Archive for August, 2011

The most stormy time of the year…

Monday, August 29th, 2011

After all the chaos here on the East Coast from the hurricane, I thought I might as well make some blog material out of it!

I left the Priests for Life office Friday evening; our office was ‘smack dab’ in the middle of the mandatory evacuation zone! I headed home with puppy Georgio, making sure I had plenty of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, etc.  I put all my patio furniture in the garage and prepared to ‘hunker down.’

The rain started around noon on Saturday and didn’t stop for another 24 hours. It poured like a faucet on full strength, and the wind was loud and fierce.  I thought that would be the extent of it,

My poor neighbors!

but at about 3 am, I woke up to a loud crash just in time to see the sky literally light up.  Seconds later, the power was out.  I knew the drama had begun, starting with a nonfunctioning basement pump…!  I made my good faith effort at keeping up with the water as a one-woman bucket brigade, but it was useless, and I finally decided to go back to bed and face the disaster in the morning…

The next morning, I learned that 90% of my town was without power – and my basement had 7 inches of water… And that loud crash from the night before?  It was a giant oak tree – roots 3 yards in diameter – that had fallen *two doors* away from my house and taken all the power lines, a car, and a transformer with it! 

So now I had no power and there was water, water everywhere!  What was I to do?  Well, when the going gets tough, the tough go to Church!

I went over to noon Mass at St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen.  Even the Cathedral had no power; it was truly like stepping back in time: No electricity, no speakers, just dozens of candles and the souls of the faithful!  It was actually a very beautiful experience.  The priest asked us in our homily to take advantage of this opportunity to slow down with our normal routine and bring our focus back to Christ and to assist our neighbors in need. It’s amazing how God has the power to bring us back to the basics through these forces of nature!  It was a really uplifting message to hear when things looked so bleak! 

As if in answer to my prayers at Mass, three chivalrous gentlemen from Priests for Life (Mark Valonzo, his brother, Val, and Ruben Obregon) came all the way from Staten Island to help me with my pump.  We walked over to the fallen oak tree and couldn’t believe the damage.  I thought I wouldn’t get power back for a week.  But thanks be to God, the next morning we did it back.  I felt like the characters in the Poseidon Adventure (You Baby Boomers know that film reference! You younger readers might have to look it up!)

It was a noisy day today – Walking around the neighborhood, I couldn’t help but think of that beautiful Christmas song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – “With generators running and chainsaws buzzing…!”)  Let’s just hope this isn’t an annual occurrence… :-)

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Where’s our money going?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

A story on an L.A. Times blog from yesterday caught my attention: Unintended pregnancies among women below the poverty line increased 50% from 1994 (still in the early Clinton presidency) to 2006.  Among women in higher income brackets, the rate of unintended pregnancy actually fell during that same time period by 29%. 

When I read this story, I couldn’t help but think of the current debates about government spending and deficits – particularly the recent debates concerning government funding of Planned Parenthood.

In the words of  Mike Pence: “The reality is that Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from federal funding sources other than Title X. Of the $363 million they received last year, according to the GAO, only $53 million of that was from Title X.”

$363 million last year – That’s almost a million dollars a day.  Planned Parenthood has consistently claimed that most of that federal money goes to contraception – not abortion.  They’re constantly pontificating to us that contraception lowers the unintended pregnancy rate, and – by connection – the abortion rate.  But if Planned Parenthood has been raking in all of this federal funding all these years, and if contraceptives work so darn well, why is the rate of unintended pregnancies among low income women rising?  I mean, it hasn’t even stablizied - it’s actually still rising

Look – We all work hard, prices are going up, jobs are scare, and a lot of us are very sensitive right now about how the government is managing our money.  So it’s only right that we wonder if this is money well spent…

Self-discipline and abstinence are very economical alternatives.  I just thought I would throw that out there ;-)!

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My first National Review piece!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Dear friends,

I’m very honored and thrilled to share with you the news that’s made my week: The National Review has published my response to an article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine on the ‘selective reduction’ of twins – when a pregnant mother of unborn twins decides to have one of the twins injected with a lethal solution.  I would love to hear your feedback, and thank you all for your encouragement and support as I venture into the world of writing and blogging!  God bless you all!

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/274920/human-cost-selective-reduction-janet-morana

 

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Not quite as exceptional as you might think…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

I saw the following item in the news yesterday and wanted to offer my own anecdotal perspective on it:

“Operation Rescue has released eight tapes of 911 calls from New Mexico abortion clinics regarding women who suffered from complications including a ruptured uterus, cervical laceration with hemorrhaging, and multiple seizures.  On average, there is a 911 call from a New Mexico abortion clinic every 10 weeks.”

Link:  http://www.standardnewswire.com/news/290916503.html

Several years ago, I was in the emergency room at a major hospital in New Jersey.  In the same room was a pretty young woman in her twenties who was suffering from hemorrhaging. I heard her tell the doctor that she had undergone an abortion earlier that day. She was rushed off for some tests.  Upon her return to our shared room, the doctor informed her that her hemorrhaging stemmed from fetal tissue left inside of her uterus from the abortion – parts of her unborn child that the abortionist had failed to clean out of her.  He explained that her uterus might have been perforated, in which case a hysterectomy would be necessary. Even more heartbreaking, the abortion might have perforated her colon, too.  If that were the case,  this attractive young woman would spend the rest of her life with a colostomy bag.

But it was what the doctor said next that blew me away:  “You’re one of the lucky ones…”

Now, I was perfectly aware at this point that botched abortions had not disappeared after Roe vs. Wade.  Abortions were legal, but – despite the promises of pro-choice advocates and politicians – abortions had not become rare, and they still weren’t always safe.  But this experience brought the issue to my attention in a more dramatic way.

Not every woman suffers the same problems from a botched abortion as this young woman did, but how many times do we hear about women experiencing infertility after an abortion?  Many of these women don’t even make the connection between the two.  My work with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign has really opened my eyes to how *common* these complications are. You can visit www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org to read and listen to more testimonies.  The next time you hear someone talk about the benefit of abortion – how women need abortion – share these facts and this story with them. Abortion shouldn’t just be illegal – it should be unthinkable. It should be the choice that no one has to choose.

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Happy Feast of the Assumption, Everyone!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

My homemade cupcake Rosary! Delish!

This is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A very special feast day, since other than Jesus, Mary is the only one in Heaven with both her body and soul! Now most of us like to celebrate occasions like birthdays, anniversaries with a special party or dinner. Why not celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven with an Assumption BBQ. I did it when my daughters were little girls. We invited their friends over and had hamburgers, hot dogs etc. I even made a cupcake rosary which is pictured here and gave them all Holy cards as a party favor. Celebrating important feast days can be fun and a great way to catechize young people. Let’s hear your experiences too!

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 6

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

As I became more involved in pro-life work, I learned more about the damage that abortion does to women.  I realized that many of these women had felt alone in their grief at first, but later were able to experience mercy and healing.  These women who had been through the healing process could therefore serve as a voice for other women still locked in the secret sin of abortion.  That is why I co-founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, an initiative that gives women a forum for publicly te

Janet with one of the signs used in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign

stifying to the negative impact that abortion had on their lives.  Because I never had a surgical abortion, people began to question me why I was involved in such a campaign.  Here again I had to come to grips with all the children I had lost because of birth control pills.

Most people who work in post-abortion ministry only recognize the pain and grief from surgical abortion.  Yet I know in my heart that the loss I feel is just as real as if I had had a surgical abortion.  Moreover, I know I am not alone.  In fact, many women come up to me when I am at conferences speaking about the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and share their grief from years of taking abortifacients.

But there is good news. I was able to come to grips with these feelings of grief and loss recently at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat.  It was a first step in having my feelings validated, and I began to deal with my loss in a new light.  I am here to say that I will be “Silent No More” about the children that I aborted through birth control.

I am now reaching out to the other women who I know share these feelings.  I am sure I am not the only woman with a testimony like this.  I want others that would like to share their story to send it to me.  I will establish a section on the Priests for Life website for these testimonies.  I know we can help many families realize the damage birth control will do to their lives by getting the word out.  I also want to reach out to others who feel the pain that I have described and tell them that they too can take the first steps towards healing.

It’s my hope that others with stories like mine – people who have (for he time being, anyway) turned their backs on Christ and the Church – will realized the true wealth we have in our treasury of teachings, documents, and wisdom – that they see their purpose in life is as the Baltimore Catechism said “To know, love and serve Him on earth so that we may be happy with Him in Heaven”.  Ah!, but now see that we are called to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and also as our Friend.  We are called to have a personal relationship with Him.  I nearly threw this all away and was way from Him for almost twenty years.  I will spend whatever time I have left here on earth singing His praises and hopefully through my story bring others back to the Lord and His Bride The Church!

