October Surprise

Well, we had our \”October Surprise\” on October 15, the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. During the Mass, shortly before Holy Communion, our Chaplain, Fr. John Lydon, OP, had a heart attack. He was not able to continue the Mass, and our Sacristan distributed Communion.

Father John when he first arrived just a year ago.

He was rushed to the hospital and the doctors found he had \”multiple blockages\”. The Dominican Provincial decided it would be best to go to Houston for surgery. There are a number of Dominican Friars there and he is assigned to Holy Rosary Priory there. It was difficult to get him stabilized but he was eventually transported to a hospital in Houston where he had triple-bypass surgery yesterday.

This emergency has left us without a chaplain. It also occurs at a straining point in our diocese. Our Pastor celebrated Mass for us a number of times. But he has been transferred to the Cathedral in Tyler and is no longer in Lufkin. Fortunately, we had the joy of \”meeting\” him and visiting for an hour before he left. Father Hank Lanik has only been in Lufkin for 8 months; but the Bishop needs him elsewhere, so we are all trying to cooperate. Father Hank is originally from San Antonio and has lived all over the state of Texas. The people are very sad to see him go. He has truly endeared himself to everyone. He promises his replacement will be here in a week.

                                    We trust in you, Jesus!

The Dominican provincial has also been trying to find a replacement for our chaplain. Every day we never know who will be in chapel to say Mass for us, or what time the Mass will be.

One of the volunteers the provincial found to help us with Mass was Fr. John Restrepo, OP, the Pastor of St. Dominic in New Orleans. The Church is very large and was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. Father John has shown himself a true brother!!! He drove from New Orleans to Houston to see our chaplain, Fr. Lydon, then drove up to Lufkin to celebrate the Liturgy with us, before making the return trip. About an hour after Mass were able to visit in the Parlor with Fr. John and it was delightful. He confessed that he \”loved to talk and tell stories\”. Our prioress assured him, \”we loved to listen\”!

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