June 8, 2019

PENTECOST SUNDAY--2019


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson



The HOLY SPIRIT is here--Invite HIM in

The Holy Spirit          www.lovethispic.com

June 1, 2019

Do You Have a Devotion to Our Lady of Cana?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

 By Larry Peterson
Wedding Feast at Cana/Our Lady of Cana    courtesy insidethevatican.com

Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life.


We all know about the Wedding Feast at  Cana and how Jesus, at the request of His Mom, performed His first public miracle here. However, I had never heard it called the Feast of Our Lady of Cana.

There are only four instances in the Bible where Mary speaks: first, at the Annunciation; second, at the Visitation; third, when she and Joseph find their twelve-year-old son teaching in the temple; and finally, at the Wedding Feast at Cana. This the only time in the entire New Testament when Mary speaks to her son as an adult.

In the Gospel according to John: Chapter 2: 3-5; it reads as follows: When the wine ran short the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.”

I had never really thought about the significance of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Learning more about this suddenly made me realize I had never fully understood the magnitude and importance of this particular interaction between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her only Son, the God-Man. This was an incredible moment that happened in the Salvation story.

Christ, The Redeemer and King of the Universe, defers to His mom. She did not even have to discuss with Him what she had asked Him. She simply told Him what the situation was and then, without responding to His question,  told the stewards to do whatever He told them.

He acquiesced to her request and they followed His orders. Imagine that; The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, honors, without question, a simple peasant woman, who had been given the ultimate tribute of giving Him human life.

The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Feast of Our Lady of Cana are completely intertwined. They show us how closely linked together are the Son of God and His earthly Mom. Without her there is no Him. Without Him there is no Salvation. The pathway to Jesus is through Mary. No one who ever existed was ever as close to Jesus as was Mary. Mary is the way for us to get to know Jesus.

It is very significant that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding. He was there with His Mom. She asked Him for His help. Was this not all about family and the importance of marriage? St. Joseph had already passed, so it was Jesus and Mary representing their own family. The bride and groom had just been joined together as a new family. Mary wanted to help the new family and bring them some joy on their wedding day. Jesus helped her to do so. Since she was given to all of us as our Mother too, does it not follow that she will always be there for each of us no matter what we may need. She will talk to Jesus for us.

For those of you who feel called to the married life maybe you might get together and offer Our Lady of Cana and her Son,  Jesus, an invitation to your wedding. On your wedding day, even if you cannot see them, they will be there, guaranteed. If you are already married, ask them over for a simple dinner some evening. They will be there also. Bottom line—keep them in your lives. Just ask Our Lady of Cana to pray for you and you will always be in good hands.

Finally, January 6 is traditionally known as the Epiphany or “Little Christmas.” In 2010 , January 6,  was also shared with  St. Andre Bessette.  No matter, this date is still listed as the Feast of Our Lady of Cana and can be found on the Marian Calendar, in the listings of Roman Catholic Saints and among the many Titles of Mary that are listed in encyclopedias. When and where this title was bestowed on Our Lady is still unclear.

Our Lady of Cana, please pray for us all, especially all our families

                                     Copyright©LarryPeterson 2018


May 28, 2019

I was "Isadored" by Two Catholics and a Hebrew; It was Great*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

by Larry Peterson

I had always thought that the name, Isidore, was primarily a Hebrew/Jewish name. I never knew a Catholic/Christian named Isidore. In fact,when my cousin, Vicki, discovered our mysterious, missing grandfather several years ago his name turned out to be  Isidore. It proved my point; Isidore Schul was a Hebrew man from Krakow. (Yes, we are part Hebrew and some of our relatives perished in the Holocaust. But that is a story for another day). This is about the name, Isidore.

But--I was wrong about the name. All had to do was discover a saint I had never heard of. That saint's name  is Isidore. St. Isidore the Farmer and he was named after St. Isidore of Seville who is a Doctor of the Church. Just like that I had discovered two Catholic Isidores. I had been simultaneously "Isadored" by a Hebrew and two Catholics. It was great.

I'm sure many of you have heard of St. Isidore(s). Since I never had it was a bit of fun tying the Hebrew aspect of the name to a Catholic saint. It fit all the times I have mentioned how we Catholic/Christians are all rooted in Judaism. So onward to St. Isidore the Farmer. (One Isidore at a time is enough).

Isidore was born in Madrid to peasant farmers in the year 1070. He was named and christened after  Archbishop Isidore of Seville who held that post for over three decades and would one day become St Isidore of Seville. Isidore's mom and dad were quite poor and before long Isidore had a hoe in his hand and was working the soil.
Isidore the Farmer 6'5" tall

A wealthy landowner from Madrid, Juan de Vergas, brought Isidore into his employ. Isidore was still a boy and little did anyone ever think that the "boy" would work on that estate for the rest of his life. But that is what happened.

Isidore was deeply religious and got up extra early every morning to go to Mass. As a young man Isidore met Maria de la Cabeza and they fell deeply in love. Maria was as devout and as generous as her new husband and they were married. They immediately set a wonderful example for married Catholics. They both had a genuine love for the poor and  many times did without so others could eat.

Isidore and Maria had a son and they named him, Illan. Legend has it that when Illan was a toddler, he fell into a deep well and there was no way to get him out. Isidore and Maria knelt together and joined hands in prayer and the well slowly filled lifting Illan to the top so he could be saved.His mom and dad believed God had  given them a miracle to save their son. In thanksgiving for the miracle they vowed to remain celibate for  the rest of their lives. They were truly people of great faith because when  Illan died not long after, they never doubted God for a moment or went back on their vows.

People told stories of how Maria always  always had food on the stove for those in need. She knew that most everyday Isidore would bring home any hungry person he came across. One time he brought home more people than they had food for. Maria told her husband that there was nothing left, He told her to check the pot again. When she went back and looked it was full. She fed all the people he had brought home with him.

Isidore died on May 15 (also his feast day), 1130. He was canonized a saint on March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. He is the patron saint of farmers and laborers. St. Isidore was canonized along with four other well known saints: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier and St. Philip Neri. St. Isidore is a part of the group known in Spain as the "Five Saints". One final noteworthy thing about St. Isidore; he was six feet five inches tall and his body has been found to be incorrupt.

After Isidore's death, Maria became a hermit and many miracles were attributed to her also. She was beatified in 1697. In Spain they call her "Santa Maria de las Cabeza" even though she has yet to be officially canonized.

We ask all of these saints to pray for us.

*This article appeared in Aleteia on May 15, 2017

                                 ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2017 All Rights Reserved.

                                           

May 25, 2019

This Blessed Mother statue was carved by an Angel; Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy

Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy                          americaneedsfatima.blogspot.com


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


During the time of the Crusades, it happened that one day, three of the Knights of St. John were caught in an ambush and captured by the Saracens. The three prisoners were brothers and happened to be from the highly regarded family of Eppes in northern France. They were all loyal and true to the faith, a trait that would be immediately tested.

The men were taken to Cairo and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan thought he could convert them to Islam by offering them lavish gifts, but that proved to be an effort in futility. The Sultan angered at their obstinance,  threw them into prison. The three men were then subjected to all kinds of torture and hardships, including starvation. It did not matter; they refused to waiver.

Exasperated at his failure to convert the men to Islam, the Sultan tried another approach. He sent his beautiful daughter, Princess Ismeria, to try and win them over.  

Princess Ismeria knew the cruel death that awaited the three Knights if they did not give in to her father. However, when she would try to coax them with promises of riches and high positions, they would quote scripture to her. She began to weaken, and then they told her of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They told her that the Virgin Mary’s image was enough to capture every heart, convincing it to love her.”

Princess Ismeria, curious about this beautiful image, asked the brothers to create an image of this Divine Mother so she could see what she looked like. She gave them wood, brushes, paints, and all the necessary tools to make such an image. Then she went away.

The brothers, having no idea how to make a statue,  fell into a deep sleep. As they slept an angel, sent by the Virgin Mary, came and carved a statue of the Madonna with a face that was filled with kindness and love. Soon after finishing, a brilliant light awoke the three young men.. When they saw the figure, they immediately knelt before it and began to pray.

Early the next morning, Princess Ismeria arrived and saw the statue. She was astonished and fell at the foot of the icon. She began pleading with the Virgin Mary to make her Christian through Baptism. That night, as the princess slept, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in a dream and told her that the three knights would escape from Egypt and take her to France with them

When Ismeria awoke she rushed to the tower and found the big doors opened. She led the knights out of the fortress, giving them their freedom. They made their way to the banks of the Nile, and a boatman was waiting to it take them across. When they reached the other side, the man vanished. He had been an angel sent by Our Lady.

As evening approached, the four travelers sought out some shelter to rest for the night. Exhausted from their long day’s journey, they quickly fell asleep. When they awoke, they discovered that they were in another place. Confused, they asked a traveler where they were. He told them they were in Picardy, which was near  Eppes. They all knelt in prayer, realizing that another miracle had occurred, bringing them to safety.

They had carried the statue from Cairo and began walking toward their villa in Eppes. As they neared the villa, the statue became so heavy they could not move it. They were in the town of Liesse, and they immediately knew that this was the place Our Lady wanted her statue to stay.

The three brother Knights of St. John were greeted with great jubilation by their relatives and friends. They were all fascinated by Princess Ismeria, who renounced her former life. The Bishop of Leon baptized her and gave her the name of Mary. Her prayers had been answered. The people built a church to receive the Statue of Our Lady of Liesse.

As time went by, the church took on the name of the statue and then the entire region. Eventually, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Liesse also became known as Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Joy. Pilgrims come from all over the world to see the statue, and there is an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost). The Feast day is December 2.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019





May 15, 2019

From Jehovah’s Witness to Catholic Priest an Interview with Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M.the man who made that Journey

Father Daniel Bowen        orderofmercy.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M., distinctly remembers how every Sunday when he was growing up his mom would take him and his two brothers to Kingdom Hall. Their mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, and this was their church. It was as far removed from the Catholic church as one could imagine.

Young Daniel believed in God but was filled with doubts. By the time he became a teenager, he had decided he had enough of “church” and told his mom he did not want to go anymore  His father told his wife that Daniel did not have to go if he did not want to. Daniel seized the moment and stopped going.  After all,  he came first---all else came second.

The years passed by and Daniel more or less forgot about God. Once in college, he became more self-absorbed about his own needs and what might make him happy. Then he met a Catholic girl named Lisa.

Lisa told Daniel that if he wanted to date her, he would have to go to Mass with her. He did, and he liked it. Then she introduced him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That was it. The young man, as the saying goes, was “hooked.”  

Eventually, Daniel and Lisa took different life paths. The Holy Spirit had seized hold of Daniel Bowen and was not about to let go.  On August 15, 2015, the Solemnity of the Assumption, Daniel Bowen was ordained a priest. He now serves as Vocation Director for the Mercedarian Friars U.S.A.

You can find Father Daniel’s inspiring story HERE. It is a beautiful story of a man who took his leap of faith holding hands with the Holy Spirirt---ENJOY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let’s ask Father Daniel some questions:
(Interviewer’s questions in Bold:     Father Daniel is (Fr. D) responses in Italics)

When and how did you receive your call to become a priest? Was there a moment in time or an event when you heard the Holy Spirit calling you?
·         Fr. D: “People began to ask me the question: Did I ever think about being a priest. I hadn’t, and so I had to ask God about it. It took a few years to figure it out, and then seminary to figure it out the rest of the way. No man knows for sure until he is laying on the ground before a Bishop on the day of his ordination. It is totally a Holy Spirit thing, and prayer is an essential part of it all.”


Tell me your number one reason for being a priest?
·         Fr. D: “To know, love and joyfully serve God, and to love my neighbor as myself. To be a servant to God’s servants. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”


What attracted you to the Mercedarians? (The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)
·         Fr. D: “The Order was founded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so this Marian aspect was most attractive to me. Also, the 4th vow, the Redemptive Vow, the willingness to lay down one’s life for another in danger of losing their faith - this “all in” aspect always spoke profoundly to my heart.”


According to the General Rule Of Survey from the Univ. of Chicago, in 2015, among those 18 to 34 years old, 30 % do not have any religion at all. Many do not believe in God. Secularism seems to have infected many the world over. As the Vocation Director for the Mercedarians, your job must present quite the challenge. How is this going for you?
·         Fr. D:  “I am still working on getting my wings, so to speak. Yes, it can be seen as a challenge, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. God still calls people to Himself. Christ’s death and resurrection is completely relevant to every generation, even those who feel it does not need to apply to them. First is helping others know that our Lord, the God of love and mercy is real and necessary to live a life of complete fulfillment. To help them realize the Christian faith is about relationship - God’s desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And then to facilitate an encounter with Him. Once men know this, then they can begin to find what the mission and plan that He has for their life. Could God be calling me to be a priest and/or a consecrated religious? And if the answer is yes, then one is best to find out if this is truly His calling, and if so acting on it.”


