Thursday, December 31, 2009

My favorite stamps

Sorry to my friends who didn't receive Christmas cards yet from me, yet. As I said in my article this month in Canticle magazine, Christmas should be celebrated for the entire season. Today is the feast of Pope St Sylvester.
I have been dealing with a bad sore throat for over a week, and no end in sight since it was diagnosed as 'viral'. I am trying to bravely swallow my home remedies of ginger tea with honey and lemon while offering it up for a holier New Year for America.
Here's a suggestion to help it be a holy new year.
Send these beautiful new stamps of Blessed Mother Teresa and make her stamp the biggest hit since the lovely Madonna and Child Christmas stamps.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Resoutions you may actually keep

American Needs Fatima has a list of suggestions for making a New Year's Resolution that you will actually keep.
They are both spiritual and practical, and of course, include sharing your faith in Our Lady.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

New pro-life blog written by Catholic doctor

Thank you Jill Stanek for encouraging Dr Gerard Nadal to begin an exceptional pro-life blog Coming Home.
Go over and enjoy his unique blend of indeputable science and unmoveable faith.
Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr Nadal.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A letter from God to a mother of a special needs child

This letter comes from my heart after nearly eight years of being Christina's mom.
God told me she was a gift from His hand and I am just now beginnig to realize how great a gift she is to me and my whole family.
Read it on Catholic

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our friend in DC: Rep Cathy McMorris Rogers

Here's a list of the great things Cathy McMorris Rogers did for people with Down syndrome in Washington DC from her email. What she doesn't mention is that she is passionately pro-life and also stood up for the rights of disabled and unborn people against Obamacare on Sept 15 with Healthcare for Gunner. You can view the video here.
As we close 2009, I wanted to share my observations of the past year. It has been an exciting twelve months for the disability community. We’ve witnessed a great deal of progress in a number of areas which I’ve highlighted below.
On February 26, Congressman Ander Crenshaw introduced H.R. 1205, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act). The ABLE Act is intended to give disabled individuals a savings instrument, just like existing savings accounts for college, retirement, and other normal life events. Anyone can contribute to an ABLE account and distributions can be used for education, medical and dental care, community-based support services, employment training and support, moving, and housing and transportation expenses. H.R. 1205 has 141 cosponsors, including members of both parties. Together with my colleagues, I am working to ensure its passage in 2010.

On September 23, I joined the other members of the Down Syndrome Caucus to meet with Dr. Yvonne Maddox, Deputy Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development (NICHD) to discuss NICHD’s funding priorities. I was extremely pleased to hear NICHD reaffirm its commitment to the short-term and long-term goals set forth in the 2008 Research Plan on Down Syndrome, particularly through NICHD’s commitment to future funding announcements for Down syndrome research over the next five years.

On September 25, I introduced the Trisomy 21 Translational Research Parity Act of 2009 with Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX). In 2000, the Children’s Health Act amended the Public Health Services Act in a number of ways, including authorizing research and surveillance for a number of conditions and disabilities such as juvenile diabetes, Fragile X, asthma, epilepsy, autism, and traumatic brain injuries. However, the amendments did not authorize the research and surveillance of Down syndrome. The Trisomy 21 Translational Research Parity Act of 2009 will bridge the critical gap that currently exists in Down syndrome research between basic medical research and cutting-edge clinical trials. The bill will recognize at least six Centers of Excellence that will be dedicated to conducting translational research and create the much-needed bio-bank and registry to assist with the Down syndrome translational research program.

On December 13, I joined with Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, to introduce H.R. 4247, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act. There are already federal guidelines against the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint against children in the Children’s Health Act but those have not been extended to schools. Last May, the General Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted the prevalence of seclusion and restraint in schools -- rather than employing techniques to diffuse the situation. The lack of guidance to school districts and teachers, GAO found, only exacerbated the situation. And, as I’ve looked into this, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a lack of training; a difficult situation arises and a teacher or principal just doesn’t know what to do. The bill that I introduced with Chairman Miller gives states much-needed guidance so they can advise school districts on the best practices. In addition, the bill gives schools the resources they need to ensure that their personnel handle situations in the most positive manner possible. The bill has the bipartisan support of both parties and I’m confident of its passage in 2010.

While we still have a long way to go, for me personally, I believe this year represented a turning point in our efforts. I look forward to continuing to work with the disability community to ensure that funding and infrastructure remains a priority here in Congress.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

KIDS is on the March again!



KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome), a group of families who have children with Down syndrome, will meet for the second year in a row and walk together in the 2010 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
KIDS wants to raise awareness about the 90% abortion rate of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome, to challenge the misinformation that often leads mothers to abort their babies with Down syndrome, and to proclaim the joy their children bring to their families and communities.
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 22, 2009, 11:00 a.m. to Noon

LOCATION: National Right to Life Committee, 512 10th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Meet for refreshments prior to walking together in the 2010 March for Life

This event is open to individuals with Down syndrome and their families and friends.
For more information please contact Eileen Haupt or Leticia Velasquez.

Eileen Haupt
Leticia Velasquez

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 ALL Pro-life blog awards

Thank you to whoever nominated Causa Nostrae Laetitiae for American Life League's 2010 Pro-life Blog Awards. I am honored to be among some of the best blogs out there, and to be nominated after winning the Pro-life Unity Award in 2009. It would be an honor to win again, though part of me wants someone else to have a turn, but I had a wonderful time at the ALL Conference last year and would welcome a return visit.

I will defer to vox populi since this year the awards are won by a popular vote, rather than a panel.

You can vote for Causa Nostrae Laetitiae here.
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The O Antiphons begin tonight; O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

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I have a new column out there

I am writing a bilingual Spanish column for Amazing

“To teach the Faith truthfully, it must be taught thrillingly,” says Lisa Mladinich, founder of, an exciting new website for Catholic catechists with an inviting format designed to encourage participation by its readers. “Our mission is to share the very best teaching methods available for transmitting pure, honest Catholicism to students of all ages. But to do that, we need help.”, loyal to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and dedicated to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, is designed to provide a place for Catholic catechists from all over the world to share teaching tips, insights, experiences, resources, and true inspirational stories from their classrooms, whether they teach in their homes, parishes, or schools.

Volunteer catechists write monthly or bi-monthly columns on subjects from elementary education through special needs, confirmation, chastity training, teen ministry and adult programs, like RCIA and NFP. Several of the columns are translated into Spanish and the site’s forums also include a Spanish-language section. Mladinich hopes to expand bi-lingual offerings in the future.

Other features include, “Your Galleries,” a place for sharing photos, artwork, video links and sound files related to teaching faith and morals from a Catholic perspective. Catechists and parents are invited to share digital images of theirs and their children’s faith-related arts and crafts, dramatic presentations, you-tube and audio links that teach, inspire or entertain.

A point-and-click archive of teaching ideas and stories is found under “Tips & Insights,” with categories including every grade level, sacramental and adult programs. Readers are invited to submit their tips and stories through a simple online form that makes sharing easy. The “Events” page contains an automated calendar for readers to submit their program dates and descriptions in order to publicize and promote good Catholic events more effectively. The “Speakers” page features several volunteers who also have public ministries as speakers and workshop leaders.

Other sections include charming, original Catholic cartoons by Ellen and James Hrkach, interviews with “amazing” Catholics, links to great Catholic resources, a fundraising “Store,” “Book and Product Reviews,” “Bible Stories [retold]” and favorite prayers.

Mrs. Mladinich hopes that catechists who stop by for a visit will take a few moments to share from the treasure-houses of their own personal experiences in teaching the Faith, and by sharing, strengthen the whole Church!

Lisa Mladinich, Founder
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And a child shall lead them

This has been a difficult year for Catholics. You need to read this story to restore your faith in the fact that Our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed in charge, no matter how bad it looks.
"My friend sent an email last year sharing a comment Brendan made about why he's going through this on-going battle with cancer. He told his mother that he's helping Jesus with his suffering so that more people will get into heaven."
Read the story of how this sick little boy with Down syndrome has an extraordinary relationship with Jesus.
Learn from him how to trust in God.

HT Les Femmes.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Gaudete Sunday, we're almost to Christmas!

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Eduardo Verastegui in "The Butterfly Circus"

I am reposting this to inform my readers that "The Butterfly Circus" is available on DVD. What a wonderful gift for someone you love; a short film which celebrates the gifts which God has given each of us, no matter what the world sees in us.

Go to Doorpost Films to view
this one day preview of an amazing film which will challenge your views of what a circus can be.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Lovely Lady dressed in blue, teach us how to pray

In honor of the30th anniversary of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's entering eternity, and the feast of the Immaculate Conception, here is a poem he helped make famous.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue -------

Teach me how to pray!

God was just your little boy,

Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,

Gently on your knee?

Did you sing to Him the way

Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?

Did you ever try

Telling stories of the world?

O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares

If I tell Him things -------

Little things that happen? And

Do the Angels' wings

Make a noise? And can He hear

Me if I speak low?

