Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catholic Moments #47 - Fr. Tom Elliott, Catholic Priest and Rocker

Lisa speaks with Fr. Tom Elliott, Pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church, about his love of music, his CD Rock of Souls and his work in the Church. Deacon Tom Fox shares another moment entitled "All My Words for the Word". We're getting excited about the Catholic New Media Celebration, June 22 in Atlanta - help us spread the word and join in the fun! Share your feedback at 206-339-9272, comment here on the blog or email

Links for this episode:
Fr. Tom Elliott
Kerry Madden, Catholic Parish Media Liason
Catholic New Media Celebration
Catholic City with Zina
Lisa's Facebook Profile
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments Podcast #47

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CNMC Fever - Catch It!!

Have you registered yet for the Catholic New Media Celebration? It's free, fun and faith-filled! Click here for more information and check out this great video by Zina - hope to see you there.

The Madonna Chapel - Helping to Foster the Dignity of Motherhood and Breastfeeding

Today at, we are featuring a wonder article by guest columnist Katie Williams entitled The Madonna Chapel: Helping to Foster the Dignity of Motherhood and Breastfeeding. Take a journey with Katie and her family as they visit the Madonna Chapel in Annawan, Illinois. Katie gives a wonderful overview of the benefits of breastfeeding and looks at the purpose behind this chapel and the art that adorns its walls. She shares her conversation with Father Timothy Sauppé, the chapel's founder. Enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prom Mom

Last weekend, Eric went to his first Prom. His "date" was a very nice young lady named Taylor - a friend of a friend. She invited Eric (through his buddy Mark who was going to the dance with her best friend) and I think they had a great time. Since the dance was for a different high school than his own, Eric met lots of new people.

Do you remember your first Prom? I do - for most girls I think it's a magical moment. As a "boy mom", there wasn't quite the same attention to things such as hair ("yes mom, I washed it...) and clothes (he wore Dad's tux) as you girl moms go through. But it was still a very special evening. Taylor's parents hosted dinner for the prom-goers and their parents at their home, so it was great to be able to meet Taylor and her parents prior to the dance. It also gave me an opportunity to witness Eric's social skills firsthand and made me proud of my son.

Here's a photo of the gang, all dressed up and ready to go. (Eric is the second from the right) If you'd like to see all of the photos, they're here. Weekly Column Roundup

We're short on columns this week, but it's quality, not quantity, that's important. Enjoy the following by our wonderful columnists:

Living Out Our Faith with Courage by Patrice Fagnant MacArthur

My Confession by Lori Callaway

Serving Food for Thought at Dinner by Marybeth Hicks

A Run-In with the Parent Police by Lisa Barker

Around the Catholic Blogs Today

I'm trying to wake up and dust off my old friend Google Reader. If you don't know him, you should! He helps you keep track of the tons of great Catholic blogs out there with a few simple clicks and brings all of the great posts from your favorite blogs into one place. Mine contains a veritable who's who of great Catholic bloggers.

Here are some of my favorite posts from today:

Son Tanning - The Curt Jester
Best Ever - Danielle Bean
Can You Hear Me Now? - Mommy Monsters, Inc.
Out of the Mouths of Babes - Embracing Motherhood

Over on the right hand side of my blog, you'll find "Lisa's Shared Items" where I typically post links to some of my favorite blog posts. Do you have a favorite Catholic or family blog? I'm looking to expand my subscriptions to make sure I'm not missing out on anyone, so feel free to post a link to your blog in the comments below to ensure I'm subscribed. Thanks!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tyler's Ride - Web Video You Won't Want to Miss

Have you checked out the latest, coolest thing from Paulist Productions? It's Tyler's Ride, a brand new web series. The episodes are all available online - I thought you might want to check out the trailer. I think you'll be hooked, as I am! The series explores the life of Tyler, a pampered kid who's "cut off" (for his own good) by his parents on his 23rd birthday. Check it out and enjoy!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still Praying for the Balloon Flying Priest

Have you been following the very strange story about the Balloon Flying Priest? He was attempting to set a record for flying with helium balloons and is now lost at sea. The Brazilian Air Force has scaled back the search, but his parishioners continue to pray for his return. Very strange story...

Catholic New Media Celebration - Help Us Spread the Word

It's almost the weekend, so I know you're daydreaming about fun things to do. I wanted to remind you that registration is now open for the first ever Catholic New Media Celebration. I'll be heading to Atlanta on June 20 to join a cavalcade of talented bloggers, podcasters and others interested in using Catholic New Media to help spread our faith. Registration is free and while you're in Atlanta you will also want to attend the Diocese of Atlanta's Eucharistic Congress being held the day prior to the CNMC.

Register here.

