Three visits

Severe weather had been predicted in the Coastal Bend and the surrounding area, so we chose to get ahead of the deluge.  Instead of driving to Cotulla the morning of the Texas Tropical Trail monthly partner event, we left home mid-morning the day before.  And, sure, we experienced rain— intermittent water bursts, showers, and the cat-and-dog variety— but the sun was its usual bright self when we arrived.

June 18, 2018

Settling in at the hotel Steven searched churches online.  “Sacred Heart Church has daily mass at six this evening.  You interested?”

Churches fascinate me so, naturally, I was curious.  We arrived half an hour early to take photos before Mass.  We’d been to a few churches by the same name— not that they’re anything alike— but, walking into Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Brownsville came to mind.

One woman led the rosary as others took turns introducing the decades.  Afterwards, Sister approached the ambo to tell us about the framed picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  She explained that, because Our Lady’s powerful intercessions are miraculous, the group would petition God for a permanent priest.

When the first-day novena prayers ended, people began to leave.

I approached Sister to ask about Mass, and she explained that Sacred Heart has been without a pastor for three years.  The elderly retired priest who celebrates Mass in the interim has Monday off, so daily Mass is Tuesday through Friday.

Others had comments, questions, or just wanted to bid Sister goodbye; so I turned my attention to the couple that lingered a bit on the way out.

Although they were upbeat and smiling, they were in pain.  The woman could barely move even with the use of her walker; the man seemed heavily burdened.  She had so much she wanted to do, she said, but her legs were a serious impediment.  He simply nodded as he listened to our chatter.  God, faith, crosses in life— I sensed the struggles.  Yet they were faithful.  And hopeful. 

For whatever reason God had brought us together that evening.  Some longed to believe, to belong, to touch the hem of Jesus to be healed, while others were there to console, to encourage, to simply be whatever God intended.  And, even if ever so briefly, we connected as lifelong friends, baring our true selves among kindred spirits.

O Cotulla, your people are so endearing.  How I long to be there again!

            

            

            

            

            

      

          

                

   

June 19, 2018

         

           

            

June 26, 2018

   

Prayers

Blessed St. Joseph…  I consecrate myself to your honor and give myself to you that you may always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation.  Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life.  After your example, may I perform my actions for the greater glory of God in union with the divine heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of Mary.  Pray for me, St. Joseph, that I may experience the peace and joy of your holy death.  Amen.

Glorious St. Anthony…  You have exercised the divine power to find what was lost.  Help me to recover the grace of God, and make me zealous in the service of God and in the practice of living the virtues.  Let me find what I have lost, thus showing me the presence of your goodness.

Anthony, glorious servant of God, famous for your merits and powerful miracles, help us to find what was lost.  Give us your help in times of temptation and enlighten our minds in searching the will of God.  Help us to find again the life of grace, which our sin destroyed, and lead us to the possession of the glory promised us by the Savior.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Recite an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Gloria.

Mother of Perpetual Help…  Grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying.  Purest Mary, let your name be ever on my lips.  Delay not, blessed lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you.

In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary.  What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you!  I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name.  But I will not be content with merely uttering your name.  Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help.  Pray for me and grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.

Pray three Hail Mary‘s.

Our Lady of Guadalupe…  Dear mother, we love you.  We thank you for your promise to help us in our need.  We trust in your love that dries our tears and comforts us.  Teach us to find our peace in your son, Jesus, and bless us every day of our lives.  Help us to build a shrine in our hearts.  Make it as beautiful as the one built for you on the mount of Tepeyac, a shrine full of trust, hope, and love of Jesus growing stronger each day.

Mary, you have chosen to remain with us by giving us your most wonderful and holy self-image on Juan Diego’s cloak.  May we feel your loving presence as we look upon your face.  Like Juan, give us the courage to bring your message of hope to everyone.  You are our mother and our inspiration.  Hear our prayers and answer us.  Amen.

Our Lady of Victories…  O sweet and gentle Lady, immaculate mother of God, we beg you to be our mother now and all the days of our life.  Shield us Mother Mary with your holy mantle that nothing of the enemy could harm us.

Ask your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to spare us from any calamities that will cause our life misery.  Pray for us that we may lead a life pleasing to him and, when our end comes, present us to him [that] we may live in his kingdom forever and ever.  Amen.

Our Lady of Victories, please pray for us.

Links of interest…  Cotulla: aboutcounty seat / history / livabilityTexas Bucket List…  Feast days of Mary…  Our Lady of Perpetual Help: June 27 (more) / miraculous icon  (background) / novena (June 19) / story / who is…  Sacred Heart Church: facebookwebsite…  Texas Tropical Trail

WP posts…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Heartfelt traditions…  Marian devotions…  Second looks…  Twelve and five…  Undeniable familiarity

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 / Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials) / St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website)…  Four quick facts about relics…  Help from heaven…  Holy relics (first-class – more – venerating: how & why)…  Miracles…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…    Relics bring us closer to the saints we love…  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

Recollections

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Thanks to Fr. Mario Conte from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy and Tom Muscatello, USA liaison at St. Adalbert Franciscan Friary in Elmhurst, NY, St. Anthony’s relics are visiting Texas later this month.

Recollections

TM2216-StAWhat a worthwhile endeavor that promises to be, considering that the extraordinary recollections (blog entries shared below) from our January 14, 2013 experience are still as fresh as this morning’s news.  And, yes.  We’ve already made plans to attend!

From “Words”

Fr. Mario visited the United States with two St. Anthony relics to commemorate the 750th anniversary of St. Bonaventure’s discovery of St. Anthony’s remains.  So how could we possibly pass that up?

