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Students represent the Archdiocese of Hartford at the March for Life today on the National Mall.

8202773256 5d16c585fa mA statue of Blessed Junipero Serra at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer)

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MANILA, Philippines (CNS) – Pope Francis said his September trip to the U.S. will take him to Philadelphia, New York and Washington – where he intends to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra – but probably no other stops.

20150127cnsbr8170 webDan Nelson shows how Shockbox helmet sensors are attached to the inside of the crown of a football helmet with a piece of Velcro Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Joanne Fox, Catholic Globe)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) – Micah Herbst of Sioux City does not have a son on the football team at Bishop Heelan Catholic High School.

sledesky 053 webA man photographs Father Stephen Sledesky, pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Manchester, and friends during reception in priest's honor Jan. 11.

MANCHESTER – Hundreds gathered at St. Bridget Parish on Jan. 11 to honor Father Stephen Sledesky, who was recognized as this year’s Archdiocesan Distinguished Elementary School Pastor. The award is presented annually to a pastor who exemplifies leadership, dedication and commitment to Catholic school education.

20150118cnsbr7984 webAn aerial view shows pilgrims gathering to hear a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 18. The view shows only a portion of the Mass site. (CNS photo/Philippine Air Force/Handout via Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) -- Pope Francis told a crowd of an estimated 6 million gathered in a Manila park to protect the family "against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture."

AAA 2015 POSTER final web

FARMINGTON – The campaign for the 2015 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal got off to a rousing start with a reception and dinner for past donors at Farmington Gardens Jan. 9. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair spoke on the theme of this year’s appeal, “Living the Joy of the Gospel.”

st fran spirit award winners 2015 webFrom left, Mark and Barbara Lentini, Daniel O'Connell and Christopher M. Dadlez

HARTFORD – Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell and the late David A. Lentini were recipients of the St. Francis Spirit Award during the annual luncheon meeting of St. Francis Care, parent company of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, at the Connecticut Convention Center Jan. 7.

soccer web(Photo provided by Knights of Columbus/l'Osservatore Romano)

Wilfrid Macena and other members of a Haitian amputee soccer team present Pope Francis with a soccer jersey on Jan. 12, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson stands to Mr. Macena’s left.

20150112cnsbr7611 webA Swiss Guard keeps watch as Pope Francis speaks during an audience with the Vatican diplomatic corps Jan. 12. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri pool via Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Highlighting some of the most urgent conflicts facing the world, Pope Francis said such strife and injustices were rooted in a culture of rejection that refuses to recognize God, to protect nature and to respect other human beings.

In a wide-ranging speech Jan. 12 to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope urged the world's governments and individuals to work "to end every form of fighting, hatred and violence, and to pursue reconciliation, peace and the defense of the transcendent dignity of the human person."

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cram_halfDearest Marietta,

I knew you were dying, but I wanted one more day together. One more kiss, one more chance to remind you that I love you. One more game of Giant Step in the yard. One more birthday with one more candle, and enough breath to blow it out.

But, the candles stand forever at 34, with no more kisses and no new tomorrows. No more letters in your funny handwriting. No more songs crooned together as Dad howls and we break out laughing so hard we can’t continue. No more clothes borrowed, then rumpled and forgotten under the bed. Just 34 candles, silent and still.

It’s been 16 years since your life on earth came to an end. I still remember that Monday when I sat with you and held your hand and listened to Pachelbel as you gasped for breath. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the gasps quieted. And then there was silence.

Oh Marietta, I miss you so much. I yearn to hear your voice and listen to your funny stories about wheelchair races down the halls at the nursing home where you worked. I want to hear about the times you prayed with residents, and how you once smuggled a puppy into our house and hoped Mom wouldn’t notice. And, I’d give anything to find my rumpled clothes stuffed under your bed. Anything.

I am sorry for the times I hurt you and was self-righteous and smug. I’m sorry, too, for the grudge I held against you as Mom and Dad struggled to help you overcome your addictions. I forgive you for mistakes you made, even the ones that led to your death.

I talk to you sometimes. I hope you can hear me. I write about you, too. I’m pretty sure that’s okay.

Your boys are now terrific young men and they’ve been blessed with wonderful families. They remind me so much of you that sometimes I have to turn away so they don’t see me cry. Each time I say good-bye to them, I hug them for a long time. I never want to let them go.

I don’t want to let you go, either, even after all these years. I hope you and I will spend eternity side by side in Paradise, but women in our family live to be so old that I’m afraid it may be a long wait. Can you save me a seat?

I love you, Etta. Did I ever tell you that? Did I tell you that I admire your guts? That you made me laugh? That I need your childhood memories? That I ache at your absence in ways I can’t even understand?

I want you to know that your life had meaning. I know you struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, but I also know that God had a firm grip on you, especially during your long battle with AIDS. As a matter of fact, your attempts to be faithful inspired a family friend to serve God through her music. She even wrote a song about you. Were you paying attention when she sang it at your funeral?

Thanks for listening. I guess you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, huh?

One more thing. Can you see others in heaven? Can you see Peter’s and my baby, Benjamin, who also is in Paradise? We never got to hold him. Can you hold him for me the way I hug your boys for you? Be sure to tell him that the other kids miss him, too. That would mean more than I can ever express.

So I guess that’s it for now.

May your soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Love you, girl,

Reg

Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.

 

Events Calendar

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06:30 PM
My Father's House, Moodus, East Haddam, United States
MOODUS – Healing and a spaghetti supper will be combined at 6:30 p.m. Jan 30 at My Father’s House at [...]
Date :  January 30, 2015
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01:30 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, United States
Caritas Christi Center's ongoing centering prayer program will continue from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the [...]
09:00 AM
My Father's House, Moodus, East Haddam, United States
MOODUS – Matthew Arnold, speaker, author, producer and host of the radio program “Shield of Faith” on Radio Maria, will present a program titled [...]
Date :  January 31, 2015

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