For all time

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A church for all time, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) draws on its many resources, including the outdoor stations of the cross and the sweet Schoenstatt adoration chapel, to build community within God’s kingdom.

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

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Prayers

After the stations…  God, our heavenly father, we raise our minds and hearts to you in praise and thanksgiving.  Though weak and sinful, we wish to follow your only son, our Lord Jesus, on the way of the cross.  May your Holy Spirit help us use our savior’s strength effectively in our place in life.

We ask the special aid of our blessed Lady, ever virgin and mother, in following Christ and in making his way of the cross our way of life.  Amen.

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.

May 14, 2016

I think we too are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus; but, on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others.  And Jesus has this message for us: mercy.  I think— and I say it with humility— that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy (Pope Francis).

May 15, 2016

“One loving spirit sets another on fire” (St. Augustine).

May 20, 2016

“Jesus, crucified for me, with the nails of your love fasten my whole self to you”
(St. Bernardine of Siena).

June 30, 2016

“The glory of God is the human person fully alive” (Irenaeus of Lyons).

January 7, 2017

Look then on Jesus, the author and preserver of faith: In complete sinlessness he suffered at the hands of those who were his own and was numbered among the wicked.  As you drink the cup of the Lord Jesus… give thanks to the Lord, the giver of all blessings (St. Raymond of Peñafort).

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Links of interest…  Adoration: Blessed Sacrament prayers / St. John Chrysostom  (hourly) / Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle (hours & half-hours; Lasance, 1898)…  Disciples’ diary (Peter & Judas)…  OLPH: facebook / Mass times / website…  Pope Francis: daily reflections (more) / forgiveness / mercy / wisdom…   Stabat Mater: hymn / liturgical sequence / seven sorrows / more / YouTube (more)…  Sinner’s way of the cross…  Stations of the cross (YT) & prayers…  Ten lessons from the agony in the garden…  Triduum chant playlist…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion with Jesus: one & two…  Way of Holy Week…  What Jesus saw from the cross

WP posts…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  Church time blues…  Full circle…  Gifts…  God’s lovely gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Making meaning…  Notre Dame revisited…  One prayer…  Picturing God…  Quiet prayer time…  Second looks…  Sioux chapel stations…  Sorrowful redemption…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Undeniable familiarity

Undeniable familiarity

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When Steven announced that St. Paul’s would co-host the men’s ACTS retreat together with Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), I was over the moon at the prospect of visiting the church for the very first time.

Entering OLPH Sunday morning, March 13, 2016, I fully understood why Rosie, firstborn daughter of mom’s older middle brother and my dearest playmate growing up, was such an ardent parishioner.

Thanks to the ceilings, the walls, and the lighting, the church ambiance resonated with such intense familiarity that its spirit tugged at my heartstrings, evoking long-ago memories of our families’ church, Christ the King, founded in 1953, that Uncle Ray helped build (twice) in Brownsville, TX.  Yet the look and feel of the bare pews, maple stained, ultra smooth, perfectly curved, provided the welcoming embrace that took me home again the moment I sat for eleven o’clock Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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Prayer

Mother of Perpetual Help, woman of eternal hope, your wordless gaze tells us so much about you.  Knowing eyes look upon us with tender love.  The slight bend of your head reveals such maternal concern.

While your left hand supports the Child, your right hand is ready to receive us, too.  Just as he feels the beating of your heart, so you encourage us to lead a life of hope and holiness.  Just as his sandal will fall on your lap, through your intercession may God pick us up as we stumble and fall.

Never let us be parted from you and your son, Jesus.

Lady of love, you invite us to place our hand where his fingers touch yours— near a heart of endless hope— so that we may be united often in prayer here on earth and joined forever with you in heaven.  Amen.

May 19, 2016

With Mary live joyfully, with Mary bear all your trials, with Mary labor, with Mary pray, with Mary take your recreation, with Mary take your repose.  With Mary seek Jesus; in your arms bear Jesus and with Jesus and Mary fix your dwelling at Nazareth.  With Mary go to Jerusalem, remain near the cross of Jesus, bury yourself with Jesus.  With Jesus and Mary rise again, with Jesus and Mary mount to heaven, with Jesus and Mary live and die (Thomas à Kempis).

