Home/Stay Informed/All Diocesan Articles

All Diocesan Articles

 

 

A Grieving Mother Fulfills a Christmas Wish, Pays it Forward

Posted on October 16, 2022 in: News

A Grieving Mother Fulfills a Christmas Wish, Pays it Forward

Melissa Phelps was 32 years old and still wrote to Santa Claus. On December 13, 2020, Santa  gave her the two gifts she had requested – 10 days later Melissa was taken to Heaven.

When Melissa began preschool, she was diagnosed as high functioning developmentally disabled, and high functioning she was. She could tell you anything you wanted to know about the Red Sox and the Patriots. She loved to cook and bake and served regularly as a greeter in Holy Family Church of the Parish of the Good Shepherd. Everyone who was handed a hymnal by her as they entered the church, were uplifted by her joyful greeting.

Sometime after Thanksgiving 2020, Melissa wrote Santa asking for two gifts, “The Pioneer Woman Cookbook” and bones for her dogs. Three weeks later a FedEx box arrived at her door addressed to her. Inside were the cookbook and the bones. Melissa was over the moon with joy. 

Some days before the arrival of these gifts she had broken her ankle, so she spent her recovery pouring over the book and trying the recipes. Days later, she developed the blood clots which caused her death. Her mother Candace had the consolation of knowing that Melissa had spent the last few days of her life enjoying Santa’s gifts.

The items sent to Melissa were donated by an individual through the U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa. Their website states, “We receive thousands of letters to Santa every year and have handled them for over a century. The letters are carefully sorted, scanned and posted here: https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com/ , with personal information hidden, of course. Generous people adopt the letters and find just the right gifts to help Santa fulfill their wishes. The gifts are shipped on behalf of the North Pole, and together we deliver holiday magic.”

Several months after Melissa’s death, Candace emailed the USPS Operation Santa contact expressing her gratitude for what had been done for Melissa, and she also accessed their website with the intention of making a child happy just as what was done for her daughter. 

She found a letter which moved her, written by a five-year-old girl named Cindy, from the Bronx, N.Y., requesting a puppy. Candace again emailed the Operation Santa contact stating that she wished to give a gift to the girl who requested the puppy. She was informed that a video production company called Sweet World Films was doing a  miniseries about the USPS program entitled “Dear Santa,” and that they might be interested in Melissa’s story. 

After discussions with the producer of the show, it was decided that giving a puppy to the girl in the Bronx would make a fitting ending to Melissa’s story. The show’s producer offered to purchase a puppy, and Candace would provide the accessories (collar, lease, bedding and food).

Within a few weeks, Candace and the film crew were knocking on the girl’s door in the Bronx . 

The director of the show entered first (of course the child’s mother had pre-approved), and asked Cindy what she wanted for Christmas. Without any hesitation, she answered, “a puppy.” Just then, Candace entered, dressed like an elf, told the girl that she was from Santa’s workshop, and gave her the puppy. Candace said that she had never seen a child so happy in all her life, and was gratified that Melissa’s memory would live on through that gift.

The death of a child is most devastating to a parent. Candace has endured the tragedy of Melissa's death through her strong faith – a faith in the Church and the love of Christ. Despite her sorrow at the loss of her child, she wanted to share Christ’s love with another through Operation Santa. She intends to do so again this year. You may wish to do the same.  

Please look for the “Dear Santa” miniseries which is set to air on Hulu & ABC stations later this year.

By Deacon Ben LoCasto



 


 


Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Posted on November 17, 2022 in: News, Reflections

438

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
God, all powerful, most holy, most high and supreme; Father: holy and righteous; Lord: king of heaven and earth; we thank you for yourself, because by your holy will and through your only Son and the Holy Spirit you created all things, spiritual and material. You made us in your image and likeness and placed us in paridise, and we, through our transgression fell away. We give you thanks because, as you created us through your Son, so by the holy love with which you loved us you willed your Son to be born true God and true man of the glorious and holy ...

Read More

In Memoriam: Sr. Mary Alice Kline, RSM

Posted on November 07, 2022 in: News, Vocations

422

In Memoriam: Sr. Mary Alice Kline, RSM
Sister Mary Alice Kline, RSM, died peacefully on Baggot Street, Saint Mary Home, West Hartford, on Wednesday, October 26th. Born in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 1934, she was a Sister of Mercy for 69 years, she served in ministries throughout CT. Sister Mary Alice earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education at the Diocesan Sisters’ College, Madison CT, (1956), a Masters’ Degree in French from Assumption College, Worcester, MA (1963), an Advanced Certificate in Elementary Education from Southern CT State University, New Britain, CT (1976), and a Masters&rsq...

Read More

NEW: School of Spiritual Direction in Putnam, CT
The Immaculate Conception Center in Putnam, CT - in partnership with Franciscan University's School of Spiritual Direction - is offering a two-week intensive training program in spiritual direction, January 29- February 11, 2023. This is the first part of a three-year program for Certification in Spiritual Direction. There is a great hunger for spiritual direction and a need for qualified spiritual directors who are willing to serve the Church by leading others to a deeper intimacy with God. Those who are interested or feel that they can benefit from such a program c...

Read More

Spiritual Renewal Services
Seminarians Run a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot around Vatican City
American seminarians in Rome began Thanksgiving Day with a race around the world’s smallest country. The 13th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot around Vatican City State kicked off with an early start at the Pontifical North American College on Nov. 24. More than 130 seminarians, priests, and Catholic college students gathered near the starting line at 5:30 a.m. with t-shirts proudly proclaiming “the world’s only 5K to go around It was a seminarian sweep for the top three finishers of “the world’s only 5K to go around a sover...

Read More

'Let Yourself Be Loved' - Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Saint of the Month: Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity The Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity on November 8. “Let yourself be loved”, Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote to her Prioress, Mother Germaine. This French Discalced Carmelite Sister was gifted to the Church for the years of 1880-1906. By her hands during her years as a religious, God wrote of His Trinitarian love for us. Sister Elizabeth died of Addison’s disease three years after professing final vows. Since then, she was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1984 and ...

Read More

Centennial Celebration of 'The Mother Church of Eastern Connecticut' - and a Plea to Save It
On Sunday, December 11, 2023 Saint Mary Parish, Est. 1845 “The Mother Church of Eastern Connecticut” Celebrates the Centennial of Its Building Although the dedication of St. Mary Church took place on December 10, 1922, parishioners past and present, members of the Catholic family, and all neighbors are invited to A Multicultural Centennial Mass Sunday, December 11 at 10:30, Followed by a Festive Shared Meal The languages, music, decor, and forms of celebration at the centennial Mass and reception will reflect the richness of St. Mary Pari...

Read More

Norwich
Our Advertisers Support Our Ministries

Please Support Our Advertisers

Annual Catholic Appeal

ACA DONATE

 
Signup for Weekly Newsletter


    Recently Added Galleries
    Click to view album: Mass of Ordination  for Fr. Jacob Ramos
    Click to view album: Mass of Ordination for Father Lawrence Barile
    Click to view album: Palm Sunday
    Click to view album: Blessing of the Fleet
    Latest Articles
    Save the Dates: Virtual Adult Confirmation Program
    Advent Is Here - He is About to Arrive
    Centennial Celebration of 'The Mother Church of Eastern Connecticut' - and a Plea to Save It
    Enroll Today in Classes at the New England Catholic Biblical School
    ACA: It's Not Too Late to Give
    In Memoriam - Sr. Anita Paul, DHS
    Video: A Visit to St. Mary of the Immacualte Conception in Baltic
    We Can Help. Promise to Protect-Pledge to Heal

    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294