Sunday, November 30, 2008

St Andrew Prayer begins today

HAIL and blessed be the hour and moment in which the son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem , in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother.
(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St Andrew (November 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)Imprimatur +Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York, New York, February 6, 1897

Friday, November 28, 2008

UK survey reveals lower abortion rate.

After the widespread introduction of screening for Down's syndrome in 1989, the number of babies born with the condition in the UK each year fell from 717 to 594 at the start of this decade.
Since 2000, the birth rate has increased, reaching 749 in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.
Figures from the National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register show that the proportion of new born children with Down's syndrome rose by around 15 per cent between 2000 and 2006.

A survey was conducted to determine what was responsible for this trend:
The findings will be featured in the documentary "Born with Down's Syndrome" to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm today.
They show that while religious or pro-life beliefs counted in around a third of cases, many parents felt that life and society had improved for people affected by Down's. Others said their decision was influenced by the fact that they knew people with Down's or other disabilities

Which, once again, is my reason for taking time out of a busy weekend with visiting family; to spread the news that life with Down syndrome is more than worth living, it's a special gift.

Read the entire story at the UK Telegraph.
HT MercatorNet

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Will Christina be able to receive First Holy Communion?

I was contacted by a journalist writing an article for a Catholic magazine about special needs children and the sacraments. She is looking for input from Catholics with special needs children, or those who work with our children in religious instruction. If you have something to say on this subject contact me at or leave a comment below.

It's certainly not the first time I had considered the subject, in fact, at six, Christina is nearing the age when her older sisters received the sacrament. However, this subject is a cause for anxiety for me, and so, whenever this subject would surface I buried the thought for later.

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to deal with this subject at last. Tonight I broached it with Fr Tito, my wonderful new pastor. In his gentle manner, he said that even non-verbal children can be tested for their ability to distinguish the Holy Eucharist from ordinary bread, and was searching for an example of how Mother Teresa performed this test. If you know what he is referring to, please let me know.

Meanwhile, here is an article on the subject.

The catechist manual used in the Kennedy program quotes from Catechesi Tradendae by Pope John Paul II: "...the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right...from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely by reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life...In the case of many people with disabilities...we must...make those liturgical adaptations which promote their active participation and provide help and services that reflect our loving concern."

What a relief speaking to my pastor and reading this article has been! I know Christina has on two occasions (see this and this post)recognized Jesus in the Sacrament, but is she ready to distinguish between the Host and ordinary bread? Not yet, perhaps but someday. I look forward to that day with all my heart. Just yesterday while receiving Holy Communion at the altar rail, with Christina beside me, I sensed that she was hurt for being excluded. The Holy Eucharist is the center of my life, and I long to share it with my precious daughter. She has already taught me so much about the Christian life, to be able to approach the altar together will be a joy like no other. Of course, we will post about the preparation process, little by little as we did about potty training. My objective is to encourage other mothers as we raise our special children.
Read the entire piece here from St Anthony Messenger.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

National Down Syndrome Society Times Square Video

We planned to see this montage of people with Down syndrome live at Times Square last September, but we had just moved, and it proved impossible. So we just enjoyed seeing Christina's picture (in the first minute) of this inspiring video essay about the joy of life found by those who happen to have Down syndrome.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Down syndrome education center

This is good news! Down syndrome advocacy has never been stronger, and it's bearing fruit.

In the United States a new nonprofit organization established to create new opportunities for young people with Down syndrome; Down Syndrome Education USA has plans for the first Down Syndrome Education and Research Center based in the US. The new center, associated with and works closely with Down Syndrome Education International (DownsEd) will be a joint venture with the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County and will accommodate expansion of the Foundation’s highly successful Learning Program. The center will be based in Orange County, California and is expected to open in early 2009.
The new center will offer education programs and resources to children with Down syndrome, their families and education professionals across the US. The center will also conduct and sponsor scientific research focused on practical ways to support cognitive development, language, literacy and math teaching for young people who have Down syndrome.

Read the entire story here at the Health Examiner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you wear a veil?

Adoro te Devote has a thoughtful post on wearing veils in church.
I have a veil in my purse, and wear it to Latin Masses, but when I try to wear it on regular Novus Ordo Masses, my girls get embarrassed, so I refrain, even though I'd prefer to wear it. I love the sense of modesty and respect which the veil carries with it.

Quite the opposite from Adoro, however, I must admit one of the less than noble reasons I want to veil my hair is that it's not as pretty as it used to be, and the veil covers it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Raising Joey and Cause of Our Joy bloggers meet

Blogger Mommy of Raising Joey finally got to meet Christina and I last Saturday night.
We have been emailing for over 2 years, and she has plans for me to get involved in the Connecticut Down Syndrome Congress, where she is making major strides reaching out to physicians and Genetic Counselors to educate them about the truth of life with Down syndrome. I plan to help her in any way I can to reach out.

Sadly, one of the truths about Down syndrome is that little Joey, who was born on Christina's fourth birthday, had to undergo bowel surgery on Monday. He is recovering now, and could use your prayers.

I have a feeling that this team is going to change Connecticut for the better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

An Invitation to join us for the March for Life 2009

Last year I casually mentioned to an email correspondant that I wanted to get mothers of children with Down syndrome together to march together in the March for Life. I felt that since our children are the most threatened by abortion, with a rate of 90%, that we ought to represent ourselves as a group. Eileen, who is more of a mover and shaker, loved the idea and then we let it simmer awhile. . .

Then, some things happened.

The New York Times noticed that parents of chidren with Down syndrome were organizing in response to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists recommendation that all pregant women, regardless of age be tested for Trisomy 21. They were right.

A new non-invasive test arrived on the scene promising to eliminate our children with greater accuracy.

Trig Palin hit the scene, and everyone was talking about Down syndrome. My Google Down sydnrome alerts quadrupled overnight, and we had lots of interest in the Buddy Walks this fall.

The Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act was passed and signed Oct 8, 2008 which will give expectant parents proper medical information and referral to support groups and adoption agencies. I credit Trig Palin in part for helping to pass this bill in this article in the National Catholic Register.

SO, since this seems to be the year that we parents of children with Down syndrome are in the spotlight, and as you know, we LOST our advocate, Sarah Palin, in the tragic results of the election. We must take to the streets of Washington, and tell our new president that we will be watching him.
Help us organize and garner media attention, which will be hard on the heels of the Inauguration. Email me at to volunteer to organize your friends and meet us in DC.
We'll be posting the details of when and where we meet, and any symbols, signs, etc, we will be carrying. We are pro-life mothers (and fathers) of children with Down syndrome, and we are here to tell the world our children have the right to life.
Let's invite Trig Palin and his family to join us.
Many interested moms are asking where we should stay on the night of the 21st. I suggest the Phoenix Park Hotel since the Hyatt Capitol Hill is already booked. Don't forget to ask for your March for Life discount. Gabbi and I met Congressman Chris Smith and his lovely wife Marie at the Philipino Family Fund Cocktail Hour there last year. We also ran into David Bereit of 40 Days for Life. They have a lovely Irish pub where prolifers gather to form their battle plans on Jan 21st. It's there I met Fra Augustine of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On the Depression we may be facing

Elizabeth at The Divine Gift of Motherhood has a post on what happens when we put our trust in money.
We’re headed for a recession, the experts all said in the summer. Now they predict it will get worse, much worse, before things get better. Many have put their trust in Obama, thinking he will take care of their mortgages, car payments, medical care, and college tuition costs. For these poor people (and I mean this in the spiritual sense), they are bound to be sorely disappointed.

Some spiritual nutrition from my local Friary

Feeling spiritually drained after the election?
Need a mini-retreat to remember God is still in charge of the world, no matter who forgets Him?
Just watch these videos from the Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Griswold, CT.
You will be spiritually re-charged and ready for the struggles ahead.

MaryCast #27: Catholic Dogma, Doctrine, and Discipline
MaryCast #26: The Glories of Mary
Face of Pro-Life: 40 Days for Life - Sean Carney
Roving Reporter #51: Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
MaryCast #24: Church Fathers Prayed to Mary
No Apologies #63 - The Last Supper
No Apologies #62 - Obj. to John 6 Part 2
Nov 12 - Homily: Consecration in Gratitude
Nov 10 - Homily: Supernatural Faith
Nov 8 - Homily: Blessed John Duns Scotus
Bell tower in honor of our Blessed Mother
Nov 7 - Homily: True Lovers of the Cross of Christ
Nov 02 - Homily: All Souls Day
Oct 27 - Homily: St. Maximilian Kolbe and Charity
P. Pablo: Vota Pro-Vida #16: Hablen con sus hijos
Nov 06 - Homily: The Lost Sheep

Adopting children with Down syndrome: pros and cons

Here's a wonderful article in the Washington Post about the family of Mommy Life's Barbara Curtis. She and her husband Tripp have adopted three children with Down syndrome. They surrendered their family plans to God and He has blessed them abundantly.
Here's Barbara's reaction when their biological child with T21 was born,
"In 1992, Jonny was born. In the delivery room, the mother recalled, the doctor put a hand on her shoulder, and she understood something was different about her son. "He has Down syndrome, right?" she asked.
"It's okay," she remembers saying and believing. She said she was filled with expectation and excitement about the changes he would bring to their family.
Tripp's voice still cracks when he recalls a line of poetry the couple chose for Jonny's birth announcement before knowing about the disability:

"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."

Now, read this article decrying the 'interference' of the Prenatally Diagnosed Condtions Awareness Act in the doctor patient relationship and the claim that because of medical problems, our children with Down sydnrome are "unadoptable". This one sent a chill down my spine, and I hate to think that this may be closer to how the medical establishment thinks.

We advocates have LOTS of work to do!
HT Medical News today

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nick V; has a wonderful life, but no limbs

A Mother's hearfelt plea for President elect Obama

A true show of Christian charity from Elizabeth who writes at The Divine Gift of Motherhood.

I have been giving a great deal of thought to the issue of what to do as a Pro-Life advocate in a country which will now be led by a President and Congress that is largely pro-choice. President-Elect Barack Obama comes to this position with a great deal of emotional baggage. Perhaps he perceived himself as a burden on his mother and grandmother; else why would he see a child as "punishment" for a mother with an unintended pregnancy?
My thought is that it is possible to change his heart, if he hears enough personal stories to persuade him otherwise. If every mother wrote to him her own personal story of motherhood, and why she is against abortion, I do think it could have an effect upon him. I think people should start writing to him now, as he collects his thoughts on his first actions to take when he is sworn into office.
You can reach Senator Barack Obama at:
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
A hand-written, heartfelt letter is always the best, but any contact is better than none at all.

Advent will be here before you know it; plan ahead

I have a subscribers only article at the National Catholic Register with 25 ways to keep your Advent centered on Christ.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Lady of America pray for our nation tomorrow

Tonight at the election Mass at the Friary, the Friars continued to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the entire night. Offer your prayers for people of faith to come out in strength and vote for LIFE.

Remember this image where it seems that you see an unborn child of light in Our Lady of Guadaulpe's womb? This inexplicable event coincided with the legalization of abortion in Mexico City. How displeased Our Lord must be with America, after we killed 48 million of our children!

They're starting to listen in the medical profession!

from the National Down Syndrome Congress
This past weekend in Los Angeles, an amazing panel of presenters which included self advocates Karen Gaffney, Lee Jones, and Meredith Martin, along with NDSC board vice president Carlene Mattson, wowed the audience in a plenary session titled, We're More Alike Than Different: Having Down Syndrome in 2008. They were simply terrific! It was an honor to be associated with this panel, and to watch the attendees learn from our speakers. It is our hope that we met our plenary's learning objectives for the genetic counselors, and that they will:
1. Examine their previous understanding of what it means to have DS and compare it to the reality of the lives of the presenters
2. Envision new possibilities for the future of individuals with DS
3. Incorporate personal stories of the presenters into counseling patients with a pre- or postnatal diagnosis

For many attendees, this was their first opportunity to hear directly from an individual with Down syndrome. There's no doubt we have changed the way they think! You can also continue to help two genetic counseling students who have taken a special interest in Down syndrome and how the news is shared. If you haven't done so already, please take a few minutes and complete these online surveys - and pass them along to others in your area.">Click

Don't give up the fight, don't give in to the Siren's Song

Is the topic of my latest column at Catholic Exchange.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sarah Palin has a long track record helping special education

Well before she knew that Trig had Trisomy 21, Governor Sarah Palin was increasing funds for special education in Alaska. According to Mr.Stephen Lesko, executive director of an Anchorage, Alaska agency, Hope Community Resources." Hope serves special needs families via foster care, respite care, mental-health care and a host of others services. Lesko’s organization received a 127 percent increase in fiscal year 2009 capital funding to help refurbish existing homes and facilities for disabled clients.
Asked about Governor Palin, Lesko said, "She has made significant progress in the area of disabilities in a very short period of time, the most I have seen in such a short period in my 30 years at Hope Community Resources."

SO this begs the question; why are Down syndrome advocacy groups reluctant to openly support her?
Read the entire story here.
HT Life News

New Research on how children with Down syndrome learn

All Hallows Eve Mass at the Friary

Dozens of innocent children dressed as saints filled the church to overflowing, so that the doors were opening to the warm evening. As Father delivered this powerful homily on the election and the Sanctus was chanted, I watched the traquil faces of the parents, whose restless children failed to disturb their meditations. They relished the opportunity to pray and I had the impression that they wished that the beautiful Mass would never end.
But it did end, and after Thanksgiving, the crowd turned jubilantly out to share dinner, games and a mock battle between the 'forces of darkness' and the soldiers of Christ.
The children were taught by this mock battle how to attack the darkness reresented by the Friars who occupied the medieval tower (with water balloons) and not to shrink away in fear. The powerful evening ended with fireworks bursting into the night, and two shooting stars were seen over the tower.