Unmask the Liar: A journey through a decade of domestic violence and beyond (Champions of Hope)

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The right side depicts my recovery in many ways. A Cranio Pharyngima my doc tells me this could really affect your ability to see. Close to the brain stem and below the optic nerve cross. I receive this information and now…I am at a total loss. Left side of this mask is full of doom and gloom. Right side has flowers in full bloom! Right side has sunshine and a bunny, left side has dead worms — Not too funny. This has given me the chance I so desperately needed and it gave me the soil that I have seeded. To grow the flowers that have removed all the sorrow and strife.

To be happy, to love, and to celebrate life! Name: Adam O. Cause of Injury: On July 30th at about a. A U-Need-A-Cab decided to make an illegal U-turn and ran me over damaging my skull and giving me grain damage on all four sides. As we as the brain injury, I broke 35 major bones, broken neck in 3 places, perforated lung, damaged liver and spleen and much more.

I never had anxiety before I had my accident, it was all new to me. I worked at a highly technical job where there were time constraints and I rarely broke a sweat. I was in charge of my life. Looking at my mask you will see Taxi signs, ten years later I cannot get in to a cab. Walmart has always been the bane of my modern existence, confusion of medications, direct spinal injections and taps, the weather, airports, loud confusing noise, getting groceries, money of course, at this time Trump as I am anxious about WW3, the lunar cycle, pubs and restaurants, talking on the phone yuck and many, many more.

Name: Geoff G. Explanation of mask: The picture of the wii helps me with my brain injury. I picked the picture of a microphone because I like to sing. I played basketball before I got hurt. After my injury I have a hard time communicating and I work on it every day here. Name: Dimi. Explanation of mask: In my mask I listed several emotions any person has.

  1. List of Batman Family enemies.
  2. Ständchen from the operette Boccaccio - Score!
  3. Game of My Life Chicago Bears: Memorable Stories of Bears Football.

The black outline around a word represents how much I believe that emotion had impacted my like prior to my brain injury. The colours on each emotion illustrates how much that emotion impacts my daily life now. Some emotions impact me more, some less — this could be seen as good or bad. For example, I used to be athletic and played soccer competitive , and ice and ball hockey recreational , as well as other sports with friends. On the other hand, even though I was always appreciative and grateful before my brain injury, ever since I have been even more thankful I survived the accident, along with a number of other things.

Name: Negassi. Explanation of mask: I painted this mask purple because it is my favourite, it always reminds me of my doctor who works at Western University. I chose pictures of the Sudan flag because that is where my injury happened and I have family there. I picked a picture of the weather man because I like the weather. P picked the picture of a doctor as everyone calls me Dr. Name: Giles.

Come & Visit

Cause of Injury: An asthma attack at the age of I had to relearn how to do everything again, i. Explanation of mask: I painted the top different colours because I felt different after receiving my brain injury. I had a question mark and a face with an x on it, as I was confused about what was going on. The face with an x on it was also because I could not speak after waking up. I added the pictures on the sides as I wanted to be a photographer. I painted the middle and bottom yellow because it was my favourite colour.

Yellow also represents being optimistic. Name: Gary M. I was a rapid downward motion of the head against a stationary object. Explanation of mask: The left side of the mask represents any life before the injury. Like anyone, I had my ups and downs, but overall it was a happy and positive place to be, hence, the upward arrows. The centre of the mask represents the time since the injury to the present.

It has been literally an explosion of noise, of uncertainty, of pain, of wonder if my headaches and dizziness and memory loss and sensitivity to light and noise and fatigue will ever go away. The arrows go down. The right side of the mask represents hope, a turnaround, a time for being positive, the start of a new life.

The arrows were going down, now they go up. Explanation of mask: Thunder represents the unrest and pain of mind. The makeup of pink cheeks is to show we can still be fairly healthy people with a rosy outlook on life, as to the bright pink lips. Name: Julie M. Explanation of mask: One side of my mask is before my injury and is more intricate and the other is a bit foggy, however, I am getting better. Name: Christina C. Explanation of mask: My mask is made with mixed emotions; happiness, sadness and confusion. Explanation of mask: What happened? My whole life changed; I had to relearn everything.

Name: Scott. Explanation of mask: I painted the black lines on my mask because it represents my brain being on the outside of my head; I have no skull on the right side. Name: Jimmy B. The dark blue represents my frustration and the red part is my tears for what my live could have been. Name: Marg O. Explanation of mask: This mask represents my feelings of being pulled in so many directions since my injury. I miss my old life, on one side of my mask is when I was happy. Name: Taylor R. Name: David C. The disappointment and how life is boring now. I never get to see my wife and kids and I miss them!

Name: Dennis F. Activities: The Mahtay Cafe located downtown in St. Many Brock students who were in the neuropsychology program came over to talk and some recent graduates also expressed interest in volunteering at the BIAN Clubhouse. Cause of Injury: Motorcycle crash, hit by a truck in I was 19 years old when the crash occurred. Cause of Injury: I was an arborist. I was responsible and went to work.

I fell 73 feet along with the tree I was cutting down. My mask is split in half, one side painted black, the other painted yellow. The black side represents the incorrect ideas that narrow-minded people have. The yellow side represents my true self and how I want people to see me.

Name: Elliott. Cause of Injury: I was in a motor vehicle crash in I learned to walk and talk again. I now have a support person that helps me during the week. Explanation of mask: My personality is similar to Dr. When I am happy, I love to laugh and joke. I drew the crossroads to represent trying to mix my two sides together.

My goal is to have a better balance between the two. Name: Kathy. Explanation of mask: One side of my mask represents how things have changed after my accident. I cannot see properly as my visual field in one eye is foggy. But I am happy for what I can do! I am grateful for the things that I can still do post injury: stained glass work, and now I also create paintings in acrylic and oil, and I enjoy giving massages, and most important is enjoying time with my family. Name: Mary Lou. We go through therapies to relearn how to walk, talk, think, feel and do.

Helping others, accepting help from others includes a family, being part of a Brain Injury support group, being part of a church or having faith , makes life complete. Reciprocity…helping others, being part of life and not just standing on the sidelines. When Will It Go Away??? Name: Andrea. Cause of Injury: In I had a benign tumour in my brain that was wrapped around my pituitary gland. I had one minor and two major surgeries, along with radiation during the course of a year and a half in order to attempt to remove or stop the tumour.

My hypothalamus was affected as well as many parts of my brain. The right side represents how I feel now. Name: Brad. Cause of Injury: Motor Vehicle Crash — where the other driver of the oncoming car fell asleep at the wheel and hit my vehicle. All of the injuries that happened to me were:. Name: Christine. Cause of Injury: My brain injury is from 7 confirmed concussions. The last one did me in! I tried to return to work 3 times but was unsuccessful each time. It shows my life in the past 3 years. The flue means close to death.

Almost died twice on the operating table. Light blue and green signifies recuperation, a slow and study process. Name: Gerald. The broken jaw and black eyes were as a result of being assaulted. Name: Margaret. Cause of Injury: Motor Vehicle Crash hit by a transport truck. In a coma for 17 days, sustained traumatic brain injury. Additional injuries, ruptured spleen, collapsed lungs, broken pelvis, fractured ribs.

Name: Martha. Name: Max. Cause of Injury: One gorgeous day, on the 19th of July, I was hit by a car, and I almost had to say goodbye. Again, I had to learn to eat, write and walk. I also have to learn to t-t-t-talk. I went into a coma after falling in some tar. Name: Mike. I was in a coma for seven days in Buffalo. I feel good. I am kind, confident and since my injury, I have been amazing. Since the injury, I struggle to find the right words. I am happy. Name: Paul. Name: Reid. The car crash changed my life that fast.

Clouds represent how I feel some days…just cloudy. Name: Sandra. Cause of Injury: Motor Vehicle Collision. Lost my two dogs who died in the crash. I was flown via helicopter to Hamilton Health Sciences Centre. Traumatic brain injury, along with physical injuries, and memory loss. I have changed but at the core, I am still empathetic, strong and still have a sense of humour. Cause of Injury: I fell off my roof when I was 26 years old. I was in a coma for seven months.

Music makes me feel happy and free! Name: Tammy. Cause of Injury: Postpartum hemorrhage, failed intubation, anoxia, cardiac arrest and coma. I was satisfied, positive, lucky and loving most of the time. The left side represents a lot more emotions; sometimes confident, occasional anger, challenged by optimistic, with confusion going on at times.

There are times I feel wise and serene. I used to feel refreshed but not so much anymore. There is a cloud hanging over me. Name: Thomas. Cause of Injury: I was injured quite severely in a car crash on September 11, that put me into a coma for four months. I went to give different hospitals while I was in the coma, and they all doubted I was going to come out of it. My family was so nervous of course. But I did actually come out of that coma and I did have problems but got better and better after time and motivation.

On the right — positive thoughts and feelings to reach independence which was a most appreciative goal, especially since the doctors believed I would never walk or talk again…time and effort proved them wrong! Explanation of mask: I am hoping my mask will portray my anger, my self loathing, the self pity I feel every day of my life as well as the regret and empathy I feel for my children who had to grow up with the backlash of their mother having a brain injury. Every year I get worse. The colours on my mask represent different things. The blue face and tears are for depression and sadness.

The black face represents me living in isolation. The red tears are the anger and hurt I feel. Name: Phil. I exercise regularly on my three-wheeler and I am still improving day by day. The support I receive has been extremely helpful and made a huge difference. Name: Caroline. Explanation of mask: My mask is skin-toned and though I have a brain injury, the core, the spirit is still the same. A paraplegic — I have had to do three years of rehab and relearn how to speak, focus and deal with simple math equations. Christian, I believe in the Spirit of Life, Love.

Name: Nina. Explanation of mask: My mask represents how I feel every day living with my brain injuries — sometimes scared, mostly healing but wondering when the next fall or knock on my head will occur. I painted my mask purple to represent healing. The seven pink flowers stand for my siblings and me. The pointed orange stars represent the knocks on my head and the question marks represent me wondering when the next knock will be.

Name: Diana. Explanation of mask: My mask shows the differences between my good and bad side. It just takes me a little longer to figure things out. Name: Janine. Cause of Injury: Two falls — once from a couch to a cement floor. The second fall occurred when I slid and fell backwards onto ice. Explanation of mask: I have made my mask backward. I am displaying my life after my brain injury. My injury was from several falls where I fell and hit my head on cement.

I cannot retain new information or understand all that is being said. I interpret messages incorrectly and I write down the wrong information when it is given to me verbally. I need someone to confirm what I have written is what was said. It is very hard to know whether what I have written is accurate. I have lost my independence and self worth. Other areas have been affected as well such as my happiness, judgement and hope. I am unsure about my future. Name: Doreen. Cause of Injury: Motor vehicle accident about 25 years ago — hit a rock cut.

Explanation of mask: The mask represents how I was shortly after the accident when things were at their worst. I was full of fear and anxiety. I experienced double vision, both my short term and long-term memory were affected and I could not distinguish any sensation on various parts of my body. Although things have improved significantly over the years, that was terrifying and very a stressful time in my life. Name: Gord.

Explanation of mask: The words on the mask represent my likes and previous work experiences. The hair and eyes represent how I think I look. Name: Claire. The letters CG stand for my name. The feathers represent my native heritage. The jewels are to show that I love to wear jewelry and the red lips are because I enjoy wearing red lipstick. Name: Kim. It was good. I was content more than ever! I was happy with the everyday things, working, and doing the average life things. There was no foggy vision or thinking and no extreme emotions.

The black half of the mask represents the left sided loss from my stroke. Full left sided neglect occurred right after the stroke. All I remember most is heart wrenching crying and not being able to stop for months. The words are the different emotions I felt when the stroke happened. The cotton represents blurred and foggy understanding and vision. Name: Joe.

Rented wood chipper I was using fell apart and a piece of steel from the machine struck me in the head and basically destroyed one half of my face. The scars represent the surgeries I required to repair my face and I now have three steel plates. The cotton in my eye signifies the loss of vision in my right eye. Name: Veronica. My earliest TBI happened as a small child falling down a flight of stairs. The most significant event occurred in when I was hit by a drunk driver.

I carried on living with headaches, brain fog, confusion and so much more, but I pushed through and became successful in many areas of my life. When the second last TBI happened in , it shattered my fragile world I worked so hard to hold together. In after my last TBI, my world imploded. I withdrew from life just to stay alive. I have never felt so alone, isolated, afraid or out of control in my life. I was trapped inside my head and all its brokenness unable to escape the pain, the symptoms, the guilt, the fear. I felt myself falling away like the leaves on a tree in the fall.

The world was out there with everything I loved, but I was being held captive in my own brain and body, watching as the world passed me by. I was mad, sad, depressed! I missed who I was before, my life, my family, my sport, my abilities. No longer could I fake my way through this and pretend for others that I was okay. I hit rock bottom and like Dorothy on the golden brick road, I had to make a choice — get help, get stronger and take control back or end up dead. I still fight every day in one form or another but I am winning this battle inch by inch.

Slowly but surely, my brain, that for so long has been much like dory — forgetful and disorganized, just keeps swimming towards a better, healthier, happier life, where I am accepting of myself, my brain injury and the gifts the unseen gifts it has brought along this journey. Name: Dan. Name: Rebecca. He hit me at about 50 kph, the force of the impact throwing my van forwards into the vehicle in front of me.

The concussion that resulted was severe and led to post concussion syndrome, which is still ongoing fourteen months after the injury. I feel as if I am waging a battle against the darker side of myself and it would be so easy to slide into despair when I reflect on all that I cannot do, all that I have lost and the frustration that I experience on a daily basis is profound.

In more recent months, I have found a degree of acceptance and am learning to accept help and support. I am hopeful that in time, the struggles will be fewer and I will adjust to find peace with the new me. Name: Danny El. There has been much confusion along the way and many unanswered questions for which I have developed faith to help me deal with all the changes.

I am grateful for all the people that have come along side of me to help me to the better place I am in today. Name: Shar. The cotton depicts the fogginess I deal with daily. It is like the blink of an eye and it is gone — I have no recollection of what just happened. The stickers on my mouth signify that I have a hard time expressing myself both mentally and physically. The feathers are to show that I do have some good days too. Name: Michael. My brain injury affects both my memory and my functioning.

I had a near death experience and I am lucky to be alive! I pray and give thanks every day. I always try to learn something new and give it back to someone else. Life is all about change and how to make it work for me. The skill is for those moments when all goes wrong. Love is something that has helped me get through the tough times. Name: Jeff. The eyebrows, tears and frown represent the sadness I feel.

The scar represents the several surgeries I have had. The heart and the star represent my hope that things will continue to improve. I put my name on the forehead and the numbers as that was the year of my accident. The blue represents emotions such as sadness and grief. The green represents that things are getting better as in nature when spring comes. The red is happiness, showing love, contentment and pride.

Stolen Child

The frowning white face symbol on the mask represents being angry, grouchy, irritated and annoyed. The lightning bolts represent pain from migraine headaches. The black lines under the eyes are tiredness from not sleeping well and worry. The white tears from my eyes are for sadness, grief as my girlfriend died in the accident and loss of my former self. The rainbow after tears are for things getting better, with the sun coming out. The happy face is pride and contentment for what my life is today.

The shamrock is luck as I was given last rites in the hospital The three hearts represent love for my marriage and family. Name: Butterfly. My first memory of serious brain injury happened in before I started school. The most devastating brain injury was in The pale colour represents the loss of self and my struggle to find a way out. Some life long symptoms you might notice are my balance, body movement, speech, thought processing and lack of speed. There is so much more damage from the ABI that you do not see. What you do see is Yes, I take longer than you have patience for to move and communicate.

You do not know or understand how much effort and what a challenge it is for me to function. I am not drunk, high, or mentally disturbed. Being crushed and dented has allowed my perception of life to see what is truly important. I am still all of me. Name: Heather. I said no. We find strength we never believed possible in ourselves and adapt and adjust however we have to. They also show the steps we need to take to find that beauty may not always be so beautiful but holds great rewards. The spider shows how scary it can be… We start with fear before becoming fearless; with weakness that becomes IMpossible strength; we learn that change propels us forward to live a life of both discovery and miracles.

Then we learn to live life the way it could never have been lived before. Name: Darlene. On November 19, , I awoke not feeling well. It was a Saturday about 8 a. I had a massive tearing, burning sensation rip through my head. I went to the hospital, was tested for a migraine and sent home.

About five hours later, it happened again; back to the hospital, put in a room in the Emergency and laid there all night being treated for a migraine. The next morning a new doctor came in, realized no tests had been done and ordered a number of them. The spinal tap showed blood in it. I was subsequently airlifted to a hospital in Toronto, experienced the same thing again and spent a month there. I was terrified to sleep at night. I returned to North Bay and began therapy. Shortly after arriving at the hospital I developed blood clots in both my lungs and legs.

My face was bloated from the medication and steroids; of not knowing why. Toronto did several tests but never found out why this happened to me. Not being able to see was like looking through a tunnel. I had to relearn to tell time, do math, read. It has gotten better but I still have trouble doing the simple things. Name: Eric. The third eye is representative of my seeing life in a whole new way now. In the beginning, my seizures were not controlled so I had some in public.

I felt like I was a broken mug that no one wanted to drink from. I was called a liar after being struck by lightning, even though my wife was standing eight feet away and saw me launched from a ladder. It was not my fault I hit the floor in my late twenties when I was strong, virile and almost in Olympic physical shape.

I went down one day at home and my life changed from that point on. I was off work for a bit but then the company I work for found me a place in engineering as I had done surveying work before I came to them. I worked there for a summer and then was interviewed by the company C. This department was formed for injured employees to return to work if they could not longer perform their original duties. I had to learn how to manage my stress, sleep, diet, basically everything, in order to avoid seizures as much as possible. I have found since the lightning strike, my emotions have been heightened and, in some ways, even more keen as I am susceptible to sounds, light and my energy levels can go from great to almost nil.

Some sounds that are higher pitched or drone bother me and make me feel anxious or angry and I have to shut it off. I say precisely what I feel with very little filter. Every day is a new challenge, but as I have been dealing with this for many years, I have learned to just deal with it as it comes. Is it hard? It depends on the day. I find my patience level is not what it once was for rude or unsocial attitudes.

I guess time and life has changed that for me, but I am still here and living life one day at a time. Adapt and move forward. Name: Richard. So often I felt like a fake when I was attending the stroke recovery group. However, my attitude to life has very much improved since my TIAs. That is the reason I quit smoking. I was a smoker for over 40 years but have been smoke free since my last TIA years ago. The FOG in my brain and thinking had already lifted and I became a new and better person when I stopped drinking. I am now in my 10th year of sobriety.

I am grateful to be alive! Name: Sherry. I was hit from behind while stopped at a stop sign. I was taken to hospital and told I had a mild concussion and to take a few days off. Four months later, I am still suffering with the same symptoms and more. Even though my accident was minor and my injury mild, it has changed my life.

Since this is all fairly new, my future is still undetermined. Sometimes the best thing to do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best. Name: Linda. When I was five years of age, I was struck by a transport truck while crossing the highway; first flying lesson, no gear, header, not so good. Strive to overcome, persevere to find the one who listens with Love. I found a family of my own to love. Battle forever onward. I am a survivor. Name: Kristen.

Relearning about my life was hard along with relearning to read, write, and use a coffee maker. I am so lucky to have my loving husband and daughter to help me through all the joys and frustrations. I love my family. I love my life. I am still learning to embrace the struggles, changes, challenges and disappointments but I have learned that after the clouds part — the SUN is always there. Name: Denis. My stroke has affected my speech and communication.

I have aphasia. It is frustrating but I am able to get my message out with help from people that know me. The buttons represent my difficulty with speech and the letters are my thoughts. When I awoke after my stroke in hospital, my first and most lasting impression of my situation was to imagine myself on a long, dusty road in the middle of an arid nowhere. This mask represents the journey of recovery that has been my life for the past thee and one-half years. Long, hard, but hopeful and with the destination in sight.

Name: Julie. That fire is starting to seep into the rest of my face and it feels as though now it will be a part of my life forever. They assume I am okay but I am struggling. I used to take speaking for granted — now I know what a privilege it is. My mask is both beautiful and ugly, dark and light, hopeful and discouraged — which is how I feel regularly. The bird is for my mom and for my hope to somehow break free from my injury. Name: Carolyn. New opportunities come up daily but with many restrictions.

All three colours come together and make me. The tears of music notes on the mask represent how I started to get my memory back after waking up from a coma. The little green care bear is a tattoo that I got on my right shoulder as my little lucky bear because it is amazing how far I have come along with my recovery. My mother has taken me under her wing over the last 20 years and helped me find who I was, where I am going, how I am going to get there and that I have to do it, nobody else will. Although I will have some help along the way. I am happy that I have joined the Step-Up Program because I am socializing with others who have had similar brain injuries, learning about new ways that I can apply myself into the work world, working on working with others and coming to the realization that I am not alone.

Name: Francois. They said it was growing. They had to remove it and it affected the optic nerve in my right eye optic atrophy. The hand with the gift represents volunteering and giving back to the community. It also represents my gratitude towards the doctors without which I would not be here today and the teachers that taught me Braille.

It makes me feel useful and it gets me out of the house. The eye with the dot in it represents my tunnel vision of approx. It no longer bothers me but it use to piss me off because I was different from other people. The red half of the mask represents that I am now at peace with my brain injury.

I put a smile on my mask to show that I keep a positive outlook on life. The heart represents the love and support I get from other people my family and friends. I chose a four leaf clover because I feel lucky that they were able to find the tumor before it grew to big. The program has helped me feel useful and able to participate. Name: Jack. The telephone and Walkman are to illustrate that before my injury I was an avid caller to talk shows to voice my opinion on whatever subject being debated or discussed.

You will also see the words politics and activist. You can see from the photos that I was very involved in the political world and was ready to take a stand whenever I felt it appropriate. I was instrumental in getting free postage for children when they write their letters to Santa. The other side of the mask is my journey to recovery and the program which I attend now the Step Up Program. It is great going there because I met a lot of new friends. I still have my dog Marley but the thing I miss the most is walking him.

Due to poor balance it is difficult. Name: Jon. After more than three years of failing to return to work, I applied for and began receiving, financial support from the Ontario Disability Support Program. There I was able to connect with people who knew exactly what my challenges were. I had found my tribe! I still get headaches when I need to concentrate for even moderate periods of time. I am often confused about my schedule and I have to put everything in my calendar.

I become fatigues even when doing things I love to do: cooking and playing guitar, taking photographs and listening to music and, even playing video games.


However, with the help of my tribe — Step-Up and Vista and my family and friends — I feel like I will continue to be able to improve my life, to enjoy my hobbies and to eventually return to work. Name: Katelyn. The line also represents a graph of progress, with gradual progress interspersed with large and small setbacks. After a setback one is even more vulnerable to further setbacks in a downward cascade, just as an eggshell, once cracked, is easily cracked further.

Name: Magdalena. It is also showing how I used to be before my injury. Name: Marc. So I have an acquired brain injury on the front lobe of my brain. Like the yin-yang symbol, the mask has a dark aspect and a clearer one. The yellow side of the mask shows the resilient aspect of my rehabilitation. It has both light colours and darker ones. As the rainbow, each colour goes in the same direction. Each aspect of rehabilitation is important.

At first, I worked on the mental side of my trauma. I went to group therapy to find the best way to deal with a trauma. You also learn from what other people went through. The second aspect of my trauma is physical. I tend to have symptoms of fatigue because of the injury. Also, my balance has to be improved. Without my cane, I could easily fall when I walk. I learned how to use one in the Rehab Centre. Next step was to do yoga and tai-chi exercises in community health centres. These activities are good in improving your balance. I informed the instructors about my condition in case a posture was too difficult for me.

The treble clefs on the mask show my favourite hobby which is music. It is a good activity to improve your coordination and stimulate your spirit. The eye lashes of the mask are in fact taken from sun pictures. They are the sun rays. The eyes of the mask show that I am cross-eyed as a result of my injury. The blue side of my mask shows the darker aspect of my rehabilitation.

Since my trauma was something unexpected, I was not really prepared to deal with it. The cheeks show the element of fear and tension I had to go through. A close look at the picture on the chin of the mask shows bodies that look like sinking in water. With patience, each challenge had to be dealt with one step at the time.

For example, mindfulness is a good therapy against anxiety. Breathing exercises can help you to control your heartbeat. In conclusion, I hope my mask will inspire people to have a holistic vision of brain injury. There are many solutions to several problems. These solutions are found both in the physical and mental sides of human life. Thank you for your attention. Name: Mientje. I was overworked, stressed out, when I had to do an eye test due to working in front of a computer screen at the hospital.

I then went home to take my Golden Retriever Tigger out, when going up the steps I felt a push in my body, and fell backwards. My neighbours saw me falling, and called I continued to try to get up the stairs, because my subconscious mind was still working as per my neighbours. I had a severe hematoma, and was admitted to Toronto Western Hospital. I know I have this cross to bear , but God never gives us more than we can handle. Name: Murray. Not me. Rainbows are an acceptance of the joyous part of my life with Angels by my side.

I have discovered a new love of Arts and Crafts, through support from family, friends and the Brain Injury Association. Courage and support is what they have done for me at the Brain Injury Association and now volunteering is as much a part of my life as adjusting to life each day.

Name: Natali. My injured brain makes me feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, anxious, frustrated, angry. My brain works so hard to do even the smallest things that it used to do effortlessly. Things that I took for granted. This is life with a traumatic brain injury. I live with it every moment of every day. But hope remains. Like a butterfly breaking free of its cocoon, soaring past its limitations. Like the appearance of cherry blossoms, signalling spring and rebirth.

Like kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold, creating something to be cherished out of something that was damaged. Trying to put the pieces of my life back together in a meaningful way, even though the pieces no longer fit. Trying to create something whole again. Trying to see beyond the challenges. Trying to find beauty in the devastation, to find joy beyond the sadness and isolation. I hope that you can acknowledge, accept, and support me as I am now. Name: Patricia. Almost two years later, I have been diagnosed with Mild Neurocognitive Disorder.

This means that I continue to experience cognitive as well as other challenges as a result of the head injury. Anyone can sustain a head injury at any point in their lives. Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries MTBI are also known as concussions, and can be caused by incidents including, but not limited to, a fall, vehicle-related collisions, violence, sports injuries, explosive blasts and other combat injuries. The puzzle pieces are intended to represent the interconnected parts of the brain.

If one or more pieces are damaged or missing, the brain and body may not work as they once did. It can be impossible to see the damage with machines such as a CAT scan or an MRI and modern medicine is still in the early stages of understanding how the brain changes and repairs itself. The words on the puzzle pieces represent the feelings and symptoms I have experienced since I sustained my injury. I chose these words because they represent things that may not be visible to someone who meets me, even if they know me well. There are many positive things that can occur in the life of someone with an MTBI, but this mask is intended to expose the factors that may be invisible.

The missing puzzle piece represents loss. Everyone who sustains an MTBI experiences loss in some way, even if it is temporary. They may lose a job, a relationship or the ability to participate in activities that once meant a lot to them. During this time of loss, the support of family, friends and professionals has been instrumental in my healing journey.

The butterflies represent change; change experienced in the life of the injured person and their families, change needed in available resources and research and change that is always occurring in the brain. Name: Penelope. My husband was left with a shell of a wife and my seven children without their functioning mother. The water represents the many tears shed. The orange signifies the burning and pain in my brain. The orange ear plugs are for the sensitivity to noise. The glasses are reflective of the necessity to combat light sensitivity and blurred distorted vision.

Moore, Virginia Beach. The more important point is that the answers to these questions should be immaterial to the Church. Choosing sides in political issues certainly impacts the Church negatively from the dissension it causes. What if the lost donations are significant enough to affect the ability of the Church to carry out its mission?

Why are Church funds and resources being used to lobby governments for any reason instead of being used to help the poor and spread the Gospel? I respectfully request The Catholic Virginian to honor the separation of church and state. The Democratic Party clearly supports abortion while the Republican Party purports to be pro-life. Abortion is a moral issue, not a political issue. God created us with free will. If a woman chooses to kill her unborn child, as horrible as this is, it is a free will choice, and she will answer to God.

The Catholic Virginian is entering an arena where they have no clue about the players or their motives. It is strictly a ploy to garner votes. It is also of note that Attorney General William Barr has reinstituted the death penalty, which is also the taking of life. I hope this will be the last political letter that The Catholic Virginian will print. Machik, Virginia Beach.

The death penalty article Catholic Virginian, Aug. Babies like this have no chance in life. Then there are those who want to see incorrigible criminals live forever. People like mass murderers, bombers and such have lived their lives and made their choice. They have not accepted their actions for hurting people they do not know, and they do not care to know. Our liberal society is quick to condemn the government in the name of pro-life for carrying out executions when mandated by the courts.

The attorney general is only following the law. Under the auspices of pro-life, we should take all life into consideration. Many are still primarily concerned with the lives of the unborn who have no choices and are unconcerned for the extremists who have maimed, killed and shattered the lives of many. Until we hold nonconformists accountable, our prisons will fill.

I am never sure or guaranteed that I can leave my home and return safely. I pray that we all find common ground to save our babies and save us from those who plan to do bodily harm. If we do, we may not need a prison or capital punishment. Even though she has since resigned, I am probably alone among faithful Catholics in applauding Gov. It took a great deal of courage to offer this rare and candid glimpse into the way modern Democrats view the Catholic Church. I encourage all Catholics to reflect on the wit and wisdom of Gail Gordon Donegan, and consider in turn the character of those politicians — many Catholic in name — who embraced her, especially after her comments were made public.

What was the next question? Is the pope infallible? And the question before? Is the ocean floor filling up with pedophile priests with millstones around their necks? When the initial stun wore off — in a minute or so — skepticism returned. Decades of teaching for Saint Leo University had led me away from that shallow metric to more nuanced and deeper measures of understanding.

He cites a colleague, Mark Gray, who believes that the faithful do in fact know what they believe and what the Church teaches. It is a matter of asking the questions in the right fashion, which may include much more labor than a simple survey question. Schoch, Williamsburg. With the seemingly endless violence in our nation and in our communities, we as the faithful need to carry the Good News of the Gospel that we hear at Mass every Sunday into our communities, families and workplaces — not only in words, but more so through example and action.

Mass is only the first step. The work that needs to be done begins when we go out into the world. The world is watching. Our young people are watching and waiting for change through the Church and each one of us. High praise to Father Marques for his article summarizing the fundamental teaching of Holy Mother Church regarding the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the holy Eucharist Catholic Virginian, Aug. Catholics believe in this fundamental doctrine of our faith.

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The Hungarians were crushed by the Soviet Army, and many died. The British abandonment of Hong Kong was criminal at best, given the nature of Communist China and its bloody past. I was a teenager in the s and remember listening to short-wave calls for help from Hungary. The Hong Kong people are an industrious, freedom- loving people. The city is beautiful. The people there know what hell the Communists have given the Chinese of the mainland.

They know a bloodbath is coming if the Communist Chinese Army steps in.

The pope has recently allowed the Communist government of the mainland to choose bishops. Poor Joseph Cardinal Zen has spoken about the betrayal. Every Catholic should be praying the rosary for the people of Hong Kong, over and over, until this situation is resolved. On the same page was a letter from Francis Chester, where, in the next-to-last paragraph, the writer was speaking of pro-life and pro-choice politics.

The outrage is appropriate over the recent tragic mass killings in Virginia, Texas, Ohio and California. However, where is the appropriate — and proportional — outrage over the approximate average number of 11, abortions performed each and every week in the United States? Eleven thousand innocents each week denied life beyond the womb.

Galayda, Williamsburg. This means that a huge majority of Catholics are so in name only. Bishop Robert Barron is right to blame all those, including himself, who have the task of transmitting the faith. The people are simply not being taught. Adding to the problem is the fact that in many parishes, there is no tabernacle on the main altar. Instead of being front and center, the Lord is commonly shunted off to the side somewhere so that he is generally overlooked by parishioners.

One man once remarked to me that he did not know who thought removing the Lord was a good idea. With our Savior so frequently set aside, it is no wonder that belief in his physical presence among us has faded away. Besides returning our Lord to his proper place, every single parish in the diocese ought to set aside time for eucharistic adoration. Some churches already practice this devotion, but they are few in number. The regular practice of adoring the Lord in the Eucharist will undoubtedly renew belief in him. With my wife in the hospital recovering from an auto accident, I felt an emptiness, so I started attending Mass.

I introduced myself one day and asked him to visit my wife in the rehab hospital. Later that day, he showed up and gave Deb Communion and anointed her. I converted on Aug. We just celebrated 50 years! Every now and then I think about Father Tom and the impact he had on me. I wondered where he had gone and was pleased to see he is a military chaplain.

When I served in Afghanistan in , there was only one priest in the country then, and he was Polish. Thank you, Father Tom. You made a big difference in my life and helped me find my faith. Speculation about what might have happened during that election should be carried out in conjunction with speculation about what might have happened during the papal election. The famous Prophecy of Malachy takes the form of a series of one-line slogans in Latin presenting character descriptions of every pope from St.

At the time of the papal election, the Prophecy of Malachy was hinting at two conclusions: first, that there were two more popes to go before the end of the world; and second, that the next pope was supposed to be a Benedictine monk. For whatever reason, a Benedictine monk was not elected pope in This means that in the near future, the human race will pass through a series of great disasters and the end-time events of history will occur in a distant future beyond that. Abortion is not a form of birth control; it is murder!

There is something wrong with this picture. If I understand correctly, it is difficult to adopt an infant since so many of them are aborted. This is a life given by God; how can we just destroy it? This concept of infanticide is so cruel and barbaric I cannot see how anyone can be supportive of this action. Who would this child have become?

Once this decision is made, there is no going back, no second chances. The person has to live with this for the rest of their life. As Catholics, I fail to see how any one of us, in good conscience, can support a person or political party that thinks this is acceptable behavior. Regardless of all the political and social issues that confront us as Americans, we need to remember that we are Catholic Americans, and abortion should be unacceptable to each of us. I sincerely hope that we, as Catholics, can stand together and make a difference.

Examine all the issues and listen carefully to each person who wants to represent us. Is it possible to be a devout Catholic and prochoice? I agree with his reply except at the last sentence, quoting from the U. Apparently, half the Catholic voters voted for Democrat pro-abortion candidates. There is never an excuse to vote for such a candidate because without life all other issues are inconsequential. When a life is extinguished there are no issues left to deal with.

With all due respect, a vote for a Democrat and the Democratic Party is acting as an enabler to promote the worst of the worst policies. It could be a serious sin. We are in our 80s and have been married for 62 years. A few years ago we reflected on the things that got us to this point and what we needed to do to keep on going. A borderless country, however, is not a country by definition and makes no sense. If the Church truly believes that nations should have no borders, then why is the Vatican surrounded by some of the biggest walls on Earth?

These conflicting views on immigration occur because the Church continues to inject itself and the viewpoints of the Church into the politics of nations, which is a big mistake because no matter which viewpoint the Church supports, they will alienate half of the congregation. And to make matters worse, many of the political viewpoints of the Church, as shown annually in the legislative agenda printed in The Catholic Virginian, are not consistent with freedom, liberty and the U.

The Church should focus on spreading the Gospel and stay out of politics. We need to be honest and follow good intentions through to their actual outcomes. Most of those who invite, mislead, organize and fund illegal immigration into the United States do so for political reasons with no regard for the suffering caused as the lawless take life savings, leave slackers in the desert to die and rent and enslave their children.

Church leaders contributing funding to this movement — Why not target the root causes in Central America? Do we need to choose between our Church and our country? Similarly, if the Equality Act will outlaw the functioning of Christian communities and organizations that help so many because they choose not to embrace or promote alternative lifestyles, and will eventually destroy our religious freedom, how is it compassionate?

It is not moral to help some by hurting many more. Those who thrive on division and confrontation among groups will not want to consider this reasoning. So, too, for those who place no value on religious and individual God-given freedoms for all people or those who just take our blessings for granted. The Catholic Virginian can often provide a bit of insight into the most stressing political chaos that permeates our faith. While the June 17 issue provided an insight into this complex issue, it revealed a two-sided answer.

He goes on to tell us that we should not vote for them if they claim they are against abortion but support the issues that allow the crimes against humanity to continue. While that position may appear to relieve the Church leaders of their moral responsibilities, it is a deceitful argument. I have my doubts. They will never get my vote regardless of how they portray themselves.


They do not represent me, and I doubt seriously if they represent you. The Church should provide a better response, and who we vote for should represent our practice and certainly rid the country of Roe vs. And they will not. Cranford, Chesterfield. Certainly, they are still benevolent, compassionate, loving promoters of human flourishing. More than 15 years ago, I would have held the same view.

After many personal struggles with my Catholic faith regarding Church teachings, i. A priest suggested I first find out why the Catholic Church takes these 2,year-old stances. After much reading and praying, I came to the hard fact that I had to change my stances, not the Catholic Church. God has created all souls equal and loves each sinner as much as the greatest saint.

Staying in a state of grace is what brings all hearts their true joy while on Earth. The Equality Act is an act of man. All bishops could sign onto the Equality Act but that would not make a difference to God. It hits the nail on the head. Pelosi, Biden, Durbin, Kaine and Gov.

Cuomo have always endorsed late-term abortions. Then the mother and the doctor make a choice to kill the child or not. The Catholic Church cannot condone politicians who support this policy. Thanks to Father Collins for his address on this awful situation and the lack of respect for life by these politicians. Ralph Puccinelli, Richmond. About four years ago, I decided I would not write another letter to the editor, but I decided to send one on a subject that concerns me.

Sometimes when I read the CV letters it confounds me that some of the submissions actually come from folks who are my fellow Catholic Christians. The particular issue that astounds me is immigration. The pope is even criticized for compassionately contributing for asylum- seeking immigrant care at the southern border. Inclusiveness and all-embracing seems more aligned with my Catholic upbringing and education. Marino, Chester. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it:[b] You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Mt Like the Church, we too have been persecuted, discriminated against and even killed. Yet, we continue to seek God. Our bishops are not exemplifying true Christianity. Why would Church leaders, among all people, voice concern over an act of equality? We are worthy of providing a child a loving home through adoption and fostering. We are worthy of being loved by our neighbors as they love themselves. This is in response to your article with a category chart of voting records for the most recent Virginia General Assembly session Catholic Virginian, May 6.

Of the nine categories listed, five related to abortion. As a registered nurse, I am well aware of the barbaric nature of abortion and its grotesque anatomical realities that are consistently whitewashed by segments of the general public. I would suggest readers view the voting records of all Virginia state legislators and the various categories that are listed. Of those that relate to the pro-life movement are, among others, gun control, Medicaid expansion and Medicaid funding waivers for intellectually disabled ID and developmentally disabled DD individuals. The Church has fought against the culture of death and promoted the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death and championed the protection of those lives that are most vulnerable.

Abortion cannot be the sole measuring stick for the pro-life movement and in combating the culture of death that continues to seep into our society. It is worth noting that Catholic politicians who assert that they are prochoice are more than willing to go to functions sponsored by abortionists, but avoid going to any gathering sponsored by crisis pregnancy centers, which support women who have chosen to nurture, rather than kill, the babies entrusted to their care. If such politicians are really pro-choice, why do they make an appearance only at functions sponsored by those supporting one choice — abortion?

Destiny Grimoire

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I see no value is segregating ourselves from one another. However, we as individuals have made the choice to commit to the faith whether through birth or conversion. Labeling is not necessary and segregates us as a faith community. Five decades of prayerful, quiet, unassuming presence has spread a reverence for life and saved lives. He is a modern crusader, a visible symbol of the struggle for the rights of the unborn. His mission reminds us God is with us and that prayer is our first approach to God. Pray without ceasing, we have been instructed.

Daily, I thank God for providing us with people like Mr. Barker and ask that I emulate him and follow a life of Christian charity, living the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Every life is precious. Father Jim fully immersed you into his life, his vision and his passion for that path he was on to God. Father Jim was not a perfect man, nor did he ever profess to be, but in his desire to serve, to console, to support, to celebrate, to pray with and for, to welcome, and to challenge, he was, for me, that faithful shepherd — a ready disciple.

They misinform and then offer no remedy when over 80 percent of those seekers are denied. We have a systematic way of legally entering this country for a reason — to prevent the chaos that is present in the immediate situation. New legislation that eliminates loopholes, such as the soil clause, which affords due process to people who blatantly break our immigration laws, and immediate deportation of illegals, instead of catch and release policies, would be effective. We either obey the rule of law, which is in place to maintain order, protect our citizens and enforce the laws that we as a social compact have agreed to obey, or we suspend our laws and embrace a false sense of compassion that propagates and allows chaos and criminality to prevail.

No one reading your article would surmise that these poor people are violating the laws of Mexico and the U. We all understand why these people are fleeing their Third World countries. I would guesstimate that there are, minimum, four billion people on earth who, given the opportunity, would eagerly leave their homes to come to America. Maybe more. We, the people, have elected representatives to Congress to set up an orderly system of immigration.

Yet, somehow we are expected to ignore the law and grant amnesty to people who have flouted and despised our laws, and to disadvantage the many who follow the rules. Does not the Bible tell us that the civil authorities are to be respected? Now we have a pontiff who is an accessory to this illegality. Of every dollar that we put into the collection basket, a percentage goes to the bishop; of every dollar the bishop receives, a piece goes to Rome. Thus, we are forced to subsidize this illegal behavior. The more money the pope sends, the more people will attempt this hazardous and hopeless journey, this time with implicit papal blessing.

We will assume that this pontiff means to be kind, but the reality is that he is cruelly raising false hopes for these unfortunate people. The environment with such issues as climate change, sea level rise, construction of pipelines, off-shore drilling, etc. The environment is important enough that it will be on the platforms of most presidential candidates. Care for our Earth is not just a secular matter. The recognition and celebration of Earth Day, April 22, came and went without any mention of this event in the CV.

We as Catholics have a serious responsibility to live and act in a way which ensures that the gift of our Earth will be healthy for future generations. Bishop Knestout signed an agreement together with the bishop of the Diocese of Arlington that more attention will be given to the well-being of our Earth in the two dioceses. I have not seen much attention given to the state of our Earth in the CV up till now. The CV can be a means of communication for the diocesan parishes, wherein they could circulate news of their parish activities on behalf of the environment.

Kudos to Bishop Knestout and the pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Petersburg! The parish website carries a prominent and detailed notice about how to report both child sexual abuse and sexual harassment. It is praiseworthy that harassment is listed as being reportable because any sexual misconduct committed by diocesan personnel, even if it falls short of the legal definition of a crime, is nonetheless gravely immoral and ought not be tolerated, especially if it is a cleric who is the offending party. If a priest begins indulging in unseemly conversation such as making jokes about condoms and circumcision, pay attention and do not tell yourself that he merely has an off-color sense of humor.

If he begins to turn a friendly hug into a long, lingering embrace, become alarmed. If he refuses to release you and plays with your hair and strokes your back, know that you are with a predator and it is your right and duty to tell the bishop. It does not matter if you have known the priest for years and consider him to be a family friend. It does not matter if others have done worse.

Such behavior is still gravely sinful and desecrates the office of the priesthood. It is imperative that the offending priest face his superiors for correction and for the good of the entire Church. In the Diocese of Richmond, there are now explicit instructions to the faithful on how to start that process should the need arise.

In her column Catholic Virginian, April 8 , Barbara Hughes wrote she had no memory of having heard a sermon on war and peace preached in church. That statement may apply to the teachings of churches. However, the teachings of religious orders in the schools run by religious orders engaged in constant preaching of peace. This preaching of peace served to neutralize any would-be political men, such as might have been disposed to do the work of political men by devoting themselves to the armed defense of religious liberty. With any political men neutralized and put out of action, the Communists were free to manipulate the teachings of religious leaders so as to make the teachings come out in favor of the triumph of Communism.

The Communists have stored in their memories how they were able to defeat America in Vietnam; they plan to apply these lessons to defeat America on a worldwide basis. There does not appear to be much of a live Communist movement going on in the world; there are only a few Asian nations where it remains in power. In the s, Communism was much alive in the world. So, in these alleged prophecies, it was being predicted that there would be a time when Communism would appear to die and then a time when Communism would come back to life and conquer the world.

I went to the funeral of Father Jim Parke at Ascension Church in Virginia Beach last week and was surprised at the large crowd of people there. The church was filled as well as the commons and areas above the commons. It was a great tribute to Father Parke. For TQ, the church was packed with the crowd filling the commons and overflowing into the hall.

Father Parke and Father Quinlan were good pastors who really went out of their way ministering to people in a deeply personal way. They frequently went into the grey areas of life to minister to people there and sometimes got into trouble doing this. They were not perfect people and had their faults. However, they gave themselves in ministry in a very active and involved way, helping people where they found people.

The way I see it is that Jesus became one of us, showing us how to be fully human by his teaching, self-giving and the example of his life. Many times, Jesus was in the midst of the messiness of life, and that was not always popular with some people. God be with you, Father Parke. The traffic around the church was monitored by city police because of the exceptionally large crowd.

The local neighboring funeral home and golf course offered additional parking for overflow from the church parking lot. The worship space was filled to capacity as were the adjoining spaces including the balcony in the church commons. It was standing room only for those who came before the procession for the Mass. There was a flock of priests, Mayor Bobby Dyer of Virginia Beach and other city dignitaries were recognized and welcomed. There were representatives of other faiths as noted by the yarmulke, native dress or ministerial apparel.

Men, women and children whose lives were touched by this saintly man who in his gentle way touched, healed and renewed many souls. Rest in peace, Father Parke. You touched my life and the lives of many, many believers and non-believers. For that we are eternally grateful. Thomann, Virginia Beach. I just read the letter from Anthony R. Russo Catholic Virginian, April The leaders of those countries are unwilling or unable to provide basic safety to which all human beings are entitled. As asylum seekers, their intent is to present themselves to immigration officers to begin the asylum process.

The system in place for governing immigration has been a chaotic mess for many years. You cannot blame the asylum seeker for our crisis. That blame belongs on our current politics and unwillingness to address a humanitarian crisis. We are neither under threat nor siege. We have failed to provide remedy to neighbors in need. We cannot in this instance claim the rule of law as moral high ground when we fail to provide adequate legal remedy for our brothers and sisters whose lives are threatened.

To make things worse, many of these illegals have been found to be dangerous felons, murderers, rapists, child molesters and other undesirables. This pope just continues to go down the path of controversial, socialist practices without regard to the American people or Catholics in general. I am ashamed to identify as a Catholic with this pope representing Catholics by his declarations, actions, speeches and proclamations.

At this point, Father Doyle reneges on his priestly duty. Catholic parents have the grave primary duty to educate and train their children in the Catholic faith. The mother is obligated to inform her daughter of the actual teachings of the Catholic Church. The truth is the only answer. Russo, Chesapeake. On the other hand, Kevin McAlleenan, the U.

Customs and Border Protection commissioner tells us that the U. What does she base this on? She apparently attended a border-summit in El Paso, Texas, where she encountered a priest that worked with migrants in Mexico. But why let facts get in the way of your agenda? Even the name of their organization is disingenuous. As Catholics, we are called to welcome the stranger but also to respect the sovereign rule of law of the United States. Thankfully for Catholics, justifying the existence of nuclear weapons has recently become more complicated.

The treaty outlaws the production, manufacture, possession, use, threat of use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. It is a framework for the verifiable disarmament of all nuclear weapons for all time. While the Church has always advocated for the abolition of nuclear weapons it also allowed for a nuclear deterrent on an interim basis. What the Church needs to do is put all of the priests who are on the list of those who sexually abused minors in prison where they belong.

Then maybe the healing of victims and the Church will begin. Dameron, Virginia Beach. The placement or relocation of a tabernacle is a significant decision and lasting statement that should not be the hidden agenda of any one person, but rather guided by a clear and cohesive diocesan policy set by the bishop in consultation with his office of worship and the liturgical documents, then adapted to the architectural and worship styles of each parish and implemented by the pastor in a transparent manner. When this process is based on liturgical guidelines and involves the faithful, it can be a wonderful opportunity for catechesis and deeper devotion.

My pastor said that ours is the most impure era in the history of the world. Given the ubiquity of immodesty and pornography, this may very well be true. Yet the problem is as ancient as that moment at the dawn of creation, when Satan appointed the most foul of his lieutenants as the Impure Demon, the one to instigate sexual depravity in the human race. During his public ministry, Jesus confronted this demon over and over again in every village he visited. This includes my pastor, Fr. When most people think of prison, they envision confrontation with dangerous people or walking a condemned criminal to the electric chair.

Many individuals may be surprised to learn that there are many good spiritual men and women in prison. It is my belief that every human being has an inviolable dignity, value and worth, regardless of race, gender, class or any other human characteristic. Each of us is born with free will that must be nurtured and informed by spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical disciplines. At the same time, we believe that victims and offenders are children of God.

Despite their very different claims on society, their lives and dignity should be protected and respected. We seek justice, not vengeance. Punishment should have clear purpose: Protecting society and rehabilitating those who violate the law. Sadly, many are oblivious to the seriousness of this commandment. For, if a Catholic is allowed to feel morally free to disregard this commandment for the sake of personal convenience, that same Catholic will soon feel morally free to disregard any of the other Ten Commandments for the sake of personal convenience.

Thus, disregarding the grave warning given by St. Paul in I Cor , many Catholics now feel free to receive holy Communion in a state of unrepented serious sin. The importance of participating at Sunday Mass each week came home to me even moredramatically recently. A man pointed out that the sacrifice, which he has to make to participate at Sunday Mass each week, is miniscule in comparison to the agonizing sacrifice Jesus had to make to be at that Mass. This is something to keep in mind as many of us participate in communal reconciliation services this Lent. But as a recovering alcoholic, I have learned that denial will not solve anything.

I am obliged to say that an excellent preventive for gossip is transparency, which has not been on display at the Vatican. The pope also agreed to form a new tribunal, including laity, to deal with bishops covering up sex abusers among their clerics. But he changed his mind, with Cardinal Muller then indicating it could be handled by the bishops themselves. I am somewhat disenchanted, but I close with my more fervent prayer that the pope and all his charges will find the strength, the courage, and the love to achieve transparency in the light of Christ, and with it renewed authority and inspiration, which we so desperately desire from them and each other.

I wish to affirm Bishop Barry C. Knestout for his support of prison ministry. I would also like to affirm Father Jay Wagner, pastor of Church of the Redeemer, who faithfully celebrates Mass most every Tuesday evening at the Petersburg facilities with the full support of Scott Ritz, Life Connections Program mentor coordinator. It is also encouraging to see prison ministry will be supported as part of the Annual Diocesan Appeal. May all who support those who are currently incarcerated be inspired by the actions of Bishop Knestout, Father Jay and Scott Ritz!

While I am satisfied that the Church is showing how irresponsible they were with the abuse it has put on kids, I am not happy about why it took so long. The Church has a chance now to speak up and act on all the so-called practicing Catholics who publicly speak out for abortion, especially ones who help change laws to abort up to the time of birth.

Stand up and be heard, denounce those Catholics who are OK with killing fetuses. Excommunicate any of them that go against Catholic teaching. Warren, Newport News. Subtract the six Sundays of Lent and that constitutes the 40 days. That Mass ushers in the Holy Triduum, a liturgical season in its own right and the shortest of the liturgical year ending with Vespers on Easter Sunday , as well as the Paschal Fast.

Unlike the penitential fast of Lent, the Paschal fast is a joyful fast like the fast before Communion. All that said, we might take our best inspiration from St. Hoggard, Director of Religious Education, St. Pius X Catholic Church, Norfolk. Extraordinary ministers of holy Communion can help to save souls by bringing holy Communion to nursing homes. This form of evangelization is becoming more important because we have an aging population, with nursing homes becoming a growing part of many communities.

These facilities are home to some people who have been practicing Catholics and now are denied the solace that had been the promise of their faith. Extraordinary ministers of holy Communion would evangelize just by bringing Communion and by listening to residents, so no special evangelization training or skill is needed.

The prospect of helping a soul reach eternal salvation is a sufficient motivator. Many parishes have some visits to a nursing home, but we should consider going beyond a few days per month. The challenge is to create an extension of the parish faith community. The arrangement could start with one day per week for Communion. The next steps might be to increase the number of visits, forming a prayer group or planning an on-site Mass. The video showed an adult male disrespectfully and aggressively invading the personal space of a remarkably restrained teenager.

Letters Continued from Page 6. Why did the writer omit Bishop Roger J. It neglects to mention those of all the bishops who vilified him and what it will cost the parishioners of their dioceses. Many Catholics throughout the U. Marroni laments the lack of environmental ministries in diocesan parishes.

He cites The International Panel on Climate Change as having predicted catastrophic environmental damage within twelve years. I do not wish to pollute or do anything else that would directly harm the environment. We should properly dispose of trash, reduce waste, invent or reinvent more environmentally friendly products and services. However, I am not ready to put environmental ministries into our parishes, nor am I willing to allow environmental alarmists greater political power.

The origins of the environmental movement are socialist and their ultimate goals are dangerous to all societies and dangerous to the Church. Just this week, U. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while preparing dinner and recording a video in her home, said that young people should really think about having children because doing so will harm the environment. Never mind that our birth rates are falling.

It will become a patriotic duty to forego children. The economic devastation to not only the U. Man will not destroy earth, nor will anything else, until God decides to let it be destroyed. God gave man incredible intelligence, and we will find better energy alternatives to protect environmental health. Meanwhile, the earth will still be revolving and orbiting the sun as it has for thousands upon thousands of years.

Why all the recent outrage? The murder of our unborn, to the day of birth, has been a reality since If New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo advocated for legal dismemberment of African Americans or Jews, there would be a different kind of public outcry. Would Cardinal Dolan then excommunicate Cuomo? Or do our Church leaders feel their hands are tied, morally, due to the ongoing sex abuse revelations? And at the risk of seeming partisan, we dare not call out one political party for their total support of abortion.

We have been numbed to the horror of what abortion truly is. Thanks to O. I, too, like Bishop Barry C. Knestout Catholic Virginian, Jan. As a black Catholic, I can also appreciate the historic value of Catholic schools. From to , I attended a black Catholic high school, known as St. Emma Military Academy in Powhatan. Emma was established largely by St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia socialite, who as a millionaire used her money to help black and Native American youths.

This nun later founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. After the desegregation of public schools, much of the enrollment dropped. Thus, in the school closed its doors. The priests and lay teachers were from various ethnic backgrounds. Although very strict, they were compassionate mentors. Upon graduation, we received three diplomas: academic, trade and military science. Many of us became college graduates, some became high ranking military officers, and some leaders in industry and business. We could attend Mass daily, and on Sundays and holy days of obligation, Mass was mandatory even for non-Catholics.

In the evenings, catechism classes were offered. We had many converts. About a mile from St. Emma was a black Catholic school for girls. Francis de Sales was operated by strict but compassionate nuns. Emma cadets had socials with the girls from St. My dad is gone now, but in he, too, became a St. Emma graduate. The school gave him a feeling of self-worth when much of the United States was mired in racism. Last spring the Environmental Working Community in Hampton Roads took a phone survey of area parishes.

Two-thirds of the 26 parishes surveyed reported holding various environmental activities periodically, but only three had a formal environmental ministry. What was the motivation for these parishes?

The people who started these ministries realized their faith required them to take action so they accepted their responsibility to educate parishioners about the crisis and encourage changes. The International Panel on Climate Change has warned that the crisis is so great that we have 12 years to limit this catastrophe.

Otherwise, there will be more extreme heat, droughts, floods and poverty. This study stated that global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1. Pope Francis understands the serious threat climate change poses. A parish environmental ministry strives to embody these teachings. They organize events and activities that educate parishioners, and they provide initiative and direction on how a parish can become more sustainable.

Hopefully, more parishes will heed the warnings of Pope Francis as well as the IPCC and form environmental ministries. What a show of gratitude to our Creator it would be if faith communities worked toward becoming a green Church. The United States has a big problem. I saw a story on a group of people arguing whether Jesus is a Democrat or Republican.

He belongs to everyone! When standing before God on Judgment Day when you die, you will not be asked if you are a Democrat, Republican, etc. You may be asked what you have done for your fellow man, such as feed him when he is hungry, clothe him when he is naked, and shelter him when he is homeless.

These are the things that matter. It is how you live your life and treat others, not your political affiliation, that matter. You should vote for the candidate that will do the best for our people and our country. As tensions increase in our country, do as God would do and continue to pray. God forgives us for our sins, and God bless America!

Filek, Virginia Beach. The activist media, including NBC, CNN, and others, selectively edited video to imply misbehavior by Covington Catholic kids who were verbally attacked while waiting for a bus. Initially, some people, including their diocese, rushed to judgment and fell for the deception. After investigation, the diocese fully exonerated the kids.

They did nothing wrong. Nevertheless, your editor elected to publish three letters Catholic Virginian, Feb. A competent editor would have quickly found the error in these letters and, at minimum, noted they contained distortion that amounted to highly partisan propaganda. By failing to do so, the CV misled its readers and slandered the young Catholics. There are three possible explanations for this gross failure: editorial incompetence, willful ignorance or actual malice.

Regardless of which failure occurred, the CV and the diocese must apologize for their libels, and the editor must be discharged. To do less is to persist in gross error. The activist media, as opposed to journalists, are being sued for their deceptions. Given that Nick Sandmann was not a public figure at the time, he is likely to become a very rich young man. To persist in malicious deception is to serve the father of lies and to renounce the truth, which is Christ.

Muldowney writes. A story on that report, released Feb. I was surprised the letters condemning Covington students were published Catholic Virginian, Feb 11 following the video evidence that refuted the story. Several Catholics jumped to conclusions getting caught up in a media frenzy judging before all the facts were in.

I would think any school or organization who sends children to such an event would prepare them for the negative reaction one is bound to get in this current climate and how to handle it. It is obvious by these letters that neither of them has seen all the videos that were posted on this event. They are proud of the president and they should be able to vocalize their support.

The young boy who stood there did exactly what Jesus would have done. Respond with non-violence or verbally abusive language, but with strength and conviction. Those who are ignorant of the facts should not be commenting on things they know nothing about. We cannot ignore our basic right to free speech which includes articles of clothing, e. Just how provocative to a Catholic is a MAGA hat compared to a recent version of a socially accepted pink hat openly purported to represent specific female anatomy worn at another protest?

Where is the outrage there? A minor was approached to within inches of his physical self by an adult unknown to him beating a drum in his face. The youth at no time requested this. Other adults nearby are recorded shouting racial and threatening epithets to this young man and his classmates at about the same time. The smile was no smirk. I am proud to see my faith tradition so beautifully executed and by one so young!

We adults should take note, not umbrage! Gillam, Appomattox. All three of your letters to the editor on the subject Catholic Virginian, Feb. Come on, editors. How about some balanced coverage? As for the MAGA hats, we have made several trips to DC over the past couple years for memorials, celebrations and just plain sightseeing. In so many cases, a surprisingly large number of students will be wearing MAGA hats.

It always does my heart good to see the next generation of patriotic youngsters not afraid to show their love of country. McGough, Newport News. We are writing to express our disgust with the comments made in the letters published Catholic Virginian, Feb. The students demonstrated remarkable character and restraint in the face of the aggressive behavior displayed by the individual who was taunting them. The Diocese of Covington rushed to condemn the students before a full investigation of the facts had been established. After the situation in question was investigated, it became clear the students were not at fault and, in fact, had been targeted by those seeking to promote disorder.

Nick Sandmann and the other Covington Catholic High School students are deserving of our admiration and respect for the way they conducted themselves during the event and in the days after. The students demonstrated a great deal more character than those who wrote the despicable remarks contained in the letters you published.

Gomez, Virginia Beach. Are they aware that Phillips was the admitted aggressor in this situation? He interfered without being asked, and he escalated the situation begun by the Black Hebrew Israelites, who were cursing and threatening the Catholic school children. If his intention was to defuse a tense situation involving children, then why did he not approach the insult tossing and cursing Black Hebrew Israelite adults? Why did the children not turn the other cheek? That is precisely what they did in an eloquent way. They passively smiled and stood still in the face of harassment by wild-eyed bigots and a serial attention seeker.

These children were a testament to Catholic schools in light of the fact this did not turn into a mob scene. The children did a wonderful job of holding their tempers and remaining calm while being besieged by adults. These students were representing their belief in the respect of all life and all they have received is criticism and hatred for a situation they did not create.

The big question: As Catholics, what responsibilities do these students and parents need to embrace? So, what else do they need to embrace? Forgiveness and prayerful reflection on the distorted and cruel treatment they received from the media, the public and these letter writers to The Catholic Virginian. Not only will no one remember why the March for Life took place, but Catholics were portrayed by the fake news media as bigots, fools and liars to all the world.

Our own people distrust and vilify us. Media dishonesty has given Catholics the image of oddballs and outcasts without thoughts of our own. Catholics are viewed as ludicrous followers of a Church that is detached and ineffective. So, Satan had a great day on Jan. The mean, corrosive and hateful environment some of the writers worry over is already here.

It exists inside a country that supports and pays for abortions that are wiping out generations of little souls. So instead of hating and criticizing the Catholics who support the teachings of our beautiful Church, pray for those who seek to destroy life and champion those who work to support life at all stages.

Grow up!!!! I was at the March for Life and saw these kids at the march. They conducted themselves, like everyone else there, with positive and honorable behavior. I did not personally see the confrontation with Nathan Phillips, but I did see a number of unedited videos. Each was at least long and some were as long as These kids were not at fault at all.

They were verbally harassed by the black Hebrew Israelites as were the few American Indians. Instead of confronting the harassers, Phillips chose the students. Bottom line: Phillips started this and the kids did nothing but stand there. You all were too quick to condemn kids instead of the adult who went into this much easier target group and got in their faces. In The Catholic Virginian Feb. Their voices were added to the chorus of journalists and other professional members of the media, bishops and others on a variety of platforms. Now that their diocese has completed an investigation, it has been determined that every single one of those voices leapt to false conclusions, and at least one lied.

Having reviewed video and photo evidence from the many phones recording the scene which began long before the drumming incident , it has been determined that the Covington boys did not shout racist slurs. They had racist slurs shouted at them by the black Hebrew Israelites who were also harassing the Native Americans. They sang school chants to drown out the racist attacks.

Nathan Phillips was deliberately confronting them, not trying to get past them. They did better under worse circumstances than most adults would. The investigation cleared them. The bishops involved have apologized, along with many members of the media. So where does that leave us? For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

While being quick to put words to paper, did anyone stop to breathe for even a moment? Was I the only one to wonder what the whole story was?