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2/4/23 Ultreya

Twenty-five Cursillistas gathered on Saturday evening, February 4, at the Cathedral of Ignatius of Loyola

Parish Life Center. Rector Kim Vargas-Vila invited all to pray the Holy Spirit prayer and share experiences during group reunion time. Kim recited the "Footprints in the Sand" poem to preface the witness speaker, Tony Bellantoni.

One night I dreamed a dream.

I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

There was only one set of footprints.

I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life.

This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way.

But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints.

I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

― Margaret Fishback Powers

Tony has a neurological condition which prohibits movement in his body and affects his speech. It has been progressing throughout his life; however, he keeps his eyes on Jesus to give him strength and stands on the promise from Romans 5:1-5: "Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us."

Tony is very involved with the Knights of Columbus and has been enjoying his 4th day since his Cursillo in July, 2022. He sat at the table of St. Padre Pio and could join his infirmities with those of the saint. St. Padre Pio taught many people to pray the Rosary to combat evil and promised that many graces will be sent by God and Mary for being diligent. Tony strives to live by the words of St. Padre Pio, "Pray, hope and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."

Deacon Joe O'Connell thanked Tony for the courage to share his story. Despite Tony's physical ailments, he chose the better vowel, "E', not "I" and turned to the Lord for His guidance and strength. He is living his faith and making a friend ... being a friend ... and bringing your friend closer to Christ.

The evening continued at the Allora Pizza and Pasta Restaurant, where we all enjoyed a delicious meal, great company and a few laughs.


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