If you have a blog or web site, would you please help spread the word about this great event by posting this YouTube Video on your blog? A lot of hard work is going into making this event a great success, and we need your help to spread the word. If you have any questions about the event, feel free to email me or drop a comment below. Also, I want you to remember that this event is not JUST for people who create content, but also for people like you who use the web to learn about and to share your faith. The guests include keynote speaker Father Leo Patalinghug (Grace Before Meals), the fabulous group Popple, a special Sunday Mass and much more. I hope you'll consider joining in what is surely set to be the Catholic event of the year!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mom's "Spidey Senses" Tingling

I just had one of those moments where, as a parent, you make a choice that goes against your mom instincts. Eric, the sixteen year old Sophomore, has a tennis match this afternoon. I seem to be the designated team driver, since most of the moms work full time and our school does not have a school bus. Today's match, an away game, is at Roosevelt High School located in one of the rougher parts of town. Normally, I stay to watch Eric's matches but today's schedule prohibits that since Adam needs me to take him to a clarinet lesson. Dad is slated to be the Hendey family cheering section for the afternoon, so Eric won't be without support.

We've played Roosevelt and other teams in that section of town in the past and I've never thought twice about Eric's personal security. But last week, Roosevelt was the site of a student shooting where an on-campus police officer was personally attacked and subsequently shot and killed the student. This happened about a week ago, and our community is still in mourning. The teen involved had a history of mental illness and there are inferences by the police that this was "suicide by cop". Regardless of the circumstances, a life was lost as countless students were watching and a lockdown ensued. Surely, this is something these young teens will remember for the rest of their lives.

I remember hearing about the shooting during a telephone conversation with an associate who lives across the country. She said, "Do you know anything about the high school shooting in Fresno?" Since that was the first I'd heard of the event, I immediately hopped over to CNN and checked out the details. Roosevelt High is only a few miles away from Eric's school, yet I remember feeling a sick sense of relief when I saw that the events hadn't taken place at my kids' school. Not that I wished that horror on the families of Roosevelt...I guess my relief (which now saddens me when I contemplate it) is a pretty normal motherly reaction. The events of that day continue to unfold, and my prayers for the family who lost their teen continue, as well as my prayers for the officer who had to make such a terrible decision in an effort to save his own life.

I don't know what the point of all of this is today, except to share my sense of malaise. I can recall watching two years climb to the top of a slide or five year olds taking off training wheels and having the same sense of maternal fear. In my mind, I know that Eric is in a safe place this afternoon and that the events of last week are an isolated incident, but in my heart I'm counting the moments until he and his teammates have completed their match and come home. Do you ever have these moments of motherly fear, and if so how do you cope? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

And in the mean time, please join me in praying for the repose of the soul of Jesus Carrizales, for healing (emotional and physical) for the officer involved, and for all of our children who face fear, violence and danger in today's world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catholic Moments #46 - Rebecca Christian, Catholic Film Student

Lisa shares about Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the US and the audio from her interview on CNN and interviews Rebecca Christian of the Catholic in Film School blog on the topics of Christian film making and World Youth Day. Deacon Tom shares a reflection "Thoughts on Two Popes". Share your feedback at 206-339-9272 or email

Links for this episode:

Rebecca Christian - Catholic in Film School
Catholic New Media Celebration
Lisa's Facebook Profile
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments Podcast #46

Monday, April 21, 2008

WWOW Interview with Lisa

Also last week, I was fortunate enough to appear as a guest on the new show Catholic Mornings with Gary and Michelle Gersin on WWOW 1360 AM. Gary and Michelle were very gracious and let me speak quite a bit about the origins of They have invited me to appear again on their show next month. You can listen to the interview in full here.

CNN Transcript

Here's the transcript from my brief appearance on CNN's Newsroom on Saturday morning. It was a very surreal experience and I have to say that I truly felt protected and supported by the many people who were praying for me. You can see that the second question addressed to me was meant to provoke some controversy - I hope I answered in a way that would have made the Holy Father proud. I learned some lessons along the way that will be implemented if I ever have another opportunity to make such an appearance. Thanks again for your support and encouragement!

HOLMES: And like you said, everybody is glowing out there, Betty. A beautiful day for it. Thank you so much. We want to turn now to another way that the word is spreading about the pope's historic visit to the U.S. Bloggers have been busy right now sharing their views. Two of those bloggers with us this morning. Lisa Hendey joins us from Fresno, California, Thomas Peters is in Washington. We were hoping we would have more time, but, of course, the pope, we had the mass there so we will try to get a couple questions in here to you. Tell me first, have you seen, Lisa, things pick up of course, since the pope actually got here on your blog? Are people just blogging away now?

LISA HENDEY, CATHOLIC BLOGGER: I have, T.J. My blog addresses catholic parents. So many of us all around the country don't have a chance to be there for these events. It's so wonderful they can have a place to come and to exchange ideas about the good news that he's sharing here in the United States.

HOLMES: Thomas, I assume it's the same on yours. Have you found a theme, really that people are talking about in this particular visit, since he's been in the U.S. since Tuesday? Things in particular they're focusing on that they're talking about during this trip?

THOMAS PETERS, CATHOLIC BLOGGER: One of the thing I focused on, on my American Papist blog, is what the pope is saying to youth. One of he things that struck me is how often the pope is talking to you and about you. The theme of his visit is Christ, our hope and I think he sees that the youth are especially apt to live out hope in today's world.

HOLMES: Lisa, are people critical of the pope. There are a lot of things going on in the Catholic Church right now. He's addressed some of those issues but not always peace and harmony and some of this pageantry we see. There's some criticism and controversy out there.

HENDEY: I think people in the new media welcome the chance for dialogue and for meaningful discussion about the things that our pope is saying. It's incumbent upon all of us to download and read the texts of his homilies and the speeches that he's giving and the blogging world gives people the opportunity to do that. I think people are very hopeful and very enthusiastic in their response to this visit.

HOLMES: Thomas, are you excited, that here we are, the pontiff, the pope, all of this history and this ceremonial greatness but at the same time, the internet still playing such a role in coving the pope and this visit?

PETERS: Right, I think it plays a role right now while the pope is in the United States, because the pope isn't a one-man show. He needs all of us to help get his message out there. It's especially rewarding for me because I've been covering the pope for 2 1/2 years. I'll actually log my 3,000 post while he's here. Blogs are a way of letting people stay connected to the pope even when he's at the Vatican, but especially even when he's here in the United States as well. So it's very rewarding.

HOLMES: All right. Again, Thomas Peters, Lisa Hendey, we appreciate you all taking the time. We certainly hoped to have more time with you guys.

HENDEY: Thank you T.J. Thanks for the opportunity.

PETERS: Thank you.

HOLMES: But you know, the pope comes first today. All right? We appreciate you all.

HENDEY: Yes, he does.

HOLMES: Thank you all so much.
Find the entire transcript here.

Youth Rally Litany of the Saints

For those looking for the Litany of the Saints version used at the Yonkers Youth Rally with Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday, it was composed by John Becker and is available through OCP. Find more information here. I would love to find a full recorded version of Saturday's singing - let me know if you find it anywhere and I'll share it here.

Catholic Writers Conference Deadline Nears

Just a reminder that you only have a few more days to sign up for the wonderful and completely free Catholic Writers Conference Online. The Conference is completely free and can be attended entirely online. Find more information here and join me in taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Register here.

Writing to the Pope

Just in case you'd like to send the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI a little note to let him know you enjoyed his visit, you can reach him at the following address:

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

or by email at benedictxvi@

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Pope Benedict XVI

With great fanfare and a farewell message from Vice President Cheney, Pope Benedict XVI is saying goodbye in a packed hangar at JFK. You can read the full text of his farewell here. It's been an emotion-filled week, packed with teaching points and hoping-inducing moments. I hope to spend time in the weeks ahead re-reading and studying the various texts and applying them to my own faith life. I hope our United States Church leaders and our local parish communities will do the same.

How have you been impacted by the Pope's visit? Did it mean anything to you, or was it just another news recap at the end of the day? What was your favorite recollection from the visit? What will you remember? What would you rather forget? What will you share with your children?

These are questions I'm still answering for myself. I wasn't lucky enough to be in attendance or be physically near the Holy Father, but my heart has been touched by his theme "Christ Our Hope". Now, it is time to respond to his challenge to be a herald of that hope in my own little world... it's a challenge I welcome.

Pope Benedict XVI at Yankee Stadium

As the Holy Father delivers his final homily, you can read the text in its entirety here.

A few of the passages that touched me:

"In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society. Today's celebration is more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received. It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations."


"Each day, throughout this land, you and so many of your neighbors pray to the Father in the Lord's own words: "Thy Kingdom come". This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation. It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities. It needs to create new "settings of hope" (cf. Spe Salvi, 32ff.) where God's Kingdom becomes present in all its saving power."


"Dear friends, only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States. Yet Christ's promise fills us with sure hope. Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father's house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom."

The Body of Christ - Something that has struck me

In watching the various masses, events, prayer ceremonies and rallies this week, I've been struck by an intense urge to know more about the various lay people involved in the liturgies. I would love to speak with the altar servers, the lectors, the cantors, and all of those blessed enough to be participants. I was just watching the woman who proclaimed the first reading - what a moment it must have been for her. Is she a lector in her parish? How was she chosen? How does one prepare to lector for the Holy Father? Each of the many people who made these events so special walks his or her own faith journey, but all of them as part of the Body of Christ. And so many lives have been touched by this journey. Most of us only had the benefit of watching the liturgies on television or on the Internet, but a chosen few shared these precious moments firsthand. I hope they will share their stories firsthand and their renewed faith will cause a swelling of faith and service in their own faith communities and beyond.

Pope's Mass at Yankee Stadium

I arrived home from Mass just in time to watch Pope Benedict XVI's wonderful entry into Yankee Stadium. Due to "mom duties", my coverage of this mass will be limited. You can access the text of his homily and a live video feed here. I hope to provide my thoughts on the Mass later this afternoon.

Future Pope?

This is an adorable look at a young boy who already knows what he wants to do when he grows up!

Pope's Reception by the Press

CNN's Reliable Sources had an interesting panel discussion on the press' reaction to and coverage of Pope Benedict XVI. The panel members includes Fr. Dave Dwyer , Steve Waldman of and Amy Sullivan. Of course, the now infamous Bill Maher lambasting of the Pope was one of the topics being discussed. Fr. Dave did a great job.

Pope Benedict XVI at Ground Zero

In a very solemn moment this morning, Pope Benedict XVI is arriving at Ground Zero in New York. There is a sole cello player, a fitting alternative to the musical fanfare we have seen at some of the previous events. On EWTN, the commentary is being provided by Raymond Arroyo and Peggy Noonan. CNN has Fr. Jim Martin and John Allen.

No public statements are expected at this event. There are many survivors and family members of those who lost their lives in attendance. Pope Benedict is now kneeling and praying in front of a Paschal candle. The only sound is the clicking of cameras...

Pope Benedict lights the Paschal candle with assistance and recites a lovely prayer asking for eternal light and peace for those who died and for healing for those who suffered injuries and those who lost loved ones.

Now the Holy Father is quiety meeting with first responders, victims, and families of victims. He is taking time to make a quiet connection with each of those presented to him.

As the Popemobile departs, bagpipes are heard in the background...

You can read the AP recap of this event here.
Catholic News Service has the story here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Time for a Break...

As the ending strains of "City of God" are sung at the Yonkers Youth Rally, I'm signing off for the day and heading out for a walk/run. I hope you enjoyed this day as much as I did. I am looking forward to printing all of the Papal addresses and reading them in the weeks to come in greater detail. See you at Ground Zero and Yankees Stadium tomorrow!

Matt Maher Performs live for pope

If you happen to be watching tv right now, flip over to Fox News and watch Matt Maher performing live as a backdrop to Pope Benedict XVI's farewell to the Youth Rally. Matt is a beautiful example of all of the hope that Pope Benedict is expressing this visit.

Matt's song "Empty and Beautiful" is the title track of his new CD available here.

There's also a lovely young lady named Kelly Clarkson singing Ave Maria to Pope Benedict!

Personal Blessings

Fifteen fortunate people are receiving personal blessings from Pope Benedict XVI - they would have to pick me up off of the floor if I were able to receive such a blessing or watch my child be blessed. I am so happy for these young people!

Litany of Saints

I love the version of the Litany of the Saints being sung right now at the Yonkers Youth Rally. The shots of the crowd seeing along make it even more poignant. It recalls for me this portion of the Pope's Address at this event:

"Dear friends, the example of the saints invites us, then, to consider four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, charity in action, and vocations."

Pope Encourages Praying for Parents

From Pope Benedict XVI's address to the Youth Rally in Yonkers, this important exhortation to prayer for parents:

"Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way - socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life."

Pope on Prayer

From Today's Youth Rally in Yonkers, the following wonderful words - yet another reason why we are compelled to read, print and ponder these addresses:

What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer. God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should "pray constantly" (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God's path (cf. Spe Salvi, 33). As the saints teach us so vividly, prayer becomes hope in action. Christ was their constant companion, with whom they conversed at every step of their journey for others.

There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God's revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God's whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness.

In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God's people in "the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ's Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension - what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this "work of Jesus" is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the "work of Jesus" is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church's liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world - saints and sinners alike - open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone (cf. Spe Salvi, 34).

Your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church's liturgy, bring you closer to God and also prepare you to serve others. The saints accompanying us this evening show us that the life of faith and hope is also a life of charity. Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 12). The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? Many of the examples of the suffering which our saints responded to with compassion are still found here in this city and beyond. And new injustices have arisen: some are complex and stem from the exploitation of the heart and manipulation of the mind; even our common habitat, the earth itself, groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation. We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.

Read the entire text here

Youth Rally in Yonkers

The crowd at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers is simply fantastic. As far as the eye can see are young people chanting, singing and cheering the Holy Father's presence. It is so awe inspiring to see the future heart and soul of our Church so enthusiastic in this moment.

Right now, an incredibly poised youth representative is welcoming Pope Benedict. Her welcoming gift of bread recalls that Jesus is the Bread of Life - our sustenance as we journey in Hope.

Seated next to me on the couch is my sixteen year old Eric, my own personal hope for the future. How blessed we are to share and savor these moments together. I would love to be there in person, but in my mind being here with Eric is the next best thing!

Here is the text of the Pope's address for this event.

St. Patrick's Mass

Unfortunately, I missed most of this morning's Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral owing to my morning spent at a local television station for my "15 seconds" of fame on CNN. What a surreal experience...

The full text of Pope Benedict's Homily is online here. My favorite portion of his remarks come at its conclusion:

"And when we leave this great church, let us go forth as heralds of hope in the midst of this city, and all those places where God’s grace has placed us. In this way, the Church in America will know a new springtime in the Spirit, and point the way to that other, greater city, the new Jerusalem, whose light is the Lamb (Rev 21:23). For there God is even now preparing for all people a banquet of unending joy and life."

While Pope Benedict was addressing the Clergy and Religious who were present at Mass, aka the "Foot soldiers", I choose to believe that you and I are also being called by the Holy Father to be "heralds of hope" as well.

This afternoon, events turn to the Blessing and Rally with Youth at St. Joseph's Seminary. Over 25,000 young people are flocking to this event. I'm certain that it will be incredible - if you're lucky enough to be anywhere near the Rally, I'd love to hear from you.

Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral

This morning's Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral is getting underway. If you would like to view it online, go here. According to NCR's John Allen, this marks the first time a Pope has celebrated Mass inside the cathedral. Mass is scheduled to get underway at 9:00 am, but the cathedral has been filled for quite some time as preparations are underway. I hope to have a link to the text of the homily soon.

Later: Pope Benedict just made his entrance into St. Patrick's Cathedral and was met by rousing applause from the over 3000 clergy and religious in attendance. I would have been like the many Sisters I saw - climbing over one another to touch him or to capture his picture with their cell phones! They looked so joyful to be in his presence.

