Walking with St. Declan Tuesday, Apr 3 2012 

The Camino de Santiago holds great fascination for me and I would like to do it.  I have reservations about trying it “at my age” though I know that many people who are a lot older than I am have done it.  If I could only see past the hostels that most people stay in……

We did a mini camino today called St. Declan’s Walk.  When I say “mini” I do mean mini because it is only 3.3 miles long on a peninsula in Southern Ireland.  We started out at the Cliff House Hotel which is a luxury place overlooking the water.  It was windy, cold and threatening rain, so we decided to fortify ourselves with some hot coffee before going.  We had a wonderful waiter from Poland named Ariel, who brought us our coffee and a “jelly” which I think was made of quince.  It was lovely.  He then mentioned that the chef was preparing something for us in the kitchen and it would be right out.  Well finally a little plate of freshly made chocolate short-breads appeared.  I guess you don’t just go into a world-class hotel and order coffee!  Anyway, we enjoyed the coffee, quince and short-breads and a visit with Ariel; then we headed out for our walk.  (Not a very penitential way to begin a pilgrimage, I must admit).

Anyway, in single-file, the three of us headed out on the walk along the cliff, coming to the ruins from the 400s and a well.  We prayed the rosary for our family and friends and then the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for our deceased parents, grandparents, ancestors and other loved ones.  It was lovely to be able to walk holy ground with our loved ones in the forefront of our minds and hearts.  Along the way were ruins of places important in the life of St. Declan and other faithful Christians throughout the centuries, and always the water of the Atlantic to our left.  The breeze was cool, the mist in the air invigorating and the temperature kept us moving.  We ended our mini camino at the church where a beautiful tower remains standing–testament to the building skills of those 8th century monks who needed a place to find refuge from the Vikings.  I feel such a kinship with the Christians of Ireland who have always had a hard time against their detractors.

I can’t wait for the next such opportunity to connect with our spiritual ancestors.  Since this is only read by you Image

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dear Family and friends, please be assured of our prayers for you during this time.

Till next time….

Beverly, Rest in Peace Sunday, Feb 20 2011 

Twenty years ago when Mike was a baby of about 7 months, we were sitting at Mass and Mike was amusing himself with my credit cards, putting them into and taking them out of the pocket for them in my purse.  When Mass was over, I grabbed my purse and we started to leave when a voice behind me said “Ma’am, you forgot one of your cards.”  I thanked her and she walked away.  Thinking this woman looked like she needed a friend, I sent Rebekah after her to stop her so I could speak with her.  That was the beginning of a 19-year acquaintance and association with this woman who had nobody in the world.

Her mother had just died and she was all alone—this 56-year –old woman who was working on the diploma she never managed to get at the time of her life when most young girls graduate from high school.  She and her mother had been abandoned when Beverly was a girl, and Beverly was so distraught she never learned to read or write, drive a car, or cook a meal.  So when her mother died, she was truly left alone and pretty helpless.

We started picking her up to take her to Mass and did that every week for a number of years.  Then we changed parishes and she preferred to go to her own.  We still saw her, though not as often, and had her over for holiday meals.

An accident at the restaurant where she worked led to an early retirement on disability, so the little contact she had with the world outside her tiny house was reduced even further.  Beverly had her routines which she didn’t like interrupted, and an incident in her neighborhood caused her to change her phone number and have it unlisted.

I tried calling her only to discover that the number I had was no longer good, and she forgot to tell me she was now unlisted.  So after several weeks of not seeing her, I went to her house to try to see her in person.  Because of the way she lived, she never allowed anybody into her house.  She didn’t answer the door, and I couldn’t get anybody in her neighborhood to answer either.  They were all still hunkered down because of the neighborhood incident and wouldn’t open their doors to strangers.  I always feared that Beverly would die or fall in her house and nobody would know, so that was my first thought when she didn’t answer the door, which, by the way, had a broken glass.  So I called the police, and they went over and convinced her to open the door.  They asked her if she knew me and she said yes.  The told her to call me and let me know she was all right.  She did so and she was incredulous that anybody would go to such lengths for her.  After that, she called me every Wednesday evening at 6:00 sharp to check in.

We saw her on and off and then last year, we went to Dallas in March.  I told her I would be gone for a couple of weeks so I wouldn’t be home to answer the phone.  She forgot that, and while I was gone, she left me an angry message saying she would never speak to me again because I was ignoring her call.  It took a while to convince her that I was not avoiding her, but she finally commenced calling me again.  Things were never quite the same after that because she wanted to rehash my neglect of her by being gone, and a few months ago, she stopped calling me except irregularly.   By this time, she was 75 years old.

A couple of months ago, I got a phone call from a stranger asking if I knew Beverly.  I said I did but hadn’t heard from her in a few weeks.  This person related that Beverly had died and she had just come from the funeral.  The circumstances of her final days were appalling—she was alone in her house in bed and almost completely dehydrated.  The police had to practically shovel through papers and vermin to get to her in the back bedroom.  They called an ambulance which took her to the hospital where she died, with only a nurse in attendance.  The police apparently found my phone number by her telephone and gave it to this person to call me.

The sad thing I learned from this phone call was that Beverly did have family, right here in town.  They only surfaced after she died.  She always told me we were her family.

I relate this story because if you know anybody who is alone, I would encourage you to keep tabs on him/her.  And if you have an estranged relative or friend, try to find a way to heal that distance.  Nobody should die alone, and you might be the one privileged to be the one to escort that person to the threshold where hopefully the angels will be waiting.

Beverly would have been 76 on Friday.  Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her.

Military gets new auxiliary bishop Wednesday, Sep 1 2010 

The military is getting a new bishop.  This will be unusual because he will live in the American Seminary in Louvain, Belgium, and will maintain a personal presence in the war zones.  He is an interesting mixture of Franciscan and military man, and he has a brother who is also a priest and serving in the military.   This is a good move by the Pope, and our military men and women serving in very difficult circumstances will be the beneficiaries.  May God grant him many years.

Frank Cota R.I.P. Tuesday, Nov 3 2009 

My last living uncle died on the 28th of October.  He is the last blood relative of my parents’ generation.  Uncle Frankie was a gentleman and a gentle man.  He worked hard for his family and saw his wife, Aunt Toni, through a very painful death. 

I last saw Uncle Frankie when he came to the deathbed of my Mom, 2 1/2 years ago.  He was frail, but he wanted to be with her.  For that, I will always be grateful.

Uncle Frankie’s death means my generation of siblings is on the top of pyramid.  That gives me pause for reflection on my own mortality.

Frank Lopez Cota    
Frank Lopez Cota our beloved father, left his family on earth October 28, 2009, to join his wife and family in heaven. Preceded in death by parents, Francisco and Lucinda Cota; wife, Tonita Bujanda and son, Eugene Cota. Survived by daughters, Clara (Martin), Gina, Frankie Rebecca and Lucinda; son, Frank James (Alejandra); grandchildren, Gabriel, Angelica, Antonio, Frankie, Rebecca, Adrian, Danielle and Helena; great-grandchildren, Anyssa, Amaya and Jaida. He was retired from Hughes Aircraft after 32 years. Our dad loved his family. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, reading and crossword puzzles. He will be forever in our hearts and greatly missed.

Change is coming, only this time it is good Saturday, Aug 22 2009 

You may have heard that we are in for some change in the text of the Mass.  A bit of the more formal language of the past is making a comeback, not because we are reverting to Pre-Vatican II times, but because in the haste to translate the prayers for the Mass of Pope Paul VI, some of the actual meaning of the prayers was lost.  I will not venture a guess as to why.

Some examples:

“The Lord be with you.”  Response:  And with your spirit.

The Confiteor will go like this:

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore
I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

For more examples check out the Bishops’ website.  This change is on its way to being approved.

Year of the Priest Tuesday, Jul 28 2009 

On June 19, Pope Benedict opened the Year of the Priest, for the purpose of encouraging “spiritual perfection” in the priests of the Catholic Church.    During this year, St. John Vianney will be named the patron of the world’s priests, which expands on his title of patron of parish priests.

It is no secret that priests have had a rough go of it over the last 15 years due to the scandal.  However, that scandal, so blown up by the media, did not take into account the huge percentage of priests who were not involved.  It took the few who were and used them as an example to blacken the name of the holy priesthood.  I know seminarians who have been spat upon and called all manner of names because people think they are somehow connected to the misdeeds of those priests.  Not mitigating the sins of those priests involved, we still have to remember that most priests were not involved.

So this Year of the Priest will give priests a new focus and also call attention to the necessity of priests for our Catholic life.  What can the laity do in this special year?  Is this year just for priests, or can we somehow lend them support?  Read what James has to say about positive things we the faithful can do.

A Nifty Liturgical Calendar Monday, Jun 29 2009 

Check this out.  The Catholic News Agency has an easy-to-use Liturgical Calendar, complete with the daily readings for the Mass and Saint biographies for the feast days.

Notre Dame must be weeping Saturday, May 16 2009 

Off to Georgia Wednesday, Apr 15 2009 

We are venturing out a bit further than usual for the Georgia Catholic Homeschool Conference where I’ll be speaking about Beauty.   We used to live in Georgia so we are looking forward to going back after 30+ years.  I am not a fan of flying but have a special intention I am offering up the flight for.   Please say a prayer that all goes well.  Thanks, in advance.

Please support our soldiers with your love and prayers Thursday, Mar 19 2009 

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