by Thomas A. Droleskey
Leaving the campground in Indiana where I turned our motor home into a virtual four-wheel drive vehicle, we drove the remaining distance to West Chester, Ohio, for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Thursday, June 7, 2007. We got to Saint Gertrude the Great Church in time for the Mass, which was simply glorious, replete with a procession after its conclusion. (See His Excellency Bishop Daniel Dolan's two sermons for the day, Feast Of Corpus Christi With The Children and
Feast Of Corpus Christi In The Evening.)
We got reacquainted with Mitchell's Fish Market for a feast day meal after Mass, enjoying the fare at this restaurant, a branch of same will open in Stamford, Connecticut, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, for the first time in just under two months. It was back to The Olive Branch Campground in Oregonia, Ohio, thirty miles away, thereafter, finding that the campground was under new ownership. It showed. The place had gone to pieces under the previous owner, a refugee from the "I'm OK, you're OK" attitude of the 1970s. The sites were rutted, filling up with water during those monstrous Midwestern rain storms. The new owners had put gravel in each of the sites, taking care to improve many of the other facilities and taking care to crack down on campers who make noise after hours. It was a welcome relief.
Our stay in the Cincinnati area was brief. We took Lucy to the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, following Holy Mass on Friday, June 8, 2007. This aquarium, as I have probably noted in past travelogues, is the best in the nation. Neo-classical music of the John Williams variety is played throughout the facility. The displays are accessible and well-labeled. It is a particular nice place to visit when Tartars are not there in abundance, as was the case the day after the Feast of Corpus Christi. Lucy's favorite resident of the Newport Aquarium is Denver the Sea Turtle, who swims clumsily as a result of an injured flipper. We then returned to the campground to prepare for our "take off" the next morning to make the long journey to Monroe, Connecticut, so as to situate ourselves in that general area as I gave a lecture on Long Island on Tuesday, June 12, 2007, and one to be given in Newtown, Connecticut, on Sunday, June 24, 2007.
Through the Mountains and Woods of the Keystone State Yet Again
The trip back to the northeast, our first in over four months, was simply long. It is always a tiring monotonous thing to have to drive Interstate 80 most of the way across Pennsylvania. Oh, it is a beautiful drive, to be sure. Just long and monotonous, especially when I have driven its entire distance several hundred times since doing so for the first time on Wednesday, January 3, 1973. As fatigue set in as we approached Scranton, Pennsylvania, late in the evening on Saturday, June 9, 2007, I decided to stop at a campground along the Delaware River in Matamoras, Pennsylvania, which is just across the Delaware River from the State of New York (and within a mile of the State of New Jersey). We got in very late, somewhere around 11:00 p.m., which afforded me a chance to get about seven hours of sleep before we continued on the way the remaining one hundred miles to Monroe, parking the motor home temporarily on the grounds of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel so that we could assist at Holy Mass prior to driving another hour or so to the campground from which we would be evicted two weeks later for complaining about people playing their "rock music" loudly on radios late into the nighttime hours, well beyond the curfew limits that were imposed, at least supposedly, by the campground.
Back in the Northeast
It was so very good to be back at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel again. One of my former students from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn during my one and only year there, 1985-1986, Spencer Colgan, had driven up from his residence in the City of New York with his wife and three children (ages thirteen to four) to assist at the Mass of the ages for the first time. He had met with His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., about two months before, being dutifully impressed with His Excellency's grasp of the situation facing the Church. Spencer was a little taken aback to see how much weight I had gained since last he had seen me in 1986. Actually, I had gained and lost and gained and lost lots and lots weight between 1986 and 2001, a year in which I started to put on the pounds for good that have just recently begun to drop a little bit. The Colgans have become very good friends of ours in the past six months, truly a testimony to the generosity of God, Who permits us to lose friends of longstanding as a result of recognizing that apostates cannot hold ecclesiastical office legitimately only to reward us with new ones (while always wanting us to pray--and to pray most fervently--for those who might even go so far as to walk over to the other side of the street to avoid talking to us if they see if walking in their direction).
We situated ourselves in the campground after visiting with the Colgans on Sunday, June 10, 2007, steeling ourselves for what would be our long morning drives to Bishop McKenna's 7:00 a.m. morning Mass, encountering heavy traffic traveling westbound on Interstate 84 each morning near Middlebury, Connecticut. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. We are, however, northeasterners and I must say that it was great to be back in my own "home" territory once again.
Crossing the Sound and Going Home to Long Island
Taking the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry to Long Island on Tuesday, June 12, 2007, we arrived back "home" on my native soil so that I could give what I knew would be a sparsely attended lecture at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on South Broadway in Hicksville, New York. We gave Lucy a run at her favorite park in the world, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in my home hamlet of Oyster Bay, New York, prior to going to Majors Steakhouse in Woodbury, which has the best hand-patted hamburgers available in any restaurant in the country (their steaks and prime ribs are also terrific). Sharon got to do some shopping at Trader Joe's in Plainview, New York, before we got Lucy some cookies at a bakery in Bethpage, New York, which we will no longer patronize as a result of a terrible experience recently with a teenaged employee who was played horrid "music" and was absolutely unbent when I registered my complaint about the matter. Get the idea? Long Island is synonymous with good food.
Oh, yes, how could I forget? I picked up a few Bagel Boss bagels from the original Bagel Boss store in Hicksville, New York, which was, quite literally a "hole in the wall" twenty years ago when I first discovered it, turning into a huge facility with satellite stores throughout Nassau and Suffolk Countries. We hope that our Talmudic friends convert. However, we hope that those who know how to make a good Jewish bagel will never stop doing so once they convert!
As expected, there were very few people at my talk. There were days back in the 1980s and 1990s when I could draw a pretty big crowd on Long Island. Those days are long gone. Indeed, those days are long gone nationally, which is why I will start webcasting my lectures as soon as we obtain the technology to do so. One of the people who attended my talk, Mrs. Janet Clementi, traveled all day via mass transit from central New Jersey to do so. We were grateful to her for coming to the talk, happy also that God's Providence saw to it that we would be back in the northeast when she was Baptized and Confirmed conditionally by His Excellency Bishop Robert McKenna on Wednesday, October 17, 2007. It was also good to see the inimitable Mr. Salvatore Guadagna and some of the other Long Island stalwarts as Michael and Marco Posilico, Al and Lucy Micena, and Bob and Millie Gorman. The aforementioned Mr. Colgan came with an older brother of his, who listened to the talk but has not been convinced as of yet to seek out the good advice that could be his from the laser-sharp vision of Father Joseph Collins at Saint Michael's Chapel in Glenmont, New York. All in God's Holy Providence. It took me long enough to get it, didn't it?
Everyone was supposed to meet at the Empire Diner for a bite to eat after the talk, which a little over two hours, but the talkers amongst the stragglers who stayed after we left to go the diner wound up going somewhere else. I've been going to the Empire Diner since the mid-1980s, eating there fairly regularly when I was reduced between April of 1990 and August of 1992 to living in a single room in a private house in Hicksville a short walk away from the diner, paying ninety dollars a week to do so as I was adjuncting at three different colleges (C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University, New York Institute of Technology, Saint John's University) in the 1991-1992 academic year before going out to Iowa to teach on a full-time position at Morningside College in the 1992-1993 academic year. "Mister Gus," who is otherwise known as Gus Mihalatos, as one of the co-owners is known, is a very pleasant man who treats his customers with great grace and kindness. The Greek salads at the Empire Diner are really good.
Evicted For Being Quiet
Things began to get real interesting in Connecticut on Friday, June 22, 2007, the thirty-eighth anniversary of my graduation from Oyster Bay High School, as some real raucous folks moved into the space next to ours at the campground in Connecticut where we had been staying since June 10, 2007. All had gone fairly well in that campground until that time. These barbarians, however, brought with them "boom boxes" and tattoos and indecent, profane speech and wretched "music," which they broadcast directly in the direction of our motor home. Look, I've fought many battles in my life. I do know, though, when not to confront people personally. These folks looked real, real mean.
Naturally, the campground office was closed when the noise began. No one answered the phone in the office. I tried to offer up the assault as best I could, worried also about Lucy's sleep and spiritual well-being, course. As I was due to give a talk in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the next day, Saturday, June 23, 2007, I was in need of my own sleep. I had decided not to drive to Massachusetts with the motor home on Friday, June 22, 2007, as I did not want to fight weekend traffic going through Hartford, Connecticut, on a Friday afternoon. We've been there and done that. Not fun. I figured that I would get a good night of sleep at the campground in Connecticut and then make our way over to the Boston area in time for a 9:00 a.m. Mass offered by Father Benedict Hughes, CMRI. There are times when one should stick with his original ideas. This was one of them. I paid for not wanting to take the motor home out to Massachusetts. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
The noise continued until around 3:00 a.m. I got virtually no sleep, having to get up at 5:30 a.m. to awaken Sharon and Lucy to get on our way to Lawrence, a distance of about 143 miles. We got a later start than I would have liked, making it necessary to "floor it" in order to get to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on time.We flew. As the late Father John Joseph "Jackie Boy" Sullivan said of me back around 1985, "He flies low--and without a pilot's license to do so." Well, we got there in time for the 9:00 a.m. Mass, although I, who has always had an excellent sense of geographical direction, must admit that the City of Lawrence's street layout has me pretty baffled. I had to use the OnStar service that came with our Trail Blazer three years ago to get to the church where Father Benedict Hughes was to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that day, Saturday, June 23, 2007.
Fearful that we were late for the Mass (believe me, it was drilled into me by the good Sisters of Mercy at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York, that one should never be late for the beginning of Holy Mass; indeed, one should try, especially on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, to get to church well in advance of the start of the Mass so as to be recollect before Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Real Presence prior to the beginning of the offering of the unbloody re-presentation of His one Sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on Good Friday), we tried to find an open door of Sacred Heart Church, being unable to do so. Father Benedict, however, saw us walking around in something of a mild panic in the parking lot and directed us to an old rectory where the Mass, which had not begun, was to be offered. Deo gratias!
My lecture, which was on the Social Reign of Christ the King, went well. Our steady throng of supporters and benefactors from Providence, Rhode Island, had driven up for the talk, which they have heard many times before, dating back to the late-1990s when I started giving lectures in the Providence area. There was a bit of an embarrassing moment at the end of the lecture, however. I had forgotten (absent-minded professor when it comes to the smallest of details on some occasions) to turn off my cellular telephone, which rang just before I was to exclaim, "Viva Cristo Rey!" I thought I had turned the thing off. Unfortunately, the phone, which had just been purchased the day before in Duchess County, New York, as we drove the ninety-one miles from Monroe, Connecticut, to Warwick, New York, to take Sharon to her "atlas" chiropractor there. I had not. The phone rang a second time as I was trying to conclude my talk! It was Spencer Colgan attempting to reach me. I finally managed to turn the thing off and to conclude my lecture, doing so by poking a good deal of fun at myself, finding myself saying "Vivat Christus Rex!" when I wanted to say "Viva Cristo Rey!" Father Benedict Hughes noted that it's a good sign when one tries to speak Spanish and comes out with Latin instead.
As some of the folks from Rhode Island had questions about the "home alone" movement, I asked Father Benedict to take time after my talk to address this issue. He did so very well, explaining that His Excellency Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas teaches an entire course at Mater Dei Seminary in Omaha, Nebraska, on the principles of canonical interpretation before he gets into the actual parts of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Father Benedict made it clear that those who have no training in the application and interpretation of canonical principles are absolutely incompetent to come to conclusions about the meaning of canon law. Father Benedict gave a brilliant summary of the matter. Also instructive to those tempted in this regard is Father Anthony Cekada's
An elderly priest, one who is approaching ninety years of age and who will not be otherwise identified, asked to speak with me after I took a few questions from the floor following Father Benedict's remarks about the "home alone" movement. This priest had a very manly, sober and priestly bearing to him. He asked me to sit down as he explained to me in a very matter-of-fact manner some insights, which he believes have been given to him by the highest source possible, about the state of the Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal. Although I wrote up an article that very night to summarize the conversation, the good Father was not satisfied with the article and has not given me direction since then as to how to revise it or permission to publish its contents. Suffice it to say, however, that the priest discussed with me the Mystical Passion and Death of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that He has undergone in the Church Militant on the face of this earth since the "election" of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII in 1958. I was thoroughly engrossed by the information that Father gave me and the manner in which he imparted it.
