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Today’s readings and Pope Francis… “so that you may be amazed.” (John 5: 20)

I had a post today in my hometown diocesan newspaper, now an online journal, The Long Island Catholic. Look for it here, listed for March 13.

Here’s a snippet:

Waiting on the Lord’s timing and his mercy are so great a part of the Christian life. And Lent is not so much about tending to our will, but to his; not so much about our timing, but his. We see this so clearly this Lent — characterized by the prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the conclave.

May we anticipate the goodness of the One who sees and knows the one who will be chosen as pope.

The Lord is gracious… merciful… slow to anger… kind… just…good… compassionate…faithful… holy… and near to all who call on him. (Psalm 145)

And may our new pontiff be a loyal and holy son of the Church —  a Good Shepherd who always acts like Jesus — in union with the amazing will and timing of the Father.

For the Father loves the Son

and shows him everything that he himself does,

and he will show him greater works than these,

so that you may be amazed. (John 5: 20.)

Read the whole thing, and go to the March 13 entry.


God gave me a pretty amazing day. Today is my birthday so I spent some time in a local chapel, praying my daily prayers and rosary there, and attending the noon Mass. Of course I was praying for the conclave. As I left Mass, I just had a feeling we would see white smoke today. As I came in the door after Mass and doing a little shopping, I saw Bob was on a late lunch break and watching the news. I told him I thought we would hear something today about the pope. As I brought in and unpacked the groceries, Bob yelled: “There’s smoke!” As soon as I saw the white smoke and the bells of St Peter’s signaling the rejoicing, I just was full of joy.

While I was hoping for a pope from the USA, (don’t all Catholics everywhere root for their “home team” Cardinals?) , we did get an “American” pope in Pope Francis I — from the South American nation of Argentina.

I wish I knew more about Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, but like many people, I’ll be learning more about him! I loved that he asked us to pray for him first, that God would bless him, before he gave us his first blessing. I was praying for him like crazy in those moments that led up to that point. 

I was talking with friends on Facebook today, and just loving that he took the name Francis. St Francis of Assisi has long been a hero in the Gohn home, but so is St Francis Xavier who was a patron of my boy’s high school. I also have a particular devotion to St Francis de Sales.

I don’t know which Francis the Pope means to honor — perhaps he’ll tell us more soon– I have a feeling it is a nod to Francis of Assisi, but each “Francis” has special meaning for me.

As I wrote on Facebook: “God’s call to St Francis of Assisi is to “rebuild” the church… God’s call to St Francis Xavier is bring the gospel to the ends of the earth… and God’s call to St Francis de Sales was to engage the laity and show them the beauty of their vocations! I’m pretty pumped.”

Pumped. And amazed.

Long live Pope Francis! May God lead him to do great amazing works, like Jesus!


The news we’ve all been waiting for…

I love that photo of the American Cardinals in Rome. It was posted by my good friend, Fr Chip Hines, a pastor and a film reviewer at Catholic TV– one of the many media-savvy priests I know! This is a very exciting time to be a Catholic! I have some very good friends who are big time newsy bloggers, and they are doing us all a great service by writing about the conclave. I admire the way they become channels for the news and the political commentary that accompanies it, all while being beacons of light through what they write and say. Me, I’m not that blogger. I’m not the breaking-news kind of writer, despite my first aspirations in journalism.

I started out in broadcast news as a young woman — working for a news radio station for the morning anchor desk covering and researching stories on Long Island. After several months I found I did not have the stomach for it. I became too emotionally involved in it and never found that right combination of professional detachment and the intense inquisitive savvy to ask the burning questions and to push unrelentingly for the answers. I knew I wanted to write, but was momentarily adrift when deciding against journalism. The professionals advised, “use the tools already in your toolkit”, and “find a field where they are appreciated.” Eventually I shifted out of news and went into copywriting, and the programming side of radio.

Along the way, I learned to use my voice for good, both on the page and behind a microphone. Being a deejay that played music made people happy… it took their minds off the harshness of the ever-changing news cycles and the troubles of the day. It seemed a form of  announcing “good” news. It gave me a chance to offer encouragement and to lead with a smile. But that too, while fun and uplifting, still only went so far. The deepest satisfaction career-wise was still to come… It took me a long time to discover that what fascinated me most was what was unchanging: God. I wanted a field where I could use media and talk about God.

Decades later, I’m still that same girl. Both behind the microphone and on the page I pray to be an encourager, and someone who offers the good news… Sure, I appreciate those writers whose gift it is to find and shift through the daily news for the worthy nuggets to report, and those who survey and analyze the news and offer their opinions. We need them. I read them and I salute them. But I look for what is unchanging, I look for the moments that in some way lift the veil on the present circumstance to reveal the God who was, who is, and will be.

“Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”

– Hebrews 13: 8 –

That’s not just great copy, that’s the truth.

That’s what we Catholics are about.

That’s Who the Church is built upon, the Rock of Ages. And the man whose lot it will be to sit in Peter’s Chair will have the premier duty to announce that. The next Pope will remind us that the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST is real, and meant to be shared.

In those early fleeting media moments when cameras and microphones worldwide are trained on the new pope — when his name is finally known to the world — be sure to pray for him that he uses his voice to speak of that news. Underneath that new white zucchetto is a man whose whole life brought him to that precise moment… to lead a billion Catholics, and to give witness behind a microphone, on camera, and on the page to billions more besides. Let us pray that God might use his gifts, his lifelong field of experiences. We do not know what may yet be in his tool kit, but we do know that God will add to it a measure of grace that comes from his anointing and the graces of Orders.

The names of  the popes may change, but the mission never does. That is why we are waiting for white smoke, and anticipating the announcement of a name that will be etched into our history. Let us simply pray for this man, this priest, this Bishop, this Prince of the Church, this future Holy Father.

Regardless of the papal elections, Jesus is King and Lord of All; the greatest news ever told or recorded. News that is unchanging and worthy of our belief. And soon, his Vicar, his herald, will again be in our midst.

May he bring Good News.


Some links to bookmark for the Conclave, plus an informative 5min video on the making of the pope

Some links to bookmark for the Conclave, plus an informative 5min video on the making of the pope

Now that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, let us continue to lift the Cardinals who will select our next pope in our prayers. There’s a few helpful links that you may wish to bookmark for the exciting days ahead listed below.

Here’s a well-done video from Catholic News Service on the making of the pope…

Some informational commentary from around the blogosphere:

Whispers in the Loggia by Rocco Palmo – the respected Vatican news hound of the Catholic blogosphere

Catholic Channel at Patheos – many blogs and articles on this site, including my own.

Word on Fire will do the “Word from Rome” segments, and reports that Fr Robert Barron has been hired by NBC to bring his commentary to their coverage.

SQPN’s Fr Roderick is podcasting and reporting from Rome!

Electing the Pope – a new site launched to educate and answer questions about the papal election

Aleteia – many articles and newsy items

Catholic Fire – Prayers for the Election of a Pope featured on this blog post

Focus.org offers How the Papal Announcement is made in Latin, complete with videos of previous announcements of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I. You can also sign up for their Pope Alarm so as not to miss the news of a new pope that follows the “white smoke”.

Reliable Catholic News agencies:


Vatican Radio/ News 

Catholic News Service

National Catholic Register


Don’t forget to tune into your Catholic television and radio sources in your area and online!

Many diocesan websites and diocesan newspapers are also providing coverage.

There are new apps available:  the Pope App and the Conclave App.