Monday, October 30, 2023

(286) Giving Glory to God with Flowers That He Himself Designed and Created


“Prayer is a way of doing instantaneous good for all things in all places.  It’s a way of sending out love everywhere at once…….Prayer makes everything you do more real, lasting, meaningful, and faihful.  Through prayer, everything just flowers and flows” (Robert Lax, a noted poet).

A photo of our beautiful church garden with three dogwood trees. It features our Mother Mary in the month of her Holy Rosary with our church hall in the background.  Zinnias, begonias, roses, chrysanthemums, and common mums  surround Mary.  As of October 30 the flowers are still doing well. 

      Beauty and a beautiful ambient facilitate prayer and we’ve provided that in the renovation of our church, the flowers at the main entrance next to the statue of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the garden outside, the St. Francis Peace Garden on the other side of the rectory & church office, and the cemetery as we pray for our deceased loved ones near their final resting places on this side of eternity.  Hopefully, all of that is giving us pride in our parish that will help to make us more faithful to God and His Church.
This photo shows the statue of an early Church martyr, St. Philomena, a donation of another former grand knight, DJ Stapleton.  The rectory and church office is to the right of the statue.

  For years our former grand knight, Bruce Davison, has grown and sold flowers and tree seedlings in his green house.  Now he is devoting much of his retirement to glorifying God with his gardening and landscaping within our parish: During our interview, he reflected: “All the beauty in the flowers around the church and the cemetery are but a pale, pale, pale, pale reflection of the beauty and the glory that God has waiting for us in Heaven.  Everytime we look at the flowers we can relflect on the beauty of God”.  Let’s make sure that we all get there!

    The garden has a variety of flowers, including day lillies, blackberry lillies, oriental lilllies, marigods, mums, roses, begonias, dwarf  zinnias, laurels, purple sages, purple cone flowers, salvias, hostias, iris, columbines, echnecias, etc.

    The garden also includes the St. Francis Peace Garden, the cemetery gardens, and even the mini-garden at the entrance of the church. 

The flowers at the cemetery provide an ambient for people visiting the graves of their loved ones, encouraging reflextion and prayer for their souls.  The banister is reminscent of the stairs to the paradise of Heaven.  Here we see red Zinnias and yellow marigolds.

    Davison’s goal is to make this an all season garden, bigger and better every year.  Last Fall Kathryn Marchi contributed Mums.  The winter features evergreens and the Spring features the lenten rose and the blossoms of the dogwood tree shown in the photo on the far right.  So as we say goodby to summer and hello Fall and Winter, keep observing our beautiful church and cemetery gardens during the coming seasons.

This photo shows the gazebo of the cemetery that houses cremated remains; Masses are said there as well as the final prayers before burial of the deceased. 

    Many have contributed to the beauty inside and outside of our church in time, talent, and treasure, reminding us of a biblical verse (1 Cor 3:6-8).  Bruce ordered and planted the seeds; Remy Simon, a little flower herself, added water; Karen Stapleton and Jan Davison did weeding; Josh Davison helped; and God made it all grow.  

    The Lord, of course, is the artist that designed the flowers when He created the world.  Some of the flowers have a connection to our Faith.  The four petals of the Spring blossom of the dogwood tree seem to simulate the wounds of the crucified Christ’s wrists and feet.  It seems that the rose is Mary’s favorite flower.  The marigold flower is named after her.  St. Joseph is often pictured holding a lilly which symbolizes purity.

This photo depicts St. John and our Mother Mary grieving at the crucifixion of her Son, the same as we grieve for the loss of our loved ones and anticipate our own deaths.  Are you ready?  Make sure that we all get there!  Brother knight Chris Davison and his brother Pat did much of the work in planting and caring for the flowers.  Brother knights Matt Bokovitz, Bruce Davison, Mike Merry, Butch Leport, Larry Angel, Allen White and his son, Alex as well as others have also worked with the maintenance of the cemetery.  

     Many with different gifts, talents, and skills have worked together in providing that beauty both inside and outside of our little church, be it with flowers or carpentry.  It’s such a privilege to help to beautify God’s house. 

Whenever you plant flowers in your garden at home, do it for the glory of God.  Placing a statue of Mary, the Sacred Heart, or St. Francis or a cross would be a bonus for meditation and prayer as you walk through and enjoy your own garden.  Bruce and/or his son Josh could give you tips.  Josh does landscaping for a living.    

Our New Pews. After having Mass in our Parish Hall for several months because of renovations to the main church, we finally returned.  The old pews were falling apart, but  providentially a church which was closing down in Portsmouth gave us their pews.  It was a job renting a truck and hauling all of those pews to Gallipolis.  Only problem was that they would not fit into the church.  Fr. Hamm our pastor mobilized the men to solve the problem.  They cut the pews and kneelers to size……an all day job of exquisite carpentry.  After applying lacquer, the pews looked beautiful like they were brand new.  In addition to Mike McConnell, Terry Madden, and Bill Griffith, several of our brother knights were front and center......Mike Dressel, Mike Merry, Mike Ours, Matt Bokovitz, and Keith Elliott.  The women were not to be denied the privilege of serving in the clean-up: Kitty Griffith, Pam Withrow Dovyak, Merry Stapleton, Wendy Nance, Margo Marizon, Patty Hays, and Trudy Linder.  Thanks for giving your day to our church.

       Our thanks to Mary Ann Bokovitz for taking the pictures and Bruce & Jan Davison for the depth that they gave to this article.   

Sunday, September 3, 2023

(285) Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly Boldly Describes What the Knights of Columbus Are All About.......Its Mission, What It Stands For, Its Activities


    For many years the Knights of Columbus were often more secular than spiritual, a Catholic version of national organizations that serve the community and feature fellowship.  The spiritual elements were there, but it was not emphasized as it should have been.  However, under Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and his successor Patrick E. Kelly, the Knights of Columbus have become more spiritual and have had a stronger influence in the Church and in the popular culture.  In the recent national convention, the current Supreme Knight, Patrick E. Kelly boldly described what the Knights of Columbus are all about. and what it stands his report/speech to those attending and millions of viewers on EWTN television, the internet at, and other outlets.

Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly making his annual report to the the 141st Supreme Convention August 1-3 in Orlando, FL  He urged the 2300 knights attending and up to 2 million other knights all over the world watching on EWTN television and internet ( to respond to their baptismal calling and advance the Order's mission, pointing the world to Christ, aspiring that the Knights of Columbus be first in faith and first in charity. 

FIRST IN FAITH.  “As Knights, what we do reflects who we are.  We are faithful Catholics —  and disciples of Jesus Christ.”  Blessed Father Michael McGivney, our founder, “gave us one mission — to follow Christ. And he called us to fulfill it through faith and charity.”  

We must be credible witnesses to a living faith; our charity must evangelize; we must stand for the truth without apology without counting the costWe must “point the world to Jesus Christ who is the light that shines in the darkness and He will shine through the Knights of Columbus.” 

We are all called to be missionaries in little or big ways as opportunities arise in the New Evangelization.  For photos and details of the Supreme Convention as well as the complete both oral and written text of the Supreme Knight’s report, go to  Below are some of the highlights as a summary.

   Forming Catholic men must be our top priority……..If we get the man right, we get everything right — the marriage, the family, the parish, the community. We need men who say “yes” to their God-given vocation. And we know what happens when men respond in faith.”  Having re-consecrated the order to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we must say “yes’ to Our Lady’s message of God’s redemptive love.”   

    The order is continuing with a new initiative called “Cor” which is focused on prayer, formation and fraternity.  It is open to knights and non-knights alike.  Its goal is to help men to become better husbands, fathers, and Catholics.  

    To that end, the order is introducing its first-ever Bible Study called “Men of the Word” designed specifically for Catholic men.  “When it comes to deepening our faith, nothing is more effective than the Word of God”. This Bible Study will bring Scripture alive and it has the power to transform our lives. 

Furthermore, Supreme is preparing to debut a new video series on marriage, family and fatherhood. It follows the model of Into the Breach which has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times on EWTN Catholic television and at  You’ll find powerful testimonies and practical advice for living the faith as a family.  

According to one survey, only one third of parents care if their children remain Catholic.  That is the reason the Church is losing so many of its youth.  “A relationship with Christ is the greatest gift we can offer to the next generation”. 

The Knights of Columbus has a duty to help parents grow in their faith and pass it on to their children.  This is the goal of these videos along with the 75 year old Catholic Information Service.

 FIRST IN CHARITY.  “Reaching new depths of faith will take us to new heights of charity”.   He noted that “Mother Teresa shows us that faith leads to charity — and charity leads to faith.  

“In the Middle East, we continue to aid persecuted Christians. Without our work, some of the most ancient Christian communities might have disappeared forever. But they’re still here, and since 2014, we’ve provided more than $33 million to help them build for the future.”  

Since 2003 the knights have helped landmine victims in Afghanistan. Over the past two years, in partnership with the Global Wheelchair Mission,  we’ve  given more than 127,000 wheelchairs, the gift of mobility to those in need.

During the past year, we helped our priests and seminarians with more than $3.7 million in scholarships and support; in the last five years alone, brother Knights have contributed over $21 million to Special Olympics plus helping hands and encouraging words.  

Finally, there’s Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids since 2009 to give children the gift of warmth in the coldest months. And this winter, we will distribute our one-millionth coat to a child in need. “When it comes to charity, we do much more than just donate money and goods. The time we give is even more meaningful”.

    When Hurricane Ian hit Florida, the knights were there; when Russia invaded Ukraine, the knights of the U.S., Ukraine, and especially Poland were there to help refugees and establish the Ukraine Solidarity Fund that raised $24 million stateside.  That help includes protecting Ukrainian as well as Filipino women from human trafficking.  

    “And to this day, I am struck by the words of Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv. Reflecting on Russian atrocities, His Beatitude spoke of the duty to cultivate love.  For as he said, “hatred gives birth to criminals, but love gives birth to heroes” and there are many in Ukraine.  

    “On behalf of the entire Order, I made a promise to that family and every refugee I met: You are not alone. We are with you.”  For more detail and background, see (263) Knights of Columbus Front and Center to Help Ukrainian Refugees and Victims of the War Plus Background for Understanding the War


(264) The War Rages On in Ukraine as Refugees Keep Coming and the Knights Keep Helping 


PATRIOTISM AND FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP.  “Our principle of charity compels us to serve the most vulnerable. And our principle of patriotism leads us to serve our country”……to defend freedom, to hold strong principles of human dignity, religious freedom, and equal justice — regardless of race, religion or nationality.  

“There is nothing hateful about the sanctity of marriage, the reality of biological sex, or the humanity of the unborn child. And the Knights of Columbus will never apologize for defending the truth! We stand for the truth because it’s right — even when it leads to ridicule and scorn.”  

We’ve endowed a new chair at the Columbus School of Law Catholic University of America.  The Knights of Columbus provides prayer books for the military, supports the training of chaplains, and since 2014 has sponsored the Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for healing of active duty military and veterans.  See (265) Soldiers & Veterans From 40 Nations Make an Annual May Pilgrimage to Lourdes For Healing

INSURANCE AND INVESTMENTS.  The Knights of Columbus insurance program was originally established to protect widowed families.  For years it has received superior ratings from the rating agencies as one of the very best insurance organizations for financial soundness.  Any surplus goes to policy holders and Knights of Columbus charities, not stockholders.  

The Knights of Columbus also continues to help families secure their financial futures through mutual funds.   Members may also contribute to a Charitable Fund.  “Today, we manage more than $2.3 billion for Catholic families, religious communities, and dioceses.”   

       MEMBERSHIP.  “We now have more than 2,084,000 knights in 16,672 councils” (the largest lay Catholic men’s organization in the world), including Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Poland, Ukraine, France, the Philippines, Korea, 300 college councils and 100,000 men, who became members on-line.   

    “The Knights of Columbus invites men to greatness: to sacrifice themselves for the good of others; to commit to a higher call with a band of brothers; and to stand strong in the breach, side by side, instead of being swept away by the culture, one at a time…..And in a world that offers apathy and anger, we invite men to lives of meaning and mission.”     

      PRO-LIFE. The Knights of Columbus have now donated 1,745 ultra sound machines to pregnancy centers, making it easier for moms to choose life.  

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly shows a woman being able to see her baby in utero through a KofC donated ultra sound machine at a pregnancy center.

    The Knights initiated the new ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) program with $6 million for pregnancy centers and maternity homes, caring for both mother and child before and after pregnancy.   Year after year the KofC is very much involved in the March For Life to “win more hearts, change more minds, and enshrine the  right to life in the laws of the land.”  Post-Roe v. Wade the battle continues state by state, particularly in Ohio this coming November.    

