Home again


In February Steven and I switched membership from St. Joseph’s back to St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff, still within the Corpus Christi diocese.  But it’s just not the same.

April 27, 2014

More and more, we long to be home again at Sacred Heart in downtown Brownsville.

Although changes have taken place within this beautiful sacred space— the altar, the statues, and the stations of the cross have all been repainted— its ambiance remains the same.

Thanks to its dedicated lifelong parishioners, Sacred Heart is so tenderly nurtured that the diligence of past generations keeps the spirit of this cathedral mission community joyfully engaged despite changes in membership over the years.

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May 11, 2014

This Sunday was doubly special.  Father Michael Amesse, an Oblate, celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his ordination which took place on Mother’s Day, May 10, 1984.

As Father Michael blessed the mothers, everyone sang “happy anniversary” to the tune of Happy Birthday and applauded robustly.

Before long, others in church also rose to join in the heartfelt ovation.

“You certainly made me blush!” Father Michael rather humbly but laughingly admitted afterwards.

Home again

Since July 2011, Steven and I have attended Mass at Sacred Heart only six times; but our collective heart yearns to be there more and more.

Truly, there’s nothing like being home again.  Even if it’s just a visit.

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Prayer for priests by John Joseph, Cardinal Carberry (+1998)

O Jesus, our great high priest, hear our humble prayers on behalf of our priest, Father Michael Amesse.

Give him a deep faith, a bright and firm hope, and a burning love that will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.

In his loneliness, comfort him.  In his sorrows, strengthen him.  In his frustrations, point out to him that it is through suffering that the soul is purified.

Show him that he is needed by the Church, needed by souls, and needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, mother of priests, take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.  Be his comfort, his joy, his strength; and, especially, help him to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated life.  Amen.

June 15, 2014

In response to the anniversary card I created, Father Michael sent us Our Lady of Hope prayer leaflets and a copy of his homily for Ascension.  Thank you!

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Links of interest…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC): historical landmarks (#38/39) / national registry / parishes online /
website…  Jesus: 365 devotions for kids (book; phone app) / devotion (more) / nonviolent revolution…  Miracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey; YouTube)…  Sacred Heart: about / beads / book / church (about / centennial / video) / consecration /
devotion (more / what to know) / divine love / enthronements / explanations / first Friday / history (visual) / introduction / meaning (more) / meditation / novena (YouTube) / postcards / prayers / reparation / significance / twelve promises…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / parishes online / website…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Beautiful sacred space…  Budding relationships
…  Building community…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Connected tangents…  Familiar yet new…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Guadalupe Church…  Heart of hearts…  Lenten reflections…  Marian devotions…  Memory lane…  Noon visit…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart…  Sacred Heart Church…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  St. Mary’s…  Sweet Jesus

Beautiful sacred space


Steven and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Brownsville, so we looked forward to Mass.  But where to go?  We couldn’t decide between Immaculate Conception Cathedral and one of its two missions several blocks away on East Elizabeth Street.

Timely decisions

I introduced Steven to Sacred Heart Church, July 24, 2011, but didn’t revisit.  Steven prefers early morning Mass— Saturday evening only if we can’t attend Sunday at nine— so eleven-thirty was too late for him.

When home in Brownsville, Steven and I had attended Saturday evening Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe exclusively.  But how could we decide on a church home if we didn’t give other sacred spaces a chance? 

We tried St. Mary’s, but it wasn’t right for us.  Back to Guadalupe we went.  Still, something was missing.

“How about the cathedral downtown?  Ten-thirty Mass is in English.”

Sunday morning Mass

Steven experienced Immaculate Conception, my heart of hearts, for the first time this year.  And he loved it!  Yet Sacred Heart, my wind song, has tugged at me in ways that I can’t even begin to express.  How could we not give it a second chance?

SHC52613-38Then this past weekend Steven asked, “Where do you want to go for Mass?”

We were down to the only two choices: Immaculate at ten-thirty or Sacred Heart at eleven-thirty.  Fr. Joe and Fr. Amesse from the cathedral also celebrate Mass at Sacred Heart, so either church would be just as sweet.  Still, I refrained from answering so Steven kept repeating himself.

But did either of us even know the answer?

Sunday we got up at the usual time— certainly early enough for ten-thirty Mass at the cathedral— but Steven wasn’t in any rush to get ready.  Had he finally accepted that my heart was truly set on Sacred Heart that morning?

I could hardly wait to get there, but we didn’t talk about it.  We dressed for church and drove into town for eleven-thirty Mass.

The right place

Wonder of wonders, Steven really enjoyed Sacred Heart and shared his thoughts.

I have a preference for early Mass, but that’s how I was reared.  The rest of the day was then uninterrupted if I wanted to work (or play).  The late Masses were always for lazy folks who slept in on Sunday, so that was something of a social stigma when I was growing up.

I think the people at Sacred Heart are very nice.  There’s less haste after Mass since there’s no service afterwards.  So, yes.  I’m with you on SHC being our likely church home in Brownsville.   Although the schedule isn’t one that I prefer, I can see how the change will be good.  It has the ability to force a day of rest; and, being that there’s no rush before or after, it’s very mellow.  If I have stuff to get done, I’ll get up early and do it while the day’s cool or wait until Monday.

That said, 11:30 A.M. Mass was great, very relaxed and leisurely.  I think I adapted immediately to it, not to mention that it is the only one, so there are no options.  It’s the right place, so Mass time has to be the right time.

Beautiful sacred space

To me Sacred Heart feels richly familiar.  Mass with Aunt Rachel, then Segy and Acacia, and now Steven.  Fathers Moran, Sheehan, and Lanese.  An inclusive church community.  Discovering the Holy Infant, traveling to Prague to learn more about him, growing my devotion, and seeking him out in the churches that I visit.  In this beautiful sacred space my mind, heart, and soul resonate with love, joy, and peace.  I’m home at last, so it’s only natural that I should want Steven to experience the same.

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Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most sweet Jesus, redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly kneeling before your altar.  We are yours and yours we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with you, each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your most sacred heart.

Many have never know you.  Many, too, have rejected you.  Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your sacred heart.  May you be recognized as Savior by all those who are still in the darkness of disbelief.  Draw them into the light and kingdom of God.

Grant, O Lord, to your Church freedom and immunity from harm.  Give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine heart that wrought our salvation.  To it be glory and honor forever.  Amen.

More prayers

One…  Jesus, reveal your sacred heart to me and show me its attractions.  Unite me to it forever.  Grant that all my desires and every beat of my heart, which does not cease even while I sleep, may be a witness to you of my love for you and tell you, “Yes, Lord, I am yours!”  The pledge of my loyalty to you rests ever in my heart and shall never cease to be there.  Accept the little good that I do and be pleased to make up for all my wrong-doing so that I may be able to praise you in time and in eternity.  Amen.

Two…  Lord Jesus, I come before you just as I am.  I am sorry for my sins.  I repent of my sins.  Please forgive me.  In your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me.  I renounce Satan, the evil spirits, and all their works.  I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever.  I invite you into my life, Jesus.  I accept you as my Lord, God, and Savior.  Heal me.  Change me.  Strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Cover me with your precious blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit.  I love you, Lord Jesus.  I praise you, Jesus.  I thank you, Jesus.  I shall follow you every day of my life.  Amen.

Mary, my mother, queen of peace; St. Peregrine, the cancer saint; all the angels and saints, please help me.  Amen.

Say this prayer (1993, Rookey & Servite Fathers, OSM) faithfully no matter how you feel.  When you come to the point where you sincerely mean each word with all your heart, Jesus will change your whole life in a very special way.  You will see.

Three…  Heart of Jesus, truly human, have mercy on us.  Heart of Jesus, truly divine.  Heart of Jesus, still praying for us to the Father.  Heart of Jesus, in all things like us except sin.  Heart of Jesus, loving your friends to the end.  Heart of Jesus, whose love for men is scorned by many.  Heart of Jesus, my hope in sadness.  Heart of Jesus, my strength in temptation.  Heart of Jesus, my protection in danger.  Heart of Jesus, loving me now despite everything.

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the heart of your beloved Son and upon the praise and satisfaction he offered you on behalf of sinners.  Forgive those who now seek your mercy in the name of the same Jesus Christ, your son who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.  Amen (Liturgical Prayer Book, 1991, p. 37).

Four…  Thanks be to you, my lord, Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given me, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for me.  O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more dearly and follow you more nearly.  Amen.

June 8, 2013

Mary, your immaculate heart is open to all who ask for your help and intercession.  Teach me how to draw nearer to your son, Jesus.  Show me how to stay close to him at all times (the Word among us, June 2013, p. 28).

June 10, 2013

Looking through my treasure boxes of prayer books, cards, and more I came across some gold nuggets from my great-aunt.  Among them was Tía Queta’s Liturgical Prayer Book, which includes “Jesus prays to his father,” (Psalm 139; Bulleen, 1970, pp. 32-33).

Lord, you examine me and know me.  You know if I am standing or sitting.  You read my thoughts from far away.  Whether I walk or lie down, you are watching.  You know every detail of my conduct.

The word is not even on my tongue, Lord, before you know all about it.  Close behind and close in front you hold me, shielding me with your hand.

Such insight is too wonderful to grasp, a height to which my mind cannot aspire.

Where could I go to escape your spirit?  Where could I flee from your presence?  If I probe the outer space, you are there.  If I lie down in the grave, you are there, too.

Were I to fly to the point of sunrise or westward across the sea, your hand would still be guiding me, your right hand holding on to me.  If I chose to live in perpetual night in a darkness excluding all light, that darkness would not be dark to you.  For you, that night would be as light as day.

Since you, yourself, have created my very being and put me together in my mother’s womb, in wonder I thank you for making me.  How mysterious, like everything you make!

You know me through and through, from having watched my bones take shape when I was being assembled in secret, stitched together in the darkness of the womb.

God, examine my heart to see what I love.  Analyze my mind to see what I think.  Make sure I am not likely to offend you, and guide me on the path that is eternal.


Links of interest…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX…  Ignatian Spirituality: blessings (archives / reflections)…  dotMagis (blog) / e-retreatonline community /
picturing Godprayer online / spiritual exercises / Thinking faith (blog) / videos:
(1) What is Ignatian prayer? (2) Ignatian prayer: An overview (3) Finding God in all things…  Jesus: 365 devotions for kids (book; phone app) / devotion (more) / nonviolent revolution…  Miracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey; YouTube)…  Sacred Heart: about / beads / book / church (about / centennial / video) / consecration / devotion (more / what to know) / divine love / enthronements / explanations / first Friday / history (visual) / introduction / meaning (more) / meditation / novena (YouTube) / postcards / prayers / reparation / significance / twelve promises…  Wind Song: 1973 / 1996 (Matchabelli fragrance, 1953)…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Budding relationships…  Building community…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Connected tangents…  Familiar yet new…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Guadalupe Church…  Heart of hearts…  Home again…  Marian devotions…  Memory lane…  Noon visit…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope… A real church…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart…  Sacred Heart Church…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  St. Mary’s…  Sweet Jesus

Saturday evening Mass


On January 25, 2013, Father Mathias celebrated morning Mass at our church.  He is such a joy to be around that, later in the day, I emailed him.

We’d like to attend Mass at Holy Cross Church tomorrow, but Steven says HCC has no Saturday evening Mass.

On Sunday, Steven will attend the all-day Knights of Columbus ceremonies at St. Paul’s.  A couple of our friends, Sam and Gary, parishioners at SPC and longtime friends of ours, are getting their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees; so Steven will be an observer.

Of course, this means Mass on Saturday.  Are you celebrating Mass elsewhere, so we can join you?

Father Mathias replied.

We don’t have Saturday evening Mass at Holy Cross; but tomorrow I will be offering five o’clock Mass at Sacred Heart Church near the cathedral.  You are most welcome to attend.

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Sacred Heart Church

I’d visited the chapel twice in 2010, but not the church.  Except for Mass, Sacred Heart is kept locked for security reasons.  I could hardly wait to finally see the church within, so I emailed Father Mathias to let him know we’d be there.

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Lady in blue

Father Mathias was in the confessional when we arrived, but before the start of Mass he invited us to view the treasure inside that small room.

“I don’t know who she is,” Father admitted, reverently motioning to the lady in blue.  “I’ve never seen her before.”

“She’s an antique version of Our Lady of San Juan,” I said delightedly.  “The basilica in the Rio Grande Valley was built in her honor.  Her likeness is prominently displayed at St. Anthony of Padua in Robstown, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Hebbronville, and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville.  How special to see her this way!”

Still, what happened to Our Lady’s crown?

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Saturday evening Mass

Father Mathias, who substitutes as needed throughout the diocese but whose home parish is Holy Cross Church, celebrated Mass with Deacon Benny Vargas in Father Motta’s absence.

After Mass, we spoke with both of them and met one of the readers.

Selena extended a heartfelt invitation for us to return for Mass anytime.  “You’re always welcome.  You’re always welcome,” she repeated with gracious inclusivity.

“Thank you so much!  The church is beautiful.  Thank you!” I gushed as she departed.

Then I asked both the sacristan and Deacon Benny if I could take more photos.  “I promise I’ll make it quick.  I know you have family waiting for you at home.”


Steven checked on the frescoes.  Except for those on either side of the altar, which were commissioned in 1950, the fresco on the wall behind the altar as well as those around the church were commissioned between 1942 and 1945.  (The church was founded in 1916.  The date of the present building?)  Steven noted that the artist, Antonio E. Garcia, painted a man holding the Veil of Veronica depicted in the sixth Station of the Cross.

The most recent version of the legend recounts that St. Veronica from Jerusalem encountered Jesus along the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary.  When she paused to wipe the blood and sweat (Latin suda) off his face with her veil, his image was imprinted on the cloth.  The event is commemorated by the sixth station of the Stations of the Cross.  According to some versions, Veronica later traveled to Rome to present the cloth to the Roman Emperor Tiberius.  The veil possesses miraculous properties: being able to quench thirst, cure blindness, and sometimes even raise the dead (Wikipedia, 2013).

“No doubt the benefactor was honored for his financial contribution,” Steven said.  For this reason, he, not Veronica, is shown in the fresco as the one who gifted the holy napkin to the king.


I joined Steven and Deacon Benny by the ambo and started in with my questions.

“How long does the chapel stay open?” I asked.

“Usually, the chapel is open during the day and closes after evening Mass.”

“I was here twice in 2010,” I said.  “I have pictures of the Christ.”

“I know it used to scare the heck out of me when I was little,” Deacon chuckled.

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Call of service

“Have you always come here?” I continued.

SHC12613-77“I grew up in this neighborhood many, many years ago.”

“How special!”

“Then, just recently, I was ordained in November and got assigned to this parish; so it worked out beautifully.”

“What a blessing!” I enthused.

“Two of our good friends— Francisco Rodriguez and David Castillo— were in that class,” Steven added.

“We’re from the same class, yes.  I think they stayed in their own parishes.  I told them, ‘Don’t throw me in the briar patch!'” Deacon Benny laughingly recalled.  “I was happy.  It was beautiful to have been assigned here.”

“That was when?”

“That same week.  It was an immediate assignment.  We were under the impression, initially, that we’d stay at our home parish for the remainder of the month, but no.  I was a parishioner at the cathedral for over twenty-five years, but here I am where I grew up.”


Knowing that I’d keep the conversation going, Steven interrupted.

“Which is the way out?” he asked.

Since the front doors were already locked, the side door would take us past the chapel onto the sidewalk that led to the end of the block where we’d parked across the street, so we began our farewells.

“Thank you for allowing me to do this,” I said gratefully.  “I waited a long time.  My dream came true!”

“It’s been a blessing for all of us.”

“For many reasons,” I agreed.

“Yes.  With your pictures and the story behind them?  Works wonders.  God bless you both.”

“God bless you, Deacon!  We’ll see each other again.  Congratulations on heeding the call of service to God Almighty!”

“Thank you.  It’s truly a privilege,” Deacon Benny said humbly.

“We may be back!”

“You’re welcome anytime!”

“Thank you!  That’s what Selena told us.  She was so welcoming!”

“It doesn’t have to be on official business!” Deacon Benny teased.

“God bless you,” the sacristan finally chimed in after waiting patiently for us to finish.  “Y’all have a good night.”

A very good night, I thought.

How special to have another wish come true thanks to Father Mathias’s invitation to have us join him for Saturday evening Mass.

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Efficacious novena to the sacred heart of Jesus

O my Jesus, you have said, “Truly, I say to you, ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”  Behold, I knock; I seek and ask for the grace of…

Our Father….  Hail Mary….  Glory be to the Father….  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O my Jesus, you have said, “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”  Behold, in your name I ask the Father for the grace of…

Our Father….  Hail Mary….  Glory be to the Father….  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O my Jesus, you have said, “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will not pass away.”  Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…

Our Father….  Hail Mary….  Glory be to the Father….  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you through the sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary, your tender mother and ours.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add, “St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.”

This novena prayer was recited every day by Padre Pio for all who asked for his prayers.  The faithful are invited to recite it daily so as to be spiritually united with the prayer of St. Pio.

Prayers to Our Lady of San Juan

Novena…  Amada Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos, cuídanos de todo mal, acompáñanos en nuestra vida, y libéranos de todo tipo de pecado.  (Haga su petición.)  Doy gracias a Dios y a la virgen de los lagos por el favor concedido.

Rece durante nueve días el rosario.  Tambien se reza la “Coronita de los doce privilegios de la inmaculada madre de Dios.”


Our Lady of San Juan del Valle – San Juan, TX

Links of interest…  Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle: facebook / gift shop / history (more) / icon / national shrine / prayer (Spanish) / prayer card (other) / video…  Knights of Columbus…  Our Lady: beloved of the Trinity / celebrating May / corner / devotion / gate of heaven / litany / meditations / mother (of the church) / page prayers (miracles – more – novena – queen of angels) / untier of knots…  Sacred Heart: about / beads / consecration / devotions / devotionals / history / novena / significance…  Sacred Heart Church…  San Martin de Porres: about / biography / book / facts / feast (Nov 3) / novena / patron / prayers / saint of the broom / who is…  Santo Niño de Atocha: about / chapel / history / miracles / origin / prayers…  St. Anthony: 1195-1231 / biography / Franciscan / life / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / more prayers / shrine / stolen relic / wonder worker…  St. Joseph: about / blog / celebration / feast / name / prayers / solemnity…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus & the Holy Face: 1873-1897 / about / Carmelite / celestial roses / centenary / chaplet / history / inspiration / invocation / life / oblation / feast (Oct 1st) / little way / novena / petitions / prayer / relic / story…  Veronica’s story: chaplet / devotion / golden arrow & promises / litany / namenovena / prayer / reparation / veil (poem)…  Why Sunday Mass is celebrated Saturday evening

WP posts…  Beautiful sacred space…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Connected tangents…  Faces of Mary…  Finding St. Rita…  Franciscan treasures…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  Holy Cross Church…  Home again…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten reflections…  Our Lady…  A real church…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart…  Sacred Heart Church (CCTX)…  Sensory overload…  St. Anthony’s finally…  St. Jude Shrine (CCTX)…  Sweet Jesus

Christ’s sacred heart


This past Saturday Steven and I attended evening Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

What timeliness, considering that a leaflet with prayers to the sacred heart of Jesus arrived the very same day I took photos of the beautiful statue at church.


Anima Christi…  Soul of Christ, sanctify me.  Body of Christ, heal me.  Blood of Christ, drench me.  Water from the side of Christ, wash me.  Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

Good Jesus, hear me.  In your wounds, shelter me.  From turning away, keep me.  From the evil one, protect me.

At the hour of my death, call me.  Into your presence, lead me to praise you with all saints forever and ever.  Amen.

Consecration…  Most holy Lord, we humbly come before you.  You have redeemed us by your death and resurrection, [and] we are yours.  You won us from darkness and… have given the light of your love.  We wish to be yours yet more, Lord, if you will accept us.

We kneel before you and freely consecrate our hearts to your sacred heart.  We mean to stand with you all of our days and all of our lives.  We beg you to send us to call others to know your sacred heart.

Protect your church throughout the world and bring to every people the peace of your kingdom so that all humankind may come to sing your praise, who live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

For mercy…  Blessed be the holy and immaculate conception of the blessed virgin, Mary, mother of God.  We adore you, Christ, and praise you because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.  Most sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

For the dying…  Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I pray you, by the agony of your most sacred heart and by the sorrows of your immaculate mother, to wash in your most precious blood the sinners of the world who are now in their agony and who will die today.  Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying.  Amen.

Heart of hearts…  May your heart dwell always in our hearts!  May your blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!  O sun of our hearts, you give life to all things by the rays of your goodness!  I will not go until your heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!  May the heart of Jesus be the king of my heart!  Blessed be God.  Amen (St. Francis de Sales).


Novena…  Lord, Jesus Christ, to your most sacred heart I confide this intention.  (Mention your request.)

Only look upon me, then do what your heart inspires.  Let your sacred heart decide.  I count on you.  I trust in you.

I throw myself on your mercy, Lord Jesus!  You will not fail me.

Sacred heart of Jesus, I trust in you.  Sacred heart of Jesus, I believe in your love for me.  Sacred heart of Jesus. your kingdom come.

Sacred heart of Jesus, I have asked for many favors; but I earnestly implore this one.  (State your request.)

Take it, place it in your sacred heart.  When the eternal Father sees it covered with your precious blood, he will not refuse it.  It will no longer be my prayer but yours, O Jesus. O sacred heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.  Let me never be confounded.  Amen.

Offering…  My God, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings in union with the sacred heart of Jesus, for the intentions for which he pleads and offers himself in the holy sacrifice of the Mass, in thanksgiving for your favors, in reparation for my sins, and in humble supplication for my temporal and eternal welfare, for the needs of our holy Mother the Church, for the conversion of sinners, and for the relief of the poor souls in purgatory.  Amen.

Petition…  O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine.  Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will.  Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.  Protect me in the midst of danger.  Comfort me in my afflictions.  Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.  Amen.

Request…  Sacred heart of Jesus, today I wish to live in you, in your grace in which I desire at all costs to persevere.  Keep me from sin and strengthen my will by helping me to keep watch over my senses, my imagination, and my heart.  Help me to correct my faults which are the source of sin.  I beg you to do this, O Jesus, through Mary, your immaculate mother.  Amen.

Special need…  Sacred heart of Jesus, I firmly believe that you are here and see me perfectly and that you observe all my actions, all my thoughts, and the most secret movements of my heart.  You permit me, a sinner, to remain in your presence.  It is your goodness and bounty which command me to come to you in this, my time of special need.  With confidence I pray that you will grant me this grace which I ask of you.  Amen.

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Contact information

Christ’s Sacred Heart (R 3/03), Sacred Heart (R56), and Prayers to the Sacred Heart (R-38/15) are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

November 23, 2013

“Through Christ the eyes of our hearts are opened, and our weak and clouded understanding reaches up toward the light” (St. Clement I).

December 7, 2013

Christ is everything for us.  If you wish to cure a wound, he is doctor; if you burn with fever, he is fountain; if you are oppressed by iniquity, he is justice; if you are in need of help, he is strength; if you fear death, he is life; if you desire heaven, he is the way; if you flee from darkness, he is light; if you seek food, he is nourishment (St. Ambrose, c. 340-397).

April 27, 2014

To keep me from sin and straying from him, God has used devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  My life vows destined to be spent in the light irradiating from the tabernacle, and it is to the heart of Jesus that I dare go for the solution of all my problems (Pope St. John XXIII).

May 6, 2014

“A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one” (St. Philip Neri).

June 14, 2014

DL62114s-2“There is in the sacred heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return”
(Pope Leo XIII).

June 23, 2014

Thanks, Lovely Ning and Sam, for sharing the short aspirations to the Sacred Heart from your Dominican laity meeting on Saturday!

June 27, 2014

And [Christ] showed me that it was his great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made him form the design of manifesting his heart to men with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation, which it contains in order that those who desire to render him and procure him all the honor and love possible might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which his heart is the source (St. Mary Margaret Alacoque).

August 7, 2014

O Jesus, deign to take me into your sacred heart.  Grant that it may be the sanctuary where I may be recollected, sheltered, and find my rest (Fr. Gabriel OCD in Divine Intimacy).

September 17, 2014

When we appeal to the throne of grace we do so through Mary, honoring God by honoring his Mother, imitating him by exalting her, touching the most responsive chord in the sacred heart of Christ with the sweet name of Mary (St. Robert Bellarmine).

October 20, 2014

Build an oratory within yourself and, there, have Jesus on the altar of your heart.  Speak to him often while you are doing your work.  Speak to him of his holy love, of his holy sufferings, and of the sorrows of most holy Mary (St. Paul of the Cross).

November 7, 2014

“The measure of love is to love without measure” (St. Francis de Sales).

November 29, 2014

The greatness of our Lady was in her humility.  No wonder Jesus, who lived so close to her, seemed so anxious that we learn from him and from her but one lesson: To be meek and humble of heart (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

January 15, 2015

Draw near to our Lord thoroughly aware of you own nothingness, and you may hope all things from his goodness and mercy.  Never forget that Jesus Christ is no less generous in the Blessed Sacrament than he was during his mortal life on earth (Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier).

April 8, 2015

“Do everything through love and for love, making good use of the present moment, and do not be anxious about the future” (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).

April 16, 2015

Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we are called to ongoing conversion.  It is a journey in which we continually grow in the Lord.  We grow in many ways: we deepen our faith; we get to know the saints and the family of believers; we become more compassionate toward the poor and the hungry; we become better fathers and mothers (Shaun McAfee, 2015).

May 4, 2015

“There is nothing so strong as gentleness, and there is nothing so gentle as real strength” (St. Francis de Sales).

June 12, 2015

Humble yourself whenever opportunity offers with true humility of heart.  This is all, I think, that the heart of our Lord asks of you (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).

June 14, 2015

“The most efficacious way to have devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus is through the immaculate heart of Mary” (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).

June 29, 2015

In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness, reverence; and keep your conscience clear so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Peter 3:15-16)

August 9, 2015

I turn to Mary and ask her to obtain for me the grace to imitate our Lord’s heart.  I saw how perfectly her heart copied his (St. Claude de la Colombiere).

August 13, 2015

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:37-39).

August 17, 2015

Although the heart of Jesus is distinct from that of Mary and infinitely surpasses it in excellence and holiness, nevertheless God has so closely united these two hearts that we may say with truth that they are but one heart (St. John Eudes).

August 19, 2015

Jesus is my all, and I desire to belong wholly to him.  It is extreme folly and delusion to look elsewhere for my true happiness (St. John Eudes).

August 20, 2015

“This twofold mercy abounds in the heart of the Lord Jesus— his long-suffering in waiting for the sinner and his readiness in granting pardon” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

October 5, 2015

Jesus.  Source of my life, sanctify me.  O my strength, fortify me.  My commander, fight for me (St. Faustina Kowalska).

November 16, 2015

St. Gertrude, a Benedictine nun, [was a mystic].  She was favored by visions… and has left… a book… called Revelations.  [She] introduced the devotion to the Sacred Heart which, four centuries later, St. Margaret Mary spread… (Catholic Culture).

November 25, 2015

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

“Begin with the beautiful, which leads you to the good, which leads you to the truth” (Bishop Robert Barron).

April 11, 2016

If all were to know how beautiful Jesus is, how loving he is!  They would all die of love.  And yet how is it that he is so little loved? (St. Gemma Galgani).

June 25, 2016

“Love overcomes, love delights, [and] those who love the Sacred Heart rejoice” (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

June 7, 2017

Since there is in the sacred heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore it is fitting and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to his most sacred heart— an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of one’s self to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration, and love is given to his divine heart is really and truly given to Christ himself (Pope Leo XIII).

June 23, 2017

Jesus does not wish his heart to be a mystery to us.  Rather his heart is an open door; he wears it on his sleeve for us, so to speak.  Jesus makes his heart completely available to us.  He is meek, he is humble, and he makes himself vulnerable, as he is consumed by love for us and concern for our eternal destiny.

In turn, we are invited to offer our devotion, to have our hearts “burn within us,” to offer consolation to Jesus and make reparation for all of our offenses and those of the whole world.  He wants us to unite ourselves completely with the flow of love and mercy that pours forth from his heart (Anne Costa in Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart).

O my Mother, offer me to Jesus.  O my Mother, take my heart and hide it in the heart of Jesus (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

July 6, 2017

Let us believe our Lord Jesus Christ, who calls this rest his peace, a divine peace, which the world can neither give nor take away— a peace that we can never obtain by our own efforts because it is the gift of God and is his reward for the absolute and irrevocable gift of ourselves that we have made to him (Fr. Jean Nicolas Grou in The Spiritual Life).

July 30, 2017

The incredible mystery of the incarnation is that God willed that a human heart should contain his divine love as a way to be near us and draw us into himself.  As we contemplate the beautiful devotion of his heart, we plunge into the depths of the unfathomable love that God has for each one of us.  The revelation of God’s heart may be seen in the entire life, ministry, and death of Jesus and in the role that the Blessed Mother plays.  From the very beginning, their two hearts have been entwined (Anne Costa in Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart).

August 2, 2017

Through prayer, we experience closeness with God and the true love of his heart.  This love sets us straight, conquers our fears, and completes us.  And in turn, as we come to know the greatness of God’s love, we begin to look for ways to help others know it too.  Our hope to know and receive God’s love in all of its fullness and promise of restoration comes through our prayerful dialogue with the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Anne Costa in Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart).

October 4, 2017

“I will work for your love alone, my sole aim being to give you pleasure, to console your sacred heart, and to save souls who will love you forever” (St. Therese in The Little Catechism of St. Therese).

June 19, 2020

“I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of God” (St. Margaret Alacoque).

