Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Two Answered Prayers

By Father Tyler Tenbarge

Editor’s note – Father Tyler Tenbarge is studying Canon Law in Italy. He has provided the following essay for The Message. We are grateful for his contribution. Please keep Father Tenbarge in your prayers.


It had been more than six weeks in Siena, Italy: a new city, a new role, a new house and a new language for me; and I felt it that afternoon as I left my host nonna's (Italian for "grandmother") house to go pray. My Italian is coming along quite well, and while I dream and think in this language occasionally, my default is still to use English. As I walked through the bustling, stone streets of this Tuscan town, I realized I was also missing direct, daily pastoral ministry. 


I arrived at the Basilica of Saint Dominic to pray and then concelebrate Mass, and I was stopped by an Italian woman who spoke quickly and with an excited voice. A fast-paced, Italian voice. I almost couldn't make out what she was saying until it all clicked: "Would you bless this medallion for me? I bought it and want to leave it with the Blessed Virgin Mary, to thank her for helping my husband Roberto." I smiled and replied in Italian, "Of course. May I do the blessing in English?" She said I could. But as I began to pray, I found enough words to do the blessing in Italian, and she said "grazie!" many times before making her way to the statue of Mary to add her medal to the wall where hundreds of others remind onlookers that prayers really are answered. 


I met that woman simply because she said a prayer for her husband, and it worked. That day, as I sat silently in the house of God, I realized that the ministry I was missing was provided – and not only that, but also the words and the language necessary to carry it out. 


Maybe I should buy one of those medallions, too.