Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The SO had promised to make aroskaldo (arroz caldo for those of you picky people) for a going-away party. But, she's teaching till 9PM. She'll get home at 10PM. When do you add the shopping? So, like the shining knight Don Quihote, I ride to the rescue. To wit, my shopping list ala Chatelaine:
Minute Maid Premium OJ: prevents cold sores due to lack of vitamin C
Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Yogurt: Wedding coming up; gotta lose some pounds
Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Yogurt: In case the cherry garcia yogurt sucks
apple turnovers: can never go wrong with pastry
challah: can never go wrong with bread
chicken drumsticks from safeway: ah, bland chicken
ginger root: to foment a revolution
minced garlic: too lazy to chop them myself
In the next few weeks, I will try to reflect on the things that flash between my
head in relation to the impending wedding. After all, you only get married once
The bridal shower occurred over the past weekend. There has been a drama event,
though it is less of a drama than others. The giveaways have been a problem.
The person who would sell it had personal problems and could not deliver the
product. As the SO said, it is not her problem. Unfortunately, we had planned
the assembly line to be formed during the bridal shower.
As far as bridal showers were concerned, it was a tame one. What with the SO’s
relatives being present and being very conservative, we did not want it to get
out of hand. My sister brought two gifts. One to be opened in public; the
other in private. Needless to say, the the in-private gift was more
interesting… shower gel and pleasure gift anyone? The only other gift that came
close to being erotic was a set of edible underwear. Along with that, there
were four, count them, four nighties all of them with the same color from
Victoria’s Secret. Bwahahah. It must have been a sale! We went yesterday to
Victoria’s secret and realized that the other colors would have made the SO feel
more like a tramp / slut than anything else. No offense to those of you out
there who like to wear hot pink or hot purple colors.
The beauty of the event was in the prepping of the pinecones which represents my
mom. My mom used to spray paint some pinecones with a gold and silver paint.
Place them on a basket as a decoration in her office. With time, some of the
pine cones would disappear and she would have to make some more. Her
officemates were filching the darned things if you can believe that. Wonder of
wonder, the SO decided that we should have that as a decoration at the tables.
And so it passed that in the last year, we have gone pine cone hunting.
We managed to collect some huge pine cones at Napa in Eileen’s abode. Talk
about huge and spiky. We had to get some guests to use nailclippers to trim
away the sharp edges off of the pine cones. The cones are so huge that we also
have to spray paint them several times. Xylene and toluene, here come my lungs!
The cones probably measure about 6 to nine inches tall.
Then there are the baby pine cones which a seven year old boy collects for us
from his elementary school. He’s named after Siddartha the Hindu enlightened
man. However, apparently, after placing said pine cones in his pockets, he does
not tell tell his mother about them. Clothes end up in the wash and so do the
fragmented pine cones. Very thoughtful kid. But like any prophet, the details
are forgotten in the living.
Some pine cones, we find in locations where we just happen to visit. The dance
place in Emeryville. The old school for her Kali class in Hayward. Near San
_____ close to Napa Valley near Kathang Pinay’s home.
Pine cones come in different sizes and sharpness. Some are very small while
others are gigantic. Each one is unique in its state of flowering. Some are
shy. Some are slutty. “Wind, come take my seed and spread it far and wide.”
Some cones open slowly. Some open in Fibonacci’s series. I know that if it is
any indication, my marriage will be just like the pine cones we have collected.
Monday, August 29, 2005
If he is preaching longer than twenty minutes,
he makes the people stay away from the Church;
If he preaches less than ten minutes, he did not prepare his sermon;
if his voice is strong during the sermon, he is shouting!
If his voice has the normal strength,
people do not understand what he is preaching about.
If he owns a car, he is worldly;
If he does not own one, he does not go with the times.
If he goes out to visit families, he is never at home;
If he does not visit them, he does not care for his parishioners.
If he is asking contributions, he is after money;
If he does not do it, he is too proud for that.
If he takes his time in the confessional, he is too slow;
If he makes it faster, he has no time for his penitents.
If he begins his mass on time, his watch is advanced;
if he begins it a minute or two later, he keeps people waiting.
If he renovates his Church, he throws away the money;
if he does not do it, he allows everything to rot away.
If he focuses his ministry on women, he is flirting.
If he focuses on man, he is gay.
If he spends time with children, he might be a pedophile.
If he warms up to old women, he must be missing his mama.
If he keeps distance from all of them, he has a heart of stone.
If he is young, he has no experience.
If he is old, he should retire.
As along as he lives, there are always people who know better;
If he dies, there is nobody to take his place.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
In the last year and a half or so, I have been looking for photographers for the
wedding. The standard has always been a Wedding Story Photo by David Song.
David was the photographer for my friend C’s wedding and my sister eventually
hired him for her own wedding. When I was with David in my sister’s wedding, I
was impressed by his methodology. He has difficulties speaking English, but he
is able to show the bride and groom how to pose. When I finally saw my sister’s
wedding album of 16” x 20” I was blown away by the images.
I have attended many weddings in the last year and I am very persnickety about
the photographers. One photographer hired many teen-agers to help him out, but
I don’t think they knew how to take photos. Another photographer had the big
strobes in the church and the hotel, but those lights were very painful to the
eyes. Another photographer did not bring the right lens and thus could not take
a picture of the statue of Mary along with the bride and groom. Mary’s statue
was about three stories high.
I learned from my sister’s wedding that the only thing you have of the wedding
in later years are the photos. The flowers, the decorations, the guests can and
will be forgotten. But if you have the photos, it will be there to remind you
of the day.
Before the wedding, the SO went to the salon to be done. I got the distinct
impression that the person she had the appointment with did not show up. The
salon manager kept speaking in Korean with the other hair and make-up
specialists. The salon eventually had to call some people to cover for the
appointment. The SO had her hair and make-up done. What pains a woman must go
through just to get the right look. One thing that the SO mentioned was that
her eyelids were blackened with a black liner. I said that they do that to
everyone. The SO said that the inner eyelids close to the eyes were covered
with liner. OUCH! I could have never been a woman. I can’t stand that type of
pain. Jab! Jab! Jab the eye! Well, I guess I could have been, I would just
have been one hell of a lesbian who was a fag hag.
No matter, pain was not a problem. The SO managed to get through it all. Next
up was the photo session itself. After finagling with the studio because we
both had misunderstandings about our appointment, etc, we ended up doing studio
shots and the city street shots. I never realized how silly the poses are in
the studio shots. No wonder I have always had problems doing it. The poses are
never done by real people because they can be difficult and without purpose.
For example, nose to nose pose. Well, if you did that, it would be for about
four seconds. In our poses, we were like that for twenty to thirty seconds.
The SO had most of the photos. I should have told David the ff: Ako si
Maganda. Siya si Malakas. Ako dapat ang maraming litrato. Three outfits.
Formal with barong and gown. Southern Philippine with malongs. And, Hawaiian
themed with my blue hawaiian shirt. The photos are fabulous. I even managed to
look regal in one of them.
Monday, August 22, 2005
The So has been tracking the days before the wedding. She and I have been at
times wondering about the cost of the wedding. The stress level has been
increasing. Though thankfully, the stress hits us at different times. I have
asked questions about whether or not all we are doing are worth it or right.
She and I have asked about the enormous time and money spent on the project. We
reassure each other that it is fine. We are able to cover the cost. That the
families and the friends are worthy of the celebration. That seven years of
waiting, getting to know each other and knowing each other’s families should be
punctuated with a true celebration.
Each weekend, I am thankful that I am with the SO. In many ways, she completes
me. She is patient with my incessant insecurities. She manages to teach me how
to change, how to control my frustrations and stress, and how to deal with daily
life. The tiger entertains the monkey with shiny new objects and new locations.
It is very hard to entertain monkeys. Sometimes, the monkey gets into trouble
just because of boredom. But with this tiger, the monkey manages to laugh at
daily life and appreciate the beauty in everything.
The tiger has thanked the monkey for the laughter. In truth, the monkey knows
that it is very weird. But, here is a tiger who finds the monkey’s outrageous
statements FUNNY! Talk about amazing. Talk about luck, karma or opportunity.
