6 AM came early, but I was up and refreshed. I let Susan and the kids sleep while I finished the first trip report. I snuck down for a couple cups of coffee and started to get hungry when I saw the breakfast buffet.
I didn’t want to eat alone so it was up and at’ em. We still had a full day ahead and needed to leave by 9:30 at the very latest. Susan and I went down and got a table and by time the kids got there we had eaten. They had showered so we went up and did the same. After a good full breakfast (our next meal would be around 5) we headed out slightly behind schedule. We didn’t care we just re-arranged the day.
First stop was mass in Colomajaro, close to Prado, where our dear friend Father Guillermo was stationed after his ordination last year. (Parking “the beast” was another problem, until I finally saw a handicap spot. I limped getting out of the truck till we got around the corner.) We had been with his dad, Tony as we call him, yesterday and met him and Carmen, his wife, for Mass. Lots of hugs and kisses again and we settled in for mass in a very full church.
(editor’s note: Tom likes to name his rental car for each pilgrimage, so in this case it is “The Beast”)
It was Corpus Christi Sunday and all the churches in Spain have processions before or after mass. With rain threatening they had the procession first, so we left our hard-to-find seats and processed out behind the first Holy Communion children and Fr. Guillermo and Jesus. I stayed back after a short walk, this time really limping, and took photo’s.
After the procession we stood in the back of the church, for our seats were gone. Mass was beautiful and the children receiving Jesus for the first time is always special to see. Another priest said mass and Fr. G sat in the confessional for those who needed it. Sam and I both went to confession after the service was over. They wanted us to have lunch with them but we had a tight schedule and promised we would on June 19, when Susan and I came back to Madrid.
We came here also for a special reason. Last year the sisters gave us the rosary that Amparo the visionary prayed with until she died.. When she died she gave it to Florita, our adopted mother who died before we got to see her last year. They all decided that we should have this precious relic, including Fr. G. so they gave it to us. We spent a year with this delicate and special rosary using it with great joy, but we felt it should be home in Spain with Fr. G, who new Amparo so well and was very close to her. So with great love and bitter sweet joy we gave it to him before we left. He was shocked and excited and argued with us only a little. Again more tears, hugs and kisses and we finally departed our loving friends.
The kids wanted to go back to Prado to say prayers for intentions and get some pictures and holy water so we did before it started to rain again. When we were there the caretaker we had come to know over the years came out and gave us some new brochures they had done finally in English. Susan asked him if we could venerate the tree under which Our Lady stood and he went for the key. The kids got to go first and were overwhelmed and they will have to tell you their own feelings. As for us it never changes, we get light headed and the emotions flow freely ( I need some visine) to be able to touch that sacred place.
We all stood around and split up the 10 pages of intentions we carry and prayed for each one before the place of the Apparition of the Virgin and each of us left those sheets and put them in Her intention box. Pictures were done and we collected some miraculous water from the spring and left just as the rain came.
Off to the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos, only 15 minutes away, and we arrived as the rain stopped. This place is incredible as many of you know that have been here. The kids were pretty speechless as we explored this giant underground basilica. It still takes your breath away each time you come. (see Photos below) I almost got thrown out again, as I got caught 3 times sneaking pictures, but I managed a few.
Time to eat!! So we headed to Madrid and to Consuela and Umberto’s home for dinner. Never got lost and parked “the beast” 100 ft from her home. They gave us each a cross of Christ made from wood from the tree of the apparition at Prado, so we got something special for giving away something special. Our Blessed Mother is so good. It was a great afternoon of good friends, good food and a lots of laughs. (also more hugs, tears and kisses. But, we had to leave rather early since we had to get up at 3 AM to catch our flight the next day for the Holy Land. We bid farewell, Susan and I will see them again before we leave to come home, and headed for the hotel to pack, load the beast and hopefully sleep.
See you tomorrow.
God bless all of you,
Susan Tom and the Kids
Mary, Help of Those in Need
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God’s people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
Mary all who seek your help
experience your unfailing protection.