A Mirror of Christmas— the Happily Married Couple

By Larry Peterson

 

Honoring Traditional Marriage during the Christmas Season

 

Joseph and Mary set the standard for married couples.. This is about a couple who did their best to meet that standard. There are many more like them. No couple can compare to Joseph and Mary but many do try to follow their example. This couple did for 68 years.

Roger and Helena Cartier on their 65th Wedding Anniversary

St. John Paul II said, “Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eternal souls, with whom they make up a sole family, a domestic church.”

The sainted Holy Father was referring to people like Roger and Helena when he made that statement. That is because this couple did, in fact, create a domestic church when they took their marriage vows so long ago. These two people, this man, and woman are a Catholic love-story not only for today but for all time. They made the ultimate commitment to each other, emptied themselves for each other, and never looked back.

.I am using them as examples of the countless couples like them, past and present, who have also joined together to create “domestic churches.” These domestic churches that supported their love were built on the cornerstone we know as faith; faith in Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus who was the cornerstone of the first domestic church, which included Mary and Joseph.

Spread across the landscape of our society are many well-springs of marriage and family. These homes have one predominant thing in common. God is the essence and focal point of their lives. Roger and Helena were the patriarch and matriarch of one of those families.

The family is the nucleus of any society

Of course, we all know that many marriages have not worked out. But this essay is not about failed marriages. This is about the millions of marriages that have stood the test of time and became “domestic churches.” Sadly, secularism has convinced many the world over that marriage is what “you” want it to be, with whomever you want to be with. It also proclaims those of the Judeo-Christian faith are intolerant and have NO love in their cold hardened hearts for diversity. This secularistic atmosphere has cut deeply into the very fabric of our society and wounded it severely. That fabric is the family. And the family is the nucleus of any society.

Roger passed away in 2017. He was 91. Helena passed in in 2019.at the age of 90.  Roger was a retired letter-carrier. He was also an ordained Deacon in the Catholic Church. When Roger passed on to his eternal reward, he and Helena had just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

The thought of applying to the Permanent Diaconate horrified him

The Deacon was a World War II veteran. He was hired by the post office after he and Helena were married. A few years after that, he became quite active in the Knights of Columbus. He rose to the District Deputy’s position giving him oversight of many K of C councils in the Connecticut area. Then his good friend, Father Kuzdal, suggested to Roger that he should apply to the Permanent Diaconate. Roger was horrified. He believed he was highly “unqualified” to do this.

What Roger and Helena did not realize at the time was that God had chosen both of them. Just as Mary Magdalene was there to help the apostles, Helena would help her husband in a ministry that required ordination into the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They had embraced themselves with each other’s love and wrapped their Catholicity around it. The “domestic church” they created was what St. John Paul II spoke of.

Deacon Roger told me how close he was to leaving the diaconate program. All the other candidates were college graduates, seemingly well versed in scripture and well-spoken. He was sure he had no business being in such “lofty” company. He went to Father Kuzdal and voiced his concerns. Father looked at him and said, “Roger, you have a quality these other fellas do not have. You are a natural listener. You have a gift. You do belong here.”

The final confirmation came from his partner in love and life, Helena. She agreed with Father Kuzdal, and in 1986, L. Roger Cartier became Deacon L. Roger Cartier. He was ordained in the Diocese of Norwich, CT, and remained there for a year. Then it was on to Pinellas County, Fl, where he served until his retirement from ministry.

Deacon Roger assisted quietly and efficiently over the years, always being there when needed. He was the spiritual director of both The Legion of Mary and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Roger always donned his Santa outfit for the Christmas parties delighting countless children, and he visited the school frequently, talking to the kids about “being Catholic.”

He was always available for Stations of the Cross, or Benediction and novenas. Roger visited the funeral homes when folks passed, did internments at the cemetery, and still spent time with the families. He was a constant fixture at the local hospital and nursing homes. He also presided over weddings and performed Baptisms.

“…the man was a listener. People sought him out specifically for that reason.”

The one thing that was most noticeable (at least to me) was the “one on one” conversations he always seemed to be having with someone. This is where Father Kuzdal, so many years earlier, had profiled Roger Cartier correctly. The man was a “listener.” People sought him out specifically for that reason. He would look them in their eye and listen.and he would remember to ask them the next time he saw them how things were going with “such and such,” ie;  (lousy back, a surgery, kids, financial worries, family problems, or whatever it might be. People loved him because they knew he cared about them. He was REAL.

Deacon Roger and his Helena left behind three daughters, nine grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. They had formed a “domestic church” within our midst, and today it has expanded to over a dozen more domestic churches. . As for me, it was my honor and privilege to know them. As for all those who did not, comfort in the fact that people like Roger and Helena are always among us. Goodness exists and is often part of a “domestic church” that extends its loving arms to all that may cross its path.

Christmas is about love and giving. A young, happy couple celebrated the first Christmas by greeting their newborn Son. The Cartiers, and those like them, are the reflection in the mirror of that very first Christmas.

Man and woman are created in God’s image and likeness; and for this reason, marriage likewise becomes an image of God.

