‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Actress Tells How Wonderful the Film Was and Is

Virginia Patton Moss shares many memories from filming It's a Wonderful Life.

Thursday, December 26, 2013 5:31 AM Comments (7)
Courtesy of the St. Nicholas Institute

Virginia Patton Moss as Ruth Dakin Bailey meets her new brother-in-law George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart.

– Courtesy of the St. Nicholas Institute

It’s a Wonderful Life is a perennial favorite film at Christmastime. Certainly it’s one of the best and most memorable movies ever made.

It was one of the 45 films the Vatican singled out in 1995 on its list to commemorate the 100th anniversary of filmmaking that year. It is among the top five films on the Register’s informal poll list from 2004.

Virginia Patton Moss knows how special that film is — right from the time it was being made in 1946. She had the great privilege and blessing to be an important part of the cast.

In October 2013, the St. Nicholas Institute recognized her for being such an important part of motion-picture history by bestowing on her at the institute’s gala...READ MORE

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Free Nativities for 2014 Public Display

Keep Christ in Christmas with free crèches from the Thomas More Society and American Nativity Scene Committee.

Friday, December 20, 2013 1:07 PM Comments (2)

Not many Christmas gifts arrive a year early, but the Thomas More Society and American Nativity Scene Committee are offering a free crèche to those folks who would like to display a privately sponsored and funded Christmas Nativity scene in a designated or traditional public forum, either inside or close to their state capitol or city hall next Christmas — December 2014.

The generous society is taking applications for the free Nativity displays between now and this Christmas, Dec. 25, 2013.

And there is a bonus gift attached for the first 50 crèche displays approved.

The Thomas More Society will give the first 50 approved applicants no-cost assistance in the legal permit process.


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Calling All Catholics Home for Christmas

New Evangelization calls, 'O come all ye faithful ...'

Monday, December 09, 2013 4:25 PM Comments (2)

“Come Home for Christmas” is part of the New Evangelization efforts by the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

Metropolitan Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the archeparchy is getting out the message and invitation to as many people as possible using DVDs and YouTube broadcasts.

“Come Home for Christmas” is his effort to reach out not only to Ukrainian Catholics, but to all people.

He calls it his “personal invitation,” one that is “universal for all Christians.”

The five-minute DVD entitled Come Home for Christmas, which the archeparchy produced, features Metropolitan Soroka not only making this heartfelt invitation, but also recapturing in brief the story of Christmas.


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Wish Pope Francis a Happy Birthday!

There is still time to sign the Holy Father's birthday card and give him a gift, too!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 5:09 PM Comments (31)

More than 10,000 people have already signed a special birthday card for Pope Francis.

You can be among the thousands more expected to sign the card and pledge a simple gift for the Holy Father.

Francis celebrates his 77th birthday on Dec. 17, and this four-foot-tall birthday card will be shipped to the Vatican and presented to him in time for his special day.

This card features a large depiction of “Mary, Undoer of Knots,” a painting done in 1700 that moved a priest named Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now the Pope) when he saw it.

Father Bergoglio brought the image to his native Argentina and expanded it into a devotion in the 1980s. He even composed a prayer to Our Lady under the title....READ MORE

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A Million Book FREE Giveaway for Mary

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:03 AM Comments (10)
Courtesy of the Marians Fathers of the Immaculate Conception

A couple looks over a copy of 33 Dias hacia un Glorioso Amanecer , ready to begin their consecration to Jesus through Mary.

– Courtesy of the Marians Fathers of the Immaculate Conception

One million books to give away for FREE?

This is what happens when the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Mass., take one of the most popular Catholic books of the last two years — 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Marian Father Michael Gaitley — and translate it into Spanish.

“Right now, we’re doing one of the largest consecration pushes ever,” Father Gaitley says. “We decided to print a million copies of a magazine version of the book in Spanish and give them away for free.”

Why would the Marians do this?

“Because our mission is to serve the Church where the need is greatest,” says Father...READ MORE

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Best Buddies See a Win in Upcoming Challenge

Group that helps people with Down syndrome fundraises for a worthy cause.

Saturday, October 05, 2013 9:00 AM Comments (0)
Courtesy of Austin Ruse

The Austin Ruse team takes time off their bicycles for a photo at the Best Buddies Challenge in 2012.

– Courtesy of Austin Ruse

Growing up, most of us did some bicycling with our best buddies. Some still do today for a most important and essential cause.

On Oct. 19, Austin Ruse, the president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), is one of the many people taking to the pavement to ride in the Audi Best Buddies Challenge.

The Best Buddies Challenge is an annual event that raises funds for Best Buddies International, an organization dedicated to helping those with Down syndrome.

The challenge is no cake walk. Ruse and his team will be riding over a 62-mile (100 kilometers) route around Washington, D.C., and into Virginia that includes more than 4,000 feet of mountain climbs. There are also...READ MORE

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St. John Paul II Will Welcome Visitors in South Carolina

Friday, September 27, 2013 11:50 AM Comments (1)
Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope

Soon-to-be-canonized John Paul II warmly "welcomes" pilgrims and visitors to Our Lady's shrine. Behind the altar is the icon of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope.

– Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope

It’s official. Blessed John Paul II will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Rome.

He is already being commemorated here in the U.S. On the first Saturday in July, saintly John Paul II appeared in South Carolina, in statue form.

There he stands, with that famous smile of his captured so beautifully in a larger-than-life statue at the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope.

The statue is so lifelike it even surprises Father Stanley Smolenski, the rector of the shrine in Kingstree, S.C.

“It at first startled me whenever I entered the shrine, since it looked like someone was standing there!” he says, while telling how and why the John Paul II...READ MORE

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Biking for Babies Cycles for Life

Best Year Ever for Culture-of-Life Riders

Friday, July 19, 2013 8:48 AM Comments (0)
Biking for Babies photo

Biking for Babies team takes five in Memphis. Becker (l) and Schaefer (r) are front and center, kneeling.

– Biking for Babies photo

Biking for Babies was on a roll this summer.

On Saturday afternoon, July 13, a group of 11 bicyclists peddled into Chicago right on schedule, finishing an 1,100-mile trek over eight days through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois.

Every spin of the tires was meant to raise money for specific pro-life venues and to spread the culture-of-life message.

For this fifth annual fundraising adventure, 11 guys and gals averaged more than 140 miles a day once they took to their bicycles and started from New Orleans on July 6.

In 2012, taking basically the same route, Biking for Babies raised more than $32,000. Among the eight places in as many states that they helped...READ MORE

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About Joseph Pronechen

Joseph Pronechen
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Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.