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Which Saints Are Your Friends?

Which Saints Are Your Friends by @ACatholicNewbie

Do you have saints that you consider to be your friends? In reading the new book from Teresa Tomeo, “Girlfriends and Other Saints: Companions on my Journey of Faith,” where she shares her experiences of how the communion of saints is really communion of our friends, it got me thinking about which saints I consider to be friends.

St. Therese

Girlfriends and Other Saints - by Teresa-TomeoTops on my list is St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. She is my confirmation saint and just as Teresa Tomeo shares amazing experiences she’s had with saints like St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese has made herself present to me in many ways. She has sent me “roses,” answered my most pressing novena prayers and just seems to pop up in the most surprising places.

When I stand at mass, I like to imagine St. Therese standing behind my right shoulder and my Guardian Angel standing behind my left with Mary behind and in between them both with loving arms outstretched guiding my way. I recently read a fascinating book by Father Michael Gaitley called “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told,” which discusses the role of Divine Mercy in our generation and how it has been revealed through a number of saints, including St. Therese, St. Faustina and St. John Paul II. I recommend this as a MUST READ, as it really helps tie the message of Divine Mercy all together.

I truly feel like St. Therese and I are friends, as she has seen me through my conversion to Catholicism and I call on her in many situations. I just feel her calming, sweet presence and turn to her so often.

St. Faustina

In the last year or so, I’ve felt a call toward St. Faustina and her message. I don’t quite feel like we are “friends” yet, but we are getting to know each other :). I have not read her Diary in full, though have read through many Divine Mercy Daily emails, which cover portions of her diary. I have read about her and I want to learn more about this humble Polish nun and the incredible messages she received from Jesus and Mary.

St. Benedict

Early on in my conversion, before actually joining the Church, I felt drawn to St. Benedict and his Rule for monks. While his rule of living was meant for the monastery, it really can be lived in our secular world, as well. I love his call to daily conversion — we must keep turning to God every single day — and how he places holiness on the most ordinary of things and activities from cooking utensils to manual labor. They are all gifts from God and we must treat them as such. I have a statue of him on my desk to remind me of the holiness of my day-to-day activities.

St. John Paul II

This year, I’ve felt a call to St. John Paul II. I realized I had a connection to him after a visit to a church on Gozo in Malta that he had visited years before. I feel like it may have played a role in my conversion. I was also drawn to read the new book “City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow” by George Weigel about the many places he lived. It’s a wonderfully written read that combines travel, history, religion and biography. Poland is definitely on my list of places to visit!

Which saints do you consider to be friends? Please post in the comments below!

What did Pope Francis REALLY Say? News Sources to Accurately Follow Our Holy Father

What did Pope Francis REALLY Say? Accurate Catholic News Sources for Following Our Holy Father from @ACatholicNewbie

As Catholics and non-Catholics alike get ready to welcome the leader of our worldwide Church here on American soil, the media is literally going ga-ga. Headlines and cartoons and analysts galore are filling the airwaves with all sorts of anticipation of what Pope Francis might say or do as he meets President Obama, speaks to Congress and visits the United Nations. Is he going to allow gay marriage? Divorce? Condemn capitalism?

But, reader, tweeter, listener, watcher … beware! The non-Catholic media wants to turn Pope Francis into a man who is going to turn the Catholic church on its head. But, as Teresa Tomeo likes to say: “Newsflash, the Pope is still Catholic” — and he’s not going to change a thing about Catholic church teaching, which has been held since Jesus walked the earth. We can speculate and infer and twist his words to our culture’s liking all we want, but it just isn’t happening.

I say all this to encourage everyone — Catholics and non-Catholics — to get your news about Pope Francis’ visit straight from the source … and that would be The Vatican. Go to and READ FOR YOURSELF what Pope Francis said. Please don’t read what the New  York Times or ABC News or NPR said he said. Nine times out of 10 they get it flat wrong.

There are lots of other great Catholic-based media sources that will also provide you with accurate information from experts and journalists who are well versed in Catholic teaching, who have covered popes for decades and who understand Church law and history.

Here are a few Catholic news sources I recommend during Pope Francis’ U.S. visit:

  • EWTN — It doesn’t get any better for television or radio than the Eternal Word (ie Jesus) Television Network. They will have around the clock coverage of the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis’ whereabouts and the Synod on the Family. Find out what’s on when here.
  • Teresa Tomeo — One of my favorite journalists for telling it like it is, but with a sense of humor :). She’ll be broadcasting her Ave Maria Radio/EWTN Radio show Catholic Connection LIVE from the World Meeting of Families this week 8-10 a.m. Eastern on Catholic radio stations. You can also stream it live via the EWTN app, tune to Sirius-XM 130 or listen online.
  • Al Kresta – Al hosts a weekday afternoon drive time show on EWTN/Ave Maria Radio from 4-6 p.m. called Kresta in the Afternoon. He’ll provide a recap of the news of Pope Francis’ visit each day.
  • The Catholic Channel on Sirius-XM 129 – They are changing themselves to Pope Radio this week. 🙂 Lots of great shows airing all day long.
  • Catholic News Agency – Continually updated coverage on all things Pope Francis and the Vatican
  • Joan Lewis – As the Rome correspondent for EWTN, Joan knows about everything there is to know about the Pope and the Vatican. Follow along on her blog.
  • Aleteia – A fairly new website with a more contemporary slant newly edited by Elizabeth Scalia. They sponsored the adorable Popemojis (emoticons & emojis for your smartphone) and will provide more youthful coverage of the Pope’s visit.
  • National Catholic Register – Solid Catholic news coverage online and in newspaper format.

What did I miss? What are your favorite Catholic news sources that get Pope Francis right and provide fair and balanced coverage?

Remember, take non-Catholic news coverage with a grain of salt and read the REAL story for yourself so you can make informed judgments and commentary on Pope Francis’ historic visit to America.



When Your Husband or Wife Hasn’t Converted

Catholic Marriage TipsI know many who struggle with a husband or wife who hasn’t converted to Catholicism or who may be Catholic but their heart hasn’t been converted. This is a difficult cross to bear and takes time, prayer and patience.

I am previewing a copy of Intimate Graces (Ave Maria Press, 2015) by Teresa Tomeo (Pastore) and her husband Deacon Dominick Pastore, which looks at marriage through the lens of the Works of Mercy. In it, the couple discusses a time when Dominick had returned to the faith but Teresa had not, and they offer some wise words that I thought would be helpful to many:

“If you find yourself right now on the faith fast track, don’t try to force your spouse to get behind the wheel. Pray. Invite her to attend Mass with you and once in a while to a church event, then let her be and pray some more. The more you pray, the more peaceful you will be. It was the peace that Dominick had that finally won Teresa over.”

How wonderful! Pray that you might be such an example of joy and God’s saving love and mercy, that your spouse will desire it for his or herself.

If you’d like to read Intimate Graces, you can preorder a copy. It is scheduled to be released Oct. 2, 2015.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Who Says Catholic Books Have to be Boring? Walk Softly Lifts AND Evokes Laughs

Walk Softy & Carry a Great Bag by Teresa TomeoI’m an avid reader. So much so, I’ve engaged in a program to help me find even more time to read as many books as I possibly can. Catholic books are definitely at the top of my list and I’ve read little else over the past two years. As a Catholic blogger, lots of books cross my desk, but I was anxiously awaiting Teresa Tomeo’s latest, “Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotionals.”

I found Teresa soon after I converted to Catholicism on her national daily radio show Catholic Connection on EWTN Catholic Radio. She grabbed me instantly. I loved listening to the news from a Catholic perspective and learning about new books and resources via the guests on her show. Better yet, I loved that I felt like I was chatting with a girlfriend while learning all this!

If you love Teresa Tomeo, you’ll love “Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag.” If you don’t know Teresa Tomeo, you should, and you, too, will love “Walk Softly.” Teresa is known for her characteristic wit, frankness and gift of gab. In this book, designed for women, she manages to get across important issues with an authenticity that both entertains and deeply grabs you. It’s not surprising to hear her break into tears on a topic that particularly touches her heart. I love her utterly pure honesty and courage in letting her true feelings show.

“Walk Softly” is no boring book on Catholic theology or deep academic look at the meaning of life and God. But, yet in an amazing way, it still reaches quite deep but in a light-hearted, funny manner that no doubt will elicit plenty of chuckles. Teresa is gifted with the ability to tell a story and make a point all in a wonderfully self-deprecating manner.

Daily Catholic Devotional

“Walk Softly” in my bag

“Walk Softly” is designed as a daily devotional that you can read on a whim — while in line at the grocery, waiting to pick up the kids in the car line, before bed, first thing in the morning or whenever you need a pick-me-up. It’s even designed to fit right in your purse!

Each reading is no more than three short pages long and contains a short Bible verse and prayer. Some of my favorites were:

  • They Fought the Lord and the Lord Won – How saints were sinners just like we all are.
  • When God Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello – God prunes those he loves!
  • Eat, Drink and Be Faithful – Enjoying life and having fun in a Godly way.
  • His Casa, Your Casa – Plant seeds of love and leave the rest to God.
  • Wake Up and Make the Coffee – God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
  • Don’t Rain on My Pitty Party – Quit complaining, and do something!

Say Teresa in the book: “Whatever your particular situation, you’ve come to the right place, because ‘Walk Softly’ is designed to fit into any size purse, as well as any lifestyle, no matter where you are in your faith.”

I highly recommend picking this one up for yourself or as a gift for Mother’s Day, graduation, bridal shower, birthday and more. It’s ideal for any Christian woman looking to boost her faith with a little fun, to boot!

Note: I received this book at no cost in exchange for an honest review.