Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Praying for Our Seminarians

Friar Alphonsus Mary of Our Lady of Sorrow
with his father
Today a Mass was offered for all seminarians that they will grow in holiness and lead us all in love.  This is something the Children's Rosary does on the first of each month.  We began this practice last April on our Children's Rosary anniversary.  As we had done the previous year we chose a prayer initiative for the year.  As our seminarians will be the future shepherds and our children are the future flock it seemed a beautiful way for the children to help. We would like to continue this prayer intitiative going forward
In October a mother reached out and asked the children to pray for her son who had entered the seminary.  His name is Friar Alphonsus Mary of Our Lady of Sorrows.  She shared a beautiful story one she has given me permission to share.

"This photo includes my dear husband John.  We were visiting Fra. Alphonsus in New Bedford, MA, where he was awaiting his move to Italy one year ago.  We live in southern California and were blessed to make some trips to the various monasteries where he lived and to meet the holy priests involved in his formation.  The good Lord put the call to religious orders in my son's heart.  I didn't anticipate it.  I have two sons only and no daughters and therefore thought both would marry and give me grand babies.   God wrestled him out of my maternal clutches and gently brought me around to complete the surrender of my child that I offered at his birth 20 years earlier.  My husband, likewise, cooperated with God's request.  Although, I think he shed more tears than me.  He has such a soft heart.

Ryan James Timossi, now known as Friar Alphonsus Mary of our Lady of Sorrows, was a very kind younger brother to Sean.  He always wanted to include Sean in treats that he would receive.  He shared toys with his brother, never minding when they were taken from him before he was finished playing.  He seemed to be born with a generous, caring heart.  When he was five years old he came home from a friend's house concerned about how to convince his friend to love God.  He wanted to bring him to church because his family didn't attend anywhere.  He had an evangelical heart early in life.  I home schooled both boys for nine years until they expressed a desire to attend the local public school.  Ryan made friends there and also on the baseball team  that his father coached.  He also developed skills on the guitar and did some composing.  He had rock star dreams.  When he was 16 years old he and his brother attended the Steubenville West conference that his uncle oversaw in San Diego.  He told me that when the priest processed around the arena of 5000 youths, holding high the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, that he had an encounter with the true presence of the Lord.  He spent the next four years shedding the world and running to the Lord.  He looked at several religious orders and discovered the Lord's plan for him with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.   He loves  to teach children and also doing door to door evangelizing.  He and I tie cords onto Miraculous Medals to make nice necklaces.  He carries them in his deep pockets and offers them to everyone he meets.  He loves to read about the Saints. He loves to pray the Mass and the four to five hours of community prayer every day with his confreres.  

This is my dear Fra. Alphonsus.  What we need now is much grace for the years of study ahead.  Italian is a new language for him, and being taught in it presents a huge hurdle.  I truly believe in the power of prayer offered by humble hearts.  Children are a wonderful source of humility and so their prayers have special influence on Jesus and Mary.  Thank you again for this wonderful ministry.  I have a hunch the Lord has great plans for it."

A Beautiful update to this wonderful letter:  "Fra Alphonsus reports that he passed his first classes (taught in Italian).  This is truly miraculous as he only had one year to teach himself the language. Please keep Friar Alphonsus and his entire order in your prayers".

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