“Pray” It Forward

Written By, Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan May 12, 2022

In our world of constant information overload, we are bombarded with opportunities to be on the giving or receiving end of information and ideas. If we think about it, we are the potential recipients of so much information- the good info that helps us learn, the bad info that can distract us or lead us away from our goals, and lastly, the ugly information that can lead us astray toward sin. Lately, it seems that the world has gone a bit crazy and in the past few years, we have had an awful lot to deal with. Today, we can use technology and the information it provides us as a positive tool to help us  draw closer to Christ.

Let’s take movies as one form of technology that can be utilized to help draw us closer to Christ. Recently, my husband and I, along with my mother, saw the movie “Fr. Stu”. It was about a young man who was a former high school football player, boxer, and longtime agnostic, who after surviving a motorcycle accident and questioning his purpose in life, realizes he was given a second chance in life to serve others, and ultimately believes that he’s meant to be a Catholic priest.  His life as a priest focused on serving others. He channeled the suffering and challenges faced with his debilitating disease as a way to draw closer to Christ by offering his sufferings as Christ did and using his life to glorify God. He was a “witness of suffering”, which we can exemplify in our own lives when we go through any trial or even a loss of a loved one. If we carry our crosses and sufferings as Christ did, we will feel God’s love and His strength will see us through our times of suffering and loss.

Fr. Stu followed the way of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in seeing that “it’s all in the little things”. It’s the day-to-day sacrifices, not the big things. Pope Francis has said, “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.” And Fr. Stu asked ‘What can I do this moment, that’s small and simple to make me a saint and to help me help other people see that they should be called to sainthood?’”  We are all called to be saints. How then, should we live our lives in pursuit of being saintly? Prayer is a common theme seen throughout the lives of the saints. If we take a minute each day to “Pray it Forward” and simply pray for someone who may be needing God’s grace and strength more than us, we are in essence, living our faith and generously sharing our love as Christians.

Talking technology again, actor Mark Wahlberg who portrayed Fr. Stu in the movie, has recently been promoting the Hallow App- A Catholic prayer and meditation app. How encouraging it is to see technology being used in a way that helps us deepen our relationship with Christ. Using technology to help us keep a prayer routine is great.  “Pray” it Forward is a term where we can consciously pray for someone other than ourselves, to serve others and ultimately help us grow in our spiritual lives. Those who are suffering from the loss of a loved one might feel a sense of purpose by serving others in prayer. Praying is one of the simple things we can all do to pull us even closer to God. And, instead of focusing on praying for our own needs, we can “pray it forward” and focus on praying for others.

This past month, we at Catholic Cemeteries Association have used technology to promote a strong prayer routine in praying the Rosary. With our CCAirwaves podcasts, you can pray the Rosary along with us at any time of the day or night. Praying the full Rosary step by step usually takes about 15 – 25 minutes, but remember, you can simply pray one decade (an Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, a Glory Be) if that’s all the time you have. Soon, the CCAirwaves library will have podcast recordings of all the Mysteries of the Rosary so that you can pray along each day of the week with the appropriate mysteries.

If you’re looking to “Pray it Forward” by adding the Rosary to your prayer routine, consider the following times for prayer:

  • If you take daily walks, consider adding the Rosary to your routine. You can say the prayers with the Hallow App, or listen to CCAirwaves and carry your rosary beads as you walk.
  • Pray the Rosary on your commute; listen and pray along as you start or end your day at work.
  • Pray as you prepare dinner.
  • Set aside quiet time and pray as you get ready for the day or prepare to fall asleep.

For those of us who are suffering the loss of a loved one, struggling with grief, or carrying other crosses in our lives, placing our intentions on serving others and “Praying it Forward”, will allow us to strengthen our faith and be saintly examples of Christ’s love alive in our world.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

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By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio – articles – email ) | Apr 12, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

We Are the Easter People

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

– Saint Pope John Paul II

As we journey through this Holy Week, we reflect on the unconditional, unselfish, and overwhelming love poured out to us as Jesus suffered at Calvary so that we might have eternal life. I feel the utter pain and suffering of Christ, during this Lent, especially. We are living through a time where the invasion of Ukraine has brought global despair and uncertainty to a level that threatens to overshadow the promise of hope. It is easy to lose sight of the promises bestowed upon us at Easter when we are witnessing evil in the world every day. We are humans and we have a connection to others by nature.

We are the Easter people, and the world needs us to act on our faith and share the joy of Easter with all those we meet. When we see the suffering of those who have died in a war or those who are suffering from physical pain or disease, mental illnesses, or when we mourn the death of those whom we love deeply, we feel helplessness and despair.  It is at these exact times that our faith gives us strength and allows our hope in humanity to be renewed.

As Easter people, we can live our lives with a stronger sense of purpose and see beyond despair. We learn to see the goodness that overshadows the evil. We see it in the determination of a people defending their country and we see it in a neighbor or friend who does a kind act of service to those who are grieving.

I reflect on these times, and I realize that we have seen despair before.  Often hope seems to be gone when a loved one dies. However, as Catholics or Christians, we journey through the despair of Holy Week each year, and in the Resurrection, we learn that love has conquered death. Let us allow the Lenten journey and the promise of Easter Sunday to enlighten us and allow us to really see and appreciate the deep love that Jesus has for us. When a loved one dies, let us remember Easter’s promise of eternal life and the words of Saint Pope John Paul II: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

May this Easter bring hope and peace to all and let us remember to be the Easter People each day.

In Peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager

kmckiernan@clecem.org

To learn more about our ministry or the services we provide, visit https://www.clecem.org.

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February – A Month Dedicated to The Holy Family

holy family « nelson mcbs –

During this month of February, as we contemplate the cold and snowy weather, and sometimes feel the isolation that winter brings, let us reflect on the example of family love shared in the everyday lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. At this moment in time, there has arguably never been a more important need for the strength, unity and grounding that a strong family, rooted in faith provides.

Families are often our first exposure to prayer and faith. As “small domestic churches”, our homes introduce us to unconditional love, to prayer, and to living out Gospel values. We learn to share our faith by celebrating Mass in our greater family- the Church. Receiving the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, brings Jesus not only to us, but within us, where we then become witnesses to His love and can share in the hope and promise of eternal life. Actively living our lives as Christians, in an often hostile world, is taught to us- first by our heavenly Holy Family, and then by our earthly family. Pandemics, politics, tough economic hardship and trials of illness are all part of the earthly challenges that we may endure. Knowing that Jesus and His family endured even greater earthly challenges gives us reason to have hope.

Through times of grief and hardship, as experienced in the death of loved ones, we turn to our families and we become extended families for all who are suffering or in need of hope during their darkest times. The burden of grief can be lessened when we have that strong foundation of love and support, as exemplified in the Holy Family. We, at Catholic Cemeteries Association, extend our familial love to all who need support during their time of need. Let us all remember to use whatever difficult times that may loom ahead of us to draw upon the love of the Holy Family and our own families- and to be that supportive beacon of Christ’s light to anyone who we can help. In that way, we provide hope to all.

For more information on our ministry and the services we provide visit http://www.clecem.org.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager

Respect Life


In the northern hemisphere, October begins the transition from the warm days of summer sun to the long winter’s rest. The transition is not sudden, as we move slowly from one season to the next. The transition is presented to us through the splendor of God’s creation, in the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the acorns being stored away for the long winter and the smells of fall telling us to prepare for the time when everything goes to sleep.

Our senses allow us to appreciate God’s creation and we are reminded of how unique this world of ours truly is. It was created for us, His children, to experience life and honor Him until the time that we are called to be with Him in paradise. It is in our appreciation of this gift that we are also commanded by God to respect all life, regardless of where and at what stage that gift of life is presented to us.

At this point you may be wondering what the Catholic Cemeteries Association has to do with respecting life. My response is simply, everything. When we bury our deceased loved ones, we express our respect for the life they lived regardless of the length of time God granted us the gift of that person’s life. When parents come to us to bury their baby that died in the mother’s womb, we bury the fetus in the baby section and provide the family with a memorial because as Catholics, all life, regardless of the time spent on this beautiful home entrusted to us by God, is deserving of respect.

Our natural world is filled with beauty, but God also allows the world to move forward without interference. We are granted the freedom to live our lives with the goal of attaining His gracious gift of eternal life in paradise. Each of us knows the path to paradise; Jesus gave us the map when He told us to love God above all else and love thy neighbor as thyself.


Our cemeteries are places where we celebrate the lives we cherish and are reminded of the final reward.

To Jesus, Through Mary- Finding Comfort, Healing and Peace in the Rosary

“The rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort.”

-Pope John Paul II

The Rosary is a prayer for finding peace and comfort in times of sadness or distress, however, it is also a continuous source of strength and healing in our routine, daily lives. Throughout my life, I have always remembered having a rosary nearby. Usually, resting on my nightstand or tucked away in a beautiful, zippered pouch inside my purse or drawer. I may not have always prayed the rosary each day, but I remember the peace and comfort of seeing it and holding it in my hands as a child. I received a rosary as a gift on my First Holy Communion and another when I received the sacrament of Confirmation. Throughout my childhood, I was blessed to be taught the praying of the rosary, mainly by my mother and grandmothers. I knew the men in my family to pray it as well. In fact, my father carried his rosary in a tattered black zippered pouch in his pocket every day. Throughout my childhood, I may not have always understood the many reasons that we pray the rosary, but I knew the intense peace I felt as I prayed in unison with fellow church members, students or family. I felt the natural calming effect that the repetition of Hail Marys had on my mind. I could almost feel the Holy Spirit allowing God’s mercy and grace to flow within me.

As I grew older and was blessed to be a member of the Notre Dame community in high school, I found that the rosary was a way to “pray to Jesus through Mary”. While praying and thinking about each of the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries, we journey closer to God spiritually. While praying the rosary, I felt the protection of Jesus, watching over me and guiding me throughout the difficulties of young adulthood. Later in life, as a mother of my own children, I related to this concept because Mary, the mother of Jesus, who held Him as a baby, loved and nurtured Him throughout His childhood, supported Him in His ministry, and ultimately, endured the pain as a witness to His death on the Cross, helped us to see His life from the close perspective that motherhood provides.  She suffered through His difficult moments of strife, as any mother suffers when her child hurts. Like any mother, she also rejoiced in His successes. In His Resurrection, she witnessed firsthand, His triumph over sin and death and His gift of redemption.

One of the greatest joys in my earlier career in education has been teaching the praying of The Most Holy Rosary to young children. I witnessed firsthand, the calming effect that the prayers brought to even the most energetic child. Traditionally, we recited the rosary together in church before or after mass, or during specific times of difficulties, such as on 9/11 or if a loved one was sick or had passed. The recitation of the Rosary has a calming and soothing effect on all of us, whether young or old. At times of loss, we especially feel the strength given to mourners when friends and family recite the Rosary together during the Order of Christian Funerals or before the funeral liturgy at the wake.  It is through Mary and the Most Holy Rosary that we journey together, recalling the events of Christ’s life and allowing our hearts and our minds to be drawn closer to Him, comforted and protected by His love.

Join us in prayer, this month of The Most Holy Rosary, and beyond, as we welcome the Legion of Mary on our CCAirwaves podcast. Remember the month of October is also Respect Life Month. I invite you to listen in to our Rosary Podcast and join in prayer for the intention that all life will remain sacred, in all aspects, from conception to natural death.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager