Twins Saved From Abortion Now Save Souls as Priests.
Twins Saved From Abortion Now Save Souls as Priests (3887)Their motherʼs heroic trust in God overcame doctors urging her to abort them over suspected deformities.
by CNA/EWTN NEWS 08/19/2013 Comments (2)
SANTIAGO, Chile — Twin brothers in Chile say that their mother’s determination in protecting them from abortion, despite the advice of doctors, helped to foster their vocations to the priesthood.
“How can I not defend the God of life?” said Father Paulo Lizama. “This event strengthened my vocation and gave it a specific vitality, and, therefore, I was able to give myself existentially to what I believe.”
He told CNA, “I am convinced of what I believe, of what I am and of what I speak, clearly by the grace of God.”
Father Paulo Lizama and his identical-twin brother, Father Felipe Lizama, were born in 1984 in the Chilean town of Lagunillas de Casablanca.
Before discovering her pregnancy, their mother, Rosa Silva, had exposed herself to x-rays while performing her duties as a paramedic. Consequently, after confirming the pregnancy, her doctor conducted ultrasounds and informed her that he had seen “something strange” in the image.
“The baby has three arms, and its feet are sort of entangled. It also has two heads,” he told her.
Although abortion for “therapeutic” reasons was legal at the time in Chile, and doctors told her that her life was in danger, Silva opposed the idea, and she said she would accept whatever God would send her.
“The Lord worked and produced a twin pregnancy. I don’t know if the doctors were wrong or what,” Father Felipe said.
“I always think with special affection and tenderness in my heart of my mother, who gave her life for me, for us,” Father Paolo added.
The two brothers were born on Sept. 10, 1984. Felipe was born first, and when the placenta would not detach, doctors suggested scraping her womb. Silva refused however, saying she felt another baby was coming out. Paulo was born 17 minutes later.
“This last detail is very significant for me,” Father Paulo said. “The doctors inserted instruments to remove the placenta because it wouldn’t come out. My mother knew that I was there. I was late, but I came out.” Had doctors scraped his mother’s womb, Father Paulo said he would likely have been “gravely injured.”
The twins learned about the circumstances of their birth when they were in their sixth year of seminary formation.
“It was surely the wisdom of my mother and her heart that allowed us to learn of such an amazing event at the right time,” Father Paulo said. He reflected that, while he had always thought his priestly vocation came during adolescence, he later realized that God was working in his life from the beginning, thanks to the “Yes” of his mother.
Although they grew up in a Catholic home, the Lizama brothers drifted away from the faith and stopped attending Mass. However, their parents’ separation and divorce led them back to the Church, and they received the sacrament of confirmation.
At the time, Father Paulo said, he lacked conviction in his faith but was attracted by the Blessed Sacrament, Gregorian chant and the silent reverence of prayer.
Father Felipe said he was drawn to God through a priest, Father Reinaldo Osorio, who would later become his formation director at the seminary.
“God was calling me. I realized that it was in God and in the things of God that I was happy, there was no doubt: I wanted to be a priest,” he said.
Despite being close, the two brothers did not talk about their vocations with each other.
“I don’t know who felt the call first,” Father Paulo said. “I think God did things the right way in order to safeguard the freedom of our response.”
In March 2003, they both entered the seminary. While it was difficult for the family to accept the brothers’ decision at first, their mother told them after the first year of formation that she was at peace, realizing that they were happy.
The twins were ordained priests on April 28, 2012, and celebrated their first Mass at Our Lady of Mercies in Lagunillas.
Now, a year after their ordination, Father Felipe serves at the parish of St. Martin of Tours in Quillota, and Father Paulo serves at the parish of the Assumption of Mary in Achupallas.
“God doesn’t mess around with us. He wants us to be happy, and the priesthood is a beautiful vocation, and that makes us completely happy,” Father Felipe said.
Following Jesus is not easy, but it is beautiful, added Father Paulo.
“Jesus, the Church and the world need us,” he explained. “But they don’t need just any young person: They need young people empowered by the truth of God, so that their very lives convey life, their smiles convey hope, their faces convey faith and their actions convey love.”
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/twins-saved-from-abortion-now-save-souls-as-priests/#ixzz2cRb6G5UT
The Smell of Rain
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery.
Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.
Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. 'I don't think she's going to make it,' he said, as kindly as he could. 'There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one'
Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived.
She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.
'No! No!' was all Diana could say.
She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four.
Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away
But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana 's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger.
But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.
At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.
And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life.
She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving , Texas , Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.
As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby, when she suddenly fell silent, hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, 'Do you smell that?'
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, 'Yes, it smells like rain.'
Dana closed her eyes and again asked,
'Do you smell that?'
Once again, her mother replied, 'Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain.'
Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,
'No, it smells like Him.
'It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.'
Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.
Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at
least in their hearts, all along.
