Listening In: 5 Stories That Lit Up the Internet This Week

Catholic hot takes on the top 5 trends of the week

Flávio Dantas and Tarsila Batista welcome baby Antonella into the world.
Flávio Dantas and Tarsila Batista welcome baby Antonella into the world. (photo: Instagram)

5. Baby smiles at Dad just after being born once she recognizes his voice.

With a beautiful image of a newborn baby smiling gleefully at her dad while she’s resting on her mother’s torso just after being born, little Antonella has been stealing the hearts of millions online this week. Her father, Flavio had spent the last nine months speaking to the little girl through her mommy, rubbing Tarsila’s belly, telling her how much she was loved.

In a recent interview with SoNoticiaBoa, Tarsila said, “He always told her that he loved her so much. Good morning when I went to work, arrived good afternoon, said I’d always be there, kept stroking my belly… And amazingly it always seems at the same time every day she started to move.”

And it was those exact same words, this time out of the womb, upon hearing them, baby Antonella opened her eyes and smiled in a photo that has since gone viral after being uploaded to Instagram. Antonella was born on August 11 in Rio de Janeiro, when the Brazilian country celebrates Father’s Day, no less—talk about knocking it out the park on a first gift for dad, Antonella!

The picture has become a great message for the pro-life movement as we know life begins in the womb, and nothing cements this more than the relationships that are forged before a baby even takes their first breath. In witnessing the reaction on his daughter's face to his own voice, Flavio said, “I thought I knew what a feeling of true love was, until I looked at that most sincere smile in the world … it was [there] that I could be sure what love is.”

Being nine months pregnant and just about to burst myself, I was anxious to show this story to my husband. Needless to say, he’s been talking to my belly much more ever since!


4. Picture goes viral of a little boy comforting a crying boy with autism on the first day of school.

As kids are heading back to school this week across much of the nation, a photo showing a young boy holding the hand of another boy crying has broken the internet, this time in Wichita, Kansas.

A mother was eager to share a photo of her son, Christian, a second-grader, who noticed a little boy, Connor crying on the first day of school. Christian decided to do something about it. Christian’s mother, Courtney Coko Moore, who snapped the photo, wrote on her Facebook page:

“I’m so proud of my son, he [saw] a kid balled up into a corner crying, so he went to console him, grabbed his hand and walked him inside of the school! It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child! He’s a kid with a big heart, the first day of school started off right.”

With the photo being shared now well over 21,000 times, Connor's mother reacted to the post saying: 

“Tell your son I said thank you so very much! That little boy he helped is my son and is autistic, I worry every day that he is going to get bullied for being different and your son just absolutely warmed my heart. If there were more children like him I wouldn’t worry about such things.”

Way to go Christian for living up to your name and acting in such a charitable way! Christian’s mother revealed that her son has some issues speaking himself so both mothers hope the first day of school was just the beginning of a budding friendship! The picture shared by Christian's mother has even led to the creation of a Facebook group called “Christian & Connor Bridging The Gap.”


3. Pittsburgh Baseball player reveals his wife is expecting just after adopting a baby girl. 

From the sports desk this week, Trevor Williams of the Pittsburgh Pirates revealed some very exciting news about his growing family!

Writing from his Twitter account on August 25, the Catholic athlete shared some beautiful news as he and his wife, Jackie, had just adopted a beautiful baby girl… only to find out that they also have a little baby boy of their own on the way, due in January!

Trevor writing: “On Divine Mercy Sunday, Jojo’s birthmother told us that she wanted Jackie and I to be the adoptive parents of her daughter. The very next day Jackie and I found out God has a great sense of humor by showering us with the grace of another child. Baby boy is due in January ��Holy Family, pray for us.”

The idea to adopt is something near and dear to both Trevor and Jackie. Trevor recently told the Pittsburgh Gazette that he was anxious for this new little one saying, "“My wife has family that’s adopted. We have a lot of people in our life that have had really good adoption experiences. It came down to the fact that we really just wanted a baby.”

Jackie and Trevor are overjoyed with their growing family. We offer prayers for the new little baby boy expected in the new year!


2. Fellow Marine carries his friend who lost his legs in Afghanistan to tip of Utah mountain summit.

As we mark the anniversary of the end of World War II this upcoming weekend, a selfless act caught the eye of Phil Casper earlier this week, as he was ascending Mount Timpanagos in Utah. Two Marines who had served together overseas in the military were making the ascent as well. But one had no legs and was strapped to his friend’s back. The grueling hike is at least 14 miles and over 4,500 feet in elevation. Retired Marine Sgt. John Nelson was carrying fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. Jonathon Blank, who lost both of his legs serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

On Facebook, Phil Casper, who captured the generous act on video wrote:

“They sought no special attention. The disabled vet said he weighed 135 lbs. They were committed to reach the summit. Having just exhausted myself to reach the summit with less than 5 lbs on my back, it was hard to fathom the drive that the pair possessed to achieve their goal. To have arrived where I met them was already an incredible accomplishment. It was a powerful and inspiring experience to see them on their way.”

Sgt. Nelson said he was inspired to carry his disabled fellow Marine when he witnessed another Marine carrying his mother up to the summit. She suffers from multiple sclerosis. Sgt. Blank had always wanted to reach the summit and had been talking about it for 5 years. So Sgt. Nelson finally said, “Hey, let’s go climb Mount Timpanogos.”

Such self-sacrifice is expected from the Marines on the battlefield with their slogan: Leave No Man Behind. Nelson was the one who had been standing close to Sgt. Blank when the bomb went off that took his legs. Sgt. Nelson had carried him that day as well to safety amid enemy fire. 

And the challenge continues! Next on the list is attempting Mount Whitney in California on Veterans’ Day. God bless Sgts. Nelson and Blank and all our veterans. May God bless you—and may we all be inspired to help those in need!

1. Congressman Sean Duffy chooses family over career in light of his wife expecting a child with special needs…

The week began Monday with the news that Catholic Congressman Sean Duffy will resign from his position as U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 7th congressional district effective Sept. 23. Of course, for those of us familiar with Congressman Duffy's stellar record on pro-life issues and religious freedom, we're a bit saddened by the news, but the reason why Rep. Duffy is stepping away is a beautiful one. He and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy are expecting their ninth child and through a Facebook post, Rep. Duffy said their new little girl will need some extra care as she has been diagnosed with a special heart condition. 

The congressman shared a heartfelt message saying although he will miss serving his district, “With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now.”

The Duffy's ninth child will need surgery just after being born. There's of course many who think that these complications and the risks involved should altogether be avoided and perhaps would recommend this baby be aborted. In a recent interview this week on Fox News, Rep. Sean Duffy says that is not in the cards saying, “It’s pretty easy for us in the sense that we’re lifers. We believe in life, and whatever gifts God gives us, we accept them. And this is gonna be a great gift.” The congressman added, “Yeah, it’s gonna be a little more stressful, but this little baby will have eight other siblings to wrap their loving arms around her, and we’re gonna do it as a family. We’ll figure out a different way to balance our lives.”