ivan lobay 3742 web Ivan Lobay, 103, and his daughter Maria, 70, relax at home in Orange. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

ORANGE – As a teenager in Ukraine, Ivan Lobay saw the words “keep smiling” in an English magazine. It became his motto for the rest of his life.

20150218cm01806 webPope Francis gives ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome Feb. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME (CNS) -- Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.

ShipDay3 webSt. James School student Nicholas Guenther, who acted as a minister during the school’s fifth-grade ship day, receives his sailing papers (classwork) from captain Peyton Carpenter.

MANCHESTER – To immerse students in an important aspect of early American history, St. James School fifth-grade teachers Denise Wojtyna and Diane DiBenedetto transformed a classroom into an emigrant ship for a day.

20150217cm01766 webCoptic Christian women attend a Feb. 17 service in Cairo for the Egyptians said to have been beheaded in Libya. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.

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HARTFORD – As Connecticut lawmakers began to consider proposed legislation that would make doctor-assisted suicide legal in the state, the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference launched a media campaign to help “people get all the facts before making a rash decision on physician-assisted suicide.”

20150213cnsto0043 web This architectural rendering shows how the Museum of the Bible planned for Washington will look. (CNS photo/courtesy Smith Group JJR)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On a gray and overcast morning in Washington, just a short walk from Capitol Hill, construction work began on a museum intended to promote engagement, education and discussion of the Bible.

20150203cnsto0001 webPeople carry a banner of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 22, 2014. (CNS photo/Roberto Escobar, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After decades of debate within the church, Pope Francis formally recognized that Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed "in hatred of the faith" and not for purely political reasons.

stmary csw web

Anya Joseph, a second grader at St. Mary School in Milford, models the clothing and accessories she sported for the school’s Mismatch Day, one of a number of activities at the school in celebration of Catholic Schools Week Jan. 25-31.

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.

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The fellow on the train was talking on his cell phone so loudly that the rest of us could hear, and it was a pretty unsettling conversation at 6:50 in the morning – a conversation we’ve all had at one time or another about our children or family members or close friends. It was a story about alienation and substance abuse and the inability to forgive, and it had all the elements of a first-rate tragedy.

His son was addicted to prescription drugs, and there was nothing he could do. He had tried intervention, appeals, fatherly advice, bailing him out of jail and sending him to rehab; and, for this aging father, the price had been a high one, financially and emotionally. And yet, all his efforts produced no results.

"There’s nothing else I can do," he concluded. "All I can do is pray."

It sounded like the course of action of last resort. Nothing else worked, so the only thing he could do was let go and let God and turn his son over to the care of his Higher Power.

How many times have we uttered those words, "All you can do is pray." We say them fatalistically when we reach the point where our efforts have been fruitless and we realize no human efforts will be able to solve the problem, whether it’s a troubled marriage, a tormented alcoholic, a financial crisis or a terminal diagnosis from the doctor.

"All you can do is pray," and we understand that we have to turn the situation over to God and accept his will for us, whatever it may be.

Of course, long before we reach the stage of last resort, we should be relying on prayer, and it shouldn’t have the connotation of a death sentence, but rather of hope and faith that God can work out the thorniest problems in ways that our puny human minds can’t even begin to conceive.

All of us generally underestimate the power of prayer and fail to realize that God is doing his thing to help us long before we finally conclude it’s time to fall on our knees and ask for help. Prayer, to many of us, is the last resort when it should be the first resort.

As Jesus said, our heavenly Father knows our needs before we do, and he’s always there to assist us and guide us.

I thought of the power of prayer and exactly how much society underestimates it – and misinterprets it – after reading a story recently about a respected British doctor who risked losing his job because he told a 24-year-old patient that praying to Jesus would get him out of his "rut."

In our distorted and misguided secular society, the act of praying is always viewed as somehow subversive. And the severity of the crime gets worse for those who suggest that Christ might be the answer. It can cost you your job and get you a lot of negative press coverage because people tend to view you as a crackpot.

So when the patient told his mother about the doctor’s advice, she flipped out and complained to the General Medical Council, which oversees British physicians. (Of course, it raises the question of why the mother of a 24-year-old was calling the shots for her adult son.)

The doctor, who is a former missionary, defended himself by pointing out it was done with the patient’s consent – and that the young man was a regular patient. The next thing you know, the British press was all over the story, but fortunately, the doctor’s colleagues rallied to his defense.

One said, "All good doctors try to treat their patients as whole persons, not just biochemical machines. That does sometimes include spiritual matters, dealing with questions of meaning and purpose."

Let’s hope – and certainly pray – that the young man listened to what the doctor had to say.

Prayer works, and if more of us turned to prayer early on, there would be less anxiety and fewer emotional difficulties, and probably a lot less mental illness and addiction.

J.F. Pisani is a writer who lives with his family in the New Haven area.

Events Calendar

March 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
03:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – La Salette Father Gene Barrette will present the second part of his three-part series of talks titled “Three Faces of God” at 3 p.m. March 1 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, CT, Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette will present “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, at 7 p.m. on four Sundays in March at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 79 New Park Ave., [...]
08:00 AM
Academy of the Holy Family dining hall, Baltic, Sprague, United States
he Baltic Knights of Columbus will have a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon March 1 in the dining hall of the Academy of the Holy Family at 54 West Main St. Pancakes, French toast, sausage, eggs and [...]
Date :  March 01, 2015
2
06:00 PM
Any Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Hartford
The sacrament of reconciliation, or confession, is being offered from 6-7 p.m. every Monday during Lent at [...]
Date :  March 02, 2015
3
4
05:15 PM
Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, New Haven, United States
Dr. Denys Turner will speak on “A Teacher and Two Students:  Albert, Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart” on from 5:15-6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Hubert Campus Center on the New Haven [...]
07:00 PM
Location to be announced, Connecticut
EnCourage, a support group for those who have a loved-one who experiences same-sex attraction, will meet at 7 p.m. March 4 at a location to be announced. As a part of the Courage Apostolate, [...]
07:00 PM
St. James Church, Rocky Hill, Rocky Hill, United States
ROCKY HILL – Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Suzanne Gross will give a talk titled “End of Life [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 04, 2015
5
04:00 PM
University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, CT, West Hartford, United States
The University of St. Joseph will present the 2015 Munger Lecture, featuring Karen Eifler, co-director of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University [...]
09:00 AM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy will offer an entrance exam for applicants to grades nine and 10 from 9 a.m. to noon March 5 at the academy, 265 Benham St., Hamden. Students who plan to take the test must [...]
Date :  March 05, 2015
6
7
07:00 PM
St. Rita Parish, Hamden, Hamden, United States
St. Rita Parish in Hamden will have its 24th annual Sweetheart Mass and Social by candlelight at 7 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. James Church, Rocky Hill, Rocky Hill, United States
"Stolen Lives: A Gospel Response to Human Trafficking" is the title of a presentation to be given from 9 [...]
10:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
BLOOMFIELD – The Archbishop O’Brien Library and archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministries have teamed up to sponsor a two-part presentation titled “The Emergence of Black Catholic Women and [...]
Date :  March 07, 2015
8
03:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – La Salette Father Gene Barrette will present the last of his three-part series of talks titled “Three Faces of God” at 3 p.m. March 8 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. “Holy Spirit [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Conn., Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, continues with “Into Temptation” at 7 p.m. March 8 at Our Lady of [...]
12:30 PM
St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
The Archdiocese of Hartford’s Catholic Biblical School will have a Celebration of Sacred Scripture from [...]
Date :  March 08, 2015
9
10
11
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 11, 2015
12
13
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 13, 2015
14
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 14, 2015
15
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford CT, Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, continues with “Doubt” at 7 p.m. March 15 at Our Lady of [...]
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 15, 2015
16
07:30 PM
Franciscan Life Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Dr. Thomas Finn, a clinical psychologist on staff at the Franciscan Life Center, will present a two-session educational opportunity for parents with children 13 and under in March. The class, [...]
Date :  March 16, 2015
17
05:30 PM
Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, Hartford, Conn., Hartford, United States
The inaugural “St. Pat’s with a Purpose” celebration to benefit Malta House of Care mobile medical clinic will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. March 17 at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, 32 [...]
Date :  March 17, 2015
18
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 18, 2015
19
20
21
10:00 AM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden CT
The Sacred Heart Academy Alumnae Association will sponsor its annual children’s Easter Party from 10 a.m. to noon March 31 on the academy campus at 265 Benham St., Hamden. The event, which [...]
Date :  March 21, 2015
22
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, concludes with a screening of "Calvary" at 7 p.m. March 22 at Our [...]
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
Date :  March 22, 2015
23
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
07:30 PM
Franciscan Life Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Dr. Thomas Finn, a clinical psychologist on staff at the Franciscan Life Center, will present a two-session educational opportunity for parents with children 13 and under in March. The class, [...]
Date :  March 23, 2015
24
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
Date :  March 24, 2015
25
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 25, 2015
26
05:30 PM
Grand Oak Villa, Oakville, CT, Watertown, United States
The St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury will commemorate its 37-year record of continual service to the poor of Greater Waterbury with a banquet beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Grand Oak [...]
Date :  March 26, 2015
27
28
05:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, CT, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy is sponsoring a $10,000 cash raffle as part of its annual signature fund-raising event, a live and silent auction, taking place at 5 p.m. March 28. Tickets for the cash [...]
Date :  March 28, 2015
29
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol CT, Bristol, United States
A tenebrae service, or service of lights, will take place at 7 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 29, at St. Ann Church, 215 West St., Bristol. This service will include hymns, music by a contemporary [...]
Date :  March 29, 2015
30
31
09:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford, Milford, United States
St. Mary School in Milford will have an open house from 9-11 a.m. March 31. Teachers, staff and parents of current and former students will be on hand and students will provide tours. [...]
Date :  March 31, 2015

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