Celebrating 10 Years of Pope Francis


My parish priest was my parish priest before my parish was my parish. There were rest stops on the journey my life was on that were not on the brochure. Detours I guess might be the right word. Every time I had my path laid out, circumstances created change and change created opportunities. Not all of those opportunities were fruitful. Surprise children, unplanned moves, family deaths, loss of self and missed chances.

It’s important to recognize the changes within us. Eventually we can no longer hide them and they burst without. Better to be prepared when that happens.

When the calling came to join the Catholic faith, it wasn’t that I wanted to delay my official, sacramental entry, but I didn’t want to come in cold. For myself, I wanted to attend to join the fall group of RCIA* in 2013. I also felt as though I was already Catholic. I wasn’t receiving communion, but in every other way. I had faith, I believed, and I was content in a way.

My massaversary as I like to call it happened on that Holy Week of 2013. In one year, I would be attending my own Easter Vigil. Despite not starting RCIA until the fall months, I was excited for this Holy Week.

At the same time, or near enough, Pope Benedict retired and Jorge Bergoglio was elected to be the next Pope, the 265th successor to St. Peter. Jorge was a bishop in Argentina and a Jesuit. He chose Francis for his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi whose model for caring for the poor he wanted the church to emulate.
I don’t know why I was excited to be joining the church when Francis became Pope but being drawn to him also drew me to one of his favorite devotions of Mary, which very quickly became one of my favorite devotions. It is Mary, Untier or Undoer of Knots.

She appealed to me so much and she has stayed with me as this decade has passed.

Unlike Pope Francis, I have not seen the original painting in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany, but I have managed to find medals, coins, and prayer cards. I am too intimidated to sketch something for this Mary, but perhaps one day.

Pope Francis’ humility and inclusivity to all is one of the reasons I am so fond of him. He walks the walk, exhibited in one way by his living, not in the Papal Residence but in the Vatican guesthouse.

He influenced the change in US policy towards Cuba and diplomatic relations and he supports the causes of refugees across the world.

He is clearly interested in evangelization, the environment, the poor, and real religious persecution.

He is the first Pope from the Society of Jesus, the first from the Americas as well as the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and he is the first Pope outside of Europe since Gregory III of Syria in the 700s. He is the first to choose the name Francis.

He speaks seven languages.

He has a common touch, which I think made me like him more. He is of the people, something as an American I can relate to.

He is quoted as choosing St. Francis of Assisi because “the man gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man, …how I would like a poor church, and for the poor.”

From William Bole’s 2018 article at jesuits.org, he states (and I paraphrase), that it’s not so much about rule following but about discerning what G-d is calling them to do. He purports an ethic of service. This truly speaks to me. I am in constant discernment as to what I’m being called to do. It has given me a new confidence in making decisions when I’m asked to do something and I try to be of service or to offer resources that can be of service to others. It is said that giving feels better than receiving, and when you are the one giving, it is a palpable sensation that remains long after the gift or the day has passed.

Pope Francis is who a leader of the church should be – putting the poor and the earth first and foremost, reminding us of our invitation to be humble and merciful, not only to the people we meet, but to ourselves as well.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Pope Francis. I pray for many more years under your guidance and wisdom.

*RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which is the process of joining in full communion with the Church.

D-Day and Vietnam Remembered



Remembering D-Day by visiting the Vietnam War Memorial Moving Wall with my daughter.

Yes, she had school but went in late.

1959 pic: first casualty
1975 pic: last casualty

The bikes were waiting to participate in the closing ceremony.

The names of the fallen are read continuously while the wall is open to the public.

Go to The Moving Wall to find out when it will be in your area.

Tasty Tuesday – Anniversary Dinner


Last week was my twenty-first anniversary. My husband and I went to the movies (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and out to dinner at a Japanese bistro restaurant. The food was amazing, both in presentation and taste. I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a meal this much.


Miso Soup and Salad with Ginger Orange Dressing


Steak Teriyaki with Fried Rice


Chicken Tempura with Fried Rice


Green Tea Ice Cream Tempura, Before


Green Tea Ice Cream Tempura, After



I saw the head of the RCIA program at mass tonight. She asked me if I thought about the upcoming anniversary of my baptism. I have been thinking of it. A lot. On one side I can’t believe a year has come and gone so quickly; it’s really flown by. On the other side it feels as though I’ve been Catholic forever. It’s an exciting feeling, though knowing how I feel about Jesus, and knowing that he is always with me.

Half a Century and A World Ago


Today would have been my parents’ 50th anniversary. They were married on February 5th, 1965.

My mother is in the center, wearing the pink suit with my father to her left. Deanne and Gerald.

Just to her right is my grandmother, Sadie and over her shoulder is my grandfather, Richard or Mo as he was known (short for Moshe), her parents. Going out right and left from her are my father’s parents, Stanley (who was from Canada) and Celia (whose brother I’m named for), and the short woman closest in the picture, I believe is my great-grandmother, Bubbi.

In this picture her hair looks reddish, ginger, but I honestly have no idea what her actual hair color was. I think it was brown, but I never saw it. Growing up she dyed it (what we thought of as crazy colors, but nowhere near the “crazy” of today, and she wore wigs. Wigs and headbands; they were a very popular accessory in the 70s. I know that a lot of her friends did the same with their hair.

This is one of two or three pictures that I have from their wedding day. They were married in Laurelton, NY at the Jewish Center and the reception was at my grandmother’s house. I don’t remember that chandelier, but we were at that house every weekend (and the other half of the weekend was spent at my other grandparents, my father’s parents.

Visiting my grandparents seems like yesterday; it’s hard to believe that this photograph is fifty years old.

We lead a very different life now. Our kids see their paternal grandmother once or twice a year instead of the once or twice a week that we saw ours. There were family gatherings with more extended family than my kids can imagine. We had “cousins” and I still have no idea how we’re “related”. Cousins of cousins, aunt’s siblings’ kids’ kids. We went to dinners and birthdays.Next week, we are traveling a couple of hours for my cousin’s daughter’s sweet 16, and for a few hours it will feel like thirty years ago despite the missing faces.

I am Facebook friends with my Dad’s best man’s wife.

My Mom’s favorite aunt and uncle are in their nineties, long retired to Florida, and married over seventy years.

Just last year, we celebrated my Dad’s brother’s 70th birthday. In fact, he turned 71 two days ago.

My parents would have been 77 and 72 on their next birthdays.

These are one of those bittersweet days, remembering the joy and the fun and the sadness that they aren’t here to celebrate this momentous milestone.

Mom & Dad's wedding reception - 1965

This second picture is the walk back from the wedding to my grandmother’s house for the reception. It looks like my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Carl leading the way with Bubbi and my parents, newly married pulling up the rear.

I can’t get over the hats, the cars and the eyeglasses.

It all makes me smile

.Mom & Dad's wedding Mom & Dad - my wedding - 1994This third photo is from my wedding in 1994.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Always together and missed everyday.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Today is the feast day, celebrating the solemn belief by Catholics in the immaculate conception of Mary, mother of G-d and mother of the Church.

My home parish is one of many in the US whose patroness is the Blessed Mother, specifically honoring the immaculate conception by taking on the name. (*)


Today is also the tenth anniversary of my own mother’s death.

She was 61 when she died. Despite her health problems, it was still a shock when I received the phone call. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her or miss her. I still pick up the phone to call her and it is awful to remember that she won’t be at the other end of the line.



(*) I have no idea how churches choose their patrons or names.

If anyone is looking for a prompt today: Mothers