I absolutely love, love music!

I guess you can tell by all the YouTube videos that are attached to my blogs that I try to marry into my stories. Music truly elevates my soul and it surely is a gift from God. It reaches into the deepest part of me and speaks volumes. It becomes a prayer when I’m singing along as well. I remember St. Pope John Paul II saying “he who sings, prays twice!”

Our guest singer on this posting is Mr. Louis Armstrong belting out the popular song, “What a Wonderful World.” I actually found a YouTube video from “back in the day” (1967). In the video, this amazing musician chats it up with his viewers before actually performing the song.

He speaks in response to questions asked of him by some young folks! “Old Pops,” they asked him, “How could it be a wonderful world with walls, hunger and pollution?”

Louis Armstrong gives us the answer in this little prelude to his beautiful prayerful song. We know his answer fully well. We’ve heard it so many times proclaimed in scripture by Jesus Christ.

It’s All About Love! Isn’t It?

To give an example of that, I would like to write about “endless lines and endless love” displayed at St. Brigids Church on Ash Wednesday.

Yes, this blog is once again about Fr. Tony Stanganelli!

He will be celebrating his 40th Anniversary Year of Ordination to the Priesthood on Sunday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day!

What better way to congratulate and show gratitude to him than to dedicate this posting to his amazing vocation! And, as an added bonus, to have Mr. Louis Armstrong sing for him and you!

I posted below a few lines of this beautiful song to ponder. Certainly the lyrics can be used as a guided meditation. See what “Love” looks like through this song!

What a Wonderful World!

So I would like to start off with the lyrics from this great, great song:I see trees of green, red roses to

I see trees of green, red roses too. ..

I see them bloom for me and you. . .

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white. . .

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. . .

And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky. . .

St. Brigid’s Church & Rectory – Westbury, NY

“. . . Are Also on the Faces of People Going By”

“The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by! Wow! What a great way to describe to you what I was seeing as the people filed past my pew making their way to the altar where Fr. Tony stood waiting for them.

It’s with this stanza of “What a Wonderful World where we enter into the Church of St. Brigid’s on Ash Wednesday, March 6th! This is where I want to take you to show you Love Displayed in such a beautiful and moving way.

The 12:10 Mass at St. Brigid’s is usually pretty well attended. It’s situated on a busy street and many people, especially those on their lunch hours, come to Mass. So, for Ash Wednesday, you can imagine how many people filed in through the front doors of this beautiful, sacred space seeking the “black cross” on their foreheads.

Father Tony was celebrating this Mass and his homilies are always straight from the heart, sharing his own life experiences. He gave an example of visiting his brother’s home and how upon entering that home, he heads right to the kitchen and to the fridge! His sister-in-law always asks him, “What are you looking for?” He doesn’t know! He just stands looking into that lighted cold interior. Surely, he tells us, nothing from the fridge that we might want to snack on will be lasting.

Now he turns that scene into a question of the heart. . .

Fr. Tony asks us “What are we looking for here on this Ash Wednesday?”

He left us to ponder that question! Why were we here? What were we seeking?

What followed after that beautiful homily was truly the answer. We were there to be “fed” by the Eucharist not just to receive the Ashes on our foreheads. We were also there to receive “love.” And, Fr. Tony displayed that moments after the Mass concluded.

How did he do that? He does it every year! The first time I saw it, I was so moved that I wrote him a letter of gratitude. I also wrote our new bishop giving him a “pew view” of one of the parishes in his new diocese that he was now shepherding.

Right after Mass, Fr. Tony takes his place at the edge of the altar. Jesus is present too, in the Monstrance. He is front and center on the altar of St. Brigid’s where He waits everyday for us to visit right after Mass until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Jesus on the Altar of St. Brigids

Fr. Tony is there to give ashes out. He is not there for a short time. He is there for hours! He stands with a smile signing, with the mark of the cross in ashes, each and everyone who comes up before him. He does it with love! Great love and affection, too! He does it for his parishioners and all those who visited St. Brigid’s that day.

The lines were endless. As the people passed me by in my pew, all I could do was smile and feel the magic of the moment and certainly a touch of the Divine. There were young, there were old, there were the crippled, there were the babies. They were all the flock of Jesus called forth on a special day in the Catholic Church meeting with one of their Shepherds who was certainly walking the talk!

What was the “talk?” It was “Love.” It was Louis Armstrong’s answer to the young folks! Old Pops said it was all about love and that is what we need more of! It will heal the world and on Ash Wednesday I saw that displayed so very well.

I left the Church that day at 4:00 pm. Before leaving, I went into the Sacristy to get Fr. Tony some wet paper towels to clean his hands as you can imagine the black ashes that had accumulated on his fingers. My heart went out to him standing there for so very long and I knew he would be there much longer. His feet must have been aching and his facial muscles must have been frozen in his perpetual smile! But he was still standing when I left! And smiling!!!!

But I also saw the looks on the faces of the people who were not only anointed with the ashes, but anointed with “LOVE.”

Happy 40th Anniversary Father Tony Stanganelli!

Thank you for helping us to find what we are looking for!  LOVE

©2019 Anita Guariglia

Featured image credit/pexals.com

Roses credit/Anita Guariglia

St. Brigids Rainbow credit/Maura Goodwin

Fr. Tony image/Mary Ellen Fosso

Youtube/Louis Armstrong/It’s a Wonderful World/Original spoken intro version/ABC Records/1967-70