Hi Everyone! I have made it successfully through the first part of my travels.
The first stop was visiting my sister and her husband up in Ft. Worth, TX. We had a nice 2-hour long visit from 10 to 12. We talked about all things new apartment, living in Texas and family affairs. It was a good visit and I hope to visit again soon, or have them down to visit me.
After leaving Ft. Worth, I headed up north to visit some friends where I currently am staying until tomorrow (June 7th). It is always a joy to visit with these particular friends. They are Catholics “with firm heads” (to borrow a phrase from Sr. Lúcia of Fátima) and we always have good conversations. They enjoy being fairly anonymous and so I will simply refer to them as WD.
I arrived yesterday around 1:30 p.m. (CT) and we hung out before Mass. Turns out that the pastor was reading my book Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael. When we were at the parish, he gave a copy of last week’s bulletin to WD for me to read before Mass. There was a reflection upon a Eucharistic Hymn on the back that he wanted me to read.
After I read this reflection, I read a story in the bulletin about the Ugandan martyrs from 1886. This year is the most likely year that Pope Leo received his famous vision. I pointed out this fact to the pastor after Mass and he was grateful for my having “connected the dots” for him. We then had a lovely, albeit brief, conversation about purity, St. Maria Goretti and the Ugandan martyrs before he gave me a blessing for my travel(s).
During this visit was a nearby statue of St. Michael the Archangel….
We returned back to my friends’ home, ate a modest dinner and talked for a bit. I found out that someone I knew from WI died two years ago, please pray for the repose of her soul. As the night progressed, I was nodding off and retired for the evening.
WD was telling me this morning about a friend who had procured a number of relics that were in danger of being thrown away or otherwise discarded. At this time, I would like to make a plug for the organization Crusade for Holy Relics out in California. They authenticate relics and enjoy support from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This is a helpful, dare I say necessary, work in this day and age where it seems that holy relics are neglected and may not come with their official paperwork.
My friend then told me another story, this one about a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux that she owns. WD told me that she had lent this relic for veneration at her parish for the feast of St. Thérèse last October (2015). While in possession of the relic, the parish priest knew someone who was dying. He lent it to the sister of the dying man who brought the relic to him in an ICU unit. She laid it his chest and prayers were said. When this was done and she tried to lift the relic from her brother, the relic would not move, even after several attempts to do so. Finally, after a few moments, she was able to do so and the “dying” man was rejuvenated. This man is alive and kicking today.
It is stories like these that encourage and build up the Body of Christ. They are always edifying to hear, especially when you know that they are reliable and enjoy the mark of authenticity. In this case, the source is a very dedicated parish priest, some of his altar servers are nephews of the dying person, and WD is in possession of the relic. The above-mentioned relic of St. Thérèse was authenticated by the Holy Crusade for Relics, and it appears as though Heaven also put its stamp of authentication on it.
That is one story of faith for you and WD tells me that the parish priest is full of such stories! In chapter two (page 11) of Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael, I quoted St. Augustine on miracles. He wrote:
[B]ut these modern miracles are scarcely known, even to the whole population in the midst of which they are wrought, and at the best are confined to one spot. For frequently they are known only to a very few persons, while all the rest are ignorant of them, especially if the state is a large one; and when they are reported to other persons in other localities, there is no sufficient authority to give them prompt and unwavering credence, although they are reported to the faithful by the faithful.
Hopefully I will have more stories as the Summer of 2016 Road Trip continues. Until then, stay tuned and please pray for safe journeys!
-Kevin J. Symonds