By Louise Barrett
I am proud to relate this story to you. Our church is not only beautiful on the outside and physical interior, but it is beautiful because of the people that are within it – our Parish Family.
There was a young man from out of town visiting his dad in St Pete. As he was driving over the bridge, he saw our beautiful church. He was being sent to Pakistan with the military as a contractor that very day. Before heading to Tampa airport, he wanted rosaries for himself and friends. So he stopped at our church.
He met a group of parishioners talking on the walkway after daily Mass and wanted to know where the gift shop was located. Of course, he did not know it is only open after weekend Masses.
God wanted a special send off for this man. Ruth Mattick was there for Tuesday morning fun club, and she opened the shop just for our visitor. Father Dominic welcomed him and prayed a special blessing with him.
One of the Tuesday Fun Club ladies offered to pay for the rosaries for the man, and Ruth and her daughter donated 50 rosaries made by our dear rosary makers.
Was the man an angel come to test our hospitality? I don't know. He certainly looked to be a young man about to serve his country in a far away and dangerous place. I only know what I saw, and Tuesday morning I saw St. Raphael's as a place of love and kindness. Thanks to each of you who make St. Raphael's so special.