Welcome to the new blog

June 29, 2021: The Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul

It has been quite a while since I have last written a blog post, and for good reasons. Since my last post, there have been many changes in my life: two graduations (2018, 2019), a move from Boston to Montreal (2019) and then Pittsburgh (2020), the beginning, interruption, and resuming of my doctoral studies, engagement (2019), marriage (2020), and now the birth of our first child (2021), a seminary investigation launched (2018) and completed (2019), a formal inquiry into Eastern Orthodoxy (2018-2020) before realizing my home is in communion with Rome (2021), and a year-long quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these circumstances and others, I realized it would be best if I took some time away from writing, with the exception of that writing necessary for my studies. Quite a bit has changed since my last post, and I am not sure I am the same person as I was in 2018. In fact, I know I am not. I mean, yes, ontologically, I am the same person. But much is not the same, including my location, my weight (a year of quarantine and Italian food will do that to you), my research interests, my marital status and family life, my career plans, the liturgies I attend, the conversations I entertain, the friends I keep, the time spent, my outlook on life, the Church, myself, and the LORD. And lastly, the name and mission of this blog.

I have been on WordPress for 11 years this month. Previously, my blog was entitled Inflammate Omnia, which is Latin for “Go, and set all [things] aflame.” Apocryphally, it is associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), in his farewell instructions to St. Francis Xavier before Francis sailed for the Far East. At the time, I was considering a vocation to the Society, later attending a Jesuit university, and pushed for Ignatian spirituality to be my own. My posts were infrequent but lengthy reflections on faith, current events, and the Church. I have kept a few posts up for those who found them helpful. But the time has come to change the blog’s mission and direction. Despite my love for the Jesuits, I clearly realized my road to sanctity was not through their Order, nor as a member of the Church’s consecrated religious or ordained priesthood. Perhaps, one day, I will explain more about my own discernment, and how I came to be on the path I am on. But for now, let’s say farewell to Inflammate Omnia (the blog– never to the phrase!) and see what lies ahead.

The title of this new blog is Roman Orthodoxy. That is meant to be provocative. On one hand, it can mean orthodoxy—that is, “right-glory” and “right-belief”—in the Roman Church. There are those who profess the orthodox Christian Faith, which is the “true faith” flowing from the “true light”, Jesus Christ. Roman orthodoxy is found in the authentic and definitive teachings of the Church’s magisterium, as passed down through two-millennia by Christ, to the Apostles, to the various Churches established by them, to our present day. Of course, in today’s denominationalist world, we often hear “Catholicism” attached to “Roman”, and “Orthodoxy” attached to “Eastern”. But if the Church Fathers were present on earth today, and they passed “St. James Catholic Church” and “St. George Orthodox Church”, they would not initially find any particular difference as defined by the titles. In saying “Roman Orthodoxy”, I am not suggesting that we create a third thing between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but that we approach the Christian faith without seeing the two terms, and—for the most partthe Churches, opposed. More on this idea in a future post.

This blog is intended to serve as a personal journal of sorts, one that, I hope, will prove to be beneficial to your own faith journey. I will write on those areas most dear to me: theology and philosophy, history and culture. I am not interested in the latest gossip in Church news, nor am I trying to pass myself off as a pundit with the hottest takes on what is happening in our Church and the world. I am a doctoral student in theology, a married man and father, and someone whose faith is constantly seeking understanding. For those in the academy, there are journals and monographs dedicated to particular theological minutiae. As someone on the scholarly road, I enjoy these, and hope to contribute to them now and in the future. But, given that the journals are accessible (both literally and conceptually) to a select few, I wanted to also share my writing with a wider audience, many of whom are men and women simply trying to live the Faith in the everyday, ordinary world. Unfortunately, much of the theological content on the Internet is sloppy, misinformed, anemic, and sensationalist. While academic theologians are busy typing away obscure arguments in jargon-infested prose, any given Christian in the pews is hardly aware of their existence, let alone their work! Meanwhile, Catholic commentators of all stripes are simply a YouTube link away, but their commentary is often utilized as a “parallel magisterium” of sorts, and soon enough develops a cult of personality. It is my hope that my work here is neither an obtuse academic exercise, nor the Catholic equivalent to “The View”. There exists a true need for theological education and formation, and that is something that should be available to everyone.

And so, welcome to Roman Orthodoxy. I will be writing here frequently, so feel free to subscribe below or keep the website addressed bookmarked. My writing will largely cover theological and philosophical topics, but I will also write posts on history and culture. There is one other section on spirituality. This will be, by far, the most personal and subjective of my posts, and should not be read as a guide or treatise on the spiritual life, but simply a simple layman’s reflection on his own. My main medium is writing, but I plan to begin a podcast and YouTube channel, for those who prefer aural and visual aids. You can also subscribe to my Substack, which is a newsletter of general reflections on current events and the Church.

A final note: a few people have asked me about monetization. Let me be very clear: I find advertisements very, very annoying and distracting. I also think there are some ethical issues involved with having “Big Tech” track your every interest and move. I also find advertisements, whether on WordPress or YouTube, podcasts or Facebook, to be completely opposed to the topics I treat. How can one truly read about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit while having to click ‘X’ out of a random advertisement about footwear? I will never utilize advertisements on my blog, nor on my YouTube channel, or on a podcast. That is my promise to you. Of course, the time involved with reading, writing, thinking, creating, and the like is time that could be spent working a 9-5, something I am unable to do given the requirements and agreement in my current doctoral program. Once I am finished, I hope to get a full-time job teaching; until then, there is my part-time work in the university, and Roman Orthodoxy. I will not charge for a single thing I write or produce on this blog, but just know that there are certain costs which accompany this project, including a yearly payment for this domain and various applications, books, and equipment needed to write, record, and film. St. Paul built tents to help support himself in his witnessing to Christ (Acts 18:3), and I write. Everything on this blog is, and will always be free. In terms of paid subscriptions, you can subscribe to the Roman Orthodoxy newsletter, something cheaper than a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription by far. You can also support this work on Patreon, which gives you access to numerous benefits as a paid subscriber. If you find this project to be beneficial to your life, then please consider supporting it however you can, whether through temporal or spiritual means. Even Mass cards or “spiritual bouquets” are appreciated!

For those who have followed this blog since the Inflammate Omnia days, thank you for your online presence and kinship! I hope Roman Orthodoxy is something you find interesting and worth reading. Let us pray for each other!


The Solemnity of the Most Sacred– and not “Most Anxious”– Heart of Jesus

“O Heart of Love, I place all of my trust in You. Although I fear all things from my weakness, I hope all things in Thy goodness.”

— St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)

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Tonight begins the novena (9-day prayer) to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Usually, I would write a whole long post on the importance of this devotion & its significance for me, but for the first time in 7 years, my energy is sapped. As I gradually get back on medication, resume therapy, & return to spiritual direction, I am honestly so exhausted. I am tired. I am broken. – Every night, before I go to sleep, I go to this little side 'altar' to the Sacred Heart. I pray. I ask for God's mercy, for His love, and lately, for His presence. I am completely numb, empty, depleted. I wish I had "words of wisdom". I wish I could piously say "I'm offering it up!" But honestly, this sucks. Mental depression, spiritual desolation, anxious obsessions– all of it sucks. But faith isn't contingent upon feelings. Faith is a trust in God even when God feels so far absent. Faith is an intellectual assent to Divine Revelation, a "Yes, Lord, I believe", even when I do not understand. There are no easy answers to suffering. There are no magic solutions to getting out of a psychological & spiritual darkness. _ All I have is His promise: "I will be with you always, even until the end of the age." (Mt 28:20) And right now, that's enough. You're all free to join me in praying a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in preparation for the Solemnity on June 8th. Pray as you are able. If you want to use the novena I'm praying, shoot me a message. _ Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all of my trust in You.

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I am convinced that one of the greatest evils in the world is the misrepresentation–the painting of a false image– of God.

If a man breaks his arm, he will surely be in pain. The pain may be quite severe, but hopefully, given the advances in medicine and technology, he will be on the path to recovery. During this time, this man can pray to God and ask for healing.

If a woman loses her father following his fight with a long illness, she will certainly be in sorrow. The pain and emotional grief may be quite serious, but hopefully, given a supportive community and counseling, she will eventually experience joy and happiness again, even if there is still a wound in her heart for her father. During this time, the woman can pray to God,  ask for His presence and for Him to mend her broken heart.

Tragedy enters. Someone commits evil. Natural disasters strike. In all of these, we turn to prayer, sometimes weakly, sometimes fervently. But what happens when the very essence of our fears is… God? How does someone pray to God when he or she is completely frightened by Him? Who does a person turn to when their image of God is so distorted, so grossly-misshapen, so twisted?


From the very beginning of human history, attempts were made to separate God and His children by way of fear. Our first parents, Adam and Eve,  were deceived by the serpent, who tricked them into thinking that God was selfish, jealous God who didn’t want Adam and Eve to become like Him (Gen 3:4-5). In the Book of Job, Job’s friends wrongly tell Job that his suffering is due to his sinfulness, and that God is waiting for Job to repent before He offers relief. Perhaps no attempt to distort people’s perception of God was more ambitious than that of the Jansenist heresy from the 17th-19th centuries in Europe, particularly in France, Italy, and the Low Countries. Among the numerous heresies of the Jansenists, one of their chief beliefs was that Christ did not die for all, but only for an elect few. This false belief was symbolized in the crucifixes found within Jansenist churches, that of Christ on the cross with His arms stretched only narrowly. The Jansenist heresy spread like wildfire across Western Europe, distorting the faithful’s image of God as loving, gracious, patient, and kind. The Jansenist rigor also resulted in people abstaining from receiving Holy Communion– even when they were in a state of grace!


It was during this terrible time that the Lord revealed Himself to a Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In contrast to the cold and distant image of the Jansenist “god”, Our Lord revealed Himself to St. Margaret Mary in a tender, loving, and merciful manner– by pointing to His Sacred Heart. He emphasized the importance of frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially on the first Friday of the month. He lamented the fact that so many reject His love and mercy, and stated His desire that Christians make acts of reparation for the ingratitude shown to the gift of the Eucharist. He offered twelve promises to those who hold a devotion to His Sacred Heart:

The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their homes.
  3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
  5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
  12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.


There are some people in the world who are simply scared of God. Whether it was because of family upbringing, a poor Christian education, or simply because of mental and emotional conditions, the fact remains that a number of people have a distorted and unhealthy fear of God. Nowhere is this more painful and burdensome than in the hearts of those who suffer from scrupulosity and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For them, their “image” of God in their mind has been tainted by obsessive thoughts, fears, and darkness. God is seen as a ruthless overlord, casting down hyper-specific blueprints for this person to follow, and if they do not follow it, their soul is doomed to eternal damnation. Phrases like “God’s will” carry within it crippling anxiety, as if God’s will is the exact opposite of their deepest, holiest desires. The very act of prayer is in itself an act of faith– an assent to divine truth that, even though they do not feel Him, they believe that God is listening to them. For the scrupulous, the sacraments only brings some relief. For example, some scrupulous persons will go to Confession, and then ask themselves, “How do I know that my sins are truly forgiven?” “What if I forgot some sin?” “What if I wasn’t truly contrite?” They are in a state of grace, yet they fear that their reception of Eucharist is a sacrilege. Healthy, awe-like fear of the Lord is replaced with a nervousness the Lord would never, ever demand from them. For those who suffer from OCD, it is not enough to simply reassure them, “No, God is a God of love!” While that is true and may bring momentarily relief, the “thoughts” return with a vengeance. And so, for scrupulous and for all of those who suffer from emotional crosses, it cannot be emphasized enough that they should seek the help of medical professionals, including psychiatrists, therapists, and even medicine. As the Catholic bishops in California wrote in their recent letter, Hope and Healing: “Mental illness is neither a moral failure nor a character defect.  To suffer from a psychiatric disorder is not a sign of insufficient faith or weakness of will.  Christian faith and religious practice do not immunize a person against mental illness.”

The image of a God who is constantly anxious, writhing his hands, screaming internally at every move we humans make is simply a false image of God. And yet, this idea remains locked in the brains of many innocent faithful. This is one of the reasons why today’s Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is so important. The idea that “God will love me when…” is erroneous in and of itself. God already loves us. Think of the greatest love a person here on earth has shown to you. God’s love for you is infinitely greater. The same God who created you, redeemed you, and sanctifies you, cares deeply for you. This is not mere sentimentalism– this is the Catholic faith. We believe that Christ loves us, despite our weaknesses and sinfulness. He offers Himself to us at every Mass, offering His very life to our body and soul as nourishment on this life journey. In the many images of the Sacred Heart, Our Lord points to His Most Sacred Heart, as if to draw our attention to the fact that, yes, He truly loves us with a human and divine love united in His divine person. His love for us precedes, and leads us to, our love for Him. As Pope Pius XII states so eloquently in his encyclical, Haurietis Aquas:

And so we can easily understand that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of its very nature, is a worship of the love with which God, through Jesus, loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our own love by which we are related to God and to other men. Or to express it in another way, devotion of this kind is directed towards the love of God for us in order to adore it, give thanks for it, and live so as to imitate it; it has this in view, as the end to be attained, that we bring that love by which we are bound to God to the rest of men to perfect fulfillment by carrying out daily more eagerly the new commandment which the divine Master gave to His Apostles as a sacred legacy when He said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you… This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Pius XII, Haurietis aquas, 107.

Today, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, I want to express my thanks to you all, many of whom have graciously prayed for me over the past few weeks since my return to Boston. I am happy to tell you all that I am doing a bit better, and it appears as if the worst has passed. All I can say is this– if a priest or any religious authority tells you to get off your medication (medication approved by multiple medical professionals and your spiritual director), do not listen. The Church does not reject the good that comes from medicine and technology. Again, as the California bishops write“Clergy and health care professionals, families and mental health advocates should work together to encourage a “both-and,” rather than “either-or” approach to psychological and spiritual healing.”

In many ways, I still feel weak and tired. But that’s okay. Because even in our weakness, Our Lord loves us. In many ways, our weakness becomes strength, because it is when we are weak that we rely more and more on God. The majority of my prayer the past 9 days has been in front of an image of the Sacred Heart. I prayed the novena, softly and slowly. Every night, upon finishing the last of the prayers, I would just sit with Jesus. I didn’t feel the need to say anything, and in many ways, I was afraid to. I just rested upon His breast, trusting that He knew what I needed. Anytime my mind wandered or anxiety spiked a negative image, I would just stare at the Sacred Heart, breathe deeply, and let it go. The Sacred Heart has, quite literally, saved my life. When all else fails, when my worries consume me, when I feel like a failure, and yes, when the very idea of “God” triggers a spike of anxiety in my mind, I turn to the Sacred Heart, and take refuge in Him.

God is good. God is loving. God is faithful. God’s love for us is unconditional, and essentially unfathomable. The Sacred Heart is both the symbol and the channel of God’s abundant desire to be one with us, as we, moved by grace, strive to be one with Him. For those who suffer from scrupulosity or any other mental illness, perhaps the image of the Sacred Heart will help.

It certainly has helped me.

A Reluctant Rosary

IMG_20170319_185634-01I have a confession: I don’t pray the rosary. I know, I know. A Catholic who doesn’t pray the rosary? That’s like an American who doesn’t eat apple pie (a point of contention somewhere on the Internet, I’m sure). But yeah… I don’t pray it. I think, in the past two years, I have prayed the rosary six or seven times- of those times, I prayed it because I was at a pro-life event, participating in a parish retreat, or at a voluntary gathering with seminarians. Don’t get me wrong- it’s not like I don’t pray– I certainly do and make every effort for intentional daily prayer… but the rosary? Ugh… just not my thing.

For those who don’t know, the rosary is quite an honorable Christian practice- arguably dating back to the 13th century. The concept is simple: as Christians, we hold the Virgin Mary in high esteem, and thus are warranted to honor and venerate her among the highest of heavenly friends.  Mary is the Mother of God, the Theotokos, etc. and so pray that she intercedes for us, leading us ever closer to her Son, Jesus.

Why I wasn’t I into the rosary? I’m not too sure if there was one strong reason besides the fact that I just found it repetitive, noisy, and too structured. My ideal type of prayer is sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament in silence, speaking to God from my heart, and allowing His Presence to fill my soul. Sometimes I use words. Other times, I read Scripture and meditate. I have a little prayer corner in my room, filled with images of my favorite Christian devotion- the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

But the rosary? I avoided it like the damn plague. Until today… today was different.

Sunday Morning Blues

I direct/teach RCIA at a parish in the North End of Boston. Usually, I take an Uber. Also “usually”, I get to the church for mass like, five minutes before it begins. Today was different- I surprisingly woke up with plenty of time, so I requested an Uber, who got me at the church for 8:24 a.m…. when the mass didn’t start until 9 am.

I got out of the Uber and was greeted by a cold blast of wind. It felt like it was in the low 20s this morning. Hurriedly, I stepped inside the church.

When I walked in, there were only three other people inside. Two of them were older Italian women, conversing quite loudly in their native tongue. One man, probably in his 60s, was sitting in a pew with his head down.

I dropped my jacket and backpack in the classroom adjacent to the sacristy, and checked my phone. 8:26 am. Stomach growling, I figured this would be a good time to grab coffee/light breakfast at one of the nearby North End breakfast joints. Then, I realized two things- the first being the mandatory one-hour fast to be observed by Catholics prior to mass, and the second being the fact that it was pretty darn cold out. Disappointed, I went back into the church and slinked into a pew. I couldn’t exactly pray in my ideal way (silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament) because those elderly Italian women kept chatting. I looked around. The older man was just staring at the statue of the Virgin Mary. Begging for time to have flown like an Air Force One, I checked my phone for the time- 8:29 a.m.

I consigned myself to the fact that I, a techie/noise-obsessed Millennial who couldn’t even pray in his ideal way, was going to spend the next thirty minutes hungry, annoyed, and prayer-less.

Suddenly, the chatter stopped. The man picked his head up. I then heard the sound of pew kneelers clunking on the ground. In one motion, they all knelt. “In the name of the Father…”

“Great,” I thought, “now I’m stuck with the rosary.”

An Unexpected Gift

I’m not sure what happened next. Maybe it was the statue of the Sacred Heart in front of me. Maybe it was my Catholic guilt at not wanting to participate in such a “Catholicky” devotion. Whatever it was, I pulled down my kneeler and knelt in solidarity. After all, I didn’t want to look like an ass.

“For an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity…” – “Hail Mary…”

Praying for an “increase” of the virtues of faith, hope, and charity implies that all three of these theological virtues can be an area of spiritual growth. I thought to myself, “How am I lacking in any (or all) of these?”

I started to think about my experience of the past week. I had a lot going on between school, work, family, and relationships. I got pissed and swore at a friend (-5 points in charity). Hope? With everything going on in our country, I confess that I haven’t been as receptive to this theological virtue whatsoever; I haven’t truly viewed heaven as my true home and this life as a pilgrimage. Faith? Hm.

My internal questioning continued. Was there any time during these past 7 days when I lacked faith? Hope? Love? What were my attitudes, actions and behavior- both good and negative- pointing to?

I was musing on my responsiveness to God’s grace so deeply that I completely missed the fact that we were on the Second Sorrowful Mystery- the “Scourging at the Pillar”: Our Father…

I put my head down. Among the many images of Jesus, Him being scourged at a pillar is not one that I am very fond of. I can even tolerate the image of Christ Crucified more than I can stand His scourging at the pillar. The cross is such a common image- people have it around their necks. It’s found in every single Catholic church. Heck, even my home city has a massive cross which illuminates the night sky.

But the scourging is different. The scourging reminds me that Jesus was actually tortured. His very flesh was torn and ripped apart by a whip with leather thongs, bits of sharp bone attached to the tip of each one. No one has an image of this around their neck. Urban Outfitters cannot sell a shirt with this image as a design. The scourging reminds us of Jesus’ actual pain and suffer-

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…”

Holy crap! We just hit the Fatima Prayer. “What have I been doing all this time?”, I wondered. Then, silence filled the church. My head was still bowed down, but my curiosity got the best of me, so I picked my head up and opened my eyes. One of the older ladies who was leading the rosary was walking towards me, smiling. When she got to my pew, she asked, “Would you like to lead the next one?”

“Sure,” I responded. (Meanwhile, I’m kneeling here wondering if I even remembered the structure of the rosary so that I didn’t commit any devotional faux pas)

“Do you have a rosary?”

Looking down at my bare hands, I shook my head ‘no’.

“Would you like one?”

I stared blankly at her, painfully aware that I was wasting her and the other two people’s time. But I felt… stuck. I mean, what the hell else am I going to say to a 70+ year old Italian lady in church on a Sunday morning? “No, I don’t want you dumb rosary?”

“Uh… sure,” I reluctantly responded.

She handed me this plastic rosary which looked like it was held together only by a flimsy string and hope.

Clearing my throat, I began.

“Hail Mary…”

Mary, Prayer, and Me

The Hail Mary is such a lovely prayer. The opening line echoes the Angel Gabriel who came to a teenage Mary to announce God’s plan of salvation. We begin the prayer by greeting this woman who is so “full of grace”… a woman who is blessed above all others, for she was the one chosen to bear God’s Son, Jesus.

Then, we pray for her to lead us to her Son. We implore her intercession for us to model her radical discipleship, her loving submission to the will of God. Then, finally, we ask her to watch over us and pray for us both at the current moment, and during our last breath.

Each “Hail Mary”, I prayed as if Mary herself was standing in front of me. I acknowledge her strength, her dignity, her beauty, her special-ness before God. I acknowledge her Son, who saved me from my sins. I ask her to pray for me and those around me.

Eventually, my turn ended, and it went to someone else to finish the 4th and 5th Sorrowful Mystery. By now, though, I was in the ‘zone’. I was comfortable, at least as comfortable as someone who had avoided the rosary like an annoying inconvenience could be. It was nice. Peaceful. It required a certain discipline on my part (remember, I was hungry and a techie-obsessed Millennial)… but anytime I started drifting in my thoughts, I felt a bit restless… as if someone was in the room and I wasn’t giving he or she my full attention. “I can eat & play with my phone later,” I reasoned. Now, I’ll offer this to God. And onto the next prayer, and the next, and the next. I began to see time as a gift, the debit card in my wallet as a gift, my loving family friends as a gift- everything became seen as a gift, a gift that was given to me by God and given to me so that I can return it all back to Him. How could I give so little to my Lord? Where am I in these meditative scenes of the Sorrowful Mysteries? Do I actually believe He suffered and died… for me? Me, insignificant John, was in the presence of God and His Mother, offering my time and energy to meditating on the mysteries of salvation as mediated through the life of Christ and the intercession of His Mother. This is why we have the rosary- not to simply rattle off a “to-do” list of prayers, but rather to participate in a rhythmic  hymn of petition, veneration, praise, contrition, hope, and healing. As a student of theology, I of course “know” about God, Jesus, Mary, the saints, and the like. But now more than ever, a quote by Padre Pio rings true: “Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him.”

About ten minutes later, we finished up with our last “Hail Mary”. Making the Sign of the Cross, I picked my head up, only to find the once-empty church now filled with congregants. I got up from my pew, and went into the sacristy to speak with the Franciscan pastor before mass began. On my way there, I greeted that older woman who gave me the rosary. I thanked her, and she smiled. She invited me to help lead the rosary next week- same time, same place. I’m not sure what happened this morning, but I’ll say this- that little, plastic rosary is now hanging on my car’s inside mirror, a reminder for me not to be so reluctant about talking to Mama Mary.