Phil the Groundhog

The Catholic Deaf Community of the Syracuse Diocese
Lots of pictures this month - please be patient while the page loads!

Lent rules for Catholics:  
Adults in good health should fast on Good Friday, April 2. this means: Give  
up one meal, or eat the same amount as 2 (not big) meals during the day.  
Every Lent Friday is a no-meat day. Eat simple meals with fish or pasta,  
but no meat.  

Lent sacrifices: a good idea to "give up something for Lent." Maybe a  
favorite snack, or watch less TV, --helps us to remember we need God #1 in  
our life.  
Helping other people--- give money for the poor, use your time to help other people.  

Lent is a chance to improve your spiritual life-- don't miss out!  
God is inviting you to a better, more holy life.  

Lent 1999 

From Fr. Peter Williams:

We are in the middle of Lent now. Time for praying more, helping other people, and giving up things we do not need.
Some people think "Lent is no fun."
So they don't do anything special for Lent.
Too bad.
Those people are missing something beautiful, - a chance to grow spiritually, to be better friends with God.

The things we do for Lent remind us we need God in our lives. When we have more prayer time, we remember God is very important. Jesus died and rose from the dead to give us life forever with God.
In Lent, we should try to go to church, to learn more about God, and this wonderful love God wants to share for us. When we share the sacraments of the church, especially Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Reconciliation ("confession"), we have a chance for experiencing God's love. Don't miss that chance!

When we give up things we don't need-- snacks, soda, ice cream, gum, TV time, video games, various different things, --we remember we need God for life more than that other stuff.
When we help other people with our time or by donating money to help poor people, we remember to copy Jesus. God helped us. God forgives our sins and raises us to a new life. We can say thank you by showing love to other people.

Let Lent be a time of spiritual growing for you this year. Try going to confession when I'm in your town for Mass. Just ask me if you want to have time for confession.

3 Stephen Charma
10 Robert Harmon
13 Rev Robert Dwyer

10 Mr & Mrs Mike Bermann
31 Mr & Mrs Frank RakowskI

---if you want your birthday or anniversary listed in our newsletter,    please send us the info!

 Palm Sunday Mass and dinner with the Bishop of Syracuse

Saturday, March 27
WHAT: We will have Palm Sunday vigil Mass with Bishop Moynihan.
We will have interpreters for the Mass.
Iincludes reading the story of the suffering of our Lord Jesus, with deaf signers,
         and distribution of the Palms.
WHERE: Christ the King Retreat House, chapel room,  on Brookford Road, Syracuse.
WHEN: Saturday March 27, beginning at 4:30 PM
     dinner will follow in the retreat house dining room.
HOW MUCH? We ask a donation of $5.00 for each person to help cover the cost of  the dinner.
A letter will arrive soon explaining all details for this special Mass!

Tucson NCOD Convention

Jane Long and Mary Margaret Van Damme attended the NCOD convention in Tucson, from Jan. 21 to 28.  Here are some pictures MM took. Click on a picture to see a bigger version. 

   Pastoral workers from all over 

  The mountains are beautiful. Do you see 2 road runners? 

  Deaf folks you might know... 

  Mary Margaret Van Damme with Deacon Patrick Graybill from Rochester

TORONTO 1999 ICDA Convention!
Exciting things will be happening in Canada this summer with the 50th anniversary of the International Catholic Deaf Association (ICDA).  Want to go?

We want to have a bus go there from our diocese. We need to have at least 30 people go to the convention on the bus.
The bus will leave from Syracuse and Utica, and will cost $80.00 per person. We will probably leave for Toronto on either Tuesday July 6, or Wednesday July 7. We will return to Syracuse and Utica on the evening of Saturday July 10.

Some other info is listed below. If we share hotel rooms, the cost will be lower for each person. The hotel is very fancy, and we are getting the rooms at a good price.

Save your money now for that trip. Mattie Letham did some adding of numbers, and has an idea of how much the trip might cost. If we all save our money now, plan to stay about 4 nights in Toronto, share a room with 1 or 2 other people, the trip will be affordable!

All of our church members and friends are invited to join us for this wonderful event. Fr Pete strongly supports ICDA, and asks that you also support ICDA! Please try to join us for the 1999 convention! Contact your local church leaders or our office in Utica for registrationforms or more info about the trip.

Note: registration forms, schedules, and more information can be seen and downloaded at the ICDA web site:

The ICDA is an organization which helps Deaf Catholics to be more involved in our Church. The ICDA was started by Catholic Deaf people and the priests and sisters who worked with their church, who were from the Buffalo NY and Toronto areas. The first meeting was in 1949, in Toronto.

