Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I am speechless suffering from typing cramps! Can't anyone stop this? O, God come to our assistance! Lord make haste to help us! I can't help but wonder if this would have happened in an Extraordinary Form Requiem?

A celebrity reality show star gets canonized at a Catholic Funeral Mass! O WOW!

At Funeral Mass for ‘Big Ang,’ the Sacred and the Irreverent Mingle


Hundreds attended the funeral Mass for Angela Raiola in the Renaissance Revival sanctuary of the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Brooklyn on Monday. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

A woman from Staten Island was eulogized in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, on Monday, a cable television star who had a distinctive nickname and a distinctive voice and spoke in a distinctive New York patois; who bought a bigger house to have space for her 500 pairs of shoes and 300 pocketbooks; and who owned a bar that she said had “become, like, a tourist trap.”

And who was known to millions of fans.

The woman, Angela Raiola, was a linchpin on the VH1 series “Mob Wives” as well as the bubbly offshoot that took her nickname, Big Ang, for its title.

Her connection to organized crime was through an uncle, Salvatore Lombardi, who had a nickname of his own, Sally Dogs. The creator and executive producer of “Mob Wives,” Jennifer Graziano, said last week that Ms. Raiola, 55, had died on Thursday of complications of cancer after she came down with pneumonia.

In death, as in life, Ms. Raiola commanded a crowd. Hundreds attended her funeral Mass in the Renaissance Revival sanctuary of the Basilica of Regina Pacis, even two “Mob Wives” co-stars who, by some accounts, had been warned that they were not welcome. The Daily News said Karen Gravano and Brittany Fogarty had been told it was “not a good idea” to attend the wake, held on Sunday, or the funeral.


Msgr. David L. Cassato, who celebrated the Mass, shared the altar with an enormous bouquet of red roses shaped like a pair of lips. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Ms. Gravano — the daughter of the mob turncoat Salvatore Gravano, who testified against the Gambino boss John J. Gotti — apparently disregarded the advice. She slipped into the church without apparent incident.

Ms. Fogarty, the daughter of John Fogarty, a reputed Mafia hit man, was not seen at the funeral. She said on VH1 that both of her parents were involved in illegal drug activity and organized crime and that her father had gone into the federal witness protection program. She also said that her father and Mr. Gravano, known as Sammy the Bull, knew each other from the time they spent as prison inmates together.

Ms. Raiola’s body arrived at the church in a gray Cadillac hearse shortly before the Mass began. Eight pallbearers lifted the gleaming silver coffin, which reflected the bright late-winter sun and the faces of mourners on the steps, who parted to make way.

Jon Caramanica, a critic for The New York Times, once described Ms. Raiola as “plastic-surgery-abetted, with a face Dali would have loved.” He said she “represented the Ghost of Mob Wives Future, standing on one’s own after the good years with wiseguys have dried up.”

She herself complained, as only she could, about her fame. She complained about the interruptions from people who wanted snapshots with her.


Ms. Raiola was a linchpin on the VH1 series “Mob Wives” as well as the bubbly offshoot that took her nickname, Big Ang, for its title. Credit Charles Sykes/Invision, via Associated Press

“Like, I definitely can’t go to the Staten Island Mall,” she said. “That’s out.”
In the sanctuary, the sacred mingled with the irreverent. Msgr. David L. Cassato, who celebrated the Mass, mostly referred to Ms. Raiola as Big Ang, not Angela. His place on the altar was not far from an enormous bouquet of red roses shaped like a pair of lips, a tribute to Ms. Raiola’s pillowy mouth.
Her estranged husband, Neil Murphy, with whom she had a fractious relationship, wore sunglasses, even inside the sanctuary. He took them off from time to time to wipe away tears.

“Big Ang was indeed fully human,” Monsignor Cassato said in his homily. “She loved, she laughed, she shared, she cared.”

He said she had gone to heaven. “She is with God,” he said at one point during the service. “She is with her family. She is with all those in heaven.”


A tribute to Big Ang outside a shop near the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Other mourners remembered Ms. Raiola as a loving sister, mother, grandmother and fellow parishioner who ran fund-raisers for sick children. They also remembered how she had helped her Staten Island neighborhood recover after Hurricane Sandy and raised money at other untelevised moments.

Anna DeNicola remembered that when her 7-year-old grandson Joseph DeNicola was dying, Ms. Raiola ran a fund-raiser to help with his medical bills. Ms. DeNicola said Ms. Raiola had also kept tabs on how the family was bearing up.

“She carried my family through like a shining star,” Ms. DeNicola said.

Monsignor Cassato held up a framed photograph of Ms. Raiola that he said he kept on his desk. “Every time I look at it,” he said, “it brings back a beautiful memory of my friendship with Big Ang.”
One of those memories concerned a parish bazaar she had attended. Big Ang was helping run the raffle, he said, and approached him with a question that only someone with her background and her temperament would ask a priest:

“What’s my percentage?” she asked.


Gene said...

Yet, you still defend the OF and try to come up wit a cut and paste Mass of some kind. The entire model of the OF is flawed. If you start with bad material, you will never get good material out of it. Something about chicken salad...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Saints preserve us!

Anonymous said...

Who is this person? And why would I care?

John Nolan said...

He [Mgr Cassato] said she has gone to heaven ... 'She is with her family. She is with all those in heaven.'

That says everything you need to know about the Novus Ordo 'funeral Mass'. Bouyer claims that Bugnini 'scuttled' the liturgy of the dead despite nearly unanimous opposition by claiming that 'the Pope wills it', and then would tell the Pope that the Consilium was unanimously in favour. No wonder that Bouyer refers to him as 'a mealy-mouthed scoundrel ... as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty'.

It doesn't say much for Paul VI's leadership, either.

Anonymous said...

If Big Ang received the Apostolic Pardon as she approached death, then we may safely conclude that she is in heaven, may we not?

John Nolan said...

'If Big Ang received the Apostolic Pardon as she approached death, then we may safely conclude that she is in heaven, may we not?'

We may earnestly hope so. But if it were a foregone conclusion then we would no longer need to pray for her soul, the entire Officium Defunctorum and Missa pro Defunctis (in either the older or the newer rite) would be unnecessary, and the Mass would be effectively a Mass of canonization. We would then pray to her, not for her.

Nowadays there are two forms of the Apostolic Pardon; the first uses the subjunctive mood and is in effect a petition; the second is more or less the older form with the omission of the words 'et benedico te'. This is indeed a plenary indulgence. Why did it take the Church so long to realize that it was a foolproof get-out-of-jail card and adapt her liturgy accordingly? Very strange.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Despite a person going to confession, receiving the apostolic pardon, etc, there has to be right disposition and true sorrow. We can presume that there is but we can't be certain and thus no matter what, we must pray for that person's soul at the moment of their judgement for we are all judged no matter if we are saint or sinner at the moment of our death.

I think the funeral liturgy for children who are baptized but haven't reached the age of reason presumes they are in heaven. Even in the EF Mass, and please correct me if wrong, the priest wore white vestments for this funeral Mass.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Big Ang and the Apostolic Pardon, you say, "We can presume that there is but we can't be certain..." that her soul is in heaven.

However, on May 4, 2013, you were asked, "So, how do you know that Mrs. Raney will be in heaven? You say, 'She won’t have to drive there (heaven), she will be permanently in the presence of the Lord and the communion of saints and she will be praying to our Lord on our behalf.'"

You responded: "Properly administered by a priest, when a person is near death, and along with the other final sacraments, it [Apostolic Pardon] results in the soul of the deceased being conducted directly to heaven, with no necessity of purgation."

That sounded pretty certain. Why the different opinion now on the effects of the Apostolic Pardon?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I can't pontificate ex cathedra but I knew the person as her pastor and I knew the sacramental life she led. Thus that statement. However if I sounded as dogmatic as you indicate, then that would be a leap of presumption, although in her case I'm would be reluctant to say my presumption is a sin against God.

But I would today presume that no matter what, we should presume that the faithful departed unless a baptized child before the age of reason is in need of the Church's prayers especially in the funeral Mass. And the funeral prayers for the person in question indeed prayed for her soul and did not pray to her notwithstanding any words of comfort given to the family during the homily.

Anonymous said...

So, you can be sure that the Apostolic Pardon works only on those you know?


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

May I suggest that you clean your glasses or have your eyesight tested. Read my comment. I did not say I was sure, I said I presumed and I did not think (which implies by the way some doubt) that given my knowledge of her that I was wrong.

You say and it is written above "So you can be sure that the Apostolic Pardon works only on those you know?" Really, that's your take on this? If I were grading your reading skills and logic, I would give you a big fat 0 and rest assured that I would be SURE you deserved it.

Anonymous said...

You explain that 1) Mrs. Raney was certainly in heaven and you know this because you granted her the Apostolic Pardon. (see your own words above)

Then you opine 2) that Big Ang, who may also have received the Apostolic pardon, MAY or MAY not be in heaven. Explaining the difference, you say that you knew Mrs. Raney and not Big Ang.

THEN you say that the Apostolic Pardon which, in your very own words, "...results in the soul of the deceased being conducted directly to heaven, with no necessity of purgation" MAY or MAY NOT really be effective, and as a result, you will continue to pray for Mrs. Raney.

It seems to me that if the Apostolic Pardon is granted, and if the Apostolic Pardon, "...results in the soul of the deceased being conducted directly to heaven, with no necessity of purgation", then further prayers for the deceased are unnecessary.

Oh well. Interesting....

John Nolan said...

In the EF there is a beautiful Office for the burial of baptized children, which includes the prayer 'O almighty and merciful God, who dost immediately grant eternal life to every little child who goeth forth from this world after being born again in the baptismal font ...' and concludes with the Canticle of the Three Young Men. The Mass is a Votive Mass of the Angels (white vestments, Gloria, Alleluia).

gob said...

What about the burial of unbaptized children? Do you still believe in Limbo? When do you believe life begins?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Church teaches that there is a limbo and Jesus went there on Holy Saturday and released all the good Jews who were anticipating the coming Messiah.

Limbo for unbaptized children evolved from this but is not a doctrine or dogma of the Catholic Church, it is a theological presupposition that some Catholic have believed through the ages, but never formalized by the Church in any way.

No Catholic is required to believe in limbo but no Catholic is forbidden to embrace it.

The Church teaches that life begins at conception notwithstanding any theories to the contrary that some theologians have posited. However each of us from the first person to be created to last to be conceived were in the mind of God from all eternity and in eternity life began in God's mind.

Anonymous said...

You say, "The Church teaches that there is a limbo and Jesus went there on Holy Saturday..."

BUT, then you say, "No Catholic is required to believe in limbo..."

Houston, we have the proverbial problem. What other things that the Church teaches are Catholics not required to believe in?

As to Limbo: "This theory [Limbo], elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council." (INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION - THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED*, 19 January 2007) (This present text was approved in forma specifica by the members of the Commission, and was subsequently submitted to its President, Cardinal William Levada who, upon receiving the approval of the Holy Father (Benedict XVI) in an audience granted on January 19, 2007, approved the text for publication.)

As to the destination of Jesus on Holy Saturday, the Church teaches: "Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, "hell" - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into "Abraham's bosom": "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell." Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him."

There is the Limbus Patrum, Jesus's destination on Holy Saturday. Then there is the Limbus Infantium or Puerorum. I believe you may have confused the two.

gob said...

Thanks Father. I'd actually like to hear from John too...

About 30% of fertilized eggs...zygotes...babies (?) do not attach to the uterus and are flushed away. We rarely hear about that....

George said...

The Apostolic Pardon is one of the great blessings among so many that exist in our Church, but we should not adopt an attitude toward God as being a servant to our every expectation of what He should do for us. We should not allow ourselves to succumb to presumption and therefore should try to live our lives conforming to God's expectations of us, so that at death we will then hopefully find ourselves in a favorable circumstance and accompanied by a proper spiritual disposition.

Were the righteous people of the Old Covenant baptized? They of course lived and died prior to the New Dispensation.Yet at the Resurrection, through the Mercy and Power of God, and the merits of Christs Suffering and Death, they were released from the Bosom of Abraham. God is the One we can count on to bring everything to a proper, just, an fair resolution. Can we not allow that the Omnipotent God in His Divine Wisdom knows how to do that? No unsolvable problems stand before Him. All Virtue, Wisdom, Goodness, Mercy and Justice is within the nature of God.We can wonder and speculate on the state of unbaptized infants, but their fate will be as God will determine it, and so it will be as He desires it to be, and therefore as it should be..

George said...

Limbus Infantium

Is there anything that presents a dilemma for God? He does not know dilemmas. Let it not be said of us Christians that we don't acknowledge and believe in the power of God. Would God deny salvation to these innocents if He has the power to do so? Certainly God at times refrains from exercising His power to act, that is true. Why would He do so in the case of these children? Though incomplete physically, were they not living human beings who God endowed an everlasting soul who through no fault of their own did not come among us?

Our Merciful and Just God can always be counted on to bring all things to a just resolution. Were not the righteous people of the Old Testament,though unbaptized, saved through the merits of Christ's redemptive suffering and death? The Good Lord does not impose obligations on those who are, through no fault of their own, denied the means to grace.

St Therese of Lisieux:

“In this world ,it is rare to find souls that do not measure God’s omnipotence by their own narrow thoughts. The world is always ready to admit exceptions. Only God is denied that liberty.”

Bret said...

Father, you have to read this: Donald Trump runs for Pope. Brilliantly funny and spot-on.

gob said...

I think maybe John feels a bit like I've backed him into a corner. He doesn't know how to respond. He'll probably come roaring out about how dumb I am and how smart he is.

John Nolan said...

Gob, the Church teaches that life begins at conception. Conception is not a scientific term, so there is no consensus as to when this occurs. Common sense would suggest that implantation needs to have happened.

I'm not a biologist and have no interest in zygotes. It's not even the last word in the dictionary. That honour belongs to zythum, an ancient Egyptian beer, much commended by Diodorus. Now that's more like it.

Anonymous said...

1. (n) conception - the act of becoming pregnant; fertilization of an ovum by a spermatozoon. (

Conception: 1. The union of the sperm and the ovum. Synonymous with fertilization.
2. The onset of pregnancy, marked by implantation of the blastocyst into the endometrium. (

Conception: 1. the onset of pregnancy, marked by implantation of the blastocyst; the formation of a viable zygote. (

John Nolan said...

Thanks, Anonymous. The various definitions show why scientists tend not to talk of conception. Zygote, blastocyst, endometrium - they would have meant nothing to the prophet Isaias, yet he could say 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son' and his meaning was clear enough, even if the import of his words was not.

gob said...

So...John..."Common sense would suggest that implantation needs to have happened". Common sense, however, does not suggest that virgins do not conceive sons? "The prophet Isaiah (not Isaias) didn't have a clue about zygotes, blastocysts etc. There are scientists now, however, who do....They talk about them. It's folks like you who "tend not to talk of" them. ("I'm not a biologist.") Have you heard about the view of Thomas Aquinas that "ensoulment" took place after 40 days for male babies and 80 days for females?

George said...

There are those who use what you mentioned to justify the use of abortion or abortifacients. What you brought up has to do with the natural order and working of things as they developed according to God's plan and His unfathomable design which includes the effect of the Sin of Adam on the world we inhabit.
God, who knows all because it is He who created all, and Who, if He were to withdraw from existence, by His departure would cause all to cease to exist,
knows which fertilized egg will implant.Yes, through the misuse of the gift of free will we humans can and do seek to prevent implantation from occurring, but that can never beget anything good.
Let us consider and ponder that in the natural order of all that is sustained in existence by God,that through His marvelous design and His providential workings, we were conceived,born, and baptized, and now live as His adopted sons and daughters, who unfortunately are not always obedient to His commands.

John Nolan said...

Gob, the ancients, Isaias included, believed that a child was conceived in the womb. That a virgin might conceive would indeed strain credulity, but that is beside the point.

By the way, I am using the Douay-Rheims ed. Challoner translation of the Vulgate, hence Isaias, Elias, Jeremias and so on. Before the 1960s only Protestants used Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah. Surely you are old enough to remember this.

You're going to have to get up very early in the morning if you want to wrong-foot me. But keep trying - you can console yourself with the thought that by being corrected, you are learning something.

gob said...

Perhaps I'll learn something about ancient names and you'll learn something about biology.