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St. Bartholomew

Daily Sermons
July 11 – Bp. Dolan – The Adventure of Holiness
July 23 – Fr. McKenna – St. Apollinaris
July 24 – Fr. McKenna – Temptations Against Purity
August 1 – Bp. Dolan – For Our Home-school Graduates
August 15 – Fr. Nkamuke – The Role of Mary in Salvation
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✠ Father McGuire’s Corner ✠

My dear Faithful,

Before His Excellency departed for his short Summer respite, he asked me to write a little something about the “McFathers” recent trip to France, the beautiful land of so many of God’s saints.

Fr. McKenna and I estimated that we traveled 1,100-1,200 miles (an average of about 100 miles a day for the time that we were there). That was probably a little overambitious, but how often does one get a chance to go to Europe?!

We started off by staying a couple of nights in Paris near the beautiful Sacrè Coeur Church in Montmartre. Stephen Heiner (you know him from Restoration Radio) graciously agreed to give us a tour of Paris. So on our first full day we huffed and puffed our way through busy Parisian streets and overcrowded trains going from one sight to the next. We saw the Eiffel Tower, a tourist attraction to be sure but nonetheless, a Masonic monstrosity. One striking sight was the spot where the French revolutionaries murdered their own king. France has never been the same since that sad day in history. Notre Dame is a beautiful church to see, if ever you travel to Paris. Father and I were able to get in just before closing, thanks to Stephen’s persuasion of the workers. The highlight of the day was our trip to the chapel containing the relics of St. Louise de Marillac and the still incorrupt St. Catherine Laboure. In that very chapel Our Lady appeared and gave the world, through St. Catherine, the Miraculous Medal. Do you wear yours? Many graces are shown to those who do!

The next day…off to Lisieux to see the little sister of priests! St. Thérèse has been, for some time now, a favorite saint of mine, and once again she was even gracious enough to grant me a grace I asked of her at her shrine. In any case, we saw her relics, as well as the authentic statue of Our Lady of the Smile, by whom St. Thérèse was cured as a child. The Cathedral where she attended Mass, as well as her home were edifying as well. I remember that Father and I got drenched by rain – of course, neither of us packed an umbrella! Bishop Dolan guesses the Little Flower was probably just playing with her little brothers. She would shower us with rain before showering us with roses.

Our next stop was to Mont St. Michel, a magnificent church/monastery built on the top of a tall island in the Atlantic. Fr. McKenna, I think, was most impressed by this. Legend has it, according to the French, that St. Michael fought Lucifer at that spot. On the feast of the Curé d’Ars we made a short visit to Fr. Hecquard’s home near Loches. His Excellency hoped we would have our own “bat experience”…I, on the other hand, was quite contented by our bat-free visit. Finally! After seeing so many gorgeous churches where we could neither dip our fingers in the holy water font nor bend our knee toward the tabernacle, now we entered a tiny, quaint home chapel to find a flickering lamp indicating – truly, this time – that Our Lord is present. So, a small sign of the Cross and a genuflection before the tabernacle, and there we found ourselves, not with a mere saint, but with our God.

Fr. Hecquard seems to be doing well. He has several missions to attend to and spends much of his time giving retreats. Father took us to Loches to see the miraculous spring of St. Senoch, a sixth-century saint. The spring still flows…the water is crystal clear.

On Sunday we managed to see Paray le Monial – the apparition spot of the Sacred Heart. What a privilege to see such a sight! The relics of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Bl. Claude de la Colombiére are also there. Then, off to Ars! St. John Vianney, pray for us! Last time I was here the place was packed. The Novus Ordo was concelebrating “Mass” before the Curé’s tomb. This time…peace and quiet, relatively speaking. His original church is still intact, as is his home. I found it interesting that we arrived here one day after the Curè’s feast and left on the feast of his favorite saint, St. Philomena.

After seeing the incorrupt body of the saintly pastor of Ars, we made a quick stop to Nevers to visit the incorrupt St. Bernadette. It is as if she only sleeps. She died at 35 and still looks 35. We McFathers always seem to have an interesting story or two. Neither of us saw the sign forbidding the taking of pictures as it was blocked by other visitors. So out came the cameras. Somehow we managed to get ourselves into trouble in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from home – and at the shrine of a great saint, to boot! Well, we managed to get our picture beforehand, so that’s ok.

After Nevers, we went to stay at the boarding house belonging to a traditional group of nuns near Donzy. These nuns left their convert in the ’70s because of the changes that were taking place after Vatican II, and established their own convent in the peaceful farmlands just outside of Donzy. They do not have a resident priest, but make due with Sunday Masses whenever a priest can come. May the good God grant them perseverance.

Our trip ended with one last visit to Paris, where we saw St. Vincent de Paul, that great saint of charity, and made a visit of thanksgiving to St. Catherine Laboure. Fr. McKenna will tell you of a grace received, I’m sure. It is amazing to see in person all of the things that we read about in spiritual books and hear about in sermons. Everywhere one turns in France, there is another saint. One will never see this in America. When we were first landing in France I was reflecting on how many saints there were in that country, and wondered how they got so many. The obvious answer is that it is the wondrous ways of God’s grace. Secondly, I believe, it is also because France has been inhabited for many centuries while America is not nearly so old. Thirdly, I think America would have many saints if Vatican II had not occurred. Think of all the holy missionaries to this country, for example. It was just in the 1800s when the Church here was being persecuted. Finally, after much endurance, prayer and hard work, Catholicism took root, thanks to the brave missionaries and Catholics, and then…Vatican II. But we won’t worry much about that. It all has a place in God’s plan. What we will focus on is that all of the saints of France were human – just like you and me. But by cooperating with God’s grace they became saints. My dear people, this is our goal in life: to be the friends of God. Live your faith day in and day out, and you will become just that – a saint, a friend of God.

In Jesus and Mary,
– Father McGuire