We are a communion of cultures united by the love of Christ, striving together to be "the hands and feet of Christ" on earth.

Faith Sharing Stories

SHARING YOUR FAITH STORY!

  SHARE YOUR STORY TO MAYBE HELP OTHERS THROUGH THEIR TIME OF NEED!
If you have a Faith Story to share, please click on the following link...
 https://www.stpeternaples.org/share-your-faith-story-

 


FAITH SHARING - Prayers and Blessings in Stressful Times!

These are stressful times and like most of us, I’ve been praying a lot more lately. I have also been thinking about a nun who taught me to ask for blessings for myself as well as praying for others.

I met her at a Christian writing conference that I attended in Ann Arbor in the early ‘90s. After checking in at the conference reception desk, I headed for the coffee. She zeroed in on me and stuck with me the whole day. Maybe it was because I seemed nervous as I was very distracted and stressed. I had driven nearly forty miles to the conference and my car had been making weird noises for almost the entire drive.

“Call me Sister Cathy… or just Sister,” she said. I wasn’t sure what to think. She didn’t look like a nun. She wore a tunic and slacks in a filmy fabric. She flowed when she moved – not like any nuns I ever knew. She sat next to me and when the conference began, she remained with me throughout the writing exercises and also when we broke into small groups.

During this time, I became increasingly worried about the long drive home. I shared my concerns with Sister Cathy and she said, “Don’t worry, I will bless your car before you leave. I have already prayed for you, so it will be all right.” Now I was not also worried about my car but Sister Cathy too! I was used to people being blessed – not things. Maybe Sister Cathy was a little unstable! At the next break, I decided to leave and slipped out when I saw her head to the restroom.

Before I could get the car started, she was there in the parking lot. She placed both hands on my car and shouted out a blessing over my car. She asked the angels to hold it together and the Lord to guide and protect me on my journey home. She said that, if I got worried on the drive home, I should just talk to God and give him all my worries, and to thank him for all he has done for me. I followed her instructions all the way home.

The next morning we found, that after having my car serviced last week including the brakes, someone had not tightened the lug nuts properly on one of the tires. Now each one was surrounded by huge gaps worn away from all that driving. No one could explain why the wheel hadn’t broken off during the drive.

My faith deepened after that experience long ago. I not only learned to trust God through – not only my prayers - but through the prayers and blessings of others. I also learned not to judge people who appear a little different from the norm.

So, during this challenging time for all of us, I hope this helped you to pray - for yourself and others. Remember also that people are praying for you! God is listening and knows what we need!

Submitted by Lisa Wroble, a parishioner.


 

When we were just a young family beginning our life together, I had a dream about Richard, our first child, who was then thirteen months old. In the dream, he was in a beautiful green field dressed in a white suit. Suddenly two large hands reached down from heaven to take my son. I pleaded on my knees to God to give me back my son. Weeping, I promised to be good for the rest of my life. After my husband woke me up telling me I was having a nightmare, I ran to check on him in his crib where he was sleeping peacefully. I couldn’t sleep after that, so I prayed the rosary all night.

About a week later, I had gone upstairs quickly to get Richard a change of clothing. Meanwhile, he got into some cleaning fluid in the cabinet downstairs and drank it all. When I came downstairs, he was already turning blue. I got him to the hospital as soon as possible, but it had already burned his esophagus, lungs, and stomach lining away. The doctors didn’t give him much hope as there was so much damage. Despondent, I went to the nearest Catholic church, where the priest told me to pray hard. It was then that I remembered the dream! When I saw my husband, we both got down on our knees with arms outstretched and asked God to give us our baby back.

Afterward, baby Richard began to respond, and the hospital even sent a plane to Walter Reed Army Hospital for a new medicine that was used to treat atomic burns during the war. Miracles seemed to be happening! Richard soon began to swallow again and kept getting better. Another miracle was that an anonymous benefactor paid the tremendous hospital bill that we couldn’t afford to pay.

It is my hope that by sharing this story with you that you will come to see that God is alive and real, and ready to touch you with His Presence. You only need to open the door of your hear to let Him in.

Submitted with permission by Mary Joyce



FAITH SHARING "Pray for the Sick and the Poor"

In the 2015 Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis, I went to confession for the first time in many decades and told the priest my most grievous sins. When I was finished, we talked for a few minutes and then he gave me my penance. I figured my penance would be praying the rosary every day for the rest of my life, but instead, he told me to pray for the sick and the poor. I thought to myself that the penance would have been much more severe. I then heard him softly praying for me in his native language.

I decided that, as part of my penance, I would go to Michael's and buy a pack of alphabet beads and make a bracelet that said, "Pray for the sick and the poor." I am now on my sixth bracelet! When one breaks, I make another one. My husband offered to have one professionally made for me, but I told him not to do that as part of the penance for me is making a new one. I will continue to make these until I can't make them any more or until my dying day!

Submitted anonymously.

 


 

FAITH SHARING - A Mother’s Journey of Prayer

This story is for anyone who has ever said; 

He is no good.
She lies.
He will never change.
She will be lost forever.
They will never learn.
It is pointless.
 

In 1958, a mother gave birth to a son. She loved him and instilled in him good manners, kindness, the importance of going to church regularly and going to Catholic school. He was a good son and an altar server and received good grades. At age 17, he joined the military, turning to drink and drugs. After his discharge, he married, but continued to drink, and abused his wife terribly. They divorced and he remarried twice with little success. His mother never took a day off from praying for her son. She sent him inspirational spiritual cards for years, realizing that her prayers would one day be answered.  
 
After sixty years of praying for her son, he finally decided to surrender his heart, body, and soul to Jesus. The process that followed was (and is) one of growth in grace and knowledge that comes from studying the Word of God and choosing to avoid our viewpoint, but His divine viewpoint for our lives on a daily, and sometimes a minute by minute, basis. How do I know this? Because I am the son. God has not only forgiven me for my past sinful life, but He has also forgotten my past sins. I now live for Him and not myself. I focus now on gratitude to Him for all my blessings, especially for my mother and for my relationship with Him. It is not easy to trust someone you do not know. I encourage you to get to know Him. It becomes easy to do. I now try to share His love and kindness with others. We cannot move mountains, only He can, but the good news is that our prayer moves Him. 

Submitted to Larry Vancara

 


FAITH SHARING - A Thankful Veteran!

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This Faith Sharing story is a little different from the others we have shared. This one is not just about the story, but about the person sharing the story – a man full of gratitude toward God.

Steve Kaselak, who is 94 years old, dropped off some papers which contained outlines of his stories. We spent an hour going over all the papers he brought to my office. He had a story about how God has blessed him with two angels. One was his first wife, Helen, who was so beautiful, but she passed away after 42 years of marriage. He and Helen had three children. After her death, he was alone for eight years before meeting his second wife, Rose Mary, who is also very beautiful. Between the two of them, they have seven children. Steve feels that God has blessed him both times with wonderful wives, and he is so thankful to God.

Here is Steve’s “My Life in Three Words:” (1) Think: Use your brain. Be not a mental Loafer; (2) Be Happy: Talk and make people laugh; (3) Love: Love your country. Love your family, but most all love your God.” His emphasis was always on “Pray and say, ‘Thanks be to God!’”

His stories of gratitude were wonderful, but what impressed me so much was the joy and gratitude that emanated from Steve. He is a veteran who served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II, so he has seen some tough times. He said that when someone sees His World War II cap and thanks him for his service, he always replies, “God bless you. It was an honor to serve.”

On this Veteran’s Day weekend, we are thankful to all the veterans who served, including Steve, a member of “The Greatest Generation” and we say, “Thanks be to God” for all of you!

Submitted by Ginny Nolan with the help of Steve Kaselak, a very funny veteran!

 


MY FAITH SHARING - Lord, Help My Unbelief!

