Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grace-Filled Evening

This is the sculpture of the Trinity behind the main altar at the shrine

When a friend emailed me to ask if I wanted to go to a pro-life Mass celebrated by Father Frank Pavone and attended by St. Gianna Molla's youngest child, I said yes.  Then I started thinking of all kinds of excuses about why I shouldn't go. I'd have to leave work a little early.  Rush-hour traffic would be abysmal.  It would be crowded. I'd have to miss dinner.  I was tired.  All those excuses did nothing except convince me it was where I needed to be.  I was thrilled when my youngest said she'd like to come, too.

I had never been to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czesochowa before.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I wished we had gotten there a little earlier so I could explore the grounds a bit more.  As it was, we got there about 20 minutes before Mass began and were lucky to land some of the last remaining seats.

Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla walked in the procession, carrying what I believe was one of her mother's reliquaries.  She is a thin, humble woman who strongly resembles her Saint-mother.  Father Pavone told us it was her first ever visit to the United States.

If Father Corapi demanded rock-star status, Father Pavone is the salt of the earth.  He gave a powerful sermon on why we don't have the right to destroy or demand life.  Powerful as his sermon was, it was the presentation given by Dr. Molla that made you realize you were in the presence of the Divine.  Dr. Molla began her talk in a hoarse voice that revealed she might be fatigued.  Her broken English made her more endearing.  But it was the bits of her parents' letters to each other that helped me realize St. Gianna was a saint even before she gave up her life to bring her youngest daughter into the world.

Perhaps most profound of all was the prayer her father composed shortly after her mother's death whereby he urged his children to pray to their mother in Heaven.  Peter Molla died last year at the age of 98. I have been trying to see if I can find a copy of the prayer someplace but haven't had any luck yet.

BTW, I think there were probably well over a thousand people there last night.  We sat toward the back where we enjoyed an endless symphony of babies babbling, cooing and complaining.  Mass ended and we had no sooner gotten in line to venerate St. Gianna's relics when my beeper and my cell phone both started going off.  All I can say is that the answer to my prayers came today, and from the standpoint of an admittedly weak human being, it couldn't have been soon enough.

Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, youngest child of St. Gianna Beretta Molla


  1. Beautiful!! We wanted to go, but alas..:P So glad you received your answer!

  2. "So glad you received your answer!"

    So is Jesus!

  3. Joyce, what a great Grace for you! Thanks for sharing. I love Father Pavone. He's the real deal. Gee, can you imagine being the daughter of a Saint? I love that we now have Saints who actually lived in our lifetime -- at least MY lifetime : )

    Hope your news was what you have been hoping for. God bless.

  4. I'm glad everything is working out well for you.

  5. Isn't is a blessing how the Lord provides these oasis opportunities in the midst of the hard times we live in...I'm so happy you have received an answer.
    I remember when I was still a Protestant thinking how courageous Father Pavone was as he battled for Terri Schiavo's life here in Fla. Years later,as a Catholic I was praying the Divine Mercy at my mother in law's bedside as she passed away at that same facility.

  6. Bl. Gianna Molla- pray for us

  7. Patricia, that's exactly what my friend said to me on the way home - imagine having a mother who is a Saint.

    Kelly, I almost expected to see you there. You would have loved it.

    Thank you Kathy and Issac!

    Caroline, yes, the Lord always seems to know when to send me a life preserver.

  8. Did you know Priests for Life is located right here on Staten Island? Not sure exactly where, but I've seen their address. I would love to hear a Fr. Pavone homily. Over a 1000 people sounds inspiring and hopeful!


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