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Category: Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage June 18 (Day 23) Prado Nuevo, Spain

Buenos  Dias:
You got it……….we are back in Spain, (actually we are home, but we couldn’t forget to write this report).  I was too lazy to write on the plane, even though we had 10 hours.

We arrived in Madrid at 8:30 AM and had a rental waiting.  I felt good today (getting over my cold), especially after they gave us a white Mercedes…… perfect!   

We drove to Colmenarejo, to Saint James the Apostle’s church to meet up  with Consuelo for Mass.  We had time, so we had some café con Leche and split hunk of a Spanish tortilla (eggs, potatoes and cheese)……..we had to survive until our luncheon later that day.

Mass was at 12:30, so we went to the church and waited for Consuelo.  She was inside and the Pastor whom she knew was waiting for us saw us out side and sent her out. Hugs and kisses abounded and we got so caught up we were almost late for mass.  Our friend, Fr. Guillermo, was hearing  confessions so we wouldn’t see him until after the service.  Today’s Gospel was about the acceptance of all men no matter what nationality and in Father’s homily he let everyone know that we were foreigners, like they couldn’t tell with the big T on our foreheads. 

This  will be the last mass until we return home tomorrow.  We have attended mass in 8 different languages, and now I am starting to get confused.   

After mass we met up with Fr. Guillermo and we headed to El Escorial to meet his Parents Carmen and Antonio (we call him Toni).  We had met them last year and they took us around and spent a whole day with  us.  They don’t speak any English, but we managed with them and we became very fond of each other.

Dinner was at this very fancy Spanish Restaurant.   They served a 4 course meal that was outstanding from beginning to end.  We joked and talked and  laughed and cried, they all are great people, very warm and loving and very religious.  It was hard to say goodbye after dinner, for Carmen and Toni were going home. Lots of hugs and  kisses we ( with Consuelo) left and went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows to pray at the rosary service.   

First, we made a stop to see the Sisters at the home for the Elderly.  We had brought them a little something from the Cardinal.  We had a great time them as always, as we talked about our journey. Another priest from the shrine, Father Juan Carlos, came by and joined in with us for quite awhile.  Although Father Juan Carlos didn’t speak English, the “Universal Language” kicked in and we had a great time with Father, Consuela and some of the Sisters. 

Unfortunately, many of the  other Sisters were assisting the elderly residents or were over at the Prado Religious Store, so we did miss seeing them to bid farewell! We didn’t go in to see the residents, even though I felt better………. we didn’t want to take the chance of giving them my cold, and now Susan was starting to sniffle.   

Again, lots of hugs and kisses…….it’s always hard to leave here, and we  left for the shrine.   We were a little late but caught up and the service, which is in the field, where most of the apparitions happened,  ended just before mass at 7:00 PM.  We went to put your intentions in the box before our Lady putting you all in Her care. 

We were taking tomorrow off.  (editors note:  how these two do it for 23 continuous days is beyond me.  And Tom is just getting over liver cancer to boot!) 

Toni had come to  the shrine, he missed us already, and Father Guillermo was there and we meet  a couple more Priest assigned there. We were so comfortable with them for they  are so holy and peaceful, like most of the Priests we have met over the years in our travels. 

Father G. had to get  going since he had Mass at 8 at St. John’s, and Consuelo had to work in the  morning and we had to find out if we still had a hotel room since it was getting late and we had told them we would be early. 

Again, more hugs and kisses and a few tears and we all departed, all hoping that God willing we would see each other  again. There are some interesting photos coming.

Our hotel was easy  to find and our room was waiting.   A very, very, nice room to be exact.  We had picked up some snacks earlier  and packed and wrote a report and finally exhausted we went to sleep in this  wonderful bed.  We had a wakeup  call for 8:30 since our flight wasn’t until 1:00 and we didn’t have to rush  today. Our only problem was that Susan had full blown bronchitis and was in  pain.  I started her the  2nd z-pack I had and a little later a decongestant. She felt a  little better after being up.

We got the car back and I didn’t go by a gas station, so I thought they would nail me for the cost of filling the tank, but they said no problem, no  charge.  That’s a first!  

We had time before the flight to relax in the lounge and boarded on time, but had to wait to 1 hour to take off.  We slept……no problem, actually Susan slept the whole way after she ate.  It was a great flight and this was the first plane that had a Bathroom I could stand up in and not feel like I was  going to fall back out the door.   

The worst part of the day was Miami customs, as it took almost 1 ½ hrs  to get thru. We picked up our rental and in 2 hours we were home to our new home, that we had only spent 2 days in before leaving.   Everything was fine at the house except cable TV was out, so after a  glass of wine we went to bed.   

It’s always good to be home!

   
We hope you enjoyed  the journey.