What advice would you give to a young person who is considering religious life?
·         Fr. D:  “It is a great gift given by God to some, not all. It is a precious calling to be intimate with God and others in a way that no other lifestyle can match. It is a summons to love fully and without holding back. To proclaim boldly to our world that not only God exists, but He knows and loves us. That I am willing to forsake the goods of this life and world, in order to embrace, here and now, the blessing that God desires for us in heaven. My advice: Go for it!!! Do not be afraid, or put it off, go find out if this is God’s will for your life. If it is you will have the best life. If it is God’s will, then there will be a peace and deep, profound joy that will be under it all.”


How do you, as a priest, deal with negativity about the Catholic Church in the media, when asked about it by a layperson?
·         Fr. D: “Some people were negative towards Jesus in His life here on earth. It is no different today. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ, yes there is a very human element, but there is also a divine element present here, that should not be so easily dismissed. For all her faults, and only the Lord knows why He permits them, the Church is the most charitable and truth-bearing place on the planet. She is the spouse of Christ, and so must be present to continue to bring Christ’s authentic presence, so that all generations may have the opportunity to encounter Him. Staying close to our Lord in prayer is key to keeping one’s head above water, especially when our faults are clearly manifested - keeping our hearts, minds, and souls on the Lord. Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”


What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
·         Fr. D: “Helping others to believe that the faith is real, and then to fully surrender one’s life to it. Seeing people fall deeply and madly in love with our Lord, and seeing that transformation take place is most rewarding. Experiencing the good work our Lord is able to accomplish through people who desire Him to work in their lives is a beautiful blessing. Challenging is seeing those who fall away from the faith, or keep saying no to God, seeing the resulting destruction this does to that person and to others and knowing how much it hurts our Lord, this is challenging. But following Christ is a summons to love, and it is an invitation that one must be free to choose or reject. Otherwise, it really isn’t love is it?


THANK YOU Father Daniel for taking the time to do this interview. May God bless you as you move forward in your priestly ministry.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019 

May 10, 2019

On Mother's Day--Remembering Jamie Schmidt who died defending her honor in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 19, 2018


 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


The Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church has thousands of names on its pages. However, that huge book may need to find space for the very first American who was matryred on American soil for being Catholic and daring to defend her honor. Her name is Jamie Schmidt and she gave her life for Jesus in St. Louis, Missouri.

Most of us have heard of  St. Maria Goretti, the eleven-year-old who died “In Defensum Castitatis” (In Defense of Purity). Maria was trying to fight off the advances of a twenty-year-old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli. He became so enraged at her that he stabbed her fourteen times. Before Maria died, she forgave her attacker. He spent 30 years in prison and, touched by the grace of God, was present at the canonization of the young girl he had murdered.

Jamie Schmidt was an average, 53-year-old, Catholic woman who lived in High Ridge, Missouri a town about 25 miles outside St. Louis. She was married to her high-school sweetheart, and they had three children. The Schmidt family belonged to St. Anthony of Padua Church and Jamie sang in the choir. She was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, worked organizing and holding women’s retreats, and was always ready to help anyone in need. She even made and distributed rosaries. Ironically, it was her Rosary ministry that brought her face to face with evil.

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when Jamie stopped into the Church Supply Warehouse in St. Louis for needed rosary supplies. There were two other women in the store. Jamie was no sooner inside when a man came in and began looking around. He said to the woman at the counter that he had forgotten his credit card and had to go out to the car to get it. He was actually casing the place.

Jamie went over to the section where the supplies she needed were located. It was then that the man returned. This time he was brandishing a gun. He told the three women to get to the back of the store and that “they had better do as they were told.”

He lined them up against the wall and proceeded to molest the first woman who, frightened for her life, gave in to the man’s advances. He did the same to the second woman who also just submitted, terrified for her life. Then he turned to Jamie. He demanded that she take off her clothes.

Jamie had been witness to the depraved acts this disgusting man had inflicted on the two other women. She was surely terrified too, but the Holy Spirit must have been with her. (The two women gave this account to police);  She stared at the man  and, standing tall, said in a firm voice, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.”

Buoyed by her Catholic faith and refusing to submit to an immoral, sexual assault, she had invoked the name of her God and said categorically to her assailant, “NO!”  He shot her in the head at point blank range. Jamie Schmidt crumpled to the floor. The man ran from the store while one of the women quickly called 911.

Jamie did not die instantly. As she lay mortally wounded, the two women could  hear her saying ever so softly the “Our Father.” She knew her life was slipping away, but she was thinking of her God and invoking His name. It was reported that even during the ride in the ambulance Jamie, barely audible, kept praying.  She was still praying when her last breath left her body.

A short time later a man by the name of Thomas Bruce, was captured by police. He was the perpetrator and was arrested for murder, sodomy, and other charges. He now awaits trial for the crimes with which he has been charged.

St. Maria Goretti, age 12,  refused a similar assault and was stabbed to death in 1902. Blessed Pierina Morosini, age 26, refused a similar assault and was beaten to death with a rock in 1957. Jamie Schmidt, age 53, refused and was shot to death in 2018. These three women, their lives spread over a century apart, share an unexpected sisterhood.

Having died “In Defensum Castitatis” Jamie’s cause for beatification should move along quickly.  What happened to her and St. Maria and Blessed Pierina can happen to any of us at any time. If suddenly we were asked to defend our faith with our lives hanging in the balance, what would we do?

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 22, 2019

Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, 2019; a growing Epidemic that affects us All

Alzheimer patient             en.wikipedia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME By Larry Peterson


My wife passed away almost two years ago, a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease. I stay in touch with the Alzheimer’s  Association because I want to keep abreast of advances and other news that pertains to this illness. Yesterday I received the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report for 2019. Since this disease ignores all human boundaries, I thought I might share some basic info about this topic.


It is important to remember that Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia are two different things. Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia while Dementia is a syndrome or a symptom of a cognitive disorder. There are many other causes of dementia besides Alzheimer’s disease such as Vascular Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, to name a few.

A football player may develop dementia from years of head trauma received while playing his sport. A retired fighter may be deemed as being “punch drunk” because dementia has taken hold of his brain after thousands of punches to the head. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease requires a special evaluation by doctors and trained psychologists in the field before the Alzheimer’s label is officially given the patient.

My wife first exhibited “forgetfulness’ during her chemo treatments in 2011. I had heard of “chemo-brain” and asked her oncologist about her chemo treatments being the cause. He could not answer and said we would have to wait and see.

It was not until the summer of 2014 when the official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease given. And that came only after an MRI, evaluation by a neurologist, and having her and the family interviewed by two psychologists.

She lived three years after diagnosis. Some Alzheimer’s patients live up to fifteen years, especially those who are diagnosed in their early fifties. The course of the illness is unpredictable, but the results are very predictable. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be slowed or stopped. It just keeps at it until its mission is accomplished.

According to the Alzheimer’s Associations 2019 report, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. The projected number by the year 2050 is 14 million. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease and more than 16 million Americans, (mostly family and friends) provide unpaid care for people who have Alzheimer's or another type of dementia.

Heart disease has always held the title as being the number one killer in the United States. The good news is that between the years 2000 and 2017 deaths from heart disease decreased by 9%. At the same time deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by a whopping 145% making it the sixth leading killer in America.

Today in America one in ten people over the age of 65 has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They have determined that among seniors who are 85 or older, 32% have the disease. As modern medications and healthy eating and cleaner lifestyles promote lengthier life spans tne number of folks living into their nineties continues to climb. Along with that comes an increase in Alzheimer’s cases.

Finally, early symptoms of dementia may include: confusion about location or what day it is; poor judgment; unable to find familiar items; or simply mood and or personality changes. But PLEASE—do not diagnose someone you know and love as having dementia. Many things can cause a memory lapse or forgetfulness. We all are victims of those things. Only trained and qualified personnel can diagnose such a serious disease.

The best thing we all can do when confronted with these situations is pray hard and call our doctors.
Lastly, never forget to ask the Patroness of those with dementia and mental illness for her intercession. Her name is St. Dymphna  Click on her name and say “HI.”



copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 18, 2019

An unexpected Evangelization Moment---Distributing Ashes on Ash Wednesday in Walmart



Honoring Lent                                                                                                           allevent.in.jpg


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson

The USCCB states that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. So how can we everyday Catholics always be prepared to evangelize?

Our behavior and our actions and the words we use are tools for evangelizing. They show that we are Christian. Saying grace before meals while in a restaurant with family or friends or simply having an “I Love Jesus” bumper sticker on your car gives a powerful message. You get the idea.  
  
Many times things happen that are “in our face,” and we have only a moment or so to decide what to do; should we stay and help or keep on walking?  It is very easy to “ignore,” a situation, but that is not what the Good Samaritan did, is it?  What follows is an example of one of those unexpected moments.

I am an  EMHC, and on Ash Wednesday, on my way home after distributing ashes and Holy Communion, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Walmart. I did not have to go there; there was nothing specific I needed, but there was the store and the next thing I knew, the car was parked.  As I walked toward the entrance I decided I needed “double A batteries.” I did not need them but I guess I had to validate my being there.

Walking into the store, the express lanes were ahead and to the right.  Ahead and to my left was McDonald's. Outside McDonald's was a bench and sitting in it was an elderly lady I knew from church. We have been friends for a long time and her name is Rachel. I walk over to her to say “hi”, and she looks at my forehead and says, “Oh, Larry, it’s you. We forgot today was Ash Wednesday. We didn’t get ashes.” Let the unplanned evangelizing begin.

Rachel weighs about 70 pounds soaking wet and she is in her late eighties. Her husband, Jim, has Parkinson’s disease and is about the same age. They were both widowed and have been married for about fifteen years. I was still in my shirt and tie and wearing my EMHC cross. Next thing you know I am sitting next to Rachel praying with her and placing ashes on her forehead. When I finish I ask her, “Where is Jim?”

Jim was on the line in McDonald’s. The entrance was about fifty feet from where we were sitting. As I got up to find Jim,  I noticed there were about a half-dozen people standing there watching us. It dawned on me that there were some people wondering why I was smearing dirt on an old lady’s forehead. I simply looked at them all and said, “Hi folks, today is Ash Wednesday. You can Google it.”

I turned and headed into the restaurant. There is Jim, standing there about eighth in line with about ten more people behind him. The place is packed and the poor guy is standing there with his left forearm and hand trembling unmercifully. I walk up to him and he is stunned to see me. I say as quietly as I can, “Jim, I just gave Rachel ashes. Would you like to have them too?”

As I stood praying softly with Jim, our audience began to grow. By the time I placed ashes on his forehead more people were coming over to see what was going on. I did hear some people mention, “Ash Wednesday.”  

That was my impromptu queue. I turned and faced the gathering crowd and raised my hands in the air. “Hey everyone, today is Ash Wednesday. I am Catholic as are my friends here who I just happened to bump into. They were unable to get to Mass today so they are receiving ashes which remind us to “remember that we are dust and into dust, we shall return.”

I actually gave several more people ashes but then I had none left. I know a lot of people, religious and non-religious alike, watched the unscripted distribution of the ashes. It was an evangelization moment for sure and it all happened in less than fifteen minutes. I also know it had to be my guardian angel who helped me pull that steering wheel to the right leading me into Walmart.  
A sidebar to all of this; I never got the batteries.


 copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

March 15, 2019

Meet a few of the Hidden People of Lent

                Lenten Poster                      

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


I left church on Ash Wednesday and, just like everyone else, I had freshly smeared ashes on my forehead.  I was ‘ready” to embrace the Lenten season. There was one difference. Four of us had small vials of ashes in our pockets along with our pyxes which contained the Holy Eucharist. We are EMHCs,  (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) and, besides Holy Communion,  we are privileged to be able to distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday.

My three friends were going to different places: one to the hospital, and the others to different nursing homes. As for me, I make individual home visits and I had five to do.

Three of the people I saw were in their mid-nineties, and one was eighty-six,  Then there was the “baby” of the group; TERRI. She is all of fifty-nine. This poor woman, because of a botched hernia operation last May, almost died, has had several surgeries since and faces another eight-hour operation in April. Through it all, when I arrive,  she always has a ready smile on her face. How uplifting that is to see.

So please; come with me as I stop at the homes of a few more of these “hidden” Catholics. You might enjoy the change of venue; (I will just use their first names).

·         EVELYN  My first stop is at Evelyn’s. She is 94 years old and is always impeccably dressed when I arrive. Her hair is done, her makeup is on, and her lipstick has been perfectly applied. Evelyn is from New Jersey, and we get along great. I have been seeing her weekly for three years. She always asks, “Larry, when do you think God will take me. I’ve lived long enough.”

I always tell her she is only “upper middle-age” and God needs prayer warriors so that is her job and to get out her Rosary and get busy working.

She smiles, reaches over to the table, and lifts her beads. “What do you think these are. I’m wearing them out.”

We both laugh, I hug her, and it was on to see Marie.

·         MARIE. Marie is 95 and is “all business.”  She is waiting at the door for me, and it opens before I even knock. I ask her how she is, and she will answer, “Oh, I’m fine, thank you.” I am usually only with her for about five minutes. She smiles and tells me to have a nice a week and asks me to pray for her son who is having car trouble. I tell her I will even though he has “car trouble” every week.

·         “BIG JIM”  Jim is an 86 year old ex-Marine, former Greyhound dog trainer and a baker. I arrive at his place, and after about fifteen minutes, I  will leave with three packages of freshly baked cookies and a loaf of still-warm banana bread. Jim has been sick since Thanksgiving with a deep infection that went into his lungs and caused blood poisoning; I know he is better because he is baking again. Praise the Lord.

·         VIRGINIA  The highlight of my entire Lenten Season may be what happened next and I just wanted to share it with anyone who might read this. It just shows how little things can mean SO MUCH to someone. 

My friend Virginia rarely has any visitors. Sunday she told me that her birthday was March 6, and she was going to be 97 years old. I knew she would spend the day alone. So Tuesday night I stopped in the supermarket and got her a small red-velvet cheesecake topped with cream and a cherry.

I walked into Virginia’s small apartment and she was just sitting there as she always is. I said to her, “Before we do anything I have something for you.”

I took the small cake out of the container, placed the candle I had in my pocket in it, and lit it. Then I said, “I can’t sing Virginia but this is for you.”

I began to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and the biggest smile broke out on her face. This was followed by tears running down her cheeks. They began running down mine too. It turned into an unexpected special moment and her reaction demonstrates how sometimes the tiniest kindness can mean so much to someone, especially a lonely person in her late 90s.

Wishing everyone an uplifting and spiritually rewarding Lenten Season.

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copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 9, 2019

A Priest and his Bishop Defend the Faith in Kansas


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Once again folks who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church are claiming ‘victimhood.” That is because the Church will NOT accommodate their blatant rejection of Catholic teaching.  St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas refused to accept a child into their kindergarten class. The reason was that the child’s parents are two lesbians who are “legally married” under state law.

The pastor of the Church, Father Craig Maxim, stood by Catholic doctrine. Here is an excerpt from CCC 2357: ---“Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that  ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life----under no circumstances can they be approved.”  (Click here for entire link)

The Archbishop of Kansas City gave his priest his full support. Kudos to both of them because, first and foremost, they are the spiritual guides to the lay Catholics within their authority. They did the right thing. They stood tall in the face of the “social justice” mantra and the secular onslaught that has grabbed hold of so many in our culture. “Social Justice” is a fallacy because all it means is that it is OK to do what is pleasing to you. That is also called secularism, and that has even fooled many Catholics into embracing it.

Using the guise of compassion and tolerance and Christ’s love, they reject church teaching in favor of what makes them feel good.  According to WDAF-TV in Kansas City and FOX4kc.com within a short time more than one thousand signatures were on a petition demanding the church rescind their ruling and allow the child to attend St. Ann’s.

One parent, Joe Skates, who admits he does NOT like organized religion but sends his kids to another Catholic school nearby, was quoted as saying, “The hypocrisy is so insane. I just don’t really get it. They need to change. They need to modernize.”  But it is Mr. Skates and those who agree with him who are the hypocrites. The church is defending its principles. That is NOT hypocrisy.

The petition that has been submitted reads as follows, “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s [sic] union is not in accordance with the Church teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”

Why do Mr. Skates and so many others “not get it?” This is church teaching. These are part of the rules. They do NOT have to send their children to Catholic school and then demand the Church reject its teachings to accommodate their wants and desires. It does not work that way and it is time for this “political correctness” nonsense to be shut down.

The microcosm of society is the family. The Catholic church has always defended and honored family.  Once again we can reference the Catechism at CCC 2202. “A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is before any recognition by public authority. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationships are to be evaluated.”

The child’s lesbian parents want their child educated in a Catholic school and to receive teaching that goes against the very core of what they believe. The school will teach that marriage is ONLY supposed to be between a man and a woman. The child will learn that God created man and woman and that children can only be a result of the bond between them.

What should the child think when her “parents” are two women? Why would they want the child to go there? Why would they want the child to come home to a family that is being taught as improper? There are many other alternatives, and they are free to enroll their child in any other school. This makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as Father Maxim and Archbishop Nauman are concerned, They displayed courage and conviction in defending the faith and I, for one, am proud of them.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019