It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!), part 2
Thomas A. Droleskey
Having endured the experience with the smashed windshield and the long drive from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Spokane, Washington, which began around 6:00 p.m., Mountain Daylight Savings Time, on Tuesday, October 10, 2006, and did not end until we arrived at Alderwood R. V. Resort in Spokane, Washington, on Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at around 10:30 a.m., Pacific Daylight Savings Time, we wanted nothing so much as to sleep once Holy Mass had been offered in the chapel at Mount Saint Michael's at 11:40 a.m. on October 11, the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We had to keep ourselves up, however, for several hours in order to take our dear daughter to a chiropractor so that could have an adjustment to deal with an earache The earache was not as bad as the one that caused her to be taken to Bambino Gesu Ospitale in Rome on Saturday, May 21, 2005 (see:A Roman Pilgrimage in Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, part 4). However, I did want to get her treated. Lucy has a very high threshold of pain, as Dr. Nicholas Delgaldo in Pensacola, Florida, reminded us on Monday, February 12, 2007, when examining her and finding a serious ear infection that could only be treated with antibiotics.
It was only after Lucy had gotten her chiropractic adjustment that we were able to return to campground and assume horizontal positions to get reacquainted with the commodity known as sleep. And sleep we did, starting at around 5:00 p.m. that afternoon and lasting until around 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 12, 2006. Each of us went out like proverbial lights, having been worn out, humanly speaking, by the travels of the preceding week. Refreshed after a long night of sleep, we arose on October 12 for the first day of the Fatima Conference at Mount Saint Michael's.
As is well known, Mount Saint Michael's is a former Jesuit Scholasticate located on top of a very high hill overlooking the Spokane area. One has to drive up a road that winds around and around as it reaches the top of the hill. A Jesuit cemetery is located to the left as one arrives at the top of the hill and turns right to enter into the Mount Saint Michael's complex of buildings. The Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen has its own cemetery, which is located right across the street from the Jesuit cemetery, which is still maintained by the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. It is no accident that a Congregation that is carrying on the Traditions of the Faith was able to secure this property, on which most of the Jesuit priests buried in the cemetery atop Mount Saint Michael's lived and died to protect and to transmit those very same Traditions.
The Fatima Conference was most enlightening. Although I tried as early as after breakfast on October 12, 2006, to beg out of moderating the then upcoming debate between Mr. John Lane and Dr. Robert Sungenis, no one was found to replace me, something that I had to offer up to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slave while beginning her for the graces to fulfill the duties of this unwanted task! (I have written enough about the debate elsewhere on this site and will make no further commentary upon it.)
Three highlights stand out for us from the Fatima Conference, apart from meeting the wonderful people and the priests and the good religious sisters who were attending it, that is.
The first highlight was the Solemn Pontifical High Mass offered by His Excellency Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas on Friday, October 13, 2006, the eighty-ninth anniversary of the Miracle of Sun in the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Bishop Pivarunas offered a Votive Mass of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was glorious from beginning to end.
The second highlight was Bishop Pivarunas's two-part lecture, given on the afternoon of October 13, 2006, refuting arguments made by those who oppose the sedevacantist thesis. I have linked to these lectures several times in the past on this site. I might as well do so again for the reader who "stragglers" onto this site and would like to give a listen to these very clear, informative and incisive lectures: Oct. 13, 2006 Sedevanctism Part I; Sedevanctism Part II; Sedevanctism Part III; Sedevanctism Part IV (35 Minutes). Sharon and I listen quite attentively to these lectures as Lucy Mary Norma colored several coloring books of the lives of the saints and played with her precious statuettes of numerous saints. We had no doubts about the legitimacy of the sedevacantist position by then. However, it was very profitable for us to hear the arguments put forth so well by Bishop Pivarunas.
The third highlight was a Fatima Rosary Procession around the grounds of Mount Saint Michael's at dusk on Friday, May 13, 2006. I was asked to lend a shoulder, quite literally, you understand, to the carrier that would hold the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima as the attendees prayed the Rosary under the direction of the Very Reverend Casimir Puskorius, C.M.R.I. Although not very physically strong and with a chronically bad back (February 14, 2007, was the thirty-nine anniversary of a spinal fusion operation I underwent at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan necessitated by the congenital spondylolisthesis I inherited from my late brother). I chose to agree to shoulder one leg of the carrier, hoping that by doing so I'd be able to make some small reparation for many sins of thought, word and deed. I kept praying all throughout the Procession that I would not be the cause of dropping Our Lady's Pilgrim Statue, making it to the stairwell of Mount Saint Michael's Academy as the Procession moved up to the chapel, which is located on the second floor of the building, before ceding to a man more physically able to carry his share of the weight of the carrier.
Where's the "Enterprise?"
Speaking of the stairwell at Mount Saint Michael's Academy and Church, we were struck once again by the poverty in which the "sedevacantist enterprise" at Mount Saint Michael's exists. An ancient elevator needs to be replaced, making it necessary for the parish of Mount Saint Michael's to offer Holy Mass in the rectory on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation so as to accommodate the handicapped. The priests and the faithful pray every day after Mass to Saint Joseph to raise enough money to to pay for a new elevator. The Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen does not have the money to hire a team of professional telemarketers to telephone people every few weeks to solicit contributions. The priests and the consecrated religious and the faithful of Mount Saint Mary's tries to raise funds the old-fashioned way: by appealing to the Mother of God and her Most Chaste Spouse, Saint Joseph, the just and silent man of the House of David.
The great "sedevacantist enterprise" at Mount Saint Michael's also lacks a means to heat the chapel in cold weather. The furnace does not work. It was not uncommon to see parishioners wearing gloves on cold mornings in late-October and early-November. One could see his breath during Mass on those mornings, believe me. It was really burrrrrry (and this has nothing to do with the late actor whose two very successful, long-running television series, Perry Mason and Ironside, this year mark, respectively, their fiftieth and fortieth anniversaries of their debuts). Indeed, most of the chapels, with one or two exceptions here and there, we have been to in the past year since making our initial forays into venues where no credibility at all is lent to the legitimacy of the spiritual robber barons of the counterfeit church of conciliarism struggle to make ends meet and have physical plants that are not in the best of shape. No, there's no big money-raising, either through telemarketing or direct mail solicitations, in the "enterprise." There are simply Catholics who believe that the canonical doctrine of the Church, admitted by the late Mario Francesco Cardinal Pompedda two years as being part of the Church's canonical doctrine, applies in the case of the conciliar popes and that the See of Peter is indeed vacant at this time.
While other Catholics may not accept the canonical doctrine of the Church concerning sedevacantism or admit that it applies in our current circumstances, it is not just to tar good bishops and priests and laity with epithets. Although I have come to believe that truth is indeed on the side of the sedevacantist thesis, we must deal with each other charitably, recognizing that there were saints in every contesting camp during the Great Schism. There is no place for caricature and invective of the positions of Catholics who simply want to adhere to the fullness of the Faith as it has been handed down to us over the centuries and who recognize that the Catholic Church simply cannot be the author of the errors and heresies and betrayals of the past forty-eight years.
In and Around Spokane
We gave Lucy a break from the conference on Saturday, October 14, 2006, taking her to Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, where we were the only passengers aboard a surface-tram that took forever--and I mean forever--to traverse through the park's nooks and crannies. The driver/tour guide wanted to "instruct" us at one point about "native religions" of the area. I shouted from the back of the tram that we did not need to hear about pagan superstitions and that Father Pierre Jean De Smet had come to the region in the Nineteenth Century to eradicate them as he converted them to the true Faith. We did not hear from her the rest of the trip. Deo gratias.
Lucy also got a chance to ride aboard the Spokane Falls Skyride, which was very nice, before we took her to the Loof Carousel. Oh, apart from miniature golf, we certainly do like a good carousel, replete with old-fashioned organ music. We don't have much in the way of this world's resources. However, our good God and His Most Blessed Mother continue to be generous to us to permit us to enjoy simple pleasures around the nation, giving us a bit of a break in our travels. We are so very grateful for having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful Catholics around the nation and to see practically every part of the nation in the process. There are only three states in the contiguous forty-eight United States of America that Lucy has not as of yet visited (and have not been driven through by the motor home): North Dakota, where I lived from 1988-1989 when working for the late conciliar Bishop James S. Sullivan of the Diocese of Fargo, Vermont (which has never been in my travel itinerary save for, I believe, three times in my life), and Maine. And it is the case that Lucy has been to various states on multiple occasions. She knows that she is one of the most widely traveled little girls in this country, and she is learning much from the experiences we have (and remembering them all; she has the memory I used to have).
The closing Mass of the Fatima Conference was offered by the erstwhile Father Benedict Hughes, C.M.R.I., at Mary Immaculate Queen Church in Rathdrum, Idaho, which is truly located on top of a mountain! Father Benedict, whose family used to assist at Mass offered in Toledo by Father Hector Bolduc when he was a newly ordained priest for the Society of Saint Pius X in 1974 and before they moved out to the Spokane area, has a brother who is a priest (Father Brendan Hughes) and a sister who is a sister in the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen. One of his other sisters is married to the brother of Father Gregory Drahman, who is based at Mary Immaculate Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and whom we had met for the first time with Father Francisco Radecki in Wayne, Michigan, on July 25, 2006. Father Benedict's father, Dr. Patrick Hughes, is a graduate of my own Master of Arts alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, spending more of his medical career as a radiologist. We had a chance to meet with the Hughes family during our stay in the Spokane area. There are a lot of interesting stories in the world of traditional Catholics.
One of the things that was fairly difficult for a New Yorker not used to wasting time at green lights to adjust to in the Spokane area was the slow reflexes of the drivers there to such things as green lights and to speed limit signs. Oh, my very thin patience was stretched even thinner than usual. My late father was a very good and attentive driver before his mind began to deteriorate in the twenty years between having two massive hearts within ten days of each other thirty-six years ago and his death in September of 1992. He was also prone to a bit of vocal expressions of impatience with incompetent and/or needlessly slow drivers. He never used bad language. However, he would say such things as, "It pays to signal, buddy!" or "It doesn't any greener, you know!" One can (my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek) supernaturalize this by noting that those who drive slowly needlessly and/or who do not proceed promptly when a red light changes to a green light are causing others to waste time, which is a sin, are provoking others to commit the sin of impatience, which is thoughtless and rude, and are befouling the environment by causing automobiles to idle for longer than they should be idling. (Yes, I know that the reverse is true, that such occasions are invitations for people like me to practice patience and to offer up the inconvenience and the thoughtlessness and the frustration to the Blessed Trinity through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. I just prefer to look at things the other way around, thereby losing much merit.)
Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen
Father Ephrem Cordova, C.M.R.I., had e-mailed me in September to say that he wanted me to lecture to his people at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona, after the Fatima Conference had been completed. Indeed, he went to the Fatima Conference quite specifically to meet with me and to make the arrangements for our stay, which was supposed to have taken us through the winter months, ending around this time right now, that is, in March of 2007. We were very pleased to have met Father Ephrem (priests who are formal members of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen are addressed by their first names; priests who are associated with the Congregation, such as Fathers Anaya and Gronenthal, are addressed by their last names) at Mount Saint Michael's on Thursday, October 12, 2006. I had first heard that I was heading to Phoenix (and Tucson) from a third-party, who had received an e-mail from friends in Tucson about the fact that Father Ephrem was inviting me to speak in Arizona. It was after learning this news that I made contact with Father Ephrem directly, little realizing how much we would enjoy our stay with the good people at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church in Phoenix for the five weeks and five days we were there (from Tuesday, November 7, 2006, until Sunday, December 17, 2006.)
Father Ephrem was not ready to host us, however, until the weather turned a little cooler. He wanted us to park our motor home in his parish's parking lot, meaning that he would have to pay for the electricity used by the motor home, something that is prohibitive when the weather in dry, arid Phoenix is scorching hot. With nowhere to go prior to the beginning of my lectures in Phoenix and Tucson, where Father Ephrem offers the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in a hotel on Sunday nights, on Sunday, November 12, 2006, we stayed in the Spokane area after the Fatima Conference in order to get to daily Mass at Mount Saint Mary's (and sometimes at Mary Immaculate Queen Church in the City of Mary near Rathdrum, Idaho) and to give my lecture on the Social Reign of Christ the King and popular culture at Mary Immaculate Queen Church on Sunday, October 22, 2006, two weeks after it had been scheduled to be given before that creature smashed into our motor home's windshield on Wednesday, October 4, 2006.
We had the pleasure of visiting with our friends the Kampraths (John and Marie and their children Lux, Augustine, Maximilian, Philomena, Seraphina, Isabella, Marguerite and the newborn Mariel Clare) in Post Falls, Idaho, after my talk on October 22, 2006. Lucy enjoyed visiting with the Kamprath children, having the opportunity to visit with them several times during our stay in the Spokane area, including on Wednesday, October 25, 2006, when I lectured the seminary and high school students in the City of Mary in Rathdrum, Idaho. We are very grateful to the Kampraths for their hospitality and kindness to us. Indeed, John, who is the former Administrator of the Kolbe Academy in Napa, California (where I gave my "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program on Mondays and Wednesdays from January 7, 2002, to February 13, 2002, ending just six week before Lucy Mary Norma's birth), recommended a Mr. Ben Tardiff, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception, to repair the motor home's brakes, which took a beating going up and down across the Rockies yet again. Mr. Tardiff did a very fine job on the brakes, also replacing the sway bar that had fallen off the motor home on the evening of Monday, September 11, 2006. (Mr. Tardiff's sister, Susan Tardiff Lloyd, writes on home-schooling and family matters for The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture, and is the wife of Mr. Gregory P. Lloyd, the organizer of the annual Auriesville Pilgrimage for Restoration with which our brother-in-law Benoit Turpin is much involved. Indeed, the Turpins and the Lloyds are very good friends.)
