All my young life I was very involved with religion, because my mother started all her children into being devout catholic’s. So, as I grew up religion was an important part of my life, and it controlled how I thought and acted. When I married I was 26, and a virgin, and most of my friends called me “The Saint”,and for a good reason. If I heard any friend curse, I would go over to him and punch him out. If he fought back, I would continue to beat him up, no matter how big he was, cause I had something always going for me… I was left handed and did things in the opposite way everyone else did, and so giving me a big advantage. So, I was the Saint, and actually respected for it. out of 12 boys living on my block, I was the only one who went to Catholic school, all the others went to public school. As we grew up they would one at a time, find a girl and be gone from the pack, till I was alone. Being married changed things fast, as I had a son 10 months later. and then another a year after that. As they grew up, I became very involved with what they did, always pushing them in the correct direction. So, sports were important, but not as much as camaraderie with their friends, and the Boy Scouts was the way. It was also very important that they became good Catholics, and I made certain that it happened by my example, making sure they saw in me a faith that was strong and true.When they were in their teens, I kept the pace and became involved in the CCD program at our local church. They didn’t go to Catholic school because their mother was against it, thinking that Scarsdale schools offered more, as then the boys would be mingling with a higher class people, so I agreed only to keep the peace. Actually mybboys didn’t like going there and said so! When they were old enough, I enrolled them into after school classes at (CCD)Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at our local church. In order to be involved and actually wanting to help, I joined, and started teaching the boys of my sons age, in the CCD program. Because I was very involved in many sports and Scouting, most boys knew me as “Mr Bianco” or, in many cases other than my sons, “Dad”. My classes in CCD were different than all the others, as I believed that to get the boys to keep being interested at that age to continue to follow our religion, I had to make them want to, not because they had to. My technique was different than what was followed by the priests and other CCD teachers. I started each class by sitting my boys in front of a basketball basket, and me standing in front of them. First I would have to quiet them down, cause they knew soon they be playing, and then begin the class, by saying out very very, loud… Who am I ? They all would yell as one.., You are Mr, Bianco!!! I would then yell again… And what do I believe? Their answer again loud and in unison was… You believe in God. We’d all clap and laugh and then I’d begin. No. not with the catechisms books that were supposed to be used by all, including me. I’d start with saying I believe in the Catholic Church and what it stands for. Then continue to tell how they should follow the 10 commandments and what each stood for. Not all at one time, but one for that day that I would expand on, telling them how I would and how I did act. This would go on for about a half hour and then I would say out loud”LET’S PLAY BASKETBALL” and that’s what we’d do! They learned two things…One about God, and the other how to have fun doing it. One day as I began my class at CCD, and without knowing, a priest was watching without us noticing him. We began in the same way and did so till we reached my beginning to talk about our religion. He came out of hiding and said out loud “STOP”. I turned and smilingly said hello Father Murphy. He came up to me and asked “What are you doing+? I replied, ” Teaching them about God and how our religion worked”. He said where are the catechism books and why aren’t they reading them and reciting them out loud? I said because I taught in a different and better way, as I knew what would work on boys their age whose thoughts at this time in their lives was not about religion. By making it fun, they learned at the same time. Being furious he said, “not in his school” and said that I would no longer be teaching CCD in his church. I couldn’t believe it, but he had control, so I turned to the boys and “It was fun wasn’t it”! They all yelled “YES MR BIANCO”. I never went back to that church or any other for that matter after that. My religion is just as strong, but it’s directed to a one on one with God Directly, a much better and surer way to true faith. I naturally told my sons they could either go or not go to CCD classes after that. I began to put more of my efforts into scouting in our town of Scarsdale, which by the way, held it’s meetings at the local protestant church!
As a foot note: As we now can all see, the Catholic church has fallen to a secondary level among Catholics’. It no longer can be strict, parishioners are moving away because of it. Even the Pope has lost his control and stature! Why? It’s my case millions times over!