by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto


     El Nino finally visited us last weekend. I had wondered when our turn would come, and the first visit arrived. I say "first visit" because I think it would be foolish to assume that there will be no more arrivals.

      Last weekend Omaha, NE received 12 inches of snow with high winds up to 40 mph. Those high winds were what created real trouble for us, for they blew drifts from 3 to 12 feet high in certain areas.

      Then cold temperatures arrived with a real blast. For the first time all winter, temperatures got into the single digits and below zero, as well. Last night, as a matter of fact, temperatures were supposed to reach 10 below.

      Oh, it is not unusual for Nebraska to have even 20 degree below zero for a few days during the winter, so I am not saying that our snow and cold has not been experienced here before.

      What DOES make this all unusual, however, is the fact that such snow and such temperatures are very unusual for the month of March.

      I had told several people last week, that we should be grateful for the winter we had had because it had been very mild by usual comparison. Then the el-biggo storm hit and we were forced to remember the warmer days of this winter. I recalled as well that until last weekend, I had worn my spring coat all winter.

      Meteorologists did attribute the Omaha storm to El Nino, so relying on their expertise, I contend that we have received our first visit from "Him."

      I shoveled for two days to get my car out of the drifts, and then helped two neighbors shovel out their cars. I hope Iíve lost a few pounds in the ordeal.

      As I shoveled I thought how this would be only PART of our El Nino experiences. Omaha is in tornado alley and frankly, I would not be surprised if other ďvisitsĒ would be in the form of tornadic winds.

      Iím not complaining and I realize that other people so far have had it far worse than we have to date. People are losing their homes to mud slides, floods, and tornadoes.

      Our Blessed Mother has been foretelling serious times for us. We must take her seriously and live her messages of peace, prayer, Faith, fasting and conversion.

      If every Catholic in the United States alone were to go to confession at least once a month, pray one rosary a day and genuinely try harder to keep Godís Commandments, I am certain that very, VERY serious devastations to our country can be thwarted.

      If Our Lady has been appearing all over the world as reported (and I believe she has), she is not coming for fun and games. It is serious and we must take her seriously.

      I pray the rest of your Lent will be holier than ever and that you will take God and His Mother...our Mother seriously.

      Peace and God bless you!