Father Casimir Puskorius was good enough to invite me to speak on the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen on Sunday, October 29, 2006, the very feast of Christ the King in the calendar of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Father Casimir was good enough to join us (along with Michael and Cyndi Cain of The Daily Catholic) at a restaurant called Tomato Street in Spokane shortly after my talk ended. Tomato Street is a very good and relatively inexpensive restaurant, featuring some of the finest garlic bread I have ever had (nothing, however, can compare with the exquisite garlic bread that was offered by the long-closed Au Petit Moulin Restaurant on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, New York). Michael Cain made the suggestion to Father Casimir that I reprise my Christ the King talk on the following Sunday, November 5, 2006, which I did most gladly, the day after I addressed the good sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen on the ethos of conciliarism at the kind invitation of Bishop Pivarunas and the Very Reverend Mother Marie de Lourdes, the Superior of the Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen.
No One is Evangelizing the Lost Sheep
One of the consistent things that we see in our travels across the nation is how completely the counterfeit church of conciliarism betrays the cause of the salvation of souls. We meet the lost sheep every day in our travels. No one--and I mean no one--in the conciliar structures is seeking to evangelize these people, many of whom are fallen away Catholics. Our Lord charged the Apostles to seek out the lost sheep. No Catholic is discharging his own apostolic duties responsibly unless he uses opportunities that are given to him to encourage the lost sheep to return to the One Sheepfold of Christ that is the Catholic Church. The spiritual robber barons in the conciliar structures, steeped in the diabolical much and mire of ecumenism and the new ecclesiology, are content to let the lost sheep wander throughout their lives without ever knowing why Our Lord became Incarnate in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of the Holy Ghost, without ever knowing the depth of the love that He has for each person so as to offer Himself upon the wood of the Cross to Redeem the entire human race, without ever knowing the sure guidance that is offered only by the Catholic Church, which is the sole and exclusive repository and explicator of the Deposit of Faith, without ever receiving the eternally life-giving and saving remedies found only the Sacraments that Our Lord instituted and entrusted to the Catholic Church.
It thus up to each of us in our daily lives, ladies and gentlemen, to try to exhort the lost sheep to find their way into the one, true Church, the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. As I have noted so many times on this site, we stock blessed Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars on our persons, giving them out to the people we meet in our travels and as we do our daily errands. It is also a good thing to take extra copies of parish bulletins of fully traditional Catholic parishes with you. Hand them out to people. Invite them to Holy Mass. Tell them that you will help them work their way through a hand missal as the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is offered. Tell them that you will be praying for them--and then do indeed remember to pray for them. The conciliarists have given us many opportunities each day to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy. We should never let an opportunity to help a lost sheep slip through our fingers Our Lord would have died for that one lost sheep alone. Shouldn't we take the time to do what Benedict and his fellow conciliarists won't do, that is, to invite everyone we meet who is in need of unconditional conversion to the Catholic Church to be received into her maternal bosom?
As I have recounted in past travelogues, we can also do our bit of evangelization in public places such as zoos, reminding our children that God created each of the animals therein exactly as was recorded in the Book of Genesis. We did so while in Spokane at a place called Cat Tales Zoological Park, which is located in the Mead section of the city, on Saturday, October 21, 2006, drawing bemused looks from onlookers (and a few smiles also, it should be noted). We can also ask that the horror or rock music, which comes from the devil and is designed to lead souls to Hell for all eternity, be turned off in such places as restaurants. Those who refuse to do will see us walk out of their establishments quite promptly (as we did at a place called the Old Spaghetti Factory in Spokane one day during out stay in the area). We can make no voluntary compromises with the forces of evil that surround us. We have to be subjected to enough of these influences involuntarily (billboards, piped-in music blaring forth above gasoline pumps and in supermarkets, immodestly attired people walking all over the place). And we must use these opportunities to help others in ways that the conciliarists, who have made their "opening" to and "reconciliation with" the forces of evil in the world, would never dream of doing.
A Change of Plans
Every practicing Catholic who is serious about saving his immortal soul wants to do only only one thing each day: the will of God. Oh, yes, we know that the will of God for us is to keep His Commandments and to strive for ever-greater degrees of sanctity as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We must also, however, discern His Holy Will for us in the sturm and drang of our daily lives. This is especially true in our case as we have no means of regular, predictable income. We must be willing to change plans at a moment's notice so that we can support ourselves while at the same time being at the service of souls.
Such a scenario presented itself on Monday, October 30, 2006, when I received an e-mail from my chairman, colleague and friend from the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Dr. Roger Goldstein, offering me a course to teach during the winter intersession (and entire semester taught in the space of ten four-hour class meetings) and two courses during the Spring 2007 Semester. One of those latter courses would meet on Thursday evenings and the other on Friday mornings, meaning that I would have the rest of the time available to write and to lecture. This would have provided some degree of guaranteed income (adjuncts get paid per course, a rate of compensation which is far, far less than full-time faculty members, although they do no less work than their full-time colleagues and frequently teach in excess of seven or eight courses in different institutions just to try to make ends meet) for us. I could not turn down such an opportunity.
Thus, I telephoned the always cooperative Father Ephrem Cordova to inform him that we would have to curtail the "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program, limiting to about five weeks instead of three months. He was agreeable. On second thought, however, wanting to preserve as much of the program as I could, I believed it would be possible for me to fly back to New York once a week from Arizona for the Spring Semester courses, donating the stipend from the parish to said travel. The free-will offerings and the remuneration from Long Island University would replenish the funds expended in travel. That plan remained in force until I realized, after several weeks of lecturing in Phoenix and then driving to Tucson to lecture on the same day, that the plan was crazy, as in just plain nuts. And over and above the logistics and the expense and the level of exhaustion that would be experienced, I did not want to be separated from my wife and daughter on a weekly basis for the eight weeks that the travel would have been done (we would have driven up to the northeast in the motor home following the completion of the series at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church in this very month, March of 2007).
We just pray every day to know God's Holy Will for us. And even when we do make mistakes in our judgments, you see, God even uses those mistakes for His own greater honor and glory and for our own sanctification and salvation if we offer them up to Him in humility and in docility as the consecrated slaves of His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
From the Northwest to the Southwest, From Evergreen to Ever Brown
We had to take Sharon and Lucy several times to a different chiropractor than the one we had seen on October 11, 2006, the day of our arrival in the Spokane area. We were recommended to Dr. David Glass, most of whose practice, it appears, consists of parishioners from Immaculate Conception in Post Falls, Idaho. Indeed, we saw the names of two of the priests at Immaculate Conception, Fathers Granges and Haynos, as being thanked by Dr Glass for their having recommended patients to him. Dr. Glass was very good to Sharon and Lucy, and we thank him for his attentiveness and professionalism.
I gave my lecture on the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen after Holy Mass at Mount Saint Michael's on Sunday, November 5, 2006, whereupon we visited over lunch at Tomato Street with a few of Father Brendan Hughes's parishioners from Mary Immaculate Queen Church, having a most delightful time. Although it was my original plan to stay until Holy Mass at Mount Saint Michael's the next morning, Monday, November 6, 2006, before we started on our long trip to Phoenix, Arizona, an online weather report indicated that there was a possibility of some snow and ice visiting the Spokane area that day. Thus, tired from a lot of writing and speaking, I made the decision, after a bit of a typical few moments of indecision (should we go? should we stay?), I decided that we should pack up the motor home and take off for Arizona. This meant the probability of missing Holy Mass on Monday, November 6. However, I did not want to deal with the snow and ice in the high altitudes of the various Rocky Mountain chains.
One of the most difficult things about embarking upon one of our trips, especially when we are so tired (and I was getting over a cold and sore throat at he time and was especially fatigued; all to you, Blessed Mother, all to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you, save souls!), is the thought of making one of our long trips! Oh, I used to think nothing of getting in a car and driving over 2,000 miles in one sitting. I was in my twenties and thirties and early-forties when I did such things. I no longer have the energy in my mid-fifties to even begin to think kindly about undertaking and completing such drives. However, Actual Graces are never lacking for us to undertake and complete the things we must do in our daily lives.
We left the Alderwood R. V. Resort at 6:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, on Sunday, November 5, 2006, for the nearly 1,600 mile drive to Phoenix, using a route that took us through the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon into southwestern Idaho to hook up with Interstate 15 for the trip south into Utah and thence into Arizona via state highways to Flagstaff so as to pick up Interstate 17 for the drive to Phoenix. This particular route was quite interesting. I had never been to northeastern or southwestern Idaho before. Although it was very dark, I could see the outline of the mountains by means of the moonlit skies. It was a nice change of pace from traveling along the highways that we have come to know so well.
It was perhaps barely possible to make the trip to Phoenix in time for morning Mass on Monday, November 6, 2006. By 3:00 a.m.., Mountain Standard Time, that morning, however, I knew I had to stop. The roadway was beginning to "move around" on me, a sure sign that it was dangerous keep going (and I learned the next day, Tuesday, November 7, 2006, that Father Ephrem does not offer Mass in Phoenix on Mondays). After some considerable difficulty in finding my way to a campground after exiting Interstate 84 in Nampa, Idaho, I found a campground and pulled into a site to rest my rather weary bones for about six hours before arising to get on the road once again. The thought of staying longer was enticing. I was indeed very tired. However, we still had another one thousand miles to go before completing our journey. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you! Save souls!
The drive from Nampa, Idaho, to Hurricane, Utah, which is where we turned off of Interstate 15 to take state highways in Utah and Arizona to Flagstaff by means of ascending at a rather steep angle onto a plateau that was reachable, was uneventful save for some indecision concerning whether to drive to the Las Vegas, Nevada, area, which we loathe, and from there west to Kingman, Arizona, which we loathe even more (a city where tire dealers and automobile garages specialize in all manner of consumer rip offs, something that was featured on 60 Minutes a few years ago, I understand), or to drive up to the plateau, which ran along the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. After a good deal of back-and-forth in my own mind and looking at the American Road Map atlas over and over again, I decided to go for the plateau highway, which turned out to be most pleasant.
No, I wasn't tempted to stop so that we could see the Grand Canyon from the north rim. As I noted in an article about three years ago, the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition trumps everything else in our lives. So what if we don't get to see the Grand Canyon in person from the ground (I've flown over it many times)? Big deal. We had missed Mass on Monday, November 6. I wasn't going to do so the next day if I could help it, unforeseen travel problems notwithstanding. We will be able to see "all of the sights" we missed in this passing, mortal vale of tears from eternity, please God we die in a state of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church. We're not "missing out" on anything if we miss attractions of the natural world. We miss out on participating in the unbloody re-presentation of the Son's Sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth if we miss Holy Mass. Who would want to pass up the great act of love Our Lord showed for us on Calvary, which is at one and the same time a foretaste of Heavenly glories, for a mere bauble of this passing world, which will turn into dust on the Last Day? I am very much aware of my own sinfulness and thus know that I would be lost, perhaps for all eternity, if I did not at least try to make the effort to get my family to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition on a daily basis, knowing that there will be those times when circumstances simply will not permit us to do so.
The ride on the plateau road was most pleasant. It took us through Kanab, Utah, where a number of episodes of the 1956-1957 season (the seventh and last) The Lone Ranger had been filmed. By the time, however, we had gotten to US-89, the roadway that would take us south to Flagstaff to hook up with Interstate 17, I was pretty beat. Thus, I stopped at a rest area about an hour north of Flagstaff to get about three hours of sleep. The only difficult part of the trip that remained was to see streams of cars pass us on Interstate 17 as our motor home-Trail Blazer tandem was slowed to a veritable crawl as a result of the steep mountain grades we had to climb to get to the Valley of the Sun. "'Bye, 'bye now," I said out loud as the cars passed us. There was nothing I could do but see us crawl up the mountain grades at speeds as low as forty miles per hour. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
The Valley of Smog
We got into the Valley of Smog, that is, the Valley of the Sun, around 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2006, getting off at an exit just north of where Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church is located. Uncharacteristically, though, I had difficulty following the directions I had printed out from Mapquest. I passed right by Myrtle Avenue on the Interstate 17 service road, Black Canyon Highway, having to circle several times before I was able to access it from 27th Avenue. We found the parish, being greeted at around 10:00 a.m. by Sister Mary Cabrini, O.P., a first cousin of Fathers Dominic and Francisco Radecki, and Sister Joseph Marie, O.P., both of whom extended themselves to us so generously during our forty day stay there. Father Ephrem, whose father had just had coronary bypass surgery and whose mother was about to have cancer surgery, greeted us in due course.