Pope Francis: Rome, Italy, May 25, 2018

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017; 2022

 


The “Piano Smile” A Christmas Season Moment

Through the fog of Alzheimer’s–The Piano Smile

 

By Larry Peterson

What follows happened several years ago. The time or date does not matter but the moment is timeless.

Occasionally a smile unexpectedly bursts forth from someone and transforms the day into pure sunshine. That person might be a spouse, your child, a relative, a friend, or even a stranger. This is about one of those smiles. This smile came from my wife, Marty.

Marty was diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma) in 2010. After many cycles of chemotherapy, the cancer seemed to be in remission. But her memory had been slipping and three years later she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As her primary caregiver, what I had learned was that   Marty had taken a journey (as do all Alzheimer victims) into a nether world, a nether world with an ever-vanishing landscape of what once was. An invisible eraser had entered her mind and was moving back and forth, making her memory vanish with its incessant woosh, woosh.

My task as her caregiver was to do my best to guide her through the ever-increasing unknown world she had entered. If that sounds bizarre, unusual, or weird, that’s because it was. I, as do all caregivers to those with this illness, do our best to navigate this strange world where nothing is ever the same and every day is unpredictable.

Patches of beauty in a world of expanding nothingness

The nether world mentioned does have patches of beauty, little islands if you will, strewn randomly about the expanding nothingness. What follows is about finding one of these little islands, stopping there and thanking God for the moment. These moments were one of my perks. I never knew when they would appear but, when they did, I was always grateful.

Two years before, Marty had fallen and broken her right ankle. It was a severe break that required surgical repair. The rebuilding process included the use of various pins and screws. The course to recovery included time in a rehab center, ongoing physical therapy at home, and increased doctor visits. The Alzheimer’s had rapidly exacerbated. I realized that the combination of trauma, hospitalization, surgery, anesthesia, rehab, and time away from home contributed to her rapid cognitive decline. Breaking her ankle had just added ‘fuel to the Alzheimer’s fire.”

Marty began complaining of pain in her surgically repaired ankle the day before Thanksgiving, 2016.  Thanksgiving Day, the ankle was discolored and quite swollen. She could not stand up, and even touching it resulted in severe pain.  Our Thanksgiving holiday proved to be far from traditional.

The first thing Friday I brought her to the doctor. He immediately knew it was seriously infected and prescribed antibiotics. The medication did not help, and by Tuesday she was in the hospital. Thursday her ankle was operated on, and all the hardware was removed. They cleaned the infection from the site the best they could. However, the infection had traveled deep into her bone—Onward to a rehab facility.

Marty was taken by ambulance from the hospital to Bon Secours, Maria Manor, in St. Petersburg, Fl. I arrived a bit after she did. When I walked into the lobby and down the hall, to my right was the chapel, and to my left a spacious room they used for events. In the rear corner of this room, I noticed a grand piano sitting quietly by itself, minding its own business. Marty, who began playing the piano at the age of six, always talked about how she wished she could play a Grand Piano.  My “wheels” began spinning, and an idea was born.

We had a piano at home, and she played it every day. The Alzheimer’s Disease had not seemed to have affected that part of the brain, and she could still read and play music. But she would not play in front of people. She even shut the front door when she played at home so no one would hear her (that drove me a bit crazy). Anyway, I was determined to get her to sit at that Grand Piano and begin fingering those keys. I knew it would be no easy task.

“that’s a Grand Piano in the corner”

She had been admitted on Saturday evening, and on Sunday afternoon I got her into the wheelchair and took her for a tour of her temporary home (She was to be there until at least the beginning of January–maybe longer). We took the elevator down to the first floor and somehow “managed” to find our way into the event room. No one was in there, and I said, “Hey–check it out, Marty. That’s a Grand Piano in the corner. Let’s take a look.”

My goal was to get her to simply sit on the stool. She refused. I knew that timing was everything, and this was not the time. She would not remember that we were there, so I would have to choose a better time and a better way of introducing her to the piano. Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s do not remember things that happened minutes earlier.

Tuesday, I managed to get her to slide out of the wheelchair and onto the piano stool.  She felt the keys and grinned. Then she got back into the wheelchair. Thursday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I knew in my gut this would be the day. I brought sheet music with me from home and stuck it in the pouch in the back of the wheelchair. She had no idea.

Thursday, I took her down to the chapel for the 11 a.m. Mass.  Mass ended at 11:45, and I casually began pushing the wheelchair toward the side entrance of the event room. She had no idea where we were going, but before she knew it, she was next to that Grand Piano. This time she pushed herself up and immediately sat on the stool. Her fingers instinctively reached for the keys in front of her. At first, they remained still.

Slowly her fingers began to feel their way around the keys under them. They were not pushing down, but I knew the moment had come. I reached into the pouch behind her and pulled out sheet music. I placed it in front of her and softly said, “Here ya go.”

