December 31, 2002 - January 1, 2003

While I was sitting in mass this morning at "Parish Church" I could not help but think about this past year and wonder what this coming year would bring. Later in the day when I took my lunch break from work I drove to Our Lady of the Blue Ridge to pray the rosary. As is usually the case, I pulled out from work at 11:33 arrived at the church and prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. When I finished the rosary the time was 12:13. I drove back to work and arrived there at 12:33.

I was told a few days ago that Fr. Jack Lombardi would be having a special event at the Grotto on New Years Eve to bring in the new year and to celebrate Mary’s feast. I had been considering going. We got off from work a little early because of New Years Eve and I drove out to the Knights of Columbus hall to clean the bathrooms to complete my December obligation. When I left there I had the urge to pray the rosary so on my way home I stopped at "Parish Church" and arrived there at 4:13. I prayed the Glorious mysteries of the rosary and when I finished and was leaving the church the time was 4:33.

I drove home and while I was getting ready for mass David G’s mother, Pam called wanting to know what time mass was tonight. I told her 7 pm. When I hung up the phone I could not help but notice the time was 5:13. S.C.C., C.R.C. and myself went to mass and when we arrived I looked at my watch because I knew we were a little early and the time was 6:33:13. At this point I felt an urge and a very gentle push to go to Emmitsburg tonight. It was not the sudden, urgent feeling that I needed to go but more of a calm, relaxed desire. When I walked in the church I saw David and his mother were there. After mass I mentioned to my mother and sister that Fr. Jack was having something special at the grotto tonight. They asked if I was going and I told them that I was considering it. I asked David and Scott if they would want to ride up there with me. David already had plans and Scott said he was to tired.

When we got home I asked S.C.C. if she would mind if I rode up and she said that she did not mind. I pulled out of the driveway at 8:33. I stopped at 7-11 to get gas and the cost was $12.13. As I was pulling out of the 7-11 parking lot my cell phone rang and it was Scott saying that they ( my mother, sister and 3 nephews) were already on their way to Emmitsburg to go to the Grotto. When I arrived at the Grotto they were already there. There were about 50 or 60 people there. Fr. Jack had mass in the glass chapel at 11 pm. During mass my mother tapped me and asked if we were allowed to receive the Eucharist twice in one day and I said yes. After mass we prayed the Chaplet of Devine Mercy and then Fr. Jack had Benediction.

When it was over and people were having the refreshments that were setup outside the chapel, I walked up into the Grotto and went up to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, where I took the picture back in 1998. Without paying any attention to the time, I arrived there at 12:13. I thought about praying the rosary but I knew that Fr. Jack would be locking up any minute and I would not be able to finish so I simply said “Thank You for everything”. At that very instant I suddenly felt like I had to pray the rosary. I walked back out to the parking lot and people were still leaving. My mother and sister were just leaving too. I got in my truck and started driving to St. Joseph’s. When I got to the bottom of the hill at the intersection of Grotto Rd. and St. Anthony’s Rd. I had to stop and wait for a car that was backing into a driveway. The license plate on the car was XX33. When the car moved I continued driving to St. Joseph’s and arrived there at 12:33:13. I was only going to pray the Joyful mysteries but once I got started I realized that this was going to be the first rosary of 2003 being offered at St. Joseph’s and that I should pray the entire rosary, not just part of it. I walked around the church on the sidewalk and prayed all four mysteries. There were a lot of people out on the street because of the New Years Eve dance being held across the street at the American Legion Hall. Intoxicated people were staggering in and out the whole time. While I was praying the rosary I could not help but think about this past year and all that has happened and I realized that Our Lady of Emmitsburg has not let us down, She is supporting and holding us up. In prayer I thanked Her for what she has allowed me in 2002 and I offered to remain with Her in 2003. When I finished the rosary and was pulling out of St. Joseph’s I looked at my watch and the time was 1:33. I drove home and pulled in my driveway at 3:33.