Friday, December 29, 2017

A Gift for Father Rudy

Father Rudy Pesongco is a Phillipino priest in our parish for 12 years.  He's been visiting my family for most of that time, once he discovered that our house is across from the closest high school track.  He often stops during his exercise in warmer weather, and takes a moment to chat and rest before walking back the almost mile to the church rectory.  Over the years, he's had a few desserts with us, as well.  He and my dad used to chat.  Dad was a Knights of Columbus, usher, member of St. Vincent de Paul society and overall volunteer at St. Anne's.  When Dad passed away May of 2016, Fr. Rudy was the one who visited him in the hospital, and gave him last rights. 

A few weeks after Dad passed, my brothers came over to choose some of Dad's cuff links and tie tacks, and from his collection of rosary beads and crucifixes.  Among the crucifixes was a reliquary.  I hadn't realized what it was, but after some research, I discovered it's similar to this one.  (photo from youtube, not my father's).
Image result for crucifix reliquary

There was a small screw holding the top and bottom together, and when the crucifix is opened, there are tiny glass pieces with labels that identify the saint the relic is from.  According to the family research, this may have been given to my paternal grandfather, after his near death as a New York City fireman, back in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  He was injured in a building collapse and fire, and since many of Dad's cousins and a few aunts were nuns, it's possible one of them gave this to help my grandfather heal. (Joe actually figured out his own physical therapy and was able to walk again, much to the surprise of his doctors.)  My dad's brother figures this scenario to be the best story of how Dad got this reliquary, after their parents passed. 

As John (my oldest brother) and I discussed, we had hoped to present this reliquary to St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  But unknown to me, on that day, my youngest brother claimed he was "getting the remaining items cleaned at his jeweler" and we haven't seen the reliquary since.  I was really disappointed that a special memorial from Dad, who was such a part of the parish for 64 years, was not presented.  Nothing special was done in Dad's memory, which bothered me.

During this summer, Fr. Rudy started visiting again, and asked about my sewing, and then asked me to do some repairs and alterations for him.  I was happy to help.  He also mentioned that he would be celebrating his 35th year as a priest, with a parish celebration on December 3.  One of the things he asked me to repair and restyle was one of the white albs he wears.  I wanted to make something for him, in Dad's memory, to celebrate his day, so I did some research on albs and fabric, and some discussion with him, and decided to make one.  I happened to have a small bolt of white poplin, and found a pattern in my stash I could use, and added a label to commemorate his jubilee and my dad's memory. 

I was honored he wore this for his celebration mass, and that he loved that the label included my dad in his day. 

 Front, he wanted an easy zipper closure.


During the procession.  I LOVE the windows.  The church is beautiful. 
Fr. Rudy celebrating the mass.  

I'm still hoping the reliquary will be returned so we can present it to the church, so others can benefit from the prayers and comfort it can bring.  But at least now there's something at St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  

Thanks for reading.  It's not often I share about non-quilted items I make, and this was a creative use of things I had in my stash.  Dad would be proud of that.  


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