It Happened in Sioux Falls


Years ago, my wife Kathy and I attended noon Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We hadn't realised that the Mass was a Tridentine (Latin) Mass. As a convert, I had never been to a Latin Mass, so this was a new experience. I followed along as best I could with Kathy, a cradle Catholic who grew up in the pre-Vatican II Church. I knew I'd be fine if I just did what she did. 

Kneeling at the altar rail was a first. Kathy kneeling beside me, I watched the priest and an altar boy with a gold paten making their way toward us from our left. When the priest placed the Eucharist on my tongue, he intoned the formula in the ancient language of the Church, Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. (May the body of Our Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting).

I don't know quite how to relate what happened next other than to tell it as it was. Kneeling in the pew, I closed my eyes and, big as life, I saw the Lord Jesus standing in front of me, just as if my eyes were opened. I was startled, needless to say, and opened my eyes. With that, He was gone. I closed my eyes again, and He was still standing there, with his right arm extended in a blessing.

He was a large man with a white cloth head covering. I could have touched Him. He seemed that close. My eyes stayed focused on His eyes. In my peripheral vision, I saw a woman. I knew instantly that she was the Blessed Virgin and that she had brought her Son to me.

I have no memory how long this lasted. The next thing I do remember was that the Mass had ended, and as we were leaving the pew, I kept saying to Kathy, "I saw Jesus! I saw Jesus!" Kathy gave me a look of concern, took my arm and said we should be going. This experience never recurred, but I've relived it every day since then. Thanks be to God.


A few years later, we were watching the Tonight Show. Brad Garret, an actor I had never seen before, was Jay Leno's guest. "That's the face! That's the face I saw!" His face was so close to the likeness of Our Lord that I saw in the Cathedral that it was uncanny. Brad Garret is a Jewish comedian. I wondered if he too was of the house and lineage of David.  

I wondered if . . .

I opened my window to the gentle rain
and said my prayers there.

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