Thursday, May 28, 2009

Small Successes


1. I welcomed my sister and brother-in-law who just emigrated from El Salvador into our home. We got to know one another, and enjoy the natural beauty of our neighborhood.

Here is Francisco with his brother Manuel fishing in the river. We hope Manuel and Milagro will be living in our home, while I teach them English this summer. We might even teach them how to drive, with Gabbi, if I feel brave enough!

2. We brought up a large part of my perennial garden from Long Island, and transplanted it here on our new piece of God's country. I hated to admit feeling nostalgic for my flowers, I tried to be brave and admire everyone else's gardens, but I guess if you are a true gardener, it becomes part of you.
I'm starting to feel like Tasha Tudor.

3. We celebrated Memorial Day in our new home with the solemnity it deserves, at a field mass at the parish cemetery and downtown with a parade. So many times, we forget the meaning of the first long weekend of summer, it was good to remember those who have given all.

See the rest of the posts at Faith and Family Live

Lest we forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
(1872-1918) Canadian Army
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
On a positively luminous spring afternoon, the tiny parade in Sprauge wound it's way through the old factory town by the river, while I watched under shady tree near the Veteran's Memorial. It was gratifying to see so many of my new friends in the parade, Christina's friend Tommy(with T21) with the cub scouts,Gabbi's, and Bella's friends on the sidelines, and my pastor, Fr Tito to give the invocation. In only 9 months, we have become part of this tight knit community of faithful Catholics, and Connecticut feels like home.
Here are two of the politicians who spoke at the ceremony:
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, a Democrat, has a 05 pro-life voting record. His speech received moderate applause at the Sprauge Memorial Day service. Fr Tito, my pastor, who read Alex De Touqueville's quote, "America is great, because America is good, when American ceases to be good, it will no longer be great", received much stronger applause. We are in the conservative area of a liberal state.
Connecticut State Represenative Chris Coutu (R dist 47)on the other hand is a Catholic and votes like one. I met him one Saturday in September during his campaign, and he assured me he would think about voting like a Catholic. His HS teacher, Paul Tetrault, whom I met at the polling place, where he held pro-life signs, assured me that he would, or Chris would have to answer to him. He has a distinguished record of military and community service including volunteering in the Special Olympics(unlike our President who only uses it as the butt of jokes).
He voted against the terrible S899 bill legalizing gay marriage in Connecticut, and forcing homosexual agenda on the state's schoolchildren.
We salute you, veteran and proud Catholic in a cowardly Catholic state, Rep Chris Coutu!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

St Philip Neri

I have a special affection for St Philip Neri, the name of the parish where I made my First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I always knew about his sense of humor but never heard about his experience of the Holy Spirit.
Please don't forget to pray the Pentecost Novena with me for my mother.

"He was twenty-nine years old at the time, and as the feast of Pentecost was approaching, Philip who had always had a special devotion to the Holy Spirit, was praying with extreme earnestness for his gifts and graces, when he seemed to see a globe of fire which entered his mouth and sank down into his heart. At the same time he was pervaded by a fire of love which seemed to be a positive physical heat, so that he had to throw himself on the ground and bare his breast to cool it. When he rose he was seized with a violent trembling, accompanied by an extraordinary sense of joy, and putting his hand to his heart, he felt there a swelling as big as a man's fist. After his death it was discovered that the first two of the false ribs were broken, and the broken ends thrust outwards, never having rejoined or return to the normal position during he fifty remaining years of Philip's life." 9
Fr. V.J. Matthews, Saint Philip Neri (Tan Books: 1984), 9.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I received a message from Fr Paolo Padrini asking me to share Pope2 You. Since I attended the Papal Youth Rally last April, and watched the magic of the Holy Father's interaction with youth in person, I have longed for a way to recapture the magic of their special bond. Pope2You is a vehicle for the Holy Father to keep in touch with the youth of the Church between World Youth Days and other youth gatherings.
"The new media of Facebook, the iPhone, YouTube and Wikipedia are increasingly becoming the new forum where the Catholic Church dialogues with the world. As Pope Benedict XVI noted in his message for the 43rd annual World Communications Day, the Internet is a place where young people need to develop true friendships which spring from an encounter with the Risen Christ. With this awareness and the courage to enter into the world of social networks, the project Pope2You was started with the idea of helping these networks become authentic places of friendship and true dialogue.Pope2You was created in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications as an experiment in providing a new forum and channel of communication using the latest platforms. The Pope2You website provides a new way for Pope Benedict XVI to reach out to young people around the world. The site can be viewed in five languages and allows young people to learn more about the Church and Benedict XVI through his own writings, starting with the message for the 43rd World Communications Day. While the site aims to generate the interest of young people, it is also meant for people of all ages. It features news on the Catholic Church and details on the pastoral activities of Benedict XVI incorporating content from the Vatican’s YouTube channel. At the same time, a new application for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been created by the Catholic news agency H2Onews, with plans to add other mobile platforms later.Pope2You also provides a gateway to a parallel world in Facebook with an application where you can create and send to your friends virtual postcards with the Pope’s own words, greetings and excerpts of his writings staring with this year’s World Communications Day message. Also, with the help of the Media Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, a special area has been created along the lines of a WIKI with suggestions on how to put into pastoral practice the Pope’s 2009 Message. These new applications highlight the latest example of the Church reaching out in new ways in the world of social networks – a forum where the Church can meet new people, make new friends, dialogue and offer solidarity."

Monday, May 25, 2009

The consequences of playing hookey

Father Norton woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was an exceptionally
beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf.

So... he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick
and persuaded him to say Mass for him that day.

As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room, Father Norton
headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away.

This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish.
Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed,
"You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"

The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."

Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin,
dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole.


St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?"

The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Susan Boyle does it again!

This little lady is blooming like a rose, isn't she beautiful?!

Read about her advance (was anyone surprised?)to the finals of "Britain's Got Talent" and the more amazing apology of the incorrigible Simon Cowell at OMG. "After her performance on Sunday, Cowell was moved to apologize to Boyle, saying she had been poorly underestimated.
"You know what, I just want to apologize because of the way we treated you before you sang the first time," he said. "You made me and everyone else look very stupid and I'm very happy for you, very proud for you."

God is with you Susan, you are setting the world on it's ear!

Something for the fashionistas

Campfire Rosary

Tonight was a partly cloudy day with vivid green leaves and interesting skies. My husband's family came to help us plant some of our perennials from our former home into the weed mass that was our garden. Now, many of the weeds (by no means all) are replaced by old friends: Echinachea, Hydrangea bushes, Tiger lilies, Siberian Iris, Archangel, Black-eyed Susans, Forsythia bushes, Laurel, and Hollyhocks (a velvety deep red).
We were tired but grateful when, after dinner we were reluctant to give up the outdoors simply because it was dusk. An alluring sunset inspired us to do a quick search for firewood, and set up chairs. Soon we had a circle of twelve chairs around a roaring campfire, and talk led to praise songs then Marian hymns, which led to a rosary in Spanish for my father-in-law and my mother. What comfort we felt in the cool spring darkness, surrounded by the songs of tree frogs, crickets and the brook, reciting the ancient prayers to Our Blessed Mother, who hears her children's calls for the peace and healing of their loved ones. Who but her children can invoke her name and be instantly wrapped in her mantle of love?

If you have never done so, treat your family to a campfire rosary this summer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Please pray for my mother

Yesterday my mother was admitted to the hospital for suspected gallbladder inflammation. Now, after an MRI, it appears much worse. She may have cancer, and the word sends a cold shock of fear into your system when it's said with reference to someone you love.
Please pray for her, her name is Eleanor Crafa.
Please join us in a Pentecost Novena, starting today.
Mom is home from the hospital resting. She did not have surgery. She will have further testing in Manhattan with a specialist renowned in this field.
Your continued prayers are appreciated.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's only stuff

