Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pilgrimage Miracles

Miracles are not a thing of the past - they happen everyday to so many people that it would be impossible to track all of them. Very often what is seen as an occasional bit of good luck - is in fact - a miracle. People of faith - recognize miracles for what they are - those without faith - miss them entirely. When our group of forty pilgrims began our journey to Portugal - Spain - France in early November - we were hopeful that somewhere along the journey one of us might experience a miracle. Unknown to any of us - we were to be granted that wish before we even got to Portugal - our first destination. Our flight plan took us from Chicago to Madrid, Spain where we met up with three of our group flying out of Philadelphia. As we waited to board our connecting flight to Lisbon, Portugal - we learned than one of our group was missing her purse - containing her passport - credit cards - money. Anxiety gripped the group - attempting to locate the purse - considering what to do if her passport could not be found - leaving her behind in Madrid - figuring out how to contact the U.S. embassy to expedite a replacement passport - who to contact - where to go - what to do. Speaking to the least likely person for help - a lady who transports travelers with disabilities - she immediately understood - despite limited English language skills - the urgency of our concern. She started helping the lady - searching possible places where the purse might have been left - contacting security people where luggage is inspected - abandoning her post - against the advice of her co-worker - to help. In the meantime - Father Michael asked the group to join in prayer to Saint Anthony - finder of lost articles - for assistance.  Within fifteen minutes we were informed that the purse with passport and credit cards - minus the cash - had been found - at the security check point.  In spite of being told that they would not hold the plane for us - with only minutes to departure - the lady was transported to security where she retrieved her purse and made it to the departure gate minutes before final boarding was completed. Our first miracle!  - Even before arriving at Fatima and officially beginning our pilgrimage tour. Some would say this was just a happy turn of events - no miracle.  When you consider the timing - forty minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart - a confused older passenger - a local lady with limited English skills - a gate agent who refused to delay our departure - yet - in the end - the entire group was able to board our second flight and depart on time - as scheduled. Yes - a miracle.

Saint Mary - the Mother of Jesus - Our Lord - is God's messenger - bringing us God's reassurance that He loves us and cares for us. At home - on pilgrimage - always performing miracles for us - even when we are not aware of them. This Thanksgiving remember to thank God for all the blessings - miracles - He has given you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pilgrimage Recap

We are back!  After ten days of traveling through three countries and visiting numerous shrines - all forty of us returned safely home. Coming from five different states - Illinois - Indiana - Wisconsin - Utah - Philadelphia - we came together as one big family for the spiritual adventure of a lifetime. Seven men - thirty-three women met in Madrid, Spain and began this journey heading first to Lisbon, Portugal to visit the Shrine at Fatima. Surprising the  group - three of our men were asked to participate in the nightly procession - carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Father Michael Callea, MIC - our spiritual adviser and Deacon Dale Metcalfe were also selected to actively participate in two afternoon Masses in addition to Father Michael being selected to fill in for a missing priest for the nightly procession. From there we moved on to Burgos, Spain then to Lourdes, France, Montserrat, Spain and finally Barcelona, Spain before the return flight home. We celebrated daily Masses - prayed Morning Prayer - numerous Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets and listened to many meditations provided by Chaplain Arlene Metcalfe. In the evenings we relaxed together at dinner and during quiet hours - often wandered the fresh night air as we explored on our own the wonders of the countries we visited. New friendships were made - old ones renewed - forty people of different backgrounds - moving as one giant body - one family of Christians.

2017 DeaconTravel Pilgrimage Group

It would be a miracle if the entire world could experience what we did in those ten days - sharing - bonding - helping - caring for each other as if we had known each other for a lifetime instead of a few days. There were no differences that could separate us from the group - all focused on God the Father - Jesus the Son - Mary the Mother of Our Lord. On pilgrimage this happens every time - when offered the opportunity to join a pilgrimage group yourself - jump at the opportunity - you will not regret it.

Deacon Dale