Happy New Year for Latin lovers: FELIX SIT ANNUS NOVUS!


Pope Francis tweeted these three little words today. Three words, 12 letters of the alphabet, yet packed with meaning and gratitude and love for the Lord, first in Francis’ life and (hopefully) first in ours!

I echo the Holy Father’s thought: Lord, Thank You!

Thank You for the countless blessings you showered on me during 2014.

Thank You above all for making me part of one of the most wonderful families on earth, a family that has grown so beautifully over the years with nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews! From infancy and childhood, through the teen and college years, right up to today, I have experienced love and laughter, sharing and caring, moments of indescribable joy and moments of loss – but all were shared by family who cared. Thank you for my very special life of unforgettable, unique memories, of senior moments (the ones you remember, not forget!!). I know in my heart that I am one of the luckiest persons alive!

Thank You for the immense blessing of my Catholic faith and for enabling me to grow in it over the decades, especially through my work, through my years at the Vatican, reading papal documents, learning the Church’s teaching in depth – a time that prepared me for what I do now for and with EWTN. Heartfelt thanks for Pope Francis as he leads us in our spiritual growth!

Thank You for being at my side when I write my daily column, for illuminating me, for guiding me as I seek to teach and the truth about the faith. I do pray when I write because at times I feel the responsibility of writing about You and Your Church is – can I say it? – scary, even daunting. So many people read what we in the media write. They look for the truth, not for spin, not for personal versions of the faith, not for words that please or flatter or make one feel better, not for words that will make life easier, but for faith-filled words that will help us understand things when life is not easy, when we face challenges, when we face opposition, when the Truth is challenged.

Thank You, Lord, for filling my life not just with family and faith but with an unimaginable number of friends, friendships that span the globe, friendships born in most instances from a shared faith, friendships that, as the expression goes, “warm the cockles of my heart.”

And thank you, my wonderful family and my friends near and far – my EWTN colleagues, my lifelong friends or people I’ve met more recently through my work, through “Joan’s Rome,” even through Facebook! I feel I know you, even though many of us have never met. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your caring, your very kind, heartfelt words when we communicate! It all means the world to me!

And here is what I wish for you for 2015 –


God sit on your shoulder(s)!