St. Gianna Mass Offers Witness to Hope for Couples

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The Caminiti family delivered a message of faith and hope to the men and women attending the eighth annual St. Gianna Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Manhattan May 16.

The evening of prayer for couples struggling with infertility and recurrent miscarriage, their families and friends was sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Family Life, the National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility and the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York.

Jason and Carrie Caminiti, parishioners of St. Charles on Staten Island, shared their personal story with the others in attendance after Mass. When Carrie suffered her sixth miscarriage in 2014, she lost two-thirds of her blood and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding.

The Caminitis, married for 11 years, became patients of the Gianna Center in Manhattan. In March 2018, Carrie gave birth to the couple’s first child, Christian.

“He’s an amazing boy, and Carrie is an amazing wife, amazing mom,” Jason told CNY. “This is what we always dreamed of. So it’s a dream come true.

“Our faith was everything. We continue to pray, and continue to walk together and talk about life. We go to church and talk to our priests. We continue to have prayer and have faith.”

The Caminitis were asked to tell their story by Gianna Center co-founder Dr. Anne Nolte, M.D., who hoped it might inspire other young couples.

“For a while, Jason and I were very silent as to what we were going through, but now we feel we should speak more broadly about this to get the message and word out,” Carrie said.

“We did feel like we were alone prior to the Gianna Center. Once we became patients of the Gianna Center, we felt very comforted and very much as if they were on our side.”

Dr. Nolte said one in six couples experience infertility or miscarriage. Since opening in 2009, the Gianna Center has helped more than 1,200 couples with these issues to have babies.

Dr. Nolte told CNY she hoped the St. Gianna Mass would help couples realize “no matter what they’ve been told or what they’ve been through, there is still hope and there is usually an answer to be found.”

Father Jonah Pollock, O.P., executive director of the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York, shared St. Gianna Beretta Molla’s story in his homily.

St. Gianna, an Italian pediatrician, was pregnant with her fourth child when she was diagnosed with a uterine tumor in 1961. Offered the options of abortion, hysterectomy or removing the tumor, she chose removing the tumor to continue the pregnancy, knowing the choice could result in her own death. She died of an infection a week after the birth of Gianna Emanuela in April 1962. Pope John Paul II canonized St. Gianna in 2004.

“St. Gianna was not under a moral obligation to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child,” said Father Pollock in his homily. “St. Gianna loved her even in the womb and before seeing her face-to-face. She showed her love by sacrificing herself for her daughter. St. Gianna shows us how to love children and the unborn.”

Veneration of framed St. Gianna relics followed Mass. At a reception afterward, couples had the opportunity to meet privately with physicians and practitioners who specialize in assisting couples with infertility.

“The St. Gianna Mass was meant to serve as a source of hope for couples struggling in their darkest times,” said Vinny DaSilva, associate director for the archdiocesan Family Life office.

“Over the years, hundreds of couples have come to pray together and seek consolation and guidance. Our hope is that the couples, along with their families and friends, know that they’re not alone and that there are options rooted in faith and science available to them in our archdiocese.”

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