Saturday, May 27, 2017

4 to be honored by Knights of Columbus for 2017 Catholic Citizenship Awards

Five to be Honored by the Southington Knights of Columbus Isabella Assembly 122 for the  2017  Catholic Citizenship Award for their many years of faithful service to their Church and Civic Communities.

Awards Reception at Noon followed by Luncheon at 1 pm on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at
the Hawk's Landing Club.

Contact Phil Mazzati at 860-276-8228 or 203-395-4381 or via email at   $32.00 p/p.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Remembering Mother's Day

The many phases and faces of Mother's Day

Today is Mother’s Day. I thought I’d assume a fresh view of this day, a different approach from the historic aspects of this American holiday or the shopping events in which many are immersed. Not that “mom” doesn’t deserve the attention. But, in talking to those in my circles this past week, what particularly caught my attention was that our personal Mother’s Day experiences are not all alike.

Neither are all mothers or maternal relationships the same. I invite you to take a trip down memory lane to your childhood. What do you remember of Mother’s Day traditions? Compare that with your Mother’s Day activities today in your adult or advanced years.

I’ll start with a glimpse of my own boyhood at my maternal grandmother’s huge dining room table on that special day. After church, my parents and their siblings gathered at grandma’s house bearing flowers, plants, pastry, candy and all sorts of gifts. We’d then join in a big Italian Sunday dinner. Cooking was a really big operation then. Grandma had seven daughters and a son but she was in charge of the cooking. As the years went by, she would focus on the supervision of her daughters, ensuring that her plans were properly executed. But it was always her kitchen. Oops. Scusi, I meant to say, cucina!

This took place during the ‘30s and early WWII years in an Italian-American family in Brooklyn, NY.

As I grew up, we held onto many of those traditions, though gradually easing up on the work for my mother with barbecues we prepared, always bringing the traditional gifts.

Later with five children of our own, all males, including the family dog, would provide age and species appropriate assistance in rising early and preparing breakfast for my wife, their mom.

As the years rolled by, habits and culture changed. Our children began taking their mom out to dinner. In the past 25 years, they have organized a brunch at home or at a restaurant, where all of us can be together and none of us have to do the work. Flowers, plants, special cards, and gifts continue to be fun for all. We especially enjoy now having our now adult grandchildren with us.

Through stories others have told me, it is clear that American family traditions of Mother’s Day vary based somewhat on region of origin and/or ancestral ethnicity.

Finally, I thought of motherhood today in our third millennium. Not to wax affectedly, but to keep in mind the reality of the diverse situations of women today, my thoughts turned to those with biological or adopted children; single, working, professional and breadwinner moms; foster mothers and grandmothers or relatives raising children without a parent. This aroused in me a renewed esteem for all mothers and would-be mothers in this world, the human source of our species.

Can’t resist mentioning the connection between mothers, as the ‘root source’ of all us, and how that relates to Appleseed, the name I chose for this column, representing the significance of apple seeds and apples, a source of Southington’s historic roots here in Apple Valley.

Columnist and community service advocate Dick Fortunato welcomes comments at

Saturday, May 13, 2017

On the Light Side of Mother's Day Thoughts

Enjoy and Happy Mothers Day to you all!

Second-grade school children's answers to:
Why God Made Moms  

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you Your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related!
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be the boss, but she has to because dad's such a goofball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between Moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but Moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleepover at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside, she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Knights of Columbus to Honor Five with Southington Catholic Citizen of the Year Award on June 4, 2017

 Southington K of C
Honors Five as Catholic Citizens of the Year

The Knights of Columbus Isabella Assembly 122 will present its 4th Annual Catholic Citizen of the Year Awards at a Luncheon to be held at noon on Sunday, June 4th at Hawks Landing C.C.  This year’s five honorees, recognized for their service to church and community, are Donna Ayer of Mary Our Queen Parish, Dorothy Charette of St. Thomas, Leeanne Frisina of St. Dominic, Dr. Andrew Guest of St. Aloysius, and Susan Sajac of Immaculate Conception. Awardees are selected based on review of the individual credentials of nominees and consultation with pastors of the enduring service and commitment to their faith communities as well and their dedication to charity and citizenship within the wider community.   Though from many walks of life, they have consistently given years of voluntary service to others.  All are invited to join this special celebration. 

Awards luncheon reservations may be made at a cost of $32.00 per person by contacting Phil Mazzati at or 860-276-8228 or 203-395-4381 as soon as possible to ensure seating.  Cost of Awards Luncheon is $32.00 per person. You may mail a check made payable to Knights of Columbus Assembly 122 to Phil Mazzati at 59 Marcy Avenue, Southington, CT 06489. Prompt action is suggested to ensure seating. 

