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Near the World Trade Center: Contemplating an Open Heart

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I had not been to the World Trade Center site in about five years, hadn't taken that big escalator up to ground level, hadn't seen World Trade One or Four or seen the memorial site. 
My friend M. and I on Saturday took the PATH train to the World Trade Center. Our final destination was about a fifteen-minute walk away and this was the quickest way there from New Jersey. 
During this journey, my heart was full, remembering: how I used to take the double stroller here with our two boys to visit my husband at work up on the 68th floor of Tower One and to have lunch at the Stage Door Deli, how one sunny fall day we lost friends who risked their lives in the buildings so that others could escape, how my husband managed to survive even though he waited and made sure everyone on his floor was accounted for before he headed down the stairwell. 
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The Katrina Letters: New York Encounter 2013

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Imagine knowing, really knowing the hearts of your parents as teenagers. Imagine hearing their thoughts and feelings, of being right there with them as they courted one another.

Chris Vath had such a privilege. He is part of a family who discovered, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a duffel bag filled with 500 letters his parents (pictured here at their wedding reception) had exchanged during three years of separation during World War II, beginning when his mom was 16 and still in high school and his father was 18 and serving in the U.S. Navy. Although Katrina flooded his childhood home with nine feet of water, the letters inside the bag survived, still legible. 
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Back to School: God's Mercy and My Anxiety

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It's easy to let ourselves become anxious. But 
when we consider our lives in the light of God's 
overwhelming love and mercy for us, anxiety 
has a way of dissipating.

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Reflections of a Catholic in Amish Country

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On a visit to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania last week, my husband and our younger son bought  combo passes to ride the historic Strasburg Railroad and visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania next door. From the train, the views of the verdant farmland were spectacular.(Above is one I took with my iPad.)  Still, the two most powerful moments of the visit came when I least expected them.



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Lenten Talk: Padre Pio

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Tonight I had the beautiful experience of visiting St. Rita's Parish on Staten Island with two girlfriends to attend a Lenten talk on St. Pio of Pietrelcina, (Padre Pio).  The evening was a remarkable reminder of the reasonableness and the universality of our faith.

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Morning Mass and Lenten Lessons with Timothy Cardinal Dolan

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On this sunny, blustery February day, we have just returned, our little family of four, from a standing-room-only Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, where the celebrant was the newly minted Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Given the politics of these days, I expected he might preach about the intrusions that politicians are making into Catholics' lives of faith. But he didn't, at least not overtly.

Instead, the joyful man in the red hat preached the Gospel, reminding us that, just as Jesus learned during his 40 days in the desert, during Lent we need to realize that our lives must be lived with God's will, not our will, for God's kingdom, not our kingdom, for God's values and not the passing values of the world we live in. (Thanks to my CL friend Dan Finaldi for sharing the photo he took after Mass)  Read more here...

The Why of the Wow of the New York Encounter

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As I rode the train home from the New York Encounter last night (yes, that is our son's upright bass in the foreground; I agreed to carry the behemoth home so G. he could enjoy dinner in New York with friends unencumbered) I thought about why it had been such a good experience.

I was delighted the chamber music orchestra our son plays in had the chance to perform Friday night in the Hammerstein Ballroom.  I found the talk on the Hubble Telescope interesting. I thought it was incredibly cool that Polish film director Krzysztof  Zanussi spoke and then was walking around wearing those fashion-forward glasses. But in the end, what awes me most about the New York Encounter are not the performances or presentations. After all, I have had two decades of interesting experiences as a journalist. What moves me most and stays with me now are the people who attend the New York Encounter

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