We concluded our visit in Lawrence and then got a bite to eat at a Carrabba's Italian Grill in Peabody, Massachusetts, before we returned to our campground in Connecticut, where we had to fight the battle of the campground for a second straight night. This time, however, I had no recourse but to telephone the police to attempt to restore order at around 12:00 Midnight on the morning of Sunday, June 24, 2007. No one answered the telephone in the campground office. I left about five or six detailed messages. No response The noise was intolerable. The language was vulgar and gross. Well, I heard back from the campground office after Holy Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, later that day, Sunday, June 24, 2007, and she was not pleased with me, berating me for calling the police and telling me that I just had to accept the fact that "things get pretty wild" in her campground in the summertime.
I explained to the campground owner that "things get pretty wild" because she lets them get wild, that other campground owners across the nation enforce their curfew hours and are indeed very considerate of the needs of their campers who want to sleep during the nighttime hours. She would have none of it, insisting that things were out of her own hands and that we just did not fit into the scheme of things in the campground. I attempted to explain to her that her own mother, who was quite ill at the time, would never have permitted her to act in the way that she permitted the campers to act. "Why," I asked, "is what was unacceptable fifty years ago considered acceptable today?" "I don't know," was her honest response. She said that "no one else" "heard" the noise that I heard, meaning that most people are oblivious to the horror of "rock" "music," which bombards us almost everywhere we must shop (supermarkets, gasoline stations, office supply stores, shoe stores, almost every commercial establishment). The campground owner made it clear, however, that she wanted us out and that we would not get a refund for the weeks that we had paid in advance. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love thee. Save souls!
The telephone call from the campground owner ended just a short time before I had to give my talk at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Connecticut (the town hall of Newtown is named after a man whose last name was "Edmond"), at 2:00 p.m. I gave the talk on conciliarism and Catholicism, which lasted for over two hours and twenty minutes. His Excellency Bishop McKenna was pleased, as was Father Raymond Henault, a simply marvelous priest from France who had been ordained to the priesthood by
José de Jesus Roberto Martínez y Gutiérez in Mexico City, Mexico, over a decade ago now. Father Henault was in Monroe to assist Bishop McKenna, choosing a few months later to return to his priestly work in Mexico. His presence is sorely missed in Monroe.
After the talk was concluded, we all made a bee-line back to the campground to pack up the motor home hurriedly before the Tartars who were parked next to us could return from their outing for the day and start up their noise all over again. We had received permission from Bishop McKenna to park the motor home on the grounds of Our Lady of the Rosary Church for two days before we drove out to Ohio a week earlier than planned in order to situate ourselves in a campground and thus have the benefit of our air conditioners in the summer heat. The Tartars got back as I was in the midst of putting away our fresh water hose and the sewer hose. We left, however, before they could start up their noise, getting back down to Monroe in about an hour, whereupon we got a night of sleep prior to the 7:00 a.m. Mass the next morning, Monday, June 25, 2007.
Motu Mania Strikes, Muting Many
The news of the Joseph Ratzinger's Motu proprio came down on July 7, 2007, a week after his sellout of the underground Catholics in Red China to the Communist authorities there. Both matters were commented upon extensively on this site. (See articles archived in the July, 2007, section of the Articles page.) Suffice to reiterate for present purposes that the Motu proprio is proving itself to be the same double-edged sword as the "indult" that preceded it. That is, the "Motu Mass" is drawing more and more people, including the young in a lot of instances, out of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service to the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass Tradition represented by the 1962 Missal of Giovanni Roncalli/John XXIII. This is good. I will not deny that. I found my way out of the counterfeit church of conciliarism as a result of the "indult," something that I have admitted quite readily over the years.
What is not good, however, is the fact that the July 7, 2007, Motu proprio is based on false premises (that the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition and the Novus Ordo Missae are "two forms of the one Roman Rite," one extraordinary and one ordinary, and that there has been no "rupture" between the past and the present, contradicting the late Monsignor Klaus Gamber's The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, which Joseph Ratzinger himself praised in 1992, wherein it was contended that such a rupture had indeed taken place) and is "offered," with a handful of exceptions here and there, by men who are not validly ordained Catholic priests. This is not even to begin to discuss the ways in which some conciliar "bishops" have opposed the "Motu Mass," a phenomenon which Ratzinger expected and knew that his supporters in the conciliar structures would use to point out how "courageous" he was to do something that would encounter such opposition among the conciliar hierarchy.
The "Motu Mass" might be the "way out" of the counterfeit church of conciliarism for some. More the point, however, it has already proved itself to be a deadly trap as people once noted for their bravery in denouncing the apostasies of conciliar "pontiffs" have muted their forces as God Himself is profaned by Joseph Ratzinger's calling Mount Hiei in Japan, where false worship is given to the devils associated with the false religion of Buddhism, as "sacred." Things that were once the cause of a great deal of commentary are passed over in silence now as though God is not offended by such blasphemy and as though the Modernist mind of Joseph Ratzinger no longer exists because of a Motu proprio that has everything to do with coopting any remaining opposition in the conciliar structures to conciliarism in order to help to complete construction on the One World Ecumenical Church. And this is to say nothing about how many, refusing to learn the lessons of "correcting" the Novus Ordo Missae, are looking forward to a "clarification" of Summorum Pontificum from the conciliar Vatican. Have we learned nothing?
However, God is offended by lies. The Motu proprio is based on lies. It was "promulgated" by a man who misrepresents the way in which the papacy was exercised in the First Millennium and who believes that the concept of papal primary that he says "developed" in the Second Millennium does not bind all Christians (as well as every human being) on the face of this earth. God can bring good out of evil. Of course. Granted. God does not will that evil be done to accomplish some alleged good, however. Moreover, to ignore a man's denial of Catholic truths because he has offered a few crumbs while the Faith continues to be undermined is to permit the evils of conciliarism, including the abomination that is the Novus Ordo Missae, to continue to poison souls.
It is essential, therefore, for the conciliarists to "beatify" and to "canonize" those whose propositions were condemned by the authority of the Catholic Church. Doing so "proves" that the true popes of the Catholic Church were wrong about important matters and that our understanding of truth can change over time, that railings against Modernism were based on "misunderstandings" of "complex" propositions that have been demonstrated over the course of time to have been valid, if not "prophetic" indications of the "needs" of "modern man." "Beatifying" those who were disciplined for their Modernist propositions also sets precedents for the "beatification" and "canonization" of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, if not Joseph Ratzinger himself after he dies. The message is this: those who believed in propositions that would have earned them condemnations a century ago are correct and are capable of high degrees of sanctity despite differing from "older" pronouncements that have come to be seen as "obsolete" in many ways.
One of the great tragedies of all of this is that so many well-meaning Catholics have fallen for this trap, latching onto various "papal" allocutions that provide beautiful, if not moving, accounts of the lives of martyrs and of certain aspects of the pursuit of personal sanctity as "proofs" that no Modernist could speak thus. This is not so at all. As Pope Leo XIII noted in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896, the heretics of the past did not a belief in the entirety of the Faith. All they had to do was to defect in just one thing to expel themselves from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther, for example, continued to have a devotion to Our Lady after he broke from the Roman Catholic Church. His personal devotion to the Mother of God did not redeem his heresies. Similarly, the personal piety or understanding of Church history possessed by a Modernist does not redeem his belief in Modernist principles that have expelled him from the Catholic Church by his violation of the precepts of the Divine Positive Law.
At the heart of understanding Joseph Ratzinger is recognizing that he has stated repeatedly throughout the course of his priesthood his belief that truth is perceived in the mind, thus making our understanding of truth contingent upon and subject to the vagaries of subjective considerations of time and place and historical circumstances. He noted this in his infamous L'Osservatore Romano article of July 2, 1990, and he did so in his address to the conciliar curia on December 22, 2005:
It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived. In this regard, the programme that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding. . . .
It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.
On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.
This Modernist view of truth cannot reconciled with Pope Saint Pius X's condemnation of it in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907:
Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that they [dogmatic statements] absolutely contain the truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sense in its relation to man; and as instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sense. But the object of the religious sense, as something contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner he who believes can avail himself of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion.
Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. For among the chief points of their teaching is the following, which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence, namely, that religious formulas if they are to be really religious and not merely intellectual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sense. This is not to be understood to mean that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters nothing, any more than their number or quality. What is necessary is that the religious sense -- with some modification when needful -- should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which are brought forth the .secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, in order to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly need to be changed. In view of the fact that the character and lot of dogmatic formulas are so unstable, it is no wonder that Modernists should regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect, and have no consideration or praise for anything but the religious sense and for the religious life. In this way, with consummate audacity, they criticize the Church, as having strayed from the true path by failing to distinguish between the religious and moral sense of formulas and their surface meaning, and by clinging vainly and tenaciously to meaningless formulas, while religion itself is allowed to go to ruin. "Blind'- they are, and "leaders of the blind" puffed up with the proud name of science, they have reached that pitch of folly at which they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in which "they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other and vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, unapproved by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can base and maintain truth itself."
No amount of personal piety or advertences to the lives of the saints can redeem a rejection of the reiteration of Catholic teaching in Pascendi Dominici Gregis. A Modernist does not become a Catholic merely by discussing the lives of the saints and sounding Catholic a lot, if not much, of the time. A Modernist must abjure Modernist principles, starting with the Hegelian notion of truth. This is why it was so important to Ratzinger to "beatify" Father Antonio Rosmini on November 18, 2007: doing so helps to ratify his own Modernist view of the Church and of the world. Ratzinger knows that he can do this as many, although not all, of his former opponents have had their voices muted. We must pray and to make many sacrifices to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary so that the trap posed by the arch-conciliarist will be recognized for what it is and rejected as more and more Catholics flee to the pastoral care of true bishops and true priests in the Catholic catacombs where no concessions are made to conciliarism or the nonexistent "legitimacy" of the false shepherds of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Ohio to Florida to Ohio to Florida to Connecticut--the Big Winners in our Travels? Big Oil!
It had been our plan to stay in Ohio for two solid months in order that I might give an updated version of my "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. Alas, it was not within God's Holy Providence for a lot of people to attend the talks, which began on Monday, July 9, 2007, but could not be continued because of the sparse attendance. We were spending more money in gasoline to get to and from the evening presentations (after having made the thirty mile trip to West Chester from Oregonia for morning Mass during most of the days of my lectures) than we were taking in from the donations received from the few attendees. I don't mind "standing still," so to speak, and merely replenishing expenses. We can ill afford to lose money on a daily basis that is not replenished. I had to inform our friend, His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan, who gave me his most gracious permission to conduct the program, that the lectures would have to be discontinued. His Excellency was most understanding.
With the lecture program discontinued, therefore, we, ever seeking to do only God's Holy Will, decided to explore the possibility of settling in Florida and to put Lucy in school at Queen of All Saints Academy in Brooksville there. This recommendation was made to us while were in Ohio. Both Sharon and I knew that Florida represented nothing other than pure penance for us. The billboards, for example, alongside Interstate 75 are particularly hideous, advertising all manner of explicitly scatological"shops" quite graphically. We had to tell Lucy to shield her eyes constantly when we drove on that highway some ten months before, in September of 2006. A return to the "Sunshine State" (and that is no lie, except when it rains thunderously in the latter part of most afternoons) was not what we wanted for ourselves.