Her fingers began to move—

Her fingers began to move, and the next thing I knew that event room was filled with the music of the Skater’s Waltz. They say a “picture says a thousand words” so I quickly grabbed my phone and took her picture. We had landed on one of those little islands of beauty and the “Piano Smile” captured in the photo proved that to be true.  For me, that “Piano Smile” is one of the greatest Christmas gifts I have ever received.

She did not remember being there and she had no idea that more than 30 people filtered in and took seats to listen to her playing. I did bring her back again and I showed her the photo I had taken. I had it enlarged and framed. When I showed her, she stared at it and stared at it and then tears came to her eyes. I was not sure what was happening inside her head but I believed there was some ‘remembering” going on.

I insisted on bringing Marty home earlier than they had planned and her doctor agreed. .She came home Christmas Eve. The Alzheimer’s and lymphoma combined to take her on her final journey March 27, 2017.I still have the picture and her Piano Smile lives on.

Merry Christmas  to everyone

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022

 

 


All Saint’s Day—- The Road to Sainthood is a Fascinating Journey into Human Holiness

All Saint’s Day                                      achristianpilgrim.com

By Larry Peterson

November 1, we celebrate the Feast of All Saint’s Day. Interestingly, more than 10,000 saints are venerated in the Catholic Church. How did over 10,000 people manage to be canonized? For starters, it is probably safe to say that since the church has been around for 2000 years that only works out to five saints a year. So, as far as the numbers go, that seems irrelevant. What is relevant is the actual process of attaining sainthood. The procedure is exceptionally stringent since no mistakes as to a candidate’s eligibility can go uncovered.

It should be noted that prior to the tenth century there was no set procedure for canonization. Frequently, different communities honored or venerated people whose stories were not backed by solid fact. Some stories were made up. For example, St. George the Dragon Slayer, is from the third century. He is honored by both Muslims and Christians. Is the story fact or legend? In the French countryside St. Guinefort is venerated as the protector of babies. It seems that Guinefort saved a baby from a snakebite. The only problem was, Guinefort was a dog.

Interestingly, 52 of the first 55 popes became saints during Catholicism’s first 500 years. During the last one thousand years, only seven popes have attained sainthood, and that includes Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII.

The first saint formally canonized was St. Ulrich of Augsburg. He was canonized by Pope John XV in 993. During the 12th century, the church, realizing they needed an orderly system, began to put a process in place.  Then, in 1243, Pope Gregory IX proclaimed that only a pope had the authority to declare someone a saint. That process still exists to this day.

So, what is the actual process on the road to sainthood? We know this for sure, sainthood is not an easy honor to attain. There are five steps in the journey. The first step begins right in the neighborhood where the proposed saint lived and was known.

After a person has been dead for five years (this time frame may be waived by the Pope), friends and neighbors may get together and document all they can about that particular person. They would then present their evidence to the local bishop requesting he begin an investigation into the person’s holy and exemplary life.

If the bishop feels the evidence is worthy of the cause moving forward, he may appoint a “postulator” to represent the cause. If, after further investigation, they feel the cause is worthy, they forward it to Rome.  Now the evidence goes before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.  At this point in the process, the person receives the title, “Servant of God.”

The Congregation for the Causes consists of nine theologians who thoroughly review all the documentation that has been presented to them. The person’s writings are examined, and all aspects of their life are picked apart. Nothing can go against the teachings of the Church.

The Congregation must be sure before moving forward. If they decide the candidate has been a person of “heroic virtue,” they are declared “Venerable,” and their cause moves on towards the next step; Beatification. Except in the cases of martyrdom, Beatification requires one miracle. The candidate’s character and holiness have already been established, but having a miracle attributed to someone can take centuries. If a person has been killed for their faith, they have been martyred “In Odium Fidei,” which means “In hatred of the faith.”

This death is honored with Beatification and the title Blessed is bestowed on the person. Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered while saying Mass in France in 2016, is an example of someone experiencing this type of death.

Another death is called in defensum castitatis” meaning, in defense of purity.” This too warrants Beatification, and the person is given the title of Blessed. Two young Catholic heroines who died in this manner are St. Maria Goretti and Blessed Pierina Morosini.

Pope Francis recently introduced a new road to sainthood. It honors those who sacrificed their lives for others. (The Mercedarians are known for this). This is called “Maiorem hac delectionem (nemo habet)” which means; “Greater love than this (no man hath).”

Lastly, there is Canonization. At this point, we are waiting for one more miracle. Upon that happening it is given to the Pope who makes the final decision. It is then a person is declared a saint.

To all you saints above (and those in the queue), please pray for us all.

 

Copyright© Larry Peterson  2022

 


You cannot love the child’s home and then kill the child.

By Larry Peterson

A Person’s a Person : End of Story

A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small  (Dr. Seuss)

The drums of Climate Change are pounding harder and harder every day. School children are being indoctrinated about the cataclysm posed to destroy the Mother Planet. Purveyors of the “existential threat” about to waste us are in our face 24/7. We hear about the “science” of climate change and that we should embrace it. If you do not, you are labeled a “denier.” We have been told that Miami will be underwater in three years and the world will end in ten.  The projected Ice Age of the year 2000 never happened but trouble is still coming to get us. So say the “experts.”

In religion, if you deny a tenet of faith such as the Divinity of Jesus Christ, you would be classified as a “heretic.”  It seems we have finally advanced the theory of Climate Change into the Church of Climate Change. Yes, it is a theory, and a theory means MAYBE or POSSIBLY (Evolution is a theory—not a fact; Gravity is a Law—it is a fact).

In my opinion, the Climate Change hysteria reached new heights on September 18, 2019. That was the day that NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, presented the  Climate Change Confessional to the world. This was a place where Climate Change “deniers” could confess their Climate Change “sins.” Yes, they could now admit their sins anonymously, cleansing their consciences of harm they caused to the planet. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments about 3500 years ago.  Now, in the 21st century, NBC has given the world six Climactic Commandments: they are as follows:

  • Thou shalt not use plastic, including straws, bottles, etc.
  • thou shalt not eat meat (cows, pigs, turkey), etc.
  • thou shalt not use energy (natural resources such as oil, natural gas, coal), etc.
  • thou shalt not use transportation (cars, planes, all vehicles propelled by fossil fuels).
  • thou shalt not use paper (does that mean toilet paper?—must mean paper plates)
  • thou shalt not waste food (i.e., leftover kale must be eaten ).

Those are the first six commandments of Climate Change. The good news was there were “climate sins” posted anonymously by others for you to reference. Sort of an examination of your climate conscience. Yes, my friends, you can unburden yourself of your “Climate Sins” in the NBC “Climate Confessional” and do it anonymously. The concept is not new; we Catholics have been going to Confession for 2000 years. (The big difference is a priest will give his life rather than violate the Seal of Confession. I don’t know if an NBC employee would go that far).

The Democratic candidates running for president are all in favor of abortion. Most of them believe in abortion up to birth. Many, including myself (the father of a stillborn daughter who did not survive past the sixth month of pregnancy), consider that infanticide. The definition of infanticide is as follows:

Infanticide

[in-fan-tuh-sahyd]

noun

  • the act of killing an infant
  • the practice of killing newborn infants
  • a person who kills an infant

Many people proclaim that they believe in God. Many claim the Bible as God’s word. I am a Catholic, but this piece is non-denominational. It is for any and all who believe in a Creator. Many who proclaim God proclaim their fears about Climate Change and want to save the planet. Mother Earth is their home—it is my home. It is every living being’s home. So that makes sense—let us be kind to our home.

However, I believe that many of those who are pro-abortion also proclaim that they believe in God. It follows that they all believe in His creation, the Universe, wherein our planet resides. The following high-profile Democrats are all in when it comes to Climate Change. They are also all in when it comes to being pro-abortion. They are all hypocrites and include:

  •  Joe Biden—Catholic
  • Robert Beto O’Rourke—Catholic
  • Cory Booker—Baptist
  • Kamala Harris—Baptist
  • Amy Klobuchar—United Church of Christ
  • Bernie Sanders—Jewish
  • Elizabeth Warren—Methodist
  • John Delaney—Catholic
  • Andrew Yang—Christian Reformed Church
  • Pete Buttigieg—Episcopalian

Proclaiming your belief in God and His creation and wanting to protect it is a noble thing to do. But you cannot leave out the most essential part of God’s creation and make-believe it is NOTHING just to save your politics. It is not only hypocritical; it is downright shameful.

All the religions listed above proclaim and teach the Ten Commandments. They are the Law handed down by God himself to Moses on Mount Sinai. That is how it has been for over three thousand years. If you want to reject it and mock it, knock yourself out. But don’t stand there and proclaim your Godly ways when you willingly are ready to destroy God’s most precious creation, a newborn child. Yes—the most important and magnificent creation of the very God you proclaim.

The Bible says that God made the Universe out of nothing. It took Him six biblical days, and he began with light and then the heavens and the planets and the land and the oceans and the plants, followed by the living things. Then, on the sixth day, God created His masterpiece, the Human Being, both man and woman, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. God looked at what He had done and was pleased. Lastly, on day seven, He took a well-deserved rest.

So I ask; how can people of faith embrace the parts of creation that they can use for their advantage, i.e., Climate Change, and reject with a dogged determination the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.’ You cannot because doing so makes you all “DENIERS.” The science is in and according to all the experts, the science is fact—human life begins at the moment of Conception. So how can anyone embrace the child’s home and then kill the child? You can if you are the ultimate hypocrite.

Yes—all you promoters of infanticide, partial-birth, and third-trimester abortion are the real DENIERS of truth. You have compromised your integrity and character for a political agenda. NBC might consider referring those they have directed to Climate Confessionals to the pastors of their respective churches. They can ask their opinions on Climate Confessions when they get there. Somehow, I doubt they will give that referral.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022  (original version published 2019)


William “Billy” Peterson; I was honored to be his Dad

Billy Peterson                                      a genuine Good samaritan

Posted by Larry Peterson July 11, 2022

William “Billy” Peterson

December 12, 1971~July 06, 2022

This is about a guy who lived in Pinellas Park whose name was William “Billy” Peterson. Billy was a man filled with great empathy, intuition, faith, and love for family, friends, and humanity. He was a father figure to his fatherless niece and was like a son to a 90-year-old neighbor who lived alone and had no one. Her name was Mae and Billy looked after her virtually every day for almost five years until her passing. He took her for her doctor visits, cooked her dinner, did her food shopping, and ensured she had her meds. Ironically, Mae constantly complained, and Billy would laugh it off.

Throughout his life, Billy saved many, including strangers, loved ones, and anyone who crossed his path and was in need. Most of the time, the saving was accomplished by giving a helping hand and extending friendship. Powerful tools they were.

The morning of the last day of his life, Billy helped a young girl at a local convenient store. At about 11 a.m., he pulled in to grab a coffee. He noticed this girl sitting on the ground with her back against the brick wall. She was eating a sandwich. A man nearby kept talking to her, and she seemed to be shaking her head. Billy’s instincts erupted. He knew this was not right. The man walked into the store, and Billy stepped from his car and asked her, “Are you all right?” Tears dripped from her eyes, and she answered, “No, I’m not.” Billy said to her, “The passenger door to my car is unlocked. If you are not safe and want to leave, get in the car, and I will take you wherever you need to go.” She did, and Billy took her home to her house in Seminole. Her mom and sister came running out crying and yelling. They had not heard from her in two days and were frantic. The girl, 16 years old, had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd. They took her phone, and she had become their prisoner. She did not even know it. She may never have been seen again if it was not for Billy

Billy was born in New York City on December 12, 1971, He was my son, and he died suddenly on July 6, 2022. He was 50 years old.

Billy passed from severe Chronic Cardiovascular Disease. A diabetic and lupus patient, doctors, never picked up on it. Go figure. The fact is that does not matter anymore.

Billy graduated from Gibbs High School in 1990.That year he was voted onto the Pinellas County All-Conference Baseball team as the third baseman. He also played college ball at Seminole Community up in Sanford. He became a security installation technician, but his career was cut short by a job accident.

 Billy was the son of Larry Peterson of Pinellas Park and had a brother, Larry Jr., and a sister, Mary. He was pre-deceased by his mom, Loretta, and a baby sister, Theresa. He had three nephews, three nieces and 23 cousins. His passing has left a gaping hole in many hearts.

One final thought about Billy Peterson: This past Sunday July 10, the Gospel reading was from St. Luke, and it was about the Good Samaritan. The question we are all asked is, “who is our neighbor?” Well, for Billy Peterson, everyone was his neighbor. If you needed help and he was there he would help. It did not matter who or where. Billy Peterson was truly a GOOD SAMARITAN.

READ LESS


My Father Died Long Ago—but His Example Lives On

By Larry Peterson

Sometimes things happen that you never forget

I remember that Friday night long ago very well. The screaming started about midnight. It was September, and the windows were still open because it was hot, and the screaming seemed exceptionally chilling. Dad got up, and my brother, Danny, whispered from his bed, “I think he’s going down there.”

“Down there” was the apartment of Leo and Sophie Rabinowitz. We got up and followed him. We watched as, without hesitating, Dad walked up to Leo’s apartment door and began banging on it with his fist. We watched from the stairs as the door slowly opened. Leo poked his head out, and just like that, my father was embracing this little Jewish man who, crying unashamedly, had buried his head in Dad’s chest.

My brother and I had crouched down, and peeking from the landing above, were stunned. Leo was the landlord, and everyone seemed to be afraid of him. Not Dad. He disappeared into that apartment with Leo Rabinowitz and did not leave for several hours.

Nightmares created years before

Sophie Rabinowitz was a tormented woman who suffered from horrible nightmares. These nightmares were created years before, when her two boys, ages 12 and 9, were clubbed to death by the Nazis. As her children were brutally beaten, their killers made Sophie and Leo watch. They had begged their captors to kill them and spare their children, but the Nazis tortured the helpless parents further by laughing and allowing them to live.

Try as I may, I cannot imagine what those moments were like for them. Sophie and Leo  were loving parents, and soldiers were forcing them to stand there, defenseless and powerless, as they clubbed their children to death. And why did they do this?  Simply because they were Jewish. Such evil can only come into people and be accepted by them if Satan has successfully won them over.

My father has been dead for many years, but he is still teaching me about being Catholic today. How? Through the gospel reading from Matthew 5:1-12—aka The Sermon on the Mount. This is when Jesus, a Jewish man, gave the world The Beatitudes. The one that always grabs me is #2, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

They had never mourned their boys

As my memory travels back in time I remember how a Catholic man had gone to his Jewish neighbor and how they became friends. My father became their ‘comforter’ by reaching out with an impromptu embrace and initiating the grieving process for Leo and Sophie. They had never mourned their boys and tried to go on living. It was an effort in futility. But this proved to be the moment when they began confronting what had happened to them. Ironically, reliving the sadness and horror also released a sense of beauty that shone through it, for it united them in a renewed marital bond that had been missing for nearly twenty years. They now became each other’s strength.