March 3, 2017

God, you are my strength and my song.  You are the reason for my joy.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and drive away the forces of discouragement and despair.  Jesus, I trust in you!  St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

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Links of interest…  ACTS Missions…  Called to be living stones…  Christ the King Church: diocesan page / facebook / Mass times…  Lent: should statues/pictures be covered / veiling (more) / why crucifixes & statues are covered (more)…  Mary: Indispensable to the gospel…  OLPH: facebook / Mass timeswebsite…  Our Lady of Perpetual Help: about / history / image (elements – icon) /  meaning / novena / prayer (video) / who is…  Stations of the cross for children & families: download / fifteen candles / illustrated / prayer / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / resources / virtual walk / visuals

WP posts…  Building community…  Call of service…  Christ’s passion…  Church time blues…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Full circle…  Gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  Notre Dame revisited…  One prayer…  Our Lady…  Picturing God…  Second looks…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited…  St. Mary’s…  Today’s Beatitudes

Sorrowful redemption

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

My Lord and my God, under the loving eyes of our Mother,
we are making ready to accompany you along this path of sorrow
which was the price paid for our redemption.

We wish to suffer all that you suffered,
to offer you our poor, contrite hearts,
because you are innocent; and, yet, you are going to die for us
who are the only really guilty ones.

My mother, Virgin of Sorrows,
help us to relive those bitter hours which your Son wished to spend on earth
so that we who were made from a handful of clay may finally live…
in the freedom and glory of the children of God.

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

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Sonnet to Our Lord on the cross

I am not moved to love you, O my God,
that I might hope in promised heaven to dwell;
nor am I moved by fear of pain in hell
to turn from sin and follow where you trod.
You move me, Lord, broken beneath the rod
or stretched out on the cross as nails compel
your hand to twitch.  It moves me that we sell
to mockery and death your precious blood.
It is, O Christ, your love which moves me so
that my love rests not on a promised prize;
nor holy fear on threat of endless woe;
it is not milk and honey, but the flow
of blood from blessed wounds before my eyes
that waters my buried soul and makes it grow.

Contact information

The sonnet and the prayers are from the Daily Roman Missal (Rev. James Socias for Midwest Theological Forum, 1993-2011, pp. 2385 and 2369, respectively).

Prayers

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

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

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

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

June 2, 2016

We meditate before, during, and after everything we do.  The prophet says, “I will pray, and then I will understand.”  This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work.  In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others (St. Charles Borromeo).

June 5, 2016

Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us.  What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ.  For he is all-powerful; and he tells us, “My yoke is easy, and my burden light” (St. Boniface).

June 9, 2016

The good God toils painfully, as it were; for, while he does not wish to coerce our liberty, yet neither does he permit us to be negligent.  For, were he to use coercion, he would be taking away our power of choice; were he to leave us to our negligence, he would be depriving our souls of his help.  The Lord, then, [knows] that, if he coerces us he robs us, if he withdraws his help he loses us, but if he teaches us he gains us.  [He] neither coerces nor withdraws his help as does the evil one but teaches, instructs, and so gains us since he is the Good One (St. Ephrem on free will).

June 21, 2016

“He who wishes to love God does not truly love him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for his sake” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga).

July 29, 2016

“Those who are simply upright men and women walk in the way of the Lord, but the devout run along it; and, when they are very devout, they fly” (St. Francis de Sales, Roses Among Thorns).

August 22, 2016

Christ did not promise an easy life.  Those who desire comforts have dialed the wrong number.  Rather, he shows us the way to great things; the good, toward an authentic human life (Pope Benedict XVI).

October 5, 2016

Suffering is a great grace.  Through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized.  The greater the suffering, the purer the love (St. Faustina Kowalska).

November 10, 2016

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross.  No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ (St. Leo the Great).

November 20, 2016

“The throne of this King whom we worship… is the cross; and his triumph is the victory of love, an almighty love that, from the cross, pours out his gifts upon humanity of all times and all places” (Pope Benedict XVI).

January 6, 2017

“The love which our Lord had during his passion puts into full light God’s love for us”
(St. André Bessette).

