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Lenten Retreat for all Serrans and GuestsMonsignor Michael Mullen will be leading our Serran Lenten Retreat at Savior Pastoral Center on Saturday March 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Retreat Topic will be on the Beatitudes. Mass will be at 11:15. AM.  Continental Breakfast and Lunch are included in the fee of $30 for the Retreat.  All Serrans and their guests are encouraged to attend.  See the calendar for registration.

 Fellow Serrans,

Here’s hoping you all survived the arctic blast we experienced recently. Burr !!   We can be thankful it didn’t last long and that it has warmed back up. It’s still winter in the Midwest and anything can happen.

February is a reminder that life goes on, a sense of ordinary time, to keep things going, hang in there, and to anticipate exciting things to come.

Late afternoon and evenings are the worst. There is something about the coming of darkness that produces a bit more sadness and anxiety. We are called to live in the light of Christ, not in the darkness that encompasses much of our world. Sometimes the light of Christ seems dimmed and far away while shadows creep in from all sides.

Click here to see upcoming USAC Events and the current world-wide Serra membership

Thanks to people like the Pilgrims, Abraham Lincoln, and our mothers and fathers, I believe the America I was born into is worth fighting and dying for. But how do you do that? There is no one answer. But as Catholics we believe where sin abounds Grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20) and this is where we can start.

I didn't retire until age 80 so my horizon for planning my post-retirement was not a great as some. The biggest decision was to cut off any formal relationship with medicine, not to teach from time to time in a Medical School and to cancel my subscriptions to my medical journals.

That decision was the result of prayer and seeing what other physicians had done post-retirement. Their path was not a path with which I was comfortable. That was the extent of my discernment.

I was on my own to start on a different discernment, a different career.

While I was still in practice my wife Jean was diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer type. Also she was quite functional in many ways it fell to me to be more of a "house husband", especially in food shopping and cooking, doing some cleaning and providing more companionship to her, more than I was able to do while active in medicine.

I also had a desire to do more for our Church and now had time to do so. Daily Mass was nearby and I had the opportunity to serve as Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Presider of Communion Services, all of which was fulfilling.

In the course of time I was invited to join the Serra Club of Kansas City in Kansas. I knew little about Serra Clubs, and, while in Houston, the Serra Club there had only a tangential, if any, effect on our son's discernment for the priesthood. So I demurred for several months, then accepted the invitation to attend a Wednesday meeting and with some hesitation agreed to join Serra KCK.

After a month or so I wasn't sure this was the place for me to serve the Church and I was thinking seriously of resigning. As a trustee, a bit at sea, I requested a meeting over coffee with Bob Vohs, then president of the Club. He suggested that I fill a pressing need by helping out with the Nun's Appreciation Day Event.

That involvement was critical to me remaining in the Club and led to other assignments the Newsletter editor;, VP, Communications Committee; President of the Club and eventually the website development and maintenance.

None of these duties has yet detracted from my essential post-retirement responsibilities as caregiver to Jean, the person most important in my life, although that may change with time. I am a better Catholic layman as a result of my association with Serra KCK and I feel that I have, in some small way, contributed to their holy ministry.

Robert Luchi

I dreaded it, explored ways to avoid it but found that I had not real choice. Sometimes the things that we dread the most turn our to be wonderful "God Moments". 

On May 21st, my wife Jean and I will travel to Philadelphia where she and 3 friends from the first grade at St. Rita's Catholic School in Philadelphia will attend Mass at the Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia on her feast day. Jean and her friends have been faithfully doing this for 81 years. It is a prayerful and joyous occasion, one that we hope to continue for as long as we can.

St. Rita and the Blessed Mother have been at the root of Jean's Catholic faith. They have brought her deep into the mystery of Jesus. When asked, how do you cope with Alzheimer's disease, Jean answers: “I put one hand in the hand of St. Rita, the other hand in the hand of Mary and with their help walk the path that Jesus has chosen for me.”

To the medical profession, Jeans ability to function, her happy, joyful days interacting with her family and friends after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease more than 20 - 25 years ago is quite remarkable. She is competent in all the activities of daily living (dressing, washing, eating, cleaning, etc.), continues to write checks, handles telephone calls and still makes the homemade pizza that her family enjoys every Friday night.

The hallmark of dementia of the Alzheimer type of course is loss of recent memory. And Jean's memory has not escaped the effects of her disease.

Dealing with memory loss in many patients can become stressful to them and their caregivers. Does memory loss have an upside? Perhaps. Small tiffs between husband and wife are quickly forgotten as if they never occurred.

Another is the sweet goodnight kiss that Jean never fails to give me. Sometimes it is only one goodnight kiss; sometimes she forgets and I get two and, at other times, even three.

I never refuse the second or the third. I cherish each.

Grace and Love bursting through, unconquered by the veil of Alzheimer's disease.

Robert Luchi

On May 21st, 2016 my wife Jean and I traveled to Philadelphia where she and 2 friends from the first grade at St. Rita's Catholic School in Philadelphia attended Mass at the Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia on her feast day, May 22.  A third friend, unable to make the Mass at the Shrine, was able to join us at a restaurant for lunch.

These 4 friends have communicated with each other over the years, despite distance, illness, deaths or personal misfortune, by mail or phone calls and by visits to each other's homes.

Jean and her friends have been faithfully visiting the Shrine for 81 years. When one of the group cannot join the others at the Shrine (as when Jean was overseas) the others send her a packet of dried leaves of the St. Rita roses blessed at the Shrine on her feast day. It is a prayerful and joyous occasion, one that we hope to continue for as long as we can, despite Jean's Alzheimer's disease.

Long trips like this are not easy on people with Alzheimer's disease, because just getting out of the house presents a host of new sights, sounds and images that are unfamiliar and disorienting.  Deciding what to wear, packing, going through airport security and navigating the new environment of a hotel room present challenges.   But Jean is determined to see these long-standing friends and she has a bit of trust in me to handle the details.  Yet it is a struggle for her to place these unfamiliar things in their proper context. However, once at the Shrine on Broad Street in Philadelphia and the site of her elementary school, Jean was in familiar territory and was able to, at least partially, feel in charge of the situation.

What was new on this trip was a short interview with a local newspaper complete with a photograph of the four friends, arranged by the daughter of one of the 4.  After all, 81 years of continued friendship undisturbed by serious, lasting disagreements is worthy of note.

The article appeared in the Daily News in Philadelphia a day or so after we left Philadelphia. Jean loved the photo and the comments the reporter made but felt the reporter had missed an essential point. The reporter commented on the marvel of such a long-lasting and untroubled friendship and wondered if this tight bond of friendship had anything to do with allowing these women to live into their late eighties.

What Jean thought was lacking was an appreciation of what had been taught to these women from the first grade at St. Rita's Catholic School. Jean and the others had grasped early on that there is a loving God revealed by Jesus and witnessed by St. Rita and other saints throughout the centuries. That this faith required them to acknowledge God's love for each other by offering their praise to Him and loving their neighbors, their friends, indeed everyone, in the way that God loves them. Perfect charity means that we will the good of the other regardless of any cost to us. That is what Jesus did for us.

There were some uncomfortable moments when one of Jean's friends offered some resistance to have an article written about them because of her strong sense of humility. "Our long-standing friendship need not be touted as something extraordinary". There were discussions among the 4 friends, and quietly and beautifully, the resistance was dropped, and interview and photograph embraced.

This admirable friendship has lasted because these four women understand that Christian charity means “willing the good of the other regardless of personal cost”.

Robert Luchi

Our annual neighborhood summer potluck party was held in early June this year. Jean now has little interest in preparing food for an event like this but welcomes the opportunity for her to engage in what she likes so much to do—socialize with other people. Late afternoon passed pleasantly enough into early evening and Jean was ready to go home after being at the party for about two hours.

