20141121cm01588 webA poster announcing the pope's raffle is seen next to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 21. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Like many Catholic parishes, the Vatican has turned to a raffle to raise money; the difference is, though, the prizes are items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.

20141117cm01483 webPope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 16. The following day, Pope Francis confirmed he will visit Philadelphia in September. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.

AlbertusProf SMSstudents-webBiology Professor Patricia Compagnone Post demonstrates materials for working with DNA to students from St. Mary School in Branford on Oct. 22 at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven.

BRANFORD – St. Mary School’s seventh and eighth graders are learning science and math from Albertus Magnus College faculty now as part of a new partnership.

The partnership is designed to improve the St. Mary students’ competitiveness in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields of study. The school’s STEM program aims to provide students with a dynamic, engaging series of educational experiences based on an innovative, in-depth and hands-on approach to science.

20101119cnsbr03533 webBishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., addresses the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during its annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15, 2010. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be taken up in parishes nationwide on Nov. 22-23, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Echoing the teaching of Pope Francis, the collection focuses on the theme: “CCHD: Working on the Margins.”

“In the United States, many Americans continue to face the effects of a stagnant economy, debilitating unemployment, a dehumanizing cycle of poverty, and growing civic disenfranchisement,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Mansell-blessing-web

Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell blesses a garden in the second floor waiting area of the St. Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center in Hartford Nov. 1.

The garden is in memory of Nina Griswold Giorgio, a friend of St. Francis Care and a member of the St. Francis Auxiliary, who died of cancer in March.

20141105cnsbr6821 webYoung people take selfies with Pope Francis as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The world's bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.

The church has no place for men with a "worldly mentality" who are seeking a career, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Nov. 5.

"It's sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn't serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity," the pope said.

carolyns-2014 7198-a-webArchbishop Leonard T. Blair talks to others at a table at the Carolyn's Place dinner Nov. 2 at La Bella Vista Restaurant in Waterbury.

WATERBURY – Over 300 people bundled into La Bella Vista Restaurant at the Pontelandolfo Club in Waterbury on a chilly Nov. 2, All Souls Day, to celebrate the 22nd annual awards dinner of Carolyn’s Place Pregnancy Care Center.

stjames robot-webHumanoid robot "Mixy" waits for St. James School third-grader Marion Patsalides to enter a command into the computer as Dr. Lin Lin supervises.

MANCHESTER – Second and third graders at St. James School met a Macarena-dancing robot named Mixy on Oct. 31 and learned about the future in the process.

Dr. Lin Lin, assistant professor and program coordinator of engineering science and computer engineering technology at Middlesex Community College, acquainted the students with a programmable humanoid robot named Mixy which introduced itself, walked, danced the Macarena and told jokes.

chapel StJohn Nov2014-249-webCardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, talks to some of the 250 friends and supporters of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist who were on hand for the blessing of a new chapel for the growing community on Nov. 1 on their Finch Avenue campus.

MERIDEN – Before a jubilant gathering of friends, benefactors and the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran dedicated the 6,000-square-foot Chapel of St. John and adjoining meeting room during a solemn Mass on Nov. 1.

A longtime friend of the Franc

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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

