Snowbound with Our Lady in Charleston, South Carolina

A rare winter storm hit Charleston, South Carolina beginning on January 28, 2014. Unfortunately, that meant that many of the events that were planned for Charleston were cancelled. When the storm hit, roads and bridges were closed because of icy conditions and downed power lines.

I made it to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston before the storm and offered the Mass at noon. The threat of a storm didn’t keep seven stalwart Knights of Columbus from coming to Mass to provide an escort for the Black Madonna.

The first reading was from 2 Samuel 6 about the Ark of the Covenant being brought to Jerusalem.  I showed how St. Luke compares Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-45 with the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6.  Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, but Mary is greater because while the Old Ark contained the tablets of the law.  Mary contained God himself.

The Gospel reading was from Mark 3, 31-35.  Jesus was told by the crowd “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."   He replied by saying “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."  Here Jesus is telling us that Mary is not to be praised simply because she gave birth to him, but because she is the preeminent example of a person who listens to the Word of God and acts on it.

Kathy Schmugge, who helped to arrange the visit, is the Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Charleston.  She is also of 100% Polish descent.  Unfortunately, she lives about two hours north of Charleston and was not able to come to Charleston. When she called me that morning, I was approaching exit 73 on U.S. Route 77. She asked me if I would pull off the highway so that she could at least see the icon.  I agreed and stopped for gas and coffee.  She came shortly after to venerate the icon and I proceeded to Charleston.  A woman of great faith, she was very grateful just to get a glimpse of the icon and venerate her for just a brief time.

I spent most of my downtime in Charleston catching up on emails and phone calls.  Geraldine Pufahl had hoped I could pass by Savannah, Georgia again on my way to Orlando, FL. I met Geraldine at St. James the Lesser Church in Savannah a few weeks earlier. Although the storm prevented me from leaving Charleston until the evening, Geraldine was able to arrange an event with fellow pro-lifers in Savannah.  About a dozen of us assembled around 7:30 P.M. to pray the rosary in front of a local abortion mill.  What a wonderful and uplifting moment of prayerful witness! In addition to the graces that follow such prayer, it was edifying to me as I continued my long drive to Orlando, FL.

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