Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Coming to a TV Near You: ‘The Catholic View for Women’

Monday, April 16th, 2012

New EWTN Talk Show Focuses on Culture of Christ

by Marge Fenelon, Register correspondent

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 11:09 AM

http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/coming-to-a-tv-near-you-the-catholic-view-for-women/#ixzz1sDzFogN0

 

When Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, Janet Morana and Teresa Tomeo get together,  something fantastic happens — it’s called The Catholic View for Women.

It’s a new EWTN talk show. Several pilot shows ran on the network last year,  garnering reviews so favorable that EWTN not only contracted for a full series,  13 episodes of which will air this fall, but also created a brand-new set.
The trio traveled to the Irondale, Ala.-based EWTN studios in March to tape the  fall season.

The idea for the show was conceived by host Janet Morana, executive director  of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More awareness campaign. The  concept spent five years in gestation before EWTN approved the production of six  episodes in 2010.

“I’d look at [secular] women’s talk shows, and say, ‘This is why Catholic  women are getting poor information, because they’re not getting the truth of the  Church,’” Morana explained. “We see a strong need to help catechize women who  are where we were so that they won’t fall away like we did.”

Morana shared her concerns and ideas with author and syndicated Catholic  talk-show host Teresa Tomeo. Tomeo’s daily morning radio program, Catholic  Connection, is produced by Ave Maria Radio and also airs on Sirius/XM  Satellite Radio. Tomeo liked Morana’s idea and approach and suggested Astrid  Bennett Gutierrez, executive director of Los Angeles Pregnancy Services, as a  third host.

Gutierrez was hooked as soon as she heard the idea. “I’m really grateful. I  feel privileged to be here with Janet and Teresa, because they’re my heroes,” Gutierrez said. “That they would pluck me out of my little neighborhood, that  they realized the minority voice must be heard [on the show], is a huge  blessing.”

The mix of personalities, backgrounds and cultural heritage creates the  perfect balance for the co-hosts and forms a solid foundation for lively and  inspiring exchanges on the show. Morana is a native New Yorker, Tomeo is a  Midwesterner and Gutierrez is a West Coast native of Hispanic decent.

What’s more, the women all had one thing in common: Each had left the Church  and come back with the realization that only the Catholic Church holds the  fullness of truth.

As Tomeo said, “There’s an urgency in all three of us to really help women.  That’s where our hearts are at, and that’s where the energy comes from.  Additionally, we’re all staunchly pro-life, and this is a pro-life show. Of  course, we also are good friends.”

The hosts believe the Holy Spirit is the source of what they describe as an  immediate sisterhood that “just clicked” when they began working together. “The  Holy Spirit took our pain and our pasts and works within all of us, using our  different gifts to do something wonderful,” said Morana.

Each show has entertainment, substance, catechesis and “homework” that help  women grow in their Catholic faith. The show’s website  (TheCatholicViewforWomen.com) offers discussion questions for each episode that  can be used for personal reflection or group discussions.

According to the website, the show’s goals are: “To reach Catholic women in  the pews who are cafeteria Catholics, who have never been exposed to the  fullness of the faith because of poor catechesis; to reach fallen-away Catholic  women like us and show them the beauty of the faith/Church teaching and how  Jesus is the greatest liberator of women and the greatest source of our dignity;  to reach the un-churched, who have completely fallen away from the faith; to  encourage today’s faithful Catholic women, that they can be in the world and not  of the world; to meet women where they are at in their walk with the Lord and  the Church;  to help parents in their efforts to raise their daughters as  faith-filled Catholic women; and to offer a positive, relevant and fun  alternative to today’s toxic TV shows targeting women.”

“I’m so upset with the lack of objectivity in the secular media; it’s  absolutely devastating to women,” said Tomeo. “The media can do so much good,  but, lately, they’ve been doing so much damage.”

As a Hispanic woman, Gutierrez was raised on what she calls “survival mode,” with minimal catechesis and in an amoral environment. Still, she always felt a  strong attraction to the Church.

“What I really want is that women of all ages will be able to see the beauty  of the Catholic Church that I missed for so many years: the Eucharist, morality,  (Church teaching on) sexuality, the truth about the pro-choice lies and all  those things that are misleading women,” said Gutierrez. “I’d like to see  minority women assimilate, but not into the mainstream culture. I’d like them to  assimilate into the culture of Christ.”

Gutierrez, as well as her co-hosts, hopes that the show will become a  catalyst for change and a means to dispel the plethora of myths about Church  doctrine.

“We want women to see that the Church is not the ‘evil monster’ that the  secular media makes her out to be,” added Morana.

The hosts also hope The Catholic View can be a vehicle to let  others know about EWTN and the wealth of information and devotions that it has  to offer Catholics.

“There are too many people in the pews who don’t yet know about EWTN. We’re  so grateful to EWTN for the opportunity they’ve given us,” said Morana. “We’re  excited that they think this is valuable programming.”  (The Register is a  service of EWTN.)

Morana, Tomeo and Gutierrez spend a good amount of time researching for each  show. Before taping, they gather Church documents, conduct interviews and search  for other information that will form a substantial basis for the topics they  will discuss.

During the shows, they quote Scripture, Church documents, the Catechism of  the Catholic Church and writings of the saints and doctors of the Church as much  as possible. Topic ideas come from their own experiences as well as interaction  with friends, acquaintances and viewers.

It’s not only the information that they work hard at — it’s also giving the  show a professional appearance. The hosts shop together, intentionally  coordinating their outfits to complement each other on the set, and they hire a  professional make-up artist to do their hair and makeup, all at their personal  expense. They know they must take their on-air presence seriously in order to  compete with secular shows.

“God’s message deserves it,” Morana said. “It’s his word, his teachings, and  what we’re doing is wrapping it up in a pleasing package so that people open it  up and really appreciate it.”

This season’s shows will focus on women leaders in the Church, EWTN’s  foundress Mother Angelica, Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Teresa of Avila, the  single life, discernment, the pill, saying Yes to marriage as a sacrament,  pornography’s effect on women, in vitro fertilization and egg harvesting,  miscarriage, faith and fitness, college life and minority issues.

Doug Keck, EWTN’s executive vice president and chief operating officer,  thinks the show brings something new and innovative to the network’s lineup. “The show has a different format, with a different approach, and allows us to  reach an audience we haven’t been able to reach before in a new way,” he said. “It’s a strong series with great potential, and we’re committed to it.”

Marge Fenelon writes from Cudahy,  Wisconsin.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/coming-to-a-tv-near-you-the-catholic-view-for-women/#ixzz1sDzFogN0

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Easter is Coming

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

MEVs John and Elaine Testa are greeted by Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, during the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco in January.

http://www.priestsforlife.org/articles/4137-new-mev-couple-is-fighting-for-the-unborn-on-many-fronts

John and Elaine Testa, who recently made their final promises as Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (MEV), sent this beautiful message out to their email list today. Take a moment to read it, and click on the link above to read more about the Testas and their full-time commitment to life.

 

Easter is Coming

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak…. 

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage.. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

 

I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

 

“Take ‘em  home and have fun with ‘em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”

 

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

 

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister.

They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again.

 

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”

 

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage  down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

 

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ‘em all!”

 

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

 

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

 

“And what will you do when you are done with them?”

Jesus asked. “Oh, I’ll kill ‘em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do  you want for them?” Jesus asked.

 

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

 

“How much? He asked again.

 

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

 

The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

 

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A Solution For The High Price Of Date Night

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was on with Bill O’Reilly on Fox Wednesday.  You can see the interview here: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1535398096001/timothy-cardinal-dolan-enters-the-no-spin-zone

The Cardinal was clear and eloquent in explaining how the controversy over President Obama’s contraception mandate has nothing to do with contraception and everything to do with political strategy.

The next day, America’s Newsroom host Bill Hemmer discussed the Cardinal’s interview with conservative commentator Monica Crowley and Christopher Hahn, a former aide to New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

Hahn suggests that, religious freedom concerns aside, the Catholic Church should ease up on its prohibition of contraception because it’s awfully expensive to go out these days and sex is cheap. I am not making this up.

Click here for a video clip of the interview.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/03/29/monica-crowley-and-chris-hahn-weigh-in-on-archbishop-dolans-comments-on-obama-catholic-church/

After you see the video, post a comment to tell me what you think about Hahn’s suggestion.

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Ashes to Ashes…

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

As we begin our Lenten journey today and receive our ashes, the priest will say “Remember thou are dust and to dust thou shall return” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel”.  That reminded me of a poem which we recited when I was young girl  growing up in Brooklyn. It went like this:

“Ashes to ashes dust it dust, if God doesn’t get you the devil must!”

Now you might smile and grin a little but I think there was a lot of wisdom in this child like poem.  See we were aware of the devil, heaven and hell.  These are concepts that you rarely hear preached or thought about today in Churches.

So as we enter this Lenten season, let’s try right from the very first day to make this our best Lent ever.  Not just in what we might be giving up for Lent but in more prayer and reflection, time before the Lord in Adoration and reading of the Scriptures.  It is not about giving up things but giving more to the Lord!

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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 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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