Monday was the feat of St. Rita, my most special patron saint. Many of you know that I am currently on a long roadtrip with my family. Today we woke up in Greenville, SC. You also know that I go to daily Latin Mass. That is a daunting task in these days of TC, etc. However, I asked the Blessed Mother to guarantee me to worship Her Son in the Venerable and Ancient Rite and she has not disappointed. So today I headed to Prince of Peace parish in Taylors, SC. The parish is headed by an old friend. Without giving too much away, his room and mine were next door to each other when we were both freshmen in college.
I drove the fifteen minutes there with my kids because I know that this parish has a TLM every day at this time. For a diocesan parish, that’s a beautiful thing and one for which I am most grateful. He was not the celebrant today. Nonetheless, St. Rita was all over the place and it was so obvious to me that I literally shed a tear when I realized what was going on.
First, even though it’s in the Missal, the Mass for St. Rita is in the back under the section of “In Certain Places”. Still, this is a feria day in Eastertide. I walked in a minute late but I could tell the priest was saying the Mass of St. Rita. How could I tell? My Latin is getting better. I picked out the words pearl, rose, and brow from the Introit and Collect. I was very happy. It’s like the feeling one gets when he encounters a friend he hasn’t seen in years. After the Gospel, Father preached a sermon. In the sermon, he pointed out into the nave and above my head. My daughter Rita was seated next to me. She looked so grown up in her new veil. I want to note that she wears a veil of her own volition. I have never pushed this one. She just likes them. And I’m OK with that. Anyway, Father mentioned that this parish has a beautiful statue of St. Rita. He said that a previous pastor had ordered a statue of St. Monica and the company sent him Rita instead. He kept it. I looked to where he was pointing and it was literally right over my head.
There she was. There was my Rita!
And then something prompted me to look across the nave at where the corresponding statue is. Would you believe that the statue there was of St. Benedict of Nursia and that my son’s name is Benedict?
Where the Divine Providence is concerned, there is no coincidence.
Well! After that incredible moment, I figured it was going to be a day of true celebration. I’m not kidding when I say that I really welled up with emotion at that. Throughout the day friends sent me pictures of their St. Rita celebrations. Andrew from St. Luke’s Gallery sent me pictures from the Shrine in Philly. One of my nephews did as well. It was truly a day to reflect on the great gifts God has given me in this His saint.
I hope you also had such a day. And if you didn’t, I hope you experience that joy here and there in your life. I continue to keep you all in my prayers.
St. Rita of Cascia, pray for us!