by Fr Richard Heilman | October 25, 2018 7:56 PM
This story comes from Ken Geraci …
I wanted to show off my new $19, made-in-Italy rosary I purchased for October Rosary Month! But, more importantly, I wanted to share a consolation that I experienced this past Sunday night after feeling really disappointed with the behavior of so many priests and bishops recently.
Due to various circumstances we ended up going to the very last 7:00 pm Sunday night Mass at our cathedral. The priest was a very reverent but elderly man whom I had never seen before but who said the Mass with great piety and sincere love.
As the Mass ended and the congregation was heading for the doors I remembered that I had my new (still not blessed) rosary in my pocket.
“Gaby,” I said to my wife, “I’m going to see if the priest will bless my rosary.”
We were gathering up our collection of very small children and putting on their coats, etc. before we started making our way to the exit. I searched the back of the church but I did not see the priest any longer. There were several nuns in charcoal gray and black traditional habits cleaning up the bulletins and tidying up. I caught the eye of one of them.
“Sister,” I asked, “have you seen the priest? Is he still here? I am wondering if he might be able to bless my rosary?”
“I think so,” she said, kindly. “Come with me, quickly!”
The middle-aged but energetic nun led the way into the Sacristy (where the priests keep their vestments and utensils and prepare for Mass). Unfortunately, the Sacristy was empty. Not deterred in the slightest, my bold nun bolted towards a small back door.
“Come!”, she ordered, not even checking to see if I was following her as she charged through the door into the cold, dark, rainy night. She made her way straight to the back parking lot where a single, very modest car was running with its headlights on. The car’s window slowly rolled down.
“Father!”, said the nun (somewhat out of breath). This man has a rosary and was hoping that you might be able to bless it.”
The poor old priest looked even older and more frail close up. I regretted instantly that we were bothering this poor old, elderly man. He was still seated inside his car as he took in the nun’s request and I saw his eyes slowly drawn to the rosary with its crucifix dangling from my hand. The lights on the car were turned off and the engine was shut down. The door opened and this living embodiment of Methuselah slowly and surely painfully made his way out of the car. I held out the rosary to him, apologizing for bothering him at this late time. But to my surprise he did not take the rosary from my hand but instead motioned for me to follow him.
“Come.” he said and to my surprise started walking slowly towards the back door of the Church. The nun and I dutifully followed. He slowly climbed the steps and went into the Sacristy. He pulled out a ring of keys and unlocked a closet where he selected and put on with great care his priest’s stole (a priestly vestment) and he opened another drawer and removed a container of Holy Water. He asked for the rosary and began a FERVENT prayer that lasted for what seemed like two minutes, interspersed with sprinkles of Holy Water. I could not help but notice how this holy priest’s face and bearing had radically changed. No longer was he the broken, elderly man in the rainy parking lot but instead he stood before me radiantly and animated as a powerful, intercessory man of God, transforming the mere chain of beads into the premier spiritual weapon of the Church Militant!
I thanked him profusely as I was moved to near tears by this old priest’s supreme dedication to his vocation! Standing behind him still was the nun, another tireless foot soldier in the army of God! As long as we still have people like these two, how can I sit in all of my comforts, complaining about the problems of the Church? God will deal with the wicked. All that remains for us is to still be faithful to our respective callings and vocations in life.
I will treasure this Holy Rosary for as long as I own it! Ken Geraci
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