My Prayer for You

Blessings to all,

As I begin this update I pray that that words that are written here will provide comfort, if comfort is what you are seeking; encouragement, if encouragement is what you are needing; peace, if peace has been missing in your heart and home; joy, if the blessing of being alive today has not yet offered you a reason to be joyful; and hope, that God loves you and hears all of your prayers! All of that may be a tall order so now I will sit back and see what the Holy Spirit has to say.

On Wednesday, May 13th Kevin, Maggie, Max and I attended Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Springfield, PA. The Winter Family, members of this parish, invited us to join their Elizabeth Ministry for the annual Mass of Remembrance. (The Winter family came into our lives through the Malvern Family Retreat – what a blessing both are to us!) I felt very strongly about attending the Mass for Suzanne and the members of St. Francis. I was a member of this parish and was baptized in this church, even attended first grade at St. Francis. This community and the Winter family have been extremely supportive throughout Catie’s Story – selling handmade bracelets, having a dress down day, praying for Catie and our family throughout the year.

After a three hour drive, we arrived and were greeted by Suzanne and her daughters in the parking lot. Suzanne was holding a piece of poster board that she had turned into a collage of Catie. It was so beautiful. Sitting in church before Mass I simply sat and breathed in the presence of God – no prayers or requests for this or that – just being still and enjoying the peace-filled feeling that came over me. The Mass began with all family members coming up to the altar where they placed pictures of their child and any mementos on the altar steps with a candle. We placed the collage of Catie and the purple memory box, which holds Catie’s crocs and cell phone, Bible and relic collection. The altar was glowing.

There was one family that caught my eye. A father walked up carrying one small child (under 2) and holding the hand of another child (maybe 3). There are so many families in the same position we are in – we are not alone in our grief. We are so very blessed. Not only do all of you help us and through your prayers lift our burdens, but others walk through life knowing their child is in heaven too. This is something we share. Like our faith we are all on a journey with our understanding of how our child’s death affects us, our spouse, our other children and others. We are left with “what do we do now?” We grieve. At this Mass we were able to grieve with others.

The Mass ended with a song “Winged One” written by Jean Coppa Milani and the second to last line hit me and has stayed with me. It contains these words, “I could never give you what you have now.” How very true that is!! Catie has everything now and there is no more that she needs. So I have to let go and focus on my life and living it and help others. After Mass the three musicians were still there packing up their equipment and instruments. We began to speak with them and realized that God may have had another reason for us to be at this Mass.

After meeting the musician we were made aware of little girl named Mary who needs your prayers and Catie’s intercession. Mary Coffey is the daughter of Felicia Coppa Coffey, one of the musicians. Mary is being treated at du Pont in Delaware for a heart condition. Mary’s condition sounded very similar to the condition that Jake was born with years ago. (It was while reading the e-mail from Jake’s mom that Catie announced that she wanted to be the Patron Saint of Pediatric Illnesses.) I began to tell Felicia about Catie. When Felicia heard the words of Catie’s Story and of Catie’s desire to be a Saint her eyes registered hope to me. That is what our lives should be offering others – what they need at that moment. In the case of a parent with a sick child hope is needed. During the drive home Kevin and the kids all told me they were all glad we had had been there. Now we all have to pray and have hope for both Mary and for Catie’s intercession.

Thursday offered another challenge. The school Mass was offered for Catie and all of her classmates wore their First Communion attire for their class photo. Catie was not with them. Before Mass ended and the photo was taken; the children all beautifully sang “My Father’s House.” Several second grade mothers came up to me and hugged me or rubbed my back. I smiled and stepped away. I wanted to collapse on the floor and scream “YOUR CHILDREN ARE SINGING WHILE MINE IS DEAD!” The pouring rain prevented a quick escape. Once home I just wanted to crawl into bed, instead I made tea for Molly and M.E. In their world everything is better when you are having a real tea party. Then I made a few calls looking for someone to comfort me. Most of the calls I made reached answering machines and not people – what a great morning to be out for them. Finally I called my dear friend from St. Jude. Berit answered, listened and cried with me. At no point during our conversation did she tell me I was going to be OK – we both know that in another moment I will be, but right now I wasn’t. Berit’s daughter is alive, how could Berit understand? Once a St. Jude patient Dr. Gajjar will tell you, you are always a St. Jude patient. The same is true for being a St. Jude parent.

Does that help? No and yes. Berit and other St. Jude parents understand the pain of seeing your child suffer. They and other parents who have buried their child understand without needing an explanation. They understand that being there is sometimes all you need to do or can do. No one can take away anyone’s tears, pain and grief – prayer is an amazing help that anyone can offer at anytime, but because we are human we need more. I have found that the other biggest help – bigger than dinner for the Fab 5 – is being present to listen, share and sometimes not say anything. Being there – witnessing the life and pain of another and not trying to stop or prevent it is all a part of life. It is part of the life that Jesus experienced too.

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “see how he loved him.” (John 11:32-36)

Here Jesus experienced and witnessed the pain of Mary the sister of Lazarus after the death of Lazarus. Jesus was there and willing to share their pain – even to the point of His own weeping. Mary believed that if Jesus had been with them He could have prevented their pain and suffering – Lazarus’ death. I prayed with all of you for the miracle of Catie’s healing – this was not God’s will. I have struggled with this for months now. Today, however, it seems clearer to me, not really much easier just clearer. The reason that Lazarus was brought back to life was so that others would believe.

So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” (John 11:14-15)

I believe was all of my heart that perhaps that is why Catie was not healed – so that others would come to believe.. That is in part why we are still writing, to share with you all that has happened as part of Catie’s Wish and to continue to share our part of Catie’s Story. As of Friday the new total for donations to St. Jude on behalf of Catie’s Wish is $2,589,135. That is 185% of the goal!!!

More donations are coming in each and every day. Last week we received a letter from Mary Circle, Stewartsville, NJ, where we lived for the first three years of Catie’s life. The entire cul-de-sac wrote to us and collected $240 for Catie’s Wish. The model store for Rite Aid had a bake sale raising hundreds of dollars for Catie’s Wish. Several St. Joseph’s students, Christopher and Maria Carroll, Matthew Nguyen, Matthew Sanford, Matthew Jones, Aaron Coleman, Dominik and Patrick Nitecki, Jared Scott, Tony Starvaggi, Kayla Casey, Brynne O’Connor, Maddie Jones and Hallie Miller, raised $70.13 selling lemonade for Catie’s Wish. Franchetta’s uncle rode in a cycling event to raise money for Catie. Praise the Lord the list of events for Catie’s Wish goes on and on. These are just a few of the amazing things that wonderfully generous and loving people who have been touched by Catie’s life and Wish have done. There is a little boy in Mia’s first grade class who gives her his snack money twice a week $1.50 for Catie’s Wish. It is all so very beautiful and there is so much more to do.

The accountant is in the process of getting the Catie’s Wish Foundation its 501(c)3 status as a non-profit foundation. We have initialized a contest for a logo for the foundation. We are meeting with a PR firm next week to establish a plan for reaching a larger audience. We are making plans for a new website for the Catie’s Wish Foundation. We have been contacted by folks in IL, CA, VA, MD, CT about spreading Catie’s Wish through Catholic Schools there. We are also working on a plan for other schools that are both private and public to raise money. We are planning on putting Catie’s Wish on Facebook and doing a digital scrapbook of all those who have raised money for Catie’s Wish. (So take pictures of your efforts and send them to us  for now at The father of one of Catie’s classmates is planning on running in the Marine Corp Marathon on behalf of Catie. It is all good and makes us beam with pride. I would still rather have Catie here with me to hug and love but I trust God and know that this is His plan for all of us. We will keep you all posted on all of new aspects of Catie’s Wish as they are finalized.

In the meantime we need prayers: prayers that God blesses the work of our hands; prayers for the kids at St. Jude, especially Trevor who would love to be well enough to celebrate the wedding of his kin (remember that Trevor is from the South); prayers for Ian, a baby in MI who has brain cancer; prayers for Mary Coffey in DE; prayers for Alyssa who was just diagnosed and prayers for Kevin (a friend of a friend) who also was just diagnosed. Each and every day so many need so many prayers. Today my prayer for you is that you have more people to pray for and less to pray about for yourself.

I love you Catie! Say hello to everyone and keep an eye on us we are doing our best to make you proud!

Trusting in His plan always,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly and M.E.

Discover more from Catie's Wish Foundation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Comments are closed.