Terra Patris – A New Pilgrimage Site

Terra Patris – A new pilgrimage site in Virginia

Pilgrims first learn about the walk

Pilgrims first learn about the walk

A young pilgrim participates in walk by reading out loud the meditation for the station to the group while the rest silently read from their books.

A young pilgrim participates in walk by reading out loud the meditation for the station to the group while the rest silently read from their books.

I was very honored to be invited to attend the inauguration of a new prayer path and holy site in Virginia.  On August 3, 2014 a group of Catholics walked and prayed the first Stations of Creation with the launch of a new book to accompany this new contemplative path.  Because these are the first such stations, this marks a historical event in the Church.  The stations are located in the mountains in Goshen, Virginia, near Lexington.  The attendees were mostly from Virginia and some from other parts of the country.  The group gathered for a proposed new Feast Day to honor God the Father, and used the occasion to pray the newly established stations. The Stations of Creation consist of prayer stops dedicated to God the Creator along a path overlooking beautiful scenes of His creation.  The path starts upon a large hill, travels past a field, a river, through a park and passes several unique landscapes, until it returns to where it started.  Twenty-one Stations of Creation line this contemplative prayer path. Similar to the way Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross, worshipers stand in front of each Station of Creation and recite meditations.  However, the prayers honor God the Father through His wondrous creation and are recited out in God’s great outdoors. I was incredibly moved by the wonderful prayers that accompany the path that are very Franciscan in their attention to Care for Creation and the Gospel way of life. The whole goal is to reflect and meditate upon some of the more common creations of our God in a natural, contemplative way, as did the Church through many centuries, until the rise of large cities took people out of the countryside. This is an ancient and very traditional way of praying and is described by saints in many spiritual books, but has been all but forgotten by most in more modern times. To pray in a natural contemplative way, a person spends time viewing, thinking and reflecting upon or contemplating about what one sees, just like one reflects upon each Station of the Cross.  However, the reflections note the depth of God the Father’s creations that most people overlook, or fail to see, because of the distractions of modern living.  This method of praying imitates some of the saints, like St. Francis or some of the better known Carmelite saints. Meditations reflect on such gifts from God as trees, flowers, grass, farm fields, water, a cedar forest and other specific creations of our God that are found along the path at each Station. As worshipers enjoy the walk, they stop at each station and read one of the meditations.  The result is, hopefully, a spiritual experience and a greater appreciation of God’s gifts to each of us. The end result is a growth in a person’s basic belief of faith that there is a God and that he loves us.  The whole concept or approach was inspired last year as the Church celebrated the Year of Faith. The experience helps those who pray the path to grow in appreciation of God the Father and his creations or gifts to us.

A NEW Proposed Feast Day — God the Father Feast Day

The first pilgrims to walk the path with the new meditations read together.

The first pilgrims to walk the path with the new meditations read together.

Over forty people prayed the path on August 3. They came to the site of the Stations as part of an annual gathering held to celebrate a proposed feast day being nourished in the Church by some Catholics around the world. It is a feast day that is proposed for God the Father on the first Sunday in August.  It was originally proposed by Sister Eugene Elisabetta Ravasio, an Italian nun.  Some of the group in attendance at this year’s proposed God the Father feast day have known each other for over 20 years and at least a few of them have been meeting annually on the first Sunday in August for the last 14 years.  More about this proposed feast day at:  http://www.fatherspeaks.net/pdf/the_father_speaks_english_v-2005-02.pdf The beautiful property where the first Stations of Creation have been built is owned by a Dr. Paul Faucher and is called Terra Patris (Land of the Father).  Dr. Faucher attends St. Patrick’s Church in Lexington Virginia, and is a physician at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.  Fr. Joe D’Aurora, the pastor of St. Patrick’s, came to lead a prayer service for the proposed God the Father Feast Day, and gives his enthusiastic endorsement of Stations of Creation and the proposed new feast day.  It is interesting to point out in reflecting on the Holy Trinity, that there are feast days for both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but not God the Father.

Fr. Joe D'Aurora & Dr. Paul Faucher

Fr. Joe D’Aurora & Dr. Paul Faucher

Peter Christopher Gruters is a friend of Dr. Paul Faucher, who devoted six months to clearing and constructing this inspiring new contemplative prayer path with a wonderful written guide to accompany the pilgrims who come to experience this slice of heaven in Western Virginia. Mr. Gruters is proposing that Stations of Creation be built-in each diocese around the world, within driving distance of schools and churches, so Catholics can visit God’s great outdoors and pray in God’s creation by reading similar meditations and contemplating God’s infinite gifts to each of us.  In this way Catholics can reconnect to an ancient tradition in the Church.

