Dear Friends: I first posted about my sister-in-law Maureen last May. She has had two major surgeries: To replace her knee and part of her leg bone, and to resolve the kidney cancer. Today, she faces a third complex surgery, this time to remove a tumor on her spine. Please continue to hold her and her family in prayer. She is greatly loved.
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On Monday, May 1, I was among an estimated 2.5 million pilgrims present in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI beatified his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
Beatification means that it is the official position of the Church that our holy and beloved Pope John Paul II is in heaven, and is now able to implore on our behalf at the throne of grace. We are, therefore, granted permission to pray to Blessed John Paul, to seek his intercession for our particular intentions.
Later—perhaps in a few years, after continued research into his holy life and after a second miracle has been verified—we may enjoy the privilege of seeing this great and holy pope “canonized,” that is, elevated to the level of a saint.
I offer my first prayer to our good and holy Pope John Paul today. Our family has just learned that my sister-in-law Maureen is facing a serious health challenge. Maureen and her family are traveling from southern Ohio to the Cleveland Clinic, to learn whether surgery is an option for the invasive cancer that has affected her kidney and wrapped itself around her arteries. We will know soon, but even if the surgical option can be pursued, Mo’s situation is life-threatening.
Mo is one of those for whom Pope John Paul’s call for a “New Evangelization” struck a decisive chord. She pursued theological studies, achieved her certification, and began work as pastoral associate at St. Michael’s in Ripley, Ohio. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of St. Michael’s—teaching their children, leading their RCIA classes, preparing for baptisms and weddings and all the wonderful blessings that people come to take for granted.
But more than that: Mo has been the beloved caretaker for three elderly relatives: Aunt Edie, confined to a nursing home; Uncle Bob, in an assisted living facility; and Uncle Toodles (well, “Jerome” to the rest of you), in a senior apartment unit. She has laundered their clothes, driven them to doctor’s appointments, invited them to dinner, and has really been Christ in their lives.
Mo is dearly loved by her own two children, by her grandchildren, by her mother and her five sisters and brother, and by all of us who stand on the sidelines and wait.
To every family gathering, Moe has brought a pocketful of laughter and fun– enriching our lives with her joy. It’s hard to imagine that God, seeing the fruit in Moe’s life, would want to take her to Himself when there is still so much work she could do here on earth.
A PRAYER TO BLESSED JOHN PAUL II
Please, Blessed John Paul, carry our petitions before our Heavenly Father.
When you were with us, you said “Be Not Afraid”—but we’re not doing very well at that today. Help us to be not afraid as we peer into eternity, hoping and praying that Moe will not leave us now but will stay to light our days with her smile.
Help Mo and Mike to be not afraid as they enter the halls of medicine with such an ominous diagnosis. Help them to accept the will of God, as they have done all their lives; but we who love them pray that this will not be the time when we have to say goodbye.
Help Sadie and Josh and Ben, Luke and Payton, to be not afraid as they pour out their love on their mother and grandmother. Help them to treasure all she has taught them, all the love she has poured out on them. Help them to be there for her in whatever way she needs during her surgery and convalescence. Help them to be brave for her.
Blessed John Paul, we pray that you will intercede for Maureen and that God, seeing the love that has blossomed under her gentle care, will permit Mo to remain with us, to continue to serve Him for many years to come.
(And Moe: You are my pinochle partner! Y’all get better soon, because at a penny a point, we should get our free dinner at the Gandy Dancer in no time!)