Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chaotic journey

The 2014 US Mission Appeal trip (from July 3 to August 6) in the first place I started with little preparation due to many occupations and commitments before I left, one of which was publishing the extract of the dissertation. To start with, the United Airline flight bound for Washington DC kept us waiting for 3 hours after boarding the flight. The connecting flight from Washington to Philadelphia got cancelled due to stormy weather and postponed to the next day. Spent the night in an hotel. The next day, my luggage did not arrive at Philadelphia. The journey was thus an ordeal. The rest of the time, weekend on mission appeals went by really fine - week days for two weeks spent at New York, Holy Innocents Church, Times Square, met old friends, lots of eating, movements and it was fun. And another three weekends in Nebraska in the Diocese of Lincoln among endless beautiful corn farms which was quite an experience and homely. What started as chaotic though ended up having great time, whether it was in New Jersey-New York or Nebraska. I met lots of wonderful people. God bless them.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Beautiful Soul Gone This Day

Yes, a beautiful soul has gone to where it belongs (This morning, I woke up to be told ‘Dad passed away peacefully’ at about 2.00am February 6, 2014. He was battling with a throat cancer).
I know only one thing for sure about my Dad – a beautiful soul. He may not be literate, but he was kind and gentle. His gentleness and simplicity spoke for him even after he lost his voice due to throat cancer.  Patience was his strength. He raised up his nine children with tender love and care - I never ever saw him raising his hand or even shout at in anger to any of his children. He treated everyone with kindness –never spoke ill of others - that was his hallmark. He spoke very little especially in public but his promptness to the call of duty spoke for him.

Now that he has left for his eternal reward, may God have mercy on him and grant him everlasting joy and peace.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Still in New York City

My short stay at Holy Innocent Church, NY (from 8-29 July 2013 - only week days) turned out to be packed with lots of interesting experiences. The Parish has 6 Holy Masses celebrated daily from Monday to Friday and I found out that they are all working people coming in early for the mass before they go to work, or some take a lunch break, or after the work. And there are people not less than 40/50 for every mass. These are all busy people and it is true, you hardly meet any of them because they have to leave as soon as mass is over. But, I was really impressed and convinced that people who want to find time for mass find it however busy and difficult it may be. Some of them even volunteer serving at the mass and few of these were exceptionally good to me and took care of me. People like Vijay, Janet and in fact, Angie and Gloria were almost taking turns to take me out for lunch or dinner knowing that I don’t cook at the rectory. We would go out to try dishes from Texas Style to Jewish Kosher, Philippino to Korean or Vietnamese/Italian. It was never ending.
27th July Saturday, as my weekend to Altoona PA was rescheduled, I took the opportunity to spend visiting the city. Joanna Lina, Angie’s nice joined me on a Circle Line Cruise. It was a wonderful tour, viewing the city from the Hudson and River East waters, especially the view of WTC, Statue of Liberty, etc were magnificent. Then we went up to Queens to join Angie to a grand Philippino luncheon.

I will leave Holy Innocent NY for New Jersey and to Rome (29th July) thanking these wonderful souls that I came to be part of their lives and seeking God’s blessings on each one of them. A short video clip link to youtube.        

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Back to USA and the Surprises

The visit to US this time around was not planned or intended and least expected as I had only a month summer break from the parish ministry in Rome. But at the invitation of Fr. Josekutty to help him out with the mission co-opt for the diocese, I readily accepted and reached here on 28 June 2013. More surprises came by along the way: I met Linda Russell from Pittsburgh PA on board the flight- introduced each other and soon found ourselves talking many things in common and became good friends – we got to see each other again later. I also met Jesus Ledezma, a seminarian from the archdiocese of New York staying at North American college, Rome as we head off for our baggage claim and later we met a couple times in New York City.
My weekend to Our Lady of Ascension, York in the Diocese of Portland, Maine was supposed to be very normal if not for a message I sent to my priest friend Andrew to say that I was in the area, to which he told me that it was in fact, just 15 minutes drive away from his parish, Dover- New Hampshire. He therefore, invited me to his parish to spend the night, (and he did give up his room to me ‘coz it was air conditioned), his parents joined us for the lunch out and later we went around seeing places, a visit to a beach in the Atlantic, a stop at the house of former President senior George Bush, a friendly match to a mini golf game which I lost to him miserably.  
Then came another surprise; I did not have anything in my itinerary to be in New York City, but to my great liking, Fr. Joy KD asked me if I was interested to put in a parish in NY during my week days which I grabbed the opportunity without any hesitation.
There are too many things to detail in here of my stay in New York but I particularly remember my meeting with Frs. Joy and Mark on 8th July and the short time we were able to spend together, making visits to Ground Zero, the climb to State Empire Building, walk around the Time Square - of course with Fr. Joy as our guide. I am particularly grateful to my friend Linda who came all the way from Harrisburg PA to New York on 22 July to see me and we had wonderful time together especially to the tour  of Rockefeller Center, New York. And many more such surprises in all the parishes I went to, for the weekend mission co-opt. I continue to wonder and thank God every time I see such goodness in people I meet. Only God can repay them for their goodness. 
The short video clip can be found on youtube.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima and Santiago de Compostela

