(The following is a blog post I wrote 12.26.16, but is applicable today.)

christmaspiegirlgraphicsfairy004bThe majority of Catholics have fallen into the same mindset as the general culture when it comes to the schedule of celebrating holidays.

Easter doesn’t suffer as much as Christmas, presumably because Easter isn’t a major retail holiday season, so the stakes aren’t as high, economically speaking. Sure, McDonald’s does a big business in fish sandwiches during Lent, and Cadbury gets its share due to goo-filled chocolate eggs.

Christmastide is greatly abused and forgotten these days, to say nothing of poor Advent.

Starting today, we enter the REAL Christmas season. Just as the rest of the world is putting away their decorations and throwing their trees in ponds, Catholics are just getting started…or should be. Santa has come and gone, but our 40-day celebration of the Infant Christ and His Holy Family begin now. lays it out the traditional celebration very nicely for us:

The entire Christmas Cycle is a crescendo of Christ’s manifesting Himself as God and King — to the shepherds, to the Magi, at His Baptism, to Simeon and the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2). The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with Christmas itself being the first day, and Twelfthnight — 5 January — being the last of the twelve days. Christmastide liturgically ends on 13 January, the Octave of the Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ (at which time the season of Time After Epiphany begins). But Christmas doesn’t end spiritually — i.e., the celebration of the events of Christ’s life as a child don’t end, and the great Christmas Cycle doesn’t end — until Candlemas on 2 February and the beginning of the Season of Septuagesima.

Christmas: Christ is born
Feast of the Holy Innocents: Herod slaughters the baby boys in order to kill the Christ Child
The Circumcision (the Octave of Christmas): Jesus follows the Law
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus: After He is circumcised, He is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family
Twelfth Night: The Twelve Days of Christmas as a Feast come to an end
Feast of the Epiphany: Jesus reveals His divinity to the three Magi, and during His Baptism, and at the wedding at Cana
Baptism of Our Lord/Octave of the Epiphany: Christmas liturgically ends with the Octave of the Epiphany.
Feast of the Holy Family: Jesus condescends to be subject to His parents
Feast of the Purification (Candlemas): 40 days after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to be purified and to “redeem” Jesus per the Old Testament Law of the firstborn. Christmas truly ends as a Season with Candlemas and the beginning of Septuagesima.

So, now that you know that we are just starting Christmas, pull out the ham, bring back the pie, return the ribbon candy, and don’t take down the tree! We have a lot to celebrate. Besides, a 40-day celebration of our eternal salvation hardly seems adequate.

Merry Christmas!

Divorce and the Holidays


Today I was honored to fill in as guest host for my pal, Wendy Wiese, on her Relevant Radio show, On Call with Wendy Wiese.

I was joined by Lisa Duffy. Lisa is an author, blogger, relationship and divorce recovery expert with more than 20 years of personal in helping people rebuild their lives after divorce and find happy, lasting relationships.

For our interview and tips on how to cope with divorce during the holidays, listen to the podcast of the show HERE.




This past week I was happy to be able to fill in for my friend, Wendy Wiese, on her radio show, “On Call with Wendy Wiese” on the Catholic station Relevant Radio.

I spoke with Tim Shininger, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, about how Catholics should approach treatment if they feel as though they are having trouble with extreme anger issues.

Mr. Shininger provides treatment for children, adolescents and adults with a focus on marriage and family issues. He also specializes in treating depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder as well as helping individuals with parenting issues, grief/loss, and marital communication/conflict.

Tim uses cognitive behavioral and systemic approaches in treatment. He has a special interest in studying the integration of principles of faith into the science of psychology.
To listen to my interview with Tim from Friday, September 10, 2016 click here.


This past week I was happy to be able to fill in for my friend, Wendy Wiese, on her radio show, “On Call with Wendy Wiese” on the Catholic station Relevant Radio.

On Thursday, September 8, 2016, I was happy to talk about what Catholics should know when investing their money. 

Craig Siminski is a Certified Financial Planner® dealing with goal focused investment planning. 

To listen to my interview with Craig, click here


This past week I was happy to be able to fill in for my friend, Wendy Wiese, on her radio show, “On Call with Wendy Wiese” on the Catholic station Relevant Radio. 

My guest was Sr. Marysia Weber, RSM, DO. SrWeberSister Marysia Weber, R.S.M., D.O., a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, is a physician certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She completed her residency and a fellowship in consultation-liaison psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She practices in her religious institute’s multidisciplinary medical clinic, Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center.

Her primary work includes assessing and treating seminary candidates, priests and religious. She has also offered numerous formation workshops on a variety of formation issues for U.S. Bishops, seminary formators and vocation directors. She presented to the U.S. Bishops in Dallas TX in 1992 on “Pedophilia and Other Addictions”. She was a member of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse in 1994-1995. Sister Marysia has presented to the Curia, Vatican City State on “Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy in North America” in 2002. She has also served as a psychological expert consultant for the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, USCCB.
Her publications include: “Medical Aspects of Addiction”; “The Roman Catholic Church and the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Religious in the United States and Canada: What Have We Learned? Where Are We Going?”; “Pornography, Electronic Media and Priestly Formation”; “Significant Markers of Human Maturation Applied to the Selection and Formation of Seminarians”; “The Discernment of a Priestly Vocation and the Expertise of Psychiatry and Psychology”; and “Internet Pornography and Priestly Formation: Medium and Content Collide With the Human Brain”.
Here is the link to our conversation on Wednesday, September 7, 2016: Sister Marysia Weber, RSM, DO on Internet addiction

A Catholic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The pilgrimage to Jerusalem by Empress Saint Helena in the year 326 would forever position the Holy Land as an important destination for anyone identifying as a follower of Jesus Christ, and that place of importance for Catholics has only grown over time. St. Helena’s discovery of relics and the various holy sites are sites still visited by pilgrims today. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2014, out of 3.3 million visitors to Israel, 56% of incoming tourism was Christian tourism, 41% of which was Catholic.


Young Jewish Women Pray at the Western Wall

A pilgrimage is a journey that’s sole purpose is to honor God. In the Torah, God commands Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year: Pesah (Passover), Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), and Sukkot (the Festival of Booths). Because the Jews, our elder brothers in faith, were familiar with this mandate from God, a pilgrimage would not have been an idea foreign to the early Christians.

Christians have been making pilgrimages to the Holy Land virtually since beginning of the Faith. The early Christian scholar, Origen, recorded examples of inhabitants of the Holy Land showing ancient visitors sites where Christ performed miracles as early as the 3rd century. One of the earliest pieces of evidence of Christians making pilgrimages to the Holy Land in search of the places where Jesus lived and carried out His public ministry is an inscription in a stone that reads, “Lord, we are here.”

For Christians, making a pilgrimage has never been something into which a person entered lightly. The very early Christians traveled from various parts of then-Judea to the different locations around the country where locals directed them to sites where Jesus and the Disciples exorcised demons, healed the sick, and taught the Word of God. In the Middle Ages, pilgrimages were sometimes given as a penance to a penitent who had committed a particularly heinous sin, not so much as a punishment, but as a purgative of sorts in order to atone appropriately for that sin because, in addition to a pilgrimage being a way to pay homage to the Lord, a pilgrimage, by its nature, is meant to be an arduous undertaking; the idea being that Christ carried His cross for all mankind, so could a pilgrim suffer a bit traveling to the land of His birth. The suffering experienced during the journey could be “offered up” for the poor souls in Purgatory, so it was not only a cleansing suffering, but a fruitful suffering as well.

For the modern pilgrim, the worst hardships to be experienced during the journey probably don’t extend much beyond a delayed connecting flight, a crowded plane, or lost luggage; however, the prayerful activity of a pilgrimage is still recommended to the faithful.

Making a pilgrimage, particularly to the Holy Land, is an important spiritual undertaking that will deepen a person’s faith in a unique way. For anyone not familiar with the history of Christianity, being in the Holy Land fleshes out the missing pieces, allowing for a much clearer, firmer foothold in the genealogy of the faith. Israel makes real for Christians the Jewish past that is the cornerstone of the present faith.


Ukrainian Orthodox Members Receive a Blessing at the Jordan River

Susan Ignatius, a member of Fairway Christian Church in Florida, who, along with her daughter and others in her group, was baptized in the same waters of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John. Born in India, Susan’s father moved the family to the United States because he feared that persecution of Christians was eminent in India. “Christians need to come to the Holy Land so that we can walk where Jesus walked, so that we can be one in Jesus,” Ignatius said.

Israel is the birthplace of Christianity, creating a bond between the place and the faith that cannot and should not ever be severed.