We Catholics read and hear during the Mass from the Roman Canon (aka First Eucharistic Prayer). the following words said by the priest before the words of consecration: “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, —–and all your saints—” 

I ask you, were not all of those mentioned Jewish? Yes, they were. There is no denying this fact. They are all canonized saints, and their Judaism was always part of who they were. It all extrapolated into who we Catholics/Christians are today. We Jews and Christians are joined forever by Spiritual DNA.

It is now 2022, and Judaism and Christianity are under attack all over the world, including in the United States of America. It is in our face. We here, in the USA,  have had the absolute luxury of practicing our religions and worshiping as we so chose for as long as most of us can remember. It is, in my opinion, the greatest freedom given us by the Founding Fathers. We must fight to protect this freedom no matter what the cost.

Of course, there have always been those who have hated someone for being either Jewish or Catholic/Christian. I just wish those folks could have met my dad.

HAPPY FATHER”S DAY  Pops;   Love you

 


Corpus Christi—Taking Jesus public all around the World

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

By Larry Peterson

This Day is for putting Jesus on Display

The Bishops of the United States have proclaimed that 2022 is the year for a National Eucharistic Revival. This revival will launch on June 19, 2022, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. (The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ). It is only fitting that this is the day to launch this campaign.

Pew research has stated that 70 percent of those who say they are Catholic do not believe in the Real Presence. The high percentage is alarming because this is a doctrine of our faith. It states that Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. During the Holy Mass, this change takes place when the ordained priest consecrates the bread and wine. He does this by saying the words of consecration over the bread and wine; “This is My Body; this is My Blood.” This is doctrinal teaching and the very focal point of our faith.

The sum and summary of our faith

We Catholics even have one day a year dedicated to celebrating the Holy Eucharist. That day is called The Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1327 says, this is the sum and summary of our faith). What do we do that is special on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi?  We have processions, and we have had them since the 13th century.

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, processions take place worldwide. Pope Francis leads the primary procession. The Holy Father traditionally processes  from the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the  Pope’s Cathedral,  to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.  This year he will be unable to do that. The Holy Father may follow in his wheel chair).  The Holy Eucharist , will be held aloft in the Monstance by the celebarnt for all to see. People will fall to their knees in Adoration. Processions will take place all over the world, including in the United States.

At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II reinstituted this procession. That was  almost 45 years ago.  When he was Archbishop of Krakow, he had yearly confrontations with communist leaders about restoring Corpus Christi processions. He remembered the processions from when he was a child in Poland. He always wanted to start them again. Once he ascended to the Seat of Peter, he did just that.

Brief Historical background

Pope Urban IV had heard of a  young woman from Belgium named Juliana. Juliana had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and received private revelations. Along with the help of her confessor, John of Lausanne, she composed a book of prayers to honor the Blessed Sacrament. The local bishop approved the texts, and word of this reached the Pope. He had none other than Thomas Aquinas investigate.

Thomas Aquinas investigates and approves

St. Thomas Aquinas, the man who defined Transubstantiation (CCC #1376), advised the Holy Father that this devotion was heaven-sent. In 1264, the Pope declared the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It was the first universal feast imposed obligatorily on the entire church by a pope. Aquinas composed many of the texts for Corpus Christi, including the hymns, Adoro te Devote, Pange Lingua (sung traditionally after Holy Thursday Mass, and Tantum Ergo, which is always sung at Benediction.

Ironically, Pope Urban and St. Thomas Aquinas passed away before adding Corpus Christi to the liturgical schedule; Pope Urban IV in 1264 and St. Thomas in 1274. It was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this increased the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began, led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, the church had put detailed instructions for holding Benediction in place. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century, with updated guidelines added in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament.”

from St. John Paul II

In 2004, Pope John Paul II issued Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord). In Number 18 of the document, the Holy Father wrote, “this year let us also celebrate with particular devotion the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with its TRADITIONAL PROCESSION.  Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.

from Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI said, “Corpus Christi processions allow us to “immerse Christ in the daily routine of our lives, so that He may walk where we walk and live where we live.”

Interestingly, there are only five Solemnitys during the year when a bishop is required to remain in his diocese. They are; Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. Maybe it is time to start paying more attention to this essential Solemn Feast.

The Knights of Columbus is spearheading efforts for the National Eucharistic Revival. This Revival will be launched on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on June 19. Many dioceses and parishes around the country are planning celebrations and processions. You can seek information on preparing for this great feast day by contacting  www.kofc.org

from Pope Francis

Pope Francis says, “praising Him and singing in the streets of our city allows us to express our gratitude for nourishing us with His love through the Sacraments of His Body and Blood.”

 


What are the origins of Adoration and Benediction ?

Adoration awash in bright lite   no flash used

By Larry Peterson

Growing up and going to Catholic school, we had religion class every day. One thing we all learned about was the “Real Presence.”  There was no doubt in our minds that inside the church, Jesus was truly present “body and blood, soul and divinity. He was inside the tabernacle, and He was waiting for us to “visit” Him. The phrase, “I’m going to pay a visit,” needed no explanation. So when did “visiting Jesus” start and where did Adoration and Benediction come from?

