Monday, February 7, 2011

San Xavier Del Bac - White Dove of the Desert

Sunday Mass With a Surprise

Yesterday morning, My Dear Wife and I were trying to decide where to attend Mass.  For some reason, neither of us was particularly interested in attending Our Lady of Fatima, nearby, nor of travelling across town to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, where I have been attending daily mass regularly for the last several weeks.  I looked on the Diocesan web site for mass times and places and suggested two parishes to herself.  One was the actual parish of Judge John Roll, one of those who died in the Tucson Tragedy a short while back.  The other was the Mission Parish of San Xavier del Bac.

San Xavier it was to be.  That immediately sparked both of our interests, and we set off for the 11 am Mass there.  San Xavier is named for Saint Francis Xavier.  San Xavier is one of the early mission churches, one of many throughout the West, particularly in California and Texas, that were part of early North American evangelization efforts by Franciscan priests and others in what was then New Spain.  The beginnings of the congregation date to Father Eusebio Kino, who visited the area in 1692.  He started construction of a first Church that was never completed in 1700, and the actual Church that is there now was started by Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain in 1783 and completed in 1797.

Over the years the parish has become both a center of worship, and also a National Historical Monument, as it is the oldest European style architectural building extant in Arizona.  It is a Church and grounds of classical simple beauty, unlike what you would find elsewhere, and is holy ground.

We have visited it as tourists, but this was to be our first mass there.  It was also the first mass for Father Richard Gielow, a Vincentian priest, who will be preaching a mission there tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday nights, including evening masses.

Father Gielow preached a humorous, touching, inspiring homily about the Catholic faith, and invited all in attendance to return for the mission, as the focus would be praying for our family members who are not attending Church, due to a loss of or absence of faith.

Although we found mass to be prayerful and wonderful as always, we knew that we were to attend the mission, and so today we have been preparing ourselves for that.

My Dear Wife had received from one of our daughters news that a friend of hers had given birth and that the baby, though a good size and appearing well at birth has contracted some kind of illness that doctors are stumped to resolve currently.  She is quite sick, and we were asked to pray for her.  Her name, like that of our latest granddaughter is Charlotte, and herself printed a picture of this little one to take with us to the mission for prayers for her healing. (I invite you to include baby Charlotte in your prayers as well).

We are looking forward to this mission, which starts in about 2 hours our time here in Tucson.

I will be keeping all who read this blog in my prayers as well as our loved ones.

No comments: