Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Week

- Father Micciulla is away this week. Daily Mass is at 9:00 a.m.
- I will offer a Funeral Mass on Monday morning at Sacred Heart Parish, Suffern, for a dear friend - Rita Meehan. She and her family became family to me during my deacon year at Sacred Heart over 32 years ago.
- This is Catholic Schools Week. There will be open house on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. If the time does not work for you, call the school at 986-3533 and arrange for a private tour. Tell them Father Michael sent you!!! Register now for the 2013-2014 school year. Please check out our great Pre-K program for 3 and 4 year olds! All are invited to a Community Concert on Thursday at 1pm in the church.

Funeral Mass - John B. Coyne

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of John B. Coyne on Wednesday, January 30 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for John and for his family.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Ultrasound Generation

This is by Cardinal Dolan. It is a good reflection for the "March For Life."

As we mark the solemn 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, I would like to address my column this week to our teens and young adults, who I believe will ultimately prevail in restoring a sense of respect for all human life, including the innocent baby in her mother’s womb. Please feel free to share this column with a young adult in your life, or ask them to look for it at

For much of the 40 years since the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision ushering in an era of abortion on demand, we in the pro-life community have had little to cheer about. In the battle for hearts and minds, it has at times seemed as though we were losing ground, and fast. We could preach about the sacredness of all human life, about the harm that abortion does to women who are so often coerced by others into doing the unthinkable, and the lifetime of pain and regret so many of them, and the fathers of the aborted baby, face as a result. For a long time we were overwhelmed by even louder voices proclaiming “choice” to be the ultimate right. For too many of my generation, that argument was effective and catchy, and there is no changing their minds.

This civil rights issue of our time—the right to life of the innocent baby in the womb—won’t be won by the older generation; it will be won by the young. It is to you that I address this message on this solemn anniversary.

Popular culture calls you the “Millennial Generation” because you came of age at the dawn of the Millennium. But I think of you as the “Ultrasound Generation.” You are different than any generation that came before you in that your very first baby pictures were taken not with you in your mother’s arms, but you alive in her womb.

Your generation is defined by technology. You have come to expect almost annual revolutionary technological breakthroughs that change the way we live and work. You have seen staggering medical advances that have given doctors wonderful new tools in fighting disease and injury. And you have grown up with ultrasound technology that has opened a window into the womb, allowing us to glimpse preborn babies from the earliest weeks of gestation.

You have seen your little brothers and sisters before they were born in these grainy videos and photographs pinned to the fridge. Your mom or your dad has shown you those first images of yourself. Some of you have even seen your own children for the first time with newer, clearer 3- and 4-dimensional ultrasound technology. You have gasped with wonder at the sight of little arms flailing and legs kicking, heads bobbing and hearts beating, mouths sucking thumbs.

You have seen, and you believe.

Let’s face it, you figured out a long time ago that your parents’ generation isn’t always right. So many have tried to convince you (as they have allowed themselves to be convinced) that an unborn baby is nothing more than a “clump of cells.” College professors, politicians, Hollywood glitterati, and media talking heads have hammered you with the message that the decision to abort has no more moral significance than having a wisdom tooth extracted. To be an enlightened adult, you will be told, you must support the “right to choose.” (They won’t tell you what, or who is being chosen.)

You are rightly skeptical. They may believe what they say, but in this matter they are wrong. Think of your first baby picture, the one on the flimsy paper with the dark background and the unmistakable image of you. You know better.

You have seen, and you believe.

I know it is not easy to go against the prevailing culture. But your generation has not been afraid to be countercultural. Besides, I have good news for you—you are not alone. The pro-abortion movement’s dark secret is that it has been losing the hearts and minds of young people for a number of years. And now the secret is out.

Just last month, the head of the nation’s largest abortion advocacy organization, stepped down, citing the need for someone younger to try to engage youth. Interestingly, she seemed to acknowledge that her side is losing you, the “Ultrasound Generation.”

“The intensity on that side will not go away,” she told the media. “They come to this issue as young people who want to overturn Roe v. Wade, and they’re going to do everything in their power. That view might change as they grow older and reality hits and personal experience happens, but right now the personal intensity is pretty high on that side.”

You know what? She’s right! I have seen that intensity myself in the young New Yorkers who pray at abortion clinics, lobby in Albany and climb onto buses in the pre-dawn darkness to join their fellow pro-lifers at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., as we’ll do this Friday. When I look out into the sea of faces out on the Mall in the shadow of the Washington Monument, I see you. You know who I see when I look at the rallies on the pro-abortion side? I see people my age and older.

That pro-abortion leader and others like her are counting on you having some sort of grand epiphany once you get older and, as she said, “reality hits.” But what they aren’t counting on is that when you saw yourself, your kid brother or sister, your own child, in that ultrasound photo, reality did hit. And it hit hard.

You have seen, and you believe.

But here’s the tough part: It is not enough that you believe. It is not enough that you are sympathetic to the cause. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to know that so many of you in the “Ultrasound Generation” are pro-life. But this can’t be a secret anymore. You need to proclaim it. It can’t come from me or from people my age; our time is rapidly passing. Now is your time.

My time has seen 55 million abortions in the United States since 1973. That is almost exactly the population of New York State and California combined. A number that big can seem abstract, but you know intuitively that these 55 million people were your peers, your siblings. One of them could easily have been you.

In New York City, four out of every 10 pregnancies end in abortion, double the national average, mostly poor Black and Latino women. In some parts of New York City, the number is 6 in 10. Yet some of our elected officials in Albany are pushing a bill, believe it or not, to expand abortion access even further. It’s as though, in their minds, our state motto, “Excelsior” (“Ever Upward”) applies to the abortion rate!

Sometimes, it falls to one generation to clean up another generation’s mess. And I’m afraid we have left you quite a mess. I am asking you, the “Ultrasound Generation,” to set the course right, to change hearts and minds, to change the law so that your children’s generation is given the legal protection that your generation so tragically was not. Ultimately, I am counting on you to change our culture.

My faith in you is high. For I have seen, and I believe—in you

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 21 is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday. There will be one parish Mass at 9:00 a.m. All parish offices will be closed on Monday.

Prayers for Joan Balogh

Please pray for the soul of Joan Balogh. She is the mother of our 2nd grade teacher, Marianne Sims. A Funeral Mass will be offered on Monday, January 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Most Precious Blood, Walden.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the NYS Catholic Conference

Re: The Abortion Expansion Bill
Note- For more info, go to

“In relation to revising existing provisions of law regarding abortions”

The above-referenced legislation may come before you as a stand-alone bill (such as S.438, Stewart-Cousins) or may be re-packaged into a multi-point “women’s agenda” as advocated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State message. We strongly urge you to oppose this abortion expansion plan, in whatever form it may take. It is unnecessary, extreme and dangerous. For the reasons outlined below, the New York State Catholic Conference strongly opposes this legislation and urges that it be defeated.

This legislation this bill does not simply “update” New York law or codify Roe vs. Wade. It would usher in extreme and sweeping changes to abortion policy in New York State.

■The bill would permit unlimited late-term abortion on demand. Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy (Article 125 Penal Law), but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman’s life. This bill would repeal that law and insert a “health” exception, broadly interpreted by the courts to include age, economic, social and emotional factors. It is an exception that will allow more third-trimester abortions in New York State, a policy which the public strongly disapproves. This ignores the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the lives of fully formed children in the womb, and ignores the will of a majority of New Yorkers who oppose late-term abortion.

■The bill would endanger the lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. While current law states that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion, this bill would allow any “licensed health care practitioner” to perform the procedure prior to viability. This dangerous and extreme change clearly puts women’s health at risk, and mirrors a national abortion strategy to permit non-doctors to perform abortions due to the declining number of physicians willing to do so.

