Given a Gift

My name is Mariann Elizabeth Cook. I am named after my great grandmother, whom I never met. I am told that she was a gentle, kind woman. I am always  reminded to be like her. I really do try!

Her story, which became my story, is that her grandmother was working in her garden when a man on horseback appeared in her yard. This was many years ago. He was the priest/pastor of St. Michael’s Church in Greenville, Pa. He asked my great-great grandmother (the story is told) if she belonged to any church and her reply was a simple “no.” The priest responded- “Well then, I would like to invite you to come to St. Michael’s Church here in Greenville” and he handed her a Bible and invited her to read the Bible- “when you come to Mass at St. Michael’s Church, the Bible will be discussed.” My great-great grandmother thanked him for the Bible, and she hitched up the horse and buggy the next Sunday morning and drove her and her family to St. Michael’s Church– they became parishioners and that gift has been passed to me. Her Catechism book resides in a glass enclosed case which is at the foot of the staircase– each of us pass the glass case many times each day– we bless ourselves as we pass the case that houses the original crucifix given to great grandmother. Also, Deacon Bob came to our house and blessed the case, the cross, and the ancient Catechism book that resides therein. I am so grateful for that wonderful priest and for the great grandmother  whom I never met, because being a Catholic has become the core of my life. My parents took me to Mass as a little child, My mother told me that she held me in her arms during Mass. Yes, when I was a babe in arms.

My first memory of St. Patrick’s was a march down the aisle in my mother’s arms as she went to Communion. I inherited a hearing problem from my father so I did not attend Catechism classes at first, but mom taught me about our faith. Eventually, my hearing problem was corrected with great doctors and caring parents and the hands of Almighty God.

Being a Catholic is a beautiful gift– I have met  wonderful priests who guided me, precious nuns who cared that I knew the Risen Christ– mom reminds me that her four children have not needed to be reminded to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation– we were given a gift– mom says “use it” (the gift of love for our Savior).

God bless,