Currently viewing the tag: "Mount Saint Mary’s"

Anita DiGregory

Have you recently fallen in love?  Are you newly engaged and planning a wedding? Did you recently get married? If so, Mount Saint Mary’s graduate and author Stephanie Calis has some practical and spiritual advice for you. On February 11, in honor of St. Valentine’s Day and the observances of National Marriage Week (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (February 11), the Seton Shrine hosted a “Chat with an Author,” featuring Calis and her book, Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner, which is up for its second printing and has been a #1 Amazon bestseller in Weddings.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native-born U.S. saint.  Because Mother Seton was a young wife, mother, and resident of Emmitsburg, the Seton Shrine was thrilled to invite Calis to share her message with the community. The event, which was well received, was moderated by Shrine Programs Director Tony Dilulio and included a talk, a question and answer session with the audience, a book signing, and refreshments. The free event was the second in the series, with the next talk (featuring Good Enough is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom, author Colleen Duggan) scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on April 29, 2018.

Calis, a young wife and mother herself, was happy to meet with the community and share her wedding and marriage advice in a refreshingly humble and down-to-earth style.  Her passion is sharing with others the immense worth that they hold as a human person; that love is a verb; and that pure, sacrificial love is real.

With the tone of a big sister or a best friend, Calis invites her reader (much like a friend would over a cup of coffee) to see with fresh eyes the beauty and truth of the sacrament of marriage. In an honest and caring manner, Calis shares her insights in hopes to share that rules as established through the Catholic Church are in actuality freeing, resulting in pure, sacrificial love.

“My hope for the book is to present a message, which is accessible and inviting, where Faith is a path to freedom,” adds Calis. In an attempt to combine practical wedding planning advice with spiritual teaching and insights, Invited includes the Catholic Rite of Marriage; planning worksheets and checklists; sample invitations and programs; and reception planning sheets, interspersed with information on marriage prep programs, how to choose the perfect dress, budget aids, planning resources, and more.  Another unique element of the book is the “From the Groom” advice, which includes thoughts and insights written by her husband.

While a student at the Mount, Calis met her future husband, Andrew, a fellow student in her English class. In 2010, Calis graduated, got engaged, and worked in the field. The following year, she and Andrew married at the Grotto in Emmitsburg. Over the next year, she and her husband attended nine weddings for friends and family. Each time, Calis, who had just recently planned her own wedding, was asked for practical advice on topics from the liturgy to vendors to wedding planning. After realizing there were very few resources covering both the practical and spiritual aspects of wedding planning, Calis attempted to humbly fill that void. In 2012, she started a blog, Captive the Heart, to inspire and assist new brides-to-be. Soon after, the sisters from Pauline Books and Media approached her, asking her to write a book, incorporating her insights from the blog. Calis was thrilled to do so, and in 2016, Invited was released.

Those looking for helpful, friendly advice in wedding planning or marriage, can reference Calis’ book, Invited; her blog, Captive the Heart; or her current undertaking (as co-founder and editor) of the beautiful and inviting blog, Spoken Bride.

Author Stephanie Calis and Moderator Tony Dilulio respond to questions from the audience at Seton Shrine Chat with an Author event.

Photo by Anita DiGregory

Anita DiGregory

On Sunday, May 7, 2017—despite the chilly temperatures, windy conditions, and occasional rain—approximately 1,800 people were in attendance to witness the third annual crowning of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg.

The ceremony, which was preceded by Mass in the glass chapel, included prayers, hymns, and a procession. Mount Saint Mary’s Interim President Timothy Trainor and his wife, Donna, were in attendance, welcomed everyone, and initiated the procession. Several seminarians from the Mount processed carrying the 12-foot long silk flower crown from the chapel to the crane, which was donated for use during the ceremony by Steve and Cecilia Gregory (Mount alum).

Owners of Big Hook and Crane Rigging, the Gregorys have donated the services of the crane and its operators for each of the three years that the statue of Mary has been crowned. In fact, according to National Shrine Grotto Director Lori Stewart, the Gregory’s generous donation helped make the idea of crowning the Mary statue a reality.  Due to space limitations around the tower, a fire-truck ladder could not be used. Additionally, the high cost of renting a crane made the idea seem almost impossible. However, the Gregorys just happened to be visiting the shrine one day when the topic was being discussed. They offered then to donate their services.

This year, their son, Brock, assisted Mount Rector of the Seminary Rev. Msgr. Andrew Baker with the crowning. Adorned with hard hats and crane rigging belts, both men were hoisted over 100 feet in the air to crown the 25-foot-tall gold-leafed bronze statue of the Blessed Mother. “We do it all for our Mother, Mary. Some people think it is extravagant, but we think she is that special.”

The crown will remain atop Mary’s head for the entire month of May. This Catholic tradition, which originated in Italy during the Middle Ages, with the institution of “The Thirty Day Devotion to Mary,” is often referred to as a May crowning. The ceremony honors Mary as the Queen of May and the Blessed Mother. Although the statue of Mary is crowned, Catholics recognize that it is not the statue which is celebrated but that which the statue represents: Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Clearly visible to all travelers along that area of Route 15, the 25-foot statue of Mary sits above much of the Mount Saint Mary’s University campus, atop the Pangborn Campanile (bell tower) and measures 95 feet tall all together.  With Mary overlooking the shrine and picturesque countryside, the Grotto continues to be a beautiful and peaceful retreat for the local community, pilgrims, and visitors, averaging about 280,000 guests a year. Stewart added,”It is beautiful being around the people and seeing how they react to Mary. It is the best part.”

by Avie Hopcraft
The first day of school has already come and gone, and it’s hard to believe how quickly summer sped by, with fall now upon us. Newbies “Freshmen” have adapted well to Catoctin High’s environment, and the upperclassman are taking on more responsibilities as they move up and get prepared for life after high school.

Catoctin High School is back in routine, and junior and senior students are already prepping for the SAT’s. The first term is almost over and, so far, all Catoctin sports teams, are doing great. Homecoming will be held on October 1, 2016, giving Catoctin High’s students a moment to take their mind off of their responsibilities and enjoy themselves with friends. Even though it’s good to get a break from the challenges of school, students are still encouraged to work hard every day and be prepared for school and life after school.
The Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show took place in September, and the event featured some great entries in every category.

Catoctin’s Spirit Week also just passed in September, and consisted of five different spunky days, allowing students to express themselves. First, Spirit Week started with Maryland Monday, then Tourist Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and lastly, Spirit Day Friday. It’s a great week for Catoctin High School—or any school for that matter—and allows faculty and students to have fun and have an excuse to wear pajamas and funky clothing. Most importantly, it permits students to act like true kids and teenagers, because when we are done with high school, we officially have to grow up, in a sense, and won’t get a chance to do things like spirit week anymore. It’s good to get a break from the seriousness and reality of grades and school sometimes. These kind of school events don’t just benefit the students, the faculty gets to act like kids, too, and connect with the students. Overall, it’s a healthy, exciting activity that Catoctin does for its students and faculty.

Catoctin hosted a Financial Aid Night for parents on September 21, 2016, with the help of Amy Wilkinson (director of Financial Aid-Mount Saint Mary’s). If parents are interested in this offer, she will provide you with any information for the FAFSA application; the file can be turned in as soon as October 1, 2016. Also for those students who are interested in the military or in other career options, the ASVAB will be taken on November 3, 2016, at 7:30 a.m. at Catoctin High School. This test is free to juniors and seniors. If interested, you will need to sign up through Naviance (site for students dealing with colleges, applications, and career goals) the day of or before October 25, 2016. Lastly, if parents or students of Catoctin would like to get reminders of college meetings and information on important national tests, sign up for “Remind 101” alert. It alerts you about college information, special dates, and Naviance reminders. If you possess a smartphone, just download the app and it will text reminders right to your phone. Juniors and seniors, stay on top of what you need to do, so you will succeed with the careers ahead of you! Graduation will be here before you know it, so it’s important to stay focused and have things like, “Remind 101” to help guide you along the way.