FLRL BlogBlog

World Meeting of Families 2018

Family Life Staff at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland!

This August members of the Family Life Office will traverse the Atlantic to participate in the World Meeting of Families 2018 (WMF) to be held in Dublin, Ireland.  This year the WMF will focus on key issues related to family drawn from Pope Francis’ teachings in The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia).

WMF 2018 will be a joyful and enriching occasion bringing adults, young people and children together to focus on family. During these five days, there will be time to meet and share, pray and reflect, grow in faith and love, celebrate, as well as gather strength to continue the work that lies ahead.

Our Family Life team will include: Director, Dr. Kathy Wither; Assistant Director, Suzanne Hammill; Coordinator of Separated and Divorced Ministries, Carmen Noschese, as well as Kathy and Carmen’s husbands, Dave Wither and Joe Noschese.

Each day of this event will reflect on the theme, “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” Our team will hear and see firsthand the dialogue surrounding key issues facing families today and those issues determined as critical by the Holy Father himself.  These critical issues include: the role of technology in the family dynamic, the impact that conflict and faith has on a family and, our world as it struggles with building a more sustainable approach to economy, work and the environment.  Discussion regarding the leadership roles of women globally and locally, as well as the role of education in raising families out of poverty will be pivotal.

We pray that our dedicated team has a joyful and safe trip and that the Holy Spirit continues to guide them and our Archdiocese towards joy and love through the strengthening of Family Life.

Catholic Grandparents Association

The Catholic Grandparents Association is a public association of the faithful whose goal is to assist grandparents in passing on the faith to their grandchildren.  Having raised their own children in the faith and provided them with faith formation and ensured that they received the sacraments, grandparents are now faced with the mission of passing on the faith to their grandchildren, some of whom have not been baptized and are not given opportunities to practice their faith and attend faith formation programs.

Grandparents have no agenda; they simply want the best for their grandchildren. They want them to be good decent human beings, to know the difference between right and wrong, able to make good moral decisions, and if they go astray along the way, to be able to find their way back to a loving, forgiving non-judgmental God.”
SpacerSpacerSpacerSpacerMrs. Catherine Wiley,  Founder of the Catholic Grandparents
New Paltz, New York 12561

To learn more about the Catholic Grandparents Association, please visit their website: catholicgrandparentsassociation.org

If you have any questions, or are interested in starting a chapter in your parish please contact:

Sue DiSisto

The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents (in English and Spanish)

Serving the Spiritual Needs of Parents Whose Children of Any Age Have Died by Any Cause —  No Matter How Long Ago

One-day spiritual retreats offered throughout the New York Archdiocese

Of all the pains that life can hand us, arguably one of the most searing is the death of a child. As Jesus joined his distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus after his crucifixion, we ask him to join each of us in this ministry as we continue on our difficult journeys from grief to the healing peace that we, like Jesus’ disciples, can find in the Eucharistic community.

To meet the spiritual needs of Catholic parents whose children of any age have died by any cause—no matter how long ago—the Family Life Office offers The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents. A unique, faith-based program providing spiritual retreats for grieving parents offered by grieving parents, the Emmaus Ministry offers a safe place where one can find peace, comfort, and hope, at least for a time. Join us at one of the Emmaus Ministry retreats now being offered in the Archdiocese of New York.

This program is offered in English and Spanish.

For information, contact Sue DiSisto, Coordinator, Parenting and Family Life Education at susan.disisto@archny.org or (646) 794-3191.

For further information about retreats in and around New England, visit www.emfgp.org

Family Life/Respect Life Staff at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia!

WMF2015 - Denise and Kathy - rev  It was a glorious beginning to the historic week in which the 8th World Meeting (WMF2015)  is being hosted in Philadelphia, and in which Pope Francis visits our country.  Denise D’Oleo, Kathy Wither, and Kathy’s husband Dave were at the WMF2015 for the opening ceremony which included among others, Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Paglia, and Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter.  This is also the same hall where the three Keynote addresses were held on Tuesday and Wednesday (with Bishop Robert Barron, Cardinal Robert Sarah, and Helen Alvare).

While Kathy and Dave came to participate in Tuesday and Wednesday’s WMF2015 events, travelling back to NYC for the Holy Father’s visit on Thursday, Denise was at the WMF2015 primarily to attend the First Hispanic/Latin-American meeting of families (PEHLF) that was sponsored by the USCCB.