During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
Littlest Suffering Soul
By Austin Ruse
Friday, 14 June 2013
Two weeks before his death at sixteen, Brendan Kelly’s aunt helped him into bed one night. Owing to massive steroid treatments to fight the ravages of chemo, and being a big boy anyway, he weighed more than 200 pounds. So it was difficult getting him to bed, made more difficult because large sores covered his whole body.
There was no place you could touch him that did not hurt. Except his head. She patted him there and Brendan said, “Aunt Kelly, I am so happy. All you need to be happy is to open your heart to Jesus.”
A psychiatrist, who was supposed to help him through the rough patches of a lifetime of leukemia, asked him what it was like to have cancer. Brendan said, “It is like driving a car with Karen in the back seat.” Karen was a panther that Ricky Bobby’s father put in Ricky’s back seat so he could overcome his fear of driving. Don’t know the movie Talledega Nights? Brendan knew every line.
The psychiatrist ended up not charging for many of Brendan’s visits. She said, after he died, that talking to Brendan was like talking to God. And how could she charge for something like that? She also said his death was the hardest event of her life.
Brendan possessed a supernatural ability to spot pain in others and to move in like a surgeon to fix it. Brendan’s mother coached girls’ baseball. One girl on the team came from an abusive home. She was mean, uncommunicative. Brendan laid siege, sitting with her, putting his head on her shoulder, talking to her, trying to make her laugh, talking about Jesus.
This went on for weeks. At first she hated it. Eventually, she smiled, then laughed, then utterly transformed into a new person, which she remains to today. Such things happened all his life.
Brendan was born with Down syndrome. At four, doctors diagnosed him with leukemia, a cancer with a high rate of remission – but the treatment is devastating. They turn a fire hose of chemo into your body and then pump you up with massive doses of steroids. This can go on and off for months and with terrible effects.
After his diagnosis, his family applied to the Make-a-Wish Foundation: he wanted to meet the pope. Make-a-Wish didn’t quite believe him since only one other child had ever asked for that. So they met with him privately, tempted him with Disney World, a submarine ride, baseball stars. They wanted to make sure meeting the pope was his wish and not his parents’. Brendan insisted.
A wish come true: Brendan Kelly meets John Paul II
In September 2001, the family gathered with others at Castel Gandolfo waiting to meet John Paul II. When the pope entered, rather than wait his turn, Brendan broke and ran to the pope and stood holding his arm as he greeted all the other pilgrims. Brendan would not move and the pope loved it. He kept glancing at Brendan and smiling.
As the pope began to leave, indeed when he was out the door and around the corner, Brendan shouted out, “Good-bye Pope.” John Paul the Great returned and the family snapped the picture you see in this column.
Brendan was a mystic. He carried on a continuous conversation with Jesus and his Guardian Angel. After confession one evening, he made an extended penance. Outside, his father asked what took him so long, and Brendan said he was talking to Jesus. "In the tabernacle?,” his father asked. “No, in the light above the tabernacle,” except according to Father Alexander Drummond, the Church was utterly dark.
Brendan would not pass a church without blowing a kiss and shouting, “Hi, Jesus.” So normal and natural was this that a priest of Opus Dei still sermonizes about this as an advanced state of the interior life.
So in love was he with the Eucharist that after chemo, when he had to be isolated because his immune system was ravaged, the family would sit outside the church in their massive black Suburban. At Communion, Father Drummond would walk down the aisle, leave the church, and go outside. Brendan’s window went down and the priest would give him the Blessed Sacrament.
Brendan suffered with leukemia nearly his entire life. He got it at 4 and underwent two-and-a-half years of treatment. It returned at age 10 with another two years of treatment. At 14, it came again and he underwent a bone marrow transplant.
He offered all his pain for others. Among his special intentions has been Bella Santorum. Because of her own devastating disability, she should have died within hours of birth. In intense pain Brendan would shout, “I love you, Bella.” Bella still lives.
There are many remarkable stories about Brendan Kelly. One day his father received an urgent email from a colleague who had been taken hostage by terrorists in Mumbai. He asked for Brendan’s prayers. Brendan prayed and said the man would be rescued. That he was rescued that very night is less interesting than, at a moment of abject terror, he asked for the intercession of the boy with Down syndrome and leukemia.
Brendan was a normal boy. He loved sports and movies, and sometimes showed a scatological sense of humor. He did not want to be sick – or die – and wondered why God answered all his prayers except those for himself. He sometimes suffered anxiety and even depression. Father Drummond says Brendan was willing to carry even these as the Cross.
When Father Drummond asked if he wanted to be an altar boy, Brendan immediately said yes. Told he would have to wear a cassock and surplice, he “got a far away look in his eyes and whispered, “I love those.”
Brendan Kelly was buried a month ago in his cassock and surplice. Brendan Kelly, pray for us.
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.