I guess I necessarily need to share an experience of such magnitude – a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal) and Santiago de Compostela (Spain). To go to Our Lady of Fatima has been always among the many destinations I have in my so called little priority projects. And I have fulfilled it. I only have to admit that by now it has become a habit to take advantage of some peoples’ generosity and it looks like I have almost demanded this pilgrimage from Anna & Rita ormai I have become part of the family.
We left (6th September 2012) from Aeroporto Roma Fiumicino for Porto in Spain to arrive at Santiago de Compostela. We were 28 in the group. We put up in a comfortable 4 star hotel (less you be scandalized, we do not have to spend longer time in the hotel as we kept moving all the time). I must admit, I had very veiled idea about Santiago de Compostela but turned out to be a surprised discovery of the great history of the city of St. James the Apostle - the Basilica, the tomb, the grand thurible, the tradition of the saint, of the conchiglia (the sea shell), etc. On 7th, we made the pilgrimage to the basilica on foot for about 4 km. We celebrated the Holy Mass (International) presided by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. We made a detailed tour of the Basilica with the guide, visited the quite beautiful city as well.
On 8th we left for Fatima, feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Lady. On our way we visited the city of Coimbra and Porto, two very important cities of Portugal. At Fatima, we celebrated the Holy Mass in one of the chapels and later joined the Holy Rosary prayed in various languages around the Chapel of apparition followed by procession with Our Lady around the square. It was altogether an awesome experience. (I shall upload few visual clips on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/rkhonsan).
On 9th we spent the whole day at Fatima – visit to the museum, Eucharistic Celebration (International), visit to the houses of Francesco, Jacinta and Lucia (the three little shepherds), the places of apparitions, the way of the cross, the Basilica, etc. Everywhere we went there was an absolute atmosphere of prayer and deep recollection. In this place people come to pray and contemplate. There was quietness everywhere. 
On the 10th we left for Lisbon, made a tour of the city and for the last Eucharistic celebration together with the group at the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua (the birth place of St. Anthony and the basilica is built on it). After our lunch we exchanged greetings and left for the Airport for the home return. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Communion

I was little embarrassed though, but I was impressed how a little first communion kid, after having made his confessions went and pulled his mother as well and bringing towards me I heard him say: “mum go, go and confess to him”. That was yesterday (May 12). The First Communion Mass was held today (May 13, 2012) at San Romano Martire Parish, Rome presided over by Don Marco the Parish Priest. There were 24 kids in all.
This picture of the day tells a world of distracted tranquility. 
Like anywhere else, you can see the kids, all smiles and excitement for a great memorable day - the First Communion. Each one holding a white single petal lily, they processed toward the altar and placed right beneath the altar as a special gift of themselves to Jesus. Each one then found a place right on the sanctuary and stayed there through the Eucharistic celebration. This really made the kids special. As you can see also in the video clip, the Church was more than packed, but it was a beautiful day. And of course, I don’t have to mention the other celebrations that followed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Keeping the Wait
You will be much surprised to know that a parish like San Romano Martire, Rome is very modern in all senses and yet very traditional. The faithful for one thing participate actively in the liturgies. You would have seen the participation at the Mass of the Last Supper followed by vigil through the night (the various groups taking turns) until the next morning and then continue to sanctify the day by praying the hours at 8.30 am, 9.30 am, 12.00 noon, 4.00 pm and the Veneration of the cross at 6.00 pm. It is then followed by Via Crucis (way of the cross) at 8.30 pm passing through all the living quarters/apartments until 11.30 pm (all this while a priest is made available for confessions). I think I have said enough or else some may begin to doubt my sincerity.
The meditation music tells us just one thing – the love of the Father for us. I managed to clipped few shots in between the confessions as I walked along the way of the cross as penitents pop up every now then for confessions.