Vaquero Fest Saturday

November seventh, Steven and I headed to Hebbronville very early in the morning.  We were excited about our first Vaquero Fest experience, so we arrived before nine to await the parade on North Smith Avenue.

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Afterwards, we walked over to explore what I thought had been a hotel in another lifetime.  What a gem!  I wondered what it would say if it could speak.  Steven later asked Bill Hellen about the building and learned that a man from Fort Worth owns it now.  Historical landmarks like this one come with lots of regulations attached to preserve their integrity, so maybe this is delaying its beautification.

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We walked down the main street for a few blocks before heading back to the car, so we could drive around town.  A really quaint barbecue place by the railroad tracks caught me eye.  The small, narrow, triangular building looks like a long-ago whistle stop.  Unfortunately, we were in traffic on the wrong side, so I missed the photo op.  I’ll save it for next time around, I guess, though I did get another goodie instead.


At the plaza, we listened to some mighty fine singers, young folks trying to break into the music industry.

The young woman, Mallorie, handed out autographed CDs afterwards.  She told me she’ll be cutting an album soon, so I wished her great success.

Making the rounds, we finally found Bill and his lovely Elva and then visited briefly with Joe and Cordy on our way to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church diagonally across from the plaza.  We didn’t want to miss Hernan’s cuentos viejos presentation in the church basement.


Up until then, we’d been thinking only about the tour of the Scotus College breezeway that we’d missed back in June.  We’d spoken with R. J. at the parade, and he’d promised us a tour if we arrived early for Hernan’s lecture.  We’d thought the church would be locked; but, much to our surprise, two ladies, Julie and Rosa Elia, were monitoring the front doors.  We asked if we could enter and were graciously told that Azalia, one of the ladies whom we’ve met through the TX Tropical Trail Region (TTTR) meetings, was giving tours of the church and the chapel.  Boy, oh, boy, were we excited to have our very own VIP tours!

After the tours and the presentation, we agreed we’d accomplished our goals for the day, so we decided to swing back by the plaza before heading for home.  First, we spent time observing Isaac and Gabriel at their kettle korn booth.


Steven and I love making popcorn from scratch, but this looked dangerously intriguing.  Isaac has to wear gloves, long sleeves, and a face mask!

VF11709-166Isaac told us he buys huge bags of ACT II, since it pops best; and he’s not at all concerned about stray poppers lost during the process.  He and his brother travel to numerous fairs from Hebbronville to Floresville to Alice and back, and he really enjoys what he does.  Next, we visited with Louie and his assistant, Mark.  Louie had samples of his pan de campo, so we couldn’t resist buying some of that, too.  It’s an immense glorified flour tortilla with an appealing name, cowboy bread, absolutely perfect for Vaquero Fest and just fine without butter, too.

Fun times

VF11709-171Walking around the plaza one last time, we saw kids of all ages enjoying themselves as they listened to the music, ate, strolled around like us, bought items from the vendors, or just plain window shopped.  We were glad to have joined in the day’s festivities.  We’d bought delicious tacos from the Knights of Columbus, visited the fine folks we’ve befriended through TTTR, and enjoyed our time at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

Once again, we were taken with the friendliness of the townspeople with whom we interacted.  The church parishioners this time around were as nice as Lorenzo and his co-workers were during our first visit.  We felt so welcomed into their community that I’m pretty sure we’ll go back to visit, especially since Azalia told us that Father Frank intends to have murals and frescoes painted in the church.

Won’t that be an awesome sight?!!

Photo files…  book reading…  old hotel

Links of interest…  Hebbronville: aboutcounty seat / history (more) / landmarks & legacies…  La Mota Ranch: Bill Hellen (agritourism: more / fishing & hunting)…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & Scottus College (more)…  South TX ranching traditions celebrated in Hebbronville…  TX Tropical Trail Region…  Vaquero Fest

WP posts…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  Grapes of generosity
…  Historic nuggets…  Honoring Joselito…  Persistence…  St. Anthony

Thanksgiving prayers

The cornucopia prayer is from the Franciscans’ St. Anthony Guild (2008).

Happy Thanksgiving!


One…  Oh, God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; when I have work, help me to remember the jobless; when I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless; when I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer; and remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion.  Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted (Samuel F. Pugh).

Two…  Almighty Father, you are lavish in bestowing all your gifts; and we give you thanks for the favors you have given us.  In your goodness you have favored us and kept us safe….  We ask that you continue to protect us and shelter us in the shadow of your wings.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Three…  Lord, we are ever grateful for the bountiful meal before us, the fellowship of family, friends, and neighbors, and the faith that sustains us all year long.

Help us to live each day in a spirit of thanksgiving for your many blessings to be celebrated and shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Amen.

Four…  Lord, we thank you for the goodness of our people and for the spirit of justice that fills this nation.  We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the land and the challenge of the cities.  We thank you for our work and our rest, for one another, and for our homes.  We thank you, Lord for….

For all that we have spoken and for all that we keep in our hearts, accept our thanksgiving on this day.

We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Five…  Dear Lord, today we give thanks for our many blessings as we pray for those in need.

We give thanks for our family and friends as we pray for those who are lonely.  We give thanks for our freedoms as we pray for those who are oppressed.  We give thanks for our good health as we pray for those who are ill.  We give thanks for our comfort and prosperity as we share our blessings with others.

On this day of Thanksgiving, may the love of God enfold us, the peace of God dwell within us, and the joy of God uplift us.  Amen.

Six…  O God, we thank you for this earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun; for the salt sea and the running water; for the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds; for trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds and see the splendor of summer fields and taste the autumn fruits and rejoice in the feel of snow and smell the breath of spring.

Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty; and save us from being so  blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn-bush is aflame with your  glory.

For each new dawn is filled with infinite possibilities for new beginnings and  new discoveries. Life is constantly changing and renewing itself. In this new  day of new beginnings with God, all things are possible. We are restored and  renewed in a joyous awakening to the wonder that our lives are and, yet, can  be.  Amen.

Seven…  Thank you, O God, for hearing my prayer and granting my request.  Thank you for all the kindness you have shown me.

Thank you, Father, for your great love in giving me my life, for your great patience in preserving me despite my sinfulness, for your protection in the past, and for the opportunity to serve and honor you in the future.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for keeping me numberless times from sin and death by the toils of your life, the sufferings of your Passion, and by your victorious Resurrection.

Thank you, Holy Spirit of God, for bestowing so many graces upon my soul and for having so frequently renewed your life within me.

May my life from now on be a sign of my gratefulness.  Amen.

Eight…  We thank you, most loving and generous Creator, for the abundance you have bestowed on us, your servant people.

May we use your gifts to build your kingdom; to help the poor, as you commanded; to bring light to a world in darkness.  May we be faithful to your commandments.

Bless the people in our lives that we may help each other grow in your love.  We pray in union with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Nine…  I offer this day to you, dear God.  Thank you for the blessings you have given me.

May I use these gifts to build your kingdom.  May my actions be a reflection of your love.  May what I do today bring others closer to you.  May my words be kind and gentle, and may they bring joy to others.

Today, help me to give back a portion of what you have given me.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Ten…  Bountiful God, you have been generous to us; help us to be generous to others.  Your love is unconditional; help us to love others with an open heart.  Your gifts are bountiful; help us to pass them on joyfully.  Your mercy is infinite; help us to forgive those who have injured us.  Your grace is never-ending; help us to give you glory in all we do.  Your wisdom is boundless; help us to choose your way in all we do today.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Eleven…  Loving God, who created and sustains the universe, who loved us all into being, and who gives us every good thing, we thank you for the blessings that you bring into our lives.

We thank you for the gift of life itself, which you gave us in our mothers’ wombs.  We thank you for the fresh start of each new day, which is a sign of your renewing and creative love.  We thank you for our friends, our families, our neighbors, and our coworkers, whose human love is an image of your divine care.

Increase our gratitude this Thanksgiving Day, and help us to recognize all the good things that we have, both large and small.

Magnify our desire to share what we have with others so that they too may be grateful to you, loving God.  Amen.

Twelve…  Lord God, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness is infinite.  From your hand we have received generous gifts so that we might learn to share your blessings with others in gratitude.  We come to you with gratitude for your kindness.  Open our hearts to concern for others so that we may share your gifts in loving service to them.  Amen.

Thirteen…  Dear Lord, as we gather together around this table laden with your plentiful gifts to us.  We thank you for always providing what we really need and for sometimes granting wishes for things we don’t really need.

Today, let us be especially thankful for each other— for family and friends who enrich our lives in wonderful ways, even when they present us with challenges.  Let us join together now in peaceful, loving fellowship to celebrate your love for us and our love for each other.  Amen.

Fourteen…  O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth and be nourished with its bounty.

You sent us your son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your law of love.  Through his death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.  Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food— even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more.

We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope, to share food with all members in this global family.

