How my family received a blessing from Pope Paul VI

In November 1970 Pope Paul VI visited Sydney, Australia.  Mum took us kids on the train to Sydney.  It was a hot day.  Lots of people were lined up along the street in front of Hyde Park. Mum took us to the front of the rows of people and earned the irritation of a lady nearby, who said that they had been there for hours in the heat. So my mother said “Lets cross the street and stand over there”.  We crossed the street and stood near the outside of St Mary’s  Cathedral.  The pope was inside the cathedral having a meeting with the clergy. Finally he came out. He was standing on the back of a ute which was driven out of the cathedral car park.  We were standing at the pedestrian lights.  No one expected the pope’s route to be there, so our family were the only ones standing there. The pope’s vehicle drove past there very slowly and the pope looked down at our family and studied our faces! We waved to him excitedly.  Then he lifted his arm high and gave a blessing to mum and to us children. (Most of us including myself, where in our early teens and were then in high school). Even today I find it hard to believe that this happened.

The story of a vocation to the priesthood

Here is the way that one man became a priest. He is an Australian who was teaching in Papua New Guinea at a Catholic school.  A native boy came to him and said: “Why you not  priest?  You talk with priests, you act like priest.”  That simple remark got him thinking and he later became a priest.

Today is Mother’s Day

Our parish priest is on holidays and we have a retired priest filling in for the month.  At the end of the Vigil Mass last night, Father gave each mother present at the Mass, a signed card (for mother’s day) with the following quote of St Therese on it:

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother. 

The card was decorated with roses. I was especially pleased because I have been praying to St Therese for a very important intention and that has given me encouragement regarding that matter. 

I know that Mother’s Day is a secular celebration and is also commercialized at that, but Anna Jarvis (the American lady)* who started it to honour her own mother never intended it to be that way. 

In this age where abortion has become so widespread, it does not hurt to give a genuine approach to mother’s day, recognizing the importance of mothers and babies. No pope, priest, layperson, scientist, king, queen, president**, teacher, tradesman, etc., ever got here without a mother*** yet mothers are so despised. They are supposed to go to hospital, get the baby out and turn up at their ‘real job’ in the office, in the parliament, on the board of executives etc. next week. 

Today is not only mother’s day, but it is also my own mother’s birthday. She has always liked the film: The Song of Bernadette, since it was first released in 1943 when she was a child, so I am giving her a DVD of that film. 

*Anna Jarvis was never a mother herself. (She never married). 

**President Obama your own mother Anne made sure you were born and grew up.  Let other babies be born and grown up. I send the same message to Hillary and to many other politicians and others around the world. 

***There are two exceptions to this. Adam and Eve never had an earthly mother, because they started out as adults with a lot going for them.

Saint Peter Chanel (Poem) feastday today April 28

On the isle of Futuna
Father Peter did toil,
To plant the Gospel
In hard rocky soil.

The converts were few
But the hardships were great.
The king’s son converted
Peter gained the king’s hate.

For all of his efforts
Father Peter was killed
It looked like his efforts
Would now be stilled.

But up in heaven
He continued to pray,
And the isle of Futuna
Is Catholic today.

Click here   to read more of my poems

Only a Taste of Lourdes Water

A Jesuit Father writes the following account to a religious paper :

 

The horse which was to have brought me to the railway station, fell on the slippery streets, and, so I missed my train. This was indeed very vexing as I had taken every precaution to be in time. We arrived at the station just as the train was moving off; regrets were useless, so I patiently submitted to my lot, and thought I would say my Office during the time which would elapse before the next train, which was due in about an hour. This was no easy task in a busy station, but if I went away, I did not know what to do with a large bottle of Lourdes water, which I had with me. To put it in the luggage room did not seem quite reverent, but I noticed in the corner of the waiting-room, a man, closely wrapped up, who, to all appearance, meant to sit there for several hours. So I walked up to him, and asked if he were going to remain there for some time. “Yes,” was the reply. This ‘Yes’ was uttered shortly, and signified, rather, ‘What does it matter to you?’  “Are you going to stay till eleven o’clock?” “Yes,” was the curt rejoinder. His voice sounded still gruffer. “If I leave this article here, will you look after it?”  “What is it”? he asked. “Oh, nothing very particular; but will you have, the kindness to take care of it?”

