Saturday, August 20, 2011

Next Saturday this time...

I will be with my family and friends in Missouri! Oh, how it will be bittersweet to leave but how I am super excited to come home.

I am packing, cleaning, and preparing for one last week here in the Philadelphia area. Then, a celebration is in order for this evening. But it just blows my has been 11 weeks. But I have packed it full, I think and made the most of my time here in PA. I have really enjoyed myself. I had a beautiful dinner with friends last night after a fun week in the office. I met such wonderful people here and once I get home I hope to see a change for the better in my prayer life, my relationships, my day-to-day, because I have truly received many blessings, lessons, and knowledge all wrapped up in one big GIFT from Our Father above...

It reads:

To: Kelli
From: God

I love you and it's all a part of my plan for your happiness because your life is in my hands, if you trust me, I will fulfill every wish and desire of your heart. Now, you must be patient with an open heart but I promise each piece will make one beautiful mosaic in the end. Be hopeful & know that I hold you close to my heart where all is well & the peace and joy you receive is your reassurance.

Tomorrow, I embark on my final journey here and its to Quarryville, PA to spend a week going "Into the Deep" with Theology of the Body with Mr. Christopher West. Pray for him and his family. Pray for all of those traveling and attending this course. Pray for the staff. Pray for me to have open ears and an open heart. This week will immerse me in the beauty of the message.

I will see you all very soon. Have a beautiful week. Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and support. All By Grace ---- And God has worked through each of you... to speak to me & show me His love.

All my love

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I truly felt God's presence

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul - Philadelphia, PA
Part of the Parkway Museum District
Here is a Virtual Tour.

And here is my mini tour...
Completed in 1864. 
Modeled after the Lombard Church of Saint Charles (San Carlo al Corso) in Rome, Italy.
Restorations made in the 1950s. The outside is being improved now. Plans for the inside in the next two years. But this House of God is still remarkable. I was able to attend Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday, August 6th with Father Kieran, a nigerian priest, and he ended his homily with, "Can you be the voice of truth?"

The view from the back

A beauty on the left side of the altar
I missed this the first time around

Our Mama
 Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was installed in December 2009

Our Papa

Blessed JPII "visited and prayed in this Cathedral and celebrated the Eucharist at Logan Circle on October 3, 1979".

I sat and pray for a good while on a Sunday afternoon- it was incredibly peaceful. God was very present.
Baptismal Font- the Dome is shaped like St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Cardinal Regali- will be Archbishop Emeritus on Septemer 8, 2011

Outside of the Basilica

Jesus Breaking Bread- 1976- stands right outside the front of the Basilica
Our Lady of Lourdes & St. Bernie - Her & Padre Pio are everywhere :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Proud to know >>>> Bill Donaghy

Bill Donaghy taught the Theology of the Body 1: Head and Heart Immersion course which I attended in June. He is enthusiastic & loving - a great speaker and an awesome father of 2! Please watch & enjoy.

P.S. I just discovered Catholic TV.

This one is good too: Mike Mangione & the Union

P.S.S This one too :) A day with Papa B

Friday, July 29, 2011

The streets continued: Stops 10&11

Stop 10:
Philadelphia Art Museum
The Skyline from the top
Katie & I after running them up them Rocky Steps with the Rocky Theme playin'

The whole scene
Rocky & I ;)
Stop 11: Catholic Underground at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul – located at 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway- part of the Parkway Museums District Philadelphia
The artist was Paul Jisung Kim and he “makes noises with his face”. He was pretty chill guy from California.
 Catholic Underground, Basiclica of Peter and Paul
It was an awesome day in the city of Philadelphia. Hope you enjoyed my little timeline of my experience of the city of “Brotherly Love”. Next post will have more from my trip inside the Basilica & Love Park. I will eventually get in some of the museums & for Mass at the Basilica.

The streets of Philadelphia – 16 hours and 11 stops later....

Stop 1:
National Shrine of Saint John Neumann at St. Peter the Apostle Church
And just a few days after I left the very kneeler in front of him, Justin Cardinal Regali and Archbishop Chaput (new elected Archbishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia from Denver—took time to pray in front of this Saint. Pretty neat!

St. John Neumann's incorrupt body

Stop 2:
Independence Hall: We saw the few meeting place of Congress, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. Where Our Country began – the same place Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Hancock... plus many more met. It was pretty amazing.

"I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support, and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory." -John Adams, July 3, 1776

The finals documents are in Washington D.C. But the last drafts are pictured to the left.

Stop 3: Liberty Bell

Stop 4:
Old Church of Old St. Mary- The plaque outside said, “In this church on the 4th of July 1779 was held the first public-religious commemoration of the Declaration of Independence” Then, everyone joined for a ‘solemn Mass of thanksgiving’. “God of our Fathers be with us yet”
Stop 5: Old St. Joseph’s National Shrine – founded in 1733—interior of new church is from 1840. The oldest Catholic Church in Philadelphia

Stop 6: LUNCH at the City Tavern
City Tavern Restaurant– Washington & his buddies in 1773 would meet here to eat and have a beer. It was awesome! I had the Martha Washington Pot Pie.
Stop 7: Polish water ice @ this little museum (competition: Italian water ice from Rita’s—You be the judge)
Guess who we found?
Stop 8: 
Shrine of the Miraculous Medal
side chapel

The ceiling

Katie & I outside of the Shrine. With the image of the Miraculous Medal on either side of us.
Stop 9:
Parish & National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia.
Beautiful image downstairs by the Adoration chapel

They had a BEAUTIFUL adoration chapel....

St. Rita in ecstasy
I was blessed to see her body venerated in Cascia, Italy in 2009. Also, they had a statue donated by the Augustinian Nuns and Friars in Cascia- on the occasion of the “Twinning” of the two shrines in 2004.

From the very back of the upper church
On the Feast of St. Rita- they fill both sides of the altar with red roses!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smokes! The Story of the Botafumeiro

St. James the Greater- Patron Saint of Spain
Feast Day: July 25th

I never knew this story.
This is the legend:

“But the cult of James there began in the 8th century, after the Moorish invasion had rapidly pushed Christian forces in to the northwestern corner of Spain, and there is no documentary evidence of it before the 9th century. The cult then grew with the growth of pilgrimages and his image became more warlike as the Crusades developed. This version depended on his remains being transferred to Galicia some time after his death. An earlier version based the cult on the story that he had preached in Spain which his even less likely. As the pilgrimage grew with routes starting in various places in France, abbeys and churches were built along the routes, acquiring their own background stories (such as the association of El Cid with San Pedro de Cardena near Burgos) to impress pilgrims.”
Side note: Early this summer, I was in Burgos, Spain with Father Patrick & my best friends.
“St James himself acquired the attributes of a pilgrim: a floppy hat, staff, water bottle, and a scallop shell. The “Road to Santiago” has recently been restored with funds from the European Community and attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. The botafumeiro, the six-foot-high incense censer hung from the crossing vault of Santiago Cathedral, introduced to counteract the stench of the pilgrim crowds, is still swung across the transepts almost brushing the floor of the crossing, on the saint’s feast –day each year.” (from Butler’s Saint for the Day by Paul Burns)
Which is today! Here is what it looks like

The Smoke Boat
Pope Benedict XVI with the smoke boat

I have watched this video before and cracked up. But never did I know the background. Did you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bernadette means "Brave as a bear"

Below are just some quotes which have struck me..... "little toothpicks God is throwing at me, which all add up to be a baseball bat in the end!" (Thank you Allen Kirchner for the revelation ;)

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart this cross He now sends you, He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighted with His own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you, He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it you from Heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
St. Francis de Sales

"It is love alone that gives worth to all things."
-St. Teresa of Avila

"Sin and the rosary can't coexist, at one point one of them will go. Whether sin or the rosary, if you can only pray one hail Mary but with all your heart, Our Lady comes!"
-Fulton Sheen

"I should be changed, no more sadness, I have seen too much to doubt God's love for me, I have received too many blessings to think He doesn't love me, and that it ain't gonna be okay where ever He takes me!"
-Holy Spirit

Prayer is the key to God's heart.
-St. Pio

What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return.
-Blessed JPII

One cannot love without suffering or suffer without loving.
-St. Gianna Molla

“Do not be afraid to be saints. Follow Jesus Christ who is the source of freedom and light. Be open to the Lord so that He may lighten all your ways.”
-Blessed JPII

Speaking to a friend, today, I realized that sometimes suffering and the wounds or the difficulties make you enter into a survival mode and from there you think when will this be over so I can move on. But the process of moving on may be understanding and asking God for the grace to accept the new normal, to heal during the tough times, not wait until the pain is over, because it may always be a cross (But it will get lighter--hold on to that hope). You must move on and move forward. Each day-- asking for the grace to let go and surrender to His will.