Today I began my day at St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church. As a young boy I attended daily Mass, often serving as an altar boy. Yesterday I met Fr. Robert Marino, Pastor of St. Philomena’s and he told me that Mass on Wednesday would be at 9:00 am followed by Adoration of the Eucharist. As I entered the chapel at St. Philomena’s this morning I was moved by the ambience. Here a simple chapel adorned by a few statues, one of them of St. Anthony and the Child Jesus. A painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe and behind the altar, the San Damiano Cross. There was decidedly Franciscan tone. The chapel was warm and inviting and there were four ladies who welcomed me as I entered. Mass began promptly at 9:00 am and I was treated to an intimate experience of the Eucharist. Fr. Marino introduced me to the others in attendance and that made me feel welcome too. Following the Mass, Fr. Marino prepared the monstrance for adoration, placed it on the altar and we sang Pange Lingua. As we sat in the quiet and presence of the Eucharist I reflected on my good fortune to be part of this community. Peace.
This year has been busy and positive. A year ago I was thinking retirement and now, well let’s say that’s no longer part of my vocabulary. I planned none of it and have just gone where the spirit has led. We just spent a weekend in Rochester celebrating our little boy’s 26th birthday and enjoying the incredibly warm weather too. Good food and good friends too. Meeting Devin’s girl friend’s family and enjoying a special dinner with them too. Easter breakfast at Jines on Park Avenue and then a leisurely drive home through the Genesee River valley with a stop in Piffard at Abbey of the Genesee. Some quite time in the chapel and then a walk around the grounds. Time with Our Lady of the Genesee and then a quiet drive through Letchworth Park. All this topped off with a leek dinner at my wife’s parent’s home.
Today is yet another day of leisure as we reap the benefits of no snow days in our calendar this season. I’m planning a drive to St. Elizabeth’s Motherhouse in nearby Allegany and a visit to their gift shop. Looking for a medal of St. Anthony of Padua for Devin. Anthony has become Devin’s new patron. Happy Easter and Passover to everyone. Peace and all good too!
Today I drove with my Mom from Tempe, AZ with my Mom down Route 60 south toward Florence, AZ. There was a monastery to see, a Greek Orthodox monastery at that. It is called St. Anthony’s Monastery. It is like no other monastery I’ve ever visited. I’ve never visited a Greek Orthodox church either. I can no longer make that claim. I was very impressed by this monastery which is literally in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It is about nine miles south of Florence, AZ. Florence is home to a state prison and about 17,000 other souls. It is smack dab in the middle of the desert. It’s about 70 miles south and east of Phoenix.
St. Anthony’s is an impressive monastery. Five or six monks from Mount Athos came to the Sonoran Desert in 1995 and since then they have constructed this spiritual oasis in the desert. True to form I purchased a couple of loaves of bread in their store. The temperature here today is in the lower 70s. That’s quite a change from -5 F last week at home. I’ve been enjoying the change. I will write more.