It's a time to wax nostalgic as we look back at that year 1981. We had all escaped the sixties and seventies - thank God, and looked forward to the eighties with the same temporal aspirations as others our age. Spiritually we were secure but really we were just neophytes, unaware of the mountains to climb. One of those mountains was Medjugorje and, though we wouldn't hear about it for eight more years, it would be forty five days after we said "I do" to each other that Our Lady would first appear in that tiny, remote village between the mountains and begin to ask the world to do what her Divine Son requested. Just as her Oasis of Peace has grown and lasted to today, so has our love. In fact that love has grown stronger because of the storms we've had to endure. Unlike the region around Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we haven't had an all-out war on our homefront, but we've had our share of skirmishes and marital battles and grown from that. Truces are the best way to soothe hurt feelings and the assurance of love can cure all. It has been said love conquers all and we can attest to that. In the early years of our marriage we're sure it was Our Lady and the prayers of the people of Medjugorje who helped us through two heart-breaking ordeals. That was the loss of two children who are in Heaven - our little "Angel" and "Dawn" who were lost through miscarriage. In fact the Doctors told us Cyndi could not have any more children. That is why we consider Kevin Michael and Kellin Joseph our miracle babies. They are not babies anymore; Kevin is a strapping fifteen and a half "lil Abner" type and KJ is getting there, having just entered teendom last month. Mom suffered through both pregnancies and by the time Kel came into the world she was so torn up physically that there was no way she would ever be able to conceive again, but we are so grateful for the gifts of life God did grant us and accept whatever He deigns.
In fact, all through our marriage Cyndi has suffered physically, realizing Our Lord chose her to be a victim soul. Even though she would never be able to have children again, during the years of 1991 to 1994 she not only experienced tremendous pains in her womb but exhibited all the symptoms of being five to six months pregnant. We were buying maternity clothes for her and realizing that it would never come to fruition, but also realizing that by accepting this cross, she was making reparation for the terrible sin of abortion. The pains she underwent were often akin to a baby being ripped from her uterus. She submitted herself to Doctors and gynecologists who were completely baffled, especially when sonagrams revealed nothing. We knew this was from God and we accepted it. I didn't feel the pain, but the pain in my heart for what she was going through cannot be described. I am not an emotional sort, being the macho "man of the house" and all that. The boys get tired of Dad saying, "gut it out" or "suck it up" or the tried and true "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." But it helped me through these difficult times and leaning on Saint Joseph helped me understand "why" God had chosen Cyndi as a victim soul.
It first became manifest while we sat on a bench with Father Al Svobodny, OMI outside St. James Church on Mother's Day in 1990 at Medjugorje. It was there Father told me to "listen to my wife for she would know what God wanted us to do." I know that's advice every husband hears - "listen to your wife," but this was different in the sense that she would receive interior locutions and interior visions. Call it a trade-out for the suffering, if you will. I know before we arrived in Medjugorje we were on the brink of a break-up; tension had grown between us and we were at each other's throats. Looking back we know it was satan who did not want us to make that trip that Spring for it would change our lives forever. And truly it did. Saint Michael, my patron saint, has been working overtime protecting us from the devil. The evil one has thrown everything he could at us including going after our sons. But faith, hope and love - especially in the bond of holy matrimony, has kept him at bay. It was on our return trip that our new life began. We had owned an expensive home in the suburbs of Minneapolis and had all the goals of an eighties-type couple with Reaganomics in mind. Life was good. But within a few weeks Cyndi's father had a stroke and died immediately after Mass on Ascension Thursday and that's when our new goal in life took effect. Our Lady asked us to sell the home, give a third of our possessions away to charity, sell a third, and keep only the essentials among the final third. We returned to San Diego and there Cyndi took care of her aging mom until she entered a rest home. It was in August of 1990 when this ministry began and on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we made our vow of poverty. Like the early mendicants of Saint Francis' time, we realized from that point on we would be totally reliant on the goodness and mercy of others for our livelihood. Gone were the ambitions of "keeping up with the Jones" and "making it big in America." Those things didn't matter any more for we had higher, loftier ambitions, not of accruing money but souls. It has buoyed us through the years and given us great peace of mind.
And peace of mind is basically all we possess today as we continue to keep the ministry going on faith and a shoe string. Just as the early Apostles went from town to town depending on the inhabitants there for their livelihood, so also we have followed in their footsteps; not in such exotic places as Thessalonia, Crete, Corinth, Jerusalem or Rome, but in Arkansas, Texas and back to San Diego with visits to thirty-eight states. And today, the ministry is on life-support as we beg our readers to help keep the DAILY CATHOLIC going. It is a sign that we are that much closer to the time foretold in Scripture and by Our Lady in private revelation for the apathy is reaching alarming proportions. In order to reach more in these dire times, we have recently made this publication available for all at no fee. That was a tremendous leap of faith, but we trust totally in God's providence and your free will offerings to keep this going. Just as Cyndi and I have endured many storms throughout our eighteen years, so also the ministry is confronting it's toughest times.
Yes, we continue to live the vow of poverty literally and want to continue, but, in our need, if there is no one to give, then we have no choice but to shake the dust from our sandals and move on in order to keep the family alive and together. This would mean ceasing the DAILY CATHOLIC, something we shudder to consider, but God works in mysterious ways. We can't help but thinking along the same lines as Abraham who asked the Lord if there were forty just men out there, even thirty, or twenty. How about ten? The apathy among God's children, even within the Marian movement, is not a good sign and if the faithful ones do not respond to those ministries striving to do His Will, what will He think? We all know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Let's hope and pray history doesn't repeat.
And speaking of repeat, the answer is "yes" we would do it all over again - from saying "I do" to accepting the crosses God has allowed us to shoulder in our marriage and ministry. And why not? The rewards of love and commitment make it all worthwhile! Saving souls is rewarding as is the love of a spouse, but just as one person cannot do it all and depends on their partner to share the burdens and joys, so also this apostolate can't survive by itself. Cyndi and I are one, but yet only one half of the equation of this apostalate. We need you to help in fulfilling the wholeness of this ministry. Our marriage will go on but the life of this ministry depends on you!
We sang those wonderful Marian hymns like: Bring Flowers of the Rarest; "Mother Dearest, Mother Fairest;" and "On This Day, O Beautiful Mother." What beautiful hymns those were, and how our hearts burst with love for Our Lady! How happy we were to call her "Mother" and to be able to honor her specially during this month of May by crowning her Queen - "Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!"
My memories of the May Crownings "of old" cannot be separated from my memories of taking an active part in the May Crownings. In 6th grade I was elected by my class to be a May Queen attendant. In 7th grade I was again elected to be the May Queenís attendant. Then as an eighth grader I was elected the May Queen who crowned the beautiful statue of Our Lady in St. Peterís Church in Omaha, Nebraska.
My active participation did not stop there. As a senior in high school (Mercy High in Omaha, an all girlís school), I was elected by the total student body (about 700 students) to be May Queen, to crown the beautiful statue of Our Lady that was present on the high school campus.
Those are some happy and blessed memories of my youth. I didnít deserve those honors. But I must confess that from the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I had great love for Our Blessed Mother and maybe it showed amidst my classmates without my realizing it.
Then after Vatican II (not because of it), many schools and parishes seemed to let that beautiful devotion to Our Lady die out. That made me sad. I considered it one more achievement of the evil one to put Our Blessed Mother in the "back seat" and out of sight.
But the May Crowning ceremonies may be on the way back, even if a bit.
On Mother Ďs Day, I am going to be crowning Our Lady again. I wonít be in Church for the ceremony or on a school campus. Actually, the only other live human being to witness the crowning will be my earthly mother who will be 91 next week.
I will crown Our Blessed Mother right here at home. My (earthly) mother and I will sing those "old" Marian songs we used to sing and then both my mother and I will lay a crown of flowers on Our Ladyís statue that we have right here.
The angels, the saints, and God will see what we do and the love with which we do it, and the desire in our hearts that this precious display of love and honor for Our Lady be revived in our Church in this country.
I believe it will some day. I canít wait! I will weep tears of joy when that happens again.
Why donít you do the same this Sunday? Itís Motherís Day! If we honor His Mother, He will bless us.
O Beautiful Mother, "we crown you with blossoms today. Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!"
And to all those earthly mothers out there, I wish you also a very Happy Mother's Day. God bless you.
The home page is beautifully designed and simple, with an inspiring head shot of Our Lady of Tijalina on the left above the table of contents. The first thing they point you to is a description of what we'll experience when God delivers His Divine Mercy in the form of the Warning - when all will know the state of our soul just as God sees us. There will be no more pretense, no more fooling ourselves or others. It is the ultimate Merciful gift He can give us: a second chance! And what we do with that "second chance" is the next issue this site deals with in expert detail, laying out an outline for what we need to do as individuals. Finally, there is, what they call "A Judgment in Miniature" which is another detailed program at the parish level to prepare each parish for the expected influx of converts who will return to Holy Mother Church when they realize the error of their ways through the Warning or illumination of our souls. Through the direction of the Holy Spirit and Father Bill, they outline an excellent blueprint for preparation at the parish level from training more CCD teachers now and preparing prayer groups to establishing adoration, benediction, the Rosary on a regular basis, the Divine Mercy Chaplet as well as devotions such as First Fridays and First Saturdays in anticipation of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. There are so many items listed that it serves as an excellent compendium of "how to prepare" that should be adopted in every diocese and filtered down to the flocks as soon as possible. Father Bill writes a succinct and inspiring forward and from there are detailed points - each spokes in this wheel of preparation. At the hub of all this is total submission to the Will of God. One spoke deals with the Sacrament of Penance in such detail that even devoted and committed Catholics can gain something new from the points raised in tweaking our consciences. For someone who has been away from the confessional for quite some time, the section on Reconciliation will take much of the fear of the unknown away. It is excellently laid out in chronological form. Several of the "spokes" are excellent summaries of catechetical and dogmatic teaching such as the Truth of the Faith and the page on the Holy Eucharist so that all realize without a doubt Who they are truly receiving at Holy Communion. They list the main prayers recognized by the Church, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Devotion to Divine Mercy including the Works of Mercy and background on the devotion and Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska as well as resources where one can learn more. There is a detailed page on how all Catholics can become more involved in helping to end abortion, beginning with prayer and Holy Mass. Finally, there is a parish form one can fill out, but this was really the only negative for the form is not only too long, but cannot be e-mailed anywhere or filled out as a form in cgi script. In fact, there's no mention what to do with the form and it would seem it is only an example to submit to the pastors to have reproduced for other parishioners. In this, most every parish already provides and it would seem unnecessary. They do offer the full packet in a loose-leaf binder in English and Spanish for a price which parishes or individuals can order, but all the information they really need is already on the site or already implemented in the parishes and just needs reinforcing.
As we mentioned above, the site is extremely easy to navigate and follows an easy-to-understand order. Graphics are simple but stunning including the frame format star-studded rosary effect on the left side of each page as the gold bleeds into the white background. You can hardly get lost in this impressive site which actually provides more than meets the eye. For their content and intent, we therefore present our GOLDEN CHALICE AWARD to the Mother of Unity website, conferring SEVEN Hail Mary's to this site whose developers are doing all Jesus has asked and all His Holy Mother has conveyed in every one of her apparitions and messages in modern time.
Richard I and his army arrive on the shores of Cyprus.
The English abandon the Siege of Orleans because of the bravery of Saint Joan of Arc.
Birth of Saint Peter Canisius in Nijmegen, Netherlands who became a Jesuit and would be sent back to his homeland by the founder Saint Ignatius of Loyola himself to reconvert the Protestants. He became a Doctor of the Church
The explorer Christopher Columbus sets out on his fourth voyage to the New World.
Philip IV, known as "the Fair" becomes king of France. It would be through his influence that the popes would be moved to Avignon, beginning in 1309 the seventy year Avignon Exile or the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy.