Saturday, April 20, 2019

Three Good Friday Miracles

Missionaries before our Good Friday "Cross Walk"

Dear Friends,
It’s Holy Saturday, and our annual Holy Week Mercy Missions aren’t even over yet here in Cincinnati, but I can’t help but share what I’ve seen and lived these days.
Our Cross Walk Group in front of Holy Cross Immacolata Church and the Steps
Yesterday morning we did a “Cross Walk”, carrying five life-sized crosses from the downtown Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains to the Church of Holy Cross-Immacolata. Holy Cross sits atop a hill overlooking the city and the Ohio river. For 159 years, starting Holy Thursday and lasting into the night on Good Friday, the citizens of Cincinnati have been climbing and praying their way up a series of steps all the way from the river to the top of the hill where the Church sits. 
Pilgrims praying their way up the steps in the rain
Along our way, we asked people in the streets for prayer requests and offered to pray with them. We brought food for the homeless, and tried to remind people that it was Good Friday. Sure, there were rejections, but also many people who were genuinely touched that we wanted to pray with them. We met many homeless people, as well as ordinary business people. Each person was different. 
My Miraculous medal-handing-out friend
The first miracle I witnessed was a little boy who spent the whole Cross walk handing out tiny miraculous medals. We had walked about a mile or so and approached a bus stop where several people were seated waiting for their rides. I watched as one of the adult missionaries approached a lady seated at the bus stop, only to be completely rejected. Seconds later, this little boy, a first grader, approached the same lady and offered her one of his tiny miraculous medals. The lady looked up, smiled, and held out her hand to receive the gift. “Thank you so much,” she said. It was as if he had awakened her from a deep sleep.

At the end of our walk, we still had time before the Good Friday service, so I sat down in church and heard confessions. This was the second miracle of my day. As a priest, you are priviliged to see a different side of people: the story of their suffering and sin. It is very humbling, especially knowing how hard it is for me to drag myself to confession, to witness these people humbly confessing their sins to Jesus through His priest.
Now, I hear confessions almost every day of the year. But these confessions yesterday were some of the deepest and most powerful ones ever. Several people hadn’t been to confession in forty or fifty years or more, and they really needed God’s forgivness. I’m not even forty yet, which means I wasn’t even born the last time some of these people went to confession—think of that! Each confession yesterday was a miracle, and I am so grateful to have been witness.
It was during the Good Friday service that I witnessed my third miracle. 
As we sat down for the readings, I looked down a moment at the beautiful white and blue tile floor in the sanctuary. Then I saw it—there was a host, a small host, sitting there, hidden among the white tiles. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was just an arm’s length in front of me. I had criss-crossed the sanctuary several times before and had not seen it. It must have fallen off the altar during the breaking of the bread at a previous mass, perhaps on Holy Thursday.
I leaned over to pick it up, and this is what really shook me: that host must have been there, in the middle of a high-traffic corridor, since at least the day before, with people walking back and forth hundreds if not thousands of times, and it was completely untouched. Not a speck of dirt, not the slightest sign of a footprint. I’m sure it was consecrated, and I know it was a little Eucharistic miracle I witnessed. There must have been hosts of angels protecting it! I feel privileged to have been the one to have found Jesus. (reminds me of another time this happened!)
The missions aren’t even over yet, and I’m already looking forward to them next year! The missionaries themselves have taught me so much, as have the good good people we have come into contact with. It makes me so happy to be a priest, and so proud to be able to help bring Jesus to this world that needs him so much!!!
Please pray for all of our missionaries, we are over 250 people all told.
I pray you have a blessed Easter!
Father Kevin
PS: Please pray for me and our group of 20 pilgrims who head to Rome a week from today. If you have any prayer intentions, especially for any couples having a difficult pregnancy or trying to conceive a child, please send them my way, I have the perfect place to pray for them!!!

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