The Good Counsel Home for mothers and babies in Spring Valley received a big upgrade last month. The driveway was widened and repaved, and the sidewalk leading up to the front door was redone. The home’s Volunteer Team, who raised the funds and planned the work, would like to thank all the donors who responded so generously. The much-needed new driveway and sidewalk now provide safe and serviceable access for the residents and all who come to the Spring Valley home on business or to carry on the work of Good Counsel.
Dec. 3 — Jeanmarie Grahn, co-founder of the Rockland Right to Life Committee, was honored for her lifelong prolife work by Good Counsel Homes at their annual benefit Concert for Life on Dec. 3 at the Marian Shrine in West Haverstraw.
The award was presented by Chris Bell, president and executive director of Good Counsel Homes, which provides residential care and support for homeless expectant mothers and their children in the context of Catholic social tradition. There are six Good Counsel Homes, one of which is in Spring Valley, N.Y.
The program of Christmas and other music was hosted by Steve Possell, of the WRCR radio talk show, “The Morning Show with Steve and Jordan.” The performers were the Children of Mary Preschool Choir, Dick Eggers, Toni Lynn Moore, No Boundaries, Ted Simone, the Mueller Family Schola, and Monica Peterson St. John. Eileen Peterson was the producer and accompanist for some of the singers.
The audience, many of whom were longtime friends of Jeanmarie who have worked with her on many charitable activities, joined the Grahn family for a reception in Lomagno Hall, adjacent to the shrine church, after the concert.
The cheerful little house on Linden Ave. in Spring Valley received a big upgrade this past spring: Air conditioning upstairs! For the first time, the bedrooms of all the residents — expectant moms, new mothers and their babies, — were cool and comfortable, and quiet, now that the fans that whirred constantly to beat back the heat are gone.
This residence is one of the six Good Counsel homes in the metropolitan area and Alabama, established to provide a loving home, supportive residential care, and community-based services for homeless young mothers who have chosen Life for their babies in the face of incredible obstacles.
A preliminary study last year showed that, in addition to the air-conditioners themselves, this older home would require upgrades of a new electrical panel and wiring to provide the needed power. A budget of $8,000 was set.
Fundraising began in September 2015, and the goal was reached in 5 months! Work began in April and was completed this May, just in time for the sweltering days of summer.
Through the efforts of the Spring Valley Volunteer Team and the generosity of many private donors and charitable groups in Rockland, all the young women and children at Good Counsel in Spring Valley slept well, in comfort, this summer. And a benefit of a good night’s sleep in facing the challenges of the day to come is no small thing.
There are many other improvements that need to be made at the Spring Valley home and the others in the Good Counsel program. If you would like to help make a big change in the lives of the homeless women and their children, please make a donation to this most important cause.
In that terrible cold snap two weeks ago, the pipes burst at Good Counsel’s Daystar home in Harrison, NY. The local building inspector condemned the building because of the resulting damage, and now six of the seven moms from Harrison have been relocated to the home in Spring Valley.
Good Counsel is now facing an incredible and enormous expense of relocating and reestablishing the mothers who lived in Daystar. Please help!
Read more about it here, and, if you can, please send a donation to help out to: Good Counsel, Box 6068, Hoboken, NJ 07030. Please note in the memo or on the envelope: Harrison Emergency Appeal. Thank you!
At their annual Christmas parties, two Rockland councils of the Knights of Columbus — Triune Council #2052 in Pearl River and John Cardinal McCloskey 4565 in West Nyack — continued their holiday tradition of presenting prolife and other charities with donations to support their good works.
The Triune party was was held at Toner Hall at St. Margaret’s Church in Pearl River on Dec. 14
Among the local prolife groups receiving gifts from the Knights were the Rockland Right to Life Committee, Birthright of Rockland, Good Counsel Homes in Spring Valley, and the Sisters of Life. Continue reading
Sr. Nancy Richter, OP, a dedicated prolife leader, who is moderator of the Albertus Magnus High School Pro-Life Club, was recently honored at the annual Concert for Life, at the school on Dec. 5.
