If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

OUR LENTEN MISSION


Friar Johnpaul Cifiero CFM is a Franciscan Priest of the Sacred Heart of Province of Chicago, but he was born and raised in New York City, the oldest in an Italian/Polish Catholic family. He was a police officer in NYC, and told us that once he and his partner had raced to a car that had been driven by two drinking teenage boys, and pulled them from the front seat of the burning Last week we had a three evening Lenten Mission presented by Friar Johnppaul Cafiero. On Sunday, he said all the Masses and won over everyone who heard him with his sense of humor at my parish of St. William.

The first evening of the mission was from 6:30 to 8:00 and there were not a lot of seats left to fill. People even came from other churches. His premise was there is No Greater Love, than what Jesus gave by dying for us. And over three nights he brought up the seven phrases Jesus spoke on the cross.

Friar Johnpaul Cifiero CFM is a Franciscan priest of the Sacred Heart of Province of Chicago, but he was born and raised in New York City, the oldest in an Italian/Polish Catholic family. He was a police officer in NYC, and told us that once he and his partner had raced to a car that had been driven by two drinking teenage boys, and pulled them from the front seat of the burning car.

While the car was still burning, a Franciscan Friar raced to the car, opened the back door endangering himself in the process and pulled out the young sister of one of the boys who had fallen to the floor in the accident. Afterwards, Officer Johnpaul looked up the friar and became good friends with him and eventually decided to become a friar, too. I think it was after his partner had been shot. This was before 9-11, and later he found out that the Friar had died trying to rescue people from the collapsing towers. He now has a metal cross made from a steel girder from the towers that he always keeps with him.

He has so many degrees from different universities:  a B.A. from Seton Hall, a Psychology
/Philosophy MA from Boston University, and numerous other ones, too. He has traveled to seventy-three countries, and been to almost if not all of the states of our country. He lives in Chicago now.

Now I know this sounds like it would be a sad and gloomy Mission presentation, and it could have been if it wasn’t for Friar Johnpaul’s incredible sense of humor mixed in with his serious preaching. For instance he mentioned every one of us would die. Okay, we all nodded, we all know that. And then he told the story of a new pastor who opened his sermon speaking quite loudly with the announcement that everyone in this parish was going to die, men, women, and children. Then he noticed a woman towards the front smiling. So he repeated the message, and she started laughing. He scowled and said, “What do you find so funny about this?” and she said, “I’m not from this parish.” Of course, everyone in our church erupted in laughter.

He also told us when he decided to become a Franciscan Friar; he went to a farm for his training. Now he had always lived in a big city and this was totally different to him. So when he was asked to get milk because they were almost out, he assumed he’d be going to a store to get some, and he asked where the store was. Instead he was handed a bucket and told to go out to the barn to get it. He thought they must store the milk out there, but when he got to the barn there were only big cows. So he thought about it and put the bucket under one cow and thinking of pumps to get water, he started pumping on the cow’s tail. When that didn’t work, he looked at those little faucets underneath and figured it out. I’m not sure how much of that was true, but he had all of us laughing, especially since we’re not city people.

On the first night after he told the Bible story of the woman scorned because of her unclean ways, who knelt down at Jesus’s feet and washed them with her tears and some oil. Then we were all directed to walk silently towards the front with our hands held together and palms up to have sandalwood oil put into our palms. It was done in silence except for the choir singing.
There were a lot more stones that night.


The second night when we arrived, we were all to pick up a small stone that could fit in the palm of our hand, about half the size of a golf ball. In the main aisle at the beginning of Lent there had been an open wooden box about the size of a coffin with two extensions making it look like a cross. It had been placed there a few weeks before, and I’d wondered why, but that night I found out. Half way through his presentation of a mixture of seriousness and humor, he went into depth about the horrible beatings Christ had received until his back and legs were bloodied. Then we were to toss our stones into that wooden box. As we silently left our seats and tossed those stones in the box they made loud clunking noises, while he sang Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord. His voice was so beautiful and the description he’d given of Jesus’s last day brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, either.

On the third night his meassage was how we could spread the word and help others through doing good for those who needed help. We were given small candles and again towards the end, we walked up front and the helpers lit our candles while the choir sang. The lights were dimmed and looking around the church at all those candles burning it was beautiful and very touching. The message was to spread the light to others.

All three nights there were cookies, etc. and something to drink in the Social Hall put there by our Women’s Guild. Friar Johnpaul mixed with those who stayed. On the first night when I had a chance to talk to him, I said very straight-faced, “Will God forgive me for murder?” He looked at me strangely and said “God is a forgiving God.” I said, “Even if it’s a number of murders?” I could see he was wondering if I was crazy. And then I smiled and told him I wrote mysteries. He cracked up laughing and wanted my card or something so he could look me up, and I gave him one of my bookmarks.
John, my 18 year old son who died  of cancer.

The second night when he had discussed dying and dealing with the deaths of loved ones, I was able to tell him how my son had seen God an hour before he died in my arms and how he’d come to me several weeks later in a dream and told me Heaven was a wonderful place. He said he thoroughly believed the dead could communicate through dreams.  He had told us of the numerous deaths he’d dealt with of family and friends.

