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‘Planned’ parenthood—God’s way • by By Joe Pisani

 • by By Joe Pisani
From the Fairfield County Catholic, publication of the Diocese of Bridgeport

While I was being introduced to guests at my younger sister’s birthday party, someone who had a little too much Pinot Grigio asked, “Is that your father?”

“Check the prescription on those eyeglasses,” I wanted to say.

I’m sure the question made Margaret’s day, although it cast a bit of a pall over mine. (At least they didn’t say “grandfather.”)

In my defense, let me point out that it was a poorly lit room, some guests had been drinking heavily and I had gray stubble on my face because I didn’t shave. You see, I wanted to look like those young hunks in GQ magazine who have sexy facial hair, but I guess my plan backfired because I looked more like Burl Ives than Hugh Jackman.

“No,” Margaret told the inquiring guest, “That’s my brother. We were born 13 years apart.” Then, she added, “I wasn’t planned.”

“Planned”—what a utilitarian concept. I doubt my parents planned her or my sister Kathy, who was born a year later on the same day. My father didn’t believe in long-range planning. He took life a day at a time, which is a lesson they taught him in Alcoholics Anonymous.

How many of us were planned by our parents? For my part, I hope I was a complete surprise, like winning Lotto or getting a flat tire when you’re rushing to a meeting.

Planned or unplanned, our parents welcomed us. They were from a different era when it was widely believed that all life, from the beginning to the end, was sacred. They also subscribed to this crazy notion that children were gifts from God.

When I thought about it, I had to admit that none of our four daughters was “planned,” at least by my wife and me. We never sat down to develop a strategic plan for parenthood with an Excel spreadsheet, a folder of Huggies coupons, and blueprints for a bigger house. In fact, we raised four daughters in a Cape Cod with three bedrooms, no dishwasher and one bathroom. The waiting lines were long and the yelling was loud.

Our daughters were surprises, and what great surprises. We welcomed them all, although we feared that four children were more than we could afford. In the end, God provided, as he always does.

Years later, however, while I was struggling to pay for college and weddings, I sometimes wondered, “Why the heck did we have four kids? A dog or two and possibly a parakeet would have been a lot less expensive.” But the truth is we wouldn’t have done anything differently.

As parents, we may not have planned those pregnancies, but God certainly did. God has a plan, and it’s always better than our plan. Sometimes, though, what He has in store for us isn’t necessarily what our first choice would be.

As he told the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

One of my “unplanned” sisters became a doctor who works in the intensive care unit and has helped many families when they’re confronting a medical crisis or the end of life. The other “unplanned” sister is a social worker who counsels families troubled by abuse and poverty. I like to think they take Christ with them in their work.

The greatest tragedy of our age is that so many children, had they been born and not aborted, could have changed the world for the better, in big ways and in small. They might have developed a cure for cancer or AIDS, and they might have brought Christ to the lonely, the suffering and the dispossessed.

Each one of us was created in God’s image and likeness with infinite forethought and love, although I confess that I seldom feel like a piece of fine craftsmanship and usually think of myself more as a Hyundai than a Porsche. But even our flaws were part of his plan, and the amazing thing is he loves us, flaws and all.

Years before Roe v. Wade and long before our society began to trivialize the sacredness of human life, Trappist author M. Raymond wrote, “Each human being is so tremendous that he or she merits a reverence that is really religious. For each is a creation of God; each a mirror of Divinity; each a feature or a facet on the Face of Christ.”

People who are forgotten by society, people who have no value in the eyes of a materialistic, status-obsessed culture are infinitely valued in the eyes of God.

Fr. Raymond also said, “From all eternity, God has had in his mind and will a specific task for you to perform for which no one else in all creation is fitted as you are. It belongs to you and to you alone.”

He’s talking about you. He’s talking about me. He’s talking about millions upon millions of “unplanned” children, whose value God understood before time began.

Or as Mother Angelica once said: “God knew you, loved you, and chose you before there was an angel, before there was a world, a universe or a star.”

Joe Pisani, a journalist for many years, is principal at The Dilenschneider Group, a strategic communications firm.