All works out in God's Holy Providence, however. We are grateful to His Excellency Bishop Donald A. Sanborn, the "mauler of Modernists,"
and the Sisters of Saint Thomas Aquinas, especially to Sister Mary John de Brebeuf, for the time that we did wind up spending in Brooksville. It was not in God's Providence for us to stay. We were grateful to God for sending us to Florida. We were grateful to Him for leading us out of hot, humid Florida! We are always grateful to God for whatever crosses He sends us. We are always grateful to Him for whatever consolations, such as leaving Florida, that He chooses to give us. Those whom we met in Florida remain in our prayers on a daily basis without fail. Sharon also wants me to mention our friend Miss Betty, who served us so well at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Brooksville, Florida! We miss you, Betty. Carrabba's isn't the same without you.
We did have a few interesting adventures of note during our exploratory trip to Florida on Thursday, July 19, 2007, and upon our return to Ohio (where I was scheduled to speak at the request of Father James McGilloway, CMRI, on Monday, August 1, 2007), on Sunday, July 29, 2007.
I noticed when attempting to start the motor home in the parking lot of Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Thursday, July 19, 2007, that the engine did not start immediately upon my turning the key to crank it up. "Oh, no," I thought to myself. "Not the starter again." The original starter had given out in San Antonio, Texas, on the evening of September 7, 2007, being replaced with a brand new starter that evening (the night that a well-meaning mechanic took fuses out of our motor home that rendered the air conditioning and heating functions on the motor home's dashboard to be completely useless). The smart thing to have done would have been to take the motor home over to Cummings Bridgeway on Rialto Road in West Chester, Ohio, and to get a new starter installed. Was I smart? No. I simply hoped that the motor home had enough "starts" left in it to get us to and from Florida without a problem. I told Sharon, "Remind me, dear wife, not to turn off this engine for anything until we get to Florida."
The trip to Florida on Thursday, July 19, 2007, was hot. Brutally hot. The temperature in the front of the motor home where I sit as I drive our personal form of penance (which is more penance than "Penance the Stroller" ever was during our trip to Rome in May of 2005) got up to around 113 degrees Fahrenheit at some points. All I could do was to say, "All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
We made decent time on this trip until we got to Atlanta, where Interstate 75 merges with many other highways. The Atlantan drivers were not very kind to me in letting me move my motor home over congested lanes of traffic to where I needed to be during the Atlanta rush hour to continue south on Interstate 75. I was forced to exit Interstate 75 and take a circuitous route along a beltway over to get back to downtown Atlanta and to crawl through the rush hour traffic some more, adding about forty miles and an hour to our drive. Thus exhausted from the heat and the congestion of the Atlanta traffic, I decided to stop the motor home for a night at a campground in Ashburn, Georgia, some eighty-five miles north of the Georgia-Florida border. I was spent. We got down to Florida the next day, Friday, July 20, 2007, and stayed for a week before leaving late on Saturday July 28, 2007, to drive to Pensacola, Florida, so that I could give a talk the following day at the office of Dr. Nicholas Delgado prior to Father Francis Miller's offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Catholics in the underground in Pensacola, on Sunday, July 29, 2007.
Yes, the motor home started up at the campground in Florida where we had been situated for eight nights. It started up again at the KOA Kampground thirty miles east of Pensacola on the afternoon of Sunday, July 29, 2007. I did keep the engine running, however, as I was giving my lecture and during Holy Mass, knowing that it would be a matter of time before the starter would give out. I was praying to be able to make it back to Ohio to take the motor home into Cummins Bridgeway and get it repaired. We asked Father Francis, who had just recently visited Father Martin Stepanich in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to pray for us as we drove back north so that I could make my commitment to speak in Portsmouth, Ohio, on the evening of August 1, 2007. It was very good to have seen our good friends in the Pensacola area once again, and it would to be that area of Florida alone that I would consider returning for a brief visit if our travel plans bring us down the Gulf Coast next summer to visit Christ the King Church in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The trip back to Ohio was proceeding relatively smoothly when something most unexpected occurred as I was driving on Interstate 65 in southern Tennessee, just after crossing into the "Volunteer State" from Alabama: the motor home's windshields cracked yet again. No rhyme or reason. All in God's Holy Providence. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to they Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
I stopped to survey the damage, accepting the penance in reparation for my own sins, hoping that the penance would be used by Our Lady to be used as she saw fit for the honor and glory of God and for the good of souls. I drove at a reduced speed in order not to facilitate an unexpected cave-in of the windshields, finally deciding to pull over at around 2:00 a.m. on Monday, July 30, 2007, to stop at a KOA Kampground in Franklin, Kentucky, for a few hours of sleep. I knew that I could afford this luxury in terms of time as there was a 5:45 p.m. Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church that evening. What I was taking a chance on, however, was getting another start out of the motor home's engine's starter.
After giving Lucy a chance to stretch her legs at the KOA Kampground as she awoke a few hours later, therefore, it was time to start the trip back up to the Cincinnati area. The motor home's engine would not start after one attempt. Click. Prayers were said. The motor home's engine would not start another a second attempt. Click. Click More prayers were said. The motor home's engine did start on the third try to do so, prompting a telephone call to be made to Cummins Bridgeway in West Chester, Ohio, to see if their mechanics could service the starter once we got back there later in the day. We did so, leaving the motor home off at the shop at 4:15 p.m., giving us enough time to over to Saint Gertrude's and to say some prayers before Holy Mass. We were reunited with our home about four hours later, returning to The Olive Branch Campground for a final week of stay before driving off for a nine-week stay in Florida on Wednesday, August 8, 2007, managing also to get the windshields replaced at that shop in Sharonville, Ohio, at long last.
Our trip, made in the Trail Blazer, to Portsmouth, Ohio, from Oregonia, Ohio, was an interesting ride through Appalachia. My talk on the evening of August 1, 2007, had been publicly denounced from the pulpit of the local conciliar parish. Only a handful of people showed up, including some from Father James McGilloway's mission church and one who drives every Sunday to Father William Jenkins's Immaculate Conception Church in Norwood, Ohio. A few did actually show up from the conciliar parish, including the "pastor" himself, who was not impressed with contrasting Joseph Ratzinger's own statements about the nature of dogmatic truth with Pope Saint Pius X's Pascendi Dominci Gregis. Some seeds were planted. Few tangible results were noticed. All was given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. We wound up staying overnight in the Ramada Inn in Portsmouth and assisting at Father McGilloway's Mass the next morning before we drove back to the campground to await the arrival of our friends the Colgans on Saturday, August 4, 2007.
Our visit with the Colgans went very well. Lucy loves the Colgan children. I am glad that the Colgans were able to hear Mass offered by Bishop Dolan. Father Anthony Cekada was good enough to give the Colgans a tour of the facilities at Saint Gertrude the Great after the High Mass on Sunday, August 5, 2007. Lucy was also reunited with her good friend Genevieve Ahern, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barry Ahern, who was born ten days after Lucy in 2002. The Droleskeys and the Colgans went out to lunch with the Aherns. Also present was the ever-sharp eighty-nine year-old mother of Mrs. Catherine Ahern, Mrs. Ada Federspiel, with whom we had visited in April of 2007 shortly after Easter. It is always quite a joy to visit with Mrs. Federspiel. The Colgans were then introduced to the Newport Aquarium (we purchased a season's pass in early July). A grand time was had by all even though we did not get to pet the penguins, a treat that would have cost each person fifteen dollars. "Fifteen dollars?" I told the ticket-seller. "You should pay me fifteen dollars to pet a penguin!"
The Colgans returned to New York following Mass on the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, August 6, 2007. We would see them nine days later, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, at Queen of All Saints Church in Brooksville, Florida, visiting with them on Friday, August 17, 2007, in Tampa, Florida, as we gave Lucy an excursion at the Tampa Aquarium. They were vacationing in Fort Myers, and it was quite a drive for them to get up to Brooksville. His Excellency Bishop Donald Sanborn has been so very good to the Colgans and we are very much indebted to His Excellency for the time that he has taken to help them work their way through conciliarism and what it truly means to live out the Catholic Faith on a daily basis. His Excellency's pastoral heart was full of concern for my former student and his family.
The trip to Cincinnati on October 5, 2007, which was made to permit me to speak at the Rosary breakfast at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Rosary Sunday, October 7, 2007, began in a most disturbing way. A group of "punk rockers," Englishmen, it appeared, who used every foul word imaginable and who were "attired" in demonic outfits (thank you, civil liberty!), had boarded the plane and sat right behind the three of us. Sharon and I prayed to Our Lady to find us a way out of our seats to another set of seats on the plane as we waited for an hour on the tarmac for the plane, which had been delayed by a weather system in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, to take off from the Tampa International Airport. Our Lady answered our prayers to her. A cabin attendant was able to move us to another row of seats near the front of the plane. Deo gratias! Maria gratias!
Other than that, however, the trip was uneventful, although entirely too brief. It was good to see His Excellency Bishop Dolan again, if ever so briefly, and to see many of our other friends at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, meeting for the first time the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Johns, readers of this site who had moved to Ohio so that Mrs. Johns could teach Kindergarten at Saint Gertrude the Great School. There were so many others whom we saw so fleetingly, including a young Protestant gentleman from Kentucky who is studying the Catholic Faith under the tutelage of Bishop Dolan. It was good to see them all. We returned to Florida immediately thereafter, packing up the motor motor home a few days later to go to Connecticut to realize our original plan. The northeast was simply better for my health (my diverticulitis did not take well to Florida at all) while at the same time giving Lucy a chance to be taught by Sisters whom she had gotten to know fairly well in the previous few months.
The time we spent in Florida was interesting. We had endured one penance after another, including having the "mother of all clogs" in our plumbing system, a problem that was not resolved until we had poured nearly two gallons of a solvent into our plumbing and obtained a "snake" to be used to unclog the clog. We tried everything prior to the "snake," including taking the motor home out for a drive on bumpy roads so as to "shake" up the contents of our holding tanks. Nada. Zilch. The doughnut hole. It was shortly after that problem was resolved that our new generator, which was installed on January 31, 2007, began to start itself up around 10:00 p.m. one night, refusing to shut off. It was from The Twilight Zone. It would start on its own before my very eyes after I had shut it off by using the switch located directly on the generator itself. Sharon finally rigged the switch on the inside to stay in the "off" position, although the generator clanged and clanged and banged and banged and clickety-clickety-clicked all night long, sounding as though it was going to explode. (Yes, we made good Acts of Contrition.) The problem was diagnosed by a motor home repair shop in Brooksville, Florida, which had sold us gallons upon gallons of Aqua Kem solvent by that point, as a "stuck switch" on the generator. The solution? WD-40. The cost? You don't want to know. Who knew?
We left our campground in Weeki Wachee, Florida, around 2:00 p.m., on Thursday, October 11, 2007, making it as far as Lumberton, North Carolina, later that night, where we stayed at the Sleepy Bear's Family Campground for a few hours of sleep. Upon awakening the following morning, Friday, October 12, 2007, Lucy had some breakfast in them motor home and went outside to play on the campground's playground, exclaiming: "It's not hot! I can run! I can play!" Outdoor activities in Florida are sort of difficult in ninety-degree heat and a bright, burning sun. Indeed, it was even a bit "chilly willy," as we say in the Droleskey family, that morning. We accept our crosses. I must be honest, however: neither I (nor my diverticulitis or other physical maladies) do not miss the heat and humidity of Florida whatsoever. Bishop Daniel Dolan, who gave a retreat to the seminarians at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida, in late-September described the conditions there as caused by the "still Saharan sun," a most apt description, believe me.
Ninety Minutes at the George Washington Bridge
We continued on up Interstate 95 to the George Washington Bridge, an all day trip that Friday, October 12, 2007, taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to circumvent the Washington, D.C.,. area. This may have saved us some time, although it was a beautiful drive. Whatever time was saved there was lost when we got to the George Washington Bridge around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, October 12, 2007, and at whose entrance we stayed for ninety solid mintues.
