Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Lost Cause"? Call Rita

For the world beyond South Philadelphia -- and, for that matter, Staten Island -- tomorrow's the feast of St Rita of Cascia, a patroness of peace, healing, forgiveness... and, as no shortage of Italians will testify, "lost and hopeless causes."

Usually, finding a parking spot on the River City's Broad Street over these days of her Novena is one of the latter. But as the 15th century mother-turned-Augustinian mystic's national shrine there fills up 'round the clock with devotees this week -- all culminating in tonight's candlelight vigil and tomorrow's six Masses -- the faithful take matters into their own hands and park on the medians, the curbs, blocking fireplugs, atop fireplugs, seemingly wherever they can fit.

Of course, that's normally more than enough to get one's car ticketed or towed... but the miracles of Rita's intercession clearly continue -- year after year, the cars are rarely touched.

For all that's good in it, gang, we live in a world where shattered bonds, broken homes, great sufferings and dire realities take a daily toll, sometimes outside our window, sometimes in ways that've impacted our own lives. Thing is, though, when any of these touch any one of us, the entire body of the church is impacted, so helping our own find what they need to become whole again is a priority for us all... because only when all the rest are whole can we really be, too.

Whatever anyone's needs might be along those lines, the Novena Prayers are yours... so to those who could use one, here's to a shower of roses on St Rita's Day and always.