Favorite comment of the morning from one of my Twitter friends:

"How do you get over a 1000 people to be quiet at the drop of a hat. Kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. "

Sadly, I have to drag myself away from the television to go get ready for CNN. I am scheduled to appear briefly at 11:30 am EST and would appreciate your prayers. I am looking forward to blogging about the Mass and this afternoon's youth rally later in the day.

Behold Your Mother

I'm happy to share the following book trailer for an important book written by our Adoption columnist, Heidi Hess Saxton. Heidi's book, Behold Your Mother paints vivid and compelling portraits of Mary as an intercessor who will take us by the hand and walk with us toward Jesus, who waits with open arms to receive our hearts and lives. I know you will enjoy it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's Saturday Schedule

Pope Benedict's busy schedule continues tomorrow as he attends the following events:

9 a.m. - Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City
4:30 p.m. - Blessing and Rally with Youth at St. Joseph's Seminary, St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers, NY

I hope to be awake and attending Mass at St. Pat's via EWTN - I'm certain it will be an amazing experience for those lucky enough to attend. When we visit New York City as a family, we have a tradition of walking through St. Patrick's every day, lighting a candle and pausing for a prayer. Of the masses being celebrated this week, this one tomorrow is the one I would most like to attend.

Tomorrow afternoon's events in Yonkers promises to be life altering for the youth who will be in attendance. My good friend, talented Catholic musician Laurie Collins, emailed me today to tell me that she would be present - volunteering in the Parking Lot! "Anything to see the Pope!" shared Laurie! I have no doubt that if I were Laurie, I'd be doing the same thing.

At the same event, another of my favorite musicians will actually be on stage. Matt Maher is scheduled to perform at the Youth Rally, inspiring Catholic youth to seek vocations in the Church. Following his performance at the rally, you can check out Matt as he is interviewed on Fox News Channel at 6:10 pm ET.

I'm looking forward to enjoying these events tomorrow online and on TV and sharing my thoughts with you!

Pope's Ecumenical Prayer Service

Pope Benedict XVI has had such a busy day! Here is an 81 year old gentleman, moving from event to event, touching hearts and souls - this Mom-blogger is having a tough time keeping up! This evening, Pope Benedict attended an ecumenical service with approximately 250 representatives of churches and faith organizations. His message challenged Christians not to abandon or become confused about Gospel values.

You can read the entire text of Pope Benedict's address here.
CNS has a helpful recap of this event here.

"Continue building bridges of friendship" - Papal Visit to Park East Synagogue

On the eve of Passover, Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to Jewish leaders this afternoon at Park East Synagogue in New York. He was warmly received by Rabbi Arthur Schneier and became the first pope to visit a Jewish place of worship in the United States.

Frequent readers of my blog will know that my best friend in Fresno is Jewish and that I play Mah Jongg twice a month with a group of Jewish friends. During our games and in my friendship with Mara, we frequently discuss the many ties that bind our faith backgrounds. I am so happy to see Pope Benedict making special time during his agenda to express his respect for the Jewish community.

My favorite portion of this particular address is the following:

"I know that the Jewish community make a valuable contribution to the life of the city, and I encourage all of you to continue building bridges of friendship with all the many different ethnic and religious groups present in your neighborhood."

Pope Benedict's comments are a great reminder to all of us that we should work to build bridges between faith groups in our own communities.

Read the text of Pope Benedict's address to the Jewish community here.

"Prayers for Tickets"

His handmade sign reading "Prayers for Tickets" didn't get John Murphy (son of the wonderful Debra Murphy) into Mass at Nationals Park Stadium yesterday, but he still wrote a terrific piece on why it means so much to be present for the events surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's visit. Check it out here. He's doing an amazing job of blogging for Godspy!

"Pope of Hope" Weekend - Street Evangelization

Have you seen the "Street Evangelization" event being promoted at Godspy? If I were anywhere near Manhattan tonight, I'd be there!

Thoughts on UN Address

I was happy to be able to both watch this address and to follow the text in print - Pope Benedict XVI is not a "sound bite" speaker. We must carefully listen to and also read his words for ourselves, rather than relying on digest versions of the address.

I enjoyed this portion of the remarks:

"My presence at this Assembly is a sign of esteem for the United Nations, and it is intended to express the hope that the Organization will increasingly serve as a sign of unity between States and an instrument of service to the entire human family. It also demonstrates the willingness of the Catholic Church to offer her proper contribution to building international relations in a way that allows every person and every people to feel they can make a difference."

As a mom, I tend to look for portions of these texts that apply to my own little corner of the world. In keeping with the theme of his visit, "Christ Our Hope", the Holy Father continues to challenge me personally to look at how his words pertain to my own life. We are custodians of our environment, we are the guardians of caring for the rights of all of our brothers and sisters, and each of us can make a difference.

Papal Address to the United Nations

For the first time during this visit, this morning I'm plunked in front of the television watching Pope Benedict XVI deliver his address to the United Nations. The boys are at school, the husband is at work, and the houseguests have departed. It feels like a true blessing to be able to quietly sit and listen to his comments.

If you're away from a television, you can view the address being streamed live here. The full text of the address is here. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the address!

I'll Be There!

You should come too!! Check out all the details here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CNN Interviews Victims after Meeting with Holy Father

CNN has an article and video footage of three of the individuals who have suffered abuse by priests and who met today with Pope Benedict XVI. They share the stories of their abuse and their reactions to today's meeting with the Holy Father. Their emotional reactions to the meeting come through in the interview. How wonderful that one of the victims described having a "great sense of hope" following this meeting.

Papal Address to Representatives of Other Religions

I didn't get to hear this address live, but here is the complete text of today's address to representatives of other religions. This address was delivered at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, which remains on my "wish list" for places I'd love to visit someday soon. Here's an overview of this wonderful event from Catholic News Service.

Pope Meets Privately with Abuse Victims

Catholic News Service has details on an unscheduled private meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and survivors of priestly abuse. The OSV Papal News Blog quotes the text of the official Vatican press release here.

Let us pray that this will be a step in the right direction toward the healing and reconciliation that is so greatly needed on this issue, and join me in praying for all those who were so greatly injured by these horrors.

Pope's Address to Catholic Educators

Today's Papal address by Pope Benedict XVI to Catholic educators at The Catholic University of America rekindled in me the pride I feel in having been the product of a Catholic education and in sacrificing to offer the same to my boys. The Holy Father's address challenged educators to "evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief". This should be what sets our Catholic schools apart - what makes them different from every other high priced private institution.

My son Eric's high school made a conscious decision within the past decade to decline a generous offer for donated land that would have enabled them to build a new campus in the far northern, growingly swanky, regions of Fresno County. Many parents were outraged by the diocese' commitment to an aging campus in the middle of a pretty tough neighborhood. Why not build the shiny new campus near where many of us live? But the diocese of Fresno felt a strong commitment to the very diverse community which had surrounded and supported the school for so many years. Bishop Steinbock rightly recognized the huge impact the school's flight would have upon the neighborhood. Well, a comment in the Pope's words today must have left my Bishop feeling very content:

"Here I wish to make a special appeal to Religious Brothers, Sisters and Priests: do not abandon the school apostolate; indeed, renew your commitment to schools especially those in poorer areas. "

Since the cost of Catholic education can be cost prohibitive for so many, we need to work tirelessly to make this gift more widely available for everyone. And we, as parents who work to send our children to Catholic schools, must never advocate our roles as our children's primary teachers of the faith.

Read the address here
Watch the address here

USA Today Roundup of Papal Bloggers

Here's an interesting article with a round up of bloggers writing this week about the Pope's visit. Try to disregard the few stupid comments at the bottom of the page and use this as a resource for some great writing and perspectives. I don't know if anyone at EWTN is blogging - that would be a great tool too!

Speaking of coverage, since I spend the bulk of my life in my car and only have access to XM radio/CNN coverage, I've been listening to many of the events on CNN. This morning, Eric had an Ortho appt. during the Mass (sigh...). After the appointment, we were driving him back to school and listening to Mass. The "color commentary" was being provided by the incredibly awesome Fr. Jim Martin, one of my favs. Fr. Jim's style is so wonderful - he delivers catechesis with such style and authenticity. Eric commented to me, "Mom, this is probably more than I'll learn in religion all week - can I stay in the car instead of going to school?" We had such a great time together listening to the Mass. It was around the time that Holy Communion was being distributed and we daydreamed aloud about the true joy of having the chance to receive Eucharist which had been consecrated in the presence of the Holy Father. This mom had to put on sunglasses to had the tears of joy flowing from her eyes - a blessed memory of a morning well spent with my 16 year old. These moments of hope are the perfect reason why we needed Pope Benedict's journey to our country.

The ending words of his homily today during the Mass at Nationals Park Stadium underscore this need:

Those who have hope must live different lives! (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). By your prayers, by the witness of your faith, by the fruitfulness of your charity, may you point the way towards that vast horizon of hope which God is even now opening up to his Church, and indeed to all humanity: the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus, our Savior. To him be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Pope's Mass at Nationals Park, Washington

Are you watching the pre-Mass preparations at Nationals Park? What an amazing thing it would be to be present for the Holy Father's mass this morning. If you are unable to watch it on television, you can go to and watch it streamed live online.

Confessions have been going on for hours and the crowd has been singing and praying together since 5:30 am Eastern time. What a life changing experience for those fortunate enough to be present. Yet again, I will have to pull myself away from EWTN, wake my children, feed them and drive them to school. Thank goodness for DVR!

I will be back later this morning with my impressions of the Mass from the vantage point of a mom in Fresno...

Christ, our Hope!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Matt Maher to Perform during Pope's Visit to New York

I am happy to share the following good news that our friend and Catholic musician Matt Maher will perform before Pope Benedict XVI in New York on Saturday. Yet another reason I wish I could be part of the festivities! Matt's message coincides so beautifully with the them of renewal and hope that is at the core of the Holy Father's mission.


Maher also to Perform during World Youth Day 2008, in Sydney, Australia; an Event that Will Mark Pope Benedict XVI’s First Visit to Australia

( Nashville , Tenn. ) April 16, 2008 – Singer/Songwriter/Worship Leader Matt Maher, who just released his Essential Records debut album, Empty & Beautiful (4/8/08), will perform when Pope Benedict XVI visits New York , on April 19. Maher, who is Catholic, will share his music in conjunction with the Pope’s visit to St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., where the Pope will preside over a youth rally; encouraging youth to seek vocations within the church. Maher is no stranger to events involving the Pope. In 1999, when the Pope came to St. Louis , Mo. , Maher performed as part of the visit.

“I am extremely humbled, excited and honored to be invited to be a part of this event,” shares Maher. “I think this visit is a significant turning point for the life of the youth of our Church, and a chance for young people to connect with the vision of Christian life that the Holy Spirit is breathing through the pontificate of Benedict XVI.”

Maher is still involved in local church ministry at St. Timothy Catholic Community, in Mesa , Ariz. , as well as working closely with two national Catholic ministries, Life Teen, a worldwide Catholic youth ministry, and Adore Ministries, based out of Houma , La. With an incredible love for Jesus, and a heart to reach people for Christ, Maher seeks to meet people where they are.

In addition to being a part of the Pope’s historic visit to the United States, Maher will play a major, musical role during the upcoming World Youth Day 2008 event in Sydney, Australia. This year marks the first visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Australia . In 2000, Matt played at an event with Life Teen in the Piazza D’Espana (The Spanish Steps) during World Youth Day in Rome . In 2002, Matt’s “Litany of the Saints” was played at World Youth Day, in Toronto , Canada .

During World Youth Day 2008, Maher will perform at the following events: Thursday, July 10 at a Youth Arise youth rally in Brisbane, Australia; Friday, July 11 at a Youth Arise mass performance, also in Brisbane; Saturday, July 12 at DID08 Festival in Melbourne, Australia; Sunday, July 13 at Youth Arise with Rexband, in Brisbane; Wednesday, July 16 at both the Franciscan Friars’ “Come to the Water Youth Festival” at Bondi Beach, and a Sisters of Life Event called “Festival of Life,” in Sydney; Thursday, July 17 at a Life Teen Event, in Sydney; Friday, July 18 at Receive the Power Live, with Hillsong United and Darlene Zschech, in Sydney; and Saturday, July 19, at Youth Festival Outdoor Concert Series, also in Sydney.

“To be part of World Youth Day is to be part of a movement of the Holy Spirit in the young church Universal; a chance for youth and young adults from nations all over the world to gather in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a chance to realize the full potential of the gospel in our own hearts, and to be empowered by the love of God to bring the message of the risen Jesus Christ to every corner of the earth. It’s a chance to proclaim to the world this message, written over and over in the scriptures – ‘Be not afraid! God loves you!’ Never before in the history of the global family of man, do we need a vision of a life that is greater than our suffering. People are linked in our longing for meaning, purpose, and identity. It’s an honor to serve the vision the Holy Spirit gives to the Pope, as He prays for wisdom and lays out the vision for each World Youth Day. It was that way with Pope John Paul II, and it still is that way with Pope Benedict XVI.”

On Maher’s 12-track album, Empty & Beautiful (released 4/4/08), he breaks open the two simple words in the title, through songs that are both corporate and reflective; driving and soft; each one telling the story from a different perspective. Empty & Beautiful was co-produced by Matt Maher and Jeff Thomas, except for, “As It Is In Heaven,” which was produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Bebo Norman, Bethany Dillon). Maher describes the heart behind his Essential Records debut, “The realization of our own emptiness without God is both a moment of sadness, and a window to joy, which opens to something so much bigger and more beautiful than ourselves. To lay down one’s life for the Gospel in service of God and neighbor, is a reflection of the beauty of God. That is our charge as Christians, and that is where these songs came from.”

Born and raised in Newfoundland , Canada , Maher grew up in a strong culture comprised of two elements: music and tradition. Maher continues, “Music is part of the fabric of the culture there, similar to places like Louisiana or the Appalachian mountains ; and over the years, not just Celtic music, but music of every kind. During his college years, Matt received a scholarship from the Jazz Department at Arizona State University , where he studied Jazz Piano.

Empty & Beautiful, primarily written by Maher, comprises the following 12 tracks (track sequence subject to change): “Your Grace Is Enough,” “Look Like A Fool,” “For Your Glory,” “As It Is In Heaven,” “I Rejoice,” “Maranatha (Come Again),” “Great Things,” “Leave A Light On,” “Shine Like the Son,” “Unwavering,” “Lay It Down” (co-written with worship leader / songwriter, Brenton Brown) and “Empty & Beautiful.”

For upcoming tour dates and additional information on Matt Maher, visit

Catholic Moments #45 - Regina Doman

We welcome Pope Benedict XVI on his historic visit to the United States and reflect on his message of "Christ Our Hope". Lisa interviews Catholic author and editor Regina Doman. Deacon Tom shares a reflection on the "Rice of Baptism". Check out "Shine Like the Son" from Matt Maher's new Empty and Beautiful CD. Share your feedback at 206-339-9272 or email

Links for this episode:
Regina Doman
Regina's books: Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold, Angel in the Waters
Catholic, Reluctantly by Christian Frank
Matt Maher, Empty and Beautiful
Lisa's Facebook Profile

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments Podcast #45

Did you miss today's events?

If you were busy today driving kids, working, feeding toddlers or just missed out on the events of the day for some reason, there are some great places you can go to catch up on audio and video of the various happenings:

If you have a favorite resource that I don't have listed here, please drop me a comment below and let me know what I'm missing! I'd also love links to great videos you may find online that can be shared here.

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

Kathleen Battle, American Soprano and youngest in a family of seven, leads the faithful in a heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday to our Pontiff!

Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the White House Welcoming Ceremony

I would have loved to have been one of the 13, 500 invited guests who joined President and Mrs. Bush in officially welcoming our beloved Pope Benedict today at the White House. Instead, I was doing what good Catholic moms do - driving children to school!

We have been having wonderful conversations for the past few days in our home about the importance of this visit. I am so moved by America's response to our Holy Father and by the open armed welcome he has received to our country. In his comments today, I found the following segment of his comments to be the most thought provoking for me personally:

The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27). She is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things, and that the Gospel reveals the noble vocation and sublime destiny of every man and woman (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling, and the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society.

We, you and I, are called to be part of that work for justice in our own little corners of the world. In his remarks today, Pope Benedict stated, "As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens." As an American Catholic and as a mother, I am thrilled to welcome our shepherd here to energize our zeal to serve others. His visit is the symbol our children need and deserve as we teach them to walk a journey of faith and a life of mission. I am excited by each and every segment of this journey and envious of those who have the opportunity to partake of the renewal and fun firsthand. Thanks to the world of new media, we have access to these moments as they occur - I guess in my case I'll have to settle for "i Reports" and You Tube! The carpool must go on...

Please join my in continual prayers for our Holy Father's journey, for those who will travel to see him, and for a renewal of our commitment to freedom and justice in our own country and in those parts of the world who rely on America's continual support.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Musical Welcome for Pope Benedict XVI

Nick Alexander of Top Catholic Songs has created a musical welcome playlist in honor of the Pontiff's vision and mission "Christ Our Hope". Click here to listen to wonderful songs by talented Catholic musicians.

Pope Benedict XVI Arrives in the United States

I was out driving boys to tennis today when the Holy Father arrived, so I didn't get to watch this footage live. I wanted to add it to the blog as the beginning of a virtual scrapbook of his journey for myself. Today, I was wishing that I could have been anywhere near Washington DC to welcome Pope Benedict and to be among the many faithful who have flocked there to be near him. His wonderful message, "Christ Our Hope" is so needed by our country. Please join me in praying for our Pope during this week.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Catholic Moments #44 - Jenny Klement

This week I share my interview with Catholic Mom and musician Jenny Klement and preview her CD "Grace is Falling". We share another wonderful Catholic Deacon Moment and announce the Catholic New Media Celebration on June 22 in Atlanta. I'll be there - will you? Be sure to enter this month's contests and share your feedback at 206-339-9272 or email

Links for this episode:
Jenny Klement
Catholic New Media Celebration
Diocesan Promotional Catalog -
St. Augustine Hunger Center Benefit
Matt Maher, Empty and Beautiful
Lisa's Facebook Profile
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments Podcast #44

Monday, April 07, 2008

First Communion Gifts

Are you seeking special gifts for a First Communicant? Please consider purchasing your gifts through our Catholic Company Store. You will find a special gift and make a great donation to at the same time. Click here to view our First Communion Gift Shop.

Matt Maher CD Available Tomorrow

OK, I'll admit to being a Matt Maher groupie! In advance of the release of his new CD Empty and Beautiful tomorrow, I thought you might enjoy watching this great preview video. It features much of the music and Matt's unique musings. If you'd like to read my review of click here. Order Empty and Beautiful here and support Weekly Column Roundup

Hi guys! We have some truly wonderful new content this week, so please take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy these wonderful columns. They will leave you informed and inspired! Have a great week everyone!

For the First of May: Marian May Baskets by Alice Gunther

Learning to be Unafraid to Ask by Sherry Antonetti

The Last Lecture by Patrice Fagnant MacArthur

Virtue As Its Own Reward by Guest Columnist Genevieve Kineke

High Tech Mother's Day Fitness Gift Ideas

Experience of 18 years contradicts "experts" by Marybeth Hicks

The Curse of Womanhood by Lisa Barker

Prayer for Couples Who Want to Adopt

Our favorite Adoption columnist and all around superbly talented woman Heidi Hess Saxton has composed the most beautiful prayer for couples hoping to adopt children. Heidi's prayer is posted over at her blog. Even if you are not a couple hoping to adopt, I beg you to take a moment and run over to Heidi's blog and read this prayer. It is simply wonderful.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Catholic Moments #43 - Moons, Messengers and Marriages

This week we look at the film "Under the Same Moon", share a Catholic Deacon Moment on the importance of giving thanks for our marriages, and interview Kris Weipart, founder of the new Catholic children's magazine, St. Mary's Messenger. Be sure to enter this month's contests and share your feedback at 206-339-9272 or email

Links for this episode:
St. Mary's Messenger Magazine
Deacon Tom Fox
Lisa's Facebook Profile
Catholic Mom Logo Store

Click here to listen to Catholic Moments Podcast #43