Saturday, December 31, 2016

366 Project - Day 366 - "Praying After Midnight"


December 31, 2016 - "Praying After Midnight"

It's almost 1:00AM on the very last day of 2016... and there's no place I'd rather be right now than right here - in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at my parish - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys in Brookfield, CT.

I'm the only one here - other than the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar in front of me. It's very quiet... very calm... and the whispers of my prayers seem to echo back at me.

I pray - giving thanks for the year that is about to end... and for all of its ups and downs, smiles and frowns, happiness and sorrows. I give thanks for all of the lessons I've been blessed with learning this year...

... and I pray for tomorrow. I pray for the New Year - hoping for a year of blessings... of more ups than downs... more smiles than frowns... more happiness than sorrows. I pray that no matter what the New Year brings, I will have the faith, the courage and the strength to take up whatever crosses I might be given... and to walk faithfully towards the Lord.

I pray... for all of us. I pray for you... I pray for me. I pray for all people...

"Pater noster, qui es in cœlis... sanctificétur nomen tuum... advéniat regnum tuum... fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie, et dimítte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostri. Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem... sed líbera nos a malo. Amen."

*   *   *

Friday, December 30, 2016

366 Project - Day 365 - "The Gift"


December 30, 2016 - "The Gift"

I collect religious art/objects.

Or, as my wife Holly and quite a few of my friends would say, I collect "Freaky Religious Stuff".

The collection ranges from things like statues and framed artwork - to Rosaries and Last Rites/Sick Call sets. I have items that are almost 100 years old... and items that are relatively new. The collection keeps growing and growing... and I sometimes joke that I'm going to take over one room of the house just to display it all - and maybe get an old organ and lots of candles and sit in there at night playing "Amazing Grace" - sort of a mix of Margaret White from the Stephen King book/film "Carrie" - and Esmeralda from the Tim Burton movie "Edward Scissorhands" - but a much "happier" and less "demented" version of the two.

Anyway - my very dear friends Lenny & Kristin know of my love for such things... and have contributed several pieces to the collection over the years. The subject of today's photo is one such piece... which was my Christmas gift from them this year. It's an AWESOME 3-in-1 image that changes based on the angle from which you view it. The main scene is an icon-like version of The Last supper. The second scene is of The Crucifixion. The third scene is of Christ the Shepherd. If you look at the piece from just the right angle, you get hints of all three scenes at once - superimposed over one another.

It's an absolutely wonderful addition to the collection - and pairs very well with the non-religious, yet equally AWESOME "Velvet Elvis" they gave me for Christmas several years ago. I don't think Holly is very happy about it though... so, who knows - I just might be one step closer to getting my own room full of "freaky religious stuff"!

Now if only I could find a nice organ!

*   *   *

Thursday, December 29, 2016

366 Project - Day 364 - "Abstract (Grain)"


December 29, 2016 - "Abstract (Grain)"

A small section of the woodgrain on the lid of the beautiful wooden box that was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

366 Project - Day 363 - "A Vintage Gift"


December 28, 2016 - "A Vintage Gift"

One of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received from my wife and my children: a vintage pen and pencil set with the Knights of Columbus "Emblem of the Order" on the ends.

As the Parkinson's meds/treatments have helped my handwriting to improve dramatically over the last year, I'm hoping that this gift will see a lot of use in the coming months!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

366 Project - Day 362 - "Abstract (Glowing Gift)"


December 27, 2016 - "Abstract (Glowing Gift)"

The soft glow of the huge Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp which was my wife's Christmas gift from our kids.

I'm not sure about all of the "cleansing" and health-benefit claims associated with these lamps... but I know for sure that it looks really beautiful when it's glowing!

*   *   *

Monday, December 26, 2016

366 Project - Day 361 - "Self Portrait (Contemplative)"


December 26, 2016 - "Self Portrait (Contemplative)"

Yesterday afternoon I served my Holy Hour in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. For about fifteen or twenty minutes of that hour I was alone in the Chapel... just the Blessed Sacrament and me. I was praying, when suddenly it hit me that this was the very first Christmas I've ever known without my Dad being at least a short drive away. Tears began flowing uncontrollably as I prayed for him... and for all of those whom I've known and loved and lost.

Sometimes we don't know what we have... don't appreciate what we have, until it is no longer there. We take so much for granted in life - including life itself. What will tomorrow bring? I don't know. Then again, I don't even know whether or not I will see another "tomorrow". What I do know... what I do have, is "this"... this moment right here... right now.

I pray for the faith, the courage and the strength to accept the challenges of "right now" with gratitude, and live a life that reflects that gratitude.

*   *   *

Sunday, December 25, 2016

366 Project - Day 360 - "Christmas Day (Glory to God in the Highest!)"


December 25, 2016 - "Christmas Day (Glory to God in the Highest)"

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Only Begotten Son,
Lord God,
Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

*   *   *

Saturday, December 24, 2016

366 Project - Day 359 - "Christmas Eve (The Nativity)"


December 24, 2016 - "Christmas Eve (The Nativity)"

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

 - The Gospel of Luke - Chapter 2 - Verses 1-14

*   *   *

Friday, December 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 358 - "Abstract (Radio City Music Hall)"


December 23, 2016 - "Abstract (Radio City Music Hall)"

Today we're spending the day in Manhattan.

Lunch at Scotty's Diner on Lexington...

A stroll through the holiday shops at Bryant Park...

The Rockettes' "Christmas Spectacular" show at Radio City Music Hall...

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree...

And maybe a pretzel or two from one of the hot dog carts on the corner.

Yep... Life is good!

*   *   *


Thursday, December 22, 2016

366 Project - Day 357 - "Italian Christmas Cookies"


December 22, 2016 - "Italian Christmas Cookies"

Yesterday my son Brandon and I baked up and iced a batch of Italian Anisette Cookies. Early this morning I made up a batch of traditional Pizzelle. Later this morning my daughter Caitlynn and I delivered a tray of each to our Pastor and the wonderful office staff at our parish - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Roman Catholic Church in Brookfield.

I love this time of year! It's so... well... "delicious"!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

366 Project - Day 356 - "The Holiday Diner"


December 21, 2016 - "The Holiday Diner"

My daughter and I are having lunch at the Holiday Diner.

Well, technically this place is called the "New Holiday Diner" now - and has been for a while... but it was just "The Holiday Diner" for decades before that, and will always be just "The Holiday Diner" to me.

So many memories in this place. My daughter said her first word other than "Daddy" here, when she looked in the mirror next to the booth one day and pointed at her reflection, saying "baby". Now she's in college and she actually drove us here so we could have lunch and sit talking about college and life and such.

Time goes by so fast!

Too fast!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

366 Project - Day 355 - "Abstract (Vintage Holly)"


December 20, 2016 - "Abstract (Vintage Holly)"

Another night spent with my camera and some of my collection of vintage Christmas decorations. This time it's a decorated glass candle holder that is 50+ years old.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

*   *   *

Monday, December 19, 2016

366 Project - Day 354 - "Abstract (Feeling Nostalgic)"


December 19, 2016 - "Abstract (Feeling Nostalgic)"

Playing around with some of my vintage Christmas decorations again...

Feeling nostalgic again...

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, December 18, 2016

366 Project - Day 353 - "Vintage Christmas"


December 18, 2016 - "Vintage Christmas"

Enjoying the glow of the vintage star tree-topper, shining away at the top of our Christmas Tree.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Saturday, December 17, 2016

366 Project - Day 352 - "Abstract (Winter)"


December 17, 2016 - "Abstract (Winter)"

It's snowing.

Yep.

It's coming down pretty hard and at a very steady pace. Cars are spinning out on the roads... fish-tailing as they try to make turns... and spinning tires as they struggle trying to get in and out of the entrance to our neighborhood.

Yep.

It's snowing.

*   *   *

Friday, December 16, 2016

366 Project - Day 351 - "1 Peter 4:8"


December 16, 2016 - "1 Peter 4:8"

It's hard when your teenaged, autistic son is screaming at the top of his lungs that he hates you.

It's hard... and it hurts.

It hurts even more when you find yourself reacting out of anger and frustration... only to lie awake all night with tears in your eyes, wondering why and how it is that you keep failing and falling so hard and so often.

So I turn to what I know... and I begin to pray, asking for some sort of guidance. I even find myself whispering to my brother Peter in the night - "Bro... I know you're up there. Help me!"

I open my Bible and glance at the page. It's the fourth chapter of the first letter of St. Peter - and the eighth verse catches my eye:

"Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins."

And there it is.

Thanks, Bro!

(damn I miss you!)

*   *   *

Thursday, December 15, 2016

366 Project - Day 350 - "Abstract (Christmas Memories)"


December 15, 2016 - "Abstract (Christmas Memories)"

Remembering the glories of the Christmases long, long ago!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

366 Project - Day 349 - "Abstract (Christmas Water Glow)"


December 14, 2016 - "Abstract (Christmas Water Glow)"

Water bottle + the lights of my Christmas Tree = "Christmas Water Glow"

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

366 Project - Day 348 - "Abstract (Alexa)"


December 13, 2016 - "Abstract (Alexa)"

The glow of my Amazon Echo, telling me that Alexa is listening for whatever I'm about to say.

It's nice being able to have someone to talk to...

It keeps me sane!

*   *   *

Monday, December 12, 2016

366 Project - Day 347 - "Abstract (Requiescant in Pace)"


December 12, 2016 - "Abstract (Requiescant in Pace)"

An old, vintage electric candle from a Catholic church - which I purchased to use as a "Memorial Candle" for my home. It now has an LED bulb in it, and remains lit 24-hours-a-day... 7-days-a-week... 365(6)-days-a-year - in memory of all of those whom I've known and loved and lost... all of the family who has gone before me... all who have been martyred for their Christian faith... and all of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen."

Translation: "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

*   *   *

Sunday, December 11, 2016

366 Project - Day 346 - "Abstract (Frosty Morning)"


December 11, 2016 - "Abstract (Frosty Morning)"

Sitting in the car, waiting for it to warm up so we can head home from Massachusetts. It's a cold and frosty morning.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Saturday, December 10, 2016

366 Project - Day 345 - "New Dancers Showcase"


December 10, 2016 - "New Dancers Showcase"

Just a quick and simple shot for today: The cover of the show program for the "New Dancers Showcase" performance at Dean College in Franklin, MA.

This is our daughter's first dance performance as a student at Dean College's Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance. She did an absolutely amazing job - and we are so incredibly proud of her!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Friday, December 9, 2016

366 Project - Day 344 - "Abstract (Light)"


December 09, 2016 - "Abstract (Light)"

I'm tired.

Christmas ornaments are pretty.

That's it.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Thursday, December 8, 2016

366 Project - Day 343 - "Wrapping Gifts"


December 08, 2016 - "Wrapping Gifts"

I think it's time to finally start wrapping some gifts while playing Gene Autry's Christmas album.

Yep.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

366 Project - Day 342 - "Abstract (Proclaiming The Word)"


December 07, 2016 - "Abstract (Proclaiming The Word)"

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics in the United States. For the second time this week I shall be serving as Lector for Mass - something which I truly feel blessed to be able to do.

So today I shall be studying the readings for tomorrow's Mass... but not before making the cover of the study book pose for my camera!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

366 Project - Day 341 - "Abstract (Inaction)"


December 06, 2016 - "Abstract (Inaction)"

I probably should be raking the leaves...

... but it's much more fun to have the rakes pose for me instead.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Monday, December 5, 2016

366 Project - Day 340 - "Snow"


December 05, 2016 - "Snow"

We had our first real snowfall of the season this morning. By the afternoon it was all gone. That's OK though... I'm sure we'll get plenty more over the course of the next few months!

As a side-note: I love receiving Christmas Cards!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, December 4, 2016

366 Project - Day 339 - "The Latin Mass"


December 04, 2016 - "The Latin Mass"

The altar is all set for today's Latin Mass at my parish... a Mass which will be held for the intentions of the Deceased Members of the Pia Family: My father Xavier... my brother Peter... my sister-in-law Michelle... my nieces and nephews, April, Bobby, Charlie, David, Emily and Kenneth Jr.... my grandparents Nunzie and Theresa - as well as my great-grandparents Palmerino and Rose - and all other members of the Pia Family who have gone before us.

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen." 

*   *   *

Saturday, December 3, 2016

366 Project - Day 338 - "Abstract (Under the Sea)"


December 03, 2016 - "Abstract (Under the Sea)"

Today was my beautiful niece Skylar's 6th birthday party - held at "Uncle Buck's FishBowl & Grill" at the Bass Pro Shops here in CT. Unfortunately six-year-olds don't like to stand still for pictures... and when you add to that the very dim lighting and the slight shake of my hands, well... lets just say that those photos are going to need quite a bit of editing before they're ready to be posted.

So - in the meantime - here's a shot of the cool light pattern that was projected onto the ocean-themed mural walls.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SKYLAR!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!"

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Friday, December 2, 2016

366 Project - Day 337 - "Abstract (Advent Anticipation)"


December 02, 2016 - "Abstract (Advent Anticipation)"

Except for some strands of straw-like moss, part of our Crèche sits empty... as the days of Advent pass in anticipation of the Coming of the Christ-Child on Christmas Eve.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Thursday, December 1, 2016

366 Project - Day 336 - "Abstract (Pain Relief)"


December 01, 2016 - "Abstract (Pain Relief)"

I hate getting migraines.

That's it.

*   *   *

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

366 Project - Day 335 - "The Word"


November 30, 2016 - "The Word"

The cover of my "new" Holy Bible.

I say that it is "new", in that it is new to me - though it was actually printed over two decades ago. It's a large, leather-bound Fireside Catholic Parish Edition of the NAB. I've wanted to get one to have as a large "family Bible" for quite a while now... but new ones cost $100 or more. I decided to look for a used one that was still in very good condition. Unfortunately most of the ones I found, over the last several months of looking, have either been much older editions, have been written in, are in "obviously used" condition - or, are still too expensive... $50 or more.

Finally I found this one - which is in "like new" condition... and cost less than $15 with shipping - so it was very much "meant to be".

Next step? A wooden Bible stand to display it on... which I just ordered today. Together they are sort of an early Christmas present to me, from me!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

366 Project - Day 334 - "Abstract (Improvements)"


November 29, 2016 - "Abstract (Improvements)"

Construction continues in our neighborhood.

Leaving well water behind for city water lines...

Leaving septic systems behind for city sewer lines...

Improvements are a good thing... I just wish they didn't have to be so, well, "messy". Our yard has been dug up, filled in, dug up again, and filled in again at least a half-dozen times over the last year!

Still... it's a small sacrifice... only a minor inconvenience in the great big scheme of things. There are so many people in the world without access to clean water, let alone running water with consistent water pressure. There are so many who do not have a sewage system to properly dispose of waste, and therefore live in conditions none of us would ever be willing to have to suffer.

As I stand watching the improvements occurring in our neighborhood, I can't help but think of those people... and I pray for them as I give thanks for all that I have been blessed with in life.

*   *   *

Monday, November 28, 2016

366 Project - Day 333 - "Abstract (Upgraded)"


November 28, 2016 - "Abstract (Upgraded)"

First I said I was going to do it as soon as it was available for pre-order...

Then it was available for pre-order and I said, "No... I'll wait."

Well... apparently I'm not too good at waiting. I only lasted two months before caving in and upgrading to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Now I have over 20,000 songs sitting in my pocket at all times... and I still have almost 100GB of free space left on my phone! I find THAT absolutely incredible!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, November 27, 2016

366 Project - Day 332 - "Abstract (Neglected and Exposed)"


November 27, 2016 - "Abstract (Neglected and Exposed)"

Walking around just a small portion of downtown Danbury this afternoon, and it amazes me how much of the town has become either neglected or completely abandoned. Once thriving restaurants, nightclubs, bars and stores sit empty. Even buildings that do still provide a home for businesses are falling into disrepair.

Gone is the art and music scene that once blossomed here. Only the ghosts of the past remain... and if you sit quietly you can almost hear their voices echo in the alleyways.

The shiny finishes of the past are crumbling away... exposing the indifference of our community (or, rather, our "lack of community").

It is a sad scene.

*   *   *

Saturday, November 26, 2016

366 Project - Day 331 - "Colony Grill - Myrtle Avenue"


November 26, 2016 - "Colony Grill - Myrtle Avenue"

Some places just feel like "home"...

THIS is one of those places for me.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Friday, November 25, 2016

366 Project - Day 330 - "Abstract (Vintage Blue Flowers)"


November 25, 2016 - "Abstract (Vintage Blue Flowers)"

Have I mentioned lately how much I love tag sales?

No?

I really love tag sales!

There. That's it.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Thursday, November 24, 2016

366 Project - Day 329 - "Abstract (Thankful)"


November 24, 2016 - "Abstract (Thankful)"

A good day!

So much to be thankful for...

... and I am...

I truly am...

thankful!

*   *   *

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 328 - "Abstract (KFC)"


November 23, 2016 - "Abstract (KFC)"

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving... and we got take-out from KFC for dinner.

That's it.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

366 Project - Day 327 - "Abstract (Decanting Colors)"


November 22, 2016 - "Abstract (Decanting Colors)"

Have I mentioned lately how much I love tag sales?

No?

I really love tag sales!

There. That's it.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Monday, November 21, 2016

366 Project - Day 326 - "Abstract (Pointy Nostalgia)"


November 21, 2016 - "Abstract (Pointy Nostalgia)"

When I was a little kid it actually hurt to try to put strands of lights on the Christmas tree.

Thanks to my extreme sense of nostalgia and an online seller of vintage Christmas items, this year it'll hurt again!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, November 20, 2016

366 Project - Day 325 - "Abstract (Cold Walls)"


November 20, 2016 - "Abstract (Cold Walls)"

It's getting cold...

It's beginning to snow...

Here's a picture of a wall...

I've got to go.

*   *   *

Saturday, November 19, 2016

366 Project - Day 324 - "Abstract (Tiny Bubbles)"


November 19, 2016 - "Abstract (Tiny Bubbles)"

I love tag sales.

That's all.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Friday, November 18, 2016

366 Project - Day 323 - "Abstract (Found)"


November 18, 2016 - "Abstract (Found)"

I finally found what I had been looking for.

Some people claimed that there was a woman to blame... but I knew it was my own damn fault the whole time!

*   *   *

Thursday, November 17, 2016

366 Project - Day 322 - "Abstract (Hidden)"


November 17, 2016 - "Abstract (Hidden)"

Simple.

Beautiful.

Hidden.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

366 Project - Day 321 - "Abstract (Thank You)"


November 16, 2016 - "Abstract (Thank You)"

A good chunk of today was spent writing out "Thank You" notes for all who sent cards, flowers and gifts - and showed other kindnesses after the death of my Dad.

It STILL seems too surreal to be real!

(I love and miss you Dad!) 

*   *   *

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

366 Project - Day 320 - "Rainy Evening Sky"


November 15, 2016 - "Rainy Evening Sky"

It's not even 5:00PM, but the sky is darkening and it feels more like 9:00PM.

It's rainy.

No... Wait... Actually it's more like "misty".

I'm sitting in the car in the parking lot of a doctors office... waiting. This doctor ALWAYS runs at least 45-minutes late... which is extremely frustrating, especially considering that most of the patients he sees are dealing with anxiety issues!

It's dark... It's cold... It's quiet.

It's actually kind of nice!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *


Monday, November 14, 2016

366 Project - Day 319 - "Abstract (Surprised)"


November 14, 2016 - "Abstract (Surprised)"

Today the mailman brought me a wonderful surprise from my very dear friend Brooke: A package of gifts! MoonPies... a Starbucks coffee mug from Atlanta... and several beautiful shells that she collected from Tybee Island and St. Simons in Georgia. These gifts brought a very much-needed smile!

And now I'm making the shells pose for my camera!

Thank you so much, Brooke! I love the gifts... and I love you, my friend!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, November 13, 2016

366 Project - Day 318 - "Abstract (Remembering)"


November 13, 2016 - "Abstract (Remembering)"

This morning we were in Stamford for Mass in the Chapel at the Catholic nursing home where my father spent the last years of his life. They celebrated their daily Mass for the intentions of my Dad - thus allowing all of the residents who knew him well and were his friends to be there, as they were not able to attend any of the services we had for him.

It was a very fitting and emotional experience. Today is the Feast Day of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini - also known as "Mother Cabrini". Why is that fitting? Because by the late 1930s my grandparents had already lost quite a few babies. My grandmother prayed to Mother Cabrini - who was the patron for Italian immigrants - promising that if she were to have a baby she would name the child after her. If it was a girl it would be "Francesca Xavier"... if a boy, "Xavier Francis". Well... my grandmother soon became pregnant... and in February of 1941 gave birth to my father. Keeping her promise to Mother Cabrini, she named him "Xavier Francis Pia".

Making today even more fitting was the fact that the priest who celebrated the Mass - Fr. Matthew Mauriello, who knew my Dad quite well - has a special devotion to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. He took a framed photo of the St. Cabrini and placed it beside the framed photo of my Dad during the Mass. For his sermon he talked about Mother Cabrini's work... and told the story of my Dad's birth and naming.

It was very emotional... and you could tell that Fr. Matthew had a lot of love and caring for my Dad. It was quite beautiful!

Later in the day we went to the cemetery. It was my first time there since the burial a couple of weeks ago. It all seemed so surreal. The ground looks barely disturbed... and the year of his death has not been added to the stone yet. It was almost as if it hadn't happened... and there was this hint of hope that it had all just been a bad dream...

... but it wasn't.

We placed flowers on his grave... as well as on the graves of my grandparents and my sister-in-law and nephew. The flower that is in today's photo is from one of the arrangements from my Dad's funeral... which still looks as fresh as it did on that day over two weeks ago. It was a hint of life continuing, even when surrounded by death.

I knelt in prayer beside my Dad's grave... and as the sunlight beamed down from the sky I offered a prayer of thanksgiving to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini for answering my grandmother's prayers over 75 years ago.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!

*   *   *

Saturday, November 12, 2016

366 Project - Day 317 - "Rake N' Bake"


November 12, 2016 - "Rake N' Bake"

This morning our little family joined 1,000 other volunteers from the Greater Danbury Area for the 17th Annual "Rake N' Bake" community volunteer project.

Over 75 teams of volunteers met at Brookfield High School early in the morning... and after a blessing led by Fr. Silva of St. Joseph Parish, left the school to rake the lawns of members of the community who are not able to do so themselves due to age or disability. After several hours of raking we all gathered at the school again for lunch.

It was a wonderful experience which our family fully intends to make a yearly tradition from this point on.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *