Dad and JPII

A few years back, I was all set to hop on a plane to Rome with my parents for JPII’s beatification.

But then, myself and everyone in my family (except for my dad!) was struck with the flu to end all flus.

(ok, maybe not that bad.  But we opted to skip the nine hour flight and not spread our sickness to the poor Romans.)

So today I am happy to report that my parents are flu-free and Romeward-bound with my grandparents.*

*I guess getting married and having a baby disqualifies me from partaking in traveling abroad with my parents as their pretend-only-child.  Alas.  It was fun while it lasted.  And thankfully this has been the only downside I’ve run into so far of marriage/mommyhood :)

If you only follow one Twitter Account for this Canonization Celebration…

My dad created a public Twitter account so that all of us can follow along on their trip!  And I know in this day and age you have many options to choose from for your canonization updates (and Pops doesn’t really care if you follow him or not), but allow me to introduce you to my loving Dad and make the case for why he’s the best guy for the job.


Family Trip to Rome circa 2006


If I’m not forgetting one, this trip to Rome makes number 8 for Dear Old Dad, who first traveled to Rome back in the summer of 2000 as a high school graduation celebration for my oldest brother, Alan.  From then on, a tradition was started.  Dad would take each of us kids to Rome–the geographic heart of our Catholic faith–when we graduated high school.

My sister’s graduation trip in 2006 turned into a family affair.  My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary that year, and they were blessed enough to be able to renew their vows under the altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica, in front of the tomb of the first Pope.  (Mom’s parents came, too!  They also got to renew their vows and Grandpa, the deacon who assisted at my parents’ wedding mass, was their to witness their vow renewal 25 years later!).

So Dad knows the city.  But even more important, Dad loves JPII.

The week JPII passed away, Dad was fighting the urge to drop everything and hop on a plane to be in Saint Peter’s square.  I remember sitting in our backyard with my feet in the pool talking to Dad about Pope John Paul II the day he passed away.  Dad talked about how fitting it was that JPII passed away the day before Divine Mercy Sunday (I credit that conversation as a beginning to my devotion to Divine Mercy).  We talked about how JPII was a father-figure to my dad.  We talked about how my dad was looking forward to having a devotion to JPII and beginning a relationship with him as a saint in Heaven.

It’s nuts to think that nine years have passed since that conversation in the backyard with my dad.

Not long after that, my alma mater was founded and named for John Paul the Great (and Dad serves as chairman of JPCatholic’s board of trustees!).  It’s crazy to think that Dad–and all of us–have been able to develop a relationship with John Paul II, who can now know our names and our prayers because he is in Heaven with Jesus.

Writing this now, I’m realizing that my life would be very different today if it weren’t for Saint John Paul II.

And in so many ways I have my Dad to thank for that!

So go follow my Dad!  :)


Keep Celebrating!

easter octave


VLOG – Why Suffering Matters Video Blog -

Why Suffering Matters



Divine Mercy and The New “Normal”


With everything going on during Holy Week, it often happens that I forget to start the Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday.  I don’t want that to happen to you this year, so—even though it’s Holy Week— I thought I’d devote today’s post to Divine Mercy.

But first, let us consider what’s at stake:

Recently I was reading in the news a story about a stabbing at a US school carried out by a 16 year old.  Reading on, I discovered that students, staff, neighbors and law enforcement officials were all equally “baffled” that this particular student was capable such violence and aggression. He had no history of mental health issues; he wasn’t an “outcast.”  He was, by all accounts, a normal teenager.

I don’t know this kid. I don’t know his story and therefore cannot make ANY sort of conclusions about why he did what he did. But I have to wonder, when presented with news story after news story in which seemingly “normal” people carry out all sorts of heinous crimes: Could it be that what we have come to call “normal” is in fact causing severe damage to the human person?

Let’s take a look at what “normal” has become—

  • 52% of all marriages end in divorce. This means the majority of children are growing up in broken homes.
  • 1 in 3 children in the United States grow up without the regular presence of a father in the home
  • 68% of young adult men and 18% of young adult women use pornography at least once every week, with the majority of college students seeing nothing wrong with the casual use of pornography.

    “…study after study has found that watching even non-violent porn is correlated with the user being more likely to use verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to push women into sex”

When all of this is considered “normal,” it becomes easier—for me, at least— to grasp why it’s becoming increasingly common for such horrible crimes to be carried out by seemingly “normal” people.

But let’s pause here and consider that…

Right now, a mother is reading this whose sweet baby’s father is no longer in the picture. Someone who has been hurt by divorce is reading these words. A person struggling with a pornography addiction. The list goes on, because in truth, ALL of our sins—no matter the scale—have contributed in some way to this new “normal.”

It would all seem like a message of total doom and gloom—were it not for the Divine Mercy of our Lord, who did not hesitate to take on the weight of it all in His Passion and death.


The message of Divine Mercy is the message of the Cross—that God’s mercy is infinitely greater than our sins, and that—if we are willing to let Him—He can and will transform even our biggest sins into victory.

But will we let Him?

Consider beginning the Divine Mercy Novena this Friday.  But most importantly, consider accepting the mercy that Jesus longs to give you, and sharing that mercy with a world who so greatly needs Him.


Bad at remembering to pray novenas?  Sign up for and get daily reminders to pray (with over 90,000 others!)

VLOG – 3 Tips For Holy Week

Happy Friday!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve begun a weekly video blog via YouTube, and today is the first installment!  Check out the video below and let me know what you think! (if you listen closely you just might hear background baby noises :) )

3 Tips to Keep Holy Week Holy – Video Blog