Adoration is a centuries-old practice that evolved from the earliest Christian days when the faithful, upon leaving Mass, brought the leftover consecrated bread home so it could be distributed to the sick and those who were unable to get to Mass (as an EMHC I do something similar today, but I do not take it home).

However, there were times when some of the consecrated bread was saved to distribute to the faithful during the week. This was a time when there were no daily Masses. This leftover consecrated bread had to be kept somewhere worthy of the Son of God. The people would make special places in their homes to keep the consecrated host in repose.

It appears that after Emperor Constantine stopped the persecution of the Christians in 313 A.D., construction of churches began in earnest. It was during this time that the Holy Eucharist began being kept in the churches for distribution to the sick. The sacristy was the usual place for repose.

Over the next several centuries, the Eucharist was relocated to the sanctuary near or above the altar. An unexpected result of this was that the faithful were drawn to Christ present and began praying to Him privately.

The Middle Ages is when actual Adoration began to take hold. People were receiving Holy Communion less frequently so the church decreed that people only had to receive Holy Communion once a year. The changing customs and attitudes also saw a separation take place between the altars and the congregation. It seemed that the churches were trying to separate the priest from the people.

Being distanced from the actions on the altar during Mass and combining that with the infrequent reception of Holy Communion gave rise to a new phenomenon; the people began staring and/or gazing at the vessel holding the Blessed Sacrament. Since the people could not receive communion as frequently as they wanted to, they began what became known as “Adoration.” Seeing Christ in the elevated Host oftentimes replaced receiving Holy Communion.

People even started coming to Mass extra early so they could get a good spot to watch the elevation of the Host. This was also when the ringing of the bells at the consecration took hold to alert the people to what was happening. People even timed services so they could go from one church to another to witness the elevation again. It was during his time that the idea of the monstrance began to take hold.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered that the Feast of Corpus Christi be enacted throughout the universal church. Pope Urban passed away before it was implemented, so it was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII, added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this added to the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It  ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, detailed instructions for holding Benediction were put in place by the church. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century.  Guidelines were put in place in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament…”

 


The Father of Public Education in Puerto Rico never went to school.

Rafael Cordero y Molina             en.wikipedeia.org

By Larry Peterson

Rafael Cordero y Molina came into this world on October 24, 1790, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was born into a low-income family and had two older sisters.  His dad, Lucas Cordero, worked on a tobacco farm and his mom, Rita Molina, took care of the children and the home. Although considered “free,” they were also black, and because of that, their children were not allowed to attend school.

Rafael’s parents had a small amount of education and imparted what they could to their children. Rafael showed an instant love of reading and began to read as much as possible. He developed a passion for literature. That dedication, coupled with his determination to become a teacher, led him on his arduous journey to achieve his goal.

Rafael’s mom and dad did their best to instill the faith into their children. Instruction in the faith by the local priest was open to all.  At the age of 14, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation. From that point forward, he would continue to grow in faith and remain a devout Catholic his entire life.

Rafael began working in the tobacco fields at a young age. When he was twenty years of age, he managed to open a school in the town of  San German. From the very beginning of his career as a teacher, the young man would never accept any money or gifts for his teaching. His earnings as a tobacco farmer and maker of tobacco products were the only monies he would ever consider using.

Rafael’s school in San German was on the street known as Moon of San Juan. In the beginning, it was just black and mulatto children attending his school. As time went by, underprivileged white children also began attending. When racial segregation was a dominant factor in many places around the world, Rafael treated all people the same and never discriminated against anyone.

He would be at this school for the next 58 years. He taught children not only how to read and write, but also arithmetic, history, Catholic doctrine, and even calligraphy. The place was not only a school. It was also his home and a tobacco shop. He would instruct the children, and while they studied, he would roll cigars to sell. On the walls, he had images of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and his patron, St. Anthony of Padua. There also was a large Crucifix hanging for all to see.

In 1847 Juan Prim Prats became the Governor. He hated all non-whites and immediately set out to subjugate them.  Governor Prats instituted direct repression of blacks on the island. He decreed the “Bando Negro” law which justified any aggression against blacks, be they free or slaves. Writings show that Prim visited Rafael’s school several times and, unexpectedly, always approved of its operation. Rafael attributed that to prayer and protection from Our Lady. Prim lasted in power only a year, and all blacks and mulattos on the island breathed a deep sigh of relief.

Rafael Cordero’s reputation as a saintly teacher grew, and more people wanted to send their children to him, including the rich. People began calling him the “Maestro.” Some of those who studied under him included Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, a famous poet, and playwright; Roman Baldorioty de Castro, a professor and politician; and Jose Julian Acosta, the journalist.

“Maestro” Rafael Cordero devoted his entire life to the free education of children and young people. In 1868, sensing the end of his life was near, he called his students together and prayed with them. He gave them his blessing saying, “My children pray for this poor old man who has taught you how much he knew. He has nothing left but a breath of life.”

A few minutes later, at 5 p.m., he died. The date was July 5, 1868.  Next to him was a burning candle and scapulars sent to his bedside by the Carmelites. More than 2000 people attended his funeral, and he became known as the “Father of Public Education in Puerto Rico.”

Each year in Puerto Rico, the Rafael Cordero National Medal  is given to the annual Teacher of the Year. Schools are named after him in Puerto Rico and Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y. Lastly,  the schoolhouse he taught in is registered as a historical site in the National registry of Historical Places of the United States.

In 2004 the process of Rafael Cordero’s canonization was begun. On December 9, 2013, Pope Francis declared that he had lived a life of “heroic virtue” and was worthy of the title, Venerable.

Venerable Rafael Cordero y Molina, please pray for us.

 


A Caregiver Remembers; Living with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease                                                                                          en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

What follows is some insight for those who have never been a primary caregiver. This is more like “a day in the life” of someone living and caring for an Alzheimer’s patient who is usually a spouse or a son or daughter.  Many folks have seen people with Alzheimer’s or have relatives or friends with the disease and think they “get it.”  Still, unless you, as a caregiver, live it, day after day after day, year after year, up until the end, you do not “get it.” You just can’t.

Simple memories triggered

My thoughts and I were sitting together reflecting the other night, just floating back to days long gone. The trigger for the thoughts was my wife, Marty, who passed away from cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease five years earlier on March 27. The thoughts kept bouncing around, and the “little things” that used to happen frequently began to dominate the memory flow. Anyway, I would like to share some of those simple memories. This is from an evening I remembered well. It was when I promised I would call her in sick for work.

It began like this. After dinner (I had turned into a pretty good cook), Marty asked me, “What time is my show on?”

Sundowning

Reflexively I would ask her, “Which one?” I knew she had no favorite show. I also knew she had stepped into what is known in Alzheimer’s disease as “sundowning.” I called it, ‘Uh-oh time.’ I called it this because these were the moments when she would unexpectedly become frustrated and agitated.

I could see her tensing. Then she would look at me and, raising her voice a decibel or two, would say, “You know what show. Just tell me what time it comes on.”

I had become a guilt-free liar

As a Catholic who loves his faith, I do not lie. However, the fact was, in my caregiver world, I had become a guilt-free, therapeutic liar. It was about survival, mine and hers. My justification was that without me, she was alone, and she was no longer able to survive on her own. “Sorry, sweetie, your show is not on tonight. There is a special about sharks on, and sharks scare you, right?”

“You know I don’t like sharks. I am scared of sharks. But that’s okay. I can watch the news, right?’

“Absolutely.” I had lied to my wife, Marty. I felt no guilt. It was a necessary tool for me to use in my role as her caregiver.

She headed to the sofa, sat down, and picked up her puzzle book. She always was good at doing the anachrostics (I find them incredibly difficult). Still, she would sit and look at the page, holding the pencil on it, which never moved. Then she said, “Do I have to go to work tomorrow? I’m so tired. I really could use a day off.”

Liar’s Hat on

Two years earlier, I might have tried to explain that she did not have a job and had not worked in seven or eight years. She still may have understood. Those days were gone. So, with my “Liar’s Hat” still in place, I answered, “You’re right. You do look tired. I think you need a day off too. Don’t worry. I’ll call in for you and tell them you’re sick.”

“You would do that for me?

“Of course, I would do that for you.”

That’s’ so nice. I’m so glad I don’t have to get up and go in. Is today Sunday?”

Whew, a relief question. I could  tell the truth. “No, it’s Wednesday.”

“Wednesday, are you sure?”

“Yes, it’s Wednesday.”

Things were quiet for a while It was about 9 p.m. when I walked back to the bathroom. Suddenly I hear smashing and banging coming from the utility room off the kitchen. I head in there, and in a matter of minutes, Marty had pulled out of the wall cabinet all of the plastic containers, glasses and cups, and other things inside and stacked them all on the washer and dryer below. “Hey hon, what are you doing?”

We have to get rid of the junk

She looks at me, and I can tell she is agitated. “We have all this junk. We have to get rid of it. Why do we have all this junk? We have to throw it out.”

Immediately, I switch back to my ‘Liar’s Hat’. “Okay, when should we throw it all out?”

“I don’t know, maybe right now?”

“Well, it is kind of late. Maybe we can do it in the morning.”

“I don’t feel like putting it all back tonight.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll do it.”

“Oh, thanks. I’m too tired

There was one final comment. She looks at me and asks, “We are married, right?”

“Yes Marty, we are married.” (That was not a lie)

She got into bed about 9:30 and was asleep in about two minutes. I was mentally worn out but I looked at her and realized that an innocence had come from an unknown place and  embraced her. I also knew that when she awoke in the morning, she would not remember anything of what had happened.

I was blessed

Since I do not “punch a clock” I have the joy of being able to attend daily Mass at 8 a.m.. Marty will wake up at about 7 a.m. and always ask me, “Are you going to church?”

I answer, “Yup.”

She will ask, “Will you take me with you?”

“Of course.”

From 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

As a caregiver to a child of God, I was blessed.

Copyright©LarryPeterson 2022