The monkey tries to support the tiger’s multitude of activities: poetry, kali,
teaching, computers, performances, directing and on and on. Sometimes, the
monkey wishes that the tiger would not be so active. There are only so many
days to the year. But the activities are the very things which entertain the
monkey. The activities are where the new things, the shiny things come from.
In some moments of solitude and retrospection, the monkey knows that others
would have been good. But this tiger has been a different companion. Someone
who opens the eyes. Shares the joy of the world. Makes one complete. The one
who is better than the monkey, yet the monkey is able to make better.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Three weeks ago, what began as a teacher's reunion became a grand reunion for Lourdes School, Quezon City. Alumni of LSQC from the 1960's to the 1990's went to Los Angeles California to celebrate the first ever reunion in American soil. Rev. Fr. Troy de los Santos came from the Philippines to share in the event. Teachers from LSQC came from across the United States to reminisce of their younger days.
Mr. Sonny Madera was kind enough to provide the venue of the event, Aloha Adult Day Care Center in Sunset Boulevard. Sonny was the overall catalyst of the grand reunion. He arranged for the food, the location, and hosted the event. Sonny's generosity allowed alumni to come home to the school of yesteryear. Sonny's humor created a levity to the occasion. Sonny's ability to relate to everyone made the whole reunion possible. (Of course, this does not mean that Sonny did it all alone. Certainly, Jay Ortega and Adrianne Lecaros provided for help with the logistics and the planning. And of course, the countless others whom I have not met provided invaluable support for the grand reunion. Let me just name them as LSQC-USA.)
Someday, there will be LSQC grand reunions held in ballrooms of some majestic hotels. Someday, another grand reunion will host more than 200 alumni. But for this day, for the first reunion, the humility and the lack of grandness of the day care center was more than made up for by the expectation of seeing each other after twenty years of separation. The central location of the center allowed the formation of a critical mass. The presence of the teachers allowed different batches the opportunity to meet each other with no excuses for exclusivity. Just as in our youth, the teachers serve as the bridge with which alumni can begin relating to each other.
Sonny Madera introduced the teachers who managed to come to the reunion. The teachers are as follows. (Note: Some of the descriptions are taken from the statements by Sonny as he introduced them. In order for the narrative to make sense and to give a short synopsis, I have taken some liberties. There is a possibility that someone watching a video will notice slight differences from the account. However, I believe that the joy and the good spirits are still the same.)
Ms. Cely Ontiveros. Grade III. We started with one of the oldies from LSQC. Ms. Ontiveros related of how proud she was that four to five students of hers had eventually entered the priesthood. To summarize her life, she gave the following quote "By their fruits you will know them." Ms. Ontiveros now resides in the state of Washington.
Ms. Linda Gando. With a svelte figure, Ms. Gando asked the whole reunion, "Anong itsura ko ngayon?" [She was in excellent shape and could have given Ms. America a run for her money.] Ms. Gando now lives in Maui, the land of Ilocandia. She retired from LSQC after 30 years in service. Ms. Gando said: "I know that the love we gave you as teachers made you come to the reunion."
Mrs. Mimi Santos. Grade II. From Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Mrs. Santos has four children. The memories of teaching in Lourdes remains in her heart and her mind. She taught at the elementary school for 28 years before migrating to the United States in 1993. She continues to work at a Montessori school and has forty years of teaching experience.
Mrs. Carol Sunga Roc and Mr. Ed Roc (New Jersey). High School. Sonny introduced Mrs. Roc with an anecdote. In one of the talent shows, Sonny asked Carol to dance the hula. The one condition that Carol asked was that her skirt needed to flow. Sonny addressed the "flowing skirt" by placing a fan in front of Carol as she danced the hula. Mr. Roc spoke about meeting and marrying his wife in LSQC. Ed was delighted in meeting with the young men who became wonderful citizens of the world. It was amazing to see all of you.
Ms. Bella Galdonez Uy (New York). Ms. Uy began in 1969 at Lourdes School Mandaluyong. She transferred to LSQC and spent 7 years there. Ms. Uy stated that she spent the young years of her life in Mandaluyong, but she spent the best years of her life in LSQC. She considers LSQC the center of her life. "We will sing the LSQC hymn. Ang hindi nakakaalam, kukurutin ko sa singit." OUCH!!!
Ms. Brenda Tranqui Castillo (Arizona). She is now a real estate agent. She was not sure about attending, but once she heard about all the teachers who were coming, she decided to come. She taught two years after her graduation from college. She taught at LSQC during the time of the mini-skirt and she was like a breath of fresh air to the school.
Ms. Orbeta (Philippines). Ms. Orbeta resides in the Philippines. Her heart is in the Philippines. She stated her opinion that one of the reasons that the Philippines is going downhill is that Filipinos no longer love and respect the Philippines. This is evidenced by how many people placed their hand over their heart during the singing of the national anthem. She is an educator and she lectures around the world on education. (Note: It is difficult for me to reconstruct Ms. Orbeta's statements about the Philippines because of the complex nature of migration and economics. It is a controversial topic and I would rather not try to fully document here. Although to a certain extent, I understand her plight, I am one of those who left the Philippines. I do not share the same viewpoints. Sorry for the inconvenience. TatangREtong)
Ms. Marie Pangilinan. (Audio was very low). Ms. Pangilinan thanked th organizers for the reunion. She is now retired.
Ms. Babes Versoza (New Jersey). Father Troy accepted her as a teacher. She spent a few years in LSQC. She is very happy to see her former students.
Ms. Adie Celodonio (Washington DC). "I am glad to be here. I can not believe that there 150 of us. We teachers saw you as children, but now you have children. I hope this reunion happens every year.
Ms. Tess Cristal (San Diego). Ms. Cristal mentioned how she delighted she was to see everyone. She had visited the website of LSQC and she did not recognize any of the teachers in the school. Ms. Cristal described how every Filipino in the US has a hunger to return to the Philippines. She reminded allumni that a tenth of one's wages belonged to God in the form of tithe. She extolled the virtues of the non-profit organization NPO Gawad-Kalinga and suggested that alumni support the NPO.
Ms. Flor Salva Arboleda (Washington DC). Grade V. Ms. Salva shook the reunion with a cheer of Hep-hep-Hooray! "It is a sweet memory to see everyone. The reunion was conceived simply. But now, I see that it is grand in scale. Lourdes will be forever with us. We should do it in the White House next year. Lourdes is a family. Being a Lourdesian is in the heart." Ms. Salva taught at LSQC from 1977 to 2002.
Ms. Elizabeth Ferrer Dizon (New Jersey). Sonny recounteed a story of how the young students would whisper about the beauty of Elizabeth. The students would wait in the corridor and then whisper "Oh ayan na. Dumarating na." As Elizabeth was speaking, there was a commotion and noise by the door. Not to be outdone by some commotion, Elizabeth calmly walked over and announced "Okay Boys! Sit down!!!" The whole place erupted in laughter and applause. Elizabeth mentioned that "I spent the best years of my life at Lourdes. I can not replace the memories."
Ms. Marissa Santiago is now Mrs. Barrera (Los Angeles). When Ms. Santiago left Lourdes, she vowed never to teach again as she did not want to replace her memory of the school. Sonny Madera was her partner in crime while growing up in Lourdes. She came to LSQC at a young age and was supported by the many teachers in the school. When posed with the question "Who is more memorable: the intelligent ones or the naughty ones?", Ms. Santiago responded that for her, she remembered the naughty ones because she was also naughty. She understood and wanted to commiserate with the naughty students. Ms. Santiago mentioned that Jay Ortega was her very first student.
Lito Esguerra taught at LSQC for one year. He performed as the magician in the entertainment section. He did some pretty amazing tricks. Ripping a newspaper and showing the newspaper whole. Sticking a pin into a balloon. Awesome stuff!
Ms. Cora Fajardo-Kelley (California) was in attendance, but she arrived later in the evening.
Later that evening, the teachers were presented with a plaque that thanked them for their service.
