Chris Bell, Fr. Andrew Apostoli Honored at Triune Charity Ball

At the podium, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, Grand Knight John Rio, and Good Counsel Home's Chris Bell at the Triune Council #2052 96th Anniversary Charity Ball.

At the podium, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, Grand Knight John Rio, and Good Counsel Home’s Chris Bell at the Triune Council #2052 96th Anniversary Charity Ball.

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.

Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard

Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard

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.

Fr. Apostoli, Richard Bruno, and Chris Bell

Fr. Apostoli, Richard Bruno, and Chris Bell

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 Bell -- A truly dedicated Apostle for Life

Chris Bell — A truly dedicated Apostle for Life

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.


Liz O’Brien, chair of Rockland Right to Life, with Fr. Andrew and Chris Bell.

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





Musicians Raise Their Spirit in Song for Good Counsel

Chris Bell, Executive Director of Good Counsel Homes, with honoree Margaret Hamilton, and Rev. Thomas Madden, Pastor of St. Peter's Church in Haverstraw

Chris Bell, Executive Director of Good Counsel Homes, with honoree Margaret Hamilton, and Rev. Thomas Madden, Pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Haverstraw

Music lovers gathered on Saturday, Dec. 6, for the annual Concert for Life, held to benefit Good Counsel Homes, a crisis pregnancy center, which has been helping single mothers and their babies for nearly 30 years. Good Counsel operates four homes, one of which is in Spring Valley.

The master of ceremonies for the concert was Steve Possell, co-host of Radio Rockland’s WRCR AM 1300 “Steve and Meredyth Morning Show.” The event was held at Albertus Magnus High school in Bardonia.  Continue reading

Concert Raises Funds for Good Counsel Home

Mary-Anne and Peter Partridge

Mary-Anne and Peter Partridge

Fr. Frank Samoylo, a longtime Rockland resident, was honored for his prolife work at the 3rd Annual Concert for Life, held this year at Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia on Nov. 21.

The performers who volunteered their talents for the concert were Peter and Mary-Anne Partridge, Veritas — the Albertus Magnus Honor Choir, the No Boundaries group from St. Peter’s in Haverstraw, and solists Toni Linn Moore and Kiera Egan from St. Gregory’s School in Garnerville.

The featured performer was Monica Peterson St. John.

Steve Possell from radio station WRCR AM 1300 was the master of ceremonies.

Veritas -- the Albertus Magnus Honor Choir -- performs at the Concert for Life

Veritas — the Albertus Magnus Honor Choir — performs at the Concert for Life

Communion Breakfast for Good Counsel

20131012_093752-cSupporters of the Good Counsel Home for pregnant mothers and babies in Spring Valley gathered for Mass and a Communion Breakfast today at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point.

20131012_0935116-cThe celebrant of the Mass was Fr. Bill Cosgrove, pastor of St. Augustine’s in New City, and the guest speaker at the breakfast was Debbie DuHaime, Traffic Reporter from WABC radio and television. Joe Quartucci, from Good Counsel Homes, was Breakfast Chairman and master of ceremonies.

In his homily, Fr. Bill spoke of the deeper, expanded meaning of the response of Jesus to the woman who called out to him, “Blessed be the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.” Jesus’ reply — “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” — is His call to all of us to be hearers and doers of His word, like his Mother, who was blessed because of her willingness to bear the Son of God, to nurse and form Him, and do all things according to God’s will.

Fr. Bill noted the work of the Good Counsel Homes — supporting both mother and child in need — as a way of putting the word of God into action. Continue reading

Respect Life Month — Being Prolife

imagesThere’s no one season for being prolife. No one thing we do.

Rather, it’s a daily commitment that rises from our belief in the sacredness of life, the dignity of every human being. It leads us along a path of service toward others, especially the most vulnerable and those most in need. It causes us to become involved, to share, to pray, and to stand up and speak out when necessary.

Yet the month of October — Respect Life Month — is a special time to deepen our insight of what being prolife is all about. It’s highlighted by liturgies in our churches and observances in the public square. We gather in prayer services and protests, we join in discussions and song.

We’re drawn to events that bring us together because it’s with others that we find our strength. By sharing the sorrows, the uncertainties, the joys, and the exhilaration of the prolife mission we find the place where the courage comes from, and the hope, and the inspiration to keep on going in the year to come.

Will you join us? Here is a short list of some of the events going on in and around Rockland during Respect Life Month 2013. Please select one (or several) that seem right for you — and come! You’ll be glad you did!

More information about each event will be appearing on this site as we get closer to the date. So please check back. If your group or church is doing anything for Respect Life month, please let us know so we can post it on this site and pass the word along. Email:

National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children
Sept. 14 at 5 pm (before the 5:30 pm. Mass)
Garden of Innocence
South side of St. Mary of the Assumption Church
46 Conklin Ave., Haverstraw

40 Days for Life — Opening Ceremony
Sept. 25 at 3 pm
Perelman Drive, Spring Valley (on public property, near the Planned Parenthood office)

40 Days for Life 
Sept. 25 and daily for the next six weeks
9 am to 5 pm (and overnight at the Adoration Chapel of St. Gregory Barbarigo in Garnerville)
Perelman Drive, Spring Valley (on public property, near the Planned Parenthood office)

The Manhattan Declaration Returns Home
Sept. 25, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Columbia University
525 W. 120th St., NYC
Join Timothy Cardinal Dolan for an interfaith prayer service and religious liberty forum

21st Rockland County Life Chain
Oct. 6, 2:00 to 3:30 pm
Intersection of Route 59 and Middletown Road, Nanuet

Good Counsel Communion Breakfast
Oct. 12 at 9:15 am (Mass followed by breakfast)
Marian Shrine, 147 Filor’s Lane, Stony Point
to benefit the Spring Valley Good Counsel home

New York State Right to Life Convention
Oct. 19
Holiday Inn in Oneonta, NY

Concert for Life
Nov. 21 at 7 pm (free, donation requested)
Albertus Magnus High School  [CORRECTION — not the Marian Shrine this year]
to benefit the Spring Valley Good Counsel home

Concert for Life Coming Soon

Would you like to show your support for the moms and babies at Good Counsel? The concert’s souvenir journal, which is distributed to all concert-goers, raises funds to keep the Spring Valley Home going. Please help make this year’s journal a big success. Click here for more information.

Makeover at Good Counsel

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It was a laundry and general storage area in the basement of the Spring Valley Good Counsel Home.

But now that Victoria-Elizabeth Negron and the Ridgewood Knights of Columbus have worked their magic, it’s  a neat and functional study space — complete with computers, new office furniture, shelving, and proper lighting — where the moms of Good Counsel can find a quiet, comfortable, and encouraging place to study and work with tutors and mentors to improve their reading and computer skills.

It all started last November when Bob Reilly, co-chair of the Spring Valley Good Counsel Home leadership team and Past Grand Knight of the Ridgewood (NJ) Council of the Knights of Columbus, was contacted by his fellow Knight, Dan Negron.  Continue reading

Good Counsel’s Spring Valley Home Welcomes Visitors

Victoria-Elizabeth Negron, leader of the Learning Resource Center project at the Spring Valley home, and her father, Dan.

Good Counsel’s Cardinal Cooke Home in Spring Valley opened its door to the public yesterday and welcomed visitors to see the good work that goes on inside the house at 22 Linden Avenue.

A steady stream of visitors toured the little cottage, which for over 26 years has provided a secure home for hundreds of homeless pregnant women and and a good start in life for their children. Continue reading