The silence on this blog is a result of a minor flood in our house the day after Mother's Day. Our washing machine decided it wanted to make a swimming pool in the basement, two floors down, and left four floors, kitchen countertops, and lots of ceiling space in it's wake. Thankfully I was home in time to mop up water making waves around my ankles in the kitchen while calling Serve Pro. They were wonderful, and between them and the washing machine insurance company, I'm getting help to clean up the mess, as well as replacement floors, ceilings, etc. But meanwhile, things are a bit rough around here, and the stress is getting to me.
Did I mention we're in the middle of sending the book to the publisher who will be deciding whether to publish us?
So, those of you who work for God know that this is a sign that the old man downstairs is not pleased. We hope to save lives and souls with the beautiful stories in Be Not Afraid. So ol' scratch hassles and fusses and tries to make me blow my temper.
Poor thing! Didn't he read the Book of Revelation?
He loses!

A new blog to enjoy

My friend Julie has a blog DRVC Catholic which highlights some of the beautiful churches on Long Island. Take a look at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Her mother's daughter

Sometimes the expression, "you're just like your mother" can be used as less than a compliment, but when I tell you about my mother's day gift, I mean it as high praise.

Growing up we used to make spiritual bouquets for the sick, or for someone like the bishop (what else could we possibly give him?). We adopted this custom when funds were low in our home, which seems to be the case in many homes.

So this morning, as I sat in my easy chair waiting for my morning coffee to energize my tired body, Gabbi came up to me with a small gift bag. On her class trip to Boston, she bought me a hyacinth votive candle with her spending money and wrote out this card with a spiritual bouquet.

I was thrilled, never have I needed one more. Right now, I am trying to make enough money to justify calling myself a full time Catholic writer, beginning by sending my book manuscript off to a Catholic publisher (please join me in prayer for it to be accepted). I know God is calling me to this vocation, yet I am struggling to trust Him to meet my family's financial needs while I give my talents to His service to spead the Gospel of Life.

We spent the morning at Mass, enjoying the lovely innocence of the First Communion children who were receiving their scapulars, and followed this with brunch in a country inn.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May Feelings II

Remember the incredible video last of year, May Feelings which skyrocketed to the top of You Tube? Well they made another, called May Feelings II. Enjoy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

A children's book for Mother's Day: Let me Hold You Longer

Karen Kingsbury is the mother of six children. Her book can be purchased on her website.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm on the "Among Women" Podcast

Thanks to Pat Gohn, whom I mention meeting for lunch here, with columnist Patrice Fagnant-McArthur, I am on my first podcast at Among Women.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My friend Therese is up for a Cannonball Award

She is an inspiring blogger and wonderful Catholic mom of special needs children. Her blog Aussie Coffee Shop is underappreciated and you can vote for her blog every day right here.

The courage of some mothers really inspire me

I am gaining new followers on Twitter every day, and it fascinates me to learn about each one. One pro-life mom of 5, Elizabeth Esther is a great blogger, and posted this wonderful story about a mom who just wouln't give up on Emmanuelle. These difficult times call for true pro-life heroism. She wrote, "We were adamant that God’s will be done and we knew ending our baby’s life was not our decision. We were told we were naïve, foolish, selfish, thoughtless-“do you think this baby wants to live, you have no idea what this will do to your family.”
Yet she carried her baby to term, and two years later she is surpassing all expectations.
Happy Mother's Day to all you brave women out there who don't listen to doomsday doctors, who put your own life on the line to save your baby.
There is a special reward awaiting you in heaven.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Submit your photos for Times Square Montage

from NDSS
Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Buddy Walk® by entering the Times Square Video Contest. The video, which showcases individuals with Down syndrome from all over the world, will air on a jumbo screen in the heart of Times Square on September 26, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. The New York City Buddy Walk will immediately follow the video presentation at the Great Hill in Central Park.
Each year, NDSS receives thousands of photo submissions for the Times Square Video Contest. Because the Buddy Walk promotes acceptance and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome, the winning photographs feature children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning with friends and family.
For more information, or to submit a photo,
please click here. The deadline for submitting photos is July 15, 2009.
ONE photo per individual can be submitted to the contest. Please note that this is different than in the past. If you send more than one photo, NDSS will only use the first submission.
Winners will be contacted by a representative from NDSS via email starting the week of August 3, 2009. You will not be contacted if your photo is not selected. Photographs will not be returned.
Click here to view the 2008 Times Square Video.
For further questions about the contest, contact me at

Pope Paul VI on Mary: Mense Maio

Throughout this month of May, let us offer our pleas to the Mother of God with greater devotion and confidence, so that we may obtain her favor and her blessings. Even if the grave sins of men provoke God’s justice and merit His just punishments, we must not forget the he is “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,” that He has appointed Mary most holy as the generous steward of His merciful gifts.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Special Graces in the month of May

from Mary Vitamin
"One May St. Pio of Pietrelcina wrote his spiritual father, Now at last the month of our beautiful Mother has returned! This dear Mother continues to give me her fond, motherly attention, especially during this month."
Father Stefano Manelli, FI, Devotion to Our Lady, (Academy of the Immaculate), 159.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Regina Caeli (replaces Angelus Prayer in Easter season)

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as he said, alleluia.

Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.

Through the same Christ our Lord.


He's baaaaack!

Who's back? Why Father Corapi, of course!

I miss his booming voice and the thrill that now that I live in a more traditional diocese, I may be able to come and hear him speak.
He was exhausted and malnourished, and a long rest did him a world of good. Now, he's back on the road, ready to challenge and inspire us with his booming voice and take no prisoners style.
Welcome back, Father, you were missed!
Read about it in the National Catholic Register.

Here's a Marian Meditation from his website
As we enter another month of May we can’t help but turn our thoughts to Mary, the Mother of the Lord and our dear spiritual Mother. For whatever reason some people have difficulty relating to the Blessed Mother. On the other hand, tens of millions of us love her dearly and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. I have always thought, “If she’s good enough for Jesus, She’s good enough for you!”We find ourselves caught in a violent spiritual war today. We need all of the help we can get. One of the greatest aids God has given us is the gift of His own Mother. We are foolhardy indeed if we refuse or fail to avail ourselves of this powerful gift.

Pray the Rosary every day. If we do not do this I’m afraid we’ll bear much of the responsibility for the state of the world—which is catastrophic. Can God bless a country that formally and legally embraces such human rights abuses as the genocide of abortion? Can God look fondly on a world that sanctions things such as fetal stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage?
These things constitute an assault on life itself, yet the average person is apparently too dull witted or morally blind to see this. At decisive times in human history, when all seemed dark, desperate, and nearly lost, the Church turned to Mary, the Mother of the Lord and our Mother, the Woman Clothed with the Sun. She interceded for poor humanity with her Son and won the day.
We are at such crossroads now and this May let’s not fail to turn to her in all of our needs. Everything we give to her, all of our prayers, go immediately to Jesus, Who gives them to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.I strongly urge you to totally consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary, pray the Rosary every day, and have confidence in her maternal intercession.
Above all love your Mother, for I promise you—your Mother loves you.
God Bless You
Fr. John Corapi

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May is the month of Mary

Sometimes I get so distracted, I overlook feast day. However, I continually give thanks to a gracious God who sends me reminders to stay close to Him.
Yesterday, without remembering it was the first of May, I posted about Christina's devotion to the rosary. May is the month of Mary, as my friend at Totus Tuus blog reminds me. I will be joining her in a series of Marian posts this month.

If you want to participate, you may copy this image and link to her blog. And don't forget the Litany of Our Lady of Loreto where you will find the title of this blog, Cause of Our Joy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remember this

The girls had a half day today, and are stuck inside together. Bickering.
So, Lord, please help me remember this moment last week, before I intervene.
I was writing on the computer when Christina took my hand to show me something in the living room.
She had lined up puppets and stuffed animals on chairs, with rosaries in front of them. Her little finger is in the photo indicating that they have the rosary.
She's playing family rosary!
Thank you, Lord for these moments of grace to sustain my patience in the trials of everyday mothering.