The usual practice is for the people who prepared food to take home what is left, but since the party was still going strong when Jean and I left we took nothing with us. Later that evening one of organizers of the party came to bring Jean samples of food for her to enjoy the next day and to sit with her and chat. I was in the basement working when she arrived and came up sometime later to find Jean in serious conversation with this younger woman who was weeping quietly. She greeted me with a smile, dabbed tears from her eyes and said, "Jean has given me the grace I was looking for and needed so much". She thanked Jean warmly and departed, thanking Jean again.

The remarkable thing is that Jean has no memory of the content of the conversation. She only knows that this woman was anxious over something and that she, Jean, probably said something supportive. But just what that something was we may never know.

It seems that nothing, not even Alzheimer dementia, can suppress the Christian love for neighbor so deeply embedded in Jean. Whatever Jean said came from some deep source within her, an inexhaustible source of living water that Jesus promised the woman at the well in the gospel of John. A disease such as the dementia of Alzheimer type has the power to strip us of many things, but it has no power over the essential graces God gives us.

Robert Luchi

We, like many of you, view our adult children's birthday with joy mixed with a sense of disbelief that they, once toddlers, now are mature, independent adults. For Jean, birthdays have always been special occasions celebrated in special ways, no matter what our personal circumstances were are. Cards, cakes, candles, presents were selected well in advance, hidden away and brought out on the great day so that our children could feel Jean's love, present always, but, on these occasions, made explicit once again. Memory for remote things intact, Jean will still look at photographs of past birthdays and often be able to describe the setting of that birthday with surprisingly accuracy.

Our youngest child's birthday falls on the day before the date of our wedding anniversary. That relationship now is somewhat smudged in Jean's memory. Reminded of our child's upcoming birthday, Jean will exclaim excitedly that we must select a birthday card and then will not remember it an hour later. Keeping Jean in some way at the helm of these annual celebrations is important to us as a way of trying to maintain in her a sense of autonomy, purpose and place. It has become more difficult as her Alzheimer disease progresses.

A month before our daughter's birthday was to take place, repeated offers to take Jean to the store to buy birthday cards (each child usually received several) were declined. So,birthday cards were purchased and placed on a writing table for Jean to write a birthday greeting. Repeated observations that our child's birthday were fast approaching were met with, "I will do it first thing tomorrow. It's too late for the mail pickup today anyhow".

How often do we not heed opportunities for grace!

I was completely oblivious to the fact that in these repeated delays Jean was really asking for help. While I was insisting on her taking action, as she had always done before, she was telling me that she needed my help in getting started. Blinded by insistence for Jean to return to the person she was years ago, caused me to ignore a wonderful opportunity for grace and mercy.

Finally! When Jean's message became clear to me, I sat down at the table with her, wrote my birthday greeting, handed her the pen to write hers and while Jean was doing that addressed and stamped the envelope. Together we then arranged for a gift to be delivered to our daughter. So simple a response, so late in coming.

Jean's "thank you" was as subtle as her requests for help: a smile, a kiss and a look of relief mingled with joy that her daughter would recognize her mother's special love on yet another birthday.

Robert Luchi

My older sister attended St. Ann's Academy, a well-recognized Catholic Girls Schools in my hometown of Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. The Academy was open to boys from Kindergarten to 6th grade, at which point, for boys, puberty was on the horizon, 7th grade was to be taken elsewhere, allowing the girls to finish their education undistracted by non-academic concerns.

My sister was doing well in St. Ann's so it seemed appropriate to my parents to enroll me in St. Ann's 1933 Kindergarten Class. I didn't thrive at St. Ann's, so my parents transferred me to a public school after second grade. Thus ended my parochial school career.

I only remember four things in my few years at St. Ann's: my stammering made me an object of abuse and ridicule on the part of some of the boys in classes ahead of me. In the second grade, when it was my turn to read before the class, I finished with a sigh of relief that I didn't stammer too much, and that I had finished, a minor triumph for me. I stood in front of the class somewhat pleased with myself only to hear the teacher say slowly, "Robert that was very, (pause) very (pause as I waited for the word 'good') -- poor". I walked back to my seat thinking she is wrong, I thought that for me, that was pretty good.

