There’s an expression “miracles happen every day,” if you just know where to look. Growing up on our street, miracles were a common occurrence. Some times there was Divine Intervention and other times, every day people were at the right place at the right time. And then there were things that remain unexplained till this day.
Take the annual procession on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It always happened on a Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Since the feast occurred in mid-July, the odds were always in our favor when it came the weather. It was always a sunny Sunday afternoon…except one Sunday where it poured nonstop all morning right up until 2:55 p.m.
The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus conferred with the parish pastor, Father Cesare, about cancelling the procession due to weather – the first time in the history of the church. Father Cesare shook his head, glanced at the sky and simply said no.
As Father Cesare stepped outside of church with the faithful behind him, the clouds parted, the sun appeared, and the sidewalks dried instantly. The procession went forward as scheduled.
Then there’s the story of my brothers Tony and Carmen who were at Edgewater Park, playing on top of a picnic table. They were jumping from table top to table top – something they shouldn’t really have been doing. Tony looked up and out at Lake Erie and noticed a small boy struggling in the water. The little boy was in over his head. Tony and Carmen jumped down from the table, ran to the beach and dove in the water. Tony was the faster swimmer and reached the boy just in time to pull him to shore. They were in the right place at the right time.
We were a neighborhood of great faith. I always tell my children, “Have faith in God who has faith in you.” It was faith that enabled my favorite cousin to walk after being stricken with polio. I was sure if I lit every candle in church and prayed really hard that she would walk again. And she did. And while Father Cesare commended my great faith, he also expressed his grave concern regarding my pyrotechnic message to God which nearly burned down the church.
In addition to miracles there were also signs. One day, a cross appeared on the front door of the corner bar. Sun, rain, clouds, it didn’t matter. Every day a cross appeared on the door. That didn’t stop anyone from frequenting the bar. In fact, it was seen as a sign of approval.
Just out of curiousity, we asked Fr. Cesare his opinion as to why a cross would appear on the bar door. He just shrugged his shoulders and said, “If our Lord could turn water into wine, why shouldn’t we enjoy it.” Salut!