Sunday, August, 17, 2014 – Our Lady of Peace – Stratford, CT

What a pretty church tucked in at the shore in Lordship section of Stratford!! Beautiful!!

I scooted into the back row just as Mass was beginning. The church was made of brick walls painted white with skinny and simple stained glass windows! So quaint!!! So different from yesterday’s church in Stamford (epic and grand proportions that could have been mistaken for a cathedral in Europe!) and St. Mark across town (So modern in a squared off and simple building). This church was a throwback to a small town feeling! Pretty.

The priest did the homily in a whole different way. Of course, the readings were the same and he began the same as the other priest….the fact that Jesus would never have spoken to the Canaanite woman…..male/female reasons…..Jew/Gentile reasons….and the big one…those two groups hated each other! He touched on the fact that again, this was occurring in a region that historically and still is in such bitter turmoil among its people.

He went in a different direction, though. He spoke about the woman’s determination, which Jesus saw and then he saw her faith. He talked about moving way past the exterior of what you see in another person and moving into the inside of what you see in someone through their words and actions!

I guess you could say both men preached the same message “Look beyond the surface to see someone’s intentions revealed by their words and actions”.

I am going to have to really remember this and also stay vigilant of how others truly see my intention through my words and actions.

That is a challenge!!

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Sunday, August, 17, 2014 – St. Mark – Stratford, CT

I headed to Stratford alone, on a mission. I was determined to hit two masses on the gorgeous Sunday morning. I hit St. Mark’s first.

I am glad I did!!

The deacon spoke about a book called, The Harbinger. It is about the predictions based on passages about what is to come. He tied together the omens set forth in this book and linked them to the turmoil of the Middle East region for the past 2700 years! He talked about ISIS being Satan still alive in the world. It was like a history, bible, and political lesson all wrapped together! He went on for about 20 minutes, but to be honest, I could have listened all day. It amazes me how much I don’t know…..yet I try my best to keep up with our world’s crises, story lines, and current events! This guy sounded so intelligent. He closed by warning us to stay vigilant and protect our faith in our families, our community, our country and our world!

He was awesome to listen to, but it makes me so sad to think of the people who have no faith in a God that is so present to so many. Then I thought about how many times I see God in the people around me, but I don’t think about staying vigilant to the evil that comes through others as well. I think I would prefer to just see the more positive angle. But he did make me perk up a little!!

Right after the homily and into the Liturgy of the Eucharist I shot out to make it across Stratford to Our Lady of Peace.

I thought it was ironic that I was leaving a church that closed the homily with the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to protect us from Satan and the evil occurring in the Middle East and throughout the world to head to a church called “Our Lady of Peace”.

Saturday, August, 16, 2014 – Holy Name of Jesus – Stamford, CT

It amazed me that I could get 5 members (1/3 of my book club) to join me for an 8:00 mass being said in POLISH on a Saturday morning in August! But I did!!! Liz, Lisa, Linda, and Marianne all joined me!

The mass was not held in the church, so we went into the chapel. The 5 of us, 3 nuns in blue habits, about 12 other people and the chapel was full!!! The priest started mass. It is so interesting to listen to a mass that you know your entire life, yet when said in another language, it is so mysterious on one hand and familiar on the other. It is hard to reconcile with your head, where you are in the process, of the pattern of Mass.

We stood when we were supposed to and sat when we should. We followed the Our Father in Polish with the words swimming somehow in our minds. When we shook hands for the sign of peace, everyone spoke in English again. For that 35 minutes it took for Mass, I believe we could have been in the heart of Poland or in Stamford or anywhere else in the world. So interesting!

At the end of Mass, Liz chatted with the nun behind us. She was so cute when Liz said how nice the chapel and Mass was. She didn’t miss a beat when she told Liz straight out, “Oh, I don’t speak Polish either!!”. SO FUNNY are the assumptions we make!

After Mass, as luck would have it, Lisa knew the seminarian. He grew up in St. Thomas. Once we explained the “Church Tour”….he literally took us into the church for a tour!! What a treat! It was gorgeous….a step into Europe sitting right there in the heart of Stamford, about 400 yards from I-95!! The marble, murals, statues, lighting, candles….again, as in all of the old churches were breath taking.

The priest joined us and pointed out tidbits and reminded us to come to their Polish Festival that the church was hosting for the weekend. He actually gave us a brochure. He was so proud of his community. It was very sweet!
After Mass, off to breakfast! It is actually what we do best! Delicious breakfast with great friends!

I am so blessed!!

Sunday, August 03, 2014 – St. Margaret’s Shrine – Bridgeport, CT

Wearing my Haitian necklace and my Irish face, I entered the church with Vinnie. We went to an Italian Mass in the middle of Park Ave in Bridgeport for 9:30 am mass at St. Margaret’s Shrine! Who knew first of all that there was an Italian Mass every Sunday at 9:30 AND who knew there was a beautiful park-like shrine built into a hill with winding passage ways and statues right there in the middle of Park Avenue. It was very cool.

Between the mass and the shrine area and the Italian ladies in the church choir, it was like walking back into a different country. Of course, I understood nothing of the mass, but I have to say it is very interesting if you close your eyes and try to say the Our Father in English in your head while you hear the Our Father in Italian all around you. Very strange sensation. A everyone did the sign of peace, I heard “pace, pace”, except for the girl behind me who said to me, “peace be with you.” Very sweet!

Outside Vinnie and I wandered past the marble stations of the cross, up the stone steps to the crucifix standing high on the hill. Going back down, we past depictions of famous Bible scenes set into the mountainous rock; a pretty brook ran through it. We continued on to a beautiful rock pond – that warned us of NO SWIMMING – seriously???? – and then back up the hill again to see a few saints and martyrs. I told Vinnie that I could sit there all day in that peaceful surrounding with a good book!

It continues to amaze me that there are beautiful spots everywhere. I could have been in Bridgeport or Italy or any other city during the mass and during our walk through the shrine. It reminded me that I need to stop from time to time and appreciate the moments that are there for the taking.

I have told Jennifer that we will have to go to mass there for her birthday! I think she’ll enjoy it!

Sunday, July 27, 2014 – Our Lady of the Assumption – Fairfield, CT

OK, I have to be honest. I have no idea what the mass was about. My mind was somewhere else. I stood, I sat, I spoke the prayers. I kneeled, I waved the sign of peace to strangers, I tried to listen to the priest. My mind was not there.

My mind was 22 years away. It was back to the day Kevin was born, July 27, 1992. My first son to join our family of mom, dad, and 2 sisters. He was so freaking cute!! 6:11 in the morning I held him for the first time. Sitting in church, I kept thinking back to that day. It seems like a blur speeding back in time. He has grown into such a good guy! I love spending time with him….although I am hoping (and not too secretly!) that he will move out soon! It is time…he is 22 after all!!

I thought about the poems I wrote for my kids when they were little. All 4 are titled the same thing: What I see when I look into your eyes. I reread Kevin’s when I got home.

What I see when I look into your eyes
by D. Boccanfuso (MOM!) July 2001.
What I see when I look into your eyes
Is a child ready for action
Ready, for the world to meet him
Ready, to make the world smile
Ready, to be the third in line.

What I see when I look into your eyes
Is the intense stare until the smile cracks
The giggle starting, then overflowing
The humorous thoughts revealed through a tiny twinkle.

What I see when I look into your eyes
Is the future with hopes and dreams
Frustrations and failures turned upside down and whole
Successes and triumphs, working hard to attain
Laughter and love, in a very special way.

What I see when I look into your eyes
Is the boy with pneumonia and Barney doll in hand
Growing into a man with strong determination, manners, and courage.
He’s the one to make me smile when my world seems to crash
And the one who makes me crazy when my world seems sane.

What I see when I look into your eyes
Is a kind, gentle, fun spirit
With a mischievous touch; never meaning to harm a soul
Wanting the world to laugh
He’s a comedian, friend, and great source of joy.

What I see when I look into your eyes of the future
Is a man who will forever touch and change the lives of many.
Love, Mom.
And then I fast forward to “tomorrow”, July 28th! One year since Steph and Anthony got married. And July 31st, Melissa’s 24th birthday!

Amazing. I have no idea where time comes from or goes to. I just know it seems like it moves faster than I can catch it. It seems strange that my oldest is married one year and my #3 kid is 22!

So I have no idea what the priest was talking about, but I do know I love Kevin! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish – Danbury, CT

This is Kate’s church, but she was on vacation so she could not join me, Lisa, and Liz for 8:00 mass. But Danny did meet up with us at Sandy Hook Diner for some awesome corned beef hash!!

I have to say, it has taken me a week to write this because I am not quite sure what to write. The priest was lovely…..nice, tall, seemingly pleasant Irish guy who welcomed us and gave us a brief Bible Study on Ann and Joe…..Jesus’ Grandparents!! Mary’s parents!. It was interesting to think of Jesus having grandparents….they are not mentioned very often! The mass was done in 21 minutes!

It was strange to be sitting in this pretty, decorated space called “church” in Danbury, CT when I had just gotten back a week ago from a square, cement, bare-walled building, also called “church”. “Church” is now kind of a new concept to me. The routine structure to Mass felt a little foreign after spending 2 services in Morne Oge, Jacmel, Haiti…….In this Danbury church, it seemed to be about the routine prayers, the shiny chalice, the speed at which the Our Father was said. In addition, it did not appear that anyone really knew anyone by name. In Morne Oge, it was clearly about the people. Everyone knew everyone by name in that village church. None of those other things, the routine prayers, the chalice, the chanted Our Father, either were present or understood by me anyhow. I think it is going to take a bit of time to “adjust” to the old norm……I kind of like my new norm.

The highlight of my day came right after mass in the town next door! Breakfast for four! The corned beef hash was just as good as I’d remembered. I haven’t had it since April when I got hypnotized for weight loss, but I just had to taste it! AMAZING!!! Danny told us the diner is for sale……you know we spent about a half hour trying to figure out how we could all quit our jobs and buy the diner and eat corned beef hash everyday!!

Good dreams we all have!