St. Anthony Messenger

August 2013

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F O L L O W E R S O F S T. F R A N C I S Blessing of the Waves H PHOTO BY MARGE BITETTI untington Beach, California, known as Surf City, has over three miles of smooth sand and beckoning Pacific waters. It is home to the Ocean Pacific Surf Championship each year. So 23 years ago, when Father Christian Mondor, OFM, was assigned to Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in Huntington Beach, it was no surprise that the ocean would call to him. All of his life this Southern California native was a swimmer. Then, at the age of 70, he decided it was time to try surfing. Father Christian, now 88, combined his love of the ocean with his zealous involve- Father Christian Mondor, OFM A group gathers for the annual Blessing of the Waves celebration in Huntington Beach, California. ment in the Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, of which he is a past president. Active in fostering mutual understanding for the diversity of faiths in the community, Father Christian worked with the council for the establishment of the Blessing of the Waves, an annual event started by the Diocese of Orange. Held each year in October to coincide with St. Francis' feast day, the Blessing of the Waves has been a fitting way to show respect for God's creation and bring people of all ages and faiths together. Each year, members of various faith traditions gather at the water's edge in Huntington Beach to ask God's blessing on the waves, the surfers, and the city. The ceremony starts on land, with religious leaders from the interfaith council reciting prayers from their own faith traditions. Father Christian blesses the thousands gathered with rosemary sprigs dipped in holy water. At the end of the service, the surfers paddle out into the ocean, forming a prayer circle in thanksgiving for God's gift of the ocean and offering prayers for those who use it. Father Christian is still an active surfer; however, the endurance needed for the tra- PHOTO COURTESY FRED GALLUCCIO STORIES FROM OUR READERS Customized Care © HADRIAN KUBASIEWICZ/FOTOLIA Learn more about St. Anthony and share your story of how he helped you at Features/Anthony. 6 ❘ Augus t 2013 On a return trip from Italy, my husband and I went through airport customs and then bought some gifts at the duty-free shop. As we headed to our gate for boarding, I realized I was missing my carry-on bag. Instant panic ensued. I told my story to the first flight attendant we saw. She said my bag was probably back in customs. When I got to our gate, I again told my story, but the plane was ready for takeoff, so I had no time to go back. Feeling devastated, I again told my story to one of our flight attendants as we approached our seats. As we waited, I prayed, "Tony, Tony, come around. Something's lost and must be found" three times. As I finished, the call came for me to "please come forward. We have your bag." My bag was returned in perfect condition. One of the flight attendants heard my plight and ran all the way to customs. —Dolores Horner, Johnstown, Pennsylvania St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg

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