March 2, 2017

If Jesus Christ is our way, let us not walk in the ways of the world.  Let us enter into the narrow gate through which he walked (Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet in Meditations for Lent).

April 10, 2017

Our thoughts turn to the passion and death of our Lord, and we long to share his pain with him.  What is the pain of Jesus?  It is the pain of loving and not being loved in return.  He has loved us with an everlasting love, and what do we give him in return?  We allow our minds to be preoccupied with little things and so spend many hours without thinking of Jesus.  And yet our hearts and minds, bodies and souls, belong only to him.  Let us meditate on the sufferings of Christ each day (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with St. Teresa of Calcutta).

May 2, 2017

For man is by nature afraid of death and of the dissolution of the body; but there is this most startling fact, that he who has put on the faith of the cross despises even what is naturally fearful, and for Christ’s sake is not afraid of death (St. Athanasius).

The care of a mother embraces her child totally. Mary’s motherhood has its beginning in her motherly care for Christ.  In Christ, at the foot of the cross, she accepted John, and in John she accepted all of us totally.  Mary embraces us all with special solicitude in the Holy Spirit.  For as we profess in our Creed, he is “the giver of life.”  It is he who gives the fullness of life, open towards eternity (St. John Paul II in Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions).

 

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Links of interest…  At the feet of Jesus…  Blessings & dangers…  Cross of Jesus: God’s awful work of love…  Expect the unexpected…  Inside the ancient church of the Holy Sepulchre…  Introduction to the devout life: ebook (St. Francis de Sales)…  It’s time to stop fleeing from the cross…  Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary: aboutbook / consecrating the hours / hymns, psalms, & readings / introduction / prayers (more)…  Mercy with every breath (Jesus prayer)…  Notre Dame Church (Mass times)…  Stabat Mater: hymn / liturgical sequence / seven sorrows / more / YouTube (more)…  Seven words of Jesus on the cross…  Stations of the cross (YT) & prayers…  Ten arrows to launch us to heaven / lessons from the agony in the garden…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion with Jesus: one & two…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book…  Way of Holy Week…  We are all marked men & women…  What is redemptive suffering…  What Jesus saw from the cross…  Why are there stations of the cross in (almost) every Catholic church…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Church time blues…   Dear God…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Full circle…  Gifts…  God’s lovely gifts…  In good time…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Making meaning…  Notre Dame revisited…  Quiet prayer time…  Second looks…  Sioux chapel stations…  Today’s Beatitudes

St. Agnes Church

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When Steven and I travel, we’re always on the lookout for Catholic churches in case we want (or need) to stop sometime.  This is why the sign for St. James Catholic Church in Sanderson caught our eye as we drove US Hwy 90 to Marathon on our way to Big Bend National Park Thursday morning.

“Three o’clock Mass on Sunday?” we both asked in disbelief.  Quite late in the day, but something to keep in mind.

Since Segy (our youngest) and I attended Mass at Big Bend, August 1993, we’d anticipated that a priest would most likely visit for Sunday Mass this time, too.  If not, we’d figure something out.  And Sanderson seemed doable.

Change in plans

We’d intended to remain at Big Bend through Monday, April 18, until we learned Friday afternoon that the park hosts only an interdenominational Sunday service at the Chisos Basin amphitheater.

“Do you want to do that?” we asked each other.  “Could we be okay with that?”

We agreed that we could do confession before Mass the following weekend, but it just didn’t feel right.  We decided instead to leave Big Bend by no later than seven-thirty Sunday morning to attend ten-thirty Mass at St. Agnes in Fort Stockton and maybe even stop by Notre Dame in Kerrville off Interstate 10, viable choices that would get us home between seven and nine that evening.

First impressions

The morning was chilly, so we quickly opened the door and stepped into the spacious vestibule at St. Agnes Church.  We could see and hear a class in progress in the large adjoining parish hall.

Since we’d arrived half an hour early and no one else was around, I explored my surroundings by taking photos until a man with two teenaged boys arrived.

“Good morning!” I smiled.

The man engaged us in small talk before making his way to his pew.  “The church will be filling up soon!” he beamed.

I had no doubt that the church community would be just as welcoming as the sacred space was beautiful.

