Angels keeping watch

Icons of spiritual loved ones and old churches have fascinated me since I was a child; so it’s understandable that the two angels on either side of the Madonna and her Child in the left alcove at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, TX have tugged at my heartstrings for a lifetime.



Devoted angels, Love’s guardians—
winged, hands clasped, bent on one knee—
you’re so still, yet so real.

What thoughts abound as you keep watch?

Dare I whisper a request?

Pray for him.
Console him.
Kiss his sweet head.

Embrace him.
Bless his soul.

He’ll always be God’s gift to me.

© Lanoux

Heaven on earth

As often as I could, I visited the church on my off time from work and attended noon Mass.  I was enthralled by both the organ playing and the singing, responsibilities that Charles inherited when his grandmother retired as music director.  Many times while praying, the music was so heavenly that I felt myself float at least a foot off the kneeler! 

SHC53099-12        ICC81411-196        OLR31403-14

I got to know Fr. Lanese, a spry seventy-something-year-old with twinkling clear blue eyes and a gentle disposition; Fr. Moran (on the left) who had a humanistic view toward our personal frailties, “the sins of our youth;” and Fr. Sheehan (beside Acacia-Darling) with whom I had long talks about family and future goals and with whom I continue to correspond.


Even if Segy and I hadn’t been parishioners at Immaculate, I still would’ve had a sense of belonging that I’ve never felt elsewhere.  Maybe this stemmed from having attended daily Mass there as a first grader across the street?  Or maybe because of the combined scent of incense and times long past? 

The streamed chanting certainly made me want to stay a very long time.  I felt very much at peace there, but teaching and my university course load kept me extremely busy.  My soul ached for the church when I couldn’t be there.

Angels keeping watch

ICC81411-44Finally, on April 29, 2003, I had an epiphany: I took my Advantix with me to work, drove to the cathedral after school, and snapped photos to my heart’s content.

From that day on I stopped missing the place.  Now I only have to look at the three framed photos on our refrigerator door to be whisked back not only to the cathedral that afternoon, but also to the many times spent with the angels keeping watch since I was a five-year-old at Immaculate Conception School.

Prayers to St. Gerard

For a mother with child…  O almighty and everlasting God, through the Holy Spirit you prepared the body and soul of the glorious virgin, Mary, to be a worthy dwelling place of your divine son.  Through the name of the Holy Spirit you sanctified St. John the Baptist while still in his mother’s womb.  Hear the prayers of your humble servant who implores you, through the intercession of St. Gerard, to protect me from the dangers of childbearing and to watch over the child with which you blessed me.  May this child be cleansed by the saving water of baptism and, after a Christian life on earth, may we, both mother and child, attain everlasting bliss in heaven.  Amen.

For motherhood…  O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the throne of God, wonder worker of our day, I call upon you and seek your help.  While on earth you always fulfilled God’s designs.  Help me always to do God’s holy will.  Please ask the master of life from whom all parenthood proceeds, to bless me with offspring that I may raise my children to God in this life and heirs to the kingdom of God’s glory in the life to come.  Amen.

Special act of sorrow

Forgive me my sins, O Lord.  Forgive me my sins: the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, the sins of my body, my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins, the sins I know, the sins I have concealed for so long that they are now hidden from my memory.

I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, and for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.

I know my sins have wounded your tender heart, O my Savior.  Let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter passion of my Redeemer.

O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been.  Amen.

January 15, 2015

“It is human to fall but angelic to rise again” (Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier).

March 1, 2015

Go to Jesus….  He is on the altar surrounded by angels adoring and praying.  Let them make some room for you, and join them in doing what they do (St. Mary Joseph Rossello).

July 16, 2016

Don’t forget your childhood prayers, learned perhaps from your mother’s lips.  Say them each day with simplicity, as you did then (St. Josemaría Escrivá in The Way).

April 17, 2017

What attracts me to the homeland of heaven is the Lord’s call, the hope of loving him finally as I have so much desired to love him and the thought that I shall be able to make him loved by a multitude of souls who will bless him eternally (St. Therese of Lisieux in Mornings with Saint Therese).

June 3, 2020

The angels will always watch over us with wonder and awe if we give ourselves to our Lord, remaining in his presence and uniting our daily crosses to his.  As we do so, we’ll find that we will make him present to others (Fr. John Horgan in His Angels at Our Side: Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the World).


Sacred Heart Church – Nacogdoches, TX

Pdf file…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (guide, 6 pages)

Links of interest…  20 things guardian angels do for us…  Angels: about (more) / book / choirs / companions on the path to salvation / holy angels / servants of God / stories…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX…  Four icons of Mary…  Guardian angel: about (more) / badge / chaplet / eight things to know & share about the guardian angel / memorial / prayer…  Honoring the angels…  Icons: guide to praying with / sacred images…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC): national registry…  Ohio artist restores religious statues, stirs memories of closed parishes…  Our Lady: devotion / gate of heaven / prayers: queen of angels / untier of knots…  Sacred spaces that nurture us…  When did God create angels…  Why do we have statues in church

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Beautiful sacred space…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  Gifts    Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  Gifts…  Heart of hearts…  Home again…  Memory lane…  Mourning joy…  Picturing God…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Soulful…  St. Michael chaplet…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…    Two takes

4 Responses

  1. You sure have dedicated most of your life to our Lord! How wonderful! I am sure he has been there for you.

  2. I love those photos. Madonna and her Child struck my eyes. The painting is very beautiful. Normally, Madonna and her Child can be seen here in Orthodox Icons. In Finland many people go to many courses during winter time, and one popular course is icon painting and among it the theme, Madonna and her Child.

    Thank you.

    • Oh, Matti. Reading your comments reminded me of two people: Segy, the younger of our two sons; and our friend, Mary Ellen.

      When Segy was in high school, he attended Mass at the cathedral with me; and, after Mass, he’d walk over to the left alcove that houses the Madonna and her Child. He’d gaze at the painting and, without turning to look at me, would say, “I don’t know what it is about the painting, but it always moves me to tears.”

      So every time I think of the painting or look at the three photos… the two angels and the Madonna and her Child… my heart melts just remembering those tender moments.

      Mary Ellen, on the other hand, is someone we met two years ago. She’s very creative and energized, and she’s taken courses like those you mentioned.

      Oh, the work, the dedication, and the skill involved! But the end result is truly worth the time and effort ’cause Mary Ellen’s pieces are meticulously crafted, exquisite, and beautiful.

      So see what your lovely comments conjured?

      Thanks so much for the walk down memory lane!

      I very much appreciate your interest in my work. Your comments are always welcome!

      By the way, your recent handicrafts post is delightful!

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