Does He understand me now?

Tell me -------for you know.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue -------

Teach me how to pray!

God was just your little boy,

And you know the way.

Mary Dixon Thayer who wrote more than one poem for Our Lady, is the author.
This prayer-poem was popularized in the 1950s by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Magdalen College at

Gabriela and I visited some friends in New Hampshire and attended a Visitor's Weekend at Magdalen College.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Off to Magdalen College for a Visitor's Weekend

Gabbi and I will be spending a Visitor's Weekend at the college.(she's a junior and just took the PSATs, where did the time go?)
 She'll be staying at the dorm, I'll be with friends nearby.  We look forward to seeing the beautiful campus, attending classes, and hearing their famous choir at Mass on Sunday. I'll be reporting on this when I return. See the Magdalen College website for more information. It's in the Newman Guide to Catholic Colleges. As I have told her for years, any college we would consider will be in this essential guide to truly Catholic institutions of higher learning.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fr Robert Fox dies

Fr Fox was the editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger, and a big promoter of the Fatima message through the Fatima Family Apostolate. Rest in peace Fr Fox and pray for those of us on earth who have yet to heed Our Lady's message of prayer, fasting and  penance for the sins against her Immaculate Heart.

Yesterday, I participated in an international teleconference to promote the release of "The 13th Day". See my review here. Fr Andrew Apostoli(see photo) was on the line as well as the film's producer, directors and Fillipa Fernandez who played Lucia. We discussed the fact that the Fatima message is more relevant in our times than ever before.Not only are we in moral freefall, but our society is threatened by Muslim extremists. Fr Apostoli discussed the reverence Muslims have for Our Lady of Fatima, and his hopes that this will lead to widespread conversions. This is the answer to peace in our time!
 If Our Lord was offended by fashions and morals in 1917, can you imagine how offended He is by our society?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Read the entire story on the National Catholic Register blog.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Take a moment to thank a solider

Here's a good deed you can do for Advent;
send a free, pre-made postcard to a soldier serving our country serving overseas by clicking here.
Keep it on your desktop and make it a daily habit.
Thank you, Xerox!
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A Blessed Season of Advent

How are you going to be keeping Advent?
Joseph Bottum says at First Things blog that "Advent is gobbled up by Christmas".
He goes on to say, "More than any other holiday, Christmas seems to need its setting in the church year, for without it we have a diminishment of language, a diminishment of culture, and a diminishment of imagination. The Jesse trees and the Advent calendars, St. Martin's Fast and St. Nicholas' Feast, Gaudete Sunday, the childless crèches, the candle wreaths, the vigil of Christmas Eve: They give a shape to the anticipation of the season. They discipline the ideas and emotions that otherwise would shake themselves to pieces, like a flywheel wobbling wilder and wilder till it finally snaps off its axle."

Even though I assembled my Advent Wreath and sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" at Mass, I realized that he was right.  Christmas has encroached upon Advent, and I have been complicit in it, as I sang "O Holy Night" along with the radio last night on the way home from my father's for Thanksgiving. I just find my favorite Christmas carols more tempting than cookies or presents. I miss them, and welcome each carol back as an old friend. That is why I like singing for Midnight Mass; you get to practice those wonderful carols in November. We'll be sining "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming" in my church this year. I can't wait.
However, we should be also be singing lovely Advent hymns like this one. And holding back on the decorations, letting the girls put them up little by little AFTER the Advent housecleaning.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank you Lord

At Mass this morning, the priest reminded us that we were celebrating thanksgiving, which in Greek is eucharist. In fact the first Thanksgiving, if you are a Catholic took place at St Augustine at the Mision de Nombre de Dios, a tiny Spanish chapel still in existence. There, Spanish missionaries offered the very first Eucharist in America.
So, to my readers, I offer my wish for a heart full of gratitude for the blessings of living in the grace of God, in freedom, and in relative peace.
 Thank God for my family, my health, my husband's job which supports us, my writing by which I try to give my talent to Him as an offering. Thank God for my three wonderful girls, who just earned honors by their hard work in Catholic schools, and for their good Catholic friends. I thank God for Fr Tito, my holy pastor, and for the schedule which allows me to attend daily Mass, and for the Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe where I can refresh my soul in front of the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day. I thank God for good pro-life friends who are working to promote a Culture of Life both online and in my community. I thank God for my father, who is learning to live without my mother, step by painful step. I thank God for my mother's happy death, and entrust her to the mercy of God.

