whyte-kidney 4244-adj-webFather Michael G. Whyte, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury, sits beside parishioner Margaret Domashinski in the parish rectory 10 weeks after surgery Sept. 9, when Mrs. Domashinski donated a kidney to save her pastor’s life. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

WEST SIMSBURY – A parishioner walks up to her pastor and says, “I want to give you my kidney.”
Pastor smiles and says, “Okay.”

Don’t expect a punch line. It’s no joke.

Father Michael G. Whyte arrived at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in 2007 and has been pastor there since 2008.  A type 1 diabetic, he began experiencing extreme tiredness and nausea at about that time, signs of kidney failure due to the diabetes. Doctors gave him three choices: go on dialysis and live five or six more years; do nothing and die within six months; or get a kidney transplant and – if it’s from a live donor – live 20 to 25 years.

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.

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Auxiliary Bishop Christi A. Macaluso presided over the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for the Permanent Diaconate on Nov. 20 in the chapel of St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.

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.

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Up above the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, Saint Peter's Church shines as the beacon to the Holy Land from the old port city of Jaffa. Peter's vision of the clean and unclean took place here at the house of Simon the tanner. Jaffa (Joppa in biblical times) was also the departure port for the prophet Jonah's encounter with the whale.Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer, a member of the Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Hartford and a regular contributor to The Catholic Transcript, visited Israel Nov. 4-11 and shared the sites through these photographs. The Israel Ministry of Tourism and El Al Israel Airlines arranged the “Catholic Highlights of Israel” tour primarily for writers, editors and photographers for Catholic media. The photos marked "Photo of the Day" are available for download for free. They will be highlighted periodically.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Archbishop's Desk

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Youth

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A Washington Post reporter recently visited the hinterlands in search of those peculiar people you find outside the Beltway, New York, Los Angeles and all the other alleged centers of power that drive America.

The reporter wrote a front-page story describing life in an Oklahoma town where people believed "their cherished values are under assault." It was a place that had a large sign proclaiming, "Only God Can Save America."

What a radical and unconventional thought in 21st century America.

Yes, they were simple country folk, but smart enough to understand a fundamental truth that the illuminati in the alleged centers of power are too smart to grasp.

The reporter found the concept amusing as she visited a popular church of 400 congregants in the town of 600, where everyone "recites pledges of allegiance to the United States, to the Bible and to the Christian flag."

A major metropolitan newspaper surely must find it entertaining to think people believe the path back for America is prayer ... and not politics.

You see, the prevailing view has always been that America’s hope lies in politics; and look where that has gotten us. We’re going backwards, and our leaders are making decisions based on opinion polls and pressure from special interest groups rather than principles.

Regardless of your politics, Rick Santorum’s candidacy provoked a lot of chuckles and derision from the culturally elite, who, like columnist Maureen Dowd, found it reprehensible if not outright inane that Santorum once suggested in a speech that Satan had America in his sights. I, too, am inclined to think Santorum was wrong. Satan has America in his claws.

The political season seems to have revved up the pick-on-Catholics pastime. There was also an opinion piece in the Huffington Post by a writer for the Simpsons who described Catholics as cannibals and a lot of other grotesque and insulting and profane things, which he defended as satire.

It was certainly awfully heavy-handed satire, more like the ravings of a lunatic whose underwear was too tight. Have no doubt, Catholics are in the crosshairs for suggesting religious liberty should be protected and committing various other alleged transgressions against the popular culture.

I understood exactly how much trouble we’re in as a country after a shooting in an Ohio school left three students dead, and a headline in USA Today said, "Ohio shooting suspect ‘an average 17-year-old.’"

There was a photo of police leading the alleged gunman out of court – a sullen and pathetic, lonely young man who grew up in an abusive home, and it struck me as telling that, yes, this is the new "average," the new normal in America, where shootings and abuse are so commonplace that we don’t even wince anymore when we read about it or see it on the evening news.

All the legislation in the world by Barack Obama, the Democrats and the Republicans isn’t going to change the situation because a spiritual sickness afflicts our country, and you have to be blind not to see it. In many ways, it’s like alcoholism, the disease of denial, because our leaders and the media refuse to acknowledge there’s a problem.

Our only hope, as the Oklahoma sign says, is God. That means prayer, which is a solution you’ll never read about in New York Magazine or hear on the Senate floor while they prattle on and on.

No institution, no human being – not the President or the Chamber of Commerce or the editorial board of The New York Times or the executive suite at JPMorgan Chase – can inspire or mandate the change that’s necessary to bring the world back to love and to make it the place it was intended to be.

Only heaven can direct that plan, and the force that will save us is prayer, not politics. The good news is you don’t even have to run for office to have a part in this campaign.

Call me crazy, but I’m convinced one decade of the rosary can effect more change for good in the hearts of men and women than a decade of congressional sessions. That kind of spiritual empowerment is available to all of us regardless of our name, rank or Social Security number, regardless of our prestige and gross annual income. All we have to do is start, and the time is now.

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

Events Calendar

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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
St. Mary School, Milford
St. Mary School will sell freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths and cemetery pieces from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday [...]
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 [...]
12:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford
St. Mary School will sell freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths and cemetery pieces from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday [...]
Date :  November 30, 2014

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