■The bill would preclude any future reasonable regulations of abortion. It would establish a “fundamental right of privacy” within New York State law, encompassing the right “to terminate a pregnancy,” even though the Supreme Court has rejected, numerous times, classifying abortion as a “fundamental right.” Therefore, it is impossible to say that this legislation simply “codifies Roe vs. Wade” in New York law. It goes well beyond Roe. The Court has said that states may regulate abortion, as long as those regulations do not place an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion. This bill says that abortion is fundamental and thus untouchable – no regulations on abortion, ever. No parental notification for minors’ abortions, no limits on taxpayer funding of abortion, no limits on late-term abortions, no informed consent for pregnant women seeking abortion. None of the commonsense regulations enacted by the vast majority of states and supported by large majorities of the public would be allowed in New York.

■The bill endangers the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals and other institutions. While the bill contains limited conscience protection, that protection is ambiguous and inadequate and is extended only toindividual health providers who do not wish to “provide” abortions (protection that is already guaranteed by Civil Rights law.) What is not provided in the bill are protections for institutional providers, such as religious hospitals and other agencies that do not wish to be involved with abortion. The bill declares that “the state shall not discriminate” against the exercise of the fundamental right to abortion in the “provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.” In other words, it would permit state regulators, such as the State Health Department or State Insurance Department, to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.

■The bill could be used to undermine the state’s maternity programs. In a similar way, these beneficial programs, which are working well to reduce infant mortality, could be ruled “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion, and be denied state benefits if this bill were to become law.

The abortion expansion bill is uncompromising in its terms and extremely sweeping in scope. The bill goes against the increasingly pro-life sentiment in this country, as evidenced by the most recent Marist poll (December 2012) which found that more than 8 in 10 Americans favor significant restrictions on abortion. The Gallup Organization (May 2011) found that only 27% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances. The majority of American adults (61%) believe abortion should either be more strictly limited than current law or not permitted at all.

Not only does the bill defy public opinion, but it also defies common sense. New York State remains the abortion capital of the nation with the highest abortion rate of any state. New York City’s abortion rate remains at 40%, with some geographic regions within the city at 60%. The reality is that no woman is without ample opportunity for an abortion in New York State. Rather than voting on a bill that will increase the tragedy of abortion, we urge policy makers to look at constructive ways to reduce abortion and truly make abortion “rare.”

We strongly urge you to oppose the abortion expansion bill.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Congratulations Bishop Sullivan!

Bishop Dennis Sullivan, our Vicar General, has been named the new Bishop of Camden, New Jersey. We offer him our prayers and best wishes!

Monday, January 7, 2013

National Pilgrim Statue Visits St. Stephen's

The National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima will visit our parish on Wednesday, January 9. The statue is scheduled to be present at the 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. morning Masses and remain throughout the day. Our school children will visit beginning at 1:00 p.m. and our religious ed children will visit at 4:30 p.m. In the evening at 7:30 p.m., we will hold a Service in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. The Service will include Scapular Enrollment, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, five decades of the Rosary, Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Litany to Our Lady, talk by the Custodian, and Benediction. All are welcome.

Funeral Mass - Caroline Berlingieri

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Caroline Berlingieri on Wednesday, January 9 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - Filomena "Fay" Cialdella

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Filomena Cialdella on Tuesday, January 8 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Prayers For Dad

Thanks for your patience as I care for my dad. At this moment he is in the ICU at Northern Westchester with renal failure. However, it appears that this has been caught in time, and he is making good progress. The doctors are hopeful he can soon be moved out of ICU. I am very blessed to have two great sisters and a wonderful brother, and each does their part to help. So, if I am not in the parish, I am at the hospital. I am grateful to Father Micciulla who covers for me. He is a blessing!

Funeral Mass - Gloria F. Andriuolo

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Gloria Andriuolo on Saturday, January 5 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.