VOL. 10, NO. 1

Jan/May 2007

Dear Readers:
Our Catholic teaching in this issue concerns Dating, Marriage and Sex. This article was adapted from a talk by George Velez to members of the Defenders of the Holy Trinity (DHT).  The DHT is a very active Catholic youth group in New York City and they are frequent contributors to The Defender.  In his earlier years, George was instrumental in activation of this dynamic youth organization.

With sadness we write about the death of one of our founding members, John Burke.  John passed away just a few months ago after a long illness.  He was quite active in The Defenders of the Faith as well as our local pro-life group and will be missed by all of us.

Our next three stories all involve counseling on the sidewalks outside abortion clinics trying to talk women (and girls) out of aborting their babies.  The story, by Missy Smith, is about a typical day when the counselor has no results after trying very hard to save a baby and a young mother.  The second story is by Dick Retta and concerns the fourth save by a woman Dick himself had turned around from an abortion many years ago.  The last story concerns the coordination of three counselors at another abortuary who had a fantastic day resulting in three saves.

Following this we have a commentary on two articles admonishing us in our role as defenders of the faith.  In principle we agree with the priests who wrote these articles, Fathers Morrow and Scalia, and we feel it may temper our battle against our miscreant clergy.  Both of their articles provide good food for thought and a new perspective on our battle.

Our next article is timely in that it deals with Catholics and Yoga.  Written by Catherine Marie Rhodes, she begins with an inspirational story of how one woman single-handedly stopped yoga classes from being performed in the adoration chapel of a local church.  Catherine then follows up with an explanation of the reasons why yoga is not compatible with the Catholic Church.

This story is then followed by two entirely different articles on Ecumenism.  One by Catherine and another by our copy editor, Mary Solsbak! Both are interesting articles with the same message – the ‘definition’ of Ecumenism has taken on a new, but erroneous meaning.

With this issue we have added something new.  We have an article which tells you all you ever wanted to know about the present state of music in our culture and in our churches.  Alan Jemison, a national expert in the field of music education, finds many problems with music in our culture today.

In March we held a combination annual meeting of Defenders of the Faith, Inc., and a three-year anniversary of our radio station.  We were truly blessed with a visit from Father Brienz of the Youngstown, Ohio, diocese.  Father is one of our supporters and recognizes the importance of Catholic Radio.  We include a description of the meeting to give emphasis and encouragement to those who might wish to grow into a new field of media evangelization.

Our final story is about Reverend Everett Briggs who died suddenly last December shortly after we went to press with the last issue of The Defender which included a story about him.  Father was 98 years old and actively defending the faith up to the last days of his long life.

We always include a story of a modern day saint as inspiration to all of us.  But with this issue I find there are many saints and near saints from whom we can draw inspiration beginning with George Velez who inspires many youth in his parish, is a father of five and studying to become a deacon.  Next, John Burke was instrumental in starting the Defenders of the Faith, a Birthright office, and was a leader of another pro-life organization.  Our sidewalk counselors, Missy Smith, Dick Retta, Charlie Heise and Jeanne Nolan, are out there every week in all kinds of weather in front of abortion clinics trying to talk women out of aborting their babies.  Marlena Childs was responsible for saving four babies from a gruesome death. Our very holy and dedicated priests, Fathers Morrow and Scalia, weary from defending the clergy from the Church Belligerent, give us advice on what they feel we should do to improve ourselves and our battle. Our writers Catherine Marie Rhodes and Mary Solsbak risk public chastisement for witnessing to the truth.  And let’s not forget ‘Mary’ who rid the parish of the yoga practitioners in the Adoration Chapel.  Alan Jemison has devoted his life to teaching music for the greater glory of God. Father Brienz, despite his adversity, is on fire with the love of and service to the Lord. Valerie Von Fange witnesses to her faith by her beautiful Christian music.  Marion Thomas’ shows her devotion to her faith by overcoming through prayer and hard work many obstacles to getting a new Catholic radio station up and operational in Hancock, Maryland.  Dave Flynn donated his time and talent to get the radio equipment operational.  And lastly we have the remarkable Father Briggs, 73 years a Maryknoll priest, a near martyr of the Church in WWII Japan, and a devoted defender of the faith up to his last week on earth. I am inspired! I hope you are too!

Jim Fritz

cc: Most Reverend Bishop Michael J. Bransfield

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