Former professional football player Tom Dempsey didn’t let the fact that he was born with no right hand and no toes on his right foot prevent him from becoming a standout on the gridiron.  He even holds the world record for field goal kicking—63 yards. It was 1970, when Dempsey, wearing a specially-designed shoe, was playing for the New Orleans Saints.  In the final seconds of a game against the Detroit Lions—a game which the Saints were losing by two… Read more

When kindergarten student Jake Finkbonner of Bellingham, Washington, fell during a basketball game, he bumped his mouth and suffered a small cut.  That was enough for “necrotizing fasciitis,” a flesh-eating bacteria, to invade his body. Jake spent nine weeks in the hospital.  Several times, the doctors prepared his family for the boy’s impending death. All the while, his family, friends and the parishioners of Whatcom County’s three Catholic churches prayed for Jake’s recovery, specifically asking Blessed Kateri Tekawitha for her… Read more

When Atlanta resident Andrea Roberts gave birth to her son Reece in 2002, she and her husband felt a great deal of fear and anxiety.  Reece, they discovered, had Down syndrome. Eventually, Reece started to smile.  A lot.  Andrea recalled on Christopher Closeup, “That personality and that glow that is so much a part of Down syndrome started to come out and grow…It was easy to get to the other side emotionally and to recognize that this wasn’t a horrible… Read more

In a culture that tells kids that happiness can be found in buying a particular toy or electronic gadget, Mary Jo Pedersen notes that it’s especially important that parents tell their kids “no” once in a while—and that they teach them to say “no” as well. She also points out, “Children need first to say yes to something that they value in order to know when to say no.”  That’s why parents passing their faith on to their children carries… Read more

A doctor from Seattle Washington was known as “Big Grandmother of All Medicine” to her patients—the Montagnards of Vietnam’s highlands. After graduating from medical school in the late 1950s, Dr. Patricia Smith, then age 32, decided to work with lepers in Vietnam.  She came to see that the primitive hill people she met through her work there needed a hospital.  After months of studying Bahnar, their difficult dialect, she managed to win their confidence by saving the life of a… Read more

From her alarm clock not going off on time to getting stuck in traffic, youth minister Megan Thompson knows there are a number of things that can go wrong on any given day.   Yet in her column for the Catholic Times—the newspaper of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio—she notes that viewing the world through a purely negative lens is no way to live. “A life focused on curses means a life void of the recognition of blessing, and hearts emptied… Read more

It was 1972 when Lou Xiaoying, a woman in China who made a living by recycling trash, found her first abandoned baby lying in a pile of junk on the street.  She took the baby girl into her modest home where she and her husband raised her. Xiaoying told The Daily Mail, “Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness, and I realized I had a real love of caring for children.  I realized if we had enough… Read more

Contemporary Christian singer Mandisa has struggled with being overweight all her life.  That’s why the former American Idol contestant celebrated when she reached a personal goal of losing 100 pounds at the same time she was releasing her fourth album, What If We Were Real. As Mandisa explained on Christopher Closeup, she included God in her weight-loss effort because she knew she had to rely on His power, not her own, to be successful. She also revealed what she’s come… Read more

They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach—but what about their other senses?  Here are a few “sensible” suggestions on showing your loved ones how much you care. ▪ Sight: Take extra care with your appearance, tidy up the house, and don’t forget to smile! ▪ Touch: Washing dishes together, holding hands on a walk, and kisses are wonderful ways to re-connect with your loved one. ▪ Smell: Be it food, perfume or incense at church,… Read more

St. John of the Cross once said, “Put love where there is no love, and you will find love.” On Christopher Closeup, Sister Rosemary Dowd, RSCJ, cited that statement when explaining the motivation behind her 40 years of work with prisoners.  She explained, “I had no knowledge [of jails] except what you see in the movies.  I simply always thought that people in jail were not loved very much by anybody.” Over the years, Sister Rosemary has had numerous transcendent… Read more

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