Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One Last Picture

I know that I said that my previous post would be my last, but Joe took a picture that we think should be here. It is the Grotto at night. Everything is finished, the grass has been mowed, the straw removed and the lighting shows the beautiful Grotto. Hope you enjoy! Balisha

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dedication Ceremony

This is a picture of Joe shaking hands with the Bishop Elect for Lafayette, Indiana. He was our Priest a few years ago and brought me into the Catholic Church. Our current Priest, Father Nnaso is looking on. This is how the Grotto looked yesterday. All finished with the garden all around.

This is a picture of... from the left, Father Camacho, Father Nnaso, Bishop Doherty, Joe and Father Plesa. Fr. Camacho was the Priest who officiated at Joe's first wife's funeral Mass, our Priest is next, then Bishop Doherty who brought me into the Church, then Joe, and finally Father Plesa, who married Joe and I ....7 yrs. ago tomorrow.

The front two rows of our Church were reserved for family and friends. A row across the aisle was reserved for visiting Priests. The Mass was meaningful and beautiful. Sitting there in the pew, Joe and I were looking ahead at the stained glass windows..to see the sun shining through. The predicted rains never came. Our prayers were answered. When the Mass was over the packed Church made their way to the Grotto... on the hot sticky day. Cameras were snapping pictures and people milling around and trying to get a view of the ceremony. The blessing of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Memorial Grotto, was so special. There were tears in many people's eyes. After the blessing, we all moved around the grounds talking to each other. Everyone was so appreciative and kind in their comments.
We made our way back to the Church and down to the hall in the basement. The huge room was filled with guests. The kitchen was full of busy women getting the food prepared and on the tables. The tables were laden with food of all kinds. Father Nnaso said the blessing and people started to form a long line. The tables looked so fresh with all the fruits and vegetables. Very few drank coffee...so the lemonade cooler was a busy spot. After we were finished, Father Nnaso read a few comments from Joe. He thanked all who had worked on the Grotto and the dedication ceremony and the women who served the food. He said that he hoped that a lot of people would use the Grotto for a place to bring their joys and burdens. Churches today are locked during the night, but this Grotto is open 24 hours a day.
This will be my last entry on this blog. I appreciate everyone who has read it and followed along with me on this journey. It has been something that I'll never forget.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yesterday...the preparations...

Yesterday I found myself helping out in the kitchen at Church. We wanted to provide the dessert for the celebration...so I offered. When I heard that they needed help, I offered that too. Now, I know that these ladies work hard getting food prepared, but I never realized how hard and how many steps they take when they offer their services. We started by putting table cloths on all the tables. There is a funeral this morning at our Church, so that meant that we had to set up tables in another smaller room. Big bouquets of mini carnations were taken apart and put into individual bud vases. Silver was put at each place inside a folded napkin. Salt and peppers were put on all the tables. The many tables were done and now on to the food. Here are the hard working gals who do all the food prep for the many events at our Church....minus me. When I walked into the kitchen, I saw mountains of fresh fruits and veggies. They all needed to be washed, cut up, arranged decoratively, saran wrapped and stored in the huge frig. We did musk melon, honey dew, watermelon, berries of all kinds, kiwi, pineapple, then trays of hand rolled ham, beef, turkey, cheeses cut into cubes, bags and bags of chips and snack foods, bowls and bowls of dips, bruschetta. hummus, rolls and then last...cookies candy and nuts.

Here is our fearless leader. I think that she's going through everything in her mind at this point. When the Church thinks of food....Barb is always there. She does all the shopping for food too. She is so organized ....a wonder in the kitchen.

What a colorful platter! One of many in our now stuffed refrigerator. Remember all these melons had to be peeled. Barb kept rolling watermelons out of the frig...until we joked about it. Someone would say, "Hey Barb...got any more watermelons?" Very talented ladies...this bunch...adding parsley, berries, cherry tomatoes...to brighten up the trays.

This is one of the trays of the cookies that I made. Seven different kinds, 25 dozen in all. We also have bowls of nuts and candies. These will be a hit with the kids. We needed to make lemonade and get things ready for the coffee tomorrow.

