North Carolina Coast-The best Christmas card I have ever received—a living and real one—is right outside my December 25th windows. It’s the North Carolina oceanfront, and It comes complete with the frolicking dolphins as a reminder of God’s Creation.
This time last year, it was North Easton, Ma where we went looking for the grave marker of “Rosary Priest” Fr. Patrick Peyton in a lonely snow covered cemetery.
Readers may remember how had it not been for the tiny American flags blowing in the wind, we would have missed the grave markers of all the priests and brothers of Holy Cross Church, who had served their country in life.
A month before, I had read on FoxNews how people came to the gravesite to take rosary beads left there and replace them with their own. I was worried about the election of President Barack Obama and wanted to say prayers for my friend Michael, suffering with cancer.
“A cold New England rain fell as Canada Free Press (CFP) manager Brian Thompson patiently brushed snow from each of the markers, looking for the one that belonged to Fr. Peyton. (CFP. Dec. 25, 2008).
It was Christmas Eve morning, but having come 525 miles to be there, we did not want to give up on our search.
We were going through the process of brushing snow from each and every marker when a young family arrived to visit the grave of a relative.
Hearing the details of our mission, a beautiful lady who told us her name was Robin and her teenage daughter stayed behind when her husband and son returned to their van to get warm.
Robin had heard of the Rosary priest and understood that people who had driven for nine hours from another country to visit his grave marker were not likely to give up, driving sleet and rain not withstanding.
“Almost every grave marker had been brushed and still no “Rosary Priest”. Our Christmas Eve mission was beginning to look as bleak as the weather.
“There are a lot of rosary beads on this one!” Robin’s voice rang out across the cemetery.
Brian rushed over to brush off the snow, and there was the goose bump-causing name: “Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC”. Incredibly to us, It was the last marker to be uncovered. We had found “The Rosary Priest” whose message to Christians everywhere in another era was “The family that prays together stays together”.
I came clumsily sloshing through the snow to the graveside to touch the marker and to say some fervent prayers for the world and my friend, Michael.
Remembering the fresh water pearl rosary in my coat pocket, I gave the rosary to Robin, who did not want to take it. In an instant, two strangers meeting on Christmas Eve morning became friends in a lonely graveyard.
Given what was going on in the world this time last year, I wanted to make Christmas 2008 really matter.
Upon my return home to Canada, I followed “The Rosary Priest” through Google. The last reference I saw about him came from a Dec. 4 letter to the Daily Herald, written by Ed Smetana of Arlington Heights, Chicago: “Make it a point to pray for the military”. “In the darkest days of World 11, in 1942 Fr. Patrick Peyton started a program to pray the Rosary for the military.
“Neighborhood representatives who would go to parishioners to ask them to commit to pray rosaries for their children and neighbors. The program lasted through the Cold War, and ended with the breaking down of the Iron Curtain.
“Why not ask people in our churches to commit to pray a daily Lord’s prayer or a Rosary to bring the troops home?”
On Christmas Day 2009, my friend Michael, still has cancer, but is very much alive, as is the undying message of the Rosary Priest.
The constants we always thought were ours have shifted during the past 12 months and America is being forced into socialism by the very people sworn to serve her.
But one constant remains: It is Christmas Day 2009 and Jesus Christ is king.
Copyright © Canada Free Press
Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and Glenn Beck.
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