I Love the Franciscan Friars.

Monks walking in The Way of the Cross 2012

Yes, it’s true. They’ve gotten me addicted. Five years ago, I was on a plane to St. Petersburg to trek over Russia, Mongolia and China on the Transiberian Railroad. When I was flying, I met a seminarian. I had just moved to NYC a few months before that and complained to him that there was nothing really Catholic about NYC, like there was about Chicago. In Chicago, I was involved in lots of great groups, retreats, Churches, etc.

This seminarian looked at me in shock. He said, there’s tons of stuff in NYC! Haven’t you heard of Catholic Underground and then he mentioned a bunch of other big things that exist. I was so excited. This was the perfect way to start the trip. Seriously, it’s worth your time to read this fantastic NYT article about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, entitled “Monks Who Play Punk.” And, yes, they do. And, they play it awesomely.

I’ve talked about Catholic Underground here. And, I know I’ve done the Way of the Cross walk with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal before, but this time I had my son and my […read more…]

Easter Basket Blessing

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I wanted to explain a little about my other Polish tradition of blessing our Easter basket. First, I should say, that in any area that has a large population of Poles, it’s common to see this blessing at all Catholic Churches. In Chicago, it’s very common in any church to do this on Holy Saturday, whether you are Polish or not.

Our Easter Basket


In New York, it’s a little different. Though, I saw plenty of Americans today, I believe they were at least partly of Polish decent, since I heard them speaking English, but saying a few Polish words here and there, like “We need to bring this back for babcia,” meaning grandmother.

I grew up with this tradition, so I was surprised when I moved to New York and didn’t see all Catholics doing it. Admittedly, it was a bit sad for me, especially seeing the dwindling amount of Poles in Manhattan, as it is an extremely expensive city to live in. I think most American Poles have moved to Chicago!

Below is my photo of my Easter Basket, filled with all sorts of mouthwatering delights.

[…read more…]

Easter Eggs, The Old Fashioned Way

After a phenomenal five hours in church for Fr. Rutler’s powerful meditation on the seven last words of Christ and liturgy at Our Savior Church, I realized that we still needed to get ready for Saturday’s Easter Basket Blessing. This is a Polish tradition that I will explain more in an upcoming post. On Holy Saturday, we always get our basket ready for a blessing, so we can eat delicious and blessed food on Easter Sunday!

Since Husband and I have been trying to live our lives more simply and more naturally, the way my parents raised me, I jumped at the idea of dying our Easter eggs naturally. We did that when I was growing up, but for the last few years, I kept buying those bright colored kits because it was more convenient for lots of people to decorate eggs at our annual Easter decorating parties.

With my father’s assistance, we began the process. Because we started with cage free brown eggs, the colors weren’t going to change drastically, but it was fun to do nonetheless.

Cup of Boiled Blueberries


Coffee Grinds boiled for the deep brown color.


First, we […read more…]

Saint Gianna Molla

This evening was one of those perfect New York City nights, a cool breeze in the air, the smell of rain coming and definitely an evening that made you want to walk for a while. I decided to attend a Mass and event tonight where I was able to listen to Pierluigi Molla, the son of Saint Gianna Molla, speak about his mother. We were able to then be blessed by the relics of St. Molla and pray in the church after the Mass, followed by a lovely reception.

I remember my mom reading this book about St. Gianna a few years ago, and she told me her story. St. Gianna was a medical doctor and had been working and providing Catholic health care, meaning health care with a respect for life. She had three children and by the time she became pregnant with her fourth, she found out she had cancer. Doctors told her to abort the child, but she refused and told them when it came time to give birth, to save the baby and not her. Of course, they tried to save both the baby and St. Gianna, but she died that day on April […read more…]

Balancing Health and Spirituality

Tonight is the first Saturday of the month. As many of you know, I reschedule everything to be able to attend Catholic Underground, which is a vespers meditation with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on the Upper East Side. Around 600-700 young adults come there to meditate on a Saturday night. My Catholic faith is an extremely important part of my life. It is here where I find my center and I find answers.

“Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance.”

-Pope John Paul II

As I travel through my 90 days of weight loss, I need to also take time and focus on my prayer life in addition to balancing my career, health and marriage and friendships. I am the first to say that it is not easy to find a balance (and I definitely fail at it often), but it’s important to try to do it.

Today was the perfect day to focus on all these major aspects of life and try to find a balance. Ray and I took time for ourselves and slept in to […read more…]

Good Friday Procession with the Franciscan Friars

Click either of these photos to see a slideshow from the Good Friday Procession.