Xavier Society for the Blind

Vol. 10   No. 3
  March   2016


What's New at XSB

When we moved into the American Foundation for the Blind, Deo Mattow , the Administrative Services Manager, was one of the key elements, who made so many things not only possible but easy. In February, after 40+ years with the organization, he retired, and XSB staff was present at the party. There were phone connections with other AFB offices, and many people praised his dedicated years of service in a variety of roles. We gave him two owls for his grand-daughters.


One of the aspects of Fr. John's work is promoting the existence and the work of the Xavier Society for the Blind. Sometimes he gives speeches, but sometimes he also sings concerts and sometimes he simply shows up at events to remind people who we are and what we do. Among the visits he has made recently, he concelebrated Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on March 17 and sang a concert at the Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library for Access NYC Cultural Night Out, sang a concert for the Dominican Sisters home in Amityville, New York, celebrated Mass for the County Armagh Society, and concelebrated Mass and was the Guest Speaker at a Communion Breakfast for Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 1, at St. Joseph's Seminary. 

Fr. John greets John Manning,
AOH State Treasurer.
Fr. John preaching at the 
Communion Breakfast

Chip McLean, AOH National Director, Fr. John and 
Jamie Hamilton, head of the Standing Committee 
for NY County.

Our phone lines are open from 8:30 to 4:00 PM each working day, eastern time. If you call before or after those hours, or if staff is busy outside of the office, you will get our answering machine. Please leave a message, with your phone number, your name, and what you are calling about. If you are requesting a specific book or item from the catalogue, we will only return your call if there is a problem. Otherwise we will return your call as quickly as we can. Thank you for understanding.  


Visit from Margo 

Last year we re-issued the large-print edition of the Bible in the most recent translation. Recently Margo Evans visited our office. Margo is our Account Executive from Cenveo Publisher Services in Lancaster, PA, the company that was responsible for the printing of both of the printings we were able to provide. We shared with her some of the Thank You messages we had received, and although we no longer do large-print editions, we did discuss some possible projects in the future. 


Our previous office at 154 East 23rd Street is in the process of being demolished. As you can see, the windows have been removed and much of the interior has been removed. No date has been set for the demolition of the exterior. 
and ways you can help
Caption: A yellow smiley face with dark glasses. 

Use Amazon smile. If you use Amazon.com for any of your purchases, help out Xavier Society for the Blind at the same time. Go to www.smile.amazon.com 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.

*   *   *   *  
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 the Xavier Society for the Blind. 

Call us at (212) 473-7800 or email us at info@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org for more information. 


Recently we have had several people make the same suggestion - since most phone plans today are nationally based, there is no extra charge for calling an area code directly from wherever you are. Why doesn't the Xavier Society for the Blind do away with the 800 phone number and save some money?

Our first thing thought was - why not? But then we realized that some people might still be tied to land lines, where they DO get charged for long distance calls.Or some might be in a residential home or other facility with a common phone and charges for long distance. 

What do you think? Would getting rid of the 800 number cause more hardship than good? Let us know - but DON'T call us and tie up the phone lines, send us an email, or a message on our Facebook page or a Tweet or (gasp) drop us a note on a piece of paper. We've had the 800 number for years - is it time for a change? 

March is a very busy month this year, with St. Patrick's Day, and all the Holy Week and Easter celebrations. The Lenten reflections on our web site and our Facebook page continue up to Easter Sunday, and we have received some very nice notes thanking us for posting those. 

The Xavier Society staff will be traveling this spring and summer. Three of our people are going to California for additional training in the data systems that we use to keep track of clients and donors. I will be at the national convention for the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership and the one for the American Council of the Blind, and Christine Moore will be at the convention for the National Federation of the Blind. I will also be present when Deacon James Dennis is ordained a priest and I hope to be able to concelebrate at his First Mass of Thanksgiving. In the Fall we will also have staff at both of the state conventions for those two groups. If you see us or hear we are in your area, please let us know. We would love to be able to greet you in person. Be warned - we are proud of what we are doing, so we may talk about the Xavier Society for the Blind but we also very much would like to know more about you.

Thank you for all you have done for us in the past, please remember us in your will, or if you win a major prize in the Lottery, and thank you as well for whatever God might inspire you to do with us and for our clients in the future. 

Caption: A photo of 
 Fr. John Sheehan, SJ 

Fr. John R. Sheehan, SJ  
Xavier Society for the Blind
Two Penn Plaza, Suite 1102      
New York, NY 10121
Phone: (212) 473-7800 

(If you would like to donate directly online, you can go to


The 2016 Calendars have been mailed, and you should have received yours by the time you receive this Newsletter. If you have not received yours, or if you are not on our regular list but would like a calendar, drop us a note, an email or a phone call, and we'll get one out to you. 


March 24
Holy Thursday - XSB Offices close at 2 PM

March 25

March 27

March 28
Easter Monday - XSB Offices Closed

March 31
XSB Board of Directors Meeting

April 7-15
XSB Pilgrimage to Ireland

May 22-26
NCCL Conference in Jacksonville, FL

May 28
Ordination of James Dennis

May 29
First Mass of Fr. James Dennis

May 30
Fr. John appears in 
at Feinstein's 54 Below in New York City

June 23
XSB Board of Directors Meeting

June 30 - July 5
National Federation of the Blind
National Convention - Orlando, FL

July 1-9
American Council of the Blind
National Convention - Minneapolis, MN

July 31
Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola

August 1
XSB Offices closed in honor of the St. Ignatius Feast

August 18-28
World Union of the Blind International Meeting
Orlando, FL

October 21
Father John's Farewell Bash
The NY Athletic Club
Secure Server
On our web site, we have a secure server connection. This means you can contribute money to the Xavier Society using your credit card in perfect safety. When you get to the web site, there is a button "Donate." If you click on that, you will be taken to the Secure Server area where you can make any contribution in complete safety. (If the server is not working, please call our office at 212 473-7800 and ask for Donald.)