Saturday Morning Sneak-Peek

I shouldn’t be up right now.

I should still be sleeping, soaking up those last few minutes of sustenance before what is sure to be a busy day. I should be trying to hit the six-hour mark of sleep after a late night of birthday party preparations.

Instead, our (almost four-year-old) birthday boy appeared at the side of our bed. He’d had a nightmare. Up he went to be nestled in between us, sniffling and wiggling and keeping me awake.

Or my mind did that. Too much on the to-do list today: bake a cake, fill goody bags, make some chili, clean up the remaining messes, vacuum, build a dinosaur.

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Yes, I drew this free-hand. Yes, the Internet helped.

(What? Isn’t that a standard part of any worthy to-do list?)

I’ve been running a little ragged this week – or rather, my mind has. I’ve mostly been home, but I’ve been absorbed in party prep, the Pope’s visit to the U.S., my region’s effort to celebrate and reflect on it, and other mentally-draining chatter in the blogging world. It’s really been pretty exhausting.

So I should be sleeping right now.

Instead I sit here at my laptop, a bowl of cereal before me, tapping out a few words. I want to say hello and welcome to the new readers I picked up this week. I want to tell my existing readers that I’m here and alive and very much missing writing to you. And I want to say to my mom that no, I didn’t get very much sleep last night, but I swear it’s not my fault.

So I’ll take the opportunity to point you to the fruits of my labor this week – a compilation of writings on Pope Francis’ U.S. visit to the Mid-Atlantic. Members of my regional blogging group have attended or are attending nearly every one of his public events during his visit, and over a dozen of us are writing on it, whether we’ve been able to see Pope Francis in-person or not. We’ve a load of great post so far (22 posts from eleven bloggers), and I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of them.

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

From Abigail Benjamin:

“I almost stopped my 8 year old kid from buying a souvenir Vatican flag because we had already brought a large Vatican flag from home to wave during the parade. As the Mom of many children, my default answer to any child’s impromptu spending request is usually “Let’s not buy it now.” Somehow outside the security gate of the Papal Parade, I hesitated before saying no. My hesitation was enough time for my 8 year old daughter to offer to spend her own allowance money to buy a flag. Then my husband to suggested adding another $5 from his wallet so that her younger siblings could share in the joy. If I had a metaphor for that impact of the Papal Parade, it’s that we came to the Parade with a one large family flag to wave for the Pope and we left with 5 of my children waving individual flags inside their heart for our Pope.”

From Rita Buettner:

“I had the opportunity to attend the Pope’s Mass on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C., with 25,000 of my closest friends. If you were there too, I’m so very happy for you! If you weren’t, I wish you could have been, and I wish we could have crowded together against the barricade as we waited for the Popemobile to pass. For now, I thought I’d reflect on how the experience has made me think about the beauty and richness of our faith.”

From Brigid Hogan:

“I was lucky enough to see Pope Francis twice this week. On Tuesday, I was part of the relatively small delegation that greeted his first steps in the US at Andrews Air Force Base. On Thursday, I stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands, watching him address Congress and bowing our heads as he blessed the crowd – especially the children. On this week’s Catholic Stuff podcast, cohost Fr. Michael O’Laughlin said: “Expect good things… Whenever the Pope comes, amazing things result.” I’m not expecting Congress to heed the warnings and instructions the Pope gave them. I don’t expect them to even realize how excoriating his remarks are to the priorities both parties have set for our nation . . . But already this week, I have witnessed people side by side, joyful in their faith, renewed in mercy and vigor. I have seen Facebook posts honoring him . . . from people who haven’t considered themselves part of the Church for years.”

From Erin McCole Cupp:

“I wasn’t sure I had much to say about the World Meeting of Families . . . Nothing helpful to others.  Nothing that would be anything but navel-gazing.  Seriously, have you seen my navel?  No?  Then give the good Lord a nice, big “Thank You.” Then this morning, someone on Facebook asked a friend, “What’s so great about Wawa?” Hold the popephone. I may live on the border of Sheetz country these days, but I spent the bulk of my first thirty years under the warm glow of that golden rectangle emblazoned with the sleek silhouette of a Canada goose. You mean to tell me there are people who don’t know what’s so great about Wawa?  That is when I realized that I have something to say about next week’s events, something important, even something unique.  I may have left Philly and its suburbs, but Philly and its suburbs certainly never left me.  I, dear reader, have been called.  I have a mission. I have, my friends, found my WMOF blogging voice.  And thus I bring you… Seven Things You Need to Know About Popeadelphia: Your incredibly unofficial guide to the 2015 World Meeting of Families”

From Abbey Davis Dupuy:

“My hands are full, people say-
busy slicing grapes in half
strategically placing Band-aids
peeling the pink crayon to make it last a bit longer
busy steadying a wobbly bike
rebraiding flyaway hair
washing wiggly feet.

His hands were full, too-
busy breaking bread (somehow stretched to plenty)
busy drawing in the dirt
touching ears, heads, foreheads
busy not casting stones
grasping a hand and pulling it back to life
flipping over tables when necessary
washing reluctant feet.

I examine my hands and wish they were more like His-
less afraid to touch a stranger
more willing to reach across a fence or a language barrier
less concerned with my own comfort.

They’re full, yes, but they’re lacking.
I could always hold a little more.”

I hope you’ll stop over there to check out all the contributions. How lucky we are to have such talent in our region!

And on my way out, one more sneak peek of my little guy’s “Night at the Museum” birthday party later today:

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Yes – we’re in for a good time.

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Junipero Serra: Who, what, where, when and why

Today I’m pleased to host my very first guest blogger!

Emily Borman is Editor-in-Chief for Conversation with Women, a website where Catholic women anonymously share their stories of struggle, and ultimately joy, in living the Catholic faith in regards to marriage, sexuality, chastity, and society.  Emily is also a Master Catechist for the Diocese of Arlington and holds an Advanced Certificate in Youth Ministry from the Diocese of Arlington in conjunction with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She and her husband Bill have been married for 28 years and are nearing an empty nest.

Many thanks to Emily for sharing with us a post on Blessed Junipero Serra, who will be canonized by Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. tomorrow.


A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Emily BormanI have been anxiously awaiting the Pope’s historic visit to DC and Philadelphia.  I live near DC and tickets to the Papal Mass are very limited.  Each parish has been given a few according to the size of the parish.  My parish received 3 tickets and held a raffle. There are 1300 families in my parish so I said a prayer, entered the raffle, and proceeded to make other plans. My thoughts and prayers centered on the thought, My Papa is coming to town and ticket or no ticket I will be there to welcome him!

I decided to attend an early Mass in the city and then participate in the Papal parade, hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.  And then I got a call from the parish office; I won a ticket to the Papal Mass!  Woot! Alelluia!

The ticket reads:




Canonization Mass of Blessed Junipero Serra

Wednesday September 23, 2015

4:15 pm

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception


Hmm, Blessed Junipero Serra?  I have to admit that I have been so focused on Pope Francis that I completely forgot that the Holy Father would be celebrating a canonization Mass and that Blessed Junipero Serra would be canonized as a saint!

So, where and when are pretty well covered by the ticket. But what is a saint? Who is Blessed Junipero Serra and why is he being canonized as a Saint?  Here are some of the results of google searches and my years of experience as a chatechist.

What is a Saint?

A Saint is a holy person who distinguished themselves on earth either by living with heroic virtue or by dying a martyr’s death. We believe Saints are with God in heaven.  Notice I said holy and heroic but I didn’t say perfect? None of us is perfect.  There is a very extensive and scrutinizing process by which a person is canonized a Saint.  The process begins when a Cause for Beatification and Canonization is opened. The process is started for many holy people who do not make it to Canonization as Blessed Junipero Serra has.

As Catholics we believe in the Communion of Saints which means that we often pray and ask those in heaven to intercede and pray for us, much like you might ask your grandmother or neighbor to pray for you.  Technically anyone who gets to heaven is a saint (lower case s), but those who go through the canonization process are officially recognized by the Church as a Saint (uppercase S).

Who is Blessed Junipero Serra?

The short story is that he was born Miguel Jose on November 24, 1713 on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain.  He joined the Franciscan order in 1730 and chose the name Junipero after St. Francis’ brother companion. He was a well-respected professor for almost a decade before he discerned a call to be a missionary to the New World.  He left his parents, the accolades of his relatively comfortable academic position, and sailed for America.  His mission work began in Mexico City, the capital of New Spain.  He was soon called to California where he founded one mission in Baja California, Mexico and the first nine of 21 Spanish Missions in Alta California from San Diego to San Franciso.

Why is Blessed Junipero Serra being canonized a Saint?   

Simply, he was holy and possessed heroic virtue.  His work was characterized with dignity and respect. He referred to the people as gentiles when the common term was pagans.  He learned the language of the native people and also tried to communicate the gospel in a visual manner rather than requiring them to learn his language.  He ministered to them both spiritually and economically.

Although he defended the Indians, he is sometimes criticized for both believing in and practicing corporal punishment, which was common practice at that time.  This biography addresses and essentially refutes those criticisms far better than I can.

My plans have changed. I am the blessed recipient of a ticket to the Mass and that is now my destination.  What about you?  What are your plans?  Are you local to DC?  There is still time to join one of eight parishes in DC that are offering a 6am Mass on Wednesday the 23rd and then are proceeding to the parade route to catch glimpses of the Pope as he travels in the Popemobile from the White House to the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle (for mid-day prayer with the bishops of the USCCB).

Blessed Junipero Serra, I am honored to receive the privilege of participating in your canonization Mass. Please pray for the safe travel of all pilgrims heading to DC to greet their Papa!

Read more about the canonization process here, or here.  Read more about Blessed Junipero Serra here.


For more reports and reflections on the Pope’s visit from members of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Catholic Women Bloggers Network (CWBN), please visit “A Walk In Words With Pope Francis.”

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

Catholic Women Bloggers of the Mid-Atlantic Celebrate His Visit to Our Region

by Abigail Benjamin and Julie Walsh

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States from September 22, 2015 to September 27, 2015. The Pope will visit the cities of Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, in addition to celebrating Mass at the World Meeting of Families.

The Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Catholic Women Blogger Network (CWBN) is a lively group of writers from Virginia to New York. We feel blessed to be welcoming our Holy Father to our home region this September.

Several of our members plan to attend official events during the Pope’s visit; others will be monitoring them from their homes and communities. Regardless of our locales, our members look forward to the opportunity to #WalkwithFrancis via our reports and reflections on the Pope’s historic visit to the United States.

Select CWBN members will attend the following events during Pope Francis’s visit:

  • Arrival at Andrews Airforce Base (Washington, D.C.)
  • White House Welcoming Ceremony (Washington, D.C.)
  • Papal Parade (Washington, D.C.)
  • Canonization Mass for Blessed Junipero Serra (Washington, D.C.)
  • Address to Congress (Washington, D.C.)
  • Central Park Procession (New York City)
  • Mass at Madison Square Gardens (New York City)
  • World Meeting of Families (Philadelphia)

Other members will monitor those events and more (including the Masses, the Pope’s addresses to Congress and the United Nations, and his visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City) from home.

Those who have committed to posting on the Papal visit include:

Please stop back here as the Pope’s visit progresses (and after it concludes) for links to our members’ posts. This collection-point will be updated at least daily, and more frequently as necessary. New posts will be added from September 22nd through the 29th.

Please also follow our members who plan to have a heavy presence on social media during the Pope’s visit:

We hope you find that our effort to #WalkwithFrancis helps you to do the same.

Day 1 Sept 22

A Walk in Words With Pope Francis - Patti Murphy DohnFrom Patti Murphy Dohn:

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