 

In a sulky voice, I at length got the reply- “Very well, leave it there.” I then went off to a quiet spot under some trees, near the station. Having finished my Office, I bought a newspaper, in order to pass away the remaining twenty minutes. Scarcely had I begun to read, when I seemed to hear a voice saying to me: “Go and see what has become of the bottle!” “Stupid bottle!” I could have said but the remembrance of its contents restrained me. I wanted to read, but the voice seemed to repeat: “Go and see what has become of your bottle!” I could stand this no longer, so I went; the man was still there, the man of the slow, rough and morose answers, but he sat with his face buried in his hands, and the tears welling through his fingers. “Oh, Father”, he said, “I will tell you all, yes all.” (How I wondered at this unexpected manner of address.) “You see that I am already an old man. I was born and baptized in the Catholic Church, and until the age of eleven, I practised my religion; then I lost my mother, and my father being already dead, I was left alone in the world.

 

Fortunately, I was in the hands of a good master, but he was a staunch Protestant, and he eventually constrained me to embrace his religion; and to please him, I became a Protestant. Later on I married, and God gave me a good Catholic wife who continually entreated me to return to the religion of my childhood; but I put it off from year to year. When you went away, leaving this bottle standing here, I was curious to know what it contained, and to try what a papist priest’s brandy tasted like, but I soon perceived that it was only water after all. As soon as I had taken a mouthful, a change came over me, I felt determined to become a Catholic once more; and I will do so immediately. So I beg of you, Father, to hear my confession.” This announcement was so strange that at first I believed the good man had been drinking something more than my water, and so I wanted to get rid of him. “We have not any time now,” I replied, “for the train will be here in a few minutes; besides, this is not the place for such things. Come to me at X.”

 

“Now, Father, now,” was the rejoinder. “I cannot come to X; do hear my confession and I promise you that I will go to church next Sunday with my wife.” “Do you know,” I asked, “where this water comes from?” “No” he replied. “It is from the miraculous spring of the Immaculate Mother of God at Lourdes.” “Well then, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who has obtained this grace for me,” he said. Thereupon I lost no more time and before the train left, I had reconciled this aged sinner to his God.

 

The Mission Bell (poem)

The Mission Bell,

What does it tell?

To come to church and pray,

To worship Jesus,

At the start,

Of each new dawning day.

To thank Him,

Serve Him,

Praise Him,

Love Him,

To abandon every sin.

And also to let go of life’s,

Distracting noisy din.

Our humble messenger,

The Mission Bell,

Takes care of us,

And serves us well !    

Loretta Young

The following story was told by the late Father Aeden McGrath an Irish missionary priest at a talk which he gave in Sydney, Australia.  Father McGrath was in China during World War II when the Japanese Army were in the country.  The Japanese were advancing toward the area where his parish was located. The local women were terrified of what was going to happen when the Japanese soldiers arrived. They begged Father McGrath who was a very short man to protect them.  There was very little that he could do. He prayed to Our Lady for help.  The Japanese soldiers arrived.  The Japanese sergeant had a big crush on Loretta Young the Hollywood actress, who he had seen in movies. He was keen to find out if Father McGrath had ever met Loretta Young.  As a matter of fact Father McGrath had met her, probably through association with Father Patrick Peyton (the founder of the Family Rosary Crusade). The sergeant ordered his soldiers to leave the people in peace, because Father McGrath knew Loretta Young!
This is one of the stories in my book: Help from heaven (Answers to prayers). The book can be read free on-line by pressing here