Monday, February 14, 2011

God's us

For God so loVed the world,
      That He GAve
              His onLy
                      That whosoever
                 Believeth In Him
                      Should Not perish,
                     But have Everlasting life.

                                             John 3:16

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

On March 25th, when St. Bernadette asked the name of the beautiful Lady in the Grotto, She replied "I am the Immaculate Conception." Our Lady did not say: My name is the Immaculate Conception or  I am she who is immaculately conceived. She simply said: I am the Immaculate Conception. The manner of prayer shown by Our Lady at  Lourdes  confirms Her statement. Because Mary is the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady's entire being gives glory to God. She is unable to do anything but give glory to God. At  Lourdes , Our Lady prayed the Rosary with St. Bernadette, She did not pray the Our Father; She doesn't need daily bread or forgiveness. She did not pray the Hail Mary; She is the one being addressed in the Hail Mary. But She did pray the Glory be to the Father, because She will never miss an opportunity to give glory to God.
 from Mary Vitamin

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Please vote for my book at

Stories for the Homeschool Heart is nominated for the best Catholic book for 2010  on the Catholicism site. I contributed a story entitled "Homeschooling will be the Salvation of the Church" on page 65. There are many inspiring and humorous stories for those who love homeschooling.

Could you please take a few seconds and vote for us?
No registration is required; Just click here. You can vote as many times as you want until the contest ends March 11. 


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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why is Down syndrome research such a low priority at NIH?

Why is there so little funding for Down syndrome research at the National Institute of Health, when other diseases which affect far fewer people, given more money?
 Despite a growing grassroots movement of parents who reacted to the 2007 statement of the ACOG that ALL pregnant mothers be tested for Trisomy 21, getting active legislatively with the Kennedy Brownback bill, and starting blogs and support groups online, inspiring Rep Cathy McMorris Rogers to form the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, there is still minimal funding to improve the lives of our children.
Find out more, and become part of the solution.

Read more and register for the webinar here.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Novena for the reversion of Fr Alberto Cutie

Jesus, Good Shepherd,
You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church
and lead her faithful to You through the
 ministry of Your priests.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 
grant to Your priests
wisdom in leading,
faithfulness in teaching,
and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.

As they cry out with all the faithful, "Abba, Father!" 
may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You 
in Your divine Sonship
and offer their own lives with You, 
the one saving Victim.

Make them helpful brothers of one another,
and understanding fathers of all Your people.

On this day, renew in Your priests
 deeper faith,
greater trust in You, 
childlike reliance on our Mother Mary,
and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father
 and his bishops.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Vianney, pray for them.

"...The priesthood is the supreme gift, a particular calling to share in the mystery 
of Christ, a calling which confers on us the sublime possibility of speaking and 
acting in his name. Every time we offer the Eucharist, this possibility becomes a 
reality. We act in 'persona Christi ' when, at the moment of the consecration, we 
say the words: "This is my body which will be given up for you.... This is the cup
 of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you
 and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me." We do precisely
 this: with deep humility and profound thanks. This exalted yet simple action of our 
daily mission as priests opens up our humanity, so to speak, to its furthermost limits....."     

            Pope John Paul II, March 13, 1994
Image and novena from the EWTN website.

We pray his novena in hope that the call of Jesus

 from the Tabernacle will bring Fr Alberto Cutie home
 to the Catholic Church

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Friday, February 4, 2011

My tribute to Mom in "Celebrate Life" magazine is out

I wrote "Three Generations for Life" a tribute to how my mother's example as a woman of prayer and pro-life action led to my activism and prayer, and that of her grandaughters. I share how, amidst her cheerful energy at  her final March for Life, in 2009, she was suffering from undected cancer which sent her home to Our Lord within 9 months.
Now she is reaping the rewards of a life well lived for the cause of the Gospel of Life.

You can see Celebrate Life magazine here, but you can only view my piece in the print edition. On the cover is a lovely photo of another pro-life activist who went home this year, Dr Mildred Jefferson.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'll be on WBUR Friday Feb 4 at 3PM

I will be responding in a taped radio interview to a show on Radio Boston of Boston University on pre-natal testing for Down syndrome. You can listen online.
You can listen to the original show here. 

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: my friend and mentor Gerry Mannato

Mentor, Teacher, Friend in the Spirit of God: Gennaro Mannato

     As high school junior, my first job was working as a desk sitter at St Philip Neri Parish in Northport for the illustrious wage of $1.25 an hour. I wasn’t prepared for a major crisis; I was merely told how to answer the phone, and never to leave my post at the rectory. Nothing serious had happened in four months, until one Friday evening, a call caught me unaware. The caller, a woman, was very agitated, and demanded that I go up the hill to the Charismatic Prayer Meeting and tell Gerry Mannato some bad news. “Tell him his wife is dying, and he needs to come home right away.”                               Reluctantly, against orders, I ran up the hill and arrived breathless in the school cafeteria, wondering how I was going to give a man I barely knew the worst news of his life. Thirty people were singing a hymn of praise, faces aglow, hands uplifted, while I hesitated in the back of the room, wondering how to reach Gerry without breaking up the meeting. The crowd parted, and he came to me, with a look of concern on his face, and asked me, “What’s the matter?” I blurted out, “I work at the Rectory, and a woman just called, saying you have to go home right now, your wife is dying”.
     If someone had told me this news, it is likely that the only reaction they would elicit would be a brief “thanks” as I flew out the door. Gerry’s reaction was completely different. He put his arm around me with deep compassion in his eyes, saying, “I’m so sorry that you had to be the one to tell me this”. Tears sprang to my eyes, and a friendship which would endure three decades, was born.
     Soon afterwards, I was praying after Mass in the rear of the church, when Gerry tapped me on the shoulder. “I noticed the way you pray, and I think you might want to join our prayer group”, he suggested. He couldn’t have chosen a more grateful young woman. I was searching for a way to deepen my faith, in the 1970’s, when the Church was in the Post Vatican II whirlwind. At that time, a teen interested in spiritual growth was sent to RAP groups, which offered little spiritual nourishment. There was no Catholic TV or radio, few books, and no purity programs for teens.  This “I’m OK, you’re OK approach”, failed to feed the great spiritual hunger which reading “The Story of a Soul” had awakened in me at age 15. I wanted more of Jesus, and though I knew He was at Mass, thanks to my mother’s teaching, I needed guidance to build a mature spiritual life. Gerry filled that gap, unbidden, but so welcome.  
     In time, I became a regular at his prayer group, and attended a” Life in the Spirit Seminar”. I began to read Scripture, and learn to listen to the ‘still, small voice’ of Our Lord as I made important decisions about my future. I wanted to be a journalist and chose a Catholic college where I would deepen my knowledge of the faith. When I returned home and entered the working world, I started attending Gerry’s prayer support for the Renew Program in his home. Each week, I looked forward to his prayerful discussions, where his eyes shone with joy as he described how God was working in his life.
One night was particularly memorable; it was a dreary February evening and  the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Gerry played a song from Michael Card called, “Now that I have held you in my Arms” a reflection on the Nunc Dimitis of Simeon. Suddenly, the joy of beholding the infant Jesus in person illuminated the gloom of that winter night. I drove home singing, and Candlemas, became one of my favorite feast days.
     As part of Gerry’s prayer group, I attended Forty Hours Adoration for the first time, and discovered the joy of meeting Jesus in Exposition of the Holy Eucharist. Gerry was there as an example and a mentor, gently encouraging me to live fully for Christ as he offered prayers for our pastor, Fr Tom Colgan, and the entire parish to embrace their faith more fully. He shared details of his day to day life, which included gardening, Italian cooking and regular exercise, and taught me how to life a truly integrated life, caring for body, mind and soul. If he experienced moments of loneliness, he never showed it, despite retirement and widowhood, his calendar was full. He enjoyed being a Grandpa, giving us updates on his twin grandsons, attended charismatic events, and intellectual pursuits. Soon I followed his lead, and ran two Renew groups, one for teens and the other for young adults.
      In later years, Gerry moved to East Patchogue, and became active in the parish community of St Joseph the Worker. He lived three decades as a widow, and despite statistics of widowers living short lives, his was a long and happy life, never marrying until he was called home last month at the ripe old age of 86.
I was saddened by the news, until I recalled one of the last times I saw Gerry. It was February 2, 2000. He had come to our new church St John’s in Center Moriches as part of a millennial celebration of the Feast of the Presentation. The church was aglow with hundreds of candles, reflecting the light in Gerry’s eyes as he praised the Lord with his whole heart and soul. I can see him now embracing his wife and his best friend, Jesus, singing;
“Now that I’ve held Him in my arms,
My life can come to an end,
I’ve seen your salvation: a light to the Gentiles,
 And the glory of His people Israel”.

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