Introducing the five nominees for Southington Catholic Citizenship Awards for 2017:

Donna Ayer

Donna’s first priority is her family, her husband, Kyle and their children Maisey and Ross.  Born and raised by deeply faithful Catholic parents, Peggy and Steve Fabian, Donna has been called to service to others, “a defining factor in my life.  I love my church community at Mary Our Queen and for 24 years have been active in faith and service to children’s liturgy, youth ministry, CCD, VBS, women’s retreat/bible studies. We’ve been part of the close-knit family and a member of the school board of St. Thomas School, (now Southington Catholic), which our children attended.  God has put a desire for service to others on my heart and I have been privileged to fulfill that call through four mission trips to Haiti and service on the Haiti180 team.  It is truly an honor to serve others in our community in my position for 28 years at the YMCA and most recently as Executive Director of Bread for Life. 

Leanne Frisina has two adults children. A member of St. Dominic for over 24 years, Leeanne has worked for the parish in some capacity for over 20 years, currently Manager of IT manager and Parish Information and Communications, she studied the Archdiocese of Hartford’s two-year Lay Ministry Program: Evangelization. Her activities have included the Stewardship Ministry, Parish Council, and Media Team and she has been chair of Social Justice ministry for 20 years, coordinating programs such as the annual Giving Tree, the Thanksgiving Tree of Thanks, food basket drives, food drives, blood drives, collection programs for West Ghana, Hurricane Katrina, area homeless shelters and more. Leeanne has worked closely with Southington Community Services, Bread for Life and the Southington Interfaith Clergy Ass’n. and has promoted and led Girl Scouts activities for years always ensuring that the diverse needs of our community are addressed.  She has established ties with Wheeler Clinic, the Dept. of Family Services, and others during her work in local outreach.  In 2011, Leeanne was instrumental in initiating and planning Southington’s 10th-anniversary memorial: Southington Remembers 911. Leeanne was also very involved with Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader, Girl Scout Program member, and in promoting Catholic Girl Scouts town-wide through the Archdiocese of Hartford Religious Education Program offerings for Catholic Scouts religious programs. 

Dorothy Charette was born and grew up in New Britain and married her husband, Don, and moved to Southington six years later where they joined St. Thomas Church, now parishioners of 55 years.  They have eight adult children, 12 years ago Dorothy became a Eucharistic Minister, taking Holy Communion to those unable to attend Mass.  

A regular on Thursdays at Holy Hour and Adoration and Benediction in the Chapel, when Fr. Nick, (Melo), started a bereavement program at St. Thomas she joined now serves as co-facilitator. Dorothy says: “I am grateful to God for his blessings and to Fr. Nick for the opportunities that have been offered to me to serve our Parish.”   

Dr. Andrew D. Guest
My nomination of Dr. Guest as a recipient of the Catholic Citizen Award is based upon his devotion to the faith, both personally and as a part of his medical practice.  Dr. Guest comes to daily mass at 7AM at least 4-5 out of the 6 days that this mass is celebrated during the week.  During the 11 years that I have been at St. Aloysius Parish, there have been occasions when someone attending the daily mass has fell ill or had some kind of medical incident.  When this has occurred, Dr. Guest has always made himself available to assist the person and attend to them until an ambulance arrived.  For those who are his patients, there is no doubt of his devotion to his Catholic faith.  Each of Dr. Guest's are familiar with the holy cards of Fr. Michael McGivney that are found in each examination room.  For those who have been in his office there is religious statuary as well as many prayer cards from his late patients.  Dr. Guest's care for his patients extends also to their spiritual well-being as well.  There are times that he has approached me after morning mass and asked me to pray for a patient or visit them in the hospital or nursing home to administer the sacrament of the sick. Dr.Guest, truly exemplifies what it means to live one's Catholic faith in every aspect of his life."

Dr. Guest attended medical college in London England. He lived and worked in Canada and up-state New York before locating in Southington in 1979. Notwithstanding his very active practice, plus nursing home care and patients in the Alzheimer's center, Guest pursues continuing medical education at U.Conn and acts as a preceptor for medical students in the office. "Our family life centers around the three children, all living in New England, and now six grandchildren plus relaxation in the garden, reading, attending the opera and some traveling. Southington has always been a town I am proud to call home and I feel a great affection for the citizens and the community.", Guest said.

Susan Sajac has been a faithful parishioner of the Immaculate Conception Church since her birth in 1947.  She has remained a devoted member of the church ever since. A person of deep faith and prayer, Susan has said, her happiest moments are the times when she is in the church.

Susan has served as a Eucharistic minister during Mass for many years. But, her deep faith and devotion have led her to reach out to our Southington community as she brings communion to the elderly of our town who cannot attend mass, to the local convalescent homes and to the assisted living communities. But she not only brings communion to these people who are from ICC or other parishes, but she spends time visiting with each person. They all become her friends.

Susan is also our parish sacristan, she tends to all the needs in the church whatever they may be, e.g. making sure there is always wine and hosts for masses, that the parish has all necessary supplies for masses with proper altar linens laid out in accordance with the church season. Basically, the church wouldn’t run without Susan!!  Susan is also the treasurer of the parish Holy Rosary Society and a member of the Parish Council. A gentle person with a quiet sense of humor, Susan could be considered one of the most humble people you will ever meet, a very rare quality these days. She lives a life of very simple means, though always willing, without hesitation, to give of herself or share what little she may have with others. Typical of the small but caring things Susan does for others, this year on St. Patrick’s Day, she took it upon herself to prepare a corned beef dinner for three of her neighbors. Susan Zajac is a paradigm of piety, service to church and community, especially the aging and lonely. No wonder everyone who knows Susan feel blessed to have her in their lives. 

9 year old Southington girl comes within on free throw of State Championship in K of C Basketball Challenge

As published in the Southington Observer - April 21, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Relay for Life 2017 - June 2 and 3, 2017

"Our Town, Our Spirit, Our Hope"
        - Joyce McAloon, 2017 Relay for Life, SouthingtonTeam Captain

Today’s Appleseed pulls together the threads of many great stories about our Southington community, its people, and the richly woven fabric of the enormous capacity of a town to genuinely care about others.

Four weeks from now at 4:00 pm on Friday, June 2, 2017, one of Southington’s most attended annual events will hold its opening ceremony of Southington's Relay for Life at the Southington H.S. Community Field. 

World-wide, RFL is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, staffed and coordinated by volunteers of more than 5,200 communities in 27 countries.  

Volunteers give of their time and effort inspired by realization that it's time to take action against cancer, one of the worst scourges of humankind.  

RFL is a team fundraising event. Teams and all who come may take turns walking around the field’s track which is lined with loving luminaries. The Relay continues through the night and all day Saturday until closing ceremonies. Cancer never sleeps and Cancer survivors (patients) do not stop in their battle with cancer.  But all during the Relay, the spirit of celebration is as strong as its sense of purpose with thousands joining in the validation of a healing yet joyously spirited common cause.  

“We’ve been busy planning lots of new and exciting activities this year and a few surprises, but we'll also continue with the traditions
of nearly 20 years of Southington RFL”, said Town Team Captain, Joyce McAloon.  “Team tents will be easier to visit and provide opportunities for all to enjoy the camaraderie, live music, entertainment, and the vendors offering food and beverages.

McAloon is proud of RFL’s 2017 theme: Our Town, Our Spirit, Our Hope.  “When it comes to supporting for RFL, whether it’s walking, doing some of the thousand tasks preparing for the event, raising money and donating, our town never says ‘no’. “, McAloon said. “That’s why I am honored and proud to be a part of our town”.    

With a 2017 goal of $106,000, Team Southington has raised $36,765.34 with 35 days to go.  Teams organize various activities, events and promotions.  Through the combined power of dozens of Southington RFL teams, the support comes through.  Don’t wait for someone to call you or knock on your door asking for a donation. 

Anyone living in this world must have had some contact within their family or circle of friends who succumbed from cancer or are survivors. So, please, be proactive in this battle of our times.

With too many teams to mention all, here are the three leading fundraisers through April 25th:  Team Goralski, $10,101; Scutch’s Squad, $8,110 and Jean’s Angels In Action Against Cancer, $2,440.   

Jean's Angels  in Action Against Cancer 2015
I was deeply moved by a letter from Jean Rose, Captain of Jean’s Angels a few weeks ago: “Back in the early spring of 2003, I wrote my first ‘letter of appeal’, hoping to receive support in my new venture as a Team Captain for the Southington Relay for Life. I was learning to live as a cancer survivor, and trying to find a way to start ‘paying forward’ all that had been done for me as I was going through the physical and emotional turmoil that just the “C” word itself causes. I was nervous and intimidated by the thought of asking for donations from those who were in my life but I knew how important raising money for research was and my desire to make a difference was stronger than the fears of asking. And so, ‘Jean’s Angels in Action Against Cancer was born.’ 

Here we are now in 2017. I’m celebrating my 15th year and am so grateful to you for your financial and moral support.  Your strength, your courage and your passion are cancer’s true enemy as we push forward together in change the face of cancer forever.”  

Now, Domino's Pizza is helping Jean's Angels in the fight against cancer this year.  Make a purchase at Domino's Pizza at 200 Main Street or order a take out, which can be delivered, EVERY TUESDAY IN MAY from 10:30 am to Midnight  and just mention Jean's Angels" when ordering. Domino's will make a donation to American Cancer Socie through Jean's Angels each time you order. 

Domino’s Pizza is located at 200 Main Street, carryout or delivered, (860-620-9500), any or all Tuesdays in May, from 10:30 ‘til Midnight. Mention “Jean’s Angels” when ordering and Domino’s will make a donation to the American Cancer Society.