On Monday, May 17, an evening of public prayer, song and celebration of the dignity of life and the witness of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was held at the Church of St. Catherine of Siena on 68th Street in New York City.
At 6:30 p.m., the Archdiocesan Respect Life Office and the Sisters of Life, the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York, the Gianna Healthcare Center in midtown Manhattan (established under the patronage of St. Gianna), and St. Catherine of Sienna Church sponsored "Praying with Saint Gianna". The beautifully sung Votive Mass was offered for the intentions of those struggling with infertility and pregnancy-related difficulties, with the highlight of a special blessing with the relics of St. Gianna, the last saint canonized by Pope John Paul II before his death.
After the Mass, St. Gianna's son, Pierluigi Molla, spoke with great simplicity and love about his mother, remarking on the saintly qualities that were prevalent throughout her life, as well as under the tragic circumstances of her death. While pregnant with her fourth child, Gianna was diagnosed with a uterine tumor and doctors suggested an abortion for treatment purposes. Gianna, a physician herself, refused to abort and gave birth to a healthy daughter, only to die herself one week later at 39 years of age in 1962. Mr. Molla (above) stayed late into the evening to talk with the congregation and sign holy cards and booklets about his mother's life provided by Thomas McKenna, President of the St. Gianna Physician's Guild www.stgiannaphysicains.org/, who also spoke that evening.
Dr. Anne Mielnik (above) inspired all with her and Dr. Kyle Beiter's mission at the Gianna Center www.giannahealth.org, established to provide a broad range of health services to women and especially infertile couples. "The Gianna Center is the only women's healthcare center in New York City that is explicitly committed to following the teachings of the Catholic Church in all of its services." The Center is located at 15 East 40th Street in Manhattan. Call for information at 212-481-1219.
The Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York at Saint Catherine of Siena Priory serves with great dedication the patients, families and staff at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Rockefeller University Hospital. Their mission is "to promote the dignity of the human person and the healing ministry of Jesus Christ among parishioners, health care professionals, patients, and their families through pastoral care, education, research, and ethics consultations."
The Archdiocesan Respect Life Office and the Sisters of Life gave their presence, prayers and support to this spiritual outreach to women and infertile couples as part of their mission, too. The Sisters of Life Order was established by New York's late John Cardinal O'Connor as an Order dedicated to the needs of pregnant women, and in support of all dignity of life issues from conception through natural death.
The magnificent choir and soloists under the direction of Choirmaster Rev. Jordan J. Kelly, O.P. and Organist Thomas McGinnis, gave the evening a traditional musical environment that was spiritual and elegant and enjoyed by the large congregation that filled the Church to capacity.
God Bless Saint Gianna, her son and her family, and all the dedicated men and women who were part of this exceptional event! Support their works with your prayers and your donations and spread the good news and devotion to Saint Gianna!