We were "home" again, this time in the parking lot of another parish poor in financial resources but rich in the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Once again, I asked Sharon, "Where's the enterprise? Where's the big bucks? They're not here. People are just trying to save their souls without giving a moment's worth of legitimacy to the spiritual robber barons of the counterfeit church of conciliarism." We were very blessed to be at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church there even though we do not necessarily like the artificiality of Phoenix, which has all of the cultural problems of southern California without an ocean view and without the beauty of green trees. We had gone from evergreen to ever brown. Souls, though, were in need of hearing more about the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen. Our own geographic likes and dislikes are insignificant and must be offered up to the Blessed Trinity through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Upon our arrival, however, we noticed that the generator, which the folks at Cummins Bridgeway in West Chester, Ohio, had warned us on August 15, 2006, was going to die sooner or later, was knocking rather considerably. It wasn't going to last long. And it didn't last long, dying on our trip to Texas on December 17, 2006, making it impossible for the coach battery to recharge itself as we drove and making it impossible for the air conditioning to operate or for electrical current to be generated in the unit. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Our first encounter with the horrors of Phoenix's popular culture occurred that very night, November 7, 2006, when we tried to take Lucy Mary Norma miniature golfing to reward her after a long two and one-half days on the road. An outdoor miniature golf course located not far from Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church had just horrendous music in the arcade that led to the entrance to the actual courses. I could not take my family into such a demonic environment (all manner of people were gyrating to the sounds of the arcade "games," many of which displayed images from came straight from the devil). We would not be party to such a thing. And the manager was not really interested in listening to my complaint about the fact that patrons had to walk through the sights and sounds of Hell to get to the miniature golf courses. "There's nothing wrong with what we do!" the man kept insisting with great vehemence and arrogance. "There not a thing in the world wrong with anything we do here!" Needless to say, we did not play golf that night. Lucy was disappointed. However, she understood why we could not play there (indeed, she is quite insistent on asking me that restaurants turn off or change the rock music if we walk in and she hears it playing).
Praying and Writing and Lecturing
Leaving aside our aversion for the Phoenix area, we had a most pleasant stay at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church. Father Ephrem offered Holy Mass each day during the week at 11:15 a.m., something that suited our schedules very well. Most of my writing is done at night after we have put Lucy Mary Norma to sleep. This means that I am up on some occasions as late as 3:00 a.m., making it very tough, humanly speaking, to get up a few hours later for Holy Mass. The offering of Mass later in the morning helped me and permitted Sharon a chance to homeschool Lucy in the early morning hours before Mass. And this is to say nothing of the delights of having regular access to the church in order to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. We were able to manage a real daily routine while parked at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church. Sharon and I took turns watching Lucy play on the parish's property as we spent our time individually before the Blessed Sacrament around 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
Father Ephrem would come out of his humble quarters most evenings to let his affectionate and playful Shih Tzu, Becket, run around. Becket loved to play with Lucy, who has her late grandfather Droleskey's affection for animals. Oh, how my late father treated the dogs and cats who were brought to him for his veterinary care with his gentle touch. I spent many a day helping him in my childhood and adolescent years. He never tired of providing excellent care to God's dumb creatures that depend so utterly on us for their daily needs. Although we toyed with the idea of getting a beagle, our favorite breed of dogs (see my There's No Cure for This Condition), it's just not possible to have a dog here in our motor home. Lucy does, however, love visiting with a good dog. And Becket was just such a dog!
The lectures at Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church went well. About thirty people attended regularly for each of the five weeks of the program (November 12 and 19, December 3, 10, 17). We greatly appreciated their generosity and thoughtfulness. One gentleman was kind enough to treat the good sisters and Father Ephrem and us to dinner on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Tuesday, December 12, 2006 (which was also my brother's fifty-third birthday; still looking for those family photographs,. Dr. Bob!) And Father Ephrem himself outdid himself in his generosity, providing us with gift cards to two supermarkets so that we could keep ourselves supplied with food during our stay. Thank you, Father Ephrem, for all that you did for us.
As is the case of so many other Catholic priests in the underground, Father Ephrem spends himself tirelessly for souls. He offers Mass in Phoenix at 9:00 a.m. and then takes a bus down to Tucson so that he can offer Mass there in a hotel in Saint Philip's Plaza on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m.. Sisters Mary Cabrini and Joseph Marie drive him to the Phoenix International Skyport, which is where he catches a shuttle bus to take him to the Tucson Airport, where he is met by a parishioner of his, who drives him to the Mass site at the Windmill Inns Hotel. One of the amazing things about all of this is that there is an actual statue of Saint Philip himself in Saint Philip's plaza. Some Catholic must have had a hand in developing this pricey collection of shops and restaurants. Deo gratias.
Our own drive to Tucson from Phoenix each Sunday was relatively uneventful. We certainly enjoyed meeting the small group of people who stayed after Mass to listen to the lectures. One couple was particular generous to us, and we continue to thank them for their many kindnesses, remembering them daily, especially in the Memento for the Living during Mass, in our prayers.
Apart from the first trip down, on November 12, 2006, we drove back to Phoenix on Sunday night after the talk in Tucson. We learned the hard way during our first trip back from Tucson that one does not want to stop an hour or so short of Phoenix if one wants to get to Holy Mass on time the next day at Our Lady of the Sun in El Mirage, Arizona. We just barely made it to Holy Mass, offered at the hands of Father Paul Andrade, on Monday, November 13, 2006, after encountering the supremely heavy traffic at the merges of US-60 and Arizona 202 into Interstate 10 to the southeast of downtown Phoenix. Thus, we returned to the parking lot of Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Catholic Church on November 19, 2006, and on December 3 and 10 to a campground in Goodyear, Arizona, not all that far from Our Lady of the Sun so that we could get to daily Mass (and so that we could attend to the business of cleaning out our various holding tanks).
Sharon "saw" something on one of our trips back, on the evening of December 10, 2006, that I did not "see." Well, I saw it before see did but she saw something that I did not. Let explain.
I saw a van in the right lane of Interstate 10 (a highway that we are just about two miles north of at the present moment in Louisiana) with the following license plate: "Xto Rey." I knew immediately that that was short for "Cristo Rey," Christ the King. "Isn't that interesting," I thought to myself.
Sharon, though, saw something deeper. Here we were driving along in the fast lane of Interstate 10 passing a van that contained an abbreviation of the phrase with which I close each of my lectures. She realized that God had known from all eternity that we would be passing this van, stating that it was her belief that Our Lord was telling me to keep up my work in behalf of His Social Kingship. I did not "see" this until she mentioned it to me. It was, though, a most comforting thought to contemplate. Such is the purity of my dear wife's soul.
I, however, saw something that Sharon had missed earlier that day. The left windshield of the motor home was cracked again. "Do you see what I see?" I asked as we drove from Phoenix to Tucson. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. The crack was a "stress fracture" that was, Deo gratias, covered by our insurance policy and would not require the payment of an additional $500 deductible. Arrangements were made with a glass company in Sharonville, Ohio, to install a new windshield upon our arrival there, which was pushed back because of the speaking that we managed to arrange for the trip out of Tucson up to West Chester, Ohio, for Christmas Midnight Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church.
No Room In in the "Inn" in the Land of the Selfish
Finding a campground in the Phoenix area that would "accept" us was more than a challenge. Many of the campgrounds in the Phoenix area belong to a "fifty-five and over" campground association, strictly prohibiting the entry onto the grounds of any patrons under the age of fifty-five. The manager of one such campground, located right near Our Lady of the Sun, became rather indignant when I explained to her that the "fifty-five and over" policy is just a continuation of the same embrace of contraception and abortion that so many of the selfish people of my own baby-boom generation have practiced their entire lives. "The same people who killed off their children in their youth don't want be around any children at all in their senior years," I told her matter-of-factly. She was most defensive, saying that the campground could lose its "status" as a "fifty-five and over" club if just one motor home with anyone under that age (which I turned myself on November 24, 2006) entered the property. Thank you, John Calvin and Adam Smith. There was no "room" for us in the "inn" of many campgrounds in the Phoenix area when we had need of one on Sunday nights. The Destiny R. V. Resort in the Goodyear was practically the only campground in the greater Phoenix area which had a policy of being open to entire families. It proved to be a handy place to stay and to get to Mass on Mondays at Our Lady of the Sun.
A Nasty Bug and Craven Urgent Care
It was upon detaching the car in the parking lot of Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Church on the morning of December 3, 2006, after an overnight stay at the Destiny R. V. Resort in Goodyear, Arizona, that a nasty kind of bug, perhaps a fire ant, got under the skin in my left wrist and stung me very badly. As my late father was a violent reaction to the bite of fire ants while working in the citrus groves of my parents' property in Harlingen, Texas, in August of 1978, that had to be treated with epinephrine after going into anaphylactic shock that required a paramedic squad to be dispatched. He had no blood pressure when the epinephrine was administered to him in the ambulance. Well, conscious of this history, I asked Sisters Mary Cabrini and Joseph Marie where I should go, being given the choice of several places, including an urgent care center about five miles from the parish. The sting burned quite a lot, comparing not one whit, of course, to the sting of my many sins upon Our Lord during His Passion and Death, which stings of my sins caused also the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary to be so very wounded and stung by sharp pains of sorrow and grief.
Urgent care centers, as I coming to realize, are cash cows where medical doctors hire physician's assistants to treat all but a handful of cases so as to maximize the number of patients the centers can see (and charge) each day without having to hire more physicians that they deem necessary, thus assuring themselves of a nifty profit. Indeed, the manager of the office demanded a cash deposit of one hundred dollars before I could be seen by the physician's assistant, who gave but a cursory examination (no blood work, no close examination of the skin). I was given a prescription for an anti-histamine drug, hydroxizine, which did nothing for the itching and the pain. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
You see, physicians in a Catholic world would see in their patients Christ Himself, not as the means by which to maximize profits while providing minimal care so as to see as many people as possible in assembly-line of a farce of medical care. Where Christ does not reign as King of nations, ladies and gentlemen, and His Most Blessed Mother is not honored as the Queen of nations, it is the devil and his minions who take hold of the minds and hearts of men in each and every profession, corrupting them to prefer the love of money at all costs, including the adoption of the methods of Machiavellian expediency to make as much money as possible.
A Beautiful Consecration, A Fond Farewell
Father Ephrem Cordova did us the great favor of consecrating our motor home to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, the Feast of Saint Lucy, who is the patroness saint of both Sharon and Lucy. The consecration ceremony was simply beautiful and quite moving. And we had a most delightful farewell dinner with Father Ephrem and Sisters Mary Cabrini and Joseph Marie on Saturday, December 16, 2006, prior to our leaving the next day for our trip back East for what we thought then was going to be a period of five months or so in and around Long Island while I taught at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University. Father Ephrem invited us back to visit again in November of 2007 to continue my series of lectures. We look forward to our return visit.
We said goodbye as well to the good people in Tucson, appreciating everything they did us while we were in Arizona. It is always hard, humanly speaking, to leave each area that we find ourselves in for a length of time. However, please God and by the graces that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of His Most Blessed Mother, the Mediatrix of All Graces, we wind up returning sooner rather than later.
Into West Texas Again
We took off down the road on Interstate 10 on the evening of December 17, 2006, a highway on which we would travel for each of the next four days, taking it from Tucson (after having to driven on it to Tucson from Phoenix) to Pensacola, Florida, with a little bit of a diversion in the Houston, Texas, area on the Sam Houston Tollway. Although I was tired, I wanted to go drive as far as we could that evening. It was all of a thousand miles from Tucson to the campground west of Houston at which we stopped very late on Monday, December 18, 2006. Lacking the use of the generator, which has breathed its last, I decided to stop at 3:00 a.m. on Monday, December 18, 2006, at a campground in El Paso, Texas, the city where my great-uncle, Tom Droleskey (that's right, the same name with the same spelling), the brother of my late-grandfather, Edward Martin Droleskey, had moved to from Elmira, New York, and the city in which he died around 1957 or so. I tried in vain about four years ago to try to find out where he is buried. His widow, Ada Droleskey, died sometime in the late-1970s.
We rested for a few hours before getting back on the road around 12:00 a.m. for the interminably long drive from El Paso, Texas, to Brookshire, Texas, just west of Houston, which took eleven hours to complete. Oh, yes, the speed limits in certain parts of west Texas have been raised to eighty miles per hour.Here's a little thought for you, though: raising the speed limits to one hundred miles per hour would still make the trip from El Paso to Houston one of seven and one-half hours in duration! All one can do during such a stretch is to pray Rosaries and to say, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
On a Different Side of the Tracks in the Houston Area
It was just a little after 11:45 p.m. on Monday, December 18, 2006, that I managed to crawl into bed at the KOA Kampground in Brookshire, Texas. We arose a few hours later to drive the thirty miles or so down to Stafford, Texas, for Mass on Tuesday, December 19, 2006, at Saint Jude Shrine, having the privilege of meeting Father Louis Campbell, whose many fine sermons are archived at "Qui legit, intelligat" Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons Archives (2006qui.htm) on the Daily Catholic website. We met Father Dignan later that day. Both of these wonderful priests are reminders of what the entire Catholic Church looked like at one time before the advent of conciliarism and the aggressive recruitment of those afflicted with perverse attractions and actions began in religious community after religious community and in diocese after diocese. Both Fathers Campbell and Dignan have a stately priestly dignity to their bearing. It was a pleasure to dine with them at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Sugar Land, Texas, along with our friends Mr. Nick Manno and Mr. and Mrs. Terry Hartline. Indeed, Mrs. Hartline had written to me in early-2006 to ask how I could continue to refer to Benedict XVI as holding the office of the title I placed before his assumed name. It was a good question, providing me with much food for thought in the ensuing weeks. We thank both Mr. Manno and Mr. and Mrs. Hartline for their joining us--as well as for their many kindnesses to us over the years.
