Friday, September 26, 2014

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

And Now For A Little Something Different:

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I was contacted by a fellow blogger who is a Mesothelioma survivor and asked to spread the word about this deadly disease. Since I also have another friend who is a Mesothelioma survivor, I agreed.

In looking for a few background facts to share, I was astounded to find that the ban on asbestos-containing products was overturned just a few years after it was put in effect. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining.

I was also amazed that it can lay dormant for 20-50 years after a person’s first exposure, and that family and friends can be exposed to it second-hand. I am not an expert on this, so I will refer you to  for further info; you can also read Heather’s story there (pictured above, with Lily).

And here are some interesting facts about asbestos and mesothelioma:

"Asbestos can be found in many homes, schools, commercial and industrial buildings.

China, Russia and Canada use asbestos in consumer products.

Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70.

Many women received second-hand exposure from parents or spouses who worked closely with asbestos."

Info taken from MAD Asbestos Facts, courtesy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mass In Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

From the windows of the rec room, there is a panoramic view of the mists still rising off of Yellowstone Lake. (Okay, not in this picture.) Mass is about to begin and the young celebrant is scurrying around, arranging the altar, consulting with the pianist and greeting tourists - some in their Sunday best, some in hiking apparel.

It is interesting to note that the murmur of voices is at a far lower level than in many Catholic churches these days. Is it because we naturally respect the sacred ground we are visiting? I know that my own awe and humility are greatly increased by the wonders of Yellowstone. 

The altar is a card table, the lectern a music stand, but somehow it feels as if we are in an ancient cathedral. We are. Sometimes it is difficult to find Mass while traveling. Many National Parks, through the diligent efforts of the local Catholic communities, and even sometimes through the efforts of the local diocese, will have Sunday Mass scheduled. This may not be posted in the guide books or newsletters, but a query at one of the lodges in the park is likely to turn up a schedule of Sunday services for several denominations. Even if a regularly scheduled Mass is not available, I have found that sometimes a visiting priest is kind enough to ask for a place to celebrate Mass and pass the word as to location and time.

Yellowstone Lake Lodge is such an ethereal setting for Mass. I have to wonder if this might not be a little taste of heaven.

Check out these posts, too:
Oregon's Best For Last - Mt. Hood

Great Sand Dunes NP and Preserve, CO

Grand Canyon Pilgrimage

Grand Canyon Caverns

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Santo Nino de Atocha, Chimayo, New Mexico

On the same road trip to El Santuario, Chimayo, we discovered another chapel I hadn't seen before. Just a few hundred yards from El Santuario is the Chapel to Santo Nino de Atocha. According to legend, when loved ones were imprisoned, the Christ child would come and take food and water to them. When the families saw the worn out shoes on the statue of little Jesus, they would replace them with new ones, which would soon become worn out as well, as Santo Nino continued to bring provisions to their imprisoned loved ones.

Santo Nino de Atocha Chapel is dedicated to children. Its whimsical d├ęcor is reminiscent of childhood, with carved trees, birds, flowers and fanciful sculptures. A nearby shrine holds hundreds of pairs of tiny shoes, thank you tokens for miracles received. A Milagros chapel inside the shrine holds hundreds of other tiny gifts, left in gratitude for healings received.

During WWII, many National Guardsmen from this area of New Mexico died. Survivors attributed their lives to the intercession of Santo Nino de Atocha. Devotion to Jesus as Santo Nino had been encouraged by Severiano Medina, who built the chapel near El Santuario, in gratitude for healing from a severe illness. 

Today, the chapel is fully restored and a delightful dessert to the serious meal of El Santuario de Chimayo. One does not have to walk very far from either one for some distinctive New Mexico chile.

Other posts you might enjoy:

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico

The Sunday There was no Mass