Text and photos by Ed Casey


On Saturday, April 28, the Feast of Saint Gianna Molla, Bishop John Barres celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, and included a blessing in thanksgiving for those celebrating the gift of child, those planning now or in the future for a child, and those who are expecting a child.

After Mass there was an opportunity to venerate relics of St. Gianna, a 20th century Italian physician, wife and mother who is the patron of mothers and unborn children. The Diocesan Respect Life Office and Catholic Health Services sponsored a reception in the Parish Center with information on the Long Island Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility.

In his homily Bishop Barres spoke about meeting a number of young girls named Gianna in the congregation, as well as young families and parents dedicated to witnessing the joy of the gospel and the splendor of truth.

The bishop also spoke of the great witness that Blessed Paul VI gave the church in Humanae Vitae, which was released 50 years ago this coming July 25th. He also referred to Saint John Paul II’s encyclical letter, Veritatis Splendor,as the church prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary on August 6th. Both documents, the bishop pointed out, witness to the value of human life and support the ethical and moral framework of the Catholic Church in the world today.