The talk at Saint Jude's on Tuesday, December 19, 2006, went well. This was my first talk in the Houston area since I had embraced sedevacantism. I had given numerous talks in Houston in various "conservative" Novus Ordo venues in the 1990s before giving a few talks at Queen of Angels Church in Dickinson, Texas in 2004 and 2005. We were thus on a different side of the tracks in the Houston area. We continue to pray for all of longtime friends, both priests and members of the laity, in that area who are unprepared at this point to recognize that the "recognize and resist" position is as novel as the conciliar prelates being recognized and the conciliar novelties that are being resisted. It was very nice, however, to visit with our new friends on the evening of December 19, 2006.
We had to return to the campground quickly thereafter, though, to get Lucy Mary Norma to be and to arise early the next morning to get ourselves back to Stafford with the motor home and the Trail Blazer combination in order to get on the road immediately after the 10:00 a.m. Mass, which was offered by Father Dignan. We were slightly late for Holy Mass that morning, having encountered problems with the tow bar while en route from Brookshire to Texas. Remember, we were back in Texas, the land where the Trail Blazer broke away from the motor home near Splendora, Texas, in Montgomery County on the evening of Tuesday September 20, 2005 (see:
Better This Than Purgatory (Or Worse)). The tow bar would not "lock" into position, causing the Trail Blazer to sway to the right and to the left (as well as to move forward quite freely when I braked the motor home). I had to disassemble the two connection alongside a busy highway. Yes, God knew from all eternity that this would happen. It was given back to Him through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Interstate 10, Ad Infinitum
Leaving Stafford, Texas, after saying goodbye to Father Dignan, we made our way back to Interstate 10, driving the 240 miles or so in a decent amount of time, arriving at a KOA Kampground in Scott, Louisiana, around 3:45 p.m. A bit of a nap was in order before I ventured out to give my first lecture at Christ the King Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, having a bit of difficulty finding my way to the address at which the church is located. Sharon and Lucy had to stay behind in the motor home. The previous few days had been very hard on them. As God's Providence would have it, of course, they would get to see Christ the King Church and its wonderful pastor of souls, Father Francis Miller, O.F.M., quite consistently come February 11, 2007.
The talk at Christ the King Church on Wednesday, December 20, 2006, was on the Social Reign of Christ the King. It was very well attended. Once again, we met ordinary Catholics who just want to get home to Heaven (and who have a pastor in Father Francis Miller who gives them good, practical sermons as to how to get home to Heaven by performing good works and cooperating with God's graces to turn those good works into virtues that would merit them unto eternity).I had broached to Father Francis the next morning after Holy Mass as we dined at a Cracker Barrel right along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 if he might be open at some point to my "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program, mindful that the Friday morning course in the Spring Semester at C. W. Post was not looking all that "healthy" in terms of enrollment (zero, a figure at which it remained after the beginning of the winter intersession on January 28). He said that he would think about it. I said that was good enough. Sharon and Lucy enjoyed meeting with Father Francis.
We left immediately after breakfast for the 331 mile trip to Pensacola, Florida, where Father Francis had arranged for me to speak to a group of people for whom he offers Holy Mass in the offices of Dr. Nicholas Delgado every other Sunday. This trip was a little treacherous. Lots of driving rainstorms. The ferocity of the thunderstorms that hit occasionally gave me pause to want to stop. Our motor home's engine is quite prone to stopping when the air filter becomes saturated with water. A plastic guard that was installed at a Ford dealership in Wichita, Kansas, exactly three years ago now was supposed to prevent the problem from occurring again. However, as we found out in August of 2005, the motor home home is indeed still prone to having water sucked into its engine through the air filter in driving, torrential rainstorms, the like of which we were experiencing on Thursday, December 21, 2006. We did, after many prayers, get ourselves to Pensacola, finding our way to Dr. Delgado's home for a brief visit before we went to his office for the talk.
Goodbye, Interstate 10
Enjoying our first meeting with the good people in Pensacola, we left there around 10:00 p.m. to venture north to Ohio. It had been my hope to stop in for Holy Mass at Christ the King Abbey in Cullman, Alabama, the next morning. After driving about 240 miles north from Pensacola, finally escaping the throes of Interstate 10 shortly outside of Pensacola as we drove north on US-29 and thence on a local road to Interstate 65, I had to "put it down" at around 2:00 a.m. a dumpy campground about fifty miles or so south of Birmingham, Alabama. It would not be possible to get to Mass at Christ the King Abbey that day, December 22, 2006, the Feast of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. As we are very devoted to Mother Cabrini, who had her own share of travel-related problems, I resolved upon arising five hours later to make every effort to get ourselves to the 5:45 p.m. Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, a distance of 533 miles from where we we parked at a campground so horribly dumpy that it is not even rated by Woodall's Campground Directory, the campground directory for owners of recreational vehicles.
Passing through Birmingham and Cullman, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, we got into the Louisville, Kentucky, area, around 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, giving us enough time to get up to the hotel with motor home hook-ups in the park of its parking lot that is about six or seven miles away from Saint Gertrude's. Bleary-eyed but grateful for having arrived safely and on time for Holy Mass, we were edified by His Excellency Bishop Daniel Dolan's fine sermon about Mother Cabrini and her virtues. And it was good to speak with His Excellency for a few minutes after Holy Mass before we returned home to "crash" for the night.
Going to the Well
One of the banes of my existence as the head of household whose house is a motor home is the necessity of "going to the well" on a regular basis. Although we have a fresh water tank underneath the motor home that I must fill up at least once a day, we have never trusted the quality of that water for drinking purposes, no, not even with the variety of water filters that are available for purchase at various recreational vehicle supply stores. It has been my solemn duty to go to supermarkets or to water refill stores that supply customers with purified tap water to put into their own water bottles, usually at a cost of somewhere between twenty-five and fifty cents a gallon. We have about forty bottles, each of which was in need of being filled up by the time we got to the Cincinnati, Ohio, area on Friday, December 22, 2006. This is a time-consuming and tedious chore. It is, though, one of those domestic duties that is part of my state-in-life. Indeed, two bags, containing about twenty bottles of water, are staring at me as this is being written. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Christmas at Saint Gertrude the Great
There are only four words to describe Christmas at Saint Gertrude the Great: glorious beyond all telling.
The prelude to the Christmas Midnight Mass on the evening of Sunday, December 24, 2006, was the chanting of Lauds, which began at 8:45 p.m. Caroling began at around 11:00 p.m., and the Bishop entered with a statue of the Baby Jesus to be placed in a crib in the Nativity Scene around 11:45 p.m., beginning Midnight Mass right on time. His Excellency's sermon dealt with the contrast between the blasphemous and heretical The Nativity Story motion picture (endorsed by Benedict XVI and the counterfeit church of conciliarism) and the Saint Clare was privileged to see Midnight Mass "televised" on a wall in her cell one Christmas when she could not get to Holy Mass. We were most privileged to dine with His Excellency and Father Anthony Cekada and some of the staff of Saint Gertrude's after the 11:30 a.m. Low Mass on Christmas Day.
Another Windshield, a Bit of Propane
We had to do without Holy Mass on the Feast of Saint Stephen, Tuesday, December 26, 2006, the second day in the Octave of Christmas, thus beginning a difficult three weeks of getting to daily Mass, the "price" of my going to work in an area where the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is not readily available even in the underground (and even less available to those in the underground who have "excommunicated" themselves by assisting at Thuc-line chapels). Mass was offered at Saint Gertrude the Great at 5:45 p.m., much too late for us to get on the road to New York. I had to be in my classroom at 9:00 a.m. on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28, 2006. Chances could not be taken of getting stuck in some unexpected snow storm in Pennsylvania while driving on the interminably long Interstate 80 yet again.
Having to drop the motor home off at a glass shop in Sharonville, Ohio, we got a bite to eat at First Watch, a restaurant that is not far from Saint Gertrude the Great, before I dropped Sharon and Lucy off at the residence of our friends the Aherns so that they could visit with Mrs. Ahern and Danny and Genevieve, who is just ten days younger than Lucy. Mr. Ahern was at work. I had to tend to various errands, including picking up the motor home once the new windshield (which has, believe it or not, developed a crack in it as a result of a pebble!--all to you, Blessed Mother; all to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you, save souls!), hooking up the Trail Blazer and thence stopping for propane.
Unfortunately, though, the location of the propane tank in the bank of a camper supply store was awkward. I had to position the motor home to be close enough so that the tank's hose could reach the built-in, twenty-nine gallon propane tank underneath our motor home. There would have been little problem if a pick-up truck that had been parked next to the propane tank could be moved. Alas, the store's manager could not find the keys to the truck. I had to detach the recently attached Trail Blazer and re-attach it to the motor home's tow bar once I had backed up the Trail Blazer and liberated the motor home. More little offerings for Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart in reparation for my many sins.
Picking up my family as they were delivered to a gasoline station by Mrs. Ahern near Ahern family residence, we got off on the road to New York, intent on making to a campground along the Delaware River in Matamoras, Pennsylvania. We arrived there without incident on Wednesday, December 27, 2006, getting up in the morning to take Sharon across the Delaware River into Port Jervis so that she could renew her driver's license at the branch office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in Orange County. We went back across the Delaware River to pick up the motor home, whereupon Sharon and Lucy drove behind me as we made our way the twenty miles or so to Pine Island, New York, so that I could do banking and pick up our mail while the two of them visited with the Turpins across the state line in New Jersey.
Reunited once again after Sharon and Lucy had completed their visit and I had completed my errands, we zipped on down the 100 miles to Long Island, stopping at the Milleridge Inn for a little treat on the Feast of Saint John the Beloved, the Third Day in the Octave of Christmas. It was nice to see our friends at the Milleridge once again before we drove out the twenty miles to East Northport, New York, where the ever kind and gracious Mr. Salvatore Guadagna, who served as my campaign manager in my 1998 primary race for the U.S. Senatorial nomination of the New York State Right to Life Party, permitted us to park in his driveway, providing us with electricity and water gratis. Thanks, Sal, for your friendship and kindness over the years.
Back to Teach the Doughnuts
Remember the old Dunkin' Donuts commercial? Yes, the one starring the late Michael Vale as the bleary-eyed "Fred" who had to leave his house early each morning to go to work to make the doughnuts (I prefer the real spelling of doughnuts, thank you)."I gotta make the donuts" Fred bemoaned as he got out of bed.
Well, a running joke between Sharon and yours truly in the 2002-2003 academic year, when I was teaching three courses each semester at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University and another two for Long Island University at Chaminade High School, was my saying upon arising early in the morning: "I gotta teach the doughnuts." Well, it was back to teaching the "doughnuts" once again on Thursday, December 28, 2006, the first time I had been back in a classroom on the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University since July 21, 2003, and it was great to be back in in the classroom once again.
Oh, I love college teaching. My "introduction to political science" course begins with a thorough review of what I expect the students to do during the duration of the course. A course that is taught in the space of ten four hour class meetings requires particular diligence in attendance and in good note-taking. It also requires a good deal of time devoted to study at home to absorb the material. Above and beyond being a political scientist, I am an educator who wants to help my students to pursue excellence as befits redeemed creatures. Do I actually talk about that in the classroom? Yes, which is why I get into so much trouble when I am teaching. Not everyone responds kindly to exhortations to look at the world supernaturally through the eyes of the true Faith. Complaints are bound to be registered, and the recently concluded course was no exception at all. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
By the time the course ended, however, on Thursday, January 11, 2007, there were several students who had expressed their gratitude to me for what they had learned. The course begins with a review of the discipline of political science and proceeds from there to a review of the basic premises of the Natural Law, contrasting it with the relativist lie of legal positivism, and to a review of the foundation of political and social order in Christendom, namely, Catholicism itself. No one can question the fact that the Catholic Faith was the foundation of political and social order in Europe during the Middle Ages. And no one can understand the development of Western political institutions unless he understands how they came about in the era when the Catholic Church did indeed exercise the Social Reign of Christ the King and when some, although far from all, civil rulers understood that they had the obligation to foster conditions in their kingdoms wherein their citizens could better sanctify and thus save their immortal souls as Catholics.
My last class on Thursday, January 11, 2007, featured a review of Dr. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's June 8, 1978, commencement address, "A World Split Apart," at Harvard University and a clip from the final scenes of The Scarlet and the Black, including the confrontation between the defender of the Third Reich, Colonel Herbert Kappler, played by Christopher Plummer, and a defender of the Faith, Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, played by the late Gregory Peck, in the Coloseum in Rome. Kappler spoke of his belief that the Third Reich "is the future." O'Flaherty responded (and I am paraphrasing here) by saying, "How many murderous dictators have spoken that kind of rubbish? Why you're standing in the very place where your ancestors entertained themselves by feeding the Christians to the lions. But the Church remains, Kappler."
The motion picture, which was made-for-television and broadcast on the Columbia Broadcasting System television network on February 2, 1983, ends with the narrator reading words that 'crawled" over the screen as O'Flaherty is seen from the rear praying before an image in the Basilica of Saint Peter of Our Lady being Assumed boy and soul into Heaven. The narration ends by telling the tale that Herbert Kappler, the former S.S. commander in Rome, was baptized into the Catholic Faith "at the hands of the Irish priest." I always get tears in my eyes at that point. A few of my students had them as well. And I simply closed the course by saying that each of them is meant to do what Herbert Kappler did, convert to the Catholic Church if they are outside of her maternal bosom and to take seriously the demands of the Faith for the rest of their lives.
Hey, what's the worst that can happen to me? That I never get invited back to teach another course? Souls come first. I would be derelict in my duty if I did not invite those outside of the only means of salvation to ponder on the fact that they need the teaching that Our Lord has entrusted exclusively to her, that they need the supernatural helps found only in the Sacraments administered by the Catholic Church. All you can do is to plant a few seeds without looking for results. I pray for my former students quite fervently each and every day of my life.
We capped off the day on January 11, 2007, with a gathering of those of our friends on Long Island who are still speaking to us. Taking place at the Milleridge, Inn the gathering was quite nice. It was simply a delight to be with fellow, loud, boisterous, heartily-laughing Long Islanders once again.
Back on the Home front
It was nice to be back with my family full-time again after my uncharacteristically long absences from them during the ten days of the intersession course. Lucy said at one point during the intersession, "I think that you should quit this teaching job. It's just not right not having you home with us." I explained to her that I was trying to help souls and to support the family. Thus, while I was disappointed that the Friday morning course in the Spring Semester did not "carry" itself, making it impossible to stay in the Long Island area when I would only get paid the sum of $800 four times during the Spring Semester for teaching the Thursday evening course that was going to "carry" itself, it was nice to be back with my family full-time.
Naturally, we did spend our time together in the evenings and on the weekends. Being unable to receive Holy Communion at Saint Pius V Church in Oyster Bay Cove, we ventured up the 100 miles to Black Bear Campground in Florida, New York, on Saturday, December 30, 2006, placing ourselves about two hours away from Father Joseph Collins's oasis of the Catholic Faith, Saint Michael's Church in Glenmont, New York, which is where we assisted at Holy Mass on December 31, 2006, and on January 7 and 14, 2007. We were thus "on the road" from Long Island up to the Albany area each of the three weekends during and immediately after the completion of the intersession course at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University, staying on the residence of friends in western Massachusetts on January 5 and 6 (assisting at Mass offered by Father Denis McMahon in a chapel on the property of Mr. James Koneazny in Sheffield, Massachusetts on First Friday and First Saturday, which was also the Feast of the Epiphany) and on the frozen grounds of Saint Michael's itself on Saturday evening, January 13, 2007.
As is recounted in
A Welcome Mat for Prodigal Sons, it was at this time that Sharon's father returned to the Faith at the hands of Father McMahon. There is no need here to revisit the story, except to say that Sharon and Lucy and I remain very grateful to Our Lady for seeing to it that Mr. John Collins came back into the Faith nine days before he lost consciousness during double heart-valve replacement surgery, making it possible for him to a most happy, holy and sacramentally-provided-for death on February 3, 2007, at the Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla, New York. We are most grateful to Father McMahon and to His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., for attending to my father-in-law's spiritual needs as he neared the point of death. Many prayers--offered especially by Sharon and her sister Bridget and our brother-in-law Benoit and their children, Lucy's cousins--and countless acts of heroic self-sacrifice on the part of the Turpins over the years helped to pave the way for a true miracle effected by the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Ah, yes, the Motor Home Yet Again
We visited Sharon's comatose father in Westchester County Medical Center two days after his surgery, on Sunday, January 14, 2007. I did not see how it was possible, humanly speaking, that he was going to come out of the induced coma into which he had been placed by the surgeons when they interrupted his surgery without closing up his thoracic cavity, wrapping him in the equivalent of a heavily taped sarran wrap.We prayed at his bedside, just hoping and praying that God's Holy Will be done with this man who was so excited by his return to the Faith.
We returned to Sal Guadagna's house for another two days in order to take our motor home in for repairs at Tag Motors in Medford, New York. The furnace was going off intermittently for some unknown reason, something we had first discovered at Black Bear Campground on the evening of January 12, 2007. The problem reoccurred in Glenmont, New York, on Saturday afternoon, January 13, 2007. Thinking that the problem might be a blown fuse, I instructed Sharon, who is the brains of such things in this household, thank you, to check the fuse box to see if that was the problem. Well, there was a problem in the fuse box, all right. Fuses would be fried any time they got anywhere near the socket that controlled the furnace and the refrigerator. forcing us to resort to space heaters to heat the motor home in single digit temperatures and forcing us to buy a cooler to keep our food from spoiling. Mysteriously, though, the heat came on when we parked at Sal Guadagna's on the evening of January 14. Out came the food from the cooler.
With Tag Motors closed for some kind of Federal holiday on January 15, 2007, we took the motor home out to Medford the next day, Tuesday, January 16, 2007, leaving it there as we did various and sundry errands. The man who worked on the problem said that the heat was working fine and that it was probably best to leave well enough alone. A few other problems were attended to while the motor home was in the shop.
Content that we would have a ready supply of heat, therefore, we drove straight up New York Route 112 from Medford to Port Jefferson, New York, to take our motor home with Trail Blazer attached combination onboard the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry to cross Long Island Sound into Connecticut and thence to stay for a few days on the property of Bishop Robert McKenna's Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Stepney, about twelve miles north of Bridgeport, before moving on to the Boston area for a talk there on Sunday, January 21, 2007. We had never taken the ferry with the motor home. Indeed, it had been about thirteen years since I was on a Long Island Sound ferry (the one from New London, Connecticut, to Orient Point, Long Island). I was surprised to find that the motor home and car fit quite comfortably on the bottom deck of the ferry.
All was going well onboard the ferry when we noticed that we were getting colder and colder and colder. The heat had gone out again! All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls! The trip across Long Island Sound was quite nice as we got progressively colder, Sharon and Lucy huddling under blankets as I drove the short distance from the ferry port in Bridgeport to Our Lady of the Rosary Church, at which point we had the great privilege of meeting His Excellency Bishop McKenna for the first time. Bishop McKenna went of his way to help us during our stay, being very concerned about the lack of heat in the motor home. Alas, there was nothing we could do except get through another very, very frigid night with space heaters. In went the food into the coolers. In went the cooler into the Trail Blazer.
Resolving that my family would not have to go through another night such as the one we experienced on January 16, 2007, a trip was made to an auto parts store just south of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel after we had had breakfast with Bishop McKenna following his offering of Holy Mass. A special sort of fuse that had been recommended by the man at Tag Motors did not work. It got fried as soon as it got near the socket in the fuse box that controlled the furnace and the refrigerator.We had to drive back down the 108 miles to Long Island (the ferry was nice; however, we needed to get down as soon as possible) from Stepney to Medford, where it took the repairman at Tag all day to discover that the folks in Pasadena, Texas, who replaced the motherboard of the furnace in December of 2004 had place the wiring from the fuse box directly underneath the motherboard, causing the metal casing to rub against the wire and to fray it in the process, which is why the heat and refrigerator worked intermittently. A suggestion was made by someone that it would be best to run the wire directly to the coach battery, which would present its own set of problems a few days later.For the time being, however, the heat worked just fine.
Exhausted but offering up all of the expense and inconvenience of the past few days up to God through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, we drove the 108 miles back up to Stepney, Connecticut, getting back around 7:00 p.m., some twelve hours before Holy Mass the next morning, Thursday, January 18, 2007. The cooler was brought back into the motor home and its contents placed back into the refrigerator. Heat was restored once again. My salary from the intersession course was being taken away in one increment after another. Well, as I recognized at the time, God knew from all eternity that this would happen. He provided me with the means to deal with it, both spiritually and temporally. Deo gratias.
More Travels While Parked
With my father-in-law still in a coma at that point we drove another fifty-two miles on Thursday, January 18, 2007, to pay another visit to him. Sharon's sister Bridget and her children met us at the El Dorado West Diner in Tarrytown, New York, prior to going to the hospital. Lucy visited with her beloved cousins at the diner and in the hallway of the hospital while the two sisters visited their father. Sharon sprinkled blessed salt on his bed on the floor, also blessing him with Holy Water. It had been six days at that point since his surgery, two days since he had been sewn up. He was, though, on a respirator, which would be removed on Friday, February 2, 2007. We would make one more visit to see Mr. Collins before we headed out to Ohio a week later, January 25, 2007.
Although we dearly wanted to stay put on Friday, January 19, 2007, it was necessary to bring Sharon to her "atlas chiropractor" in Warwick, New York, that day after the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. Chalk up another 190 miles for the round-trip, which permitted me the chance to pick up some boxes of Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations in Orange County, New York, while Sharon and Lucy visited the Turpins briefly in New Jersey after Sharon's chiropractic visit. We were pretty well spent by the time we got back to Our Lady of the Rosary Church.
Fun and Games in Taxachusetts
Another day of travel awaited us on Saturday, January 20, 2007, a we drove from Stepney, Connecticut, to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to park the motor home at a campground about fifty miles away from a dinner engagement that night and from Holy Mass the next morning. There aren't many campgrounds in New England (or anywhere else in the northeast) open this time of the year. We had to drive a great deal in the three days we stayed in and around the Boston area, including dealing with a nearly flat left rear tire on the Trail Blazer as we were driving back on Interstate 495 following the dinner engagement at a private house on Saturday evening, January 20.
That nearly flat left rear-tire, which I had been assured by a mechanic on Long Island on January 12, 2007, was perfectly good after I had asked him to check why it was leaking air, was completely flat by Sunday morning, January 21, 2007, even though I had filled it up with air in the bitter cold late Saturday night before we returned to the campground in Foxborough. We discovered this new offering as we were heading out to Mass, thus prompting us to "pack up the barn," as we call the motor home sometimes. Driving it was the only chance we had of making it to Mass on time at 10:00 a.m. in Lawrence, Massachusetts. There was no time to call OnStar or the American Automobile Association and get to Mass on time.
Thus it was that the motor home was taken out of its nice, comfortable perch in the campground and drive up Interstate 495 to the motel in Lawrence where Holy Mass was offered--and from there to the Best Western hotel in Woburn, Massachusetts, where I was to give my sparsely-attended lecture on the Social Reign of Christ the King. We thank Mrs. Denise Trias for all she did to organize the talk and to secure the facility for its presentation.
By the time we got back into the motor home, however, the heat had gone off again. Remember, the generator was dead. The coach battery thus could not charge itself as the use of lights and the furnace drained it of power. We had heat for a few moments when we plugged in back at the campground in Foxborough. The heat, however, would not stay on for more than a few minutes. Out came the space heaters again. In went the food into the cooler once again. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Compounding our problems was the fact that the New England Patriots were playing the Indianapolis Colts in the American Football Conference championship game. No on-site, mobile recreational vehicle repairman was answering his phone around 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 21, 2007. Additionally, the water pipe at our campsite, which was supposed to be heated, was frozen solid, making it impossible to fill up with water for our overnight needs (the motor home's fresh water tank is designed in such a manner that it spills out our water as we drive along the highways and byways of the country). A man from the campground tried to repair the pipe. Alas, to no avail I had to purchase a longer fresh water hose the next day to attach to a pipe on the next site over from ours.
Ah, the offerings for that really frosty evening were far from over. I had to deal with the problem of the flat tire. Holy Mass was to be offered on Monday, January 22, 2007, back up in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I was not going to take the motor home again, especially with the heating problems. Thus, I called OnStar to have the flat tire on the Trail Blazer replaced with the spare. It took about an hour for the service truck to arrive, at which point I split open the top of my head while hurriedly exiting the motor home, banging it on the bottom of wooden ledge. I probably needed stitches. The wound healed by itself in about ten days. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
With the spare tire secured on the left rear axle of the Trail Blazer, therefore, we drove another sixty miles on Monday morning to get to Mass in a private home in Lawrence, Massachusetts, returning that afternoon to await the arrival of a mobile recreational vehicle repairman, who told us that our coach battery was being drained by an underlying electrical problem, one that was exacerbated the the fact that the dead generator was incapable of recharging the battery as we drove. Heat was restored as the battery got stronger from a boost that it had been given. We had yet another thing to attend to in addition getting a new generator, which seemed like an impossibility at that time.
Exhausted once again and saddened that we could not get to Mass in the greater Boston area on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, we rested on Monday evening and decided on Tuesday morning to drive back the 150 miles back to Stepney, Connecticut, so that we could get to Mass on Wednesday at Our Lady of the Rosary Church before driving back to Providence, Rhode Island, for a private lecture to a group of people who could not publicly advertise my presence. (I am not very popular in a lot of circles these days,in case you hadn't noticed, that is.) While en route back to Stepney on January 23, 2007, we gave Lucy a little break at the Mystic Aquarium before continuing on our way.
It's Providence in God's Providence
We hooked up the motor home back at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel on the evening of January 23, arising early for Mass the next morning, Wednesday, January 24, 2007, and then getting into the Trail Blazer to drive the 130 miles to Providence, Rhode Island, where it was a delight to see some longtime friends. We are most grateful to them for making possible my private presentation in the capital city of the Ocean State. It appears as though the good Catholic people in Providence, where the Faith has been under attack for so long, are about to get a true Mass in the underground offered by a validly ordained priest. This is quite a blessing for people who are so very dedicated to the truths of the Holy Faith. We returned to Stepney, Connecticut, following my presentation. Now do you see why there were only seven articles posted on this site in January?
Out to Ohio Yet Again
Our return to Stepney, Connecticut, was short-lived. We got up for the 7:00 a.m. Mass on Thursday, January 25, 2007, and said our goodbyes to Bishop McKenna and the Dominican sisters, heading out on the road, with a stop at the Westchester County Medical Center, at around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 25, 2007. I had a presentation to give at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on January 28, 2007, and another one a week after that, February 4, 2007. We were supposed to drive to Pensacola, Florida, on February 5, 2007, and thence to Lafayette, Louisiana, to begin my lecture program here on February 9. As will be detailed below, the plans for travel to Florida and Louisiana had to be changed.
Our trip out to Ohio on January 25, 2007, was one of the worst we had ever made. We were freezing cold. It got down to thirty-nine degrees in the back bedroom where Sharon and Lucy was buckled in and bundled up once the sun had gone down. Sharon could see her breath in the dark, illuminated only by the headlights of passing vehicles shining through the front windshield and visible at times in the rear. I was a little frosty myself in the driver's seat. All I could do was to pray Rosaries and to say, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
The trip was made even more difficult by the fact that the windshield wiper fluid was frozen. Snow had fallen in parts of western Pennsylvania along Interstate 80. Sand and salt were being kicked by vehicles in front of us, depositing themselves on the motor home's windshield. I could hardly see a thing as I drove in the dark, having to get off several times to use a paper towel to clean the windshield as best I could. With the squeegees frozen in a bucket of windshield wiper fluid at a Flying J gasoline station in Brookville, Pennsylvania, I had to resort to plastic jar of Windex that Sharon gave me to use, jumping up and down to make sure I could clear some of the dirt away. Oh, I was freezing as I did this. Yes, it's still better this than Purgatory (or worse!).
Resuming our trip on the road, it was actually wonderful to see the snow falling again. The snow provided moisture with which the windshield wipers could wipe away the dirt, which had begun to accumulate once more. The snow as pretty heavy at times, becoming more than a little treacherous in the Youngstown, Ohio, area, which was close enough to Lake Erie, it appears, to be getting some "lake effect" snows. The snows abated once I turned away from the lake and headed further inland, however, eventually hooking up with Interstate 71 at the westerly terminus of Interstate 76 some twenty-two miles west of Akron, Ohio. It was then just a cold, cold drive down to the Cincinnati area. We got into the parking lot of the motel with hookups for motor homes around 3:00 a.m. on Friday, January 26, 2007. It was a very long, cold journey. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
In God's Holy Providence, however, the heat did work once I plugged the electrical cord into the socket. Not wishing to see my family go through such a threat to their well-being again, though, I made the appeal on this site that brought in the exact amount of money that we needed to get a new generator at Cummins Bridgeway in West Chester, Ohio. Once again, from the very bottom of our hearts, we thank those of you who donated to us at that time of great need. The original generator, which underwent significant repairs twice while it was under warranty, never worked properly, cutting out when we went over speed bumps or made sharp turns. The new generator, which was installed on Wednesday, January 31, 2007, the Feast of Saint John Bosco, has run very smoothly since the moment it was installed. Thanks so very much to all who helped us out!
Back at Saint Gertrude's and Off Again to New York
We got to Holy Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Friday, January 26, 2007, at 11:30 a.m., giving great thanks that we had gotten there safely without being frozen to death in the motor home. We then used a generous donation that had been sent to us by a reader from Canada to purchase a new computer, on which articles have been written from that point to this. A new "aircard," however, had to be purchased at Verizon Wireless in Cincinnati the next day, Saturday, January 27, 2007, to make it possible for the machine to "communicate" with the outside world.
My lecture at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Sunday, January 28, 2007, which focused on the true state of the pro-life situation in this country, went very well. We had a very nice visit with the Aherns at Mitchell's Fish Market in West Chester, Ohio, immediately after the talk. Lucy always loves a good visit with her friend Genevieve.
As it became clear early in the week of January 28 that my father-in-law's respirator was going to be removed by Friday, February 2, I postponed my talks in Pensacola and Lafayette for a week, even toying with the idea of canceling my February 4 talk at Saint Gertrude's. After much of our typical back-and-forth in these kinds of last-minute decisions, however, I decided at lunch on January 31, as our motor home was in the shop at Cummins Bridgeway, to drive back to New York so that Sharon could pay her father one last visit at around the time the respirator was removed. Given the fact that Lucy would be lost without her best friend, her mother, it would not be possible for Sharon to keep an all-night vigil at her father's bedside with four of her five siblings and her mother. However, she would have the chance to say goodbye before he died and to be with her mother and siblings for a little while on February 2.
Obviously, there was no guarantee that Mr. Collins would die once his respirator was removed, which is why the thought of staying put until we received word of his death made some degree of sense to us at first. As I had purchased airline tickets on Southwest for travel from Phoenix to New York in advance of the change of teaching plans for the Spring Semester, we had plenty of credit with which to purchase tickets to fly back to Ohio from Long Island on February 3, 2007, and then to return after my talk on February 4, 2007, to be present at a possible requiem Mass. It was thus back into the motor home once the new generator was installed, stopping for a "hit" of propane at the same place where I had gotten stuck back on December 26, 2006. (I had Sharon drive the Trail Blazer to the camper supply store that sold propane, not wanting to reprise the attach-detach-attach episode that occurred on the Feast of Saint Stephen.)
An interesting thing took place as I was paying for the propane once the motor home's tank had been filled and I had hooked the car up to the motor home for the trip back to New York. The owner of the store got to talking about what I did, and he, a Catholic, said, "Yes, we've taken quite a beating lately," meaning the bad press that the conciliar church has gotten over the problem of perverts in its ranks. "Well, you see," I said, "it's all those phony bishops who hate the Faith. They're the ones causing the problems." The man looked at me in all earnestness to say that his cousin used to be the bishop of Buffalo, New York. Not knowing exactly where he was at present, I said, "Oh, yes, you're talking about Henry Mansell. He's the archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut, now." The man said, "Yes, that's right," and I told him that I prayed for his cousin (among as many other conciliar bishops as I can remember each day) to recover the true Faith and to denounce the Novus Ordo Missae and the Second Vatican Council. The gentleman was polite as he took my cash in payment for the propane fill-up.
The trip back to New York took us along the exact same route we had taken on December 26, 2006, and just six days before, on January 25, 2007. There was a little wrinkle this time: a massive tie-up just west of Youngstown, Ohio, on Interstate 80, at around mile marker 219 tied up traffic for two solid hours, from 9:20 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. There was nothing I could do but wait it out. A major accident had occurred, probably involving fatalities.Wait it out and pray. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
It had been my intention to try to drive back to Stepney, Connecticut, for morning Mass at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2007, at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. That was not going to happen following the delay on Interstate 80 west of Youngstown, Ohio. I thus drove for as long as I could before finding a rest area in eastern Pennsylvania at which to get a few hours of sleep before pushing on to meet Father Denis McMahon at Westchester County Medical Center as he enrolled Mr. Collins in the Brown Scapular before he died. The carbon monoxide detector went off at one point during our stay in the rest area. The exhaust from a functioning generator can come in through the motor home's many crevices when the vehicle is parked. The windows had to be opened to let in a burst of really cold air. The detector went off in a matter of minutes. We lived to tell the tale and to make yet another offering to God through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Now You See Us, Now You See Us
Pushing on after the carbon monoxide detector went off in the wee hours of the morning, we stopped in Pine Island, New York, to pick up our mail and to do banking before we headed on down to Westchester County Medical Center for the fourth time in two and one-half weeks. Father McMahon, who will drive anywhere to save a soul, drove down from Saint Michael's Chapel in Glenmont, New York. He enrolled Mr. Collins in the Brown Scapular and told him what a pleasure it was to get to know him. And even though the doctors said my father-in-law was not cognitive, the same lie that they told about Mrs,. Terri Schiavo, John Griffith Collins III reacted when he saw Father McMahon, lifting up his eyebrows as if in a sign of recognition. A mere reflex? We'll find out on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead, won't we?
We said our goodbyes to Father McMahon, knowing that we would return to see Mr. Collins again the next day, Friday, February 2, 2007, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with His Excellency Bishop Robert McKenna so that he could say the prayers over the dying. (Father McMahon administered Extreme Unction on January 3, 2007, after he went to Confession for the first time in seventy years.) Returning to the motor home, which entered and exited the tiny parking lot toll booth three times with the Trail Blazer in two, we drove back up to Stepney, Connecticut, where the motor home would remain parked until we drove it back out to Ohio on Wednesday, February 7, 2007. We had just said our goodbyes to Bishop McKenna and the Dominican sisters a week before. Now you see, now you see us! In all seriousness, we were grateful to be back so that Sharon could say goodbye to her father.
Keeping Vigil in Person and in Prayer
Bishop McKenna permitted us to drive him in parish van down to Westchester County Medical Center after he had offered Holy Mass on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although Sharon's father had come back to the Faith and was in excellent shape to die should the removal of the respirator prove that his body was incapable of breathing on its own in the course of the long term, there were other pastoral issues that had to be addressed. We thank His Excellency for addressing these sensitive issues and for providing his witness of priestly zeal for souls.
Bishop McKenna did indeed say the prayers over the dying, joining us in offering the
THREE VERY BEAUTIFUL PRAYERS. Although we had to return the Bishop to Connecticut so that he could be present as the sisters sang Vespers, Sharon remained with her dear father in prayer throughout the night. We assisted at Mass the next morning, Saturday, February 3, 2007, the Feast of Saint Blaise and the First Saturday in the month of February, spending some time in prayer after Mass. It was upon our return to the motor home after Holy Mass that I telephoned Westchester County Medical Center and got the "run around" from the nurse's station on Mr. Collins's floor about "having to speak with the family," which is hospital code for the fact that the patient you are inquiring about has died. Sharon spoke with the nurse, who simply told her to call her mother. As it turned out, Mr. John Collins died at 7:40 a.m. as we were praying after Holy Mass. Sharon was not there physically. She never left his side in prayer spiritually. She had kept vigil in prayer all throughout the night. She was rewarded with the comfort beyond all telling that her father, John Collins, had achieved the purpose for which he had been created: to die a "good death." Thank you, Blessed Mother.
A Sign from Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the Little Flower, prayed for snow for her clothing day the Carmel in Lisieux in France, January 10, 1889.
The time came for my to take the habit, and contrary to all expectations, Father had recovered from his second attack. The Bishop fixed the ceremony for January 10. I had had a lon time to wait, but what a lovely day it was when it came. Nothing was lacking--not even snow. Have I ever told you, Mother, how fond I am of snow? When I was little, I used to be enchanted by its whiteness. I do not know how it began; perhaps it was because I was a little winter flower, and the first sight which met my baby eyes was the snow, like a lovely mantle, covering the earth.
Anyway, I wanted to see Nature clad like myself, in white, on my Clothing Day, but I had almost given up hope because it was so warm the day before that it might have been spring.
The 10th came and the weather was the same, so I gave up my childish desire as impossible of realization and went out to where Father was waiting for me at the cloister door. His eyes were full of tears as he came toward me. "Here is my little queen," he said, and pressed me to his heart, then he offered me his arm, and we made our solemn entry into the chapel.
It was his day of triumph, his last feast on earth. He had no more to offer; his whole family belonged to god, since Celine had told him that later on she too was going to leave the world for Carmel
Overjoyed, he had replied in his incomparable way: "We must go at once to the Blessed Sacrament and thank Our Lord for the graces He has showered upon our family and for the honor He has done us in choosing His brides from my house. For it is indeed a great honor that He should ask me for my children. If I had anything better, I would not hesitate to offer it to Him."
"Anything better"--he had himself! "And God received him as a victim of holocaust: He tried him as gold in the furnace, and found him worthy of Himself." (Wis. 3:6)
The sacred ceremony over, as I was returning to the convent, the Bishop intoned the Te Deum. A priest told him that this hymn of thanksgiving should only be sung at a nun's Profession, but having been begun, it was sung right through. Perhaps it was only fitting that a a feast day which summed up all the rest should be so crowned.
The moment I set foot in the cloister, my eyes fell upon my little statue of the Child Jesus smiling at me from the midst of flowers and lights. I turned towards the quadrangle and--I saw that it was completely covered in snow! What delicacy on the part of Jesus! To gratify His little bride's every desire, He had sent her snow! What mortal man could ever cause one flake to fall from the sky to charm the one he loves? Everyone was really astounded because the temperature was all against it. and I know that since then, many, on finding out that I had such a strange love of snow and about my wish, often call it the "little miracle" of my Clothing.
So much the better if it were a little strange; it only goes to show the unbelievable condescension of the Spouse of Virgins, who loves His lilies to be white as snow. (Saint Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul, TAN: Books and Publishers, pp. 111-113)
My dear wife Sharon and her only Catholic sister are both devoted to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. A tiny little band of snow moved from northwestern New Jersey and across in to Westchester and thence into a little sliver of Connecticut on the morning of the death of Mr. John Collins. There was snow on the Turpin property in New Jersey. There was snow in the parking lot of the Westchester County Medical Center. There was snow on the ground at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Stepney, Connecticut. As will be seen from the photographs, our Trail Blazer was the only car on the Merritt Parkway that morning with snow on it, the only car that day on the Long Island Expressway with snow on it, the only car in the parking lot of Long Island Islip/Mac Arthur Airport with snow on it. There was no snow seven miles south of Stepney. That little band of snow passed over small area of three states, which my wife saw as a sign from Saint Therese that her father was at eternal rest, his soul having been made white by returning to the Faith exactly thirty-one days before he died, suffering much in the final twenty-two days of his life. Sharon was very comforted. Indeed, overjoyed is a better world. (I do not share anyone's love of snow, no matter if she is a canonized saint! For example, see my expression of joy when scraping snow off of our car in the parking lot of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Stepney, Connecticut.) God will not be outdone in His ineffable Mercy, ladies and gentlemen.