May the fruit of Pope Francis’ visit here in the U.S. be a renewal of faith, hope and love in all the faithful.  May the graces of the Holy Spirit rain down upon the Family Life/Respect Life Office, the Archdiocese of New York, and all of New York and the surrounding communities.

Dynamic, internationally-known speaker JASON EVERT is coming to St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown Heights

Dynamic, internationally-known [Catholic] speaker
JASON EVERT is coming to St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown Heights, NY.





“How to Save Your Marriage — Before Meeting Your Spouse”

MONDAY, OCTOBER 5th at 7:30 pm

Age 18 and up — come hear Jason teach you how to navigate through the single years!


FOR PARENTS: “Parenting for Purity”

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6th at 6:00 pm

— Find out how to teach your children to withstand the influences of modern society and live the virtue of chastity in Jason’s talk


FOR TEENS***  “Love or Lust?” 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6th at 7:30 pm

7th through 12th grade –Let Jason teach your teen the difference between love and lust, while getting straight answers about dating in his talk
***Parents are invited to stay for the Teen Talk
(Note: Teens can come early for refreshments and fellowship while their parents hear the Parent Talk.)


All talks are FREE.  For more information, please call 914-962-5050.

Please click below for more information:


Celebrate NFP Awareness Week!

We are in the middle of National NFP Awareness Week (JULY 19 – JULY 25) in which the theme is: All Natural! Natural Family Planning – Good for the body. Great for the soul! Consider taking some time today and the rest of the week to explore, understand and share God’s beautiful plan for married love, a love which is called to be sacred, disciplined, pleasurable and fruitful! Visit http://www.usccb.org/…/natural-fam…/awareness-week/index.cfm.



Three to Stay Married

Three to Stay Married

When 94 year-old Mr. Ford Callis heard a scream from his beloved wife in the next room over, his leap from bed brought him smashing into his bed stand, and later landed him into the ICU for a bleeding stress ulcer, a blood clot in his left leg, and temporary kidney failure. Dr. E. Wesley Ely stated in his February 20th, 2015 Wall Street Journal article:

In the hospital our team of white coats swooped in to “save” Mr. Callis. Yet we later learned from what he told us that his real rescue, the one that mattered the most, had occured on a much higher plane, through a sacramental promise made many decades earlier.”

Dr. Ely describes the moving story of husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Callis, since they married at age 20 during the height of the Second World War. Despite Mr. Callis’ near-death experience when surrounded by German forces in the French Alps, no event nor injury has formed him as much as his marriage. Mr. Callis explains:

Having someone believe in me and waiting for me back home, that is what gives me purpose. I am more than myself because of our marriage.”

Dr. Ely admits that the story of Ford and Daisy made the rounds of the hospital, not for its military glamour or medical rescue, but for one simple reason: their marriage offered a glimpse of the “true north”, a witness when we are at our best serving another. Mr. Callis made sure to explain to his medical rescuers upon his release:

You know, it takes three people to stay married: Daisy, me, and God. This is not just a civil agreement; we are one.”

Mr. Callis echos the venerable champion of marriage, Fulton J. Sheen, who wrote the great work, Three to Get Married. Mr. Callis, however, brings these words to life. His 74-year marriage shows that God not only calls two for marriage, but sustains the love of two in marriage.

Read the rest of the article here.

(Subscription to The Wall Street Journal may be required)

Men’s Working Retreat (All Ages)

Men’s Working Retreat (All Ages)

Oct. 17-19, 2014
We’re looking for a few good men with chainsaws!

Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center
159 Sky Meadow Dr. / Stamford, CT 06903

Conferences on Discipleship
Working in the Woods

Join us for a weekend retreat including conferences on discipleship of Jesus Christ, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and heavy labor in the woods.

For more information, click here. To register, click here or call 203-329-1492.

“Never Forget”: A Response to Suffering

“Never Forget”: A Response to Suffering

Picture used with permission by the Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center.

Never Forget – to a nation wounded by the dreadful consequences of evil, these words signify an oath. When the acts of evildoers take away the lives of some and tear at the livelihood of others, “We shall never forget” is the pledge to remain intact the one temporal element no evil can tarnish: our memories. September 11th, 2001 is one day scarred into the memories of our people, especially New Yorkers. We remember the terror that has branded that day, though many people remember more acutely the goodness in those who were among the first-responders, and among the dead.

