Beyond Inspirational

This one was extra special.

The day before I attended Mass at St. John the Baptist in Laughlin, Nevada, I was in Bakersfield, Calif., for two Saturday Masses at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Attending two Masses at the church is not a difficult chore, given the parish conducts 11 Sunday Masses – six in Spanish and five in English – at two separate facilities. This parish community of Mexican Americans is tremendously devout. But it was what the parish is doing in service of the faith that will stick with me, long after my traveling is done.

The parish’s full name is Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Copatroness of the Unborn. And its secondary facility is an outdoor pavilion church that sits adjacent to the Memorial to the Unborn, a site where children who have been lost to miscarriage can forever be remembered.

I spent much of the day Friday and the following Saturday meeting with men and women of the parish, and I couldn’t have been more impressed. I was particularly in awe of three women who are truly doings God’s work serving the families who have been dealt the painful blow of miscarriage, a tragedy for would-be moms that too often gets overlooked by society.

I don’t know if I’ll be more moved by a group of people in the next 30 or so visits than I was by Father Larry and the parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But, to be fair, I didn’t know it was possible to meet such inspiring human beings in the first place.

The Shrine.
A Saturday morning service attracted hundreds to the outdoor church.
The grotto.
The traditional church building.

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