Back to Ohio Via Car and Air and Car
With the plans for the requiem Mass and the disposition of Mr. Collins's body in the hands of others--and no wake to be held prior to the requiem Mass on Monday in a funeral home in Kingston, New York, we left Our Lady of Rosary Church in our Trail Blazer to drive to Long Island Mac Arthur Airport in order to fly off to Columbus, Ohio, via the Southwest Airlines hub in Baltimore, Maryland, a city where my my late-mother's father-by-adoption, Chief William Red Fox (nee: William Humes), was born and spent his childhood years before running away as a teenager to join the United States Merchant Marines during the Spanish-American War. We would rent a car in Columbus to drive down to a Hampton Inn in West Chester, Ohio, not far from Saint Gertrude the Great, where I was to give my lecture on the conciliarist mind the next day, Sunday, February 4, 2007.
It had been our intention to take one carry-on bag aboard the plane from Islip to Baltimore. We had made the egregious mistake, however, of packing shampoo bottles in our one piece of luggage. That's a no-no according to the latest rulings from the Transportation Security Administration. Our bottled water was confiscated. So were Lucy's organic apple juice boxes. Ah, you see, my friends, a world that loses the sensus Catholicus loses all simple common sense.What can you do? Yes, one very important thing: give all of the madness and insanity to God through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary as her consecrated slaves.
The two flights to Columbus, a city we had passed through in our motor home just three nights before, were actually quite tolerable. There were, though, loads of young toughs, male and female toughs, that is, at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport to travel to Florida for the American exercise in self-indulgence and excess known as the Super Bowl. Scores of people were decked out in the "gear" of the Chicago Bears or the Indianapolis Colts. Mind you, I do not follow professional football at all. However, I do read the headlines that are sent to me each day from The New York Times and the New York Post, which is the only reason I knew what teams were playing in Super Bowl XLI.
Renting a car in Columbus was surprisingly easy, and the drive from the airport in Ohio's capital city to West Chester was thankfully uneventful. Lucy liked the big bed and huge bathtub in the hotel room, which served as our headquarters for about ten and one-half hours before we left the next morning, February 4, 2007, to assist at the 9:00 a.m. High Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great. His Excellency Bishop Dolan was kind enough to ask the parishioners to join him in prayer for the repose of the soul of Sharon's father.
The lecture after Mass was a little truncated because of the parish's schedule. Longer versions have been given in recent weeks in Pensacola, Florida, and Pearl River, Louisiana, and will be given again at Christ the King Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Friday, March 16, 2007, and Sunday, March 18, 2007, the twenty-fifth anniversary of my late mother's death at the then named Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, the city where she had spent most of her adolescence before joining the Women's Army Corps in World War II. However, I tried to pack as much information as I could into a short lecture on February 4, 2007. The stipend given us by the parish was turned around and given back to the parish to buy thirty Gregorian Masses for the repose of the soul of Mr. John Collins. That's more than a fair exchange! We are obligated, as you know, to have Masses said for the repose of the souls of our parents and in-laws and other family members. This is matter filial piety that falls under the precepts of the Fourth Commandment.
Well, after visiting once again at Mitchell's Fish Market in West Chester, Ohio, with Mr. Ahern (whose other mother, Mrs. Mary Ahern, died recently) and his two children, Danny and Genevieve (Mrs. Ahern was occupied elsewhere) and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Simpson and their eight splendid and supremely well-behaved children, we drove off in our rental car to return to Columbus and thence to fly off to Baltimore and Long Island. We got an abject lesson in the boldness of the adversary, not that we needed such a lesson, mind you, when we had to shield Lucy's dear, tender eyes from reading the adversary's proper name, mentioned in the August Queen of Heaven Prayer and in the short and long versions of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, emblazoned on the back of a New York Islanders replica hockey jersey being worn by a heavily tattooed woman. This woman made a point of trying to harass us by walking near us as we prayed the August Queen of Heaven Prayer and the short version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer. This was a text book example of the truth that the adversary is indeed the king of men and their nations when Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is recognized confessionally by nations as their One and Only King as He has revealed Himself exclusively through His true Church, the Catholic Church.
Up to Kingston and Down to Stepney
Although we had toyed with the idea of going back up to the motor home at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Stepney, Connecticut, prior to driving to Kingston, New York, for Sharon's father's requiem Mass at a funeral home there, we decided to drive straight from Long Island/Islip Mac Arthur Airport to the original capital city of the State of New York, staying a hotel that provided us with no hot water for showers the next morning, February 5, 2007. Sharon visited with her mother and siblings after the requiem Mass, the details of which had been arranged by others, and we then had a bite to eat at Diesing's Bakery and Coffee Shop with a friend of Sharon's whom she had known from the time they were both four years old.
Upon arriving back in Stepney, Connecticut, later that afternoon, His Excellency Bishop Robert F McKenna knocked on the door to our motor home to say that he would have a requiem Mass for the soul of John Collins the next morning, February 6, 2007, at 7:00 a.m. This was a tremendous source of consolation to us. Thank you so very much, Bishop McKenna.
We rested up from our travels after Mass on February 6, securing propane once again before we took off on our next journey, which was to take us down to Pensacola, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana, on Wednesday, February 7, 2007. Once again, we said our goodbyes to Bishop McKenna, telling him that we would back, God willing and Our Lady interceding, sometime shortly after Easter to give a few talks in the northeast. He was so very good to us during our three different stays on his property.
"Let's Head Out to Saint Gertrude's"
We left Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel at around 11:00 a.m., on Wednesday, February 7, 2007, driving to Bridgeport and from there on Interstate 95 south into New York--and across the Cross Westchester Expressway to the New York State Thruway and over the Tappan Zee Bridge to proceed southbound Interstate 287. Although it was our plan originally to drive to Cullman, Alabama, for 6:00 a.m. Mass the next day, Thursday, February 8, 2007, I did not think that I would "last" long enough to make the one thousand mile journey and then be able to arise for early morning Mass. "Let's head out to Saint Gertrude's," I told Sharon, knowing that we could get to 11:30 a.m. Mass the next day. Thus it was that we headed out to Ohio via Interstate 78, which runs through the Lehigh Valley (where I lived while teaching at the then named Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales in the 1979-1980 academic year), taking a slight detour up to US-22 because of construction delays on I-78. That was the first time in over two decades that I had taken the only route that ran through the Lehigh Valley prior to the opening up of the section of I-78 from the junction of PA-309 and the Delaware River on November 21, 1989. A little trip down memory lane while driving right through Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I never thought that I would be relieved to drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. However, it was a welcome relief from Interstate 80, proving to be a shorter route overall than its northerly cousin. We made very good time, happy and grateful for the functioning generator providing us with a steady supply of heat.
We arrived back at the motel with motor home hookups around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2007. Challenges awaited me when I had to find the water pipe on the side of the hotel that was functioning in the midst of the cold so as to fill up our fresh water tank, having to trudge my way through about four inches of fresh snow in the process to find the pipe and to attach our fresh water hose. The water pressure flowing from the pipe was pretty low. It took about thirty minutes to fill up the water tank. And it was only after that point, sometime around Midnight on Friday, January 26, 2007, that I forced the motor home into the space in the back of the motel. By the way, folks, there is another little detail here: the motel had not plowed the back parking lot, which is why I had to force the motor home into the space.
"What's That? (part trois)
Assisting at Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Thursday, February 8, 2007, we left the Cincinnati area after Mass on Friday, February 9, 2007, driving down Interstate 75 to Interstate 71, crossing over the Ohio River into Kentucky and thence to Louisville, where we proceeded onto Interstate 65 to take us southbound to Cullman, Alabama.
All was proceeding smoothly until we reached southern Kentucky. It was moments after getting off of the telephone with Bishop McKenna to thank him for all that he done for my father-in-law and to let him know that we would be assisting at Holy Mass at the monastery of his good friend Abbot Leonard Giardina, O.S.B., that we heard that quite familiar sequence of sounds: pop, sputter, sputter, sputter, crackle, crackle, crackle. Fearing that another spark plug had been blown, I stopped to examine the head pipe under the front of the motor home to see if, perchance, that was the problem. It was not. The Ford V-10 Triton engine had struck again. Open went every window and ventilator in the motor home as the gasoline fumes. In went the ear plugs, which I managed to find in the crevices of one of suit jacket's pockets. There was nothing we could do but say in unison: "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
As explained in the home page of this site a few days ago,
the problem with the Ford V-10 Triton engine, I am told, is the result of the reaction of the heated aluminum engine head with a metal spark plug. Hundreds of complaints about this problem are to be found on various web pages, including one on Consumer Reports. Another page is entitled "Do the Right Thing, Ford." I made entries on each of these pages on Saturday, February 10, 2007, while parked at a campground Cullman, Alabama. The Ford Motor Company refuses to acknowledge that the problem is of their making, instructing its dealerships not use a tool kit it makes for the repair of the individual cylinder sleeves, preferring instead to sell customers new engine heads that will malfunction in due course. Federal regulators have chosen to ignore the problem thus far. Thank you, John Calvin and Adam Smith.
Well, the noise was deafening and the gasoline fumes quite sickening as we drove through southern Kentucky and down to about Exit 20 in southern Tennessee. It was at that point that I decided to detach the Trail Blazer from the motor home so that Sharon could drive with Lucy for the final eighty miles of the trip to Cullman without the noise and the fumes (which were pouring out of the cylinder that had blown out its spark plug; gasoline was being sent into the cylinder but there was no spark plug to ignite the gasoline). Lucy fell asleep during the rest of the trip in the Trail Blazer with her mother at the helm.
"You Folks Goin' to Hanceville?"
We got into the campground in Cullman, Alabama, around 9:00 p.m., Friday, February 8, 2007. The man who checked me into the campground scooted over from his residence in a golf cart to the office, asking me, "You folks goin' to Hanceville?" "No, sir," I replied. "We are here to go the Immemorial Mass of Tradition at Christ the King Abbey right here in Cullman. Amazingly, though, the man was Catholic (only around 3-4% of Alabamians are Catholic), and going on and on and on about the Ever Wishful Television Network (EWTN), whose founder, Mother Angelica, had built a monastery for her Poor Clare sisters in Hanceville, about ten miles south of Cullman. I tried to explain to him the beauty of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. He wanted to discuss EWTN. I gave him a copy of G.I.R.M. Warfare. I will recommend that he read Christopher A. Ferrara's very thorough
EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong when we stop in Cullman again on our way back to Saint Gertrude the Great Church in two weeks.
Well, getting situated in our site, I had to carry our dear daughter into the motor home from the Trail Blazer. She had fallen asleep while riding with Sharon, which is exactly what I hoped would happen. We had to get up pretty early in the morning to get to a 6:00 a.m. Mass at Christ the King Abbey. Lucy needed all of the sleep she could get, something that would not have happened if she had remained in the noisy and fume-filled motor home.
"Get up from that floor! Work, do you hear me? Work!"
We found our way to Christ the King Abbey in Cullman, Alabama, the next morning, Saturday, February 10, 2007, the Feast of Saint Scholastica, the twin sister of Saint Benedict, being duly impressed with the spirit of the Benedictine monks there. Father Leonard Giardina, O.S.B., the abbot of Christ the King Abbey, sought us out after Mass. Father Giardina has the real spirit of Saint Benedict, forthright and direct, mincing no words, full of zeal for souls and a desire to keep working until the end. He had words of praise for Mrs. Kathleen Plumb of The Four Marks, condemning in no uncertain terms one man's rejoicing at her late husband's death last year, and urging that the Catholics in the various traditional camps demonstrate Charity for each other. The banter continued for a little while until we asked for his blessing. As I had difficulty getting my chubby corpus off of the floor I said to the Abbot, "I used to thin at one time." "Get up from that floor! Work, do you hear me? Work!" We were smiling ear to ear at his remonstrations.
Arrangements were made later Saturday afternoon, February 10, 2007, to secure the tool kit for the repair of the cylinder sleeve. Father Francis Miller, O.F.M., whom I reached over the telephone that afternoon, promised to find someone within the greater Lafayette, Louisiana, area to do the repair for us once we had arrived at our campground there following my presentations in Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday, February 11, 2007, and Monday, February 12, 2007. However, we still had to get to Pensacola and Lafayette in our noisy, fume-filled motor home. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
Getting a Little Long in the Tooth for All of This
We did not get out of the campground in Cullman, Alabama, until around 1:00 p.m., on Sunday, February 11, 2007, after assisting at the 10:00 a.m. Mass at Christ the King Abbey. The trip down to the KOA Kampground in Lillian, Alabama, which is about twenty miles southwest of Pensacola, was going to take every bit of five and one-half hours (with the final fifty miles or so being driven on local roads with slow, slow, slow, slow drivers who insist on driving ten to fifteen miles per hour below the posted speed limits on open highways in clear, dry weather!) Although Sharon drove the Trail Blazer behind the motor home the fifty miles or south from Cullman to Birmingham, Lucy had need to make use of a certain facility in the motor home, which is one of its simplest conveniences. As the engine wasn't that loud and the weather was quite mild, meaning that Sharon and Lucy would not get cold with the windows open if they returned as passengers, I decided to hook up the Trail Blazer at a gasoline station in a rather interesting part of Birmingham. I was approached several times by panhandlers as I gassed up the motor home.
The rest of the trip down to the Pensacola area was simply tiring. Father Francis informed me while we were en route that the venue of my talk in Pensacola that evening was changed from the office of Dr. Nicholas Delgado to Casa Ole Restaurant. We're very flexible. That was fine with us. The only problem was that the talk, which was on the beauty of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition and the horror of the Novus Ordo Missae, began very late. We got into the campground in Lillian, Alabama, around 7:00 p.m., and it took about forty-five miles to get from there to the restaurant in Pensacola. It was nice to see the people whom we had met for the first time back on December 21, 2006, as we drove from Lafayette, Louisiana, to West Chester, Ohio.
Lucy fell asleep in the back seat of the Trail Blazer once again as we drove back to the campground in Lillian from the restaurant in Pensacola. One can really rack up the miles in the Pensacola area! Our dear daughter remained asleep as I carried her into the motor home (not a mean feat as she weighs nearly fifty pounds and I have never been mistaken for Mighty Mouse) after another very long day on the road. Another talk was given on Monday evening, February 12, 2007, this time in the office of Dr. Nicholas Delgado, who was good enough to treat me for a sore throat and cough and to prescribe medication to relieve Lucy Mary Norma of her earache.
Finally get a bit of rest that Monday evening, February 12, we arose the next day to take our noisy, fume-filled motor home up to Picayune, Mississippi, which is about twelve miles north of Pearl River, Louisiana, where Father Francis Miller was going to offer Mass in a private residence on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, prior to my giving a lecture. Well, the latter was scuttled, rescheduled for the following Saturday, February 17, 2007, and thus we had the treat of Holy Mass with Father Francis prior to a brief visit with friends, some new, some of very longstanding, before returning to the campground for a few hours of sleep.
Timing our departure on Wednesday, February 14, 2007, the Feast of Saint Valentine, to arrive in our campground in the Lafayette, Louisiana, area in time to get ourselves to 12:00 noon Holy Mass at Christ the King Church, we offered up the continued noise and fumes during the 150 mile drive as best we could as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, finding our way to the remote campground, located near a bayou, with about thirty minutes to spare in order to get to Holy Mass. It was all we could do to detach the car, get the motor home parked in its site and take off for Mass. We got to Christ the King Church with about a minute to spare. However, we got there. Deo gratias. I am getting a little long in the tooth for all of this.
A True Good Samaritan
Father Francis introduced us to Mr. and Mrs. Don Gauthier after Holy Mass that afternoon, February 14, 2007. Mr. Gauthier was good enough to come out to the campground immediately after Holy Mass to take a look at our engine. The tool kit containing what is called the "Ford Big Sert" had not yet arrived (nor would arrive until 8:00 p.m. that evening). Mr. Gauthier said that he would come out the next morning after 7:15 a.m. Mass to start work on the project, which took him the better part of two days to complete. He worked very, very hard. The job he did was absolutely perfect. The engine ran quietly once again for the first time in a week. Mr. Gauthier was very generous in donating his time and considerable skill to us. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts.
To Pearl River and Back
The "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture series at Christ the King Church began on Friday night, February 16, 2007. It runs through Sunday, March 18, 2007. And it was with a suddenly quiet engine that we set out for a return visit to Pearl River, Louisiana, after 8:00 a.m. morning Mass on Saturday, February 17, 2007. A talk on the conciliar mind was given to a small number of people before we returned to the Lafayette area, where we stayed put, thankfully, for the next eight days, going to Mass each day at Christ the King Church as we began the penitential season of Lent on Wednesday, February 21, 2007. We have settled into something of a daily route here in the Lafayette area, which has featured temperatures considerably warmer than in the Midwest or the Northeast.
Lecture Here, Lecture There, Lecture Here Again
Although I noticed that the steering on the motor home was getting a little tight, I thought that the condition posed no real hazard to our safety as we took off on Sunday, February 25, 2007, for the 335 mile drive to the Pensacola, Florida, area (following morning Mass at Christ the King Church and my fourth of ten lectures in the "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program). The problem, which I recognized could be frozen kingpins or a failed power steering pump (which had gone out on us in March of 2004), worsened as we drove along Interstate 10. I had to hold onto the steering wheel quite tightly to control the motor home. We did, thankfully, arrive back at the KOA Kampground in Lillian, Alabama, around 7:00 p.m. that night, rushing out to return to the Casa Ole restaurant for the lecture that I was to give that evening, which ended around 10:00 p.m. Lucy was once again fast asleep as we drove back to Lillian from Pensacola.
Our safe arrival in Pensacola was more than we could say for an Express Mail package sent to us from the post office in Pine Island, New York, to the campground in the Lafayette area. Scheduled for arrival on Sunday before we left for Pensacola, the package just never arrived. We found out the next day, Monday, February 26, 2007, while were in Pensacola that an "attempt" had been made to deliver the package on Sunday at 10:12 a.m. We checked at the campground office at around 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 25, 2007. The manager had been on duty all day. No attempt to deliver a package had been made. It was only after I used the combined detective abilities of Perry Mason and Robert T. Ironside that I got the postal officials in Lafayette to admit that the driver could not find the campground (at a time when there is Mapquest and other such services online, at a time when an old-fashioned device such as the telephone could be used to call the campground to get directions) and simply gave up, calling that an "attempt." The package was not delivered until very late in the day on Monday, February 26. The owner of the campground explained to me later that the problem was quite simple: the Lafayette post office has had to take on employees from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. These displaced postal employees could care less about doing their jobs. Ah, thank you, Martin Luther and the ethos of "I'm saved no matter what I do" Protestantism.
It was on our way back from Lillian, Alabama, after we had assisted at Father Francis's morning Mass in a private residence and Sharon had done several loads of laundry at the campground, that another spark plug was blown. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls! The spark plug came out cleanly, this time on the right engine head, a totally different cylinder than had blown out plugs on January 27, 2006, in Arizona and on February 8, 2007, in southern Kentucky. What could we do? We had to keep driving as we offered this up to the Blessed Trinity through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves. It is still better this than Purgatory (or worse!).
A gentleman and his son came out on Wednesday evening, February 28, 2007, to grease up the front-end, which appeared to have loosened the steering, something we will find out for sure once the spark plug hole gets re-sleeved, which should happen, please God and by the graces that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, this Saturday, March 10, 2007, the Feast of the Forty Holy Martyrs. (Another parishioner from Christ the King is bringing a mechanic friend of his do what Mr. Gauthier, who works off-shore on oil drills for ten days at a time, had done on February 15 and 16, 2007, and what Mr. Gino did for us in Morgan Hill, California, on January 31, 2006.) We hope to have the motor home back in running condition again in time for our trip to Pensacola this Sunday, March 11, 2007, after my lecture at Christ the King Church following 9:00 a.m. Mass on the Third Sunday of Lent
Flat on Our Faces
My lecture on Sunday, March 4, 2007, at Christ the King Church on the Incarnation, Nativity, Hidden Years and Public Life and Ministry of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was well-attended. We decided to give Lucy a little treat on a Sunday in Lent by taking her to the Zoo of Acadiana in Broussard, Louisiana, about eight miles south of Lafayette, delighted to learn that they offered free admission to members of other zoos (we had purchased such a membership to the NEW Zoo in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in April of 2006, which has really paid off for us in our travels across the country).
No sooner had we entered the zoo to look at the first exhibit, a female African lion, than was the case that my chronically weak right ankle, sprained severely in 1971 and again in 1977 and unstable ever since, buckled, causing me to fall face first into a rough-hewn wooden fence. The force of the impact pushed me back onto the ground, falling right on our dear Lucy's back, which pushed her face into the sand and gravel. She was crying greatly, her lips bloodied by the impact of the fall. Other than a fat lip, though, and the momentary shock of being thrown down to the ground, she was fine. As I sat on the ground with blood dripping down my face and pouring out of my left knee (I lose more suits this way!), I told Sharon to attend to Lucy and get her cleaned up. I just sat on the ground, saying, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
The force of the impact of my face with the fence was pretty strong. I am no longer the thin man I was at various times in the 1990s. It took me a few moments to shake off the brunt of the initial impact, not knowing how severe the injuries were. A passerby helped me to my feet as I staggered off to find a first-aid office, telling the passerby that it is indeed better this than Purgatory or worse, that my sins deserve far, far worse than our all-Merciful God permits us to suffer in this life as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. The last thing a few passersby heard me say as I disappeared into the zoo's main building was, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
There was, alas, no real first-aid office in the zoo, only a medicine cabinet with some antiseptic sponges and bandages. The woman in the office told me to wash up in the bathroom, at which point I saw that my upper lip was pretty badly gashed from my nose to the perhaps enough so to require stitches.The knee was, well, in a condition that it had been so frequently in the past. Lacking any real means to get medical attention at the zoo, I told Sharon and Lucy, who had been cleaned up and was fine apart from a puffy upper lip, to proceed on without me, that I would go to an urgent care facility that had been recommended by the woman in the zoo office.
The urgent care facility, though did not want to see me. They had signed in their "last" patient of the day. I pleaded with the staff members that I was bleeding and was not from the area, that I had been referred to them by a staffer at the zoo and had left my wife and daughter behind there thinking that I could be treated at their facility. No matter. Stern faced and with crossed arms, the two women told me to get out and go to a hospital emergency room, that their office did not do facial surgery (it had not been established by a competent medical authority that I needed such surgery) and did not handle injuries such as mine. I was offered a tissue for my bleeding. I kid you not. No Good Samaritans there, thank you. Just another "bottom-line," Calvinist capitalist enterprise concerned about money and office-hours. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, more proof of the fact that a world where Christ is not recognized and honored as King by men and their nations produces robots who refuse to see His very image and likeness in their fellow human beings, especially when they are in need of help.
Sharon made a recommendation to me when I telephoned her to find out how Lucy was doing and to let her know what had happened that I should get a "butterfly" bandage at a pharmacy. One was nearby. Thus, I stopped in to buy two packages of such bandages. On the way out, however, I was asked to purchase Girl Scout cookies. I informed the young girls who were selling that cookies that the Girl Scouts USA is heavily involved with organizations and people that support the killing of babies. They seemed genuinely stunned. Indeed, although the story varies slightly with local councils, many of which "partner" with Planned Parenthood and related organizations, the national meetings of the Girl Scouts regularly feature pro-abortion, pro-perversion speakers. The parents who were "monitoring" the sale of the cookies were aghast that I would talk about baby-killing, saying that I shouldn't mention such things in their presence. These girls, who were dressed as boys, are probably subjected to the horrors of television and rock music, bombarded with all manner of "instruction" pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. Ah, just don't tell them that the national Girl Scouts organization (and many local councils) have ties to the baby-killers. Thank you, Martin Luther and John Calvin and the scions of Judeo-Masonry.
Oh, well, I was still in need of medical assistance, which Father Francis Miller was able to arrange with a physician in Carencro, Louisiana, he had befriended while attending to the spiritual needs of one of the physician's patients, a man who should have died but recovered, to the amazement of the physician. Retrieving Sharon and Lucy from the zoo, we drove the thirty minutes or so up to Carencro, pleased with the thorough examination given us by the physician, who said that the knee posed more a problem than the gashed upper lip, which he should heal without a scar.
Even if a scar does form, however, such a mark pales into insignificance in comparison with the many stripes my own sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His scourging at the pillar and in the nails my sins helped to pound into His hands an feet and in the Crown of Thorns my pride hammered deep into His head. No, a scar on my upper lip and a torn up knee are but very small prices to pay for my own sins. The doctor listened, not hearing much about this in the conciliar structures in which he finds himself at present. Father Francis was, however, able to strike up a long conversation with the doctor and his wife, both of whom were most gracious to us, after we left to return to the motor home that evening, Sunday, March 4, 2007.
Accepting the Cross with Joy
We must accept the Cross with joy, offering up to the Blessed Trinity our daily prayers and penances and mortifications as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. The difficulties of this passing mortal vale of tears are nothing when you compare them to the glories that await the souls of the just in Heaven. Saint Paul wrote that::
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ. For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in shewing of the Spirit and power; That your faith might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, neither of the princes of this world that come to nought; But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2: 1-10)
Indeed, when I explained to Lucy yesterday, March 7, 2007, the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the importance of being obedient at all times, I impressed upon her fact that she did not know how long I, a older man of a father, would be here with her physically, that she owed her parents obedience to please God and to show forth her love for Him and us. "Oh, Dada," she said, "you'd be able to pray for me in Heaven if you died. Your prayers would be more powerful for me there than here." I reminded her that I probably wouldn't go straight to Heaven if I died in a state of Sanctifying Grace, that I had many sins that I would most likely have to make satisfaction for in Purgatory for a long time. "Oh, Dada," she said, "we'd just have to pray you out of Purgatory." Having changed the entire context of my effort to exhort her to be more promptly obedient, she stretched out her arms and hugged me. Although she is very willful and wants her way most of the day (have no idea where those characteristics come from at all), she knows that Heaven is our goal and that the pure prayers of the purified members of the Church Triumphant can indeed do more for the members of the Church Militant on earth than anything they could have done while alive on the face of the earth. Lucy knows that a joy awaits us in Heaven if we die in a state of Sanctifying Grace, joys that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what thins God hath prepared for them that love Him."
In the midst of our daily crosses, therefore, we should indeed recognize that anything and everything we suffer is better than Purgatory (or worse!) As the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, we just need to remain faithful to the fullness of the Catholic Faith without making any concessions to the legitimacy of the spiritual robber barons of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and praying as many Rosaries as our state-in-life permits, seeking to accuse ourselves weekly in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance so that we can receive Our Lord in Holy Communion each day more worthily and with the spirit and the fervor of the saints.
We must recognize that the passage below from the Book of Proverbs, which was quoted at the end of the first part of this travelogue, applies to each of us in our daily lives: