Special Education Professor Brings First Hand Experience into the Classroom

Gerry ArangoGerry Arango didn’t initially intend for her musings on life to evolve into a memoir, but she knew she had something to say. A mother to a son with special needs and a caregiver to her own mother who is battling dementia, Arango’s writing was a cathartic way to deal with challenges she was facing as a mother, daughter, and friend. Now, the author of What Would Nola Do? What My Mother Taught Me about Showing Up, Being Present, and the Art of Caregiving, is combining what she teaches in the classroom with her day-to-day experiences as a caregiver.

Arango sat down with Holy Family University to discuss her classroom philosophy, her journey through writing a book, and her role in the second annual Caregiving Symposium taking place on February 13 at Holy Family University.

HFU: A lot of what you teach focuses on the topic of inclusion. Why are you so dedicated to this concept?

GA: “I started out as a special education teacher. I taught for several years, and then went back to graduate school because I was interested in educational technology. My specific interest was in assistive technology, which is technology that assists individuals with disabilities. When I had my second child, who was born with a disability, I became not just a special education teacher, but also a parent to a child with special needs, and technology became even more of a passion because my son uses assistive technology. When it comes to inclusion, it is really about the support we give to kids with disabilities, in order to enable them to be a part of everyday life, to have a meaningful life. That’s what we strive for and the philosophy behind our program at Holy Family University. Children naturally belong together, and as teachers, we need to be able to facilitate that, as well as get the support needed for these kids and ourselves.”

HFU: Can you tell me more about assistive technology? What type of items would fall under that term?

GA: “All kinds of stuff! Assistive technology really is any item that is used to support people with disabilities in their everyday lives. It can be high-tech devices that enable a person to communicate. It can also be iPad technology, which has been a game changer for individuals in this field. It can also be something as simple as a pencil grip for kids who are having trouble writing. It is the high-tech, mid-tech, low-tech, or no-tech item that can help a person with a disability to be successful.

HFU: How has the topic of inclusion and special education care evolved over the years, and how has that affected the way that you teach?

GA: “It’s funny—when I first came to Holy Family University, inclusion seemed like a much more exotic concept to the students. Now our undergraduate and graduate students have experienced going to school with kids who have disabilities, because that’s what we have been trying to make happen all these years—and it has. Our students can talk about their experiences with special needs individuals as friends and classmates and the type of support they had or didn’t have. Because there is more of a focus on inclusion, our work at Holy Family is about getting our students to understand the history, values, and legalities of why, as teachers, we must support all our learners. Our work is giving them the knowledge, skills, and experiences as well. It is exciting because the more inclusion happens in real life, the more our students can connect to it and continue to foster it. Our graduate students are often in the trenches teaching, and they come back for additional certifications because they know they need all the tools they can get in order to support all of their students most effectively.”

HFU: Your teaching also focuses a lot on caregiving, which was the topic of your book, What Would Nola Do? What My Mother Taught Me about Showing Up, Being Present, and the Art of Caregiving. How has being a 24/7 caregiver influenced your teachings?

GA: “The whole book started out because of circumstances in a three year span of my life. I had a friend who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. At the same time, my mother was slipping into dementia. As I was trying to support them, I realized I was drawing on many of the things I learned from supporting my son since birth. I started writing to help myself and little by little it was crafted into something that was eventually published. I try to communicate, often through my own child’s stories, that it’s really about trying to help people have a meaningful life and getting them to value the role we can play in supporting one another. Everybody has something they struggle with. If we all recognize what we have in common, it doesn’t have to be so exotic.”

HFU: Can you tell me more about the process of writing and publishing your book? It seemed as if the book was written more as a cathartic experience, with no real intention of having it published in the first place.

