St. Catherine of Sienna is in south Phoenix and in the poorer part of the city. Yesterday and today I went out for a walk to pray the Rosary. I wear my cassock as usual and because of the sun, my Roman Cappello. Believe it or not I am shy and do not like to stand out. 15 years ago, I helped a friend of mine, Barbara Ayala, organized Modesto California’s Walk for Life. We always did it on Good Friday. Around 7 years ago, I decided to wear the cassock for the first time for this pro-life walk. When I wore it that morning, something in my priestly soul knew that this was the proper priestly attire. Since then I have always worn it. This is from this year’s walk for life from the Modesto Bee.
Myself and Fr. Mark Wagner Praying the Latin Exorcism Prayer of Pope Leo XIII in front of the abortion mill.
Many priest and my bishop discouraged me from using it. My bishop told me that I was eccentric by wearing it. I looked up on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops website and it said it was up to the cleric to wear it or not.
I do not wear it to make a traditional statement. I wear it because it is priestly, period. The cassock and biretta are part of the Holy Tridentine Mass. It took me some time to get use to wearing the biretta.
Anyway, this morning I put on my Roman Cappello (wide brimmed black hat) to walk in the neighborhood and pray the rosary. A lady waved from a house near by and I went over and began talking with her. Her husband has just been diagnosed with Blatter cancer. Please pray for him and all the sick people who need our prayers so much, especially the spiritually sick.
She and her husband have not been to confession or church in years. What happened was that when her saintly mother was sick, it took 2 weeks for the priest to come and anoint her. Then when it came for the funeral, another parish would not let her have the funeral mass there because it was not her parish. All this together caused her and her husband to fall away. None of this encounter would have happened if I had not been in my priestly clothes. How would she have known I was a catholic priest if I were walking in shorts and a t-shirt.
I explained that I had just moved from California to work with Fr. Seanz to spread the Latin Mass. I expected her to say; “what is that” or “I hate that mass”. No she surprised me by saying that she loved the Holy Tridentine Mass because her mother loved it and she was brought up with it. She said how it had hurt her mother so much when they changed.
This afternoon I am going over there to hear their confession. I already did an examination of conscience with them so they can be prepared. Then they are going to come this afternoon to the Holy Latin Mass and receive Jesus’ holy Body and Blood after many years. All this happened because I am a traditional catholic priest. All you priest who read this, it is worth all the persecution and ridicule we receive for wearing clerics especially the cassock, to save ONE SOUL. All the bishops, priest and laity that persecute us and ridicule us will not matter one bit when we go to heaven and rejoice forever with the people we were able (with God’s grace and sacraments) to save from hell and get into heaven.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.