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!

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