Author and Stations of Creation path builder Peter Christopher Gruters

Author and Stations of Creation path builder Peter Christopher Gruters

Although the path was used August 3, it still needs lots of work.  New concrete benches with a different station name placed on each of them have been ordered and will soon be installed.  This is causing Dr. Faucher to not reopen the path until at least mid-October, 2014.  At that time the hope is that other devoted Catholics will visit to pray the path and experience what those who visited on August 3, did. Dr. Faucher’s email address is tpatris@ntelos.net for those interested in visiting Terra Patris to get directions and suggestions to enjoy your pilgrimage. On this 200 acre farm there is a park on the property offering a beautiful picnic and swimming area along the Calfpasture River.  This is healthy stream that is accesible for the whole family and offers fishing, swimming, canoeing, rock skipping, and nature watching.

NEW Book for those visiting Terra Patris

The new path guidebook

The new path guidebook

A new book is about to be released called How To Pray In A Natural Contemplative Way:  A Guide for Young and Old , and I was able to read an advanced copy given to all the people who visited on August 3rd.  This is a MUST read before and during your pilgrimage to Terra Patris.  The first two chapters are about contemplative prayer in a “natural” way, and help detail this beautiful form of prayer in quoting examples from the saints and The Bible.  The book emphasizes a great devotion to God the Father.  The book has the meditations for the path at Terra Patris and also makes clear to the reader why living a proposed lifestyle in a natural and loving way is essential to Christians.  The book is not preaching that one should move to the country because it is safer there, or more secure, but because it is what is best from a healthy spiritual standpoint.   It is a truth that has been hidden or forgotten by many in recent times. The Bible is full of stories of how God’s children were called out of the cities, but few realize why God wills people to live out in the country.  It is so they can have a healthy spiritual life as well as good health, physically and mentally.  This book also reveals how parents can teach small children who can’t even read yet about God. Most parents don’t take advantage of using God’s creation to explain about God and that He made everything for our care, provision and enjoyment and because he loves us. The third chapter is about the 21 Stations of Creation and offer reflections and prayers to be read at each station with an accompanying photograph.  This book can be used on its own with the photographs, but is much more meaningful in a natural setting and integrates perfectly with the Stations of Creation contemplative path.  After hiking this entire path, and listening to the readings with a group-prayer experience, I truly believe that author Peter Christopher Gruters was guided by the Holy Spirit in writing this incredible book. This book is truly a treasure for all visitors to Terra Patris and the meditations can also be read anywhere in God’s creation where appropriate or even while viewing pictures or films of God’s creation..  I highly recommend individuals and church groups to come experience Terra Patris and Mr. Gruters book for an inspiration of a lifetime.   Note:  Details about where you can get the book will be available soon, and also a supporting website for Terra Patris, the Stations of Creation, and How To Pray In A Natural Contemplative Way:  A Guide for Young and Old to be online soon.  I will be updating this blog with details, and you are also welcome to e-mail me and I will let you know more as soon as it is available at jclem@catholicws.com



A New Way to Pray a Traditional Way (by John Clem in The Catholic Virginian September 1st, 2014)  weblink to article

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Public Rosary in 9,000+ American Towns

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima

This past Saturday, October 13th, there was an event across America to pray the Rosary in public squares on the 95th Anniversary of Fatima.  In Central Virginia, we gathered in Fork Union and honored to have Fr. Gerald Francis Musuubire (Sts. Peter & Paul parish in Palmyra) leading us in prayer.  We had a lovely prayer service that included singing Immaculate Mary and then praying The Angelus, Glorious Mysteries (including Fatima prayer), Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Prayer of Total Consecration, Divine Praises, and closing singing O Sanctissima.   There were many travelers who passed by on State Route 15 during our one-hour service and hopefully we touched someone, and sure that all the prayers said by the many thousands will have an impact of love & faith & peace.  More details in the links below about Fatima and organizing this annual event.

Rosary Rally in Fork Union, Virginia

Rosary Rally in Fork Union, Virginia

Fr. Gerald Francis Musuubire

Fr. Gerald Francis Musuubire

 The Angelus Prayer

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;

R. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,

R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. And the Word was made flesh,

R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son has been made known by the message of an Angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.



America Needs Fatima website

Previous Blog about Fatima with other links and videos


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Fr. Robert Spitzer – Celebrate Catholic Speaker Month


Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Fr. Robert Spitzer is a gifted speaker, scientist, and theologian.  I am pleased to write about Fr. Spitzer in honor of Support A Catholic Speaker Month.  Support A Catholic Speaker Month was started this year by Brandon Vogt to bring to light the top 100 Catholic Speakers today in the Church.  Brandon started an on-line poll and received over 82,000 votes to determine the list and he then made a request to all the Catholic Bloggers to pick a speaker to feature in their blog.

Father Spitzer received his Doctorate of Philosophy from the Catholic University of America and is a world-renowned scholar, author, and lecturer, who went on to serve as President of Gonzaga University, and founded seven major national institutes, and helped produce a number of television series for EWTN.  Father Spitzer currently heads the Magis Institute, an organization dedicated to public education on the relationship among the disciplines of physics, philosophy, reason, and faith, and the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, which works with corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations in the area of ethics education.

Father Spitzer has recently produced two projects that are great contributions to the Catholic Faith that use science, religion, and reason to explain life and the universe.  Fr. Spitzer is uniquely qualified to speak about issues for science and faith, and is able to bring complicated issues to a common man’s understanding.  First, Fr. Spitzer wrote a must-read book entitled Ten Universal Principles.  Father Spitzer elegantly shows in his book that these ten principles are needed to help make the case for right to life, death penalty, poverty, marriage, and immigration issues that are close to the heart of Christians and Catholics, but also apply to all societies.  Father Spitzer brings to life many examples in history that help make his point.  He makes excellent references to compare the Dred Scott Decision with the Roe v. Wade Decision, and the need for personhood to be established by the courts and also using modern science and genetics.  I wrote more about the Ten Universal Principles from his talk this past January in a previous blog.

Ten Universal Principles

What is exciting is that Ten Universal Principles has been turned into a High School curriculum from Healing The Culture called Principles and Choices. Healing the Culture helps people fully integrate pro-life ideals into the way they think, and how they live their lives. Its philosophical approach to education encourages students to embrace deep and meaningful definitions of human happiness, freedom and rights; and helps them choose to live by universal principles of reason, ethics and justice.  The four-year high-school program not only applies these principles to abortion, but also to other life issues such as euthanasia; physician-assisted suicide; and human cloning.  Principles and Choices includes state-of-the-art, multimedia learning tools that are unmatched in visual appeal, contemporary resources, and depth of content.

The second project that Fr. Spitzer has is a great documentary movie called Cosmic Origins.  This documentary masterfully shows the universe and its origins with interviews from the most acclaimed scientists and in the context of theology through insights from Fr. Spitzer.  He has just released this documentary on DVD including a 3D BluRay edition, and I highly recommend you purchase this for your family, parish, and school.

Cosmic Origins Trailer:


Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues (Ignatius Press) (Amazon)

Healing The Culture (Changing the Way People Look at Life)

Principles and Choices

Magis Institute

Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership

Fr. Spitzer wrote recently about his favorite prayer


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Frontline Faith Ministry

Frontline Faith Frontline Faith is a new ministry that brings Christian audio recordings to those serving in the United States Military serving around the world.  Cheri Lomonte is the founder of this fantastic ministry who saw the need to bring MP3 players loaded with Christian recordings at no cost to our troops.  Each players cost $24, and is loaded with 7 hours of either Catholic or Protestant audio content, including a Mass/Service, prayers, and words of encouragement.

Cheri Lomonte with Frontline Faith MP3 Player

Cheri Lomonte with Frontline Faith MP3 Player

I think this is a wonderful ministry, as I understand the need from my own family.  My brother, Capt. Joseph Clem, has served three times in the Middle East with the US Navy as a psychiatrist.  He told me there were times that Mass was not offered due to a chaplain not being available, and I know he would have appreciated getting such a wonderful MP3 player.  There are currently 1.8 million Catholics in the US military with only 281 chaplains to serve them.

From Frontline Faith website: Imagine facing one of the most difficult, lonely, and challenging times of your life, and finding yourself cut off from spiritual support and Christian community. This is the experience of many of our hundreds of thousands service men and women. Sometimes our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Guardsmen, and Marines can go for weeks, months, even an entire tour of duty, without attending a worship service or hearing words of comfort from a chaplain. To help provide spiritual nourishment, Frontline Faith distributes free MP3 players—pre-programmed with spiritual content—to military men and women throughout the world.

Frontline MP3 Player with packaged with headphones and battery

Congratulations and blessings to Cheri Lomonte and her ministry who have now supplied over 30,000 players.  The military members who receive these players are free to keep them after their tour of duty.  Your donations are very needed, and you may designate if you want your money to be for a Catholic or Protestant MP3 player.  You may also designate a name on the Wall of Honor or In Memorium on their website.  There are also great resources of prayers and videos to help support men and women and their families in the military.  Please take a look further at the links below.  I also recommend you look at Cheri Lomonte’s other ministry called Mary’s Touch.

VIDEO (Interview with Cheri Lomonte on EWTN’s Life on the Rock):


Frontline Faith website

Archdiocese for the Military, USA

Mary’s Touch

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Fortnight for Freedom–Baltimore

Fortnight for Freedom





Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary



The Fortnight for Freedom started on June 21st in Baltimore with an Opening Mass for the Feast of St. Thomas More & St. John Fisher.  I was privileged to attend this beautiful service that was filled with people from many dioceses including many bishops, priests,  nuns, and lay faithful.  This was a very special Mass that everyone in attendance felt a great energy of spirit, faith, and patriotism.  Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, was the celebrant and homilist and he delivered a fantastic homily that was met with enthusiastic applause (rare during a Mass, but this was a special and important event in the history of the American Catholic Church).  Archbishop Lori delivered a sermon that showed the history and wisdom of our faith, and how serious the gravity of the issues of religious freedom are now being threatened.   Archbishop Lori and all the U.S. Bishops calling us all to stand united in prayer and action in defending religious freedom.  I was very impressed with Archbishop Lori who took the time to shake hands with all the people who attended the Mass afterwards–very good shepherd of the church.  Here is a link from USCCB of the full text of the homily from Archbishop Lori (June 21, 2012):

Homily of Archbishop William Lori at Opening Mass of Fortnight for Freedom

Archbishop William Lori

Archbishop William Lori


Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily

Archbishop Lori offering an inspiring homily


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) started this Fortnight for Freedom as a campaign to get all the diocese to participate in prayer, fasting, education, and action to support the protection of religious freedom.  A fortnight is a period of fourteen days, and this fortnight will culminate ceremoniously  on July 4th in Washington D.C.   There are great resources of reflections, prayers, and suggested activities for parishes and diocese on their website for Fortnight for Freedom, they even just added a new text messaging feature (Text “Freedom” to 377377).

The event in Baltimore was a peaceful event, and there were a handful of demonstrators across from the Basilica.  Ironic that the people demonstrating across from the church gain their freedom of right to free speech and to peacefully assemble from the 1st Amendment where the right to freedom of religion also is protected.

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom

Protestors of the Fortnight of Freedom








To begin the Fortnight of Freedom, the bishops chose the Basilica of the National Shrine to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of its importance as the cradle of religious freedom in American Catholic history.  It was the first metropolitan Cathedral in American dedicated in 1821, and designed by Henry Latrobe, who was also the architect of the United States Capitol.  Many historic events have taken place at the Baltimore Basilica including the funeral Mass of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and cousin of Archbishop John Carroll.  The Councils of Baltimore held here in the 19th century established the parish system, mandated parochial schools, launched the Catholic University of America, and commissioned the famous Baltimore Cathechism.

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Interior-Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

During the last 200 years, visitors to the Basilica have included dignitaries and historical figures from around the world including Blessed Pope John Paul II, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, President Andrew Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Chief Whitefeather of the Sioux Tribe.  At least 15 saints or potential saints have prayed in the Basilica.  It is worth your time to visit this holy site that has much more to offer than I can include in this blog–more in links below.

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration--2006)

Restored Dome (Bicentennial Restoration–2006)

Altar in Batimore Basilica


Mary's Assumption on the West Nave Dome

Mary’s Assumption on the West Nave Dome

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica

St. Teresa of Calcutta in Baltimore Basilica


Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Statue in Pope John Paul II Memorial Garden at Baltimore Basilica

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has just written a book, True Freedom:  On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Freedom, to help educate the faithful about the religious liberty and he illustrated this from many supporting texts in the Bible and from saints and church doctrines.  The book can be downloaded with excerpts from his recent book, A People of Hope, for just 99 cents at many outlets including iTunes and Amazon.  I have just read the 26 page book on my iPad and highly recommend it on your reading list.







The patron saint for religious freedom is St. Thomas More who stood up for his Catholic faith and paid for it with his life.  Fr. Robert Barron has a great short video about St. Thomas More, and about the movie A Man for All Seasons below:

Father Barron also commented on the recent statements from Secretary Sebalius and Maureen Dowd:

Catholic Vote is an organization that is also behind an effort to support religious freedom came out with a very well made short video that illustrates the importance of the issue very well.

I will be blogging on a few more events for the Fortnight of Freedom, stay tuned:

1) I will be attending the Diocese of Richmond Mass with Bishop Francis Dilorenzo at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 24th.

2) Please consider joining us for a prayer service, Sunday, July 1st at 7pm at the 1st Amendment Monument on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.  We will be singing songs and praying, and people are encouraged to write on the Free Speech Wall.

3) I will be attending the concluding Mass on July 4th at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.  My cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope, will also be concelebrating with Cardinal Wehrl and Bishop Chaput.


Fortnight for Freedom (United Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Religious Liberty (EWTN)

Cardinal Dolan’s True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty (Amazon)

 Previous Blog on Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally


Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty (USCCB)

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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World Communication Day & Promote Catholicism Day


The 46th World Communication Day is this Sunday, May 20th, 2012.  Pope Benedict XVI has chosen the theme as Silence and Word:  Path of Evangelization.  The Vatican started World Communications Day in 1967 with Pope Paul VI stating,  “the vast and complex phenomenon of the modern means of social communication, such as the press, motion pictures, radio and television makes the unfolding and the realization of a wonderful plan of God’s providence, which opens to man’s genius ever new ways of achieving his perfection and of attaining to his final end.”

With our busy and noisy modern life, I think the Pope’s theme is very appropriate for our times.  There are wonderful things happening in new media with the church, but it requires times of silence for prayer and contemplation to be able to fully comprehend and appreciate all the messages we receive daily.  It may be a good time to turn off the TV, Facebook, and cell phone to give some time to God.  I am continually challenged to find adequate time for prayer and silence in juggling modern communications with time for friends, parish, and family.  I have added a link below to Pope Benedict’s letter on World Communication Day.


While World Communications Day 2012 is happening this Sunday, May 20. The 2nd Annual Catholic Media Promotion Day will follow on Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24.

Last year, on Catholic Media Promotion Day, we asked you to promote your favorite 3 blogs, 3 podcasts, 3 other media, 3 random Catholic things online, as well as your own projects. Additionally, we asked you to go to iTunes on that single day and leave at least 3 positive reviews for various Catholic podcasts and 3 positive written reviews for Catholic mobile applications.

Something different this year:

This year, in keeping with the theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Communications Day 2012 — Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization — we’re asking you to do something different.

On Wednesday, May 23, we’re asking you to take a one-day break from posting on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, etc… and use that day to reflect on the Pope’s words about the role of silence in communication and evangelization.

Then, on Thursday, May 24, please share the fruit of that day of prayer and silence with everyone, by posting your answer to the question: “What in Catholic Media has had an impact on me during the past year?” Share it on the New Evangelizers website at: http://newevangelizers.com/forums/topic/catholic-media-promotion-day-2012/

Why silence on Wednesday?

So why did we choose Wednesday as the day to be silent? According to a recent study, Wednesday is the day that most people post on Facebook. Remaining silent in the world of social communications on this day is a way to become more aware of the temptation to value doing over being and speaking over listening. No one on the web may notice our silence, but surely God will notice, and hopefully we will notice Him more deeply, and thus come away with a greater readiness to share a word that gives life. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us: “Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love.”







In summary, here’s what we ask you to do:

Spread the word about World Communications Day and Catholic Media Promotion Day using all the social media:
a) Link to the page on the New Evangelizers website: http://promotecatholicism.newevangelizers.com/promote-catholicism-day/
b) Like / +1 the page
c) Include the hash tag #silenceandword in your posts

Refrain from using social media to post content on Wednesday, May 23, and use it as a chance to read and prayerfully reflect on the Pope’s message for World Communications Day 2012: http://tinyurl.com/silenceandword

Share the fruit of your day of prayer and silence with everyone, by posting your answer to the question: “What in Catholic Media has had an impact on me during the past year?” Share it on the New Evangelizers website at: http://newevangelizers.com/forums/topic/catholic-media-promotion-day-2012/

Thanks to all the people at New Evangelizers who helped organize Promote Catholicism Day which has become a great new resource for our faith!!!


Pope Benedict XVI message for World Communication Day

Promote Catholicism Day with New Evangelizers (2012)

Facebook Page for Promote Catholicism Day (2012)

New Evangelizers Forum for Promote Catholicism Day 2012

Promote Catholicism Day 2011 (list of links)

Article about World Communication Day from Catholic Online

Pope John Paul II


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New Evangelizers

New Evangelizers

Happy New Year!  This is a promising new year ahead and even more so with the start of a new website called New Evangelizers.  Greg & Jennifer Willits from Georgia have been hard at work for many years in many forms of Catholic New Media.  They first started the Rosary Army in 2003 to show people how to make their own twine-knotted Rosaries, and help spread the faith through this simple prayer and gift to others.  They then started podcasting about Catholic family life and this grew into a collaboration with Father Vonhogen to start the Star Quest Production Network (SQPN).  Greg & Jennifer are now heard on Sirius/XM Radio with their show on The Catholic Channel called Catholics Next Door.  They now have six separate ministries that are now combined into this one website to promote what both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called on all faithful — to help with The New Evangelization.  This website offers you great ideas and offers great items to give away to help promote The Catholic Faith.

Fr. Roderick Vonhogen & Greg Willits

Fr. Roderick Vonhogen & Greg Willits at 2011 CNMC

I first met both Father Roderick Vonhogen and Greg Willits this past October at the annual Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City.  They are both full of energy and ideas and it is no wonder they have both become power-houses in Catholic New Media.  Greg & Jennifer Willits are an amazing couple as they live a busy life raising five children and have worked very hard to start six meaningful ministries.

New Evangelizers brings SIX ministries together under one roof:

New Evangelizers









1) New Evangelizers – New Evangelizers provides free tools and resources to help Catholics know their faith, live their faith, and share their faith more effectively to empower them to take leading roles in the New Evangelization and encourage others to do the same.

Rosary Army

2) Rosary Army – The Rosary Army was started in 2003 and has grown into a national aspostolate that has made and given away thousands of Rosaries.  My local Secular Franciscan Order has recently begun to make our own Crown Rosaries to pray and give away.  The materials are easy and inexpensive to get from suppliers on the website, and the handouts and videos make them easy to produce.  Pictured below is the first Franciscan Crown Rosary made by one of our members.  Note the Franciscan Rosary has seven decades and also two additional Hail Marys to represent the 72 years that Mary lived on earth.  Guide for praying a Franciscan Crown Rosary.

Crown Rosary

7-Decade Franciscan Crown Rosary

Catholics Next Door

3) Catholics Next Door – Is a great radio show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio from 1-4pm on the weekdays and highlights on the weekends.  Greg and Jennifer have a lively show with guests, call-ins, and games with listeners who are funny,  friendly, and inspirational to their audience.

That Catholic Show

4) That Catholic Show – This is a DVD series that offers a light-hearted catechism in video  form hosted by Jennifer Willits.  There are currently nine episodes available on a FREE DVD and more available for evangelization with FREE shipping.  Check out their latest video below about the New Evangelization.

Total Consecration

5) Total Consecration – The Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary is a 33-Day faith-filled experience started by Saint Louis-Marie Grognion de Montfort.   I can attest that this is a wonderful set of prayers with the daily rosary that will bring you closer to your faith.  I also wrote about this in a previous blog Our Lady of the Rosary.

Promote Catholicism

6) Promote Catholicism – Greg Willits began a Facebook Page last year requesting that people send in their favorite Catholic New Media.  It was a huge success that produced a comprehensive list including:  290 blogs, 88 podcasts, 199 websites, 77 facebook pages, 42 print and/or online magazines and news sources, 43 Apps, 171 books, 26 companies, 30 music sites and/or musicians, 57 channels/stations/shows, and 75 additional miscellanea including cool Catholic folks to follow on Twitter, cool Catholic things to see on Youtube and other assorted Catholic coolness.   Greg is tentatively scheduled to have another Promote Catholicism Day on March 15, 2012 which should make this list grow even larger.  At least one larger, as my blog did not start until May 2011 and I definitely be submitting the Call To Holiness Blog.

Congratulations to Greg & Jennifer Willits and all the New Evangelizing Team for putting together a great resource that will help many faithful to heed the call to holiness and new evangelization.  I pray that all six ministries will bear fruit for years to come.


New Evangelizers website

Promote Catholicism 2011 Listings

Sirius/XM Radio Catholic Channel website

Star Quest Production Network (SQPN)



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A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms

There is a wonderful new book that I have been enjoying reading called A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul by author Lisa M. Hendey.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City last month.  Lisa has had a tremendous impact with Catholic Media through her website called CatholicMom.com, her first book called The Handbook for Catholic Moms, and her podcast called Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey.  She was recognized by The Vatican for her work and was invited to the first Bloggers Convention in Rome this past year.

Lisa Hendey

Lisa Hendey

Don’t let the title fool you as this book is not only for “moms,” but can be read and appreciated by anyone who wants to know more about the saints and be inspired by their stories and wisdom.  My favorite on-line resource for the Saints at SQPN now lists 7,274 saints, and if I had to chose only 52 saints I would have chosen the same 52 beloved saints that Lisa chose for her book.  I love the format of this book, as each of the 52 chapters offers a weekly saint with brief history, lessons from the saint, traditions & wisdom, daily readings, and saint-inspired activities for mom, children, and family.  Lisa has also made a beautiful video to promote her book which follows:


Lisa has been touring America by vehicle and by internet to promote her new book and was very excited she agreed to be on my blog.

Lisa Hendey Blog Tour

I was blessed to have Lisa on as a guest blogger to answer five questions that were posed to her about the making of this great book and resource:

1) Because I have an interest in Franciscan Spirituality, wondering if you would have any more inspiring words about St.Francis,St. Clare, or St. Anthony?

John, all three of the saints you mention are included in the book and are among my favorites! Here are a few of the thoughts I share about them in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms:

St. Francis of Assisi — As a product of Catholic schools, I had a deep connection with St. Francis since I was taught by both Poor Clare and Franciscan sisters in elementary school. During his time, St. Francis sought both a radical transformation of his personal life and a “rebuilding” of the Church as well. In contemporary times, he is both a role model for me personally in trying to perfect my own spiritual life, and also a reminder to me that each of us has a place in the ongoing transformation of our Church and her place in our world.

St. Clare of Assisi — In the book, I dwell on the fact that for me St. Clare is a role model of embracing our own simple paths to sainthood. Clare successfully left behind a wealthy lifestyle in favor of a cloistered existence, giving her all for her faith. She reminds me to try to strip away all that is not central to my ultimate goal: a life in heaven forever and the salvation of my family. Additionally, as a mom I pray quite frequently for her intercession in helping our family to make good entertainment choices, since we know her as the patron saint of television!

St. Anthony of Padua — My own parish is named after this amazing man and I’ve endeavored to follow his precepts in my own life. We know he was a gifted preacher, and yet he himself said, “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.” As a writer, blogger and speaker, I deal quite a lot with words, but St. Anthony reminds me to be ever cognizant of the fact that the entirety of my life (not simply my speaking or writing) proclaims what I believe.

2) Do you have a favorite saint, and why?

My personal patroness is St. Therese of Lisieux. The more I read her work and learn about her life, the more deeply I connect with her “Little Way” and see that my own path to sainthood does not necessarily need to involve extraordinary activities, but rather a commitment to doing the simple tasks that fill my life with the greatest love possible. But honestly, if you ask me who my “favorite” saint is, the answer will likely vary depending upon what is happening that day in my own personal life and in the lives of my husband and sons. I keep up a steady flow of conversation with the whole communion of saints regularly and have several of them on personal intercessory “speed dial”!

3) What saint should mothers look to when facing the challenges of motherhood? and why?

There are so many terrific saints for parents — both mothers and fathers. I would encourage modern moms to learn more about the life of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. A physician, a mother and a pro-life champion, Gianna gave her life for that of her unborn child — but in her day to day walk through life she was also a great role model for busy, working moms and teaches us a great deal about balancing a busy life with a deep spirituality.

For dads, I always recommend a devotion to St. Joseph, for the obvious reasons, but I have also learned to love St. Thomas More, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and Blessed Lois Martin.

4) What is your favorite writing/book of the saints?

My “go to” book on the lives of the saints is a simple book my mother gave to my father back in 1975. It’s an illustrated Lives of the Saints book that I use daily in my personal prayer life. As for writings by the saints, I of course love St. Therese’s “Story of a Soul”. I am also very moved by Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. I must also say that “My Life with the Saints” by Fr. James Martin (one of my favorite authors) has had a dramatic impact upon my life in recent years. Fr. Jim helped me to see in a more clear way my own personal intercessory relationship with the saints. His book has a permanent place on my “favorites” bookshelf!

5) Who would you look to in modern times as a model for motherhood?

I mentioned St. Gianna Beretta Molla above and I think she is one of the best role models and intercessors for modern moms. But the ultimate intercessor in my life and a true champion for modern moms in today’s world is the Blessed Virgin Mary. In so many ways while she lived and since her assumption to heaven, she has sought to draw us into a closer relationship with her son Jesus Christ. As a mother of sons, I so often turn to Mary in prayer for my “men” and for the grace to follow her perfect role model. She is a champion for all of us in a time when we greatly need conversion in our families, our Church and our world. For me, she will always be the best “role model” for a vocation to motherhood.

Thanks Lisa for answering my questions, and for being such a bright light and role model for everyone in the Catholic Faith.  I urge you to get this book, it is a great resource that will probably not leave your nightstand.   Also take a look at her many works in Catholic New Media in the links below.

You have a chance to WIN your own copy of Lisa’s new book.  I will have a random drawing on Thanksgiving Day for all the people who have submitted a comment in this blog.  I will e-mail the winner to request a mailing address.


A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press, 2011)

The Handbook for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press, 2010)

CatholicMom.com (website founded by Lisa with many contributors)

Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey (podcast)

LisaHendey.com (Lisa’s own website)

SQPN’s Catholic Weekend Podcast (great interview in this podcast with Lisa Hendey)

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iMissal App – Revised 3rd Edition




iMissal is a very useful app for Catholics, and especially now as the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal will begin to be used in English speaking countries beginning with the season of Advent.  The 3rd edition of the Missal was approved by Pope Benedict XVI to help bring a more accurate translation of the original Latin text of the Mass.  The differences in language have to do with the 2nd edition using Dynamic Equivalence (gist) and the new 3rd edition using formal Formal Equivalence (word for word) translation.  Following is a good video to help illustrate the difference in the translations of the new Roman Missal.

iMissal is a very affordable costing $4.99 and is currently available for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch, iMac, and Android devices, and a FREE upgrade if you already have it.  iMissal is currently also working on versions for Windows Mobile 7 and Blackberry that should be out soon.  iMissal offers the Missal in both 2nd & 3rd editions that can be switched in the settings and you do not need to be connected to internet since the entire Missal is in your device.  There are two features that do require an internet connection with an audio feature for the Mass, and the Mass can also be watched in videos provided through Catholic TV.  There is also a new feature with iMissal that does require an internet connection that provides Catholic news and gets its information from the Catholic News Service.

iMissal has the order of the entire Mass at your fingertips, that should help with the new transition to the new Mass.  iMissal also offers the entire Liturgical Calendar listing Holy Days, Saints, Solemnities, and Major Feasts. My Daily Bread is s feature that has a daily Bible verse that is available in three translations:  KJV, NAB, and NIV and can be shared through e-mail or Facebook.  There is also a large collection of Catholic Prayers listed by many categories such as Mass, Children, Family, Blessed Virgin Mary, Peace, and Saints.

There is an additional feature that can be added to the iMissal App for $1.99.  The Saint of the Day feature can be added and is provided by the Daughters of St. Paul.  It offers a Saint of the Day as well as list of saints alphabetically and by patronage.  The saints also have biographies and prayers that can be shared by e-mail or Facebook and makes for a nice addition to this App.  The iMissal is very affordable considering that a printed 3rd edition is about ten times the cost, and I highly recommend this well done App that follows the approved text of the new 3rd edition Roman Missal.

Roman Missal 3rd Edition


Deacon Chris Morash & Father Rolo Castillo teaching about New Missal

Deacon Chris Morash & Father Rolo Castillo teaching about New Missal


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops webpage for New Roman Missal

Archdiocese of Washington Blog on translation of New Roman Missal

Archdiocese of Washington Blog Mass in Slow Motion 

iMissal Website

Office of Worship – Diocese of Richmond

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Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary









Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Pope St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary.” He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light (Luminous Mysteries) to this devotion.

There is also a wonderful App for the iPhone, Itouch, and iPad that is helpful in leaning and praying the Rosary that I wrote about in a previous blog–iRosary.

Our Lady of Las Lajas

Our Lady of Las Lajas

My friend, Father Jay Finelli, who has a wonderful podcast called iPadre, turned me onto a new series of prayer regarding the Rosary.  It is a 33-Day Total Consecration, that was first started by Saint Louis-Marie Grognion de Montfort.  Today marks the end of my 33-Day Consecration and found it to be a spirtually enlightening excercise that has strengthened my faith.  A 33-Day Total Consecration always ends on a Marian feast day. You can learn more about the 33-Day Total Consecration and get a FREE prayer book through the My Consecration Apostolate at My Consecration.org.

Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort

Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort

Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort studied in Paris and was ordained in 1700, and loved the writings of the church fathers and saints and found a true devotion to the Mary and praying The Rosary.  Under Mary’s inspiration, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, a religious institute of women devoted to the care of the poor. During this work, he began his apostolate of preaching the Rosary and authentic Marian devotion. In Rome Pope Clement XI conferred on him the title and authority of Missionary Apostolic, which enabled him to continue his apostolate after returning to France. A member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Saint Louis was one of the greatest apostles of the Rosary in his day, and by means his miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, he is still so today; the most common manner of reciting theRosary is the method that originated with Saint Louis’s preaching.

His greatest contribution  is the Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin. He propagated this in his day by preaching and after his own death by his other famous book True Devotion to Mary. Consecration to Mary is for Saint Louis the perfect manner of renewing one’s baptismal promises. His spirituality has been espoused by millions, especially Pope John Paul II, who has consecrated not only himself but every place he has visited as pope.  The cause for his declaration as a Doctor of the Church is now being pursued.

In praying this 33-Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, I discovered another prayer to Mary that has become a favorite that I want to share called:

Ave Maris Stella

Hail thou star of ocean

Portal of the sky,

Ever virgin Mother,

Of the Lord Most High.


O! by Gabriel’s Ave,

Uttered long ago,

Eva’s name reversing,

Established peace below.


Break the captives’ fetters,

Light on blindness pour,

All our ills expelling,

Every bliss implore.


Show thyself a Mother,

Offer Him our sighs,

Who for us incarnate

Did not thee despise.


Virgin of all virgins

To thy shelter take us,

Gentlest of the gentle

Chaste and gentle make us.


Still, as on we journey,

Help our weak endeavor,

Till with thee and Jesus

We rejoice forever.


Through the highest heaven,

To the almighty Three

Father, Son, and Spirit,

One same glory be. Amen.


Mary, Mother of God (Catholic Online)

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