GA: “When I started writing, I had a different idea in mind for a book—a little dream—and I just started to write. I didn’t want to self-publish the book. I wanted someone who could read it without my emotional attachment to its words. I had many readers along the way—colleagues, friends, and family—who gave me wonderful suggestions for improvement and lots of encouragement. I went to conferences and read about writing, but I needed a publisher, an agent, someone! I’m a fan of William Stillman, who presents on the topic of autism, and I often check his website for material for my classes. Serendipitously, I was on Bill’s website one day, and it mentioned that he was the Editor-in-Chief of SilverXord Publications. It also said that he was looking for article submissions. I responded and told him I had articles, but he added that I could also send anything book length as well. A light bulb went off in my head, and I sent him what I had—my ‘manuscript.’ A week later, I got a phone call from him, and we had a conversation about the book. Bill was the one who pulled out the title. The phrase, ‘What would Nola do?’ kept coming up in the manuscript. My mother, Nola, even now, is a very charming woman, and she was always wise, funny, large-and-in-charge. Because I am none of those things, I would often repeat that phrase to myself to get confidence! The manuscript went through all the phases of turning into a book, including the design of the cover, by my sister, Gail Anderson, a nationally recognized graphic designer. The tail comb, eyebrow pencil, and little pink roller are on the book jacket as a little representation of our mother. The book will tell you what that’s about, but it’s a loving tribute to Nola, especially the eyebrow pencil. She always joked with us that when she died, if she didn’t have her eyebrows drawn on, she was going to come and haunt us. She was and still is quite a character!”

HFU: Looking towards the Caregiving Symposium on February 13, what are your goals for that event?

GA: “What we tried to do is make the Symposium a combination of things. Caregivers are often very challenged to take time for themselves—I can attest to that. We wanted to make the event a morning that would provide caregivers ways to better support someone, as well as have self-care pieces, where these people who do so much for others can take a morning away and learn how to take care of themselves a little better. You can come get a massage and have a red velvet cupcake because it is Valentine’s Day weekend. As a person who is a working mother, a widow, a caregiver for a young man with a disability, a daughter, and a full-time professor, I know it is hard to take time for yourself. We’re hoping the Symposium can be a little space for learning, relaxation, and being pampered a bit too!”

HFU: Can you tell us how the first Caregiving Symposium came about last year and what you brought away from it?

GA: “What Would Nola Do?” was published in June of 2014. This event was originally going to be celebrated by a book signing, but we realized that caregiving was a much bigger topic than could be held in a book. I worked with the School of Education and the Marketing and Communications Department, and our first Symposium was held in April 2015. It was small, but well received, and we decided to hold another this year because the topic of caregiving is touching so many lives. You either are a caregiver, you will be a caregiver, or you will need a caregiver at some time in your life. Doesn’t that say it all?”

Faculty Presents Research on Blended Learning and Co-Occurrence at Scholar’s Forum

The Spring 2016 Scholar’s Forum will be held on Monday, February 15 at 12:50 pm in the ETC Auditorium. Michael W. Markowitz, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, remarked that the presentations this semester “reflect a diversity of scholarship and research from across the University.”

This year’s presenters include Drs. Roseanna Wright, Maria Agnew and Brian Berry, whose work is titled "Assessing and Meeting the Needs of University Students in Blended Course Learning." Dr. Jan Buzydlowski will also be presenting his work, titled "Co-occurrence Analysis, or Two Authors Walk into a Bar."

Drs. Wright, Agnew, and Berry looked at the use of blended learning—a combination of face-to-face paired with an online component—with individuals with disabilities.

The authors write, “As faculty begin to implement more blended learning options, they need to develop both the awareness of the key principles of on-line learning and the impact this type of learning has on learners with disabilities.”

Because of its growing numbers of diagnoses, the authors specifically looked at individuals who identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“Autism is classified as a social learning disability, making a traditional classroom setting potentially socially difficult for a student with ASD,” the authors write. “Beyond identifying support services for students with ASD through disabilities services, it is important to design higher education learning environments to meet the academic and social needs of these students, through a universally designed blended course format.”

Dr. Buzydlowski will examine the use of co-occurrence and its everyday use in our lives.

“I've worked in a few veins of research over the years, one of which was my dissertation research on author co-citation analysis and another is data mining,” Buzydlowski said. “Recently, I realized that most of my research involves the same thing: co-occurrence. I think it is interesting in that when you put on co-occurrence glasses, you see co-occurrences everywhere—things you put in your shopping cart, the books you buy from Amazon, the movies you watch on Netflix, or your Facebook friends. What my talk will focus on is the definition of co-occurrence, and how it can serve as a unifying framework to various methodologies within various fields to analyze ordinary items.”

HFU Instructor Parlays Sports Background into Teaching Opportunity

Ian RiccaboniWhat do you get when you cross a professional wrestling announcer, a Philadelphia Phillies TV personality, an author, and a pharmaceutical rep? If you couldn’t figure it out—you’re probably not alone.

However, the students in the Introduction to Sports Media class are getting all of these things rolled into one, in the form of their professor, Ian Riccaboni. An announcer for the professional wrestling company Ring of Honor, a TV personality for Phillies Nation TV on The Comcast Network, and author of Phillies Nation Presents The 100 Greatest Phillies of All Time, Riccaboni is bringing his sports background to Holy Family University, where he made his teaching debut this semester.

We sat down with Riccaboni as he discusses his sports background and his introduction into the teaching world.

HFU: Where are you originally from?

IR: “I was born and raised in Allentown, PA. My wife Sarah and I have lived in Glenside, PA now for about three years, and we love it. We have the best neighbors, are excited about how our neighborhood is growing, and love being near the Keswick Theater, where some great musicians and comedians perform.”

HFU: What is your educational background?

IR: “I earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Media and Communications from New York University and a Master’s of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.”

HFU: Besides teaching, announcing wrestling, and talking about the Phillies, is there anything else you do?

IR: “I am actually involved in Pharmaceutical Access and Reimbursement as a Field Reimbursement Manager. It is an amazingly rewarding job where I am able to connect with doctor’s offices and let them know ways patients are able to afford their treatment regiments. Because of the job, I have been able to travel to places I likely would never have been able to go otherwise like Sioux Falls, SD; Saranac Lake, NY; and my favorite city to visit, Omaha, NE.”

HFU: What made you want to get into teaching and that Holy Family University was where you wanted to do it?

IR: “Brian Michael is an instructor at Holy Family University and we talked a bit about my desire to teach. I always asked him to let me know if an opening popped up. I was in Nashville visiting with family after a Ring of Honor event and I hadn’t spoken to Brian in a few weeks. I texted him offering to be a guest speaker, something we had discussed in the past, for Spring 2016. He told me, ‘Hang tight. I might be sending you something, soon.’ Sure enough, there was an opening to teach Introduction to Media Relations in Sport, a class he had taught, and I couldn’t apply fast enough!”

HFU: How did you get involved with Ring of Honor?

IR: “I have been a professional wrestling fan for as long as I can remember. Working with ROH came through a series of serendipitous meetings and occurrences. Through Phillies Nation TV on Comcast Network, I was interviewing famous Phillies fans. I interviewed former WWE and ECW star The Blue Meanie, and he suggested we use the Monster Factory in Paulsboro, NJ as the backdrop. We filmed the segment, and I asked Danny Cage, the owner of the Monster Factory, how someone would get involved doing interviews and commentary. He told me to show up on a certain date and time and I went. I cut a couple 60-second promos, and then Kevin Kelly and “Brutal” Bob Evans talked to me about starting to come to some of the ROH shows. I started out as ring crew and then called my first match for them a few months later in Nashville.”

HFU: Switching to baseball, can you tell me about how you linked up with TCN to talk about the Phillies?

IR: “Phillies Nation TV on The Comcast Network is something I am very proud to be a part of. If you have ever seen that diagram of the tip of the iceberg that is going around on social media, where everyone sees just the tip, the visible success, but nobody sees what is underwater, the struggle, the elbow grease, that’s what the show has been and what has made it so rewarding.

Pat Gallen, now of CBS 3 Philly, and Corey Seidman, now of Comcast SportsNet, were filming web shorts with excellent production values with Brian Michael from Holy Family University, who runs Phillies Nation. I had just come aboard as a writer for the site and suggested airing a full-length show on Allentown’s Service Electric TV 2.

The meetings went well and we started airing there in 2012 and the following year, we latched on with Comcast Network with replays on Comcast SportsNet. I was really bad on camera in my first couple interviews. Really, truly horrible—but I believe that if you work hard enough, you can do anything.”

HFU: Can you tell me more about your book, Phillies Nation Presents The 100 Greatest Phillies of All Time? What made you want to chronicle the best Phillies to ever play the game?

IR: “With the book, it kind of happened by accident. In November 2013, Pat, Corey, and I met to discuss potential topics for the site and we talked about a countdown of the 100 greatest Phillies. I made an initial list and Pat and I worked on it pretty extensively to try to come up with a fair assessment of each player.

My mother-in-law, Barbara Morris, is an award-winning editor and after Pat believed that I had enough to make a book out of, I connected with Barb and asked her to edit what I had. I had no intentions of writing a book but am very happy with how it turned out!”

HFU: Now that you’re in the classroom at HFU teaching Sports Media, how can you take everything you’ve done—from ROH to the Phillies to authoring a book—and incorporate it into a lesson plan for the students?

IR: “The biggest thing that I hope to incorporate into lessons for the students is teaching them from my mistakes. I did an interview with Pete Orr once where I broke every unwritten journalism rule ever, including insulting the interview subject by complete accident. I want to tell them those stories—tell them how I learned by failing but also helping them avoid some of the pitfalls I faced.”

HFU: What is your teaching philosophy? What do you want the students to be able to say at the conclusion of your course?

IR: “At the end of this course, I hope that the students recognize the role media plays in the popularity of sport and how sports use the media to influence consumers. It is a very mutually beneficial relationship that is now morphing as social media allows athletes to go directly to their fans. I want them to be able to dissect a sports broadcast and explain the ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how” of all the elements—such as interviews and video packages.”


Second Annual Caregiving Symposium to be Held on February 13

Caregiving Symposium: February 13, 2016, 8:30 am12:00 pm
The symposium is free and open to the public.

Rosalynn Carter once said, "You have either been a caregiver, you are a caregiver, you will be a caregiver, or someone will care for you."

Caregiving touches us all at some point in our lives. Sponsored by the School of Education, Holy Family University's Second Annual Caregiving Symposium, is an opportunity to learn about practical, personal, and financial issues that are part of the caregiving experience. Drawing on the expertise of many disciplines, the Symposium will provide informative workshops and presentations on caring for others who experience complications of aging, disability, or trauma as well as caring for the all-important caregiver.

Join us on Holy Family University's Philadelphia Campus (9801 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19114) in the Education and Technology Center for a morning designed just for you, the caregiver.

We'd also like to offer a special thanks to our event partners: Networks for Training and Development, Philadelphia Office of Developmental Programs, and Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care.

Register at

Session Descriptions

Keynote: Caregiving–We All Have a Story
Gerry Anderson Arango, School of Education
Gerry Anderson Arango is the author of the memoir, What Would Nola Do? What My Mother Taught Me about Showing Up, Being Present and the Art of Caregiving. A professor of special education at Holy Family University, Gerry will share her story and offer insights into the many facets – physical, emotional and spiritual – of caregiving as parent, daughter and friend.

Critical Conversations about Financing Long-Term Care
J. Barry Dickinson, School of Business Administration and Extended Learning
Barry Dickinson's presentation will focus on long-term care from a financial perspective. 70% of individuals, over the age of 65, will require some form of long term care for at least three years in their lives. But how many of us plan for this almost inevitable reality? How much does long term care cost? Who does, and does not, pay for it? What is the best way to financially plan for your future care? When should you start planning?

Growing Old Together: Assisting Our Aging Parents with Respect
James R. Huber, PhD, LMFT, School of Arts and Sciences
In this upbeat, interactive one-hour program, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jim Huber will affirm the challenge of assisting aging parents and offer ten practical tips for managing this important relationship with both respect and results.

Relaxation Room:
Taking Care of Yourself: The Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection

Jessica Stover, MS, ATP – Networks for Training and Development, Inc.
How can we more fully connect to life, events, and people around us when everything seems to be in constant motion? Join Jill and Jessica as we explore ways everyone can take a breath (literally!), become more grounded and centered, and be more present and engaged in activities and relationships that are the heart and soul of our well-being.

Advocacy 101
Linda Thompson, PhD, LPC
Caregivers often feel they need a voice in advocating for their rights and in understanding how to navigate complex systems of care and options. This session will discuss how caregivers can access advocates, find information on caregiver supports, and become active voices for change and support for each other.

Stress Reduction
Christopher Walcott, DC, Advanced Wellness Center of PA
This fun and informative presentation will outline some of the primary stresses experienced by caregivers, with immediate take home techniques for stress management. Dr. Walcott will go over the primary stressors, broken into the categories of emotional, chemical, and physical.  With each category, he will give real and effective techniques to manage the issues, including take home tools.

Creating Your Wellness Vision & Wellness Toolbox: Self Care for the 21st Century
Linda L Weihbrecht, BSN, RN, LMT, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist
This training provides information on Stress Management with special emphasis on the stress response. The participant will gain knowledge about types of stressors, symptoms and effects of stress, positive and negative stress, and coping strategies and tips to reduce stress. Interactive workshop.

Wellness: Balance Your Mind, Body & Soul Using Chair Yoga and Meditation
Mary Wombwell EdD, RN, CNE | Boas Yu,  EdD, RN, FNP-BC, CNE, GCNS
School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions
Both yoga and meditation, when used consistently, have proven health benefits. Especially when practicing yoga and meditation together, the mind-body connection can be strengthened, improving overall fitness and well-being. They are both very portable and easy to learn. Chair yoga will be presented in the first half of the session; and meditation will be practiced in the second half. If you prefer to bring your mat, cushion, or blanket, please feel free.

Advanced Care Planning: A Guide to Caring For Your Loved One and Yourself
Melissa Wombwell-Twersky, LSW, CMC, Geriatric Care Manager, Geriatric Care Consulting
This presentation will provide a guide to caring for the elderly population and will cover several areas, including an explanation of long term care options (retirement community, home care, adult day care). Discussion will also include how this care is financed. The next area covered will be community resources that are available to seniors and how to access them. The third area will include information on advance directives including Living wills, Power of Attorney documents, Do Not Resuscitate orders, and what kind of assistance elder care lawyers can provide. The last area covered will include information on end of life care including hospice and palliative care. Funeral planning, support group information, and caregiver resources for self-care will also be provided.

Volunteer Opportunities Announced For Charter Week Day of Service

The 62nd Annual Charter Celebration will conclude with a University-wide day of service on Friday, February 12. Events will take place at Philadelphia Habitat for Humanity, Feast of Justice, Mount Nazareth Retirement Home, assisting with a local election phone bank, and a canned food drive for Philabundance.

Habitat for Humanity Build | 8:30 am - 4:30 pm | Limited to eight people
Transportation will be provided from the Northeast campus. All participants must bring their own lunch. Participants must arrive at 7:15 am to complete paperwork and take the van to the site.

Feast of Justice | 8:30 am - 2 pm | Limited to 12 people
Transportation will be provided from the Northeast campus to help with weekly regular food distribution. All participants must bring their own lunch. Participants must arrive at 8:00 am to complete paperwork and to take the van to the site.

Volunteer Phone Bank | 5 pm - 8 pm | Limited to eight people
Transportation will be provided from the Northeast campus. Participants will work with John Sabatina's election campaign in a phone bank to reach out to people in this demographic to remind them of the importance of voting in primary elections, especially in the city of Philadelphia, where primary elections largely dictate representation.

Visiting the CSFN Sisters | 2 pm - 4 pm | Limited to four people
Transportation will be provided from the Northeast campus to Mount Nazareth Retirement Home to distribute a rose as a token of appreciation for their years of service and dedication to the University.

Cake for Kids | 1 pm - 3 pm | Limited to 25 people
Participants will decorate cakes for children who are less fortunate. The cakes will then be distributed to various food banks within the local area. The event will take place on Holy Family University's Main Campus in the Education and Technology Center Room 405.

Canned Food Drive
In a joint effort with Philabundance, Holy Family University will be collecting various can goods throughout the week and will deliver them to the South Philadelphia outlet.

Assignments to each volunteer site will be based on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested participants need to sign up by clicking here. Staff members must seek approval from their supervisors. Students must request an excused absence from their instructor.


Cold Mountain Selected as 2016 One Book, One Philadelphia Featured Read

Cold MountainHoly Family University will be participating in One Book, One Philadelphia for the second year in a row. The reading event is designed by the Free Library of Philadelphia to “promote reading, literacy, and libraries, and to encourage the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book.”

Cold Mountain, written by Charles Frazier, was selected as the featured book. Three complimentary titles, The Civil War, by Geoffrey Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns; Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup; and Sounder by William H. Armstrong have also been chosen. Cold Mountain will debut on the East Coast with Opera Philadelphia at the Academy of Music on February 5.

According to the Free Library of Philadelphia’s website, “Coinciding with the East Coast premiere of the opera Cold Mountain, composed by Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer, the choice of the novel Cold Mountain gives One Book, One Philadelphia a unique opportunity to tie in with another major cultural event. Additionally, our choice provides the inspiration to focus on the Civil War, with all its complexities and ramifications.”

Holy Family University participated in One Book, One Philadelphia last year, reading titles such as Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, Rodzina by Karen Cushman, and Locomotive by Brian Floca.

“The point of the program is to bring the Holy Family and Philadelphia communities together through reading, discussing, and participating in programs around a selected theme,” said Kathy Kindness, Assistant Director of Library Services.

Individuals interested in reading the selections can visit the Philadelphia campus library to rent a copy. Classroom sets of the books will also be available. Additionally, a display at the Philadelphia campus and Newtown site will include materials on incorporating topics about slavery and the Civil War into the classroom.

There will be two presentations by Paula Gidjunis ’71, a faculty member at Manor College, at the main campus library. The first, titled “African Americans During the Civil War: The Road to Freedom,” will be held on Wednesday, February 17, from 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm. The second, titled “Women in the Civil War: From the Home Front to the Battlefield,” will take place on Wednesday, March 16, from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Both programs are open to the public.

“Participating in the One Book program is important for a number of reasons,” Kindness said. “First, it connects Holy Family University with the broader intellectual and literary community in Philadelphia. We join ranks with the Free Library branches, Temple University, Drexel University, and area cultural institutions to promote literacy on and off campus. Second, the book titles and programming provide opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to engage and connect with others in thoughtful ways that go beyond the classroom. Finally, One Book offers us multiple copies of ‘good reads’ for those who just want to kick back on a cold winter's night and ‘walk in another's shoes’ for awhile.”

For more information about Cold Mountain at the Academy of Music, click here.


Multi-Talented Andrea Green to Hold Workshop on April 7


andrea greenHoly Family University, in conjunction with the School of Education, is excited to announce that Andrea Green, an award-winning musician, music therapist, composer/playwright, and director of children's musicals, will present an interactive workshop and public presentation on the topic of using the arts as a vehicle for teaching tolerance, on April 7.

