Tuesday, January 27, 2009


To Whom It May Concern--if the title applies to YOU

Whatever the CIRCUMSTANCES that seem to press so hard against you, if you surrender them to Christ totally, they are the best-shaped tool in the Father’s hand to further chisel you for Eternity. Trust Him then. Don’t push away the instrument lest you lose its work. God doesn’t send adverse things, but He allows them for His purposes. Satan may have meant your situation for evil, but God uses it for your good and for His glory. Embrace your circumstances as ultimately from your loving Lord and ask Him what it is He wants you to learn from them. Let Him know you are listening and will be obedient.

Whatever you are going through is not a setback but something God has permitted in His perfect plans for your life. You are not on a detour or off the track. God is keeping you in the hollow of His hand, sheltered in His love.

Trust God no matter how things look, whether positive or negative, hopeful or discouraging in your CIRCUMstances. “Circum” is a term for what is AROUND you in the material, emotional, and social world—a part of the world and its cares and concerns that you share with all humankind.

You may feel hedged in or pressed upon by some situation that you can’t get out of or get away from. But remember that as an obedient child of God, you can stand secure in His invisible nucleus, right in the center of God’s will for your life.

The Bible tells us about many bad “-ites” – Hittites, Amorites, etc. But if you belong to the Lord, you are one of God’s “favor-ites.” You stand within the circle of His blessing, (a better definition of CIRCUMSTANCES!) and you are “circum-ed,” or surrounded by His love for you.

Don’t feel confused or uncertain about any new situation that comes up. Just stand firm and stay rooted and grounded in Christ right where you are. As they say, bloom where God planted you because that is exactly where He wants you. You may not think that your circumstances are a lovely flower garden. They may be restricted and negative. But don’t move out of God’s circle of blessing, come what may. It may not look much like a place of blessing, but it is! Don’t be afraid of anything or doubt God or be double-minded. Stay full of faith in God and you will be centered in Him who has full control of all the “circum” stuff around you and within you that may seem to be “out of order.” Nothing is out of God’s control—and neither are you.

Be aware that there are “other witnesses” (visible and invisible) (Hebrews 12:1) surrounding you and cheering you on to remain strong and faithful and persevering...—including me, your friend and prayer partner,




My 9 year old grandson, Jeffrey, was helping me prepare Valentines to send to some people whose addresses were on a sheet marked ‘GRANDMA’S SPECIAL NEEDS FRIENDS.’ He helped me select some Valentine candies to enclose in a few of the packages. (Of course he sampled the chocolate bars himself!)

“Grandma, I know that you have hundreds of friends on your mailing list. I saw your directory and your e-mail list. But who are these people with special needs?”

“Jeffrey, God has really blessed Grandma with friends all around the country, many of whom I haven’t seen for many years. I try to call some of them with my cell phone on weekends or as often as I can just to tell them I still LOVE them and PRAY for them. I always remind them that GOD LOVES THEM even more than I do.”

“It doesn’t look like some of your friends are living in their own homes.”

“That’s correct. Some live in what are called ‘Retirement Homes;’ others are in ‘Care Centers’ or ‘Nursing Homes’ or they are in the hospital. Some are elderly and in wheelchairs, and it is hard for them to take care of themselves. Others can’t remember things clearly anymore and need someone to help them. Grandma doesn’t forget them, and I pray for them often.”

“I’m sorry about them. May I sign my name on the Valentines too? Maybe I could send them my picture and tell them I’ll pray for them too.”

“That would be great! You select the photo and I’ll have some copies made to enclose. I know my friends will like that. Many are in their 80’s and 90’s, some are nearly 100 years old. Several are blind.”

“I want to send my picture from when we visited the Kennedy Space Center. But your blind friends won’t be able to see it.”

“Let’s pray that some of their caregivers will read the Valentine and Grandma’s letter to them. When I talk with them on the phone it doesn’t matter that they are blind. For sure our spirits and our hearts are communicating. They always ask what Grandma is up to and about our family, and I tell them about YOU, too. Do you know what my friends say?”


“They tell me that even though they can’t do very much anymore, and some can’t even leave their homes or their Care Centers, that they can still pray. They have Jesus in their hearts. And they tell me that they will pray FOR YOU, too, Jeffrey! Now what do you think of that?”

“I think I’m pretty lucky that your friends are my friends too. What are you going to tell them in your Valentine letter?”

“I’ll read a little of it to you. I think you are old enough to understand:

‘Dear Friend, trust in God and don’t be afraid. Whatever is your situation, God knows about it and cares for you. Stay full of faith in Jesus no matter how things look, whether your circumstances are hopeful or discouraging. Whatever you are going through, whether your body or your mind is growing weaker and doesn’t work so well anymore, God has His arms around you and is hugging you close. He will never leave you. Whatever happens in this life is temporary. Jesus promised that He has gone to heaven to prepare you a place where you will be well and happy forever and ever and ever in His presence. And you can count on that!’

And then I added some other grown-up things to encourage them from God’s Word, the Bible. Do you know why Grandma cares about these people and everyone else who has special needs?”

“Because you love them?”

“That’s for sure. But also because Jesus promised that whenever we do anything for anyone else, no matter how little, even giving someone a drink of water, it is the same as if we were doing it DIRECTLY TO HIM!”

“Wow! That is so cool! Let’s hurry and mail these Valentines, Grandma, to be sure they get there in time for February 14!”


Monday, January 19, 2009


One of Leona's ENCORE poems by readers' request.

The snow fell lightly last night
as if God were meticulously making
an angel food cake:
He sifted it in heaps over the hills
spreading it smoothly like frosting
over every bare branch
beating white peaks of meringue
against our shrubbery
and making a marshmallow mound
of our car in the lane.

He swirled powdered sugar
with abandon down our sledding hill
while all life came to a standstill
in our deep-freezer pond.

But today the winter sun broke forth
and our world is a marble cake:
chocolate chip mud morsels
dot our lumpy lawn and fields
cocoa-splashes mar the pristine purity
of last night's spectacular beauty.
Our crusted, rutted road is brown-sugared
with maple syrup puddles.
A duck splashes about with delight
in the thin, watery edges of the pond
quacking at the melting sight.

Who knows? God may send a second angel
to fly down and silently add
another fluffy layer of white tonight
and spread a frothy, finishing fillip
of whipped cream snow to top His marble cake
or silver crust it all with slippery ice--
even that would be nice!

I don't dream longingly (Well, not too often!)
for Florida's predictability.
Come what may, I'm here to stay:
I thrive on God's culinary variety
even our Virginia country winters!

Leona Choy




“Grandma, my cat Spike almost died when he got sick. We had to leave him in the vet hospital for almost a week for an operation and antibiotics. If he died, would he go to heaven?”

“God created animals different from people, Jeffrey. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we learn that He made humans in His own image. We don’t understand all that really means, but we do know that we have a human soul or spirit as well as a body. That soul or spirit will never die. It was made to live forever like God lives forever. “

“Do you mean that animals don’t have a soul?”

“They have a different kind of soul than human beings. God created them to live on this earth and to adapt to earth’s environment. They are alive and not like rocks or chairs. They can breathe and see and hear and move around and reproduce baby animals that will look just like them. But it seems that God didn’t give them the certain kind of souls that can adapt to life in heaven like humans can.

“God must like animals a lot because He made so many different kinds. Some are really strange like giraffes with long necks and zebras that look like horses with stripes.”

“Some animals are very intelligent and we can teach them to behave in certain ways. Animals can even be taught to help people like seeing-eye dogs who guide the blind. Have you seen the tricks that elephants can do in a circus?”

“Pets like dogs and cats and gerbils can love us and be our friends. And we can love them, like I love Spike.”

“I think God is happy when we enjoy our pets because He loves animals too. When He created them in the beginning, the Bible says,'God saw that it was good.' But their souls aren’t the same as human souls. The human soul is something much higher and greater. The kind of souls God gave us makes it possible for humans to have a connection with God that animals and other creatures don’t have. We can actually talk to God and God can talk to us. Our human souls are unique. Do you know what that means?”

“Yes—really special, one of a kind. We had that word in our spelling lesson.”

“Think about this, Jeffrey. Animals don’t sin. They may do things we think are naughty or bad—chew up your homework, make a mess on the carpet, get into a fight with another animal, or bite someone—but they are only doing things that animals do by their natures. They aren’t deliberately disobeying God’s will, so they don’t need a Savior. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for animals.”

“So I guess animals don’t have sins to be forgiven like people do? And they can’t invite Jesus to live in their hearts like humans can.”

