We received this from Tom and Sue, just before their departure to France, Spain, Andorra and Poland. We invite you to follow along.
Bon Jour, Everyone (Just practicing):
I wanted to share this with you since the power of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother were at work this week before are departure, and we were part of a beautiful “small gift/miracle” that happened at our Cathedral on Friday and Saturday … a wonderful send off for our “personal pilgrimage”, as we depart for Paris tomorrow morning.
About 3 months ago, we began to notice a 50 to 60 year old woman with a knapsack on her back that appeared to be homeless and was attending the 10:30 Sunday Masses. As we sat around our Sunday table on the Cathedral Patio, having already gone to Mass (which we always do with many of our church family members and good friends), we began to take more notice of her.
Finally, one Sunday, Sam got up and went over to talk to her. I keep forgetting to ask him what he said, because 2 minutes later, he was buying her a Rosary at our Cathedral Religious Store. Smiling, she disappeared into Church.
Every Sunday as she went to Mass, she would wave to Sam and Sam would encourage her to Pray the Rosary.
A few weeks later, she had arrived early and one of us bought her a doughnut and coffee, which she happily devoured at a table by herself. This became the norm every Sunday. After many “invites”, she agreed to sit with us before Mass. Her name was Julia.
We found her to be a simple and honest woman. We learned that she was not homeless, but was mentally challenged. She lives with her step-father, who adopted her when she was 12 years old and she is on disability. She was very private life, since I think her father taught her to be that way so that people would not take advantage of her, especially because she is so giving and honest and could easily be put in a compromising position. We learned that she has been taking the bus (with her bus pass) each Sunday to our Cathedral so that she could attend Mass even though she was not Catholic. She had fallen in love with our Catholic Faith.
Julia was always counting her pennies to buy religious things in the Cathedral Religious Store. She would never allow us to pay for them, especially if they were for someone else. When she really wanted something, she would bring a crocheted scarf or hat or doilies and try to sell them to get the money for her purchase. (Our home is now filled with scarf’s, bright pink and blue doilies and other objects that she would bring all of us as gifts after we purchased something from her so that she could buy something that she wanted.)
Finally, 3 weeks ago when talking to her, she told us that she was not Catholic and that her greatest wish was to be Baptized a Catholic and to receive Jesus Christ at Communion. She was afraid of going to hell! She told us that she had tried to become a Catholic but she would have to go to class at night (I don’t think she is allowed out after dark) and she couldn’t because she took care of her father and she does not know how to read or write or memorize things. There wasn’t a dry eye at the table as this humble woman came to tears. She told us that she had no other family or friends and Susan immediately told her that she now had a Church family and many friends at our Cathedral. The tears stopped and huge smile lit up her face.
Immediately, I went to my stash of Scapulars and got her a Green Scapular of the Blessed Virgin. We sat with her and I taught her about the Blessed Mother and the promise she made to those who believed and would say thesimple Prayer everyday for conversion. When I told her to read the pamphlet, she told us she couldn’t read or write. So, I explained to her that this Green Scapular was for conversion AND THAT SHE SHOULD CARRY IT AT ALL TIMES AND SAY THIS PRAYER EVERY DAY for her conversion and baptism and we would say it every day for her, too. “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen. ( I quiz her every time I see her and
she has almost got it right, but I don’t think Our Blessed Mother cares if
it isn’t exact.)
After speaking to the powers to be and some heavy “begging” before we left on our “personal pilgrimage”, we were able to tell her last Sunday that
she was going to be Baptized a Catholic. Again, the tears flowed abundantly.
She had to meet with Deacon John for an evaluation of her special circumstances and to be absolutely certain that she understood our Catholic Faith. She passed with flying colors and I think her simple innocence and tremendous humility got to Deacon John as well.
Deacon John knew that Julia wanted us to be her Godparents, along with Sam and Johna. He made special plans to meet with her on Wednesday for her evaluation and, after much time with the approval process, he arrangedJulia’s Baptism for Friday at 11:30 am and Confirmation and First Holy Communion to be done on Sat. at the 8:30 Mass.
We were to pick Julia up at her bus stop on Fri. at 10:30, but she called us very early that morning and told us that she was taking the 9 am bus because she didn’t want to take the chance of being late. She was so excited. Deacon John did a great job with the Baptismal Ceremony and Julia was just so reverent and glowing. (Pictures enclosed)
Afterwards, Susan asked Julia how she felt and she said that she said she felt different and so happy. And, she was. For Julia now seemed at peace….and the chance of her going to hell was out of the equation. We celebrated by showering her with gifts and cookies and coffee as we planned the next day’s event including breakfast at the local diner. We dropped her off at her bus stop so that she could walk to her home and we promised to pick her up at 8 am today. This morning, I left our cell phone on in case we got the call that she is catching the 7 am bus.
At 7:45 we arrived at the bus stop to find Julia sitting on the curb and waiting patiently. Mass began promptly at 8:30 A.M. and Fr. Eli did a splendid service. The Confirmation was beautiful and, after Father has Consecrated and received his Holy Communion and the Precious Blood, he called up Julia and she got her most important desire … the Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Afterwards, we treated Julia to breakfast at a local diner along with Sam & Johna and Julia said the most beautiful grace before our meal tha we were all most humbled. She thanked Our Lord for everything that has happened to her (for her) in the last two days and, individually, for everyone who was involved in this “small miracle” for her. I think she will be teaching us a few things!
We (Susan, myself & Sam) have several challenged people that come to Mass at the Cathedral and we all always try to take them under our wings and help them with their needs. We call them “The Tests”. Julia was one of those, but she now has her own chair at our Sunday (after Mass) table. I think we all passed this test … The verdict is still out on the others … but
Have a blessed day.
Warning…. Our 2015 “Personal Pilgrimage Trip Reports” beginning
Love, Hugs & Prayers,
Tom & Susan Melillo
Our “2015 Personal Pilgrimage”
Prayer to St. John Paul II
Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing!
Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it
along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and
everyone to Jesus. Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream
again, help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the
paths of life here on earth.
May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan’s assault
against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth.
St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life
that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and
injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love:
pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Oh St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you next to Mary,
send God?s blessing down upon us all.