Ciao! It’s been a few months since my last T’s Tea Time. I have been spending a lot of time traveling, including two trips to my beloved Italy. But I wanted to take a moment in this busy but beautiful season to wish you and yours a blessed Advent, and by sharing with you examples of people with true Christmas spirit. Both of these men are putting their faith into action and truly practicing what they preach. Isn’t that a concept that is so desperately missing in our world today that continually focuses, as we so often see in the headlines, on those only interested in me, myself, and I?
An early Christmas gift for me came during our time in Rome with the opportunity to interview, via zoom, the great vocalist, Andrea Bocelli. My dear friend and colleague, John Hale of Corporate Travel Service, and I are working on a series of videos dedicated to all things Italy travel. Through a mutual acquaintance, Anthony Rugiero of Antonio’s Restaurants in Southeast Michigan, a personal friend of Bocelli’s, John was able to arrange the online exchange which will eventually be featured in its entirety in the series. We featured brief segments of the interview recently on my radio program Catholic Connection. It was so refreshing to chat with the Maestro and to learn that he is truly as kind and humble as he appears on stage and television.
We also had the amazing experience to meet Andrea Bocelli and his family backstage before his concert in downtown Detroit, on December 5th. His wife and mother-in-law, and Bocelli himself, were beyond gracious. He couldn’t have been more down to earth and welcoming. That’s why the interview and our meeting are perfect items to share here as they were all so very inspiring. They certainly did not have to spend time with us, but they did – and very close to show time, I might add. They also thanked us for the interview and for promoting Bocelli’s incredible Believe World Tour which wraps up in Orlando on December 19th. How nice to know that there are still people in this world, despite their fame and fortune, that realize they are blessed and need to give back. And the Bocelli family does that by not only sharing his talents with the world, but by helping children in need through the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.
Someone else who truly inspires me; a man truly filled with the Christmas spirit of humility and giving, is fellow Catholic author and speaker, Kevin Wells. Kevin has been a frequent guest on my radio show. We initially met many years ago at a book signing during the March for Life in Washington. Kevin and I both have secular media backgrounds so we hit it off right away. Kevin is a former Major League Baseball sports writer for the Tampa Tribune but now focuses his efforts full time to promote heroic virtue in both the laity and the priesthood through his work as President of the Monsignor Thomas Wells Society for Vocations, which commits itself to the promotion of strong priests, seminarians, and practicing the fullness of the Catholic Faith. His book, The Priests We Need To Save The Church, published by Sophia Institute Press was a best-seller and has encouraged countless priests to look at their self-sacrificing work and virtues as priests. But Kevin hasn’t stopped there. He believes the best way to effect long term change in our Church is to help young people to be catechized in the Truths of the faith and live a life of heroic virtue as followers of Jesus Christ. Kevin is now working full time as a speaker to not only promote heroic virtues, but to bring awareness and help rescue children facing poverty, human trafficking, and dehumanization across the world through the amazing work of the World Villages ministry.
Kevin first learned of Fr. Al’s work when he traveled to Mexico and spent several weeks at World Villages For Children, at the Boystowns and Girlstowns in Chalco, Mexico run by The Sisters of Mary, a religious community – founded by Venerable Aloysius Schwartz. He was so moved by the stories of “Fr. Al” and witnessing firsthand the sisters’ round-the-clock work to nourish, house, catechize and care for over 250,00 plus teens since its founding he penned Fr. Al’s biography, Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz, published in 2021 by Ignatius Press. To watch a video of this amazing mission, click here.
Both the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and World Villages/Sisters of Mary, which has the amazing Sponsor-a-Sister and monthly Guardian Angel programs, would be wonderful causes to support this Christmas; causes that are really helping the poorest of the poor around the world.
In addition, I also would like to encourage you to take the time this Advent season to take time to ponder what the Christmas spirit is all about in your own lives, and meditate on the reality of God becoming man and dwelling among us. Below I have included links to two amazing FREE evenings of reflection to help us take a little time during the hustle and bustle of the season to focus on the true reason for the season and really what Christmas is all about. I’ve also included a lovely article by my friend Patti Maguire Armstrong on how to get your family ready for Christmas, as well as links to EWTN’s Christmas Programming and special “Why Celebrate Christmas?” web pages.
I also encourage you to share the Christmas spirit! Think about including others this year who may need a little encouragement due to life’s circumstances. Perhaps someone you know recently lost a loved one or has had a personal setback. Invite them to church or join your family this season. I have always found that personal invitation and witness is best. This is how my husband was led back into the Catholic Church, and his personal witness led me back to my Catholic faith and eventually on to Catholic radio. The Deacon magazine just published his inspiring story. Read it HERE.
So pick up the phone and call someone this season, invite them out for coffee, or go spend time with someone in need. Forward this email to a friend, or you could even find where you can go in your local community to connect with others and lend a helping hand.
If you have an inspiring “Godcidences” story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.