“You’re right. Animals can’t worship God in the same way that we do, but who knows? They might praise the Lord in their own way by purring or meowing or barking. God understands their language. The same for other animals and the singing of birds. What we do know is that God made heaven for people who are friends of Jesus and in whose hearts Jesus lives so they can live together with Him forever.”

“Grandma, are you saying then that animals can’t go to heaven?”

“Jeffrey, let’s just leave that up to God to decide. In the Bible it says "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Animals have breath. There are lots of things we can’t know for sure if Jesus didn’t tell us for sure and the Bible didn’t say for sure and our Church doesn't say for sure. God is God and He can do anything He chooses. Animals can’t go to heaven through Jesus in the same way that humans can. But He might allow animals we’ve loved on earth to be present somehow in our heavenly life as part of our eternal happiness. God loves all the good creatures He made. Since God created animals in the first place, maybe He would give animals some sort of life in heaven for the sake of His own pleasure and glory.”


“Because everything is messed up by man’s original sin, including the earth itself and all creatures, God tells us in the Bible that someday He will make new heavens and a new earth—Jesus will make all things new. Creation and everything related to it will be set free from sin and even the animals will be changed in their natures. They will get along with each other and they won’t harm human beings.”

“Whew! I guess I will have lots of surprises to look forward to since I have Jesus in my heart and belong to God!”



Friday, January 16, 2009


One of Leona's ENCORE poems at a viewer's request
For a new winter deepfreeze season 2009
To share with viewers "enjoying" single digit and below temps...
and for "snowbirds" who really miss Northern winters!

The wind whines in a minor key
blowing its icy breath
through cracks in our doors
feeling with frigid fingers
for gaps 'neath window sills.
The gust heralds a blizzard that lurks
in the somber gray stretch of sky
and advances with threatening certainty.

As if to toll a frantic warning bell
the wind tugs at the oak tops
and shakes the nearly naked branches
showering the ground beneath
with a flurry of faded leaves.

Sniffing the scent of winter
small creatures scurry about
furtively preparing shelters
vying with burrowing insects
to stockpile their larders
in the seasonal struggle for survival
while pond life retreats to deepest waters
and puts vital signs "on hold" till Spring.

Sudden dusk descends on The Valley.
A hush settles over the silhouetted landscape
the gusty gale subsides
its announcement dispatched.

The first few flakes of snow soon merge
into sifting, swirling powdered sugar
swiftly frosting peaks of pointed frozen grass
into stiff meringue on neighboring field and hill
until a silver coverlet obliterates the familiar.

Accept my invitation, friend
to welcome the appointed storm
by enjoying the polar panorama together
before the warmth of our crackling hearth.
Join me in retreat behind our Jack-Frost windows
to view the outdoor bluster silently
in snug pleasure and the treasure of good company
as we toast our toes and drink a toast
to the impending snows.

So let us celebrate the manifest cycle of seasons
and winter's measured approach
in the Shenandoah Valley....
...and wherever YOU are.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My cross--a gift?

January 23 is the annual Liturgical Feast Day of Saint Francis de Sales, whom I chose as my Patron Saint at my Confirmation. He is the patron of writers, publishers, and the media because of the courageous witness for the Christian faith that he carried out so successfully in his generation through those means. My choice to avail myself of his prayers for my writing ministry is obvious.
His most famous book is "Introduction to the Devout Life", truly a spiritual classic that has blessed Christians for hundreds of years in many translations. Below is a word of encouragement from him:

The Cross God has given YOU

“He who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” Matthew 10:38

The everlasting God has in His wisdom, foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart.

That cross He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighed with His own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.

He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, a gift of the all-merciful love of God.

Our business is to accept it from His love and love Him in return. God wills our state in life to be just exactly as it is for now. Let us love that and be content and not trifle away our time hankering after other people's seemingly better circumstances.

-- Saint Francis de Sales (lived in the 1500s)


Monday, January 12, 2009


In Memory of the Departure of beloved priest and friend, FATHER MICHAEL KELLY, who has gone Ahead on December 31, 2008 into the Presence of God to receive his reward and to intercede for us.
In our human view, you left us too suddenly and too soon, at age 53, in the prime of your service for God. We will always love you and pray for you. We accept the "Tap on the Shoulder" of your Departure to remind us to live in the present moment, in a state of grace, and to draw us closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Leona Choy


Leona Choy

"God, I demand a canvas big enough
on which to paint all my ambitions.
Make it a durable piece of cloth.
Provide me with a spacious studio.
I require a complete spectrum of colors.
And I must have quality oil paints.
Plenty of time is essential
to accomplish my life's masterpiece."

God provided me instead
a fragile easel,
a small palette of primary water colors,
and confined me in a cramped room
without a sure promise
that I'd even have
threescore and ten years
in which to emblazon my dreams
on a miniature, disposable canvas.

"That isn't fair, God!" I complained.

God replied:
"My Beloved Son, in only thirty-three years
in an obscure corner
of a postage stamp size country
confined to an oppressed land
among hostile people
and misunderstanding friends
without media blitz
reconciled heaven and earth
interpreted Eternity to man
and declared, 'IT IS FINISHED!'"

I fell prostrate at His feet
ashamed of my impertinence.

"Your majesty!
Lord of my days! Accept my praise
for whatever time and space You grant me
in Your sovereign wisdom.
Help me understand
Your perfect plan for mortal man
and for me.
Show me how to accept joyfully yet soberly
both my limitations and opportunities.
So teach me to number my days
that I may apply my heart
unto wisdom
and learn to paint by their number.”

"Teach us to number our days and recognize
how few they are; help us to spend them
as we should." Psalm 90:12


Leona Choy

God tapped me on the shoulder.
Busy, distracted, I postponed:
"Wait a minute."
Time slipped by.

Detoured by trivial, temporal tasks
I deferred: "Later."
Time dashed by.

I mistook activity
disguised as urgency
and called it priority.
But it was not of the essence
of Eternity.
I put God off again:
"Another time." But
Time flew by.

Dismayed with life's futility
distraught by mundane toil
distressed by swiftly fleeting days
I realized then that
Time was running out.

Finally, God got my attention
by reminding me
of my fragility
my mortality
my humanity
and dispensability.

God still pursues me
relentlessly and lovingly
whether through blessing me generously
or through affliction and adversity
whatever necessary
to keep my heart turned toward
and my eyes focused on



Thursday, January 8, 2009



“Oh Grandma, weren't you glad when Daddy said we could stay one more day in Florida so we could go to the Kennedy Space Center? I liked the fishing at the Pier and those monster rides at Busch Gardens—those upside down and scary straight-drop-down roller coaster cars—and the Grand Prix race car I drove myself, but Cape Canaveral was the coolest!”

“Jeffrey, just watching you and Daddy on those rides almost gave me a heart attack! But I agree that the Space Center was the best.”

“I couldn’t believe how BIG the space shuttles are, and how high the tower is for the launches. And the g-force simulator with the vertical launch made me feel like a real astronaut in space. We were strapped in and heard and saw things like they did.”

“How did you feel when you actually touched a rock that had been brought back from the moon? I’m glad I took a picture of you with your hand on it. And that other picture with your face showing in the helmet of an astronaut figure!”

“And we sat in the same theater looking down at the actual Mercury Mission Control consoles that they used for the Apollo 8 launch! They were the first three men ever to make a trip to the moon."

"That was more than 30 years before you were born, Jeffrey. Do you remember what year that was and the names of those men?”

“Yup. They were Borman, Lovell, and Anders in 1968. You told me to memorize that when we came in on the bus!”

“Good job! And now that the Apollo Space program is completed, what is the name of the new venture into space?”


“You got it again! I guess you have a lot to tell your classmates at school.”

“How about when we sat in the IMAX theater? That was the first time I was in one of those 3D special effects places. When I put the plastic glasses on, it was like I was really right there climbing out of the space ship, walking and jumping around on the moon in slow motion with the space guys.”

“You like the zero gravity stuff, huh Jeffrey? Isn’t it sort of like when you are swimming in the water? Weightless? Remember how the astronauts couldn’t judge distance because there wasn’t any atmosphere? They didn’t know how far away anything was or how deep were the valleys. That would sure give you a funny feeling, wouldn’t it?”

“I’d like to look through that Hubble Space Telescope and see deep into space and discover things in the Universe that no one has ever seen before. If the Universe just goes on and on where does God live, Grandma? Where is heaven?”

“There are lots of things we don’t know and I guess God figured we didn’t need to know so that we’d be surprised. Jesus didn’t tell us details about where He lived when He was with God or what it was like there. He left heaven, wherever it is, to come down to earth and become a human being. We call that by a big word: ‘incarnation’. He was born as a baby from Mary, His mother, but God was His father. You remember the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke in the Bible? He grew like everyone else and went through childhood, was a teenager, and grew to be a man. But all the while He was both the Son of God and a human being. It is hard to understand, but it’s true. It’s what we call….”

“…a mystery, right?”

“You remembered! After the people who didn’t believe in Jesus killed Him on the cross, and after He came alive again three days later, He appeared over and over again to His special followers and also to 500 people at once the Bible says. But His body was changed now. He could walk right through closed doors or walls. But He could still eat and talk and teach His followers. He could disappear and appear somewhere else. He could go instantly from one place to another. And when He was ready to return to heaven, gravity didn’t hold Him—He did a ‘lift-off’ just like a space ship, but He didn’t need a space suit, oxygen, rocket jet fuel for the thrust or anything that our astronauts have to have.”

“Wow! I’d like to do that!”

“I expect that you will since you have Jesus in your heart and the Holy Spirit in you and you are one of God’s children. It says in the Bible, in a letter that His follower John wrote, 1 John 3:2, ‘Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.’ And Jesus also said that when He left the earth, He was going to prepare a place for us. So He’ll see to it that each of us will be changed into a special kind of body like His so we can be fit to live in heaven’s atmosphere.”

“That will be a whole lot better than wearing all the heavy equipment and space suit and carrying stuff the astronauts need just to survive in space. But Grandma, in heaven will I still be me, Jeffrey, when I am a Jesus-space-person? Will I recognize you and all the other people there?”

“From what God has revealed to us, the answer is YES! We’ll still know each other and have our own I.D. Jesus calls us by our name. No matter how many hundreds of thousands of other Jeffreys there may ever be in this world, God knows exactly who you are and you will always be you forever and ever. Only 12 people have ever walked on the moon. Now it's empty, deserted. But in heaven there will be room for all the people on earth through all the ages from creation who have loved God. And God will know exactly who is who. Do you know how long people were able to stay on the moon so far?”

“I guess they couldn’t survive very long. Maybe about 3 days or something like that?”

“You are close—it was 76 hours altogether. Not very long. But we will be with Jesus for all eternity! Time will not count anymore. And we’ll never get tired of being surprised by all the spectacular things God is showing us or allowing us to discover, and the exciting things we can do there and in all the universes in space. It will be a lot better than just looking through the Hubble Telescope. What we saw on IMAX is nothing compared to the wonders we will experience in heaven!”

“I guess we won’t be visitors there like we were at Kennedy Space Center. It will be like….”

“It will be like HOME, Jeffrey, a place to settle. We'll be home with Jesus and all the friends and family who have loved Him!”




“Grandma, it was so cool to have 2 birthdays in one year this year—one in April and one in November!”

“What a lucky boy you are! And you can celebrate both of them next year and every year. How does it feel to be 9 years old now?”

“Great! And I like the way you measure me every time I visit you—you put those pencil marks on the basement door to see how tall I’m growing. I’m glad you took pictures to remind me, but I’ll never forget my Baptism day—April 27. You were my godmother. Is that like the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella?”

“Not really. I sure don’t have a magic wand or a sparkling crown, but it means that I am responsible to help you grow up to become a faithful Christian man. I will pray for you every day for the rest of my life on earth and then I’ll keep praying for you after I go to heaven.”

“I remember that Father Matt poured three scoops of holy water on my head with a big shell. He said, ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ just like I do when I make the sign of the cross. Daddy had to hold me up over the silver basin because I wasn’t tall enough. I’ll bet next year I’ll be tall enough to bend over it myself. But you said I only get baptized once, right?”

“Baptism is a once-for-all Sacrament. It’s the Sacrament that begins your life as a Christian. Do you remember what invisible things happen to you at baptism?”

“Sure. A lot of things. I am now Born Again like Jesus said we had to be if we want to go to Heaven where He is.”

“Jesus called it “born again” because baptism is like beginning all over as if you were a little baby again. In the Catholic Church parents usually have their babies baptized soon after they are born like the little baby who was baptized by Father Matt the same day as you were, remember? Babies can’t speak for themselves so their parents speak for them and promise to teach them about God. Even grown ups who come to believe in Jesus and get baptized are like babies starting out in their Christian lives.”

“Father Matt said I was special because I told him I already asked Jesus into my heart and now I wanted to be baptized. When we read in the Bible about Adam and Eve disobeying God, you explained that everyone born since that time has sin passed on to them. Baptism washes that away, right?”

“Yes, that’s what happens. And now you belong to the Church which Jesus started before He took off from earth after He rose from the dead. That means that you are a Catholic Christian. Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester is your home Church, but every Catholic Church in every city and all over the world is your Church too. The Church is always there to help you learn and grow as a Christian. You belong to a really big Christian family now—everyone else who believes in Jesus is your brother and sister in Christ. Can you think of other things that happened to you at baptism?”

“Something about the Holy Spirit, right? He was my Born Again birthday gift—Jesus put His Holy Spirit to live in my heart forever. Father Matt said he is in my spirit to guide me and teach me how to please God and He does all kinds of good things for me.”

“The Holy Spirit is the best birthday gift in the whole world! But there’s more—He brought along a whole lot of other birthday gifts for you that you will open one by one as you grow older and understand more about your faith. Do you remember what Father Matt did before he baptized you?”

“Yeah, he made the sign of the cross on my forehead and asked all of you to do it too. Then he read some things from the Bible that Jesus said. He asked me if I wanted to reject the devil and all his work and empty promises and all his evil spirits and all the bad things the devil wants to bring into my life. I said a loud YES! Then I think Father Matt had us all repeat with him the things we believe about God and Jesus, and we all said I DO! He did something with holy oil too, didn’t he?”

“Father Matt put holy oil (that is called anointing) on your head, your ears, your eyes, your lips….

“….He skipped my nose, ha-ha! Then he unbuttoned my vest and my shirt and put the oil over my heart and it tickled and I tried not to giggle!”

“When he did all that, it meant that he blessed and marked with the cross of Jesus all of you as a sign that every part of you belongs to Jesus. Then he said, ‘May Jesus soon touch Jeffrey’s ears to receive God’s word, and Jeffrey’s mouth to tell others of his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.’ And we all said ‘Amen!’”

“And after your baptism Father Matt gave Grandma a candle to light from the big candle by the altar and told me to give it to you to hold. Father said that was a sign that you were now enlightened by Christ. He prayed for you to walk always as a child of the light and keep the flame of your faith in Jesus alive in your heart. He said to you, ‘God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you, Jeffrey, live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.’ Then he said to all of our family and the friends who came to see your baptism, ‘Dearly beloved, Jeffrey has been reborn in baptism. He is now called the child of God, for so indeed he is. Later when he is Confirmed, he will receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. When he receives Holy Communion he will share the banquet of Christ’s sacrifice.’”

“Then we all prayed the “Our Father” prayer together with Father Matt. I knew how to pray that prayer since I was little. Then Father blessed us all and we made the sign of the cross with him and said ‘Amen’ then we took lots of pictures and I got to keep the candle and other people came up to me to shake my hand and welcome me into the Church and gave me presents. It was like a real birthday!

“It was a real birthday! You and I might not have remembered exactly the order in which those things happened because it was all so exciting….”

“Oh Grandma, we forgot that Father Matt asked me who I chose for my Patron Saint. I told him it was Saint Michael the Archangel, whose statue is in the stairwell at Church, with the big sword protecting me and stomping his feet on the devil! What did you say a patron saint does?”

“A patron saint is a holy person who lived on earth, but is now in heaven and you’ve chosen him or her to watch over you and pray to God for you. Sometimes it can be an angel, like the important Archangel you chose.”

“Is a Patron Saint different from my Guardian Angel?”

“Yes, God assigns your Guardian Angel to you even before you were born. He is with you day and night and takes care of you for your whole life until he takes you to heaven to be with Jesus forever.”

“Joseph is the name I call my Guardian Angel.”

“Jeffrey, I’ll bet Joseph was right there with you during your baptism jumping for joy. He probably notified all the other billions and trillions and gazillions of angels in heaven to celebrate your baptism birthday with you! By the way, whenever you enter the Church and dip your finger in the Holy Water font and make the Sign of the Cross, what is that supposed to remind you of?”

“I know—I know! It’s to remind me of my baptism!