We caught up to him (them) at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, only an hour and thirty-eight minutes— not quite eighty-eight miles— northwest of Chicago.  And, oh, the photo opportunities!

From “Holy relics”

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica in Italy would be in Illinois, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many of us with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  The reliquary on the left holds part of St. Anthony’s floating rib; the one on the right, tissue from inside his cheek.

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Then, before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us!  But he had places to go and people to see.  After all, building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about!

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Prayers

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Contact information

Short Prayers for “Thirteen Tuesdays” and the prayer cards are from the Anthonian Association of the Friends of St. Anthony of Padua, 101 Saint Anthony Drive, Mount St. Francis, IN 47146-9001.

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Links of interest…  Friar Mario: meditations (videos) – relics visit (Houston 2016) / Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials) / St. Anthony USA (petitions; portal to Italian website) / wallpapers & images…  He dwells among us…  Help from heaven…  Let prayer bring peace to your soul…  Miracles…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Pray to God in secret…  Prayer: inward / more / paradox of holiness & communion / point / sure path to freedom…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sound of silence…  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. Bonaventure…  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…  W 2013-15 (January 9, 2013 & other related entries)

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

Advent prayers

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On Saturday I received a wonderful letter from Tom Muscatello with the Anthonians at St. Adalbert Friary in New York.  Tom caught us up on Father Mario’s latest adventures traveling with St. Anthony’s first-class relics and included “some Advent prayers for your pleasure.”

O shepherd of Israel, hearken.  O guide of the flock of Joseph, rouse your power and come to save us!  O Lord of hosts, restore us.  If your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.  O Lord of hosts, how long will you burn with anger while your people pray?  You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in ample measure.  You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.  O Lord of hosts, restore us.  If your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan.  Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory, and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Father, in the wilderness of the Jordan you sent a messenger to prepare people’s hearts for the coming of your son.  Help me to hear his words and repent of my sins so that I may clearly see the way to walk, the truth to speak, and the life to live for him, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ, experience the joy of salvation and celebrate the feast with love and thanksgiving.  We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

To Our Lady…  O Mother of Advent, be with us and see to it that he will remain with us in our difficult struggles for truth and hope, for justice and peace: He alone, Emmanuel.

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Additional prayers

Come, long-expected Jesus.  Excite in me a wonder at the wisdom and power of your father and ours.  Receive my prayer as part of my service to the Lord who enlists me in God’s own work for justice.  Come, long-expected Jesus.  Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself.  Come, long-expected Jesus.  Excite in me a joy responsive to the father’s joy.  I seek his will so I can serve with gladness, singing, and love.  Come, long-expected Jesus.  Excite in me the joy, love, and peace to bring to the manger of my Lord.  Raise in me, too, sober reverence for the God who acted there, hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and spirited resolution to serve the Father and the Son.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ whose advent I hail.  Amen.

Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan.  Lift our minds in watchful hope to heart the voice which announces his glory, and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

??????????God of love and mercy, help us to follow the example of Mary, always ready to do your will.  At the message of an angel she welcomed your eternal Son and, filled with the light of your Spirit, she became the temple of your Word who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome.  Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Gracious God, you bring glad tidings to the poor.  Create in us this Advent season the desire to help those in need that we may recognize in them the face of Christ.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Jesus, you are our eternal salvation, the unfailing light of the world.  Light everlasting, you are truly our redemption.  Grieving that the human race was perishing through the tempter’s power, without leaving the heights you came to the depths in your loving kindness.  Readily taking our humanity by your gracious will, you saved all earthly creatures long since lost, restoring joy to the world.  Redeem our souls and bodies, O Christ, and so possess us as your shining dwellings.  By your first coming, make us righteous; at your second coming, set us free so that, when the world is filled with light and you judge all things, we may be clad in spotless robes and follow in your steps, O King, into the heavenly hall.  Amen.

SJC121210-10Lord, our God, we praise you for your son, Jesus Christ.  He is Emmanuel, the hope of all people.  He is the wisdom that teaches and guides us.  He is the savior of every nation.  Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this Advent wreath.  May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.  We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.  We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.  We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.  We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.  We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.  To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”  Amen.

Merciful Father, you have given us your Son as your loving presence in this world.  Create in our hearts the room for your love to grow.  Forgive our shortcomings, and prepare our hearts for your coming.  We ask this in the name Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

O God, who gladdens us by the annual expectation of our redemption, grant that we, who now receive with joy your only begotten son as our redeemer, may behold him without fear when he comes as our judge, even the same Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns forever and ever.  Amen.

??????????Son of God, You are the light of the world.  Shine your light on all our choices this day.  Create in us the ability to let your light shine forth for others.  We ask this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of your only begotten son, that we may attain to serve you with purified minds, through his advent.  Who with you lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  Amen.

Wise and loving God, that I may come to know you more deeply and that others may come to know you through me, pervade and penetrate my entire being.  Make me a pure emanation of your glory, a radiant reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of your presence in the world, an image of your goodness.  Lord, help me to live with your wisdom and not my own, that I may be a beacon of your friendship for others.  Amen.

To obtain favors…  Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold.  In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of our savior, Jesus Christ, and of his blessed mother.  Amen.

This prayer, dating back to 1897, may be recited throughout the day from the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30) until Christmas.

December 17, 2013

“Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of divine love growing in silence” (Caryll Houselander).

November 30, 2013

Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man.  Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child.  This is a healing memory; it brings hope.  The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…  It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope (Pope Benedict XVI).

November 28, 2015

O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth your blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from you abundant graces.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen (Blessing for Advent wreath).

November 29, 2015

Advent is the season of the presence and expectation of the eternal.  For this very reason it is in a particular way a period of joy… joy in the fact that God made himself a child.  This joy, invisibly present within us, encourages us to journey on with confidence (Pope Benedict XVI).

December 10, 2015

Jesus, you are our light.  When you came into our world, you made it a brighter place.  Help us each day to make brighter and happier the lives of the people we live with, learn with, play with, and pray with.  Amen (RCL Benziger).

December 20, 2015

Mary went without delay to communicate her joy to her cousin, Elizabeth….  This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others.  Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money (Pope Benedict XVI).

December 23, 2015

Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem.  May we let ourselves be drawn by the light of God made man (Pope Francis).

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St. Joseph Church – Port Aransas, TX

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Links of interest…  Advent: about / & Our Lady of Guadalupe / anticipation & hope / antiphons (about / more / overview / seven / video) / calendar (family –  morestitched) / celebrating the season (more) / crafts & activities (more) / emptying the stable / examenfor CCE teachers / great waiting / liturgical resources / meditations / prayers & customs (daily – more – still more) / praying / readings / reflection / resources (more) / retreat / time of preparation / traditions / what is / What would Joseph do / with St. Jude / wreath prayers (more – pdf) / video (more)…  Anthonians: Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials) / St. Anthony USA (petitions)…  Kids’ activities: Advent adventure / books / calendars (countdown / more / printable / Santa) / candles song / children’s prayers / crafts & activities (more) / creating prayers of petitions / definitive guide / for kids / gospel talk / history & meaning / ideas (blog) / meditations / paper chain / placemat / prayers & customs / preparing children / printables & more / resources (more – still more) / season / teaching / traditions / videos & activities (free fun) / wreath (making – more – prayer)…  Music: Carol of the bells (song) / carols / holiday animations / index / list / lyrics / music & videos / remix (nine songs) / sing-a-longs / Kididdles / Mary, did you know? (song) / White Christmas (song)…  Preparing our hearts for Advent…  Solemnities: Dec 25th / Jan 1st

WP posts…  Blue heaven…  Christmas blessings…  Christmas year ’round…  Church time blues…  Heartfelt traditions…  Oh, happy day…  On being Christian…  Promise of hope…  Santo Niño…  Sweet Jesus

Capuchin church stations

Saturday, April 28, Steven and I spent several hours at the St. Bonaventure Church, which flows right into the Solanus Casey Center.

Meeting Father Casey

I discovered Father Casey online in 2009, and finally received a third-class relic badge (in my favorite color, green) in the mail along with an application to the Guild in 2011.

“Would you like to join, darling?” I asked Steven before submitting my membership form.

“No, but you can order anything you like from the gift shop.”

Longing to visit

I was disappointed in Steven’s indifference.  No matter what I said about Father Casey, Steven just wasn’t interested.  He didn’t even pretend to listen, but I didn’t let his attitude stifle my exuberance.

“One of these days I’m going to Detroit so I can visit Father Casey’s tomb at the Solanus Center,” I said, not about to let Steven have the last word.

And what a pilgrimage that turned out to be!  For both of us.

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Capuchin church stations

“A Journey with St. Anthony along the Way of the Cross” is from Saint Anthony of Padua (Miles and Gianopoulos, 1991, pp. 45-55, 112).

The Franciscans popularized the Way of the Cross devotion.  In the 1300s, in their European monasteries, they began to erect Stations honoring events in the Passion of Jesus.  The practice quickly spread to parish churches.  By the eighteenth century the Way of the Cross had become one of the most popular devotions in the Church.

SBC42812-91        SBC42812-108        SBC42812-92

Opening prayer

Lord Jesus, you instituted a new covenant of friendship in your blood by calling us together as the people of God.  Like you, we must walk the way of the Cross. We agonize now in the flesh to finish the remainder of your sufferings for the sake of your body, the Church.  We hasten forward to resurrection in the strength that comes from hope.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us now in our contemplation.  Amen.

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

 1st: Jesus is condemned to death…   St. Anthony, help us to be fearless of the world’s judgment, knowing that only the judgment of God matters.

 2nd: Jesus carries his cross…  St. Anthony, help us to accept our trials for the love of God knowing that, if carried in the spirit of Jesus, they will also be redemptive.

       

 3rd: Jesus falls the first time…  St. Anthony, let us be grateful to God who saves us through the cross of his beloved Son.  

 4th: Jesus meets his afflicted mother…  St. Anthony, may we see in Mary’s love a reflection of the love of God, and may we convey healing compassion to others as an instrument of peace.

       

 5th: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to ease the pain of Jesus today by assisting him in sharing the burdens of our afflicted brothers and sisters.  

 6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…  St. Anthony, teach us through Veronica’s example to see God’s face in those the world rejects and to show his love at work.

       

 7th: Jesus falls the second time…  St. Anthony, may we ever be grateful to Jesus for accepting the suffering and pain that took away our sins.  May we strive to reform and love with God’s grace.  

 8th: Jesus speaks to the weeping daughters of Jerusalem…  St. Anthony, give us an active concern for the welfare of others.

       

 9th: Jesus falls the third time…  St. Anthony, may we be strengthened by the persevering spirit of Jesus when we feel defeated or tempted to give in.

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments…  St. Anthony, strengthen us to live in truth and honesty before others and God, our Creator, who has invested us with enduring dignity.

       

11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to be patient and to take those first selfless steps of forgiveness.

12th: Jesus dies on the cross…  St. Anthony, inspire us to feel God’s presence and proclaim by our loving lives that Jesus is the savior of the world.