Our Lady of the Assumption – Ingleside, TX

Links of interest…  Alive with love…  Broken heart…  Catholic devotions: A spiritual vocabulary…  Cheat sheet (Matthew 25:31-46)…  Surrendering to Christ…  Falling in love: Knowing the sacred heart of Jesus…  Fire of love, refuge from evil…  Five steps for giving your mind to Christ…  Forgotten blessed nun who influenced the pope…  Franciscan Mission Associates...  Heart of flame: Four reasons to love the sacred heart…  How to pray the litany of the sacred heart / to receive Christ with love…  Joy found in the Sacred Heart…  Knowing Jesus: How Catholics experience the Son of God…  Love repaid with love…  Prayer: The first essential practice of the Sacred Heart…  Prayers: consecration / devotion / meditation, novena, & offering / two hearts…  Sacred heart: about / & the Holy Eucharist / beads / blood & water / consecration (family) / devotions / devotionals / five saints / from Toy Town with lovehistory / love that crushes evilnovena (YouTube) / reasons to love / savior / significance / society (1st Friday reflections – blogs – mater reflections) / why is it burning…  Shaun McAfee: about / Filling our Father’s house (book)…  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: about (more) / apostle & messenger / book / feast / life / memorial / patron saint (more) / Oct 16prayer / quotes (more) / receptionsecret / twelve promises (more)…  Staying ready

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Beautiful sacred space…  Beloved joyful priest…  God’s lovely gifts…  Guadalupe Church…  Heart of hearts…  Home again…  Marian devotions…  Our Lady’s church…  A real church…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart…  Sacred Heart Church…  San Juan Diego …  Saturday evening Mass…  Sweet Jesus

A real church


I still vividly recall my first visit to Sacred Heart with Aunt Rachel, mom’s youngest sister.  I was about four or five and so totally awed by the grandness of the church— wood floors, very high ceilings, enormous stained-glass windows— that I was too captivated to make a peep.

Sacred Heart Church was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen!

Segy’s tuba

Decades later, when Segy and I were parishioners, we met some of the nicest folks at Sacred Heart.

Segy was in the high school band program then so, all on his own, he decided to bring his tuba along to accompany the organist, who looked more than surprised— most likely tiffed— that he’d dared to do the unthinkable.  I mean, c’mon.  A tuba?!! she must’ve thought.  But Segy was not to be dissuaded.

Sometimes Mrs. Merta, a teacher friend we’d met at the elementary school where I’d taught and Segy had attended, would substitute.  Her husband was a well-known band director who loved the tuba, so Mrs. Merta was always complimentary of Segy and even rewarded him with a well deserved token of her esteem.  “Let him keep it.  He earned it,” she’d insist with a smile.

It was a very special time for me, too.  I was part of the choir even though I’d never thought I had a good singing voice.  And everyone in the group was so very, very nice.  A wonderful experience all the way around!

Lots of memories

As Steven opened the door for me to enter Sacred Heart a couple of weekends ago, the greeter wasn’t the Irish gentleman who’d always twinkled at Segy and me when we arrived for eleven-thirty Mass Sunday morning.

John O’Leary was always glad to see us.  He’d get really close as he handed me the church bulletin and tell me a quick story or two about his beloved Chicago.  His take on the great fire of 1871 was a hoot.  Then again he always got a charge out of making me laugh; and he was a spiffy dresser, too.  John was the leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a real gentleman.

Although I didn’t recognize the greeter this time, the first person I noticed talking to someone in the very last pew was the organist whom I’d always thought was a nun.  She wouldn’t have remembered me, so I kept walking to the seventh center pew, outside right— the one that Segy and I had occupied until we joined the choir.

Sitting there, I recognized two others.  A white-haired woman with a sweet smile sitting in her usual spot— left center aisle seat, third pew— whose sister mom had known through the altar society at Christ the King.  And a tall man— the lector with the same robust voice as before— who sat on the extreme left near the aisle seat, first pew, in front of the pulpit.

None of the other regulars were there but, looking around, I readily envisioned them in their respective places.  I hadn’t known them all by name, yet I easily remembered their heartfelt smiles and their lighthearted conversations.  No matter that most of them had been much older than the rest of us, they welcomed all who celebrated Mass in their beloved Sacred Heart.

Lots of delectable recollections gushed forth as I savored my time in church.  Lingering about after Mass.  Talking with various folks.  Charles and his sister, whose parents always helped with counting money and other responsibilities.  Vicki and Tom, newlyweds in their much later years.  Evening choir rehearsals for Christmas and Easter Masses.  Frs. Moran, Sheehan, and Lanese.  Judge Garza, whom President Kennedy had appointed to the U.S. district court, and his family who shared space with the rest of us off and on during the year.  The visiting priest from Port Isabel who, in his infinite wisdom, compared the soul to a multifaceted crystal vase in his unforgettable homily.  So many excellent memories!

Same as always

??????????I was beyond glad to be back at Sacred Heart after so many years— too many, really— that I wondered what’d kept me away after Segy left for Wabash.

Tears filled my eyes.  Don’t do it.  Don’t cry.  You won’t be able to stop, I told myself.  I felt Segy so strongly that persistent tears streamed down my face even after wiping at them again and again.

I’d been gone more than twelve years, and yet I’d never left.  Funny, too, how Steven had taken Segy’s (Steven’s) place beside me at the very same pew we’d occupied so many years before.

A real church

In the midst of all these memories and emotions I’d been listening to Fr. Joe’s homily.

“This is a real church,” Father said before repeating for emphasis.  “This— is a real church.”

Yes, I smiled.  This is what I’ve been telling Steven all along.  Not all churches are real, but I know real.  So, maybe now having heard it from someone else who knows, he’ll believe me.

And whomever has said— me included— that one can’t ever go back isn’t altogether correct.  Sacred Heart is as it’s always been: beautiful, peaceful, embracing.  Real.











April 20, 2015

In a spirit of openheartedness, we need to listen to the unexpected and to embrace the new and different in the passage of scripture that we are pondering.

As I am reading the scriptures as if for the first time, help me, Spirit of God, to surrender to the unknown, letting your Word shape and form me into your likeness (Sister Maria Tasto, OSB, 1938-2014).

June 15, 2015

There is a subtle difference between listening and reflecting.  So often we do not listen as deeply as we could.  We tend to rush right into reflective thoughts and miss the real point of the conversation.

Gently remind me, O God, to listen deeply to what you are communicating. Give me the patience to hang out with the reading, letting it take me to a deeper level within myself.  Help me to savor the word or phrase that catches my attention, hearing WHAT is being said (Sister Maria Tasto).


Links of interest…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX…  Great Chicago fire…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC)…  Judge Reynaldo Garza: biography (YouTube) / collection…  Sacred Heart Church (about / video)…  Sisters of St. Benedict (Indiana): Monday messages / prayer requestswebsite…  Valley Catholic: Church of the week (SHC)…

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Backtracking…  Beautiful sacred space…  Budding relationships…  Building community…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Connected tangents…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Heart of hearts…  Home again…  Memory lane…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart…  Sacred Heart Church…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus

Right at home


You know what it is— don’t you— to be so smitten with a person, place, or thing that you just have to take a second look?  Then, when you do, it’s so not what you thought or felt about that person, place, or thing— which prompts you ask, What the heck caught my eye in the first place? 


After our first trip to Nacogdoches we couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it, so two weekends ago we went back to find out if it still tugged at our heartstrings.

Oh, what a revelation!

Nacogdoches was just as wonderful the second time around.  In fact, more like an extension of the first visit since we picked right up where we’d left off.

It was like finally reading the sequel to a much-loved novel, which, for me, meant finding and buying Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet (Cameron, 1956) after having read The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (the first in a five-book series; 1954) thirty-four years earlier!  Truly momentous, savored through and through, filling but still with a yen for more.

Another memorable experience

And that was Nacogdoches our second time around.  Simply grand.

Steven indulged us with a two-night stay at the historic Hotel Fredonia downtown, so we could be close to everything.  Although, really?  Anywhere in Nacogdoches is close to everything else. 

Friday evening we treated ourselves to some authentic Mexican food at La Carreta where the flavors and the textures appealed to my taste buds’ recollections of mom’s flour tortillas and food in South Texas.

Saturday, we spread ourselves more thinly than usual; but we were returning home mid-morning Sunday, so what choice did we have but to make the most of our visit?

Farmer’s market

We started at the “hitch lot” on West Main and Pearl streets.

Oh, the sights, sounds, and items to buy! 

Hmm, hmm, hmm.   Fresh fruits, vegetables, preserves, cheeses, and all sorts of delectable goodies were on display, as well as handcrafted items.  We bought two sets of knitted potholders from a retired nurse and two pairs of beaded earrings from Mamie, who gave Steven her calling card, which, like the others we got there, had not email addresses, but telephone numbers only.  Quite different from life elsewhere, personal, simplified. 



Everywhere we turned vendors were smiling.  Some shared samples with buyers and browsers alike, all hoping to sell their wares.  We felt right at home especially among those who readily engaged in conversation.

Steven chatted with a psychologist who sells handcrafted furniture that benefits patients at the state hospital.  Interestingly, the man has lived without electricity for the past
thirty-five years.  And this, he said with a chuckle, is why it took him a good, long while to find the right woman to share his rustic life.


In the meantime I listened off and on to the conversations around me, took photos, and observed from where I stood next to a woman selling plants and vegetables from her pickup truck.

NTX61910-54The woman was all smiles but seemed a bit uncomfortable.  She repositioned her stance every little while and used her cane as often, but she was very cheerful nonetheless.

A man stopped by, asked a question, commented on the woman’s response, and then moved on.  He’d bought from her before but didn’t find what he wanted this time around.

When Steven finished his conversation with the doctor, he joined me in talking to the woman, Fran, who was so friendly that I wished we could be there every Saturday.  She asked if we were new to the market, so we introduced ourselves and took turns talking as we nibbled on two freshly picked cherry tomatoes Fran hadn’t thought twice about giving us.

Fran vividly described how she’d gotten her ankle crushed.  Her husband had asked for help in moving the hogs to another pen when the largest one pushed hard against her, pinning her foot against the fence.  Ye-ouch!  She’d convalesced for several weeks, so that morning was her first time back at the market despite her swollen ankle.

We really enjoyed Fran’s company but had to be elsewhere in ten minutes.  We agreed to meet up again one day soon and headed to the vehicle just as the folk singer started his melodious, melancholy song.  What a voice!


When we’d arrived the man had been setting up chairs in front of his canopied area, and only now had he gotten to the singing part.  I so wanted to stay and listen to the rest of the song at least; but the sooner we took care of business the sooner we could return to Peking for lunch— our third time there— for its mouth-watering special of the day, its peaceful ambiance, and its impeccable service.


On returning to the Fredonia mid-afternoon a young man eating his lunch on a couch in the lobby told me about the Sterne-Hoya House as Steven took photos.  He suggested that we might want to visit as he had earlier.  The young man was so nice that he instantaneously pulled up the museum’s website on his laptop to pique my interest further, and the hotel clerk handed me some pamphlets and a map in case their directions weren’t helpful.


I thanked them both and looked for Steven, who’d plopped down on a different sofa by then.  He looked really beat, but I shared the information with him anyway.  NTX61910-360Then,
pushing exhaustion aside for the time being, we rushed off to the museum before it closed at four.

What an experience! 

Marissa, our guide, a history major at Stephen F. Austin, peppered her talk with fascinating facts on both the Sterne and Hoya families; but I was most impressed with her effervescent personality.  She not only captured our attention, but also fed our inquiring minds with tantalizing tidbits that left us wanting to take her tour at the Durst-Taylor house, the second oldest structure in Nacogdoches, when we’re back in town.

Right at home

From there we drove to church for five o’clock Mass.  We sat in the same place as before.  On the right up close to the front for the best effect.



Of course, knowing that Bishop Carmody had dedicated Sacred Heart in 1992— just
as he had St. Joseph Church, our home parish, in 2009— made us feel right at home.  Moreover, that Bishop Carmody married us makes anything connected to him a heartfelt remembrance.

SHC61910-404After Mass we made our way to the beautiful chapel on the other side of the glass wall behind the altar.  Our first time there I’d taken photos of St. Elizabeth Seton’s stained glass window but hadn’t gotten a closeup of the relic with its accompanying certificate of authenticity at the bottom.

Before long a woman entered and engaged Steven in conversation as I took photos.  As we talked about the church and my blog, a second woman with a terrific sense of humor joined us and teasingly asked what we’d been told, as if casting doubt on her friend’s veracity.

We all introduced ourselves and continued talking as we made our way back into the church.  Mary, the first woman we met, works with the musicians; and Margo, the zany, witty one, gave us a mini tour focused on the beautiful stained glass windows.

Margo also showed us Jennifer’s window.  The girl, just sixteen when she died unexpectedly, was the younger sister of the town’s famous World Cup soccer player, Clint Dempsey.  Her death was a terrible loss to both the family and the community.

“Yes.  We read about Dempsey in The Daily Sentinel yesterday,” I said.  “We also read about him on Yahoo a few days ago.”

Conversing with Mary and Margo was truly special.  We felt genuinely welcomed in their presence, which built on our first visit to Sacred Heart.

That time we’d met the deacon who helped us find our way to the chapel, but we’d missed out on seeing how folks interact with one another after Mass.

This time we observed how Father builds community.  He cares about his parishioners and relates to them lightheartedly.  During Mass he said that all men, married or single, would be given a Father’s Day memento.  Then he told us about his beloved uncles before asking the oldest fathers to rise for recognition as he handed them the mementos personally.  After Mass Father spent time talking with folks as they left, while small groups lingered here and there to chat a bit before departing.

As for Steven and me?  Mary and Margo made it a point to learn about us, why we were there, and encouraged our participation in the future.  They also introduced us to Father, who’d been locking and unlocking the front door as folks exited.

Then after Steven shared what all he does at St. Joseph’s, Father turned to me.

“And what do you do?” he asked point-blank.

“I maintain the blog I created for our church.”

Father looked at the others, tilted his head ever so slightly, and made a strange face before moving aside for us to leave.


Moreover, we’re delighted to have
established a meaningful connection to Sacred Heart Church in just two visits.

J. McKinney’s

Finally, we topped our time in Nacogdoches with dinner at the Hotel Fredonia where we met a Stephen F. Austin junior waitressing her way through a fashion marketing degree.

Denise’s effusive personality coupled with her gracious hospitality made us feel very much at home at J. McKinney’s that evening.

What a delightful time!

January 4, 2015

How consoling, how sweet the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul!  It is instant peace and balm to every wound (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton).

January 4, 2016

The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair.  God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other.  The more we are united to him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to him (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton).

January 4, 2019

O Jesus, sure joy of my soul, give me but a true love of you.  Let me seek you as my only good (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton).