I am a native New Yorker. I have driven in New York City/Long Island/New Jersey/Connecticut traffic for the greater portion of my fifty-six years. I have never seen such a thing in my life: the usual four lanes of traffic on the bridge were reduced to but one lane. Vehicles inched their way up to and through the toll booths. We have been hit twice on the George Washington Bridge in similar conditions. Lacking a functioning rearview video monitor, I had to look from side to side on the sideview mirrors and to my left and to my right out of the front windows to make sure that I could proceed safely. It was a nightmare. I prayed Hail Marys constantly for the ninety minutes.
Why didn't I listen to the radio to get a report of traffic conditions on the "eights" from WCBS Newsradio 880? Well, I would have if we had a functioning radio in the motor home. The radio that came with the motor home has been dead for ages. Portable things don't have "good ends" in the motor home, winding up being tossed and turned in every direction so that they will turn up only on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. This was all in God's Holy Providence. He knew that we would be stuck in such traffic for so long. All I could do was to give the cross back to His Most Sacred Heart through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
It was not until after Midnight on Saturday, October 13, 2007, that we had crossed the George Washington Bridge. It would not be possible for me after a 1200 mile drive to get up in time for 7:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, on the ninetieth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. We headed out to Long Island, where our good friend Sal Guadagna made his driveway available to us to park overnight. The Society of Saint Pius V was having a Mass that evening at its school in Melville, Long Island, New York, and even though this meant that we would not be able to receive Holy Communion, we did want to get to Mass on this wonderful day and to participate in the procession, which was, unbeknownst to us, to be led by His Excellency Bishop Joseph Santay.
(Yes, Bishop Santay made the "Thuc announcement" from the pulpit during the evening Mass. We did not receive Holy Communion, understanding that such is the state of the Church today. It is my hope that Catholics not convinced of the validity of the Thuc line will read Father Kevin Vaillancourt's The Answers, which contains a penetrating analysis of the subject written by Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D. Here is a description of The Answers:
The Answers. By Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt. For the first time in one volume, a summary of the objections and answers to a controversy that rages among many Catholics today: Are the Orders derived from Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc (RIP) to be considered objectively valid or not? Here you will read the history of this controversy as well as the studied review of this subject by well-known and learned traditional Catholic authors, and of the witnesses who personally met the Archbishop and can an honest assessment about the man's mental state at the time he conferred the Sacred Orders on others. This is a must read for all who need to have this important topic settled in the minds and their hearts. 212 pages. PDF Available. $15.95. OLG PRESS.)
The Oyster Festival
We spent October 13, 2007, on Long Island, taking a ride over to the hamlet of Oyster Bay to give Lucy a good run at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. It occurred to me as we were drive through Cold Spring Harbor, which is where my late parents docked their twenty-seven foot Carver cruiser from 1967 to 1972 at the Whaler's Cove Yacht Club (which was really nothing other than a series of piers strung together), that that weekend might be the one in which the "Oyster Festival" was taking place. What's that? Oh, well, in a Catholic world it would be a perfectly legitimate thing. It's a street fair where vendors ply their trades and clowns and jugglers perform. Unfortunately, there is much horrible music that is played in the exhibits. We usually avoid the thing, which was a spin-off from a fair in 1983 celebrating the 125th birthday of the thirty-third degree Catholic-hating and Catholic-killing (talk to anyone who knows anything about Filipino history in the aftermath of the American conquest of The Philippines) Mason named Theodore Roosevelt, like the plague. We had made a commitment to Lucy which we intended to keep.
Well, I was right. It was Oyster Festival that day. Ugh. I even had to pay ten dollars to park in my old high school's faculty parking lot for the privilege of walking down to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park (which we call "Oyster Bay Park" so that Lucy will not be thinking that a Mason is somebody worth honoring; I know, I know, what do I call the George Washington Bridge? The GWB, thank you.). "Ten bucks?" I told the attendant. You should pay me ten bucks to park here!" The attendant must have hailed from Illinois. She did not laugh. Maybe she had heard me use the same line about the penguins in Newport, Kentucky? Anyhow, we sauntered on down to the park, amazed by the number of people at the Oyster Festival. Even more amazing was the fact that I, who have strong Oyster Bay roots, did not see a single person I knew. It's usually the case in Oyster Bay that I'll run into someone from my high school days who still lives in or near the hamlet, usually exchanging such meaningful words as, "Hey, great to see ya! Nice to see ya again!" as though we had seen each other the day before. Such are New Yorkers. We can go for decades without seeing other people and then pass by them casually as though we see them regularly.
Lucy enjoyed her time back at "Oyster Bay Park." We enjoyed our stroll through Oyster Bay, which was good for me as ended the first week of what is now the eighth week of my effort to lose about eighty pounds. I thought I had to lose a hundred pounds. However, Dr. Nick Delgado in Florida said that a weight of 190 pounds for a person of my height and build is decent to carry (I had been considerably under that for a very long time in the 1970s and during most of the 1990s). Penance, penance, penance. Some people can eat all they want and never gain weight without exercising. That's not me. That's not my heredity. I let myself go in the last few years, not watching what I ate and eating junk with worthless calories that I wasn't able to burn off as a result of being in the motor home. Although I realize that I can die at any time, perhaps this very night, I do not want to do what I can to be around for my wife and daughter for as long as is possible, understanding, of course, that God may call me back to Him for the moment of my Particular Judgment at any moment. It is a penance not to eat breads and pastas and potatoes and cakes and doughnuts and snack food. It's better this than Purgatory (or worse). It's better this than increasing the risk that I, who has no health insurance at all, could have a heart attack and then have to pay off massive hospital bills. The diet, which was begun on Monday, October 8, 2007, will continue. (The popovers I had on my birthday didn't do too much damage.)
We did some other errands on Long Island that day before going to Holy Mass at Saint Pius V School in Melville, New York, and participating in the procession thereafter to honor Our Lady of Fatima on the ninetieth anniversary of the Sun. It was back to Mr. Guadagna's home after Mass to put Lucy to sleep and to prepare for our "lift off" the next morning for Monroe, not being entirely sure where we would be able to park once we got there. In God's Holy Providence, however, we were able to park on the property of some very generous people. The nearest open campground is eighty-seven miles away, in Florida, New York, not a terribly realistic prospect for purposes of daily commuting. Although we must move the motor home every few days for purposes of "dumping" at a dump station along Interstate 84 in Danbury and to get propane, which is now a weekly chore, it is very good to be back in the northeast and at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel.
Hunkering Down in Makeshift Conditions
We were able to catch up with the Colgans again after Holy Mass on Sunday, October 14, 2007, happy that we would be happy to see them on a more regular basis. We did, however, encounter a small problem our first evening parked on the property where we are located at the present time (which is only four miles away, it appears, from where a former student of mine and her husband, the aforementioned patent attorney, who have not spoken to us for five years because of my criticism of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, no less my subsequent embrace of sedevacantism, live with their children): we had no heat in the motor home on a very cold night. The dial on the thermostat went "click, click" when pushed above the room temperature. The furnace did not come on. As we do not have use of a thirty amperage electrical socket in our makeshift living arrangement, we could not break out the space heaters. We had to bundle up but good. "All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
We had to live under these circumstances for four straight nights as we could not make arrangements to take the motor home down to Tag Motors in Medford, New York, until Thursday, October 18, 2007. Sharon stayed behind in the Trail Blazer that day as I zipped on down to Long Island in the motor home, encountering heavy, heavy traffic on Interstate 95 in Connecticut. Even though I arrived at Tag Motors at 12:30 p.m., Doug, their chief mechanic, was able to diagnose the problem immediately: the main lead (as in "leader") electrical write from the motor home to the coach batteries, which are located underneath the steps of the entrance to the motor home and are thus exposed to water and soot and street grime, was hanging on by a slender threat. It was a wonder that we had any electricity at all. Doug fixed the problem in about half an hour. We had heat once again, and I zipped on back the 107 miles to Monroe to attend to Sharon and Lucy as they were visiting to Lucy's teacher, Sister Philomena Therese.
A Coast-to-Coast Wild Goose Chase and a Shake
It was during that first week back in Connecticut that I received a telephone call from a gentleman in California who had expressed interest in my teaching his children via videoconferencing once he moved his family to Europe in November. Although the gentleman made absolutely no reference to any rate of compensation, I felt duty-bound to explore any possibility to provide income for my family. You know, I do joke about "freeloaders" and "cheapskates" who read this site and never contribute even one dollar for doing so. While my asides are made without malice, I could support my family pretty easily if those of you who read this site did indeed contribute somewhere between two and five dollars every month. Our aggregate number of donors is still well under one hundred, a mere fraction of the people who view this site. We live very much on the margins, ladies and gentlemen. We would not be able to get by at all without the help of several extremely generous Catholics who have helped us out of one pinch after another. A lot of work goes into the production of these articles. We trust completely in Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother. It would help us tremendously, though, to be able to support ourselves by means of the work produced for this site.
With no such help on the horizon in the third week of October, therefore, I entertained the gentleman's invitation to go to California, although this meant that I would be separated from my wife and daughter overnight for two nights for the first time. I'm not very sophisticated, I suppose. I love my family. I never want a "break" from my wife and daughter. They are tremendous gifts who have been given to me by Our Lord and Our Lady. I want to spend all eternity with them in Heaven in the glory of the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the company of Our Lady and all of the angels and the saints. I can't imagine my life without them. I don't want a life without them. I don't want any time away Sharon and Lucy at all! As I had to explore the possibility of income, however, I agreed to go to California on Monday, October 29, 2007, returning to La Guardia Airport in Queens, New York, on Wednesday morning, October 31, 2007.
My trip to California came within twelve hours of my finishing a talk at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Connecticut, on the Feast of Christ the King on Sunday, October 28, 2007. Only a handful of people attended the talk, which was a review of some basic facts of the Faith for one or two people in the sparse audience who had never been taught the Faith when they were younger. (See:
Christ The King.) His Excellency Bishop McKenna was in attendance, saying at the end, "All I can say is: Amen, Amen, Amen!" That was very kind of His Excellency. And our good friend Spencer Colgan volunteered his services to drive me to La Guardia Airport the next morning even though this meant that he would have to drive down to Staten Island with his wife and children that Sunday afternoon and then come back up within a short period of time. His offer was most generous, especially when considering the fact that there was no other good way to get down to LaGuardia Airport from Monroe, Connecticut. Sharon and Lucy had to have the Trial Blazer to get to Mass before Lucy went to school on each of the three mornings I would be away. Rental cars were too costly (and the fellow I was visiting in California, who boasted about building a "gazillion" dollar home in Europe, wanted me to keep expenses down to a minimum). A door-to-door limousine cost somewhere around $200.00. Fuhhhhhhhgetttaboutit. Spencer Colgan's offer was thus most generous.
I said my goodbyes to Sharon and Lucy the next morning, telling them both how much I loved them and treasured them unto eternity, and that I wanted them to pray for my soul if should happen to die somewhere along the trip. We never know when we are going to die. I'd rather err on the side of being prepared, both spiritually and temporally, for that moment, considering it to be a great grace to spend the time that God has given me with my wife and daughter. Oh, how I missed them during the fifty-two hours of my absence.
Spencer did indeed drive up the next morning and drive me down the sixty-seven miles to La guardia Airport, thanking him so very much for his friendship and generosity. And thus began what turned out to be, humanly speaking, a wild goose choose that did, I hope and pray, help to pay back some of the tremendously large debt that I owe for my many sins as I tried to offer up the inconvenience and then the ultimate outcome of the visit to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The situation that was explored in California involved doing distance teaching for the gentleman's children. A satisfactory way to do this from the motor home with the speed and quality of the delivery of video and audio simply could not be found. The situation would have been different if we lived in a home and what is called DSL Broadband delivered service by cable. Such is not the case with us, obviously. We have, however, arranged for the development of a website for the recording of video presentations that will be accessible on a subscription basis. We hope that many of you will avail yourselves of these presentations.