Green, a Philadelphia native, enjoys national acclaim for creating nine classic Broadway-style children's musicals focusing on inclusiveness, providing a uniquely supportive framework that offers every child of every ability level an important part to play, and delivering heartfelt messages of acceptance

Green will present her model for integrating the arts into teaching and will engage Holy Family University students in a dynamic, illuminating, creative experience during a daytime class. Green will conclude with a two-hour public presentation later that night, exploring how to utilize music to foster tolerance and friendship among children. The public event will take place in the ETC Auditorium from 7-9 pm.

Green’s musical, On the Other Side of the Fence, won the gold medal at the 2015 NY International Film Festival and the bronze medal from the United Nations for “outstanding achievement in a film that exemplifies the ideals and goals of the United Nations.” The musical was also the subject of a documentary that, according to her website, provides “an inspiring, behind-the-scenes look at the process and production of a musical performed by school children as acting and singing partners from the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy and Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia.”

Green and her musical have also won the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for best documentary.

For more information about Andrea Green, visit her website,


Screening of “Urban Trinity: The Story of Catholic Philadelphia” During 2016 Charter Celebration


Urban TrinityIn conjunction with the 2016 Charter Week celebration of Holy Family University, History Making Productions, an Emmy-award winning production studio located in Philadelphia, will have a special screening of “Urban Trinity: The Story of Catholic Philadelphia” at Holy Family’s campus in Northeast Philadelphia on Thursday, February 11, at 7 pm.

“‘Urban Trinity: The Story of Catholic Philadelphia’ explores Philadelphia’s history through the lens of the many Catholic immigrants who shaped and changed the city,” said Sam Katz, Executive Producer and Founder of History Making Productions. “The film exposes the experiences, challenges, sorrows, and triumphs of the diverse and unique Catholic communities who have shaped the religious, social, and physical landscapes of the Greater Philadelphia region throughout the past three centuries.”

The screening, taking place in the Education and Technology Center Auditorium, will also feature a discussion by Katz.

The viewing of the movie coincides with the 2016 Charter Celebration of Holy Family University. The weeklong celebration runs from February 8-12, featuring a Mass celebrating the 61st anniversary of the University, a welcoming ceremony, the Mission Core Value awards ceremony, and a day of service.

“Charter Week holds special meaning for Holy Family because it provides an opportunity for us to pause and appreciate the value of the University expressed through the many—past and present—who have been part of its Mission to serve families,” said University President Sister Maureen McGarrity, CSFN, PhD. “The airing of the film, ‘Urban Trinity,’ is especially meaningful as part of this celebration because it places the University in the larger context of a Catholic tradition that has significantly shaped the history of our country. As we come to appreciate more fully the accomplishments of the past, we will surely be inspired to renew our own efforts, personally and collectively, to ‘seize the day’ and transform the future.”

Seating is limited. To reserve your seat, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 267-341-4002 no later than January 28.


Holy Family University to Participate in March for Life

2016 March for Life - Holy Family UniversityHoly Family University will once again participate in the March for Life event, a demonstration in Washington D.C. recognizing “the more than 55 million Americans who have been lost to abortion,” according to the organizations website.

On Friday, January 22, campus chaplain Father James MacNew, OSFS, students, and other University representatives will journey to the capital for a day of worship and peaceful reflection. Buses will leave the Campus Center parking lot at 6:15 am. Upon arrival, participants will stop at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, participate in a Mass celebrated in the Great Upper Church, and then join the march to the Supreme Court. Dinner will be provided courtesy of the Campus Ministry. The bus will return back at Holy Family University by 9:00 pm.

The theme of this year’s event is “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand-in-Hand.”

"We go to the March for Life event to 'incarnate' the love of God for the human person and to put church teachings into action,” Rev. MacNew said. “We recognize that the law itself is a teacher and so, if what the law permits is immoral, we are obliged to take action to change the law and to protect the most innocent among us. Nonetheless, the students and other members of the Holy Family community journey to Washington D.C., attend the liturgy with Archbishop Chaput in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and venture forth to embrace the cold and the elements, not primarily as political activists, but rather as men and women of faith, responding to the call of God's love for each unique and irreplaceable human person.”

According to the organization’s website, “The March for Life began in Washington, D.C., as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world. The peaceful demonstration that has followed on the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year since 1973 is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.”

Senior Psychology major Christopher Rocks, one of the student organizers of the trip, believes the event will be meaningful to those who attend.

This is an important event for students to participate in because it is a day that helps bring students together, as well as help to bridge the gap between our students and our society,” he said. “Most importantly, it helps each individual become closer to God.

Speakers at the March for Life event include Matt Birk, former Baltimore Ravens player and Super Bowl Champion; Sue Ellen Browder, Author, Subverted; Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family; Dr. Margarite Duane, MD, Co-founder and Executive Director, FACTS; Jewels Green, Silent No More campaign; Nathan Grime, Student, Concordia Lutheran High School; Caitlin Jane, Christian Music Artist; and Shawn Welcome, Performance Poet.

“More than ever, in this sacred year, it is incumbent on us, men and women of faith, to lovingly proclaim the truth of God's loving mercy as we work to change the law so that it might become a beacon of justice for all," Father MacNew said.

Students interested in participating need to sign up by clicking here.

New Pre-Physical Therapy and Pre-Med Tracks Offered

Chris Carbone Holy Family University, an institution that boasts an already robust science curriculum for its undergraduate and graduate students, continues to grow its program with two new healthcare track offerings—Pre-Med and Pre-Physical Therapy.

Pre-Physical Therapy, which will be offered beginning Fall 2016, will provide students an opportunity to learn the basic principles associated with the physical therapy profession.

“The curriculum entailed in this proposal is designed to provide the necessary prerequisite courses required to gain admission into a variety of graduate Doctoral of physical therapy programs,” said Chris Carbone, Assistant Professor of Biology.

“It’s a basic biology curriculum that has influences with physics, mathematics, and physical therapy related classes that students will be exposed to at the graduate level. By exposing students at the undergraduate level to the material covered by these topics will not only increase their probability to successfully master the material at the graduate level, but will also reinsure the admission committees that our students can intellectually handle the rigors they will experience after being admitted into their programs.”

Students hoping to pursue the Pre-Physical Therapy track will have free electives that, according to Carbone, allow the student to customize their experience.

“That allows you to apply to whatever institution you want to,” he said.

In addition to Pre-Physical Therapy, Holy Family University offers students the opportunity to pursue a Pre-Med track. The Pre-Med program takes a more in-depth approach to the profession, including additional areas of study and an emphasis on the MCAT test, the exam a students needs to pass in order to gain admittance into medical school.

“The Pre-Med program has more checkmarks that it needs to meet,” Carbone said. “It has more basic science, math, chemistry, and physics. The curriculum in the Pre-Med program also takes into consideration the requirements of newly designed MCAT exam that includes a new section that tests knowledge of introductory concepts in psychology and sociology. As a result, courses from these disciplines have been added to expose students to a variety of courses in the social and behavioral sciences.”

With Holy Family already bolstering a positive reputation regarding its nursing program, Carbone, one of the creators of the physical therapy track along with other members of the Biology Department, hopes the addition of these new programs compliment the nursing program. Carbone noted that there are plans to add two new tracks—Pre-Physicians Assistant and Pre-Pharmacy—in the near future.

“That’s what I hope to achieve with the addition of these new programs,” Carbone said. “The crowning jewel of Holy Family is nursing. I hope to add another component to that by including these healthcare professions. Overall, yes, nursing is here. But I also want to compliment that from the biology perspective with these healthcare disciplines with the ones we have and the ones we plan on developing in the future.”