Saturday, March 28, 2015

Prepare your heart

Life these past few days has moved along so quickly.  In the midst of them our house was devastated by the flu!  All four of us went down like dominoes and thank God we are now pretty much back on our feet.  Just in time for Holy Week!

I just finished listening to Father Robert Barron's homilies on the readings for Palm Sunday.  I greatly encourage you to listen to them too.  Each of the two homilies is about 15 minutes long.  Father Barron unpacks, as they say, the Scripture readings for the Mass, giving us a deeper understanding of all that is going on in the events of Holy Week.  It is a wonderful way to prepare, if you have time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A taste of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  My ancestors on my mother's side are from Germany and I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country.  When it came to St. Patrick's Day I never considered myself Irish and I sort of felt left out!  But then my sister received a subscription to and we discovered there are lots of Irish in my family!  Praise God!

Now when I make Irish Soda Bread I feel part of the dough!  I did make it yesterday and we are enjoying it today.  So, I decided to share my recipe.  I had lunch with an Irish friend several years ago and she served warm Irish Soda Bread. I asked for the recipe and here it is:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Plump 3/4 cup raisins (toss them into boiling water for 1 minute. 

2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar or 2 tbsp.
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt (optional)

Cut in 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) with pastry blender.
Blend in drained raisins
1 tbs.  caraway (optional)
Add 1 cup buttermilk.

Turn onto well-floured board and knead (coat your hands with flour as batter will be sticky).  Shape into loaf in greased 8" layer cake pan or on cookie sheet.  Cut cross on top.  Brush top of loaf with remnants of buttermilk.   Bake 30-35 minutes.  

A wonderful way to celebrate the feast of this great Irish Bishop is to take time to read the Confession of St. Patrick (in his own words)

St. Patrick pray for us.  Pray for our country.  Pray that our Holy Triune God will become the center of our lives.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spotlight on Women

Our 15th annual Lenten Retreat for Women is being held this coming Saturday, March 14, at St. Magdalen de Pazzi parish in Flemington, NJ.  Our keynote speaker is Mary Beth Newkumet and her topic is "When I found Him Whom my heart loves (Song of Songs 3:4) - A Woman's Encounter with Christ Today."

If you live nearby and are interested in coming, the retreat begins with the parish 8:30 a.m. Mass and ends at 1:15 p.m. Workshops will be given by the Sisters.  They are: 

a.  Mary at Cana:  Women caring for the family
b.  Saints in the family: Holy women who have 
     gone before us
c. Grandmas! God's special gift within the family

May Beth is a wife, mother and active member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring, MD.  She is vice-president of Lumen Catechetical Consultants Inc., a not-for-profit religious educational consulting firm that helps Catholic organizations communicate a life with Christ lived fully through His Church.  She is a founder and the editor of the Lumen Publication, Life After Sunday, a small group discussion tool for parish life.

The weather forecast says something like "snow"!!  So if you cannot attend the retreat (or if you can!)  please pray that the Lord will send us a sunny day!  God bless you!  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Do you know them?

In today’s world the subject of the Ten Commandments seems out of style, out of date, trite.  Who thinks about the 10 commandments any more?  Who of us really knows what they are?  Do we use them as a guide when it’s time to go to Confession?  I must admit I rarely do use them explicitly. 

The first reading in today's Liturgy (Third Sunday of Lent)  is from Exodus 20:1-17 and is the account of God giving the 10 Commandments to Moses.  They are all there – all 10 of them.  Father Robert Barron has a marvelous homily about the Ten Commandments on his web site for this Sunday.  It will take you 15 minutes to listen to it.  It is eye-opening.  I encourage you to listen - I just did!  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Come before the Lord

So much of the international news these days is just awful.  So many of our brothers and sisters, especially in the Middle East, are suffering terribly, many experiencing martyrdom because of their love of God.   One can scarcely take it all in!  

Thank God that He has given us Good News, the good news of the Gospel!  Today in the Gospel we experience Jesus being transfigured before His three apostles; we see the glory of His Divinity!  In today's Gospel we hear the very voice of the Father and the glorious manifestation of the Son of God and of the Father All of this gives us great hope!  

I struggle with how to cope with the bad news; how can I respond? What can I do?  I have decided that prayer is my role in all of this.  In fact I feel led by the Father to offer up my Lenten penances for my brothers and sisters, begging God to free them, to care for them, to prompt our country and countries around the world to go to their aid.

Perhaps you would be willing to join me.  I find the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy an appropriate prayer for this intention.   Together let us storm Heaven for our suffering brothers and sisters, knowing that our Divine Savior, our loving Father, will hear our prayers.  God bless you!  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Some Lenten reading suggestions.

As I mentioned in my last post I was hoping to suggest some book titles for Lent based on some input from our Sisters.  But alas I came down with a stubborn virus and am just now getting my act together.  Here are a few suggestions:

"Six Keys to a Deeper Spiritual Life: The Catholic Challenge" by Therese Cirner.  Servant Books.  "This book is for the everyday Catholic who has wondered what to do next in the spiritual life," says one who recommends the book.

"In the School of the Holy Spirit" by Jacques Philippe. Scepter Publishers.

"Why the Cross?" by Edward Leen.  A classic.  Originally published in 1938 and reprinted by Scepter Publishers in 2001. 

One of my favorites: "Heaven in Our Hands: Living the Beatitudes" by the late Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR.  Servant Publications

"Jesus' Pattern for a Happy Life: the Beatitudes" by Marilyn Norquist Gustin, Liguori Publications.

Lent is a good time to read about the lives of the saints.  One of my favorites is "Saint Martin de Porres, Apostle of Charity" written by Guiliana Cavallini and published by Tan Publications. 

A book that I am reading now:  "The Man Christ Jesus: How the Lord looked, acted, prayed and loved."  By Giacomo Cardinal Biffi" and published by Sophia Institute Press.  Preface says that Cardinal Biffi "gives us a clearer and more vivid image of the Son of God's humanity during his mortal life."

"An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer: Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercises" by Father Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV published by Crossroad Publishing. 

All of these books are found on, or through your local Catholic book store or from the publisher.  May your Lenten spiritual reading be blessed! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Check out this check-list

Lent begins in less than a week and it is not too soon to think about how you will spend this season of grace.  Better still, how does the Lord want you to spend these 40 days with Him?  I have given some thought to suggestions concerning spiritual reading, watching, listening.  Here are a few:

THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH and its fourth section on Prayer is a wonderful resource for prayer and reflection.  The mass market edition can be obtained online or in most book stores for little more than $8.00.  Or you can read it online:  Check out this link:  
You might consider YouCat which is short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Believe it or not, it is great for adults!  It's a treasure, filled with short reflections and responses to questions, quotes from the saints and Church Fathers etc.  Wonderful material for meditation for those of you who are busy and find it hard to take time for a lot of reading at one time.  Order online or find in most bookstores.  Published by Ignatius Press. 
You  might like to sign up for Father Robert Barron's daily e-mail Lenten reflections.  Do so at  You can also watch Father Barron's You Tube videos at
And you can hear inspiriting daily homilites by Father Roger Landry at
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has a brief daily reflection video as well. 
I have asked our Sisters for suggestions for books to read during Lent and will send them along in a future post.  God bless!