|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|