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Sacraments make Greenport (NY) girl’s wish come true
cna ^ | July 1, 2012 | Mary Iapalucci

Posted on 07/02/2012 6:42:32 AM PDT by NYer

Greenport, N.Y., Jul 1, 2012 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Making her first Holy Communion last weekend was truly a wish come true for Bethzy Bran-Lopez, a six-year-old girl from St. Agnes parish in Greenport, N.Y. with a tiny body and an enormous love for Jesus.

Struggling all her life from a genetic disorder, Bethzy is only the size of a toddler, weighing about 18 pounds. Her condition affects her lungs and heart, preventing her body from getting enough oxygen, so she is tethered to an oxygen tank by a tube inserted in her throat.

Yet, her family and friends refer to her as a ray of sunshine, who brings joy wherever she goes.

Bethzy loves the Disney princesses and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills “wishes” of children with life-threatening illnesses, would have sent her to the Magic Kingdom, but she is not well enough to travel.

When asked what she would like instead, Bethzy said she wanted to receive Communion and to see her parents, Jose and Mirta, get married in the Church.

One of Bethzy’s favorite people is Dominican Sister Margaret Smyth, who coordinates the North Fork Hispanic Apostolate.

Sister Margaret said everyone wanted to help the Bran-Lopez family create a happy memory so, with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Agnes parishioners, friends and other members of the community, she arranged for Bethzy to receive her first Communion during her parents’ wedding on June 8, with a party following in the parish hall.

The entire family walked down the aisle together, Jose pushing the wheelchair that held the equipment which helps his daughter breathe. Instead of flowers, the bride carried Bethzy in one arm while she clasped the hand of three-year-old Lucia with her other hand.

The wedding didn’t start on time, not because the bride was late, but because Bethzy was having trouble breathing. Her mother and father donned blue surgical gloves with their wedding finery to clear Bethzy’s airway and pump oxygen into her lungs.

During the wedding ceremony, Jose had to regularly reach over to stop a beeping alarm on the oxygen monitor. Other times, Bethzy did it herself.

At times she seemed tired, slumping over the arm of her wheelchair from the stool she perched on, but when it came time for the Gospel reading, Bethzy stretched herself up as tall as she could and joined enthusiastically in singing the “Allelulia.”

Jose and Mirta exchanged their vows with their daughters looking on. Sister Margaret noted that the word love is used for so many things, often trivial ones.

“In times of challenges and difficulties, this is where we see real love,” she said. “We come here tonight to celebrate this love, as they declare their love in the presence of God.”

After the vows, the couple’s best man and maid of honor draped a lasso (a large rosary) over them, symbolizing the bond of marriage. Then it was Bethzy’s turn.

As Father Thomas Murphy, pastor of St. Agnes, bent to give her the Eucharist, she was captivated, never taking her eyes from the priest.

Sister Margaret said Mirta has always taught her daughters about their faith and Bethzy couldn’t wait to receive Jesus. “Last week, Bethzy was sticking her tongue out at her nurse and I said to her, ‘what would Jesus think of that?’ and she lowered her head and got very quiet,” said Sister Margaret.

Following the ceremony, there was a reception in the parish hall, complete with a DJ playing Disney tunes, a face painter and a three-tiered cake with a bride and groom on one layer and a Communion figurine on the top.

Karine Hollander, president and CEO of Make-a-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County, said they would have had the reception anywhere, but the family wanted it here at the parish so their community of friends could be there.

Among the special guests were Mickey and Minnie Mouse, courtesy of costumes provided by Make-A-Wish and the beyond-the-call-of-duty dedication of Sister Margaret and fellow Dominican Sister Lynn Queck, who donned the giant heads and shoes and mingled with the guests.

Sister Lynn is a chaplain at Stony Brook University Medical Center where Bethzy requires frequent treatments.

“She is a real special little girl. She brings such joy to the floor,” Sister Lynn said. “Her mother never leaves her side and she always receives Communion when she is at the hospital. Then her mother blesses Bethzy and she lights up.”

Parishioners came together to make this event special for the Bran-Lopez family, Sister Margaret said. A group came in to set up tables and chairs and decorate. There was catered food and special treats made by parishioners to personalize the event.

“This family has so many hard times,” said Sister Margaret. “They have love and strong faith. We can’t change their situation but we could help them have that special night and that happy memory.”


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Worship
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/02/2012 6:42:35 AM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Bethzy Bran-Lopez receives her first Holy Communion from Father Thomas Murray, pastor of St. Agnes, Greenport.
2 posted on 07/02/2012 6:43:57 AM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

The next time I start complaining about difficulties in my life, I’ll think of Bethzy Bran-Lopez and her daily struggles. Then I’ll shut the hell up and get on with what I’m supposed to do.


3 posted on 07/02/2012 7:01:58 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer
Sister Lynn is a chaplain(sic) at Stony Brook University Medical Center

Sister Lynn is not a chaplain.

4 posted on 07/02/2012 7:18:48 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: vladimir998

Oh my Goodness!!! Me too!!!

Lord Love her.


5 posted on 07/02/2012 7:48:50 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Romney scares me. Obama is the freaking nightmare that is so bad you are afraid to go back to sleep)
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To: NYer

My goodness, that is the most beautiful picture I have ...ever...seen. Brought tears to my eyes.

One question though, I’m not clear on this. (if it’s in the article I missed it): Why did the Make-a-Wish foundation have to get involved in her receiving Holy Communion? I realize because of her special needs, she probably couldn’t with other kids her age, but couldn’t some special arrangement be made for her without Make-a-Wish? I don’t have anything against the foundation; it just seems to me to be a “normal” thing the Church would do anyway.


6 posted on 07/02/2012 8:53:36 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: NYer
When asked what she would like instead, Bethzy said she wanted to receive Communion and to see her parents, Jose and Mirta, get married in the Church.

What a beautiful little girl, and what a holy wish for a six year old girl to make! She is truly a blessing from God for everyone around her.

7 posted on 07/02/2012 10:30:52 AM PDT by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: FourtySeven

I’m going to guess some pretty dresses and a big party were probably involved.


8 posted on 07/02/2012 11:33:45 AM PDT by Eepsy
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To: FourtySeven; Tax-chick
One question though, I’m not clear on this. (if it’s in the article I missed it): Why did the Make-a-Wish foundation have to get involved in her receiving Holy Communion?

I pondered that question as well. Just guessing but I get the impression the family is poor. While the article does not go into details, I have heard of situations where Mexican parents don't marry because they can't afford the big party. (Pinging tax-chick who has more experience with the hispanic community.) Perhaps the Make a Wish foundation provided the fine clothes and food?

9 posted on 07/02/2012 11:36:27 AM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

I’m sure the Make-a-Wish Foundation was not required for any of the sacraments, but simply funded the externals for the celebration. Perhaps there were also travel costs involved.

Often, Mexican couples have been married legally in Mexico, but have never had a church wedding. Sometimes it hasn’t been possible for them: the Church is spread thinly in the poor parts of Mexico, and there is a lot of coming and going in the lives of migrant families. Also, they do like to celebrate grandly. If an extended family lives in the same place, they all save up and contribute together for weddings, baptisms, and other celebrations.

I’m very pleased for all of them.


10 posted on 07/02/2012 12:59:19 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: Tax-chick; Ronaldus Magnus
Thanks ... that confirms my very limited experience with migrant hispanics. And, like you, I with them all well. They have already been blessed with a VERY SPECIAL daughter!

When asked what she would like instead, Bethzy said she wanted to receive Communion and to see her parents, Jose and Mirta, get married in the Church.

Totally selfless wish! As Ronaldus Magnus already noted:

What a beautiful little girl, and what a holy wish for a six year old girl to make! She is truly a blessing from God for everyone around her.

May our Lord continue to bless this child on her journey. In this world of darkness, she has brought light to her family and, by virtue of her story, to us as well.

11 posted on 07/02/2012 2:13:24 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

She is a testimony to her parents’ love and faith, even though they’d, whoops, not yet received the Sacrament of Matrimony. Catechesis can be very vague in Mexico, and they may have believed the government registration was all the “marriage” they needed. Our Deacon Rafael regularly talks about the need for a sacramental marriage, even if a couple were legally married in their home country, and we have weddings for long-married couples several times a year.

How beautiful that their daughter led her parents to this tremendous grace.


12 posted on 07/02/2012 2:23:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Sister Lynn is not a chaplain.

Why do you say this?

13 posted on 07/02/2012 2:27:03 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

By definition, a Catholic chaplain is a priest. A deacon, religious sister or brother, or lay man or woman can be a “spiritual worker,” as it were, in hospital or prison ministry or military service, but is outside the strict definition of “chaplain.”


14 posted on 07/02/2012 2:52:46 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: Tax-chick

Not true. Most Catholic hospitals employ chaplains for their Catholic patients who are not priests. There are large national organizations approved by the USCCB like this. So, no, hospital chaplaincy is not provided solely by priests and neither are all hospital chaplains priests.


15 posted on 07/02/2012 2:56:39 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: Tax-chick

Here is one of the larger organizations for example: http://www.nacc.org/aboutnacc/history.asp


16 posted on 07/02/2012 2:59:07 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

Catholic Encyclopedia says that a “chaplain” is a priest. If the term has expanded in its meaning in general usage, that would create a confusion.

The Sister (or a lay person, etc.) can do a great deal for patients, but can’t offer the Sacraments, of which Reconciliation and Anointing are particularly relevant to hospital patients.


17 posted on 07/02/2012 3:08:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: johniegrad

I’m ex-Protestant and a Navy brat and ex-Air Force wife (still married to him, but he’s not in the Air Force any more), so “Chaplain” to me is a Protestant Navy or Air Force officer ;-).

I was just explaining why the earlier poster had said the Sister was not a “chaplain.”


18 posted on 07/02/2012 3:12:30 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: Tax-chick

I served 8 years as a naval medical officer and I agree that, in the military, the term chaplain has been restricted to ministers who are officers. On Friday, I retired from 25 years medical practice at large multispecialty clinic which merged with a Catholic hospital system. The hospital chaplains have never suggested that they could provide the sacraments but provide other types of services like communion calls, spiritual visits, etc. That doesn’t make them any less chaplains. None of them in my experience have been clergy. Some were religious, many were lay folks trained according to the standards listed at that web site. Barring some catastrophe, I will be ordained to the permanent diaconate after 6 years of formation this November. Being a physician and probably clergy, I have already been asked to involve myself in clinical-pastoral issues for the diocese, parishes, and hospitals. But I have no interest in the chaplaincy training. The MD goes well with all those functions already.


19 posted on 07/02/2012 3:27:40 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

Congratulations on your impending ordination! We’ve had excellent experiences with permanent deacons (and with Sisters, too). I’m sure your experience and training up to this point covers everything that would be useful in hospital work as a deacon, if that is how you are asked to serve.


20 posted on 07/02/2012 3:44:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: Tax-chick

It’s even stranger than that. My board certification is in psychiatry. Unusual combination.


21 posted on 07/02/2012 3:46:54 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad
When my father was Weapons Officer on Eisenhower, the senior medical officer was a psychiatrist. They shared a connecting bathroom in quarters, and Dad said the guy was bats ;-). Dad went tourizing with the dentist when they were in port. "Here's Dad at the Parthenon, with the dentist." "Here's Dad at Ephesus, with the dentist."
22 posted on 07/02/2012 3:51:10 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: Tax-chick

If this was in the time frame 1977-1984 or so, the medical officer in question would be Dr. Garry Holtzman, CAPT/MC/USN. He left Ike in about 1985 to become chair of the residency training program at Portsmouth Naval Hopsital where I was a resident at the time. He was very kind to me. I even rented his home for one year when he became detailer at BUMED. When it looked like I was going to serve 8 years without ever going to sea, Garry arranged for me to board Ike in JAX and ride her back to Norfolk. It was a great experience. If you dad is still alive, ask him if it was Garry. I can almost guarantee you that it was.


23 posted on 07/02/2012 4:01:22 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

My memory failed me. Garry became chair at PORTSVA in 1982.


24 posted on 07/02/2012 4:02:51 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

My father has Alzheimer’s Disease and his memory is very iffy, but the time frame is right. Dad was posted to Ike in 1978 or 79; my memory isn’t all that these days, either!

My cousin, a Navy nurse anesthetist, did a cruise on Ike - the first woman on a carrier under “deployment” conditions, although she didn’t do a year in the Indian Ocean or anything.


25 posted on 07/02/2012 4:04:50 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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To: johniegrad
Most Catholic hospitals employ chaplains for their Catholic patients who are not priests.

I doubt that.

Can. 564 A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or special group of Christ's faithful, to be exercised in accordance with universal and particular law.(emphasis added)

26 posted on 07/02/2012 4:16:30 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

The “in part” section allows for others. Read the remainder of the thread and follow the link. The canon does not assign all these duties to a priest. It is impossible given the shortage of priests. Additionally, there are more nonCatholic patients in Catholic ones and their needs are often met by other ministers and their delegates. Distribution of communion, spiritual visits, ethics works on committees, are all often performed by non- clergy. The Sacraments, with few exceptions, are performed by priests. I tell you this from personal experience both locally and nationally.


27 posted on 07/02/2012 4:26:17 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: johniegrad

**Barring some catastrophe, I will be ordained to the permanent diaconate after 6 years of formation this November.**

May God bless you and your wife as your approach the permanent diaconate.

We has a newly ordained permanent deacon come and talk to our Serra club.


28 posted on 07/02/2012 4:50:55 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thanks. My son just got married and they are hot to have children. Maybe I will get the opportunity to baptize my grandchildren, God willing.


29 posted on 07/02/2012 4:57:31 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: Salvation

Oops

We had a newly ordained permanent deacon


30 posted on 07/02/2012 5:24:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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