I thank God that America seems to be waking up to the evils of the most pro-abortion politician on earth, Barack Obama, and for the Manhattan Declaration by which Christians are uniting to resist the Culture of Death. I thank God for courages prelates like Pope Benedict, and Bishop Tobin who are not afraid to call evil evil, and pay the consequences. I thank God for holy priests, for the Holy Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration,  and for the Latin Mass

I thank God that our freedom of speech and freedom of religion are still protected in America, and pledge my full efforts to preserve both.

I thank God that Christ is King of heaven and earth, and that the entire universe is in His Hands. I know that all this turmoil in the present day will pale in comparison to the glory that awaits us in Heaven. I thank God for the gift of His Mother, who holds back His Hand of judgement on us until more sinners can repent.


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Monday, November 23, 2009

Christina's story is on "Mary's Healing Touch" on Catholic Radio International

In this broadcast, you can listen to me tell the story of how, after receiving the news of my mother's terminal cancer diagnosis last spring, Mary heard the prayers of my little saint with Down syndrome.
 For the next four months she helped us, with her healing touch, to usher Mom into her waiting arms.
Listen here.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Want to smile? read Sarah Palin's story about Trig

Sarah Palin's delightful story of how Trig came into their family, is on the Times Online.
It speaks for itself.
She is a gift for our nation. Now what are we going to do with her?
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Catholic evangelist Immaculee Iligagiza starts a blog

One of my favorite Catholic writers Immaculee Ilibagiza has just started a blog, called Immaculee. She invites us to join her in celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Kiebeho, November 28.
In the months she was dying from cancer, my mother found great comfort in Immaculee's testimony, and sent for the rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.
My review of her latest book, Our Lady of Kiebeho is at Catholic Media Review.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

New treatment to help those with Down syndrome!

Great new research to help cognition in  those with Ds. This is what Dr Mobley described in his talk at Cold Spring Harbor Labs last spring.
Read the article from Reuters here.
Update 11-21
Yet, updated medical research is still being used to destroy our children rather than save their lives. Read this article at MercatorNet on how pre-natal diagnosis leads to eugenics.
"If Down syndrome, a series of conditions that are amenable to both life and happiness, is considered unacceptable, what then of other "problems"? In a society obsessed with so-called health, the outcome seems predictable. For those of us who are uncomfortable with or disagree with the laws on abortion, do we have to stop using a wonderful diagnostic tool for fear that it will, literally, fall into the wrong hands? Or is this a good moment for declaring a moratorium on ante-natal diagnostics and re-opening the abortion debate? "
I say re-open the abortion debate, we know so much more in 2009 about pre-natal development than we did in 1973, in fact Blackmun himself commented that a deciscion to grant Personhood to the unborn would nullify this decision.

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Happy 50th Anniversary, Fr Benedict Groeshel

Here's an optimistic,  lighthearted interview with a man whose been through many a battle and survived to hope that all mainstream faiths, even the Catholic Church, are moving towards orthodoxy and renewal.

Celeste Behe asks: " What do you believe has been the impetus behind this renewal?

Fr Benedict responds:
"You cannot say; you can only blame the Holy Spirit. I have to tell you that the more traditional people did not win the battle; it was a standoff, but things nonetheless started to change. You find in this country that the mainstream Protestant churches are dying off; nobody goes to them. It’s the evangelical Protestant churches that are doing well. Also, many young Jews who had no actual religious training are becoming orthodox Jews. And even among young Catholics who are not particularly observant, there is at least an interest in the faith. God himself, through the Holy Spirit, is calling to souls, and I’m absolutely delighted with the changes that are taking place. The pendulum has swung."

Deo Gratias, for Fr Benedict's long and illustrious career, and for the pendulum's swing!

Read more in the NC Register blog.
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The Canonization of St Jeanne Jugan and Charles Dickens

During our years on Long Island, my oldest daughter Gabbi and I paid a memorable visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor in their nursing home in New York. and learned of Blessed Jeanne Jugan, their foundress's cause. At the Eucharistic Congress last September, I heard the good news that she was soon to be lifted to the altar as St Jeanne Jugan.

George Weigel writes about an interesting meeting between Jeanne and Charles Dickens.
"Yet the novelist Charles Dickens could write, after meeting Jeanne Jugan, that "there is in this woman something so calm, and so holy, that in seeing her I know myself to be in the presence of a superior being. Her words went straight to my heart, so that my eyes, I know not how, filled with tears." I always knew Dickens had a heart from the poor, you can tell by his works, especially "A Christmas Carol".