St. Agnes Church

As more and more parishioners arrived, I wondered about the time.  The church was filled with too many tantalizing treasures— exquisite stations, paintings, statues, stained-glass windows, and more— to do them justice; so I turned off my Coolpix and changed gears, hoping for a subsequent visit someday.

I walked over to the intriguing duo— a friendly woman and an equally affable man— occupying the folding chairs to the right of the sacristy’s doorway, complimented their vibrant church community, and inquired about the stations of the cross.

Sweet parishioners, Mary Gonzales and Johnny Cordero were so eager to tell me about St. Agnes that I learned quite a bit before the opening song that prompted the start of Mass.

And the big reveal?  Besides St. Agnes and St. Joseph in Fort Stockton, St. James in Sanderson is the third mission that Fr. Serafin Avenido shepherds as part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.  Small world, though not so much for Father, who travels more than sixty-five miles to Sanderson to celebrate Sunday Mass at three o’clock.

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Deacon’s homily (edited from the audio recording of 10:30 A.M. Mass)

We sit here, and we listen.  Last week we heard a long gospel, and today’s is very short.  You wonder, “What is the Holy Spirit trying to tell us?”

So today I’ll tell you a story of a good shepherd whose flock asked questions as they walked together.

Why do we continue celebrating Easter?”

The good shepherd tells his followers, “Remember the Good Shepherd who opened salvation— all the gates of heaven— to us, his faithful.”

“How did he do this?”

“God, the father, gave up his son, the true lamb, as a sacrifice for all of us.”

“What does that mean?  Why do continue to celebrate Easter?”

“It takes our response to Easter to pass on [the faith], to help each other out.”

“How can we with all these faults; all these failures; all these weaknesses, disease, violence?  How can we continue the celebration of Easter?”

“Through [Christ’s] sacrifice, the Holy Spirit, and [all that the Church offers], God graces you with his infinite love and mercy.”

“How do we know this?”

“As you walk with me [and] live your lives, what I’ve asked you to do and what I do for you [gives] you strength [through] grace and forgiveness.”

The shepherd’s followers think back on the graces received that helped them with their problems— the times they received sacraments, the times they were embraced when they were most in need, the times they were forgiven, and the times they forgave someone— and they begin to understand why celebrating Easter is so necessary.

“So what do we do?”

“Celebrate Easter.  Be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and the resurrection.  You are today’s disciples.”

Members of the flock exchange glances.

“Where does this lead us?  What do we do?”

“Look for the good shepherds.  Look especially for the Good Shepherd who will lead you if you follow his ways.  Be good disciples, and lead others as well.  Remember that each of us was baptized to be priest, prophet, and king.  Remember that God sacrificed his own son to open heaven to all, that the Good Shepherd called us to be good people, holy people, to lead each other to the divine pasture, heaven.”

By this point, the shepherd’s followers are inspired.  They know they can walk through the dark valley of tears [through faith].

“So how about this celebration?”

“Let me tell you.  It’s not about a great deal of music, food, dancing, drinking, partying, flowers, and barbecue.  No!  It’s not that kind of celebration.

“It’s responding to God’s call with your mind, heart, and soul,” the good shepherd continues.  “It’s responding with gratitude, praise, thanksgiving, and forgiveness.  It’s asking, ‘What am I to do, Lord?  What is my mission?  Wake me up where I am.  Let me follow you.  How am I to respond within my family, my community, my parish?  What am I being called to do?’  Then just do it.

“Don’t worry.  God will give you what you need.  He’ll provide the grace, the strength, the forgiveness to get up and follow that divine Shepherd.  Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

“And then there you’ll be, entering the most divine pasture that you’ve ever seen, with anything and everything that you’ve ever wantedAmen.”

Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, you choose those whom the world deems powerless to put the powerful to shame.  Grant us so to cherish the memory of your youthful martyr, Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in you.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

June 10, 2016

Jesus, you are my rock!  Deepen my faith in your love, your wisdom, and your provision— no matter what collapses around me (the Word among us, June 2012, p. 49).

January 21, 2017

“You may stain your sword with my blood; but you will never be able to profane my body, consecrated to Christ” (St. Agnes).