The trip out to California and the whole time there was most tiring. All to thee, Blessed Mother All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. I got only about four hours of sleep before I left on Monday, October 29, 2007, sleeping not a wink on the flight (which assaults you horrible movies and television programs that are played right in front of you even though you are not listening to them and do not want anything to do with them) from La guardia to Denver, Colorado, and the connecting flight from Denver to San Jose, California. It was difficult to be without my family for the time that I was out there, and it was difficult not to be able to get to Holy Mass while I was there. I had to endure three straight mornings of being unable to go to Mass. Talk about penance.
My visit to California was completed on the evening of Tuesday, October 29, 2007, but not before I was caught right smack in the middle of the Alum Rock earthquake. Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, I was being driven to the San Francisco International Airport by an enterprising German immigrant who had come to the United States of America thirteen years ago and then was able to start his own limousine/shuttle service within a few years, whose company has been on retainer for the man who had brought me out to California, when he got a phone call on his cellular phone. I really paid no attention to it at all, perking up a bit when he said to what appeared to be his wife or daughter, "Just go in back. Get the tent out. Get some blankets. I'll be back there as soon as I can." I asked what happened. He said, "Earthquake." He then sped up his van to race across a long bridge on Interstate 280 that crossed over some kind of steep ravine. "That's an eighty foot drop," the man said, "I don't want to wind up in that ravine.
The driver turned on KCBS Newsradio 740 out of San Francisco, California, to get the latest news on the earthquake, which rattled homes and businesses throughout the South Bay area and shut down San Francisco International Airport for several hours. The 5.4 Richter scale quake struck at 8:04 p.m., Pacific Daylight Saving Time, some two hours before my flight was scheduled to leave. My flight did not leave anywhere near its scheduled departure time. All flights into San Francisco that had not left their point of departure were held at that point of departure until it could be determined that it was safe to land in the earthquake zone. What could I do? All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. I just hoped and prayed that I would not be delayed in San Francisco for days on end.
Well, it seemed like I was delayed for days on end. My own flight, which was to take me to Dulles International Airport in Virginia (the routing of my flights was itself a penance that was imposed upon me by the person who arranged the flights for the gentleman who had brought me out to California), was held up in Seattle, Washington, until the all clear was given to take off from there for San Francisco. It was becoming clear that I would not make my connecting flight to La guardia Airport, thus prompting me to book myself on a standby basis for a flight to Dulles that was scheduled to leave about forty minutes or so before my own flight was expected to take off after it had landed. I was told that I would not jeopardize my guaranteed seat on my original flight if I booked myself for standby on the alternate flight, which I was told was completely full, making my chances of getting onboard very dim. Indeed, I never went back to that particular gate to check whether I had made that alternate flight, trucking my carry-on bag and my computer case with me to the gate where my original flight had been re-routed from where I had been waiting from the time that I cleared security at San Francisco International Airport.
My original flight did arrive from Seattle. I waited dutifully in the cattle line to get onboard the plane, chuckling a bit at the announcement made by a gate attendant that they would have everyone seated on the plane ten minutes after the passengers from Seattle had deplaned. It was more like thirty-five minutes, to be precise. Why do they say these things? Do they think that people can't tell time any longer? Positivism. Just rank positivism.
I took my assigned seat upon boarding the plane, being told, "Mr. Droleskey, please come with me," by a cabin attendant. My assigned seat had been given away to another passenger as it was presumed that I boarded the alternate flight, which I actually did "make," it appears. I was stuck in the middle seat of a three seat row. And even though I was a lot thinner than I was when we made our roundtrip flights from Tampa to Cincinnati on October 5 and 7, 2007, I am still not exactly Nick Charles (get it? The Thin Man?) or Twiggy. That penance was lifted from me most mercifully a few moments later when I was told to switch to an aisle seat with no one in the middle next to me. The confusion all worked out quite nicely. A little bit of consolation after a very long delay.
The flight to Dulles International Airport was interminably long. I could not sleep. Oh, I tried. However, I just can't sleep on planes any longer. I closed my eyes to pray and to avoid being bombarded by the infernal television screen and its diabolical images. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Actually, it was interesting to note the way in which our modern economic system, based upon Judeo-Calvinist-Masonic principles, separates families for long stretches of time by means of business trips and projects and seminars and update programs. All manner of thoroughly unhappy-looking people went about their business without being the least bit pleasant to anyone else. It is no wonder that families are rent asunder as much as they are when so many men and women and yanked away from their families and then placed in the near occasions of sin with others. There are believing, practicing Catholics, obviously, who find it necessary to travel and to be away from their families, people who can resist the temptations and whose interior lives of prayer and penance and mortification are very strong. However, what goes on in this Judeo-Calvinist-Masonic world in which we live is not of God. It is of the devil, who loves to see families separated and souls destroyed as a result.
As I expected, I missed my connecting flight at Dulles International Airport, having to walk quite briskly to make the next United Airlines flight to La guardia, finding that it was "wide open." Indeed, I had an aisle all to myself. There were about twelve people on the entire flight, which got into La guardia about forty minutes after my missed connection. Once again, the good Lieutenant Colgan offered to meet me at the airport to drive back up to Monroe, Connecticut. And it was wonderful to be reunited with my dear wife, who expressed her own gratitude to Spencer for driving me down to La guardia two days before and then picking me up again that day, Wednesday, October 31, 2007. We lunched with Spencer at the New Colony Diner in Monroe before I was able to see our dear daughter in the playground at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel at recess time. I had tears in my eyes when I returned to motor home and hugged Sharon. I had tears in my eyes when I went over to hug Lucy on the playground. It was good to be back with my family. Thank you, dear Lord. Thank you, dear Blessed Mother.
The Saints on Display
The next day, the Feast of All Saints, was a real joy. The students dressed up as various saints, having to tell a little bit about the saint whom they were impersonating. Lucy dressed as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, speaking very clearly and distinctly about her and the fact that her feast day is celebrated on October 3 each year. Sharon worked very hard on making an excellent replica of Saint Therese of Lisieux's habit, doing so without a sewing machine, I might add (the late Father Vincent McNabb, O.P., would have been quite proud of her!). Lucy enjoyed playing the games with the other children. Yes, the little girl who lives in a motor home and who has traveled the nation so many times in her lifetime, is socializing quite well with the other children. She has to learn self-discipline and to obey commands more readily, which is why we recognized that we needed the help that could be provided by the academy.
Battle of the Laundromats, Part 1
All Souls' Day was a day of penance, as well it should have been. The sort of penance that we experienced, however, was a little interesting as it involved the first of two successive "Battles of the Laundromats." Let me explain.
We are not living in a campground at present. We do not have access to washers and dryers. This forces us to take our laundry to laundromats, where the safest and easiest thing to do is to drop it off for the "wash and fold" service provided by most laundromats in the nation. The best laundromat is Laundry Basket in Fairfield, Ohio, where Miss Hazel, a consummate professional, takes excellent care of our laundry. The worst? Oh, there are so many candidates for that distinction. So many. One of them has to be the nameless place in the nameless town in Connecticut where my life was threatened on the afternoon of November 2, 2007, by the proprietor of a laundromat who had not fulfilled his promise to us to have our laundry ready by 12:00 noon that day. Indeed, I waited until around 2:00 p.m. to leave to pick up the laundry, thinking that I could do this and get back in time to pick up Lucy at at 3:15 p.m. I wanted to spare Lucy a relatively long drive in the car after her long day in school.
Well, I got to this nameless laundromat in this nameless town in Connecticut at around 2:45 p.m., being told by the proprietor that the laundry would not be ready for another twenty or thirty mintues. I explained that I would have to drive another seventy miles or so roundtrip (laundromats are not to be found in the Monroe, Connecticut, area). I explained that he could have telephoned me to explain the delay. The man, who had all sorts of diabolical tattoos all over his arms, told me to "Shut up!" He pounded his muscled fists on the table and told me to get out, "Don't ever come back into this store again!" he screamed. "Get out or I will have the police take you out! Get out of my store. Don't ever step foot in this store again. Never! Get out! Get out!" "But my laundry, my daughter's clothes?" I pleaded. "Get out! NOW!" pounding the table again. I got out.
We had to hightail it back to pick up Lucy. I was a little shaken up, to be honest. Would we ever get our laundry back? I called the police department in this nameless town in Connecticut, being told that a police officer would be sent out to the laundromat when I returned to attempt to pick up the laundry in defiance of the man's "orders" that I never step foot in his store again. Sharon and I prayed and prayed and prayed on the way back to Monroe, making it back two minutes after Lucy was scheduled to be dismissed from her school day.
Parking outside of the laundromat in the nameless town in Connecticut, I awaited the arrival of the police officer. The proprietor eyed me from the window of the laundromat. He eyed me a second time and a third time. Before I knew it, however, he was carrying out the laundry to the Trail Blazer (minus our nice laundry bag, which we are not going to attempt to retrieve, thank you, nor did we complain about the big red splotch on one of our comforter covers, probably left over blood from a customer who complained about too much starch in the collar of one of his shirts), apologizing for his conduct. I expressed my own regrets over any offense taken for complaining about the lack of communication. The police officer arrived at that point, greeting the proprietor with a hearty, "Hey, bro, what's happenin', baby?" I explained that the matter had been resolved. Thank you, Bishop Dolan. I am not sure that this would have been resolved without His Excellency's prayers prior to the police officer's arrival (or even with the police officer's arrival given his friendship with the proprietor). Needless to say, we have scratched that laundromat off of our list.
Lucy and Her Famous Cousins
In between the battle of the laundromats, we took a little drive on Sunday, November 3, 2007, after Holy Mass, in the direction of New Milford, Connecticut, where two of my former students from the former Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales in the 1979-1980 academic year raised horses, figuring that it would be a treat for Lucy to get a horseback ride if they were around. True, I did not hear back them last year when I left a message on their telephone answering machine on the occasion of the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. However, I figured that that was an oversight. It was no oversight, it appears. Another message was left that Sunday without any subsequent response. Lucy had a most pertinent observation, "They really don't want to call you, Dada." I explained that friendship is a free gift, that it is not earned or owed. People are free to establish or to withdraw a friendship as they please. No explanation need to be given to us whatsoever. No demands can be made for the restoration of that which people have chosen to withdraw. We pray for all those with whom we were once friends, praying that there will be a blessed reunion in Heaven.
Lucy had off from school on Tuesday, November 5, 2007, as a result of the burial of the infant son of one of the parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel. Louis Vincent Gazy was born four months prematurely, suffering quite a number of physical difficulties as a result. He had been Baptized by His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., shortly after he was born. He died moments after Bishop McKenna Confirmed him on the Commemoration of All Souls, November 2, 2007. Louis Vincent opened one eye after Bishop McKenna anointed him, looked at his mother and then died. Bishop McKenna related this story to us as he was returning from the hospital where Saint Louis Vincent Gazy had died. His parents are still grieving the death of their baby boy. They do realize, however, that he can do more good for them in Heaven by means of his most pure prayers than he ever could have done on the face of the earth. Saint Louis Vincent Gazy, pray for us!
I decided to take advantage of Lucy's day off to drive up to Kingston, New York, so that Lucy could visit with her beloved Turpin cousins for the first time in nine months and to give Sharon a chance to visit with her only Catholic sister, Mrs. Bridget Turpin, and her mother, Mrs. Claire Collins. The cousins had a grand time together at Diesing's Restaurant in Kingston, extending their visit for a trip to the Forsyth Park Zoo in Kingston thereafter. It took a great deal of restraint on my part to avoid biting into one of the excellent doughnuts at Diesing's. It's so easy to gain weight by eating such things, so hard to lose by abstaining from them!
Battle of the Laundromats, Part Deux
The next battle of the laundromat took place a week later, on Friday, November 9, 2007, the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. The venue this time was Danbury, Connecticut. Look, I don't want Sharon in unsafe environments. Most of these laundromats are in unsafe neighborhoods. Sharon loves doing laundry. Loves it. She did a load practically every day during the five months we were in Amberg, Wisconsin, for what we now recognize were five months of non-Masses in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, save for the true ones we had at Saint Michael's Chapel in De Pere, Wisconsin. Sharon does laundry in many of the campgrounds we stay in over the course of any given year. I do not want her spending hours in an unsafe environment. I can't spend all day in a laundromat as I have to keep up with my writing that some of you like and a lot of you despise (but read anyway, it appears!).