Weigel also derives a valuable lesson from her holy example. "The Little Sisters of the Poor and their patients are living reminders that there are no disposable human beings; that everyone is a someone for whom the Son of God entered the world, suffered, and died; and that we read others out of the human family at our moral and political peril."
Weigel is right, the  nursing home operated by the Sisters in New York City is a haven of peace and love. I didn't want to leave. How often is that said about a nursing home?
Now, there is a lesson from the saint which can be applied to public policy lately. . . .anyone say "death panels"?
Read the entire article at the Ethics and Public Policy Center website.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Women on "The View" on aborting children with Down syndrome

Whoopi is right, 'doing away with the problem' is NOT an easier option. It is painful, leaving lasting scars on the mother's body and soul,  and her family. But I don't approve of her and Barbara Walters' attempts to shout down Elizabeth Hassleback who echoed Sarah Palin's assertion that all children offer their parents challenges and chances to grow in compassion. No one can forsee whose challenge will be harder, I know plenty of typical children who present their parents with major challeges, especially as teens. I'll take my Christina any day, compared to a troubled teen on drugs, pregnant, self destructive and angry.
Sarah's point was so well stated, that Whoopi and Walter's attempts to negate it make them look shallow and selfish. It's all about the mother's feelings about the child.  Nowhere in the conversation was the possiblity of adoption raised. Over 200 families are waiting to adopt a child with Down syndrome.
View the video here.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My story is on National Public Radio

Beacause I shared the story of my family's Catholic faith here, I was asked by Minnesota NPR reporter Molly Bloom to share my stories of commuting to New York City. I commuted to Manhattan from Long Island (2 1/2 hours one way) for a year when I was in graduate school at Fordham way back in the mid eighties, but this story remained in my memory.
"The first day I took the train, I had a conversation with a religious sister who told me to say the rosary on the train for those who were in my car. She said it was the best use of my time. She was right, and I do. "

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manto de Guadalupe: Eduardo Verastegui's charity

I remember that Eduardo mentioned his organization Manto de Guadalupe in the press interview I attended on August 11, and I have just stumbled unto it's beautiful website (in Spanish). While I search for an English version,  click through, after you understand the basics; Manto de Guadalupe refers to Our Lady of Guadalupe's mantle, and is a pro-life human rights organization with worldwide outreach. Manto de Guadalupe is based in LA where Eduardo seeks to build a pro-life women's health center for the underserved poor Latina women of Los Angeles. His express purpose is to give poor women alternatives to abortion. You will find nothing that Eduardo does contradicts the moral or social teaching of the Catholic Church, and I give it my highest recommendation.
Que viva la virgen de Guadalupe!

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IDSC for Life interviews Reece's Rainbow

My friend Diane Grover at IDSC for Life was pleased to interview the good folks at Reece's Rainbow.
Read the interview here.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

My review of The 13th Day

It comes out on DVD on December 1st from Ignatius Press.
 Don't miss a great Christmas gift opportunity for your family.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Looking to give hope this Christmas? Give to Reece's Rainbow

Here's a great Christmas giving idea; sponsor the adoption of a foreign born child with Down syndrome at Reece's Rainbow with their Christmas Angel Tree project.

For only $35 sponsorship, you get this beautiful ornament and the knowlege that a little one who needs a loving home is that much closer to adoption by a family in the US. Seven children were recently adopted, thanks to generous donations defraying the cost.
Make a little one's future bright with a gift of hope this Christmas in honor of the Saviour.
Click here for more information on Reece's Rainbow.
Archbishop Chaput recommended Reeec'e Rainbow here. I requested that my folks give me this for Christmas last year.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Last Supper Mocked

This is a painting of The Last Supper using models with Down syndrome. I love the treatment of the men; they are dignified and beautifuly posing, putting emphasis on the man portraying Christ. (click on photo to enlarge)
But the commentary below is far from dignified, it is titled "The Tard Supper".
Please go and leave a comment to enlighten this sick man
Here's the website of the artist.
See the original post here.
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Review of A Christmas Carol

My review of the well done family film A Christmas Carol is up at MercatorNet.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November is the month of the Holy Souls

My column this month at Catholic Mom is about the happy death of my mother, Eleanor and the blessing she was to her family in her final days.

Please remember to pray for her and she will pray for you.

It's called Into the Mercy.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Pro-life Pumpkin

In honor of the 353 babies spared from abortion through 40 Days for Life I carved this pro-life pumpkin.

Well done, Church Militant!

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