With the help of a few of the boys' friends we took down two trees and used them for the first was of the new holding pen outside one of the pig pens. I also tilled most of the garden-ready for planting today. (I also hurt my back trying to cut the downed tree in pieces with an axe while in competition with one of the boys wielding the chainsaw. I am not as young as I used to be-and lost both the contest and my back-although I gave a good account of myself.)
Later in the afternoon, more friends arrived for the pilgrimage on Saturday. We worked on the minivan, which has given us fits for months and 'fixed' it again.
We also took the riding mower engine apart and it doesn't look good: control rod broken and camshaft (and probably the piston) needs replacing. On the other side, the table saw motor came back to life (longtime readers may recall it wore out during our construction of the slaughterhouse this summer.)
It's a beautiful 70 miles from here to Kingstree. The Mass was not at the shrine (which only holds a handful of people) but at the public recreation hall (decorated very appropriately-better than some churches I've seen) a mile away. Three of our boys and two friends' boys served the Mass. Before Mass we prayed the rosary.
Before Mass also, Fr. Stanley Smolenski, the shrine's director, talked for a few moments. Two main points I brought home with me: Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine is a diocesan shrine-unlike most others which are started and run by religious orders.
Secondly, the next direction for the shrine mission (now that it has been established and renovated) is found in the second paragraph of the prayer to our Lady of Joyful Hope:
....help our youth to find meaning, purpose, and direction in life; help our frail elderly to know you are with them; help our sick, poor abandoned, addicted, and unborn to be rescued by your love for them, reaching out through us.
(I'll come back to this later...) Fr. James Miara celebrated Mass and gave the homily-wow! What a holy priest. (He is a young priest-ordained in 2001- and impressed the boys no end. Here's some comments from them on the way home: "He says all the silent prayers in Latin!" ). Fr. Miara urged us not only to say the rosary daily, but the complete rosary (15 decades) daily. He said he was sure most of us had the time which we currently waste while driving, walking, chit-chatting, or watching TV. He guaranteed us that we could avoid mortal sin if we said the 15 decades daily.
Fr. Miara also emphasized how our Lady draws people to Christ through the rosary-to the Eucharist. (It recalled to me that even in 3% Catholic SC, we should hold our Lady out to bring people to the Church instead of trying to hide her from the Protestants til 'later', as we often do.) To emphasize Father's remarks, see the image of Our Lady as she hold the rosary out, yet shows us Christ-child, who Himself shows us the Eucharist!)
Putting Fr. Smolenski's opening remarks together with Fr. Miara's homily, I couldn't help to think that somewhere there should be a Lady of Joyful Hope (South Carolina) Catholic Worker House, offering hope to all who come from Our Lady, to Christ who is our HOPE.
After Mass at St. Catherine's we hopped in the van and headed down to the State Fair in Columbia. Of course I wanted to spend all day watching the swine shows. But I did tear myself away to tour the dairy cow barn, a little horse showing, the poultry barn, and a great magic show by Steve Trash who performed in the midst of the crowd.
Magician Trash borrowed a dollar bill from me for a trick (he turned it into a bill with Grant on it-but wouldn't give it back to me in that state) and later came back and wanted to borrow a double sawbuck. But by that time, I was pretty tapped out and offered only a 5 dollar bill. Mrs. Curley was embarrassed as the magician made some humor at my expense. The kids went on a few rides. Our youngest coaxed Mrs. Curley onto a water ride. I think she re-lived a bit of her youth there.
But we always ended up back at the pigs. The showmanship portion (where the handler is judged) was quite interesting. There are certain rules-plus some of the pigs really can go at each other. I learned a bit about handling all day. There was a surprisingly big crowd for the pigs all day.
I spent a good deal of time speaking with Lawton Kemp of Kewanee Farms (whose pigs one several best in class awards) of GA about his pigs-purebred Hampshires and Yorkshires. I may have more news later today about that conversation, so stay tuned....
It was a grand weekend with friends, the rosary, and the State Fair. Busy yes, but I think the whole family had some good times, and more to come today. I think some more friends will be over. I'm sure there will be some singing and we will say the rosary together.
Oremus pro invicem!