Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
February is a month of very special feast days, most especially the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14. Saint Valentine is the patron of love, young people, and happy marriages. Let’s all remember to pray for the intercession of Saint Valentine during this time of year so that God will guide people to seek out good and lasting relationships that build up the life of the family in our nation.
Last month, NYPD Detective Steven McDonald passed on at the age of 59. It was 30 years ago that he was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Central Park. He was 29 at the time of the shooting, which left him paralyzed from the neck down, and his wife Patti Ann was 23 and three months pregnant with their son, Conor. At Conor’s baptism, Steven wrote of the young man who shot him in a statement read by Patti Ann, “I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life.”
Steven McDonald went on to become a leader in the City of New York, in our nation, and around the world as an advocate of forgiveness and reconciliation. The Christophers mourn the loss of this great hero of our time, and we pray that he intercede for us so that mercy will reign in our hearts and in the most hardened hearts and bring about peace in the most troubled parts of our world.
One of our contributing writers, Garan Santicola, recently had the opportunity to speak with Patti Ann McDonald on behalf of The Christophers. His interview with Patti Ann occurred two weeks after her husband’s passing, and it will be published at the start of this month in Catholic New York.
In the interview, Patti Ann reminisces about the life and love she and Steven shared as a married couple, saying at one point: “Oh, there was joy. There was more joy than there was sorrow or sadness, honestly. I mean there was sadness and frustration because of what happened to Steven, what he had to live with every day. But definitely I can tell you there was more joy than there was sadness.”
McDonald’s son, Conor, followed in his father’s footsteps to become a fourth generation NYPD officer. Delivering a eulogy at his father’s funeral Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Conor McDonald said of his parents, “Their marriage was true love. My parents created the most phenomenal life out of such darkness.”
The mere mention of Patti Ann McDonald in the eulogy brought the entire congregation to their feet for prolonged applause. She is a New York City icon, and the story of her marriage to Steven is one of true love during our time. We encourage everyone to read our interview with Patti Ann McDonald in Catholic New York and share it with others so that people are inspired to open their hearts to true love during this Valentine’s time of year.
We also encourage everyone to watch and share Father Morris’ video on Marriage right here on our website. And our News Note “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” is perfect for dissemination among friends, loved ones, and within communities to help guide people to understand the high calling of married life.
We have two new prayer cards that we will be sending out and we invite everyone to order extra copies of these as well. Our “Hope and Holiness” prayer card presents both our inspiring classic prayer on the virtues of hope written by our founder, Father James Keller, M.M. It also includes a meditation on holiness by longtime Director of The Christophers, Father John Catoir. And our “One Minute at a Time” prayer card is a beautiful reflection on living in the moment and accepting the path God is leading us on each and every day.
This month begins with the Feast of Saint Blaise on February 3. Saint Blaise is known as the patron of all those suffering from afflictions of the throat. The blessing of the throats is a wonderful tradition that anyone can participate in at Masses in honor of Saint
Blaise. And we celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11. Let us pray that our Blessed Mother intercede to bring peace and healing to our nation and the world.
Thanks to all our donors for making what we do possible. You remain in our prayers.
Mary Ellen Robinson