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 5

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

As my marriage continued its downward spiral, I focused more and more on my three daughters.  The good news is that I became reconnected with my Catholic faith around this time.  It was amazing how the hand of God worked.  You see, I was trying to get a job teaching in the public schools in Staten Island, oh and by the way they weren’t hiring, there were in fact budget cuts.  My mother-in-law, who was a daily communicant and also the person who took my daughters to Mass every Sunday for me, began praying a novena that I would find a job.  I just rolled my eyes, being the doubting Thomasina that I was.  It was two days before Christmas in 1988 that I was hired to teach first grade in P.S. 31 in Staten Island.  It was a miracle!  So my mother-in-law instructed me to go to Church to light a candle of thanksgiving. Well since it was Christmas and I at least went to Mass then, I went and lit my candle.  I then went to Mass the following Sunday not wanting to chance anything  happening to me starting my new teaching position.  By the third week of attending Mass the Hand of God reached out for me again.  We were leaving Church when my daughter Tara Lynn called out to the newly ordained Fr Frank Pavone to come over and meet her Mom.  She said, “Fr F rank, here’s my Mom, you know the one that needs to go to Confession!”  I turned beet red with embarrassment.  Fr Pavone was very cool and calmed down Tara Lynn’s excitement and turned to me and told me I didn’t have to go to Confession. Well, that was a relief. He did give me the rectory phone number and told me to give him a call.  He said we could just talk.  Just talk about the Church?  That seemed  odd to me.  So I stuffed the paper with his number in my pocketbook and there it stayed for a few more weeks.  Then one day I stumbled across it again and decided to give this young priest a call.  He invited me to his Friday night Bible Class and we had an appointment for what I later found out was called Spiritual Direction after that.  I gave him my laundry list of disagreements with the Churches teaching and he wasn’t shocked.  He invited me to continue to come and study and I took him up on the challenge.  It took me three months of discussion and study and finally I was ready for Confession.  After twenty years away from the Church I rediscover and wealth we have with our Faith.  I received Communion that day and it was for me now like my First Holy Communion.  I know this was beginning a relationship with Jesus.

As I continued to rediscover my faith and the teachings of the Church, I learned about God’s beautiful plan for marriage, including Natural Family Planning.

Janet in 2002

At the same time, I became aware of how birth control pills really worked.

I had always thought that birth control pills simply prevented fertilization.  Now I learned that the Pill actually has its own built-in insurance system, employing several different methods of action in case one or more of the methods don’t work.  Besides trying to prevent fertilization, the Pill also thickens the cervical mucus, which then acts as a barrier, preventing the sperm from getting to the egg.  If both of these first two methods fail and ovulation and conception both occur, then the Pill acts to prevent the fertilized egg (the newly conceived human being) from implanting itself onto the side wall of the uterus.   The child is then aborted out of the body.

I didn’t feel the impact of this newfound information until several years later. I was with a friend visiting the EpcotCenterin Disney World, and we decided to visit the Wonder of Life exhibit. As I began to watch a beautiful video showing the wonder of how life began, I realized what taking the birth control pills really meant: the possibility of aborting new life. In the years that I had been taking birth control pills, I had been very sexually active. I also knew that I was an extremely fertile woman. Given these facts, there is no doubt that I had successfully conceived new life many times, but had never given these little babies the chance to grow inside me. For the very first time in my life, I came to grips with the fact that I had not only shut myself off to life, but had also destroyed an unknown number of children.

As I came out of that exhibit, there was a giant rushing water fountain nearby. I walked over to it and began to sob uncontrollably.  I stayed there for quite some time, absorbed in my sudden feelings of grief and remorse.  This was the very first time I became aware of the full impact of what I had done.

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 4

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I became engaged after dating my future husband for three months.  From there
things moved quickly towards our wedding day.  At Pre-Cana classes the priest told us
that depending upon the circumstances, birth control pills could be an option for us to
consider. I didn’t realize at the time that this was bad advice in every way: theologically,
spiritually, psychologically, and physically!

As the oldest of four siblings, I had many years of experience dealing with diapers
and babysitting, and felt that delaying the start of a family was a good idea.  I had taken
birth control pills back in high school (although I wasn’t sexually active), as prescribed by
my Catholic OB/GYN for menstrual problems.  At this point in my life, then, both a
priest and a doctor had legitimized the use of contraceptives, and so I continued  my
journey down that slippery slope.

I started taking birth control pills three months before my wedding date.  About
one month before my wedding, my fiancé began to pressure me to have sex with him.  I
had been a virgin up until then!  I gave in to the pressure, and so my marriage got off to a
bad start.  When you begin marriage not knowing each other very well and then
compound things by moving into a very intimate physical relationship, you set the stage
for disaster.  There’s a popular song about marrying your best friend; well, that’s how
well you should know someone before entering into such a serious, lifelong commitment.

