Unexpected detours

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For more than five years I held onto a heartfelt wish: to revisit Our Lady of Consolation in Vattmann, TX.  Only I had no idea where the town was other than off Highway 77, which we travel to and from Brownsville with regularity.

Our Lady of Consolation

On one of our trips south to the valley, I asked Steven if he would treat me to lunch at King’s Inn.  And he agreed. 

From the road I spotted a red brick structure.  “Is that Our Lady of Consolation Church?”

“It must be.  I’m surprised it’s on the way to King’s Inn.”

Happy day!  What a perfect opportunity to take photos after lunch.

Unexpected detours

And the best part about stopping at church?  We met Maria, a sweet, soulful woman with connections to Sr. Maxie at Mother Julia’s Chapel and Museum in Kingsville.  Absolutely amazing, considering that we had no idea then that we’d take an unexpected detour to Kingsville (where I took more photos) on our way home three days later.

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Prayers

Consecration to the Blessed Virgin…  My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you; and, in proof of my affection, I give you my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart, my whole being without reserve.  Since I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession.  Amen.

Morning offering…  O Jesus, through the immaculate heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your sacred heart in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world; in thanksgiving for your favors; in reparation for my sins; for the intentions of all my relatives and friends; and, in particular, for the intentions of the Holy Father.  Amen.

May 24, 2016

“As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child, so Mary, the heavenly infirmarian, never refuses to care for sinners who have recourse to her” (St. Alphonsus).

June 4, 2016

Dearest Mother, please look on your people who confidently honor you as their mother [and long] for your help and consolation.  Bless us in your heart, comfort us in our pains, stand by us in all distress, show us Jesus after our death (St. Hildegard of Bingen).

June 10, 2016

“Let us ask Our Lady’s help today in living our own dedication to the full, in whatever state God has placed us, in accordance with the specific vocation we have received from the Lord” (Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal).

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Links of interest…  Annual Thanksgiving fundraiser: 100th dinner / 2014 / giving thanks / holiday tradition / King countrypicnic (about) / special report (KIII; more)…  Father Edward J. Vattmann: about / chaplain (more) / more / photos: 1 / 2…  King’s Inn Restaurant: food / fried & true / website (contactevents)…  Manual for spiritual warfare…  Kleberg County (roots web)…  Our Lady: feasticon (more) / litany / novena / prayers / shrine (about)…  Our Lady of Consolation Church: diocesan map / facebook / one-room school house / photo / website (contact – events – history)…  TX Tropical Trail Region…  US Genealogy Web Project…   Vattmann: about / cemetery
(find a gravelocation – photos) / history / photos: wedding (c. 1910) & “where I grew up”…  The visitation & Mary, the walking tabernacle…  What does God want? A practical guide to making decisions

WP posts…  Thanksgiving prayers…  Then and now…  Vattmann church…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Venerable Julia Navarrete

God’s lovely gifts

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Steven and I arrived a whole hour before Saturday evening Mass and, thanks to the recent time (light) change, Our Lady of Guadalupe looked picture perfect in its palm greenery; so how could I ignore God’s impromptu invitation to bask in the windows and the stations that I’d last photographed in 2012?

And I discovered something new!

God’s lovely gifts

Among the exquisite stained-glass windows are sixteen— not fourteen or fifteen, but sixteen— stations of the cross!  Amazing.

I can understand the fifteenth station, the glorious resurrection; but to depict Jesus in the garden before his way of the cross?  Extraordinary.

As for the Last Supper?  When one glimpses the back altar from either side of the front altar, one can see the lit portion below the mantle.  Stunning.

What lovely gifts God has in store when we make time for him!

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We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last

0OLG4816-71OLG4816-2 Through her heart his sorrow sharing,
all his bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword had passed.

Oh how sad and sore distressed
was that mother highly blessed
of the sole-begotten one!

Christ above in torment hangs;
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious son.

3OLG31916-442OLG31916-45Is there one who would not weep,
o’rwhelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain
in that mother’s pain untold?

For the sins of his own nation
saw him hang in desolation,
all with bloody scourges rent.

5OLG51912-394OLG51912-50Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender child
till his spirit forth he sent.

O, sweet mother, fount of love,
touch my spirit from above;
make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.

7OLG31916-406OLG31916-41Holy mother, pierce me through;
in my heart each wound renew
of my savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.

9OLG31916-298OLG51912-140By the cross with you to stay,
there with you to weep and pray,
this I ask of you to give.

Virgin, of all virgins blest,
O refuse not my request:
let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying son of yours.

10OLG31916-28Wounded11OLG31916-27 with his every wound
steep my soul till it has swooned
in his very blood away.

Be to me, O virgin, nigh
lest in flames I burn and die
in that awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shalt call me hence,
be your mother my defense,
be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
may my soul your goodness praise,
safe in paradise with you.

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Contact information

Stabat Mater, a thirteenth century hymn that tells the story of Our Lady of Sorrows during the passion of Christ, was translated by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) from Liturgia Horarum.  (See links below.)   An abridged version accompanies the stations in Behold! The Way of the Cross (Gouin, Creative Communications for the Parish, 2001).

March 21, 2017

God of life, we are grateful for the many gifts that you have given to us.  May we become prudent stewards of your many gifts and not thoughtlessly waste water, food, and other resources.  May we respond to your Son’s cry of thirst with lives of peacemaking and just action.  We make his prayer in your name.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus).

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Links of interest…  Bearing our own cross: A fiat for Easter…  Betrayal…  Catholic Harbor of Faith & Morals (website)…  Final hours & death…  Garden of olives: agony (more) / prayer of Jesus / story…  Holy Saturday: looking back & peering ahead & twelve things to know…  Incarnation & the Pietá…  Last supper & betrayal…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (Brownsville, TX): about / facebook…  Palm Sunday: about / date / facts / history / prayer (biddingblessing of palmsmorereflections) / traditions…  Passion Sunday (nine things to know & share)…  Personalizing the passion of Jesus Christ…  Stabat Mater (hymn): aboutAll the women of the Bible / iBreviary / Preces Latinae / video (YT) / Virtrus Online…  Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: On our Lady (preview)…  Sorrowful mysteries of the holy rosary…  St. Vianney sermons: Beware if you have no temptations & Temptations…  Stabat Mater: hymn / liturgical sequence / seven sorrows / more / YouTube (more)…  Stations of the cross (YT)…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion with Jesus: one & two…  Way of Holy Week

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  Disquieting moments…  Father’s roses…  Full circle…  Growing pains…  Guadalupe Church…  In the pink…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Living one’s gifts…  Mercy and justice…  Our Lady’s church…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Recollections…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Anselm Church…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerating St. Anthony

Father’s roses

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Last year Steven and I drove to Goose Island for Palm Sunday Mass at Stella Maris, and Father Ralph was overjoyed to see us.

“I was hoping you two would show up!  I’ve got great news!  Follow me so we can talk,” Father said, leading us to the slightly bigger than standing room only space behind the altar.

Miracle shared

Without being asked Joe, attentive sacristan and devoted friend, opened a folding chair for Father to sit as he shared his latest stories with us.

“I’m healed!” Father gushed and then proceeded to fill in all the glorious details as Steven bent down to listen and I looked up intently, almost breathlessly, from where I sat on the old wood floor.

We couldn’t get enough!  After all the trips to M.D. Anderson and more, Father Ralph’s news was the answer to our collective prayers.  We were so grateful for Father’s reprieve from his medical roller coaster ride that we couldn’t stop smiling.  Again and again we thanked and praised God for his merciful kindness.

Faith revisited

Father Ralph was on fire.  He was  a walking-talking miracle whose homily, in part, focused on a familiar story from the Bible.

Or take the woman who had obviously heard Jesus preach.  She might even have seen some of the miracles.  She’d gone to doctors for twelve years.  She had a hemorrhage.  Only women can appreciate the misery of all that, day in and day out.  No cure.  And she’d spent all her money.

’If I could just touch the hem of his garment,’ she thought, ‘I would be healed.’

That’s a position of faith, isn’t it?  She wanted a point of contact, so she could release her faith.  And the power of God would come flowing through her body.

Did she find it easy to get to Jesus?  Oh, it was easy to see him.  ‘Yes, there he is over there.  Uh-huh.  I see the prayer shawl.  Oh, my goodness.  There are so many people around him!’

She didn’t let the press interfere with the possibility of cure.  She didn’t let the devil talk her out of it.  She pushed and shoved— did whatever she had to do— until, finally, she got behind him.  She touched his garment, the hem of his prayer shawl.

Jewish men wear the tallit in Israel to this day when they pray at the Wailing Wall.  I’ve been there.  I’ve seen it.  I have one that I use.  At the base of it are all these tassels that represent the Commandments of God, the promises of God.

What the woman was thinking was, ‘If I touch the one that keeps all the Commandments and if I touch the one for healing, I will be made whole.’

The woman released her faith when she touched it, and Jesus said, ‘Virtue has come out.  Who has touched me?’

’I did,’ the woman replied.

’Your faith has made you whole,’ Jesus told her.

So it’s always an impediment to get to Jesus, isn’t it?  Sometimes it’s our own doubt.  Most of the time, it’s the devil.

‘Oh, but you don’t deserve to have a miracle.  Remember what you did when you were a young man?  Or a young woman?  Just forget that, and just keep going.  You can’t change, and God can’t forgive you.  You’ll never have a miracle.’

Oh, my goodness.  The devil is the father of lies, isn’t he?

Although Father’s homily wasn’t perfectly geared for Palm Sunday, it certainly touched on the faith— the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)— that Jesus embodies for us to witness during Holy Week.

Lesson gleaned

Through Father Ralph God refreshed us with yet another of his extraordinary lessons.  Believing requires stoutheartedness, courage, and patience.  Believing is trusting that God knows best.  “Your will be done,” not mine (Matthew 26:42).

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Father’s roses

After Mass Father Ralph insisted that Steven and I accompany him to the back yard.  With scissors in hand he snipped at his prized rosebush; created a lovely, fragrant, lavender-pink cluster; and jubilantly presented me with the unexpected bouquet.

Thoughtful?  Yes.  Then again, healthy or unwell, that’s Father Ralph.

On the drive home, in the days that followed, and especially now that Father Ralph’s health has waned again, his roses are more than just a sweet remembrance of our time at Stella Maris; they’re an enduring recollection of God’s loving mercy celebrated on Palm Sunday a year ago.

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March 18, 2016

I struggled with [the devil] in my imprisonment.  At one moment I thought I was victorious; the next day I was defeated.  This cruel and stubborn fight lasted five years.  Then God gave me the grace to triumph over my enemy (St. Augustine).

March 20, 2016

“The Mass is long,” you say; [to which] I add, “because your love is short”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

March 24, 2017

We are not to be without pain.  Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to him for strength and courage.  We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at him and being gentle and humble in heart (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).

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Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Christ’s way of the cross…  Do you want to be well…  Fr. Ralph: service to God & country / story of healing (3.13.15)…  How to overcome worry by trusting in God’s providence…  Open-&-shut case for Jesus…  Pope laments “defeated Christians” who do not fully trust in God…  Saints: novenas (188) / prayer
St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer cards) / biography / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing intercessor & friend / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayer / prayer requests / prayers / shrine / story…  Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX (more) / marker…  Trusting in God completely / in uncertain times…  Would you have touched Jesus’ cloak

WP posts…  Delightful visit…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments

Venerating St. Anthony

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Three weeks ago Steven and I met up again with Fr. Mario Conte, OFM Conventual from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy and Tom Muscatello, USA liaison from St. Adalbert Friary in Elmhurst, NY, and picked up right where we left off almost three years ago at St. Anthony’s in Rockford, IL, June 14, 2013.

Meeting Abelardo

SAP61413-119What gorgeous grounds!  I had no idea that Illinois could produce such green grass and beautiful plants, so— catching sight of the gardener— I walked a good distance to where he was and thanked him for making my day.  In turn, Abelardo, who hails from Michoacán, Mexico, expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to do what he loves.  Then, in the middle of our lovely conversation, Steven called out that Mass would start soon so off I went after our cordial goodbyes.

Greeting Fr. Mario

SAP61413-137I looked quite disheveled on entering church.  I hadn’t even combed my hair!  But there was Steven pushing past my I’m-not-ready moments.

“Look, there’s Fr. Mario.  Here’s your chance.  Go talk to him.”

I felt even more pressured when Steven walked up to Fr. Mario and they both turned to look at me.

Oh, my gosh!  What could I do but smile? 

I was so glad to finally meet Fr. Mario that I quickly forgot my appearance, and we’ve been in each other’s thoughts and prayers ever since.

Venerating St. Anthony

During Mass Fr. Mario welcomed Steven and me as “the two who traveled the farthest, all the way from Texas” to be among the faithful venerating St. Anthony’s first-class relics that evening.  We felt so very specially blessed.

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Prayers

Good St. Anthony, in God’s providence you have secured for his people many marvelous favors.  You have been especially celebrated, good
St. Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home.

You are widely known also, good St. Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth.

In honoring you, St. Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need.

V.  Pray for us, good St. Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray…  May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your confessor and doctor, St. Anthony.  May his spiritual help always make us strong; and, by his assistance, may we enjoy an eternal reward.  This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen.

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Contact information

You can reach the Anthonian Association of the Friends of St. Anthony of Padua by mail at 101 Saint Anthony Drive, Mount Saint Francis, IN 47146-9001.  Or you can call 1.812.923.6356 (fax 1.812.923.3200), if you prefer.  The staff is very friendly!

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Links of interest…  Day I made a batch of relics…  Friar Mario: meditations (videos), relics visit, & “writing reed” / Messenger of St. Anthony (website) / St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website)…  Four quick facts about relics…  Help from heaven…  Holy relics (more – more)…  Miracles…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony: about (more) / “ark of the covenant” (index – more) / biography / for peace of mind / glorious feast day / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / thanksgiving (pdf) / wonder worker…  St. Anthony of Padua Church: diocesan page / parishes online / St. Joseph altars / video (100th anniversary) / website…  St. Bonaventure (more) / about (more) / archive (more) / bishop & cardinal / memorial / patron (more) / prayer (liturgy archive – more – praying with) / sayings…  What’s the story with relics…  YouTube: Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua (composed by Father Ike Carpio, OFM+; sung by Brother Ariel Manga, OFM) & Si quaeris miracula (sung by Padre Maurizio nella Basilica di San Francesco a Bologna)…

WP page…  Words to ponder (January 9, 2013 & other related entries)

WP posts…  Advent prayers…  Budding relationships…  Christ’s passion…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Recollections…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day