Written by: Denise Serafini on Sunday, April 02, 2017
Our event at the Pious Union of St. Joseph Shrine was as touching as any we’ve done to date. Father Leo of the Servants of Charity presided over the event and two other priests were available for confessions. I don’t think I have ever been at an event where I saw so many tears.
There were several members of the Knights of Columbus Color Guard that joined us and, as always, they did a marvelous job. However, they were one man short for a full procession and I noticed a young man in the pews, so I asked him if he would mind joining the Knights to bring in the Relic of the Holy table. We handed young Zachary a pair of gloves and with a few instructions he took on the role. He was just beaming with thanks for the opportunity. His father approached me later and told me that his son felt so honored to have been given the opportunity to hold the relic. He said, “this is something he will remember all his life.” From the brightness in this young man’s face I could tell that he too was being blessed in a special way.
One of the knights asked us if we could pray for his son who has cancer and yet another asked us to offer up the prayers during the event for his son who is mentally challenged. Each of them came to me after the program to say they felt touched. Yet another in a series of special blessings that seemed to have been part of the program at the Shrine of St. Joseph.
Sister Ann Hubler of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, who is permanently assigned to the shrine worked with us to make arrangements for the event and was on hand to help us get everything in place. She too asked for prayers for vocations to the religious life. We will continue to pray for that intention but I have to believe God was listening.
The music was especially beautiful for this event. We usually use local musicians to help us, especially at shrines that don’t have a supporting music ministry. Sometimes it’s very difficult for musicians that have never met to execute on a program that is new and unfamiliar but these two brought it all together perfectly. The combination of prayers, meditations and music definitely has a way of contributing to the closeness to Jesus that people feel during the program. Another piece of the overall blessings imparted by Jesus to His children that evening.
Although Heidi, the lady from Cleveland, had asked us ahead of the program how she could take her leave in short order at the conclusion of the service, she ended up deciding to be the last one in the veneration line so she could spend as much time as possible in the presence of the relics. I think she was just basking in the blessings that were being showered upon her.
Somehow I got a little carried away at the end of the event talking about how we depend on St. Joseph to take care of us in our travels and help keep us financially afloat just on free will donations. I mentioned that we get a special benefit in our efforts to limiting any frivolous spending - we get to know the Cracker Barrel menu by heart. Sister Ann approached me just before we left and placed a gift card face down in my hand. She said “this is something special for you and Jean.” You guessed it – It was a Cracker Barrel gift card. Not only are we being led to spend time in prayer with people across the country, St. Joseph always makes sure we’ll be fed, a blessing we definitely need during our travels.
Confessions went on long after the conclusion of veneration. The blessings of the Sacrament of Reconciliation were definitely at work during this event. We did our standard take down and left the relics on the altar so that the confessing priests would have their opportunity for veneration when they were done. Once that was completed the three priests, along with a gentleman whose name I never got, help us pack the car and get us on our way. Working together as a group gave us all the opportunity to share in great Christian fellowship, another great blessing provided to us if we take the time to engage with each other. By the time we were done I felt like these men had been a part of our lives for years. We are definitely friends in Christ for life.
Each person there that night got what they needed in terms of blessings. They’re all one of a kind blessings designed specifically for the individual. That’s the genius of God in Creation. He not only created us equal, but unique. He showers us with the blessings we need in the way we need them, when He knows the timing is right, all by design. Blessings are all around us. All we have to do is simply take note of them. Jesus is always confirming His great presence among us. All we have to do is listen to His call, spend a little time in prayer and voila – Designer blessings showered upon us just for the asking.
Consider Ephesians chapter 4:7 "grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift"