September CatholicMom column up! And research for my next one

My September column at CatholicMom posted today: Honoring St. Rita!

In the novena to St. Rita I frequently say (almost exactly the same as this one), there’s a part that says, “We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever.” This article (informed by this post) is my little way of trying to do that.

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Additionally, last month I wrote about religious name changes for women, and I’d love to do a similar one for men. I’ve written about some here, here, here, and here, and I’d love to know what you all know about this practice. Do you know any brothers or priests who changed their names? Can you share any information about the process of choosing or receiving a new name? Thanks for your help!

Talking about religious name changes for women at CatholicMom

My August column at CatholicMom.com posted today! Religious Name Changes for Women.

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It was such a fun piece to pull together! I drew from the content and comments of these posts here, here, and here when writing it, and I have a few more posts on the topic of religious name changes if you want to read more, which you can find by clicking the Religious name change link under “Tags” in the sidebar. If you have any stories or info to add, please do so in the comments! I love finding out these beautiful traditions of our faith, and how they differ from Order to Order.

St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest: Second Place Winner

Last month my CatholicMom spot was devoted to sharing the first-place winning essay of the writing contest I instituted this spring at my alma mater; this month I’m delighted to share the second-place winning essay, which posted today! Be sure to hop on over and read it! I’m so proud of the two winners, they did such a great job. 🎉

(As a bonus, you can even catch a sneak peek of me in the background of the photo. 🙂 )

(I explain all about the contest here.)

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Compliments for Sancta Nomina (all of us!)

You all know I’ve been writing for CatholicMom.com for a couple of years, and I’ve always loved that it’s an award-winning site with a lot of amazing contributors — it’s such an honor to be a part of it! So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read that, in explaining why CatholicMom.com was awarded second place (!!!) in the Best Group or Association Blog category at the Catholic Press Association Awards ceremony in Quebec in June, evaluators noted:

This blog covered a wide range of subjects including: baby name suggestions, holiday specials, service trip information, book reviews, grief, technology, etc. There was an abundance of content, which made evaluating each article nearly impossible, but demonstrates a commitment to the blog and to providing the readers with interesting and diverse content.”

Did you notice which subject was listed first? I’m pretty sure I’m the only one writing about baby names — at least regularly — so I squealed a little with excitement when I read that!

I also wanted to share the lovely thing Abby from Appellation Mountain said about us all in her July 2 Sunday Summary:

I’m grateful for many things, but this community of namers nears the very top of my list.”

What an amazing thing to say! And I totally agree with her about you all, 100%. ❤

St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest: First Place Winner

I had the great blessing of instituting a writing contest at my alma mater this spring, the middle/high school where my dreams of being a writer were encouraged and supported by wonderful teachers, and which provided a great springboard for my studies of writing, literature, and language in college and grad school, all of which led to me actually being able to call myself a professional writer. I’m so pleased to be able to encourage the current student writers in the way that I was! ❤

I named the contest for St. Francis de Sales because he’s the patron of authors, the Catholic Press, and writers in general, and he’s one of the saints I’ve chosen as patron of my own writing — I’m constantly asking for his help and intercession, that my writing serves God in the way it’s supposed to. For sure, this blog and all that has come out of it has been an answer to that prayer!

This is the first of what I hope will be many years of this contest, which will focus on the intersection of faith and writing through the topic chosen. For this, its inaugural year, the topic was: What Confirmation name did you or will you choose, and why? You might remember I’d written an article for CatholicMom.com last year providing guidelines on choosing a Confirmation name, which included a quote from my bishop, Bishop Scharfenberger, and the students were directed to read it before writing their essays.

Setting a high bar for a writing contest includes having good judges, and I was so thrilled to have secured Ms. Kate Blain, editor of my diocese’s newspaper The Evangelist; Mr. Giovanni Virgiglio, Superintendent of Schools for the Albany Diocese; and Fr. James Ebert, current pastor of Mater Christi parish in Albany and former chaplain of my alma mater, as well as a 1999 graduate. The contest was open to tenth and eleventh graders, and they should all be proud to know that the judges commented to me on what thoughtful teens they are, and what a hard choice it was.

Two winners were chosen, with the first-place winner receiving $100 and publication of his essay on CatholicMom.com; the second-place winner’s essay will also be published on CatholicMom.com. Ms. Blain at The Evangelist has also expressed interest in publishing the essays! All in all, the contest turned out just as I’d hoped — a true encouragement of faith and writing.

I’m so pleased to present the first-place essay, which posted today on CatholicMom!

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New CatholicMom article: Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names!

If you haven’t already, be sure to read my Mother’s Day post — there’s a giveaway! It ends tonight at midnight (Eastern time), so just a couple hours left! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. 😊

My May CatholicMom.com article posted today, and I thank you all for helping me with it in that recent post I did! Your help was invaluable! Check out the final result: Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names

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April CatholicMom column is up!

My CatholicMom article for April posted today! It was inspired by a consultation I did for a family last year, and I thought it would be fun to revisit. I’d love to know what names you’d add to my list of Unmistakably Catholic Girl Names.

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(If you’d like to know what that family ended up choosing, check out the wee lady’s birth announcement — such a great choice!)