       

13th: Jesus is taken down from the cross…  St. Anthony, help us to empty ourselves of selfishness so that we may imitate the total giving of Jesus.

14th: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre…  St. Anthony, help us continue our Lord’s mission of liberating the human family from suffering and injustice that results from sin.

       

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, in your mercy you have given us new birth into hope which draws its life from your resurrection.  By dying you destroyed our death, and by rising you have restored our life.  You are now at work in our hearts through the energy of your spirit.  Strengthened by this power, we will do our best to show you love at work and try to cope patiently and lovingly with life’s challenges.  We are comforted by our belief that the sufferings of this life cannot be compared to the joys that await us in eternal life.  May our Lady of Sorrows walk with us on our way.  Amen.

Dear God 

Father, you gave St. Anthony the wisdom and grace to live and preach the gospel of Christ.  Help us to live the gospel life of love at work as he did.  Fill our hearts with your love that we may pursue unselfishly a sincere love of God and neighbor. May we be sensitive to your call and faithful to our baptismal promises.  May we imitate the life and work of St. Anthony and create a new world where the love of Jesus will be the rule and not the exception.  We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

SBC42812-15        SBC42812-113        SBC42812-7

April 9-11, 2014

Steven and I made our third annual pilgrimage to the Solanus Casey Center and attended the three-day Lenten Journey in Faith, a truly memorable Franciscan Capuchin experience.

SCC4914-42      SCC4914-101      SCC4914-104

April 16, 2014

“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the passion of Jesus” (St. Bonaventure).

SBC42812-130

Links of interest…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Triduum…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video/music) / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / significance / way of the cross…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  God’s master plan…  Growing pains…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Mercy and justice…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Sioux chapel stations…  Simple yet profound…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Sweet Jesus…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Tony’s big day

For an entire month my car key was nowhere to be found.  Off and on I searched to no avail, but I wasn’t worried because I knew the key had to be in the house.  But where?

Then, day before yesterday as Steven was preparing to leave for work, he said, “Since you haven’t found the key, I’m thinking of ordering a replacement.  It’ll take a while to get here, though.”

“It’s okay.  Don’t worry about it.” I told him.

Tony, Tony, look around.  The key is lost and must be found.

“Let’s see what St. Anthony comes up with,” I said and quickly forgot about the key.

Serendipity

When Steven got home that afternoon, he needed something from the closet shelf in the office.  Reaching into the box he excitedly proclaimed, “Look at this!  I should’ve opened the door on the left but opened this other one instead.  Look what I found!”

There in his right hand was the missing car key entwined in the coiled cord of the vehicle’s phone charger.  Without thinking he’d opened the wrong door, reached into the wrong box, and discovered the missing key!

“How did the key end up there?  I didn’t put it there.  You didn’t put it there.  Why did I go for this door when I  meant to open the left door?  Serendipity?  How did this happen?”

Steven was beside himself with amusement, delight, relief, and awe.  He’d never before referred to anything as serendipitous.  Three times, no less.

Tony’s big day

“That’s St. Anthony for you!” I enthused.  “I told you he’d take care of it, and he did.  He knew I wanted something special to write about for his feast day, so he took care of both dilemmas with one simple feat.

“Not only that,” I continued.  “Two letters ago I learned that Sister in Australia celebrates her birthday on June thirteenth, so now I have two very special reasons to celebrate
St. Anthony’s big day.”

               

               

Contact information

The novena pamphlet, the prayer booklet, and the prayer card are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.  St. Anthony relics are also available.  The top large photo (source unknown) and the lower right-hand prayer card I’ve had for decades.  The novena prayer card is from The Province of St. Mary of the Capuchin Order, 21 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001-2876.

Nine days of prayer in honor of St. Anthony

First day…  Dear St. Anthony, you are renowned all over the world for your unfailing assistance to those who are afflicted, in trouble, or burdened with any great anxiety.  With reliance on your power to intercede with God for those in difficulty, I confidently entrust to you my present intention.  With your gracious support, God’s mercy will meet my need.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, pray for us.

Second day…  Lovable St. Anthony, in your apostolic preaching you insisted on our duty to pray without ceasing.  Please help me now to make my every action a silent prayer to God in my necessity which I have trustingly confided to your care.  In your kindness teach me how to pray patiently, perseveringly, and in a spirit of resignation to God’s holy and saving will.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, intercede for us.

Third day…  Glorious St. Anthony, by the example of your holy life as by your preaching, you inspire us with undiminished trust in God’s mercy and kindness.  In your honor I will fast from some legitimate pleasures of life in order to purify my affections and clarify my intentions.  As you taught us, the good Lord listens with love to the prayers of those who come before him with faith.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, plead for us.

Fourth day…  Powerful
St. Anthony, you have multiplied your favors over the years since your entrance into heaven to show God’s bountiful mercy to those who are in sorrow.  I try, despite my sinfulness and weakness, to imitate your virtues and to obey God’s word so as to honor you sincerely and fittingly.  Please come quickly to my aid in my present necessity.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be our protector.

Fifth day…  Charitable
St. Anthony, in honor of your own goodness and compassion I, too, am trying to help others in need of understanding and mercy.  This prayer in practice I offer to God through your hands in a spirit of confident faith knowing full well that all who call upon you will receive consolation and aid.  Your own merciful assistance so often shown to others I will, I am sure, be mine.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be good to us.

Sixth day…  Humble St. Anthony, how patient you were in humbly doing God’s will and leaving to him your life and its future.  Kindly obtain from God for me the grace to reconcile myself to his holy will for me in my great concern.  I cast all my cares on you who will, I am sure, entrust them to the Lord who is never deaf to those whose full trust is in him.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, watch over us.