This morning will find this small committee working on a funeral in the morning and then back again, in the evening, to work in the kitchen during the dedication. The funeral lunch will be served in another room down the hall. It will mean many more steps for these ladies. They personalize the meals for the grieving families. They ask what the individual families want for the meal...did he have a favorite meat, what is your favorite dish? Today, a little package of hot dogs is in the frig...just waiting for the little grandchildren (who requested hot dogs or pizza) Today's events will be just perfect, in part, because of the hard work of a few women in our Church. I was only there for a day...but now, when I see them standing in the doorway of the kitchen and running to get someone a cup of coffee, I will appreciate them more. Thanks for making this event more special...ladies.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Dedication is Near

The weekend that we have waited for is upon us. The Grotto will be dedicated tomorrow evening after Mass. Who would have thought that late last fall, Joe was sitting at the table trying to draw an idea that was in his head. He was trying to draw a Grotto. I do some art work and he asked me to help him. I told him that this was his project and that I couldn't visualize it the way he could. So, he sat there struggling with his paper, pencil, and ruler...trying to capture it on paper. After hours of working on it, he finally got it and the rest is history. The picture above is the very first day...when they marked the lawn where it would be built. Now it is finished and we are just hours before the dedication. Yesterday, found me weeding and deadheading the flowers at the Grotto. They came to mow the new grass, later in the day. I stopped at our Mary's Garden and did some deadheading there too. Everything looked perfect. I'm going over to Church this morning to help with the food. We are doing everything we can today and not leave it until the last minute. Let me tell you about this group of dedicated women, who help with (I call it the food ministry).... they are there whenever food is needed, be it a funeral meal, pot luck, special dinners, and receptions like the one we are having tomorrow. What would we do without women in our Catholic Church? They are the nurturers and caretakers. Bless them. Flowers have been ordered for the Altar and I will check on those tomorrow morning. The Priest who brought me into the Church will be coming. He is the new Bishop elect for Lafayette, Indiana and he's taking the time out of his busy schedule to be here. The Priest who officiated at Sonja's funeral (an old family friend) as is the Priest who married Joe and I...seven years ago will both be there. Our Priest, Father Nnaso, will do the dedication. It will be a night to remember.....if only Mother Nature would cooperate.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting Ready for the Celebration

I have been busy making cookies for the Grotto dedication on June 12th. On Sunday, I had a little helper. Audra, a little next door neighbor girl, who came to help me. Here she is dusting the tops of the Pizzelles with powdered sugar.. It was a job just meant for little hands. I made the cookies, one kind at a time, through all the hot weather...and put them in the freezer. 25 dozen in all. We hope to have a big crowd... filled with family, friends, and people from our Parish. So far, the weather looks iffy. We know that it will be hot, but we will stay outside for just a short time. Everyone is invited to gather in the Church hall for refreshments afterward. Although it was Joe's vision...many hands made this Grotto celebration possible...even little ones like Audra.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Morning...A Novena

It's been a few days since I posted anything here. There really wasn't any news to post. The building and grounds committee will be planting some evergreens and perennials at the Grotto before the dedication on Sat. the 12th of June. I'll put pictures here when I get them.

Our Church is praying a novena for this new Grotto. a novena is a devotion consisting of a prayer repeated on nine successive days, asking to obtain special graces. This should have been put here a couple of days ago. If you would like to be a part of this......here is the prayer.

The Novena to the Sacred Heart

1. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...(name your request)
Our Father...Hail Mary...Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

2. O my Jesus, you have said: truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you," Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request)
Our Father...Hail Mary...Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

3. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of...(name your request)
Our Father...Hail Mary...Glory be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Hail, Holy Queen
St, Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

6:30 AM On Sunday

It seems like only yesterday that we were planting flowers at the Grotto. Since that day, I have put in a few more. Watering twice a day, in this heat, and deadheading has kept me busy. We were up and at Church early this morning...to water before people started coming to Mass. A warm, quiet and peaceful morning. Early morning walkers going by....a quiet "Good Morning." Just the sound of the water coming out of the hose and some birds singing. We sat there, on the benches, for a while. Looking at the statue of Jesus glistening in the early morning sun. What a nice way to start the day.