in His joy. It is were not true God created us so that we could share eternally in His Life, existence would have absolutely no meaning; the world would be absurd. It is only in faith in the intentions of God’s love that the world finds its meaning. There world has no other justification than its having been destined in Christ for divine beatitude. This is the response to all those who would object that “a good God would not have been able to created a world so full of misery and suffering.” St Paul responds that it is through this that God seeks to build — and will irrevocably and ultimately succeed in building — the city of God in which his children will be bathed in the light of the Trinity.

–Jean Daniélou, Prayer: The Mission of the Church.

Among Women 195: Praying With Your Children

Among Women 195: Praying With Your Children

Among Women 195 is all about praying with your children.

In this new Among Women podcast, my guest, Grace Mazza Urbanski, and I met while we were both attending the World Meeting of Families last month. Grace’s ministry in the Apostleship of Prayer led to her new book, Pray With Me: Seven Simple Ways to Pray with Your Children. This is a beautiful new resource for families and I’m happy to share some great tips from Grace and the book in this interview. Also profiled in this episode is the life of St Silvia, mother to St Gregory the Great.

In other news: Something is amiss with the post editor over at the AW site, so I’m archiving the links to this show here, until the fix happens over at Among Women.

Links for Episode 195 of Among Women with Grace Mazza Urbanski

Listen to the this latest Among Women pScreen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.52.44 PModcast here, or at iTunes — episode 195

Grace Mazza Urbanski’s Book: Pray With Me

Grace’s Blog: Praying with Grace

Apostleship of Prayer

Bio of St Silvia

Book: Prayers for Married Couples

Other shows of related interest:

AW 186 with guest Leila Marie Lawler

AW 76 with guest Laura Lee Richard

AW 104 and AW 105 with guest Melanie Bettinelli


Saturday #2 of “The Five First Saturdays… ” — who’s with me? #5FirstSat4Mary

Saturday #2 of “The Five First Saturdays… ” — who’s with me? #5FirstSat4Mary

We interrupt all the post-Pope coverage for this reminder… Tomorrow is a first Saturday.

Over the summer I was convicted to attempt to make the Five First Saturdays devotion. Let me just say that, like in most families, Saturdays can be pretty hectic. And on reflection, that’s probably why I need this all the more. It’s a taming of my chaotic heart. This devotions send me to monthly confession — always a good practice. It sends me to Mass to meet the lover of my soul in Holy Communion. And it asks me to pray the Rosary to be in touch with Momma Mary, and the intentions of the day.

In this post I share the precepts of making this devotion, so my purpose here is just to encourage you to join me. You can start your five Saturdays tomorrow. (Or if you are reading this down the line, on the next first Saturday.)

After I posted the invitation to join me in the First Saturdays, a little campaign developed on Twitter and Facebook that asked others to join in, as a kind of encouragement and solidarity with one another. What a blessing that is, so if you want, use the #hashtag  and let’s invite others.


A few notes about this from last month’s experience…

For me, it’s all about conquering the calendar: To make these five mornings a priority. Last month I was going to out of town on the first Saturday, so I had to look up and find a church in the area where I was staying. It also meant I had to restructure my Friday to find a confession time, since I could not rely on that as part of the travel. It afforded me a lovely respite visit to St Joseph the Worker Shrine, one of my favorite haunts over the years. A priest I had never met there before heard my confession and blessed my socks off.

After driving that night to New York, on the next morning, the church my husband and I found for Saturday morning Mass turned out to be a lovely classically hewed-stone church with a “first Saturday” group praying the rosary after Mass, and — bonus! — discovered an eucharistic adoration chapel before we left!

So try it. Ask Momma Mary to help you get this scheduled… to open your calendar and your heart to these prayers and reparation and love of Jesus and Mary. 


My photo from inside the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, PA.

This makes me think… Jesus is the friend who always has the time…

“There is always a way open to each of the faithful: the way of prayer. Whoever sincerely believes the words “Ask and you shall receive” is given consolation and courage to persevere in every need. Even if it is not the immediate help which, to some extent, the person conceives of and desires, help does come.

For every Catholic there lies ready an immeasurable treasure: the proximity of the Lord in the holy sacrifice and in the most holy sacrament of the altar. Whoever is imbued with a lively faith in Christ present in the tabernacle, whoever knows that a friend awaits here constantly – always with the time, patience, and sympathy to listen to complaints, petitions, and problems, with counsel and help in all things – this person cannot remain desolate and forsaken even under the greatest difficulties. He always has a refuge where quietude and peace can again be found.”

Edith Stein, Edith Stein, Collected Works II, Essays on Women

(Later known as St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

The Five “First Saturdays” devotion — who’s with me?

The Five “First Saturdays” devotion — who’s with me?

It’s been years since I’ve done a First Saturday devotion. It was something I learned about regarding Fatima, and Our Lady of Fatima is a patron of mine, thanks to St. John Paul II. I’ve been privileged to visit Fatima twice in my life.

Anyway, I was all set to begin the First Saturdays last month when an important family obligation prevented me. So I’m back in the hunt to begin this Saturday September 5. I’m on my way to confession today at a local shrine to prepare in advance because it may be harder to get to confession this Saturday when I won’t be close to home. So, Lord-willing, this is first of five. Why not join me?

If you’ve never made a First Saturday devotion, all you need to know can be found in this link, which summarizes what you are to do:

“This devotion has four parts – all four should be made in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy and ingratitude and for peace in the world,” Fr. Joseph continued. “First, one should go to confession, generally eight days before or after the First Saturday of the month; Second, one should receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday of the month; Third, recite five decades of the Rosary; and fourth, meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.”

There are great benefits for those who comply with this request. Our Lady told Sister Lucia she would “assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months confess, receive Holy Communion, pray a rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour meditating on the 15 mysteries with the intention of offering reparation.”

Many ask why Our Lady asked her children to observe FIVE first Saturdays. Our Lady told Sister Lucia the five Saturdays are to make reparation for the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies uttered against her Immaculate Heart. The offenses are 1.) against her Immaculate Conception, 2.) against her virginity, 3.) against her Divine maternity, 4.) by those who openly seek to foster in the hearts of children indifference, or even hatred, for this Immaculate Mother, and 5.) by those who directly outrage her holy images. [Read it all.]


Making God a Priority in Your Catholic Home: Resources to help parents be prayer leaders

Making God a Priority in Your Catholic Home: Resources to help parents be prayer leaders

Priorities, to-do lists, goals…. we all get it, we’ve all got so much time and we’ve got to budget it according to what we wish to achieve. The spiritual leadership in our homes must be a priority.

As Catholics, our priorities are directed by the two great loves that could summarize the Ten Commandments: Love God and love our neighbor. And we must be deliberate about that — especially in our families. We must be in relationship with God — that means we pray — and we must share that relationship with our families. Parents need to be prayer leaders in our home. When my children were small we taught them prayers both formal and spontaneous. That and more! (I give real examples from our home in some of the articles I list for Catholic Mom and in the Among Women podcasts.) (Also, if you are a woman reading this, I also give a framework for spiritual motherhood in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.)

Here’s a few resources I suggest.

Three great books:

First, a new book: A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day.61eiluMcKxL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_

Last month on National Review Online, Kathryn Lopez interviews Sr Jane Laurel, OP, editor of the book. Sr Jane Laurel says…

Praying as a family helps us to see with the eyes of faith. We see others and the tasks of daily life in a different light, a light that sets us free from unrealistic expectations about ourselves, others, our time, and “the way things should be.”  Faith also helps us to see all the blessings the Lord gives to us.  As we see His providence and His presence at work in our daily lives, we are filled with gratitude and love.  And, we begin to invite Him more and more into our daily plans and decisions, to see as He sees, and to love as He loves.  Receiving His love for us inspires us to go out in love to the members of our family with this same love.  When family members love one another, they become more respectful towards and attentive to one other.  What we could really say is that they affirm one another’s existence, saying to one another in effect by their attitude and actions: “It is good that you are.” Everyone loves to be around people who love and appreciate them.  So, when family members love and appreciate one another, they are happy.  Thus, when a disagreement or a misunderstanding occurs, the foundation of faith and love are already there, and so opening the lines of communication and reconciliation comes more easily.

To be absolutely honest, it really is a matter of priorities. The things that are important to us are those for which we make time. God and family should be our top two priorities; but we are all weak, we can easily allow other things — technology, sports, social media, and entertainment — to crowd out our time for God and our time for family. We can allow ourselves to get on to the hamster wheel, keeping ourselves so busy that we never stop and take time to think about where we are placing priorities in our lives.  We don’t have to live on the hamster wheel. The Lord wants to show us a simpler way. So the Scriptures tell us, “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The more cares we have, the more we need to rely on God. He can reveal to us where we are off with our priorities and pursuits. He knows those things that will not truly make us happy and the things that will.  Prayer is the way of entrusting our lives to Him and accepting His guidance.  He shows us the things that only create anxiety and frenzy.  He shows us also the things that lead to communion and communication, the things that genuinely refresh us, versus the things that only drain us of energy. His way is much simpler. Making prayer part of the fabric of daily life leads to peace. Through it, parents can also teach their children how to find peace. For instance, if a parent picks up a child from school and realizes that the child is preoccupied with something, the parent would most likely try to encourage the child to talk more about what he or she is thinking and feeling.  After listening and responding to the child’s answers, the parent could say, “Let’s pray about this together.” They can then pray together, and allow God to give them light and peace.  By making prayer the priority, they hand things over to God and this almost instantaneously makes life less stressful. It’s not about what we can do; it’s about what we can let God do in our lives. [Read it all. ]

Second, a book from last year that I’m still recommending, The Little Oratory: A Beginners Guid to Praying in the Home.  by David Clayton and Leila Maria Lawler. Look for the Among Women podcast I list below with Leila Lawlor — one of the most popular downloads in the last year!

Third, also from a year ago, still offers more: Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality for the Home by Tim and Sue Muldoon.

Articles from my Catholic Mom archives:Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 6.34.10 PM

Raising Them for Jesus

Spiritual Growth in a Catholic Family, Part One, and here’s Part Two.

Make sure you are familiar with Catholic Mom. It’s one of the best guide to family resources out there! For example, 3 Ways to Create a Prayerful Home, or this, Dear Young Family at Mass. Bookmark CatholicMom.com!

Among Women Podcasts:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 7.09.47 PMAW 186: On Faith, Grace, and Prayer in Marriage and Family Life with Leila Marie Lawler talking about The Little Oratory.

AW 76: Raising Saints for the Church with blogger Laura Lee Richard

AW 104 Little Ones in the Domestic Church, Part One, with blogger Melanie Bettinelli, and here is its Part Two.

Finally, some strong encouragement and straight talk from School of Love in Kansas City.


PS: (Oh yeah, that vintage photo of me above in the banner photo? That’s the 1989 baptism of my daughter, my middle child.)