Well, lo and behold, the laundry was not ready at this laundromat even though it had been promised to be ready by 4:00 p.m. The laundry had not only been folded. It had been left unattended in a dryer for hours on end. Everything was terribly wrinkled. I was, to be honest, upset. I had given a very generous tip to the owner of the establishment in the morning, not realizing that she would not be doing the laundry herself. The tip had been given to a worker, who let the laundry sit in the dryer and had not even begun to fold it. The worker pretended not to speak English, a ruse that Fidel Castro, who speaks English fluently, used decades ago when he did not want to answer reporters' questions on various trips outside of Cuba. Charles Quinn, a longtime National Broadcasting Company television and radio news, once shouted, "Mr. Castro, speak English!" during one of the Cuban dictators foreign visits. Castro complied with Quinn's demand. The worker at the laundromat in Danbury just looked at me with contempt and refused to do anything other than hand me the laundry to fold for myself.
"What are we going to have to do?" Sharon asked when I came out with the laundry. "Go to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and get one of those antique hand-wringing washers?" That question was answered the next day, Saturday, November 10, 2007, when we got a telephone call from the owner of the laundromat, who apologized profusely for what had happened. I had noticed that he had a holy card of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in her office. It was the Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that impelled the worker to tell on herself, amazingly enough, and to inform the owner that she had not done her job. The owner offered us a free wash, which were in need of by the time another week had rolled around, explaining as well that she would look for one of Sharon's wooly nightgowns that had not made it back with the laundry. (Lucy was most upset that that nightgown of her mother's was missing: "I'll never see your nightgown again. It was so beautiful." She is a child, remember.) We picked up the nightgown the next day, Sunday, November 11, 2007, the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours. The worker was none too friendly. However, I do respect and appreciate the fact that she was honest with her employer.
Ah, the battle of the laundromats were nothing when compared to the "mother of all floods" that we experienced on Monday, November 12, 2007.
Forty Days and Forty Nights of My Own Stupid, Impatient Making
Lucy was excused from class on Monday, November 12, 2007, so that she could have an ophthalmologic examination from the ophthalmologist I have used since 1995, Dr. Stephen Lo Re, who is located in East Meadow, Long Island, New York. Lucy had been blinking a lot, something that I suspected was related to allergies but wanted examined by Dr. Lo Re. I was due for my own annual examination, which I have had since my early forties, conscious that my late mother, Mrs. Norma Florence Red Fox Droleskey, had been diagnosed with glaucoma when she was forty years of age in 1941. While my vision has deteriorated as a result of age, necessitating the use of "progressive" lenses since 1999, my eyes are quite healthy, showing no trace of any disease so far. Thank you, Saint Lucy. Saint Lucy's namesake, our daughter Lucy Mary Norma, did indeed have allergies, for which she was given a sample vial of a particular form of eye drop. Dr. Lo Re gave Sharon a prescription for a ninety day supply of the medicine. Remember, we have no health insurance. Such visits are expensive things. Dr. Lo Re is one of the best ophthalmologists in the State of New York, if not the country. It pays to use the best. (A conciliar "priest" in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, now a "monsignor" who stopped talking to me years and years before I became a sedevacantist, made the initial recommendation that I use Dr. Lo Re. It was a very good recommendation.)
Errands were run at Bagel Boss in Hicksville and Trader Joe's in Plainview (they're right across South Oyster Bay Road from each other) before we took Lucy to run at "Oyster Bay Park" for a bit. It was as we were approaching Whole Foods in Jericho, New York, on Monday, May 12, 2007, that I got a telephone call from one of the workers of the gentleman on whose property we are parked. "Water is gushing out of the back of your motor home, sir." "Oh, no!" I thought to myself. I told the man to turn the water off at the switch located on the hose leading out of his employer's house to our own fresh water hose. It was my hope that some water line had broken underneath the motor home, that no water was actually inside of the motor home itself. It was my fear, however, that, to paraphrase the late thirty-degree Mason named Richard "Red Skelton, "I done dooed it." Oh, boy, did I do this one. I did this one big.
Some crosses are sent to us by Our Lord Himself. Others are thrown in our way by the adversary. Others are made by our own stupidity and blindness and pride, just to name a few faults. Yes, I was responsible for this particular cross. What do I mean? How long do you have, my friends? How long do you have?
It all began, no, not at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, California, in the morning of November 12, 2007, when we were rushing out to 7:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut. Our water lines had frozen overnight. I had discovered this by attempting to turn on the water in the bathroom shortly after 6:00 a.m. Nothing but a trickle came out of the faucet. I turned it off. I turned the faucet on again in order to brush my teeth about a half and hour later. As we were walking out of the motor home with five minutes to spare to get to Mass on time, Sharon asked me if all of the faucets had been turned off. Her Guardian Angel, she told me later, was telling her to double check the matter. Annoyed, impatient me (me impatient? just a little bit sometime) said, "No, no," everything is fine. Let's go to Mass." I paid for that bout of impatience. I paid. So did the motor home.
We had returned to the motor home after Mass so that I could take vitamins. Sharon had wanted to ask me to check the faucets but was busy in the car with Lucy as I was inside taking my vitamins. I dutifully turned off all of the lights that had been left on before we had gone to Mass two hours before. Did I check the faucets? No.
Thus it was that the fearsome thought occurred to me in the parking lot of Whole Foods in Jericho, New York, that I had left the faucet in the bathroom turned on while the water lines were frozen, resulting in water flowing forth from the faucet when the water lines thawed on, filling up our "grey" holding tank, already pretty well filled to the brim, causing it to spill over out of the shower and into the bedroom, from where it flowed nicely into our basement storage compartments and onto the ground outside thereafter. This was the "worst case" scenario that came to my mind after the worker of the man whose property our motor home is parked had telephoned me. As we were about ninety miles away at the time of the telephone call, there was nothing I could do about it until we got back, save for praying and praying and praying. Would we have to go to a hotel? Would we have to have the carpeting ripped up and replaced? Would mold grow under the carpeting? All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Our trip back up to Connecticut from Long Island that Monday, November 12, 2007, was long, made excessively so by yet another bonehead decision of mine, that is, to take the Hutchinson River Parkway/Merritt Parkway to the Monroe area rather than taking Interstate 95. My reasoning? Well, it was a Federal holiday (Veterans' Day). Interstate 95 at rush hour can be backed up for four miles from exits 10 to 14. We were all tired. We wanted to get back to find out what was happening in the motor home. I chose the Hutchinson River Parkway/Merritt Parkway combination. Big mistake. Big, big mistake.
For starters, you see, most people do not know how to drive up hills or steep grades on highways. They do not realize that gravity is pulling their vehicle in a backward direction, necessitating them to compensate with additional foot pressure on the accelerator to maintain a steady steam. Most people are completely and totally oblivious to this fact, letting hills and grades drive them, if you will, rather than using common sense to depress the accelerator. This phenomenon, which my late father, Dr. Albert Henry Martin Droleskey, who was an excellent drive in his prime years (his skills, particularly his judgment, evaporated as he got older), explained to me back in the 1950s, has gotten worse over the years as being are distracted by their cellular phones (whether on a hand-held device or dealing with the not-so-hands-free "hands-free" devices) and do not even look at their speedometers to check the speed at which they are driving. The Merritt Parkway is quite hilly in spots, which spots occur practically every two to three miles. Combine a very heavy rush hour volume of traffic with people who do not know how to drive up hills and you have a formula for the mother of all traffic tie-ups. So much for saving time.
What I should have done was to simply stay on the Merritt Parkway and to deal with the congestion. What I did do, however, was something really dumb, as in stupid: I exited the Merritt Parkway in order to try to navigate my way on back roads in the dark. Oh, I have an excellent sense of geographic direction. It fails me very rarely. I can find my own around most, although not all, parts of the nation with relative ease. I can adjust for wrong turns made fairly well. Not on Monday, November 12, 2007, however. Not that day. Not that time. I got ourselves completely and thoroughly lost. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
The American Road Atlas I tried to use lacked sufficient deal to help me, especially in the dark. I telephoned the OnStar service as I had done in June nearly five months earlier to find directions in Lawrence, Massachusetts. OnStar personnel gave me directions. They were of little use at first. We made a complete circle at one point, and I still do not know how I managed to do this. We finally made sense out of the directions, being told by the OnStar representative that we were but nine miles away from where we had to be. It dawned on me within the last five miles of the adventure how we were being routed to where our motor home is parked. We were being routed from the northwest down to the southeast. As Father Harry Marchosky told Sharon back in the 1990s before I had met her in 2001, "God loves to humiliate." Father Marchosky was talking about what had happened to him following the loss of much of his knowledge of Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica as a result of a stroke. I was thoroughly humiliated by my bonehead decisions and obstinacy of November 12, 2007.
We got back to the motor home around 7:00 p.m. I told Sharon and Lucy to stay in the Trail Blazer as I went inside of the motor home to examine what had happened. As soon as I opened the door, however, there was water gushing out. It was the worst-case scenario. Sharon said, "If only you had let me check the water faucets." She was right. I caused this. It happened within God's Holy Providence. However, I caused it. Complicating the matter was the fact that we had no electricity inside of the motor home, and the coach battery had gone dead. The generator, which would recharge the coach battery if it started, was sluggish at first. There was just enough "juice" in the coach battery to start the generator, and we got electricity going again. I did not know at that point if the motor home's power cord and/or the extension cord into which it was plugged had been shorted out.
With that problem unresolved, I thus had to go out to a Stop and Shop store five miles away to rent a carpet shampooer that could vacuum up the water. It turned out to be relatively easy to rent the carpet shampooer, which I brought back home, whereupon Sharon put it to work immediately. I told Sharon, "Well, honey, you've been nagging me for years and years about getting one of these shampooers. You have one now, don't you?" Three buckets of really smelly water, according to Sharon and Lucy, both of whom have keen senses of smell, compensating for my lack of such a sense, were dumped outside. I managed to dump one bucket of water entirely on my pants as the water splashed back from a rock that I could not see in the dark. Ever watch a Laurel and Hardy motion picture? I was living one. Oliver Norvell Hardy, another Mason, sad to say, at your service, please! Enough of the water was sopped up to make it possible to walk without believing that one would encounter Flipper or Diver Dan in the carpeting. Lucy did not get to sleep until 9:15 p.m., about two hours after she is normally very fast asleep.
My chore the next day, Tuesday, November 13, 2007, the eightieth birthday of my late mother's first cousin-by-adoption, Mrs. Justine Humes Carroll, the daughter of the late Chief Red Fox's late brother, Louis Humes, and the fortieth birthday of the patent attorney mentioned earlier who is married to one of my former students (and what would have been the forty-first birthday of our beagles Blanky, Pokey, Tarzan and Resty), was to rent a dehumidifier to try to dry out the carpeting in the bedroom of the motor home. Finding a rental agency that had one in supply was not easy. We had one of our own in our storage facility in Bethpage, Long Island, New York. Not wanting to have to drive back down to Long Island--and not knowing where in our storage facility the dehumidifier was, I continued to scour around for a place with a dehumidifier for rent, finding one after searching for five hours.
I drove to the rental store, paid the money to rent the unit and then took it back to the motor home. It was a huge, bulk, heavy object. I carried it into the motor home. Sharon then discovered that the machine did not work. The bucket, which had to engage the "on" switch in the back of the dehumidifier did not fit securely into the back of the machine. She used duct tape to jury rig a temporary fitting for the bucket. The bucket then fit very well and actually turned on to do its job. There was only one little problem: the bucket had a teeny-weeney little hole in its bottom right corner. All of the water it was taking out of the carpeting was being deposited quite dutifully back onto the carpeting, thank you very much. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. The dehumidifier had to go back to the rental store. Hercules, call your office. There is a dehumidifier to carry back to a rental store.
Eventually, however, the carpeting and the padding underneath it dried out on its own. That's one of the advantages of living in a moulded piece of plastic. Indeed, we have had to use a humidifier to add water to the air circulating inside of the motor home during the winter months when the propane-generated heat dries up every pore within our bodies but real good. It was quite the offering to make to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We did, though, make a trip down to Long Island on Saturday, November 17, 2007, to get our own dehumidifier out of storage and to get a few other items that we gave away for a chapel tag sale the following Saturday, November 24, 2007. We found the dehumidifier without any problem, only to discover upon our arrival back in Connecticut later that day that its bucket was left behind in the storage compartment. Our dehumidifier still resides most eminently comfortably in the way-back of the Trail Blazer. We'll take any good offer you want to make for it. Any takers out there? It's been adding a nice new rattle to our vehicle, which turns three years old tomorrow, November 30, 2007, the Feast of Saint Andrew.
The idea occurred to us to donate the furniture that we had had in storage since July of 2003 for the chapel tag sale. We had been holding onto the furniture in the furtive hope that it would be God's Holy Will for us to settle somewhere permanently, which, of course, is dependent upon my having regular, predictable income, something that we have lack since we lost a grant from a private foundation in April of 2003. It was time to let go of the few belongings in this world that we had, hoping that their earthly value would be of benefit to the chapel. I will never again be employed on a permanent, full-time basis in academe despite the support of former departmental chairmen and colleagues. (Placing my name into a search engine produces a lot of very politically incorrect results.) No one else seems ready to hire me to use my writing or speaking skills. We must continue to depend upon the support that we receive from those who read this site. As that support is limited and sporadic, replete with weeks upon weeks of very few donations at all, it is reasonable to assume that we will get out of this motor home, as Sharon as noted on more than one occasion, "Feet first with our toes tagged."
Actually, we love our motor home. Saint Joseph made possible its financing in July of 2001. Regular income or not, we should have our personal penance on wheels paid off in about four months. Although we have thought about having a "land" home if we won Mega Millions or Powerball, we would be lost in a home. We are grateful for our personal form of penance and really wouldn't live anywhere else. This made it relatively easy to give away furniture that we would never use again.
I borrowed a very large white van on Tuesday, November 20, 2007, to go down to Long Island to remove as much of the furniture (and other items) that I believed they would be able to sell. Sharon stayed behind in the motor home to be close to Lucy, having the Trail Blazer at the ready for her use. I left the parking lot of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel around 9:45 a.m. that day, seeing on an information sign above Connecticut 25 in Bridgeport that Interstate 95 was backed up for a very long distance (exits 22 to 11) going southbound. I wanted nothing to do with that. Thus, I scooted on down to the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry, which had relatively few vehicles on it that day for the 10:30 a.m. crossing.
The ferry trip across Long Island Sound usually takes about sixty to seventy minutes. I was on Long Island at around 11:40 a.m. It took another forty-five minutes or so to drive to Bethpage and to begin the process of moving out the furniture.
Why Do I Hate Moving?
I hate moving. Why? Well, I had moved any number of times since moving out of my parents' home in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, in January 1973 to commence graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame following my graduation from Saint John's University, Jamaica, New York, in December of 1972. How many times? Let me list some of them for you (and for the permanent record so that Lucy can read "all about it" when she gets older). This is not an all-inclusive list:
1. January 10, 1973: 234 Laurel Cove Road, Oyster Bay Cove, New York, to 1440-A Rosemary Lane, South Bend, Indiana. Purpose: Graduate studies, Master's level, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
2. December 6, 1973: 1440-A Rosemary Lane, South Bend, Indiana, to 180 North Allen Street, Albany, New York. Purpose: Doctoral studies, Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York.
3. March 22, 1974: 180 North Allen Street, Albany, New York, to 25 Morrison Avenue, Troy, New York. Purpose: to find an apartment with h-h-h-h-h-h-eat.
4. July 22, 1976: 25 Morrison Avenue, Troy, New York, to 1301-F Candlewyck Lane, Utica, New York. Purpose: to teach at Mohawk Valley Cheapo Community College.
5. June 30, 1977: 1301-F Candlewyck Lane, Utica, New York, to 505 3 S.E. Greenbriar Drive, Normal, Illinois. Purpose: to teach at Illinois State University, which offered an opportunity to teach in a university setting, at least for two or three years.
5 a. and 5 b, June and July of 1978: Partial moves to and from Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska, to teach a six week summer course.
6. June 23, 1978: (having driven back from Chadron, Nebraska, for the purpose): 505 3 S.E. Greenbriar Drive, Normal, Illinois, to 1504 Ensign Drive, Apartment 1, Normal, Illinois. Purpose: to live in a place where I could get some sleep.
7. June 20, 1979: 1504 Ensign Drive, Apartment 1, Normal Illinois, to 121 Colonial Court, Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Purpose: to teach at Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales. I had a non tenure track position at Illinois State University.
8. December 20, 1979: 121 Colonial Court, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to 100 Cold Stream Court, Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Purpose: to get some sleep. Translation: to avoid noisy neighbors.
9. August 30, 1980: 100 Cold Stream Court, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to 25 Park Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York. Purpose: to teach at Nassau Community College. (Finally got to go "home" to Oyster Bay after over seven years away.)
10. July 31, 1981: 25 Park Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York, to various basements of the houses of friends on Long Island. Purpose: to go to Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland. (Took a leave of absence from Nassau Community College.)
11. December 31, 1981: From various basements of the houses of friends on Long Island to 899 Oyster Bay Road, East Norwich, New York. Purpose: to get resettled following my departure from Mount Saint Mary's as my mother was dying of cancer.
12. August 31, 1983: 899 Oyster Bay Road, East Norwich, New York, to the basements of the houses of friends on Long Island. Purpose: to go to Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, on an unsponsored basis. I had relinquished my position at Nassau Community College to provide a budgetary line for a colleague of mine who had no job for the 1983-1984 academic year and who had a family support. Several friends in the conciliar priesthood suggested that I study at Holy Apostles on an unsponsored basis while teaching on Saturday mornings at Saint John's University in Jamaica, Queens. I did not get sponsorship during my year at Holy Apostles, deciding not to return so as to avoid getting further into debt.
13. June 15, 1984: Into 44 Lake Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York, on a house sitting basis.
14. September 1, 1984: Into 42 Lake Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York, on a house sitting basis.
15. December 30, 1984 to August of 1985: temporary quarters in various locations throughout Long Island, including a stretch in May of 1985 when my dilapidating Dodge Charger was my abode for several weeks running. Can't do much when teaching three courses a semester and making $254 twice a month.
16. August 15, 1985: Into 22 Spring Street, Oyster Bay, New York. Purpose: to get settled prior to teaching at Saint Francis College, Brooklyn, New York.
17. October 1, 1985: 22 Spring Street, Oyster Bay, New York, to 17 Harbor Road, Oyster Bay, New York. Purpose: better location.
18. January 31, 1986: 17 Harbor Road, Oyster Bay, New York, to Jerusalem Avenue, Hempstead, New York. Purpose: could only afford a single room in the upstairs of private home on a weekly rate.
19. January 2, 1987: Jerusalem Avenue, Hempstead, New York, to 700 North Fell Avenue, Normal, Illinois: Purpose: to live once again full time in Illinois following a semester of commuting between Illinois State University, where I taught in the 1986-1987 academic year, and to campaign for lieutenant governor of New York and to teach on Saturday mornings in the graduate program at Saint John's University in the Fall of 1986.
20. May 8, 1987: 700 North Fell Avenue to various locations until October of 1987 when I moved into another rooming house arrangement, this time in Merrick, New York.
21. January 15, 1988: From the rooming house in Merrick, New York, to an upstairs apartment on Circle Drive in Bellmore, New York. Purpose: privacy.
22. June 1, 1988: From the upstairs apartment in Bellmore, New York, to an apartment on 47 East Mineola Avenue, Valley Stream, New York. Purpose: recommended by a colleague at the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs.
23. September 14, 1988: 47 East Mineola Avenue, Valley Stream, New York, to some sort of address in Fargo, North Dakota. Purpose: to work as the director of communications for the conciliar "bishop" of Fargo, the late "Bishop" James S. Sullivan.
24. August 19, 1989: From Fargo, North Dakota, to Miami Avenue, Marshall, Missouri. Purpose: to teach at Missouri Valley College. I continued my writing for "Bishop" Sullivan until 1997 via computer and phone-modem. I wanted to get back into teaching, which I missed dearly.
25. December 18, 1989: From Miami Avenue, Marshall, Missouri, to Horseshoe Circle, Northport, New York. Purpose: to find a place to live after my teaching at Missouri Valley College had come to an end.
26. April 1, 1990: From Horseshoe Circle, Northport, New York, to 222 Duffy Avenue, Hicksville, New York. Purpose: to find another one room situation in a private house. Was all that I could afford in a year of underemployment prior to resuming adjunct teaching in three colleges in January of 1991.
27. August 1, 1992: 222 Duffy Avenue, Hicksville, New York, to 1301 Westcott Road, Sioux City, Iowa. Purpose: to teach for one year at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa. (I was gone for three weeks in August of 1991 to explore the possibility of being "ordained" by a conciliar "bishop" in The Philippines, deciding that it was too irregular of a situation to consider. I did, however, divest myself of most of my own earthly belongings prior to my going to The Philippines, including almost all of my baseball memorabilia.
28. May 10, 1993: 1301 Westcott Road, Sioux City, Iowa, to Porter Street, North Bellmore, New York. Purpose: to resume adjunct teaching on Long Island.
29. June 12, 1996: Porter Street, North Bellmore, New York, winding up eventually at 24 Michael Court, Bethpage, New York. Purpose: a bit closer to campus.
30. April 1, 1999: 24 Michael Court, Bethpage, New York, to 259 North 9th Street, Bethpage, New York. Purpose: landlady at Michael Court wanted her sister to have my apartment. Had to go.
31-33: July 15, 2001: Helped Sharon move out of her condominium in Trabuco Canyon, California, and then, in August of 2001, to move those belongings into a storage facility in Kingston, New York, before moving the belongings out of storage in April of 2002 down to 259 North 9th Street in Bethpage, New York.
34: Moved belongings out of 259 North 9th Street, Bethpage, New York, into storage in Bethpage, New York.
35-36. Partial move into a rental house in Amberg, Wisconsin. Moved out on May 12, 2006.
This is, believe it or not, the reader's digest version of my moves. There are a few not listed. This is enough, however, to give you an idea of how much I have moved and why I despise it so much. It is much better to live as we do at present, that is, with virtually nothing of the goods of this passing world. And, quite, obviously, this does not begin to describe the scores upon scores of campgrounds we have been into and out of in the past six years, especially in the past four years and nearly five months since leaving the basement apartment in Bethpage. At least, however, whatever belongings we need are with us right here in the motor home.
The Last Move? Certainly of Furniture--we don't have any more, thank you
Thus it was that I just stared at the task that awaited me in the storage facility on Hempstead Turnpike in Bethpage, New York, on Tuesday, November 20, 2007. I had to start somewhere. I started, therefore, with rearranging some boxes in order to make a path to take down the queen sized mattress that we will give to the Colgans this coming Saturday, December 1, 2007. A box spring and a mattress for a twin bed was also moved, and the process had begun in earnest. Despite my complete lack of physical strength (you think that I would developed some strength after all of those moves; I did not some heavy furniture of my own for a long time before I sold much of it prior to going to Holy Apostles Seminary in 1983), I had to do what I had to do, asking Our Lord and His Blessed Mother and my own Guardian Angel to give me the strength to move the heavy furniture. I could have move almost everything in one trip had the seats been removed from the van. Alas, they remained in place. This necessitated making a second trip down to Long Island the following day, Wednesday, November 21, 2007, the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The moving process took about two hours on Tuesday, November 20, 2007, just long enough to find me stuck in rush hour traffic on the way back to Connecticut. I was stuck in a really horrific traffic jam on Interstate 95 just eight days after the mess on the Merritt Parkway. The culprit this time was an accident on the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at Exit 17, which had traffic in the northbound lanes backed up to exit 3, that is, to Greenwich, Connecticut, a distance of some fourteen miles. It took ninety minutes to traverse those fourteen miles. I prayed Rosaries and just offered it all up to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. I did not get back to Connecticut until around 6:00 p.m. that day. Three hours to go ninety miles. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Some students unloaded the van on Wednesday morning, November 21, 2007, before I took the van back down to Long Island. Traffic was much lighter than it had been the day before. I was able to drive Interstate 95 down to Long Island, arriving around 11:20 a.m., completing the moving process in about an hour and twenty minutes. I was concerned that I would hit Masonic-day traffic going back to Connecticut. I left early enough, around 12:45 p.m., to avoid all but the usual exits 10 to 14 delays on Interstate 95, getting back to Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel by around 2:15 p.m. Indeed, I tried to describe one item of Sharon's to her that she had forgotten about entirely, prompting her to say, "It's time to give your furniture away if you can't remember what you have or what it looks like. We're living quite well without it all, aren't we? All we need is the Holy Faith and an abiding trust in Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother, right? Right indeed, dear wife. Right indeed.
Having a very good feast day of Saint Cecilia in the motor home on Thursday, November 22, 2007, we had to take the motor home down to Long Island on the Feast of Pope Saint Clement I, Friday, November 23, 2007, to get the fresh water tank that had been perforated in Lafayette, Louisiana, replaced with a new fresh water tank, one that had been ordered in June but did not arrive at Tag Motors in Medford, New York, until August, by which time we were in Florida. As our tow bar was not functioning properly, Sharon and Lucy had to drive in the Trail Blazer as I drove the motor home down what has become an all-too-familiar route, Interstate 95, down to Interstate 695 and the Throgs Neck Bridge to the Clearview Expressway to the Long Island Expressway to Route 112, Exit 64 on the LIE (I-495), and down the two miles or so to Tag Motors, at which we arrived around 9:40 a.m. following our having been at 7:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel.
The installation of the new fresh water tank is rather critical for us. Cold days are upon us. Water lines freeze at night, making it impossible to get running water in the early morning hours when we have to be up to go to Mass and to get Lucy to school. Having a fresh water tank permits us to fill up during the day and then to use water sparingly so that we do not run out overnight, waiting until it is again warm enough to fill up with water. We thought that our problem was going to be resolved that day. God had other plans. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Yes, it was about an hour later, at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 23, 2007, just as I was pulling into Battle Row Campground in Old Bethpage, New York to pay for our two nights' stay at the campground where we have stayed every year since we bought the motor home in 2001, that I got a phone call from Doug, the excellent chief mechanic at Tag Motors. Doug informed us that the wrong tank had been ordered by geniuses at Forest River, the company that manufactured the motor home on top of a Ford incomplete truck chassis. Another one had to be ordered, this time directly from the manufacturer of the fresh water tank itself. (One cannot begin to count the number of different companies responsible for the different things found in the motor home.). We have no idea when this new tank will arrive. The thought back in June was that the tank would arrive within five days of being ordered. Five days turned into two months. Two months turned into five months because our being out of the area. As the installation of the fresh water tank is an all day project, I couldn't leave Sharon and Lucy without a place to lay their heads after Lucy gets out of school. We had to make arrangements for the installation of the fresh water tank on a day she had off from school. November 23 seemed like the best day for that. Not in God's Providence, however. Not in God's Holy Providence.
Reconsidering a Gesture of Reparation
A Special Pictorial Essay detailed our day on November 24, 2007, the Feast of Saint John of the Cross, and my fifty-sixth birthday, for which we stayed on Long Island. I have asked some prelates whom I trust to advise me on whether I did the right think in kneeling at Saint Aloysius Church, where I received First Holy Communion and was Confirmed. I knelt in reparation for the offenses taking place there now and out of respect for the fact that Our Lord was made present on the high altar of sacrifice there many thousands of times between 1913 and 1969, out of respect for the fact that He had reposed there in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament over fifty-five years.
My Catholic sense just impelled me to kneel in what was once and will be again one day a Catholic Church. I do no want to apologize, however, if the photograph I posted has caused any scandal. I am terrible, terrible sinner. However, I do love God as He has revealed Himself through His true Church that He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. This is why I have sought out the advice and counsel of good prelates on this matter, fearing to offend God even inadvertently after so many times of offending Him advertently. It is not our practice to enter into churches that are in conciliar captivity except to visit those that we have not been revolutionized architecturally and that Lucy might profit from seeing. This is done very rarely. I will abide by the guidance that I receive. One such piece of advice has been offered already. Although I know intellectually that the church of my boyhood is no longer Catholic and has been the home of abominations and sacrileges too numerous to count, it was very hard me to think of anything but those beautiful Masses of fifty years ago.
That having been noted, however, it was good to be back at Saint Aloysius and to walk in the corridors of the former Saint Aloysius School. We need to pray and to make many sacrifices, especially by means of praying as many Rosaries as our states-in-life permit, that the captivity of Catholic churches by the conciliar revolutionaries of the counterfeit church of conciliarism will cease sooner rather than later, that this era of apostasy and betrayal will produce, if God wills it so, an era of fidelity in a new Christendom, a world where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will reign as King and His Most Blessed Mother will reign as our Immaculate Queen.
To See Brigid the Cow
We returned to Connecticut on Sunday morning, November 25, 2007, the Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, taking Lucy up the next day (which was another day off from school for a day of recollection for the Sisters) to Massachusetts to visit Brigid the Cow at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Pollock in Great Barrington (actually, New Marlborough). Patrick was out hunting. Deer season had begun. Mrs. Jean Pollock was home and gave Lucy quite a treat in letting her visit with Brigid the Cow, who has replaced Pepita. Lucy said afterward, "I like Pepita the best." She was after all, the first cow she got to meet in person. It was a quick trip up there and back down to Connecticut
Upon our arrival back in the area of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, however, I got quite shock when filling the prescription for Lucy's eye medicine that had been given to us by Dr. Lo Re in East Meadow, New York, two weeks before. Thinking that the eye drops (we had been using a sample vial given us by Dr. Lo Re) would cost, say, somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty dollars, I was amazed beyond words to see the price of $317.28 attached to the label. "This can't possibly be right," I said incredulously. It was. The doctor had ordered a three month's supply. I had to settle for one month's supply, which set us back $105.00 (plus sales tax). I guess the pharmaceutical companies figure that most people have medical insurance. We do not. Ouch. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Preparing for Advent, 2007
The liturgical year is about to end. Advent and the new liturgical year it ushers in begins with First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent on Saturday evening, December 1, 2007. These final days of the current liturgical year--and the first days of the new one-remind us that Our Lord has come once in time at the Incarnation and His Nativity, coming again and again every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day. Our own last day might occur at any time. We must be prepared, therefore, to make an accounting of our own lives, ever willing to embrace our crosses with love and to lift them high as the consecrated slaves of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Nothing we endure in this passing, mortal vale of tears is the equal of what our sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death and caused His Most Blessed Mother to suffer as her Immaculate Heart was thrust through and through with Seven Swords of Sorrow.
Although not a time of the severe penances we practice in Lent, Advent is still a penitential season. It is not a time of partying and merry-making. There are eight days in the Octave of Christmas and forty days in the Christmas season for celebration before we enter almost immediately into Lent. (Quinquagesima Sunday is February 3, 2008. Ash Wednesday is February 6. Easter Sunday is March 23, less than three months after Christmas Day!) Advent is a time of prayer and penance and sacrifice to prepare for a worthy and truly joyous commemoration of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Oh, there are grand feast days, such as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8 and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 and of dear Saint Lucy on December 13 (and Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Peter Chrysologus and Saint Barbara on December 4, Saint Nicholas on December 6, Saint Ambrose on December 7, Saint Melchiades on December 10, Saint Damasus I, December 11, Saint Thomas the Apostle, December 21, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, December 22).
The time of Advent is one of anticipation, not one of jubilation. Christmas carols begin on Christmas Eve, not before. Let us keep a holy, penitential Advent to welcome the Baby Jesus with His Most Blessed Mother and His foster-father, Saint Joseph, with purity, love and devotion as never before. We do not know whether we will make it to Christmas Day, do we? Let us be serious, therefore, about living penitentially in order to be so purified of our faults and failings that we will welcome Our Lord into our souls with fervor every time we receive Him in Holy Communion and ever be ready to see Him in all others and to treat them as He would treat them, offering forgiveness readily, remembering that nothing anyone does to us or says about us is the equal of what one of our least sins caused Him and His Most Blessed Mother to suffer during His Passion Death.
It really is better a little suffering and penance and humiliation in this life than Purgatory or worse, it is it not? A blessed Advent to you all. (Thanks for slogging through yet another installment in the travelogues!)
(Below listed is a Novena to the Immaculate Conception, provided courtesy of the Our Lady of Good Success Apostolate. This Novena began yesterday, November 29. Listed below this Novena is the Christmas Novena that beings today, the Feast of Saint Andrew, which is prayed fifteen times a day until Christmas Day.)
Novena to the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin! Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined to become not only the Mother of God, but also the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man; penetrated therefore, with the most lively confidence in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena, and to obtain for us the graces and the favors we request. Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us, then, that angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue, that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought, word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we many recover by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin, and at length attain safely to that blessed abode of the saints, where nothing defiled can enter.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
V. Thou are all fair, O Mary.
R. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V. And the original stain is not in thee.
R. And the original stain is not in thee.
V. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem .
R. Thou art the joy of Israel
V. Thou art the honor of our people.
R. Thou art the advocate of sinners.
V. O Mary.
R. O Mary.
V. Virgin, most prudent.
R. Mother, most tender.
V. Pray for us.
R. Intercede for us with Jesus our Lord.
V. In thy conception, Holy Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father Whose Son thou didst bring forth.
V. O Lady! aid my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray
Holy Mary, Queen of Heaven, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Mistress of the world, who forsakest no one, and despisest no one, look upon me, O Lady! with an eye of pity, and entreat for me of thy beloved Son the forgiveness of all my sins; that, as I now celebrate, with devout affection, thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, so, hereafter I may receive the prize of eternal blessedness, by the grace of Him whom thou, in virginity, didst bring forth, Jesus Christ Our Lord: Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, in perfect Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.
The Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Blessed Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires, through the merits of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us now and the hour of our deaths. Amen.
All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Luke the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Laboure, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us.
Saint Peter of Alexandria, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us
Pope Saint Clement I, pray for us.
Saint Felicitas, pray for us.
Saint Sylvester the Abbot, pray for us.
Saint Catherine Laboure, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us.
Saint Didacus, pray for us.
Pope Saint Martin I, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saints Vitalis and Agricola, pray for us.
Saint Hilarion, pray for us.
Saint John Cantius, pray for us.
Saint Peter of Alcantara, pray for us.
Saint Hedwig, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Francis Borgia, pray for us.
Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
Saint John Leonard, pray for us.
Saint Dionysisus (Denis), Rusticus and Eleutherius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Placidus and Companions, pray for us.
Saint Bruno, pray for us.
Saint Wenceslaus, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Remigius, pray for us.
Saint Clotilde, pray for us.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Linus, pray for us.
Saint Peter Nolasco, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Pennafort, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us.
Saint Thecla, pray for us.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.
Saint Eustachius and Family, pray for us.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.
Saint Januarius, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Giles, pray for us.
Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
Saint Nicomedes, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, pray for us.
Pope Saint Zephyrinus, pray for us.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us.
Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.
Saint Philip Benizi, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint John Eudes, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us, pray for us.
Saint Agapitus, pray for us.
Saint Helena, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Irenaeus, pray for us.
Saints Monica, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Antony of the Desert, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Turibius, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Saint Barbara, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Chrysologus, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us.
Blessed Humbeline, pray for us.
Blessed Edmond Campion, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
Father Maximilian Kolbe,M.I., pray for us.
Father Frederick Faber, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.