|St. Gianna: Catholic, Mom, and Physician|
The priest who presided at Mass is the chaplain for both the local chapter of the Catholic Medical Association (named for both Sts. Luke and Gianna) and for the infertility support group. He is also a convert to Catholicism and a former OB/GYN, which has been a blessing for the infertility support group. There were several of us there from the group and we all sat together. It was a nice simple Mass. There were maybe about 30-40 people present including lots of families and children.
A portrait of St. Gianna was displayed just off to the side of the altar along with two second-class relics: her fetal scope and a pair of her gloves. There was also a tiny, round container that contained a first-class relic, a few strands of her hair. This must have been up on the altar because to conclude Mass, the priest did the final blessing and then added an additional sign of the cross over everyone using the first-class relic.
We were then invited to come forward to venerate the relics. We waited patiently and eventually were able to get up close to the relics and say some prayers. I prayed specifically for my friends struggling with fertility issues and for all the moms in an online community I am a part of.
The priest that said Mass smiled at me really big when I went up for communion. I have not seen or talked to him since last summer, when I was still dealing with the loss of Brigit and having my own fertility issues. So of course that big smile was completely understandable.
While we were waiting to venerate the relics, he approached and asked how far along I was. I told him, we exchanged a few quick words, and then he moved on. I had no idea whether he knew from talking to anyone else anything more about my situation.
But once we had our chance to venerate St. Gianna's relics and ask for her intercession with Our Lord, we headed back to the pews to meet up with our friends but paused to speak to the priest who was sitting in the front row. I told him about my surgery, that we were expecting twins (to which he said he was glad to hear it since he thought I looked a lot bigger than 32 weeks!), and that we have made it much further than originally expected. He was very excited for us and said he we would continue to be in his prayers.
It was a blessing to be there last night and very much a privilege.