Our Catholic Faith: Jesus fights sin

The first Sunday of Lent, we had a story about Jesus in the desert. (Scripture verse: Matthew 4:1 - 11. )
Jesus prayed there. He fasted.
The devil came to Jesus to encourage him to ignore God's plan.
The devil said "You can have all the power in the world. Why follow God?" Jesus told the devil that if we do not follow God we are not really alive, and can never be truly happy.
The devil is TEMPTING Jesus.

TEMPTATION is a choice.
We have the choice to follow God, or not to follow God.
Adam and Eve made the wrong choice (see the Book of Genesis 2: 7- 9  and 3: 1 -7) .
God loves us so much, God gives us the freedom to choose.
If we want to walk away from God, we are free to do that.

Even when we make the wrong choice, God helps us.
Through Jesus, our sins are  taken away forever: (see Paul's Letter to the Romans 5:12 - 19)

We have many choices of different ways to follow God, and be good Christians.
Also, we have many choices for things that are not good, bad habits and  attitudes, selfishness and hurting other people.

What are the bad things you do over and over again?
What people or things encourage you to make bad choices?
How can you become a better friend for God?
What things will you do this Lent to help you grow stronger in God's Spirit?

Friendly Faces
Photos from our history book!
As we look back on 10 years of The Sign of Christ newsletter, we are proud.  We have a great history of wonderful deaf people and activities in central  NY State.

Here are photos from our diocesan Deaf picnic, in Utica-- 1990. Click on a picture to see a bigger version of it.
    The picnic outdoors. Anybody you know?
   Here's a shot of the Mass in the church.
  Here's Jane Long, Tom Johns, and ...??

From our January, 1993 Newsletter: A story about Liza Boardman

Did you know that a famous Deaf  woman was from the Utica-Rome  area? Well, it's true.  Her name was Liza Boardman. She grew up in the town of Whitesboro NY, in an Episcopalian family. Later, Liza was one of the first students at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. There she met Laurent Clerc, the first Deaf teacher in the United States.

Lisa married Laurent Clerc in an Episcopal ceremony in Troy NY, In 1819, and was an inspiration to him for many years. They had several children, all of them hearing. Back in the 1800's, many Deaf people were told not to get married. Hearing people thought the Deaf could not be good parents. The Clercs and others like them helped hearing people understand Deaf culture. More people could see that Deaf parents are as good as hearing parents!

It is interesting to know that a woman from our area of New York State was truly a mother of Deaf culture in the U.S.

If you want to help support this newsletter, please send a donation to us.
It costs us about $8 per year for your copies of  the newsletter.
Will you help?
Please send a check to:

UTICA NY 13501

Thanks for any help you can give!



Syracuse Area
In January, we had a special Deaf Mass at St Lucy's, but not in the usualKateri Chapel.
We used a room in the school basement. Why? The church is still under
construction after the terrible storm last Fall.
Recently Fr Mathews explained more about the project to the people.

Utica -Rome Area
ICDA 102 is having a candy sale to raise money for the Toronto trip. We are really going!
We are selling candy bars for 50 cents, and they are going fast! Lent may slow down the sales however.

Rose Coriale died in January. You read about her in last month's newsletter. She was a hero for many deaf children during her teaching career in Indiana and at NYSSD.  Please keep Rose's family in your prayers-- they will really miss their

Fundraising  is going smoothly for ICDA 102. Besides the candy sale, we have a monthly coffee hour at St Francis de Sales Church. We are proud ofour progress. Our budget is healthy, and we are able to give donations. We gave a big donation to St Lucy's church in Syracuse, to help them rebuild after the bad Labor Day storm.

Dona Caryl has a book to recommend for people who are curious about the cochlear implant. The book is called " Wired for Hearing: A Journey Into Sound" by Beverly Biderman. We know this is a controversial subject in the Deaf community, but it doesn't hurt anyone to find out more about other people's experiences with the cochlear implant. Many hard of hearing people are interested in this.

Binghamton Area
Big success  at our recent spaghetti dinner. About 30 people attended, including a couple of new families.
Welcome to all the newcomers!  Click on a picture to see a bigger version.

  Stan and ????


  Fr. Peter and friend

   Jane Long chats with folks

Oswego Area

We will have another home Mass in the area on  March 15. An Irish corn beef meal will follow the Mass!
Contact Anne Parish for more info.