All posts by Katie Morroni

Links Worth Clicking: Holy Triduum Edition

By Katie Morroni

Here’s hoping this Lent has been a fruitful one — and that we may all find new meaning in both uniting with Christ’s suffering on Good Friday and sharing in the joy of His Resurrection on Easter.

Here are some links you may enjoy clicking as we head into the weekend:

1. Bishop Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska (and formerly of my parish here in Denver) led prisoners in Mass this week. His beautiful homily is here (“God is calling you men to be the saints of this prison.”) and the moving photos are not to be missed on his Facebook page.

2. Pope Francis’ reflection on Jesus’ final moments on the cross, at his general audience on April 1st:

“How beautiful it would be if all of us, at the end of our lives, with our mistakes, our sins, even with our good works and our love for our neighbor, can say to the Father as Jesus did, ‘It is finished.’ Not with the perfection (of Jesus) but saying, ‘Lord, I did everything that I could. It is finished,’” the pope said, speaking off the cuff.

3. …See also: The Way of the Cross, led by Pope Francis

4. Speaking of the pope, it’s a new month, which means the pope has new prayer intentions he’d like you to include when you pray. (Apostleship of Prayer)

5. …and speaking of the Way of the Cross, I’ve mentioned it here before, but now that I’ve started working through it myself, I have to recommend again the Pray As You Go take on the Stations of the Cross.

6. These nuns provide ‘death with dignity’ – but it’s not assisted suicide (Patheos)

7. The one thing you need to enter the mysteries of Holy Week (Word on Fire)

8. The Angelus at Work (America Magazine)

9. A beautiful take on 9 different kinds of silence — and worth a read as we enter into a time that benefits from a little silence and stillness (Brain Pickings)

10. An oldie but goodie: Harvard Business Review asks, “Why do we keep multitasking when it disrupts our concentration and saps our focus?” It’s an article written for business professionals, but worth considering for our prayer lives, too…

11. This reflection about Judas made me think. (Fr. James Martin)

12. Finally, just for fun… This is for those of us who wish we knew how to make something beautiful out of our palms after Palm Sunday:

Have a very happy, blessed Easter!

Happy Friday: Links Worth Clicking, Almost Palm Sunday Edition

By Kate Morroni

The beginning of Holy Week is just around the corner. How is Lent going for you? It’s not too late to dig in and make this a more fruitful Lent.

Here are a few links from the last week or so that may interest you:

1. The pope is encouraging us to pray for the “grace of joy.” (National Catholic Reporter)

2. 5 ways St. Joseph can help your Lent (Catholic Exchange, via Coming Home Network)

3. What Not to Say When Talking About Confession (right here on CatholicHow)

4. Ceiling Painting at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary (McCrery Architects, via Kenrick-Glennon Seminary) – One beautiful take on “the perfected heavenly realm” from my hometown

5. Pregnant but Still Want to Keep Lent? Here Are 8 Alternatives to Fasting (ChurchPop) — These ideas could apply to us breastfeeding mamas, too…

6. “There are always ‘Holy Saturdays,’ times when God seems silent.” –Archbishop Aquila of Denver

7. This tweet:

8. And this one:

9. “Which story are we living in? What sort of a king are we following?” (ABC Religion & Ethics) These questions and much more to consider from N. T. Wright as we approach Holy Week…

10. Pope: “May Holy Week help us accept God’s ways” (Vatican Radio)

11. The Passion Narrative of Mark’s Gospel (Fr. Robert Barron)

Happy Friday: Links Worth Clicking

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By Katie Morroni

Lent is more than halfway complete. It’s a good time to check our progress.

Lent has been very much a process for me, and I have fallen down more times than I can count. But I keep committing and recommitting to see it through, hobbling as best I can toward the joys of Easter.

How is Lent going for you? What’s surprised you so far in your journey?

Here’s a few links worth clicking from the last week or so:

1. Here’s a stark and much-needed reminder from Fr. Robert Barron: “I know how easy it is to domesticate Jesus, presenting him as a kindly and inspiring moral teacher, but that is not how the Gospels present him. He is a cosmic warrior who has come to do battle with all of those forces that keep us from being fully alive.”

2. Whoa. Here’s a headline I didn’t expect to read: Scholar Claims Van Gogh Hid Secret Homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper In His Café Terrace at Night. Get this (emphasis my own): “According to Baxter, around the time that van Gogh crafted Café Terrace at Night, he wrote to his brother Theo, referencing the painting and claiming that he had a ‘tremendous need for, shall I say the word — for religion.’

3. I’m embarassed by how little I know about St. Patrick, but reading this article — about his time as a slave, and his advocating and empathy for others who were enslaved — made me want to learn so much more. The letter referenced? I’m going to try to track it down, especially in light of this (emphasis my own): “‘We do not have any other first person account of someone who was captured by barbarians and survived,’ the history professor explained. ‘We have nothing else quite like it.'”

4. A Mission of Love: “The Catholic idea of marriage and the family is a gift for the whole world. Catholics should give that gift away…” (George Weigel)

5. Called to Be a Saint (CatholicMom.com)

6. For those here in Denver, check out this upcoming Easter retreat. I’ve attended past retreats led by the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver and highly recommend their events.

7. What goes wrong when you’re always right (Unstuck) This article is intended as career advice, but I think it has insights on sin that are worthy of some reflection.

8. Jeb Bush, 20 years after conversion, is guided by his Catholic faith (NYT) I didn’t know he was a convert…

9. Keep a One-Sentence Journal, Be Happier (Science of Us / New York Magazine) PS: My favorite method? The Five-Minute Journal

10. How to Start Deeply Savoring Your Life (Shauna Niequist, via A Holy Experience)

11. For my friends on Twitter, here’s a worth invitation for this Lent, via Kathryn Jean Lopez:

12. And speaking of the Stations of the Cross…I haven’t listened yet, but this audio version from Pray As You Go is on my list to complete before Lent’s end:

Happy Friday: 10 Links Worth Clicking, 3rd Week of Lent Edition

It’s warming up here in Denver, and we should be seeing highs in the 40s, 50s, and 60s through the next week! Is there anything full of hope quite like the sun after cool days and record snowfall? I’m excited for some snow to melt and to get back into a walking routine with my newborn daughter. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Here’s some links from the last week or so that you may enjoy:

1. A lesson from the Transfiguration: to step out of our ordinary business when we pray (Fr. Barron’s Lent Reflections)

2. Lots to unpack here, but what struck me most: “86% of non-Christians do not even have a Christian acquaintance.” Whoa. (National Catholic Register)

3. A married couple will be canonized together for the first time! (Catholic News Agency)

4. Speaking of remarkable couples, a new DVD series about marriage (Augustine Institute)

5. National Catholic Journals Unite: “Capital Punishment Must End” (America Magazine)

6. 95% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly like the pope! (Pew Research)

7. This novena to St. Joseph begins March 10th for all husbands, fathers, and families; for those who are looking for work; and those who are nearing death (PrayMoreNovenas.com)

8. The pope’s reminder to love and serve the seniors among us (Catholic News Service)

9. This tweet:

10. Highly recommend this upcoming retreat on the Christian Meaning of Suffering in Denver (Endow)

Happy Friday: 10 Links Worth Clicking, 2nd Week of Lent Edition

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It’s been a much milder winter for us here in Denver than it has been for many, but now the cold temperatures and accumulating snow have finally come around. Weather permitting, my family and I are planning to visit with some extended family members this weekend. I’ve also got my sights on cooking something that will make the whole house smell good, like this pulled pork recipe — an all-time favorite. What are your plans for the weekend?

Here are a few links that you may enjoy:

1. Willy, the homeless man buried in the heart of the Vatican (Vatican Radio)

2. What a penance: “As part of your Lenten discipline, pray for your least favorite public office holder.” (First Things)

3. New York’s answer to the Sistine Chapel: Priest spends six years covering every wall of his church in vivid byzantine style religious paintings (Daily Mail)

4. Could Pope Francis travel to Ukraine? (Catholic News Agency)

5. LISTEN: The mystical transfiguration of Christ, a homily for the Second Sunday of Lent (Fr. Robert Barron’s Word on Fire podcast)

6. Why should I prepare for martyrdom? (PhilipKosloski.com)

7. Carmelite draws from life of Elijah for pope, Curia’s Lenten retreat (Catholic News Service)

8. False Teachings on Meditation & Contemplation: Sts Peter of Alcantara & Teresa of Avila (SpiritualDirection.com)

9. The ending changes the meaning of the entire story (Denver Catholic Register)

10. LISTEN: Gretchin Rubin’s new podcast, Happier (iTunes)

What Being Present This Lent Smells Like

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By Katie Morroni

I prayed about what to take on or give up for nearly 2 weeks ahead of Lent, but didn’t hear an obvious answer. Instead, the more I prayed about it, the more overwhelmed I felt by all I could and should improve in my life to better serve God and His people. And I know well my track record when I try to do ALL THE THINGS. So I walked into Mass on Ash Wednesday and asked once more: “What do you want to do during Lent?” This time, the answer came swiftly: Pay attention. Be present. Be intentional. Focus on the gospel.

Yes! Direction! This I can work with.

The church was filled with a standing-room-only crowd, and yet never seemed quieter or more still. We interrupted that soon, as my daughter worked out some, err… we’ll call it bathroom progress, and everyone in the surrounding pews giggled at her loud sounds. I made the sign of the cross as Mass began, and then excused myself to address the situation. I worked as quickly as I could, but felt like molasses. Twenty minutes and a couple diapers and wardrobe adjustments later, wondering if I would finish in time to receive ashes and the Eucharist, I already felt defeated. I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t focused. I was missing it.

My thoughts quickly shifted: No. I wasn’t missing anything. This is the holiest thing I could be doing right now. I’m living my vocation, and I’m present where I need to be present at this particular moment. This is what God has called me to, and continues to call me to. Dirty diapers (and the clothes, blankets, and other items that stand in their way) are not the extent of my vocation as a wife and mother of course, but right now, they are certainly part of it.

I should add so it’s abundantly clear: I’m not complaining. My daughter has opened up a new depth of love in my heart and I knew (as much as one can know) what I was signing up for. Every day, I wake up excited about the joy and adventures that lie ahead for her! It’s just that I would have liked to hear a favorite priest give (what I later heard was) a beautiful, inspired homily; that was the kind of presence and intention I had in mind when I first received the answer to my prayers. But that wasn’t for me this Ash Wednesday. God called me to stop doing ALL THE THINGS and, n this moment, just do this one.

I did catch the last 2 minutes of the homily (and, to be honest, not much of Mass after), enough to hear the priest quote the Second Reading: “We are ambassadors for Christ.” Is it cliche to say I looked at the diaper bag and now saw its potential as a tool for that very task? Probably, but it’s true. This is where I am 8 weeks into motherhood, and this is what being present and focusing on the gospel looked like for me on Ash Wednesday. Here’s to however it looks (and smells) tomorrow.

Happy Weekend: 10 Links Worth Clicking, 1st Week of Lent Edition

Here’s a few links from the last week or so that you may enjoy:

1. Can’t get to DC for the exhibition “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts? Me neither. But there’s an online exhibit! Bonus: it was created by art history majors from The Catholic University of America, alma mater to yours truly and other CatholicHow contributors. Swoon.

2. In an upcoming Salt and Light interview, Archbishop Chaput asserts: “Pope Francis is never going to be tamed, nor should he be.” Boom.

3. As Emily Zanotti put it, “If you’ve ever thought that Nutella’s existence was proof that God loved us and wanted us to be happy, you were mostly right.” Here’s why.

4. A reflection centered on this important reminder from The Screwtape Letters: “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one.”

5. Here’s what blogger Sarah Reinhard WON’T be doing for Lent

6. This tweet, and the blog post it points to:

7. For those of us who can get “trapped by the externals of Lent,” read this.

8. Worth a reflection: Would you die for your ashes? Cardinal reflects on modern Christian martyrs

9. I hope this is fruitful — and if so, that its fruits extend beyond our community here in Denver: Conference to address challenges ’99 percent’ of parishes experience

10. And finally, this tweet from our Catholic How founder and editor in chief:

Happy Monday: 10 Links Worth Clicking (Almost-Lent edition)

By Katie Morroni

In his homily last week, a priest in residence at my parish said that the most important thing any of us can do for Lent is to pray about it, asking how we should spend the time — what we might give up or take on to draw closer to God. Some of us have had the experience, perhaps, of giving something up that didn’t do much for our spiritual growth. Or forgetting why exactly we took on what we did. But if we pray about what to do, and listen to how we’re being called individually to spend this time, how could we be disappointed with the results?

As we begin reflecting on and praying about what we should do this season, here are some links and resources that may aid our efforts.

What will you be taking on or giving up this Lent? What other online resources have helped you in the past? Post a comment here, or join our conversation on Twitter by mentioning @CatholicHow.

1. A beautiful idea to consider from my friend Mary from high school on her blog, Finding Joy in All Things: 40 letters in 40 days

2. Worth reading: Why I’m not giving anything up for Lent

3. I’ll admit, the Stations of the Cross is a tradition that I’ve never really embraced. That is, until last year when I was lovingly nudged into it by a penance. But more on that in another post. For now, even reluctant participants like me might find this scriptural version fruitful.

Continue reading Happy Monday: 10 Links Worth Clicking (Almost-Lent edition)

Happy Friday: 10 Links Worth Clicking

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By Katie Morroni

Happy Friday, friends. Now that our daughter is 6 weeks old and I’ve mostly recovered from labor and delivery, things are beginning to settle down and life is getting back to normal. Of course, “normal” here doesn’t look anything like it used to, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s surprised me most so far, amidst the newness of it all, is the overwhelming sense that she has always been a part of our family. God set her apart, and it has always been His plan for her to live and learn and grow and love as a member of our family. And His. What a gift.

As part of getting back to normal, I’m dusting off my computer to begin this new weekly series, Links Worth Clicking, featuring news, prayer resources, tweets, event announcements, and more. Here’s a few links from the last week or so that you may enjoy:

1. Good news (and yes, that’s a gospel pun) via The Catholic Register:

The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis’ charity office said.

… [Bishop Konrad] Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter’s Square last year after a homeless person told him that while it was relatively easy to find places to eat at Rome charities, it was difficult to find places to wash.

2. Looking to revitalize your prayer life? Pope Francis gave a short lesson on contemplative prayer this week during a daily Mass homily.

3. This tweet:

4. Mark your calendars: PrayMoreNovenas.com, a favorite online prayer resource, is leading a novena to St. Michael beginning February 10th. Follow this link to sign up, and you’ll receive the short, daily prayer in your inbox each morning. I love the reminders to keep my on schedule.

5. Shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift that makes an impact? A Valentine’s Day Bundle (a necklace and pair of earrings) from Amazima Ministries provides 128 meals to children and provides sustainable income to the women who make the jewelry. (NOTE: Orders must be placed by 2/6 for Valentine’s Day arrival.)

6. Fellow mammas, check out this upcoming *free* event, The Catholic Conference for Moms (via Praying with Grace).

7. I highly recommend signing up for Fr. Robert Barron’s daily Lent reflections. (Stay tuned for more Lent resources in next week’s Links Worth Clicking post.)

8. In honor of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles are leading a prayer drive to get 10,000 people praying for vocations to the consecrated religious life. You can join their effort and track their progress on their Facebook page.

9. Do yourself a favor: click through this slideshow of couples who have been married 50+ years and read their insights on lasting love. What a breath of fresh air. I can’t wait until this book is available in America.

10. And finally, this tweet:

Joy to the World: Preparing for Advent and Christmas

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By Katie Morroni

Each Advent over the last few years, I’ve read a book while preparing for Christmas. (Let’s be honest, I usually take a cue from Fr. Matt and read whatever he is reading or, as was the case last year, read a shorter and easier version of whatever he is reading — Part 1 and Part 2. Hey, we can’t all be scholars and experts!) These books have served as guides on the road to Christmas, sometimes helping me grow in an academic understanding of the faith, but more often, enriching my prayer life and personal relationship to Jesus. This practice started a few years ago when, as cliche as it may sound, I was looking to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas amidst the hurried shopping season and all the noise and stress that sometimes comes with it.

My husband and I are preparing to welcome our first child, likely during Advent or Christmas, so everything feels different this year. When this first occurred to me, there was a brief temptation to think Christmas may need to take a back seat. But I quickly realized: this year I need Advent — and its stillness, holiness, prayerfulness, and preparation — more than ever. But more on that in a future post.

After seeing it promoted on Facebook, I decided to pre-order Scott Hahn’s new book, Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does). It was a bit impulsive, and I have never read one of his books before, but this title jumped out at me. I felt (and still feel) a strong sense that I am supposed to read this book this year. Perhaps that’s setting expectations a bit high, but I’m willing to follow through and see where the Holy Spirit may be leading.

Continue reading Joy to the World: Preparing for Advent and Christmas