The other two things I remember had relevance to my Catholic faith. In the first grade, at recess, I walked the grounds and found myself in the convent's cemetery, with headstones, flowers and in the center a larger-than-life, realistic statue of Christ on the cross. I was frightened and turned away. I could not imagine that the cross and the figure on it had anything to do with my life.

And later in the second grade, dressed in a suit with hands folded and eyes reverently downcast I walked back to the pew after receiving my first holy communion, wondering why I didn't feel any different after having received the Host and why the Sisters proclaimed that reception of communion would transform me.

Becoming the disciple Christ wants us to be is the work of a lifetime. Being born into an observant Catholic family and being baptized is a wonderful start, but much more is required. God does lead, teach and instructs us from our youth as the Psalm says. As with so many, the one who led me (and continues to lead me) to Christ was the Blessed Mother.

God's remedial education for me began with a ship.

At three years of age I was enthralled by a model of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Columbus, sitting on the mantle of my Grandmother's home. We lived there for a time so I saw it everyday but was forbidden to touch it. (I did find a way to touch it once or twice). Canvas sails with a red cross on the mainsail and the detailed rigging gripped my imagination. I thirsted for a model of the Santa Maria of my own but never found one that equaled the Santa Maria in my grandmother's home. Saying the name of the ship, "Santa Maria", became a joyuful boyhood refrain.

My next clear remembrance of God's gentle tugs was through the years of elementary and high School. My bedroom was on the third floor, so every day passing through the second floor on my way down, I passed a statue of the Blessed Mother on a small table in the hallway. That image radiated tenderness, warmth and love that thereafter pulled me toward the Blessed Mother whenever questions arose or trouble loomed.

It was the blessed Mother that set me on a path that led me to finally recognize in her Son, Jesus, the same qualities of warmth, tenderness and love I perceived in her. I no longer recoiled from the cross but embraced it, at first tentatively, then more completely as my relationship to Jesus deepens.

It is remarkable it took so many years for me to realize that "Santa Maria", the Italian translation of "Holy Mother", is the beginning of the second part of the Hail Mary, andthat my desire for the ship on my grandmother's mantle was God's loving way of telling me where to start my journey to Him.

And now, as my life approaches its end, I find myself at peace in my home parish, Queen of the Holy Rosary.

Robert Luchi

A Samaritan traveler was moved with compassion—Luke 10:33

A long time ago, when I was in my third year of medical school, as part of my training I was assigned to a hospital located in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It was a hot, spring day and I was late, hurrying to be in the hospital in time for the beginning of my class. About a block from the hospital on the other side of the street I saw a man lying prone and motionless on the sidewalk. Flies were buzzing about his lower abdomen and upper thighs. Many thoughts rapidly crossed my mind. Did he have as stroke? Was he a diabetic? Did he pass out in a diabetic coma? (I had enough medical knowledge to know that the urine of a diabetic in coma is loaded with sugar and thus attractive to flies). Or was he simply intoxicated and sleeping it off?

I was in a hurry, I was late, so, I took the easy way out. I put my convenience ahead of his need for someone to come to check on him. In all probability, I decided, in that neighborhood, he was simply drunk and would soon be back on his feet after a nap.

After class, returning home I passed the spot. The man was gone. Did someone else pause, stop by and call an ambulance? Or did he wake up and go on his way again?

I never found out.

I regret not acting like the good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke, taking the time to see if this stranger needed help, putting another’s need first and my convenience second. To this day I regret missing out on that opportunity for grace.

How often is the opportunity for grace offered us? And how often do we ignore that opportunity?

Robert Luchi

“She couldn’t kill a fly” is literally true of my wife Jean.