Through your wisdom inspire leaders of government and of business, as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just and charitable solutions to end hunger by assuring that all people enjoy the right of food.  Thus we pray, O God, that, when we present ourselves for divine judgment, we can proclaim ourselves as one human family with food for allAmen.

Fifteen…  Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child so that we may share your gifts in loving service.  Through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Sixteen…  Father in heaven, thank you for your countless favors to me today and in all my past.  I am grateful for the silent inspirations of your Holy Spirit and the assistance he lends my human weakness and instability.

Because my prayers and petitions are present before you, I rely confidently on your granting my requests in your powerful and far-seeing goodness.

I ask, above all, for the special favor of remaining ever faithful to the teachings of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with you in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for all the ages to come.  Amen.

Seventeen…  God most provident, we join all creation in raising to you a hymn of thanksgiving.  For generation upon generation peoples of this land have sung of your bounty; we too offer you praise for the rich harvest we have received at your hands.  Bless us and this food which we share with grateful hearts.  Continue to make our land fruitful and let our love for you be seen in our pursuit of peace and justice and in our generous response to those in need.  Praise and glory to you, Lord God, now and forever.  Amen.

Eighteen…  O holy banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is recalled, the soul is filled with grace, and the promise of the future glory is given to us.  Alleluia.

V.  You have given them bread from heaven.  Alleluia.
R.  Containing in itself all delight.  Alleluia.

God, who in this wonderful sacrament left us a memorial of your passion, we implore you that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of your body and blood as always to be conscious of the effects of your redemption.  You live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

November 6, 2012

Father, thank you for the banquet you set before me.  Help me to receive all that you have for me.  I believe that you can fill my every need (the Word among us, November 2012, p. 25).

November 22, 2012

“Never pass a day without thanking Jesus Christ for all he has done for you during your life” (St. John Vianney).

November 23, 2012

He who fashioned us and created us brought us into his world.  Since, then, we owe all this to him, we ought to give him thanks for everything (St. Clement I).

November 26, 2012

Jesus, you love a cheerful giver.  In gratitude I give you my heart (the Word among us, November 2012, p. 45).

February 2, 2013

Father, I love you.  I come to you today filled with gratitude that you welcome me.  Your promises are true.  I rejoice in the ways you are molding my heart even now (the Word among us, Jan/Feb 2013, p. 60).

September 12, 2013

Father, teach me to sing your praises no matter what my circumstances are.  I know your love will never fail (the Word among us, September 2013, p. 31).

November 28, 2013

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This Thanksgiving we are grateful for everyone and everything: the good times and the bad, mistakes made and lessons learned.  Most of all, we are grateful for the gifts and talents that God has so generously bestowed on us collectively.

Moreover, we give thanks and praise for the opportunity to build community within God’s kingdom, and we offer our heartfelt gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ for illuminating the path to God without whom the Feast of Life would not be possible.

This Thanksgiving we remember that the way Jesus gave his all to and for us is the way God avails himself to us daily, so we take St. Dominic’s invitation to heart: Give wholeheartedly without hesitation, pray with earnest resolve, remember that God is always present, and aim for God’s listening ear as a year ’round commitment.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21; Deli’s card).

December 29, 2013

And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:15-21).

January 17, 2014

Remember with thanksgiving the blessings and providence of God [and] glorify God, giving him from the heart praises that rise on high (St. Anthony of Egypt).

February 2, 2014

“Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the father of the light who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor” (St. Sophronius).

March 16, 2014

After Communion…  As we receive these glorious mysteries, we make thanksgiving to you, O Lord, for allowing us while still on earth to be partakers even now of the things of heaven.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

November 26, 2015

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day” (St. Gianna Beretta Molla).

April 24, 2016

“May your heart be an altar from which the bright flame of unending thanksgiving ascends to heaven” (St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier).

April 18, 2017

Creator God, allow us the grace to find assurance in your open ear.  You hear our cries and offer deliverance through Christ’s love, through his suffering and everlasting empathy.  Allow us the ability to respond to your awesome reality through praise and gratitude— praise for the intimacy of your meal, gratitude for the moment and space it creates with you. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen (Ben Rumbaugh).

November 22, 2017

O God, on this day of Thanksgiving we pause to give thanks to you, recognizing that all life flows from you and is grace freely given to us, especially your merciful salvation which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Amen (RCL Benziger).

November 21, 2018

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” (William Arthur Ward).




Links of interest…  5 prayers for your Thanksgiving feast (grace)…  6 ways to teach kids about gratitude…  107 Thanksgiving quotes…  Because words matter: The importance of sharing your gratitude with others…  CCE: 10 crafts / lesson plans / pine-cone turkey…  Choose to be grateful (prayer)…  Dynamouse & Magnificat…  Enrich your spiritual life with thanksgiving…  Family: activities / blessings / book / candle decorating ideascard display ideascrafts / fall cookie ideas / graces: family & Thanksgiving / prayer…  Favorite Catholic prayers…  For those who grieve…  Franciscan media: ecards / gratitude & joyprayers / recipesthanksgiving…  Generous giving…  Give thanks (YouTube)…  Gratefulness: ecardsten true things about gratefulnessvirtual candles…  Gratitudearticles / more…  I know a man: Gratitude & the God of Thanksgiving…  In Christian praise…  Little book of holy gratitudelitany of Thanksgiving…  National Shrine of St. Jude: ecards / petitions / vigil lights…  Plimoth Plantation (facebook)…  Prayers: blessing / book (more) / grateful heart / guides / in a riven land mealtime / poems & songs / psalms / verses…  Quick daily practice to help you be more grateful…  St. Anthony’s Guild…  St. Francis…  St. Bonaventure’s prayer / reflection / table graces…  Thanksgiving: about / activities (more) / & the Eucharist (greatest gift of all) / blessings mix / cartoon (story) / celebration / first / for kids / fun stuff for kids / games (printables) / handprint turkeys / history / kid-friendly recipes (more / more) / lessons / table decorations (more) / theme pages / three giftstree of thanks…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Advent prayers…  Angels keeping watch…  Budding relationships…  Christmas blessings…  Dear God…  Gifts…  In good time…  Making meaning…  Mourning joy…  Oh, happy day…  Promise of hope…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church

Solano, Solanus, Solani


I’ve had St. Francis Solanus on the brain since we met online this past summer.  Call it a crescendoing mix of awe and discomforting disequilibrium, so it wasn’t just the miracles that hooked me.  Finding conflicting information on Solanus fueled both my confusion and my need to know, but I was too busy to look for answers at the time.

In the months that followed I was pestered by the same questions.  Why does Solanus have different backgrounds and dates of birth?  Are there two?  If so, what’s the connection?  And why do I need to know this?

Then, Sunday afternoon while reading the news online, Solanus derailed my train of thought.  Just like that I went into search-and-find mode to clear up my Solani misconceptions… and became even more smitten with curiosity than before.


First, St. Francis Solano (or Solanus, 1547-1610), a Spanish Franciscan missionary, fervently believed in the power of Baptism and went to extreme measures to safeguard and Christianize the indigenous.  And he was quite a miracle worker, too.

According to St. Francis Solanus— Apostle to America (Royer, 1955), miracles included saving a group of slaves drowning at sea; preaching in a language different from that of various South American tribes yet being understood simultaneously; bringing a five-year-old girl back to life after she died from a fall; crossing a wide river in an unconventional manner; traveling without provisions but always arriving well taken care of; and converting nine thousand South American natives during one sermon.

St. Francis Solano was canonized in 1726, and his feast day is July fourteenth.


Second, Father Barney Francis Casey (1870-1957), the sixth of sixteen children, was born to Irish immigrants on a farm near Oak Grove, Wisconsin.  His academic challenges kept him from becoming a diocesan priest, but he persisted in the call of service when Our Lady told him to go to Detroit.  Father Casey took the name Solanus when he joined the Capuchin Order at St. Bonaventure Monastery in 1897.

Although disallowed from formal preaching and hearing confessions, Father Casey was known not only for delivering feverinos— spiritual fires which gained him many listeners and ardent supporters— but also for always making time for those who sought his assistance and guidance.  Daily, he visited with 150 to 200 people who flocked to him for special favors— cures from illnesses, relief from economic woes, and many such miracles— that, in twenty-one years’ time, he filled seven notebooks with more than six-thousand requests for help from petitioners!

Again and again, in his letters, [Father Solanus Casey] repeated his life’s message— that confidence in God is the very soul of prayer and becomes the condition for supernatural intervention in our lives.  “God condescends to use our powers if we don’t spoil his plans by ours” (Baulach, 1996).

In 1995, Father Casey was deemed Venerable; on November 18, 2017, Blessed.  His feast day is July 30.


What a gift!  Not one but two Solani miracle workers.  They loved those they served and were loved in return.

When you love people you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them.  God sees Christ, his son, in us and loves us.  And so we should see Christ in others and nothing else, and love them (Servant of God Dorothy Day, 1897-1980).

May 13, 2011

Oh, my, gosh!  After waiting a long time, I finally received Father Casey’s relic badge and a prayer card in the mail today!  I’m so excited!

If you’d like a relic badge, you can easily request one.  Whether you email, write, or call, please remember that a donation will offset the postage and help the Father Solanus Guild with its various projects within the community.  The address is 1780 Mt. Elliott, Detroit MI 48207-3427; the phone number, 1.313.579.2100.



June 11, 2011

FrSolanusGuild-forms-51311aOh, happy day!  I received my lifetime membership certificate along with the items I ordered— photos, books, and more— from the Father Solanus Guild!  And my order included a relic badge and a prayer card, too.

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FrC-pamphlet-b        FrC-pamphlet-c        FrC-pamphlet-d

April 28, 2012

Oh, yes!  At long last another wish came true!  Steven and I spent most of the day at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.  I even sat at Father Casey’s desk.  Wow!  What an incredible pilgrimage!  Joseph Taylor, our self-appointed guide, made our visit truly unforgettable.  We can hardly wait to be there again!









November 5, 2012

There’s something about loving God with our whole heart that naturally flows into loving other people.  Perhaps it is because God has created us in his own image.  There’s a picture of him, a treasure from him, in each of us.  So when we see each other, we are seeing a reflection of the Lord.  Or maybe it’s because God loves each of us with such fierce devotion that for us not to share that love with each other would be an offense to him.  Or maybe it’s both! (the Word among us, November 2012, p. 23).

April 6, 2013

Jesus, thank you for inviting me to become your companion.  Show me how to share your love with the people around me (the Word among us, April 2013, p. 26).

May 18, 2013

“Lord, your sheep are all so different!”

“That’s right.  And I love each one in a unique way.  Set your heart on loving me, entrust others to me, and I’ll show you the way.”

Jesus, I want to follow you with all my heart.  Show me the way! (the Word among us, May 2013, p. 37).

October 19, 2013

My hope is in God who does not need our help to accomplish his designs.  We must endeavor to be faithful to him (St. Isaac Jogues).

September 5, 2014

I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first.  And begin love there.  Be that good news to your own people.  And find out about your next-door neighbor[s]— do you know who they are? (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

September 17, 2014

“Above all, always see Jesus in every person and, consequently, treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect, and selfless generosity” (Blessed Charles de Foucauld).

September 18, 2014

“If God were our one and only desire, we would not be so easily upset when our opinions do not find outside acceptance” (Thomas à Kempis).

October 6, 2014

“Love God above all so that, warmed by his embrace, you may be aflame with divine love” (St. Bruno).

June 22, 2017

“Give me, good Lord, such a love for you that I will love nothing in a way that displeases you; and I will love everything for your sake” (St. Thomas More).

November 5, 2017

True humility and obedience have to do with putting others— God and people— ahead of oneself.  Blessed Solanus Casey lived those words.  Near the end of his life, he said, “I look on my whole life as giving, and I want to give and give until there is nothing left of me to give.  God knows best and, while we’ll still hope for a favorable surprise, we can hardly do better than not only being resigned to whatever God permits but, even beforehand, to thank him for his mercifully loving designs” (Joel R. Schorn in God’s Doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey and André Bessette).


Solanus Casey Center – Detroit, MI

Links of interest…  6 things that happen after Father Solanus Casey’s beatification in Detroit…  7 pilgrimages you can go on right now…  8 practices of a good pilgrimage…  Capuchin Franciscans: blog / website…  Franciscan calendar: national fraternity / printable / saintstraditional…  On fire till the end…  Praying with fire from above (podcast)…  Solanus Casey: about / article / beatification: set for November – televised 11.18.17 / blog / books / Capuchin / cards / center / devotion / doorkeeper / ecards / example of Christian rebuilding / favors / garden (paver) / guild / healed my sister / humble disciple, tireless servantlegacy / man who shed his ego / many miraclesmeets Father Flanagan, SOLT / memorial / message / mystic / opening the door to miracles / ordination / photos / pilgrims & porters / prayer / priest / red-blooded American miracle worker / relic badge (story) / saint / saintmaker / simple man / story / venerable / vocation / words of wisdom (daily audio readings)…  Solanus Casey Center: American priest who will be beatified next weekanniversary & novena / Beatitude people (videos) / home / live streamshrine / virtual tour / Year of Mercy video presentations & study guide (ordered and/or online)…  St. Francis Solano: about / life / mission / missionary / violin player…  Surprising case of Solanus Casey…  Thank God ahead of time…  Visit to Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey…  What is the Franciscan spirit…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Mercy and justice…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes