An invitation to the bishop’s annual dinner arrived in the mail, and we couldn’t resist— not because we’d never attended, but because we wanted to support “Bishop Danny,” beloved son of the Corpus Christi diocese, especially at St. Paul’s, his home parish, and now calm, confident yet unassuming shepherd of the Brownsville diocese flock.
Diocesan fundraiser: December 6, 2013
What a cold night to be out and about, but the lively conversations among those of us huddled double-s fashion within the Catholic War Veteran’s foyer warmed our spirits.
Waiting for our passes, we smilingly connected with two young women, Laura and Tracy with Catholic Charities, who invited us to their Spring 2014 event before we made our way through the crowded room to table forty-one. Then, leaving my coat and bag on our chairs, we headed for the hors d’oeuvres and the silent auction where Item #1331 immediately captivated our curious, collective eye.
This unique, wood carved image of Our Lady, with ivory accents, is simply amazing. Her face is radiant and motherly. She adds taste and value to any home or office (Auction book, p. 10).
Of course, the best part about window shopping all the items on display was seeing Bishop Danny within a few feet from us. Shaking hands and interacting with anyone who took time from eating and admiring the silent auction items long enough to engage him in conversation, he was relaxed, genuine, celebratory, and— here and there— quietly conducting business as he remained very much in the moment among us.
Steven and I approached Bishop Danny, shared our recollections of him: Sunday Mass on TV while at the Corpus Christi Cathedral; evening Mass at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff during one of his visits from his post in Detroit; meeting his sister, Tess, at St. Joseph’s (where his mom now is parishioner as well, we learned from him); viewing his annual appeal video at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville; and more.
Bishop Danny smiled when I told him I’d enjoyed the story about the crayons he’d received from his niece (or nephew) at Christmas, and he was surprised to hear that we associate him with the Solanus Casey Center. Spending precious moments with Bishop Danny was wonderful. We could’ve taken more of his time; but others wanted the same privilege, so we wished him well and continued our browsing.
An unforgettable evening
Not long after we returned to our empty table three women— a mom with two young ladies— took the seats on my left. We smiled and exchanged introductions. The more the woman beside me shared about herself, the more we realized we had in common. We became fast friends in a flash. How special to learn not only that Josefina’s a retired elementary school teacher, but also a Franciscan laity aspirant!
Steven was otherwise distracted. Another person had been bidding against him for Item #1331, so he’d gone back and forth to the silent auction area until he was crushed to learn the outcome: The other person had “overbid by a lot right as time ran out.” And, while we were disappointed, we were also very grateful that someone had wanted Our Lady so much that they’d generously contributed to Bishop Danny’s cause that evening.
The music started after dinner, so talking over the loudness was difficult. Fina, her daughter, and their friend got up to leave; so I stood to say goodbye. As we hugged, Fina told me again, “I think God planned for us to meet this evening.” She’d already jotted her email address down on a napkin, so we agreed to stay in touch.
Devotion to the Christ Child under the avocation of “Atocha” originated in the 13th century in Spain and spread to Latin America centuries later. It is still very popular today. The plaster statue is over 100 years old.
I consoled myself knowing that I already had a beautiful miniature, but the Santo Niño kept beckoning.
Take me home with you!
Steven was prepared to outbid whomever for Item 1377L “if you really want him.” But where would we put the Santo Niño? I kept asking myself. Besides, someone else needs to grow the devotion. I prayed that the Child find a good home with a loving family. Then, to keep the tears from bursting past my eyeballs, I focused on the cookies.
“Not just any cookies!” the evening’s hostess, Letty Garza, KRGV TV news anchor, exuberantly extolled. “These cookies are the bishop’s favorites! Aren’t they, Bishop?” she grinned across the room to where Bishop Danny sat. “You told me they’re your favorite cookies! These delicious Clarisas cookies are the best I’ve ever eaten! They’re specially made by the Capuchin Poor Clare nuns in Alamo, TX. And you have to buy them because they help support the monastery and the chapel they manage.”
“Oh, darling!” I turned to Steven. “You just have to buy some! They’re only five dollars a box, and I’ll bet they’re the ones I spied in the shrink-wrapped palette in the silent auction area. Oh, my gosh! I’ve been wanting some since I saw them earlier. Here’s our chance to sample them.”
And that was that. I didn’t have to sell them further. Steven got us— um, me— a box that I shared equitably with him. And, before we even got home to Brownsville, they were pretty much gone.
Yum! They were good! Delish, in fact.
Of course, once I found (and read) the neatly folded paper carefully taped to the underside of the soft plastic container, I definitely had to know more. After all, I’d heard about the Poor Clares just once before. At St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, Illinois in June. Father Mario had taken St. Anthony’s relics to visit the Poor Clares in the Chicago area before Mass that evening.
I couldn’t believe that the Rio Grande Valley had its own Capuchins! How did I not know this before?
I was intrigued!
“When we get back home, I have to contact the Capuchin Poor Clares,” I told Steven. “We have to go see them!”
Links of interest… Breadsmith (Clarisas)… Catholic diocese of Brownsville: Bishop Daniel E. Flores (2013 – Palm Sunday) / St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery (725 E. Bowie AVE, Alamo, TX 78516-5500) / Stewardship & Development Office… Capuchin Poor Clares: monastery… Cookies, cleaning, & holiness… Franciscan prayers / requests / saints… KRGV: Channel 5 News team… Messenger of St. Anthony (website) & “writing reed” (Friar Mario)… Santo Niño de Atocha: about / chapel / history / miracles / origin / prayers / story (more)… St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website)… St. Joseph in Franciscan theology…
WP posts… Advent prayers… Angels keeping watch… Budding relationships… Capuchin Christmas… Christmas blessings… Connected tangents… Finding St. Rita… God’s master plan… Heart of hearts… Lenten reflections… Prayerful ways… Revisiting St. Simon… San Giuseppe… Sensory overload… Slice of heaven… St. Felix… St. Jude Shrine (Corpus Christi, TX)… Thanksgiving prayers