Tag Archives: St. Gabriel the Archangel Church

Ash Wednesday, Walmart, and a Wonderful Friend

7 Mar

“Sharing a smile is kind of like the flu. The more you are around people, they can’t help but catch it too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

*************

Part of the journey in life is slipping and falling along the way; in these times true friends are the ones who pick you up and dust you off.”

― Ken Poirot

***********

I went to Mass this morning for Ash Wednesday. I was pleasantly surprised that the church was nearly full at 8:30 in the morning on a work and school day. I’m sure the evening Mass will be crowded too.

Not everyone knows the reason that we have ashes placed on our foreheads. When I was a little girl, I had no idea what the symbolism meant, but I knew it was a sacred right, and every time I looked in a mirror, I felt special.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer, fasting and repentance. … Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to either the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

When Father Don gave his homily, he basically told us that as we begin this Lenten season, it wasn’t so much about giving up candy or cookies or alcohol, but more about focusing on being more aware of our duties as Christians. We should speak kinder, be more generous, help one another, be kind to strangers, reflect and pray more often, and just be aware of how blessed we are and share those blessings. As I sat there, I wondered what more I could do during Lent to be a better Catholic, a better version of myself. That’s pretty tough… she giggles in silence, as I’m already pretty amazing. (Little inside joke)

After Mass, I waited a while until the church was nearly empty. I wanted to take a picture of the crown of thorns near the altar with the backdrop of the beautiful new sanctuary. A picture is worth a thousand words…

I decided to stop at the bank and Walmart on the way home. I needed to have the auto service department check my tires. I keep getting a low tire symbol light up on my dashboard every few weeks. The man looked at the offending tire a bit, filled it with air and the light went away. He said to come back if it continued.

Since I was already there, I decided to go in and shop a while and get a few things. Time to stock up on more chocolate chips and marshmallows for brownies. I was running low, plus I was going to bake some brownies for my firemen when I got home.

As I wandered aimlessly through the aisles, I needed to go check the craft and art supply section. I absolutely didn’t need a thing, but sometimes I just need to look at paint and brushes and markers and fabric, just to get my “artist fix.” If you are a crafter or artist, you know what I’m talking about. While I was looking at the tubes of paint, my cell phone rang. I was so thrilled and delighted when I saw the name. I answered with a giggling, “Miss Della! How are you?”

My dear sweet friend Miss Della moved to Tennessee a few years ago. We keep in touch on Facebook, but we haven’t spoken in ages. She said she was looking at her Facebook page and saw my picture and something I posted and she was compelled to call just to say hello because she missed me and the ladies at Towne Creek. Then, she proceeded to tell me how much joy I’ve brought into her life and how much she loves me and thinks about me all the time. Well, we were both crying on the phone. That was one of the sweetest and kindest things I’ve heard in a very long time. It made my heart burst with joy. What perfect timing. That brightened my entire day and I’m still glowing. Love you Miss Della.

After we hung up, I continued strolling along the aisles and grinning from ear to ear. When I was checking out, Miss Debra the checker smiled and said, “How was the service?” I wasn’t sure why she would ask that. I didn’t have any special service at Walmart. Then, she pointed to the ashes on my forehead, OH! I forgot about the big ol’ cross of ashes on my head. I told her it was a very nice service and started telling her about our new church. She said several employees and friends also go to St. Gabriel’s and told her how beautiful it was. As we chatted, the lady behind me with a cart overflowing with groceries asked, “Where did you go to get ashes?” She explained that she was new to McKinney and recently moved here.

Well of course, the three of us ladies were laughing and chatting, and discussing the new church and the community. I dug into my purse and took out a business card with my name and phone number, and told the new lady, Diana, that she should call me sometime and I’d be happy to answer any questions about the area or show her around town. Miss Debra just smiled a big smile and said, “I just love what’s happening here. This is so nice.”

Well, you know me. I had to get out my phone and take some selfies of my new friends.

Miss Debra is such a sweet happy lady.

Hopefully Diana will call me soon just to say hi and keep in touch.

I’m still not sure why I seem to be so lucky and blessed, but I do know that a smile and a kind word is contagious. It’s kind of like the flu, the more you’re around people, they can’t help but catch it too.

Sunday Sermon and Kenyan Choir Celebration for Father Charles

2 Jul

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”

Max Lucado

************

Hot, hot, hot here in north Texas. But, it was a good day for celebrating our final day with Father Charles before he leaves for St. Francis. I arrived promptly at 8:30 to greet before 9 o’clock Mass. there were many smiles, hugs and handshaking. Father Charles was officiating every Mass, saying farewell to each congregation and group of altar servers.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus being asked by a man to heal his sick daughter. On His way, a woman who had been sick for twelve years heard that Jesus was passing, and she thought, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” When she touched his cloak, she was healed. Jesus felt the power leave Him and asked who touched Him. The woman fell before Him and trembled and confessed.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.

Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While He was still speaking, Jesus and the father were informed that the sick daughter had died. He replied, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He went to his house, took the child’s hand and told her to arise. The girl woke and walked around.

************

My take on it…. Faith is a very powerful force. We may not all receive miracles like these mentioned, but we still need to have faith. Mostly, I think we need to have faith in ourselves. God doesn’t cause awful things to happen, He’s just there to help us get through them. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

After 9 o’clock Mass, I ended up staying a little longer for the 11 Mass. I went to my car, took my brownies over to the rec center for the potluck lunch at noon, and sat and listened to the Kenyan choir rehearsing. They were going to sing in honor of Father Charles at 11. It was a packed house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCMgrjoYBCk

The lunch afterwards was standing room only, with Father Charles, walking around, talking to so many friends, shaking hands and hugging children. He will be greatly missed.

Saturday at St. Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique and a Sunset

5 Nov

“We fellowship with God when we fellowship with people” ― Sunday Adelaja

*****************

Today was St. Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique. It’s always a wonderful combination of fabulous crafters and devoted volunteers. The Women’s Club and Knights of Columbus organized, set up, cooked and prepared for this annual event. I ran into a lot of good friends and found many treasures for my holiday gift giving. 


The first encounter was my friend Mary and her lovely daughter and family. Mary and I greet at the door before 9 o’clock Mass pretty much every Sunday. We had lunch together, and the Knights of Columbus started preparing food and arranging tables around 5 am. 


I hadn’t seen my good friend Bonita in quite a while. She was volunteering with the crafting women’s group. Always a big smile and a hug.


Gosh, I haven’t seen Paula since last year’s Boutique. We used to play tennis together. I haven’t played in years. She is an amazing player. I’m an old has been. She makes lovely jewelry with sports teams and local scool logos and mascots. 

Another fun friend, Krys, sews, knits, crochets and creates beautiful craft items. I picked up a little treasure for my Baby Belle. Krys was another friend who used to come and volunteer with me at Towne Creek. She taught the ladies origami and jewelry making and many other crafts that I have no talent for or ability. 



I came home with a big bag of treasures, not to mention a dozen tamales that the Knights were selling on the way out. 

It was a beautiful afternoon and evening. I made sure to stop inside the sanctuary and light a candle before I drove home, with a special intention and a heart filled with gratitude.


On my evening walk, I stopped at my neighbors open garage and joined Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy for a beer and conversation. The sunset blazed orange and gold in the western sky, reminding me of my blessings and the glorious scenery that God paints for us every day. 

This is my sunset….

Wednesday:) What is a Saint and Why Not You?

1 Nov

“But in the end they were not called saints because of the way they died, or because of their visions or wondrous deeds, but because of their extraordinary capacity for the love and goodness, which reminded others of the love of God.” ― Robert Ellsberg

****************

Today is All Saints Day, and in the Catholic Church, a Holy Day of Obligation. I feel pretty blessed to be able to get up in the morning at my leisure, and not have to run off to a job, or scurry around with little kids. So, I decided to get up early and go to 8:30 Mass instead of tonight at 7. The alarm going off at 7 am may not sound too early for most folks, but I rarely go to sleep before 2 or 3 am. Don’t ask me why. There’s no good reason, except I just don’t sleep well at night.

This morning, I bounced out of bed quite cheerily, took a quick shower, and headed off to church. Actually, I think I was looking forward to maybe greeting at the door before Mass on a different day other than Sunday. New faces and smiles, familiar faces and hugs.

It was a cool misty morning, so I wrapped my sweater tight around me as I held open the door and said good morning. Then, a very familiar face came over to greet me, and he decided to hold open the other door and join me for a while.


Father Don shook a lot of hands and greeted a lot of people. At one point he said, “It’s pretty cold out here.” I didn’t give him a sermon on sacrifice, but I did mention that he had some nice long and warm robes on, and I just had a sweater. 

Can you see the new church going up in the background? I told father that I kinda like the purple underlayment, and perhaps we should keep the purple color for the final structure. I don’t think he agreed. Perhaps he’ll take it under advisement.

For the Holmily, Father Don talked about All Saints Day, and while he greeted at the door, he told people that today was their day. I didn’t get it at first. Father said that we should all strive to be Saints. No, we don’t have to run out and get martyred or be tortured or die, but in our own way, if we strive to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, we all become Saints. We may not be canonized and have a little statute or holy cards made in our likeness, but if we manage to get up to heaven, we are considered Saints. (I guess if you make it in the door, you are a Saint.)

Wow! That’s a pretty cool concept. Lead a good life, follow the Two Commandments… there are ten, but I like the abridged version…Love God, Love your neighbor. The other eight are all covered in one and two. 

So, if you’re ever feeling blue or unworthy or incompetent, just remember, YOU TOO CAN BE A SAINT. Today’s YOUR day! It’s a good vocation. 

Sunday Sermon, Pancake Breakfast, Some Silly Stuff

26 Sep

“To obtain wealth beyond measure, seek to make more friends than money.” 

― Richelle E. Goodrich

******************

Finally, a good rain, cooler temps, and Sunday. A good day. 

Today’s Gospel from Luke was the story of the rich man who dined lavishly every day, and the poor man Lazarus, covered in sores who lay at his door. Both died, but Lazarus was taken up to heaven by angels and the rich man suffered in hell. The rich man looked up and asked Abraham for mercy.

Abraham replied,‘My child, remember that you received

what was good during your lifetime 

while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;

but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.

*****************

My take on it…You can have all the riches, treasures, and pleasures of the earth, but if you do not share your blessings, if you are not kind and generous to others, if you are dishonest, greedy and selfish, well then, enjoy these few earthly years because that’s all you’re going to get.

*****************

After 9 o’clock Mass, the Knights of Columbus hosted a pancake breakfast in the community center. It was a rainy day, but many attended. I sat with some friends and talked with some folks I didn’t know. It was a good morning.



I snuck back in the kitchen and took a picture of the guys hard at work. That’s so nice of them to host this several times a year.

Usually, I stop at the store after church, but I had a hearty breakfast, so I went straight home. It was still drizzling a little most of the day, but Imstill wanted to get out for my walk, so I grabbed my umbrella and went out.

Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy were sitting in their garage, enjoying the welcomed cool afternoon.of course, I was invited to sit and chat. And, seeing that it was almost 5 o’clock somewhere, I was offered a beer, which I graciously accepted. Last time Imsat and had a beer, I staggered home, so this time I only drank half and brought the rest home with me.


Nice folks.

Miss Sandy returned my aluminum pan that I’d brought brownies in last week after her surgery, so I decided to use it as an umbrella. I was a little tipsy, so it sounded like a good idea.


I made it home safely. I don’t drink and drive, but I will walk home three blocks in the rain sipping a Coors. How daring!

Happy Sunday!

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

4 Jul

“Often, the lambs must rest among the wolves and pray that the are tired too.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

************

Do not recite words just to prove to yourself and others that you know and love God; for he already put his breath and light inside you. Instead, put truth in your every word and action, and always let your conscience steer and guide you.” 

― Suzy Kassem

************

Back to 9 o’clock Mass at St. Gabriel’s this morning. The sun was shining, already hot, and the smiles coming into church were uplifting. My friend, Mary, and I greeted each other with a hug, then everyone else with a cheery, “Good Morning.”


Today’s Gospel was about Jesus sending out 72 disciples to go out to preach the word, telling them to go with nothing, relying on each house and host, and blessing them with words and deeds…

Luke 10

Go on your way;behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 

Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;

and greet no one along the way. 

Into whatever house you enter, first say,

‘Peace to this household.’

If a peaceful person lives there,

your peace will rest on him;

but if not, it will return to you. 

******************

My take on it…We come into this world with nothing. We rely on faith, family, friendship and hard work to sustain us. It’s better to be a strong lamb who helps others than a wolf who preys on the weak. 

******************

Father Don had been on vacation a few weeks too. He said it was good to be home, and that he missed us all. I felt the same. There were a lot of hugs and smiles this morning.

Another pleasant surprise was the baptism of little Avery. I’ve watched her wiggle and giggle and grow every Sunday for almost three years. Today was also her third birthday.


A wonderful celebration. A good day!

Saturday: St. Gabriel’s Spaghetti Dinner and Stepping Outside the Box

26 Apr

“We all want to break our orbits, float like a satellite gone wild in space, run the risk of disintegration. We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.” 

― David Bottoms

**********************

After gloomy days of rain and grey, today was sunny and downright warm, getting up to 89degrees. I went to my writing group, had lunch with Mandy, did some shopping, bought nothing, had an ice cream cone at Sweet Spot on the square, then came home for a long steamy walk. 

I debated with myself about going to the Knights of Columbus Spaghetti dinner  Karaoke night at St. Gabriel’s.  I didn’t think I’d know anyone there and I don’t like doing things alone. I’m tired of doing things alone. But, I’ve been telling myself to step out of my little lonely box and try new things. (I talk to myself a lot)  So, I showered and went off to St. Gabriel’s. 

When I walked in, Father Don was kicking off the karaoke segment with “Sweet Caroline.” He has a very nice voice, so I grabbed my phone to take a video.

http://youtu.be/jn0uV7-yViw

  
I didn’t see any familiar faces, so I sat with a group people I didn’t know. I smiled, laughed, and clapped along. I struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to me. We talked a while, exchanged pleasantries, and I gave her my card and asked her to call me some time and perhaps we could have lunch. I made a new friend. I stepped outside my box. 

  
Teresa. “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”