May the Peace of  Christ be with you always
Love
Susan &  Tom

We dedicate this  Prayer to all the wonderful Priest we have met on this Journey and to all the  Priest on our prayer list and all our Priest friends and acquaintances we may  have forgotten on the list.

A  Prayer for Priests

 
Gracious  and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through  them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help  our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set  their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant  them the wisdom, understanding, and strength 
they  need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.   
Inspire  them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give  them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow  them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help  them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We  ask this through Jesus Christ, 
who  lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
Amen.
This  prayer is to be found at the website for the US Conference of
Catholic  Bishops.
Prayer to Mary Queen  of Apostles

Immaculate  Mother of God, Queen of the Apostles, we know that God’s
commandment of love  and our vocation to follow Jesus Christ impels us to
cooperate in the mission  of the Church. Realizing our own weakness, we entrust the
renewal of our  personal lives and our apostolate to your intercession. We
are confident that  through God’s mercy and the infinite merits of Jesus
Christ, you, who are our  Mother, will obtain the strength of the Holy Spirit as
you obtained it for the  community of the apostles gathered in the upper
room. Therefore, relying on  your maternal intercession, we resolve from this
moment to devote our talents,  learning, material resources, our health,
sickness and trials, and every gift  of nature and grace, for the greater glory
of God and the salvation of all. We  wish to carry on those activities
which especially promote the catholic  apostolate for the revival of faith and
love of the people of God and so bring  all men and women into the faith of
Jesus Christ. And if a time should come  when we have nothing more to offer
serviceable to this end, we will never  cease to pray that there will be one
fold and one shepherd Jesus Christ. In  this way, we hope to enjoy the
results of the apostolate of Jesus Christ for  all eternity.
Amen.

Tom & Susan Melillo

E-Mail: _TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint John Paul  II The Great
for Thomas F. Melillo

O Blessed Trinity, we thank  you for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing  the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and  the splendor of the Spirit of love to
shine through him.

Trusting fully  in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of
Mary,
He has  given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that  holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way  of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession,  and according to your will, the graces we
implore …
Especially the  Healing of Liver Cancer for Tom Melillo, through Christ our
Lord.
Amen.

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage June 17 (Day 22) Krakow

Bon  Jour,
 
Today is our last full  day in Krakow and tomorrow night we will be on a layover at the airport in Paris.

I woke up this morning with the sniffles…….great! More fallout from the caves. 

We had breakfast in the apartment, since we had so much food, and re-planned our day.   Mass at noon at the Saint John Paul II shrine was perfect  and gave us a chance to relax.  That’s why we like Father Brian’s noon mass and we can understand him too.  Well…… most of the time. 

Today, we would leave all the intentions that you had asked to be left here or at the Divine Mercy Chapel and that’s what we did. We did part of the rosary at Saint John Paul II’s and finished in the Divine Mercy chapel, along with the chaplet.  All the rest of the intentions would be delivered to Our Lady of Sorrows on Sunday in Prado Nuevo, Spain.   

The sniffles began to increase and I knew that this sinusitis had the chance to become a full-fledged cold, so we went back to the apartment when we were done and I started the Z-Pack that I had gotten from my doctor for the just-in-case bag, along with a  nasal spray.

We had an 8:00 PM dinner planned with Fr. Tomasz, but we decided it was not smart to go and take the chance of getting him sick……. with his busy schedule, he would have infected half of Krakow.  I think he was grateful and we planned to see him in the morning at  9:00 AM.   We did sneak out for a quick bite around 5:30 and had the best Hungarian Goulash ever. 

Bed time was early, since we had to get up at 5 AM for Mass that the Cardinal invited us to. We had mass at the Chapel in the residence where St. John Paul II was ordained and spent much  time in prayer, celebration masses and work, at the desk he had in there, so that he could think and write before the Blessed Sacrament.

Mass was at 6:30 AM and the Cardinal celebrated along with 2 other priests for the 9 Sisters and Susan and I.   This is a place where sanctity seems, not something passing or short lived, but a quality of real people, lives not unlike our own in their challenges, and meeting those challenges through the  grace that makes heroic virtue possible.

We had a brief moment with the Cardinal before and after mass and later Father Tomasz told us he had  told him that I did look a little under the weather and that we were a very pious couple, even though I did snap a couple pictures.

After mass we had a  quick cappuccino, bought some chocolates for the Cardinal and staff and then we went to St. Francisco across the street and sat in Saint John Paul II’s seat and prayed our rosary. It was a strange feeling being in that pew where he prayed the rosary every day.   I hope some of it rubs off, God knows I can use  it.

I did feel better today, so before leaving we went to the cemetery where the Saint’s parents and  brother were buried.   The Cardinal just dedicated a statue of him next to their graves.   Now this cemetery is huge by any standards and only polish people come here and they don’t speak English, so needless to say, we didn’t find it after 40 minutes of walking around.  We  went back to the apartment and loaded the car and headed for the airport, sorry that  we didn’t have more time.

The flight to Paris went well, other than waiting 40 minutes for the hotel shuttle in the damp rain.  The restaurant was closed, so we walked to the village and picked up some bread, cheese, sardines (this was a no meat day) and a bottle of wine and dined  in. 

To bed early, since tomorrow we have a 3:30 AM wake  up
call. See you in Madrid.

Bon  Soir,
May God bless all of  you,
Love   
Susan &  Tom
 
 
PRAYER TO SAINT  JOHN PAUL II THE GREAT
Oh, Saint John Paul  II the Great, bestow from Heaven your Blessing upon 
us.
Bless the Church  you loved, served and guided so well, by courageously
leading Her through the  pathways of this world, by bringing Jesus to everyone
and everyone to  Jesus.
Bless the Youth,  who were at the center of your caring love.  Lead them to
dream once again, lead  them to look above to find the light that will
enlighten the paths of life  here on earth.
Bless the families  … bless each family!  You were  aware of Satan’s
assault against this precious and indispensable spark of  Heaven that God has
ignited on earth.   Oh, Saint John Paul II the Great, with your Prayers,
protect every  family … and every life that blossoms in the family.
Pray for the whole  world still marred by tensions, wars and injustices. 
You have opposed war by invoking  dialogue and by sowing love.  Pray  for us,
Saint John Paul II the Great, so that we may become tireless sowers of 
peace.
Oh, Saint John Paul  II the Great, from Heaven’s window, where we see you
next to Mary, Our Mother,  send down upon all of us God’s Blessings.

Amen.

Morning Consecration to  Mary

My  Queen, My Mother, I offer
myself  entirely to thee.
And to show my devotion to thee,
I offer thee this day, my  eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart,
my whole being without  reserve.
Wherefore,  good Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me as thy
property and  possession.
Amen.

Tom & Susan Melillo
E-Mail: _TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint John Paul II  The Great
for Thomas F. Melillo

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you  for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing the  tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the  splendor of the Spirit of love to
shine through him.

Trusting fully in  your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of
Mary,
He has given us  a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness is  the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of achieving  eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according  to your will, the graces we
implore …
Especially the Healing of Liver  Cancer for Tom Melillo, through Christ our
Lord.
Amen.

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016 June 15 (Day 20) Divine Mercy

We were blessed today to witness the most beautiful Divine Mercy devotion……..thanks to an invitation on behalf the Cardinal.

They sat us in the loft for this private veneration that they do daily in the early morning, with no tourists allowed, before they open the Chapel doors. Just Beautiful!
 
I’m sure.
 
Now I really have to back to confession!  LOL
 
We will be home soon. 

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 14 (Day 19) with Cardinal Dzwisz

Jane  Dobric
Today, thanks to our dear friend, Father Tomasz, we had our Private Audience with Cardinal Dzwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow.  The Cardinal was the Episcopal and Personal Secretary and confidante to Saint John Paul II The Great for about 40 years!  We love being with him even if only for a short time.  He is very warm and kind and has the demeanor of the Saint.   

We walked over from our apartment to The Archbishop’s Residence, also known locally as 3 Franceska Street, and had some time before our meeting, so we went into St. Francis Basilica and started our rosary in the second to the last pew on the left of the Franciscan Basilica … the very pew that Saint John Paul II sat in every day when he was here in Krakow and would pray his rosary.  You can’t get any closer than that, except in the  chapel where he was ordained in secret……and we will attend Mass on Saturday morning with the Cardinal, Father Tomasz and the nuns who take care of the Cardinal. 

Since I was diagnosed with liver cancer last November, they have all been praying for me, so this is going to be very special.   We Prayed two Decades of  our Rosary and then had to depart for our visit with the Cardinal across the  street. 

The  guard welcomed us and allowed us access to the stairway leading to the  Cardinal’s Offices.  Father Tomasz came out to the foyer area to greet  us.  There was a Polish woman sitting at the table waiting  to see the Cardinal (without an appointment) … she told us that she was from  Alaska and when she saw Father Tomasz warmly greet us, she told us to tell him that she wanted to see the Cardinal (which we did).

 

As  Father led us to the Cardinal’s Chambers, the woman followed us and sat outside until we were finished with our visit. The Cardinal opened the door to his private office and Susan stood there with a big smile and began waving at him before approaching the doorway.  We went in and His Eminence invited us to sit with him and Father Tomasz (after Susan greeted him  with the Three Polish Kisses).

We had a gift that we had purchased at Prado Nuevo in El Escorial … a photo of our Blessed Mother as she appeared to the visionary during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Madrid in 1982.  We also  had a small cross made by the Sisters at Prado:  the wood had been carved  from the Ash Tree where Our Lady appeared to Luz Amparo … thanks to our friend,  Consuelo, we had this gift to present to the Cardinal.  Susan and I felt strongly that the Cardinal recognized the photo immediately and that he was touched by our gift.
 

He looked at me with big questioning  eyes and said … “Is this for me?”.  I said, “Of Course … we brought this  especially for you.” He immediately took the small Cross and placed it directly on the framed photo of Our Lady … it was a touching moment. 

Father Tomasz then explained things to the Cardinal in Polish which saved a lot of time in translations. We also extended greetings, love & prayers from many who care very much for the Cardinal.  We  had written down the names so that His Eminence would know of your greetings.  He said and read the names of each and every one of you (you know who you are) and smiled and shook his head yes as he acknowledged each name.   

The Cardinal then looked  at us and softly asked how long we had been married.  I told him 27 years, but then explained that because Susan and I work 24/7 together all of these years, I calculate our marriage at 45 years. 

Father  Tomasz explained in Polish and the Cardinal laughed. Then he  asked … “Do you fight?” and I expressed the sign “A Little Bit”!  Then he  looked at Susan and said “Do you get silent with him?” and Susan quickly  responded … “Oh yes, Cardinal … I am very good at that!”.  Tom  quickly gestured again with “A Little Bit” and we all shared a  laugh.

We were very touched when His Eminence, two different times, looked at us and said “You are a very special  couple … we will Pray for you both and we ask that you Pray for me and for Father Tomasz.”.  We assured him of our continued prayers for both of them. 

Father  Tomasz then explained my health condition (cancer) to the Cardinal, who has been praying for me.  His Eminence told us to beseech the intercession of Saint John Paul II, and that numerous miracles are constantly being reported to his office and to the Vatican of cures through the intercession of the Saint. Susan told the Cardinal that she has been keeping  Saint John Paul II very, very busy for my healing. He  smiled! 

He then got up and so did we, but he went to get us 3 Rosaries that bear his crest and the crest of Saint John Paul II.  It was  time for a photo op, so we did and it was time to leave……so the 3 Polish kisses and hand shakes and each of us after blessing the other we departed.   

Out in the anteroom the Polish lady was still there, and he graciously saw her, as Fr. Tomasz stayed with  us.  She didn’t  last long, but we thought that it was nice he took the time, as other people  waited for him, to accommodate her.

We made plans with Little Tom to have dinner on Friday at 8:00 p.m. We always let him pick the place because he knows the best restaurants.

Having no major plans, we decided to see some of the churches and Basilicas that we missed last year and to finish our Rosary and divine in a different one as we went. 

We prayed for all of  you and lit candles along the way.  We saw some very beautiful places and  some very old ones. 

We were hungry, so along the way we stopped to eat at a restaurant off the beaten path and had a delightful meal, half of which went home in a doggie bag, because there was so much  food.  Only $25 poorer, we continued our trek.  Did I tell you I love  Krakow?

After we had seen enough and finished our Prayers we went back to the apartment and settled in for the night, with plenty to eat if we got hungry.

Trip reports to write and e-mails to  answer we never got to turn on the TV until late.  We got ten new intentions that we added to the list for tomorrows prayers.

Just as we turned on the  TV there was a knock at the door and I asked who it was and got no response.  Peeking through the peep hole I saw two policemen, so I cautiously opened  the door and checked them out.  You know the shoes, badges and guns and  other things a real cop would carry.  They had some documents and showed me they were looking for a man who lived here.  I tried to communicate to them that we were just tourist renting so I motioned to wait and went to get our booking document to bring to them when Susan, my trusting  wife invited them in. 

Now I’m thinking,  I have these 2 big men in the  apartment and what if they are not cops?  I eye  balled a few defensive weapons in case, like the iron, a wine bottle and the  knife on the sink.  I think I watch too many cop  shows!

They were satisfied when I gave them the owners number and left thanking us for the information.  Whew!!!  I later  tried to explain to Susan what occurred and she flipped out at how trusting and stupid it was to invite them in.  I was hoping she would not have nightmares and I was glad that she did not ask if she could take a picture.   

Dobre nov,  (I take a shot at  this one)

“Dear Lord,  I do not know what will happen to me today.  I only know that nothing will  happen that was not foreseen by You, and directed to my greater good from all  eternity.  I adore Your holy and unfathomable plans, and submit to them  with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Amen.”

May the  Lord hear all your prayers.
Love   
Susan &  Tom

Act of  Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O  Most Holy Virgin Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your 
Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment
by  the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by
the  ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promoting a true
devotion to  your Immaculate Heart.

We therefore  kneel before you to manifest the sorrow we feel for the
grievances that people  cause you, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for
the offenses with  which they return return your love. Obtain for them and
for us the pardon of so  many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that
they may love Jesus and cease  to offend the Lord, already so much offended.
Turn your eyes of mercy toward us,  that we may love God with all our heart
on earth and enjoy Him forever in  heaven.
Amen.

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 13 (Day 18) Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland

Dobranoc: (Thanks Rosemarie)
Did you know that daybreak in Poland is at 4 AM?  UGH! The sun is shining shortly after…….and I’m up, thinking I am late.  Even with black out shades the light sneaks in. Now try going back to  sleep!

We wanted to be up early anyway, since we were taking a road trip to Our Lady of Czestowchowa, about 2 hours away.  This is the greatest Shrine to Our Lady in Poland.  Father Tomasz said we were smart to go early (and during the week), the crowds would be small.  Well, we even skipped breakfast, but didn’t get out the door until almost  8:30. 

Don’t ask! We were just being leisurely. Well, to  tell you the truth, we have a shower that has 10 heads.  It’s like being in a car wash!  Susan was in it the first night for almost 20 minutes.  We have been fighting over it ever since.  LOL

The traffic wasn’t too bad but there is a lot of construction going on in preparation for World Youth Day when they expect at least 2 million youths and adults to converge on Krakow. God help them.  Many people in the old town and nearby are staying with relatives and renting out their homes, since there are not enough hotel rooms and apartments  The U.S. has the second largest number of people coming, after Italy.  That’s pretty good!

We arrived at the Shrine not expecting what we saw and were amazed at how large and beautiful it was.  Our first stop was  to the chapel of the Icon of the Blessed Mother and Jesus, a Black Madonna,  where mass was about to begin. 

We stood against a wall 1/2 half way up  to the altar and could not
see anything there were so many  people.  After mass most of them stayed to get to the altar area to pray before the famous Icon, we left and went out to get a  coffee.   Twenty minutes later it was like a bomb scare had gone off as the hordes of people left the Chapel. 

We went  back in, only to find that they had covered the Madonna Icon and closed the altar area for cleaning. Most of the people were in groups on tour buses and went to the dining hall for lunch, a perfect time to explore the marvelous shrine.  See photos.

Susan and I had a quick bite at the nearest cafeteria style  restaurant.  It was just food, but we needed something.

We then explored the grounds and the whole Basilica  and went to the adoration chapel to pray the Rosary since the Rosary chapel was  closed.  At the second decade, we stopped, since mass had begun in the icon chapel, and even with the doors closed in the adoration chapel, it was too loud to meditate…..it was  just above the Icon. 

Read more

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 12 (Day 17) Krakow John Paul II Center & Shrine of Divine Mercy

In the morning we ate a leisurely breakfast and at 9:30 the apartment owner came to get our passport info and see if we needed anything.  I TOLD HIM A BIGGER BED; THE BED WAS QUEEN AND NOT KING LIKE HE ADVERTISED.  He said it was a European king; I  smiled and said no more.

Editors note:  Most European King size beds are about 4″ shorter than the U.S. King size that Tom was expecting; however, they are also about 4″ wider than the U.S. versions.

We left and drove to the St. John Paul II Shrine for the noon mass and arrived in plenty of time to re-explore the center and its chapels.  Most everything  inside was complete.  This amazed us since a year ago they had so much to  do.  The place is amazing; as you will see in the 100 +  photos we took…….not kidding this time.

Mass at noon included First Holy Communion children and was in the lower Church of the Shrine.  Even though the Saint had never been there, his presence was evident.  The children received communion just like every other one we have seen, all crowding up at once in total disorder, just as the adults do it in every church.  The need ushers bad, and although at times we think we do a bad  job at it……..never again!

At the end of mass they say a litany of prayers to St. John Paul II and read the intentions that were put into the box that day.  My wife is smart, because she did this and I didn’t even know about it and she condensed 300 + intentions on 5 sheets of paper.  We laughed afterwards that we should  have put a copy of the written sheets with all your individual intentions in the box; we would have been there for an hour.

After mass we had a cappuccino and went to the upper church and the international chapels.  The American chapel has the clothes Saint John Paul II wore when he was shot………and it still gives us shivers each time we see it.  Our  Lady of Guadeloupe hangs on the wall right above it.  We wiped many tears from our eyes, mostly happy ones, as we were back to a city we loved and he loved.

We finished by exploring the rest of the areas that were almost complete, since our last visit, including a massive statue to the Saint in the upper courtyard, and left for the Divine Mercy Shrine to Saint Faustina. 

Our first stop was at the convent where Saint Faustina lived and died. There is a replica of her room and audio head phones that you can listen to about her life with Christ and how it began and Divine Mercy came to be.  Susan  had tears in her eyes and later told me I had to listen the next time we  come.  In the meantime I shopped, not like me, and purchase some rosaries and other memento’s to bring home.  If anyone wants a divine mercy rosary, let us know before it’s too late.

Off to the Chapel of Divine Mercy where there were several tour groups coming and going but all were reverent and only stayed for a few minutes.  We sat in the back and prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet before the hoards of people would arrive for  the 3:00 PM hour of prayer.  We did that on a Friday last year and it was very difficult to concentrate, especially since everything was in Polish.

We finished our prayer and went up to venerate the relic of Saint Faustina and asked her to bless and intercede for all of you and left.

We stopped for some water and a few things at the big supermarket and hardly needed princess to get back and we spent the next 2 hours in the apartment organizing and answering as many e-mails as we could that you have sent especially for prayer intentions. 

At 6:30 we were out the door to meet Father Tomasz, the Episcopal and personal secretary to Cardinal  Dziwisz, for dinner. We made a wrong turn, walking, and ended up being 2 minutes  late, not too worried, because Little Tom, Fr Tomasz, was always late.  Wrong! He was waiting patiently for his, as he puts  it, crazy American friends. 

We hugged and did the 3 polish kisses…..well Susan did, I hugged him and we gave each other the manly single kiss and hand shake.  It has been a year since we have seen him but it  seemed like yesterday. 

Little Tom was still a little tense from work but  after a nice glass of wine or two and some laughs he relaxed and we spent a  great evening together.  They are all so busy here, with World Youth Day being just a month away.

With dinner over and him having to work early in the AM we left and  walked a little way together and departed, until we would see him Wednesday with the Cardinal.  When we got back to the apartment, we didn’t take long to get ready for bed and get in it. 

Night, Night See you tomorrow.
Dobranoc:  (how’s that?)

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

E-Mail:

_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Saturday June 11 (Day 16) Rome to Krakow

Good morning: (can’t even think in Polish yet)

Well, Susan and I are empty nesters.  We woke up the kids to say goodbye and left for the  airport at 6:00 AM.  We returned the car, and before we knew it, we were in Krakow at 10:30 AM. 

The only glitch so far was renting the car we reserved for the week in Krakow.  They wouldn’t take my AMEX, but after a call to the US……and Warsaw, we were on the road. 

Before princess woke up (ed note: princess is Tom’s GPS device), LOL, we were half way to Krakow.  Lots of good signs we could read. Princess did take us right to the deluxe Apartment I rented. I had shown Susan different photos of another so-so apartment, I wanted to surprise her the one I chose.  So we  now have 200 pictures (only kidding) to send you. 

Ola met us, showed us where to park, and took us up and explained everything we needed to know, well almost.  Susan unpacked and organized; I went for supplies and at 5:00 PM mass was available at the Church of the Holy Trinity, a 7 minute walk  away.   The church was over-filled with youth, teens, young adults and lot of white-haired folks like us.  After mass we had a light meal at the apartment and retired for the night. 

We pray that God will bless you and grant you all your  intentions
Love Susan & Tom

Totus Tuus
This  prayer was written by the Holy Father Saint John Paul II to
Mary  Immaculate: 
Totally  yours,
Immaculate  Conception, Mary my Mother,
Live in me, Act in me,
Speak in me  and through me,
Think your thoughts in my mind,
Love through  my heart,
Give me your dispositions and feelings,
Teach, lead  me and guide me to Jesus,
Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and  behavior,
Possess my soul,
Take over my entire personality and life,  replace it with Yourself,
Incline me to constant adoration,
Pray in  me and through me,
Let me live in you and keep me in this union  always. 
In  Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph and St. John Paul II

 
May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

E-Mail:

_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Friday June June 10 (Day 15) Rome

Bonjurno for the last time:

Today, Friday, is our last day in Rome and tomorrow morning, Susan and I leave for Krakow, Poland at 6:00 AM, and Johna and Sam leave at noon to fly to Madrid, where they spend the night and then return home on Monday.

Today we had mass with Fr. Gabriel, and mama, and 3 friends from Argentina, one of whom was a priest and con-celebrated the mass.  We met them at 7:30 AM in St. Peter’s square at the entrance and Father was already in the Basilica preparing for mass.  Lots of hugs and kisses we walked into the square and over to get mama in by two guards close to the  security.   Now, mama has a cane and is elderly and definitely qualifies as handicapped. You would think that the guards would have cared,….not a  chance; they made us walk all the way around the Square like everyone  else. So we all went the long way…..Susan and mama arm in arm and made the trek in 15 minutes, only to pass by the gate we tried to get through earlier, 20 ft. away and right at security……… “Italians”……..and I’m one of them.

We went thru security and as we approached the Basilica, they had the ramp closed, so it was either the steps or the  elevator.  I went ahead and Susan and mama followed and I asked for the elevator rather sternly and the man behind the desk jumped up and with his key took us  up.   We just made it before mass was about to  begin.

Fr. Gabriel and his friend were on the altar  preparing the host and altar and just before he started, he came down and handed me his camera and asked if I would take some photos.  No Problem….. I felt  like Marilyn Olsen at an ordination. 

There was a guard there the whole time and didn’t say a word until mass was over and Father had left…….I took one more photo of the altar stone and he yelled at me, “no  photo’s”  Hello! Are you Italian?

Father was as excited to do mass at the altar of St  John Paul II as were to be there for mass and it was beautiful.  After mass had ended we waited for Father and he and Susan walked with mama down the stairs because you couldn’t get thru to the elevator. Lots  of hugs and kisses later we departed all promising to keep in touch, especially  Susan and mama, since she does e-mail and facebook!

We had a car rented today for the day and we took  the subway to Termini train station, and after a little struggle found the rental offices, we picked a number and were 10th in the wait line, but divine intervention again came thru and in less than 5 minutes some man came up to me and asked what I needed and I said my car, which I had pre-paid.   So he took my license and credit cards and asked  for my passport which I forgot so he said no problem and sent us to the pickup  garage down the street. This guy must have been from another country after the  people we ran into today.

Twenty minutes later we were in our brand new  MERCEDES, did I tell you yet “I love this car”.  We were going to Mentorella, the Sanctuary of Mentorella of in the mountains and then our plan was to go to Genazzano to Our Lady of Good Counsel Shrine, to Our Lady of Divine Love and then to the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls back in Rome.

Pretty impressive right?  Well, we made 2 of 4, after we got lost going to Mentorella and wasted a half hour backing out of dead ends and doing u-turns.  Princess (my GPS) is now 10 years old and I think needs an update or  retirement.   

About 5 miles before the shrine there is a village,  where we made a pit stop and had a cappuccino…..we hadn’t even had breakfast, but we were afraid to take too much time, because the church closed at 1:00 PM for 2  hours, so we headed up the final leg.   

There was dead silence in the car as we made s-turn after s-turn on the narrow road, some of which had no guard rails.  I was in heaven driving, the others were in Purgatory waiting for it to be  over.   

At the parking lot for the shrine there was a bus and some cars but we didn’t park there.  We drove straight to the Shrine, saving a ¼ mile walk, a trick we remembered from  our last visit here.   We didn’t have to worry about the church closing……..there was a group getting ready to have mass so we spent what time we could saying a few prayers before the Statue of Our Lady and at the altar of Saint John Paul II.   

As mass was to begin, we left the church and went to the cave of St. Benedict where he lived for many years before starting the Benedictine order. The lights kept going out and we had to keep going  up the rock steps to turn it back on.   I think the kids were mesmerized being there at this holy place. Johna and Sam both left a copy of their intentions there and on the statue of Saint Benedict there was a Brown Scapular with on side missing, so he took his off and tried to lasso it on the statue.  Too  funny!   On the 3rd try it caught on something so he was  happy.   (See Photo’s).

We next climbed the Scala Sancta.  Steps leading up to a bell for all Christians to ring acknowledging that they were there.   We all took a turn.  The views from here were incredible for all of us, since the last time Susan and I were here it was raining very hard and the clouds covered the mountain.   I still remember that day looking up the steps and  the brightness of the sky above. 

 

 

Time to go, since we were on short time, so we headed down the mountain.  Susan hates this part the most……..and I wasn’t sure about the  others.   We stopped back in the village and had lunch. We  were all starving.   We had pasta, all homemade of course, and the ravioli’s were huge.   Everything was delicious and we shared a liter of house wine that everyone loved. 

As we headed toward Genazzano the kids fell asleep  in the back of the car, it was a lovely sight! Running short on time and the  kids wanted to get a vigil, we turned around and went to St Paul’s Outside the Walls, hoping for a 5:00 PM vigil mass. 

We got there in plenty of time and even found another mass in  progress.  It looked as if the priest was getting the altar ready. When we walked in we were scorned by some people with their looks.   Little did we know that it was time for Communion, and the priest was breaking actual bread to serve.  When he came around we all stood back as reverent as possible, deciding not to receive, and he passed by us anyway.   

The mass at the Basilica was at 6:00 and at 5:00 vespers began in Latin, so we left, since tomorrow the kids had time to go to the Vatican in the morning and we could attend mass in Krakow, so we went home…..with only a few wrong turns. We all finished packing and Sam and I went for some  pizza.   

After dinner Sam was very sad, he told us he would love to have been able to go to Krakow and maybe we would have another chance. We went to bed at 10 PM, Susan and I had to be up at  5 and out the door at 6.   We promised to wake them in the morning before we  left to say goodbye.   See you tomorrow.

Buona sera……

May the Blessed Mother wrap Her Mantle around all of  you.
Love 
Susan, Tom and the Kids

Pray to Our Lady of  Good Counsel

Most Glorious  Virgin, you were chosen by the eternal Counsel to be the
Mother of the Eternal  Word made flesh. You are the treasurer of divine graces
and the advocate of  sinners. I who am your most unworthy servant have
recourse to thee. Graciously  be my guide and counselor in this valley of tears.
Obtain for me, through  the Precious Blood of your Divine Son, the
forgiveness of my sins, the  salvation of my soul, and the means necessary to obtain
it. In like manner,  obtain for the Holy Church victory over Her enemies
and the spread of Jesus’  kingdom over the whole earth.

 
May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

E-Mail:
_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Thursday June 9 (Day 14) Rome

Bonjurno,
Yesterday I forgot to mention the Mass we attended at Saint John Lantern, which was a surprise for us………when we walked by a side chapel and the Gospel was being read, and it was in English!  We  went in and everyone smiled at us, making us feel like part of their  group.  After mass, the two priests came over to talk to us and find out where we were from.  They were English, from Sussex, and everyone in their group shook our hands or gave a gentle hug.  It was great because many groups don’t like strangers. 

Anyway!!!  Another early day to get to the Vatican and get thru the Holy Doors as pilgrims, since we had registered.  We  didn’t realize that we had to walk almost one mile away from the Vatican and then  walk back.  We found that out yesterday, so when we got to Saint  Peters, I showed our pass and we got in the Pilgrims line.  Security was quicker and everyone got to go thru the doors regardless.  The same procedure was at the other 3 major Basilicas  as well.  We did visit them all on different  days.

If you have never been to St. Peters, when you enter you immediately are in front of the Pieta created by Michangelo, it never gets old.  Sam and Johna were very overwhelmed as we toured the Basilica and when we finally found the tomb of St. John Paul II.  It was right past the Pieta, but blocked off for mass when we came in.  Another area we came to was blocked off for confessions, so Susan decided to go for all the indulgences we had gotten. We waited for her…..and waited…..and…..waited. Only kidding, but the only the last confessional was for English.

We spent almost 2 hours here until the crowds became impossible to move or even enjoy the moment.  The lines for the  tombs of the Popes was very long and we were contemplating going when we ran into Mama, or Rachel, the mother of the Priest, Father Gabriel, who allowed us  to celebrate with him at Bethlehem in the Manger alcove.  Divine  intervention, we thought……how unlikely was this?

By the way we were at the  toilet doors, waiting for Sam, where we have met other great people at different toilets around the world, who became good friends, Like Fr. Tomasz, Cardinal Dziwisz’ Personal secretary, whom we plan to see next week. Fr. Gabriel came to meet his mother and was also shocked that we had run into each other. 

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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Wednesday June 8 (Day 13) Rome

Bonjurno;
We  got up slowly today…..everyone was tired, so I made eggs for breakfast and we got dressed to go, when the lights went out. Johna had turned on the iron and everything blew.  Must have been some water on the plug.  We looked at the panel box and didn’t see any tripped breakers  so I tried to go out the front door, but that was locked and the key didn’t work.  I called the owner and left a message, in the mean time Sam was yelling down to people to see if they had  lights.  They all did, so back to the panel box and we found a tripped breaker.  Lights!   

The owner arrived and she couldn’t get the door open either. There is a round knob on the door, so I tried it again and this time it unlocked and we got the door open.  Tourist!   No one admitted to turning that lock, but I have a suspect! 

It was almost 11:00 so we headed out for today’s adventure.  We walked to Saint Peters, and then to Castel Sant’Angelo to find out where we had to go tomorrow, when we walk with cross in hand to the doors of mercy at Saint Peters and get another Plenary Indulgence…..one  of many Sam and I were getting on this trip, since we went to confession in Spain.

From there we walked to the subway and caught a train to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.  As you approach the Basilica, the doors to Scala Santa, the holy stairs that Jesus walked up to Pilate to be condemned, are located just across the street. 

Susan and I have been here twice before and they were closed and I had been here many years ago and it was closed.  Susan made the  decision not to take a chance by going to Saint John Lantern first and then find them closed when we got out. There  are 28 wide marble steps covered with mahogany wood that is very worn from so  many people crawling up them on their knees.  You are not allowed to walk on them and if you are unable to go up on your knees, there is another staircase that also  counts for the Plenary Indulgence you get for going up and meditating on the  Passion  of Christ as you go. 

I made one step and had to back down, the leg and knees were hurting today, the others started their trek u and I walked  up and said Divine Mercy on the way.  There are three places on the way up to venerate what they believe to be  from Jesus.  I did manage to get  down to venerate the one on the last step. 

Everyone was very moved by their experience and we were all quietly reflecting what we just did on our way to Saint John Lateran across the street. Susan and I had been here before and still love the place. Sam and Johna walked around with their mouths open, not knowing what to look at next.  We took some pictures for those of you who haven’t been, or have not seen previous photo’s from other trips. 

After an hour or so we left and walked to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Jerusalem (Holy Cross in Jerusalem), about 6 blocks away.  This Church has several important relics from the Passion of Christ and no photo’s are allowed………..Right!

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