Seventh day…  Most pure St. Anthony, by your singleness of heart you steadfastly pursued the task God gave you.  By your example and help, I turn to you in faith so that you may be my patron and steady voice before God’s throne.  You are a friend in great trials as in the smallest difficulties, so I implore you to come also to my assistance now.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, keep us faithful.

Eighth day…  St. Anthony, consoler, you are ever attentive to those who come to you with their difficulties whether large or small.  Those who know your kindness learn to rely with faith on your power with God and your desire to help God’s people.  Please make my present concern your own and intercede for me and for those I entrust to your care.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be our comfort.

Ninth day…  Faithful St. Anthony, I thank you for your many favors in the past.  In the certainty you will assist me in my present need, I will show my appreciation by imitating your virtues and example, by avoiding sin, and by patiently persisting in prayer so as to conform my will to God’s purpose for me and for those I pray for.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, remember my needs.

Quote…  “Nothing apart from God can satisfy the human heart that is truly in search of him” (St. Anthony of Padua).

Links of interest…  Basilica in Padua…  Dear St. Anthony…  Ever heard of “everyone’s saint” basilica…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Franciscan saints & blesseds…  Lost & found (blog)…  Mail deliveries (S.A.G.)…  Recipe…  Sardine heaven: Portugal…  St. Anthony: bread / feastJune 13thof Padua / saint for lost things / shrine / to the rescue

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. AnthonySt. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerating St. Anthony

Franciscan treasures

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Sunday night I couldn’t sleep, so I revisited three old posts and got to work.  I’ve found that folks don’t like to access pdf photo files.  The reasons might be that the files take too long to open or there’s lack of interest in the unknown.  What I also know is that some computers are slow to open files so, little by little, I’m replacing pdf files with photos for easier viewing.

Too many photos

Take the monthly TX Tropical Trail Region outing in Hebbronville, for instance.

As part of the day’s activities, we visited the church, its adjoining college, the tortilleria, and the barbecue restaurant where the afternoon presentations took place; so we took lots of photos.  Too many, really, but more is better for selection purposes.

Of course, our favorites that day were taken at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Scottus College so I added some of the extra photos as pdf files on my post.  But why attach them if no one accesses them?  Why not create a second post with the photos instead?  This way, if someone’s interested in visiting Hebbronville, for instance, they have an idea of what to expect.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

        

       

               

                       

       

               

       

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Scottus College

        

               

               

Franciscan treasures

When we first visited in June, the church was in a state of metamorphosis.  When we returned five months later, the church had been restored except for the murals that had yet to be painted; and the college was undergoing a transformation of its own.

       

               

               

Since then, I’ve wondered off and on what all has transpired since November, 2009.  Were the murals painted after all?  What does the interior of Scottus College look like now?  What other changes have been made?

Certainly, we look forward to attending Mass there one day soon; but the biggest draw for us is the amazing spirit of the church community that’s forever grateful for its Franciscan treasures.

Prayer by Pope John Paul II (January, 1979)

O Immaculate Virgin, mother of the true God and mother of the church, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your son, Jesus, our sole redeemer.

St. Michael's - Banquete

St. Michael the Archangel – Banquete, TX

Mother of mercy, teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who comes to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love.  We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows.  Grant peace, justice, and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our lady and mother.  We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in his church.  Hold us always with your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe, mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the bishops that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life of love and humble service of God and souls.  Contemplate this immense harvest and intercede with the Lord that he may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole people of God and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the son of God.  Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our Hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus; and, if we fall, help us to rise again to return to him by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the sacrament of penance, which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your son, our Lord Jesus Christ who, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

February 6, 2017

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures” (Thornton Wilder).

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Links of interest…  Hebbronville: aboutcounty seat / history / landmarks & legacies…  Mexico: persecution of Christians / plenty of priests / undercover priest (Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro: video)…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & Scottus College (more)…  Shades of deep teal…  St. Anthony’s bread…  TX Tropical Trail Region…  Where is your treasure

WP posts…  Franciscan experience…  Grapes of generosity…  Historic nuggets…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Persistence…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Vaquero Fest Saturday

St. Anthony’s finally

For years the small church off Highway 44 on the drive to and from Corpus Christi, TX fascinated me.

Then, at a dinner hosted by St. Joseph Church in Port Aransas, TX in 2009, we happened to sit at a table with some really nice folks from that little church.

“Y’all need to come visit one of these days soon,” they said.

Wish in progress

This past Sunday we took advantage of Steven’s not serving at St. Joseph’s and headed out to St. Anthony Church in Violet between Corpus Christi and Robstown.

Early in the week Steven had checked Parishes Online and found two Sunday morning Masses listed— eight and ten— so we’d agreed on the latter.

We arrived at nine-thirty-eight, and what did we see?  A parking lot full of cars and no one in sight!

“Looks like Mass is in progress,” Steven said.

“Oh, my, gosh!  Did we get the hour wrong?”

Since the day was very cold, we checked the schedule nearby before daring to get off the vehicle.  Only nine o’clock Mass was listed.  What to do, what to do.

“There’s St. Anthony’s in Robstown,” Steven offered.

“Or St. Michael the Archangel in Banquete, and we can surprise Fr. Tito.”

While Steven accessed Parishes Online on his phone, I took photos.

“My heart’s been set on this place for years, but I think God has another plan for us,” I consoled myself out loud.  “Wherever we end up is where we’re meant to be.”

“I hope the listings for St. Anthony’s in Robstown are correct,” Steven said.  “If not, we’ll have to come up with another plan.”

