Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm a columnist at Catholic Mom

My first column is up at Catholic Mom. com. It's on my little saint, Christina and how she prayed to Our Lady for my mother's recovery from cancer. I knew it was up when I got the loveliest email from Mary Catherine Williams, saying,
"Your story which appeared in brought tears to my eyes. I know in my heart Christine was talking to Our Blessed Mother asking to intercede on your mother's behalf. I am a healthcare worker and know cancer rears its ugly head too often. I will remember your mother in my prayers.
You are blessed to have Christine. Somehow I think you already know that."
Thank you Mary Catherine and all of you who made such supportive comments with promises to pray for Mom. She is very gratefull; she says our prayers are sustaining her.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When saying "no" hurts

This Sunday, I found myself in the heartbreaking situation of bringing someone to Mass who wanted to receive communion and couldn't. Only this time, it wasn't a strayed adult living in sin, but an innocent 7 year old boy who has never been baptized. He asked to join us at Mass though his parents, our house guests, were not going, and sat dutifully at his grandmother's side, quiet as a cricket though he could see very little in the packed church besides the traditional architecture of the 100 year old building and the lifelike Stations of the Cross.
Maybe it was the solemn beauty of the Mass which held his attention. I can remember similar scenes from my childhood, seeing nothing but the backs of well-dressed people, yet the the traditional smells and bells of the Mass told me that this is a holy place. When the crowd parted for communion, I could spy the fresco of St Joseph and the child Jesus at the carpenter's bench next to the altar. It spoke volumes about fatherly love. The organ playing the hymns which shook the floor with awesome tremors told me that God was mighty. I loved going to Mass in such a beautiful church, and moved to this parish far from our home so that my daughters could experience the same reverence for the unspeakable power of the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus on the altar.

Perhaps he felt this love of God in the Mass, and that is why the little guy changed his mind on the communion line behind my daughter, and moved his arms from the crossed "I do not receive, just bless me"position we taught him, to the folded hands of a communicant. My sister-in-law pointed this out to me, and I make a beeline to join him in line and explain to Father that we only wanted a blessing for him.
It broke my heart to do that, this little boy is not at fault; it was his grandparents who failed to baptize his mother, who had no desire to give him any instruction in the faith. It is a sad legacy which is played out more and more in our Church. This young child's father has abandoned him and his mother is living with a boyfriend who gave her another son. No one in his home attends Mass, though his little brother was baptized last January, his parents expressed no interest in taking him to classes for Baptism. I watched as he looked on as his brother's Baptism with more than a little envy. It broke my heart.
After Mass, I brought the little boy up to the statue of St Joseph and the Child Jesus after Mass, and reminded him that he and Jesus both had foster fathers named Joseph, and he smiled. I joined him in prayer for his mother to sign him up for catechism classes. We lit a candle together, and he left the church happy for a few minutes in the playground as a reward for good behavior.

I hope that his mother will take my suggestion to heart and sign him up for catechism classes. I know that the example of this innocent child seeking the grace of God could to bring his whole family into a state of grace. This will be on my list of prayer intentions.
Please join me as we pray for all children who wonder who Jesus is and if God hears them when they pray. May their families take the time to teach them about the love of God.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mom is home at last.

Today Mom came home after two weeks in the hospital, we are very grateful for all the prayers which made this possible. It was so great to hear her so happy on the phone; we are not visiting to help make her trasistion to home care a peaceful one. Three kids and two dogs are hard to keep quiet.
Keep the prayers coming, thank you so much.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mom has been richly blessed

A big hug to all of you who are remembering to pray for my mother who is ill with cancer. She has been hosptialized since her birthday July 5 ,and is holding court every day with a constant flow of visitors. We have to ask people to postpone their visits to give Mom time to rest. Her visitors have included no fewer than six priests.
Mom has been annointed with the Sacrament of the Sick and received the Apostolic Blessing which carries with it a Plenary Indulgence. She is peaceful and offers up her suffering for her nurses and family. Dad is sleeping at her side in the hospital and my brother Bill the RN is a constant advisor and comfort. Rob my other brother keeps the dog company and gives Dad time to go to Mass on Sundays. I come down with the girls on the weekend to clean the house for Mom's return sometime this week.
Keep the prayers coming, God is good.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel

O Most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein You are my Mother.
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech You from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity. There are none that can withstand Your power.
O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.
O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.
O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gossip and Grace

I have to share a beautiful post on this subject by Elizabeth, a friend of mine over at The Divine Gift of Motherhood.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Illuminated Ink coloring contest

Illuminated Ink has one of their fabulous coloring contests, this one for the Year of the Priest.
It's a beautiful drawing of St John Vianney, I'm tempted to print one for me!
Go to this link and print your coloring picture and the contest rules.

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Move over, Lance Armstrong, for John Henry!

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John Henry has this amazing video on his site, "Powered by an extra chromosome". He bowls, swims, skates, golfs better than I do. He is the person a mother with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome should meet, cause he does everything their doctors are telling them their child won't be able to do.
Watch this and be inspired!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Guest Post: Amanda Gain of Best Buddies

Comfort is such an abstract idea that most of us assume we have the right to to feel and live in. One could say that the majority of people, especially in this country, choose the extent to which they live in comfort. The phrase "step out of your comfort zone" implies that there was some sort of comfort already in existence. So, I comfortably sailed through my high school years without having to acknowledge the group of students who seemed so incredibly different from me behind those closed doors. How was I supposed to know how to act around them? Were they fragile? Even if I wanted to offer my friendship, could they accept it? With so many unanswered questions, I just shoved the issue down deep into the back of my mind, thinking that I'd probably never need to interact with someone with a disability because it just wasn't my "thing".
Hindsight is everything. Some of the most important people in my life now are those with Down syndrome or autism. When I'm not feeling well or I just need someone to talk to, I know I can get on a bus and 10 minutes later, I can lose myself in the unlimited happiness and unconditional love of my friends at Misericordia Heart of Mercy. How did my attitude change so quickly? Experience is everything, and when I experienced my first year in the international non-profit organization, Best Buddies, everything about my life changed.
Best Buddies mission is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All over the world, high school and college students, as well as other community members are exposed to the miraculous gift of befriending someone who's been left behind by the rest of our society. The goal of the organization is to create a world where Best Buddies does not need to exist. Ignorance is the downfall of our nation and by spreading the mission of Best Buddies, we eliminate some of the fear and hostility that comes along with the unknown.
Technology is allowing parents to have an estimate of the likelihood that their child will have a disability. I guarantee that if any of these parents could interact with a single person that I get to interact with at our events for Best Buddies, there would never even be the slightest thought of not continuing with the pregnancy. The r-word would not exist if someone who uses it regularly sat down and played a game or watched a movie with my buddy. I can't imagine my life without Best Buddies, nor can I imagine it without the presence of some of the most unique, gifted people in the world. Seeing someone for their abilities, rather than their disabilities is what Best Buddies offers, and it is what everyone deserves.

For more blog posts on Best Buddies, please visit
In friendship,
Amanda Gain
Vice President, Membership
Loyola University Chicago
Thank you Amanda, for a thought provoking, heartfelt post. I am convinced that whoever goes outside their comfort zone and gets to know a special needs person will be rewarded beyond their expectations. Thank you, Amanda and all those who participate in Best Buddies, for making the world a more accepting place for individuals like my Christina.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

My friend is the Motherhood Examiner for Long Island

You will find Elizabeth's column up here.
Go and see what this prominent Catholic Long Island mother has to say.

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New study on vaccines and autism

Is there a link between aborted fetal DNS and the rise in autism spectrum disorder?

A new study is underway by Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute- the non-profit arm of AVM Biotechnology and strategic partner of Children of God for Life.

Read their June 2009 Newsletter.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

My first screening in Boston

I've been to film screenings in four cities: LA, NYC, Hartford, and Boston. Boston is my favorite by far. So easy to navigate, and there is cheap pulic parking underneath Boston Common. I walked to Loew's Theatre by baseball games and lovers strolling arm in arm. After the film the Daughters of St Paul discussed the important themes with Grace Hill Media executives, and I met Pat Gohn, the podcaster.
We saw the powerful but powerful "The Stoning of Soraya M." which great direction and Jim Caviezel made worth the trip. Here is my review from my media blog Catholic Media Review:

"At its heart, this movie is a human drama filled with tension, peril and hope - but it is also a true story that I felt strongly had to be told, a story the whole world needs to know." -- Director, Cyrus NowrastehThis is the theme of the- story revealed by an Iranian-French journalist Freidoune Sahebjam (Jim Caviezel) whose car left him stranded in a remote Iranian hamlet burdened with a terrible secret. In Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini, where fundamentalist selfish men to suppress women, and even use Islam dispose of them when they thwart their desires. Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo) exerts great persuasive power to interest Sahebjam in hearing the story, risking repercussions from the village mullah (Ali Pourtash) and mayor, who try to pass her off as insane. Finally, she convinces the journalist to come to her home, and record on his tape recorder the horrendous story of the stoning of her niece Soraya (Mozhan Marno) the day before.That is how the novel “The Stoning of Soraya M” on which the film is based, came to be.
Soraya is a lovely young mother of four with an abusive adulterous husband Ali (Navid Negahbam) who has his eye on second wife he can’t afford, so he asks Soraya for a divorce. In this poor village, such an arrangement would mean certain starvation, so Soraya refuses. It is in her kindness that Ali spies an opportunity, and soon he is convincing the Mullah to falsely accuse Soraya of adultery. With devastating ease, the men in the story become complicit in murder; each of them has a shameful personal reason to brutalize the innocently beautiful Soraya.
Soraya’s seraphic smile and her tender compassion combined with her aunt’s fierce loyalty are the saving graces of a vicious plot strung taught with anticipation of the impending tragedy. No spoilers here; the title of the film gives away the ending, yet the film, like “The Passion of the Christ” also produced by Steve McVeety, is worth watching for the dignity of screenwriters Cyrus and Betsy Geffen Mowrasteh’s direction, and the commanding performances by mostly unknown actors. Actress Shoreh Aghdashloo, better know to American audiences as the charming Elizabeth from “The Nativity Story”, is Zahra, the pivotal figure of the film who boldly clashes with the somewhat reasonable mayor Ibrahim as he is swept into the insane current of mob violence.Soaring cinematography, gripping performances, and the distinctive Middle Eastern style musical score of John Debney (composer for the Passion of the Christ) redeem a shameful story of deception and murder, elevating it to soul-searing enlightenment. Your heart will be rent but not destroyed by Soryaya M. The screening audience the theatre charged with renewed determination to fight such abuse of women. Soraya’s tragic story will continue to be repeated until more members of the international community rise up and take decisive action to liberate women from sexual slavery, starvation, and abuse.

Playing princess

When Mom is busy around the house, the sisters are together, and the costume trunk is opened, a wealth of multiculturalism emerges!
Hail Princess Christina of El Salvador, or is it Hawaii?!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Eduardo Verastegui is coming to CT in August

Thanks to a persistently prayerful Mexican-American nun named Sister Gabriela, the Sisters of Charity of Mary, Mother of the Church will sponsor "An Evening with Eduardo Verastegui" on uesday, August 11, 2009 at EastConn in Willimantic, CT. Eduardo is the wonderful star of the prolife movie Bella.

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Cathedral in the pines

The verdant arc made by the White Pines at the and the bond between father and daughter, make it easy to see God is at work in the world.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

In loving memory of Thom and Marc Girard

Fr Angelos' post at Mary Victrix gives honor to the fallen knights. I only met them once at Mass as their last Encampment was ending. It has been my pleasure to get to know Jackie and Carol this year, a difficult one in many ways, yet it brought out their spiritual beauty.
You are all in my prayers.

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