On the third night I asked if he would mind having his picture taken with me. He smiled and agreed and a friend of mine took our picture together.  When I left the church much later and saw him packing up his SUV to head back to Chicago, he said he was going to be looking up my books. That he even remembered me out of the huge crowds that were there each evening had me smiling.  

Friar Johnpaul is a priest, too. Not all friars are I found out. Some are doctors, lawyers, movie producers, etc. He is a chaplain of AGLA, a Gay and Lesbian Outreach at one church. He was a mentor for black students at a Catholic high school serving boys from the hood and it has a 100% high school graduation rate. The boys work at soup kitchens, senior citizen homes and do other charitable chores, and all of these boys go on to college because of the donations received.  He is also a chaplain for the Illinois State Police in the district of Chicago. There are so many other things listed on the back of the two CD album cover I bought with his Lenten words. He also conducts yearly pilgrimages. The one for this year is to Ireland. Oh how I wish I could go on that one, but I doubt that I could afford it.

One more of his jokes out of many: There was this tough biker dude who rode a Harley. As he approached a crowd of tough looking guys, he saw one big one grab an old lady’s purse from her. He got off his Harley, went up and punched the guy in his face. The guy dropped the purse and the old woman took off. Next thing he knew he was standing in front of St. Peter. He couldn’t figure out why he was there. St. Peter said, “You must have done something good.” The biker dude shook his head. “No, I’m a mean dude.” So St. Peter told him to think about it because that’s the only way he could be there. So the biker dude thought about it and told him about saving the old lady’s purse. St. Peter asked. “When did that happen?”  The biker dude looked at his watch and said, “Three minutes ago.” Of course, everyone laughed.
It was a cloudy day when I took this from a distance. 

Our priest said he was going to try to get him back for next year. I hope he can. If you want to look him up, his website it's :www.friarjp.com/ I think you can also buy his CD No Greater Love there, too.

What experiences similar to mine have you had?

Do you think you would enjoy Franciscan Friar Johnpaul? 

Would you like to go on one of his oversea's pilgrimages with him?







10 comments:

Warren Bull said...

It sounds like a wonderful experience.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria, I checked out his website and loved his list of 40 things to give up for lent. It's not often someone asks you to give up "Mediocrity, People Pleasing, the Quick Fix, Your Comfort Zone..." Great food for thought.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Gloria, you don't have to leave your community to find memorable experiences! Wonderful blog.

KM Rockwood said...

An inspiring story about an inspiring man. I hope you do get to go on one of his trips if that's what you'd like to do.

E. B. Davis said...

We have Lent lunches. Everyone goes so those who are needy don't eat alone. I'm baking ham for the lunch, but I doubt I'll stay to eat because my daughter will be here. The school where she's a counselor will be on spring break, as always between Palm and Easter Sundays. Like Warren said--you had a wonderful experience.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, it was, and I only hope he returns next year.

Shari, I haven't gone to his website yet because I've been too busy with funerals and other things, but I plan on going there today.

Thanks Margaret. You are right about that sometimes it can be as small as finally seeing the first daffodil of spring.

KM. the woman I went on the Holy Land Tour back in 1972 looked him up and like me wants to go on his 2020 pilgrimage to Austria, Switzerland and Germany where once every ten years they perform The Passion Play. I'm going to start saving for that trip.

E.B. You are doing what Friar Johnpaul suggested we do, and that's to help other people. I
do it mostly by delivering Mobile Meals. I find that very rewarding.

Gloria Alden said...

I just realized our blogger eliminated the first paragraph of my blog for some reason so here it is now:

Last week we had three evenings 0f a Lenten Mission presented by Friar Johnpaul Cafiero. On Sunday, he said all the Masses and won over everyone who heard him with his sense of humor.
The first evening of the mission was from 6:30 to 8:00 and there was not a lot of seats left to fill. People came from other churches. His premise was there is No Greater Love than what Jesus gave by dying for us. And over three nights he brought up the seven phrases Jesus spoke on the cross.

C. T. Collier said...

I was so touched by the story of your son's vision of God and his sharing of heaven with his Mom. :-)

I, too, made a Lenten Retreat this year, and it was life-changing. I recommend so strongly being in a holy place and opening oneself to the gifts it offers!

Thanks so much for sharing, Gloria! --kate/writing as C. T. Collier

Kait said...

What a wonderful Lenten story! Yes, I would love to go on a mission with Friar Johnpaul. For two reasons, the spiritual, it sounds like he brings a unique viewpoint to his preaching, and the research. He could be quite the source! Glad that you had an opportunity to attend.

Gloria Alden said...

C.T. thank you for your comment. I'm glad you were able to make a Lenten Retreat, too. It was something that will be with me forever. One of my cousins didn't make the first two nights, but his wife who is in the choir did. He told me when she came home from the first night her mouth dropped open as she recalled the beauty of the night, and his charisma.

Thank you, Kait. I probably won't go on the one this year, and I've been on a Holy Land Tour in 1972, but the one coming up in 2020, is one I'm hoping I'll be able to go on. If you go to his website you'll see what that one is.