“It’ll all work out.  You’ll see.”

Looking for St. Anthony

Locating the church wasn’t as easy as we’d thought.  We had to stop for Steven to consult his phone again.  We were so concerned about Mass times that we didn’t even think about using Onstar for directions.

Then we saw the church.  The parking spaces were full all around, so we started feeling anxious again.  What if we were late again?  What if we’d missed the last Mass?

We agreed to wait however long we had to for the next Mass— there had to be noon Mass— so Steven parked the vehicle as close to church as possible.

As we made our way to the entrance, we noticed the man on the corner.  Is he waiting to pick up someone after Mass? we wondered.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning!” I smiled.

Walking past my doubts resurfaced.  What if we’re late again?  What if the man thinks us silly for walking to church when Mass is about to end?  “I hope we’re not late again,” I said to Steven.

Entering St. Anthony of Padua, we saw a church full of parishioners through the glass doors in the vestibule.

“Oh, my gosh!  We’re late again!  How can this be?  What time did you say Mass was starting?” I asked with my heart in my hands.

I thought about my students and the magic of threes that added excitement to their written stories.  Is this to be a story to remember?  One to look back on and learn from, as in, next time call ahead to confirm Mass times?

Overwrought with conflicting emotions, I didn’t even think to look for a bulletin when we entered church.

Oh, the drama of it all!  Maybe we should’ve gone to St. Joseph’s instead?  Then my inner voice chided me.  No!  I don’t think so!  It’ll all work out somehow.

I was greatly concerned.  We don’t like to be late for Mass, much less miss Mass.

“We could head back to Flour Bluff,” I suggested.

“We wouldn’t make it in time for eleven o’clock Mass,” Steven replied.

We opened one of the glass doors, slinkered in, and stood in the back waiting for the usher to lead us to our seats.  Only he didn’t acknowledge us!

“May we walk in?” I asked quietly, almost pleading to be allowed in.  Clearly, Mass was in progress and we were very late!

The man smiled calmly, almost like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.  Or like the Mona Lisa.

What does he know that we don’t?  Why did he simply nod and gesture with his hand for us to proceed?  I felt so foolish!

The closer we slithered to the nearest pew with two seats along the center aisle, the more I panicked.  We sat and, with eyes fixed on the priest, I removed my coat.

Oh, my gosh!  How could this be?  The priest was cleaning the cup!  Again we’d arrived too late!  To make matters worse, the Mass was being taped, and the camera was on the church goers— with us prominently in view!

Horror of horrors!!!  We’ve really done it this time!  Wide-eyed and freaking out, I turned to Steven and calmly whispered, “The priest’s wrapping things up.  We’ve arrived late yet again.  Shall we go?”

For a cool cucumber, Steven looked distraught!

We’d wanted so much to be on time, so how could we have messed up so badly?  We quickly and quietly— no doubt sticking out like a sore thumb— got up and, as noiselessly as humanly possible, made our way into the vestibule.  But why was it much fuller than when we’d arrived?

Bulletins

I was beyond dismayed but not about to pass up a golden opportunity.  My third eye had too much to photograph!

Steven rolled his eyes but waited nonetheless by a small table near the exit where a woman stood holding papers— bulletins maybe— in her arms.

I took photos as usual and then, turning toward Steven, noticed a few bulletins on the corner of the small table.  Mass times!  I reached out for one, showed Steven the schedule, and then turned to the woman on my left.

“Is there a Mass after this one?”

“Yes,” she said softly.

Late but early

“So we haven’t missed Mass then?” I asked incredulously.

The woman smiled.  “No.  Nine o’clock Mass is running late, but ten-thirty Mass will start on time.”

“Oh, my, gosh!” I laughed.  “We were so worried we’d missed it!  You see, we drove in from out of town and had no idea what was going on.”  Not feeling shy at all, I told the woman about our brief time in Violet.  “I’m Deli,” I said, extending my hand to shake hers.  “This is Steven.”

“I’m Noemi.”

“We’re friends with Fr. Tito Ayo.”

Noemi’s eyes lit up.

She knows him! I thought, before continuing.

“After we met Fr. Tito last May, I searched online for Catholic churches in Robstown.  I thought he might be at St. Anthony’s, but he wasn’t.  He said that other SOLT priests were in residence here, but I’ve wanted to attend Mass at this church ever since.  Is it okay to take photos?”

St. Anthony’s finally

“Today’s ten-thirty Mass is special,” Noemi explained.  “The children’s Mass happens just once a month.  Twelve o’clock Mass follows right after.  Sunday mornings the first Mass starts at six; the last one, at twelve.  If you want to take pictures, there’s not much time in between so you’ll need to hurry.”

“I’m so glad I asked!  Thank you so much!”

That little confidence eased our waiting.  As parishioners exited and newcomers filled the church, we settled down to enjoying the inclusive ambiance.  I took photos before and after Mass until right before noon when we braced ourselves to endure the damp cold outdoors as I took the last of my photos.

We’d enjoyed ourselves among the wonderful parishioners despite our initial struggle to find Mass earlier, first in Violet, then in Robstown.  Still, we’d ended up where we’d needed to be— at St. Anthony’s, finally.

               

               

               

       

               

               

               

               

               

               

               

                

        

       

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  SOLT…  St. Anthony (Hwy 44): Discover MassGCatholic / Oktoberfestold church / Violet, TX…  St. Anthony of Padua (Robstown, TX): facebook / parishes online / school

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Familiar yet new…  Holy relics…  Pink divinity…  Prayer…  Quiet prayer time…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony
…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Michael chaplet…  Tony’s big day

St. Anthony chaplets

Days before the New Year 2012, I requested five St. Anthony relics from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates; so I was thrilled to tears when I received them January fourteenth.

