By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
EXTON – Jim Dibrino, 62, a member of SS. Philip and James Parish in Exton, changed careers in midlife. After a quarter-century as an information technology executive with SunGard Systems, a few years ago he struck out on his own. First he did consulting work and then opened the Great Frame Up, a picture framing franchise that specializes in the framing of sports memorabilia, among other things.
Now he’s expanded into two locations; one in Malvern, the other in Wayne. “I just wanted to do something different,” he said.
One thing that hasn’t changed at all is his devotion to the Lord, the Blessed Virgin and the rosary.
That’s a devotion he shares with Kathleen, his wife of 26 years, and their four grown children, Brandon, Alison, David and Christopher. Originally from Germantown, he attended St. Raymond of Penafort School in the Mount Airy section and Abington High School after his family moved to that area.
For most of his marriage the family lived in New Jersey, and when the children were younger he and Kathleen would conduct prayer and rosary groups for friends and the children of friends out of their home. “All of our lives we have been active Catholics,” he said.
They moved back to Chester County about seven years ago but kept up their devotions, which include a nightly rosary.
“Life is complicated; running a retail business has a little bit of stress, and my mom is an Alzheimer’s patient and that takes a lot of our time. We have plenty going on and for relaxation maybe we’ll just go out for a dinner for the two of us,” Dibrino said.
Their devotion to the Blessed Virgin has taken them to Medjugorje, among other pilgrimages, and more recently they have become active with the lay apostolate Direction For Our Times (DFOT).
It was founded by “Anne,” an American laywoman now living in Ireland, who shuns personal publicity. Through the process known as “interior locution” she receives messages which she believes are from Jesus, as “Christ, the Returning King,” the Blessed Virgin and the saints, which she passes on to others through DFOT.
At this time, Dibrino estimates, the apostolate has spread to include several hundred groups around the world.
While the Church does not directly comment on the authenticity of personal revelations or visions as such, Bishop Leo O’Reilly of the Diocese of Kilmore, Ireland, attests that all of Anne’s writings are submitted to him for permission before publication and everything in them is in conformity with the teachings of the Church. They have also been submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, and Bishop O’Reilly has appointed a priest of his diocese to work with DFOT to ensure all of its publications are in accord with Church teaching.
At SS. Philip and James Parish, where Jim and Kathleen Dibrino are daily communicants, he has organized a DFOT prayer group that meets monthly in the parish’s St. Mary’s Chapel for the recitation of the luminous mysteries of the rosary and Benediction. There are also short daily prayers which members of the group recite privately.
“I like the idea of a lay apostolate,” Dibrino said. “A lot of times we worry about how we are doing. If you think you are doing well, maybe you could do better, and these messages from the Virgin and sometimes Jesus are helpful.”
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.