Saturday, November 23, 2013



Saturday, November 23 our parish, Our Lady of the Mountains, held a special Mass for the victims and survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
The decorations in the picture above shows photos of the Philippines after Haiyan. The Filipino flag is draped over the cross but not stretched out completely to show that the Philippines is wounded, beat up, weakened but they still rely upon the cross for their strength. The hat is one that the poor people in the Philippines wear. The hat represents that the poor were the ones who were hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan.  The purple cloth in front of the altar represents the over  5,000 people who died in the typhoon. The weaved basket was for donations given by the people who attended Mass.


 Wednesday, November 21 I had the privilege to attend the Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson for those affected by Haiyan in the Philippines and in Vietnam. The readings and intercessions were all done in many languages: Vietnamese, different dialects of the Philippines and in English.

At the Kyrie the Bishop and all the priests prostrated themselves to show their sorrow. This is also done at Good Friday.

Lord, have mercy on the Philippines and Vietnam.

Bishop Kicanas gave the homily and told us of the need for support from the total world and that the faith of the Filipino people is still strong.



 At the Offertory, the Bishop held the basket for people to walk up and put their donations in for Catholic Relief Service who will be using the money to send aide to the Philippines.
The Knights of Columbus were also at the Mass. This Knight is waiting for the procession to begin as he waits by Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Bishop and the priests are leaving the Cathedral. Our diocese is blessed to have many priests from the Philippines.

Photo shows the people of the Philippines carrying one of thousands of coffins of the dead from Haiyan. Among the rubble respect is still given to those who died.

The display in front of the cathedral altar shows the sticks from the shattered homes of the Philippines, flowers for those who died and baskets of money donated for aid.


In the Offertory procession sticks were brought up to show hope that the homes will be rebuilt and a bowl of rice-one of the staples of the Filipinos diet.

Let us together continue to pray -


God, who quiets great winds and stills rough seas,
We ask your protection for the people of the Philippines.
Comfort them in their fear.
Stay close to them in their danger.
And we ask the intercession of Your Blessed Mother
That together with her and with all your  holy saints
We may stand in solidarity with our Filipino brothers and sisters
through their darkest hour
through their longest night.
Give us the courage to remain steadfast
To reach out to them in their need
To comfort them in their sorrow
To hold them as closely as You hold them
To see them through to morning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Tuesday all students and faculty wore a silver ribbon to support one of our young mothers who is in her 3rd year of fighting brain cancer. She has a four and five year old in our school. When we learned this past weekend that they would be leaving our school in two weeks to go to California to be with family and closer to her cancer doctor we all sported a silver ribbon to support her and her family.

Many of us just knew that pink was for breast cancer and didn't realize there was a color just for brain cancer.
When the mom came to school today to see her little daughter who had a reaction to fresh pineapple, tears came to her eyes when she saw all the silver ribbons in support of her.

Frida,y I had the privilege of going with the family to a healing Mass at St. Augustine's Church in Phoenix. Father Fernando Suarez from the Philippines and known as "the healing priest" was stopping on his travels to celebrate Mass and then a healing service for all who wanted to attend-and many did.

I arrived an hour early with our pastor, Fr. Ariel Lustan, and our school nurse and her husband. We secured a pew close to the front. Our mother suffering from brain cancer, her husband, brother-in-law and two small children could not leave as early as us as the husband had to finish working at the dental office where he is a dentist and his brother is the dental hygienist. I sat at the end of the pew and for about a half hour before Mass started, I constantly told people I was saving the pew for a family of five. They finally arrived one minute to 6:00pm. The church was overflowing with people standing all over and the parking lot was as full as the church.

Fr. Fernando came down the aisle with about six Filipino priests concelebrating with him. We have many Filipino priests in our Diocese of Tucson and in the Phoenix Diocese. During Fr. Suarez's homily, he shared how he became known as the "Healing Priest" and that his spiritual director encouraged him not to hide this gift from God.

Fr. Fernando Suarez is on the left and Fr. Ariel Lustan, also from the Philippines is on the right.

After Mass was over, those in wheelchairs, those with canes and the very handicapped were brought to the sanctuary where they were prayed over by Fr. Fernando. Then the procedure was to have the people in the front pews come first to be prayed over. But soon people from the back came up to the front and there we sat in one of the front pews waiting and waiting to be called up. Fr. Ariel was already in the sanctuary so he came down to get our young mom and her husband for support. She was prayed over by Fr. Fernando and said she could feel something.

We waited another long period of time as everyone in my pew wanted to go up and be touched and prayed upon by Fr. Fernando. The mom and her two little ones were getting very tired and hungry so Fr. Ariel came again and led all of us into the sanctuary to stand in a line.

Father Fernando went up and down the line of people constantly asking what you wanted him to pray for and he touched each person. There were "catchers" behind each person in case you fell backwards or forwards when Fr. Fernando prayed over you. Our young mom this time did go backwards when prayed upon but her husband was there to catch her.

It was now about 8:30pm and no one had eaten anything since lunch so off all of us went to eat dinner together at a Chinese restaurant. This was my 2nd Chinese meal of the day. I have worked with a wide variety of cultures in my travels as a religious Sister and one thing I learned is to respect their culture and don't be afraid to try their food. They are happy when you do. So Friday, I tried a wide variety of Chinese food. When I would ask "What is this?" The response always was, "Don't ask, just try." One item I did figure out after eating a little of it was a chicken foot. I recognize it from Hawaii. It's one item I know that I do not like-but I at least tried it to know that.

I ask that you continue to pray for our young family fighting hard to beat the brain cancer. Wear a silver ribbon when you can and say a prayer for her and her two young children who know that "mommy is sick".

Monday, November 11, 2013


On this Veterans' Day Weekend, our city of Sierra Vista with Fort Huachuca, was offering all kinds of thank yous to  Veterans including a morning parade.
I took time to pray for the Veterans and when I met one I personally said thank you. 

I did spend the day though with friends from Mississippi,( where I was for nine years), in Tucson. We went out to eat at IHOP and I enjoyed Eggnog Pancakes-and yes they were good. Then off to the Botanical Gardens to see the butterfly exhibit where my Mississippi friend volunteers her time. She takes turns with another volunteer, either welcoming people to the exhibit or at the end of the exhibit taking a large duster to dust off any butterflies that may be on you. None are allowed to leave the enclosed area as all of them have been imported.

Before we went in we were told to look for the tiny dart frog-very colorful and hard to find. They were brought to the exhibit to eat the ants.

I did happen to see a couple. You had to get close to the ground to see them as I guess they were looking for their lunch of ants!

All kinds of butterflies were flying around, coming towards you, landing on you etc. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
A butterfly eating station.

Look closely to see the orange/red/black butterfly.

A large moth that wanted to be left alone today.

My favorite-the blue butterfly! When they flew it was just blue coming at you.
Outside the exhibit they had a garden of paper cranes, hanging and moving in the gentle wind-just like the butterflies.

So dainty!

Besides butterflies they also had some beautiful flowers!

To end the day with a beautiful sunset!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

All Hallows Eve to All Saints Day to All Souls Day!


Wow! What a week! One student said to me-"This is great! I got to come out of uniform two days in a row!
Yes, at our school, since it is named All Saints Catholic School we truly celebrate our feastday and the church's holyday!

We begin by celebrating All Hallows Eve by allowing students to come out of uniform if they wear a Halloween costume to school as long as it is not scary and is appropriate for our school. We had some very creative costumes. Some students I did not recognize until they got up close. Take a look at some of our interesting visitors on the 31st!

Statue of Liberty and her sister-a Geisha Girl

A Kindergarten student was totally unrecognizable

Harry Potter flew in for the day!


A Pirate, my secretary as Daffy Duck and me, as Minnie Mouse

Over lunch time I gave the students a chance to feel the insides of a pumpkin and pull out the seeds and "guts" as I call it. Some had never touched the inside of a pumpkin, let alone see it.  They had a wild time with it.  Take a look at the expressions on their faces.

He had never done this yet having transferred from a military school in Germany and he got his hand just inside and quickly said, "No, I can't do this." And he quickly pulled his hand out.


This year Halloween is on a Thursday and this is the day for 24 adoration at our church-Our Lady of the Mountains- as we have it the Thursday before first Friday. Our students take care of the afternoon hours and each class goes for a half hour. Kinder and 1st were on their way to church in their costumes-Superman, Spiderman, Princesses and our pastor, Fr. Ariel, asked the students where they were going. They replied, "To Adoration!" He asked what they were dressed as and they said again-"Super Heroes"
And our pastor replied,
"Who is the best Super Hero?" and they replied "God". So the little super heroes were on their way to spend time with the number 1 Super Hero. I am sure not too many Halloween costumes appeared in any other Catholic church!

Friday-Our Feastday Arrived-All Saints Day!  All the little saints lined up in the church courtyard before Mass eagerly waiting to parade into church singing-"O When the Saints, Go Marching In!" And here is the parade of saints. How many can you name?
St. Therese the Little Flower, Joan of Arc were up front!

A lot of Franciscan Saints showed up! And there is Joan of Arc-helmet on-ready for battle!

 A little St. Martin de Porres-broom and all! Father Ariel called up all the St. Kateri's which matched the design on his vestment for the day.

St. Therese the Little Flower and St. Francis of Assisi brought up the offertory gifts.

Little St. Joseph was not happy today. His head cloth was too tight!

St. Rose of Lima! She was so proud to show me her face. She is in my Religion class and she remembered the story I told about how St. Rose would scrub her face with pepper to make herself look ugly so people would not comment on her beauty. This little St. Rose rubbed her face with rouge to get the effect!

Make your own ice cream sundaes were served at lunch to celebrate our feastday! All smiles today!


Franciscans having a serious discussion over their ice cream.

No time to talk-just enjoy the ice cream!

All Souls Day finishes up the week. Students wrote names of those who died on pieces of paper and parishioners had names of their deceased loved ones in envelopes. All were in front of the altar being remembered in prayer.