I continued taking the pill for two years. Once I was off the pill, I got pregnant
immediately and gave birth to an absolutely beautiful baby girl.  I threw all my attention
into motherhood, and as a result wanted to delay having another baby.  I went back on
birth control pills until my daughter was thirteen months old. I then felt it was important
for her to have a sibling, so I stopped taking the pill. Once again, I became pregnant
almost immediately.  The lesson I was teaching myself was this: No pill equals countless children!

This time I gave birth to beautiful twin girls.  By this time information was
released showing the risk of clots and strokes associated with birth control pills.  With a
history of strokes in my family, I was afraid to go back on the pill.  I didn’t know about
Natural Family Planning.  In fact, the only natural method that I knew of was the old
“rhythm” method, which was considered by most to be unreliable.  Since my marriage
was built on a physical relationship, you can imagine the amount of arguing and fighting
that began.  When the twins were three, I thought I was pregnant again.  It was just a
scare, but it was enough to make me do something really drastic: I had a tubal ligation.  I
felt I had solved all my problems – or so I thought.

I had embraced everything that the feminist movement promoted as being
liberating and empowering for women.  In reality, I had not been liberated; every day I
felt more trapped in a bad marriage.

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 3

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

 

Janet's High School Graduation from St. Agnes Seminary in June 1970

Now you’ll hear how I began down the slippery slope…

I attended an all-girls, small Catholic high school, St. Agnes Seminary in Brooklyn,
staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph.  In my sophomore year (1968), the Church went
through another radical change.  July 25, 1968 was a day that will live in Church infamy!
That was the date that Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae. There was division in the
Church.  You could literally go to a priest on one side of a church and be told that birth
control was a sin, while on the other side of the same church another priest would say it
wasn’t a sin as long as you had a “good reason to use birth control.”  Let’s face it – we
can all try and justify our behavior if we really want to.  The culture, too, was changing.
This was the sexual revolution, “woman’s lib”, and the whole drug culture.  And so I,
too, got caught up in this whole changing world. I began to question my faith.  I thought
women had a right to birth control, and I no longer believed in the infallibility of the
Pope.  All those Baltimore Catechism questions and answers became irrelevant to me.
Then the moment came when I took that first step down the slippery slope.  It was
sophomore year, and the priest came to our school for our monthly Confession.  I
dutifully lined up with my class for Confession.  This time, though, I began to feel
anxious and no longer wanted to go to Confession. I did an about-face and walked back
into class.  Sister said, “Confession, Janet!” and I replied, “Yes, Sister,” and so began my
first step down that slippery slope. I stopped going to confession, which led me to abstain
from Communion, which in turn led to me skipping Mass altogether.  In the end, I only
attended Mass on Christmas and Easter.

Fast forward a little: I graduated from St Francis College in 1974 and married in 1975.  It
was a time when my Catholic faith no longer seemed to matter to me.  My relationship
with God was almost at a zero.  At the same time, all my close friends were getting
married, so marriage seemed like the next step to take – or so I thought.

Stay tuned to see what happened next…

Janet's College Graduation from St. Francis in 1974

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 2

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

 

My 8th grade graduation from St. Vincent Ferrer in June 1966

Now you’ll find out how my life dramatically changed at St. Vinny’s…

Then came 1965, the end of the Second Vatican Council, and the Church of my childhood was about to undergo some radical changes.  The whole look of “St Vinny’s” began to change: the altar was turned around, the priest faced the congregation, and the Mass was now all in English.  Latin hymns and organ music practically vanished, and in came the guitars, tambourines and folk music!  The tabernacle was dismissed to a side altar, the beautiful marble altar railing was removed, and we no longer knelt to receive communion; in fact, we were encouraged to receive Jesus in our hand now!  Confession could now take place face-to-face with the priest, although this same priest began to discourage weekly Confession anyway – a monthly or even ‘seasonal’ confession was considered fine!  Oh, and let’s not forget that women no longer had to have their head covered upon entering church, not to mention that genuflecting almost became passé. What happened to that feeling that when you entered the church, you were in awe at being in the presence of The Almighty, the One, True God.  Now it was like we were high-fiving Jesus!  Imagine being an adolescent going through this!  The one sure, stable thing that you thought you could count on was radically changing.  This was a time that tried people’s souls!

Did you experience a similar reaction to Vatican II?  I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this way!

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