Clarification of Who Am I to Judge? by Fr. Cipolla

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is time for a clarification of this phrase, “Who am I to judge?”  Perhaps, just perhaps, the official explainer, Fr. Lombardi, should tell  the world what this means.  Perhaps, just perhaps, the Bishop of Rome, should tell the world what this means in the context of Jesus Christ’s words “Judge not and you will not be judged in the Gospel of St. Luke.  Perhaps the important distinction between sinful condemnation of a person in one’s heart and making a valid moral judgment could be pointed out. Perhaps there can be a clarification of these words within the context of the teaching of the Church on human sexuality as clearly set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  

The store includes a gallery of photos showing different people wearing this t-shirt. The photo that most touched me was the one above of a geography class in a Catholic school with some of the students wearing this T-shirt ("Holy Names Geography Club in their orange Z Day ribbons, supporting Mark Zmuda. More photos to come! ‪#‎zday‬"). The smiles on the faces of the kids are real and touching.  The context is their support of a teacher in the school who was fired for "marrying" another man. For these Catholic kids what is most important is being nice to other people and being open to "alternative" life styles. The questions of salvation, of truth, of sacrifice, of faith with content:  how can these compete with a smiling Pope and “Who am I to judge” on a T-shirt?  And there is the real tragedy.  But we live in hope.  And perhaps, just perhaps, someone, even the Bishop of Rome, will let those kids and the world know what that now famous question means.

Father Richard G. Cipolla
A convert from the Episcopal Church, Father Richard Cipolla is a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut and a Latin scholar who came to love and celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.


Novena to St. Joseph

Say once a day for nine days, especially beginning on 10 March and ending on 18 March, the eve of the Feast of St. Joseph

O glorious descendant of the kings of Judah, Inheritor of the virtues of all the patriarchs. Just and happy St. Joseph, listen to my prayer. Thou art my glorious protector, and shall ever be, after Jesus and Mary the object of my most profound veneration and confidence. Thou art the most hidden, though the greatest Saint, and art particularly the patron of those who serve God with the greatest purity and fervor. In union with all those who have ever been most devoted to thee I now dedicate myself to thy service; beseeching thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who vouchsafed to love and obey thee as a son, to become a father to me; and to obtain for me the filial respect, confidence and love of a child towards thee. 

O powerful advocate of all Christians, whose intercession, as St. Theresa assures us, has never been found to fail, deign to intercede for me now, and to implore for me the particular intention of this Novena. 

(Mention your intentions here)

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. 

Present me O great Saint to the adorable Trinity, with Whom thou hadst so glorious and so intimate a correspondence. Obtain that I may never efface by sin the Sacred Image according to the likeness of which, I was created. Beg for me that my divine Redeemer would enkindle in my heart and in all hearts, the fire of His Love, and infuse therein the virtues of His adorable infancy, His purity, simplicity, obedience, and humility. 

Obtain for me likewise a lively devotion to thy virgin spouse, and protect me so powerfully in life and death, that I may have the happiness of dying as thou didst, in the friendship of my Creator, and under the immediate protection of the Mother of God. Amen.


Traditional Catholic Prayers: O Kind Creator, bow thine ear

Traditional Catholic Prayers: O Kind Creator, bow thine ear

O kind Creator, bow thine ear
To mark the cry, to know the tear
Before thy throne of mercy spent
In this thy holy fast of Lent.

Our hearts are open, Lord, to thee:
Thou knowest our infirmity;
Pour out on all who seek thy face
Abundance of thy pardoning grace.

Our sins are many, this we know;
Spare us, good Lord, thy mercy show;
And for the honour of thy name
Our fainting souls to life reclaim.

Give us the self-control that springs
From discipline of outward things,
That fasting inward secretly
The soul may purely dwell with thee.

We pray thee, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,

That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.


"They don't build them like this anymore": Inspiring renovation to Traditonal Latin Mass Parish Church in Norwalk CT


Even when the Traditional Latin Mass was confined to the "crypt," hundreds of worshippers searching for its reverence and beauty overflowed the pews in St. Patrick Chapel in the basement of St. Mary Church. That was Advent of 2007, and the parish, under the pastorship of Fr. Greg Markey, has been evolving toward the perfect form of Catholic worship ever since. "Creating a beautiful home for our Lord gives glory to His greatness and helps form strong Catholics,' says Fr. Markey. A traditional Gothic architectural structure, St. Mary in Norwalk, is forming many strong Catholics through prayer, liturgy, sacred music, worship, art and architecture.

After that trial period in the basement of the church, then Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Rev. William Lori, allowed the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass to be moved upstairs to the church proper. Unfortunately, St. Mary was not immune from the disastrous effects of church whitewashing that occurred in the 60's and 70's. A beautiful testament to the glory of God at the turn of the 20th century, St. Mary's became a banal "worship space", devoid of the rich history of 2,000 years of Catholic worship.
St. Mary Church 1930

St. Mary Church 1989
Renovations began soon after bringing the Traditional Latin Mass upstairs, and will be culminating this Christmas season of 2013, when the commissioned painting of renowned neo-Classical artist Leonard Porter, The Assumption, will be installed in the central reredos, directly behind the high altar.

The video is a special report covered by Channel 12 News in Connecticut about the renovation at St. Mary.

If you are interested in supporting the renovation project at St. Mary, please visit this link. 
To donate by PayPal click this link.

Read article by Joseph McAleer, former Diocesan spokesperson at this link.

View more photos at this link.


Extraordinary Form will be offered at St. Joseph Church, Danbury, CT

Good news from St. Joseph Church bulletin: 

Dear parishioners and friends of St. Joseph Parish,

In Advent of 2012, we introduced the Third Edition of the Roman Missal at our Parish Masses. This new English translation, called the “Ordinary Form” of the Mass, was implemented smoothly after appropriate catechesis and with helpful worship aids.

Listening to parishioners over these first two years of my pastorate, I have frequently heard expressed the sincere request for the “Latin Mass.” These requests have come from young and old and include a stable number of the faithful.

The “Latin Mass,” called in the liturgical language of the Church the “Extraordinary Form,” uses the Ordo Missal published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962 (now called the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.)

There are in essence then, two forms or editions or usages of the same Roman rite. It was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who granted the liturgical freedom to offer both forms of Mass in the Apostolic Letter called Summorum Pontificum (2007). In it he wrote, “In parishes where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their request to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962...” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains, “What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

I shared and discussed the request for the Latin Mass with the Parish Council at our meetings last year. In order to be responsive and sensitive to this request for Mass in both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms, I have concluded that a weekly Sunday Mass in Latin will be offered starting later this year (the readings will be in English, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See). The Latin Mass, however, can only be offered after minor restoration of the sanctuary is completed.

You may have noticed that the old, red carpet in the sanctuary has been removed, revealing elegant marble steps leading to the high altar. Within the next few weeks, the sanctuary floor itself is going to be cleaned. The high altar will also be restored and cleaned in order to offer the Latin Mass, once again, at that altar.

Finally, we discovered the previously existing low altar had a major crack in its center. It has been removed and will be repaired and repurposed for our outdoor memorial gardens.

The smaller altar now in place is an architectural match to the main section of the high altar. It is made of wood, however, with a solid piece of natural stone, i.e., marble, which is large enough to hold the Sacred Host, Chalice, and ciboria used at Mass. The piece of marble was inserted into the wooden altar table. This stone is called the Altar Stone. In it is a First Class relic of St. Charles Borromeo. The Altar Stone denotes Christ, who is the Mystical Stone, or foundation of the Church.

This smaller altar of sacrifice is, as previously indicated, a wooden structure. Because it is of this lighter material, it can be moved out of the sanctuary when the Latin Mass is offered facing East.
Mass is central to our spiritual life in the Roman Catholic Church. Our sanctuary will soon be able to accommodate both forms of the Roman Rite so that the fullness of our Catholic heritage can be preserved and celebrated “all for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”
Devotedly in Christ,
Reverend Samuel V. Scott 

Thank you Father Scott! 

