I thought I heard Fr. Mark from the Carmelite monastery, Margao say in his sermon on 15July that Mary appeared to Simon Stock of the Carmelite Order at 12.51. I reflected that it would be a good idea to say the rosary the next day at that precise time at home to commemorate the event.
16 July was a holiday for us being the feast of Mount Carmel. Though there were pressing matters to be attended to, the rest of the family resigned themselves to follow my missive. The candles were lit and we prayed the rosary with full alertness during broad daylight. The rosary is usually said at night. After the rosary was said I took down the brown scapulars I had brought for the family and gave it to each family member.
The scapulars had been distributed the previous day at the Feast Mass observed by students, staff and management of Carmel College, Nuvem, Goa. The choir with their mellifluous voices heightened our devotion by singing the hymns ‘Crowned with the Glory of Carmel’, and ‘Pure as Carmel.’
On 16 July I went for the morning Mass at Don Bosco, Panjim. Fr. Lody Pires spoke about the significance of the scapular and how recalled Mother Mary’s promise that anyone who dies with the scapular shall be saved. But he warned that the scapular should not be worn merely as a superstition. One should endeavour to live a holy life to be worthy to wear the scapular. Filled with the joy of attending Mass I watched the children in their Don Bosco t-shirts and I reminisced about my school days in Don Bosco, Matunga Mumbai where every child kept a devotion to Mary Help of Christians.
As Fr. Lody continued his sermon he spoke how Mary appeared to Simon Stock of the Carmelite Order on 16 July 1251. I realized, quite amused that 1251 stood for the year, not the time!
In the evening, I decided to go to the Carmelite Seminary, Peddem, Mapusa for the Mass at 6 p.m. The energy was awesome. The Mass was concelebrated by about 13 priests. The choir was superlative and the distribution of scapulars by the young seminarians was orderly and graceful. Right from the time the cars nosed their way up the road to the seminary, perched just off NH 17, the young seminarians were on their toes guiding the vehicles to the parking space behind.
On the 17 July I stepped out in the morning to bring the Sunday papers. At the infamous junction outside Holy Family church I was waiting for my signal to turn to green. As the light turned green I moved my car forward only to see a speeding red maruti jumping the red light on my left. We braked in the centre of the road with inches to spare. At 9 a.m. the Mass at Holy Family church was over and there was another car emerging out of the gate. I gave thanks to Mary. I was wearing the scapular.
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 7 August 2016. Pix painting by Theodore van Thulden (Dutch, 1606-1669), courtesy artnet.com