I attended many different Christian churches when I was young.  Before my wedding many years ago, I joined the Catholic Church since my husband was Catholic and so were most of my friends, and they had been good examples for me. In preparation, I took weekly instructions from a priest, but, being young, I didn’t fully grasp the full scope of his teaching. I just wanted to belong to what I felt was the “Catholic Club.” The teaching that was the most difficult for me to believe was that the Eucharist was the actual living Body of Christ. I never spoke about it to anyone.

After many years of faithfully attending church with my husband and children, we decided to attend a Charismatic Family Summer Camp at St. Leo’s College near Tampa. We attended daily Mass in the Abbey there. We noticed that the people at the camp had a deep and vibrant faith, and we wanted to be strengthened in our faith too, so that night we asked to be prayed over for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The next morning when we attended Mass, and I received the Eucharist, it felt like a sparkler going off all the way down my throat, and I could hardly see to get back to the pew as my eyes were full of tears.  I knew then that Eucharist was the actual Living Body of Christ! Later in the day, I started reading the Bible, which never really interested me before. This time though I couldn’t put it down as the words came alive! When we returned home and attended Mass, it was like everything the priest said was written on neon signs! I had heard those words for years, but it was like hearing what it actually meant for the first time!

My faith has continued to grow and deepen, but when I get lax, I have to remind myself how God has touched my life, and I am ever grateful to be his child!  (Anonymous)

 



MY FAITH STORY - Lynne Podeswa Walter

While in college, I prayed that I would meet someone who would be a good husband and a good father. On Easter Sunday in 1966, God put Bob into my life. The power of prayer! 

In 1983, my parents were staying with us for a visit when I received a call at work from my mother. She said she knew something was wrong with Bob’s heart and they weren’t going home until he went to a doctor.  After a stress test, his cardiologist called me to tell me that he was driving Bob straight to the hospital. At 36 years old, he needed a triple bypass! When I called the school where my daughter attended, the nuns said that they would pray for him. Bob survived! The power of prayer!

In 1990, Bob had several tests that indicated that he had a tumor on his liver. After explaining to a young priest at the church why I was crying, he gave me oil from the Shrine of Ste. Anne d’Beaupre and a prayer card and asked me to rub the oil on Bob every day and say the prayer. All the tests came back negative, and no one could understand why! The power of prayer!

In 1998, it had been nearly 15 years since Bob had his bypass surgery and back then 15 years was the maximum time for it to last. While in the Keys, Bob came back early from cycling and said he had “twinges” in his chest. After contacting his cardiologist, I drove our large motor home back to PA, where Bob ended up having a quadruple bypass. After many, many prayers, Bob, once again, survived! The power of prayer!

Last Easter we celebrated 51 years together, knowing that we can’t go it alone and that God is always there to watch over us. God is good, and so is the power of prayer!

Submitted with permission by Lynne Podeswa Walter

 

 


 

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MY FAITH STORY - JO WARD

Our older son was baptized at St. Ann in 1981 when my parents were parishioners there. Our younger son was baptized at St.Peter circa 1984 and we attended Mass with some frequency until time for Sunday school and the schedule at St. Ann was more aligned with our busy lives. We then stayed at another church for several years until some internal changes took place there and the focus seemed to be less on the Gospel or God and goodness. I then took a “break” from attending Mass regularly. I didn’t lose faith but just didn’t feel comfortable at church. 

The years 2009 and 2010 were particularly hard years for me and my family, and certainly were not bettered by being away from the church. So on New Years Day 2011, I made the commitment to get back to regular Mass. I went back to St. Ann for a bit, then another absence for a while, then tried St. Agnes for a while - new church, new blood. Finally, in the fall, I came back to St. Peter and things started to feel good again. My heart was absolutely opened by the love within these walls.  I attended my first tri-lingual Mass on Thanksgiving Day and knew I had found a home.  Tears fell and as much as I had/have to be grateful for, I was most pleased to be a part of such a great community. He is still recovering, but I brought my mother with me, and she is also now a parishioner. My son, Sean, has been on the prayer list since a horrible automobile accident in January of 2018. He still attends Mass with me occasionally. I am mostly a Weekender for Mass, but have attended a few of the special presentations at St. Peter’s and have cried all through the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.  I now wish I would have been more active in the church.  

I am preparing to relocate out of the area and will miss this loving home, I have high hopes to find a similar feeling in my new home of Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Submitted by Jo Ward. 

(From St. Peter’s: May God bless you in your new beginnings, Jo!)


  

 

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MY FAITH STORY - SUE HULBERT
Seasonal Naples resident from Rochester, NY

My husband, John, passed away five years ago in September. He prayed the rosary every day for ten years when he was diagnosed with stage four melanoma cancer. After he passed, I started praying the rosary every day. People often say that you get a sign after someone passes away, but I didn’t see any sign. One day I went for a walk to pray my rosary. I told Mary and Jesus that I had never had a sign to let me know that John was alright and that he was with them. I took a few more steps and happened to look at my rosary. My crystal beads rosary with the silver links had turned to gold. The chain and the small figure of Mary had also turned to gold. To this day the cross is still silver, but my rosary chain is still gold.

Used with permission.


 

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MY FAITH STORY - RANDALL REHER, M.D.
Seasonal Naples resident from Troy, Michigan

Three days and night's post extensive heart surgery and her blood pressure continued to decline, her heart rhythm was unstable and she was not breathing on her own.  Ten IVs were infusing every powerful medication we could give but she was not responding at all.  Her little family understood the outcome was probably hopeless.  I went to her bed once more in the ICU - trying to think of a part I was missing or a new idea to offer - but also wanting to be with her if she died - no one should die alone.  I held her cold hand and felt a need to pray for her one more time.  I asked God to give her a “few more years” with her small circle of friends and family.  Within less than a minute I could sense a warm “light” over her entire body, the heart rhythm stabilized and the blood pressure immediately began to rise.  One by one the powerful medications were removed and she continued to improve.  Within 24 hours she was breathing on her own.   

In my many years of medicine, I have seen many “miracles” - most of which the scientist within me explains quite easily by a scientific rationale.  But some, especially this one, especially with its instantaneous answer to my prayer, had no scientific explanation.  It remains memorable and profound.  This is why it's so easy for me to believe in God and the power of his intervention.   By the way, she had many happy and productive years of life after discharge.  

 Used with permission.


 

 

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MY FAITH STORY – KAREN LATTIMER

He was tragically taken from us at the hands of another person on December 3rd, 2016.

He had not been in touch with us for months, but 12 hours before he died he did phone. We spoke about his lifestyle, heaven and hell. “Mom, you don’t usually talk about that stuff to me.  It makes me wonder”.  The conversation ended with “I love you”.  Little did I know that this was Jesus’ way of preparing me for David’s death.  He had turned to drugs and alcohol at an early age and spent years on the streets,  in jail and rehab.  I had prayed for David all of his life.   Five days after he died, I was trying to pray the rosary in my church.   I was unable to pray because of my immense sorrow.   During the rosary my best friend grabbed my hand and said, “Mary just spoke to my heart and said your prayers are answered”!  I had always been so worried about David and Mary answered my prayers.

We were to adopt David, but his biological mother had thoughts of keeping him, so I said a novena to St. Therese of the Little Flower. In the morning of June 6, the first yellow rose bloomed in our yard. David was born later that day. We adopted him ten days later. Yellow roses were his flowers at his funeral.

The first Sunday I was in St. Peter’s after the funeral, the altar was adorned with two huge bouquets of yellow roses.   Every Sunday until Lent there were yellow roses or yellow flowers on the altar.  No pink, no red, only yellow, but on Tuesday of Holy Week, when flowers are not present, there was a yellow flower on the altar.  On Easter Sunday of our return to Canada, four months after David’s death while at mass I asked Jesus to please show me another sign that David was okay.   When it was my task of driving I looked in the sky and saw a huge cloud in the perfect shape of a hand, the right hand of God. On my return to Florida this year the first Sunday at mass there was another huge bouquet of yellow roses on the altar. 

Jesus has shown His love and mercy to me by preparing me for David’s death, answers through Mary, His Mother, and yellow roses.   There are so many more than I have stated here.   Miracles?   Coincidences?    I say miracles.

Used with permission.