The Reverend Samuel V. Scott was appointed the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in June, 2011. Most recently, Father Scott served as the rector of St. John Fisher Seminary, Stamford, the college seminary of the Diocese of Bridgeport. He previously served at parishes in Westport and Brookfield, and is thrilled to return to parish ministry at St. Joseph Parish, which he describes as a "vibrant Catholic parish blessed with a thriving diocesan school." 
A native of GettysburgPennsylvania, Father Scott is a graduate of St. Joseph Academy, McSherrystown, a school administered by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill. He attended Delone Catholic High Schoolwhere a religion course made a life-changing impact and led to his vocation to the priesthood. Father Scott took his undergraduate degree from Vassar College where he studied philosophy and theology. Upon graduation, he received a fellowship to study at Union Theological Seminary, New York, where he received the Master of Divinity degree in Church History.
Father Scott entered the formation program of the Diocese of Bridgeport in 1990 and completed his theological studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbook, in 1995 where he received the M.A. in Sacred Scripture. Father Scott was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edward M. Egan, in 1995, at St. Augustine Cathedral, Bridgeport. His ongoing formation included attendance at Institute for Priestly Formation of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. There he received certification for completion of a course and practicum on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.  


St. John Marie Vianney, pray for us! Pray for our priests!

August 8 is the traditional feast day of St. John Vianney, patron saint of all priests. John Vianney's body remains incorrupt, entombed in Ars, where he served faithfully. In this time when the Traditional Latin Mass might lose some footing, we pray for John Vianney's intercession, especially for priests who are resistant to bringing the Traditional Latin Mass to the faithful. May John Vianney's intercession ignite new fervor in the Traditional Latin Mass.

John Mary Vianney was born in the Village of Dardilly in the diocese of Lyons, and gave many indications of his future sanctity.

As an eight year old boy, keeping sheep, he would lead the other children to kneel before the image of the Mother of God, teaching them the rosary by word and example: and he loved the work in the fields and meditate on divine things. He was a great lover of the poor and took delight in helping them in every way. He was slow to learn, but after imploring God's help, and working hard to complete his course in theology, he was judged fit to be ordained.

Receiving an appointment as pastor he made spiritual flowers bloom again in a parish that had been nothing but a dried up wasteland. Busy every day hearing confessions and giving spiritual counsel, he bore patiently the most horrible attacks of Satan. He established a practice of making missions in more than hundred parishes.

The faithful came flocking to his parish, even from distant places in a holy desire to see him; but he did not share their high opinion of him, and more than once he tried to slip away. Worn out by his labors rather than his old age, he rested in the Lord at the age of seventy-three, on the day he had foretold, August 4, 1859. Famous for many miracles, he was enrolled among the Blessed by Pius X, and among the Saints by Pius XI, who on the fiftieth anniversary of his own priesthood, appointed him the heavenly patron of parish priests, and all priests.


Prayer {from the Proper of Saints}
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray
Almighty and merciful God, who didst make St. John Mary to be wonderful in pastoral zeal and unchanging love for prayer and penance, grant we beseech thee, that by his example and intercession we may be able to gain the souls of our brethren in Christ, and with them to arrive at the glory of eternity.
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen.


Contracepted Sex=Homosexual Sex

If you can't see video, follow this link:

You've heard this factoid before-no church accepted contraception before 1930. That is, until the Lambeth Conference, when the Anglican Church decided contraception was acceptable under certain circumstances. It was all downhill after that, with Protestant denominations, one after another, following suit.

A more conservative Washington Post, on March 22, 1931, reacted with this statement:

"Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee's report, if carried into effect, would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be "careful and restrained" is preposterous."
The Catholic Church also, at that time clarified Her position with Pope Pius XI's encyclical Casti Conubii, On Christian Marriage.
To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words 'Increase and multiply,' is beyond the power of any human law.
But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Pat Robertson would have his followers believe that Protestant churches have always accepted contraception. Being born in 1930, maybe he wouldn't remember. But a pillar of his church should make it his business to know.

On top of that, he lets his true colors show, when he talks about large families in Appalachia. He describes the poor children as "ragamuffins" and suggests they would have been better off not to be born. A tragic pronouncement for anyone to declare-who lives and who should not be born. And Protestants (and Liberals) aren't the only ones who make these pronouncements. Recall Matt. 26:11- "For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always."

Michael Voris draws a clear cut conclusion: if Robertson (and others) can claim to be pro-life, but still advocate for birth control, then they advocate against life.  For one reason, proponents of life realize the abortifacient property of birth control. Proponents of death won't draw the line between contraception and emergency contraception, and therefore abortion. More importantly, because birth control frustrates the marriage act's meaning- the begetting of children- Protestants like Robertson unknowingly open the door to unnatural unions that do the same thing.