When Kathleen Basi’s daughter was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, she started to think back on her own growing up years and how she dealt with persons with disabilities.  “It seems easier to pretend they aren’t there, to let our eyes slide past and not engage,” she says. But her daughter’s own diagnosis made her want to change her behavior and help others also be more accepting.  Here are two of her ideas for parents. ▪ Get to know… Read more

Josef Vollmer-König was a widower for two years when he noticed that a song drawn from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah seemed to follow him everywhere. “No matter what church I went into, ‘Here I am, Lord,’ was being sung,” he recalled.  When the Dallas, Texas, resident, even heard the song during a family Baptism in Germany, he decided to answer God’s call.  Returning home, he began studies for the priesthood, and was ordained in 2001 at the age of… Read more

Forty-six-year-old Roger Andersen lost control of his car due to weather conditions on a winding road in Logan, Utah, in December 2011.  The car slid into an icy river, flipped over, and became submerged.  Though he could get out of the vehicle, his two children and their friend were trapped inside.  Passersby who saw what happened stopped immediately and jumped into the freezing water to help.  “Within seconds,” Andersen told the Associated Press, “there were eight men in the river.”… Read more

The weeks leading up to Christmas can sometimes seem like a burden: obligatory family events, parties to attend, traveling, shopping.  But what about Christmas itself? Before the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph traveled afar to be counted in the census.  Far away from their home town of Nazareth, they found shelter in a stable in time to rejoice in the Christ child’s birth.  And who was there to celebrate with them?  Strange shepherds and mysterious angels. When we celebrate… Read more

A cafe owner was thinking about a way to give his customers the holiday spirit.  He wanted full houses for the music-artists who performed each weekend, but he also wanted to make the season more than just about money. As he unpacked his shop’s Christmas decorations, he had an idea.  A clear ball ornament held the answer. On the first Sunday of December, while a cello player performed, his wife distributed pens and strips of brightly colored construction paper.  “Write… Read more

It’s become an annual tradition for CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman to visit with “Secret Santa,” an anonymous businessman who travels the country at Christmas time randomly handing out $100 bills.  The accompanying news stories highlight our power to help others. For instance, in 2011, “Secret Santa” gave money to 30-year-old Thomas Coates, a drug addict who “hocked his own son’s toys for drug money.”  Coates’ girlfriend had recently asked him to say a prayer to God asking for help. … Read more

After managing liver disease for 15 years, Dennis Fearn of Long Island, New York, began losing weight and feeling sick.  His doctor told him he’d need a new liver, but the wait could be eight years to obtain one from a deceased donor.  It would be possible, however, to obtain a portion from a live donor because the liver regenerates.  When Fearn’s sister, Susan Brown, heard this, her eyes lit up and she said, “I’d like to do that.” Explaining… Read more

Church bulletin bloopers are always good for a laugh.  Here are several that were cited in the National Catholic Register: ▪ “Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale.  It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.” ▪ “Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.” ▪ “Smile at someone who is hard to love.  Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you.” ▪ “Don’t let worry… Read more

Two weeks after he was beaten and robbed in St. Margaret of Scotland’s parish rectory, Father Daniel Mallette, an 80-year-old priest on the South Side of Chicago, was back on the job, saying, “It feels great to be back.” On December 6, 2011, Father Mallette was awakened at 12:30 a.m. by two men who broke into the rectory and forced him out of bed.  They demanded he open the church safe.  He was hit in the face and kicked; several… Read more

Eleven-year-old Zach Bennett of Albany, New York, was born with neurofibromatosis, a degenerative disease resulting in tumors on his nerves.  He has endured constant pain, and 20 operations, including amputation of both legs.  The local hockey team, the Albany River Rats, had always been a source of joy to Bennett.  “Hockey means life to me because it makes me motivated,” he told ABC News. After his second leg was amputated, Bennett’s mother asked the River Rats for help raising his… Read more

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