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Halloween, Ebola, and a Saint

Halloween - BooIt’s that time of year again.  Halloween is right around the corner and a lot of people are scared.  Our so-called leaders walk around as though they are zombies whose purpose is to destroy our nation.  Every decision they make is the exact opposite of what a reasonable, rational person would decide.  What’s even scarier is the sheep-like behavior of the masses who wander about, clueless as to what’s going on around them.

On Friday (October 17), my wife and I went to a restaurant for dinner.  When the host handed me the small device that vibrates and buzzes when the table is ready, the first thought that popped into my mind was: What if this thing had the Ebola virus on it?  Every person who touches it tonight could become infected with the virus.

Next week, I’m flying out of Chicago to Pennsylvania.  The last thing I want to do is go to an airport where I’ll come into contact with thousands of strangers.  Worse than that is the fact that I’m going to get on a plane with 300 strangers where we’ll all be forced to breathe in the stale air and germs that are circulated throughout the pressurized cabin for at least two hours.

Until last week, the know-nothings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were saying that the incubation period for the Ebola virus is 21 days.  Now they’re admitting that they really don’t know how long the incubation period is.  Experts are now conceding that the virus can be spread with minimal contact between people.

On Thursday (October 16), three schools in Texas were closed so workers could “thoroughly clean and disinfect the schools and busses.”  Apparently there were five students who were exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan, the original Ebola patient who flew from Liberia to Dallas, so he could get treatment for his condition.

The same day (Thursday), representatives of the CDC were looking for people who had shopped at a local bridal store in Columbus, Ohio.  Why the bridal store?  Because a nurse from Texas who had shopped at the store was later diagnosed with Ebola.  Despite wearing protective gear, the nurse had come down with Ebola after caring for the Liberian patient at a Texas hospital.  After treating the patient, she flew to Ohio to spend time with some friends.

Do you think I’m being unreasonably paranoid?  Would your opinion change if someone flew into Peoria to visit a family member and was subsequently diagnosed with Ebola after eating at a local restaurant and shopping at a few of our stores?

The concerns that people have right now about this deadly virus could easily turn into panic if individuals in several cities are diagnosed with Ebola.  Is there anything you and I can do to protect ourselves and our families from this disease?

There is one particular saint that we should all pray to for protection — Blessed Jacinta Marto, the nine-year-old girl who died on February 20, 1920, from complications associated with the Spanish Flu.  You may remember from your history classes that from 1918 to 1920, there was a flu pandemic that swept through the world and was responsible for taking the lives of more than 50 million people.

The flu pandemic I’m referring to was commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” and it came in two different waves.  The first wave resembled the typical flu.  The second wave occurred after the virus mutated and turned into an “angel of death” that had no mercy on the people it touched.

Some of the more notable Americans who died from the Spanish Flu were Felix Arndt, pianist; Larry Chappell, baseball player; Harry Elionsky, champion long-distance runner; Irma Cody Garlow, daughter of Buffalo Bill Cody; Henry G. Ginaca, engineer and inventor of the Ginaca machine; Myrtle Gonzalez, film actress; Phoebe Hearst, mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst; and Frederick Trump, grandfather of businessman Donald Trump.  Three notable American survivors of the Spanish Flu were Walt Disney (1901 – 1966); President Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924); and President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945).

The year before the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young children in Fatima, Portugal — Lucia de Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto.  At that time, the children were ten, nine, and seven years old, respectively.  Our Lady’s first appearance was on May 13, 1917.  She appeared to the children each month thereafter until her final apparition on October 13, 1917.  Her messages warned that if people did not stop sinning, there would be much suffering.  During her final appearance, the mother of God told the children:

I am the Lady of the Rosary.  I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins.  They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men.  People must say the Rosary.  Let them continue saying it every day.

The Blessed Mother had previously told the children that a public miracle would take place during her final appearance on October 13, 1917.  Word got out and more than 70,000 people showed up at the apparition site to witness the promised miracle.  A miracle did in fact occur, and after witnessing the miracle, the secular newspaper reporters who had previously ridiculed the claims of the children, wrote detailed accounts about the “Miracle of the Sun.”  They also reported that numerous healings had taken place at the time of the miracle.

In 1930, after investigating the Fatima apparitions, the Catholic Church declared them “worthy of credence.”  On May 13, 2000, to celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, Pope John Paul II, travelled to Fatima to announce the beatification of Jacinta Marto.  She was (and still is) the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.

Prior to Jacinta’s death, our Lady revealed to her that she was going to die alone in a hospital bed.  Her cousin Lucia later wrote the following in her memoirs about Jacinta: “On one occasion, I found her clasping a picture of our Lady to her heart and saying, ‘O my dearest heavenly Mother, do I have to die all alone?’”

Jacinta was sick from the Spanish Flu for several months prior to her death.  At one point she was transferred from a hospital in Ourem, Portugal, to a hospital in Lisbon, Portugal.  The hospital in Lisbon was located so far away from Jacinta’s home town that her parents and relatives were unable to secure transportation to visit her.  She died alone in her hospital bed on February 20, 1920.

It is well documented that Jacinta gracefully accepted her fate, offering up all her sufferings for the conversion of sinners.

It’s getting to the point where walking into a restaurant or an airport is worse than entering a haunted house.  Of course, we all need to exercise caution when interacting with others.  But we also need to pray for guidance and protection.  If you’re concerned about the Ebola virus, a good place to start would be to reach out to Blessed Jacinta Marto for her help and protection.

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