Sr. Nancy, a Dominican Sister of Sparkill, is currently in charge of the Albert Magnus Campus Ministry. She works to foster among her students an appreciation of the sanctity of life at all stages. The Pro-Life Club’s projects include a student-organized Life Chain outside their school on Route 304 in Bardonia, annual trips to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and a Christmas fundraiser for Good Counsel. They’ve also been the largest single group in attendance at the Respect Life Sunday Life Chain on Route 59 in Nanuet for many years. Continue reading
The Knights of Columbus Triune Council #2052 celebrated their 96th anniversary with a Charity Ball, held at the Colonial Manor in Norwood, N.J., on June 5. The event honored Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, and Chris Bell of Good Counsel Homes for their dedicated years of service to so many ministries.
Grand Knight John Rio welcomed the guests and presented the honorees, who were escorted into the ballroom by the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.
The program opened with the introduction of Fr. Apostoli by Fr. Frank Samoylo, longtime Rockland County resident, now pastor of St. Columbanus parish in Cortlandt Manor, and one of last year’s co-honorees for his work with the prolife movement.
Fr. Andrew is a member and co-founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He is a frequent host on the Eternal Word Television Network. Ordained in 1967 by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the famous preacher and TV pioneer of the 1950s, Fr. Andrew now works to advance the cause of the canonization of the bishop, whom he called a “great man who touched many hearts.”
In his talk, Fr. Andrew described some of the miracles attributed to the bishop, and asked the guests to pray for him to be declared a saint.
Fr. Andrew also spoke of his great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and urged the audience to heed the Fatima message to pray the Rosary, which he said is “powerful enough to stop wars and bring peace,” and protect the Christian culture now beset by abortion, euthanasia, and attacks on religious freedom and marriage.
Next at the podium was Richard Bruno, coordinator of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians, who introduced Chris Bell, co-founder of the Good Counsel Homes for Babies and Mothers, and welcomed Chris’ wife, Joan Andrews Bell, who has been on the front lines of the prolife movement for decades, and their son, Emiliano.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Good Counsel Homes, founded by Chris and Fr. Benedict Groeschel in 1985 to serve homeless, pregnant and parenting mothers and their babies.
Chris began by thanking the prolife people of Rockland for their efforts to save unborn babies. He noted that over the years from the “rescues” in the 1980s — peaceful sit-ins blocking the doors of abortion clinics led by the Vicar of Rockland Msgr. Harrington — to today’s 40 Days of Life vigils, the number of facilities in the county that provide surgical abortions declined from six to zero.
He also pointed out that Rockland has the lowest abortion rate in all the counties that comprise the Archdiocese of New York and attributed this to prayer and the Blessed Sacrament.
Many women who seek abortion do so under great pressure and despair, Chris said, and told the audience that many of the women who come to Good Counsel seeking help have had previous abortions because at the time, they said, it seemed they didn’t have a choice.
Good Counsel Homes offers them the choice of life for their babies and provides a program called Lumina to help women who have had abortions to heal. God’s mercy is infinite, Chris said, and to share that mercy and love of Christ with those in need is the mission of Good Counsel.
The final speaker of the evening was Rockland County Supervisor Ed Day who presented certificates of appreciation on behalf of the people of Rockland to the Triune Council’s honorees and to Good Counsel Homes on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
The program ended with the announcement of the council’s Knight of the Year: Kevin McGovern.
Rev. Gerry Deponai, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Nanuet and the chaplain emeritus of the Triune Council, said of Chris and Fr. Andrew, “The Triune Council is deeply honored to acknowledge and honor these two dedicated man of the Church!
Our Church, our nation, and the cause of life have been blesssed with their charisms.”
Photos below courtesy of Frank Traina