Perhaps the anniversary of September 11th teaches us how suffering caused by all the notorious evil acts of modernity demands our respectful remembrance. Of those we remember are the Comfort Women, the 200,000 Korean girls enslaved during the Second World War and the millions of Jews victimized at Auschwitz and other death camps. The list continues into far less notable, but equally devastating acts of evil known to man. “Never Forget” is our pledge to honor the dead by honoring the history that defined their lives.

Less than one week following the 13th anniversary remembering the September 11th attacks, many New Yorkers still possess a raw remembrance of that chilly Tuesday morning that chills our hearts. Since its opening last May, the 9/11 museum has attracted nearly one million visitors. It doesn’t take advertisements on the MTA to convince people to remember 9/11 – they remember because the suffering remains so close.

Suffering: A Great Mystery

Suffering is itself a great mystery to humanity. No man, woman or child can escape the painful experience of suffering despite how desperately our culture attempts to escape its reach or subdue its effects through addictions and consumerism. St. John Paul II gave us a wealth of insight in his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris, where he states, “Human suffering evokes compassion; it also evokes respect, and in its own way it intimidates” (4). The intimidation of suffering ought to remind us that sin is real, as damaging as ever, and continually calls for a society that unequivocally recognizes objective truth, a truth that judges personal actions and cultivates a well-formed conscience in its people. When as a society, we forget to acknowledge the reality of sin – whether personal sin or social sin – we simultaneously forget how the touch of sin victimizes others, and even ourselves.

St. John Paul II tells us that suffering evokes compassion. Since the horror caused by ISIS displaced over one million Iraqis amidst the persecution of religious minorities and in particular, Christians, the social conscience of the world has been disturbed. Our response to the person marginalized by the evil acts of another cannot suffice as merely a sympathetic sigh or a transitory sentiment of sorrow, while our lives continue as though the suffering of the marginalized person does not exist. Rather, suffering demands compassion, or better “co-passion” when the onlooker willingly becomes a partaker in the passio of the suffering Iraqi Christian woman or Yazidi child. Through prayer & fasting, remaining mindful of those suffering, and attempting to stop the cause of suffering with the means available to us, we are capable of responding compassionately.

Finally, St. John Paul II tells us that suffering evokes respect. A recent 20th century theologian, Johann Baptist Metz writes, “The essential dynamism of history is the memory of suffering as a negative awareness of the freedom that is to come, and as a stimulus to act within the horizon of this history in such a way as to overcome suffering.” This understanding of suffering qualifies the phrase, “Never Forget”: our remembrance of suffering conditions our actions so to never again recommit or allow such crimes. Never forgetting does not simply engage the mind, but engages both spiritual powers of the human person: mind and will.

Comfort Women

The respectful remembrance of suffering is an engaging, self-limiting remembrance that demands justice for the marginalized. One particular organization, the Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center, has sought to manifest this kind of remembrance of the greatest hate crime ever committed by modern civilization: the Holocaust. Under the direction of Dr. Arthur Flug, the Center has for seven years provided internships for dozens of students annually to study the Holocaust through interviewing survivors and re-telling their stories to our current generations of young people. In the last few years, the Center has undertaken an internship program directing students to encounter an oft-unnoticed group of survivors: Comfort Women.

Comfort women are those who in the 1930’s were hopeful teenagers in Korea, but soon 200,000 were enslaved by the invading Japanese army and forced into sexual slavery. By the end of World War II, less than 100,000 of these women remained alive, and despite crying out to the world for justice, the crimes committed against them were denied or ignored. Now, more than 70 years later, fewer than 100 of these surviving women remain, some within the Korean community in Queens. The Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center has teamed up with this community and is having their student interns become first-hand witnesses of the stories told by Comfort Women survivors.

Students interested in this internship should visit the Center’s website, and consider applying by following the instructions posted. Application deadline is September 26th 2014.

Suffering Answered

Our remembrance of those victimized by evil cannot, however, bring back the dead. The answer, we believe by faith, lies upon the now empty Cross of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we sang triumphantly for the victory won on the Cross. The Cross from which hung the “Suffering Servant”, the crucified form of Jesus Christ, now exists as a sign of hope. For when we believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we also believe that the man, woman, and child victimized by evildoers shall also rise on the last day.

Family Life † Respect Life