October 2, 2009

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

For Respect Life Month, meet Umbert the Unborn

Shirley Vogler MeisterIn the realm of the pro-life movement, I thought I had read just about everything—until recently when I was introduced to an artist-cartoonist through e-mail.

The talented cartoonist is Gary Cangemi, who has penned comic strips and editorial cartoons for newspapers since his youth, winning awards along the way.

When I contacted him, I didn’t realize that he and his wife, Nancy, and their three children—Peter, Katherine and Becca—are active Catholics in Pennsylvania.

His delightful book, Umbert The Unborn: A Womb With A View, published by Circle Press, is dedicated to his family.

The cartoon made its debut in the National Catholic Register in 2001 and was an instant success. Since then, Cangemi has had many publications feature his creative cartoons that dignify life.

When I began reading this charming book, I learned that the clever Umbert baby who talks from the womb is an appropriate cartoon for anyone of any age to read.

When I mentioned the book to a non-Catholic friend, I was considered naïve since babies in the womb don’t talk.

The negativity didn’t bother me. When I was pregnant with each of my three daughters, I silently or softly spoke to each of them when I was alone—and I imagined them responding through movements in the womb.

It’s good to know that Cangemi also takes his pro-life work on the road for presentations to groups and organizations.

Cangemi not only shares his cartoons and story about how Umbert the Unborn came to life, he also wonderfully celebrates life. He has been a speaker and workshop presenter at numerous pro-life events, including the National Right to Life Convention.

As Cangemi wrote on an Internet promotion, “The unborn child finally has a voice of his own.”

His book explains how he came to produce what he has written, and there are 75 pages of precious, educational,

life-confirming cartoons titled “Out of the Mouths of Unborn Babes.”

Examples can be found on the artist’s Web site.

Cangemi’s book and cartoons also include important facts about a baby’s life from conception to birth.

Each page of the book features “Umbert’s Facts of Life,” explaining every aspect of life in the womb.

Even with my experience as a mother, I learned new prenatal information from this book of cartoons. How I wish I had access to something similar during my child-bearing years.

Cangemi’s delightful work, a labor of love and faith, is a true mission—and is appropriate for anyone.

For additional information, log on to Gary Cangemi’s Web site at www.umberttheunborn.com or contact him by e-mail at cangemiart@aol.com.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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