November 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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06:00 AM
WJMJ will conduct its semiannual radiothon from 6 a.m. Nov. 13 through 1 a.m. Nov. 16 and again from 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 17. The goal is $115,000 ($105,000 for operations and $10,000 [...]
06:00 PM
Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, Cromwell, United States
CROMWELL – Gary L. Krupp, founder and president of the Pave the Way Foundation, will speak at the 2014 Pope St. John Paul II Bioethics Lecture on Nov. 13 at Holy Apostles College and [...]
Date :  November 13, 2014
14
06:00 AM
WJMJ will conduct its semiannual radiothon from 6 a.m. Nov. 13 through 1 a.m. Nov. 16 and again from 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 17. The goal is $115,000 ($105,000 for operations and $10,000 [...]
07:30 PM
Trinity Episcopal Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – Concora professional choir will have its annual Bach ClavierFest at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Trinity Episcopal Churhch, 120 Sigourney St., Hartford. It is presented by the [...]
Date :  November 14, 2014
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06:00 AM
WJMJ will conduct its semiannual radiothon from 6 a.m. Nov. 13 through 1 a.m. Nov. 16 and again from 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 17. The goal is $115,000 ($105,000 for operations and $10,000 [...]
08:00 AM
Mercy High School, Middletown, Middletown, United States
The entrance exam for the class of 2019 will be administered from 8-11:15 a.m. Nov. 15 at Mercy High [...]
08:30 AM
Fairfield Prep, Fairfield, Fairfield, United States
Fairfield Prep, a Jesuit, Catholic college preparatory school for boys in grades nine through 12, will [...]
Date :  November 15, 2014
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06:00 AM
WJMJ will conduct its semiannual radiothon from 6 a.m. Nov. 13 through 1 a.m. Nov. 16 and again from 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 17. The goal is $115,000 ($105,000 for operations and $10,000 [...]
10:30 AM
Manchester, United States
Assumption School in Manchester will host two open houses for potential students and their families. They [...]
Date :  November 16, 2014
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06:00 AM
WJMJ will conduct its semiannual radiothon from 6 a.m. Nov. 13 through 1 a.m. Nov. 16 and again from 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 17. The goal is $115,000 ($105,000 for operations and $10,000 [...]
Date :  November 17, 2014
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11:30 AM
Franciscan Urban Center, Hartford, Hartford, United States
The House of Bread, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph and one of the region's largest providers of food and housing for Hartford's poorest citizens, will hold its 29th Hunger Banquet on Wednesday, [...]
Date :  November 19, 2014
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05:30 PM
Manchester, United States
Assumption School in Manchester will host two open houses for potential students and their families. They [...]
06:00 PM
St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield
The Archdiocese of Hartford’s Vocation Office will hold Priesthood Discernment Evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec 18 at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield. They [...]
07:00 PM
St. Timothy Middle School, West Hartford , West Hartford, United States
Open House at St. Timothy Middle School
Date :  November 20, 2014
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03:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – The annual Holly Berry Festival, a juried arts and crafts fair benefitting the Retirement Fund [...]
05:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – There will be a pasta dinner from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 21 at Sacred Heart Academy. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. [...]
07:00 PM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St. Paul Performing Arts will stage the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Miracle Worker,” Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 at 7 pm and on Nov. 23 at 2 pm at St. Paul Catholic High School Theater, Bristol. [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center will offer a Matt Talbot Women’s Recovery Retreat Nov. 21-23. Women in [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford , West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center willl have a women’s weekend retreat titled "Know Greater Joy" Nov. 21-23. The renewing weekend explores how to [...]
Date :  November 21, 2014
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07:00 PM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St. Paul Performing Arts will stage the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Miracle Worker,” Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 at 7 pm and on Nov. 23 at 2 pm at St. Paul Catholic High School Theater, Bristol. [...]
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08:00 AM
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Hartford, Windsor Locks, United States
An East Coast conference against assisted suicide will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22 at [...]
08:00 AM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
09:00 AM
St. Joseph's Residence, Enfield, Enfield, United States
St. Joseph’s Residence will have its annual annual Craft Fair and Bake Sale on Saturday, November 22, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the residence, 1365 [...]
09:00 AM
St. Patrick Parish, Farmington, Farmington, United States
 St. Patrick Parish in Farmington will host its 11th annual International Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 22 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 23 in the church hall, located at 110 Main [...]
09:30 AM
Franciscan Life Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
MERIDEN – A living crèche will be just one of the highlights of the annual Franciscan Christmas Fair, to be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22 [...]
10:00 AM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – The annual Holly Berry Festival, a juried arts and crafts fair benefitting the Retirement Fund [...]
10:00 AM
Christ the Redeemer Parish, Milford, Milford, United States
MILFORD – The Ladies Guild of Christ the Redeemer Parish at 325 Oronoque Road will have its annual Christmas bazaar from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 22. There will be many vendors, food, entertainment [...]
10:00 AM
St. Ann Parish, Bristol, Bristol CT, United States
 St. Ann Parish in Bristol will have a craft fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22. More than 50 tables will have crafts for sale. It also will offer a bake [...]
11:00 AM
Our Lady of the Angels Convent, Enfield, United States
ENFIELD – The Felician Sisters’ annual Pre-Christmas Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 22 at Our Lady of the Angels Convent, 1315 Enfield St., Enfield. Features will include craft [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center will offer a Matt Talbot Women’s Recovery Retreat Nov. 21-23. Women in [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford , West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center willl have a women’s weekend retreat titled "Know Greater Joy" Nov. 21-23. The renewing weekend explores how to [...]
Date :  November 22, 2014
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02:00 PM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St. Paul Performing Arts will stage the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Miracle Worker,” Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 at 7 pm and on Nov. 23 at 2 pm at St. Paul Catholic High School Theater, Bristol. [...]
08:00 AM
St. Patrick Parish, Farmington, Farmington, United States
 St. Patrick Parish in Farmington will host its 11th annual International Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 22 and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 23 in the church hall, located at 110 Main [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center will offer a Matt Talbot Women’s Recovery Retreat Nov. 21-23. Women in [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford , West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center willl have a women’s weekend retreat titled "Know Greater Joy" Nov. 21-23. The renewing weekend explores how to [...]
Date :  November 23, 2014
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10:00 AM
St. Michael Parish Center, Waterbury, Waterbury, United States
Knights of Columbus from several councils in greater Waterbury will distribute coats to children from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 28 at its “Coats for Kids” drive at St. Michael’s Parish [...]
Date :  November 28, 2014
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09:00 AM
St. Gregory CCD Center, Bristol, Bristol, United States
The annual St. Gregory Christmas Craft Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29-30 at the CCD Center, located at 1043 Stafford Ave. The fair will feature over 40 crafters/vendors, an [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford , West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center willl have a women’s weekend retreat titled "Know Greater Joy" Nov. 21-23. The renewing weekend explores how to [...]
Date :  November 29, 2014
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09:00 AM
St. Gregory CCD Center, Bristol, Bristol, United States
The annual St. Gregory Christmas Craft Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29-30 at the CCD Center, located at 1043 Stafford Ave. The fair will feature over 40 crafters/vendors, an [...]
09:30 AM
Polish National Home, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford will hold its annual Szopka Festival from 9:30 [...]
Date :  November 30, 2014

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