Five relic chaplets

Mary Ellen and Steve were supposed to accompany us to Stella Maris for Mass on the twenty-first, so I beaded her relic chaplet first.  Two days later, Olivia was having surgery, so I had hers ready by then.  The ones for Junebug, Neli-Beli, and the Lovely Ning waited until January twenty-ninth.

Since Steven wasn’t scheduled to serve at our church, we attended Mass at St. Paul’s, met up with the gang afterwards, and celebrated over lunch.

I was able to present each chaplet personally, but I gave Neli’s to Ning, since we thought she hadn’t yet returned from visiting her family in the Philippines.  Then off we went to Alice and Roger’s house for the pilgrim rosary that afternoon.

“Little booklet”

Imagine my surprise at seeing Neli looking more radiant than ever as I entered Alice’s house!

Before I even had the chance to say anything about her chaplet, Neli-Beli with her Mona Lisa smile handed me a blue tote.

“There’s a little booklet in there for you,” she teased.

Reaching into the bag, I found the novena booklet from her recent trip.

Wow!  Perfectimundo!

Right away I knew that I’d be adding some of the prayers to this post.

St. Anthony chaplets

Unlike my Franciscan Crowns, which are all different from each other, these St. Anthony relic chaplets are not only very much alike, but also almost identical to the prototype.

               

               

Prayer card

Accompanying each relic chaplet was the card that Steven printed for me.  The prayers are from my “Si quaeris miracula” post; the photos, those taken of the statue Steven bought for me at the Oblate gift shop right before Christmas.

               

Prayers

Before study…  O light of the world, infinite God, father of eternity, giver of wisdom and knowledge, and ineffable dispenser of every spiritual grace, who knows all things before they are made, who makes the darkness and the light, stretch forth your hand and place your spirit, O Lord, in my heart that I may understand and retain what I learn and meditate on.  Do lovingly, mercifully, and gently inspire me with your grace.  Do teach, guide, and strengthen the thoughts of my mind and let your discipline instruct me to the end and the council of the most high help me, through your infinite wisdom and mercy.  Amen.

Grace of dying well…  Great St. Anthony of Padua, sweet hope of all who implore you, [please help me obtain] by your powerful intercession the greatest of all blessings, the grace of dying well.  Do not allow [that I should die in] mortal sin.  By your intercession obtain for me that, at the last moment, I may experience the most profound sorrow for the sins of my whole life; that I may be [filled] with love for Jesus; [and that I may have] confidence in the power of his blood which was shed for me.  May my hands’ last movements be to carry the crucifix to my lips; my last words, the names of Jesus and Mary.  In [your embrace may I] have the happiness to see God, to love him, and to possess him with you for all eternity….  Amen.

Grace of God…  O glorious St. Anthony, God has given you the power of miracles, a power you have exercised for centuries.  Since God has given you… the power of finding that which is lost, I come to you with the confidence of a child….  By your intercession obtain for me… the grace of God, if I have had the misfortune to lose it.  May I also find my former fervor in [both] the service of God and the practice of virtue.  As a pledge of these graces so important for my eternal salvation, may I also find what I have lost [so that I can] experience… your goodness and increase my confidence and my love for you.  Amen.

To the Infant Jesus…  O sweet Jesus, best and only hope of afflicted souls, I prostrate at your feet and beseech you, through the immeasurable love and grace with which you visited, comforted, and embraced your blessed servant, St. Anthony, come to me at his intercession and let me taste how sweet your presence is in the souls that trust in you.  Amen.

Zeal…  Glorious St. Anthony, who by your sanctity and your eloquence triumphed over the hardest heart, obtain for us the grace to follow faithfully the divine call….  Amen.

Contact information

To request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials)…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony: bread / hymn / lifenine Tuesdays devotion / relic / S.A.G. (miraculous mail deliveries) / shrine / tongue’s feast

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies

Two letters

Every New Year’s Eve without fail, I remember what my maternal great-aunt, Tía Quina, told me when I was seventeen.

“Whatever you’re doing as the old year passes sets the tone for what awaits you in the new year, so be sure your house is clean and all else is in order.”

Setting priorities

Last year during the holidays, I decided that I wasn’t cleaning house and doing laundry as usual before the new year.  I’d experienced such great success with my letter writing experiment from New Year’s Eve 2010, that I wanted to focus on my correspondence instead.

In 2011, I’d wanted to touch base with Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates but missed the opportunity when he was succeeded by Father Primo in October.  Plus, I hadn’t requested two more St. Anthony relics from him as I’d intended.

       

Similarly, I’d wanted to share my thoughts on Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc, 1979) with Sister at the Flower of Carmel monastery in Australia, since she’d emailed twice early in the year; but I just hadn’t made the time.

With 2011 fast coming to an end, I couldn’t put off either communication any longer.  I got busy writing and finally mailed the two letters with time to spare.

Letter to Sister

27 December 2011

Dearest Sister,

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote and/or emailed; but it’s been a year of bearing my crosses quietly on my own, too.

When I last wrote to you, I was so worried that I was frustrated, tired, and disappointed.  I typed a very long letter and attached it to my email to you.  And then I felt badly, guilty, for having shared my woes….

I took a hard look at the situation which, believe it or not, grew progressively worse; [so] I chose to step away….  to simply let go… and begin my journey.

Long story short, I discovered Teresa of Avila; and, oh, what a difference she’s made in my life!