A fly buzzes around me as I prepare something for us to eat. You would search in vain to find a flyswatter, much less flypaper, in our home. One of “God’s creatures“ she will say, “The fly did not ask to be trapped in the kitchen. Let it go free”. Easier said than done as we have screens on all windows and opening the door might let the cat out or invite more files in. The fly and I attempt to co-exist.

It doesn’t end with flies. Spiders, moths, mosquitoes and unnamed other crawling beings are similarly categorized as examples of the generous, creative power of God.

We humans are linked with mice, rats, chipmunks and the bird species, all of whom, once in our home or patio, are visitors to be treated according to the code of St. Benedict, that is, as if they were Christ. We must be attentive to their comfort and nutritional needs. Above all, we must not kill.

And when our cat corners a mouse Jean will fly to the rescue. The family is mobilized to gather up the mouse in something soft and comfortable to be escorted to the patio door to be set free. That the mouse, so well treated, and having praised the accommodations, may return with his friends bothers Jean not at all.

So, we welcome all creatures into our home as if they were Christ himself. Whether Christ himself, or one his disciples, ever swatted a mosquito or a fly, is not a subject open for discussion.

There is a certain sweetness and tenderness expressed here that is so characteristic of Jean. It springs from a deep Christian faith and an abiding sense of love for all of God’s creation that the prevailing ethos, or the infirmities of age, have not diminished.

It is a special grace that allows her to live now, daily, in the coming Kingdom of God where the lion will, one day, lie down with the lamb.

 

Robert Luchi

Last year over the weekend of October 1, there was a reunion for all of us who had worked at Media/Professional Insurance. I was hired to work there fresh out of law school in 1984.

During the course of the festivities two women approached me and said, “Kim is here and would like to talk with you.” I hadn’t seen or talked with Kim for years, but I had an idea of what she wanted to say.

Kim and I both started as underwriters at Media/Professional around the same time in the summer of 1984. Neither of us had worked as underwriters before, although Kim, who was around my parents’ age, worked as an insurance broker for a number of years and had dealt with my father when he was underwriter.

Media/Professional was a new start-up and didn’t provide any sort of training to new hires. We were given our manuals, a stack of files and instructed to work up our quotes for our supervisor’s review and approval. Kim and I became primary sounding boards and sources of advice for each other as we began to navigate the mysterious world of specialty insurance.

Later in the year Kim’s husband, Hollis, developed cancer and his deteriorating condition put her under a great deal of stress. I overheard her talking to others about it and felt bad for her, but didn’t know what to say, so I avoided the subject. One day Kim asked me if I could give her a ride to work as someone was picking her up from the office to take her to see Hollis at the hospital later in the day. I said I would be happy to as her house was pretty much on my way. During the ride over she gave me a rather frantic and complicated account of Hollis’s condition that I really didn’t follow as other thoughts about what I needed to do that day popped into my sleepy mind. When we got to the office Kim thanked me for the ride. I told her that I would be happy to give her a ride any time. It soon developed that I was picking Kim up every morning on the way to work during which she would give me a detailed report on Hollis’ deteriorating condition which I never would never fully comprehend. I would occasionally interject a sympathetic comment in an effort to do something to help this poor woman.

After several months Hollis died and Kim’s request for rides stopped. The years passed and we drifted apart. Then one day during the holidays I received a Christmas card from Kim. In it she simply wrote, “I will always be grateful for how helpful you were when Hollis was sick.” I was so stunned and flattered to see those words. I hadn’t really done very much and had felt so helpless as I listened to her recount her husband’s plight. We continued to exchange Christmas cards and every year she would write the same simple message of gratitude, which I didn’t feel I deserved, but which made me feel good nonetheless.

Kim eventually found me at the reunion. I was with my wife Melinda who I married on October 1, 2011, well after all this had occurred. When I introduced the two Kim said, “Jim was so helpful to me when Hollis was dying of cancer.” Kim’s generous comments definitely helped score some points with Melinda who is a nurse and who lost her mother to cancer in her twenties during the final stages of pregnancy with her son.