“Pope Francis called on the Knights of Columbus to continue advancing the Church’s mission.  This is a challenge we gladly accept. We will continue to take up the mission of evangelization — in our hearts and in our communities. And we will continue our mission of charity — a charity that evangelizes.”

Sunday, August 20, 2023

(284) Oscar Bastiani: A Faithful Witness and Servant Into His Old Age


This article is based upon the eulogy I gave at the funeral of Oscar Bastiani Jr. June 16, 2023.

Oscar Bastiani Jr. (1936-2023), a faithful member of our parish and the Knights of Columbus helped out wherever he could in his twilight years.  A son of Oscar Bastiani Sr., owner of the Italian Restaurant on Court and 3rd St.,  Oscar made an exquisite sauce for the annual Spaghetti Dinner fund raiser for the parish.  When age slowed him down, he got out of the kitchen and sold raffle tickets as he greeted the people entering the Parish Hall for the August Spaghetti Dinner for the Feast of St. Louis, the patron of the parish and Lenten Fish Fries in late winter and Spring.  Although an American first, he transmitted an intense pride of his rich Italian heritage to his extended family.

     Oscar’s wishes were for a small funeral with no visiting hours.  Apparently, he felt that the richness of the Mass would suffice.  Please keep him in your prayers.  Yet we should celebrate his life in a small way.

   We'll miss Oscar.  He was so faithful to the Church, an example to us all.  Somehow he would drive by himself to the Saturday vigil Mass in his little car and with the aid of a walker climb the ramp and sit in the back of the church.  A Eucharistic minister would bring Holy Communion to him in his pew.  Nothing could keep that guy down.  This heroic faithfulness puts to shame the young men who miss Mass on Sunday because they're sleeping off a hangover from the night before. 

     Although an experienced cook of Italian cuisine, he could no longer be active in the kitchen during our Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser in August for the Feast of St. Louis and the Lenten fish fries, but he was there as a greeter in collecting money and sold raffle tickets to support our church.

    He could not participate in our Knights of Columbus work sessions, but he was there to help with the annual fund raising raffles.  He even conducted a survey of our knights.  Furthermore, he would call every knight, reminding them of our next meeting.  There were a time or two he would have to put up with a gruff, "Don't bother me".

In this photo Oscar is with his son, Mike and Brittany Spaniel bird dog, Zeke.  After graduating from St. Vincent Prep School in Latrobe, PA and Ohio University, he was a supervisor at the Goodyear chemical plant across the river before starting up his own construction business.

      Oscar suffered a lot with grace, with faith, and with courage.  After undergoing surgery on his neck, he was confined to his home for a few months and we brought Holy Communion to him every Sunday.  We would ask him to unite his cross with the Lord’s cross and offer it all up as a dynamic prayer for the Church, his loved ones, and for our country.  God knows how much our country needs prayer.  Offering up one’s sufferings is a most effective prayer.  It gives meaning to suffering and makes it productive.  

       St. Mother Teresa relied on such redemptive suffering for the astounding success of her order, matching a sick invalid person (other person) with each one of her active nuns all over the world to offer up his/her sufferings for the work of each nun.   

     In that way Oscar was as effective for the Church or more so in his old age than when he was a vigorous young man.  In his day; he was an avid hunter and fisherman.

Oscar Bastiani enjoyed hunting and fishing in his spare time.  The photo on the right shows a young Oscar after a hunt with the wild turkey he bagged.   

   We love you, Oscar and we’ll miss you.  Thank you for all that you have done for us.  Good-bye until we’re all together again in eternity for a glorious reunion.  Let’s make sure that we all get there.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

(283) YOU ALSO CAN MAKE A NATIONAL IMPACT.........The 1968 Expropriation By Peru of Standard Oil's International Petroleum Company Subsidiary, Peru's Economic Development, and American Policy


Standard Oil's Subsidiarity, the International Petroleum Company in Talara, Peru in 1968

      In the 1968-69 Academic year I took a leave of absence my from my teaching in Peru to work on a Master's Degree in Business.  I was only 29 years old with a possible career ahead of me.  Peru had expropriated the assets of Standard Oil's subsidiary in Peru, the International Petroleum Company (IPC).  If the United States would apply the Hickenlooper Amendment, suspending all aid, Peru would be thrown into a severe recession. The poor would suffer the most.  There were daily articles in the national press on the situation, not to mention the prominent news magazines of the day. …..Time, Newsweek, U.S. New & World Report, etc.

       I had to do something.  Writing a term paper on the subject was not enough.  Even though I was only a graduate student, I had to do more than that.  Thus I sent in the article below to the Washington Post, the most prominent daily in Washington with a circulation of over 500,000 and read by the important figures in the Nixon Administration.   

My initial submission presented both sides of the controversy, but the editor restricted me to a maximum of 500 words.  I had no choice, but to give only the Peruvian side.  It was a challenge to say a lot with a few words while being accurate and fair to both sides.  

    A copy of the published article is below.  We'll see what influence the article had if any and what eventually happened.  This article does show what just one person can do......perhaps very little or who knows?.......perhaps very significant.



Published on the op-ed page of  the Washington Post July 29, 1969

    As a North American professor on leave from the Universidad de Santa Maria, may I introduce another side to the U.S.-Peru controversy? 

  Through a 1922 contract and arbitration award made under ambiguous circumstances, the International Petroleum Co. obtained a very favorable tax deal.  Although kind in giving information, IPC would not divulge past profits and taxes paid figures.  International Petroleum, which Peruvians can hardly pronounce (a Spanish name would have been a less conspicuous target), symbolizes exploitation. 

    IPC was the only company in Latin America to insist on subsoil ownership, which traditionally belongs to the nation.    When Peru demanded back taxes and the disputed land, IPC had U.S. support.    According to an article in the May 17 New Yorker, the Johnson Administration denied $150 million in promised aid as pressure.  This fund shortage led to a monetary devaluation, which contributed to Belaunde's overthrow.  The aid denied to Peru is probably enough to compensate IPC.  Thus Latins perceive aid as a means of keeping them in line.

   Business Week of February 15 quoted an industrialist:  “IPC ran its operation like a private fiefdom”.  The way their PR Director treated my 45 students during our visit supports IPC's reputation of arrogant public relations.  Why have some 200 U.S. companies had little or no difficulty in Peru? 

        IPC's 1925 refinery is outmoded.  It possesses only one major distillation tower and still uses the old thermal cracking process.  The refinery's assets should be almost completely depreciated. 

         According to the London Sunday Times, State Department and Standard Oil officials privately admit that the properties are insignificant.  Standard's assets still increased 11% to $17 billion while its $14 billion sales were over three times the national product of Peru.  Over the years Standard has taken enough money out of Peru to more than compensate its investment. 

      During the Roosevelt Administration's “Good Neighbor Policy”, Standard Oil got into trouble three times and expected the U.S. to bail it out.  Instead it was forced to accept token compensation. 

     The Hickenlooper Amendment places American policy at the mercy of any company whose actions could provoke expropriation and whose obstinacy, encouraged by U.S. protection, could prevent a settlement.  The embassy made no significant effort to investigate the facts, audit IPC records, act as an impartial mediator, or pressure IPC into a settlement.

     Presently, Peru has a recession because American companies suspended investment and credit until the situation is settled.  The Hickenlooper Amendment could cause a depression, if applied as scheduled on August 6.  Thus our generous “aid” would bring a nation to its knees.  With such dominance and dependence Latins feel controlled from the United States.   

       Latins would see the Alliance For Progress as a farce, were its ideals of development and social reform to take second place to U.S. Business interests.  Tragically, the helpless poor would suffer the most.  By declaring the dispute a special case and deducting token compensation from past aid suspended, we can give Peru and ourselves a way out. 

       Unless businesses follow the axiom of David Rockefeller and his Council For Latin America,  “Citizens first, businessmen second”, there will be repetitions of IPC.  

                                 What Ultimately Happened

    The Hickenlooper Amendment was never applied neither on August 6 the deadline or ever again.  Peru did pay token compensation a few months later and there was a reduction in aid for the time being.  However, relations eventually returned to normal.  The Peruvian Embassy was so happy with the article that it sent me a letter of thanks in Spanish.  

   What influence did my article have?  I don't know, but I like to think that it might have had an effect upon U.S. policy.  In any event when something must be done, it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.

      For more detail see the article published by the ADST (Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training) 

Also  file:///C:/Users/Paul%20Sebastian/Downloads/11_1_77%20(3).pdf -  The Hickenlooper Amendments: Peru’s Seizure of International Petroleum Company as a Test Case

     The Peruvian Debt Crisis in the mid 1970s.  A few years later in the mid 1970s another difficulty arose.  Peru overextended itself in drawing a large amount of loans for its economic development.  It was too much for Peru to keep up with the debt service requirements.  

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) would try to help countries with severe debt problems with advice and imposing very stringent austerity measures (less spending on government programs to help the poor, less food subsidies for the people, higher internal interest rates, measures to stop inflation, etc,) to put the country’s national finances in order.  Although the IMF would grant an emergency loan to stabilize the national currency, the remedy was perhaps worse than the problem itself.  That would throw Peru into a severe recession since credit from the international banks and new private investment dried up until the country would agree to the austerity program.

    Again we had to do something.  I wrote up an appeal for leniency with refinancing and collected over 25 signatures of American business people and missionaries supporting Peru. We sent it to the IMF and the U.S. Government.  The nationally circulated El Comercio I believe or La Prensa of Lima, the capital featured our efforts on the front page.  Eventually, the crisis eased somewhat, but it would probably be presumptuous to believe we had a significant role.  In any event we may have made a positive contribution.

     Risk. In 1978 I was asked to comment in a radio interview on a Time Magazine article reprinted by La Prensa regarding the arms buildup along the border between Peru and Chile while both countries were in a severe economic crisis.  I mainly voiced Church teaching, but I probably looked like a Don Quixote chasing windmills.  Risky with a military dictatorship in power?  Of course.  

      But it was necessary to say something regarding an important moral issue when presented the opportunity.  I thought that I could get away with it.  Wrong!  Both the interviewer and the interviewee (me) ended up in jail for a week.  “You can’t win em all”.  We did make some impact, however.  The details will be the subject of a later blog article.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

(282) AN UNFORGETTABLE EASTER VIGIL…… Our Son-in-Law Is Received Into the Catholic Church


A new Catholic and his sponsor, a cradle Catholic, John and Naomi Faro

      While our daughter Naomi was working as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at the University of Cincinnati Hospital and her boyfriend, John Faro was a medical student at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, she brought her beaux home for dinner a number of times.  After all, they both grew up in Gallia County and graduated from the same Gallia Academy High School. 

      At one dinner I told John: “We are not asking you to become Catholic”.  They were already going to Sunday Mass every week together.  “We do not want you to become Catholic because of Naomi because too often the family is happy, but the convert drifts away not long after the marriage itself.  We’re only asking you to learn about the Catholic Faith because you should know the elements of the faith of your possible spouse and children.  Yes, we want you to become Catholic, but only if you are convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church.”  In other words, entry into the Church must be his decision.   

      They were married at St. Mary’s Church in Cincinnati by my brother Deacon John V. Sebastian on December 28, 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic during the semester break during his third year of medical school.  For the whole story go to A COVID WEDDING…..NAOMI MARIE SEBASTIAN + JOHN FARO: Two Gallia County Rural Ohio Residents Who Discovered Each Other in the Big City.

      John’s third and fourth year of Medical School quickly passed, but the schedule was much too tight with clinicals to permit weekly instruction in the faith as part of an RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) class.  John definitely was interested in learning about the faith and becoming Catholic.  Our pastor of St. Louis Church Gallipolis agreed to give him a one on one tutorial before graduation, but the schedule was again much too tight.  John graduated from the University of Cincinnati Medical School as an M.D. on May 1, 2022.

      Finally, John had his break whilc a resident doctor at the Kettering Hospital in Dayton.  They regularly assisted at Mass at the nearby Wright State University Newman Center.  The RCIA program every Sunday over the 2022-23 academic year fit their schedule and John was on track to be received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil 2023.  He raved about his instructor Nicholas Kovatch, one of the Campus Ministers and the Chaplain,  Fr. Tim Fahey.  Until the Easter Vigil John was free to back out and reject entry into the Church. 

      The result was the most exciting Easter Vigil our family ever had.  Our son-in-law, John Faro was received into the Catholic Church on April 8, 2023.  This Easter Vigil was such a momentous occasion for us that John-Paul, Elizabeth, and Juan Pablito flew in from Dallas; Joseph drove in from Atlanta where he works as a software developer for Microsoft; Stephanie, Daniel, and Anselmito drove from Front Royal, Virginia where Daniel teaches literature at Christendom College.

      Our entire family on the Sebastian side were present for the long Easter Vigil Mass.  The liturgy began in darkness without any of the solemn smells and bells which ceased after the Gloria on Holy Thursday.  The Paschal Candle was lit in anticipation of the glorious Resurrection of Christ, the light of the world as He had promised.  At the same time the flame was passed on to each individual holding a small candle.  The light of the world became evident among so many lit candles.  The special liturgy continued with a selection of seven readings from the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Baruch, and Ezekiel) followed by St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the Gospel of Matthew.  The readings pointed to the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

       Since John and the three other Catechumens were already validly baptized in other faiths with the proper form, the Baptism ritual was omitted.  However, the renewal of the Baptismal promises were included.  Normally, the sacrament of Confirmation is only administered by the local Bishop.  But a priest may administer this sacrament during the formal reception into the Church.  In the following photo John with Naomi at his side receives the sacrament of Confirmation in the Faith which is really a deepening of the Sacrament of Baptism and the Holy Spirit is formally invoked to help the receiver to live and defend the faith even to the point of death.   

Dr. John Faro chose as his Confirmation name, Giuseppe as a model to follow.  St. Dr. Giuseppe Moscati is known as the doctor of the poor, a saintly doctor of the late 19th and early 20th century.  We’re so proud of John for choosing as his Confirmation name Guisseppi (Moscati), the saint who was a medical doctor and devoted his life to follow in the footsteps of the great healer.  You can access this inspiring Italian movie with English subtitles at under the title of “St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor”.  His name translates to Joseph.

John Faro receives the sacrament of Confirmation.

       The beauty of the Mass is really miraculous in which the Last Supper (the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself) and the sacrifice of Calvary are made present and brought to us in a mysterious unbloody way as we offer Christ in the Eucharist to the Father.  As the Jews would consume the unblemished lamb of sacrifice, we consume the undefiled Lamb of God, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.  Thus John Faro received his first Holy Communion under both species, together with his wife, Naomi and us too moments later.

John Faro receives his First Holy Communion under both species.

      For a few moments the communicant is in close contact with the almighty infinite God who loves us so much as to make this possible along with the accompanying graces, i.e., food for the journey to eternity.  How awesome is that? 

In the Gospel of John Chapter 6, our Lord explicitly stressed that the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is essential to salvation: “Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:54-59).

      Is any of this beyond God?  Of course not.  He can do all things.  For a scientifically investigated physical miracle 13 centuries old or sign by God of the authenticity of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, go to (281) LANCIANO: THE FIRST AND MOST PROMINENT MIRACLE OF THE EUCHARIST

      According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1324), the Eucharist is the source, the center, and the summit of Catholic life especially in regard to the liturgy (the Mass).  Without the Eucharist, there would be no sacrifice and no communion in the deepest sense with the infinite God.       

Believe it or not; we  all managed to sleep in that one bedroom  apartment………11 people including two babies…….couch, air mattress, and floor where John & Naomi slept.  The two families occupied the bedroom with their babies.  We were going to get an air b & b as we did with the wedding, but Naomi and John opted for this arrangement and we had a great time together.  Jaga brought enough food to feed an army.  The whole bunch of us worked it off the next afternoon with a long walk.  

On Easter morning we all went to Mass together for an encore.  Easter Monday was also momentous because the Catholic Newman Center of Wright State University had a Eucharistic procession all over campus.  The students were curious, but respectful.  We believe that John Faro will be a faithful Catholic for the rest of his days as he follows Jesus Christ, the Great Healer.

Our gang jubilant from left to right: Joseph and John-Paul Sebastian together with his wife Elizabeth and son Juan Pablito, Naomi and Dr. John Faro (the new Catholic), Jaga and Paul Sebastian followed by Stephanie, her son Anselmito, and her husband Daniel Spiotta.

        During the rest of Easter Week we had both grandsons and their mothers at our home.  More good times.  On Easter Friday, Joseph took Elizabeth and Juan Pablito back to Dayton for the flight back to Dallas.  

     Meanwhile we took Stephanie & Anselmito back to Front Royal in time for the dedication of the magnificent neogothic chapel of Christendom College.  It fits so beautifully with the mission of the college.  In the middle ages western Europe had a rather unified Christian culture before the Reformation.  Today since its founding in 1988, Christendom College has the mission of “restoring all things in Christ” in our secularized western culture.  For the video of the dedication of Christ the King Chapel by the Bishop of Arlington go to .  Jaga baby sat for our grandson, Anselmito while I watched on EWTN with some 25 students at the old chapel.