October 15, 1971

This was the beginning of the People of Praise community – a very important day for thousands of people.  Not all of those people were yet born on the day, but it was the ground-breaking for a new “mansion” in the Kingdom.

What began with 29 people in South Bend, Indiana, United States, has grown to “2,900 people in 21 branches across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean”!  The rate of growth is no small thing; neither is the spread across North America.

I am humbled by the scope of the Father’s work, yet thrilled to be a part of it all.  It’s helpful to keep in mind that the community IS a WORK OF GOD!  The following are examples of how that work is taking place in Northern Virginia.

The past week we had several celebrations.  One was the annual picnic last weekend – the Father allowed the weather to be “picture perfect”.

Children enjoying the Moon Bounce at Nottoway Park, during the Community Picnic

Animated conversations took place

Grilling of burgers and "dogs" filled the Autumn air with the odor of promise

And the children delighted in the candy when the "Pig flew"

The men celebrated on Monday night at the Ridenours’ house.  Both the host and hostess were confined to bed for various reasons, but they saw no reason to relocate the celebration.  Heroic hospitality is sometimes displayed in the People of Praise – this was an example.

The women’s celebration was held at Good Shepherd Church with outstanding desserts lovingly prepared by sisters and beautiful decorations provided by several women.  One of these sisters stayed till the last decoration was in place then had to return home with a migraine headache.  Another who is the expectant parent of two young children, stayed and ensured all was in readiness.  Later that night, she was up for hours with a sick child and she herself came down with a virus.  More heroic service.

Sisters enjoyed generous times of fellowship, praise and worship, a newsy history of the community delivered by handmaid Barbette Brophy, and a time of “standing-up” if you fit certain categories.  The stand-up portion was for things like:  Which of you has lived in household?  Who has ever attended Trinity school?  Who in this room came from the John the Baptist community in San Francisco?  Have you visited another branch?  (two branches?  three?  up to eight?  One sister was left standing.)

Music ministry leads us in "Love So Strong"

Afterward, there were two skits, one that revealed sisters learning valuable lessons in their group and the other a “final return” of the POP tarts – a lip-sync trio of Nanci Panos, Barbette Brophy and Maria Elliott.  This skit ended with the POP Tart concept being passed on to the next generation of sisters – Theresee McNichol Rosenthal, Julia Fraga Shek, and Rebecca Feeks.  Glory!

Patty Whelpley, Cathy McAleer, Julie Rubio, and Carolyn Bassett

The POP Tarts LIVE

Do they still have the "old sparkle"?

Gals, it's time to "pass the baton on" to the next generation!

Welcome the HIP ...


Sisters! Glory to God!

Finally, last evening, my husband and I were literally on our way to a “date night”.  Stopping to write a note, we answered a phone call.  It was our neighbors one street over who are also in the POP.  They asked if we had dinner plans and we said “yes” but do you want to join us?  They were ready to go momentarily so we all met at a local restaurant for an unexpected shared meal.  The evening was very uplifting to us all and could be considered one of the multitude of blessings we find together in the People of Praise.

Happy Anniversary, People of Praise community!


Wherever you are, you’ve just got to keep your eyes open for the interesting and beautiful events happening all around you!


Playing in the Park

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is constantly fighting for pro-family, pro-life, and religious values and rights that our guaranteed by the Constitution (my words, but true).  The following is a message that I received today, the second day of Spring – a time to celebrate new life.  It offers you an opportunity to make a difference for the little ones in their mothers’ wombs and the women, many of whom are young, poor, and disadvantaged who have no help when they realize they are pregnant.  It also offers you a chance to sign a petition that will be used to show a pro-abortion official who doesn’t care about the rule of law that he cannot do as he pleases.  Please read below and sign if you are so inclined.

(From the ACLJ website at:  https://www.aclj.org/petition/Default.aspx?AC=DNE1103084&SC=3674&email=mcelliott59@hotmail.com&guid=A3279DC7-5E7F-40CD-A703-EE79970A85DB )

Dear Maria,

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg signed a new law that will effectively shut down pro-life pregnancy centers in New York City. This law – that Planned Parenthood hopes will be a model for shutting down pro-life pregnancy centers around the country – creates legal restrictions that only apply to pregnancy centers that don’t provide abortions, and ignores abortion clinics.

Even pro-abortion Bloomberg all but admitted it was unconstitutional when he signed it, saying: ”If it’s constitutional or not, I just don’t know.”

This law is nothing but a ploy for Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates to force pro-life centers out of existence – virtually eliminating their competition and growing their abortion businesses.

The ACLJ will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of pregnancy centers in New York City to protect them from illegally being forced to:


  • Post signage declaring that they do not offer abortion services
  • Be exposed to excessive and endless frivolous lawsuits

Please forward this email immediately and share this link on Facebook and Twitter to anyone you know who is concerned about the lives of unborn babies. We need every voice in this fight, and everyone to add their name to our Petition to Stop the Shut-Down of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers.

Can you imagine any other business or service being forced to post signs declaring what they do not provide – or referring people to competitors that offer life-threatening treatments?

The ACLJ believes this law is clearly unconstitutional – in fact, it was rushed through the city council in defiance of New York City statutes and without the formal hearing required by public ordinance.

We have strong grounds to fight this outrageous law’s implementation, especially considering that a district court judge in Maryland recently found a similar law unenforceable.

The last thing NYC needs is for crisis pregnancy centers to be shut down by attacks like this law – a recent report showed that 41% of pregnancies in NYC end in abortion, and that 90% of the abortions are performed on ethnic minorities.

We cannot let organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL force pro-life pregnancy centers out of business. We need the signatures of pro-life advocates like you, nationwide.

Again, please make sure people sign our petition to protect life and these life-saving clinics by forwarding this email and sharing this link on Facebook and Twitter. Ask people to sign their name to our Petition to Stop the Shut-Down of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers.

Thank you again for your strong commitment to life.


Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel

[This is reprinted from “Marist Messenger”, March 2003]

Fast and feast in Lent

Lent can be more than a time of fasting, it can be a season of feasting.
We can use Lent to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season in which we can:

(Try doing three each week during Lent!)
• Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
• Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
• Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
• Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
• Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
• Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
• Fast from anger; feast on patience.
• Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
• Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
• Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
• Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
• Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
• Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
• Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
• Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
• Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
• Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
• Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
• Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
• Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
• Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
• Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
• Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

It is not easy in this day and society to take an uncompromising pro-life stand.  Most people are not willing to present themselves as a target for the opposition, for what is not politically correct.  Bernard Nathanson is a stark contrast to the wishy-washy, hold-back mentality of some, many of whom maintain private views against abortion.  This article from the National Catholic Register tells this great hero’s story in powerful fashion.

Bernard Nathanson dead at 84

May he rest in peace having turned away from the darkness and toward the Light of Christ!

Birthday Eve

My Birthday Poem by Brad

There once was a boy named Brad
Sitting in a heap feeling sad
His mom came by
Told him not to cry
And there he was feeling glad
Once glad he started to dance
And the “fam” fell into a trance
They started a jig
In circles quite big
And all couples felt romance
When love had filled the air,
Brad knelt down in prayer
He prayed that his mom
Now all filled with calm
Could tap like Fred Astaire
She stood up with great gusto
As if to tap like a pro
But step she would not
Though she could quite a lot
And to the request sang, “No”
She decided not to tap
Because her dream had been to rap
So she bowed down low
And began with a “Yo”
In her big backwards cap
Her first rap was quite a debut
And it was criticized by few
But it was getting late
And she realized the date
So got back to eating tofu
In the midst of all the tofu
The fam said, “We love you”
She stopped with a smile
As big as the Nile
And replied “I love you too”

Why march for life?

Placards from the March for Life

Definitely not for politics.

Maybe you could say for civil rights – to restore the right to millions of persons to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

But I think the real reason is that the babies cannot march, as Father Mark Ivany of the Catholic Church of the Little Flower said at the Youth Mass at the Verizon Center for thousands of pro-life young (and young at heart) folks including plenty of bishops and priests.

To paraphrase, during the fight against slavery, the enslaved people could cry out, think, act, even try to escape.  During the movement to change the policy that prevented women from voting, women and men could march, and speak, and write passionate pleas.  But this movement is different – to protect the right to life for pre-born babies, the ones being massacred cannot do any of the above.  Who else should do it if not the living, breathing, thinking men, women, and children?

Look at these pictures, you will mostly see regular moms, dads, teens, and even younger children who are speaking up for those who cannot do the slightest thing for themselves.

“Whatever you do to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you do to me.”


It begins.

A group waits to join in.

We entered the throng.

Behind us, thousands filled Constitution Avenue.

Official banner of the March for Life

We are in front of the Supreme Court where, in 1973, the landmark, controversial decision Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal throughout the country.


Some sang uplifting songs, others prayed as they marched

Rabbis for Life!


Ladies from an Eastern European background

Those who protest this atrocity fill the square in front of the Supreme Court


A group with "Life" balloons followed the chanting leader, dancing.

We waited at the Supreme Court for an hour and half.  The people kept on coming.  Honestly in 38 years, I don’t think I have seen so many.  We pray that the leaders of the country take notice.