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Girl’s Confirmation Recalls Pope’s NY Visit (remarkable story of a quadriplegic's faith)
NC Register ^ | October 1, 2009

Posted on 10/01/2009 4:15:16 PM PDT by NYer

The Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan is a home away from home for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in New York.

Last year, several of the residents had the good fortune to meet Pope Benedict XVI when he visited New York.

One of them will be confirmed this evening in the Ronald McDonald House chapel. Andrea Saavedra, 13, is receiving treatment for apendamoma, a rare cancer that wraps itself around the spinal cord and could spread to the brain stem.

She’s been through several surgeries, which have left her a quadriplegic, and she continues to receive chemotherapy to shrink the tumor.

But folks at the Ronald McDonald House know her as a fighter. She arrived three years ago as a “very determined, upbeat nine-year-old,” said Ronald McDonald House chaplain Cherilyn Frei, who’s been helping Andrea prepare for Confirmation. And she hasn’t lost any of her spunk.

Andrea likes to participate in arts and crafts but must do so by observing, Frei said. And she loves to participate in the house’s Angels on a Leash program, where people bring in therapy dogs to cheer the kids up. But again, it’s largely by observation. “She loves to watch the dogs do tricks,” Frei said. “I place some of the smaller ones on her lap.”

In addition, she “has a great perspective on her faith and faith formation,” Frei said.
When she is confirmed by Msgr. Thomas Modugno, Vicar of East Manhattan, she will take Isabel as her confirmation name, which, Andrea told me yesterday, is her grandmother’s name.

Present will be her mother and father, who are originally from Peru, as well as some aunts, uncles and cousins.

Andrea, who is from San Antonio, was one of 56 children with disabilities to receive a special blessing from the Pope in a service at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers last April.

“He went through [the chapel] and blessed the kids,” Andrea told me. “He stood directly in front of every kid.”

“She was very happy to meet him,” Frei said. “She understood the gravity of the meeting. She’s a very spiritual girl.”

Some of Andrea’s friends at the Ronald McDonald House also had a close encounter with Pope Benedict. Police officers at the 19th Precinct, which is on the upper Eastside where the McDonald House is located, offered to take some of the kids to the nearby Vatican U.N. Observer’s residence where the Pope was staying.

“They got us through security quickly,” spokesman Patrick Lenz said at the time. “He came out, walked one way, then the other, held some our children and blessed them.”
“A couple of my friends went to see him on 72nd Street,” Andrea recalled yesterday. “They were very happy about it.”

Though the agency is non-denominational, it provides religious services, and St. Monica’s, the local parish, arranges for Mass in the home every Thursday. Because of the nature of the home, it’s always a healing Mass, Frei told me. — John Burger

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic

1 posted on 10/01/2009 4:15:17 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...


19 APRIL 2008

Your Eminence,
Bishop Walsh,
Dear Friends,

I am very happy to have this opportunity to spend a brief moment with you. I thank Cardinal Egan for his welcome and especially thank your representatives for their kind words and for the gift of the drawing. Know that it is a special joy for me to be with you. Please give my greetings to your parents and family members, and your teachers and caregivers.

God has blessed you with life, and with differing talents and gifts. Through these you are able to serve him and society in various ways. While some people's contributions seem great and others' more modest, the witness value of our efforts is always a sign of hope for everyone.

Sometimes it is challenging to find a reason for what appears only as a difficulty to be overcome or even pain to be endured. Yet our faith helps us to break open the horizon beyond our own selves in order to see life as God does. God's unconditional love, which bathes every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life. Through his Cross, Jesus in fact draws us into his saving love (cf. Jn 12:32) and in so doing shows us the way ahead - the way of hope which transfigures us all, so that we too, become bearers of that hope and charity for others.

Dear friends, I encourage you all to pray every day for our world. There are so many intentions and people you can pray for, including those who have yet to come to know Jesus. And please do continue to pray for me. As you know I have just had another birthday. Time passes!

Thank you all again, including the Cathedral of Saint Patrick Young Singers and the members of the Archdiocesan Deaf Choir. As a sign of strength and peace and with great affection in our Lord, I impart to you and your families, teachers and caregivers my Apostolic Blessing.

PHOTOS: Reuters

2 posted on 10/01/2009 4:17:13 PM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

Our prayers for her recovery!

3 posted on 10/01/2009 4:18:17 PM PDT by Steelfish
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To: NYer

Prayer lifted for suffering innocents everywhere.

4 posted on 10/01/2009 6:02:11 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: Global2010


5 posted on 10/01/2009 6:35:57 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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