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Photo files…  Farmer’s market: one / two…  Hotel: one / two…  Museum: one / two / three / four…  SHC chapel

Links of interest…  Eleanor Cameron: about / award / books / stowaway / wonderful flight…  Daily Sentinel…  Clint Dempsey…  Farmer’s market: blog / local harvest / reviews / rules & regulations…  Historic: landmarks / people, places, events / sites department…  Hotel Fredonia…  Nacogdoches: chamber of commercethings to do / visitors bureau / website…  Restaurants: La Carreta / Peking…  Sacred Heart Church: facebook / map / multicultural festival / parish / website…  Servant of God Simon Bruté…  St. Elizabeth Seton: biography / devotional area / national shrine / prayer / relic / saint / upwards perspective

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Beautiful sacred space…  Heart of hearts…  Holy relics…  Home again…  A real church…  Sacred Heart (Nacogdoches)…  Sacred Heart Church (Corpus Christi, TX)…  Saturday evening Mass

Sacred Heart

SHC52210-118Until Steven and I visited Nacogdoches recently, I’d carried around only two recollections of the oldest city in Texas: reading about the place in seventh grade social studies class and driving— umm, riding— through the town on our way to and from Walt Disney World one summer looong ago.  So my memories were limited only to what I’d thought were cobblestone streets and turn-of-the-century houses.

Towering pines

What I hadn’t expected were the piney woods.

Oh, my!  We’re still in Texas!  I don’t want to go back to the Coastal Bend, not even to our island paradise. 

Highway 59 North, take me awaaaay.


We arrived Saturday afternoon, familiarized ourselves with the town, and attended five o’clock Mass at Sacred Heart Church.

We met some very friendly people: the church deacon; Richard at Casa Tomás and Chao at Peking, both Stephen F. Austin (SFA) students who wait tables to earn spending money; the young man at Auto Zone who replaced the battery in Steven’s palomino; Stacey, the desk clerk at La Quinta, and other staff members; the young woman at the visitors’ center; the fine folks at SFA the day we dropped in unannounced and were gifted with a tour of the early childhood facility; and others with whom we interacted during our three-day stay.

In fact, we were sooo smitten with Nacogdoches that we’re counting the days until we’re back there again!








Photo files…  Sacred Heart Church: one / two / three / four

Links of interest…  Daily Sentinel…  Nacogdoches: about / chamber of commerce / first TX town / Nine Flags Festival / oldest city in TX / piney woods / profile / things to do / town / visitors bureau / website…  Restaurants: Casa Tomás / Peking…  Sacred Heart Church: parishes online / website…  Stephen F. Austin State University…  TX Forest Trail Region

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Beautiful sacred space…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Heart of hearts…  Holy relics…  Home again…  A real church…  Right at home…  Sacred Heart Church (Corpus Christi, TX)…  Saturday evening Mass

Sacred Heart Church


Yesterday I spent the day at the county courthouse.  Having been assigned to a jury panel on the eighth floor, I took the elevator with mixed anticipation.

Stepping onto the hallway, I turned left and walked to the window.  I wanted to see the roof of the cathedral a few blocks away.  Satisfied, I walked to the opposite end of the hallway nearer the courtroom where I’d be most of the day.  Looking out the window from there, I spotted another beautiful church top and asked, “Does anyone know the name of that church?” but got no response.

After lunch, one of the jurors spoke to me from across the narrow hallway.  “Remember you asked about that church this morning?  It’s Sacred Heart on Comanche Street.”

I smilingly thanked him and decided that, no matter what time we were dismissed, I’d stop by for a visit before heading home.

At the church

SHC31510-45I parked on the side street away from the front entrance.  A woman and her son were getting into their vehicle, so I hurried over to ask if the church was open.

“Unfortunately, the church is locked.  These are different times… not safe to keep churches open at all hours.  But, if you walk in through that gate and through that door,” she said, pointing the way, “you’ll find the chapel.  That’s where we often come to pray.”

“Thank you!”

She looked on until I opened the door to the chapel.

I’d waited six long hours to get there, but I’d been ready since the night before when I’d placed my Coolpix in my tote bag.

Purposeful visit

SHC31510-5Walking into the darkened chapel, I noticed the woman writing in the book of petitions.  She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she never once looked up to see anyone enter.  The man, too, was deeply in prayer.  I did my best not to disturb them, although I did meet the woman, Esmeralda, afterwards when she asked why I was taking photos.

We talked at length about prayer, faith, petitions and praise, and why she visits the chapel.

“I like to be spontaneous.  This morning I got the notion to come here after my doctor’s visit this afternoon, so here I am.”  Esmeralda enjoys the chapel’s quiet peacefulness before returning to her hometown.

“I think God planted that thought in both of us today,” I enthused.

Esmeralda agreed.  She’d wanted a photo of the lifelike Christ icon for some time, so I was glad to oblige.

We exchanged information, and then she asked me to pray for her and for her son.  “My son’s a pharmacist, but he has such a bad case of psoriasis that he can’t get work,” Esmeralda explained.

“I’ll keep both of you in my thoughts and prayers, and I’ll add your names to our church blog’s petitions page.”

We hugged goodbye, and I remained a while longer, finishing the entry I’d started before Esmeralda had approached me.

Treasure trove

I’m always amazed at God’s impeccable timing and his sense of humor.  He leaves me treasures here and there to keep me actively engaged in what I’ve come to call my Easter egg hunt in life.

Yesterday’s time spent at the courthouse led me to Sacred Heart Church.  So, yes.  I found another treasure and got what I wanted, even though the church was locked.

The sneak peek through the glass wall that separates the chapel from the main church was priceless, even though I would’ve wanted to photograph the Stations of the Cross painted on the walls and the arched ceilings.  But I suppose it was God’s way of whetting my appetite until I return there for Mass, take more photos, and discover something— and/or someone— as I did yesterday.

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March 17, 2010

The chapel reminded me of our visit to the San Agustin Cathedral in Laredo, TX.


May 10, 2010

Searching for prayers to St. Felix, I came across a very nice tidbit: Visits to Jesus in the Tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (1898).

August 14, 2011

So far I’ve found depictions of a bereaved Mary holding her beloved son in three sacred spaces: Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, the Corpus Christi Cathedral, and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (left to right, respectively).


“No created mind, no created heart, no human force is capable of knowing how much love the heart of Mary had for our Lord” (St. Jerome).

June 27, 2017

Most people’s glorious gates of perception creak on rusty hinges.  How much of the splendor of life is wasted on us because we plod along half-blind, half-deaf, with all our senses throttled, and numbed by habituation?  How much joy is lost on us.  How many surprises we miss.  It is as if Easter eggs had been hidden under every bush and we were too lazy to look for them. But it need not be so.  We are able to stop the advance of dullness like the spread of a disease.  We can even reverse the process and initiate healing.  We can deliberately pay attention each day to one smell, one sound which we never appreciated before, to one color or shape, one texture, one taste to which we never before paid attention (David Steindl-Rast in The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life).

Links of interest…  Blessed Virgin Mary…  Finding comfort (booklets as pdf files)…  How to pray the rosary…  Michelangelo: about / sculpture…  Our Lady of Sorrows: beautiful prayer (YouTube) / devotion (YouTube) / devotionals / feast (Sept. 15) / meditations / mystery of comfort and hope / mysteries (YouTube) / novena / of sorrows / prayers / scriptures (YouTube) / seven prayers / seven sorrows…  Pietà: about / art (YouTube) / chapel / depiction / making / names / statueSacred Heart Church

WP posts…   Angels keeping watch…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Concrete abstraction…  Faces of Mary…  Growing pains…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  In the pink…  Historic nuggets…  Living one’s gifts…  Lourdes novenas…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  My Franciscan Crown…  Noon visit…  Our Lady…  Our Lady’s church…  Prayerful ways…  Repeated prayers…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Saturday evening Mass…  Seven dwelling places…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Felix…  St. Monica…  Sweet Jesus

Sweet Jesus

“The name of Jesus is the most sweet-tasting nourishment of contemplation, for it feeds and revives those souls that are famished and spiritually hungry” (St. Bernardine of Siena).

Adorable Infant Jesus, you not only humbled yourself to assume our human nature, but chose also to come to us as a little child, weakest and most defenseless among men.  Teach us, then, to learn the real greatness of humility and that human strength is made perfect in weakness by your divine aid.

Lovable Infant Jesus, have mercy on us and help us in our need.  Let us rely alone on God, our most provident Father, who watches over us always.  By your grace may we approach our heavenly Father in confidence with a trust like that of a little child.

Admirable Infant Jesus, have pity on our littleness and weakness and assist us by your divine power in our present necessity.  Please help us today to reverence all life and, for your sake, to love all living things which your goodness created and your coming recreated.  Amen.

V. Lord, you made us a little less than angels.

R. You have crowned us with glory and honor.

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of the Universe, you chose to come among us as a helpless infant so that we might all approach you more readily, confidently, and without fear.

Help us, please, our Infant King, to become like little children.  Please grant us the heavenly help we now seek.  Aid us from your throne on high to imitate your perfect love of God and man.  In your goodness, Divine Child, manifest your power to all men, preserve us from sin, and bring us safe at last into your heavenly company.  Amen.

O sweet Jesus, I desire neither life nor death but your most holy will.  You are the one, O Lord, that I long for.  If it be your will to have me die, receive my soul and grant that, in you and with you, I may receive everlasting rest.  If it be your holy will to have me live longer upon this earth, give me the grace to amend the rest of my life and, with good works, to glorify your holy name.  Amen.

O miraculous Infant Jesus, we prostrate before your sacred image and beseech you to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts.  Let your tender heart, so inclined to pity, be softened by our prayers and grant us the grace that we ardently implore you.  Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden.  For your sacred infancy’s sake, hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise you with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.

Prayers above: Franciscan Mission Associates (R-6 R) and the Sacred Heart League, respectively.


Chaplet to the Child Jesus

The chaplet consists of fifteen beads attached to a medal of the Holy Infant.  Prayers include three Our Father‘s in honor of the Holy Family, twelve Hail Mary‘s in memory of the childhood of Jesus Christ, and three Glory be‘s.

On the medal, say either “Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us!” or

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore your cross; and I accept all the crosses you will be pleased to send me.  Adorable Trinity, I offer you, for the glory of the holy name of God, all the adorations of the sacred heart of the holy Infant Jesus.

On each of the three beads, say “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” and pray an Our Father.

On each of the twelve beads, say “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” and pray a Hail Mary.

First, the incarnation of the Son of God…   Say… and pray….

Second, the life in the womb of the Virgin Mary…  Say… and pray….

Third, the birth in Bethlehem…  Say… and pray….

Fourth, the adoration by the shepherds…  Say… and pray….

Fifth, the circumcision of the Lord…  Say… and pray….

Sixth, the adoration by the three magi…  Say… and pray….

Seventh, the presentation in the temple…  Say… and pray….

Eighth, the flight to Egypt…  Say… and pray….

Ninth, the stay in Egypt…  Say… and pray….

Tenth, the return to Nazareth…  Say… and pray….

Eleventh, the hidden life in Nazareth…  Say… and pray….

Twelfth, the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple…  Say… and pray….

On each of the three beads, say either “Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us!” or “Holy Child Jesus, bless us and grant us our petitions” and pray a Glory be.

Let us pray…  O holy Child Jesus, whose omnipotence is manifested in a wonderful manner and whose miraculous hand, raised in benediction, fills us with all blessings, graciously deign to hear all who call upon you with confidence.  Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, lord of heaven and earth, you revealed yourself to little ones.  Grant, we beg of you, that we who venerate with due honor the sacred mysteries of your son, the Child Jesus, and imitate his example may enter the kingdom of heaven which you promised to little children.  Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Consecration…  O most gracious Infant Jesus, I adore you, I love you, and I venerate you in the mysteries of your holy infancy.  I thank you for becoming a child for love of me.  In return, I give and consecrate myself entirely to your love.  I beg of you to grant me, now and throughout my life, the virtues of your holy childhood.  Give me, dear Jesus, the treasure of your humility, the sweetness of your charity, your prompt obedience, and your simplicity.  May your grace draw me to love and imitate you and enjoy your majesty in heaven.  Amen.

Thanksgiving…  O most gracious Infant Jesus, I kneel before you and offer you my fervent thanks for the blessings you have showered on me.  I shall always praise your mercy and confess that you alone are my God, my helper, and my protector.  Henceforth, my entire confidence shall be placed in you.  I shall proclaim all over your mercy and generosity.  May your great love and the great deeds performed be acknowledged by all.  May devotion to your holy infancy extend more and more in the hearts of all mankind.  May all who experience your assistance be ever grateful to your holy infancy.  May they praise and glorify you for all eternity.  Amen.

January 6, 2013

“The angels and shepherds praise you and the magi advance with the star, for you are born for us, Little Child, God eternal” (Romanus the Melodist; Catechism 525:204).

June 19, 2013

“Beloved Jesus… sweet honey, indescribable longing delight of the saints, sweetness of the angels!” (St. Romuald).

December 23, 2013

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.  Authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

December 25, 2013

“Let us follow the star of inspiration and divine attraction which calls us to the crib, and let us go there to adore and love the Child Jesus and offer ourselves to him” (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

“Who can sleep on the night that God became man?” (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross / Edith Stein).

“When you became small, O God, you made human beings great” (St. Catherine of Siena).

December 26, 2013

Jesus, you are more than a baby in a manger.  You are the one who brings the life of heaven to earth!  Fill me with your spirit, and send me out to be witness to the world (the Word among us, Advent 2013, p. 44).

February 5, 2014

“Christ alone is my salvation” (St. Agatha).

January 3, 2015

Glorious name, gracious name, name of love and of power!  Through you sins are forgiven; through you enemies are vanquished; through you the sick are freed from their illness; through you those suffering in trials are made strong and cheerful.  You bring honor to those who believe; you teach those who preach; you give strength to the toiler; you sustain the weary (St. Bernardine of Siena).

May 11, 2015

“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child” (Anne Lamott).

August 19, 2015

“Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires, and his disposition live and reign there” (St. John Eudes).

September 20, 2017

It seems to me that I am no more than a very tiny thing in the arms of God, and that I will remain so until I die.  I do not know what He wants to do with me, but I desire it all (Venerable Marthe Robin in Robert Ellsberg’s The Franciscan Saints).

December 27, 2017

At our own birth, the child of Christmas is born in us.  He is our spiritual potential.  But we have to let that birth find its fulfillment in a life that rises above the ordinary.  You might say that we have to keep the promise of that child alive in us always.  Christmas is a reminder that the child is always being born, always in the manger, and always being welcomed (Thomas Moore in The Soul of Christmas).

January 3, 2019

Jesus!  A sweet name, a delightful name!  A name that comforts sinners and offers blessed hope.  A name that is a joyful cry from the heart, that is music to the ear and honey in the mouth (St Anthony of Padua).

June 23, 2020

There is but one great word of our salvation: Jesus!  May we be able, at least once, to say this sacred name with all our heart.  What a balm it pours out upon all of the powers of our soul (St. Francis de Sales in Roses Among Thorns).

Immaculate Conception Church – Hammond, WI

Pdf file…  Child Jesus chaplet prayers

Links of interest…  Child Jesus: aboutchaplet (more) / devotion / feast infancy & childhood / meditations / miracles (books) / novena / of good health / photos / prayers in Spanishquestions & answers / reverence / shrine / solemnity…  How you & your kids can “become like children”…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Infant of Prague: novena & petitions…  Real mystics love Jesus…  Sacred Heart League…  You can’t have the crib without the cross

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