A week of Celebrating, Remembering, Praying and Forgiving!

As a grade school principal one can never plan one’s day completely and some days one never gets to check anything off the list made for the day.

For example, at our school Mass on September 8th we celebrated the Feast of the Blessed Mother’s birthday. Our pastor,Fr. Ariel, (Father A to the students) led the school in singing Happy Birthday to Mama Mary. After that , he said, “Sister Carol, I want you to go out and buy ice cream for all the students to have today to celebrate Mary’s birthday and I will pay for it. ” At the final blessing, Fr. Ariel said, “Sister Carol, don’t forget to get the ice cream for the students.”  With 170 plus students hearing this I knew I couldn’t forget.

Ice cream was served at the lunchtime recess and it was a hit.

I know I can get this into my mouth!
I love my ice cream for Mama Mary’s Birthday!

( remember this is Arizona still 100 degrees plus), with our pledge and the singing of the national anthem. On this day the flag was at half mast. The teachers took time during the day to educate them about what was 9/11, where they were and how they felt as the students were not alive at that time. This is a history lesson for them.

A moment of silent prayer for those who gave their lives for our country on 9/11.

We are fortunate to have an Associate Pastor at our parish. I try on the weekends to attend each of their masses to hear their homilies. They often are very different from each other depending on the angle of the readings they take and the two priests were educated at different seminaries: Fr. Ariel at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in the Philippines and Fr. Alan Valencia at Mundelein Seminary  outside of Chicago.

Today’s Gospel from Matthew has Peter asking Our Lord how many times must I forgive my brother? Fr. Ariel told us that if we do not forgive another the pain will be like a monkey that will sit on one’s back forever. We cannot let the past define who I am today.

Fr. Alan told us the number of times that Jesus mentions forgiveness in the Bible. This tells us we need to forgive We cannot follow the 1970’s movie- Love Story – where love is defined as “never having to say we are sorry”.

Being principal, I often have students in my office who got in trouble for a variety of reasons such as fighting,name calling etc. Bringing the two or three students together in my office they realize they have to say, I am sorry. Then I often hear from the other, “That’s ok. I forgive you. ” If only we could have this today with our world leaders.

The world is in need of saying: I am sorry. I forgive you. Let us pray together.

Boys’ Soccer Team taking a knee to pray before they play.


Gathering of the Arizona Franciscans

We invited all of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity working in Arizona to our house for a Labor Day cookout and pool party since our house came with a pool. I do not like to cook but I enjoy grilling. I had the grill filled with brats as you can see.

Labor Day brats!

As I was grilling the temperature kept dropping and not getting really hot. I heard a sizzling noise so I turned everything off and tried to tighten the connection to the butane tank but it was all tight. I turned it back on again and same sound and temperature not where it should be. I thought ,I must be running out of fuel so I went to get the burgers  to put on before the tank went empty. Well, there I saw flames-tall flames on top of the tank. Oh my! What am I going to do. I don’t have a fire extinguisher and they are just too high for me to put out and I can’t get at the control to turn off the tank as that is where the flames are. I told Sr.Mary Karen to call 911 there is a fire but I don’t think she heard me so I called (3rd time in 7 days. Called twice when I was at school last week. )

The 911 operator asked me how close to the hose the grill was with the flames -about 3 feet. She told me to get everyone out of the house. I will stay on the line with you until the firemen arrive. I asked, “Is the tank going to explode?” “That is a strong possibility.”   I thought, I can’t have this house on fire. I prayed.

Firemen to the Rescue

Two police cars arrived first and they waited for the fire dept. We could surely hear the sirens: 3 fire trucks came from one end of the street and around the curve came the 4th one.  I stood there with my apron on and the head fireman all suited up asked me, ” What’s wrong Sister? ”  I replied, ” My brats are on fire. ”   About 10 minutes later the fireman came back out onto the sidewalk and said, “Sister, I saved your brats.”  They closed the cover to the grill and sprayed down below. He told me we have a faulty hose to the tank. Whew!!! Thank you God for firemen!

We then dug out the George Foreman grill and we finished grilling the hamburgers. The Sisters arrived from Yuma, Sierra Vista, Tucson, and Bapchule. A good time was had by all with plenty of food.  A Labor Day I won’t forget.

Franciscan Sisters in the West