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Links of interest…  Fort Stockton: about / attractions / county seat…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish…  Missing Mass on vacation…  Santo Niño de Atocha: miracle / novenaprayers / requests / Sanctuario de Chimayo (website) / Traditions (blog)…  St. Agnes: about (more) / devotions (more) / eve & day / feast day (more) / for kids / martyr (more) / novena / prayer (more)…  St. Agnes Church: Catholic directory / Discover Mass (bulletin) / facebook / parish history / pastoral team

WP pages…  Praise…  Saints…  St. Joseph

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Faith and prayer…  Finding St. Rita…  Forever grateful…  Grapes of generosity…  Guadalupe Church…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Little gifts…  Living one’s gifts…  Notre Dame revisited…  San Giuseppe…  Slice of heaven…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Elizabeth Church…  St. Michael chaplet…  St. Monica…  St. Peregrine relic…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Vattmann church

Unexpected detours

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

Our Lady of Consolation

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

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

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

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

Unexpected detours

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

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Prayers

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

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

May 24, 2016

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

June 4, 2016

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

June 10, 2016

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

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

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

God’s lovely gifts

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

And I discovered something new!

God’s lovely gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Contact information

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

March 21, 2017

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

April 8, 2017

Dear God, we ask that you hear our Lenten prayer of praise, surrender, and petition.  We praise you for the many gifts that you have given us.  We surrender our control, seeking to follow Jesus’s model of humility while striving to love as he loved us.  We recognize that suffering comes with love, that great love and great suffering can transform us, but that neither experience is necessarily easy.  We offer our petition to you, praying that we might have the strength of our convictions, the hope of our faith, and the joy of that hope when times are difficult.  May we always place our trust in you and commend our whole selves to your care. In doing so, may we always proclaim, in word and deed, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering).

April 9, 2017

The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.  The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:8-9).

June 5, 2017

“The will of God is not a fate which has to be endured, but a holy and meaningful act which ushers in a new creation” (Romano Guardini in The Art of Praying).

June 30, 2017

In the gospels, Jesus introduces us to God the Father and invites us into his heavenly realm right here on earth, the kingdom of God.  He opens our eyes to see that there are two kingdoms: the kingdom of this world, which we can touch, taste, see, hear, and smell (our physical world), and God’s kingdom, which is unseen but just as real— in fact, even more so.

By getting to know Jesus Christ and learning how to connect with him spiritually, we can become “kingdom-of-God dwellers.”  But because we have been given the gift of free will, each of us must decide, every minute of each day, in which kingdom we will choose to place our hope and trust (Melissa Overmyer in Born to Soar: Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life).

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

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

Christ’s passion

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When we visit a church, new or familiar, I photograph the stations of the cross with relish.  Sometimes the end result includes dark, fuzzy, and/or cropped pictures that make me long for do-overs.  Other times I’m simply amazed at the beauties that pop out at me unexpectedly as I search my ever-expanding photo files for visuals that complement my writing.  But, always, I’m so drawn to the stations that I wonder how they were chosen to begin with.  And, if they could tell their story, what would they say?

Christ’s passion

July 2014, I fell head over heels in love with the stations of the cross during our eight-day silent retreat.  And, just last month, I serendipitously discovered why.

Thanks to a lifelong lingering memory, I can trace my initial fascination with the story of Christ’s passion to a long-ago prayer that mom recited nightly for my baby brother and me as we would “go to sleep with the angels.”

“Hortelanito, por Dios, dime la pura verdad: si Jesús de Nazaret por aquí lo has visto pasar” (Mendoza, 1939).

Powerful devotion

Life never has seemed so full of trouble and strife as now.  But, amid our daily anxieties, we never lose hope.  God’s help is near at hand.  With it we look forward to a share in Christ’s victory over sin and death.

Our present sufferings cannot be compared to the glory that one day will be revealed in us.  All we need do is remain faithful and constant.  In our daily cares and preoccupations we must keep our heart steadily fixed on our true goal.

We will find it much easier to do so when we perform our work with the spirit and outlook of Christ.  In his sacred passion and death our Savior opened the way for us to follow.  There is no other path to God, our father.

The stations, [Christ’s] way of the cross, are our way to salvation, too.  We must often apply their power to our own life situation.  This can be done anywhere: at home, on a park bench, waiting for a train or a friend.  When our schedule is crowded, we can think and pray at least one station a day.

Our Lord doesn’t expect long or eloquent prayers.  We need not even use words; a brief silent lifting of our hearts to him suffices (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-8/14, p. 2).

Opening prayer

God, our heavenly father, we raise our minds and hearts to you in praise and thanksgiving.  Though weak and sinful, we wish to follow your only son, our Lord Jesus, on the way of the cross.  May your Holy Spirit help us use our Savior’s strength effectively in our place in life.  We ask the special aid of our blessed Lady, ever virgin and mother, in following Christ and in making his way of the cross our way of life.  Amen.

1: Jesus is condemned.

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

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2: Jesus takes his cross.

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

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3: Jesus falls the first time.

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

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4: Jesus meets his mother.

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

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5: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

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

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6: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

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

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7: Jesus falls the second time.

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

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8: Jesus speaks to the women.

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

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9: Jesus falls the third time.

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

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10: Jesus is stripped of his clothes.

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

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11: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

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

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12: Jesus dies on the cross.

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

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13: Jesus is taken down from the cross.

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

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14: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

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

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Concluding prayer

O God, our heavenly father, by your great mercy we are born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, your son.  We look forward to the inheritance, imperishable and unfading, which you have reserved for us in heaven.  We thank you for calling us to eternal glory in Jesus, our savior.  We ask your forgiveness for the many times we have failed in following Christ.  May the remembrance of his life, passion, and resurrection sustain us on our earthly way of the cross.  May his example strengthen us in faith, hope, and love.  And when we come to die, may we, by your gracious goodness, be born again to eternal life.  Amen.

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Contact information

Prayers are from Your Way of the Cross (FMA, B-13R, pp. 3 & 11, respectively).  Your Way of the Cross leaflets and the Retreat Booklet are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598; and A Prayer in Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows is from the Servants of Mary, The Servite Order, 1439 South Harlem Avenue, Berwyn, IL 60402-0712.

Stations of the cross (left to right, top to bottom) can be found in the following sacred spaces: Sts. Cyril & Methodius (Corpus Christi, TX), St. Anthony of Padua (Rockford, IL), Most Holy Trinity (Covington, LA), St. Mary Cathedral (Austin, TX), St. Anselm (Madisonville, LA), St. Mary’s (Brownsville, TX), Christus Spohn Hospital Chapel (Corpus Christi, TX), Oblate School of Theology (San Antonio, TX), and St. Joseph (Port Aransas, TX), respectively.

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February 25, 2016

Many who would willingly let themselves be nailed to a cross before the astonished gaze of a thousand onlookers cannot bear with a Christian spirit the pinpricks of each day!  Think, then, which is the more heroic
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).

February 29, 2016

“We must not seek the cross in extraordinary sufferings seldom, if ever, encountered; we must look for it in the duties, the life, the difficulties, and the sacrifices of each day and of each moment” (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, Divine Intimacy).

March 9, 2016

“We could not go to Calvary to offer ourselves with him and thus share in the fruits of his sacrifice, so Jesus brought Calvary to us” (Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, The Basic Book of the Eucharist).

November 10, 2016

“No one should be ashamed of the cross of Christ through which the world has been redeemed” (St. Leo the Great).

March 20, 2017

Christ’s whole being must ring in our hearts with blood and bone.  We must follow him.  We must strive to penetrate into the heart of his mystery, to what he really is.  Then things be­come plain to us, as we have found them here (Romano Guardini in Meditations on the Christ).

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St. Anthony of Padua Church – Rockford, IL

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Grounds at the Oblate School of Theology – San Antonio, TX

Links of interest…  Disciples’ diary (Peter & Judas)…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotional saintslight a candle / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / saint & prayer of the month / who we are…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to domaking them worthwhile / origins / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross…  Ten lessons from the agony in the garden…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…  Videos: intro & street stations for commuters & bikers….  Way of the cross (Artola, 2005; preview)…  What Jesus saw from the cross…  the Word among us

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