So often we can be more helpful to another even when we don't completely understand the situation, simply by listening sympathetically.

God continually presents us with such opportunities for corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Jim Borelli

In the 1980’s while I was working for IBM in KC I came down with bronchitis one winter after a cold. The Bronchitis seemed to hang on and on. After sometime I went to the doctor who confirmed I had a bad case of bronchitis and in addition to getting a prescription to treat it I was told that because of damage to my bronchial tubes I should be careful because I most likely would get bronchitis anytime I caught a cold.

So for 3 or 4 years each time I caught a cold or got the flue I would be out of work for days with bronchitis. Once I even checked with IBM Personal if there would be a possibility to take a job in a warmer climate so I would not get sick so often. At that time IBM indicated there was no chance of transferred for health reasons.

During this same time my wife, Sharon, and I were in a Marriage Encounter Rap Group. We met with other married couples once a month to strengthen our marriages. At each Rap Group meeting we prayed for various people, sickness or other situations. One meeting the lead couple suggested that this evening instead of praying for others; each person pray for themselves. When it came to my turn to pray, I asked that God heal my reoccurring bronchitis.  I remember my prayer went something like: “God please cure me of bronchitis.”

I never to this day have had an issue with bronchitis. I assume whatever was wrong with my bronchial tubes was healed. A one sentence, 2 second prayer was answered.

I just read the book A Case for Miracles and it reminded me of what happened 30 some years ago. God still listens even to short prayers and even when I pray for myself.

Gene Schreiner

At a recent Serra luncheon, Dr. Bob asked me if I had any “God moments”. As he explained to me what he meant. I started to review many of the times that God has spoken to me in a variety of ways. I ponder the blessings that God has provided to me every morning during my morning walk and prayer, and they are numerous.

The first one that came to mind was prayer offerings that I had offered to God to help guide me to finding a suitable home for my daughter and her sons as they relocated back to Kansas City after a very sad divorce in St. Louis.

I had been looking for a more permanent residence in early 2010 after temporarily finding them a duplex in northern Shawnee. I had been looking for about 3 months with a realtor from our parish. We had found three that were satisfactory, but none that fit all of the criteria. We were running out of time as the lease on their duplex was due to expire in just over 30 days. It was agreed that we would meet after church

My daughter had checked the internet just before Mass that Saturday, and found a new listing in the neighborhood where we used to live, the neighborhood that she and her brother grew up in, and held so many wonderful memories. A house only a block from where we had lived 14 years earlier.

I went to Mass that day and offered up my intentions to the Holy Spirit to guide me in the decisions that we would make that day.

When I left Mass I noticed that I had a gleeful text from my daughter about this new listing, and asked if we could add it to the list. As it turned out, the listing was just posted that morning! My realtor was able to get a showing set up immediately since the house was vacant. We were able to see it 30 minutes later, and offered a contract within the hour with a possession date before hew lease expired!

The house was offered at a very low cost, and needed all new interior paint and new flooring but was still well below our target price, even after the improvements!

After the papers were signed I went back to the Adoration Chapel and gave thanks to God for answering my prayers. God speaks to us every day and answers our prayers in many different ways. In many cases we don’t even realize that he has. We may not realize it because it may not be what we had hoped for, or when we had hoped that it would occur.

This only served to reinforce that if we place our faith and trust in Him, all will be answered. Not our will, but His be done!

Ron Rice

For a moment I was taken up into a heavenly choir.

I was with others in the packed pews during Archbishop Naumann’s consecration of our Archdioceses to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Queen of the Holy Rosary.

I took a few photographs before and during the early part of the ceremony and the prayed along with the congregation during the rosary, Mass and act of consecration. How our human attention strays during a rosary or Mass! St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.”

It was during the recessional song, “Salve Regina” that I saw Sister Doris, a Franciscan Sister whom I know, singing enthusiastically. We glanced at each other. I somehow felt drawn to join her in singing that hymn. So I put my arm around her and she her arm around me and triumphantly, joyfully, prayerfully we sang the concluding stanzas of “Salve Regina” as if in company with a vast heavenly throng.

It is hard to describe what that moment meant to me. That moment still resonates with me now. I felt as if momentarily raised to heaven and joined to that triumphant, joyful and prayerful choir singing praises to God. It was that special. No wonder I treasure that moment to this day.

Robert Luchi

Adeste Fideles, (O Come All Ye Faithful, carrying with it a sense of joy and urgency) resounded throughout our home and airways on the days before Christmas and on Christmas Day itself. I had three “God Moments” on Christmas Day, each centering on how people came to adore the newborn babe.

God Moment I
On the morning of Christmas day I entered the Adoration Chapel early on that day to put hosts into a large pic for the Communion Service at Overland Park Place. I entered the Adoration Chapel not expecting to find anyone there on that morning when people are generally busy with preparing meals, filling stockings, wrapping gifts or sending out last-minute Xmas cards but there alone in the semi-darkness was Gene Schreiner who had come to adore Jesus, born on this day over 2000 years ago, much like the Magi will do on Epiphany.

God Moment II
At the Communion for Service Catholic at Overland Park Place residents took part in the readings, warmly and beautifully gave each other a sign of peace after the Our Father and then received Our Lord in communion. Just at the end of the Communion service Marie, a new resident, entered the chapel, went over to the piano and, looking up at me, said, timidly, that she could sing and play the piano and asked if she could play something for us. She added that she would need some sheet music if any were available. As it turned out Adeste Fidelis was the only sheet music on the piano. Marie, perhaps out of practice, and perhaps not quite as agile at the keyboard as she one was, struggled through the hymn the first time, did better the second time and at the third reprise, with a beautiful voice, sang the Adeste Fidelis to the delight of all. For Marie it was a gift she wanted to give to the Christ Child. The Little Drummer played his drum; Marie gave her voice and skill at the piano.

God Moment III
Christmas dinner took place at the home of my son Mike and his wife. Mike’s father-in-law, a widower, suffers from dementia, lives alone in his farmhouse, supported by family and friends., It is not always an easy life. He loves occasions in which he can share a meal and enjoy the company of other people. He said the blessing before he meal, told stories and enjoyed the turkey, all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. At the mention of mincemeat pie smiled wistfully and said how he would like to have chance to taste a slice of mincemeat pie again.

We are told that we must always try to see the face of Christ in the sick and suffering. We give the suffering Christ or his Church as we can: Veronica with her veil; the widow giving from her want; the drumbeat of the little drummer boy; Marie with her voice and piano. My gift was a mincemeat pie, made that very night so that it would be ready for Janet’s father when he was driven to his home in the morning

Robert Luchi

This visit between Merlyn Albaugh and the Little Sisters of the Lamb left such a joyful and spiritual mark on him that he felt compelled to share his story with Serra.

He and we may never know what star guided these Sisters to his door but it definitely was a moment of grace shared in faith.

Here is his story.

I had just finished a meatball and spaghetti lunch (sent home with me from a 94 year old parishioner at Holy Cross). She sent three meatballs and plenty of spaghetti.  The door bell rang and there were two nuns exclaiming they were hungry and asking if I had a meal to share with them. 

My culinary abilities are very limited and my mind raced to consider what I could feed them.  Fortunately I remembered the meatballs and spaghetti.  I fed them spaghetti, meatballs, corn, sherbet ice cream, milk, bread, which they said I had filled them fully. 

Before we ate we prayed and they sang to me.  Afterwards, they again sang and prayed for me and my wife, who is interred in a box in our living room.  During this time we had a wonderful conversation and they spent approximately two hours with me and Mary.

t was such a wonderful time to be spent with them, and many of our parishioners said they never knew of them coming over to Overland Park.

It is an experience I shall never forget, and try to keep better stocked on food in case I get another knock on my door.   

Merlyn Albaughi