The last week of January was Catholic Schools Week and I was able to witness the joy of life in several of our Catholic schools across the state. My mom celebrated her birthday that week as well. (I won't give her age away, but since I am her baby you know she has a few years under her belt.) Although I was unable to visit her in person on her special day, I was able to visit her during the beginning of February.
On January 29, I drove to Florence, Colorado to be present for a funeral on the 30th. St. Benedict's Parish was the first parish where I worked full time after ordination. I served as the Director of Religious Education for two years at the parish. During that time I came to know Chris and his family quite well. Chris died the last week of January from a heart attack at the age of 55. It was a privilege to preach the homily at his funeral. The church was packed with people standing along each of the walls in addition to all of the pews being filled. It was quite an emotional celebration of God's grace.
As soon as I arrived back in Cheyenne I prepared to leave for Sheridan. I wanted to be present to close out Catholic Schools Week and the year long celebration of Holy Name Catholic School. Holy Name Catholic School was founded in 1914 so we celebrated the 100th year during all of 2014. It was a fantastic visit with the students and all of the parishioners. Thanks Fr. Jim for the invitation to preach at all of the weekend Masses.
Once again, arriving back in Cheyenne, I repacked my suitcase and headed back to Missouri to visit my brother-in-law who is fighting esophagus cancer. Fortunately, in the few days we were there he seemed to show some improvement in his overall condition. We hope that trend continues.
While there in the St. Louis area we also visited my mom. Unfortunately, only one visit took place in her home. While we were in town my mom fell and broke her hip--or her hip broke and she fell. Surgery followed the next day and we now begin the long and slow process of healing and rehab. Mom will need an immense dose of God's healing touch.
The challenges of life are ever-present. Thankfully, so is God's grace, love, and mercy. If you are experiencing challenges in your life right now, please know that I am keeping you in my prayers in a special way today. Today, on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, we remember the sick in our prayers. Saint Pope John Paul II designated February 11 as World Day of the Sick, "a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one's suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding us to see in our sick brother and sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising achieved the salvation of the human race." (Letter Instituting The World Day of the Sick, May 13, 1992)