It is difficult to write about teachers from twenty years ago. What can you say? They were living life while we only had the vaguest notion of what life was really all about. While we students worried about tests, the teachers were dealing with marriage, kids, money and problems in society.
After three weeks of reflecting on the moment, the only piece I can come back to is that the teachers are the catalyst for the alumni. Their reunion allowed the LSQC alumni to create a grand reunion which spanned three decades. The teachers serve as the road in which alumni of Lourdes School can come together into an organization in the United States.
Our Lourdes School teachers taught us the basics twenty or thirty years ago. Now, once more, they teach us lessons and give us the alumni the opportunity to reach beyond our imagination, to strive for something greater, and to serve our alma mater as instruments of peace.
I would like to extend to every single teacher my thanks and appreciation. If it were not for their reunion, I would not have seen the beauty of singing "Ama Namin" in Tagalog, of hearing the beauty of the St. Francis prayer, and of learning of the need to serve.
TatangREtong LSQC Grade School, Batch 1981. All mistakes and erros are mine and mine alone. This is Part II of the recount of the Grand Reunion 2005.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
So, I have only a few more days of bachelorhood. The wedding date is coming and there is definitely some things to worry about. Like, forgetting to tell the hotel what food you want to taste. Thus, when we went there, there was no food to taste. Damn. I thought it was just like any food-tasting. They will have something ready. I guess they cook the food really early in the morning.
There are bridal showers and parties and other weddings to attend. It is interesting to compare the weddings to mine. I hope it is not as hectic, there is not that much drama, etc. As the SO said, she shows up, I show up and the reverend shows up, everything is cool.
Have been playing Civilization III and it does show you why it is fun to conquer the world. I can understand why those Americans ended up colonizing the Philippines. There is a rush of adrenaline as you see the resources in that area, and you look at the competitors and you begin getting paranoid that they will get there first.
Sometimes, you just want to pick a fight with a neighbor because you are more superior in military terms than they are. That's what happened in the last game when France picked a fight against India. It ended up that they were taken out of the continent by the Romans. And of course, I was there to colonize with my settlers.
And sometimes, you would like to trade with them, but they don't have any road or harbor. Definitely, I feel like a sultan trying to navigate my people to civilization. hahahah.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Hehehehe. There is some flap over what a radio announcer said about the sf gi*nts. In one respect, the announcer was wrong. All of the gi*nts suck. not just the geographically mentioned ones. barrry---barrryyyy--steroids...steroids. oh wait, phil niekro's son really does not suck. okay, he doesn't suck. and maybe JT Snow. He does not suck. Omar Vizquel can field, but no hit.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
A Cup of Coffee
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got
together to visit their old University of Notre Dame lecturer.
Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain looking
and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said:
"If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving
behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the
best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What
all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the
better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."
"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in
society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the
quality of Life doesn't change."
"Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
A 70 year old 'lolo' from the province was
accompanied by his grandson
to the US Embassy in Manila for his VISA
interview. The lolo spoke not a
word of English so the grandson
translated for him.
The consul told the young man to ask his
grandfather why he wanted to go
to the States. "Bakit daw ho ninyo gustong
pumunta sa Amerika?" the grandson
translated. "Sabihin mo gusto kong makita
yung mga anak ko doon." "He
said he wants to see his children there." Fair
enough, that's what the lolo's
The consul had another question. "Ask him,
why does he have to go there?
Why can't his children just come and visit him
here?" The grandson translated this in Tagalog.
Lolo replied: Sabihin mo kasi dito
pinanganak yung mga anak ko. Nakita na nila
ang Pilipinas. Gusto ko namang makita ang
Amerika bago ako mamatay." Translation:
"Tell him, my children were born here.
They have seen the Philippines already. I just
want to see America before I die."
The heartless consul was unimpressed as he
declared, devoid of any emotion, that he was
rejecting the visa application because the
applicant was unable to speak a word of
English. "Reject daw yung visa ninyo kasi
hindi daw kayo marunong mag-Ingles."
The lolo was equally unimpressed. "Sabihin
mo ito sa kanya at huwag mong papalitan ang
sasabihin ko. Putang ina niya, bakit
siya nandidito eh hindi naman siya marunong
mag-Tagalog." Translated: "He said: you son
of a bitch, how come you are here...
you do not know how to speak in Tagalog."
Taken aback, sense of humor still intact, the
consul relented and approved lolo's visa
Captain, My Captain
One of them was a farmer. Someone who planted seeds. The rest were the gardeners. They pruned. The result was approximately 100 alumni who could make a difference in this world. 100 alumni who went to a reunion to pay homage and respect.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
On a sunny July day in Los Angeles, California about a hundred alumni and eighteen teachers converged on the Aloha Adult Day Health Center. They came from the states of California, Washington, New Jersey, Hawaii, Arizona and New York and from the district of Wasthington D.C. One former teacher and several alumni came from as far as the Philippines to celebrate and mark the first grand reunion for LSQC alumni in the United States.
It is said that all great things start out small. It is true even for this event. The guest of honor was Father Rector Troy de los Santos who served as the rector of LSQC from 1971 to 1979. Father Troy is a member of the Capuchin Order, one of three Franciscan orders. The celebratory grand reunion event started thirty-four years ago when Father Troy was appointed as the first Filipino Rector of LSQC. Thirty odd years later, at the age of sixty-two, Father Troy looked very much as he did when he led LSQC in the 1970's.
As a child, I was in awe of "Father Troy" even though I did not know what "rector" meant. I remember, however, having to confess my sins to Father Troy during the last years of my elementary schooling. He had to listen to more than six classes of adolescent boys confess adolescent sins on a sunny morning. I remember his tired eyes, his monotone voice and his head bobbing as he listened to one embarassed adolescent after another. I still wonder... was that a slight smile when he told me to pray one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be to alleviate the weight of my sins?
Perhaps, because I myself am removed more than twenty years from LSQC, I can now see the humor, the humility, and the humanity of Father Troy. He began his homily with "Kung sino ang walang kasalanan, magtaas ng kamay." Of course, no one raised their hand. But the question had set the tone for the celebration. We are not in the grand reunion to simply reminisce and talk about the good old days. We are in the grand reunion to reflect on our life. Specifically, Father Troy expressed his desire for the celebrants to examine their life in the context of the story about the Dead Sea.
There are three seas in the areas of Ancient Israel. The Dead Sea is the largest of the lakes but contains such a high salinity that nothing lives in it. The seas of Galilee and Semechonitis send water to the Dead Sea. However, the seas of Galilee and Semechonitis have abundant life in the form of animals and plants. While the Galilee and Semechonitis gives, the Dead Sea only takes. In the giving, the sea of Galilee and Semechonitis are blessed. In only taking, the Dead Sea is mired in rut.
Father Troy said, "Biniyayaan kayo ng Diyos na makarating sa Amerika. Nakaangat kayo mula sa hirap. Ngayon, iangat ninyo ang hindi pa nakaka-angat." Father Troy closed his homily with "Don't tell me about your plans to help. Go out there and do it." To further emphasize his point, in the part of the Mass where the celebrants wish each other "Peace be with you," Father Troy instead asked us to say "Kaibigan, walang iwanan."
Later in the evening, Father Troy made a speech. He recounted a little history of the school and the story of how he became a rector. Father Troy admitted to making mistakes while rector of LSQC. But he also mentioned that he planted seeds in his nine years as rector. The seeds of thirty years ago have now matured into the alumni who now have a chance to help the poor and the needy. In nine short years, one man who made a difference became a hundred individuals who can affect change in the world.
"Sino ba naman ako? Ako ay nagtanim lamang."
Father Troy de los Santos
Lord, make me a channel of your peace;
where there is hatred let me bring your love,
where there is injury, your pardon,
where there is doubt, true faith in you;
where there is despair in life let me bring hope,
where there is darkness, only light,
and where there is sadness, ever joy;
O Master grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved, as to love with all my soul!
For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving of ourselves that we receive,
and in dying that we are born to eternal life.
In studying the history of the Catholic Church, I realize now that I was very lucky to go to a school that held St. Francis as its patron saint. I might not have always measured up to the prayer. But maybe from now on, I can.