December 2017 Newsletter
December 2017 Newsletter
It is hard to believe this is our last newsletter of 2017! What a great year it has been, and it truly ended on a high note. We celebrated our St. Lucy Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral on December 13th along with Father Jamie Dennis, Seminarian Chris Kight, and patrons and pilgrims from throughout the country. We also welcomed a new member of our staff, and we will introduce him below. We hope you all had a nice Christmas, and wish you all the best in the year to come - may it be as good as 2017!
Message From Our Executive Director
As we conclude 2017 and look forward to 2018, I’d like to thank our Board members, staff, and many volunteers who’ve provided support to me personally and to our organization in so many ways this past year. This, and the contributions of many individuals and organizations, will help to ensure that XSB will continue to provide the materials which are so essential to the spiritual lives of all of our blind and visually impaired patrons. 

So far this year we have registered well over 100 new clients and have fulfilled over 3,000 requests from clients for materials. Our braille Mass Propers are sent to over 900 clients each and every month and we’ve added more than 155 new titles in braille and 70 new titles in audio to our catalogue! All of our important work can be sustained because of the generosity and prayers of many benefactors.

Our patrons and supporters filled The Lady Chapel at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for our St. Lucy Mass on December 13. Once again I was inspired to witness how our clients overcome many obstacles and challenges to actively practice their faith.

We are looking forward to moving to new space and having a home of our own in 2018. Our advisory group to help us select content for our publications in braille and audio, and to advise us on new initiatives, is taking shape and we are all looking forward to serving many more patrons in new and innovative ways in 2018 and beyond.

I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Most gratefully,
Malachy Fallon
Executive Director
St. Lucy Mass
At 10 a.m. on December 13th, the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick's Cathedral filled to capacity with patrons, guide dogs, friends of our organization, and even some curious tourists. Father Jamie Dennis and Seminarian Chris Kight led the congregants in prayer and brought joy to all who made the pilgrimage to be in attendance on our special day, some from even as far away as Kentucky. Our patrons Lisa, Bill, Sharlene, Antonio and Giuseppe participated in the Mass readings and bringing up the gifts. We would like to thank all who participated in the Mass and all who made the journey to be with us on a cold December morning in what is likely the busiest part of the world. Your presence was truly a gift.
Caption: Photo of Father Jamie praying with his braille Mass propers.
To the ushers, the sacristan, Monsignor Ritchie, and all the staff of St. Patrick's Cathedral: thank your for preparing the beautiful Lady Chapel for our celebration. It was truly a special day for our organization and our patrons.

We hope you enjoy the pictures, courtesy of Gregory A. Shemitz. A couple even made the homepage of Catholic News Service! For those who would like to hear Father Jamie's wonderful homily, he recorded it! Click here to have a listen.
Caption: Photo of Father Jamie and Seminarian Chris Kight entering the Lady Chapel
Caption: Our patron Sharlene reading her braille Mass Propers
Caption: Our patron Lisa reads the first reading as Father Jamie listens on
Caption: Our patron Bill reads the Responsorial Psalm
Caption: Sharlene reading the Prayers of the Faithful as Father Jamie prays beside her
Caption: Our patron Mary's guide dog patiently waits as the congregants pray
Caption: Our young braille patron Antonio receiving communion
Caption: As Father Jamie says the prayers after communion, Mary's guide dog listens attentively
Faith at Their Fingertips
In case you missed it, here is the great piece that aired on NET-TV a few weeks ago. Reporter Katie Engesser from De Sales Media stopped by to check out our offices and learn more about our organization and our mission to provide the Word of God to the blind and visually impaired community of Faithful. Thanks so much to Katie and the Currents crew for helping us sustain that mission!
Lectures from Fordham University
We would like to remind our patrons that in conjunction with Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York, our audiobook library has various contemporary lectures for our patrons in our circulating library and on our website to download. Many thanks to Fordham University's Center for Religion and Culture (C.R.C.) for its cooperation! To stream these lectures with video please follow this link . If you would like to request any of these, please get in contact with us!

- And Justice For All? The Promise of Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic World (D1170)

- Catholic Teenagers: Faith At Risk? Do New Findings Reveal a Time of Renewal--Or a Massive Generational Failure? (D1190)

- Becoming Latino: The Transformation of U.S. Catholicism (D1191)

- What Rules America: Money, Morals or Myth? (D1192)

- Call and Response: How American Catholic Sisters Shaped the Church Since Vatican II (D1193)
New Office Space
We would like to remind patrons and friends that we will be moving our offices in the new year. We are only going a couple of blocks away, and hope to be in the new space in the next few weeks. Please note our new address will be:

248 W. 35th Street
Suite 1502
New York, NY 10001

Please be advised that due to limited storage we will no longer have space to take back any braille materials we send out to patrons.
Father Hank's Homilies
Father Hank Hilton serves on Xavier Society for the Blind's Board of Directors and, as his title suggests, he is also a priest at St. Joseph's Church in Hillsborough, NJ. Each week his homilies are recorded and uploaded to the parish website. Please click this link to listen to his words of wisdom! In case you missed our profile on Father Hank that originally appeared in our May newsletter, please click here to check it out.
Welcome Julian!
As we mentioned in the last newsletter, Client Services Coordinator Christine Moore retired at the end of November. Julian Klus has brought many unique attributes to the role which he took over from Christine. Here is a little more about him:

I am a graduate of Baruch College and earned a degree in Public Affairs in 2014. My work experience has been at various non-profits developing their annual budgets and planning for gala events. I have had a stigmatism and nystagmus since birth and have compassion for others who struggle
with their sight.
Caption: Our new Client Services Representative Julian Klus
In 2015, I worked abroad in Argentina as a student coordinator where I developed my Spanish language skills and hosted students from abroad. This experience helped me by helping others who were living abroad in a new place and wanted to feel a little piece of home. At the moment I pray and meditate every morning to developing my own spirituality and in my spare time take Spanish classes.

I am grateful to be your new Client Services Coordinator and I am excited to connect with you and serve you.
Caption: Board Member Daniel Morrison
Board Member Profile: Daniel Morrison
This year, Xavier Society for the Blind was pleased to add Mr. Daniel Morrison to its Board of Directors. Dan is the founder of the Morrison Law Firm, P.C., which provides litigation services and counsel to clients in both New York and Connecticut. The firm’s offices are located in White Plains, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut.
The product of a unique combination of the Jesuit and Quaker traditions, Dan graduated from Fordham Prep in the Bronx, Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan. Dan’s brothers, Matt and Neil, who are also practicing attorneys, similarly attended both Fordham Prep and Fordham Law School.  

Dan is a native of Yonkers, New York, where he and his family were parishioners of the Annunciation Parish. Dan and his wife of thirty years, Catherine, reside in Westport, Connecticut, where they raised their two sons, Daniel and Peter, who are graduates of Jesuit institutions Fairfield College Preparatory School, Boston College, and Fordham College. Dan and his wife are parishioners of Assumption Church in Westport, where the well-known blind musician, José Feliciano, is also a member.

Dan has been an active alumnus of Fordham Law School, having served as President of the Westchester/Putnam Chapter of the Fordham Law School Alumni Association. Additionally, he is a member of the Fordham Law School Small to Midsize Firm Dean’s Advisory Council. Further, Dan is active in the New York State Bar Association, where he has served as Co-Chair of the Environmental Insurance Committee.  

Dan is proud to serve on Xavier Society for the Blind's Board in furtherance of its mission to assist blind and visually impaired individuals of all faiths.
Thank you to Our Volunteers
As 2017 comes to a close, we'd like to acknowledge all of our volunteers who have helped us throughout the year. Their service is crucial to delivering on our mission of providing the Word of God to blind and visually impaired people:

Marie Savino is a dedicated volunteer who proofreads our Sunday Mass Propers, Xavier Review and Catholic Review, numerous issues of four grade levels of Pflaum Gospel Weeklies, as well as some of our library books. She has been doing this for many years and is a major help to the transcription department. In 2017, she proofread nearly 4,000 braille pages!

Bill Jackson does a significant amount of work, also for the transcription department, converting PDFs of textbooks and Gospel weeklies to Word, something he enjoys and is highly skilled at. His work enables the transcribing of these materials into braille. Without his time and effort, the process would take much longer, since our transcriber must focus his efforts on the transcription process itself as well as handling all the embossing-- nearly 1,900 volumes in 2017.

Joni Bush, a certified braille transcriber, is a new volunteer this year, working from home out in Colorado, and has transcribed two books for our library. She is an excellent transcriber with many years of experience and we look forward to having her continue transcribing books for us when we get requests in the coming year.

Rosario Morando, familiarly known as "Chato," helped to scan volunteer applications to have in electronic rather than paper format. She helped us to digitize our record keeping which has been very helpful with our upcoming move. She is retired and worked in business for many years and is from the Philippines. She is a lovely lady and enjoyed working at XSB.

Chris Lavin, an entrepreneur, provided invaluable advice as we were reviewing our internal systems requirements. He used his background in management consulting to help us assess the use of our current technology, prioritize current and future technology requirements and evaluate system alternatives.

Thank you to our volunteer readers:
Khanh Phan is recording Maryknoll Magazine for us so that we can reintroduce it to our clients. Paul Cahill is working on a book Champions of the Rosary. Father Thomas Denny has been reading with us for quite some time and is currently doing the book Catholics and Protestants. Donald Sheetz is the voice of the Mass Propers and America Magazine along with the occasional book. Bill Rooney is the voice of Our Sunday Visitor along with the occasional book. Bill Hoste has done a number of books for us. His last contribution is Fatima for Today. Christine Moore, our former Coordinator of Client Services, recorded the audio version of our catalog.
Top 10 Titles in December
1.     Raised by the Church: Growing up in New York City's Catholic Orphanages  (B0906, 3 volumes) by Edward Rohs and Judith Estrine
2.     Saint Francis of Assisi  (B0961, 2 volumes) by G.K. Chesterton
3.     One Family's Christmas  (B0969, 1 volume) by Mary Jean Kelso
4.     The Life of Blessed Margaret Castello  (B0981, 2 volumes) by Fr. William R. Bonniwell, OP
5.     Dear Pope Francis  (B1462, 1 volume) by Pope Francis and the Children of the World
6.     Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God   (B1511, 3 volumes) by Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB
7.     Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion  (B1524, 3 volumes) by Gregory Boyle
8.     The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor:Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus  (B1555, 4 volumes) by Mark Labberton
9.     Ordinary of the Latin Mass : 1962 Edition of the Tridentine Ordo   (B6011, 1 volume) by Catholic Church
10.  Saint Lucy Novena and Prayers  (B6030, 1 volume) by Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP
1.     Apostle in a Top Hat  (D1100) by  James P. Derum
2.     Come, Take Up Your Cross : The Practical Responsibilities of Christians Today   (D0080) by Flann Lynch, OFM
3.     Praying with the KGB : A Startling Report from a Shattered Empire   (D0122) by Philip Yancey
4.     Martha, Martha: A Biblical Novel (D0270) by Patricia McGerr
5.     Reflections on Growing Old   (D0367) by John LaFarge, SJ
6.     A Mystic's Work: Julian of Norwich  (D1157) by Prof. Christina M. Carlson
7.     The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows  (D1188) by Mother Dolores Hart
8.     Welcoming Jesus: Advent Reflections by Pope Francis and Henri J.M. Nouwen  (D1125) by Henri J.M. Nouwen and Pope Francis
9.     The Remarkable Cure of Ars : The Life and Achievements of St. John Mary Vianney   (D0368) by Michel de Saint-Pierre
10.    The Reed of God  (D0365) by Caryll Houselander
Hot off the Shelves
For patrons interested in some of our most recent titles, we have braille and audio materials to meet your every need! Don't forget to check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed for all our newest additions and daily suggested reading!
BRAILLE - Please let us know if you would like any of these braille titles in B.R.F., as we can make them available to download from the website as requested! It saves on the cost of braille paper and is not as labor intensive. Thank you in advance!
- Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity by James Martin, S.J. (B1597, 1 volume): A moving and inspiring book, offering a powerful, loving, and much-needed voice in a time marked by anger, prejudice, and divisiveness.
- Saint Rose of Lima: Short Biographies Novenas, Chaplet and Prayers (Online Sources) (B1598, 1 volume): Booklet of short biographies of Saint Rose of Lima.
- The Catholic Church: A Short History by Hans Kung (B1599, 4 volumes): Kung chronicles the Roman Catholic Church's role as a world power throughout history. Along the way, he examines the great schisms between East and West, and Catholic and Protestant as well as the evolving role of the papacy, the stories of the great reforming popes, and the expansion of a global church infrastructure.
The Gospel of John: A Bible Study Course by Rev. Donald Senior (D1198): Explore the remarkable philosophical and theological understanding John kindled. Inspiring and beautifully written, the Gospel of John will move you to encounter the Word of God anew.
- The Pslams: A Model and Guide to Prayer by Fr. Michael D. Guinan (D1199): Fr. Guinan guides you through the Book of Psalms with erudite scholarship, bringing the Psalms alive for you today. You will journey through these timeless works, which are at once beautiful poems and powerful prayers.
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: A Prophet for Our Times by Fr. Andrew Apostoli (D1200): Fr. Apostoli speaks about the influence of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
- Life Lessons: Fifty Things I Learned in my First Fifty Years by Patrick Madrid (D1201): Grounded in Scripture and a firm moral foundation, this book shows how the smallest stories that make up your life are clear pointers to the greater story of God's work in your life. With wisdom and good humor, Madrid reflects upon the treasure trove of riches we can all take from our daily lives.
The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI (D1202): Beautifully written meditations on the passion and the cross invite you to a new understanding of redemption and offers insight into the meaning of your own loss and suffering. Take a journey into the deeper meaning of pain with guidance from a trusted spiritual advisor.
- A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century by Paul Kengor (D1203): In this fascinating book, Kengor reveals a singular bond which included a spiritual connection between the Catholic pope and the Protestant president that drove the two men to confront what they knew to be the great evil of the twentieth century: Soviet communism.
Books for Every Season
Next month heralds the Memorials of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint John Neumann, Saint Francis de Sales, and Saint John Bosco. Here are some books for these and other special occasions!
- John Neumann: Harvester of Souls by Tom Langan (B1157, 2 volumes): Biography of first American Bishop to be canonized.
- Elizabeth Seton: An American Woman by Leonard Feeney (B1255, 3 volumes): Biography of the first American-born saint, foundress of the Sisters of Charity.
- Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity by Alma Power-Waters (B1206, 2 volumes): The story of America's first native-born saint. This Vision Book tells the inspiring true story of the life of Elizabeth Bayley Seton from her childhood in a distinguished New York family to her becoming a Sister and foundress of an American religious order.
- Courage in Chaos by Saint Francis de Sales (B1553, 1 volume): This book provides the reader with practical ways to find inner peace and courage when the external world seems turbulent and unstable.
- An Introduction to the Devout Life or Philothea by St. Francis de Sales (B1393, 4 volumes): Devout life does not require withdrawal from the world. This was the central insight of Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th-century priest whose Introduction to the Devout Life has not gone out of print in almost four centuries.
- Saint John Bosco and the Children's Saint, Dominic Savio by Catherine Beebe (B1331, 2 volumes): The enthralling story of the great modern apostle of youth, St. John Bosco, and his best-loved pupil St. Dominic Savio.
- The Little Bishop: Episodes in the Life of St. John Neumann by Paschal Turbet, C.S.S.R. (D0585): Biography of the beloved American saint, Bishop of Philadelphia, known for his work with Catholic education and the poor.
- John Neumann: Harvester of Souls by Tom Langan (D0211): Biography of first American Bishop to be canonized.
The First American Sister of Charity: Elizabeth Bayley Seton by John Clement Reville (D1027): The first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Seton, this widowed mother of five founded schools and a religious order.
- An Introduction to the Devout Life or Philothea by St. Francis de Sales (D9141): Devout life does not require withdrawal from the world. This was the central insight of Saint Francis de Sales, a 16th-century priest whose Introduction to the Devout Life has not gone out of print in almost four centuries.
- Pursuing Holiness: Lessons From St. Francis de Sales by Ralph Martin (D1146): Through the inspiration of the timeless teachings of St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church and famous 16th century author, Martin provides insights that enables us to live the fervent, authentic Catholic life to which we are called. 
Ways You Can Help
In the spirit of the season, please remember Xavier Society for the Blind as you make your charitable donations. If you have given before – thank you! As we approach a new year, we're asking that you consider increasing your gift. If you haven’t given before, or if you haven’t given in a while, this is a wonderful time to make a donation. No gift is too small as the smallest offering can make the biggest difference in the life of a blind child.

Since 1900 we have been providing religious and spiritual materials to blind and visually impaired people in their required formats in order for them to be able to learn about, understand, and practice their Faith. Some of our braille books in particular can often cost upwards of $500, taking up to 6 months to produce. Yet on a weekly basis, Xavier Society for the Blind ships reading materials to people all over the United States and throughout the world. Please help us continue this important ministry by sending your gift today. 

Donate securely on our website by  clicking here. If you wish to donate, but prefer to do it over the phone you can always call our office at (212) 473-7800 or (800) 637-9193.

Masses may be said at your request not only when someone dies but also to celebrate a special event. And the stipend for the Mass card helps support the work of Xavier Society for the Blind. If you are a client or would like to send one to someone who reads braille, we can also do a braille overlay on the Mass card. Call us at (212) 473-7800 or email us at for more information.

If you use for any of your purchases, help out Xavier Society for the Blind at the same time. Go to and sign up. Or use the direct link

There is no charge to you, and when they ask you what charity you wish to support, type in Xavier Society for the Blind. Any time after that, if you go to Amazon through the smile entry, a percentage of whatever you spend comes to us.
Upcoming Calendar
January 1, 2018   – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God (XSB offices closed)
January 2, 2018   - Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
January 4, 2018   - Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
January 5, 2018   - Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop
January 7, 2018   - The Epiphany of the Lord
January 8, 2018   - The Baptism of the Lord
January 17, 2018   – Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot
January 22, 2018   – Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
January 24, 2018   – Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
January 25, 2018   – Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle 
January 26, 2018   - Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops
January 31, 2018   - Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

If you missed any of our previous newsletters which feature patron stories, Board Member profiles, and other news, here are some links to keep you :

Xavier Society for the Blind | 2 Penn Plaza Suite 1102 New York, NY 10121| 800-637-9193 | 212-473-7800 | |