Friday, January 14, 2011
This morning I was surfing the internet and came upon this story about Mt. Etna erupting. I was thinking that there was a religious story attached to it but couldn't find anything. What I did find however was the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the story of Our Lady of Pompeii . All of this started me reminiscing about my childhood and my parents.
You may be surprised to note that my father was baptized at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Milwaukee in 1909. (It was called the little "pink church" because it was obviously painted pink. It was later torn down for the freeway to come through, evidently much to the distress of the Italian community.) He also received his First Holy Communion there.
However, somewhere along the line, he lost his faith in his early teens and was never confirmed. Later, he went on to meet my mother who married him anyway and went to Holy Mass for the first year of their marriage alone. In her words, they had a very huge fight after that first year and she told him that she was leaving him if he didn't start attending Mass. So that's where the title of this story comes from - I want you to think that his answer to that veiled threat determined my entire life. Think for a moment if he would have said NO. There would be no "me" and more importantly, there would be no Fr. Bonaventure.
Just as a little side note to the above story, my father went to church faithfully every Sunday/Holyday from then on. I remember in 1963 on a Sunday, we had a terrible blizzard and couldn't even get the car out of the garage. My father WALKED to church (about 10 blocks) just so he could keep his promise to her. I'm not really sure what his disposition was but at least he took his promise seriously!
When he was about 50 years old, he was confirmed which just proves that we should never give up praying for anyone. I'm sure my mother was pouring her heart out to the Blessed Mother for him and she answered her in a most magnificent way! Really - a MOST magnificent way with many, many eternal rewards attached to it!