It’s funny how things happen, but I truly believe that God has his own very personal timeline for each of us.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I started shucking extraneous habits.  Not bad habits but things that kept me from focusing inwardly.

I don’t know how it happened, but I lost interest in emailing and in other things as well.  And I began to discover some pretty amazing stuff.

Every day since you and I have known each other I’ve thought of you, and I’ve been faithful about praying the chaplet you sent me in 2010.  It’s something that’s taken root in my life, [something] that’s as natural as my dialogues with the Infant since before Segy… and I visited Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague (July, 1998).

I think that the more I’ve recited the chaplet prayers the more I’ve learned how to bear my crosses, how to focus my attention on what’s really important, and how to deal with adversity in my life.

Certainly, I’ve had a lot of ta-dah moments: epiphanies that make me laugh or cry or both.  I’ve enjoyed writing about my experiences and [posting] them on my personal blog ‘cause I want others to learn about St. Teresa as well.

It’s amazing how I’ve been able to connect bits and pieces from my life leading to when I read Teresa of Avila and have found that I was readying for her messages [all along].  Her book is such a joyful treasure from God!  A pick-me-up when I need uplifting.  A friend when I need a smile and a sweet hello.

So, yes, bad things have continued to happen; but God’s allowed me to remain focused on what he wants for me to see, to think about, to do.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  As I said, I wrote five posts about St. Teresa’s book for my personal blog [and] found that her messages have been exactly what I’ve needed since I was a child.

St. Teresa has become my mentor, a very loving close friend who’s with me to share her teachings… beautiful, heartfelt… so that I don’t feel alone and/or lost.  She’s helped me understand what it means to tell the Infant that I accept all the crosses he wants to send my way.

Somehow I can make it.  Despite the pain and the sorrow, despite the disappointment and the frustration, despite the anger that I feel against injustices… still… I welcome the crosses.

Mind you, [when] I’m having a tough time… not doing well at all with my crosses… I simply tell the Infant,

Please forgive me.  I’m having a really tough time today.  I’m sorry.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’ve found inspiration in a little book that’d been waiting on the shelf since April, 2008.

Untouched, forgotten, it called out to me one morning; and, when I began to read it, I couldn’t set it down!  I’ve reread it countless times.  It’s an awesome read!

[So, yes.]  Lots has happened since I last wrote….

Mom died November 29….  She [believed] in prayer, and she loved the Sisters she communicated with.  [She gave] me her oldest sister’s Infant [statue] in 1999 [after my aunt died].

Since I’d faithfully used the chaplet you’d initially sent me, I placed it in mom’s hand before the casket was sealed at the funeral home.  My thinking was that she knew I was devoted to the Infant, so she [can] now join me in prayer from heaven whenever I spend my special time with the Infant….

I’m now praying with the [second] chaplet you sent [even though it was meant for our daughter], and I’m thinking that you’re fine with it.

I also want to thank you again for the six candles you sent with [the second] chaplet.  I lit one… early this year….  [Then] I gave away three [to the couples in] our Why Catholic? group….  The two I have left… are keeping me company until I have a very special reason to use them… or until I gift them to someone.

So you see?  Your gifts have gone a very long way!  The very same way that your prayers have continuously embraced us all this time!

We love you!  Thank you!

Letter to Father Primo

29 December 2011

Dear Father Primo,

In the 1980s, Father Roderick sent me three relics.  Then in the 1990s, Father Robert sent me two.  However, I always manage to give them away to someone who’s in need of everyday miracles and friendship from our beloved St. Anthony.

At this time, I’m asking… please… that you send me five, as there are three couples in our Why Catholic? family and another couple, Olivia and George, in dire need.

I’d like to bead some chaplets for them and print out the prayers so that they, too, can know St. Anthony as I have since age thirteen.

If you could do this for me, I’d be ever so [happy], as I’ve included myself in the five.  You see, I feel… lost without my relic; but, as I said, I gave my last one away when I beaded two chaplets to give to Ruth and Sabrina… at [the] doctor’s office.

Please know that I understand if you can’t send me the number I’ve requested.  It’s fine.  But I do really need one for Olivia because she’s [undergoing surgery, January 23], and I’d like to make her day by giving her a promise of hope through St. Anthony’s intercession.  Plus, George worries a lot about his three adult kids….

Thanks ever so much for all you do.  Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers… the same way Father Roderick was, the same way Father Robert was.

God bless you and your Franciscan associates abundantly!

Prayers

God of all time, on this New Year’s Day we place the days and months of the new year into your hands and we pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Fill our days with the blessings of family, friendship, laughter, and love.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Show us ways to spend our time serving your children in need.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Help us appreciate the time we have to listen to your Word and to talk with you in prayer.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer” (R. L. Benziger, 2016).

In the year ahead, Lord of New Beginnings, stretch our souls and move us into new awareness of the human family, their needs and their longings.

Make these into our needs, our longings so [that] we move more confidently from our small selves to a deeper sense of community where our resolutions reflect our interdependence.

Help us recognize the possibilities you have offered to us as a people, so we can commit to practice the hope that happens when we gather gratefully n your name and we hold up to you this fragile, precious world.

Grant us all the grace in this year ahead to sow the seeds of justice and to gather peace in our day.  Amen (Capuchin Communications: Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, 2016).

August 3, 2012

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” (Phyllis Theroux).

December 31, 2016

The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power.  You have only the present wherein to do good (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

Links of interest…  Child Jesus: chaplet (more) / history / little crown / petitions…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact info / home / prayer…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Help from heaven…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Journalism as an act of grace…  Letters of note…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony’s Guild: devotions / ecards / prayer requests / prayers

WP posts…   Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Franciscan experience…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret