Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

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Remember, Return, Rejoice


Photo by Judith Petrovich

Sister Jo-Ann’s book of Lenten reflections, poems and photographs — all by the author — is available for $5, plus $2 for shipping and handling. You can send a check to Wisdom House, 229 E. Litchfield Rd., Litchfield, CT 06759, or access a form at, under “attend a program.” Sister Jo-Ann will be leading a program on Feb. 9 from 9:30 to noon; a book is included in the cost. See the website for details.

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Inaugural, Lenten, etc., thoughts

Listen to the episode

Featuring Dominican Sister Jo-Ann Iannotti of Wisdom House retreat center in Litchfield, Conn., author of Remember, Return, Rejoice: Journeying from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, the show is punctuated by music from the Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama.










From top:

My new friend Maureen, of East Texas

Two more new friends, Casey and Tracy, formerly of West Hartford, now of South Carolina

Politico Mark McKinnon, leaving Morning Joe

Pundit Eugene Robinson, with fans, also leaving Morning Joe

The man whose radio we listened to

Wrapped in the flag

During the singing of the National Anthem

The Testament of Mary, by Colm Toibin; a link to a Washington Post Q&A with the author.

Remember, Return, Rejoice: Journeying from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, by Sr. Jo-Ann Iannotti


Catching up on Inaugural events via DVR:

Brooklyn-choirphoto 4




Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, President Obama, Vice-President Biden, poet Richard Blanco, Beyonce and President in mid-fade, Beyonce alone, the Obamas

Inaugural poet Richard Blanco read his poem “One Today” at the swearing-in ceremony for President Obama. Here is the full text of the poem as written.

“One Today”

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk

of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

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As promised, yet more!

Hi! Welcome — and thanks for your patience with my belatedly posting the following bells and whistles related to the women-priests series!

First, so you don’t have to go back a day, here’s the audio to the Jan. 1st show, the interview with Rev. Gabriella Velardi Ward, pastor of St. Praxedis parish in Manhattan:

Here are the uncut interviews with the three subjects of the women-priests series: Gabriella; Jules Hart, producer of the documentary film Pink Smoke Over the Vatican; and Judith Levitt, whose photo essay on women priests ran in The New York Times. The black and white photos of Gabriella are by Judith.


levitt_2_smallPhotos by Judith Levitt

Here are some audio excerpts from a Mass I attended at St. Praxedis. (It was a “shared homily” that month and so to preserve congregants’ anonymity, I didn’t record it.)

And some pictures I took with my cell phone:

This is Michael, who speaks at the end of the Jan. 1st episode about why he enjoys being a member of his regular parish and St. Praxedis.

This is Michael, who speaks at the end of the Jan. 1st episode about why he enjoys being a member of his regular parish and St. Praxedis.

This is a clip of Gabriella listing the ingredients in her special vegan shake as I set her audio levels:

And the print version:
Acai juice, liquid calcium/magnesium, liquid Vitamin B complex, liquid multivitamin, liquid CoQ 10, liquid acidophiles (carrot source), powdered rice protein, lecithin granules, liquid greens like E3 live or other green powder and a frozen banana (or another frozen fruit like blueberries)

This is the St. Praxedis web address:

And this is Gabriella’s email address:

Here is the link to the list of Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP) churches/faith communities/ministries. Find one near you with which to have dual “parishionership,” and thus advance the cause of women’s ordination!:

And click here if you would like to donate to RCWP.

Don’t forget to tune in on Jan. 15th for a show about, among other things, raising Catholic youth!

Happy New Year!