Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Passion of the Christ and me; a love story

The Lent the Passion came out in theatres was a deeply spiritual one for me, because of the film, I saw it repeatedly and each time, I struggled with the urge to genuflect in the theatre aisle. It was a time when I connected with Jesus deeply, so deeply that the only time I can say that I am closer is when I am in His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Each time the film would begin, I would whisper, “I am here with you, Jesus”.

I would pray for those in the theatre seeing it for the first time. When it came out on DVD, I showed it to as many adults and teens as I could, and consider it a staple of our family’s Lent.

I have seen VERY FEW violent films, in fact I think most of the violent films I have seen are directed by Gibson, and I refused to see “Apocalyto” since I was bitterly disappointed that Mel was taking all the money he made from the Passion and NOT making a pre-quel while Jim Caviezel was still young enough to play Christ. What a waste! SO much good came from The Passion that there was a book and film made about it.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal even had a petition to influence Mel to make a film of St Francis, to no avail.

My pastor was so moved by The Passion that he was worried. Being Irish, he said, “God is preparing us for a blow”. Didn’t the priestly scandal follow on the heels of this masterpiece of devotion?
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Woman with Down syndrome runs art business in Florida

Her mother refused to institutionalize her. She put her in a school where she flourished, and now, with her mom and grandparents, Cinnaomon, a 38 year old woman with Down syndrome is running her own notecard and print business in the Florida Keys.
Visit her website;

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Prayer Wall of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Are you holding a jar full of Lenten Alms? Want a suggestion of where they could do great good?
You could donate the money to help pregnant homeless women of Good Counsel Homes in the South Bronx and help create a prayer wall with Our Lady of Guadalupe's image on the side of their home in the Bronx.
Peter O'Malley a volunteer at Good Counsel says,
We invite you to participate with your prayers and gifts in the placing of the image Our Lady of Guadalupe on the exterior wall of Good Counsel’s home in the South Bronx, NY for the benefit of homeless expectant mothers choosing life for their unborn children.
Read more about it on their blog:

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Good film for Palm Sunday

If your family has already seen The Passion of the Christ, and would like to share a good family film on Christian virtue in action, I recommend "Amish Grace" which will air on Lifetime TV Sunday at 8PM.EST.

Read my review of the film at Faith and Family Live.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Our Lady of America Shrine Blog

   Pam Jackson has begun a new blog to promote the Shrine of Our     Lady of America in Rome City, IN
Our Lady of America is the only approved apparition in the United States. On the blog, she showcases her beautiful homemade rosaries.
Check it it out here.
Fr Andrew Apostoli told me that Our Lady promised that if her statue was installed in the National Basiclica of the Immaculate Conception, that it would be a center of grace like Lourdes. Pray for the bishops to do the will of Our Lady.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today is World Down Syndrome Day

Because our children have 3 of the 21st chromosome, we celebrate their uniqueness today, appropriately on the first day of spring. Because they are as unique and beautiful as spring flowers.

Sadly, we must remember that 90% of our precious babies never see the light of day. Christina Dunigan has a great post on this called An Acceptable Level of Collateral Damage.
Let's compare the War on Terror, then, to the War on Down Syndrome, which kills three genetically standard babies for every "enemy" (baby with Down syndrome) successfully eliminated. For every 100 of the "enemy" killed, we are killing 300 "civilians" -- non-targeted "normal" babies. That's at least 13 times the "collateral damage" rate of combat bombing missions.

Now we can join in prayer that the health care bill which further threatens their lives is defeated on this day.

Servant of God, Dr Jerome Lejeune, pray for us.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Christina's 8th birthday

She came home from school on Friday wearing a birthday crown, carrying a backpack full of little gifts from her teachers; bookmarks and stickers. She knew that it was her birthday, so when Grandpa came up from Long Island and we busily scrubbed the house and cooked, her anticipation grew.
At Mass, Christina wore a hot pink "I'm the Birthday Girl" button which she proudly pointed out to everyone, as she sat with uncharacteristic patience in the pew.  After a special blessing from Fr Tito, fifty of our closest friends followed us home and the party began. Lasagna and salad, garlic bread and Coke, we celebrated eight years of joy which Christina has brought into our lives.
Soon it was time for the birthday cake, and she put on her crown and beamed as fifty voices sang "Happy Birthday". We broke open the pinata, opened her gifts and waved goodbye to the guests. The birthday girl took a nap to get ready for Youth Group while the teens in the dining room played a boisterous game of Pictionary.
Before Youth Group, I watched Fr Groeschel's Live Show on EWTN where Chris Bell was celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Good Counsel Homes. I tuned in just as he was sharing the statistic that 90% of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted, and reflected that if the world were made of loving people like those adults he knows with Down syndrome, it would be a wonderful place. I called in to thank him for his kind comments, and wish him a Happy Anniversay. Good Counsel Homes has helped over 5,600 homeless pregnant women since it began as an act of love 25 years ago. Our group, running the Ave Maria Home hope to open our home this year, once we raise the $200,000 necessary to gain state permission to open. We are working on a website to promote the Ave Maria Home, I'll be linking to it when it is ready.
After the show, we attended the Youth Group, where once again, Christina was the belle of the ball, with over 100 teens singing "Happy Birthday" to her. She had a wonderful birthday, thanks to all the love of our wonderful Catholic community here in Connecticut.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

My reviews of The 13th Day quoted in Ignatius Press catalogue

I was excited to see the enticing array of films in the new Ignatius Press catalogue, but I was more thrilled to see my review of "The 13th Day" quoted with that of Steve Greydanus and Daria Stockey. "Catholics need a wake-up call on what it means to be the Church Militant. In the face of a darkening world landscape, "The 13th Day" is just that" says the quote on page10.
I was even more amazed when I read the other quote from my review on the Ignatius Press website page for "The 13th Day". My heart beat faster when I saw those whose quotes were chosen.
I was quoted with Fr Andrew Apostoli, CFR, the Official Fatima Shrine and Most Rev Vincent Nichols the Archbishop of Westminster, UK. Such august company!
"Directors Ian and Dominic Higgins, accomplished more than a pious revival of a fond moment in Catholic history, they re-cast familiar images of a story whose relevance has grown with time."
– Leticia Velasquez, Hartford Catholic Examiner
(read full review - also on Catholic Media Review)
This is a great honor for me as a writer to have my work quoted by such a fine publisher and in such respected company. I consider it part of my calling as a writer to help interpret books and film for busy Catholics who are wading their way through the filth of the culture of death. I will be interviewing a cast member of "The Blind Side" next week,  and publishing my review in "US Catholic".
This publicity has inspired me to catch up on the dozen or so book reviews I have to write, so please understand if this blog quiets down. ..

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Friday, March 12, 2010

I am a Columnist at Amazing Columnists

Catholic Schools Day in Hartford

I was sent with Isabella, and another student and teacher to represent St Joseph's School at Catholic Schools Day in Hartford. We were there to protect state subsidies to Catholic schools such as bus transportation (in CT only the town you live in provides a bus, in NY you were bussed within a 15 mile range) and funds for school nurses. There is also a bill to allow businesses tax credits if they contribute to a scholarship program for children in poor areas to attend Catholic schools. This would include several towns where students at St Joseph live.
Rep Chris Coutu is not intimidated by being a minority Republican, and enthusiastically promoted this bill among his colleagues while we were there. He attended a meeting in Norwich where the imminent closing of 102 year old St Joseph School was discussed. With Superintendent Shine and Asst. Supt. Sr Barbara Gould, (see photo) we discussed the closing of many area Catholic schools and the negative impact it has had on the community. One aspect we stressed was the economic burden ($15K annualy) to educate the Catholic school students who enter public schools.
Catholic schools, especially faithful schools like St Joseph, are a boon to the community, and it's time they were given a break. A tax break with no strings attached.
I will keep you posted here on the progress of this bill.
Thank you Rep Coutu for supporting Catholic shools in CT
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Monday, March 8, 2010

March madness

Spring is in the air; 60 degrees today. We were all irresistably drawn outdoors this afternoon. Even the cats ventured outdoors to get their fur ruffled in the breeze. . .
We played softball on the front lawn, went exploring the stream with three labradors, and got muddy water shaken ALL over us; now what did we expect?!
We enjoyed the clamour of Candian geese flying back from the South in V-formation overhead, spotted  our first Robin, a white crocus and budding wild Pussywillows in the stream. . .s unbathed and exercised, yelled and listened to the wind in the trees, breathed deeply of warm,  fresh air and gratefully stretched our legs.

Can all this joy be allowed in Lent?

Easter is coming. . . it is Sunday, which is not part of Lent and it seems like the Lord is just getting us ready to rejoice in the Resurrection, like the choir rehearing the music for the Triduum, a priceless preview of glories to come. But there's more. . .

After all, St Patrick and St Joseph have feast days in Lent.

Our Lady celebrates her Annunciation this month, 

We must be allowed outbursts of joy even in the midst of penitence almsgiving, and fasting.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

On "Tweeting Abortion"

I have been struggling with commenting on this story since it is so raw; a woman, very broken by life, who calls herself an 'anti-theist', has been tweeting her abortion. I can't bring myself to read the tweets or see the YouTube video, but I have read Jill Stanek's take and am happy to share with you Mary Hasson's view from Phases of Womanhood. Her compassion and faith shine through some of the harsh commentary which surround this tragic event.
Angie desperately wants to silence the whisper of God in her own heart. But unlike the clamor of condemnation from some harsh pro-lifers, God’s whisper is a message of His love, steadfastness, and forgiveness. And it’s a whisper so powerful that it can open even the hardest heart. Ironically, Angie’s inability to still the whisper gives us hope—hope that she’ll take the armor of hurt off her own heart and hear the God who loves her.
Mary reminds pro-lifers who call themselves Christians, that though the act of abortion is awful, the soul is nonetheless precious in His sight. May we offer our Lenten prayers and mortifications for Angie and women like her.
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Living Offensively; my new follower on Twitter

Living Offensively just started following me on Twitter. You can follow me here.
They are a Christian group who believe that since the world finds Christianity offensive anyway, and since Christ called us to be salt and light to the world, we are called to live offensively.
 I wanted to share a great t-shirt from their collection. This dispels the myth that Christians are against God's gift of the marital act. We just don't brag about how happy we are.
Which begs the question. . .
Where do they think our large families come from?
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Korean figure skater is a proud new Catholic

And she's not afraid to show it; makes a sign of the Cross during each performance, and explains the meaning of her rosary ring to reporters. May God bless her for her stellar example to youth!
Catholics in Korea were overjoyed to see Stella Kim Yu-na make the sign of the cross during her performance at the Olympic figure skating competition on Feb. 23.

The 19-year-old went on to make a new world record and became South Korea’s first Olympic figure skating champion, winning numerous fans.

Read the entire story here.

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If you have aborted your special needs baby, there is healing

As my readers know, the reason I began writing is to overcome the 90% abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome, and I hope to attract expectant mothers to  this site who are in the midst of such a crisis, in order to inspire them to give their babies life. But, if, however, you have made that awful decision, and are now suffering the consequences of having aborted your child, please do not think I am standing in judgment of you.
 Abortion is always a mortal sin, however, only God knows what kind of pressure the doctor, your husband, and others were inflicting on you. I refused prenatal testing to spare myself that kind of pressure, and I would advise other pregnant women to do the same.
Aborting a child with an adverse pre-natal diagnosis is a whole different scenario than most abortions. You were told your child would either die at birth, or have a short, miserable life (most times this is a lie or a misconception based on outdated information). You were told that it was 'selfish' to give birth to a special needs child, that you would  be burdening your husband, your children, and society. You were not given current information about treatments and life expectancy for children with your child's diagnosis, and you were left thinking perhaps that abortion was more merciful than birth for your child.
This is the common wisdom which you will hear on what we call "termination sites", websites where mothers share their abortion  stories and justify it by saying odd things like,  "I set him free to come back in a healthy body"(belief in re-incarnation is not consonant with Catholicism) .
So, what do you do now besides go to confession? You go on a specialized retreat for adverse pre-natal diagnosis from Theresa Bonapartis at Lumina Ministries. You heal from the pain caused by that awful choice, and, if you are called, tell your story to all who will listen.
God is merciful, and nothing is impossible for Him. Make this Lent the begining of your new life.

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