Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Tucson University Hospital is located directly across the road from St. Peter and Paul's Church. It was not unusual to receive several emergency calls a day at the rectory. One day a call came from a man, lets call him Ed, with a rather unusual story.
Ed was dying. Although aware that he was at death’s door, he was pleasantly resigned. His peace of soul seemed to increase as he received the sacraments, especially Holy Viaticum. All the while, he was clutching his Rosary. As I was about to leave I remarked: “I’m glad that you have been praying your Rosary.” "O! That silly thing!" he replied. Coming from a dying man, it was a strange reply. As Ed explained, he seemed to drift back through the years.
“It happened in a foxhole in the South Pacific during World War II. Another soldier was with me. Bombs were bursting all over and the machine gun fire had us pinned to the ground. I was certain that we were finished. Then, the other guy put down his rifle, got on his knees and began praying the Rosary.”
Ed, who was a confirmed atheist at that time, looked at the man in disbelief. "Put down that silly thing,” he screamed! “That's not going to help us. There's no God up there. We need guns, not prayers!"
His fellow soldier didn’t heed a word. Instead, he prayed the harder. "O.K. Go ahead and fiddle with that silly thing; I'll hold onto my gun. But you wait and see! In the morning, I'll be here alive and well." And he was!
With the break of dawn the battle was over and both soldiers had survived. Triumphantly Ed said: "See! I told you so! I'm alive! And I didn't rattle off any silly beads!"
"Yes, I know, Ed! But every time I said a Hail Mary for myself, I said one for you as well."
Our Divine Savior works in my ways for our salvation. Lying on his deathbed many years later, Ed told me that in that foxhole God's grace came into his heart. He sought out the Catholic Chaplain and began taking instructions. Soon after, he married a wonderful woman girl and they had seven beautiful children. All of this, the dying man affirmed, was through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary,
"Every day of our married life my wife and I got on our knees and said that “silly thing” together. I'm not afraid to die. In fact, I'm anxious to meet Our Blessed Mother and thank her for the happy life and for teaching me about Jesus through the Holy Rosary."
The next day Ed was dead. This good man’s story is one that enriches our faith. My dear friends pray the Rosary every day, as Our Blessed Mother has asked. Our Lady of the Rosary always hears our prayers!

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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